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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Solidarity with Palestine


Israel, and their agents around the world, are trying to make the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement 'illegal' around the world.  Good luck - you can't lock us all up.

Keep resisting Israeli apartheid!

Solidarity forever with the tortured Palestinian people!

No more genocide in Palestine!

Over 1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails are now on their 39th day of hunger strike.
Addameer reports that they're experiencing alarming deteriorating health conditions, including weight loss, weakness, difficulty speaking, standing & walking, high-blood pressure, kidney & chest pain, and vomiting of blood. Some have lost consciousness and have been transported to hospitals for immediate care.
Since the Israeli occupation began in 1967, Israeli forces have arrested more than 800,000 Palestinians, almost 20% of the total Palestinian population in the occupied territories.
More than one in three Palestinian men have been imprisoned by Israel. They are sentenced by a court system run by the Israeli military, and 99.74% of the cases heard there end in conviction. 
Some Palestinians are held indefinitely without charges or trial. Palestinians have even been jailed for posting about their own oppression on Facebook.

The hunger strikers have a range of basic demands, but Israel still refuses to negotiate with them and has inflicted various forms of punishment on those participating, including:
  • Subjecting them to dehumanizing strip searches
  • Confiscating salt supplements and forcing them to drink unsanitary tap water
  • Placing them in solitary confinement
  • Providing insufficient medical examinations
  • Forcing them to stand to be counted or face severe fines
  • Transferring them from prison to prison
  • Confiscating their personal items
  • Banning them from shaving their beards, cutting their nails, and washing their clothes
While American media is quick to report violence coming from the Palestinian resistance to Israel's occupation, they are astoundingly quiet when it comes to nonviolent resistance. The largest collective hunger strike in the world should be headline news.
These hunger strikers need us to act now to amplify their voices. Here are things you can do:
1) Call, write, and tweet your Congressional rep and ask them to: 
  • Pressure Israel to meet the prisoners' demands
  • Write a letter of support for the hunger strike 
2) Call the International Red Cross at 202-587-4600 and demand that it fulfill its obligation to examine the prisoners' cells
3) Call Amnesty International USA at 212-807-8400 and urge it to pressure Israel to meet the prisoners' demands
4) Post about the hunger strike on social media:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I'll Never Stop Digging


I had enough of all the mounting insanity and Washington bullshit this morning and couldn't stand another minute in front of the computer.  I went outside and began weeding the garden and before I knew it I'd spent more than three hours going thru every veggie and flower bed with a vengeance.

I transplanted a flowering bush that needed more light and room to spread its feeble branches.  I went to the hardware store and got some mulch to add to some bald spots near our doors.  I planted some more lettuce and peas in spots that were bare after previous plantings.

The work and the dirt were good for me.  I spend many hours each day reading some of the worst news out there always trying to better understand what the deep state is doing now and in the future.  I take seriously the fact that many others don't have the time or the stamina to do what I do.  I often hear from people how much they appreciate that I dig up information and post it on my blog and on Fazebook - otherwise they might not get to see it.

And normally I enjoy digging for information - it's a challenge and I am consumed by the desire to see the full picture - I have a super curious nature and a deep desire to not have the wool pulled over my eyes anymore.

Having grownup on Air Force bases and going to schools on those bases I was indoctrinated as a 'young patriot'.  It wasn't really until I joined the Air Force myself in 1971 that my eyes began to open and my heart quickly followed.

It was my first roommate and co-workers at Travis AFB, California that turned me toward the peace movement.  I became a voracious reader during the 3 1/2 years in the military and remain one now.  It was my reading of the Pentagon Papers (at my office desk at Wheeler AFB, Hawaii) which threw me over the edge and ended all my illusions about American democracy and exceptionalism. (My bosses weren't too pleased with me reading political books at my desk and kept a file on me detailing my many 'insubordinate' transgressions. A fellow GI found the file one day while going through the desk of our boss while he was out to lunch.)

