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, May 31, 2013

MORE REFRIED BUSHES



It looks like Obama will nominate James Comey to lead the FBI. Comey served as Deputy Attorney General in the Bush Administration. Though hailed by both Republicans and Democrats for refusing to reauthorize the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, civil rights activists are voicing concern over Comey's record when it comes to torture and indefinite detention. RT Correspondent Liz Wahl reports.

MORNING WITH THE MAYOR

On my first trip to Gangjeong village Mayor Kang (just behind me in dark jacket) took me to see the place where the fresh water stream flows into the sea.  This was to be one end of the massive Navy base now being built in the village.  At that time I was able to see the undisturbed beauty of the coastline.

I arrived in Berkeley, California last night about 7:30 pm and was able to join a group of conference participants at a Chinese restaurant where they were having dinner together.  When Gangjeong village Mayor Kang saw me he rose and gave me a big hug.  At that time there was no translator available so we didn't get to have much conversation.

This morning at breakfast Mayor Kang arrived with a Korean professor from the university.  The mayor had just come from doing an interview for Democracy Now which is supposed to air on Monday.  Koohan Paik (Hawaii) was on the radio with the mayor.  Koohan has been a great Jeju supporter and made it possible for the mayor to speak at this event on behalf of the village.

During breakfast the mayor told me that when I first came to visit Gangjeong he remembers me talking about space technology.  He told me that he now understands much better what I was saying.  He said he believes that the US is bringing the South Korean government into the military space program as a junior partner to help control China.  I was happy to hear that he has put all the pieces together.

A translator took the mayor and I for a long stroll through the vast University of California campus.  We went to the top of a huge bell tower that enabled us to see the entire San Francisco bay area.  While we were looking out over the bay I told the mayor how much their non-violent resistance has inspired people all over the world due to their strong spiritual grounding.  He told me that they made a conscious decision to act in that way to help them deal with the obvious depression and sadness that comes from the Navy base construction project.  He said that if they were going to resist then they had to find a way to stay connected to what was good in nature and in each other. He offered to teach me the dances.

For those interested in ordering a copy of the fine new documentary about the village struggle the information is just below on this flyer.  You'll see them dancing during the film.

Click on the flyer to get larger image.  Ordering information is at the bottom.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

COP STORIES

  • I am at the Portland, Maine airport preparing to head to San Francisco.  I refuse to go through these X-ray security scanners so always get the pat-down from TSA agents.  It's amazing to see how compliant we all have become with this ever present surveillance system that has been imposed on us. Do people going thru these machines ever have second thoughts about it?
  • Once through security I walked into one of the shops and was gazing at newspaper headlines.  The New York Times had a color top-of-the-fold photo from Spain that jumped out at me.  In a fog of tear gas police were beating up firemen who were protesting against austerity cutbacks that were impacting their jobs.  I can't help but wonder what will happen when local police begin to realize they are being screwed as well by the corporate oligarchy.  Once they go on strike who will be brought in to beat the hell out of them?  Maybe the National Guard, Homeland Security, or the 7th Cav.  Cops need to figure this one out real soon and join the non-violent peaceful revolution.
  • On Facebook in recent months there has been a flurry of stories (often with videos) of local cops beating and even killing innocent Americans at traffic stops, home raids (sorry wrong house), or at other similar situations.  In many communities cops are on a rampage.  The question is are many of these police actually former GI's who were in Iraq or Afghanistan and have experienced war trauma?  When they get into adrenaline producing situations (and remember they often had free reign in the war zones) do they just revert to default behavior?  Very serious problem.
  • Update from Chicago airport: Local newspaper big headline reads Bush Official Picked by Obama to Run FBI.  The continuity from one authoritarian administration to the next is quite apparent.  Good cop - bad cop.  Black hat - white hat but still cowboys.  Same old story.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

THE MESS IN AFGHANISTAN



"This Is What Winning Looks Like" is a disturbing new documentary about the ineptitude, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and corruption of the Afghan security forces as well as the reduced role of US Marines due to the troop withdrawal. In part one, we see just how chaotic and hopeless the situation is in Sangin, one of the most violent towns in Afghanistan.

See part 2 & 3 here and here

The US is spending about $10 billion a month in Afghanistan.  While Obama says the US is leaving in 2014, top military brass are saying we are not going anywhere.

These videos clearly show that the whole thing is a colossal mess.

US OUT OF NORTH AMERICA!


  • Yesterday I finished work on the annual Keep Space for Peace Week (October 5-12) poster and flyer.  It's my task to pull it (graphic, lingo, co-sponsors) together and layout is done by a local graphic design person named Nancy Randolph.  (She does our newsletter as well.)  I then send it to our boards for review and feedback.  It's all gone to the printer now and should be ready in time to take posters to our 21st annual conference in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29.
  • The graphic above is the image we are using on our poster and flyer. Like last year we are again using space week to help the public develop a greater understanding about how drone warfare is largely possible because of military satellites orbiting the planet.  The very expensive military satellites, launched by very expensive rockets, have essentially become the triggers that help the drone site, target, and fire their missiles. If drone killing is illegal and immoral (and I believe it is) then the military satellites that make it all happen should also be critiqued during this debate.
  • Peter and I do our radio show tonight from 6-8 pm (EST) on WBOR and we will be featuring the Cyber war story.  How would we really know if another country was to hack into Pentagon websites and steal information?  Who would be able to verify if this really happened?  Couldn't the Pentagon just make charges that China or Russia had hacked them and we'd never know the difference?  The US has a secretive network at the National Security Agency (NSA) called the Tailored Access Operations that does hacking for Washington.  It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. This is our theme tonight.
  • I leave in the morning for Berkeley, California to speak at the Moana Nui 2013 Teach-In. My talk will be called "The Militarization of American Life" and will review how this nation has become an occupied territory of the corporate empire.  The oligarchy is extracting resources and destroying our environment, extracting wages from workers without fair compensation, controls the political system and the media, and is militarizing their response against the people as they organize and demand change.  US Out of North America! 
  • My interview on Press TV this morning was headlined "US government corporate criminal syndicate".  You can listen to it here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

THE TURKEY-SYRIA CONNECTION



The Global Network was represented at a peace conference in Turkey at the end of April.  GN leaders Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK) and Agneta Norberg (Swedish Peace Council) are featured in this short video from that conference.

OKINAWA SAME STORY



Video on Okinawa visit by Peace Nomad. 
Last February, some South Korean people, including Peace Nomad, led by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon visited the fields of struggle opposing US bases in Okinawa. It included Futenma AFB, Henoko, and Takae. “In that fields struggling for peace, we met another Gangjeong and people of Okinawa who have same mind with us.”

Monday, May 27, 2013

MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE


A JEJU KIND OF WEEKEND HERE IN MAINE



On Saturday Regis Tremblay held the first public showing of his new 80-minute film about Jeju Island called The Ghosts of Jeju at the Brunswick, Maine public library.  At least 70 people turned out and much to the delightful surprise of everyone, at the end of the documentary, the audience rose as one and clapped along with the lively music that played as images of protesting South Koreans flashed across the screen.  People loved the film and some of the comments included things like:  This is the best documentary I've ever seen.  High praise indeed.

Then early this morning members of PeaceWorks and Maine Veterans for Peace gathered in Topsham for the annual Memorial Day parade that passes through that town, crosses the river, and ends in Brunswick where the crowd along both sides of the road is always quite big.  We carried the yellow "No Navy base" flag from Gangjeong village with us - particularly since the theme of the Topsham-Brunswick parade this year was 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice.

So this weekend we held the struggling people on Jeju close to our hearts. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

SUNDAY SONG