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, June 12, 2010

IT'S ALL IN THE CASH TRANSACTIONS

The weapons industry has publicly thanked our Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) for her faithful service to the cause of increasing military production at the Pratt-Whitney aircraft engine plant here in Maine.

She has gone to bat for the F-35 fighter engines they make, showing strong leadership on their behalf.

We have asked her to similarly fight to end the war funding for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan. She says she is with us but so far we are not seeing much energy coming our way.

Maybe we don't kick enough $$$ into her campaign chest?

Friday, June 11, 2010

LIFE IN GAZA


The short video speaks for itself....why is this allowed to happen?

LATEST NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ON-LINE

The latest edition of the Global Network newsletter is now available on-line. You can find it here


It is getting good reviews so far, I think the color photos/graphics/cartoons make such a difference. Sadly the black and white print version does not offer such good contrasts.

Hope you find the newsletter useful and educational. And of course we hope it inspires you to share the space issue with others.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

VIDEO FROM THE SCENE OF THE KILLINGS

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

This video was released today at the United Nations by activists who were on-board the Mavi Marmara. One women smuggled the video off the ship in her underwear. It is I believe the first such video made public since the Israeli attack on the ship.

We've heard from many of those on that humanitarian aid mission that the Israeli military took all their possessions - clothes, cameras, computers, video tapes, passports, etc - except for the clothes on their back. People are demanding that Israel release all of their belongings so that a real reconstruction of the events on that night could be made public.

So far Israel refuses to do so.

I WANT TO SEE THIS FILM


I am almost finished reading Jesse Ventura's new book called "American Conspiracies". It is a good book and I highly recommend it.

The debate in this clip is over Oliver Stone's new documentary film about Hugo Chavez called South of the Border, which paints the Venezuelan president in a favorable light.

The suit and tie debating Stone and Ventura is Rep. Connie Mack III (R-FL) who is a right-winger just like his father who was a U.S. senator from the sunshine (and oil polluted) state. It just goes to show that you can make a career out of using the good name of a former baseball legend - Connie Mack.

REMEMBERING INNOCENT DAYS

This is a photo of the sand dunes and Gulf of Mexico in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida where I lived two different times in my youth. I spent many hours playing in these waters and fishing from nearby bridges. The sand was sugar white, the sun hot, the water clean, and the animal life abundant. I swallowed a few gallons of that salty water while body surfing the waves.

I did a nationally syndicated radio interview the other night and the talk show host lives in Ft. Walton Beach. He told me the oil was beginning to show up there. My mind flashed back to 1969 when I had a newspaper delivery route on what is called "Okaloosa Island" - the beach community there along the Gulf. In those days it was not covered with hotels and tourist joints as it is today. Back then many of the streets were still sand and miles of unspoiled beach lay before the eye. I would get up at 4:00 am and deliver papers on my motor bike along a 50 mile route and then sleep in school.

The local economy in Ft. Walton Beach is divided between the military and tourism. This oil mess will likely hugely impact the tourism.

In those days I took the pelicans for granted as they flew along in their bird formations, gliding just above the breaking waves. It breaks my heart to now see photos of these birds covered in gooey oil or laying dead stiff as a board on the darkened Gulf beaches.

I spend many moments these days trying to squeeze a bit more energy savings out of my being - walking as much as possible, turning off lights even more than before, working in our garden more. But I know this is a drop in the bucket. What we need is a national policy that moves us away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward public mass transit and creating a solar society.

I got an email this morning from a Florida friend linking to a column in his local newspaper where the editor takes personal responsibility for the BP disaster. It is worth reading. See it here

A friend that works at Bath Iron Works came over on Monday to show us a memo from General Dynamics to all BIW workers promoting a bond issue (which passed on Tuesday) to help fund wind turbine development for Maine's off-shore wind abundant waters.

