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, June 22, 2013

OCCUPY NATURE



New documentary Grasp The Nettle shows how state inaction on climate change fosters direct action on society’s margins.

Two years before the Occupy movement sprang forth in New York and London, a motley group of land rights activists occupied a piece of disused land in west London to create an alternative model of moneyless, sustainable living. Little did they know they were about to embark on an extraordinary journey, at once harrowing and inspiring, that would take them into the heart of Westminster.


HOLD YOUR EARS!



Abby Martin talks to Karen Hudes, former senior executive at the World Bank, about her experience blowing the whistle on the high level corruption within the international financial system and how her story was censored.

Corporate globalization is a criminal syndicate.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A REAL IRISH WELCOME FOR OBAMA



"This man is a war criminal."

MILITARIZING SPACE BLOCKS DISARMAMENT TALKS


  • Early this morning the phone rang but I was still in bed so I let the message machine pick it up.  When I finally listened to the message it was from a woman politician in Norway calling about the Global Network 21st annual space conference in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29.  She wants to come and needed more information.  
  • I did a radio interview on Voice of Russia two nights ago about the conference - they were particularly interested in discussing how the US radar facilities in Vardo, Norway and Thule, Greenland are key instruments in the Pentagon's mis-named "missile defense" system aimed at Russia.
  • The photo above is from the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.  When I visited Kiruna years ago a young woman came to my talk and said she worked at Esrange and kept seeing that information downloaded from satellites was immediately sent to the US.  She asked why and got no answer.  It indicates how the downlink stations in Sweden and Norway are tied into US military operations.  This will be a big theme of our conference.  I am told that the Communication Director at Esrange has contacted our folks in Sweden and said he wanted to meet us at Esrange when we go there during the conference.  I'm sure his job will be to tell us that everything that happens at Esrange is for civilian use.  We've heard that tune many times before.  They say that at NASA too but we know better.
  • It's interesting that Obama was just in Berlin where he made his big speech about wanting to cut back on US-Russian nuclear weapons at the same time he is expanding "missile defense" systems to surround Russia.  He knows Russia will never agree to a plan that would make them more vulnerable.  His speech was pure public relations - done to try to impress the European audience on the heels of the embarrassing disclosures about NSA spying on everybody around the world.  The speech was also intended to mollify the left in the US and some have taken the bait.  
  • Following Obama's call for more nuclear weapons cuts, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, "Apart from the role of nuclear weapons and issues related to the ceilings in the nuclear arms area, the Russian leadership will also take into account the missile defense situation, the creation of non-nuclear precision weapons [Pentagon's Global Strike program], the possibility of deploying weapons in space, to which Moscow categorically objects, and refusal of a number of countries to take part in key arms control agreements. [The US and Israel have refused for years to negotiate with Russia and China on a ban on weapons in space.]  Without taking all these circumstances into account, it is wrong to talk only about the role of nuclear weapons as a factor affecting strategic stability." 
  • In related news the Obama administration had promised to build Israel a state-of-the-art facility to house a new ballistic-missile defense system, the Arrow 3. The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting missiles at a range of up to 1,500 miles and can maneuver in midair to chase them. Last February, Israel conducted the first test of the Arrow 3 in space. That test was overseen by the United States.

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/03/192895/us-publishes-details-of-missile.html#.UcUCP9iO6dm#storylink=cpy

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/03/192895/us-publishes-details-of-missile.html#.UcUCP9iO6dm#storylink=cpy

Thursday, June 20, 2013

OBAMA PROTEST IN GERMANY



On the occasion of the visit of President Obama to Berlin, organizations of the peace and civil rights movements of Berlin called for red-carding Obama and showing US policies their limits. This was done in a demonstration and symbolically by surrounding the US embassy in Berlin on June 17.

About 1,000 people marched from Bertolt-Brecht-Platz to Platz des 18. März and demonstrated for an immediate end of the war in Afghanistan, a worldwide ban on combat drones, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the end of missile defense shield, a stop of the armament madness of the USA, an immediate closure of Guantanamo and the release and compensation of all political prisoners, as well as active engagement against the inhumane prison industry in the USA.

