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....

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Coup in Bolivia directed by Washington

The Grayzone's Anya Parampil took over an Al Jazeera interview to provide a point-by-point rebuttal of major myths surrounding the coup in Bolivia and placed the ouster of Evo Morales in proper historical context.

You know this fascist coup was directed by Washington just like they have been trying to do in Venezuela - and like they did in Ukraine in 2014.

See a much more detailed video that digs further into the Bolivia coup here

Sunday, November 10, 2019

NATO's foiled grab of Crimea

One of the people from Germany who attended the Crimea conference in recent days wrote me this morning the following note - asking me if I had heard this story.  I replied that I had but not in such detail.  Then I responded with an addition of my own that follows below. 

Two months ago I visited a friend of mine who lives with her family in Crimea all her life. At some point I found myself asking about the Crimean crisis [in 2014].

The father told me the following: his brother works on the airdrome of Sevastopol [location of Russian air force and naval bases that were under treaty with Ukraine since the fall of the former Soviet Union.  Russia paid big money to rent the facilities that allowed them to have 20,000 troops stationed there. Thus there was no Russian invasion of Crimea.] and in the most critical night of the crisis he got the message that within 10 minutes an attack helicopter of the NATO is about to land there. Within this 10 minutes Putin in person could mobilize a Russian helicopter that was able to arrive a few moments earlier on the field. According to him this was the most critical moment - if the NATO would have been able to land, there would have been war. Everyone was prepared they told me by the way, I even talked to house wives about this who said that they all organised themselves a weapon to protect their families...

Here was my response:

When I first came to Yalta one year ago my guide was taking me back to my hotel after a day trip to Sevastopol.  We passed by a huge apartment building, new, and all lit up.  I asked what it was.  She said, “It was supposed to be a NATO barracks after they took over Crimea.  But the referendum [to rejoin Russia] foiled their plan.  Now it is just apartments for regular people.” 
I asked her what would have happened if NATO had grabbed Crimea.
"We’d have war," she replied.
Maybe you can understand how proud the people of Crimea are that they quickly organized the referendum that overwhelming declared that the predominately Russian-ethnic population of Crimea wished to be reunited with mother Russia.  In doing so they also averted a war on their peninsula that today lives in peace and security.

It is at least obvious to me that the coup in Kiev, Ukraine (and the attempted NATO takeover of Crimea) was long in the works.  One should remember that it was during the presidency of Bill Clinton that the US promise to Russia (after the dissolution of the Soviet Union) not to expand NATO one centimeter eastward toward Moscow's border was violated.  (Interestingly there is a photo of Bill and Hillary on the wall in the lobby of the hotel I am staying in.)

Sunday song

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Yalta conference notes

The Fifth Anniversary International Conference: "Crimea in the Current International Context" began on November 7 inside the Livadia Palace, Yalta, Crimea.  In these same rooms Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met in 1945 to discuss the post-WW II architecture.

More than 30 nations were represented (officially or unofficially) - I was able to catch this list: Austria, Cyprus, Poland, Norway, Germany, Japan, India, USA, Czech Republic, China, Greece, Israel, Belarus, Belgium, Tunisia, Palestine, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey, Armenia, and Abkhazia.

The place was packed with participants, observers and media.  Here are some of my many pages of notes from various speakers at the event. They are not posted in any particular order of relevance.

  • We [Crimeans] don't need any proof of our rights.  People who think of themselves as the master of the world can't live with our choice [to return to Russia in the 2014 referendum].  Sanctions have a negative influence.  We are still not free to travel to Europe.  Every international delegation is a new friend of Crimea.  We seek peaceful non-violent changes.

  • The US strategy is to dominate the world....fears the growth of China.  Some US analysts predict war with China.  They wish to break Russia apart before it becomes too strong.  Change of US president will not change their course.  Some Kissinger followers wish to neutralize Russia so that it would not support China.  Trump says our main enemy is China and that the US has to maintain good relations with Russia.

  • The majority of Americans don't know where Ukraine is.

  • The west tries not to recognize the violations of law during [the US orchestrated] 2014 Kiev coup d 'etat.

  • The US grab for Syria's oil is illegal.

  • You should not look for enemies, but instead look for friends.

  • Public diplomacy [a common topic during the event] should be used in order to circumvent the efforts of those who believe that a unipolar power should dominate the world.

  • Public diplomacy is key to shaping public opinion.  Public tribunals were used during the Vietnam War to expose US war crimes and should be used again.

  • Russia got religion through Crimea 1,000 years ago.

  • When Russia is attacked it is usually through Crimea.  The fascists occupied Crimea during WW II.

  • We are living in a transitional stage with the weakening of international law and international institutions like the United Nations.

  • Russia is playing a very important role in the world today by encouraging international dialogue.

  • US-NATO sanctions on Russia are having a boomerang effect on Italy's economy.  When market share with Russia is lost, it is difficult to get it back as Russia seeks new trading partners.  Why must a false economic restriction on Crimea imperil the future of Europe?

  • Russia is a historical and valued partner of India.  We need to have dialogue.

  • Crimea looked worse under Ukrainian control than it does today under Russia despite the sanctions.

  • Railroad to Crimea from Russia will soon be opened lessening even further Crimea's isolation.

  • Friends of Crimea in Germany think we are running out of time and we must work together to do environmental projects.  These kinds of exchange projects could lead to more bi-lateral environmental coordination.

  • Commercial banks in Poland are beginning to question and threaten people who have traveled to Russia and Crimea.

