July 19, 2007



Hello to all. At the NEA Rep Assembly in Philadelphia this summer, our P&J group introduced many motions and amendments designed to bring us closer to the social justice we all wish for, but for various reasons we didn’t get too far. The NCLB item introduced by the Iowa delegation as a result of the state's Peace and Justice efforts was defeated on the RA floor, and the delegation still doesn’t want to take a definitive stance on the war, other than to say it’s bad. Any discussion of the presence of torture and the absence of habeas corpus was also dismissed . It wasn’t a particularly fruitful experience.

On the other hand, there has been progress elsewhere. In Senator Grassley’s office in Des Moines last February, a group of peace activists were arrested by Homeland Security for reading aloud a list of war dead to Grassley staffers. A jury recently decided that this hardly constituted a crime, and they were found not guilty. Big Brother lost that one!

As a result of the recent Congressional bill reauthorizing the Current Occupant’s war and requiring that Iraq surrender to private (make that Western) companies at least two-thirds of its known oil wells and all future discoveries, subject to the Iraqi parliament’s approval, many Iraqis protested loudly. Below is an article that is well worth reading and acting on.

"Today tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Basra, Iraq, in opposition to the Oil Law that the US government is pressuring the Iraqi Parliament to pass. Led by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), this demonstration -- one of the biggest demonstrations of Iraqi citizens since the occupation began -- charged that the proposed Oil Law surrenders Iraq’s economic sovereignty to multinational oil companies and demanded that the Iraqi Parliament reject the new Oil Law.

The people of Iraq are united in opposition to the Oil Law but the Iraqi Parliament continues to face intense pressure by the Bush Administration to pass the Oil Law, which would open two thirds of Iraq’s oil to foreign control through contracts that could last as long as 30 years. Originally written with the assistance of US officials and contractors, adoption of the law is also one the benchmarks imposed by the US that the Iraqis must meet in order to receive continued reconstruction aid.

Drop the Benchmark! Take action in solidarity with the people of Iraq!

If you live in the United States, please call or write to your elected officials today and tell them to drop the oil law benchmark and cease all U.S. pressure on the Iraqis to pass the Oil Law. Tell them it is unacceptable that the US has any role in determining the future of Iraq’s oil industry—especially when it is being written to primarily benefit US companies. Use this link to email your members of Congress, or you can reach your members by calling the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asking for your member’s office.

If you are outside of the United States, ask your elected officials to apply international pressure on the U.S. government to stop pressuring the Iraqis to pass the Oil Law and to Drop The Benchmarks!

Wherever you are in the world - Visit! Call! or Write! your elected officials and let them know that you support protestors in Iraq in their opposition to the U.S.-imposed Oil Law.

The people of Iraq took a bold step today by standing up against US pressure and saying that they will not allow an occupying force steal their most valuable natural resource. If the Oil Law is enacted, its disastrous effects will be felt for generations to come. We must stand with the Iraqi people and do everything we can to have this law removed from the benchmarks and ensure that they will not again be pressured to enact a law that goes against their national well-being. Thank you for taking action today.

For more information on the oil law and an update on its status, read Antonia Juhasz’s article, “Benchmark Boogie” read Antonia Juhasz’s article, “Benchmark Boogie”.



Tom Wolfe,
Midwest Peace & Justice

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