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 06, 2015

Kiev Violating Ceasefire Again




Friday, June 05, 2015

Seeking Connection with the Web of Life

Opening session this morning of the Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization conference at Clermont College


There are more than 1,500 people here for the conference in Clermont, California and about half of the folks are presenters.  The event has drawn people from all over the world, including a large delegation from China.

The conference has 12 different broad topic sections and each section has anywhere from 6-11 different tracks (workshops).  Each of the tracks has at least a half-dozen speakers.  The plan is to stay with your track the entire three-days to search for common themes and find ways to integrate the various topics that emerge.

I am in a track called Transforming the Economic System and we have seven presenters.  Today four people, including me, made presentations that were each followed by 20 minutes of inquiry of the speaker by the other presenters.

I talked about conversion of the military industry complex into the 'Natural Guard' that would be used to help deal with the coming crisis of severe weather events.  At the same time I proposed that the military production system would be used to build rail, solar, wind, tidal power and other useful things that help us even in a small way lessen our enormous carbon boot print on our Mother Earth, which is now in toxic shock.

One illustration I gave in my presentation is that the US is spending money on the military rather than dealing with climate change at a rate of $24 million (military) to $1 million (climate change).  In China the ratio is $1 million (military) to $1 million (climate change).  It would cost up to $1 trillion a year globally to immediately deal with the current reality of climate change.  The US currently spends $500 billion per year giving subsidies to the oil corporations and about $1 trillion a year on the Pentagon and related war making agencies.

The essence of the conference is a moral and spiritual call for the US to end its denial of climate change.  Many people from educational and religious institutions are here seeking to find ways to ramp up the amount of teaching and organizing around the climate crisis.  The idea of integration of the issues - the linking of the various strands of problems and solutions into an inter- connected web is a key goal of the event.  Just like nature, where everything is linked, one to the other, our educational and organizational work must follow the same natural path. "We are in trouble unless we immediately allow the natural system to teach us how to live", said conference organizer and American theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist John Cobb.

There are four colleges here - one connected to the other.  I am staying in a dorm at Pomona College and various meetings are held at the other colleges.  My track group is meeting at Pitzer College but it is virtually impossible to tell where one campus begins and the other ends.

The food here is fantastic - of course I am always quite impressed by good food and always must comment on what I've been eating.  Suffice to say I am content.

I woke up at 4:00 am this morning (7:00 am back in Maine) so by mid-day I was yawning non-stop.  Hopefully tonight I get a good sleep and adjust to Pacific Time. 

Support for War Crumbling Inside Ukraine



You can witness the audience reactions to the women telling the truth about the effects of the US-NATO war on the children of eastern Ukraine.  Washington, Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London are in a box now.  What are they to do?




Thursday, June 04, 2015

Economic System Transformation



I am at the airport heading to Claremont, California for a conference called Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization. I will be one of the presenters in a section entitled "Economic System Transformation".  I will be talking about converting the military industrial endless war machine into the "Natural Guard" that can help with disaster relief due to severe weather as a result of global climate change.  I'll also call for the transformation of the military production system to one that builds rail, solar, wind, and tidal power systems.  Seems like a no brainer to me.

It's a rather complicated conference format - I am still a bit confused about how it will all fit together but will figure it out as I go along.

It appears to be more of an academic conference than I am used to but I imagine I'll learn a great deal that will help in my day-to-day work.

I'm certain there will be many great visions articulated at the event but the 'proof is always in the pudding' as my mother used to say.  A 'successful' transformation will depend on our ability to organize and force the cancerous war institutions to adapt and change if we are to survive. That will ultimately depend on all of us to make it happen.

Message from Odessa...More War on the Way

Newly appointed Gov. Saakashvili in Odessa, Ukraine with one of his primary supporters Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)


~ This message was received today from a citizen in Odessa, Ukraine.


Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is appointed the Governor of Odessa. He succeeds in this position Mr. Palitsa who is the Dnepropetrovsk oligarch Kolomoisky’s trustee. 

Some of the residents of Odessa see in this the revelation of the confrontation between oligarchs Kolomoisky and Poroshenko. Kolomoisky’s response to Saakashvili's appointment was very harsh and negative.

However, in this case this conflict does not play the most important role. Much more important are the goals pursued by Poroshenko and those who stand behind him, with his appointment.

