Explaining true cost of the war
by Jason Smith, Venice CA

I could not help but notice that the wire services were carrying a story a day or two ago about the Iraq war not hitting working people in their wallets. No response from readers occurred as far as I could tell. Of course, perhaps many did respond in other cities and I would have no way of knowing about it.

It occurs to me that it would be a great task, and right up your alley, if you were to make a point of proving the immense cost in loss of social services, including so many things people may not be aware of at the city and county level (not to mention state funding), so many ignored infrastructural demands going unmet, ranging from lack of troops for emergency fire fighting, tornados, hurricanes and other inevitable natural disasters, the current so-called subprime mortgage crisis (which is a crisis only because there is insufficient capital available given Washington’s huge

$3 billion a day demand for foreign money obtained in any way) where millions have and will lose their homes, and the list goes on.

The human casualty loss of this war in U.S. lives is too small for most people to care but the financial cost is driving toward a generalized collapse of the U.S. economy and the consequences of this headlong drive for disaster will be far worse than those of 1929 — for normal-sized (including big) capitalists as well the few trillionaire oligarchic families of Rockefeller et al. and their foreign equivalent allies, as Michael Moore pointed out in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Terrorizing communities

Not only are federal officers raiding places of work in the East and South to locate and intimidate undocumented immigrant workers, now they have reached into the remote town of Forks, Wash., population 3,200, in the far northwest corner of the state. Forks lies on Highway 101, sandwiched between the Olympic National Forest on the east and the Olympic National Park to the west.

The morning of March 15, U.S. Border Patrol agents blocked the highway on the edge of town. To quote the Seattle Times, “For over four hours every car, truck and bus driving south on Highway 101 was pulled off the road and all passengers questioned about their citizenship.” These “real” terrorists claimed they were searching for terrorists “to secure the border.” Forks is about 30 miles from the U.S.-Canada border which, at that point, is in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is often turbulent water. Anyone coming from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, already has to pass through border inspection at Port Angeles.

Forks has about 20 percent Latino population, many of whom come to pick the ornamental plant Salal to sell to florists.

“People are feeling this is a fishing expedition for illegal immigrants,” said Mayor Nedra Reed. Seven undocumented workers were found and sent to a detention center in Tacoma. The townspeople have been working to help the new arrivals feel welcome members of the community. Now they feel that these government actions have created a setback for their efforts. Others suspect federal government efforts to interfere with union organizing efforts.

Plans of the Border Patrol are to “stop drivers at a series of random checkpoints on the Olympic Peninsula in the coming months.”

Twice before I recall similar types of raids and arrests and subsequent mistreatment — in the 1950s under the Truman-McCarthy regime and in the 1930s and ’40s in Nazi Germany.

Elizabeth Yates
Seattle WA

High stakes in Abu-Jamal case

In just a few days, lawyers for journalist and political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal will present oral arguments in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on why Mumia, who has now spent almost 25 years on death row, deserves the right to a new trial.

The court will decide after May 17 whether Mumia will be given a fair trial, life in prison, or execution. This case concerns, not only Mumia Abu-Jamal’s right to a fair trial, but the struggle against the death penalty and the racist political repression of an outspoken journalist.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is recognized internationally as a political prisoner whose constitutional rights have been consistently violated in the state’s mad dash to railroad him to execution. Mumia has been declared an honorary citizen of Paris, Palermo and the Central District of Copenhagen. Amnesty International has called for a new trial “on the basis that his original trial was deeply flawed.”

On May 17, activists from all over the world will assemble in Philadelphia to support Mumia Abu-Jamal’s right to a fair trial. I urge you to cover this historic event.

Evangelos Kalambokidis
Fridley MN

Re: Forget the meat!

Thank you for the great article “Forget the meat! Why an animal-based diet is hazardous to your health” (PWW 5/5-11). I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years and vegan (no animal products, like eggs or dairy) for the majority of that time. I’ve known about the links between diseases and a meat-based diet since reading “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins, who wrote the forward to the book, “The China Study.”

It’s nice to see the PWW highlighting such an issue. Kudos to Rick Nagin for helping connect the dots between capitalism and the meat-based diet.

Todd Tollefson
Seattle WA

Reader request

I am looking for an article written by my aunt, Margo Nikitas, entitled “The Silent Bomb: Racism, War and Toxic Waste” which appeared in this newspaper in March 1991. If someone has a copy of this article in their personal archives please contact me through the PWW.

Chris Nikitas
Villa Park IL