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, November 24, 2015

Reflections on a Trip and More.....

I got home last night after the long, but uneventful, trip from England to Maine.  It took a train, two planes, a bus and a car to get me from Leeds back to Bath.

I thought I'd share some reflections from the trip and also some thoughts about 'endless war' events currently in the news.

  • The people we met with in Sicily were top of the mark - good organizers, very kind and welcoming.  We ate pasta two meals each day while there and I was in heaven.
  • Two of the No MUOS groups (in Ragusa and Niscemi) have joined the Global Network as affiliate members which is a great thing.  We were impressed with their campaign to shut down the new US space directed communications base in Niscemi.  We asked them to try to get more English language subtitles on protest videos and the like so that more people can learn about their campaign.
  • Dave Webb did a great job lining up my trip around England.  I spoke on three different college campuses and we drove a long way to three different US space warfare downlink/radar installations throughout Britain.  We met many determined activists along the way.
  • Luckily throughout the trip to Sicily and England we did lots of walking which is often hard to do when you are traveling.  
  • Activists in England are very excited about Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labor party chairmanship in recent months.  Corbyn is a long-time Parliament back bencher from London who has been an active leader in the peace movement for years.  The inside story is that the battle for Labor's soul - between the left and the remnants of the Tony Blair crew - has taken on new life as Corbyn reluctantly took his turn to run for chair and unexpectedly this time the public responded wildly which has put life back into all the movements.  The corporate media is attacking Corbyn mercilessly every day and he and his spokespeople have decided only to do live interviews so that their words cannot be cut and pasted into trash stories intended to mislead the public.  Smart idea.
  • Dave and I rode the trains a couple times and the privatization of the once proud British rail system continues to show that the corporations can't and won't deliver important services to the public.  The corporations are not keeping the rail lines in good repair which means the public has to repeatedly bail them out with more funds.  The trains don't run on time and many scheduled routes are changed or cancelled creating much disarray and disapproval from the riders.  
  • The French terrorist event happened just as we were moving from Sicily to England.  When I, and others, heard about a terrorist 'passport' being found (coincidentally just like on 9/11 in New York) we didn't buy the story.  While I have no evidence to support this - I do believe that the French terror event was another of the Gladio-style false flag events that continue to be used by the western capitalist governments to promote war and the loss of our freedoms.  
  • In the case of the French terror event the US, France, England and other NATO allies are using the horrible killings to justify widening their already insane war in Syria.  The massive refugee crisis in Europe has largely been a result of the US-NATO wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.  I am convinced that the ultimate US-NATO goal is to widen the chaos even further which serves several wicked purposes: forces the public to support even more wars; creates even more military industrial complex profits which means more austerity cuts in human services; helps undercut the big protests (now looks like they have been banned) in Paris around the climate change summit; and ultimately consolidates power in the corporate dominated governments of the NATO war machine as we see even many left/liberal politicians now scrambling to prove they will be 'tough on terror'.  Hillary Clinton is just one example.
  • Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet today raises the question about NATO (Turkey is a NATO member) possibly attempting to find a pretext to create a "No fly zone" across Syria (something Hillary Clinton has been advocating).  This would put Russia and NATO directly at odds and increase the possibility of a more direct war between them.
  • The recent energy blockade of Crimea and cutting the power lines by US-sponsored Ukrainian agents seems to be timed to increase the pressure on Russia at the same moment that the US-NATO are expanding their war to take down the Moscow supported Assad government in Syria.  The US-NATO is obviously working overtime to create as many points of instability as possible on or near the Russian border.  I would not at all be surprised to see the puppet government in Kiev (under full US control) again move to restart the war and shelling of Ukrainian citizens living in the Donbass (eastern Ukraine) along the Russian border. 
  • I've got much administrative work to get caught up with since being away.  As winter approaches here in Maine there is also much yet to do to prepare the house and outside for the coming snows.  I went out and brought in some wood today which is something I always enjoy doing. 

