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, December 17, 2016

Privatizing Water - The Next Gold



Huntsville: Visiting the Rocket City to Plan GN 2017 Conference


I flew from Boston to Huntsville, Alabama on Friday to do a weekend of advance work for the Global Network's 25th annual space organizing conference that will be held in this 'rocket city' on April 7-9, 2017.  Huntsville these days is called the 'Pentagon of the South' and serves as the 'directorate' for the Pentagon's provocative 'missile defense' program.

I am staying in the home of a local couple who have long been peace workers in this heavily militarized city.

When I arrived at the Huntsville airport I was taken aback by the loads of corporate space technology advertisements plastered along the walls as I made my way to baggage claim.  There can be no doubt that Boeing (the largest Star Wars contractor of all) and a host of other aerospace corporations are making big money off the plans to move the arms race into the heavens.

This morning I joined five other local activists on a busy street corner for their weekly peace rally that has been going on here in Huntsville for many years.  Surprisingly there were quite a few honks from cars driving by - mostly from younger people.

After the event two of the activists took me to lunch and we discussed the Global Network's plan to hold our annual event here next April.  They were very helpful pledging the support of the North Alabama Peace Network and the Green Party of Madison County. One of the two activists told me she was excited about the conference coming to her city because local activists feel so isolated.  It will be good to meet others from around the world and across the US who share their desire for peace.

My biggest task this weekend is to find a suitable meeting place for our day-long conference that will be held on April 8 here in the city.  On April 7 we'll have a news conference and a protest vigil at the Redstone Arsenal where the work on 'missile defense' is being directed as the Pentagon deploys these destabilizing systems near the Russian and Chinese borders.

I went to look at a couple potential meeting places and I am feeling confident that we've found a suitable place - with the good help of local folks.

I met one man later in the day who is a retired Redstone Arsenal engineer.  He knows alot about the US 'missile defense' program and told me that he feels it is really an offensive program.  He said he fears that the US wants war with Russia but can't quite seem to figure out why.  I told him that I believe it is because Russia has the world's largest supply of natural gas and because of the melting Arctic Sea ice due to climate change.  I've seen several references in the last year or so from corporate interests claiming that they want regime change in Moscow so they can 'balkanize' (break Russia into smaller nations) due to the fact that Russia has the planet's largest land border with the Arctic.  The fossil fuel mega-corporations want to get at the now exposed Arctic treasures.

In the morning I'll head to the large (and growing) Space and Rocket Museum here in Huntsville.  I fly home in the early afternoon.

It's been a good trip to visit the 'Pentagon of the South'.  I'm told the region has more engineers than any other place in the country.  With the billions of dollars being pumped into Huntsville to help build US 'control and domination' of space this community is on a major growth spurt.


The signs in the airport reveal this reality of Huntsville's addiction to military spending.  Like my own community of Bath, Maine (dependent on federal dollars to build Navy warships outfitted with 'missile defense' interceptors) more and more of America has become reliant on endless war in order to create jobs so workers can feed their families.

What does it say about the soul of our nation that we must remain in a state of endless war in order to drive our economy?  These are questions we will discuss next April 7-9 when we hold the Global Network's 25th annual conference in the 'rocket city'.  We invite you to join us for this important event.

Bruce

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It's a Victory



Veterans For Peace member Tarak Kauff from Woodstock, NY has been to Standing Rock in North Dakota three times.

Here is an interview with him upon his most recent visit there earlier this month along with the couple thousand of other US military veterans.

Tarak comes to Maine frequently and was arrested with the Zumwalt 12 here in Bath, Maine last June 18 when we blocked the entrance to the 'christening' ceremony for the latest Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer at Bath Iron Works.

Jury selection in the trial of the Zumwalt 12 will be January 5 in West Bath District Court. 

Poland as New U.S. Agent in Eastern Europe


The US strategy to force regime change in Russia is becoming more obvious.  Taking a look at the map one can see the strategic position of Poland - essentially a bridge between Europe and Russia.