After the rally, they red-carded Obama while surrounding the US embassy.

Furthermore you will find some pictures of the actions here.
Greetings,

Reiner Braun and Lucas Wirl
IALANA Office Berlin

MAINE DRONE VICTORY (OF SORTS)



Yesterday the Maine House of Representatives passed our drone bill 115-33.  (The Maine Senate had previously passed the bill as well.) It was a mixed victory.

On the positive side, the long sought after police warrant requirement was in the bill which would allow law suits against the police if they violate the warrant provisions.  The bill also has a two-year moratorium on police use of drones in Maine.

On the negative side, the bill carried an amendment that allows testing of weaponized drones in Maine.  The bill language reads something like this: An unmanned aerial vehicle may not employ the use of facial recognition technology or be equipped with a weapon except .....  for the purposes of research, testing, training or manufacturer of such vehicles.

I was told that the office of Gov. LePage (Republican) wrote the weaponized drone language.  He is likely to sign the bill because of the inclusion of that language.  Many Tea Party activists across the state strongly supported the bill's warrant requirements which ensured many Republicans in the legislature would vote for it.

I must say that the ACLU in Maine was instrumental in getting this bill passed.  They pushed very hard for the police warrant requirement and from my understanding Maine is now the first state legislature in the country to pass such a bill.  I worked directly with Shenna Bellows from the ACLU for months on this and our role was to help build the grassroots support for the bill.  All indications are that the continual grassroots pressure was a key to building deep and wide support in the legislature for the warrant requrement.

But we did not always agree on the bill language.  The ACLU really wanted the warrant requirements and in the end they had to settle for the drone weapons testing in order to get what they wanted.  The weapons testing was not an issue the ACLU would draw the line for.  Just yesterday we in the peace community were asked by state House leadership to agree to the drone weaponization language and I said that it was not possible.  I told Rep. Seth Berry (Democrat) that "I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well.  I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones.  I can't morally or ethically do it."

Sometimes even progressive groups don't agree on everything and you have to work together as best you can.  Shenna tried hard to have our voice included in the middle of the negotiations but in the end the ACLU decided to set a precedent by getting a bill passed somewhere in the country with the warrant requirement in it.

So in the end the Maine police can't spy on you without a warrant but the drone industry and the military can freely practice killing you with Hellfire missiles.   Such is the sausage making business.

Our next steps will be to organize an anti-drone presence in the Bath July 4 parade and then do a Maine drone peace walk from Limestone to Augusta on October 10-19.  We will stay on the drone issue in Maine.  It's not over by a long shot.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

MAINE DRONE BILL NEGOTIATIONS


The Maine drone bill has hit a snag.  A couple potential drone manufacturers in Maine, along with the Presque Isle airport (who wants to be a drone test site), are pushing for language in the bill to allow testing of weapons on drones.  Maine Attorney General Janet Mills (Democrat) and Gov. Paul LePage (Republican) are largely behind this effort.

The Maine House of Representatives tabled the bill last night in order to buy time to add the drone weapons testing amendment.

Late last night I was talking with Shenna Bellows from ACLU about all this and she said Rep.Seth Berry in the House wants our endorsement of the drone weapons testing lingo for the bill.  Then this morning we got an email directly from Rep. Berry asking for our support.

This is what I wrote back to him:

Seth,
I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well.  I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones.  I can't morally or ethically do it.
Everyone promises jobs....my job is to try to end wars and the massive military spending. If we converted the war industry to peaceful production we'd have loads of money for building rail, a solar society, fixing roads and bridges, and much more.
The definitive study on creating jobs was done by UMASS-Amherst, please take a look:  http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/published_study/PERI_military_spending_2011.pdf
This feverish last minute scramble is how bad laws get written.  That's why I've all along suggested a two-year moratorium should be passed on drones in Maine which would give us all time to do it right.
In the end though the drone testing deal will be a challenge as Obama is calling for 30,000 of them to fly over our heads in coming years.  We will be told it is OK because it will create jobs.
That's why I'm now organizing a walk to stop drones in Maine from Limestone to Augusta next Oct 10-19.  We need more time to get the public engaged in this discussion.
Many thanks for listening.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

DESTROYING NATURE FOR A NAVY BASE


Construction trash and debris floats out of a gap in the silt protectors. Gangjeong was once famous for the cleanliness of it's Joongdeok Sea.


