Meeting notes for People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
December 9, 2005
People for Peace, Justice and Healing held its regular Saturday meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2006, at Associated Ministries in Tacoma, WA. Present for check-in: Vivi, Sallie S., Scott, Kathryn, Rob, Mark, Dorothy, and Sallie M.
1. EARTH COMMUNITY DIALOGUES (Dorothy)
Dororthy on the Dec. 5 meeting of the Earth Community Dialogue group that has been meeting at the Wheelock Library (3722 N. 26th St., Tacoma) to discuss The Great Turning by David Korten. Whether to meet on Dec. 19 was a subject of discussion. Everyone there wanted to meet, and the meeting will began at 6:00 p.m., as previously announced. Dorothy is encouraged by a common sense among the participants that there is power in meeting together to share and tell stories as part of a general shift in narrative from Empire to Earth Community. -- Sallie invited Dorothy to attend the borad meeting of the South Sound Peace and Justice Center next week to speak about ways of furthering the Earth Community Dialogues project. -- The Earth Community Dialogue will continue on these Tuesdays: Dec. 19, Jan. 9 & 23, and Feb. 6, at the Wheelock Library (3722 N. 26th St., Tacoma); all meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end about 7:45 p.m. (NOTE: David Korten was involved in the drafting of the Earth Charter and is also the author of When Corporations Rule the World. Korten's new book makes the case for choosing a future Whole Earth Community grounded in the life-affirming cultural values that are shared by most of the peoples of the world. People for Peace, Justice, and Healing is a co-sponsor of this project. For more information, contact Dorothy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. THE DISPOSITION OF IRAQ’S OIL (Mark)
Mark shared observations on how U.S. involvement with Iraq’s oil resources is being narrated in the mainstream media. On Fri., Dec. 8, the Financial Times of London reported that “the U.S. has been exerting pressure on Iraqi leaders to pass a hydrocarbons law” that “is expected finally to reverse the 1972 nationalization of the [Iraqi oil] industry” (Carola Hoyos and Roula Khalaf, “Will the Tap Open? Why Oil Groups Dream of the Day When They Can Enter Iraq”). When this story was reported as the lead in today’s New York Times, however (Edward Wong, “Iraqis near Deal on Distribution of Oil Revenues”), no mention of the reversal of nationalization appeared. Furthermore, what neither the Financial Times nor the New York Times reported, but which have been analyzed in detail by the London activist group PLATFORM in a report issued in November 2005 entitled Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth, are the elaborate plans to impose production-sharing agreements (PSAs) on Iraq in order to siphon hundreds of billions of dollars from Iraq to oil companies. As Richard W. Behan said in a piece entitled “Oil, War, and Other Incongruities: The Surreal Politics of Premeditated War” that was posted on Dec. 6 on the web site CounterPunch, “Production-sharing agreements (PSAs) are in place covering 75% of the undeveloped Iraqi fields, and the oil companies, soon to sign the contracts, will earn as much 162% on their ‘investments. . . . the players on the inside tracks are Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, BP-Amoco and Royal Dutch-Shell. The use of PSA's, instead of alternative methods of financing infrastructure . . . will cost the Iraqi people hundreds of billions of dollars in just the first few years of the ‘investment’ program. PSAs are favored by the oil companies because the term ‘production-sharing agreement’ is a euphemism for legalized theft. PSAs were not adopted voluntarily by the Iraqis, however: their use was specified by the U.S. State Department and institutionalized by Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority.” These aspects of the story of Iraqi oil rarely if ever appear in the mainstream U.S. media, where the narrative instead assigns to the U.S. the benevolent role of encouraging what the Iraq Study Report and the New York Times call “an equitable distribution of revenues.”
3. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST (Sallie S.)
Sallie reported that People for Peace, Justice, and Healing has received a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union informing us that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has determined that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not keeping records on PPJH. (FOIA requests were also submitted for United for Peace of Pierce County and Pierce County Truth in Recruiting with Sallie as the contact person, and no word of the outcome of those searches is available yet.)