One of my jobs at Wheeler was to service the administrative needs of Air Force officers assigned to US Embassies throughout the Pacific.  When I read their job descriptions they were all the same - they served as liaison between the host government and US weapons corporations.  They were serving as salesmen for the weapons corporations while on active duty.  The US taxpayers were paying for that and I was shocked.  I shouldn't have been.

During that time I made a pledge to myself that once I got out of the Air Farce (it felt like prison to me) I would never put myself in a position again where I was not a free man.  Finding a career (since 1978) as a full-time organizer was a gift and a blessing for which I am eternally grateful.

But now and then it all takes a heavy toll on me.  Yesterday I felt my insides churning as I read article after article about US deception around our expanding war in Syria.

So thanks for the garden to help me release this insanity - that and some music - gives me the peace of mind I need to keep digging.  I'll never stop.

Bruce

Budgets are Moral Documents


A Catholic nun friend of mine said some years ago about the US, "We are a killer nation, we can kill them fast or we can kill them slow."

This budget represents perfectly those words.  We can kill people around the world fast with our obscene stock of deadly military machines and we can kill our own people slowly by the cruel neglect as social programs are destroyed and life expectancy diminishes.

The soul of America is dark. 

Bruce

Deep State Turned Trump Back Toward Establishment Foreign Policy



President Donald Trump's first foreign visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel has focused on combating ISIS and extremism, which they claim is allegedly manufactured by Iran.

Former US diplomat Jim Jatras says "to talk in Saudi Arabia about cooperation against terrorism would be like going to Berlin in 1942 to talk about cooperation against genocide."

Jan Oberg in Sweden writes:

Donald Trump is the antithesis of leadership. Walking into the cauldron of the Middle East and denouncing Iran when it had just – almost at the same moment – re-elected as president a man who presided over the deal that de-fanged his country’s nuclear program and whose support is badly needed in fashioning an end to the Syrian war, stabilising Iraq and beheading ISIS was a show of how not to make friends and win people over. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

There Goes Crazy Maxine Again.....



Rep. Maxine Waters, Democrat from Los Angeles, has gone off the deep end again.  This time she is alleging that Putin gave Trump the talking points in his recent election campaign.

These desperate Democrats, looking for a distraction to justify their terrible job in the national election, are on a drunken binge trying to tie everything possible to Moscow.  If it wasn't so ridiculously serious it would almost be funny.

This is about the third time I've seen Rep. Waters make really crazy allegations against Russia - she appears to have signed on as the #1 attack dog for the Democrats.  She lives in a safe district that will likely reelect her again no matter how far off the deep end she plunges.

It's really quite sad to see the Democrats make such fools of themselves.  They've really got nothing else to gripe about since their party is in bed with the right-wing Republicans on military spending and endless war mongering, corporate welfare, defunding social progress, and doing little about the environmental crisis we face.

What is even more sad though is that legions of grassroots Dems across the nation are following these cues from 'leaders' like Rep. Waters and daily repeat these same nonsensical utterances.

I'm not a Trump defender but I do believe he is quite capable of having made up his campaign slogans like 'lock her up' and 'crooked Hillary' - just remember Trump for years participated in professional wrestling on TV.  He had lots of practice appealing to those who are, can we say, on the lower end of the IQ scale.

It just goes to show the true condition of 'democracy' in America - there is none.

Bruce

Normalizing Perpetual War



Norman Solomon joins Paul Jay on The Real News discussing the Trump/Russia affair and plans to isolate and perhaps attack Iran.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Selling the Terrorist Alliance



Saudi Arabia has hired a high profile public relations firm to boost the image of the Islamic Military Alliance, a NATO-like organization founded in 2015 that consists of dozens of countries, African, Asian and Gulf states.

The trouble is that Saudi Arabia funds Sunni extremists worldwide! RT America’s Alexey Yaroshevsky has the details.

