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San Francisco: Hands off Syria!
by Michael Steinberg (blackrainpress [at]
Saturday Sep 7th, 2013 8:18 PM
People gathered here on an unusually hot day to rally and march in opposition to US plans to stage military attacks on Syria.
The rally began at noon at Justin Hermann Plaza at the foot of downtown’s Market Street—renamed Chelsea Manning Plaza for the day’s events.

The day’s actions were in solidarity with a concurrent Mass Protest at the Capitol in DC called by an ad hoc group, Vote No Against War On Syria Coalition.

As people baked in the sun while the heat continues to be turned up by Obama, Kerry and company to send the nation to war in the Middle East again, a number of speakers at Chelsea Manning Plaza pointed out the insanity of this plan.

A representative from Veterans For Peace asserted, “They say they’ll be no boots on the ground, but we have thousands of US Navy personnel on ships in harm’s way right now. If war breaks out, they’ll be sitting ducks.”

Tariq, a Syrian activist, has been working for Assad’s fall since protests started during the Arab Spring of 2011.

“We don’t need US intervention,” he said. “That would cause more destruction and death.

“San Francisco is six times larger than Damascus” (Syria’s capital), he reported. “But while San Francisco’s population is 800,000, Damascus’s is 1.7 million.” Imagine what missiles raining down on Damascus would do.

“The Assad regime has to fall,” Tariq asserted. “But not by US intervention.”

Algo, representing Californian Filipino World War II veterans, told us that they had met earlier and decided to come to Senator Diane Feinstein’s office in San Francisco on Tuesday at 10 a.m. to tell Feinstein to vote no on the legislation to authorize the use of military force against Syria.

“The Filipino vets were never recognized by the US as legitimate vets. They joined in World War II because, even though we were occupied by the US Empire, we were invaded by another empire, Japan. It was a defensive war for us. But the US war against Syria would be offensive, not defensive.”

Veteran Bay Area activist Gloria LaRiva said, “Millions of US citizens are shocked by Obama leading the way for war. But when he was running for reelection in 2008 he spoke in defense of Israel. He was vetted to be president by the Democrats in support of giant firms who benefit from the tasks of war.

“Our real political action is to be in the streets every day.”

LaRiva called for people to come to Feinstein’s SF office at 1 Post Street at 5 p.m. on Wednesday to deliver this message: “We will remember you for the war criminal you are.”

Musician Francis Collins appeared on stage a while later to deliver a stirring rendition of Jackson Browne’s song “Lives in the Balance. It begins:

I’ve been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood of the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

At 1:15 people poured out of the plaza and the shade where they’d sought shelter from the heat, realizing there was no escape from it today.

The leading chant was US/NATO, HANDS OFF SYRIA.
Voices were raised in the name of peace and justice, turning shoppers heads and softening some hard faces in the Tenderloin, where they have their own battles to fight every day.

Banners and signs read, NO New War in Syria; Queers Say No US Attacks on Syria; Stop Breeding Terrorists; Obama Lies. People Die. Give Back the Peace Prize; Even If Congress Says It’s Legal, It’s Still Wrong To Attack Syria; and Drop Food, Not Bombs

One person toted a mock coffin with a sign attached reading “Your Soldier Here,” and the Grim Reaper made an appearance as well.

The march arrived at UN Plaza near the Civic Center at 2 p.m.

Some people went off a little later to occupy Nancy Pelosi’s house in Pacific Heights.

The action was organized by the ANSWER Coalition. The coalition is calling for people to gather at Market and Powell at 5 p.m. should the US attack Syria. has documented 264 rallies and direct actions around the world opposing the proposed US attack on Syria, not counting today’s actions, since August 29.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Was there
Sunday Sep 8th, 2013 3:37 AM
The latest poll shows only a 51% opposition to this pending blood for oil war against Syria, stepping stone to Iran and encircling Russia. See

And 13% claim to have no opinion, which means they do not care. These figures are similar to the last Democrat's war crime, bombing Kosovo, in 1999 where the US left "depleted" uranium to poison the people and the earth. When a Democrat is in office, war crimes do not bother Americans. The Bay Area, which is mostly Democrat, routinely gives 80% of its vote to war criminals Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer, all millionaire pro-war Democrats.

The 51% of course includes the 50% non-voters in this country, which means only 25% of voters oppose blood for oil wars. Most Americans do not pay any attention to politics at all. They do not know such basics as who the war secretary is, Chuck Hagel, or the fact that he is a Republican, much less the facts of the pretext.

This writer was there for a short while in the terrible 90 degree heat, unusual for San Francisco but common in September, our hot month. Hundreds of people were streaming through the walkway nearby to go shopping at the expensive food stores at the Ferry Building and go to the baseball game, which mandates a 1 mile walk if not taking public transportation. They completely ignored pleas to join the peace rally. The heat was not bothering them at all. This writer was experiencing pouring sweat from head to toe in a few minutes and had to leave for the beach where there was a cool breeze and wonderful cool water for swimming.

We have massive poverty in this country, not seen since the last Great Depression of the 1930s. It certainly cannot afford to make war anywhere. Apparently, when people can no longer go shopping for things they do not need or sit and watch grown men bat a ball around while they get stinking drunk and gamble on the score, they will protest. After all, in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the workingclass has general strikes. The US is well on its way to being as poor as Haiti.
by Observer
Sunday Sep 8th, 2013 11:25 AM
I think the main reason that only 1000 (tops ) participated in Yesterday's March and rally was mainly because of the grossly misguided loyality people have towards the Democratic party and Obama . Because since the right wing irrationally hates Barack Obama so much many progressives in a knee jerk manner defend him .And in this deeply racist country the fact that he is Black still makes a big difference to many people
But the polls are showing very strong opposition to the US Intervention. The one that the previous writer cites is probably the most conservative. Some show only 30 % supporting this imperialist adventure .
The trick is to get people to defy their DP misleaders and hit the streets.
PS Yesterday's weather was Great not terrible ! Some of us love Hot summer weather .
by random bystander
Sunday Sep 8th, 2013 3:39 PM
--- Well, this gathering is been followed on streaming and is been covered on various forums...
--- Hope all runs well and more people will realize the madness in Wash D.C.
The U.S. Judge Jackson who chaired the trials (1945-46) wrote into international law that the planning and doing of aggressive war is the Supreme International Crime on the Planet earth, as it sets into motion a reactionary wave of backward destruction that stops progess development. Further he says that if is the supreme international crime whether Germany does it or the U.S.A. does it.

This international law is signed on to the U.S. Constitution and therefore is to be considered the law of the land. Too bad the present and pass regimes have disobeyed this most necessary supreme international law. It shows the present regime too be a lawless international wrecker, and a disobeying national wrecker of the U.S. Constitution itself.

Workers of the world unite!! Uphold the anti-fascist covenants and stop the aggressive war plots against the peoples of the world's Holyland. You yet have a world to win!!