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Another Visit to the Farr-side: Still No "Out Now!" Stand

Activists commended Farr's anti-military appropriation vote, but got no reassurance he would call for withdrawing the troops, stopping the bombing, or ending the war. State Senator McPherson was, predictably, worse.
FARR SILENT ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL

On Wednesday afternoon, a group us returned to Congressman Sam Farr’s office at the County Building. Our intention was to follow-up on an earlier meeting with Rachel Dann,
a Farr staffer who met with us nine days ago and took our questions and concerns.

In the nine days since that earlier meeting, none of the group that met with him then, as far as I know, received any answers to the concerns we raised as far as a public
announcement from him demanding ceasefire, cessation of the bombing, and withdrawal of the troops. Nor did he respond to concerns raised at that prior meeting about U.S. use
of cluster bombs and uranium depleted weapons.

THUMBS UP FOR VOTE; THUMBS DOWN FOR RATIONALE

Farr voted “yes” on Bush’s “biggest ever” military appropriation last October (ironically on the same day he voted against the use of force in Iraq), voted “present” on a March resolution commending Bush and U.S. invading forces, and voted “yes” on sending the $75 billion supplemental appropriation ($63 billion of it for the war in Iraq) to the House floor.

Last week, however, he surprised and pleased many by finally falling in line with the clear sentiments of the majority of his constituents by voting against the supplemental on the House floor (along with 11 other House members).

Farr spoke out against the war in Washington some days before the supplemental vote, though he declined to come out specifically for ending the bombing, a ceasefire, and an
“out now” position--which Dennis Kucinich took on April 2nd.

His staff, both here and in Washington, insisted that he was “for peace”, but refused kept dodging the question of his position on bombing halt and pull-out. This ambiguity, refusal to commit, or implicit support of continuing military action has apparently not changed.

Dann’s public statement at the April 7th Town Hall meeting in the Civic Auditorium did not show any change or improvement in pro-military position. Farr’s website’s most
recent posting under “New!” material was a March 20th letter, which opposed the starting of the war, but took no position on immediate steps to end it.

Farr has indicated he favors UN involvement in post-war construction and apparently added a UN flag to the collection flying at his office in Washington.

THE FARR OFFICE VISIT

Rachel Dann informed us that because we had not scheduled time in advance, she had little to give us, and met with most of us in the hall rather than offering us chairs in a
conference room, or talking with us in Farr’s office, as she had done during past visits.

A group of us, led by Robert Nahas, presented Dann with a signed box filled with Peace buttons, in appreciation for his vote against the Supplemental Appropriation.

Eleven of us then signed a statement calling upon Farr to declare his support for
(1) pulling out the troops
(2) a ceasefire
(3) ending the bombing
(4) ending the sanctions
(5) declaring the war an illegal war
(6) supporting Bush impeachment or indictment proceedings
(7) supporting an excessive war profits tax bill

Signatories were Spalding Gomez, Becky Johnson, Cassandra Brown, Amy Courtney, Virginia Merill, John Telfair, Steve Argue, Peter O’Reilly, Louis La Fortune, Robert Nahas, and me.

Robert Nahas felt that U.S. troops must be replaced with UN troops. Steve Argue and Peter felt that given the illegalilty of the invasion, all troops should be withdrawn and the Iraqis themselves be allowed to settle things. Otherwise there was general agreement on the 7 demands.

Farr’s stated reasons for voting against the supplemental appropriation were quite different from a principled opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

To quote Farr, “First, because it leaves our first responders at home, our 'troops' on the homefront, without
complete protection. [i.e. not enough money for the Homeland Security forces], and Second, because I do not believe this bill addresses another emergency - repairing U.S.relations with the international community and its representative organizations, such as the
United Nations and NATO.”

(For the full text of his letter, see “Farr’s Reasons for Voting ‘No”--Still No Call to Pull Out the Troops” posted April 7th)

Dann receded further from her candor at a prior meeting where she acknowledged that Farr had not come out for withdrawing troops. Apparently now the mouthpiece of the
Washington office, she insisted several times that Farr was “for peace”, which was the line angrily pursued by Richelle in the D.C. office.

