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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NATO Advances on Donbas & Russian Border

Last week in eastern Ukraine a fire broke out at a military munitions depot of the Ministry of Defense, which is located near the city of Balakleya, Kharkiv region, and led to the detonation of ammunition.

The weapons depot has been considered to be the largest in Europe where different types of ammunition are stored. This base is designed for 150 thousand tons of ammunition, currently 125 thousand tons were kept there.

Puppet President Poroshenko announced on his Twitter  that he ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and Emergency Department to invite NATO to deal with the aftermath of this disaster, or how he phrased it to do “humanitarian demining.”  

Surprisingly there have been no official statements about how this fire broke out.  Nor have there been any claims by the US-NATO puppet government in Kiev that Russia was responsible which is surprising because lately Moscow seems to be blamed for virtually everything bad that happens anywhere on the planet.

The Balakleya lost one civilian killed, two wounded. And according to Vice Premier Zubko:

“We identified five destroyed private houses. Damages of different degrees were identified for 243 building, including 117 apartment buildings, 87 private houses, 12 social facilities, 22 facilities and industry. Assessment of volume of damage and destruction of these buildings is still underway”

90 servicemen were on duty at this military facility at any given time. Not a word has been heard about them from the government of Ukraine.

The latest news from Balakleya is as follows:

NATO troops are moving into the area around Kharkiv.

NATO envoys arrive in Balaklia to assist in humanitarian demining NATO representatives are arriving in the town of Balaklia, Ukraine, to conduct demining operations in the area where a large-scale fire engulfed a military munitions depot on March 23, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration Yulia Svetlichna said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.
 “I can say that NATO envoys are already arriving to carry out demining the military munitions depot, at the request of the president,” Svetlichna said.

All one has to do is look at the map to see the 'strategic proximity' of Kharkiv to the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region (Luhansk and Donetsk) and to the Russian border.  It has been US-NATO's goal all along to establish military operations as close to the Russian border as possible. 

The self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine, currently holding their own against US-backed western Ukrainian Nazi death squads, would stand no chance if NATO forces either overtly or covertly began to also attack the Russian speaking populations in the Donbas region.  Would Russia then be forced to directly intervene to support them?  That could then be the trigger that US-NATO have long been seeking to justify a shooting match with Moscow.

Added to all of this is the simultaneous 'color revolution' that is being organized by the US-NATO inside of neighboring Belarus. Again a look at the map indicates the strategic location of Belarus.  This entire region is under intense pressure as Washington-Brussels-Berlin-London-Paris play their regime change cards attempting to topple everyone and anyone possible in order to destabilize (internally and externally) the Russian Federation.

If you thought the fires and blasts at the Balakleya ammo depot were 'explosive' just imagine what a real war between US-NATO and Russia would look like.  To say it would be dangerous is mildly laughable - these current provocations are the triggers for WW III that could quickly expand to engulf Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and ultimately the United States.

Don't play with fire.


(Parts of the above were taken from various reports found on The Saker website)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire

Click on image to read the words

On Saturday Mary Beth and I drove north to Deer Isle, Maine to spend the weekend with Jean Hendrick - wife of fellow Veterans For Peace member Dud Hendrick.  The reason for the trip was that I was invited to speak at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary on Sunday by the artist Robert Shetterly who lives there and created the series of paintings called Americans Who Tell the Truth.

The Reversing Falls Sanctuary has been holding a Lenten series of talks by various people that Shetterly has painted over the years.

Dud was down in Florida, along the Gulf Coast in Apalachicola, getting some sun and a respite from the long winter.  But Jean took great care of us while we were at their place.  Early on Sunday morning Jean took us on a three mile walk along the ocean.  Deer Isle is a quite beautiful place - anytime of year.

I was asked to tell stories to those who came to my talk so I began with a few about how I joined the Air Force in 1971 having been a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968.  After failing my induction physical, because of a high school football injury, I had to get a waiver in order to join the military when most young men my age were trying to avoid the draft.

I shared stories about my first roommate at Travis AFB in California who was one of the organizers of the GI Resistance Movement in the barracks - those meetings that were held in my room, with me sitting in the corner at first, helped to turn me into a peacenik.

I talked about the Rev. Fred Eyster from the National Farmworker Ministry who knocked on my apartment door one evening while I was at the University of Florida and invited me to get involved with other students supporting the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) lettuce boycott on our campus.  I began skipping classes and eventually quit college when they offered me a job organizing fruit pickers in Florida.  I've been an organizer ever since.

I shared stories from 1983 when I was leading protests at the Pershing II nuclear missile factory in Orlando. The missile was deployed by Ronald Reagan that year in Mutlangen, Germany.  A year or two later I went to a peace conference in Mutlangen and met my first Russian peace activist (a nice man without horns on his head) and joined the Germans as they ran outside during the conference to block the narrow village street when a US Army convoy of mobile Pershing launchers left the base to do maneuvers in the countryside.

Many years later, after the end of the Cold War and the closing of the US base in Mutlangen, I went back to visit folks there and they showed me with great pride how the former nuclear weapons storage bunkers had been 'converted' by the community to a storage facility for sand to put on the roads during winter storms.  Much more practical than storing nukes!

