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, December 07, 2016

What Are We Doing to the Minds of Our Youth?



This video reveals the reality of America today.

Under corporate globalization of the world economy the Pentagon has been saying that every country will have a different role.  In America we will not make shoes, clothes, cars, TV's or cell phones anymore.  We will make war on behalf of corporate interests around the world.  The Pentagon calls it 'Security Export'.

The airshows, violent movies, military recruitment in our schools, and many other cultural avenues are all aimed at militarizing our culture.  The kids are being taught that violence is cool and normal.  The word 'freedom' comes to mean that the US, the 'exceptional' nation, is free to rape, kill and pillage around the world.


The mega-resource extraction corporations are out to take control of the world's remaining oil, natural gas, water and precious minerals.  In order to accomplish this greedy goal these corporations must have an ongoing supply of boots on the ground to do the fighting and killing on behalf of their interests.

Cutbacks in public education funding and loss of jobs across America ensure that the future generations have no real future.  But they've been repeatedly told that they can join the military, make good money, and have 'fun' while they 'see the world'.  The fact that suicides among returned war veterans is now at epidemic rates is not shared at these air shows.

It was announced just last week that the Navy's Blue Angels will come back to Brunswick, Maine next August 26-27 to do another air show.  We'll be out there protesting as we have in the past.


Thanks to Michael Hanes for making this video about our very sick culture.  He asks this important question, "What are we doing to the minds of our youth?"

Bruce

Monday, December 05, 2016

Who Wants to Control the World?



The Coming War on China is John Pilger's 60th film for ITV.

Pilger reveals what the news doesn't - that the world's greatest military power, the United States, and the world's second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war.

Pilger's film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.

Huntsville: Global Network 25th Annual Space Conference


Pivot Toward War:
US Missile Defense
and the Weaponization of Space
25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest
April 7-9, 2017
Huntsville, Alabama


Join us for the 25th anniversary of the Global Network at this important conference and protest in the community known as the ‘Pentagon of the South’.

Huntsville is the home of the Redstone Arsenal and the Space Command’s directorate for ‘missile defense’.  Huntsville is the manufacturing site for the PAC-3, SM-3 missile defense (MD) systems while the controversial THAAD is built in another part of Alabama.  Redstone Arsenal was the place where after WWII Nazi rocket scientists were brought by the U.S., using their scientific and technological expertise to help create the US space and weapons programs.  The GN had a similar meeting in Huntsville in 2001.


The US is currently encircling Russia and China with MD systems based on Navy Aegis warships (SM-3 interceptor missiles) and with ground-based launchers (PAC-3 and THAAD).  These systems are the ‘shield’ that would be used to pick-off Russian or Chinese retaliatory strikes after a Pentagon first-strike attack.  MD systems were previously banned by the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty because they are destabilizing and give one side an advantage.  George W. Bush pulled the US out of the ABM Treaty in 2001 and since that time the US MD program has been on steroids.

This conference, to be held in the heartland of the conservative south, will be a great opportunity for peace groups everywhere to learn more about the role of US MD systems which could be key triggers to start WW III. Help the growing global movement against MD and space weapons build greater opposition to these destabilizing programs.

We invite peace groups worldwide to become co-sponsors of this timely conference and to send representatives to join the protest at Redstone Arsenal on April 7 and the conference on April 8-9.  Organizations interested in being listed as event co-sponsors are asked to pay $100 - $500 (whatever you can best afford).

More information about complete conference agenda will be available soon.  Send inquires to the GN at globalnet@mindspring.com or (207) 443-9502.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

True Talk


Sunday Song




Saturday, December 03, 2016

Mass Rally in Seoul



Record 2.3 million people join sixth mass anti-Park rally in South Korea.

This is the way to topple a US puppet dictator - non-violent massive protests - repeatedly.

Thank you South Korea for showing the world the way!

See more details here

Pilger: The Coming War on China


By John Pilger

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably.

When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, “disappeared”, a political embarrassment.

I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency.  The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are in the northern hemisphere, on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.

The great danger this beckons is not news, or it is buried and distorted: a drumbeat of mainstream fake news that echoes the psychopathic fear embedded in public consciousness during much of the 20th century.

Like the renewal of post-Soviet Russia, the rise of China as an economic power is declared an “existential threat” to the divine right of the United States to rule and dominate human affairs.

