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

Friday, December 01, 2006

RANDOM RAMBLINGS



















  • This picture above comes from last weekend's protest at the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia (Ft Benning). The little spy house, raised up in the air, so the cops can watch the protest is a reminder what the power structure thinks of us these days. It's likely paid for by Homeland Security funds that have flowed to local police agencies in recent years.

  • This month's installment of Liberty News can be viewed by clicking on the link in the headline above. The show, produced by a friend of mine in his basement in nearby Portland, features a great bit on the "holy war" now underway right here in the U.S. as Christians are being trained at Jesus camp to fight against non-believers inside the U.S. and around the world. (If the show stops and starts now and then don't worry - just be patient and it will get going again.)

  • It is being reported that Bush's Iraq Study Group will call for U.S. troops to be brought home by 2008 which essentially means that there will be no change in policy during the remainder of time King George II is in office. No surprise here. The Democrats will fall right in line behind the recommendation. Expect more killing, more dying, more wasted $$$$$. And more big corporate profits. Two telling comments by so-called "liberal" politicians are below:

"I think that the Baker report is . . . going to change the debate in this country," Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) told CNN.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), speaking on MSNBC's "Hardball," said that "I suspect there may be a growing bipartisan support in this country for what Jim Baker, Lee Hamilton, the other members of that commission have put together."

Translation - the peace movement is left high and dry by the Dems. Back to work folks. We will be meeting in Maine on January 6 in Portland to decide on our next organizing steps in the state around the Iraq occupation and funding issues. Plans are underway nationwide for congressional office occupations in early February. How badly do you want to see this occupation ended?

  • My son Julian came home for 5 days during Thanksgiving. He is finishing up college in Texas and I had not seen him in quite awhile. It was wonderful to have him home. Mary Beth and I took him kayaking one day and cooked lobster for him one evening. We took him to Boston on the last day and stopped at the Fogg Art museum at Harvard and saw a great display called Dissent!

  • If you have not noticed, I asked Dave Webb (the Global Network's great web master and board convenor) to put a link to my cable TV show called This Issue on the blog so folks can watch it. So just below click on the TV graphic and see my interview with independent journalist Dahr Jamail. We'll put other shows on there as well in the future.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SICK AMERICANS



















You must click on the link in the headline above and watch this very sick video of U.S. troops in Iraq getting their jollies off by making little kids chase after their speeding truck for a bottle of water. The GI's, who we are told in this country are heroes, are sick *##+*#+*#*#'s !!!

Is it any wonder people around the world hate us the way they do? Unfortunately few Americans see this kind of stuff and when they do they say "Well it is just a few of the GI's that act this way." I wish that were true.

The media is all a jabber these days about civil war in Iraq. Is there one or not? Bush and company say no. NBC News says yes. Good of them to figure it out at last. Bush says he is not bringing the troops home during the rest of his time in office. The Dems, who were saying troops out by the end of 2007 are now slipping in a second year, 2008, into their plan for a phased withdrawal. Big surprise there.

People should be asking the Democrats two basic questions now.

1) What is the mission in Iraq today?

2) When would you propose it would be accomplished?

Watch them squirm (to twist about like a worm: wriggle) on that one.

Over 3,000 Iraqi people are leaving the country each day now as refugees. They carry nothing with them. They face an uncertain future with no hope. If they stay in Iraq their future is even worse.

Dick Cheney just went to Saudia Arabia to ask them to "use its influence to help foster reconciliation in Iraq." Saudia Arabia, like the U.S., has no influence in Iraq today. Nor does Bush's puppet government hiding behind U.S. troops in the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad.

The Democrats are similarly hiding from this issue because they have no influence either in Washington. They have none because they are not willing to get off their knees and open their mouths to King George II. Thus we will keep wasting $8.5 billion a month on the occupation.

Talking reason and logic to the Democrats is a waste of time. They have no courage to listen to logic and no guts to listen to reason or moral appeals. The only tool to use on the Democrats from now on is shame and ridicule (the act of exposing to laughter: derision: to laugh at or make fun of mockingly or contemptously).

The politicians in Washington should be made to watch the video linked above. Then they should be made to pass out water to the starving children on the streets of Iraq.

Monday, November 27, 2006

AEGIS WARSHIPS UPGRADED WITH PROVOCATIVE "MISSILE DEFENSE" SYSTEMS



The U.S. has announced that it will install so-called "theatre missile defense" (TMD) systems on Navy Aegis warships now deployed in Japan's Yokosuka base. Also called "boost-phase defense" systems, the job of these missiles would be to get close to North Korea and China in order to give the U.S. the ability to knock out any nukes launched from those countries soon after they have been launched.