4. WATADA UPDATE (Sallie S.)
A PPJH-co-sponsored event on Tues., Dec. 5, at King’s Books drew nearly 100 people and raised some funds to support the legal defense of Lt. Ehren Watada, whose court-martial is set to begin on Feb. 5, 2007, with a pre-trial meeting on Jan. 4. Lt. Watada appeared at the event; he made extensive remarks and answered questions following a showing of Prof. Michael Honey’s 18-minute film, “A Soldier’s Duty? The Ehren Watada Story.” Compared to the number of people who signed up as interested in helping organize support activities, the number who turned out for a Thurs., Dec. 7, UFPPC meeting advertised as a meeting devoted to organizing for Watada support was smaller than hoped (fifteen people came, all familiar faces). Discussion of why there was less response than anticipated. NOTE: Ehren Watada is scheduled to speak under the auspices of First United Methodist on Tues., Dec. 12, at 7:00 p.m., at 209 South "J" St., Tacoma.
5. ALICE HERZ (1883-1965) (Mark)
Mark read a passage from Taylor Branch’s At Canaan’s Edge (Simon and Schuster, 2006), pp. 120-21, about Alice Herz, “America’s first Vietnam peace casualty,” who on Mar, 16, 1965, the day after President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “We Shall Overcome” address to Congress announcing his support for the Voting Rights Act, “could not believe that an American President who so eloquently endorsed the cause of Selma . . . could withstand a jolting appeal to stop an incipient war,” and incinerated herself as an act of antiwar protest in Detroit. But her ultimate gesture “sank invisibly among freakish news squibs,” in Taylor Branch’s words. A book entitled Phoenix: Letters and Documents of Alice Herz, edited by Shingo Shibata, containing her correspondence related to her work for peace, was published in 1976 in Amsterdam by B.R. Gruner.
6. PELTIER DINNER (Sallie S.)
Susan Dobkins of First United Methodist has obtained permission from Nativity House (2304 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) to host the dinner for Leonard Peltier marchers on Sat., Feb. 10, 2007. Since the space is taken until 4:00 p.m., this will require preparing the dinner beforehand (which can be done at FUMC on South “J” St.) and bringing the food there. Brianna will be the contact person. Sallie is asking Sol and Sheila to meet with Brianna to brief her.
1. FOR MEETING (Vivi)
The Tacoma chapter of Fellowship of Reconcilation will meet at Hillside Community Church (2508 S. 39th St., Tacoma, behind Borders) on Sun., Dec. 10 (business meeting at 3:00 p.m., program at 4:00 p.m., with a potluck dinner afterwards).
2. HEALTH CARE FOR ALL PETITION (Sallie S.)
A petition entitled “Quality Health Care: It’s Everybody’s Right” has been circulating and it was reported at the Fri., Dec. 8, meeting of the Progressive Roundtable that it has made considerable progress, with 4,100 signatures so far. The petition states: “The undersigned Tacoma residents petition the Tacoma City Council to place the following measure on the November 6, 2007, city ballot for a vote of the people.” Signatures continue to be collected.
3. HUMAN RIGHTS DAY (Dorothy)
Sun., Dec. 10, is Human Rights Day. From Wikipedia’s article: “Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on December 10. The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on December 10, 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global enunciation of human rights. The commemoration was established in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all states and interested organisations to celebrate the day as they saw fit. The day is a high point in the calendar of U.N. headquarters in New York City, United States, and is normally marked by both high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, it is traditionally on December 10 that the five annual United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights are awarded.”
4. STUDY CIRCLE ON BARACK OBAMA AND THE LEGACY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (Mark)
At 7:00 p.m. on Mon., Dec. 11, at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma), UFPPC's book discussion group "Digging Deeper" will continue its discussion of the rise to prominence and political prospects of Sen. Barack Obama in the context of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The group is examining The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s just-released bestseller (#1 for the past two weeks) and his 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, as well as two other books: At Canaan’s Edge, the recently published concluding third volume of Taylor Branch's monumental work, America in the King Years, and Clayborne Carson's edition of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
5. BILL OF RIGHTS CELEBRATION AT THE WASHINGTON STATE HISTORY MUSEUM (carryover)
At 7:00 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 15, the annual celebration of the anniversary of the Bill of Rights will be held at the Washington State History Museum (1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma), co-sponsored by the Washington ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee-Tacoma.
6. PROGRESSIVE ROUNDTABLE (Sallie S.)
The next meeting of the Progressive Roundtable will be at 7:00 a.m. on Fri., Jan. 26, 2007, at Commencement Bay Coffee (2354 Jefferson Avenue, Tacoma).