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

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.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


The United Press Int'l (UPI) reported today that a former U.S. Marine, who participated in capturing Saddam Hussein in Iraq, said the public version of his capture was fabricated.

The ex-Marine stated that he was part of a 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days near Tikrit, and that they found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a rat hole as previously announced by the Pentagon.

Saddam was captured after fierce resistance during which one Marine was killed. The ex-Marine said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from a window but surrendered once he saw that there was no point in resisting. Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well, the ex-Marine said. (This story was found on the web site of TV 13 WHAM in Rochester, New York.)

Also in the news today, on the very LAST page of my local newspaper (Times Record), in a very tiny story hidden at the bottom of the page, was this headline: Nation's Infrastructure is crumbling

A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers assessed the four-year trend in the condition of 12 categories of infrastructure, including roadways, bridges, drinking water systems, public parks, railroads and the power grid. The engineers gave the nation's infrastructure the grade of D. As in downhill. Heading downhill very fast. Should have been on the front page, top of the page in place of the article called Kicking Up Her Heels about the local girl who does Irish step-dancing. Huge color picture of the dancer came with the story on the front page and two more big pictures on page 4 for the rest of the story. No wonder the American people don't know a damn thing about what is going on. The American people are not stupid, the media is. Of course crumbling infrastructure stories don't sell newspapers and money is what comes first. But does an Irish step-dancing story sell that many more papers? Except for her family, who else rushes out to buy it?

There was a tiny bit of good news today from the otherwise corrupt and disfunctional U. S. Senate. It seems that Bush's new "Clear Skies" legislation, that is really a polluters paradise bill, got hung up in committee when Republican moderate senator Lincoln Chaffee from Rhode Island voted to oppose it. The bill, while claiming to clean up air pollution, really is a give-away to the big polluting industries. The entire northeast of the U.S. is where the prevailing winds blow much of the nation's bad air and even Republican senators in this region are giving Bush some level of trouble on this bill. Hope for the best and give your senator a call if you are so moved.

My last item for tonight is the e-mail I got today from Global Network board member Helen John in England. She is going to run against Prime Minister Tony Blair in the next national election there. Blair has to run for a local seat in Parliament so Helen will contest him in the local race. Helen says Blair's slogan is "Don't Look Back, Look Forward." Now I wonder why he picked that one? Helen said her slogan will be "Back to the Beginning." Should be alot of fun to watch.

It reminds me what a good idea it would be if local activists all over the U.S. were to jump into House and Senate races in the coming elections. Run and say you want to cut the military budget by 50%, you want to convert the weapons industry to peaceful production, want to fully fund day care, health care for all, raise taxes on the rich, clean up the environment and send corporate criminals like Enron to jail. I mean if Martha Stewart can do time, how come Enron big wigs never spent time behind bars? We've got to get bold. Take the plunge, dive into a local campaign. Stop the corporate takeover and destruction of America! Give people a reason to go vote.


Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

Except that

* the fellow in question can't be found in the various locators, either as current or past service.

* no Marine casualties are listed during the month in question

* there were no Marine units IN Iraq at the time in question

* A Marine keep a secret like that? Please. Even if you grant that all 20 were in Force Recon (a tight bunch) their support elements would have known. And what is a former Force Recon man doing talking to the press?

3/10/05, 12:46 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

I didn't leave any links, and I double posted. Sorry about that.

From the WSJ:
A translation of the original Saudi story is here . Elements of it are easily checkable, and they don't check out. This site lists all U.S. combat fatalities in Iraq. On Dec. 12, 2003, two men were killed in action: Jarrod Black and Jeffrey Braun . Both were soldiers, not Marines; and neither one has a Sudanese-sounding (i.e., Arabic) surname. Nor were any Marines or any servicemen with Arab-sounding names killed on Dec. 10 or 11.

As CNN noted at the time, Saddam was captured by the Fourth Infantry Division, and it's not clear why Marines would be along on an Army operation. There is little doubt that both al-Medina and UPI have fallen for a hoax.

3/10/05, 4:47 PM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

"I mean if Martha Stewart can do time,"

I'm not sure where you are going with a dig at Ms. Stewart, but you are aware that she was not convicted of anything but lying, to a federal investigator, who did not take notes, nor have her under oath, yes?

Several Enron executives have served jail time. That said, I'm not sure how you define 'big wig' ...

3/11/05, 4:26 PM  

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