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: 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.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Lying about spying is an impeachable offense. When Congress passes a law, like the FISA law that requires the president to get a warrant to spy on the public, and the president flouts the law then he has made an impeachable offense.

Yesterday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of individuals and organizations in six states. Included in that legal action was a request on my behalf and on behalf of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. The legal action requested from the Pentagon all documents that would reveal monitoring of lawful activities.

“President Bush claims that expanded intelligence powers are necessary to combat terrorism, yet we have evidence the Pentagon is using counter terrorism tools to spy on peaceful groups,” said an ACLU spokesman. “Under the guise of national security and the need to protect the country from another terrorist attack, the evidence so far indicates that the federal government is engaged in a widespread surveillance program aimed at anybody who criticizes the policies of the Bush administration.”

Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and attorneys against the National Security Agency (NSA) for illegally intercepting vast quantities of the international telephone and Internet communications of Americans without court approval.

In the mid-1980’s, while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice in Orlando, Florida, I got a phone call one day. An unidentified person on the phone told me that our organization had been infiltrated by local police agencies and that it was unconstitutional. I went to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper and a friendly reporter helped find out that the call had come from the lawyer for the Central Florida Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI). This body had been asked by Martin Marietta Corporation (now called Lockheed Martin) to infiltrate and “investigate” our organization. They inserted several operatives we were to later learn and one of them once tried to sell me illegal drugs. Clearly they were doing more than looking out for “illegal” political activity. The newspaper ended up doing a big series of stories on the infiltration and we were able to obtain a portion of the files they were keeping on us. The MBI fired their lawyer and tried unsuccessfully to have him disbarred for violating lawyer-client privilege. The lawyer told the newspaper that he tried to tell the MBI that what they were doing was illegal, and when they would not listen to him, he felt he had no choice but to tip us off to the infiltration.

In the last two years we have learned that NASA, working with the Brevard Sheriff’s Department (space coast) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) out of MacDill AFB in Tampa, have been infiltrating and “investigating” key leaders of the Global Network. The Florida ACLU was able to again obtain a small portion of their intelligence files.

All of this just goes to show that the idea of an engaged and active citizenry, something that is vital to a real democracy, is now considered a danger to the existing government. My experience reveals that this problem of seeing the citizens as an enemy goes beyond Bush. The military industrial complex, the folks who really run our government, have for many years seen fit to label anyone who speaks out against their plan for global domination as a domestic enemy. Until we deal with the fact that we have lost our democracy to these big corporations, nothing much will change.


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