May 5, 2007

People for Peace, Justice and Healing held its regular Saturday meeting at 10:00 a.m. on May 5, 2007, at Associated Ministries in Tacoma, WA. Present for check-in: Colleen, Mark, Ray, Nancy, Karen K., Sallie S., Sally M., and Rob.


On May 2, press reports said the U.S. Army had begun moving war matérial for the 4/6 Air Calvary Squadron based at Fort Lewis to the Port of Grays Harbor near Aberdeen. What had first been reported as Fort Lewis “exploring shipping options” has turned out to be a major logistical operation in support of the Iraq war and occupation.  Olympia port militarization activists made contact with local residents and the local paper, the Daily World of Aberdeen, has been reporting regularly on developments.  On Thursday, the Grays Harbor Democrats endorsed the "Citizens' Injunction to Halt the Shipment of Military Material to Iraq."  The Daily World reported that a ship is anticipated today; today and tomorrow there will be demonstrations against the war there at 2:00 p.m.; see the United for Peace of Pierce County web site for more information about these actions, which are taking place about 90 minutes from Tacoma.

Sallie reported that on July 4-8, 2007, the 2nd annual "Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion" will be held at Castelgar, British Columbia, bringing together Vietnam draft resisters and Iraq war resisters. "The 2nd Annual Our Way Home Peace Event and Reunion will mark the courageous legacy and honor the contribution made to Canadian life by the U.S. war resisters who came to Canada during the Vietnam War.  The Our Way Home Reunion will also honor the courage of those resisting current U.S. militarism by seeking safe haven in Canada now, during the U.S. war in Iraq.  The Our Way Home Reunion will honor the thousands of Canadians who helped them resettle in this country, both then and now." Daniel Ellsberg, Arun Gandhi, and Yonatan Shapira will speak, among others.  Also appearing:  Tom Hayden, Michelle Mason, Michael Lerner.  Bill King will perform.  Castlegar is 386 miles from Vancouver, and 30 miles north of the U.S.-Canadian border.

The past week has been very successful in tying up many loose ends from last month's World Affairs Summit in Tacoma.  Next year's summit will be held in late February 2008, timed to follow the conference on global health organized by the Wang Center of Pacific Lutheran University.  The main site will be the University of Washington-Tacoma.  A meeting will be held in early June to work on organization.  Those interested in volunteering can call Colleen at 253-759-9680.

Applications are coming in.  A large color poster has been prepared.  Information for the Aug. 26-31, 2007, camp, to be held again at Camp Seymour, is available on the website.  This year there will be a $300 charge per young person, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Mark was contacted by filmmaker Gary Weimberg, whose new film "Soldiers of Conscience" will be shown at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 7 & 9.  The trailer of this high-quality film can be viewed at the web site.  Weimberg specifically wanted to know about groups that might be interested in helping to sponsor a visit of Kevin Benderman to come to the Seattle premiere and talk.  PPJH agreed we are interested; Mark will contact Weimberg.

Mark reported on the NIEA conference on "Migration and Cultural Conflict in Europe" held yesterday on the Puyallup campus of Pierce College, where he gave a talk on the history of the concept of nationality in France. Highlights of the conference: presentations by Greg Feldman, assistant professor of international migration at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and a presentation by David Tinsley, professor of German at the Univerisity of Puget Sound, comparing the use of walls by East Germany with the walls being built between the U.S. and Mexico.  Mark also had the pleasure of meeting there John Lucas, Sally M.'s son -in-law and professor of political science at Pierce College, and of meeting Turan Kayaoglu, University of Washington-Tacoma, (B.A, Bilkent University Ankara; M.A., University of Denver; Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle), now in his second year as assistant professor of international relations at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

PPJH decided to co-sponsor an event featuring Elizabeth de la Vega on impeachment of the president to be held at 7:00 p.m. on Jun. 25, 2007, at King's Books. She is the author of U.S. v. George W. Bush et al. (Seven Stories Press, 2006).  Publishers Weekly:  “By revisiting public statements, official documents, and journalistic reports from the months leading up to the Iraq invasion, de la Vega builds a legal case that President Bush and top members of his administration engaged in a conspiracy to 'deceive the American public and Congress into supporting the war.'  Drawing on her experience as a federal prosecutor, as well as the work of scholars and legal experts, she brings a well-honed legal perspective to the issue.  She presents her argument in transcript form as a hypothetical weeklong presentation to a grand jury, including extensive testimony from three fictional investigative agents.  Despite her somewhat specialized approach, the author clearly defines the legal terms and issues and avoids jargon.  If anything, the book feels casual and straightforward to a fault:  awkward asides about room temperature and coffee breaks, meant to humanize de la Vega's hypothetical grand jurors, are contrived; in explaining some of her claims, she relies too much on an analogy to the Enron fraud.  Still, whenever she focuses on the issues at hand — most compellingly in her final analysis of the administration's spurious claims about Iraq's nuclear weapons program — de la Vega makes a persuasive case."  Mark will contact sweet pea at King's Books to let him know. 

Hundreds of coordinated vigils against Israel's occupation of Palestinian land will take place in June, including at Seattle (June 7, 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. in Westlake Plaza, downtown Seattle (, June 8, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. in front of the Federal Building (,, and on Jun. 10, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Westlake Park ( Tacomans have decided to join those vigils rather than organize one of their own.


On three successive Mondays in Tacoma, May 7, 14, & 21, 2007, UFPPC's book discussion group will examine two books and two essays on the influence of Israel and the Israel Lobby, including AIPAC (American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee), on U.S. politics, policies, and institutions.  Discussion of this subject was stimulated about a year ago by the publication of a long essay by two prominent American political scientists, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard.  The group will examine the two published versions of their essay, a follow-up piece by journalism critic and author Michael Massing, and two volumes: Paul Findley's They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby, 3rd ed. (Lawrence Hill Books, 2003), and James Petras's The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006).  Paul Findley, 85, represented Illinois's 20th Congressional District from 1961 to 1983; James Petras, Bartle Professor (emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in New York, is a prolific writer with some 62 books to his name.  DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

The organization Standing Women invites all to stand with them for five minutes of silence at 1:00 p.m. your local time on May 13, 2007, in your local park, school yard, gathering place, or any place you deem appropriate, if you agree with this statement:  “We are standing for the world's children and grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them.  We dream of a world where all of our children will have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat.  A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies.  A world where they have a warm, safe, and loving place to call home.  A world where they don't live in fear of violence -- in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school, or in their world.  This is the world of which we dream.  This is the cause for which we stand."  — Note also that as it has for more than ten years, Ground Zero is organizing a Mothers' Day vigil and nonviolent direct action at the gates of Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor.  See the website for more information.

Respectfully submitted, Mark