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Plane

Turkey shoots down Russian jet over Syria.  Russia claims the plane was one mile away from Turkish border when it was destroyed.  Turkey is a NATO member and some are speculating that they are trying to draw Russia into wider war on behalf of the west.
It's been well known for a long time that Turkey helps fund, shelter, train, and fund ISIS along with the US, Israel, Saudia Arabia and Jordan.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Real Story

Everything you know about Thanksgiving is wrong ft. Franchesca "Chescaleigh" Ramsey.
Posted by MTV on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday Song


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tour of U.S. Space Warfare Bases: From Fylingdales to Croughton

US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base called Fylingdales way up in the Yorkshire Moors by day
Fylingdales by cold windy night (thankfully no rain). Ronald McDonald (on the right with the torch) joined this vigil telling us "I've come over to the other side."

Yesterday three of us drove from Leeds 90 minutes northeast to Fylingdales where we were joined by 10 others for a mile or so walk at 5:00 pm along the dark highway through the beautiful Moors to the US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base.

The half-moon lit sky, and a rare view of the stars, was a welcome sight as the rain did not fall on us and thankfully so because it was bitter cold and windy.  Three of the military police from inside the installation came out to hassle us a bit not wanting us to stand inside the entry road to the radar facility but there were no cars passing in or out so we insisted and after some debate with one of the long-time Quaker activists in our group they gave up and left us alone.

I was asked to share some words and I reminded the brave-hearted folks that they are not alone in this effort to expose the global nature of the US space domination program that has set up these installations in many out-of-the-way places around our spinning planet.  We need one another to help shine a light on these bases that all put together enable the Pentagon to wage fierce endless war on people who have usually done nothing more than live on top of vital resources that the greedy corporations want to control.

Early this morning Dave and I drove three hours south to another US space communications base - this one called Croughton.  We met nine activists in a small pub called the Black Bird for lunch and folks shared what they knew about the expanding mission of the Croughton base.  The activists came from various towns and villages in the Oxforshire region and are the first group each year to register their annual Keep Space for Peace Week event (held in early October) with us at the Global Network.

After lunch we drove around the base stopping at several key spots for a better view of the golf ball looking satellite dishes that are covered up so that you can't tell which direction they are directing their signals.  At the third spot we paused at US Air Force military police came driving up to the gate and followed us to the next place we stopped.  While at the last stop I told the MP's that I had myself been in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and became a peacenik during those years.

In front of Croughton main gate showing solidarity with friends in Sicily - both places doing US space warfare communications operations

At one of the stops we made around Croughton I was taken to the place in 2008 where I had helped the Lord Mayor of Oxford plant two oak trees.  Much to my surprise there was a plaque honoring that occasion fixed to an old wooden fence.

Following our three-hour drive back to Leeds I treated Dave to a fish & chips dinner at a local restaurant.  He's been kindly feeding me right on schedule during the past week and I figured I owed him one.

Take Down Syria?

What gives the US and NATO the right to decide who the leader of Libya or Syria should be?

What gives Obama and John Kerry the right to say 'Assad must go'?  What if Assad said 'Obama and Kerry should go'?

What do most people really know about Syria except what they've had drummed into their heads by the corporate owned media?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Full Spectrum Resistance!

Dave Webb and I capped off our excellent visit to London last night with a nearly two-hour meeting with the largely Korean 'Save Jeju Island' student group at the University of London.  We had a wide ranging discussion that included the history of the Global Network's efforts to support the Gangjeong village eight year campaign to oppose construction of the Navy base for US warships on Jeju. We also went wider and did an overview (with the help of Dave putting up various photos from the Internet onto the classroom screen as illustrations) of the Pentagon strategy to encircle and attempt to provocatively control both Russia and China.

One of the Korean students had come to my earlier talk at noon inside Parliament and returned last night saying that because she is just learning English she had only understood 30% of what I said the first time around.  So in hopes that she would develop a better understanding she came the second time!  That is dedication and I'm sure the pictures on the wall helped quite a lot.