I told the story of my trip to Odessa, Ukraine last May 2 on the 'anniversary' of the US sponsored coup d'etat that unleashed the chaos in that country that only appears to be worsening these days.  I talked about trips to Jeju Island, South Korea and Okinawa.

I spoke about our on-going campaign here in Bath, Maine to call for the conversion of Bath Iron Works and invited their community to step forward and send a team of non-violent resisters to a future 'christening' of a Navy destroyer that will be sent to bases in other lands where local people's lives have been disrupted in order to build bases for this seemingly endless string of US warships now clogging up the sea lanes on our Mother Earth.

As I was leaving an 86 year old woman came up to me and said that if she could get out of bed at 6:00 am on April 1 she intended to make the drive to Bath for our protest - but she warned me that getting out of bed that early for her these days was never easy.  People that know her well told me that I should not be surprised that she will likely show up.

This Saturday we will once again commit a non-violent act of civil resistance during the 'christening' ceremony of another $1.5 billion Navy Aegis destroyer.  Another story will be created to add to my many years of similar tales about this wonderful life I've led as a peace, justice and ecological activist.


Excellent Report on THAAD Deployment

A well done news clip from Russia on the US deployment of THAAD - very interesting in that they cover the technical aspects of the 'missile defense' program as well as China's economic response to South Korea.

Well worth watching.  Quite accurate from what I saw.  We'd never see a news story like this here in the US.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Navy Keep Out!

The first U.S. Navy destroyer makes port call at Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The Obama-Clinton (and now Trump) 'pivot' of 60% of U.S. forces into the Asia-Pacific requires more barracks for American troops, more ports-of-call for American warships and more airfields for Washington's warplanes.

The Pentagon does not care about the impact this 'pivot' has on the lives of people in the region.

Villagers and supporters in Gangjeong met the Navy destroyer with a protest and denounced its arrival.

We'll be talking about all of this on April 1 in Bath, Maine at the next 'christening' protest of another one of these provocative Aegis destroyers.

Will Americans ever be able to empathize with the people of the Asia-Pacific who want our military boot off their necks? Can we stand in solidarity with their non-violent acts of resistance?


Sunday Song

Friday, March 24, 2017

Grannies Against THAAD in South Korea

On March 18 elderly residents of Soseong-ri, South Korea (a village in Seongju County just 2 miles from the deployment site) joined the national peace march of more than 5,000 people against THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defense).

Leaning on walkers, they marched with high spirits, held up big picket signs and chanted, “Illegal THAAD, back to the U.S! THAAD, go away! Come Peace!” 

These people who live near the THAAD deployment site are mostly melon farmers who used to be 85% in favor of the right-wing ruling government.  Since the decision was made to deploy the so-called 'missile defense' system in their community they quit the right-wing party and joined the peace movement.

One of their leaders will be speaking in Huntsville on April 8 at the Global Network space organizing conference. The THAAD 'missile defense' system is built in Alabama and has been deployed in South Korea in recent days. 

THAAD is also currently deployed in Guam and the Pentagon will soon be undertaking a THAAD testing program at a launch site located on Kodiak Island, Alaska on what used to be a pristine nature preserve area.

Navy Wants to 'Give Back' to Jeju - In That Case Just Leave!

US Navy Visits Republic of Korea Island for First Time 
 By U.S. Navy News Release

JEJU-do, Republic of Korea – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) is scheduled to arrive in Jeju-do, Republic of Korea (ROK) on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

This is the first visit by any U.S. Navy ship since the ROK Joint Civil-Military Complex opened February 26, 2016.

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, will greet the ship along with Rear Adm. Kim, Jeongsu, the commander of Maritime Task Force Flotilla 7, as more than 100 ROK sailors, will welcome Stethem to the southern island.

“This may the first time we [U.S. Navy] will visit Jeju, but we have a long history of visiting the Republic of Korea at ports in Chinhae, Pyeongtaek, Donghae, Mokpo, and Busan,” said Cooper. “So, while the location may be new, our commitment to being good guests, respectful partners, and strong allies is as firm as ever.”

The ship is going to Jeju as part of a routine port visit following the ship’s participation in Foal Eagle 17, a joint exercise between the Republic of Korea Navy and U.S. Navy.

“We enjoy anytime we get to train with our ROK partners,” said Cmdr. Douglas Pegher, Stethem’s commanding officer, “because with each engagement we improve our cooperation and through that we enhance our combined defensive capabilities. We have trained with them at-sea and look forward to strengthening our relationship here in Jeju.”

While in Jeju, Stethem Sailors will have the opportunity to participate in various Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities, sporting events, and participate in community relations projects to give back to the local Jeju community.

"We are honored to be here and develop new friendship and strengthen existing relationships through team building exercise, combined sporting events, and by giving back to the island through a community relations event," said Cmdr. Jeff W. Benson, Stethem’s executive officer.

Stethem is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Never Forget Odessa!