You have to understand that one of the main goals of the Ukrainian crisis is drawing Russia into the war. And one of the places of possible provocations aimed at the retaliatory action is Pridnestrovie (Transnistria), which is close to the Odessa region. 

Pridnestrovie (Transnistria)is a narrow strip of land over a length of 200 km, which does not have a border with Russia. It is a landlocked country with population of more than 200 thousand Russian citizens. Currently, Pridnestrovie (Transnistria)is blockaded both from Ukraine and Moldova. The conflict is now in a frozen phase, and one of the apparent purposes of Saakashvili assigning is the unfreezing of this conflict. 

Why Saakashvili? I think that the role of instigator of hostilities cannot go to one of the local, due to moral reasons. And for a newcomer who has an experience of unleashing bloody conflicts, there is no problem to accomplish such a task. Especially since he does not have any personal, family and other ties in the Odessa region.


 The group of tasks facing the new governor of Odessa (by Semen Uralov)  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=471560519664167&id=100004306687064&pnref=story ):

Geopolitical:

- Block completely TMR (Transnistria Moldavian Republic) and start a regional war against Pridnestrovie (Transnistria) and possibly against Gagauzia.

Political economy:

- Complete the privatization of ports in the interests of the US corporations, sliding the local oligarchy and the bourgeoisie, who thought that it would be involved in this;
- Ensure the export of grain and food through the ports, so that in the second step it could trigger famine in the south of the former Ukrainian.

Political:

- Finally clean up all the disloyal, especially in the media environment and in the local councils;
- Attract the part of the local elite and the bourgeoisie at the expense of transfer of assets of the disloyal part of elite.

Power:

- Integrate disparate associations or paramilitary thugs into an effective punitive body;
- Clean up the police grassroots, which is mostly disloyal to the Euromaidan regime.

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was published June 1, 2015 http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/UA/10thOHCHRreportUkraine.pdf
 
The report covers developments in Ukraine in general, and in Odessa in particular from February 16 to May 15, 2015 year.

Direct intimidation and threats against judges hinder the impartial and fair trials in Odessa.

According to the report, the judges of Odessa region complain of increased pressure from "euromaidan" including a threat to life and attacks on judges.

In addition, according to the report, the judges complained on pressure from the SBU [Ukrainian state security services], which forces judges to take the "right" decisions in cases of activists of Kulikovo field and related organizations (in the report of the United Nations, they are called "supporters of federalization").

The report also said that the SBU officers conduct searches without official permission, detain people without charge, torture and deny detainees’ access to legal counsel.

In particular, the report said that the staff of monitoring mission talked with the families and lawyers of detained on suspicion of terrorism, as well as with the detainees themselves in the Odessa prison. In the course of these discussions, the mission found numerous violations allegedly committed by the SBU officers during the investigation. "The searches were carried out without warrants and with excessive use of force, the detainees were not informed of their rights, the legal assistance was provided to them with a delay of up to 70 hours, SBU officers came to search with their witnesses and refused to make an inventory of seized items" is said in the report. In addition, the members of the monitoring mission noted that the actual indictments often happen in a day or more after the arrest, while all this time the detainees were not able to inform their families of their position and get legal assistance.

In addition, the report states that the representatives of the monitoring mission, quote, "got the messages that during the interrogation, some of the detainees were subjected to ill-treatment and torture (beatings, suffocation with a bag on the head, electric shocks and deprivation of sleep, food and water for more than 24 hours). "

The Ukrainian government has promised a thorough investigation into all cases of torture and ill-treatment, the report said. I wonder whether any reaction from the government will follow?

The Whole Sordid Story

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spying Will Continue in Another Form



President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act into law late Tuesday, following a 67-32 Senate vote that pushed through the legislation earlier that day. Gayane Chichakyan has more details and looks at how much this law will reduce surveillance.

Germany's Key Role in U.S. Drone War



Ken Jebsen discusses the U.S. Ramstein base in Germany on his radio show KenFM. 

A campaign has sprung up to press the government of Germany to order the closure of the US drone satellite relay station at Ramstein Air Base, a station that is central to US drone attacks globally.

A View from Germany



Global Network board member Regina Hagen interviewed on my latest edition of This Issue.

