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, March 29, 2014

ANY WHERE, ANY TIME



This ground breaking film tells the stories of seven women who live alongside US military bases in Texas, Puerto Rico, Hawai'i, Guam, the Philippines, South Korea, and Okinawa (Japan). They take us into their homes, walk us through their neighborhoods, and introduce us to their communities. We see how military operations and bloated military budgets have affected their lives as we listen to their experiences and take in their surroundings.

CREATING FALSE PRETEXT FOR WAR ON SYRIA



The Turkish government is red-faced after a leak on YouTube revealed a daring plot to justify invading neighboring Syria. An anonymous source posted audio of a secret meeting between top Turkish officials - discussing a false flag operation that would appear as a Syrian attack. It's not the first time Ankara has tried to rally NATO against Syria. RT's Marina Portnaya has a collection of Turkish attempts to spark a full-blown war with its neighbor, with the backing of the Alliance.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is implicated in the leaked audio.   Foreign Minister Davutoglu says:
...cogu zaman Kerry bana aynen sunu soyledi peki siz kararinizi verdiniz mi dedi bu vurma ve sey yapma...
Translation:  Many times Kerry has said to me "Ok, did you make the decision to strike?"

If Turkey could create a false flag attack on themselves from Syrian territory then NATO would have the "justification" to go full force into a war.  It is clear that the US-NATO have not given up on this evil plan.

The leak resulted in Turkey blocking access to YouTube.  That is an admission of guilt.

Friday, March 28, 2014

LETTER TO EDITOR

The Navy's new expensive and provocative Zumwalt class destroyer at Bath Iron Works in Maine gets 'christened' on April 12

My letter to the editor was printed in our local Times Record newspaper today.

Dear Editor:

On April 12 there will be a ‘christening’ of the Navy’s new ‘stealthy’ Zumwalt destroyer at BIW.  Veterans for Peace, PeaceWorks and other groups around Maine will hold a rally just across from where the public will assemble for the Navy show.

The Navy has to put on the good face for this one, largely because they did not want the expensive Zumwalt anyway; it was going to eat up too much of the shipbuilding budget.  But the corporate forces behind the project pushed the door open and here we are.

Costs for the Zumwalt are still mounting (someone might ask about the sagging walls inside the engine room that are weak because money was saved by ignoring design specs) and will likely come in over $4 billion per ship.  The past destroyers made at BIW were more than $1.5 billion per copy.

President Obama pushed the Navy hard to go with the Zumwalt in spite of huge costs and questions about its strategic value.  One should follow the interesting thread about the Crown family in Chicago (who are majority stockholders in General Dynamics) helping fund and direct Obama’s political career. There is much to learn there – a real “House of Cards” story.

The Associated Press has reported,  “A super-stealthy destroyer [Zumwalt] that could underpin the U.S. Navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic ‘rail guns’ right out of a sci-fi movie.  Using electric pulses, not chemical explosives, the ‘rail gun’ can shoot a 40-pound metal slug from New York to Philadelphia at up to 5,600 mph — more than seven times the speed of sound — with 32 times the force of a car traveling at 100 miles per hour."

In other words, the Zumwalt will be provocative and destabilizing.  We want war with China now too?  Someone is pulling our chain.

Obviously jobs are the big issue when it comes to BIW.  Connecticut, near the top of the list of states most dependent on the military, last year passed a law to create a commission to make plans for the conversion/diversification of military production facilities.  One way or the other 57% of every discretionary tax dollar can’t keep going to the Pentagon.  When military budgets come down jobs will be cut.  But studies show that investing those same dollars in any other kind of job creation result in more jobs in every case.  Thus planning for a stable transition is imperative. 

People across the nation are demanding funding for social progress, education, health care, and probably most importantly turning us away from our toxic shock attack on Mother Earth.  What is our social priority – a corporate version of feudalism or real democracy, social justice and sustainability?

On April 12th we’ll hold our BIW rally from 10am to noon and we will talk to those lining up for the ‘christening’ about the benefits of the conversion process.

Later in the evening on April 12 an International Panel on US ‘Pivot’ to Asia-Pacific will be held at the new Unitarian Church in Brunswick.  Speakers from India, Japan, Korea and the US will discuss the implications of moving 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific to “control” China.  Potluck supper begins at 6:00 pm and the panel discussion at 7:00 pm.  The public is warmly invited.
 