Trump in Riyadh: A Gulf NATO to Gang Up Against Iran & Syria



By Jan Oberg
TFF PressInfo

The role – again – of marketing companies in selling wars

Few wars have been so thoroughly media-managed and marketing-loaded as that on Syria. No wonder arms deals are too – otherwise citizens around the world would protest loudly that their tax money is spent on destruction and more destruction and all the promises of the past that this – or that – arms deal will increase security and peace in the world have turned out to be fake information – disinformation – and an integral part of what can only be termed “fearology” by governments against their own people.

One must therefore welcome Russia Today’s excellent research by Alexey Yaroshevsky also on this dimension.

This report is high-speed but listen carefully to it as it points out two US companies associated with this deal and US-Saudi relations with questionable image – a report that also highlight to some extent the roles of both Bill and Hillary Clinton in all this: the Qorvis MSLGroup and Burson-Marsteller.

In passing one cannot but deplore that it is Russia Today, not its Western peers, that does the research on the role of PR and marketing firms.

NATO in Gulf with Denmark as a liaison?

Back to NATO in Kuwait and what it may mean.

Here is what the United Arab Emirates’ daily The National reported on January 24, 2017. Interestingly, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE are members of ICI – the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative – while Saudi Arabia and Oman plan to join. This is exactly the coalition we have mentioned above.

Three days later the same sources quotes the Danish ambassador in the UAE:

    “NATO officials are expected to visit in coming months after the Danish embassy in Abu Dhabi becomes the country’s go-between with the bloc, said Merete Juhl, the Danish ambassador.

    “NATO and Europeans really need a reliable and capable partner in the Middle East, like the UAE, to better understand how to deal effectively with challenges internationally but also at home, with refugees and newcomers that represent a new security threat,” she said.

    “So these types of partnerships are something we are prioritising because it’s what we need in today’s world.”


So NATO member Denmark is appointed as the go-between – the UAE being the second largest military spender after Saudi Arabia. The article also explains how the UAE has contributed to NATO operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

In spring 2016, then US Secretary of State, John Kerry had talked about a much closer cooperation:

    “Ahead of last year’s Camp David summit, Gulf officials had hoped for a NATO-like binding security pact with Washington, but such an agreement was always highly unlikely. Now, the US is willing to discuss increasing cooperation between NATO and the GCC, though officials gave no further details on what was being considered.

    Mr Kerry said Washington had agreed with GCC foreign ministers to “begin the process of evaluating whether or not the concept of a GCC-Nato partnership in specific terms is something that would contribute significantly to the security and stability of the region”. [GCC = Gulf Cooperation Council].

It’s worth noting the term GCC-NATO partnership and what is then stated in the report:

    “Much of Mr Kerry’s meetings in Bahrain centred on Iran’s role in the region. Most GCC countries consider Tehran to be their gravest security threat, and are concerned about US intentions towards Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal and as Iran appears to be increasing its involvement in the Middle East.

    Despite the Obama administration’s hope that the nuclear deal will empower moderates within Iran, Tehran has provocatively carried out a number of ballistic missile launches and continued or increased its involvement in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

    Recent remarks by Mr Obama have only reinforced fears that the US intends to play a more neutral role in the region and do less to contain Iran. Gulf countries and Iran must “find an effective way to share the neighbourhood”, the US president said in a recent interview with The Atlantic magazine.”


One must assume that President Trump is eager, during his meetings with high-level people from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, to emphasize how much he loathes Iran and the nuclear deal.


US foreign policy aims, or so one must conclude, at deepening the Sunni-Shia divide – a divide that does have historic roots but has taken on a “hardness” since the catastrophic US post-occupation misadministration of Iraq that lead directly to the creation of ISIS.

Another dimension – a macro perspective

Of course there can be other interpretations of Saudi Arabia’s militarization than the one advanced here. But none of this could possibly lead to a new, wiser Western relationship to the Middle East than we’ve seen the last good 100 years. There is not a shred of evidence that the US has learned any lesson from those 100 years or, in particular, since 10/7 – the commencement of the war on Afghanistan and the wars that followed.

