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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, April 22, 2017

How Would Jesus Look in that Bomber Jacket?



Many people want
to impeach Trump
for similar war crimes
committed by Obama,
Bush II, Clinton,
Bush I, etc....

Then we'd get
Pence
the bible thumper
the true believer

Katie
bar the door

But Pence is
presidential
he looks good
in the bomber jacket
harsh
and tight-assed
just the way
they like them
inside the
Deep State
in the land
of the free....

Washington
has a tough sell
as the empire
implodes
under its own
contradictions

They are now
asking themselves:
Do we just bluster
and boast
our way through
the collapse
or
do we keep
bombing
the hell out of anyone
as an example
to others
who stand
in our way?

The Deep State
wants to
make them
shake and shudder
down along the East River
at the U.N.

Many Christians
declare
that the bombs
will help
bring on
the end times
They love us so much
they are ready
to kill us all

Not the kind
of love
I'm looking for....

Can't help
but ask
How would
Jesus look
in that
bomber jacket?

Bruce

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fromm: Political Emptiness & Stupidity



The Mike Wallace Interview: Erich Fromm (1958-05-25)

Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst and social critic, talks to Wallace about society, materialism, relationships, government, religion, happiness and his fear of nuclear war.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

U.S. Forces THAAD Deployment in South Korea



Report from South Korea:

Today, a great struggle in Soseong-ri. The policemen enforced to pass the trucks loaded with THAAD 'missile defense' base construction materials. They met with the people's fierce protest. During the process, a resident was carried to hospital while two people including a Won Buddhist Reverend were arrested by the police.

A construction truck in which a US soldier was driving was passed into the former Lotte golf course area, a planned area for the deployment of THAAD after hours of confrontation between the policemen and people who struggled to stop the truck.

During the lunch time, the policemen rushed into the village again and detained the villagers into the village hall.

After all the struggle in Soseong-ri today, a Yonhap news report told that the process of free land provision to the US military based on SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement in South Korea) was done. What the Yonhap news doesn't tell is that such land provision was illegal.

It was two days ago that the people, having a press conference, demanded that the current corrupt acting government should do nothing as there would be a new government after the Presidential election on May 9.

According to the people, the land provision to the US military for free, based on SOFA, is illegal unless a law on the limitation on special benefit in providing state-owned land is revised.

According to lawyers, the SOFA is NOT applicable to such category for special benefit. Still the land provision was done in the way of simple document signing. You can say it is a ROBBERY.

See more photos here

Lamentation


Yesterday I interviewed artist Russell Wray (Hancock, Maine) on my public access TV show called This Issue.  He brought along this piece of sculpture that he made depicting a Cuvier's beached whale and two women in deep sorrow - he calls it Lamentation.  The sculpture was made from one piece of cherry wood.

Russell described how this particular breed of whales are often impacted by Navy sonar.

Russell was arrested the last two times we held a non-violent civil disobedience action at Bath Iron Works during a 'christening' of a new destroyer.

Russell was highly motivated to stand in resistance because of his deep love and connection with all sea life - much of his art work is centered around whales and dolphins.  Over the years he has become an expert on the effects of Navy sonar on sea life.  Thus his creation of the organization called COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats).

During the taping of the TV show Russell also talked about going to Jeju Island, South Korea a couple years ago with a Veterans For Peace delegation that I helped to organize.  While there he was angered by the destruction of the fishing and farming village by the Navy as they blasted the sacred rocky coastline with dynamite and then poured concrete to make docks for warships.

He learned about the endangered Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins that would daily circle Jeju Island and which surely will be negatively impacted by Navy sonar as US and South Korean warships port at the new base.

During our last couple of Maine Peace Walks Russell has fully participated in the organizing of those events that took our messages through the state.  He painted incredible banners that he mounted on a van and carefully placed the dolphin Maka that he sculpted on top of the vehicle as well.  We used the van to shuttle walkers and you can imagine how people's eyes were drawn to these images. (Click on the photos for a better view.)


Years ago while working for Greenpeace Russell pulled Maka on an environmental walk all the way across the US.  So he has a long relationship with Maka.