Regina lives in Darmstadt, Germany and speaks about Ukraine, NSA surveillance, EU space policy, austerity in Greece and more.

As Ukraine Goes, So Goes Maine


Maine's Governor Paul LePage is a bully.  He began his first term (elected in a 2010 three-way race with 38% of the vote) with a bang.  One of his first moves was to make headlines across the nation by refusing to meet with NAACP leaders in Maine - telling them to "Kiss my butt".  From then on it's all been down hill.

Gov. Rampage was amazingly reelected in 2014 in another three-way race with 48%.  He became popular with some across the state by his constant attacks on the poor, 'illegal aliens', welfare cheats, and taxes.  The governor is currently embroiled in a big legislative fight at the state capital as he tries to get rid of the state income tax, replacing it with higher sales taxes which would disproportionately impact those lowest on the income scale.  His goal is to destroy social progress in Maine.

In today's Bangor Daily News it is reported that Gov. Rampage threatens not to sign a bill that would allow citizens to carry a concealed handgun without a permit because it would have an age limit of 21 years. LePage wants no age limit on the gun bill.  Imagine having minors carrying guns to school for playground fights.

LePage grew up in a violent dysfunctional family and uses anger to appeal to the many citizens who blame the poor for their misfortune (rather than taking on the corporate oligarchy).  The governor is an expert at manipulating emotions to misdirect political dialogue.  Currently he is at war inside the Republican Party as a couple state legislators from his own party oppose some of his tax proposals.

In a speech yesterday to the conservative Open Door Bible Baptist Church in Lisbon, Maine the governor repeated his latest threat to campaign against any lawmaker who votes against his efforts to eliminate the income tax, telling the crowd to call their legislators “and tell them you support the governor. Tell them you support welfare reform and reducing the income tax.”  In this case he was targeting Republicans.

I recently noted that watching the unraveling of Ukraine during the past year has given me new insight to the future of the USA.  Just days ago Ukrainian President Poroshenko appointed the former President of Georgia, the much discredited psychopath Mikheil Saakashvili, as the new governor of Odessa.

One commentator reports, "Unabashedly pro-Western and hawkishly anti-Russian, Saakashvili is regarded by many as one of the most unstable politicians in the entire former Soviet Union. It was he who recklessly launched the disastrous South Ossetian war in 2008 [against Russia]. Currently, he is a wanted man in his native Georgia, charged with abuse of office."

Former Georgian President Saakashvili (a US puppet at the time) in his famous 'tie chewing' incident.  He was recently given Ukrainian citizenship and appointed as the new Governor of Odessa in Ukraine.  Saakashvili can't go back to Georgia as he is wanted for crimes while in office.

The similarities between Maine's Gov. LePage, Ukraine's President Poroshenko, and the new unelected Odessa Gov. Saakashvili are uncanny.  They each have a mission.  Destroy the government by hollowing it out, turn citizen against citizen, hand the state over to corporate interests, make democratic process unmanageable.

In Maine the opposition party, the Democrats, gingerly attempt to step around LePage and avoid conflict.  They fear him and appear to have no formal strategy to deal with his anger and totalitarian ways.  In Ukraine citizens in the eastern part of their nation, close to the Russian border, tried to hold referendums calling for more local powers (like electing their own governor and keeping the right to speak Russian) but they were militarily attacked by the US-NATO backed regime in Kiev which thus lead to the civil war as those under attack formed self-defense forces to protect themselves.

The Native Americans used to say 'put your ears to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming'.  In Maine our Gov. Rampage wants to allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed gun around with them.  He is pitting white against person of color, immigrant against non-immigrant, uneducated and angry citizens against those who value a fair and even-handed society.  At this rate it's just a matter of time before Gov. Rampage's supporters start shooting.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Letter from VFP to Okinawan Officials



Tarak Kauff, Veterans for Peace board member, presenting a letter of support from the Veterans for Peace. June 1, 2014. Okinawa Governor Onaga was represented by Hideo Henzan, Director of Okinawa Prefecture Office in Washington, D.C.

Video by Regis Tremblay.

A Veteran Against War



The film follows the story of S. Brian Willson, a Vietnam veteran and trained lawyer, whose wartime experiences transformed him into a revolutionary non-violent pacifist.  In 1986, Brian and several veterans fasted for more than 40-days on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol to protest against the war in Central America.