Bruce K. Gagnon
Bath

LIFE IS BUT A DREAM


You take the high road
and I will take the high road too
maybe we'll get to where
we are going together

They'll take the low road
they take it every time
we know their story now
the suffering helps us to remember

Yes it seems like our boat is sinking
no end in sight
our 'leader' flies the world
spreading dark moments
and defending even darker times

but we keep rowing
and singing the rowing song
life is but a dream
dreams sometimes come true

I often feel
connected to the circle
sitting around the council fire
hearing about the past storms
and the coming storm

fire, deception, forked tongues
we hear it on the rail lines
when we press our ear to the steel
the train is coming

Do we talk Washington's words
with the Great White Father?
Can we trust the generals
the horse soldiers
the pox filled blankets
the rancid flour
for our starving children
on the reservation?

Iraq was better than
Crimea
says the Washington talk
which continues much the same
as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull,
Standing Bear, Chocise
heard in their day

I'll take the high road
you take the high road too
maybe we'll get to where
we are going together

PUSH BACK ON OBAMA'S IRAQ STORY



On a planned presidential trip to the E.U. headquarters, it was supposed to be all handshakes and photo ops about a new trade deal. But instead, President Obama, in his speech before the E.U., took to defending the United States' decision to invade Iraq.

THE STORY OF THE GLOBAL NETWORK



Here is Dave Webb's video presentation about the work of the Global Network that he made for our 22nd annual meeting recently in Santa Barbara.  Dave chairs the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and lives in Leeds, England.  He is the convener of the Global Network boards.
The piece got great reviews at our conference and features a smash hit by board member Holly Gwinn Graham (Olympia, Washington) who sings "We're planning a war in space."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BRAZIL TAKES ON NSA SNOOPING



Brazilian legislators are considering a bill that many are calling the "Constitution of the Internet," in response to the revelations about the NSA's accessing of internet users' data. Already passed by the lower house of the Brazilian legislature, the bill tightens privacy rights for internet users and also enshrines the concept of "net neutrality," where all internet traffic must be treated the same by Internet Service Providers.

Although widely popular, the bill must still be passed by the upper house and signed by the president. RT's Lindsay France speaks about the landmark bill with Harvard Fellow and open internet advocate, Carolina Rossini.

LET'S MAKE IT REAL

Wikipedia informs us about one of the US's big border wars.

The Mexican–American War, also known as the Mexican War, the U.S.–Mexican War, the Invasion of Mexico, the U.S. Intervention, or the United States War Against Mexico, was an armed conflict between the United States and the Republic of Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory.

Combat operations lasted a year and a half, from the spring of 1846 to the fall of 1847. American forces quickly occupied New Mexico and California, then invaded parts of Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico; meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron conducted a blockade, and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast further south in Baja California. Another American army captured Mexico City, and the war ended in a victory for the United States.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo specified the major consequence of the war: the forced Mexican Cession of the territories of Alta California and New Mexico to the United States in exchange for $15 million. In addition, the United States assumed $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico accepted the loss of Texas and thereafter cited the Rio Grande as its national border.

The US has been grabbing other territories without popular election for a long time.  Check with the Indians just in case you still don't get it. 

Now let's imagine that Russia or China tries to play the same game.  They stir up the Mexicans with lots of money, say $5 billion for the project, and they even send in some mercenaries like Blackwater (name changed to Xe and then Academi) and their own intelligence operatives.  They also send in some of their 'diplomatic' people with bags of tamales to hand to the blossoming occupy effort in the streets of Mexico City that is demanding an end to their government and the return of lands stolen by the US.  One of the Russian diplomats gets caught in a conversation saying who Moscow wants to head up the new Mexican government.

Then on top of all that the Russians and Chinese send warships into the Gulf of Mexico and along the Pacific coast.  Russian warplanes begin flying out of Cuba and are bumping up along the US border.

When the US strongly reacts by mobilizing its own military the Russian and Chinese governments claim that the US is being provocative and overly aggressive.  Russia and China also demand that the US must return Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California back to Mexico.  Maybe even Colorado too.

All hell is about to break loose.

WHITEWASHING THE TRUTH



The hypocrisy of Obama is beyond imagination.  The fact that he feels he has to make excuses for US attacks on Iraq, Yugoslavia, or Libya indicates though that much of the world is not buying what the Obama team is selling.

