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

Thursday, January 24, 2008

RESEARCHING SPACE WAR IN NEW MEXICO

For many years a peace group in Albuquerque, New Mexico has been teaching and organizing in their community about the Star Wars issue. Led by activists Bob Anderson and Jeanne Pahls, the group called Stop the War Machine, has developed considerable expertise about plans to move the arms race into space.

Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque is a key Star Wars research and development facility. The base hosts the military's Directed Energy and Space Vehicles directorates. The combination of both is called the Phillips Research Site.

The year 2007 marked the 10th anniversary of the Air Force Research Laboratory's consolidation of all air, space, and cyberspace technologies under one umbrella.

In 2007 the Directed Energy program boasted that their scientists and engineers had continued "to improve the nation's ability to use directed energies, such as high-energy lasers, high-powered microwaves and to precisely project these directed energies at the speed of light anywhere, at any time to detect, track, and deter or use lethal force to destroy any threats to the U.S. and the Warfighter."

Translation: The Pentagon is making progress with their testing program to fire lasers from earth to space, through space, and from space to the planet below.

Also in 2007 the directorate claims they "successfully attained full transmitting capacity of 180 antenna elements with a radiating power of 3,600 kilowatts at their Alaska program called high frequency active auroral program (HAARP)." This directed energy project is one that is believed to be testing the capability to lift the earth's ionosphere to manipulate global communications and modify weather.

In their October 26, 2007 Kirtland AFB newspaper called Nucleus, the Air Force bragged that they were "Leading the world in research and development for supremacy in the cosmos.....The use of ground based, airborne, and space-based directed energy weapons will alter current and future defense and warfare concepts."

In addition to Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque is loaded with key aerospace weapons corporations that are making big money by supplying the workforce and technologies for space war. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon now have huge production facilities in the city and even the University of New Mexico has become militarized as many departments at the institution receive funding to help provide basic research for these classified weapons programs. The growing secrecy on a public campus has been a key issue that Stop the War Machine has campaigned against.

On February 11 the Global Network and Stop the War Machine will organize a protest in Albuquerque at the annual meeting of the Space Technology & Applications International Forum. This event brings military, aerospace industry, academia, and NASA together to promote the nuclearization and weaponization of space.

These war making centers are growing all over the U.S. and around the world. It is crucial that we teach others about what is happening in our communities and that we publicly protest this consuming drive to endless war.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WHO IS THE DANGER HERE?

The British Guardian newspaper ran a story yesterday called "Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike a Key Option, NATO Told."

The newspaper called a new report, written for NATO by five top military officers, "a radical manifesto". The former armed forces brass from the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, and the Netherlands called the nuclear option an "indispensable instrument" that must be used if necessary in a pre-emptive attack to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Yes, you read that right. NATO, nothing more than a U.S. military tool to spread war, wants to use nuclear weapons to protect the "west's values and way of life" which are under threat by crazy people who want to use nukes, they say.

Here are the actual words from the 150-page blueprint for disaster: "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

Oh boy these folks are crazy for sure.

Ok, let's look at what is really going on here. The U.S., which has always controlled NATO, is growing worried that a unified Europe, through the European Union, will soon have their own military alliance and won't need NATO any longer. That of course means less influence for the U.S. and the loss of a big military "tool" that has been useful as it is in Afghanistan today.

The NATO report just happens to also call for the consolidation of the U.S., NATO, and the EU into a new pact for a "grand strategy". This is not likely to happen as much of Europe is increasingly worried that the U.S. has gone empire mad.

Along these lines, the NATO report calls for a shift from consensus decision making in NATO to simple majority voting. The U.S. wants to increase its leverage and ability to drag NATO into more military adventures without having to bring all NATO member nations on-board.

The report also suggests NATO agree that military operations could be undertaken without obtaining U.N. Security Council agreement, once more reenforcing the fact that the U.S. wants to use NATO as a first-strike tool.

The report says that "the west is adrift and not facing up to the challenges" around the world. Here the five generals are trying to shame NATO members into "cowboying up" their testosterone levels and agreeing to move NATO into a perpetual state of war with those not submitting to the dictates of corporate globalization.

NATO should have been disbanded right after the former Soviet Union collapsed. Today it is a dangerous guard dog run amok, not only in the European neighborhood, but globally. NATO is not out fighting for freedom and democracy either. They are a tool of the international mafia - now commonly called the military industrial complex.

This NATO report should be tossed in the trash. In its place should be a global debate about the need to shut NATO down before they do indeed use some of their nukes.

Clearly NATO is the danger these days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THINGS NOT WELL IN THE MARKET PLACE

I don't have any stocks and bonds. But I still keep an eye on what is happening with the stock market because it is an indicator that things are not well in the "market place."

I heard a right-wing commentator on the radio this morning going on about the "magic" of the market place. The market creates winners and losers he said. The market takes care of everything. We don't need social programs......if you can't "make it" on your own then you are just a loser.

It's the wonders of capitalism.

There is no way you can wage endless war and still have a sound economy. The capitalists in America like to brag that they bled the former Soviet Union to death by forcing them to spend their national treasure on the military rather than on building a sound economic future.

As my mother always said, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

We are spending $12 billion a month on the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The House of Representatives voted last week to approve $649 billion in 2008 for the Pentagon. This is more than the entire world combined spends on the military.

According to former CIA analyst Chalmers Johnson, "By 1990, the value of the weapons, equipment, and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in American manufacturing."

When you spend more than 50% of the national budget on militarism then someone and something gets left behind.

When you disinvest in a nation's physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, school buildings, etc) and in a nation's human infrastructure (health care, mental health programs, education programs, etc) you are creating a Third World nation. This is what is being done to the U.S. today by the corporations that now dominate our government.

Citizens around the world are now boycotting U.S. made products or corporate businesses in their community. They want some way to express their enormous outrage over U.S. foreign and military policy.

The purveyors of greed, militarism, and environmental devastation represent the death culture. They call themselves the winners.

Those of us who hold a vision of a cooperative society, a sharing culture, an environmentally sustainable way of life, are considered the losers by the capitalists.

There is a war going on for sure. It is a war between those who are blind about what their rape and pillage mentality is doing to our Mother Earth and those of us who understand that the only hope for the future generations is to live in harmony with our planet in a way the Native Americans have long taught us.

The marketplace is killing the future. The time has come for the losers to take over. It's our only hope.