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United for Peace of Pierce County - On Olympia Port Militarization Resistance
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UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."

STATEMENT ON OLYMPIA PORT MILITARIZATION RESISTANCE

November 15, 2007

This week the police in Olympia, the capital of Washington State, flagrantly violated recommended policies for the use of pepper spray and attacked nonviolent protesters.  Dozens of young people who believe the Iraq war is illegal under international law and that they have a duty under the Nuremberg Principles to resist it were subjected to dangerous attack from chemical weapons. They deserve not unnecessary violence and excessive force, but praise for standing up for core American values.

A 1995 study of pepper spray by the ACLU of Southern California concluded that "OC [oleoresin capsicum, or pepper spray] should be used only against violent or hostile subjects. It is a defensive weapon for use when attempting to subdue an unarmed attacker or to overcome resistance likely to result in injury to either the suspect, officer, or bystander. . . . OC may be used in arrest or custodial restraint situations where physical presence and/or verbal commands have been ineffective in overcoming violent physical resistance, but officers should not automatically escalate from verbal techniques to OC use without attempting physical control techniques that fall below OC on the scale of force. OC shall not be used on suspects who passively resist arrest—i.e. going limp or offering no physical resistance."

Instead of protesting this outrage, the Olympian, Olympia's McClatchy-owned daily, lent its columns to police claims that "protesters at the Port of Olympia became overly aggressive" and somehow deserved what happened to them.  At the same time, the paper is maintaining a comment page open to vigilantes who encourage criminal assaults on protesters and absurdly label them "domestic terrorists."  The paper's executive editor went so far as to publish a curious "news" piece purporting to relate "what happened and what did not happen" at the Port of Olympia.  Her tendentious piece begins:  "Let me make something perfectly clear:  The Olympian's newsroom staff did not get attacked by police when they were at the scene covering the recent port protests."  But this is directly contradicted by her own reporter, Jeremy Pawloski, in a sentence that she quotes:  "One officer in riot gear took a swing at me Saturday, but he missed."

Concerned that the "Olympia Port Militarization Resistance organization (PMR) needs to talk to and explain our actions to the general public," on Thursday Peter Bohmer published the first survey of the November 2007 phase of the movement's campaign, during which 60 or 61 antiwar protesters have been arrested in the course of the past week.  In his article, Bohmer reveals some of the internal divisions that the PMR movement has encountered and, for the most part, overcome, as it grows and becomes better known nationally and internationally.  He acknowledges that "probably the majority [in Olympia] does not support [PMR].  More outreach needs to be done. . . . Hopefully, the militancy, courage, tactics, and spirit of these very strong actions will inspire others throughout the United States to stand up and not be complicit with the torture and occupation being carried out in our name."

United for Peace of Pierce County applauds the courage of the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance protesters.  In them, not in the weapons of war at Fort Lewis, lies the hope of the nation.

 UNITED FOR PEACE OF PIERCE COUNTY

"We nonviolently oppose the reliance on unilateral military actions rather than cooperative diplomacy."