To counter this, in 2011 President Obama announced a “pivot to Asia”, which meant that almost two-thirds of US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020. Today, more than 400 American military bases encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and, above all, nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, says one US strategist, “the perfect noose”.

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.  Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the cold war when RAND made notorious the catch cry of its chief strategist, Herman Kahn -- “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

Today, his apocalyptic view is shared by those holding real power in the United States: the militarists and neo-conservatives in the executive, the Pentagon, the intelligence and “national security” establishment and Congress.

The current Secretary of Defense, Ashley Carter, a verbose provocateur, says US policy is to confront those “who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us”.

For all the attempts to detect a departure in foreign policy, this is almost certainly the view of Donald Trump, whose abuse of China during the election campaign included that of “rapist” of the American economy. On 2 December, in a direct provocation of China, President-elect Trump spoke to the President of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province of the mainland. Armed with American missiles, Taiwan is an enduring flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.

“The United States,” wrote Amitai Etzioni, professor of international Affairs at George Washington University, “is preparing for a war with China, a momentous decision that so far has failed to receive a thorough review from elected officials, namely the White House and Congress.”  This war would begin with a “blinding attack against Chinese anti-access facilities, including land and sea-based missile launchers … satellite and anti-satellite weapons”.

The incalculable risk is that “deep inland strikes could be mistakenly perceived by the Chinese as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into ‘a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma’ [that would] lead to nuclear war.”

In 2015, the Pentagon released its Law of War Manual. “The United States,” it says, “has not accepted a treaty rule that prohibits the use of nuclear weapons per se, and thus nuclear weapons are lawful weapons for the United States.”

In China, a strategist told me, “We are not your enemy, but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay.”  China’s military and arsenal are small compared to America’s.

However, “for the first time,” wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack … This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy … Indeed, the nuclear weapon policies of the United States are the most prominent external factor influencing Chinese advocates for raising the alert level of China’s nuclear forces.”

Professor Ted Postol was scientific adviser to the head of US naval operations. An authority on nuclear weapons, he told me, “Everybody here wants to look like they’re tough. See I got to be tough … I’m not afraid of doing anything military, I’m not afraid of threatening; I’m a hairy-chested gorilla. And we have gotten into a state, the United States has gotten into a situation where there’s a lot of sabre-rattling, and it’s really being orchestrated from the top.”

I said, “This seems incredibly dangerous.”

In 2015, in considerable secrecy, the US staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War. This was Talisman Sabre; an armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” – ASB -- blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is such a provocation, and the fear of a US Navy blockade, that has seen China feverishly building strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.  Last July, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s claim of sovereignty over these islands. Although the action was brought by the Philippines, it was presented by leading American and British lawyers and could be traced to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In 2010, Clinton flew to Manila. She demanded that America’s former colony reopen the US military bases closed down in the 1990s following a popular campaign against the violence they generated, especially against Filipino women. She declared China’s claim on the Spratly Islands – which lie more than 7,500 miles from the United States – a threat to US “national security” and to “freedom of navigation”.

Handed millions of dollars in arms and military equipment, the then government of President Benigno Aquino broke off bilateral talks with China and signed a secretive Enhanced Defense Co-operation Agreement with the US. This established five rotating US bases and restored a hated colonial provision that American forces and contractors were immune from Philippine law.

The election of Rodrigo Duterte in April has unnerved Washington. Calling himself a socialist, he declared, “In our relations with the world, the Philippines will pursue an independent foreign policy” and noted that the United States had not apologized for its colonial atrocities. “I will break up with America,” he said, and promised to expel US troops. But the US remains in the Philippines; and joint military exercises continue.

In 2014, under the rubric of “information dominance” – the jargon for media manipulation, or fake news, on which the Pentagon spends more than $4 billion – the Obama administration launched a propaganda campaign that cast China, the world’s greatest trading nation, as a threat to “freedom of navigation”.

CNN led the way, its “national security reporter” reporting excitedly from on board a US Navy surveillance flight over the Spratlys. The BBC persuaded frightened Filipino pilots to fly a single-engine Cessna over the disputed islands “to see how the Chinese would react”. None of these reporters questioned why the Chinese were building airstrips off their own coastline, or why American military forces were massing on China’s doorstep.

