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 18, 2011

SPACE ORGANIZING CONFERENCE IN ANDOVER

Plenary panel discussing U.S. deployments of "Missile Defense" systems surrounding Russia and China
Protest outside the Raytheon production plant in Andover, Massachusetts where "Missile Offense" systems are built

Friday, June 17, 2011

LETTER FROM JEJU JAIL


Letter from Choi Sung-Hee to Peace Activist MacGregor Eddy
Written June 12, 2011
Choi Sung-Hee is imprisoned on Jeju Island for her role in a nonviolent protest.

Dear MacGregor,

What a surprise to see you in the court room on June 10 and in the meeting room in the prison June 11 as well! I so thank you that you came to the Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, to share the Global Network's and your solidarity with the villagers and activists here. Please send my thanks to Global Network as well, and to Bruce Gagnon.

It was like I had a million friends when I saw a June 9 article in a Jeju newspaper called the "Jeju Domin Ilbo", that 111 orgnaizations led by the GN had signed the statement on the solidarity with the Gangjeong villagers. I really hope that you can see and talk to many wonderful people here.

What I dream and hope by your visit is that you may inform the villagers and activists of how space is militarized and weaponized, and how important it is to convert war budget to people's welfare budget. Sorry that I wish too much by your visit here. I just want to express how excited I am and how grateful for your visit.

Regina Hagen, along with other friends, sent kind emails from Germany and I want to express my great thanks to all the GN members. I am sorry that I can't go to Andover. But I will be with all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Love, Sung-Hee


From MacGregor Eddy: This is only part of her letter, there is a long discussion of the details of the relationship between the USA and the ROK (South Korea) which Sung-Hee is revising now because the situation has changed. Regina Pyon and I will post the new, revised statement from Sung-Hee as soon as we get it from Dora.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SUPPORT BRADLEY MANNING



Leah Bolger of Veterans for Peace spoke during the "Rally for Bradley Manning" at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas on June 4.


Pfc. Bradley Manning of Oklahoma has been in US military custody without formal charges for over a year. Manning allegedly leaked US secret diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.

For more information on Veterans for Peace, visit http://www.veteransforpeace.org/

HEADING SOUTH


Jeju Catholic parish leader, Bishop Kang Woo Il said, "Gangjeong is a holy and living place where we can hold Mass anytime and as the parish leader I will allow mass at anytime."


We are packing up the car and preparing to head south to Massachusetts for the Global Network conference. This morning an email was waiting for me from GN board member Wooksik Cheong in Seoul, South Korea saying, "They [villagers] asked me that it is possible of next international conference of GN to be held Gangjeong? They think the int'l meeting will be a big help for stopping a base construction."


I immediately wrote him back and said that we would discuss the invitation at our meeting this weekend. How could we dare say no?


Professor Yang Yoon-Mo is now in his 67th day of hunger striking and appears to be in the hospital. We are all gravely concerned about him. Sung-Hee Choi, still in jail, has resumed her hunger strike in solidarity with Yang. The villagers are deeply worried about her as they have depended on her so heavily to be their link to the international peace community. She has brought people from all over the world repeatedly to the Gangjeong village and has been a key person in helping spread their message far and wide.


They all will be on our minds this weekend as we meet in Massachusetts. Looks like we have GN leaders coming from eight countries and from throughout the U.S. - from Florida to Oregon. We are grateful to the Merrimack Valley People for Peace for hosting us in their neck of the woods.


We meet our GN chairperson Dave Webb (CND) from England at noon today to go over everything before the conference begins on Friday with a protest vigil at Raytheon in Andover as the workers leave the facility. We are fortunate that Joanne Sheehan (War Resisters League), and renowned peace movement cook, will be preparing our dinners on Friday and Saturday night. It should be a great time.

NATIONAL COALITION FORMS IN SOUTH KOREA


Jeju must be an island of peace!

Statement

We support the non-violent resistance of the residents of Gangjeong village and call for the immediate cancellation of the Jeju naval base construction.

Jeju is an “Island of Global Peace.” However, Jeju is currently far from peace because of the enforcement of the naval base construction. This is destroying the local community and the natural environment. People in Gangjeong village have been fighting for years against government violence and attempts to construct the naval base. Not only the residents of Gangjeong village, but also the visitors and people who have seen the beautiful and peaceful scenery, are asking for reasons why the navy base should be constructed.

There are many questions from civilians about why this base is necessary. We ask the Ministry of National Defense and the provincial government of Jeju to answer questions about their justification for this base; what kind of threats this base will address; and if those threats are real, whether constructing this base in Jeju is the most appropriate solution. The Navy's argument of using the Jeju naval base as a stepping stone for the “blue water navy” to progress and to facilitate the navy forces’ overseas deployment is no longer convincing. This argument from the Navy is no longer valid, since the withdrawal of the expansion plan in revisions of the National Defense Reform Law, which was announced on April 29. The Ministry of National Defense and the Jeju provincial government should reconsider the necessity of the naval base before enforcing the construction against the opposition of the residents.

