Tampa protestors fear new war on Iran

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The US, as a major Israeli ally, has repeatedly reiterated that "everything is on the table" with regards to pressuring Iran, from economic sanctions, to military action.

Protester Bettejo Indelicatto said this is Israel's war, and that "they are using the same pretensions to go into Israel as they used to go into Iraq."

The US has also threatened sanctions on Iran's oil exports, but Iran has in turn warned that they could block off the Strait of Hormuz, an action which the US has strongly cautioned against.

Indelicatto said that not only has Iran backed away from this threat, but, "only about 12% of the world's oil comes through there," and, "it would not be an act of war."

Indelicatto has worked as a pro-Palestinian activist in the past, and was one of several people at the protest to question Israel's legitimacy. Jesse Nevel is with the Uhuru African solidarity movement, and also questions Israel on an existential level,

"Israel is a colonial settler state that was built at the expense of the indigenous people of Palestine, just as the United States is a colonial settler state that was built at the expense of the indigenous people of the so-called Americas. And the people of Palestine have a right to their land and their resources and self-determination and control over their lives; just as the people here have a right to their land and their resources." He also said that Iran fits the model of countries being deprived of use of their resources, referring to how the U.S. overthrew Iran's democratically elected leader in 1953, Mohammed Mossadegh, and installed the Shah of Iran.

"Since then, you know Iran is part of this global trend of resistance of peoples throughout the world that are saying, 'The US and Europe don't have a right to control our resources. We have a right to control and benefit from our own resources,'" Neval continued. "And that's where Iranian self-determination fits into this whole context of oppressed peoples throughout the world struggling for...liberation from imperialism, which is a parasitic social economic system built on the enslavement of African and indigenous people."

Nevel was joined by other groups like St. Pete for Peace, Veterans for Peace, as well as Occupy Tampa and Occupy St. Pete. Dina Formentini and Chris Ernesto with St. Pete for Peace led the march, chanting slogans through their megaphones like, "No sanctions, no war. The Middle East can take no more," and, "The greatest threat in the world today is not Iran, it's USA," as well as, "Hey hey, ho ho, endless war has got to go."

83-year-old Bud Holle is a WWII veteran, whose son died in Vietnam at the age of 21. He protested any future wars, and is now with Veterans for Peace. He was wearing a shirt that quotes Former President General Dwight D. Eisenhower, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Occupy Fort Meyers and Occupy Wall Street supporter and social worker Doris Meagher said she's moving down to Florida from Albany, New York. She said that war isn't fair to 16 million children who can't vote yet, "Because we put so much money, $3 trillion or more, into the military budget, our country could use the money. We sink our money into murder...and don't they see how they could feed the hungry children here instead of constant war and murder? And now Iran? We are the most immoral country in my opinion...call me socialist if you may, but capitalism is about greed. And politicians in our country are not about the people."

Meagher is one of many to suggest that as with Iraq, US and Israeli interest with Iran is oil-centered, and that the countries will say and do anything to control that.

Some folks even suggest that the US is most concerned with an Iranian nuclear energy program because it would free Iranian owned oil exports for trade, rather than energy consumption- tilting the energy markets more favorably towards Iran. As Meagher put it, "We are committed to murder in the United States of America. And we exploit and set up and demand that their governments be like ours, all in the name of helping."

While President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Israel has made no clear decision with regards to taking military action against Iran, he has consistently pledged to stand by Israel no matter what.
Sherry Suttrich with Occupy St. Pete said she thinks that "shaking our fist" at Iran is wrong, and,"We can't afford any more war. Civilians are being killed in these wars, and it's not televised. It's not exactly on the news when they're blowing up families' homes and ruining peoples' livelihood- we're talking about Iraq now- but why should we go and start all over again in Iran?"

Veterans for Peace holds similar marches on a monthly basis in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the turnout is typically pretty meager. But the popular Occupy movements are bringing out new ranks of activists to such rallies as the one this weekend, beefing up local protests via solidarity and support.

Amos Miers has been involved with Occupy Tampa, and has taken some of his experiences with him across the bay in St. Pete, where he is working on some new educational projects related to protecting free speech. He also had some doubts regarding the official US narrative on Iran, "We're saying that they're developing nuclear weapons...and if they are, what's it our business whether or not they can build a bomb? Israel's got a bomb, we've got a bomb; come on, it's hypocritical!"

He also thought that escalating actions against Iran could be dangerous, "This actually goes against our safety, we're creating more enemies right now. The people of Iran don't hate us. If we bomb their country, they're going to hate us. So, we create more enemies by fighting these wars...economic interests is what we're protecting."

While President Barack Obama has been urging a diplomatic approach toward Iran, the possibility of a preemptive Israeli bombing of Iran within only months prompted Iran's Revolutionary guard yesterday to pledge an attack on any country used as a launchpad for such an attack. Obama said on Sunday that Israel has made no clear decision with regards to taking military action against Iran, he has consistently pledged to stand by Israel no matter what.

Iran has maintained that uranium enrichment processes have been conducted for peaceful purposes.

While protesters seemed a bit dismayed by a potential renewal of the nearly decade old WMD pretense for preemptive war, they can at least relish in the fact that Obama has pledged to exhaust diplomatic measures. It shall remain to be seen which is the strongest: his commitment to diplomacy or the Israeli state.

click to enlarge "They lied about Iraq, now they're lying about Iran" - Josh Holton
Josh Holton
"They lied about Iraq, now they're lying about Iran"

  • Similar protests were held regarding Iran all over the world this weekend

On Saturday about 50 people, representing more than a dozen anti-war groups, marched to the gates of US Central Command at Mac Dill Airforce Base in South Tampa to protest the possibility of a US supported war with Iran. The United States has taken a tough stance on diplomacy amid recent escalations with Iran, and some Americans say negotiations have been too tough. To portend adding another "overseas contingency operation" to what some consider to be a bloated laundry list of military activities abroad seems rushed to many groups, especially with the Iraq war so fresh in the American memory.

In recent weeks Israel has threatened military action on Iran. The CIA has acknowledged that the Arab state does not possess a nuclear weapon, yet US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has indicated that Iran could produce one by spring.

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