FIRSTHAND: 'Again and again I meet the eyes of women'
- Written by Kristi Nebel
LOCAL NEWS: Media blackout greets trial and conviction of anti-Trident protesters
- Written by Abe DeJamminen
Father Bill "Bix" Bichsel S.J. and six others were found guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Mon., Oct. 21, of trespassing in March 2013 at Naval Base Kitsap in another nonviolent direct action protest against nuclear weapons. -- Judge Mary Alice Theiler refused to allow the defendants to conduct an affirmative defense and denied the witness stand to Ray McGovern, though the nationally known activist had come from the East Coast to testify. -- Charitably, the judge did allow the defendants to make statements, but only after telling them that their statements would influence her not at all. -- She then found all guilty as charged, and sentenced them to fines of $250-500 and 1-2 years of probation. -- In addition, "[a]ll were ordered to not enter any military base without permission of the base commander for the term of probation," Leonard Eiger reported in the only account of the trial that we have been able to locate. -- BACKGROUND: Bangor harbors the Pacific Fleet's Trident submarines and about a quarter of the U.S. military's "strategic" warheads, but it's a safe bet that the majority of local residents are unaware of this, since the basic facts are never reported and Bangor is rarely mentioned in the media. -- Although mainstream media has almost entirely blacked out coverage of the generation-long nonviolent campaign against nukes at Bangor, a core of determined activists has long worked in Western Washington for their elimination and the elimination of all nuclear weapons. -- Four years ago, it will be recalled, on Nov. 2, 2009, the Day of the Dead, Bill Bichsel was one of a small group of five that entered the base and, to their surprise, revealed astonishingly lax security at the base. -- They were later convicted at a trial where most of the defense's evidence about nuclear weapons, their illegality under U.S. treaties and humanitarian law, and the right of citizens to try to stop war crimes by their government were excluded. -- They received prison sentences of from two to fifteen months....
LOCAL NEWS: Neo-Orwellianism rampant as Army word warriors to get new HQ at JBLM
- Written by Donna Quexada
The new building going up at Camp Murray -- no! at JBLM! -- no! at Camp Murray! -- has to do with the Army's new appreciation of "words as a major war element," to quote Lt. Gen. Robert L. Cashen Jr. -- You'd never figure that out from recent reporting in the Tacoma (WA) News Tribune, though. -- On Tues., Oct. 22, the News Tribune reported that the Washington National Guard planned to break ground at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) on Thursday for a new headquarters for the Army National Guard's 56th Information Operations Group. -- Reporter Adam Ashton apologized for a "previous version of this story" that "incorrectly said the headquarters would be built at Camp Murray in Lakewood." -- But curiouser and curiouser, Friday's paper reported that the groundbreaking took place "at Camp Murray in Lakewood"! -- If they're trying to confuse us, they're doing a good job. -- But one thing is clear (or not). -- The purpose of the 56th Information Operations Group, both articles stated, is to "help commanders execute goals by shaping the opinions of their opponents and of foreign populations." -- Just how neo-Orwellian can you get? -- BACKGROUND: If you google "56th Information Operations Group," you learn nothing about the group, but all about the unit's heraldic emblem. -- It is very attractive, we admit. -- But a better notion of what's we're talking about here can be gleaned from a piece by an anonymous author involved in the Army's Military Information Support Operation that appeared in 2011 on the Small Wars Journal website: what "Information Operations" is really about is PSYOPS. -- Writing about the military's decision to improve in this area, the *Washington Post* noted earlier this year that "Two years ago, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Cashen Jr., commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, wrote in Military Review magazine that Army doctrine would adopt words as a major war element, saying it 'was validated in the crucible of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.'" -- We thought that things got melted in crucibles, not validated, but let that pass. -- Walter Pincus concluded that "there needs to be more public explanation of what all this involves, who is doing it, and the results so far." -- COMMENT: Dream on! -- Pincus forgets that, as George Orwell famously put it in 1984, "ignorance is strength"! -- FOOTNOTE: -- The third article posted below was inspired by a Feb. 23, 2011, Rolling Stone article by the late great investigative reporter Michael Hastings reporting that "The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in 'psychological operations' to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war . . . and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators." -- For more on how Information Operations figure in today's military, see this 2010 article in CounterPunch by David Price, a St. Martin's University anthropologist who research deals with how the military is exploiting and corrupting anthropology for its own purposes....