And for Syria and Iran, there can be nothing positive in any of the above – while there certainly is for both ISIS and Israel – the latter supporting terrorism in various ways and places and being allied with Sunni rather than Shia.

If you are in doubt, read the statement by a Israeli minister about the desirability to kill Bashar al-Assad and continue with the destruction of Iran. Since this minister has not been fired by Netanyahu it must be perceived as official Israeli policy.

So for genuine peace, the post-Obama rapproachment between the US and Saudi Arabia/Gulf States is a bad omen in that it still builds on divide-et-impera, confrontation and military dominance rather than diplomacy and mutually beneficial cooperation in the long term.

US/NATO and their allies in the region have learned no lessons from failed wars, destroyed countries and cultures, millions upon millions of dead and suffering people, the growth of terrorism thanks to Western policies and the now 16 year old War on Terror – and therefore there is nothing new, constructive or hope-inducing in any of this.

Future generations in the Middle East and in the West will pay a huge prize.

And even though much of what has been described above may seem to signal strength, every bit of it points in one direction: the dissolution of the US Empire and in its wake, the more slow disintegration of NATO and the EU.

The West works vertically on short-sighted and continued destruction and therefore employs military means above all others – permanent confrontation and exceptionalism.

The Rest works horizontally with constructive visions – such as the Silk Road and Silk Belt that sends much more attractive, inclusive signal also to the Middle East – with civilian means such as infrastructure, education, cultural exchange and mutual economic benefits.

In future history books, the Middle East could well turn out to have been a major crossroads in more than one sense of the emerging, much better, cooperative world order that will come when the last Empire has finished itself.

Until that happens: How many more tragedies and how much more human suffering shall the world witness and endure? 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This is Sick

CIA: International & Domestic Terrorism


I recently shared some passages from this book while I was about half-way through it. I've just finished reading it and want to share even more.  It's a very important book and while few will read the entire thing at least many of you can read some excerpts from it.

Douglas Valentine undertook a detailed study and analysis of the CIA's 'Phoenix' program of counterinsurgency in Vietnam.  He interviewed many of the key players who created and directed Phoenix.  Then Valentine took what he learned from the Vietnam program and shows how it has been refined and implemented in El Salvador, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and more recently in Ukraine.  He chillingly illustrates how the Department of Homeland Security (created in response to 9-11) is being constructed to serve as the domestic version of the Phoenix program.

The book is endorsed by highly respected figures like NSA whistleblower John Kiriakou, academic Peter Dale Scott who came up with the tag 'deep state' and the truth-telling Robert Parry at Consortium News (which happens to be one of my favorite sources for news and analysis).

If you want to see the big picture of US empire, understand how it works, understand who many of the insiders are (or have been), and get a glimpse into what is coming to America in the near future - then I highly recommend this book.  See more of Valentine's words just below.

