FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Kick That Barrel!

by MIKE FERNER

In a town awash in irony, this particular example of it couldn’t have been more striking.

Yesterday, in Washington, D.C., former Marine Corps Sergeant and Iraq War vet, Adam Kokesh, kick-rolled a 55-gallon oil drum lettered “Hands Off Iraqi Oil” across K Street–an avenue that has become synonymous with the power of corporate lobbyists.

Kokesh, former Army National Guard Sergeant Geoff Millard, and former Army Private Marc Trainer, in the center of a knot of demonstrators, took turns kicking the barrel up 16th Street towards Lafayette Park, adjoining the White House, for a protest sponsored by U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and Oil Change International.

The protest and an earlier news conference at the Institute for Policy Studies was called to bring public attention to the Oil Law passed by the Iraqi Cabinet one year ago and now waiting approval by Parliament.

Citing a letter USLAW sent yesterday to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and George Bush, Gene Bruskin, co-convenor of USLAW, said that under Paul Bremer, the man Bush put in charge of running Iraq right after the invasion, the Hussein administration laws were wiped off the books–except for Law 150 and Law 151 which prohibit Iraqi workers from organizing unions in the public sector, some two-thirds of the nation’s economy.

“For there to be freedom in Iraq,” Bruskin said, “working people have to have representation. And not just on labor contracts but on social policy.” He pledged the continuing support of USLAW, whose member organizations represent some three million U.S. workers, to Iraqi oil workers and their union, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions.

Kokesh, who said his time in Iraq taught him that “we are making enemies faster than we can kill them,” called the U.S. presence in Iraq a military and an economic occupation, and that they are “inherently tied.”

Trina Zahller, representing Oil Change International, stated, “No law passed under the U.S. occupation can have legitimacy. Iraqi oil is not a resource for the oil companies, it is for the Iraqi people.”

She said her group’s position is that there should be an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq; that no oil law or long term contracts law be passed under the U.S. occupation; and that international oil companies should be prohibited from owning Iraqi oil. She added that the pending Oil Law provides that currently operating fields stay under Iraqi control, but that future profits from “undiscovered” oil–estimated at 50 percent of all Iraq’s oil–be controlled by oil corporations.

Maintaining its tradition of largely ignoring events critical of U.S. policy in Iraq, U.S. corporate news outlets were conspicuously absent from yesterday’s news conference and protest. United Press International, Talk Radio News, Voice of America and a D.C. television station were the only U.S. news media present. Representing the international press were Reuters; Agence France Press, one of the world’s top newswires; Telesur, a TV network serving much of Latin America; Al Jazeera; and the Japanese newspaper, Akahata.

MIKE FERNER served as a Navy Corpsman from 1969-73. He is a freelance writer from Toledo. He can be reached through his website.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Dmitry Kolesnik
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus, as, Fear and Loathing Grip Europe.
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail