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 14, 2015

Tensions Rising in Mariupol



Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased. For the city’s Kiev controlled authorities a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, many of them lean towards the eastern self-defense forces in Ukraine. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

Standing in the Face of War Preparations


  • Our Lenten peace vigils in Bath continue for a couple more weeks.  Today there were 17 of us in front of Bath Iron Works at noon when hundreds of workers poured out of the shipyard on foot and in cars.  They are building the Aegis destroyers (outfitted with 'missile defense' systems) that are currently being deployed in the Black Sea to reenforce the US-NATO eastward expansion up to Russia's borders.  We return to BIW at 11:30 am next week and expect a much larger crowd to be there as the site was chosen by CodePink Maine to be the location for Maine's contribution to the Spring Mobilization Against War.
  • Today we got even more confirmation that up to 1,000 US troops will be deployed to Ukraine from March through November for war games with the Ukrainian Army.  They'll train, guide and push them into battle against self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine.  When they finally depart the US combat units will likely leave behind much of their military hardware.  It's a way to get around the question of whether or not to 'Send Arms to Ukraine'.
  • Renowned international law professor Francis Boyle writes:   "The  US military will be training the 'Ukrainian National Guard'—that is, all the Neo-Nazi paramilitary groups over there. I sincerely stand subject to correction by anyone on this list, but to the best of my recollection, and without researching it, this might be the first time ever that the United States military will be openly training overtly Nazi paramilitary groups for combat. Just on time for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II."

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Surveillance State



Leading security and privacy researcher Bruce Schneier talks about about the golden age of surveillance and his new book, "Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World." The book chronicles how governments and corporation have built an unprecedented surveillance state. While the leaks of Edward Snowden have shed light on the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices, less attention has been paid to other forms of everyday surveillance — license plate readers, facial recognition software, GPS tracking, cellphone metadata and data mining.

Deep Backgrounder on Ukraine Story



A must watch by all - excellent video on US regime change operative (and Ambassador to Ukraine) Geoffrey R. Pyatt.  Reveals how governments are toppled for corporate interests.

The video explores Pyatt's regime change and destabilization experiences in Honduras, Pakistan, Hong Kong and India before moving on to Kiev.

Can you see the patterns emerging here?

$elling War with Russia - Media is the Message



It's a glorified public relations campaign - Madison Avenue created I am sure.  Only the best propaganda experts are used in creating this program to convince the public across the west that we (the 'defenders of truth, democracy and justice') must prepare for war with the Russian bear.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brit Undergoes Conversion from NATO Believer to Donbass Defender



NATO Through The Looking Glass: A Personal Journey From Naivety Towards Lucidity

By Marcus Godwyn

It was chilly March evening as a Russian teacher of English and I stepped out into the night on the University Embankment of Vasilevsky Island in Saint Petersburg in 2004.  We were colleagues in the same private language school which worked in conjunction with the Philological Faculty of the State University in that city. The pavement thronged and massed with students, other teachers and administrative staff as these courses were very popular and chucked out at 9 PM. We were going in different directions so we paused for a brief conversation.

He looked at me, sighed and said “The world is becoming a dangerous place!”

I looked at him askance. “What do you mean?” I said.

“NATO jets will soon be in Riga just five hundred kilometers away," he responded.

All three Baltic States were in the final processes of joining up to NATO.

I was living at the time, by choice, without any media at home. No TV, radio or internet.

I was aware of this development and didn't see any problem with it. In fact I thought that Russia itself would probably if not become a fully fledged member then at least make some kind of affiliation agreement in the relatively near future.

I knew that many Russians including many in the government remained highly suspicious of this organization but I blithely assumed that these were just old Soviet psychological cobwebs that would soon be gently dusted away into the half forgotten annals of history. I was genuinely surprised by his trepidation, especially as this person had taken the trouble to study to become an English teacher, had traveled in the USA and in general knew a lot about the Anglo-Saxon world.

See the rest of this excellent article here

Militarization of America - We've Become a Failed State


The Wall Street Journal reported on March 10 that for now the Congress will likely stick to sequestration "spending curbs enacted four years ago, even though many GOP lawmakers believe the limits are harming the nation’s military readiness."

"But the choice to abide by the spending limits in the base budget highlights the importance of shrinking federal spending as a core Republican value in the document meant to enshrine the party’s top priorities. And it reflects a GOP calculation that a focus on slashing spending will help secure the support of the party’s right flank, whose recent defections have derailed other high-profile bills.

"But sticking to the spending limits, reached in the bipartisan deal ending the bruising 2011 fight over raising the debt ceiling is expected to trigger opposition both from defense hawks within the Republican Party, as well as many Democrats. President Barack Obama has advocated raising both defense and nondefense spending above the limits, known as the sequester."

So leaders in both war parties are now looking at ways to get around the Pentagon spending limits in order to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the military industrial complex and their agents in Congress who want to bring home the weapons production bacon - the only real job creation program in the nation anymore.

One likely mechanism to get around sequestration is to use the Overseas Contingency Operations funds, or OCO, which isn’t subject to the sequester. This process allows Congress to appropriate more money for war spending - outside of the traditional Pentagon annual appropriations which are impacted by sequestration.

All of this means that further vicious attacks will be made on social programs like food stamps, education, health care, infrastructure repair and more.  We'll see more calls for local privatization of water and sewer systems, schools, roads and bridges and the like.  Basically the continued hollowing out of the public sector.  The standard of living will continue to plummet and practically the only jobs for young people will increasingly be in the military sector.

This is what is happening today in many other western client states where this formula of austerity cuts and militarization go hand-in-hand.  The Democrats, the so-called party of the 'little guy', are meekly agreeing to this as they have become full partners in this decimation of the nation.

Locally we see Democrats talking at most about writing letters to the editor of local newspapers but their feet are generally absent from the streets when protests are held to speak out against increased military spending and the nation's endless wars.  They still publicly defend Obama who has compiled a war record matching, and in many respects, exceeding that of George W. Bush.

The German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht spoke about the 'liberals' in his country collapsing during the rise of Hitler and Nazism.  They meekly surrendered and betrayed the public trust.  In the US most liberals still believe that they are just one election away from turning things around.  Just get another Democrat into the White House or return the Congress to Democrat control is their only priority.  But sadly they've forgotten that it was their party, in control of Washington during Bill Clinton's presidency, that kick-started NATO expansion to encircle Russia and continued the massive growth in the Pentagon's budget that began under Jimmy Carter and continues under Obama.  I've been an activist through all those years and have seen the 'liberals' continual selling out to the military corporate agenda. 

Our country has become a failed state.  Our children's future is bleak.  Rank-and-file liberals don't have much to say.  Obama has been a god-send to the corporate oligarchy.  He has kept his base in check.  Hillary Clinton would do the same. 

Excellent Discussion on Ukraine & Russia



Well worth watching.  An excellent review of the political and media implications of the US-NATO war in Ukraine which is certainly aimed at Russia.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

U.S. Pushing Coup Again in Venezuela



The arrogance of the Obama crew of pirates is stunning.....

Miguel Tinker-Salas is a professor of History and Latin American studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He is co-author of Venezuela: Hugo Chavez and the Decline of an Exceptional Democracy and author of Under the Shadow of the Eagles and The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela. His latest book is Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know. 

Who Do You Trust?



Ukrainian pro-government TV outlet reveals that these residents of Slavyansk in eastern Ukraine don't trust (US puppet) President Poroshenko, but do trust Putin instead.

This would never be reported in the US - and if it were all these people would be called 'terrorists'. They don't look like terrorists though do they?  In fact the real terrorists are the ones who have been shelling innocent communities in eastern Ukraine (Donbass) - and the countries that are arming and directing them.

One US family has informed me that their Army Special Forces son is now in Kiev.  What is he doing there?

Retired General: "Start Killing Russians"



Sputnik reports:

Robert Scales, a retired US major general and a Fox News military analyst, provided his view on the US involvement in Ukraine, describing it as a "game, set and match" situation; "the only way the US can have any effect in the region is to start killing Russians," he stated.

Maj. Gen. Robert Scales had been invited to the Lou Dobbs Tonight program on Tuesday to comment mostly on the fight of Iraqi forces against Islamic State near the city of Tikrit.

The host, however, wanted more insight into the US involvement in the world and asked the retired major general to comment on the recent US announcement that it would send 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe – to what effect, he wondered.

The answer came as rather surprising to Lou Dobbs.

"I think to no effect, Lou," Robert Scales answered. "It is Game, Set and Match in Ukraine. The only way the US can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians. Killing so many Russians that even Putin’s media can’t hide the fact that Russians are returning to the Motherland in body bags. But given the amount of support we’ve given the Ukrainians, given the ability of the Ukrainians themselves to counterattack, to get seized [ by the] 12,000 Russians camped in their country – sadly, that is not likely to happen."

It is important to remind readers that the '12,000 Russians inside Ukraine' figure has been disputed by German intelligence and that fact has been widely reported in German mainstream media.  Sadly the US-NATO officials keep making this stuff up as they go along.

Calling All Click-ta-vists



I've put three important online petitions below that I encourage US readers to sign.  There is a danger that folks think being a click-ta-vist is all they need to do but I hope readers of this blog are sharper than that.

  • This petition demands that Congress not cut food stamps.  We know some people here in Bath that get food stamps and by the third week of each month they run out of food.  They often call us to help them with bread and milk.  To cut food stamps even further is unconscionable.  The new incoming 15 Republicans in the US Senate have vowed to dismantle the food stamp program.  They need the money for endless war.  You can sign here
  • This second petition is to the US Senate telling them that we don't want war with Iran - despite what Israel demands.  It's really becoming clear that the US government has become an appendage of Israeli foreign policy.  Now is the time to speak up.  Sign here
  •  This third petition is also to the US Senate and says that we don't support sending any weapons to the Kiev puppet government in Ukraine.  Even though the fragile ceasefire there is still holding the US-NATO are doing everything they can to undermine the efforts for peace, weak as they are, by Germany and France.  You can sign here
Many thanks.  Now go out and stand on a corner with a sign. Block the gates of a US war base.  Become the media yourself by spreading information near and far. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Who is the Aggressor?

These are all NATO members. Who really controls NATO?  Who is calling the shots?

See this related article that reveals via WikiLeaks how the US was long planning the take down of Putin in Russia.... here 

Washington runs this show like the corporate criminal syndicate that it truly is......

I Got Love for the Underdog



At “I Love Malcolm: A Legacy of Love and Liberation,” organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office on February 14, 2015, Rapper Boots Riley (The Coup) performs “Underdogs.”

Jeju Island Activists Coming to Maine

 
Meet Leaders from South Korean Navy Base Struggle 

Friday, March 20 
7:00 pm 
Grace Episcopal Church 
1100 Washington St (park in back off Edwards St) 
Bath, Maine 

We are proud to be hosting two dynamic young people who have served as leaders of the Gangjeong village Navy base campaign on Jeju Island, South Korea. For the past eight years villagers and supporters have daily non-violently resisted the devastation of their 500-year-old fishing and farming village for a Navy base that will host US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and destroyers being used to surround and ‘contain’ China.

Hee Eun ‘Silver’ Park and her husband Paco Michelson have been peace builders in conflict areas across Asia with a small Korea-founded community network called The Frontiers. For the past several years they have been serving on the international support team on Jeju Island where the naval war base is being built against the wishes of the people of Gangjeong village.

Please join us for an engaging evening where we can learn more about the Jeju Island struggle and meet these two empowering peace workers who have dedicated their lives to active solidarity.

For more info call: 443-9502

Sponsored by PeaceWorks, Maine Veterans For Peace, CodePink Maine, Peace Action Maine, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Monday, March 09, 2015

Poking Russia with a Dangerous Stick



The US is sending 3,000 troops and over 100 armored vehicles to the Baltics for three months of NATO exercises. Former US diplomat James Jatras believes the move will further fuel tensions between Russia and the West.

Protests Continue in Sicily at US Space Tech Base



A hundred miles off the coast of Africa, the American military has built a base in Niscemi, Sicily. Behind the cordoned-off facility, there is a new war instrument called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).

MUOS is used for drone-to-Earth communication. The MUOS is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) (300 MHz to 3 GHz frequency range) SATCOM system, primarily serving the Pentagon. Intended primarily for mobile users (e.g. aerial and maritime platforms, ground vehicles, and dismounted soldiers), MUOS will extend users' voice, data, and video communications beyond their lines-of-sight.

The MUOS system includes four ground station facilities. The four ground stations, each of which serves one of the four active satellites of the MUOS constellation will be located at: the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station at Kojarena about 30 km east of Geraldton, Western Australia; Naval Radio Transmitter Facility (NRTF) Niscemi about 60 km from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy; Naval SATCOM Facility, Northwest Chesapeake, Southeast Virginia; and the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Hawaii.

