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, March 14, 2014

MESSAGE TO OKINAWA



I was recently asked to send a message to people on Okinawa who are resisting the expansion of US military bases there which are part of Obama's 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific.

I am told that my message was printed yesterday in the newspaper.  Here is what I wrote:

It was very encouraging to hear that Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City was reelected despite misguided efforts of [Japanese Prime Minister] Abe and the US to influence the election with promises of money.  The US military is desperate to expand its military operations in the Asia-Pacific region in order to control and dominate China.  Okinawa is just a useful tool, like other expanding Pentagon operations on Jeju Island, South Korea, Guam, the Philippines, Australia and beyond.  This cancerous military expansion by the Pentagon is destabilizing and expensive.  There are also severe environmental consequences with this US military expansion program as we witness on Okinawa and places like Jeju Island.  Human rights abuses are rampant as well as the US and Abe attempt to crush public will.

But the story about the people's movement on Okinawa and Jeju Island are spreading like wildfire across the globe.  More and more of the world's citizens see this military expansion plan as dangerous to world peace.  It must be stopped.  The people on Okinawa are on the front lines but will not be forgotten nor abandoned.

Our organization, like many others, is now expanding our education and organizing around Obama's "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific.  It is a program to make the weapons industry even wealthier and to give the corporations that now control the US government full domination of the planet.

 In the US we also oppose Obama's "pivot" because the cost of expanding militarism is destroying our society as well.  There is no money for health care, transportation, education, and infrastructure repair.  We also oppose this US military expansion because it is morally wrong.  It is wrong to steal land from people on Okinawa and it is wrong to prepare for war.

We thank the people of Okinawa for standing strong.  This madness must end some time and we are honored to join you in this fight.  Let us use our resources to deal with climate change, environmental pollution from Fukushima, growing hunger and other pressing social problems.

- Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

SURROUNDED


FRACKED UP



A string of small earthquakes in Mahoning County, Ohio this week triggered the Ohio State Department of Natural Resources to order a halt on fracking operations near the tremor site. Hilcorp Energy, which is producing oil and natural gas out of the Utica Shale, is the only company with fracking operations near the epicenter. Although, the boom in oil and gas drilling central and southern U.S. has been tied to an increase in the number of earthquakes in the region, RT's Perianne Boring reporters there is little evidence to show that hydraulic fracturing is actually the cause.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

SPACE ORGANIZING CONFAB SET TO BEGIN

Global Network board member Dennis Apel from Santa Maria, California reads a statement at Vandenberg AFB during a recent protest vigil at the base.  He was arrested after making his statement.  Apel is hosting the GN's 22nd annual conference this year.

Groups to hold vigil at Vandenberg

Protest part of Santa Barbara conference by peace activists
Santa Maria Times
A network of global peace groups will kick off a weekend conference in Santa Barbara with a Friday afternoon vigil at Vandenberg Air Force Base’s main gate.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN) will hold its 22nd annual space organizing conference in Santa Barbara. The GN is made up of 150 peace and religious groups opposed to what they say is the development of a new arms race in space.

The theme for the conference will be “Vandenberg’s Role in U.S. Global Domination: Implications of US ‘Pivot’ into the Asia-Pacific.”

Conference organizers cite Vandenberg’s role in launching military satellites, testing unarmed nuclear missiles and developing “missile defense” interceptors.

The conference weekend will begin with a vigil at Vandenberg’s main gate from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.Friday.

“For years there have been peace protests outside Vandenberg AFB with many people arrested for their non-violent witness,” GN Coordinator Bruce Gagnon said in a press release. “GN members are coming from all over the world to honor and encourage these dedicated local citizens. We will share our deep concerns about current US plans to ‘control and dominate space’ and the Pentagon’s pivot into the Asia-Pacific.”

Santa Maria resident Dennis Apel, who is part of the Guadalupe Catholic Worker movement, said he plans to attend the protest and expects to be arrested for the second time since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the military has the right to bar him from even being in the designated protest area along Highway 1.

The ruling says the law doesn’t remove a commander’s authority “to exclude individuals who have vandalized military property and been determined to pose a threat to the order and security of the base.”

While the Feb. 26 ruling favored the military position, justices noted it didn’t deal with First Amendment issues. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said “it is questionable whether Apel’s ouster from the protest area can withstand constitutional review.”

Apel joined with approximately one dozen other activists for a monthly protest last week and was arrested again, his first since the Supreme Court ruling.

The conference and protest are expected to attract representatives from England, India, Norway, Canada, the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Approximately 50 people are expected at the retreat in Santa Barbara.

Apel is listed among the speakers scheduled for a public forum at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara. David Krieger from the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation also is set to speak.

THE PEOPLE AIN'T STUPID


The Washington Post (disappointedly I'm sure) reports:

A new poll suggests Americans have very little appetite for any real involvement in the crisis in Ukraine.

Only 29 percent of Americans would like for the Obama administration to take a "firm stand" against Russia's incursion into its neighbor, according to the Pew Research Center poll, while nearly twice as many -- 56 percent -- prefer the United States not to get too involved in Ukraine.