Then on September 1987, Brian and other Veterans Peace Action team members sat on the tracks to protest the Naval weapons train carrying missiles and bombs bound to be used against peaceful civilians in Central America.

The train did not slow down for the protesters on the tracks. Instead the order was given for the train to speed up. Brian tried to get off the tracks but the speeding train struck him, cracked his skull, and tore off both his legs.

Today, Brian continues his efforts to fight for peace on his prosthetic limbs. Please join him on his story and stop illegal American wars and other covert military actions waged against peaceful sovereign states and citizens internationally. 

See more about how to donate for production of the film here

More Photos from Okinawan events in Washington

Protest at the White House on Monday by Okinawan people and their supporters.  They will return on Tuesday and Wednesday for more protests

Talking about US deployments of 'missile defense' systems on Okinawa before the Sunday welcoming dinner

Shaking hands with Okinawan Gov. Onaga
Veterans for Peace delegation at the Sunday dinner welcoming Okinawan political leaders to Washington


Bottom three photos by Ellen Davidson.... top photo by Rachel Clark

Monday, June 01, 2015

Fighting to Save Nature and Culture

35,000 citizens recently rallied on Okinawa opposing US military bases

At Oura Bay in Henoko the US Marines are building a new airbase with a runway that will extend out over the bay destroying endangered sea life

The right-wing newspaper, Washington Times, ran a piece on Monday entitled "The other side to the Okinawa story: The 'All Okinawa' opposition to US military presence [occupation] is a leftist ruse".

The hit piece was written by Robert Eldridge (former political affairs and public diplomacy officer, Marine Corps Installations Pacific on Okinawa). He wrote about the current visit of Okinawan Gov. Takeshi Onaga to Washington to express the demand of his people that the US government close the military bases on their island.  Gov. Onaga was elected in a recent landslide vote by the citizens on Okinawa who have had more than enough of US bases, destruction of their environment and culture, and want them immediately closed.

In the Washington Times Eldridge commented:


    Mr. Onaga, a four-term mayor of Naha, the prefecture’s largest city, was elected governor in November 2014 as the result of a sophisticated campaign amid a highly divided and complicated election. Although formerly a conservative and once rising star of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Okinawa, even running his opponent’s re-election campaign in 2010, he broke with his predecessor and chose to run on an anti-base platform dominated by the organizational might of the Communist Party, the archenemy of the conservative LDP...

    There are many other fictions created by these activists [Okinawans who oppose US bases], who work hand-in-hand with the local media, national and international “peace” groups and politicians, and whose base (no pun intended) are these very anti-base forces...

    There is more than meets the eye regarding Okinawa. Washington, especially those in the media and think tank world, mustn’t be fooled any longer. Okinawa is too important geostrategically for the United States, Japan and the entire Asia-Pacific region to become, as Mr. Onaga urges, “a peaceful buffer zone with no bases.”

Mr. Eldridge gives himself away when he spins on about the 'geostraegic importance' of Okinawa to Washington and the Pentagon's 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific region.  Instead of the US taking responsibility for the 70-years of American abuse of Okinawa, the author slams the governor who turned against his own right-wing ruling party in Tokyo in order to give voice to the people's deep outrage.  For that he is accused of being an agent of Bejing.  Pure red-baiting trash.

On Sunday I joined several members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) to deliver a letter to officials from the Okinawan government that was addressed directly to Gov. Onaga.  The letter gave strong support to the island people in their long struggle to rid their homeland of US military bases.  VFP national board member Tarak Kauff (New York) read the letter that concluded with a pledge to build national and international support for Okinawa and declared that, if invited, the organization wished to send a strong delegation of its members to the island to stand with the people.

Immediately after Tarak had finished reading the letter one Okinawan official said, "You have our invitation.  Please come and see for yourselves."

Tarak Kauff presents the VFP letter to Okinawan officials (Photo by Ellen Davidson)

In the fall VFP will indeed lead a delegation to Okinawa and will go to Jeju Island in South Korea as well.  These twin-campaigns for peace and environmental sanity represent the most visible Asia-Pacific island struggles that are similarly being waged in Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines and beyond as the US moves to consolidate control of the region on behalf of corporate interests.