Today we are heading off for a vigil at the US space warfare radar base called Fylingdales which is north of us here in Yorkshire.  The weather is likely to be harsh (more rain and wind) but I've noticed that the people here have webbed toes so it should 'not be a bother' as they say in these parts.  I will wear my long underwear just in case.

On Saturday we head to Oxford for a visit to still yet another Pentagon space warfare communications base at Croughton - that makes three of them in England and we will have visited all of them on this trip.

At each stop we are sharing the stories about how the entire global space warfare apparatus fits together to ensure US 'Full Spectrum Dominance".  Our message though is that there is growing awareness of the role these bases around the world play in directing Pentagon endless warfare on behalf of corporate capitalism - and we are calling for "Full Spectrum Resistance" to close down these expensive and dangerous space control bases.

You pick - total military space control (what the weapons industry says will be the largest industrial project in Earth history) or social progress for the people of the planet.  We all live in 'democratic' societies don't we - we supposedly get to choose how our tax money should be spent? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

From The Kinks to Parliament in London

Standing in the rain in front of Big Ben and the British Parliament

Last night just before entering the theatre for the wonderful musical about the early years of my favorite rock-and-roll band The Kinks

Last night Dave Webb took his son and I to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London to see the award winning musical called Sunny Afternoon about the early years of my favorite band called The Kinks.  The three-hour show frequently brought tears to my eyes as I watched actors playing band leader brothers Ray and Dave Davies go through their many struggles to make music their way - having run up against the power of the music industry.

As the hits began to mount up for The Kinks during the early-1960's 'British pop Invasion' songwriter Ray Davies wanted to write more meaningful music about the world around him - not just the money producing 'boy meets girl' tunes that make it to the Top of the Pops.  The show used the band's music to bring these issues to the audience with Ray's character even once declaring "We are a Socialist band," as they ran up against the greedy corporate forces in the music industry.  They were banned from playing in the US for a period of four years during the crucial mid-60's for refusing to play along with the pay-to-play game then rampant in the American music scene.  This ban helped put the Kinks into relative obscurity as they were largely kept out of the vast American market.  On the good side though it made it possible for Ray to create the kind of music that he wanted to make despite the demands of the industry.

I didn't want the show to end and as we made our way to the London home of longtime peace legend Bruce Kent, where we were to spend the night, the songs kept playing in my head for hours.

Earlier yesterday Dave took me to Leeds Beckett University (he formally taught Peace Studies there before recently retiring) and I spoke to more than 30 students in a talk organized by the current department teachers.  I got more questions from that assembled group of students than I'd ever had from any college audience which reflected well on the current Peace Studies staff at the school.

This morning we made our way from Bruce Kent's home on a bus and then the underground to the Parliament building in London where a room had been reserved for my talk by a member of the House of Commons.  Twenty folks turned up for the meeting which featured a discussion about the Pentagon's military space program and how it is today being used to project global dominance on behalf of the interests of corporate capitalism.

A big issue in the UK right now is Trident nuclear submarine/missile replacement (upgrading) that is estimated to cost more than 137 billion pounds.  New Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been against Trident and is trying to advance a national debate about the costly and dangerous nuclear program - especially during this time of austerity budgets.  My question to the group inside Parliament today was: "Does Britain have the satellites in space, and the ground stations around the world, to direct the UK's Trident missiles to their targets?"  The answer was a clear NO.  My next question was then, "Who does the UK rely on to direct Trident nukes to their target?"  The answer of course is the Pentagon.  So in my mind that means that the UK is essentially subsidizing at the rate of 137 billion pounds a new US weapon system.  During these days of severe human needs cut across the UK do the citizens really want to hand the US military the gift of four new nuclear subs that the British government does not really control?

Tonight I speak at the University of London School of Oriental and Asiatic Studies (SOAS) about the Navy base currently being built for US warships on Jeju Island, South Korea and the role that installation will play in the US military 'pivot' to provocatively control China.

Just for your listening pleasure here is one of my favorite Kinks songs - which was not part of the show last night.