Monday, June 20, 2011

Three activists ejected from Hilton Hotel/Charlottesville, Va.,Mayor Dave Norris Praises Antiwar Resolution



Several members of Fund Our Communities, Bring Our War Dollars Home Campaign, gathered outside the Hilton Hotel at the Inner Harbor on Friday morning, June 20, while the U.S. Conference of Mayors debated the anti-war resolution.  It was not a quick vote, as at least two amendments were attached before the vote—adding a statement supporting the troops and watering down the troop withdrawal to a “reasonable” amount of time.  Eventually, it passed with, it is believed, one negative vote from a mayor from Oklahoma.


While I was still outside, John Rydell of Fox 45 interviewed me about the passage of the resolution.  Six of us then entered the Hilton, a Baltimore City-financed hotel, to attend a press conference about the votes passed by the mayors.  Inside the second floor of the Hilton, we waited for the press conference to commerce.  However, as I waited with Chuck Michaels and Donna Bradley, in a wheelchair, the head of security indicated we must leave or be arrested.  Officer Mazen from the Swat Group emphasized we were not wanted inside private property.  I argued vociferously against this nonsense, but eventually acquiesced, as I have a trial on June 21 in Prince William County for a Bradley Manning support protest.  The Fox 45 cameraperson came over and filmed my removal from the hotel.


We had no intention of disrupting the procedures, as we were there to support the mayors’ vote.  Cindy Farquhar left before the head of security issued his order.  It is unclear if Jeanne Dresser or C.J. Minster remained for the press conference.






Charlottesville, Va., Mayor Dave Norris Praises Antiwar Resolution
By David Swanson

Charlottesville, Va., Mayor Dave Norris was the first mayor, after the original sponsor, to sign onto the antiwar resolution that was passed on Monday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  He signed on immediately upon being invited to.  Those early names are the hardest and help encourage others to add their own.

Norris planned to hold a news conference Monday afternoon (video to come) but gave me permission to go ahead and release his statement:

"Today, for the first time since the Vietnam War, the United States Conference of Mayors, representing the 1,200 American cities with populations of 30,000 or more, overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling for the President and Congress to bring a speedy end to military entanglements in Afghanistan and Iraq so we may shift those resources to addressing the critical challenges we face here at home -- including reducing our national debt.  The original resolution was drafted by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa earlier this spring, and I was proud to be the first of many Mayors across the country to sign on to this worthy cause.

"Now, some might argue that it's not appropriate for local elected officials to take a stand on a national issue like this.  But the fact is, it is our constituents who are being sent off to fight and die in these wars. It is our citizens who are being asked to fund these wars with their tax dollars. And it is our communities that struggle when huge sums of money are being diverted from local priorities to military adventurism and 'nation-building' activities abroad.  Perhaps Mayor Villaraigosa put it best when he said, 'That we would build bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar and not Baltimore and Kansas City [or, I would add, Charlottesville, VA] absolutely boggles the mind.'  You might say, it's time to do some 'nation-building' here at home for a change.

"Passage of this resolution puts the U.S. Mayors firmly on the side of a growing bipartisan coalition, whose members include Senate Tea Party Caucus Founder Rand Paul, Congressional Progressive Caucus Founder Bernie Sanders, former Ambassador and current Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, Republican Senator Mike Lee and many others, who have argued for a quicker drawdown of American fighting forces than the Obama Administration has seemed inclined to support.  This position was embraced by 73 percent of Americans in a recent ABC News poll, where strong majorities of Democratic, Independent and Republican respondents alike agreed that we should start bringing substantial numbers of American troops in Afghanistan home to their loved homes as soon as this summer. 

"I am very pleased that my fellow Mayors have taken the opportunity today to speak with clear resolve, for the first time in 40 years, on a matter that is of such tremendous importance to all cities and all citizens of this nation.  We know that this action alone won't bring a speedier end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we certainly hope it will help amplify the growing chorus of support for the effective enshrinement in national policy of Isaiah 2:4, which reads:

And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war."
David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie"

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