It's quite sad really that this man is reduced to groveling on the world stage - "The US attacks are not as bad as Russia's referendums."

In the larger scheme of things the US is finished as the 'shining light on the hill'.  The bulb has burned out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

STUDENTS RISING IN MAINE



Several hundred students at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland have been protesting in recent days due to major cuts and faculty lay-offs at their institution.

Students and faculty members who are protesting budget cuts at USM are accusing officials of making up numbers and “manufacturing” the crisis.

The critics say the University of Maine System should use its $183 million in unrestricted reserve funds to plug budget holes and save faculty positions.

It is good to see the students protesting against the coming reality of corporate feudalism.  At some point the hope is that they will also see that the massive amounts of $$$$ wasted on US militarism should be included in their solutions articulation.

WHAT WE KNOW


THE REALITY, RISKS AND RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization-including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk. Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement.

Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human - caused climate change is real. Moreover, while the public is becoming aware that climate change is increasing the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world.

The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. The longer we wait to respond, the more the risks of climate change will increase. Conversely, the sooner we take action, the more options we will have to reduce risk and limit the human and economic cost of climate change....

See the full report here

The AAAS Climate Science Panel

Mario Molina (Chair)
University of California, San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography

James McCarthy
(Co-chair)
Harvard University

Diana Wall
(Co-chair)
Colorado State University

Richard Alley
Pennsylvania State University

Kim Cobb
Georgia Institute of Technology

Julia Cole
University of Arizona

Sarah Das
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Noah Diffenbaugh
Stanford University

Kerry Emanuel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Howard Frumkin
University of Washington

Katharine Hayhoe
Texas Tech University

Camille Parmesan
University of Texas, Austin and University of Plymouth, UK

Marshall Shepherd
University of Georgia

WE CALL IT DEMOCRACY


Most folks don't pay much attention to politics anymore.  They've given up, they are depressed (financially and emotionally), likely on meds, and long ago determined that it was a waste of time to fight city hall.....let alone the feds.  But they do care, worry about things, and some of them even mouth off at work or in the local bar.  People are indeed agitated.

Years ago (god why didn't I save the link?) I found a story that reported the oil-i-garchy's strategy was to make politics so dirty, so ugly, and so dominated by big $$$$, that the public would not go near it thus giving Mr. Big virtual control.  They are close to the goal now.

Sooner or later though Mr. & Mrs. Average in the US will have to get engaged due to the overabundance of shit they are eating these days - literally and figuratively.  The remaining question is when they do engage will they be non-violent or make the mistake to 'let loose' using guns.  We tried Civil War back in the 1860's and it was a disaster.  Virtually every town in Maine has a Civil War statue on the town green with the names of local boys who died.

Democracy at home has been "occupied" by Mr. Big and now he's set his sites on the rest of the planet.  One effective tool that is being used is called the National Endowment for Democracy.  They spent $100 million or more on the Ukraine project.  They are destabilizing democracy around the world each day.  Take a look at the board of directors here.  The names that jumped out to me included Elliott Abrams, Norm Coleman, Zalmay Khalilzad, Vin Webber and Robert Zoellick.  All big time neo-con operatives.

Breathe deep....

But we get to decide what is right, and what is an illusion.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BLOWBACK BEGINS IN UKRAINE



Notorious Ukrainian right-wing militant leader Aleksandr Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, has been shot dead during a police raid against his gang, confirmed Ukraine's Ministry of Interior.

Neil Clark, a UK-based journalist and broadcaster who's been covering the events in Ukraine extensively, explained why allegations that the Right Sector activist was assassinated make perfect sense.


WOULD CHRIST BLESS WARSHIPS?



Christ, the prince of peace
is coming to Bath
to give his blessings
his support
his stamp of approval
to a killing machine

The Pentagon has religious
approval
the way the institution of slavery
was once blessed
by many churches

The priests of darkness
then maintained that 'inferior' slaves
were meant by god
to be ruled by the slave class

"Jesus Christ recognized this slavery institution as one that was lawful among men, and regulated its relative duties. ... I affirm then, first (and no man denies) that Jesus Christ has not abolished slavery by a prohibitory command; and second, I affirm, he has introduced no new moral principle which can work its destruction."