Russell is an extraordinarily gifted artist who puts his talents to use as an activist as well.  I've been lucky to visit his home in Hancock where he has a gallery full of magnificent wooden sculptures.  You can see them by clicking on his web site here

We are lucky to have Russell as a friend and a fellow peace worker - there are few people who have devoted their life so fully to protecting nature and sea life the way he has done for so many years.

I should be able to post our interview here on the blog in another week or so.  You will want to watch it for sure.

Bruce

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sharing Hearts



I once heard that the rich don't often give donations to organizations and efforts that benefit the poor.  The rich largely give to the symphony and the opera and the art museum.

Statistics show that poor and working people are the big givers to efforts to really help the poor.

This video confirms this reality.

Bless these fine people in Mexico.

Bruce

One Last Story from Huntsville


During our last day in Huntsville, Alabama (Sunday, April 9) we had a brief membership meeting of the Global Network to review some organizational issues such as an evaluation of the conference, a new board appointment and where we would hold our annual space conference in 2018.  We met just outside the hotel around a fire pit and when we were going around doing introductions a man introduced himself as a US Air Force officer who was staying at the hotel and wanted to see what our group of "interesting people" was talking about.  (Many in our circle were wearing Veterans For Peace shirts/hats.) So he sat and listened to some of our meeting.

After the meeting was over John Schuchardt from Ipswich, Massachusetts went up to the officer to talk with him.  John himself had been a Marine Corp Reserve Officer during the Vietnam War and quit the military because of his opposition to the war.  I asked John to share his conversation with the officer on April 9 and here is what he wrote.

My conversation with the Air Force Reserve Officer who listened in on part of our meeting:  
He said that he was an Administrative Liaison for B-1, B-2, and B-52's bombers in the Reserves.  His job was to manage "assets" and coordinate, advise, and plan the deployment of Reserve assets with regular Air Force command structures.  His position was increasingly being called upon because there is a growing emphasis from reserve status to operational status.   (This would mirror or parallel the increasing use of  Reserve units to shift from the normal Reserve assignments to overseas war-fighting.)

I did not ask all the questions I would want to, trying to keep things social and friendly.   I didn't find out his rank, his Reserve unit, or exactly why he was in Huntsville. He suggested he was taking part in meetings to work on over-all issues of force integration and changes being brought about as his reserve assets became more integrated with operational regular commands. 

I did say, "59 US cruise missiles attacked a base in Syria with Russian personnel (and probably planes) yesterday.  What is going to happen tomorrow?"  His reply, "Nobody knows."   
My parting handshake was, "Please don't blow up our beautiful world."  He smiled and agreed that he hoped not.

I think it was interesting that the officer wanted to stick his head into our circle and we were glad he did.  It was good that John spoke with him afterward to make the human connection.  And their parting words were important as well as they reaffirmed for me that not everyone inside the military  is anxious to blow up our planet.

Reflecting on this chance encounter I thought about all the US military personnel stationed around the world and, just from my own experiences in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, I am certain that many heartfelt discussions are currently happening on US bases between those who are eager for war and those who are not.

We know from past history that signals from military personnel who are doubting US aggressive moves, risking WW III, can in fact help slow down the grinding wheels of the Pentagon's war machine.  I don't know if the officer who sat in our meeting is one such doubter or not - but the fact that he was drawn to our peaceful spirit speaks for itself.

We can only hope that the legions of US military personnel who do in fact doubt the current mission will speak up often and loudly and help bring some sanity to the out-of-control US imperial war machine.  Everyone has a role in protecting our Mother Earth from a devastating global nuclear war.

Bruce 

The Phony North Korea Threat



How many nations has North Korea attacked since the 1950's?

How many nations has the US attacked and forced regime change during that same period?

What country has military bases all over South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam and Australia?

Which country organizes regular war exercises on the Korean peninsula aimed at the north and is encouraging Japan to rearm and develop offensive military capability?

Who is the real threat to peace on the Korean peninsula?

Which nation still refuses to negotiate and sign a final peace treaty to officially end the Korean War?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Veterans Mobilization in Washington



May 29-30 in Washington DC.  All  are invited to participate.

