Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Friday, December 02, 2016

Growing US-India Military Alliance Pointed at China, Cheats the Poor


After a 14-hour all night flight from Delhi to Newark, New Jersey I am now back in the US.  A short 6:00 am flight from Newark to Boston gave me a great view of the early morning sunrise out the window as the plane headed north along the Atlantic coast.  After a short wait in Boston I boarded a bus for the two-hour ride to Portland, Maine (where I wrote this post).  Then Mary Beth picks me up in Portland for the final 45-minute trip home to Bath.

When I arrived in Newark I checked my emails and found the photo above from Global Network board convener Dave Webb (also our GN web master) who took the picture on his way into Delhi International airport late on November 30.  I had previously seen the Boeing billboard when we first arrived in Delhi to start the trip and talked about it throughout the speaking tour that followed the space conference in Visakhapatnam.  The Boeing sponsored billboard well illustrates the kind of 'future' that the military industrial complex has in mind for the land of Gandhi.

It is obvious that Washington is quite thrilled to have signed India up as a key future junior military partner in their dangerously escalating program to encircle China.  US weapons corporations are going to be selling India (the world's fastest growing economy) alot of weapons in the coming years.

It was announced just today that outgoing US Secretary of Endless War Ashton Carter would be visiting India next week on his final trip around the world. Slated to be in India on December 8, Carter would travel to Japan, Bahrain, Israel, Italy and Great Britain before returning to the US on December 16. This is the first time that an outgoing American War Secretary has included India in his itinerary for the final overseas trip.

Indian Express reports:

Ahead of his [Carter's] visit, informed sources said India has made maritime security a significant priority and in discussion with the US for sale of Predator drones from General Atomics.

The outgoing Obama administration is trying to concretize steps taken with India in the defence domain as they transition the efforts to the Trump administration, sources noted, adding that on Carter’s agenda include M777 and Predator Guardian for the Indian Navy.
 

India was also designated a “a major defence partner” when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US and met President Barack Obama at the Oval Office this Summer.

The first opportunity for US Government to showcase this would be in the maritime domain surveillance area with the export of Predator Guardian, informed sources pointed out, adding that Obama and Carter are keen to establish a concrete legacy with India.

Vivek Lall, chief executive, US and International Strategic Development at General Atomics, are among the US leaders that have been advocating greater convergence between the US and India.

It is under his leadership that, India had acquired Boeing P8I aircraft in 2009 which would complement the Guardian aircraft for maritime security.

Noting that Obama and Modi have repeatedly stressed that cooperation in the Indian Ocean is key to both countries national security interests, it is anticipated that both sides will discuss the Avenger drones for the Indian Air Force.

These deals listed above are only scratching the surface of the growing US-India military alliance.  The US is also currently inviting India to play a key role at the major Pentagon power projection hub inside the Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean.

Other deals on space warfare technologies are also underway and the bottom line is that all of India's weapons buys from the US will be 'interoperable' with the Pentagon space warfare system which ensures that the US will remain in charge of the 'tip of the spear'.  So essentially India is helping to pay for a major escalation of US military power in the region and Indian industrial elites will get a cut in the lucrative deals.

Obviously Russia (which is reducing its military budget by 30% this year due to declining oil profits and western economic sanctions) and China are worried about these advances as Washington dangles the tempting apple of being a high stakes military player in front of a power hungry right-wing government in Delhi.

Those that will pay the biggest price for these Indian military expenditures though are the poor inside of India who hoped that the massive development of their economy would trickle down to them.  Other than increasingly polluted air and water I am not so sure the 25% of Indians who are poor will get much from this blossoming military alliance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

America as Political Theatre



Mutiny is our only salvation from the sinking ship.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Money Game: Going Digital for Social Control



When I was leaving the Newark, New Jersey airport for India on November 15 I tried to exchange American money for Indian rupees.  I was told by the money changing station that they were not at the present handling any Indian rupees.  This was when I first heard about the Indian governments controversial 'demonetization' campaign.

When I arrived at the Delhi international airport I got in the long line at the money changing station and discovered that foreigners could only exchange $100 worth of currency for rupees.  Indian cash is in short supply.  ATM machines were out of cash.  One tourist from England had brought no cash with him and intended to use his credit card to get Indian rupees once in country.  Now he had arrived and didn't have the funds to get a taxi to his hotel.

In early November the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes were banned overnight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended the decision saying it was an anti-corruption measure. I have my doubts.

On my flight from Delhi to Visakhapatnam I was reading two Indian newspapers and one of them carried a photo of Modi and Bill Gates.  The caption under the photo declared that Gates was supporting Modi's demonetization effort and the Microsoft mogul had urged India to go digital - essentially get rid of paper money and make all transactions computer based.


As I read the newspapers my mind flashed back to a recent radio interview I heard on National Public Radio back home.  An author of a new book was urging American to go 'digital' and become a cashless society.  It's obvious that the Modi government demonetization effort, supposedly to fight corruption and 'black money', is little more than an effort to create a global monetary system under the control of corporate banking computer systems.