  • Many people in Bulgaria love Russian culture and language so we also care about Crimea.  Thousands of Bulgarians live in Crimea and they are local witnesses who understand the Crimean case.

  • There seems to be a threat from the Anglo-Saxon world.

  • I represent the Brotherhood of War Veterans - terrorism and breath of war we feel now - Lots of events are going on today to rehabilitate fascism, Bandera, etc. Russia should have its own veterans department in government because we might have more of them the way things are going today.

  • We need a new Yalta meeting between Russia, China and the US.

  • Where ever oil and gas is present the US military is there destabilizing things.  We don't want American missiles on our Serbian border.

  • The US will lead the war by the hands of other countries.  If they want war with Russia, then they will use Ukraine.

  • Sanctions on Crimea are well targeted genocide against two million people.  How do we meet this genocide?  Public diplomacy should be concentrated on.

  • For us in Norway, the most important thing to do is to bring people to Crimea.

  • As a lifelong Yalta resident, with family here for generations, there was never a doubt how I'd vote in the 2014 referendum to rejoin Russia.  While still under Ukraine's control they said we would no longer study Anton Pavlovich Chekhov in schools because he was a 'foreign' [Russian] writer. 

  • We must reach out to environmental groups in different countries to share information and work together.

In the garden at Livadia Palace in Yalta

I had several good connections with people I met while at the conference.  Two in particular are of special note.
Costas Isychos from Greece was the former Alternate Minister of National Defence.  He was appointed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in January 2015 but resigned six months later along with five other cabinet members.  Isychos told me that they resigned their posts because Tsipras betrayed the nation [he was elected as an opponent of neo-liberalism] when he agreed to an austerity package with the EU which further increased poverty in the country.  In addition Tsipras agreed to allow the US to dramatically expand its military bases in Greece that are aimed at Russia.

The other person that I formed a close bond with is Kimura Mitsuhiro from Tokyo.  He is a long-time activist and strong friend of Crimea.  We spent lots of time comparing notes about many foreign policy issues. 

As one might imagine I learned alot from being at this conference.  Taking in the collective experience and wisdom of those assembled from so many nations was a gift I will always treasure.


BIW union calls for return of $45 million tax break for General Dynamics

The union at Bath Iron Works in Maine (builds destroyers for the Navy) refers in the video to the $45 million tax break the state gave General Dynamics a couple years ago.  At the time the union took a membership vote on the corporate welfare bill (which ultimately got cut from the original $60 million request to $45 million) and took no position because the vote was 50-50 for and against.

This is the bill that I did my hunger strike over and we had 100 letters to editor in papers across the state opposing the give-a-way.  It was a great campaign.

It's good to see that the opposition to the corporate tax cut is still growing.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Talk at Livadia Palace in Yalta

My talk yesterday during the conference at historic Livadia Palace in Yalta, Crimea.  People from about 30 countries are represented at the event.  The conference continues today as we move to a university in Simferopol.

Note that the man introducing me is holding up our Space Alert newsletter.  They were very pleased to see our extensive coverage of our visit to Crimea in the last edition following our spring Russia Study Tour.  You can see it online here.

I took pages and pages of notes during the conference yesterday and will write them up ASAP.  I made some new friends and will be eager to follow-up on them.

Fazebook yesterday told me I had violated community standards for two of my posts and won't allow me to make posts there until November 14.  The two posts were about recent elections in Germany and a photo of US and Russian military vehicles passing one another in northern Syria.  So if you wouldn't mind sharing this video it would be a help since I can't do it.

Thanks to Regis Tremblay for making the video.

More soon.


Still stranded in Ireland.....

My two VFP friends still stuck in Ireland and walking for peace.  Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers.

Day 5 of Boots on the ground for Freedom - Malahide to Balbriggan passing through Lusk and Donabate #IrishNeutrality; #US Hostages #Veterans for Peace.

For over 7 months the Irish state has been holding two US peace activists hostage in Ireland. Their crime? They dared to enter Shannon warport on St Patrick's Day to search a US warplane. In the grand scheme of things it is a minor offence, but due to the vindictiveness of the State Prosecution their passports were seized and they are not allowed to return home until their trial, which could be in 2 years time.

In order to raise their case and the continued breaches of Irish neutrality for the past 18 years via Shannon airport, they are now on the second leg of their walk around the Irish Republic. They are now walking from Dun Laoghaire to Dundalk. The first leg saw them journey from Limerick gaol, where they were imprisoned for 12 days, to Malin Head.

The authorities claim they are a "flight risk". These two members of US Veterans for Peace say they would be more accurately described as a "death risk": Ken Mayers is aged 82, while the younger fellah, Tarak Kauff, is a mere 77. And as for not returning for their trial that is nonsense. They want their day in court!

A "Let Them Go HOME for Christmas" postcard campaign directed at Minister for "Justice" Charlie Flanagan has been launched. If possible please send Flanagan one of these cards. Soon Uplift will go online with the same message to Flanagan. Watch out for it!!

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Russia discovers Tulsi - thanks to Hillary......

On Monday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a statement that was interpreted as saying that Russia was once again interfering with American elections. But Zuckerberg didn't present any evidence of interference in the American election, and actually, there were no alarming statements about interference in U.S. affairs in the deleted groups.

This segment mostly covers the following:

Thanks to Hillary Clinton's wild rant about Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard being Russia's picks to run for president in 2020 V,esti News (who knew little about Tulsi) decided to find out and shared her story with their TV viewers.