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, November 27, 2010

U.S. LOOKING FOR A FIGHT



The Advent vigils (four weeks in a row) began today at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine. BIW is the place where Navy Aegis destroyers are built that are presently being used as part of the U.S.-South Korea (ROK) war games which are bumping up against the coastline of North Korea. I noticed that the USS Cowpens is a part of this U.S. naval battle group that is being led toward North Korea by the aircraft carrier named the USS George Washington.

I know about the USS Cowpens because it was the ship that fired the first shot (cruise missiles) in the 2003 U.S. shock and awe attack on Iraq. I know this because the woman who was driving the USS Cowpens at that historic moment has become a friend of our family and was at our home for Thanksgiving just two days ago.

This young woman was a Lieutenant in the Navy and was the Officer of the Deck at the time of the Cowpens attack on Iraq. She has since gotten out of the Navy and is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). She has not yet gotten over the pain of her role in that unprovoked, immoral, and illegal attack on Iraq.

North Korea knows all about the U.S. proclivity to attack smaller countries for no good reason. In years past the world has watched the U.S. beat up on Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Libya, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. North Korea must wonder if their day is coming soon as well.

As I noted in other recent blogs on this subject, the U.S. and South Korea have been running aggressive military war games each month since last July and these massive drills are directed right at North Korea. North Korea must each time put their military and their population on alert because they can't take any chances. Having seen the U.S. record of attacking weaker countries they must consider that this time the war games could be for real.

As I stood on the sidewalk in front of BIW for the hour-long vigil today I held a sign with a picture of a train painted on it by one of our local artist friends. The sign read "Built in Bath". Some of the passing Saturday early-shift workers got the message and smiled as they drove home. The truth is that a number of those working inside BIW know that their "product" is a first-strike attack military machine. They'd rather be building rail systems or wind turbines. But we make weapons and we make war in America today and military production is one of the few jobs around in our declining economy. It's like those who worked in the death camps for Hitler's Army during WW II. It was a job and they wanted to believe that their country was right - Germany uber alles. In America we say - USA, USA, #1!

The U.S. is outfitting these Navy Aegis destroyers with "missile defense" systems and activists in South Korea and Japan clearly understand the role of these warships in U.S. military strategy. The U.S. intends to use these MD systems to pick-off retaliatory strikes after a Pentagon first-strike attack on North Korea or China. The U.S. is doubling its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region for a clear reason.

Like any bully, the U.S. military is poking a sharp stick at North Korea (and China) and basically daring them to fight back. The U.S. (and their junior partners in South Korea and Japan) are out to militarize the region and are just itching for a military response that would then "justify" an overwhelming response.

The U.S. weapons corporations love this game of hardball, or as it used to be called, gunboat diplomacy. The power tripping U.S. government intends to keep pushing North Korea into a corner and will keep pissing on them until they get another response. At the rate things are now going it likely won't take long.

The key factor in all of this is China. How long will China allow the U.S. to keep pouring gasoline on the hot fire in the Asian-Pacific? They hold our debt yet know that if they cut the U.S. loose then the entire global economy will suffer even more. But China is quickly getting fed up with U.S. military bravado in their back yard.

China must support North Korea because if that country is toppled then the U.S. would put military bases right on China's border. This was an important reason for the Korean War in the first place, the U.S. wanted to take control of the entire Korean peninsula and thus have bases right alongside Russia and China.

If the American people knew half of what was going on in their name they'd be freaking out but due to corporate control of the media, and generations of government brainwashing, most of our citizens are in the dark. Virtually all they know about any of what is going on right now in Korea is what they are told by the same people who are stirring the boiling pot of war.

Sadly most Americans have to learn the hard way. Hopefully it won't take a shooting war with China to wake the public up from their deep sleep.

KOREAN ORGANIZATION'S JOINT STATEMENT

Immediately cancel the joint ROK-US drill mobilized with an aircraft carrier in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

We, praying heavenly bliss for all the people who have been victimized by the incident that has occurred on the Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) on last [Nov.] 23, deliver our deep condolence to their bereaved families. We also pray that all the wounded could get recovered soon.