Traveling across India for nearly two weeks was interesting as daily there were stories about problems - especially for the rural poor - as cash was becoming scarce.  The government was offering the poor free pocket devices so they could make financial transactions online.  But with 25% of India's population living in dire poverty this is indeed a hollow gesture.

Modi is an instrument of corporate power.  He is turning his nation's hard won independence and sovereignty over to the international banking industry and to the military industrial complex.  The poor, as always, will be left in the lurch.

All people should beware of this global corporate effort to merge all financial transactions into the hands of big banksters.  Think of the social control the banks will have when they control your access to your own money.  Think of the power the banks will have to 'turn off' your bank account should they determine that you might be a 'threat' to corporate control because of your political beliefs or activities.

Beware of the power of the global elite.  They are now consolidating power for their own benefit - not on behalf of the world's marginalized people.

Space Command Propaganda Piece



CNN last night aired a major propaganda piece promoting the US military industrial complex goal of frightening the American people so they will hand over even more $$$$ to pay for this massive space war machine.

As the US routinely does the Pentagon plays 'poor me' claiming that Russia and China are out to get us. They make it sound like the US is under threat and thus we need to pump even more money into our already massively expensive military space program.

The fact is that the US is way out in front of the space warfare arms race.  Russia and China have for more than 20 years been annually going to the United Nations pleading with the US to join them in serious negotiations for a new treaty called Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS).  Each year the US blocks treaty negotiations claiming there is 'no problem' and thus no need to create a treaty to prevent war in space.

The US-based aerospace industry (led by Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon) has long known that if the US refused to negotiate the treaty, Russia and China would be forced to respond to the US Space Command's Vision for 2020 that states the Pentagon will 'control and dominate' space and will 'deny' other nations 'access to space'.  Thus a new arms race is guaranteed and the profits to be made from such a new round in military conflict would bear unimaginable profits for the aerospace industry.

The history of America is replete with exaggerations of 'enemy' power while the poor old USA is dragging along behind.  This strategy was used to over sell the American Indian 'threat' during the late 1800's, over hype the Russian missile capability during the Cold War, and claim that Iraq had 'weapons of mass destruction' before the US 'shock and awe' attack in 2003.

At the end of the CNN propaganda piece Space Command officials make the outrageous claim that the US has no offensive assets in space while 'our adversaries' have weaponized space.

There should be no doubt that the corporate dominated media today is essentially nothing more than the mouth piece for the US military empire.  The fact that this puff piece on a major news network interviewed not a single critic of the US's claim to be the 'Master of Space' speaks volumes.

If you are interested in seeing the other side of this issue just click here

Bruce

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Standing Rock: Do Something to Help



The police in North Dakota are now threatening to go in and destroy the water protectors camp at Standing Rock. 

Large numbers of veterans from around the country are presently making their way to Standing Rock to stand alongside the people.  It will be interesting to see how the police deal with that.

In the meantime you can make a phone call to defend the native people.  See below by Penobscot nation (Maine) member Sherri Mitchell.

Sherri Mitchell - Wena'gamu'gwasit

Custer’s Ghost Rides again- This time he’s riding in on the back of a big black snake. On December 5th, which is Custer’s birthday, the U.S. Army Corps is threatening to forcibly remove thousands of Native people and their allies from Sioux Treaty lands.

These lands were granted to the Sioux Tribe in the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868. The treaty was signed two years after Custer was sent in to kill all the Cheyenne and Dakota Sioux, so the U.S. could steal their lands. Custer failed, so the U.S. begrudgingly signed the Treaty.

Treaty law is one of the supreme laws of the land, second only to constitutional law. Treaties are signed agreements made by two or more parties. Legally, signed agreements cannot be changed without the written consent of all parties. Unfortunately, the U.S. has never been very keen on following their own laws, especially where Indians are concerned. In fact, the first U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the tribes was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. In that decision, the SCOTUS used religious law, specifically the Roman Catholic Rules of Conquest under the Christian Law of Nations to justify the taking of Indian lands (see Doctrine of Discovery). So, it should be no surprise that they have summarily violated all treaties with the Indigenous nations of this land. The U.S. breached the Treaty of Ft. Laramie in 1944, under the guise of the “Flood Control Act,” which was simply cover for the further taking of Indian lands for gold mining.

Now, nearly 150 years later, the U.S is back in Sioux territory with bigger weapons trying to complete Custer’s mission. And, they have chosen Custer’s birthday to make their stand. You get to watch as history repeats itself. The question is whether you will watch quietly or if you will stand up and do something about it.
 
On December 5th, the U.S. is going to honor their long tradition of stealing Indian lands and killing Indian people, by celebrating their most beloved Indian killer Col. George Armstrong Custer on his birthday.
 