Former Stratfor CEO George Friedman has written:  "Poland hasn't been a great power since the sixteenth century. But it once was-and, I think, will be again. Two factors make this possible. First will be the decline of Germany. Its economy is large and still growing, but it has lost the dynamism it has had for two centuries. In addition, its population is going to fall dramatically in the next fifty years, further undermining its economic power. Second, as the Russians press on the Poles from the east, the Germans won't have an appetite for a third war with Russia."

Essentially Friedman is making the point that Germany does not have the will to serve as the US agent (or bludgeon) for making war with Russia.  Germany would rather trade with Russia. Thus Poland enters the equation.  In the video below Friedman states, "Poland must become too much trouble."

The US plan is to turn Poland into its military center of operations in eastern Europe - close to Russia.  In order to encourage this relationship (and to sweeten the pot) the US is working hard to turn Poland into a regional economic power like it did in South Korea.  Poland has it all - location, location, location including Baltic Sea access.

Poland has considerable influence in Ukraine and Belarus and has taken it upon itself to champion expansion of the European Union eastward. Furthermore, the US military could eventually use Poland as a base from which to threaten the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad along with Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic Sea. Russia does not want to see the US-Polish alliance blossom, allowing the United States -- once it extricates itself from the Middle East -- to reposition itself on Russia's borders.

In 2016 the US built an Aegis Ashore missile defense (MD) base in Romania aimed at Russia.  In the coming year a similar MD base will be built in Poland.  (The Pentagon has already deployed a Patriot missile battery in Poland.) All of these installations would play a key role in US first-strike attack planning on Russia - after a US attack on Russian underground missile silos the MD systems in Poland and Romania would be used as the 'shield' to pick-off any Russian retaliatory strikes giving the US a 'successful' first-strike capability.  Added to that would the the US Navy Aegis warships (also outfitted with MD interceptors) that would be stationed in the Mediterranean, Black and Baltic Seas.

One other key role that Poland is now playing is the destabilization of Belarus.  Belarus is a loyal member of the Russian Federation and also sits in a strategic position along the Russian border.  Poland's job, on behalf of their puppet masters in Washington, is to serve notice to Belarus that they must swing toward the west (NATO) or consider experiencing a similar fate as Ukraine did during the 2014 coup d'état sponsored by the US State Department under the guidance of Victoria Nuland and Hillary Clinton.

George Friedman lays out the plan for Poland in this video.  He begins focusing on the 'Poland vision' about nine minutes into the talk.

Bruce

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Love It......


Latest Space Alert Available Online & in Print


Our latest Global Network Space Alert newsletter is at the print shop and available online at the link here

Special note is our announcement on page two about our 25th annual space organizing conference to be held Huntsville, Alabama on April 7-9, 2017.  We hope you can join us there.

If you’d like to receive multiple copies of the print version for local distribution let us know and we can send you some.  All we ask is that you reimburse the GN for postage.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Syria From Someone Who Knows



Canadian freelance journalist Eva Bartlett totally schools a mainstream reporter on what’s actually going on in Syria during a recent news conference at the United Nations in New York City.

Eva has lived for three years in Gaza, spent time in Lebanon and visited Syria three times since April 2014.

Just in Case You Forgot the CIA's History


A Beautiful Story


Monday, December 12, 2016

Who Would Trust the CIA?



US Intel Vets Dispute Russia Hacking Claims
December 12, 2016

As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

MEMORANDUM

Allegations of Hacking Election Are Baseless


A New York Times report on Monday alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else.

Monday’s Washington Post reports that Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has joined other senators in calling for a bipartisan investigation of suspected cyber-intrusion by Russia. Reading our short memo could save the Senate from endemic partisanship, expense and unnecessary delay.

In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.

We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:

Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.

Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.

All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.

In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.

Awesome Technical Capabilities

Again, NSA is able to identify both the sender and recipient when hacking is involved. Thanks largely to the material released by Edward Snowden, we can provide a full picture of NSA’s extensive domestic data-collection network including Upstream programs like Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. These include at least 30 companies in the U.S. operating the fiber networks that carry the Public Switched Telephone Network as well as the World Wide Web. This gives NSA unparalleled access to data flowing within the U.S. and data going out to the rest of the world, as well as data transiting the U.S.