Along with transmitter stations in Virginia, Hawaii and Australia, the MUOS bases will function as a relay station for instantaneous multimedia communication between U.S. armed forces personnel stationed around the world.

According to journalist Antonio Mazzeo Due, “The MUOS embodies the many contradictions of neoliberal globalization. It kills in the name of peace and order. It destroys the climate, the environment, the land. It squanders human and financial resources.”

Sicilian activists are against the military exploitation of their land and have been organizing to fight against the MUOS. For the No MUOS resistance Sicily is a bridge of peace between Africa and Europe.

High power broadcast transmitters at mobile frequencies are the source of concern among the local residents, who fear cancer-inducing effects and other health hazards. The environmental impact of the station is also a source of concern. Niscemi is home to “la Sughereta”, a nature reserve containing one of the few wild cork oak woods still left in the country. 

Betraying America


Bertram Gross wrote in his 1980 book Friendly Fascism:

“Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism creeping slowly across America. Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and, more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion...

I see at present members of the Establishment or people on its fringes who, in the name of Americanism, betray the interests of most Americans by fomenting militarism, applauding rat-race individualism, protecting undeserved privilege, or stirring up nationalistic and ethnic hatreds. I see pretended patriots who desecrate the American flag by waving it while waiving the law."

No More U.S. Über Alles



Just maybe
some in Europe
are figuring
it all out
they might
be realizing
that the crazy
elements
inside the US
governing
oligarchy
are a dark
noose
around the necks
of the world

These crazy cats
now running
the Koch Industries
owned Congress
want war
with everybody
Iran, Russia,
Venezuela, Syria,
North Korea
and more

Maybe
Germany
and a few more
in Europe
realize
that their future
is with Brazil,
Russia, India,
China, South Africa
and others....
Obama's 'pivot'
to encircle Beijing
and Moscow
be damned

The news that some
in Europe
want a separate
EU military
likely means
they don't trust
the hyper-aggressive
NATO
(the American puppet)
anymore....
everything
the US touches
turns to chaos

One can hope
and begin
to see
that the US
is losing Europe

Ain't it really
time
for a multi-polar
world?

Enough of this
arrogant
USA
über alles

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Protests in Israel



More than thirty-five thousand Israelis have hit the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against their government's policies. Their main target - the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Important Article in German Spiegel Online


Breedlove's Bellicosity

Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine

By SPIEGEL Staff

US President Obama supports Chancellor Merkel's efforts at finding a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. But hawks in Washington seem determined to torpedo Berlin's approach. And NATO's top commander in Europe hasn't been helping either.

It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. Indeed, it was another quiet day in an extended stretch of relative calm. The battles between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian separatists had largely stopped and heavy weaponry was being withdrawn. The Minsk cease-fire wasn't holding perfectly, but it was holding.

On that same day, General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again "upped the ante" in eastern Ukraine -- with "well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery" having been sent to the Donbass. "What is clear," Breedlove said, "is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day."

German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn't understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn't the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).

The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again, Breedlove's numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America's NATO allies in Europe. As such, he is playing directly into the hands of the hardliners in the US Congress and in NATO.

The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove's comments as "dangerous propaganda." Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even found it necessary recently to bring up Breedlove's comments with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

See the rest of this article here

Who Done It?



It took the combined efforts of the FSB/SKR/MVD one week to make the first arrests in the case of the murder of Nemtsov: a group of 7 men, all from the North Caucasus were arrested.  A sixth man killed himself with a hand grenade  in Grozny when he was about to be arrested.

Two of them are Zaur Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev, who were identified as key suspects in the killing of Nemtsov after their detention on Saturday.

The prosecutors asked the court to arrest the duo by April 28, the current deadline for the investigation, saying that otherwise they may flee or interfere with the investigation.

While political motive is considered the most likely in the killing, the investigators said they were considering other scenarios, including a business or personal conflict. Likely political motives behind the killing according to the investigators include a provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation in Russia, possibly by Ukrainian radicals, and revenge by Islamists for Nemtsov’s support of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo following an extremist attack. 

Shut Down Creech



The March 6 Resistance at Creech AFB (near Las Vegas, Nevada) saw 34 activists arrested for protesting the drone assassination program conducted by the CIA and USAF. Murder is wrong. It is unacceptable. #ShutDownCreech

See coverage in the Air Force Times here

Sunday Song