The testing program for these TMD systems (also called Standard Missile-3) has been going fairly well for the Navy, as it is much easier to hit a missile soon after it has been launched. They are easy to spot as the flames shoot out of the rocket, they are relatively slow as they lift-off from the ground, and the Aegis warships would be right along the coastline and able to be much closer to the missiles.


The military's other "missile defense" program is called "National Missile Defense" which would wait until a nuke got way up into deep space before it would try to have a bullet hit a bullet at 15,000 m.p.h. This program has been the one with the glaring test failures and could also be easily overwhelmed with decoys and multiple warhead missiles.


The Aegis destroyers used by the Navy for the TMD program are made in Bath, Maine. The Republican and Democratic Party politicians of this state are slaves to the General Dynamics Corporation, which builds the ships. Each ship costs taxpayers over $1 billion.


Bath Iron Works [BIW], Maine's largest private employer, was purchased by General Dynamics in September 1995. Bath had run into financial trouble and become the property of Prudential Insurance Co. of America when debt payments could no longer be made. General Dynamics picked up the yard for half what Prudential paid for it.


We are told that the Aegis ships are being outfitted with TMD systems to protect Japan from a nuclear attack by North Korea. Not true!


The reality is that the U.S. is using the Aegis to surround the coastal region of China and intends to negate China's current nuclear weapons force of 20 missiles that are capable of hitting the continental U.S.


By making this move the U.S. will force China to build more nuclear weapons or face loosing their existing nuclear deterrent force in a first-strike attack. For the past few years the U.S. has been war-gaming a first-strike attack on China, set in the year 2016. After seeing what the U.S. has done in Iraq, and knowing that the U.S. is now doubling its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region, China can't afford to take any chances. Thus off we go to a new arms race in the region. The weapons industry would benefit for sure.


On May 26, 2000 the Washington Post ran a story entitled, For Pentagon, Asia Moving to Forefront. The article made the case for the U.S. to "manage" China by militarily controlling the region and being able to prevail in a war with China. Here is some of the language from the article:

The Joint Chiefs' wrestling with how to think about China--and how open to be about that effort--captures in a nutshell the U.S. military's quiet shift away from its traditional focus on Europe. Cautiously but steadily, the Pentagon is looking at Asia as the most likely arena for future military conflict, or at least competition.


The new U.S. military interest in Asia also reverses a Cold War trend under which the Pentagon once planned by the year 2000 to have just "a minimal military presence" in Japan, recalls retired Army Gen. Robert W. RisCassi, a former U.S. commander in South Korea.


The U.S. military's favorite way of testing its assumptions and ideas is to run a war game. Increasingly, the major games played by the Pentagon--except for the Army--take place in Asia, on an arc from Tehran to Tokyo. The games are used to ask how the U.S. military might respond to some of the biggest questions it faces: Will Iran go nuclear--or become more aggressive with an array of hard-to-stop cruise missiles? Will Pakistan and India engage in nuclear war--or, perhaps even worse, will Pakistan break up, with its nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Afghan mujaheddin? Will Indonesia fall apart? Will North Korea collapse peacefully? And what may be the biggest question of all: Will the United States and China avoid military confrontation? All in all, estimates one Pentagon official, about two-thirds of the forward-looking games staged by the Pentagon over the last eight years have taken place partly or wholly in Asia.

The Japanese peace movement clearly understands what is at stake here with these upgrades to the Aegis system. They fear growing instability in the region will ultimately lead to a war. They regularly protest the Aegis warships at Yokosuka Naval base. They seek the support of the peace movement in the U.S.


In the state of Maine it is just a few activists who are concerned about the Aegis and those who do protest against Aegis rarely ever talk about the role of TMD and Aegis. Instead the activists talk about the cruise missiles on-board the Aegis (which are nuclear capable). While it is important to inform people about the cruise missiles, they are first-strike weapons, it is also crucial to begin to educate the activist community and the public at large about the expanded provocative role that Aegis is now playing in the overall U.S. aggressive military strategy in the region.


The ultimate solution is to begin to call for conversion of places like BIW. We must show the public, who are primarily concerned about jobs, that by converting shipyards like BIW we will be able to create many times more jobs with the money that is now wasted down the military rat hole. By creating a constituency for conversion we also begin to reduce the support for the dangerous and aggressive U.S. military schemes in the Asian-Pacific region.