Photo: Tanks in Tacoma

While filming at the Port of Tacoma for the video project on union busting, I noticed several dozen large tanks beyond the shipping terminals, bound for departure.

It caught me off-guard when I noticed tanks at the port, since I was only interested in filming smoke stacks and gas formations for the union-busting video. Yet it is known that the military keeps their presence hidden from the public eye by shipping destructive materials as clandestinely as possible. The less visible, the less public outrage.

I zoomed in and increased the lighting on this photo so you can see clearly what was at the port on Monday night while I was there, though from where I was standing it took me about ten minutes of looking around for interesting pictures before noticing 27 or so tanks sitting in the darkness. It was confirmed shortly after that the tanks had been shipped out or re-located. It is a reminder that ports are constantly trafficking weaponry to the hundreds of countries in the world where our government has a military presence, but judging by the beige color, the tanks were headed to Iraq. There is an interactive PBS map detailing world-US military presence.

The US government also spends more on military expenditures than the rest of the world does put together, and 8 times more than the runner-up, the United Kingdom.

On another note, Tacomacrats are also constantly reminded of US military presence, not only by active recruiters in all Tacoma high school campuses with expanding JROTC and ROTC programs, but also because fighter jets constantly fly over our city. Some mornings it is possible to count over 30 Globemasters soaring above the North End before 11 o'clock.

Further, activisty chatter like this is constantly being monitored by security in order to circumscribe potential protest. The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class-action lawsuit against one AT&T office in San Francisco for allowing the NSA to build splitter rooms inside the building. This was only known about because it leaked to the press. The EFF estimated that at least 10% of all internet traffic is examined by the seeing-eye at the DARPA/NSA/TIA complex in Maryland and its local branches, with 477 known breaches in 2006 alone.

These are all constant reminders of the kind of society we live in.

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