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 25, 2014

In Missouri to Show Solidarity

I flew to St. Louis today and was picked up at the airport by folks from the national Veterans For Peace (VFP) office that is headquartered in this city.  I've come to join other members of VFP to support the people of Ferguson in their struggle for dignity and justice.

We are waiting on one more person to arrive and then will head over to Ferguson.  More later.

Isn't it pure irony that the most violent country in the world can't understand when the most repressed, suppressed and beaten down people reach their final boiling point and react with the very violence that the nation is steeped in?  The black community is the conscience of America.

This important fact (that blows my mind) should be remembered:  The Ferguson police let Michael Brown’s body lie in the street for four and a half hours after he was shot by the cop.  The rage in Ferguson has a long track record.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Some of the Inside Story

United States Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down from his post atop the Pentagon, the Obama-appointee said Monday from the White House. Hagel's departure could both signal the White House is ready to carry out a more aggressive foreign policy.

Patrick Henningsen writes:

History will eventually show (we hope) that the elephant in the room isn’t ‘how to deal with ISIS’, but how to conceal and whitewash Washington’s integral role in building up, funding, training and arming today’s extremist ISIS fighters.

Stop the Pipeline

"They've Been Tested"

The film is Yotam Feldman‘s The Lab, which was released in North America in August.  Feldman writes:

    The Lab is a cinematic investigation into the lure of Israeli weapons in the international arms trade. Why are countries all over the world lining up to buy Israeli arms? And how did such a small country become one of the biggest military exporters in the world? Israeli salesmen and executives in huge arms corporations seem eager to promote their products and pride themselves on their booming business. Profits have never been better — sales are doubling every year, and the potential seems unlimited.

    But the product they are selling is unique. Rather than rifles, rockets or bombs, the Israeli companies sell their experience. The long-running conflict with the Palestinians has created a unique and unrivalled laboratory for testing technologies and ideas relating to “asymmetric warfare” — a conflict between a state and civil or irregular resistance. In this manner the Israeli conflict with the Palestinians may be seen as a national asset — rather than a burden…

    While making the film, I witnessed the relationship between a network of military generals, politicians and private business; the use of current military operations as a promotional device for private business; the brutal employment of the Israeli experience, and the blurred lines between what is legitimate and forbidden in this line of business.

Great Short Film: The war Inside Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern province a 3-year uprising has been raging, hidden from the world. With unprecedented access, this report explores the growing protest movement - the biggest in Saudi history.

In scenes reminiscent of Libya, Egypt and Bahrain, masked protesters fill the streets, fling rocks and chant "martyrdom is better than oppression" as police bullets fly. In the Shia-dominated Eastern region of Qatif, there has been growing resentment that despite "standing on top of oil fields that feed the world", local communities suffer poverty, sectarian discrimination and no political freedom. Figureheads of the protests have been added to government wanted lists, been arrested and several have been killed in dubious circumstances. Saudi filmmaker Safa Al Ahmad risks arrest and worse to get inside this troubled region. In secret meetings protesters share their accounts of the growing state violence against them and their families. One leader's disabled sister tells of how security forces "came while I was sleeping and threatened me with a gun".

The movement insists it is nonetheless growing, but a few incidences of violence by protesters have alienated many locals and given the state justification for their crackdown. After protesters fire on security forces, police funerals are broadcast on public television and the rioters are officially labelled "terrorists". Both sides are now entrenched. "It is very dangerous for the future. The state just want to show the iron fist. The only reaction is apathy or violence."

- BBC Arabic

Interview with Regis Tremblay

The latest edition of This Issue features Regis Tremblay who shares his views on the recent elections and U.S. military and economic policy.  Regis is a filmmaker from Woolwich, Maine and is the creator of the award-winning documentary The Ghosts of Jeju.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

News Reminder: Biden Admits U.S. Allies Funding ISIS

And do we think the CIA is not involved in this funding, directing, and training ISIS as well?

This serves two primary purposes:

1)  Helps take down the Syrian government which is an ally of Iran and an enemy of the brutal regime in Saudi Arabia

2)  Creates the vicious new boogey-man ISIS that then allows the US to re-send thousands of troops back into Iraq and to further justify destroying Syria.

This whole bunch is as corrupt and evil as can be.......

Sunday Song

Saturday, November 22, 2014

U.S. Encourages Nazism in Ukraine

Poroshenko and Biden pushing war with Russia

The US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against a UN Resolution condemning the heroization of Nazism. The EU was not much better: it abstained.