A Call for an April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is calling for an International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa on April 10, 2017, to draw attention to the Ukrainian government’s repression of anti-fascist activists in that city. We are calling for rallies, vigils and demonstrations outside Ukrainian embassies and consular offices around the world. April 10 is a date of great significance to all Odessans, as it marks the day in 1944 when Odessa was liberated from years of fascist occupation.

February 2014 saw the overthrow of the elected president of Ukraine in a violent, right-wing coup supported by the U.S. government. Just three months later, on May 2, Odessa experienced one of Europe’s worst civil disorders in many decades, when 46 mostly young progressives were brutally murdered by a fascist-led mob at Odessa’s Kulikovo square.

Ever since that day, relatives, friends and supporters of those who were killed have been demanding an international investigation into the massacre, a demand that has been blocked by the federal government working hand-in-hand with the fascist organizations responsible for the deaths. This obstruction by the Ukrainian government has been noted by the United Nations, the Council of Europe and other international bodies, as well as the U.S. State Department.

It should be noted that, despite many videos taken of the fascists participating in the massacre, not one of those responsible for the murders has ever been brought to trial, while many anti-fascists arrested that day are still in prison, many never having been charged with a crime.

Each week since the massacre, Odessans have gathered in Kulikovo square to remember their dead and press the demand for an investigation. And nearly every week, neo-Nazi organizations like the notorious Right Sector harass and sometimes physically attack them. The police occasionally intervene, but the fascists are never arrested.

In an alarming new development, several anti-fascist Odessans have been arrested by federal authorities and falsely charged with serious crimes. On Feb. 23, Alexander Kushnarev, 65, a deputy of the Limansk District Council and father of one of the young people murdered at Kulikovo square, was arrested by agents of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Also arrested was Anatoly Slobodyanik, 68, a retired military officer and the head of the Odessa Organization of Veterans of Armed Forces. The Odessan region’s chief prosecutor claims the two men were planning to kidnap a member of the country’s Rada, or parliament.

The Rada deputy, Alexei Goncharenko, a member of a parliamentary bloc allied with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was in fact missing for a short time. But he quickly reappeared and was interviewed on the Ukrainian television channel EspresoTV, stating that his abduction had been staged by law enforcement officers. Kushnarev may have been selected for a government frame-up because Goncharenko was at the scene of the 2014 massacre where Kushnarev’s son was killed.

Kushnarev and Slobodyanik are now languishing in the Odessa prison where conditions are aimed at breaking the prisoners’ will to resist. Both elderly men have had long-standing heart problems and it is feared they may not survive their confinement.

Since the two men were taken into custody, the homes of other relatives of the victims of May 2 have been searched by police. Ominous reports are now surfacing about plans to arrest more relatives and supporters and extract “confessions” of plans to commit violent acts against the government.

Since the coup of 2014, the right of the Ukrainian people to free speech has been steadily restricted. The continuing demand of Odessans for an international investigation into the massacre at Kulikovo square has been a particular irritant to the federal government. If the voices of these brave people are allowed to be silenced, Ukraine will have taken another huge step toward becoming an undemocratic police state in collusion with murderous fascist groups.

All out for the April 10 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Odessa!

Free Alexander Kushnarev, Anatoly Slobodyanik & all political prisoners in Ukraine!

Stop the repression against relatives & supporters of those killed on May 2, 2014!

No to fascism in Ukraine & all over the world!

The Odessa Solidarity Campaign is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).

It was founded in May 2016 following the second anniversary memorial of the massacre of May 2, 2014.  A delegation of UNAC members from the United States attended the memorial, which was held at Odessa’s Kulikovo square. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Planning a War in Space

These space warfare proponents are crazy and have their greedy hands on the national treasury.  But still that is not enough money for them and now these aerospace industries are rounding up the international allies to help pay for the US Star Wars program.

Taxpayers everywhere beware!

Glen Ford: Black Agenda Report

Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

It Ain't So Much Fun After All

After eight hours of debate, House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the vice chair, listen to arguments from committee chairs Wednesday as the panel meets to shape the final version of the Republican health care bill.

Saddle up
one Republican
in the House of Reps
"At some point we have to cowboy up and prove we can govern"

The Obama Care
health bill recall plan
has hit the rocks
as Republican
the current
'reform' process

During the Obama tenure
when the health bill was passed
Congress was not allowed
to consider
Medicare for All,
a real national health care plan

So instead we got
a corporate health care
welfare package
and certain to make big $$$
for the insurance companies

Now the Congress
talks about
'access' to health care
that means
the hacks in DC
will make it possible
for you to buy
insurance on the
open market
if you can
afford it,
most can't

Still today
inside the hollow halls
of Washington
Medicare for All,
is only whispered
in the toilets
by those
pissed off
about the
corporate domination
of the people's house

Soon corporate adverts
will be emblazoned
on the outside walls
of the Capitol
neon lights blinking
everything is for sale

even the steps
up to the Capitol doors
will be painted with ads
to remind the 'consumers'
who actually owns
the house

each step
sold to the
highest bidder
the soul
of the nation
now has a price tag
our God
is the
green frog skin

Step right up!
Make a bid
on a Capitol step
the higher you
get to the heaven$
the more they cost!