- Reverend Thomas Stringfellow, A Scriptural View of Slavery, Culpeper County, Virginia, 1856.

Similarly now we see some in the church
defending high-tech militarism
our current dark economic system
so similar to slavery
in that they both suck the life out of the nation
and of the people they destroy

Slavery and militarism
equally immoral
but war is defended with religious zeal

“God is Pro-War” declared Rev. Jerry Falwell
soon after US shock and awe
forces attacked Iraq
the first shot fired from the 'christened'
USS Cowpens
built in Bath
loaded with cruise missiles
that carried the godly
and wicked message
to their civilian targets

Yes god blesses us
because we are his 'exceptional'
specimens
we are the world's greatest
civilization
and it's greatest people
we have been chosen by god
to carry his mighty sword

THE ZUMWALT & CHRIST'S BLESSING



The Navy's new Zumwalt stealth destroyer will get the 'blessings of Christ' on April 12 at Bath Iron Works.

THE NATO CANCER


  • Rick Rozoff from Chicago has become a leading expert on NATO, particularly the steroidal expansion of the military wing of corporate globalization.  He does an interview with Gary Null about NATO which can be heard here. Much to his credit Rick is also a fan of The Kinks.

  • Poland late last week said it would speed up the process for choosing a "missile defense" system that would tie into the US-NATO program. Warsaw had previously intended to cull the number of contractor proposals by early summer. There are competing bids from four different entities: the Israeli government; a Lockheed Martin-led consortium that produces the Medium Extended Air Defense System; the Raytheon aerospace corporation; and a consortium of France's Thales, the European firm MBDA and a Polish state defense group. The contract is worth approximately $5 billion. However, analysts estimate the entire cost could be as much as $13.1 billion, when maintenance expenses are factored in. Washington praised Warsaw for its willingness to ramp up military spending -- something the US-NATO have been urging all European alliance partners to do. A  missile defense site in Poland would be part of Obama's "European Phased Adaptive Approach" to NATO missile defense and is aimed at Russia.

  • During the summer of 2008 Russia and Georgia had a five-day military dust up along their border.  The first US politician to arrive was then Sen. Joseph Biden (later Obama's Vice-Prez) who pledged undying loyalty to the CIA-directed project in Georgia.  The US largely funded and directly this shoot out which was intended to  keep the steady beat of anti-Russian war drums going.  The US-NATO are itching to bring Georgia (and Ukraine) into the alliance.  The Stars & Stripes newspaper reported Biden's words last week:

“We are exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military co-operation, including rotating U.S. forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises — as well as training missions,” Biden said Wednesday during talks with Polish and Estonian officials.

Biden’s tour through the region includes a stop on Wednesday in Lithuania, where the U.S. already is taking part in a NATO air policing mission.

  • So currently the same script, I call it modus operandi, is being played out against Russia along its European borders.  The US-NATO are militarily encircling and poking the bear on many fronts.  Imagine this happening during the Cold War - a Cuban missile crisis in reverse - the US-NATO instigating trouble with a nuclear superpower.  This display of arrogance on the part of corporate globalization is just mind blowing.

  • The fact that this version of the story never sees light of day in the western mainstream media indicates the level of deceit and censorship that goes on today.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'M AN ACTIVIST AGAIN!



Speaking outside Mountjoy prison (Ireland) on her release, 79-year-old Margaretta D’Arcy says she will keep protesting.

Margaretta D’Arcy, 79-year-old feminist, peace activist and film-maker was released from jail on 22 March 2014, after serving three months for protesting against the US military use of Ireland’s Shannon Airport.

Following her release, Margaretta D’Arcy continued to reject the charges against her and her co-defendant, Niall Farrell, that they were interfering with the ‘proper use’ of Shannon Airport by going onto the runway in October 2012 and again in September 2013. They were in fact, says Ms D’Arcy, highlighting the ‘improper use’ of Shannon Airport by the US military, who have effectively colonised an Irish airport.

Since 2003, over 2 million US soldiers and their weapons and thousands of US military aircraft and cargo planes have transited through Shannon Airport, on their way to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere.

The Government of neutral Ireland has ‘improperly’ facilitated these movements of troops and weaponry – which could easily have included killer drones and depleted uranium – and failed to inspect any of the military cargos. Neither did the government inspect any of the CIA planes landing at the airport which have been implicated in illegal ‘extraordinary rendition’ flights.

