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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Message for Memorial Day Parade in Brunswick, Maine


Times Record (Brunswick, Maine)
Op-Ed

By Bruce K. Gagnon

The 2016 theme for the local Memorial Day Parade is “Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later.” This theme has many contemporary applications that I would like to address.

After the surrender of the fascist Japanese government in 1945 a new constitution was written for Japan.

On May 3, 1947, Japan’s postwar constitution went into effect. The progressive constitution granted universal suffrage, stripped Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power, stipulated a bill of rights, abolished peerage and outlawed Japan’s right to make war. The document was largely the work of Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur and his occupation staff.

Over the years the Japanese people came to strongly support the new constitution, particularly Article 9 which reads in part: “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

Japan’s crimes against their Asia-Pacific neighbors, particularly their brutal occupation of China, are well known. What is not so well known is that even during WW II a Japanese peace movement existed that resisted, often at risk of their own lives, the aggressive war making of their nation.
So following the establishment of the new Japanese constitution in 1947 the Japanese people have come to cherish the peaceful Article 9. Sadly Article 9 is now in danger.

Since the US announced “pivot” of 60 percent of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific to “contain” China, Washington has been pressuring Japan to get rid of Article 9. The US has repeatedly called on Japan to begin a major military mobilization to assist the US in trying to control China. China of course has directly seen the results of a militarized Japan and has repeatedly spoken out against this serious development.

Current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist. Shinzo Abe is the grandson of a former WW II fascist leader in the imperial Japanese war cabinet who was considered a “Class A war criminal.” The Japanese peace movement today considers Abe a fascist.

Prime Minister Abe has begun to push through the national Diet (Parliament) in Tokyo a “reinterpretation” of Article 9 that will allow Abe to join US offensive wars around the globe. During the last year the Japanese people have overwhelmingly denounced these developments out of fear that the imperialist strains that have been dormant in Japan since the end of WW II are returning to the surface – this time sadly under the encouragement of the US government.

“Article 9 is one of the very keystones of the Japanese post-war constitution; it renounces war and says that Japan will not maintain [offensive] military forces,”’ explains Toshiaki Miura, a journalist at one of Japan’s leading daily newspapers, Asahi Shimbun. “Article 9 restrains the military and has made pacifism an important part of Japan’s national psyche.”

Recent polls have revealed that the majority of the Japanese people want to keep the Peace Constitution as it is — in one Asahi Shimbun poll 68 percent opposed the change to Article 9. Religious leaders and prominent civil society organizations have also raised their concerns with massive protests throughout the country.

Critics, including constitutional scholars, say any such reinterpretation would make a mockery of formal amendment procedures and essentially gut Article 9, opening the door to bigger changes later despite assurances to the contrary.

“Abe knows that once even a tiny hole is opened, he and future conservatives can make the hole bigger with less popular resistance,” said Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano, a member of a group of academics opposed to the change.

On May 30 we will carry a specially made banner during the annual parade that reads: PeaceWorks Supports Keeping Peaceful Article 9 in Japanese Constitution — “Forever Renounce War.”

We urge our midcoast neighbors to seriously reflect on this important story during this time of remembrance.


~ Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks and lives in Bath.

Note:  Peaceful friends are invited to walk with PeaceWorks and VFP in the Topsham-Brunswick Memorial Day parade.  Starts at 9:00 am in Topsham on Monday, May 30.  We will dress in black. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

June 18 'Christening' Protest in Maine


Russian Coverage of Ukraine Workshop in New York


One Russian TV station covered the UNAC workshop I participated in during last Saturday's Left Forum event in New York City.  We talked about the situation in Ukraine with emphasis on the May 2, 2014 massacre in Odessa by the neo-Nazis.

Of course we had no coverage by any media from the US - mainstream or alternative.  No surprise there.

At the end of the news video the reporter mentions the Odessa Mothers Council petition calling for an international independent investigation of the May 2 massacre.  You can sign the petition here

It's Only $$$$$$$$$$$$$$


Monday, May 23, 2016

U.S. Continues to Destabilize Moldova - Confronted by Locals


Vineyard of the Saker reports in part:

Recently, Robert D. Kaplan, a former Stratfor Chief Geopolitical Analyst, and currently a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) published a book “In Europe’s Shadow” where he lays out a plan to reunite Romania with “its lost province of Moldova.”

US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland [who ran the 2014 coup in Ukraine] visited Moldova back in January, with the task to coerce Moldova’s government and its oligarchs to change the country’s Constitution provision of neutrality.

Before she left, she gave a short speech at the American Embassy in Bucharest after a private dinner with PM Ciolos and President Klaus.