The poll reflects a war-weary American public that is still very reticent to get involved in international conflicts. The American people were similarly opposed to military intervention in Syria last year, despite President Obama calling for the use of force and seeking congressional approval for action.

So despite all the demonization of Russia and Putin, and the celebration of the "new revolution" in Kiev, the people are figuring this one out - without any help from the mainstream media.

So just how is this possible?

I think the answer is fairly clear...the public, while admittedly not aware of most of the details, has an innate distrust of our corporate controlled government.  People understand the part about the corporate control because most folks work for  these greedy corporate plunderers and daily have to do much of the dirty work themselves.  So they know, in a broad sense, what is going on and they don't like it.

What the public will not like is sending a bunch of money over to prop up the new regime in the Ukraine.  If they were given the information about the Nazi elements in Kiev by the media they'd be even more against this whole coup d'etat.  Sadly this vital piece of information is kept from them at all costs.

While in Las Vegas last weekend I had dinner with one of my sisters who lives there.  She tends to be quite conservative and when I asked her about Ukraine she was opposed to the US getting involved.  I could tell she didn't know alot of the details but just relying on her sixth sense she could see beyond the hype.

When the public hears a political operator like John Kerry lecturing Russia about the wrongs of invading other countries their 'bullshit' meter goes off the scale.  The public might not know all the facts, but they ain't stupid. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THE RISE OF THE FASCISTS



Where are the voices in Europe speaking out against the strong Nazi elements in this 'revolutionary' government in Ukraine?

Where are the voices in the halls of Congress in Washington about a clear alliance between the Obama administration and these fascists?

MORE FROM PEPE ESCOBAR



What is the big picture in Ukraine today? Should it be interpreted legally or politically? What is China's attitude to the conflict in Ukraine? And, has Washington blinked?

CrossTalking with Pepe Escobar, Ann Lee and Martin McCauley.

SELLING THE COUP BACK IN THE USA



Back in the USA ..... Obama is set to play host to Ukraine's 'interim' Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (Yats). The two will discuss the $1 billion aid package Washington has already pledged to Kiev. It's a sign of just how deeply involved America is in the Ukrainian crisis.

The real purpose of the trip though is a sales job - to sell the new government of Ukraine, empowered by a US-NATO engineered coup d'etat, to the American people.  The Obama administration must make the American people 'feel good' about this provocative intervention by the US in the affairs of Ukraine.

It is very likely that the initial $1 billion will only be the first such 'offering' made by the US as the Ukrainian government is now bankrupt.  So the American people will be asked to accept more cut backs in social spending to prop up the new oil-i-garchs in Kiev.

The New York Times reported a few days ago that "Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion."

You might recall that US State Department operative Victoria Nuland last December spoke at an event in Washington where she reported on the progress the US-NATO were making in preparing the ground for the coup.  On the stage the program sponsors Chevron and ExxonMobil had their logos displayed.  She reminded the assembled that "we have invested over $5 billion" in this project.

You can be sure that Nuland will be well rewarded for her handy work in toppling the elected Ukrainian government.  The US love for 'democracy' obviously has its limits.

So expect to see lots of hand slapping and chest thumping in Washington.  The corporate dominated media will play their role and create the image of US being the savior of democracy - out to bring freedom at last to the doorstep of Russia.

It won't be long before we hear about a deal to deploy so-called US 'missile defense' in Ukraine.  When that happens you can be sure that things will heat up real fast..... remember the Cuban missile crisis?

In fact US-NATO began wargames in Poland yesterday with 12 US F-16 fighter jets and 300 personnel. On Monday, NATO also gave the green light to Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) for reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania. On Saturday, US Navy destroyer, the USS Truxtun, crossed Turkey's Bosphorus strait and entered the Black Sea.

Hopes of a diplomatic solution to the crisis were severely dampened after Secretary of State John Kerry decided to cancel a visit to Moscow on Monday to discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

UPDATING FUKUSHIMA


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CIA SPYING ON US SENATE



Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is demanding an apology from the CIA for improperly searching a special computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Staffers were using the network to investigate allegations of CIA abuse in a controversial George W. Bush-era detention and interrogation program.

Tuesday's apology demand came one day after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden blasted the US intelligence community for invasion of privacy at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

RT's Ameera David discusses privacy issues, intelligence gathering and the CIA-Senate battle with former Gov. Jesse Ventura (I-MN.).

WATCH FOR SAUDI INVOLVEMENT NEXT IN CRIMEA




One of my favorite journalists Pepe Escobar who writes for Asia Times.  He has a good analysis of the coup d'etat in Ukraine and what is likely to come next.

See more of his writing about the Saudi link here

GHOSTS OF JEJU WINS IN CHICAGO

Regis Tremblay (left) won big at the Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago.  Joyak Gol (right) from Jeju Island sang at the event




Fellow Mainer Regis Tremblay's documentary The Ghosts of Jeju won the best expose film at the Chicago Peace on Earth Film Festival this past weekend . Here is Regis in his own words:

The Ghosts of Jeju won best Expose film...and Jeju was the talk of the festival....people loved Joyakgol....he was so awesome...tonight he sang at the reception for the filmmakers and he was a huge hit! The voices of Jeju were amplified in a really big way today!