Following the presentation of the letter everyone moved to a nearby restaurant where about 60 people gathered to have dinner with Gov. Onaga and the delegation of other elected officials from Okinawa.  Many of those attending the dinner were Okinawan-Americans, women who had married former American GI's or other US officials that were once stationed on the island.

There is much talk about whether the Okinawan delegation to DC will be successful in changing US policy.  Considering that Obama won't even answer letters from elected officials on Okinawa does not give one much confidence that US policy is likely to change anytime soon.  But don't be fooled by inside-Washington baseball.  The real change is taking place in the hearts of people on Okinawa, in Japan, and throughout the world.  The images of the US Marines building a runway that will extend out into pristine Oura Bay where coral and endangered sea mammals are being threatened reveal a manifest injustice.  Already large concrete blocks have been dropped into the bay at 75 sites (for runway construction) and as a result 94 colonies of coral have been destroyed.

The fact that the US ignores the voices of 80% of the Okinawan people and plunges ahead with devastating base expansion indicates the obvious colonial status of the island people. 

In Japan taxpayers are apparently allowed to target to which prefecture (regional government) they want their taxes to be sent.  As a way to express solidarity for Okinawa, all across Japan taxpayers are designating that their money go to support the people fighting the US imperial bases. 

Even here in the US there are legions of citizens who would support the heart-broken people on Okinawa or Jeju Island if they only knew about what was really going on there.  Thus the decision by VFP to stand with the people in the Asia-Pacific is significant because it opens the door for the American people to learn about this atrocity being committed by the US endless war machine.  It is a good time for people to open their hearts and speak out against the global full spectrum dominance project by Washington.

Tarak concluded the letter to the Okinawan people by reading:

    We promise to carry your message to members of Congress, the administration, our international Veterans For Peace membership and to every corner of our land. In fact, this summer at our annual convention in San Diego, California, the theme will be “Peace and Reconciliation in the Pacific,” so we are already working to bring awareness about the region to our members and beyond.

    The cry of the people of Okinawa must ring loudly all across America—and we will do our part to make the voices of the Okinawan people heard.

Kiev Continues to Break Ceasefire Killing Innocents



The fascist junta in Kiev, Ukraine continues to shell innocent civilian villages from a safe distance.  Provided with drones and other military equipment by the US-NATO the puppets in Kiev keep violating the Minsk-2 ceasefire as instructed by their western masters.

The goal?  Destabilize the border region by Russia and create the incidents that over time force Moscow to directly enter the war that US-NATO is directing against the people of eastern Ukraine.

You won't find this story on FOX, CNN or MSNBC because it would expose the complicity of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington who are full on with this war project.

It's a sick example of US-EU tax monies at work.

Letter to Okinawan Governor



May 27, 2015


The Honorable Takeshi Onaga
Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
Ryukyu Islands, Japan

Dear Governor Onaga:

Veterans For Peace was founded to help end war. We have lived directly with the experience of U.S. empire and our members have served in war and been stationed on bases around the world. Many of our members have served on, or flown to, U.S. bases on Okinawa over the years. We are deeply concerned about, and oppose construction of, a new U.S. military base within Okinawa. We stand in total solidarity with the people of Okinawa in their long struggle for peace, dignity, human rights, and protection of the environment.

At this time, Veterans For Peace is particularly disturbed by the U.S. attempt to build a massive new U.S. Marine air base with a military port at Henoko. Not only would the Henoko base be an environmental disaster—the location is rich in bio-diversity and is home to the endangered marine mammal dugong—but the base would also be a betrayal of the Okinawan people who for many years have requested that the U.S. government remove its huge military boot-print from the island.

  As you are aware, Okinawa is host to nearly 74 percent of all U.S. military bases in Japan. More than 18 percent of the island of Okinawa is occupied by the U.S. military. The people of Okinawa had their land taken during WWII, and the United States shows no sign of ending its occupation of the island.

Recent elections on Okinawa have clearly demonstrated the will of the people to remove these U.S. bases. How long can any people be expected to suffer from U.S. military pollution, rapes and harassment by U.S. troops, noise, and the constant fear of being a war target as tensions increase between Japan and China? We know that President Obama’s announced “pivot” of even more U.S. forces into the Asia-Pacific means that more airfields, barracks, and ports-of-call will be needed, but Okinawa should not have to bear this heavy load one day longer.