Dann also gave Virginia Merill a letter from Farr making no mention of any action to directly oppose the U.S. use of depleted uranium weapons, but again seeking for a “study”
of the issue.

UPCOMING FREE RADIO PROGRAMS

First Amendment activist Amy Courtney also gave a brief account of her incarceration in Oakland after the Oakland Police Deptartment riot on April 7th against peaceful protesters picketing war cargo going out of the Port of Oakland. She will be speaking on Free Radio Santa Cruz between 6 and 8 p.m. tonight (Thursday 6-8 p.m. 96.3 FM,
_www.microradio.net/frsc)

S.C. Peace Coalition, Iraq Action Network, and Santa Cruz Indymedia activist Joe Williams will be challenging City Councilmember Mike Rotkin on Farr’s place in the local
peace movement. The debatre will take place on Sunday morning 10-11:15 a.m. April 13th on 96.3 FM with call-in’s during and after the debate (427-3772).

MCPHERSON’S OFFICE HOSTILE

Some of the activists then went to State Senator Bruce McPherson’s office nearby to seek information about MacPherson’s signature to a March 3 letter to Bush on Senate
stationary. The letter claimed that Hussein was a direct menace to the U.S., that Hussein had WPM, suitable for terrorist transfer, that the UN had failed to disarm him, that Ussein had ties with 9-11 terrorists, etc. and various other pro-invasion claims.

McPherson Aide Michael Warren said he knew nothing about McPherson’s position. He agreed to determine whether McPherson thought the letter represented the position of a
majority of constituents or was a matter of his own opinion. He quickly attempted to show others seeking to register their opinions out of the office.

Kathryn Nation, Field Representative for McPherson, ordered us to leave and refused to make copies of the comments handed in, though we offered to pay for the copies. I
wanted a record of the question I had asked so I could see if McPherson actually answered it. Nation refused and refused to let us use the copy machine in the hall.

When reached today by phone, Dann suggested the Supplemental Appropriation Bill was probably in conference and would likely be coming back to the floor of the House for a final vote. Dann noted that her local office had only had 3 call-in’s on the war since Monday March 31st.

For more information and to encourage Farr to maintain his “no” vote against the war appropriation, call 831-429-1976.

Please call in and demand that troops be withdrawn immediately (with U.S. to bear the financial expenses of the reconstruction). Ask that your call be tallyed.
 
 


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THE WAR IS FAR FROM OVER

The war is far from over.

* The Iraqi military and anti-imperialist volunteers have not been defeated and still hold territory.

* A U.S. backed Shia puppet leader, after arriving from Britain, has been hacked to pieces by other Shi'ites in Najaf.

* Kurdish forces have taken Kirkuk, but the murderously anti-Kurd Turkish government and its U.S. financed military is hostile to any independent Kurdish territory especially if it includes Kirkuk.

* Besides the battles still taking place a suicide bomber has killed one U.S. marine and injured others in the last 24 hours.

* Neighboring Syria has called for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

* Pictures of Iraqis celebrating have been shown over and over again, yet these pictures do not reflect what is happening in most of Iraq.

* Volunteers are coming to Iraq from around the Arab world to wage holy war against the Anglo-American occupation.

* There is every reason for the anti-war movement to continue our demands of ending the war and calling for pulling all occupying troops out of Iraq now. Iraq to the Iraqis! Let them continue to to have their nationalized oil to fund social programs in Iraq, and let the American people have our military budget to fund social programs at home! Some of the worst dictators in the world were imposed by U.S. military occupation forces.
 

Take it to the Streets - Tomorrow!

Thanks for the update Steve.

We need to take our dissent to the streets of SF tomorrow.

www.actionsf.org/answercall030326.htm

Saturday, April 12th: International Day of Protest Against The War : Call for All-Night Unpermitted Marches Mass Marches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Around the World will happen. Once again, people will rally around the planet to say, "The World Says NO to this WAR!"
12 Noon Gather at Civic Center in San Francisco
1 p.m. March to Dolores Park (18th and Dolores, near 16th St BART)
2 p.m. Rally

indybay.org
 

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