In other words, any data that is passed from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) – or any other server in the U.S. – is collected by the NSA.  These data transfers carry destination addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be traced and followed through the network.

Packets: Emails being passed across the World Wide Web are broken down into smaller segments called packets. These packets are passed into the network to be delivered to a recipient. This means the packets need to be reassembled at the receiving end.

To accomplish this, all the packets that form a message are assigned an identifying number that enables the receiving end to collect them for reassembly. Moreover, each packet carries the originator and ultimate receiver Internet protocol number (either IPV4 or IPV6) that enables the network to route data.

When email packets leave the U.S., the other “Five Eyes” countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the seven or eight additional countries participating with the U.S. in bulk-collection of everything on the planet would also have a record of where those email packets went after leaving the U.S.

These collection resources are extensive; they include hundreds of trace route programs that trace the path of packets going across the network and tens of thousands of hardware and software implants in switches and servers that manage the network. Any emails being extracted from one server going to another would be, at least in part, recognizable and traceable by all these resources.

The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.

The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.

The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.

As for the comments to the media as to what the CIA believes, the reality is that CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in the communications arena. Thus, it remains something of a mystery why the media is being fed strange stories about hacking that have no basis in fact. In sum, given what we know of NSA’s existing capabilities, it beggars belief that NSA would be unable to identify anyone – Russian or not – attempting to interfere in a U.S. election by hacking.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

~ William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

~ Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

~ Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official

~ Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

~ Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA (ret.)

~ Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)

What Happened to the 'Fiscal Conservatives'?


It's Advent season which means we are holding our weekly vigils at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine declaring our desire to see the Navy shipyard converted to build sustainable technologies like commuter rail systems, wind turbines, tidal power systems and solar power.

The military has the largest carbon bootprint on Mother Earth and if the future generations are going to have a future we need to stop waging endless war and instead build for the future.  But it won't happen unless we keep making the demand and continue to build support for the idea.

Mary Beth Sullivan wrote an excellent article a couple years ago on the conversion issue that was printed in The Humanist magazine.  I highly recommend reading it here.  Please help spread the word on this important concern by sharing the article.  Even though it is a couple years old it remains a fresh and vital story.

News today here in Bath, Maine is that Trump's pick for Secretary of War, General 'Mad Dog' Mattis, serves on the Board of Directors of the General Dynamics weapons corporation that just so happens to own Bath Iron Works.  Our local paper ran the story along with a quote from Mattis that reads:

“With the cutbacks to the Army and Air Force and fewer forces around the world, military aspects of our strategy will inevitably become more naval in character,” said Mattis. “Today I question if our shipbuilding budget is sufficient, especially in light of the situation in the South China Sea.”
Thus many local folks I am certain are cheering and thinking that BIW is in hog heaven.  Nothing like a new enemy (China) to keep the very expensive warships rolling off the production line.

I can't help but wonder what happened to all the 'fiscal conservatives' who were so worried about the massive debt the nation is piling onto the backs of our children.  Recent disclosures indicate that the Pentagon buried an internal study that reported $125 billion could be saved in military contracting costs if simple administrative changes were made.  Or maybe the fiscal conservatives might want to call for an audit of the Pentagon since several trillion $$$$ are reported 'missing' in the bowels of the war machine.  Somebody must have shrink wrapped the money and shipped it out on pallets to some war zone.  I can imagine a bunch of lower level officers stuffing the wads of cash into their ruck sacks to be used for a deposit on their very own Shangri-La when they got home.

Just imagine the good that could be done with all that wasted money!  We could obviously retool the military industrial complex and change our entire energy system to one that would allow for life rather than the greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

Many ask: what about the corporate executives who keep doing all these terrible things that are killing life on this planet?  Don't they worry about their own families and how they are impacted?

It's a good question and the only answer that makes any sense to me is that these cats are so blinded by their love for the dollar bill that they can't see anything else - their spiritual connection to our Mother Earth is broken - snapped like a twig.  What else could it be?

Bruce

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Song