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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

JOURNEY INSIDE IRAQ TODAY



A deeply touching and outrage-inducing documentary about contemporary Iraq from the perspective of a taxi trip through the country.

Along the way the film maker and taxi driver speak to many ordinary people who share stories of Iraq past and present.  One man said, "They [Americans] are still here....their aim is to create disorder in Iraq".  The order "to kill our best people" by death squads and militias "comes from outside the country."

In Falluja the film maker interviews a hospital administrator who reports, "In 2005 we noticed a spectacular increase in genetic malformations in new born babies."  This genocide (caused by US military white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons) was an intentional decision by the US to clear out the population.

Many political operatives in the US government (including V-P Joesph Biden) have long called for breaking Iraq into three separate countries - divided between the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.

I'll never forget hearing former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld walking out of the Pentagon and telling a reporter, "We plan everything."  That has stuck in my mind like a bad dream.

Could one possibly consider that the Bush shock and awe attack and occupation of Iraq always intended to create sectarian chaos which would lead to the balkanization of the country?  By doing this it makes it easier to negotiate oil extraction agreements with just one of the new entities.....and it helps to keep the people divided against one another while their oil is taken and their social and political structures collapse around them.

Chaos theory was used by the US-NATO to break Yugoslavia into pieces.  Chaos theory was used to "liberate" Libya to get western corporate control of  their oil - the largest source on the African continent.  Chaos theory is now in place as we witness NATO's destabilization of Syria.  Chaos theory is also being introduced by the CIA into Venezuela.

Chaos theory is being brought to us here in the USA.

It's a dirty old game. It's pure evil.

Friday, April 19, 2013

MAINE PAPER COVERS JEJU NAVY BASE FIGHT

Here is the full-page coverage last Monday in our local Times Record (midcoast Maine) newspaper about the Jeju Island Navy base fight. 

Fellow Maine activist Carolyn Coe went to Gangjeong village for three weeks and did this great report.  I am amazed and happy that the paper covered this considering that the Navy Aegis destroyers, outfitted with so-called missile defense systems, are made here in Bath.

It's a really good thing for the community to have to see this.  Thank you Times Record.

THE PROPAGANDA MODEL



An interview with Edward S. Herman who was co-author with Noam Chomsky of "Manufacturing Consent".

CHANGE THE WORDS



Activists in Stockholm, Sweden recently changed the signs inside the metro - putting peace messages where bland commercial adverts had been.

SEPARATE KILL LISTS



Mark Mazzati tells Jon Stewart that there are two separate US kill lists for Yemen -- one for the CIA and one for the Pentagon.

He has a new book on the CIA called The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

AMERICAN FOLLIES

  • It's a sad testimony about politics in the US these days when the simplest of gun control measures could not get approved in the Senate which is controlled by the Democrats.  Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday that the Senate will “take a pause” and return to consideration of gun legislation at a later date. Don't hold your breath waiting.  Polls show that 90% of the citizens wanted something - anything - done to stop the spread of gun violence across the nation but the influence of the corporate gun industry stood in the way.

  • Housemate Karen Wainberg and I hit the streets today in Bath taking our Fair Budget door hanger literature to about 200 homes.  In three other parts of town volunteers did the same.  I'll be continuing this effort in the coming days and plan to distribute about 1,000 pieces in Bath before done.  We now have activists in 22 Maine communities passing out 10,000 such pieces of literature.

  • I noticed today after I handed one of the door hangers to a construction worker he began reading it aloud to a couple other workers who were taking a break with him.  An older couple walking their dog stopped on the street and began reading the piece after I gave it to them.  It was good to see that folks did not just immediately crumple it up and stuff it into their pocket as often happens when I hand out literature.  In this case though the door hangers are very attractive, have a great piece of art on them, and are being distributed during our annual tax time when people are thinking about how the government wastes much of their hard-earned money on crazy follies like the occupation in Afghanistan.

AN IMMORAL MUGGING


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HEATING UP IN VENEZUELA

 
 
Venezuela's post-election crisis is growing deeper, with at least seven people killed during clashes between the opposition and police. President-elect Nicolas Maduro says he has proof that the US embassy is financing the ongoing protests.

The deaths occurred on Monday, when hundreds of protesters took to the streets in various parts of Caracas and other cities. The demonstrators blocked streets, burned tires, and fought with security forces.

The fatalities include two people shot by opposition sympathizers while celebrating Maduro's victory, state media reported. One person died in an attack on a government-run clinic in a central state. Two others, including a policeman, were killed in an Andean border state, officials told Reuters.