Regis and Joyak are touring the film during the next several weeks, not only in Illinois, but also throughout California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

This weekend they will both be at the Global Network 22nd annual conference in Santa Barbara showing the film and Joyak will sing on several occasions.

Regis has done a great job of getting the Jeju Island story out around the world.  The film festival recognition is well deserved.


PLAYING WITH FIRE ON RUSSIAN BORDER



The Nazi-style round up of dissenters in the Ukraine has begun as the "revolutionaries" in Kiev now move throughout the country to arrest key leaders who oppose the coup d'etat.

There can be no doubt that the US-NATO intelligence agencies are involved in this 'cleansing' as they move to take full control of Ukraine and set their sights on Crimea.  Next step is to destabilize Russia and break it up into pieces that would then be controlled by the west.

The US has continually shown that it will work with the worst elements in order to meet its political objectives.  Just look at Syria as an example.  Now the US-NATO are working with Nazi's to take control of Ukraine and and make a play for Russia.  They are playing with fire and threatening World War III.

Global Network board member Alice Slater writes:

Before you demonize Putin, it may interest you to all know that Putin offered President Bill Clinton a proposal to cut our nuclear arsenals of 18,000 warheads at the time, to 1,000 each and then call all the rest of the nuclear states (who have only 1,000 nuclear warheads all together-China, UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) to the negotiating table to eliminate nuclear weapons.  But Putin asked that it be contingent on Clinton not putting missiles into Eastern Europe which Clinton refused to promise.  Then George W. Bush actually walked out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia which outlawed building anti-missiles so we wouldn’t have to keep building more missiles to overcome the anti-missile shield. 

We bombed Kosovo without Security Council approval and expanded the UN Security Council mission in Libya unilaterally.   If we want to get along with Russia, we should stop demonizing Putin and look first at the “mote in our own eye” and how the US and the NATO expansionists have been a threat to Russia, with no good reason.   We should ask for NATO to disband and empower the UN peacekeeping function. 

You should also know that China and Russia tabled a treaty in the Committee on Disarmament in the UN to  ban weapons in space which required consensus for negotiation.   Only the US  blocked it, several years in a row.   Also, Russia proposed, after the US, first again in mayhem and havoc, launched the first cyber attack on on Iran’s computers with the Stuxnet virus to slow down their enrichment of uranium, that we talk about negotiating a treaty to ban cyber warfare.   Here too the US was disappointingly uninterested and rejected Russia’s proposal to even talk about this issue.   I’m sure there’s lots to criticize about Putin, but let’s be clear who the real aggressor has been ever since the wall came down and we broke our promise to Gorbachev not to expand NATO, beyond admitting a reunified Germany into the old cold war alliance.  Remember, Reagan walked out of a deal to get rid of all the nukes with Gorbachev because he didn’t want to give up Star Wars—a part of which is the current 'missile defense' proliferation in Eastern Europe and Asia.    Putin is well aware of all of this!  

- Alice Slater
New York City

Sunday, March 09, 2014

NEO-NAZI'S PUSH FOR POWER IN UKRAINE



The leader of the Ukrainian radical group Right Sector, Dmitry Yarosh, was a major player the protests in Kiev that toppled the government in February. Now Yarosh has thrown his hat in the ring to be the country's next elected president. The Right Sector movement, an amalgamation of several far-right groups, was formed in November 2013.

After the February 21 agreement between now-ousted President Viktor Yanukovich and opposition leaders was signed, the Right Sector declared they did not recognize it and would continue the armed struggle. But Yarosh is facing opposition from Russia. On Wednesday, Russia put Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism. RT's Peter Oliver takes a look at the controversial Yarosh

NELLIS VIGIL


About 40 of us from the Pacific Life Community retreat gathered at the front gate of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas early this morning.  Because a NASCAR auto race was also beginning this morning near the base, traffic was heavy and we got a surprisingly positive response from the public - including the race fans.  Talking with others afterward we came to the conclusion that that American people are increasingly becoming anti-war.

In my talk yesterday I suggested that the peace movement needs to use our imagination more often.  We tend to get rigid at times in our work and wonder why we are not growing.  The fact that so many NASCAR fans are honking at us should make us reconsider our present organizing strategies.

Meetings continue today and then very early Monday morning we go for a vigil at the Nevada Nuclear Test site.

I thought I'd share the following story from a retreat session.

Janet Chisholm, long-time member of Episcopal Peace Fellowship, spoke yesterday.  She moved to Las Vegas in the 1950's at a very young age.  When they arrived in Las Vegas the city had just two motels and no fences.  At that time the government was doing the above ground nuclear tests here and many people, including Janet's family, used to go watch the tests as entertainment.  Many years later Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer and when she called her mother to tell her she was surprised to hear this from her mom:  "Oh my god, what did we do to you kids?  They told us it was safe."

Nevada was chosen as the nuclear test site because at the time it was the least populated state in the nation.... it was called a 'wasteland' by nuclear scientists.  The Shoshone Indians didn't quite see it that way as their sacred land was taken from them and contaminated by the tests.

SUNDAY SONG