In the meantime, various fields and classes have expressed their concern that the [South Korean President] Lee Myung Bak government’s hostile policy against North Korea and gradually increasing ROK-US joint war exercises could bring war in the Korean peninsula but the authorities of South Korea and United States have ignored those advices. As a result, a limited warfare has actually happened and all the citizens are greatly shocked.

What is most urgent at this point is to solve the crisis of the militaristic collision between the South and North Korea at flashing point. The authorities of the South and North Korea should immediately stop their actions to more aggravate the situation and should immediately enter for dialogue.

The Yeonpyeong Island incident should not be the fuse that makes a terrible disaster that could not be recovered by retaliation and chastisement. In the situation when militaristic clash is already predicted, being consistent only with hard-line confrontation policy can never be the measure to solve the militaristic crisis we are now facing in the Korean peninsula.

The both authorities of the ROK and US should moderate and moderate again themselves toward the directions of mitigating the danger of militaristic clash currently being formed and of preventing any extended war.

In the sense that it is a highly dangerous move to heighten the militaristic danger in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) that the both authorities of ROK and US have announced that they would process the ROK-US joint military drill with the mobilization of an aircraft carrier USS George Washington for the response of Yeonpyeong Island incident, we urge the immediate stop of it.

The both authorities of ROK and US have announced that, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 9,600 ton class cruiser Cowpens, 9,750 ton class destroyers of the Shiloh, Stethem, Fitzgerald participate [the drill] and the ROK military would join it with the two of the Korean style 4,500 ton class Aegis destroyers, patrol frigate(s), convoy(s), logistic ship(s), anti-submarine air crafts.

Even though the United States Forces of Korea says the ROK-US joint military drill is the exercise to strengthen deterrence power and increase regional stability, it only heightens the crisis of militaristic clash in reality.

Especially, there is high concern that the drill joined by an aircraft carrier in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) would provide another militaristic clash again. In case that the intention to increase the degree of drill brings the militaristic actions that could bring about any militaristic clash in the borderlines of the West Sea (Yellow Sea), the situation of the West Sea (Yellow Sea) would be unfolded toward more dangerous direction than now.

Currently, the both ROK and US authorities, operating the ROK-US joint crisis management team, are heightening crisis situation. Even though it is the situation that the joint crisis management team has elevated their watch condition yet [to its 2nd stage], it is told that they are considering elevating the DEFCON (Defense Readiness Conditions) even to its 3rd stage.

In other words, it means that the situation that wartime operational control right would be transferred from the hands of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [of the ROK] to those of the Combined Forces Command would occur, and that such situation would be converted in which the Korean peninsula issue does not stay any more within the domestic situation but into which the United States would directly involve.

We, Korean people do not want the United States intervenes into the issue of the Korean peninsula. We above all, oppose her intervention of which the direction goes toward that of the military crisis acerbating.

We hoping that the Yonpyeong Island accident this time would become the moment to wake up the urgency to improve the relationship between the South Korea and North Korea not the kindling of expanding war, demand as the below.

The both authorities of South Korea and United States should immediately withdraw their plan of the joint ROK-US military exercise in which an aircraft carrier joins in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

The both authorities of South Korea and United States should stop the militaristic response measure and should prepare for the peaceful measure to remove the danger of militaristic clash in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

Nov. 26, 2010

Imagination for International Solidarity; All Together; Anti-War Peace Solidarity; Revolution 4.19 Committee; People’s Solidarity for Social Progress; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea; Hunger Strike Comrades’ Council for the Withdrawal of Troops, 2005; Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements (Christian Social Mission Solidarity Council; The Association for Migrant Workers’ Human Rights; Farmers’ Pharmacy; Solidarity for the Practice of Joint Declarations; Supporting Committee for Prisoners of Conscience; Korea Council for Democratic Martyr; Institute for Research in Collaborationist Activities; Central Council for the Nation’s Self-Reliance, Peace, and Reunification; Pan Korean Association for Reconciliation (Inc.); Korean Democratic Workers’ Council; Association of the Family Movements for Democracy Practice; Buddhism Peace Solidarity; Council for the Drive on Our Nation’s Unification through Federation System; Korean Peasants League; Pan Korean Bereaved Families’ Association for Nation and Democracy; Pan Korean Bereaved Families’ Association for Democracy Movement (Inc.); Pan Korean Poor People’s Association for Liberation; Korean Women Peasant Association; Pan Korean Women's Solidarity; Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification of Korea, South Korea branch; Veterans for Peace, Corea; Unification Square; Pan Korean Young People’s Solidarity; 21st Century Pan Korean University Students’ Association; June 15 Youth and Student’s Solidarity)

Friday, November 26, 2010

IMPERIAL MILITARY ALLIANCE


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is the largest military force ever assembled, with a potential armed force of more than seven million.

