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

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Dr. Michio Kaku will be a keynote speaker at the Global Network international space organizing conference in New Yok on April 30. The second keynote address will be delivered by Jenny Jones, former deputy mayor of London, England.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Activists, like Aurel Duta from Bucharest in Romania, will be coming to New York city on April 29-30 for the Global Network annual space organizing conference.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

NASA & PENTAGON SURVEILLANCE

As the Global Network prepares for its 13th annual space organizing conference in New York City, on April 29-30, a call came into our office today from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The ACLU office in Brevard County, Florida (where NASA and the Kennedy Space Center are located) called to inform the Global Network that an ACLU investigation of the Brevard County Sheriff's department has revealed 600-700 pages of internal files documenting extensive infiltration and surveillance of the Global Network and other anti-war activities in the county during recent years. The files contained descriptions of Global Network members as being "anti-American."

The ACLU investigation, which began last January, also revealed that NASA was gathering information on European demonstrations against the launching of weapons and nuclear power in space during recent years. In addition, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), based in Tampa, Florida, had infiltrated the Global Network as late as October of 2002 during the organization's annual Keep Space for Peace Week.

According to the ACLU the investigations centered on Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon and Global Network members Mary Beth Sullivan and Maria Telesca. In addition to infiltration of the organization, the ACLU noted that the investigations included background checks, driving histories, address histories, as well as other information gathering activities. Even my son Julian was investigated as a "related subject."

The ACLU has requested permission to pursue legal action on behalf of Bruce, Mary Beth, and Maria. The ACLU intends to attempt to retrieve all surveillance files gathered on Global Network members and to pursue a possible lawsuit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

SERIOUS DEBATE NEEDED ON THE COST OF THE WAR

On Sunday night I joined Mary Beth Sullivan and Karen Wainberg in driving to Bridgton to a meeting of the county Democratic committee. Our Congressman, Tom Allen, was to be a guest speaker. We wanted to go ask him some questions about Iraq. I went first and asked him if he'd support the "Woolsey Resolution" in the House of Representatives that calls on the president to set an exit strategy for the war in Iraq. Our other Congressman in Maine, Mike Michaud, has just agreed to co-sponsor the resolution. Anyway, the congressman said he was not inclined to support it saying that there is no one to replace U.S. forces. I then asked him when and how we'd ever leave, considering we are now building 14 "enduring" bases in Iraq. He said he was convinced once a new government was established in Iraq they would "kick us out." I think he is wrong on this point because the new government in Iraq is a puppet government under our control. The other interesting thing about the Woolsey resolution, is that last week a group of students from Bowdoin College met with Rep. Allen and when they asked him about the Woolsey resolution he told them he did not know about it. I spoke with his staff person in Washington this morning and she told me she had talked with the congressman about the Woolsey resolution two weeks ago and he had decided then he was not going to support it.

During the meeting Sunday night Karen Wainberg asked the second question about him holding a town hall meeting so people could share their feelings about the war. Karen reminded him that he has been holding town hall meetings on the social security question and should do the same for the war. He said he was not sure and would have to talk with his staff. Today when I spoke with his staffer in DC she told me he had brought up the subject this morning in a staff meeting and it looked fairly certain that they would hold one soon. His staffer told me the congressman was saying he was getting a lot of pressure to hold a town hall meeting.

I remind readers what Hillary Clinton said a month or so ago when she returned from Iraq. I saw her on the Sunday morning talk shows saying that the U.S. has been in South Korea since the end of that war, some 50 years ago, and that we are going to be in Iraq for some time to come. This is a key issue because the enormous cost of this war is resulting in the elimination of social progress in the U.S. It is vital to get to the question of how long we will be in Iraq. Many in the Democratic party do not want to talk about this issue. Like Rep. Allen, many Democrats are telling the public that we can stay in Iraq and fund social programs (guns and butter) at the same time. This is a serious error that the peace movement must point out now.