Bruce

  • The CIA influences politics in foreign nations in many ways.  CIA officers are constantly funneling money to all political parties, right and left, and establishing long-range agents to monitor and manipulate political developments.  That's standard operating procedure.
  • The history of the US intelligence operations in Ukraine is educational.  OSS officers [of the US] in WW II released Stepan Bandera from prison in 1944.  Bandera was a Nazi collaborator whose militia slaughtered Poles, Jews and communist workers on the eastern front.  The US recruited Bandera so he could fight the advancing Soviet Union [as it fought Hitler's Army]. Nothing has changed.  Just over ten years ago the CIA initiated its 'Orange Revolution' for the same purpose - to thwart the Russians.  It was one of the first color revolutions and it involved the same people the CIA employed in its [Kiev] coup in 2014.  
  • [T]he CIA has been operating with [fascist] Ukrainian exiles since the end of WW II, when they hired General Reinhard Gehlen.  Gehlen had been the chief anti-Soviet spy for the German Army.  US Army intelligence hired Gehlen in 1945, but as soon as the CIA was formed it grabbed him and put him in charge of Eastern Europe.  The CIA used this former Nazi to re-activate the spy networks he had in Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, all the Eastern European countries, and these old Nazi spies and saboteurs went to work for the CIA.
  • [CIA] created a new Digital Directorate so it can more perfectly control Internet information.... Just as the CIA is at the forefront of propaganda on the Internet, its science and technology division is at the forefront of shaping the industries that run the world.
  • Certainly people have to be reminded, and the young have to learn, that America's policy of war crimes for profit cannot exist without the complicity of the mainstream media, which shamelessly exploits our inclination to believe that our leaders behave morally.
  • America's ruling National Security Establishment has expanded covert paramilitary operations from 60 nations in 2008, to 120 in 2013.
  • In 1967... the CIA's Counterintelligence staff were creating the MHCHAOS program in Langley, Virginia, to spy on members of the anti-war movement, and turn as many of them as possible into double agents.... Chaos was super-secret because it was illegal for the CIA to engage in domestic operations.
  • [The US has] the World Bank and the IMF strangling countries with debt, like the banks are strangling college students and home owners here.  The War on Terror is the best thing that ever happened to US capitalists and their secret police force, the CIA.  Terrorism is the pretext that allows the CIA to coordinate and transcend every government agency and civic institution, including the media, to the extent that we don't even see its wars anymore.  Its control is so pervasive, so ubiquitous; the CIA has actually become the Phoenix.
  • Not coincidentally, the outlawing of narcotic drugs turned the issue of addiction from a matter of 'public health' into a pretext for expanding police forces and reorganizing the criminal justice and social welfare systems.
  • Heroin smuggled by 'CIA people' into the US was channeled by Mafia distributors primarily to African American communities.  Local narcotics agents then targeted disenfranchised blacks as an easy way of subduing or criminalizing them, reducing their community organizing and voting power, thereby preserving the white ruling class's privileges.

  • [T]he CIA for years had sanctioned the heroin traffic from the Golden Triangle region of Burma, Thailand and Laos into South Vietnam as a way of rewarding top officials for advancing US policies.
  • [D]ozens of narcotics prosecutions have been dismissed on national security grounds due to the participation of CIA assets operating in trafficking organizations around the world.
  • [In 1975] the [Congressional] Church Committee, as it was known, was investigating the CIA's many and varied illegal activities.  But rather than bring about the total destruction of the Agency, the Church Committee concluded that allegations of drug smuggling by CIA assets and proprietaries 'lacked substance'....The Rockefeller Commission likewise gave the CIA a clean bill of health.
  • People think this [CIA drug trade] is something that started in Central America during Iran-Contra, but it started in China when the US backed Chiang Kai-sek in the 1920s. The only way that Chiang Kai-shek could finance his government was through the opium trade....The US has been engaged in an unstated policy since the 1920s of supporting its political allies by allowing the leadership to make fortunes dealing drugs.... With the support and blessings of the CIA, several top generals in South Vietnam had franchises in the drug trade.
  • Corrupting the leadership of a country in order to keep it in your pocket is integral to maintaining an empire.  It is a well-established colonial policy.  The two main facets of Phoenix - controlling the 'upper tier' people in a foreign government by corrupting them, and terrorizing the lower tier into submission - come together in the mid-70s in Central America and explode with Iran-Contra in the 1980s.
  • The US has had an unstated policy of smuggling guns to militant factions in Mexico's Northern states that are continuously fighting against the central government.  It's one of the ways of keeping the central government weak, so that Mexico can never develop into a strong economic or political adversary.... Several presidents of Mexico have been agents of the CIA.... No one talks about it, but the CIA has an operations officer engaged in covet actions in every province and state in Mexico, including along the border.
  • These things were planned 70 years ago.  After WW II, the big brains in industry and government prepared to rule the world....The CIA and military hire the smartest anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists to figure out how to do this stuff.  They have it down to a science called the Human Factors.
  • We need to develop a collective historical consciousness to understand the predicament and to be able to do something about it, to stop being manipulated by the press on a daily basis.  The media have us trained like sex-texting teenagers to focus on things that have nothing to do with how our perceptions of events are being controlled.  It is important for people to take a broader view and to try to put these things in perspective, not only to understand what is happening now, but to see where things are going in the future and to plot a way to deal with it.
  • From the time [my book] The Phoenix Program was published in 1990, I'd witnessed a gradual escalation of belligerent nationalistic rhetoric, accompanied by an outpouring of revisionist Vietnam War history. The reactionary Reagan, Bush and Clinton regimes had waged a series of increasingly militant and covert action initiatives, from El Salvador to Iraq to Serbia, in a calculated and well-publicized attempt to purge the Vietnam Syndrome from the fragile American psyche.