Two decades after its original enemy, the Soviet Union, disintegrated, the alliance has been searching for a new identity and new role.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ALL ABOUT FAMILY & FRIENDS


We've got 19 family and friends coming over to the Addams-Melman House today.

Best wishes to all out there in TV land.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SUPPORTING LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION

Farmageddon Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.


Farmageddon is a documentary about the escalating fight for food rights in America.

As we prepare our Thanksgiving dinners in the U.S. we should remember the organic farming communities around the world that are currently under attack from corporate agri-business.

IMPORTANT NATIONAL ACTION PLANNED AT WHITE HOUSE

Veterans for Peace is calling for a national action at the White House on December 16 to non-violently resist the wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan. I plan on taking the train south to Washington DC and will participate in this action.

Veterans and other activists from all over the nation will be joining in this important civil resistance event. We must publicly stand up against the senseless killing from these endless wars and we must demand that our government Bring Our War $$ Home.

I hope that if you can, you will also join this important event. Several members of Maine Veterans for Peace will be participating. We need a strong showing from all over the country in order to send Obama and the Congress the clear message that the peace movement will not stand idly by as they now push the withdrawal dates from Afghanistan into 2014.

We can't afford anymore war!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

U.S.-SOUTH KOREAN WAR GAMES HELP RAISE TENSIONS






South Korea has admitted it was the first to fire the shots in this incident. However it says the firing was part of a military drill, not directed at North Korea.

The U.S. and South Korean forces have been holding aggressive military war games directed at North Korea virtually every month since July. It was only a matter of time before this happened as the South Koreans, led by their right-wing President Lee (dressed in his bomber jacket like George W. Bush liked to do), has been spurred on by the Americans to incite greater tensions in the Korean peninsula.

This particular war game, called the Hoguk Exercise, involved 70,000 South Korean armed forces troops, 600 tracked vehicles, 90 helicopters, 50 warships, and 500 aircraft. The U.S. military is contributing the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 7th Air Force to the land and air training exercises, respectively. Pyongyang regards the exercises as training for an attack on North Korea, citing the fact that it is a large-scale joint South Korea-U.S. exercise encompassing naval fleets, air forces, and land exercises.

Lee has previously suspended reunification talks with the north and accelerated tough talk at the very time that the U.S. is expanding its military bases in South Korea and throughout the region.

There is no doubt in my mind that South Korea would never have fired these first shots so close to North Korean territory unless the U.S. had instructed them to do so.

Another key factor to be considered are the recent comments from South Korea's Defense Minister Kim that called for the U.S. to "redeploy" nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. This kind of dangerous talk had to anger and frighten North Korea.

The world should not suffer any more illusions about Obama and the Pentagon. The U.S. is out to create a global war. Only world opinion can stop them now.




Tim Shorrock: Direct Talks With North Korea Are the Only Answer to End Korean War on Democracy Now.

AIRPORT SCANNER REVEALS.....


More talk about Obama potentially drawing a parimary challenge in 2012 if he continues to expand the war in Afghanistan (which he will do).

Very interesting new poll numbers by a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 62 % of Democrats say US troops should not be in Afghanistan.

The same Quinnipiac poll found military families split on the war, "with 49 % backing the US role and 47 % saying the troops should come home." Those families would not be increasingly taking stands against the war unless their loved ones in Afghanistan were not privately complaining to them about the insanity of it all.

Look for those numbers to only worsen for Obama and the war mongers.

CAPITALISM REJECTS DEMOCRACY



According to renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek the capitalist system is pushing us all towards an apocalyptic doomsday.

