There will be a candlelight vigil at the federal building in Seattle on Wed., Jan. 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., to mark the tenth anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo.[1]  --  Sponsored by the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture and many other organizations, this event calls attention to the determined adherence of principled Americans to the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, and human rights.  --  Amnesty International has called the detention camp at Guantanamo "the gulag of our times."  --  German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2006:  "An institution like Guantánamo, in its present form, cannot and must not exist in the long term."  --  Colin Powell's chief of staff has stated under oath that top U.S. officials, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, knew that the majority of the detainees initially sent to Guantánamo were innocent, but that the detainees had been kept there for reasons of political expedience....

The year 2011 set a record for soldier suicides at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the News Tribune reported Friday, and "[t]he total could grow as the Army completes investigations ahead of its annual suicide report next month."[1]  -- "Twelve soldiers took their own lives in 2011, up from nine in 2010 and nine in 2009," despite increased efforts at what the military calls "resiliency training" for returning troops, Adam Ashton reported.  --  The story was reprinted in other McClatchy newspapers, and was also the bais for an AP piece.[2]  --  A few days earlier the Los Angeles Times ran a long, horrific piece about JBLM, calling it "a base on the brink."[3]  --  (There was nothing original about that: Newsweek had published a piece on Sept. 9 saying exactly the same thing.)  --  "'At 24 years of age, a soldier, on average, has moved from home, family, and friends and has resided in two other states; has traveled the world (deployed); been promoted four times; bought a car and wrecked it; married and had children; has had relationship and financial problems; seen death; is responsible for dozens of soldiers; maintains millions of dollars worth of equipment; and gets paid less than $40,000 a year,' Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said in a report last year," Kim Murphy said.  --  The L.A. Times spoke of a "crime wave" in the communities around the base, and reported that Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar said that "in the last two years, we have had 24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who were armed with weapons."  --  None of this prevented Missouri Sports Magazine for calling JBLM "one of the most successful joint bases" (though Stars and Stripes called it "the most troubled base in the military" in 2010) in an article about a visit to the base by -- shades of "Apocalypse Now" -- five St. Louis Rams cheerleaders, Jessica, Jennifer, Emily S., Shannon, and Jayne, and team mascot Rampage.  --  "I was also truly honored to meet the people who have sacrificed their lives to protect us," said Jessica, confusedly.[4]  --  The cheerleaders fired M-16 rifles and loaded and aimed a Howitzer gun, the sports magazine reported....

"About three dozen Occupy protesters brandished banners and passed out leaflets Monday on a key arterial leading to Port of Tacoma, but didn’t attempt to halt commerce at the port’s terminals," the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) blog The Biz Buzz reported Monday.[1]  --  "Longshoreman Pete Adler, who joined the protesters briefly on the overpass, said he was pleased that they had opted for an informational effort," John Gillie said.  --  "He and other longshore workers met with Occupy Tacoma protesters weeks ago to suggest alternatives to blocking terminal entrances."  --  "'We [are] distributing information that isn’t available in the major media,' said Occupy protester Sallie Shawl."  --  Sallie Shawl is right:  you'll never understand this story by reading the News Tribune.  --  So here's some BACKGROUND from WSWS (Sept. 10) on "a protest in Longview, Washington, against a newly built grain terminal run by the company EGT, which, backed by the federal government, is seeking to cut labor costs by bringing in outside workers."[2]  --  "EGT is seeking to establish the ability to hire non-ILWU workers on the West Coast docks for the first time in 80 years," Joseph Kishore said.  --  "The conflict at EGT is . . . seen as a test case in a campaign to cut jobs and push through concessions in contract discussions between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association in 2014."  --  "The conflict between EGT and the longshoremen has been building over the past several months, as EGT prepares to open the $200 million terminal in the spring."  --  "The federal government, through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), has intervened aggressively on the side of EGT."  --  A week later, WSWS's Hector Cordon noted that "EGT is a joint venture between Japan-based Itochu, St. Louis-based Bunge North America, and Korean shipper STX Pan Ocean.  It is the largest export grain terminal on the West Coast and is the only one built in North America since 1987.  Designed with state-of-the-art automation to minimize labor and transportation costs, the facility is expected to handle four 100-car trains simultaneously.  Only 50 workers will be required to run the entire operation, and about 15 of those will be administrative."[3]  --  WSWS sees the current struggle as parf of "a concerted effort, led by the federal government along with EGT, to destroy all the gains made by longshoremen since the bloody struggles of the 1930s.  The federal government, through the NLRB, along with the courts and local police has made clear its intent to crush any resistance to the destruction of wages, working conditions and benefits."  --  WSWS is critical that "the ILWU refuses to mobilize its membership in job actions to defend Port of Longview dockworkers.  The actions of the union are determined by its political alliance with the Democratic Party."  --  "The NLRB is pursuing charges of unfair labor practices against the ILWU which, if upheld, will effectively end the dispute in EGT’s favor," Corton said.  --  But in October, "U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that the port's working agreement with union longshore workers applies at the EGT grain terminal," the Daily News (Longview, WA) reported.[4]  --  "However, he stopped short of saying it obligates EGT to hire members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union," Erik Olson said.  --  "In effect, he kicked the issue down the road, saying the matter should be put to a federal labor arbitrator."  --  On Monday, Olson reported in another Daily News article, "About 100 Occupy protesters shut down the Port of Longview on Monday morning, blocking a roadway and chanting support for union longshoremen in their labor dispute at the EGT grain terminal."[5]  --  "A Longview police officer watched from across the street, but the demonstration was peaceful.  Only two ships were in port, and port officials hoped to resume servicing them Monday night."  --  "[T]he Occupy protests . . . have brought nationwide attention to Local 21's dispute with EGT," Olson noted....