The designated chief propagandist is Admiral Harry Harris, the US military commander in Asia and the Pacific. “My responsibilities,” he told the New York Times, “cover Bollywood to Hollywood, from polar bears to penguins.”  Never was imperial domination described as pithily.

Harris is one of a brace of Pentagon admirals and generals briefing selected, malleable journalists and broadcasters, with the aim of justifying a threat as specious as that with which George W Bush and Tony Blair justified the destruction of Iraq and much of the Middle East.

In Los Angeles in September, Harris declared he was “ready to confront a revanchist Russia and an assertive China …If we have to fight tonight, I don’t want it to be a fair fight. If it’s a knife fight, I want to bring a gun. If it’s a gun fight, I want to bring in the artillery … and all our partners with their artillery.”

These “partners” include South Korea, the launch pad for the Pentagon’s Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system, known as THAAD, ostensibly aimed at North Korea.  As Professor Postol points out, it targets China.

In Sydney, Australia, Harris called on China to “tear down its Great Wall in the South China Sea”. The imagery was front page news. Australia is America’s most obsequious “partner”; its political elite, military, intelligence agencies and the media are integrated into what is known as the “alliance”. Closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the motorcade of a visiting American government “dignitary” is not uncommon.  The war criminal Dick Cheney was afforded this honour.

Although China is Australia’s biggest trader, on which much of the national economy relies, “confronting China” is the diktat from Washington. The few political dissenters in Canberra risk McCarthyite smears in the Murdoch press. “You in Australia are with us come what may,” said one of the architects of the Vietnam war, McGeorge Bundy. One of the most important US bases is Pine Gap near Alice Springs. Founded by the CIA, it spies on China and all of Asia, and is a vital contributor to Washington’s murderous war by drone in the Middle East.

In October, Richard Marles, the defence spokesman of the main Australian opposition party, the Labor Party, demanded that “operational decisions” in provocative acts against China be left to military commanders in the South China Sea. In other words, a decision that could mean war with a nuclear power should not be taken by an elected leader or a parliament but by an admiral or a general.

This is the Pentagon line, a historic departure for any state calling itself a democracy. The ascendancy of the Pentagon in Washington – which Daniel Ellsberg has called a silent coup -- is reflected in the record $5 trillion America has spent on aggressive wars since 9/11, according to a study by Brown University. The million dead in Iraq and the flight of 12 million refugees from at least four countries are the consequence.

The Japanese island of Okinawa has 32 military installations, from which Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq have been attacked by the United States. Today, the principal target is China, with whom Okinawans have close cultural and trade ties.

There are military aircraft constantly in the sky over Okinawa; they sometimes crash into homes and schools. People cannot sleep, teachers cannot teach. Wherever they go in their own country, they are fenced in and told to keep out.

A popular Okinawan anti-base movement has been growing since a 12-year-old girl was gang-raped by US troops in 1995. It was one of hundreds of such crimes, many of them never prosecuted. Barely acknowledged in the wider world, the resistance has seen the election of Japan’s first anti-base governor, Takeshi Onaga, and presented an unfamiliar hurdle to the Tokyo government and the ultra-nationalist prime minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to repeal Japan’s “peace constitution”.

The resistance includes Fumiko Shimabukuro, aged 87, a survivor of the Second World War when a quarter of Okinawans died in the American invasion. Fumiko and hundreds of others took refuge in beautiful Henoko Bay, which she is now fighting to save. The US wants to destroy the bay in order to extend runways for its bombers. “We have a choice,” she said, “silence or life.” As we gathered peacefully outside the US base, Camp Schwab, giant Sea Stallion helicopters hovered over us for no reason other than to intimidate.

Across the East China Sea lies the Korean island of Jeju, a semi- tropical sanctuary  and World Heritage Site declared “an island of world peace”. On this island of world peace has been built one of the most provocative military bases in the world, less than 400 miles from Shanghai. The fishing village of Gangjeong is dominated by a South Korean naval base purpose-built for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile system, aimed at China.

A people’s resistance to these war preparations has been a presence on Jeju for almost a decade. Every day, often twice a day, villagers, Catholic priests and supporters from all over the world stage a religious mass that blocks the gates of the base. In a country where political demonstrations are often banned, unlike powerful religions, the tactic has produced an inspiring spectacle.