Video by Will Griffin (VFP).

Korean War is Not Over



As tensions with North Korea rise and the media continues to push for red lines in President Trump’s foreign policy, what historical context is missing from the conversation? Is the North Korean government simply irrational and belligerent or are historical forces behind Pyongyang’s behavior?

Mark Selden, senior research associate in the East Asia program at Cornell University, joins RT America’s Anya Parampil to discuss.

The US has long refused to sign a peace treaty with North Korea - officially the war is still on.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Previous U.S. Attacks on North Korea

Inside Fort Detrick, Maryland in the early days

I first wrote this blog entry in 2006 after reading an amazing book called “A Plague Upon Humanity” by Daniel Barenblatt. It reveals the hidden history of Japan’s biological warfare program before and during WW II.  Since we are currently in deep concern that the Trump war team will bomb North Korea it seems like a good time to retell this important story.

Barenblatt begins by revealing how Japan created a phony pretext in order to start the Manchurian war. In September 1931 Japanese army engineers secretly blew up the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway near Shenyang. The Japanese government then immediately blamed the explosion upon Chinese soldiers garrisoned nearby. Japan then attacked the Chinese troops, sleeping in their barracks at the time. A war was underway.

Early on Japan set up a biological warfare (BW) unit led by Shiro Ishii. BW units were established throughout Manchuria and China in Japanese army occupied territory. At these locations Chinese freedom fighters and civilians were used as lab rats and were given lethal doses of bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, typhus and typhoid. Bodies of infected prisoners were cut open, often while people still lived, to study the effects of the biological contamination. Japan’s BW program used infected rats and fleas, dropped from airplanes, to spread the deadly diseases killing entire Chinese villages. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese civilians were killed by Japan.

As WW II widened throughout the Pacific, Japan took their BW campaign to Japanese occupied islands. Japan also sent disease laden animals into Russia in hopes of spreading disease into that country. American prisoners of war were experimented on in Japanese labs as well.

Following Japanese surrender at the end of WW II one would have thought that these crimes against humanity would have been exposed and punished, similar to Nazi war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. But this was not the case. General Douglas MacArthur made a deal with Japan’s chief BW expert, Shiro Ishii, protecting him from prosecution by literally covering up the entire BW story. Ishii and his BW team gave their expertise to the US. According to Barenblatt, “Not only did they escape war crimes proceedings and public scrutiny by virtue of their cooperation with the US occupation authorities, they also became prominent public health officials and respected academic figures in Japanese university and government circles. A few became quite wealthy as executives of pharmaceutical companies.”

The Soviet Union knew about Japan’s BW program and in late 1949 called for Ishii to be apprehended and tried by the US occupation forces in Japan as the ringleader of the secret Japanese program. In response, Gen. MacArthur’s office in Tokyo denounced the Soviet charges of Japanese biological warfare and a US cover-up as evidence of communist propaganda.

In fact on March 13, 1948 the US War Department cabled instructions to Gen. MacArthur in Japan to give “immunity” to Japanese BW operatives. “Information retained from Ishii and associates may be retained in intelligence channels,” the instructions concluded.

There were war crimes trials in Japan after WW II. B.V.A. Roling, the last surviving judge from the Tokyo trials, who represented the Netherlands on the international tribunal, learned of this American deception many years later. “As one of the judges in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, it is a bitter experience for me to be informed now that centrally ordered Japanese war criminality of the most disgusting kind was kept secret from the Court by the US government,” Roling wrote. The US should be “ashamed because of the fact they withheld information from the Court with respect to the biological experiments of the Japanese in Manchuria on Chinese and American prisoners of war,” he said.

In the 1950’s Ishii was secretly taken to the US to lecture at Fort Detrick, Maryland on how to best conduct germ warfare. And as the Korean War heated up, Ishii was used by the US to advise on how to spread deadly disease in that war against North Korean and Chinese forces. North Korea, China and the Soviet Union all claimed in 1951-52 that the US Pentagon was using germ warfare on a large scale in the Korean War.