“We powerfully support the desire of the people in Moldova to have responsible leaders who can implement reforms. This is the best way to assure the future of Moldova. Romania and the United States, in conjunction with NATO, have support programs in place to assure the security of Moldova but the government has to work to implement these programs.”

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe, and its economy heavily relies on Russia. 

Everyone understands that a NATO membership will cut all economic ties with Russia, including jobs, and it will turn Moldova into a failed state, or in the CIA doublespeak, the country would stop being vulnerable to “Russian pressure.”

NATO also planned military drills in neutral Moldova, chosen to start on May 2nd, the day of remembrance for the victims of the Odessa Massacre.

According to V.V. Pyakin, a political analyst with the Concept Technologies Foundation, a think tank located in St. Petersburg, NATO was in a process of conducting a full-scale invasion of Moldova with the annexation of a Southern part of Ukraine including Odessa to construct a NATO Navy base there. Moldova was supposed to become a part of Romania automatically with the US military forces arriving to the capital and taking  over the government of Moldova. That’s why NATO needed all those military “drills” in the Black Sea region and in the Baltics simultaneously.

When the patriotic forces of Moldavia discovered that NATO was about to enter the territory of Moldova in four formations, 100+ motorized units each, they protested loudly and blocked the entrance of NATO troops on the border. Meanwhile, the biggest political fraction in Moldova threatened the impeachment of the president for treason, if  NATO troops would be allowed to enter the country.

By Victory Day [May 9 celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany by the former Soviet Union] it became apparent that the Nuland-Kaplan-NATO plan for invasion of Moldova was foiled. All Americans could do was to “crash” a Victory Day parade in the center of Moldova’s capital by coming uninvited and bringing their motorized vehicles to it.  [One arrogant US Army officer was caught on video ordering Moldovan citizens to leave their own celebration in the city square.]

And that’s where NATO troops and Moldovan patriots came face to face.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is NATO Really Preparing for War with Russia?



By Leonid Ivashov (General-Colonel, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, International Journalism professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations)

One of the most important questions of our time is whether NATO is really preparing for an open war with Russia, and the alliance has already found the place where it starts, or is it a game of nerves, verbal and declarative, but, in fact, not dangerous fuss?

This isn't horseplay, but serious preparations for war. And not only in the region of our North-Western borders, but along the entire perimeter of Russia. And the start of active preparation for the military phase was triggered by the "National Security Strategy of the USA", which was adopted in February last year. It stated that there is no multi-polar world, because there is no alternative to American leadership. This whole "Strategy" is riddled with phrases like:

We will defend our interests from a position of strength. We will conduct combat operations anywhere in the world. We will act outside of international law and so on...

And the main target of these military preparations is Russia. And all because Russia is slowly but consistently changing the world. Turned Eurasia towards itself, began to develop relationships in Eurasian, and other regions. The Shanghai cooperation organization, CSTO, Eurasian economic union, the group of BRICS countries – all this is created on the initiative of Russia. That is, the Americans are loosing the lead. Their global domination today in fact is melting. And the goal of the United States – to pin down, and even to crush Russia, as they do with those smaller countries that try to resist. That's all: the goal of global West is to stop the independent foreign policy of Russia.

With regard to Russian threat. I would advise NATO generals to calculate the ratio of personnel of the armed forces of NATO countries, equipment and qualitative characteristics. They clearly show that it is NATO that is creating shock troops, which threaten Russia, conducting exercises: military-air, naval, ground. Regularly in the Baltic sea area BALTOPS exercises are conducted, during which they practice strategic airlift of US troops from American territory. And that the Baltic States scream that Russia is going to conquer them – first, we don't need them. And even if they beg to join Russia or for the rapprochement with Russia, there is no need to hurry, they should not be accepted. Such countries are always better to have as an enemy than an ally or part of Russia. However, we must defend the Kaliningrad region, and not only by military means, but also with soft power. There, unfortunately, Germans and Poles are more active than our officials from Russia.

Lets look were around our borders NATO is now most active? Eastern European countries, which joined NATO and the EU, became the weakest European link. Americans are now using them against Europe and against Russia. The same Poles: whatever the Americans tell them – they salute, and say: "Yes, sir!". This also applies to missile defense system, and strengthening of the naval component of Poland in the Baltic sea region. Now supposedly the Poles are asking the Americans to open a military base.

Look at Romania: Americans patched the holes on the old Romanian ships, and now actively use them in the Black sea region, deployed some F-22s, modern combat aircraft.