“It is a fact”, stated Ms D’Arcy, “that CIA teams travelled via Shannon en route to kidnap individuals and transfer them to torture venues. This is in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention against Torture. Our Government has turned a blind eye. They are complicit in these crimes.”

Galway Alliance Against War summed up the motivation for the Shannon protest as follows:

Over the past twelve years consecutive Irish governments have colluded in Washington’s campaign of wars from Afghanistan to Yemen, in which up to 2 million people have perished. By allowing the US military to use Irish airspace and Shannon airport to wage these wars we have become a willing accessory to mass murder. We have blood on our hands…we feel we have no alternative but to block the runway at Shannon to highlight Irish involvement in this carnage.

On her release from prison, Margaretta D’Arcy said, “President Michael D Higgins has called on Irish citizens to have ‘conversations’ in public places as part of active citizenship. I have sat on a runway, had a court hearing and gone to prison in an attempt to have this ‘conversation’.”

“I am facing another trial in exactly three months’ time. I hope to continue this conversation/dialogue with the Irish people and our Government and judiciary, and to highlight what we have sacrificed as Irish and world citizens by allowing this colonising of our airport for illegal and immoral purposes.”

NEW US ALLIES IN KIEV CONTINUE TO BULLY



The acting chief executive of Ukraine's state broadcasting has been forced to sign a resignation letter - by neo-Nazi MPs who broke into his office.

The group of men, from the far-right Svoboda party, were angry with Oleksandr Panteleymonov's decision to broadcast a ceremony from the Kremlin on Tuesday. It showed Russian President Putin signing a bill to make Ukraine's Crimea region part of Russia. The MPs filmed themselves beating Mr Panteleymonov over the head until he gave in to their demands.

These are the people that the Obama administration is now supporting in Kiev.  In the latest twist on this story another of these 'new Ukrainian leaders' claimed that Russians should be attacked with nuclear weapons and reduced to dust. Nice touch.......

The Obama crew is playing with fire.  Once again I have to say... if George W. Bush was president today the liberals would be screaming mad.  Where are their voices now?  Why are the liberals silent about Obama teaming up with neo-fascists?

Could it be possible that the Russians understand these neo-Nazi's better than we do?  After all the Ukrainian fascists sided with Hitler when he invaded the Soviet Union during WW II killing about 27 million people before being defeated.

CONVERSION MESSAGE AT A12 BIW RALLY


During the past year a group of artists in Maine have been making banners for various protest movements.  Artists' Rapid Response Team (ARRT!) is a fluid group of dedicated Maine artists who are members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists.

Yesterday ARRT! met in nearby Brunswick for a day of banner making and delivered this one above to our house just before supper time.  They made the banner for us to use on Saturday, April 12 at the planned protest during the 'christening' of the Navy's new stealth destroyer here at Bath Iron Works from 10:00 am to noon.

On April 12 Veterans for Peace, and the other co-sponsoring groups, will share our conversion message with the thousands of local citizens who line up at BIW to enter the ‘christening’ ceremony.  The peace groups are calling on the Maine legislature to pass a law creating a commission to plan for conversion.  Connecticut, very reliant on military spending, recently passed such a law and many other states are now working on similar legislation. Maine workers know that when military spending cuts do come jobs will be lost.  Planning for conversion and diversification is a good strategy.

Other sponsors for the April 12 protest at BIW include:  Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom; Pax Christi Maine; CodePink Maine; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Vital Connections; and Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine.

Later in the evening on April 12 an International Panel on US ‘Pivot’ to Asia-Pacific will be held at the new Unitarian Church in Brunswick.  Speakers from India, Japan, Korea and the US will discuss the implications of moving 60% of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific to “control” China.  Potluck supper begins at 6:00 pm and the panel discussion at 7:00 pm.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

AVOID DRAFTS



The Draft and the Vietnam Generation will be a 60-minute video documentary that features men from diverse backgrounds who opposed the Vietnam War and defied the draft.

The draft forced young men to ask themselves if they were willing to kill and die in a war half way around the world.

If you were unwilling to fight in what you felt was an unjust war, you had to decide what to do.  Should you fake a medical illness, go to college, flee the country for Canada, or challenge the draft by going to prison?

SUNDAY SONG