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 11, 2011

CONNECTING THE NAVY SHIP BUILDING DOTS

MacGregor Eddy and Sung-Hee Choi's mom at the jail
New Secretary of War Leon Panetta appears before Congressional committee with CodePink activists protesting behind him holding Bring Our War $$ Home signs. This photo appeared in the Los Angeles Times



  • MacGregor's news from Jeju Island this morning is disturbing. She reports:

High points. Sung-Hee first lawyer would not do as Sung-Hee wanted. She is changing attorneys today. She is fasting again. Her mother, Yune, Mr Ko and I all visited her. She looks terrible. It is shocking. Weeping mother begged her to eat. Professor Yang is also fasting again. He looks skeletal.


We just came from the blocked gates . The Daemin construction company brought equipment in in the pouring rain at 3 am. After taking down all the banners, and opening the gate, they carefully hung all the banners back up!


Every day is a constant effort to block the construction. By both sea and land. The Jeju Island Council (Congress) voted to stop the construction of the base yesterday. Now it is up to the governor. The governor is on tour, he will be in Japan on June 12 -17 in Osaka.

We are all over the tweets, People who speak no English were showing me my own photo on Twitter.

If your group wants to have a banner of support put up here in Gangjeong village send the text and emblem to Bruce, and the villagers will make the banner. I have some money from GN with me, just send the donation of $30 for banner to the Global Network on the website. I can give the money for that and any other group that wants to make a banner. It is very important to the people here. It is hard to describe what life is like. Every single day, 24 hours a day, the villagers are on watch around the clock.

Sung Hee was very glad to see me. She is only allowed 10 minutes for all four of us, so most of the time was for her mother who lives in Inchon, and is leaving today. She got my letter that I wrote last week. Tell everyone to write her. Address in jail is:


Choi Sung-Hee, No. 36, Jeju prison, 161 Ora-2-dong, Jeju City, South Korea


Please get others to call the South Korean embassy or consulate in your country. These calls are more important than ever.



  • Last Thursday Obama's new Secretary of War Leon Panetta was questioned by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) during his nomination hearings in Washington. Collins pressed Panetta about Navy shipbuilding plans and urged him to support growing the fleet from the present 285 ships to reach the Navy's goal of 313 ships.

“Based on Mr. Panetta’s response to my questions, I believe that he fully appreciates the number of ships we need in order for the Navy to accomplish its mission and to support our shipbuilding industrial base,” Collins said in a statement issued Thursday night to The Times Record. “During our private meeting in my office last month, we discussed the need for consistent shipbuilding funding in order for the Pentagon to achieve its plan for a stronger Navy.”


“I strongly believe the Navy has to project our force throughout the world and that the Navy is obviously crucial to that mission,” Panetta replied to Collins. “I agree with the ship numbers that have to be developed for the Navy in order to be able to do that.”


Collins and Panetta talk about these ships defending the nation and U.S. troops deployed overseas. They have to publicly maintain the myth about the Pentagon's mission being one of "defense". But we know otherwise.


Collins is most interested in destroyers because that is what they build at Bath Iron Works here in Maine. And destroyers are not about defense. They are vital instruments in the overall U.S. planning for first-strike attack and are being used today to help militarily encircle Russia and China.


This growth in Navy shipbuilding, even when the U.S. economy is collapsing, provides further evidence that America's role under corporate globalization of the world economy will be "security export". It is our job here in the U.S. to build and sell weapons and to attack and occupy any country that does not comply with the dictates of the global corporate agenda.


As these additional ships are built the Navy needs more ports in and around Russia and China. Thus the recent visit to a Romanian port on the Black Sea by a U.S. Aegis destroyer carrying "missile defense" interceptors onboard. And thus, sadly, the pressure by the U.S. government on South Korea to build the Navy base on Jeju Island - one more port of call for this growing fleet of warships. In this case within easy reach of the Chinese mainland.

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