The Chinese showed footage and photographs of metallic US shells that snapped open upon hitting the ground, releasing a swarming cargo of insects that unleashed bubonic plague, smallpox, and anthrax. This method of delivery had been a favorite of Japan’s BW program.

Barenblatt notes that an international scientific investigating team, headed by a highly noted British biochemist from Cambridge University, did research in Korea and issued a report saying that sudden appearances of insects and spiders, of species not normally known in the region, in winter, and in association with the dropping of strange containers and objects by US military planes were evidence of bio-warfare. Lab tests performed on fleas discovered in such unusual circumstances, positively showed the presence of bubonic plague bacteria.

In some cases, US military jets, usually F-86 fighters, had flown over Korea dropping masses of fowl feathers tainted with anthrax.

In 1956 American journalist John Powell was charged with 13 counts of sedition for trying to expose the US BW campaign in Korea. In 1953 former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover brought Powell before congressional committees charging him with “un-American activities.” Years later, in the 1980’s, Powell’s story was finally aired in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

So as we today hear China warning about the re-arming of Japan, with full support and encouragement of the U.S., can we not see some historical precedent for their worry? Both Japan and the US have shown, since WW II, that they will use extreme measures to subdue Korea and China in the quest for control and domination of the Asia-Pacific.

As the US today doubles its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, can there be any doubt that China and North Korea have not forgotten the stories of the past? Stories that to most Americans are unknown and long covered up.

Bruce

America is in Big Trouble


I spent 90-minutes standing by this mailbox in Brunswick today, along with six other members of our local group called PeaceWorks, handing out tax day flyers to the public.  The others stood by the doors to the Post Office while I took my usual spot at the drive-up mail box.  I helped people put their tax returns in the box and tried to hand them our flyer.  At most 40% took one from me.

One older woman drove by and gave me the finger.  A former Brunswick town councilor (Joanne King), a Republican, rudely stepped on the gas before I could even make my kind offer of the flyer.

An old timer - retired Navy man - walked up and asked me if I 'had served' expecting me to say no which would then allow him to lecture me on patriotism.  But when I told him yes I had been in the Air Force during the Vietnam War he had to catch his breath.  Soon enough though he told me that the country was cutting the military budget and "Our troops don't have guns and our planes won't fly" because of these cuts.  I told him that was not true and then he told me "You should be proud".  I told him I was ashamed of our country - all the lies Washington told to sell the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and now the Syria take down.

He walked into the post office and by that time the local newspaper had sent a reporter to take our photos and interview some of us.  As the old timer was leaving in his car he noticed the reporter and called him over to his car.  I heard him tell the reporter, "These people are lying."

I told the reporter that I've been standing at post office mail boxes for the past 30 years on tax day trying to get the public to understand how much of their $$$$ is wasted on endless war.


It's hard work because the vast majority of Americans don't really want to know.  If they know, and internalize the information, then they might have to do something about it.  If they think of all the innocent people their tax dollars have killed around the world then they might be compelled to stand up and speak out.  But that would be unpopular and most folks want to go along to get along.

Thank goodness there were some driving and walking by who gave us a positive sign.  It shows that at least a few people are still thinking for themselves.

Needless to say America is in big trouble.

Bruce

Non-Stop War by the U.S.


Agneta Norberg holds a list of US wars since the Korean War.  Agneta lives in Stockholm, Sweden and chairs the Swedish Peace Council.

Agneta is also on the board of the Global Network and was with us in Huntsville, Alabama for our recent 25th annual space organizing conference.

Imagine the kind of country we'd have in the US if we'd not wasted our national treasury on endless war.  We could have free health care for all, free education, a world-class public transit system, solar power on every house and business across the nation and much more.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sign the Petition


Plans for Domination of Space



A presentation by David Webb, Chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament UK, on the history of Huntsville, Alabama's connections wih the US weapons industry, starting from its production of chemical weapons and its importation of Werner von Braun and other Nazi rocket scientists, up to its becoming the modern-day Mecca for America's development and production of conventional and nuclear missiles, electronics, guidance systems and space weapons.

Dave speaks here at the 25th Annual Conference of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, held at Huntsville, April 7-9, 2017.

Sunday Song