Although just recently made, these caissons are already falling apart, perhaps due to rough weather and poor construction.


On June 5 and 12, the Gangjeong village SOS (Save Our Seas) Ocean Team again took to the seas to monitor the Navy base construction. On one of the trips, June 12, they were joined by a large group of students from an alternative school who had come to visit Gangjeong. The students had a short experiential learning session about the ocean construction and the Joongdoek Sea. Otherwise, the construction continued with the same violations which always occur, despite claims to the contrary by both the Samsung construction companies and even the complicit provincial government.

The military industrial complex views nature as an obstacle that must be run over in order to build its outposts of imperial expansion.  They don't care what they do to the undersea soft coral reefs nor to the fish or the water.  The sacred rocky coast has been blasted and cement poured over it and no thought is given to the life that lived amongst the rocks.  It is covered and forgotten.

This militarism is a disease.  It is a cancer.  It is disgusting and must be stopped.

You can help by watching and sharing the new documentary film about the Jeju Navy base resistance called Ghosts of Jeju.

The nature has ghosts too and we humans will be haunted for years to come after what is being done to Jeju Island and its surrounding sea.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BRAZIL TOO

 

Now people are protesting in Brazil as they see cutbacks in education and social spending.

The whole world is fed up with the corruption that comes from our governments being taken over by corporate power.  They privatize - they cut back - they steal our natural resources - they pollute our Mother Earth - they make war and use police violence to repress the public - and then they lie about their devious intentions.

The world is moving in a wave against these corporate dominated governments.  Keep it going.

Monday, June 17, 2013

HALF WAY HOME IN MAINE WITH DRONE BILL



Drone bill wins in Maine Senate - Goes to House on Tuesday

Great news.  Our drone bill (LD 236) minority report won big in the State Senate in Augusta today.  Your calls and emails worked.

Now we need you to make one more round of calls/emails to House members in Augusta as the bill will come before the House on Tuesday.

You can find their contact info at http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/hbiolist.htm (House)

The minority report not only put the warrant requirements back into the bill (which Attorney General Mills repeatedly tried to kill) but also declares a two-year moratorium on the use of drones in Maine.

Great effort by ACLU in Maine and our grassroots supporters made this happen.

So please help us push through this last step - contact your Maine House member now.  Ask them to support warrants before drones can be used for surveillance in our state and the moratorium.

SELLING HIGH TECH WAR




This is video of the Directed Energy Weapons lobby set up in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. The Military Industrial Complex is not shy about courting members of Congress. They had models of some laser weapons on display, sandwiches and drinks, chocolates and little gadgets to give away.

ALI ON TURKEY AND STRATEGY



Tariq Ali is a famous writer and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

INSIDE THE BASKETBALL STORY



After making basketball history playing alongside the North Korean National Team, Vice Correspondent, Ryan Duffy and the Harlem Globetrotters sit down for a meal with the North Korean players, sharing highlights from the game and reactions to the surprise appearance of the Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un.

NO JUSTICE IN NIGERIA



What would white folks say if their communities were turned into oil cesspools like this?  Why do Nigerians have to live this way?

INTELLIGENCE REPORT


TURKISH NIGHT



Last night at 9.00 PM police forces intervened against the Istanbul Gezi Park resistance violently, following the speech of Prime Minister Erdoğan in Ankara.

This is an obvious declaration of war against the people.

All main highways of Istanbul were occupied by demonstrators. Tens of thousands of people were in the streets, trying to march to Taksim square. Police uses not only tear gas but also rubber bullets.

Prime Minister Erdoğan also ordered that doctors and medical volunteers who were treating the victims of police violence should be arrested and many were.  One hotel in the city opened their doors to those needing to escape the police violence and people formed a human chain outside the hotel doors to keep police from going inside.
  
The Confederation of employees in the public sector (KESK) is calling for a general strike on Monday.



SUNDAY SONG