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....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Thursday, April 06, 2017
With the latest hasty judgment about Tuesday’s poison-gas deaths in a rebel-held area of northern Syria, the mainstream U.S. news media once more reveals itself to be a threat to responsible journalism and to the future of humanity. Again, we see the troubling pattern of verdict first, investigation later, even when that behavior can lead to a dangerous war escalation and many more deaths.
Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Yemen is Starving: End U.S. Complicity in Devastation of the People
For immediate release
Martha Hennessy - 802-230-6328; firstname.lastname@example.org
Carmen Trotta - 347-259-8536; email@example.com
Cathy Kelly - 773-619-2418; FastingForYemen@gmail.com
Yemen Is Starving: Peace activists, protesting the mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen, to begin week-long fast and vigil at the UN.
New York, NY -- On April 10, 2017, approximately 20 peace activists will begin a week long vigil and fast in front of the United Nations. They are calling for peace and justice in Yemen, and standing in solidarity with its civilian population. They will also be demanding an end to U.S. complicity in a war that is taking a devastating toll on the Yemeni people.
Ravaged by war, blockaded by sea, and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, Yemen is now on the brink of total famine.
Yemen is currently being ravaged by a brutal conflict, with injustices and atrocities on all sides. More than 10,000 people have been killed, including 1,564 children, and millions have been displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that more than 460,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition, while 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women suffer acute malnutrition. The U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition is also enforcing a sea blockade on rebel-held areas. Yemen imports 90% of its food; because of the blockade, food and fuel prices are rising and scarcity is at crisis levels. While Yemeni children are starving, US weapons makers, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, are profiting from weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.
At this critical juncture, all member states of the UN must urge an end to the blockade and airstrikes, a silencing of all guns, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen.
With their fast and peaceful protest, the activists will urge a radical departure from U.S. policies exacerbating the deadly tragedy facing Yemeni civilians.
Participants note their responsibility to ensure that the U.S.:
1. Stops all drone attacks and military “special operations” within Yemen
2. Ends all U.S. weapon sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia
3. Provides compensation to those who suffered losses caused by U.S. attacks.
The activists will gather each day from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the United Nations Isaiah Wall, on First Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets. They will be joined by activists and supporters from around the U.S. who will share their protest and peaceful witness to the tragedy currently befalling the people of Yemen.
Partnering in this project are members of the New York Catholic Worker community, Code Pink, Witness Against Torture, the Upstate Coalition to End the Wars and Ground the Drones, Friends of Franz and Ben, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, World Beyond War, Kairos Community, Just Foreign Policy, Peaceworkers, Pax Christi Metro New York, Know Drones, World Can’t Wait, Granny Peace Brigade, NY, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, D.C., Benincasa Community, NY (list in formation)
Social Media: FB/Twitter @FastingForYemen; Facebook Event: https://goo.gl/REWlb5; HTs: #FastingForYemen #YemenIsStarving #RememberYemen
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Who is the $100 Billion Military Empire?
U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country
Internationally, there are just under 200,000 U.S. troops that are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world.
Here are the top 20 countries they are stationed in, as well as an “Other” category that represents the rest:
|#16||United Arab Emirates||1,079|
|Other / Unknown||34,834|
In 2015, Politico estimated that there are 800 U.S. bases abroad, and that it costs up to $100 billion annually to maintain this international presence.
The best thing that people can do for world peace is send the U.S. military packing - Yankee go home!
'My Conscience Leads Me to No Other Choice'
"Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence", also referred to as the Riverside Church speech, is an anti-Vietnam war and pro-social justice speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was assassinated.
Although this speech was given decades ago, it is still as relevant as ever.
May the Light Be With You.....
How can we lose now? We've got the light sabers......
Afghanistan and Iraq war vet Will Griffin (also a VFP member) made these. That is Dave Webb in the top one who is the Chair of the United Kingdom's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and also the board convener of the Global Network. And yours truly below Dave.
Will went to India and Nepal with Dave and me last November for our speaking tour and seems to have caught a bit of the space bug. We're glad to have his good support.
We've asked Will to do the welcome talk at our 25th annual space conference in Huntsville, Alabama this weekend. We are going to share our light sabers with him!
Monday, April 03, 2017
BIW Destroyer Protest Video
On April 1st, 2017, nine peace activists were arrested while blocking the entrance to the "Christening" ceremony for a new Aegis destroyer at Bath Iron Works, a leading US naval shipyard owned by General Dynamics.
Aegis destroyers are an important coordinating and missile-carrying component in US nuclear and conventional war strategy. These warships are being sent by the Pentagon to help encircle Russia and China causing much instability around the globe.