The Balts have nowhere to go: they say yes to everything, as long as America supports the current political elite in power, and fills its pockets.

These are completely dependent countries – the countries of Eastern Europe. Sometimes Hungary, the Czech Republic try to resist, particularly in relation to anti-Russian sanctions, but they are immediately threatened with a coup, anti-government rallies, accused of corruption... The Americans got a strong hold over Europe, including Western, through the instrument of weak Eastern Europe. South-East Europe is also pitted against Russia. The Balkans have always been the military fuse of Europe, and today Americans are trying to turn it into a powder keg. In fact, the accession of Montenegro to NATO has already been decided, however, God help if the whole of Montenegro collects two battalions. So there is no military gain here, but Montenegrians are the destroyers of the Orthodox Slavic world. Milo Djukanovic is, in fact, the Western, Pro-American agent, and the task of the West is to destabilize not just the Balkan region but the entire Orthodox Slavic space. The people of Montenegro, of course, are against NATO, against quarrel with Russia, with Serbia, but no one asks the people, and demands for a referendum are just rejected. The same difficult situation, on the brink of civil war, is in Macedonia. Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina is subjected to coup attempts for elimination from political arena of the popular president Milorad Dodik. [See an example of how US is destabilizing Moldova here]

And Serbia itself is stretched, either you join NATO and then the EU, or you will live in a blockade, as today. For Serbia to apply for EU membership, it is necessary to recognize Kosovo's independence, and in the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia Kosovo is its integral part, but it is forced to do so.

In a prosperous at first glance Croatia we see growing social tension: rallies and protests are commonplace. So the Balkans are again on the brink of internal turmoil with a threat of external military intervention.

Will the Balkans become the stage for a local conflict, which will eventually grow into global? It is unlikely to turn into a global conflict, because today's Russia will not militarily interfere. The West will just break the Serbs, so that the Serbs, as Bulgarians now, will unquestioningly obey their masters from Washington and Brussels.

Today we are observing an attempt to transform the Orthodox-Slavic world into some semblance of present-day Ukraine.

Stop the Lies, Close U.S. Bases Around the Globe


  • Our 'Situation in Ukraine' workshop went well yesterday at the Left Forum in New York City and we had good attendance - especially considering there were a slew of them to choose from at the same time.  We had a woman from Odessa, Ukraine with us in the workshop who did an excellent job of sharing the reality of living in the post-coup country that is being dismantled by the US-EU in their project to destabilize things along the Russian border.  One Russian TV channel covered the event and interviewed me after things were over.  The second workshop I participated in (Just Transition) was where I presented my PowerPoint full of photos from our efforts in Bath, Maine to bring the conversion of the Navy shipyard to public consciousness.  

  • Later in the day yesterday I had the honor to meet award winning journalist John Pilger who is in NYC doing interviews for his upcoming documentary film 'The Next War'.  He interviewed me for about an hour and we had a very interesting back-and-forth discussion of everything from US domestic politics, Obama's 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific, space technology, hope, and spirituality.  I liked him alot, a very grounded and gentle man.

  • Also yesterday about the same time I was doing the Pilger interview a protest in support of the Okinawan people was held at Grand Central Station in NYC.  One of the organizers was Rachel Clark (a Japanese-American woman who was the interpreter during our VFP trip to Okinawa last December).  She wrote this morning:

We explained about the recent rape murder case which is one out of more than 9 thousand recorded cases in the last 71 years. US bases do not protect their host countries. Instead they bring crimes. As our responsibility, we have to close our overseas bases, 800 of more of them. We also need to re-examine and reallocate our tax money so that peace making effort gets more budget than military-industrial complex.

  • I also noticed today that a protest was held in Okinawa at the Camp Schwab US Marine base where more than 1,500 people were led by women as they silently marched to express their growing outrage against US bases and the continued rapes and killings by US military personnel there.  What will it take for the American people to see that our string of 1,000 military outposts around the world are fueling hatred against us?  Shut them down and bring the troops home.  Put them to work building rail systems, solar power, wind turbines, tidal power systems, and retrofitting homes across the nation for energy conservation.  

Beautiful Statement


Rapper activist Immortal Technique on immigration and purposeful injustice as he supports Green Party's Jill Stein for President.

We're not talking about putting a band aid on a gashed wound. The Green Party takes the non-watered down positions that Democrats pretend to have.

How could Obama talk about Black Lives Matter? You want to hold up a picture of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, I have some pictures of Black and Brown children killed by your drown strikes. 

Stop being afraid to teach the truth.

Sunday Song

 
 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Finger Lickin Good?