Thursday, April 26, 2007

Say No to Blackwater and war profiteers in California!

The Courage Campaign is an organization of California progressives who's mission is to "activate and enable the grassroots and organized leadership to take on the problems that have held back our state for the past 30 years." The founder of Courage Campaign is Rick Jacobs, who is also the co-founder of Brave New Films with documentary director and producer, Robert Greenwald.

As they say on their blog today:

Courage Campaign has joined forces with the folks in East County to spread the word about Blackwater West and organize people on a statewide level against the project. To that end, we've launched a petition campaign targeting Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein to pressure them to do whatever is in their power to stop this dangerous project.

Please sign the petition today. Say No to Blackwater and war profiteers in California!


Todd has posted information further information at Calitics this evening about a resolution that Raymond Lutz will be proposing at this weekend's California Democratic Convention in San Diego.

In addition, we are going to do whatever we can to support Lutz in his latest endeavor: passing a resolution on the floor of the CA Democratic Convention in San Diego this weekend. Please spread the word to all the delegates you know to support this resolution. Lutz is going to present it to the resolutions committee on Friday and hopefully it will make it to the floor without having to get 300 delegates to sign it, but if we need to do that, we'll do that. Proposed text of the resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, Blackwater USA, a North Carolina-based private security firm under contract to the Pentagon to supply armed personnel for duties in the Iraq War, proposes to build a large mercenary and paramilitary training compound called Blackwater West near Potrero, in San Diego County, on an 824-acre parcel that includes Cleveland National Forest acreage, borders a proposed wilderness area adjacent to the Hauser Wilderness, and is both an important watershed and an environmentally sensitive habitat for wildlife; said mercenary and paramilitary activities are inherently dangerous and pose serious risks--including severe fire danger--to surrounding communities and wilderness areas, will deplete groundwater, substantially increase traffic, increase noise from shooting ranges, driving track, and helicopter activities, among many other environmental concerns.

WHEREAS, Blackwater USA and other private contractors are not subject to an effective system of oversight and accountability with respect to their operations and government contracting activities, and are the subject of ongoing hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse; Blackwater USA has resisted attempts to subject its private soldiers to the Pentagon's Uniform Code of Military Justice, claiming they are civilians, and has simultaneously claimed immunity from litigation under civil law in the United States, asserting its forces are part of the Pentagon's "Total Force."

AND WHEREAS, the "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007" (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law by President Bush in October 2006, seriously weakens two bulwarks of liberty--the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807--by expanding the power of the president to declare martial law and use troops as a domestic police force in response to a "public emergency" or any "other condition"; and Blackwater troops (which were deployed domestically in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) or other private mercenary and paramilitary forces pose a severe threat to the civil liberties of the American people and now could be deployed to quell public dissent, put down popular uprisings, or even to stop opposing points of view through intimidation or outright force.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party opposes mercenary training by private concerns anywhere in the State of California, including the Blackwater West project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all military, paramilitary, or related security/law enforcement training operations in California, whether private, governmental, or some combination of the two, will be conducted on, and only on, secured U.S. military bases or other established government-regulated facilities designed for that purpose.

It's a draft and still subject to change, but spread the word to support this resolution when it comes up for a vote.

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