My hope is that the American people can feel the pain of this disaster enough that we demand the end to off-shore oil drilling. My hope is that the people will demand we move away from dependence on oil.

My hope is that people will begin to see that we are all responsible for this mess.

DRUGGING THE TROOPS



The so-called all volunteer Army at work - they are having to drug the troops in order to keep them on the battlefield. The GI's are suffering from depression, are worn out, need to come home and get mental health treatment.

Instead the politicians from both corrupt political parties pat them on the back, call them heroes, put a bigger flag on the podium in Congress, and announce they will soon approve another war supplemental to the tune of $33 billion (in order to take care of the troops of course) and send them back to war - with pills in hand.

This is what empires do, they don't give a damn about the troops. They just want the GI's bodies and the killing they do in order to benefit the multi-national corporations who are getting rich off this war in Afghanistan, which is now the longest war in U.S. history.

The politicians who fund and justify these wars make me sick.

Latest Afghan War Poll: The Washington Post reports on a new war poll. Overall, 53 percent say the war is not worth its costs, a new high in Post-ABC polling.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

BOMBS DESIGNED TO KILL ONLY THOSE THEY INTEND TO HIT


* I picked up our newsletter, Space Alert, today from the printer and took it to the mailing house. It should be arriving at your door soon. If anyone would like me to send them bulk copies let me know how many you want.

* I've heard a few peaceniks recently indicate they were a bit impressed with Secretary of War Gates trying to hold the line on some elements in the Pentagon budget. But we need some clarity here. Gates is not trying to cut the military budget, he is just trying to shift some spending, from some programs that he does not want, in order to "pay for war-fighting operations" the New York Times reported on June 3. The newspaper said, "The goal is to force all of the Defense Department agencies and organizations, and all of the armed services, to save enough money in their management, personnel policies and logistics to guarantee 3% real growth each year, beyond inflation, in the accounts that pay for combat operations."

* In other war news, the industry publication DefenseNews reports, "In response to anger over civilian deaths, the Senate voted to spend $36 million so the Air Force and Navy can develop a 'very low collateral damage precision air drop weapon.' The sum is intended to pay for five months of development and testing of a bomb designed to kill only the people it is intended to hit."

I swear, I did not make that last line up. It's in a June 1 article written by William Matthews. What does it mean? Who the hell knows.......?????

To date $747.3 billion have been appropriated by Congress for the war in Iraq and $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan.

It's a total of $1 trillion.....your war $$$$$.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

SOMEDAY GAZA WILL BE FREE


Roger Waters from Pink Floyd

IDF FORGES COMMUNICATIONS TAPE


This video released on May 31 by IDF



The video apparently doctored by the IDF, released on June 4

Progressive journalist Max Blumenthal, reporting from Israel, has proven that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) forged an audio communication that was intended to paint the Free Gaza Movement in a negative light. He was able to force the IDF to acknowledge they had edited the audio transmission and he was able to get the New York Times to report this story - even though it was buried in their paper.

From the New York Times:

The I.D.F. make public what they said were audio transmissions that Israel’s navy received from the Mavi Marmara before the raid. The clip suggested that a polite request from the navy to the ship was met with responses from three people who said: “Shut up — go back to Auschwitz,” “We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter,” and “We’re helping Arabs going against the U.S., don’t forget 9/11, guys.”

This clip, posted on the I.D.F.’s official YouTube channel on Friday, was met with immediate skepticism by some bloggers and journalists in Israel. Max Blumenthal pointed out in a post on his blog that the I.D.F. had already released video of what seemed like the same exchange four days earlier in which the only reply from the ship was “Negative, negative. Our destination is Gaza. Our destination is Gaza.”

Mr. Blumenthal suggested that at least one of the voices making the inflammatory remarks in the clip “sounded like an impersonation of an Arab.” He also noted that Huwaida Arraf, one of the organizers of the flotilla, said that it was her voice saying “We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter.” But Ms. Arraf was not on the Mavi Marmara, which suggested that the I.D.F. tape was not an unedited snippet of the exchange between the naval ship and the Mavi Marmara.