  • In its 2000 policy paper 'Rebuilding America's defenses,' the neocon Project for a New American Century worried that the transformation of American armed forces through "new technologies and operational concepts" was likely to take too long, "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor."
  • Symbolically, 9/11 wiped the slate clean.  All the moral prohibitions on the rabid right were lifted, and all the rage they had cultivated during the degenerate Clinton regime was unleashed, under the aegis of counterterrorism, on nations sitting on vast oil reserves, as well as suspected terrorists, domestic dissidents, and the flag-waving American public as well.
  • The CIA does nothing unless it can be assured of plausible deniability, and the Homeland Security apparatus is an infinitely large space in which the CIA can hide operations aimed at manipulating society and managing the political control of the American people.
  • The psychological warfare campaign blossomed on 9/11; the warmongers saturated the airwaves and editorial columns with propaganda calling anti-war protesters "un-American" and equating them with terrorist sympathizers.  The propaganda has never stopped.  As it was during the Vietnam War, peace protesters and civil rights activists have become enemies of the state and, hence, targets of the Homeland Security infrastructure.

  • [T]he Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has fusion centers which operate in every state and major city, just like Phoenix intelligence and operations centers were set up in Vietnam.  Every law enforcement entity in a state or city sends a representative to the local fusion center, which tries to anticipate threats through analysis of shared intelligence....Along with the FBI's task forces, fusion centers serve as cover for domestic CIA operations. 
  • Ultimately, the DHS is about protecting the haves from the have-nots, just like Phoenix coordinators were protecting large land owners from Vietnamese revolutionaries fighting for agrarian reform.
  • Since the creation of the Homeland Security protection racket, over eight trillion taxpayer dollars has been moved from social programs into "internal security" programs that have provided the National Security Establishment with over 250,000 cadres to pacify the flag-waving American public.

  • For a glimpse into the future look at Israel, which has had a leading role in teaching Americans "how to do it".  There, administrative detention makes it okay to round up civilians, detain and torture them indefinitely, destroy their homes with bulldozers, cast them to the four winds, and steal everything they own simply because they are Palestinians.

  • Theoretically, only five percent of the population needs to be organized in this fashion in order to wield control over the indifferent 90% and defeat the five percent that form the resistance.
  • If America's policy of conducting war crimes is ever to end, people of conscience must expose the dark side of our national psyche, the part that allows us to employ terror to assure our world dominance.

Feudal Courtesans






It's been a long romance
with Saudi Arabia
hand-in-hand
supporting
terrorism
Yemen
Syria
Libya
ultimate goal
take down
Iran

The former anti-monarchy
Washington
once in revolt
against King George
now fully
in the welcoming
arms
of
royal Riyadh
head-choppers

Washington
talks
about democracy
rule of law
but
the imperial
Americans
prefer
golden chains
around their
necks
holding hands
with murderous
thugs

the nation
has come
full circle
leading
us back
to feudalism
the black
gold
variety

Bruce

Sunday Song