He points to the faltering economy, global warming and deteriorating ethnic relations as evidence.

Riz Khan speaks with Zizek, who has been called the "most dangerous philosopher in the West", about his controversial theories and prognosis for the future.

Monday, November 22, 2010

MEDIA ARRESTED AT SCHOOL OF AMERICAS PROTEST



In addition to civilians who intended to engage in civil disobedience, police arrest Russia Today Press, bystanders, and targets some civilians not participating in the civil disobedience at the School of the Americas (renamed WHINSEC) at Fort Benning, Georgia.

AFGHANI$TAN FAILURE

THE INNER VOICES

I call it mental colonization. The corporations learned long ago, by hiring the best and brightest from the world of psychology, they can control the population by feeding us images and ideas over and over again. And since the corporations now control most governments around the world we see them doing much the same.

Take the economic crisis here in the U.S. for example. The public has now largely swallowed the line that the best way to deal with the economic collapse is to cut spending which essentially means gutting things like Social Security, education, and programs for the mentally ill. Structural adjustment they call it. The brainwashing has reached the point that large percentages of the public have "internalized their oppression" and have become advocates for the agenda of the oligarchy.

A few days ago I had a photo of Obama on this blog along with the two leaders of his "deficit reduction commission". One of the guys is former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson from Wyoming. I have always seen Simpson as a bell weather of things to come because he is a long-time functionary and friend of the CIA and the first president Bush.

In a column that appeared in the New York Times today, economist Paul Krugman writes:

Former Senator Alan Simpson is a Very Serious Person. He must be — after all, President Obama appointed him as co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction.

So here’s what the very serious Mr. Simpson said on Friday: “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ ” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued.

The oligarchy is setting this one up quite nicely. They are mind-bending (preparing, conditioning) the American people for the coming decision that is being sold to us like this: "Hey, what else can we do? We've got this terrible debt and we've got to do something extreme and drastic if we are to save the nation. So you must accept the dismantling of the entitlement programs if we hope for economic recovery. The pain must be shared. We will even 'trim' the Pentagon budget so no one will escape this cycle of slashing. But of course we must allow the rich to have their tax cuts because after all they are the vehicle that creates jobs....you do want more jobs, don't you?"

The public will obligingly nod their heads in near unison, in faint hopes that the rulers of our corporate monarchy will spare them the coming pain if they just give their trust once more to the masters of Wall Street. Deep in our hearts though doubts remain, but we've been conditioned over time to hate those internal voices and feelings that try to warn us against danger. That is the result of the internalized oppression we have long ago swallowed. The dark pill in action so to speak.

Mr. Simpson's evil warning of a coming public blood-letting is what America does. Ask the current victims in Iraq or Afghanistan - or Panama, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea and more. Mr. Simpson speaks on behalf of the oligarchy who wants more blood and they are determined to get it.

I've long maintained that this kind of blood thirstiness would again return here to the U.S. at some point. It was only a matter of time before the oligarchy would have to bring their blood stained swords home again and use them on us. In order for corporate globalization's plan of 21st century feudalism to flourish, they must cut the heart of America's dream of social progress into shreds.

They've done this kind of thing before in this country. I recall the treatment of the Native Americans at the hands of the "founders" of this so-called American democracy. The oligarchy effectively took out those who stood in the way of their imperial dreams - the conquering of the entire North American continent. Only the rugged "native savages" stood in their way. Mythology was then created (Thanksgiving) which rewrote the conquering Christians real story. The truth was that the Indians heads were hung on posts after the massacres and Thanksgiving became the annual celebration of conquest. Today we hear that "The Tomb," inside Yale University where the Bush boys and John Kerry were taught to worship the devil at the Skull & Bones secret society, holds the skull of Geronimo who had the gall to fight the colonizers to the bitter end.

Now the American people must be brought onto the reservation and Mr. Simpson gets goose bumps of excitement as he thinks of the battle ahead. Imagine the rows of skulls that may some day line the interior spaces of "The Tomb" at Yale. The conquering forces always get to make the rules - and to write the history books (and newspaper articles).

Some of us will keep trying to listen to our weak and trembling inner voices though......we hope for the strength to stand against the tide. Maybe if we can de-colonize our minds we can be a free people after all. Let there be light.