They will do so by attacking Indian people on lands that the U.S. has taken illegally, using illegal amounts of force, to protect the interests of an oil company that is attempting to poison the drinking water of the Tribe. The term for this is ecological genocide, and it is being carried out through industrial and environmental terrorism at the hands of a U.S. corporation, and with the full backing of the U.S. government and police forces in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Treaty Law.
 
This is not only a stand for Standing Rock, it is a stand for life, and it is a stand for the Constitution and rule of law in this country.
 
If you are able, please go to Standing Rock and stand with the people. If you can’t go, then call ALL the numbers listed below.  
 
Call: Lee Hanse
Executive Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6455
Lee.Hanse@energytransfer.com
 
Call: B. Glenn Emery
Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6762
Glenn.Emery@energytransfer.com
 
Call North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple at (701) 328-2200 to demand protections for protestors and an end to hostilities against them.
 
Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414. Tell President Obama to STOP the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they remove DAPL from their lands: (202) 761-5903

South Korea: Resign or Impeach?



South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye said she will resign if the parliament devises a plan for a smooth transition of power.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hedges at Standing Rock



On a special edition of On Contact, Chris Hedges travels to the Standing Rock encampment in North Dakota to listen to the frontline voices of those fighting to block the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Nepal: We Must Gather the Good Minded People Everywhere

Students and faculty at women's college in Kathmandu this morning - just three hours after an earthquake woke us from our deep sleep

We arrived in Nepal yesterday afternoon via a flight from Delhi.  Up early in the morning we flew from Nagpur to Delhi national airport and then took a bus to Delhi international.  As we approached Delhi international airport we saw a massive billboard with a military helicopter on it and the Boeing logo alongside.  Words on the billboard were "This is our future".

The people of India are being enticed, lead, directed, forced (you pick the appropriate word) into the waiting arms of the US military industrial complex that is now salivating over the market potential of India. India is led today by the nationalist corporate dominated Modi government in Delhi.  The US plan for 'full spectrum dominace' via space control and domination carries a massive cost that even Washington (even after years of austerity cuts in our country) can't afford to pay for on its own.  Thus the Pentagon's #1 job these days is to take a silver cup in hand and secure commitments from allied governments around the globe to help the US become the 'Master of Space'. (Note the patch on the arm of the woman below at the US Space Command - click on the photo for a better view.)


We have received a very warm welcome here in the land-locked nation of Nepal that sits on the border of both India and China.  As the US attempts to bring India 'onside' in its plans for war with China the people of Nepal are in a precarious position.

This morning we were taken to speak at a women's college just a block or so from our hotel.  About fifty students and faculty listened to our talks and afterward they took us to the meager campus cafeteria for tea.  There was much interest in what we had to say.  One of the women professors told me, "It is ironic for me that America wants to be the Master of Space and that I learn about it from an American.  Everything is American."

Following that event we were taken to Nepal's oldest college called Patan Multiple Campus which has several locations serving 7,000 students.  We met with a dozen people, mostly faculty from various departments, and had the most moving discussion of our trip.  In addition to talking about the realities of the Pentagon's mission of 'security export' on behalf of corporate interests the discussion lead to the spiritual disconnection of the planet's people.  One professor began his comments by first greeting us with the word Namaste which is the recognition of the divine spirit (or soul) in another by the divine spirit in you.

The professor asked how the Global Network was integrating the need to heal the broken spirit in the collective mind and spirit of people around the world.  Peace of mind is necessary for the human being, he said.  "We must make people human beings again....money is everywhere....we must gather the good people, good minded people....selfishness is an epidemic across the world.  This is the time. Let us accept all the people of the world."

With tears in my eyes I thanked the professor for his beautiful words and told him that this is indeed a message that is part of our work at the Global Network.  We agree with all our heart that we must heal the broken circle - we must heal our relationship to Mother Earth.

I suggested that the idea of the US Space Command becoming the 'Master of Space' is one sign of the current human sickness.  I told about Standing Rock in North Dakota where today Native Americans and their many supporters from around our country are rallying to stop the 'Black Snake' oil pipeline along the Missouri River.  The native people call themselves water protectors as they try to defend our sacred Mother Earth - water is life.  It is all the same struggle.

We were woken this morning about 5:00 am when our beds shook and as I bolted awake I thought of earthquakes remembering the terrible one that hit here last year that killed nearly 9,000 people and damaged nearly one million houses and buildings.  The quake this morning was a moderate one that hit about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Kathmandu.  It wasn't until we had breakfast here at the hotel that we learned the rumbling was indeed an earthquake.

We leave here on November 30 and head back to Delhi before flying home.  Before we leave Nepal we will do at least three more talks at various colleges in the area - going back again to Patan Multiple Campus where the Campus Chief ordered that all faculty and students be invited to hear our words again on Wednesday morning prior to our departure.  We were taken to his office this morning following the meeting with faculty and after hearing reports on that meeting he approved a campus wide invitation for another meeting.