One of the leaders, Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, told me, “I sing four songs every day at the base, regardless of the weather. I sing in typhoons -- no exception. To build this base, they destroyed the environment, and the life of the villagers, and we should be a witness to that. They want to rule the Pacific. They want to make China isolated in the world. They want to be emperor of the world.”

I flew from Jeju to Shanghai for the first time in more than a generation. When I was last in China, the loudest noise I remember was the tinkling of bicycle bells; Mao Zedong had recently died, and the cities seemed dark places, in which foreboding and expectation competed.  Within a few years, Deng Xiopeng, the “man who changed China”, was the “paramount leader”. Nothing prepared me for the astonishing changes today.

China presents exquisite ironies, not least the house in Shanghai where Mao and his comrades secretly founded the Communist Party of China in 1921. Today, it stands in the heart of a very capitalist shipping district; you walk out of this communist shrine with your Little Red Book and your plastic bust of Mao into the embrace of Starbucks, Apple, Cartier, Prada.

Would Mao be shocked? I doubt it. Five years before his great revolution in 1949, he sent this secret message to Washington. “China must industrialise.” he wrote, “This can only be done by free enterprise. Chinese and American interests fit together, economically and politically. America need not fear that we will not be co-operative. We cannot risk any conflict.”

Mao offered to meet Franklin Roosevelt in the White House, and his successor Harry Truman, and his successor Dwight Eisenhower. He was rebuffed, or willfully ignored. The opportunity that might have changed contemporary history, prevented wars in Asia and saved countless lives was lost because the truth of these overtures was denied in 1950s Washington “when the catatonic Cold War trance,” wrote the critic James Naremore, “held our country in its rigid grip”.

The fake mainstream news that once again presents China as a threat is of the same mentality.

The world is inexorably shifting east; but the astonishing vision of Eurasia from China is barely understood in the West. The “New Silk Road” is a ribbon of trade, ports, pipelines and high-speed trains all the way to Europe.  The world’s leader in rail technology, China is negotiating with 28 countries for routes on which trains will reach up to 400 kms an hour. This opening to the world has the approval of much of humanity and, along the way, is uniting China and Russia.

 “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Barack Obama, evoking the fetishism of the 1930s. This modern cult of superiority is Americanism, the world’s dominant predator. Under the liberal Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, nuclear warhead spending has risen higher than under any president since the end of the Cold War. A mini nuclear weapon is planned. Known as the B61 Model 12, it will mean, says General James Cartwright, former vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that “going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable”.

In September, the Atlantic Council, a mainstream US geopolitical thinktank, published a report that predicted a Hobbesian world “marked by the breakdown of order, violent extremism [and] an era of perpetual war”. The new enemies were a “resurgent” Russia and an “increasingly aggressive” China.  Only heroic America can save us.

There is a demented quality about this war mongering. It is as if the “American Century” -- proclaimed in 1941 by the American imperialist Henry Luce, owner of Time magazine -- has ended without notice and no one has had the courage to tell the emperor to take his guns and go home.

 ~ John Pilger’s film, The Coming War on China, is released in UK cinemas and will be broadcast on the ITV Network on December 6 at 10.40 pm. RT Documentaries will broadcast The Coming War on China worldwide on December 9, 10 & 11. The Australian release will be early 2017 on SBS Television. 

Israeli Terrorism



Abby Martin goes on-the-ground to the epicenters of state-backed settler terrorism in Palestine’s West Bank, in Part II of her report on illegal Israeli settlements and home demolitions.

This installment visits both the rural countryside of Duma—interviewing the surviving members of the Dawabsheh family, victims of a horrific arson attack that left three dead—and the urban center of Hebron, a glaring example of Israeli apartheid under intense military occupation.

North Dakota Officials Shaking in their Shoes as Vets Arrive at Standing Rock



Led by veteran and former Baltimore Sargent Michael A Wood Jr and Wes Clark Jr, veteran and son of General Wesley Clark, a group of veterans are traveling to North Dakota in order to stand with water protectors against the police who are committing state-sanctioned violence in defense of corporate profits.

It now appears that North Dakota officials are backing off their demand that the Standing Rock camp be closed by December 3 or else people would be forcibly removed.  Now that 2,000 ex-military veterans are descending on Standing Rock the governor of North Dakota (an agent of the oil industry) is backing off his demands - at least for now.  Let's see what they do once the vets leave......