By the way, try wrapping your head around this question. After all the years of Reagan and Bush tax cuts for the rich, how come we don't have jobs in America today? If the rich create all the jobs then where the hell are they?

VALUABLE DIRT & ROCKS


Scientists say that we will need six planets to supply the growing population on Earth all the resources we consume. Thus one reason that the Space Command is developing the capability to control who in the future will have the ability to get on and off the Earth as the corporations move to "mine the sky".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

JEJU NAVY BASE ISSUE HEATING UP AGAIN

The rocks cried bitterly

by Minsung's dad, a Gangjeong villager

I went to the Joongduk Sea around the dawn.

Several fishing boats were still lighting up on the horizon beyond the Beom Island.

As soon as the Sun rises up, the lights of the fishing boats began to disapear from my eyes.

The sea raised up water fog.

The Sun began to slowly, very slowly brighten the broad rocks of the Joongduk coast.

The rocks were to welcome the Sun stretching their arms.

I opened my eyes and looked at the sky and earth, too.

I saw the yellow flags standing here and there.

The struggle of the spurting grassroots. But I could not read even the letters since they were torn and worn out [by the strong winds in the Jeju Island].

As if they know or not the cry of the Gangjeong villagers who have been craving then frustrated, the rocks were crying twisting their bodies.

The rocks were crying twisting their bodies.

The rocks that were lined up in long length and sea, hugging each other, were crying bitterly.

Even the wind cried with sound and every living creature who was breathing there was bitterly crying.

And I cried bitterly, too.

The rocks cried louder than cow’s.

The rocks cried bitterly recalling their existence that has changed into the molten for one hundred million years.

They cried bitterly.

Nov. 9, 2010
Jeju Island, South Korea

IN THE SHADOW OF PAVE PAWS

On Friday I drove south to Cape Cod, Massachusetts where I had been invited to speak after a showing of the documentary film Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space. Even though the new award-winning film is being shown worldwide a U.S. distribution deal has still not been signed.

The film's director made copies available to the Global Network for distribution during our recent Keep Space for Peace Week but this was a very limited series of showings. The screening on Friday night was organized by a group called Cinema Politica that is coordinated out of Montreal, Canada. Since the film is being widely distributed in Canada they sent it out to their local chapters who each week show a political film to local audiences.

The Cinema Politica chapter on Cape Cod (in Falmouth) is run by four men and women in their early 30's - young folks by my definition. They began the 90-minute Pax Americana screening at 7:30 pm and I never expected the 30 people in attendance to stick around long enough to hear me speak after the film was over. So I cut my words short and expected a couple of questions before people jumped up and left. Needless to say at 10:15 pm virtually everyone had remained and I ended the evening after having weaved in most of my key points which included inviting them to send representatives to the 2011 Global Network space organizing conference that will be held in Andover, Massachusetts in June.

The Space Command's PAVE PAWS radar is located near Falmouth on the Cape. PAVE is an Air Force program name, while PAWS stands for Phased Array Warning System. The radar is used to detect and track sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The system also has a secondary mission of Earth-orbiting satellite detection and tracking.

Similar space radar tracking installations are located at Beale AFB in northern California (where I lived during my senior year in high school); Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; Fylingdales, England; and Thule, Greenland.

These radars have been upgraded in recent years for participation in the U.S. Space Command's Star Wars program. These radars play a key role in Pentagon first-strike attack planning that include the ever expanding "missile defense" program that is now being used to surround Russia and China.

About one-third of the folks who turned out to see the film on Friday night were younger than the usual grey hairs that come to most peace movement events. The organizers appear to be committed to continuing to introduce these issues to folks in their community.

In years past there was much organizing going on around the PAVE PAWS radar on Cape Cod, largely concerning the question of health affects. But things seemed to have slowed down in more recent times. My hope is that by coming to the Global Network conference in 2011 they will meet other activists who have similar radar facilities in their communities and not only learn more from each other but also find inspiration and energy after making contact with other activists.

Between now and June 2011 I hope to get out to meet more local peace groups in the New England region in hopes that they will want to send delegations to our annual space organizing conference.