On Saturday, the I.D.F. published what it called a “Clarification/Correction” regarding the clip which said that the audio had been edited.

Next Up: The German-Jewish organization Jewish Voice for Peace in the Middle East is preparing a Jewish flotilla to the Gaza Strip. "We intend to leave around July," a member of the organization, Kate Leitrer, said to Ynet. "We have one small craft so far, in which there will be between 12 and 16 people, mostly Jews."

Monday, June 07, 2010

HOPE & SOLIDARITY - THE FIRST JOURNEY TO GAZA









This is a very moving four-part series of clips about the first journey to Gaza in 2008 by the Free Gaza Movement.

It tells the story how they had to quietly organize the trip in fears that Israel would find ways to sabotage the boats or kill the organizers.

People around the world must continue to keep breaking Israel's illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza.

The people of Gaza deserve to be free.

See an important article on this subject here

NUCLEAR HYPOCRISY IN ACTION


Isn't it just confounding that politicians in the U.S. (from both parties) refuse to acknowledge that Israel has more than 200 nuclear weapons?

Is there any wonder that so many people around the world look upon the U.S. government as a total hypocrite when we lecture and demand that Iran or North Korea not have nuclear weapons while we facilitate countries like Israel and India building more of them?

My mother always said, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." In this case the U.S. policy says we like our goose friends to have their "nuclear deterrent" and we don't like the ganders to have evil weapons of mass destruction.

Until the double standard goes away nothing really changes in the nuclear world. It's no wonder that despite all of Obama's cheap talk about wanting to get rid of nukes, nothing was accomplished at the U.N.'s Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT) conference last month in New York City.

U.S. hypocrisy is holding up any real progress in nuclear disarmament.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

SUCKING ON THE PENTAGON TEAT

* Change the name on the pig to "Military Industrial Complex" and the cartoon works just as well to illustrate how Congress is brought to its knees by the big corporations that control politics in America today.

* Yesterday more than 20 activists from around Maine stood in the pouring rain outside Bath Iron Works protesting another "christening" of an Aegis destroyer. Reports in the local paper last week told us that the Navy will move forward with the DDG-1000 destroyer at the shipyard with plans to build three of the ships. This new, larger version of Navy destroyers were originally estimated to cost $3.2 billion each but the price has jumped to about $6 billion per ship. (The cost of the current DDG-51's they have been building are about $1.2 billion each.) Ultimately the Navy decided that they couldn't afford to build the DDG-1000 but the Congress pushed them through anyway - because, you know, our local economies are addicted to military spending so Democrats and Republicans want all the Pentagon bucks they can get their hands on. The new DDG-1000 ships are being designed to give the U.S. Navy better ability to come closer to "enemy" shorelines in order to have a better crack at intercepting their retaliatory missiles after a U.S. first-strike attack is launched. This will make Russia and China feel much better I am certain.

$$ Update: I have just received a copy of the June 3 Inside Defense article entitled Pentagon Estimates DDG-1000 Will Cost $7.4 Billion Per Ship. These ships are getting more expensive every day and can't really be justified. These cost overruns are happening before the damn ships have even begun to be built! Simply ridiculous!

* I heard Norman Finkelstien say in an interview that one of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara that was bound for Gaza had hid some film footage of the Israeli military attacks in her underwear and the images are to be released to the media this coming week. Should be interesting if this is true.

* Just in case you were wondering, my Baltimore Orioles baseball team has fired their manager because they currently have the worst record in professional baseball. They are 15-41 and have lost two since they replaced their manager. Attendance at their stadium is at an all-time low and at this point I am doing sociological research of the fan base reactions to 13-years of losing baseball as much as anything else. It is an interesting dynamic to follow and I am doing my best not to have a heart attack over one bad game after the other.