The activists and their supporters contended that the money spent on these expensive weapons systems is immoral, and that the shipyard's workers -- and the world -- would be better served if they produced high-speed trains, solar, wind turbines, and tidal power generators.
Video made by Eric Herter from Brunswick, Maine
Protests in French Guiana
Historic processions of more than 250,000 people are underway in French Guiana and its not being covered by the media. French Guiana is de facto a colony of France in South America largely inhabited by Africans. France has three other such colonies to this day including Mayote in the Comoros, Runion Islands neighboring Mauritius and Martinique in the Caribbean.
These are considered overseas 'departments' or 'territories' by the French colonialists, but they are nothing more than euphemisms designed to disguise and maintain their colonies. 😡 And right now, the people of French Guiana have taken to the streets numbering a quarter of million to protest the economic and racial abuse they have suffered under their white colonial masters in France.
French Guina was a former slave colony turned prison colony of the French, before becoming an 'overseas department' to extract its mineral wealth at the expense of the people of French Guiana.
We urge all of you to show international solidarity with our brothers and sisters by sharing this video as these historic protests are not being covered by the imperialist sponsored corporate media.
Getting Ready for Huntsville Events April 7-9
|Rev. Seonghye Kim from South Korea (left) and Juyeon Rhee from New York who will serve as interpreter for Rev. Kim during her speaking tour of the U.S.|
We are happy to hear that Rev. Seonghye Kim (Co-chair Seongju Struggle Committee to Stop THAAD Deployment, South Korea) has arrived in the US – a relief as we were concerned that she might have problems from immigration authorities. She will be doing a national speaking tour and we are grateful that a visit to Huntsville, Alabama could be included in her itinerary.
In addition to Huntsville the speaking tour will visit Berkeley, Oakland, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, New Brunswick, NJ, New York City, Washington DC, and Fairfax, Va.
VFP member Will Griffin made a video to promote the Global Network's 25th annual space organizing conference and in so doing learned that virtually 1/3 of the local population in Huntsville are connected to the military industrial complex. See the video here
Like so many other communities across the nation that are dependent on Pentagon spending (including mine here in Bath, Maine) Huntsville has a very small peace community. So we are grateful to local folks for generously helping us out the way they have done.
Calls and emails are still coming into our office as people let us know they are planning to attend the events.
We should have a good crowd with activists coming from seven countries and 16 states across America.
In recent days we've also been hearing from local media in Huntsville. I am certain this conference and protest should be a big story in a community that is so dependent on military spending - thus their nickname 'The Pentagon of the South'.
How can the peace movement ever flourish and grow in the US unless and until we go into the deep south and give support to local activists who often feel isolated and in a sense forgotten by the larger movement?
I know that during my fifteen years as Coordinator of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice our membership was always grateful to those who came down from the north to attend our frequent space center protests at Cape Canaveral.
See y'all soon.....
Sunday, April 02, 2017
Seongju & Huntsville: No THAAD on April 8
Another video from South Korea where a melon farming community protests the US deployment of the provocative THAAD 'missile defense' system.
At the start of the video local women cheer the news reports that recently impeached right-wing President Park Geun-hye was arrested in the early morning hours of Friday, March 31 and is currently jailed at the Seoul Detention Center while awaiting trial. The Special Investigation Bureau in charge of investigating the Choi/Park corruption scandal is expected to indict Park and make a motion for trial in mid-April.
The ironic thing is that the Seongju farming community voted 85% in favor of the US puppet President Park in the last election. Park likely felt confident that since Seongju residents were loyal conservative party supporters they would go along with the US plan to deploy THAAD in their community. But the people rebelled and held a mass funeral march to resign en mass from the ruling party. They then quickly joined the peace movement and THAAD has become a dominant issue in South Korea.
The plan is now to organize the 2nd nationwide peace action (the first one drew more than 5,000 people) in Seongju on April 8, the same day the Global Network meets in Huntsville, Alabama where THAAD is currently being developed.
You don't have to understand Korean to watch this moving video......
THAAD is also deployed in Guam and will soon be flight tested from pristine fishing village Kodiak Island, Alaska.
April Fools in Russian
(The English bit starts at 29 second mark)
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has uploaded the following answer machine message, to be appropriated "at any diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation" - business as usual, on April Fool's Day.
"Hello, you've reached the Embassy of the Russian Federation. If you'd like to request a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent - press 1. To use the services of Russian hackers - press 2. To request election interference - press 3 and wait until the next election campaign. Please note that all calls are recorded for quality improvement and training purposes."
Not long after, Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Affairs spokesperson, published the following Facebook post:
"At 3pm on 1 April, the media office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was contacted by journalists of the Associated Press, who asked to 'officially confirm that the answerphone message is in fact a joke.' I am kind of sorry that we ruined the celebration for AP, who were probably marking the occasion!"