During the past week Ace Hardware stores in Bismarck, North Dakota have refused to sell Native Americans camping supplies for Standing Rock.  Word got out around the country and online petitions cranked up with thousands of signatures declaring support for a national boycott of Ace Hardware.  Quickly Ace Hardware declared that all Bismarck stores will in fact serve Native Americans once again showing that when we unite and work together corporate power will cave in due to their love for maximum profits.

Keep pushing the rock - let's get it up the hill and have it roll down the other side and crush corporate capitalism......

Bruce

Friday, December 02, 2016

Growing US-India Military Alliance Pointed at China, Cheats the Poor


After a 14-hour all night flight from Delhi to Newark, New Jersey I am now back in the US.  A short 6:00 am flight from Newark to Boston gave me a great view of the early morning sunrise out the window as the plane headed north along the Atlantic coast.  After a short wait in Boston I boarded a bus for the two-hour ride to Portland, Maine (where I wrote this post).  Then Mary Beth picks me up in Portland for the final 45-minute trip home to Bath.

When I arrived in Newark I checked my emails and found the photo above from Global Network board convener Dave Webb (also our GN web master) who took the picture on his way into Delhi International airport late on November 30.  I had previously seen the Boeing billboard when we first arrived in Delhi to start the trip and talked about it throughout the speaking tour that followed the space conference in Visakhapatnam.  The Boeing sponsored billboard well illustrates the kind of 'future' that the military industrial complex has in mind for the land of Gandhi.

It is obvious that Washington is quite thrilled to have signed India up as a key future junior military partner in their dangerously escalating program to encircle China.  US weapons corporations are going to be selling India (the world's fastest growing economy) alot of weapons in the coming years.

It was announced just today that outgoing US Secretary of Endless War Ashton Carter would be visiting India next week on his final trip around the world. Slated to be in India on December 8, Carter would travel to Japan, Bahrain, Israel, Italy and Great Britain before returning to the US on December 16. This is the first time that an outgoing American War Secretary has included India in his itinerary for the final overseas trip.

Indian Express reports:

Ahead of his [Carter's] visit, informed sources said India has made maritime security a significant priority and in discussion with the US for sale of Predator drones from General Atomics.

The outgoing Obama administration is trying to concretize steps taken with India in the defence domain as they transition the efforts to the Trump administration, sources noted, adding that on Carter’s agenda include M777 and Predator Guardian for the Indian Navy.
 

India was also designated a “a major defence partner” when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US and met President Barack Obama at the Oval Office this Summer.

The first opportunity for US Government to showcase this would be in the maritime domain surveillance area with the export of Predator Guardian, informed sources pointed out, adding that Obama and Carter are keen to establish a concrete legacy with India.

Vivek Lall, chief executive, US and International Strategic Development at General Atomics, are among the US leaders that have been advocating greater convergence between the US and India.

It is under his leadership that, India had acquired Boeing P8I aircraft in 2009 which would complement the Guardian aircraft for maritime security.

Noting that Obama and Modi have repeatedly stressed that cooperation in the Indian Ocean is key to both countries national security interests, it is anticipated that both sides will discuss the Avenger drones for the Indian Air Force.

These deals listed above are only scratching the surface of the growing US-India military alliance.  The US is also currently inviting India to play a key role at the major Pentagon power projection hub inside the Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean.

Other deals on space warfare technologies are also underway and the bottom line is that all of India's weapons buys from the US will be 'interoperable' with the Pentagon space warfare system which ensures that the US will remain in charge of the 'tip of the spear'.  So essentially India is helping to pay for a major escalation of US military power in the region and Indian industrial elites will get a cut in the lucrative deals.

Obviously Russia (which is reducing its military budget by 30% this year due to declining oil profits and western economic sanctions) and China are worried about these advances as Washington dangles the tempting apple of being a high stakes military player in front of a power hungry right-wing government in Delhi.

Those that will pay the biggest price for these Indian military expenditures though are the poor inside of India who hoped that the massive development of their economy would trickle down to them.  Other than increasingly polluted air and water I am not so sure the 25% of Indians who are poor will get much from this blossoming military alliance.

Bruce