This from the Vineyard of the Saker:

The US, Canada and the Ukraine refuse to condemn the heroization of Nazism 


It is often argued whether the Ukrainian junta is Nazi or not.  I would strongly argue that even though Poroshenko did not come out, make a Nazi salute and declare "I am a Nazi" all the signs point to the conclusion that the regime in Kiev has its ideological roots in the Nazi past.  The latest example of that "filiation" can be found in this absolutely amazing event last week:  only three countries - the US, Canada and the Ukraine voted against a UN Resolution condemning the heroization of Nazism.  The EU was not much better: it abstained.  This development is so crazy, so insane, that it is important to have access to the original document which was voted on.

Here is the official voting record:

To me, this is disgusting beyond belief.  Here we have two countries who try to positions themselves as the most pro-Israeli on the planet (the US and Canada) and the EU which has even passed laws making not only Nazi propaganda illegal, but jailing those who would dare investigate the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis (the so-called 'Holocaust').  And yet these putatively anti-Nazi and "democratic" countries are now refusing to condemn the heroization of Nazism not so much because they particularly like Nazis, but because they want to "protect" the Ukrainian junta.  As for the Ukrainians themselves, they have suffered more from Nazis then any other country or ethnic group, and yet they also refused to condemn the heroization of Nazism.  This makes a mockery not only of all their so-called principles and values, it also is an act of obscene disrespect for the millions of Ukrainian murdered by the Nazis.  There is one good thing about all this: it shows clearly and unequivocally how much the western elites truly hate Russia and that this hate clearly trumps any other considerations or values.

Russian disgust

For the past few days, or weeks, really, I have seen more and more signs of total Russian disgust with the West.  If, in the past, Russian diplomats and politicians were mostly trying to sound polite, now they are openly expressing their disgust.  For example, they are now openly saying the Europe does not have a foreign policy or an opinion, that Europe is just a subservient colony of the US.  As for the US, the Russians are now openly saying that this entire Ukrainian crisis was just a pretext and that the US are really out there to submit Russia.  Putin said that openly last week, adding that nobody had every succeeded in subduing Russia and neither would the USA.  This goes further than words, Russia has already announced that she was going to boycott the 2016 Summit on Nuclear Security.  This became known when the Russian informed the other members of this Summit that Russia would not participate in its preparatory work.

Sergei Lavrov also made a remarkable speech today, but since the pathetic website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not even bother providing a translation on the same day,  we will have to wait before I can post it here.

The Saker

We Shall Overcome (reflection from Jeju)

Breakwaters for the Navy base on Jeju

Dear Friends,

I am home and feeling overwhelmed emotionally. Gratitude, outrage, solidarity, humanity, pain, sadness, celebration, beauty, resilience, change, military and corporate power, faith, truth......

I woke last night with Gangjeong [village] overflowing my head and heart. Physically one circle away-- connected by spirit. What resonates loudly is the powerful ritual, of art, music, dance, faith, the struggle of indigenous people to protect heritage, life and place.

A large chunk of sacred shoreline has been taken -- a tall white fence with barbed wire separates the naval base from the village and its people. On the west sea side there is a river estuary and a rock jetty. It is a beautiful spot- heron, egrets feeding in the river, gentle fresh water flowing into the sea, Tiger island arising from the sea close by..... a group of stored kayaks-- a peace fleet. The west side of the naval base dissects the scene. There are protest flags and paintings all along the river path from the sea...and an encampment supporting the struggle.

Walking north along the riverside fence line arrive at the bridge, the main road into town. It is another site of significance, heavily decorated with anti-base flags and flowers. A few hundred feet up the road from the bridge is a shrine and large permanent peace tent, one side set up for Mass, all decorated with logs carved with prayers.. The other side of the road the base fence line is adorned with illustrations, peace poetry , flags, murals up to the new main gate.

Six days a week mats are placed on half of the main gate road at 7am with activists and sisters bowing with peaceful intentions spoken over a loudspeaker "as I hold in my heart....I make my 1st, ..30th..88th.. 100th bow. Later, at 11am a full mass with communion and rosary is celebrated both in the tent with villagers and extended along the road over a loudspeaker to priest and activists in chairs blocking the gate- stopping construction trucks. Police interrupt every 10-15 minutes to remove and contain resisters to the side for 10 minutes of truck flow...  After mass is a human chain, and 3-4 dances in the street.

From the gate walk on a path decorated with murals and flags on the fence side depicting Gureombi rock, the imprisoned activists, and lined with several greenhouses. Arrive at the communal kitchen, the residence for sisters, and several living/storage containers abutting the north side of the fence. Resume walking along the continuously protested fence line to the road where the fence turns south toward the sea along the road to the marina. The unfenced side of the road has a large 24 hour peace encampment and campfire blocking the proposed naval housing construction.. The last of the fields on this eastern side of the naval base were still being bulldozed and fence erected during our visit.

