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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail