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, January 01, 2011

HOW DRONES USE SPACE TECHNOLOGY



This video is a good example of how drones use space technology to fly their deadly missions.

The Global Hawk used by the U.S. Air Force can fly at an altitude of about 18,000 meters, far higher than the cruising altitude of passenger planes. Using high-performance sensors and radar, it can monitor an area with a maximum radius of about 550 kilometers. And since there is no flight crew, it can stay aloft for more than 30 hours.

There can be no doubt that drones, and the satellites they use t0 direct them, can be called weapons in space.

HAPPY NEW YEAR - HOLD ON FOR THE RIDE


Best wishes to everyone in the new year. It is going to be a wild one for sure.

We've got to keep building global movements and solidarity to oppose the corporate takeover of the international political and economic institutions. This neo-feudalism will make us all slaves no matter our color or what language we speak. The only way out for the people of the world is united action.

Let's protect the Mother Earth and the future generations. Let's use non-violent protest and civil resistance to put the pressure on the global oligarchy. Let's do a better job listening to each other and putting our personal and organizational egos aside.

No matter our age or our physical condition, we each can find some way to help build this historic global movement for real democracy and peace.

Good luck and stay at it.

See you in the streets.

Friday, December 31, 2010

ARMY HELICOPTERS ON OKINAWA DRIVING PEOPLE CRAZY


U.S. Army helicopters on Okinawa are driving the public crazy. Here is a brief comment by Global Network board member Makiko Sato from Japan about this video:

This video shows how the U.S. helicopters are harassing villagers in Takae by flying very low or carrying concrete blocks or fully-armed soldiers on the heads of villagers. Several days ago they blew over a vigil tent set up the villagers by hovering right over it. At the end of the video, the past record of U.S. military's aircraft crashes in Okinawa are shown.

This is the same brutality of power as is seen in Jeju.

PUMPING UP CYBER WAR $CARE


Cyberwar. A conflict without footsoldiers, guns, or missiles.

Instead the attacks are launched by computer hackers. Digital spy rings. Information thieves. Cyberarmies of kids, criminals, terrorists - some backed by nation states.

In the US there is a growing fear that they pose a massive threat to national security, and a conviction that the world's military superpower must prepare for the fight ahead.

At stake: Crucial national infrastructure, high value commercial secrets, tens of billions of dollars in defence contracts, as well as values like privacy and freedom of expression.

In this episode of Fault Lines, Josh Rushing enters the domain of "cyber" and speaks to a former US national security official turned cybersecurity consultant, a Silicon Valley CEO, a hacker, and those who warn of a growing arms race in cyberspace.

He asks: Is the US contributing to the militarisation of cyberspace? Are the reports of cyber threats being distorted by a burgeoning security industry? And are the battles being waged in cyberspace interfering with the Internet as we know it?

ELLSBERG ON LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION



After WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London an international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials released a statement in support of his work.

We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. "If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me," Ellsberg says. "I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist... Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

'WHEN I WAS ARRESTED'

I wrote to Sung-Hee Choi (in photo above) and told her that people were wondering what happened to her when she got arrested on December 27 along with thirty-three others as they tried to block the Navy from sending in the cement trucks to cover the rocks along the coast in the Gangjeong village. This is her response:


When I was arrested, I had a sign, made by the Gangjeong villagers and hung on my neck that says ‘No naval base that is faked as a civilian-military complex harbor (Gangjeong villagers’ Committee against naval base).’

The police was relatively gentle to me. They dragged me with the sign. So I was wearing the sign most of time when I was in the two police stations (I was first in the Seogwipo police station near Gangjeong then was moved to the northeastern part police station of the Jeju island). The arrest itself was illegal and unjust and at first I did not say anything even my name. But they already knew my name with a letter miss-spelled.

There is a policeman who is a spy in the village all the time.

Yesterday, I got the letter from the Jeju police that I was arrested for bla bla bla…

I guess all the arrested got the similar letter and there should be joint action for it. But I can’t think of it now well until I write about the Jeju. There are so many things in my head and I am struggling to narrow it.

Thanks very much for all the care and concern again.

MAKE A CALL: If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC (or in your own country) and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone in Washington is 202-939-5600

THE CALL OF THE SACRED


One of my favorite blogs called Ten Thousand Things posted this about Jeju Island:

Every summer, hundreds of dolphins, traveling from Alaska, visit the sea off the village of Gangjeong, Jeju Island. Video courtesy of Yang Dong-Kyu, a filmmaker who filmed this hauntingly beautiful footage of the dolphins responding to his calls in summer 2009.

Jeju Island, a World Heritage Site, is a jewel of biodiversity. The southern coast of Jeju Island is home to soft coral habitat. In 2001, the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration designated it a national monument protection area. The Gangjeong coast is a seasonal habitat for hundreds of dolphins that live there from June until September. They migrate from Alaska through the North Pacific Ocean to Jeju Island, the only dolphin habitat in South Korea.

And now Seoul is about to destroy the dolphin habitat and the traditional farming and fishing village of Gangjeong to transform an island known for biodiversity, international peace, honeymoons, and school trips into a focal point of rising militarism and an arms race in East Asia. Seoul's target: China, ironically the home of many of the tourists who visit Jeju.

SWIRLING SNOW

  • I love this photo of art on the "wall" built by Israel to keep the Palestinian people in a box. It just shows you can't kill the spirit. Reports in the news sound like Israel has been hitting the people in Gaza hard again. My heart breaks everytime they slam Gaza - it's like shooting birds in a cage.

  • I've started work on our next Space Alert! newsletter. Yesterday was the deadline for copy and as usual I have to be flexible about it with those who have committed to writing something. I guess I was a bit unrealistic to put the deadline so soon after Xmas. I always dread getting started to work on the paper because I collect a huge stack of materials to sort through, but once I get going I love the challenge of finding the important bits of information and putting it into a readable format.

  • I had a visit yesterday from freelance journalist Matthew Reiss who is contemplating a move from New York City to Maine. He wanted to get a look a Bath Iron Works so I drove him around the shipyard and then the timing worked out nicely for him to come on my radio show where I interviewed him about his specialty - U.S. foreign policy in the Asian-Pacific. He has written alot about China, Japan, and South Korea and has recently done stories about Jeju Island. So with the Jeju Navy base issue so hot, and the Bath Iron Works connection being so important since they build the Aegis destroyers that will be ported at the Jeju Navy base, it was a great chance to bring all these elements to local listeners. We would talk for 10 minutes for so, then play some music, and then talk some more during the two-hour show. Peter Woodruff, who normally co-hosts the show, was not there as he and his wife were off gallivanting on a bit of a mini-vacation. Hope you had a nice break Peter.

  • I don't do fundraising during the holiday season for the Global Network. I read years ago in a non-profit fundraising guide that it is actually one of the worst times to try to fundraise. There are other times of the year that have proven to be much better opportunities to seek support. It always amazes me how many non-profits are out flooding the public with donation requests during this holiday season. With that said though I have been astounded by a couple very large donations that have arrived in the Global Network mail box in recent days. Some people seeking tax deductions do like to end the year by making donations to their favorite groups. This is evidence to me that if you do good work consistently people who have money to give will remember you without having to hound them during this end of year rush. Build it and they will come....... thanks to all of you for your kind support over the years.

  • I am going back to the chiropractor today for my aching back. It was aggravated by having to shovel snow four times the other day during our big storm. We got about 7-8 inches of snow in all but the wind was howling so long and hard that the snow kept reappearing in places that had previously been shoveled. I actually love being outside in those moments, the little kid in me enjoys playing in the snow. I just don't have the back of the little kid anymore.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

REPUBS GOING AFTER PENSION PLANS NEXT

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PROTESTS MOVE TO JEJU CITY

News conference in Jeju City opposing the Navy base




The protests against the Navy base on Jeju Island (in the Gangjeong village) moved to the biggest city on the island today - Jeju City - as activists attempted to set up an encampment vigil outside the Island assembly building.

(You should remember that Korea is about 13 hours ahead of us in time.)

Sung-Hee Choi reports from Jeju Island:

Yesterday, while I was in the village, the Pan Island Committeee Against the Military Base confronted the Jeju City authorities and police as the city did not allow the activists' tent vigil in front of the Island assembly. One member was arrested and two women - of whom one was greatly wounded in her face - were carried to the hospital.

Otherwise, the Lee Myung bak [right-wing] national government announced on Dec. 27 that it would manage 10 ports as the governmental management port including Gangjeong (Civilian-military complex), Hwasoon (maritime police port) in the Jeju island, and Chuja Island in the southern part, near the Jeju Island. The other two ports will be in the East Sea (Japan Sea) while five ports will be in the western sea. People say the plan must be against China.

MAKE A CALL: If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone is 202-939-5600

Monday, December 27, 2010

RESISTANCE BEGINS ON JEJU ISLAND







I got these photos from a Jeju Island media outlet....you can see more of them if you click on the link in the headline above.

I've not yet heard from Sung-Hee Choi yet, she might have been arrested for all I know.

It is obvious that the Navy has pushed through with their cement trucks and will now begin to pour concrete over the sea life that lives among the rocks along the coastline of the Gangjeong village.

All of this in order to build a Navy base that is needed as the U.S. Navy builds more ships and deploys them in the region. Maine's Sen. Olympia Snowe (Republican) has said over and over again to the media in our state that more Navy ships are needed to "protect" against China's expanding power. There can be no doubt that this base has nothing to do with North Korea. It is all about projecting power toward China in order to block their ability to import oil on ships along the waterway between Jeju Island and mainland China.

The Chinese import 80% of their oil via this sea route and if the U.S. can successfully "choke off" their ability to transport oil then the U.S., who can't compete with China's growing economy, would be able to still hold the "keys" to their economic engine.

It is hardball politics that the U.S. is playing here in this expensive and dangerous game. The people on Jeju Island, sadly enough, are just pawns in the way of imperial designs.

UPDATE:
Thirty-four citizens arrested trying to block 66 cement trucks from dumping their concrete on the rocky coast.

MAKE A CALL:
If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone is
202-939-5600

NAVY MAKES MOVE TODAY ON JEJU ISLAND




As I write this the people of the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea are in the midst of the fight of their lives. It is today that they face down the Navy and the plans to destroy their sacred coastline for the Navy base where U.S. Aegis destroyers (built here in Bath, Maine) will be ported.

As I write this they might be sitting in the road trying to block the construction machinery from beginning work. They might be getting arrested in large numbers. They are so isolated and few around the world know anything of their struggle to save the rocks, the water, the coral, the fish and their way of life.

On Christmas day a Catholic mass was held for the villagers along the rocky coastline by the Bishop of Jeju Island. Below is the latest report we got from Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi who has been at the village for the last couple of weeks standing with the people and helping to spread word about their fight to others in Korea and around the world:

In the Joongduk coast - the planned naval base area - snowflakes fell onto the beautiful coast rocks and sea, as well, displaying a mysterious view as the sea horizon became clouded. It was a terrible feeling to think that the most beautiful rocks and sea in the Jeju Island might be covered with concrete if the naval base construction is enforced.

At 3:00 pm, there was a peace mass, called, ‘the Christmas missal to save life and peace of the Jeju Island,’ lead by Fr. Kang Woo-Il, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea & the Bishop of the Catholic Jeju district, along with many fathers and nuns in the Jeju island. The event was hosted by the Special Committee for the Island of Peace, Catholic Jeju district. About 400~500 followers and Gangjeong villagers gathered and represented their will to save the Jeju island of Peace from the naval base construction.

Bishop Kang Woo-Il led the mass and said, “Military base cannot save peace and life” and that he “would be together with the lonely and oppressed Gangjeong villagers.”

The least we can do is to let others know about this terrible moment so that the valiant struggle of the Gangjeong villagers is not done without the world knowing about it. Please pass on word about this and also call the South Korean embassy in your country and protest the construction of the Navy base for U.S. warships on Jeju Island.

As you can see in the small yellow signs being held by the people in the crowd that read "No War" the villagers understand that construction of this Navy base, so close to China's coastline, is a wildly provocative move in the U.S. military strategy to surround China. It will only bring more conflict to their part of the world.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SUNDAY SONG - DOUBLE DIPPING



A reminder to be nice to each other during the new year......