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Washington State colludes with the Pentagon, funding lobby to promote militarism

Dahr Jamail | Washington State’s Deep Political and Economic Alliance With the Pentagon, Truthout, March 12, 2018, By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report  “…….what if you learned Washington State was allocating millions of dollars of its taxpayers’ money to fund an institution set up to do nothing more than lobby for a larger military presence?

Additionally, what if you found out that one of your elected representatives, who you were led to believe was a liberal Democrat, had positioned herself atop said institution, and had actively sponsored a bill aimed at allowing the military free reign to do what it wants — wherever it wants to do it — within the state, with little or no recourse for the citizens it could impact?

In supposedly “blue” Washington State, this is exactly what is happening.

The taxpayer-funded institution set up to lobby for military expansion is the Washington Military Alliance (WMA). The politician is Washington Rep. Kristine Reeves, a Democrat who also happens to be the executive director of the WMA. The bill she sponsored, HB 2341 (SB 6456 in the state senate), would have essentially handed United States military commanders control of the state’s land use powers.

“Kristine Reeves is double dipping, although it might be legal, [by] being the executive director for the Washington Military Alliance while proposing laws that advance the objectives of the WMA as a Washington State legislator,” Glen Milner, a researcher with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, told Truthout.

“In addition, the Washington Military Alliance gets its grants from the DOD,” added Milner, who has been tracking the expanding militarism across Washington State for decades. “I suppose this is just corruption at work.”

While Reeves might be progressive on many issues, she’s clearly doing the military’s bidding, according to Milner.

And while HB 2341 failed, for now, to make it out of committee — thanks to committed grassroots efforts by citizens concerned about their state becoming a wider-scale military training area — Reeves’ efforts run far deeper than just that bill.

“Washington State residents should be concerned because the WMA sees at least some parts of the state as a ‘power projection platform’ for the military,” Milner warned Truthout.

In fact, “power projection platform” are not Milner’s words, they are Rep. Reeves’ words. The lawmaker used the exact same phrase in an email to members of Washington State’s Department of Commerce. In the January 2016 email obtained by Truthout, Rep. Reeves discussed her efforts to help generate a graphic for the deputy chief of staff at Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington, a massive military installation south of Tacoma, to show “the value of the strategic placement of JBLM and its dependence on the ‘outside the fence’ infrastructure that creates the designation of power projection platform.”

Her rough graphic shows four arrows emanating from Washington State and pointing across the Pacific toward North Korea and other locations.

A “power projection platform,” a term used by both the military and the WMA, is a hub for the combined elements of national power — political, economic, informational and military — that facilitates a country’s ability to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces around the world.

Reeves is far from alone in her efforts. Jay Inslee, Washington’s so-called “green governor,” along with his Department of Commerce, appears to have been, for years, acting as a strong proponent for military activity in Washington State. By actively supporting the WMA and other similar efforts, as well as signing off on documents like the Retaining and Expanding Military Missions: Increasing Defense Spending and Investment, Inslee has sought to increase military personnel and training across Washington.

“This is all about who controls Washington State,” Milner warned. “Does our state government follow the wishes of state citizens, or the Department of Defense?”

A Truthout investigation points toward powerful forces in the state government actively collaborating with the Department of Defense.

Washington State’s Not-So-Secretive Collusion With the WMA

Founded in 2012 under then Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, the WMA was made operational under Governor Inslee in 2014, with a $4.3 million grant from the DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA).

The OEA has provided other grants for Washington State and counties, such as funding for Joint Land Use Studies, which are supposedly planning efforts between active military installations and their surrounding jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, and other affected stakeholders aimed at addressing compatibility around military installations and military operations. In 2016, the OEA provided a $585,000 grant to the Department of Commerce (which includes the WMA) to create a legislative report for military issues and for 2017 program funding.

“As you might expect, all of this creates nothing more than propaganda for the Department of Defense,” Milner explained. “Whenever the WMA addresses anything, the first thing mentioned is jobs, jobs, jobs — without any analysis of how the civilian sector could use huge areas of real estate in Washington State that are now military bases. The various Joint Land Use Studies and the legislative report are all propaganda with no input that might stand against military objectives.”

Documents show that, via the Washington Military Alliance, Washington’s Department of Commerce hired The Spectrum Group as their go-to beltway consulting group to assist in making all of Washington State “more compatible” with military activities.

Several emails have revealed Rep. Reeves’ ongoing efforts to work closely with military personnel by sharing meals and meetings with them over recent years, as they collaborated on many issues geared towards giving the military more control over land-use decisions across Washington.

Unfortunately, the taxpayer funded WMA/Department of Commerce reports appear to have been accepted as fact by Reeves and some other members of the legislature, as evidenced by the egregious nature of failed-HB 2341.

All of this has serious practical implications for residents of Washington State……….

Resistance

Charles Knutila is a retired Command Sergeant Major in the Army who lives on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Just before HB 2341 went into committee, Knutila reached out to his state representatives to express his outrage over their collaboration with the DOD.

In an email he wrote to his representatives which he provided to Truthout, Knutila wrote, “The executive director of the WMA, Representative Reeves, although a member of the House of Representatives, is functioning as a lobbyist for the Department of Defense in obtaining Economic Adjustment dollars in order to put together a lobbying organization to protect the military/industrial sectors interests.”

Knutila questioned whether a person could represent both the military and the people.

“Is Representative Reeves registered as a lobbyist?” he wrote. “Who does Representative Reeves, the house sponsor of this bill, similar to the Senate version, work for? The defense industry, the Department of Commerce, or actually the citizens of the State of Washington?”

Knutila told Truthout that he “strongly objects” to Washington’s Department of Commerce “funneling DOD dollars into a military-industrial complex lobbying group for the purpose of influencing state and local business matters.”    ……..

Given that the US is, at least in theory a democracy, advocates say that what is missing in this equation is civilian opinion — especially since, ultimately, it is civilian lives that will be most affected.

At the time of this writing, Truthout’s request for comment from Rep. Reeves has not received a response.http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/43804-washington-state-s-deep-political-and-economic-alliance-with-the-pentagon

 

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March 14, 2018 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war

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