The walk ends just past the marina --a large crucifix where Father Moon was pushed off the rock by police at the end of a high cement dyke facing west toward the base -- an evocative shrine.

Every centimeter of land that was taken is a passionate colorful tragic place of resistance -- a cry for peace...

Mira Leslie

War Crimes in Palestine

In September members of the European Parliament called on the European Union to break diplomatic ties with Israel and implement sanctions against the country because of the war crimes it has committed against the people of Palestine. 

90% of the water in Gaza is now undrinkable after the recent Israeli 'shock and awe' attack on the Palestinian people.  This kind of 'collective punishment' of innocent civilian populations is a war crime worthy of the Third Reich. 

Last night here in Bath we had a wonderful concert and fundraiser for the Palestinian people.  Fifty people turned out and we raised $643 for the Middle East Children's Alliance.

Stepping Up Resistance in Okinawa

Citizens in Okinawa recently threw out politicians on their island who had betrayed the people by supporting US military base expansion.  Now they are increasing the pressure by organizing blockades of these bases.  In the case of Henoko (northern Okinawa) the US wants to build an airfield that goes right out into the ocean where endangered species are found.

People all over the world are saying NO to the string of more than 800 US imperial bases.  We need that same spirit back here in the USA.

If we could ever end the US war machine's global dominance we would have money for jobs, health care, education, infrastructure repair and more in this country.  See the links - make the connections.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Climate Change Alert!

Can you see the Mother Earth, suffering from toxic shock, thrashing about?  She is going to shut down our whole way of life.  We refused to pay attention and to act like good little Earthlings.... so Madre Terra is going to do what we wouldn't do.  Hang on friends!

The Face of Armageddon

The Navy's new Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer being built at Bath Iron Works in Maine. The ship was designed to sneak up along China's coastline and blast them with 'elctro-magnetic railguns'

We had our Maine Veterans For Peace (VFP) meeting last night in Augusta - about an hour from Bath where I live.  Three of us rode in Peter Woodruff's truck.  On the way there I apologized for having forgotten my wallet and thus couldn't kick in a few bucks for gas.  Peter immediately took the next exit near Gardiner and I thought he was going to drop-kick me right there.  We all had a good laugh.  Also in the truck was Dan Ellis who does the web site and membership for the chapter.

It was a good meeting last night and we had an excellent discussion about the impending public reaction in Ferguson, Missouri when the killer-cop will likely be let off the hook by a Grand Jury after having unnecessarily taken the life of the young black man Michael Brown.  Protests are planned all over the nation at 5:00 pm the day following the Grand Jury announcement.  (I read yesterday that white folks in that area have recently been busy buying handguns fearing a race riot.  Sales are up by 50%. The media and right-wing racist web sites have been hyping that story big-time.)

During the VFP meeting the discussion was centered around the growing militarization of our culture.  Just like many countries around the world that are involved in civil conflict the ruling oligarchy in the US is pitting citizen-against-citizen.... white people against black and brown citizens.  Rather than face the growing income disparity across the land (created by corporate capitalism) the races are being manipulated into a pre-civil war mode.

America has never recovered from slavery and our own Civil War in the 1860's - which many young people know nothing about. Currently we face the neglected wound of race coming back to haunt the nation once again.  You could call it 'the old stand by' - a tactic rolled out when the heat gets a bit too hot for those in power.  Divide and conquer always works well to distract the masses.

On the way home from the meeting, while talking about endless war, Peter remarked that the Navy's new 'stealth' destroyer (pictured above) is "the face of Armageddon."  This is particularly relevant because Peter only recently retired from Bath Iron Works (BIW) after 33-plus years at the shipyard.  In 2009 he created a petition saying "We want to build wind turbines for off-shore wind in the Gulf of Maine" and circulated it amongst the workers at BIW.  He gathered 800 signatures, just about one out of every five workers there at the time.  The local Times Record newspaper wrote an editorial congratulating him for his vision and courage saying:

We agree with Woodruff and other circulators of this petition that the time is ripe for this initiative - given President Obama's emphasis on "green energy"..... Statistics released by the European Wind Energy Association show that 43% of all new electricity generating capacity built in the European Union last year was wind energy, exceeding all other technologies including gas, coal and nuclear power.

Even before he retired Peter was the first BIW worker ever to attend a destroyer 'Christening' ceremony protest and speak out for conversion of the shipyard.  He's been an active member of the local effort to convert the shipyard to peaceful production for several years.

In Peter's earlier days he fished, was an environmental leader, and has a great love for the sea.  He is deeply troubled about the growing acidification of the oceans due to global warming.  He intimately understands the close link between militarism and climate change as the Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet.

Peter said again last night something I've heard him say often:  "Remember, there is not much time left."

We are literally holding the future generations in our hands.  What shall we offer them?