The Okinawan people have shown remarkable courage and determination as they have stepped up their non-violent resistance to the recent deployments of the Osprey aircraft at Futenma base and plans for the Henoko base. Just in recent days, once again, large numbers of Okinawan citizens have protested these U.S. military operations and it appears that Washington and Tokyo are still ignoring the people’s heartfelt demands. Given the U.S. leading role in militarism around the globe, we in the United States have a special responsibility to protest our government's actions.

Veterans For Peace understands this responsibility and stands ready to offer its assistance to the people of Okinawa. If invited to do so, we are prepared to bring a delegation of our members to Okinawa to stand in solidarity with the people of Okinawa in their protests against the bases at Futenma and Henoko. Veterans For Peace joins with the people of Okinawa in rejecting the notion that Okinawan lands should be strategic war posts for the furtherance of U.S. military expansion.

It is an honor for members of Veterans For Peace to meet with Okinawan leaders who are now in Washington, D.C., on their trip to appeal to the U.S. government to hear the plea of the Okinawan people. We promise to carry your message to members of Congress, the administration, our international Veterans For Peace membership and to every corner of our land. In fact, this summer at our annual convention in San Diego, California, the theme will be “Peace and Reconciliation in the Pacific,” so we are already working to bring awareness about the region to our members and beyond.

The cry of the people of Okinawa must ring loudly all across America—and we will do our part to make the voices of the Okinawan people heard.

In Peace and Solidarity,

Barry Ladendorf
President
Veterans For Peace

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Song




Meeting with Okinawan Mayors


Nago City, Okinawa Mayor Susumu Inamine, joined by mayors from three other island communities, shared his deep opposition to US base expansion with peace group leaders yesterday in Washington.

Mayor Inamine told those assembled for the late afternoon meeting, "We are walking on the edge of life" as they witness growing destruction of their beautiful island home.  The US is forcing the Japanese government to build a new Marine base called Henoko in Nago City.  The airfield for the new base would extend out into Oura Bay where coral and endangered sea mammals are being threatened.  Already large concrete blocks have been dropped into the bay at 75 sites (for runway construction) and as a result 94 colonies of coral have been destroyed.

The US response to the 80% of Okinawans who oppose the US military presence is to say that it is just a "domestic dispute" between the Japanese government and Okinawa.  Mayor Inamine told us that, "Okinawa is still a colony of the US and Japan."  Okinawan political leaders have repeatedly contacted President Obama but have received no reply.  The current US Ambassador to Japan, the person selling this US military expansion project, is Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of JFK.  This illustrates to me how 'liberal' Democrats are complicit in promoting the US military empire.



After the heartbreaking presentations by the Okinawan mayors they asked the various leaders from peace groups who were present to speak.  Folks representing Veterans for Peace, Popular Resistance, CodePink, Peace Action, and the Global Network spoke.  Also there was Maine filmmaker Regis Tremblay whose documentary the Ghosts of Jeju tells a similar story about people's resistance in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea where a UNESCO recognized nature preserve is being destroyed to build a Naval base for US warships.

When it was my turn to say a few words I talked about as a young boy often paging through albums of photos taken by my step-father who was stationed on Okinawa and in Korea during the Korean War.  He worked in photo reconnaissance so had many photos from the period.  At that young age I was introduced to these two cultures and the US military occupation of their lands.  At the time I thought nothing about the occupation but was fascinated with the people and their war-torn lands.

Obama's 'pivot' of additional US military forces into the Asia-Pacific necessitates more barracks for troops, more airfields for war planes and more ports-of-call for warships.  Thus what is happening to Okinawa is similarly happening across the region as the Pentagon aims its war machine at China.

I shared that at the end of July the Global Network will hold our 23rd annual space organizing conference in Kyoto, Japan to stand with nearby villagers who are protesting the recent stationing of a US 'missile defense' (MD) radar in their community.  The Pentagon has also deployed MD interceptors at several bases on Okinawa.  I told the mayors that prior to our meeting in Kyoto that the Global Network will have a delegation of our members travel to Okinawa on a solidarity visit.

I ended my words by saying that the US government and many of our citizens are suffering from a spiritual sickness that puts $$$ and power first.  I said that spiritual healing would only come from a renewed connection to nature and thanked them for their determined efforts to lead that transformative healing.

Photos by Ellen Davidson