"The most serious thing is that in these violent actions, seven Venezuelans died," said Attorney General Luisa Ortega. She added that 135 people have been arrested in suspected connection with the violence.

According to Maduro, who spoke on Venezuelan television on Tuesday, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles ought to be held responsible for the violent demonstrations now taking place in Caracas and throughout the country, which have already left sixty-one injured. He also made pointed accusations at the US as having a key role in the current instability.

BOXING IN SYRIA



The first US Patriot missiles are operational outside the town of Gaziantep in Turkey, 43 kilometres from the Syrian border. Three NATO countries - the United States, Germany and the Netherlands - are involved in the operation.

This is one more example how US-NATO are now sticking themselves into every conflict on the globe as they attempt to justify an ever expanding military role for the capitalist-serving alliance.

The Global Network will be sending two of our board members (from the UK and Sweden) to Turkey for a peace conference at the end of April.  Because these so-called "missile defense" systems are now being spread into this volatile region we think it important to support the peace workers there.

AND YOUR ACT TOO.....


  • Helen Caldicott reports: The Obama administration has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population.  Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. 
  •  Some loyalists are still waiting for Obama to unveil his hidden plan to be a real progressive but it appears that the magician is having way too much fun with his current act.   Don't hold your breath. 
  • The Pentagon owns or leases 75% of all federal buildings.

  • A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck Khash, Iran, making it the biggest earthquake to hit there in forty years. Estimates have varied widely on how many people may have been injured or killed. And one week ago, a deadly earthquake hit Buhsher. The National Iranian American Council is urging people to join them in calling on Obama to act so that sanctions do not in any way block earthquake relief efforts in Iran.  You can help by sending a message from here

  • Last night I picked up the local paper (Times Record) which covers the midcoast of Maine.  It was the Monday edition, I was a day late looking at it.  I turned the second section of the paper over to see the back page and was immediately stunned.  There at the top of the page a very familiar face jumped out at me.  It was Mayor Kang from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  There before my eyes was a full-page layout with many color photos of the village Navy base resistance efforts along with words by Carolyn Coe from Maine.  Carolyn went to Jeju for three weeks during Christmas break and since returning home has done two feature radio stories on WERU where she volunteers as a stringer.  I had forgotten that she'd ask me weeks ago where she might try to place such a photo essay and I had suggested the Times Record.  I never gave it a second thought and it was really remarkable for our paper to run the piece considering our local connection.  Inside the short story Carolyn wrote she made sure to mention that the Navy Aegis destroyers built here in Bath are likely to be deployed on Jeju.  It makes the April 28 visit to nearby Brunswick of Young Hee Jong (Chairwoman, Gangjeong Women Villagers' Committee to Stop the Naval Base) all the more special.  We now have six Mainers who have gone to Gangjeong village and five of them will be at the April 28 speaking event to hear Young.  Her talk will be held at the Curtis Memorial Library.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SOCIAL MISERY



Abby Martin talks to activist, author and Princeton professor, Cornel West about class warfare, race issues, corporate greed, and the American empire.

This is an excellent interview and gets down to the nub of some of the key questions of our time.  Highly recommend watching it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

WE ARE TIRED OF VIOLENCE


LOCK-MART ENDLESS $$$ FOR WAR



Lockheed Martin last week unveiled the concept design of the company’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicle.

They've got plans to keep their corporate endless welfare program going for another generation.

I was out working in the yard today cutting wood for next winter and I noticed a couple boys, about 4-5 years old, playing two doors away.  One was yelling to the other, "I'm going to kill you."

I couldn't help but think how tragic it is that the American culture is being hollowed out and turned into not much more than a killing machine to benefit global capitalism.  In a way these little kids seem to understand that the only real future for most working class kids in Maine, and across the nation, will be killing people.

Their education system in Maine is now being destroyed.  There are few jobs.  No real investment in the state economy is being made by private capital or the government.  We are being abandoned and these kids will have one primary employment option.  Their parents are so fixated on the economic rollercoaster they are riding that they can't see much beyond this moment that is already hard enough and only getting harder.

THE HIDDEN JEJU STORY

GITMO IS KILLING ME

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago. 

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity. 

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. 

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either. 

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try. 

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray. 

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone. 

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping. 

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up. 

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not. 

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity. 

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding. 

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one. 

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day. 

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary. 

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own. 

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood. 

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made. 

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

- Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I WAS ON THE WRONG SIDE


SUNDAY SONG