We are also concerned about the lack of procedural legitimacy followed by the Ministry of National Defense and the Jeju provincial government, which used various expedients and illegal methods to speed up their construction plan. Gangjeong village was never the first candidate for the construction site. After confronting the great opposition from another proposed site, the Ministry of National Defense and Jeju provincial government hastily selected Gangjeong village as the site for construction without sufficient consideration of the residents’ intentions. Gangjeong village is one of the most beautiful sites of the Jeju Olle Road and is designated as an "absolute preservation area." It’s also a World Heritage site. However, this designation of absolute preservation area was hastily lifted by the local government through a change of the law, and the environmental impact assessment was only nominally implemented. It is an ironic contradiction, because at the same time the government lifted the designation of "absolute preservation area" through a quick decision, they were also making a great effort to rank Gangjeong as one of the world’s 7th best sites for natural scenery. We call upon the Ministry of National Defense and the Jeju provincial government to make a decision to preserve the ecological environment in and surrounding Gangjeong village which is a gift of nature.

We also draw attention to the fact that construction workers' violence toward the Gangjeong villagers and activists has been ignored, even as those who are struggling to stop the construction are subjected to diverse accusations and imprisonment. Gangjeong residents are trying to show through non-violent protest that they have never agreed with the naval base construction, because they believe the construction is taking away their livelihood and destroying the environment inherited from their descendents. The Navy must stop using threats to create division in the Gangjeong community, which is dismantling the village. In addition, government suppression of citizens who are nonviolently protesting to protect their right to live also needs to be stopped.

Currently, the five national opposition parties are investigating the procedures and the legality of the problems caused while constructing the naval base. In addition, lawsuits suspending and nullifying the lift of the designation of "absolute preservation area," as well as the approval of the military and defense facilities business implementation plan are in progress. We call upon the Ministry of National Defense and the Jeju provincial government to stop the construction until the problems of expedients and illegal methods used to justify the construction are dealt with in the judicial system and just decisions are made. We believe that legitimate and democratic procedures, which more seriously consider citizens' intentions and the enviornmental impact assessment, should be done once again.

We are now witnessing that the resistance of Gangjeong residents in order to protect the local community and beautiful Joongduk Sea is becoming a nationwide movement of objection against the navy base construction. Thus, we will bring together wisdom and solutions from every field of society, so that we can establish Jeju as an “Island of Peace” without military bases, an “Island of Peace” where citizens are not sacrificed under the name of the national security, and an “Island of Peace” acknowledged by the international society as a place truly representing peace, also by overcoming the long lasting conflicts surrounding the Jeju naval base construction.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base in Jeju Island. (140 organizations and 440 individuals)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CONGRESS MEMBERS SUE OBAMA TO END LIBYA WAR


On Wednesday in federal court, 10 members of the U.S. Congress sued President Obama in an attempt to end U.S. involvement in a war in Libya.

These are the plaintiffs: Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Duncan (R-TN), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), John Conyers (D-MI), Ron Paul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), and Dan Burton (R-IN).

According to a statement from Congressman Kucinich:

"The lawsuit calls for injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the plaintiffs and the country from (1) the policy that a president may unilaterally go to war in Libya and other countries without a declaration of war from Congress, as required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution; (2) the policy that a president may commit the United States to a war under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in violation of the express conditions of the North Atlantic Treaty ratified by Congress; (3) the policy that a president may commit the United States to a war under the authority of the United Nations without authorization from Congress; (4) from the use of previously appropriated funds by Congress for an unconstitutional and unauthorized war in Libya or other countries; and (5) from the violation of the War Powers Resolution as a result of the Obama Administration’s established policy that the President does not require congressional authorization for the use of military force in wars like the one in Libya."

See the rest of the story here

RIGHT-WING AGENDA AT STATE LEVEL

WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THE ROCKS, THE CRABS & THE CORAL?



The crabs are an endangered species along the coast and will be buried alive when they pour the cement for the piers to dock the U.S. warships at the Navy base.

Discussion is now underway to send a delegation from the U.S. to Jeju Island for a week during the July 21-28 period. It would be good to have people from several countries to go to Gangjeong village during this time. Please let me know if you would be interested.



Dredging the floor of the sea has begun and will destroy the endangered soft coral reefs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

REACHING THE HEARTS OF EMBASSY WORKERS

Giant "Tetra pods" being set up as Navy base takes shape on Jeju Island
People praying for a miracle as resistance to Navy base grows worldwide

I've heard nothing new today from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea. Our GN board member MacGregor Eddy went to visit Sung-Hee Choi who sits in a Jeju City jail but its a long trip from the village to the jail.

Last night I did a 20-minute interview about the Jeju situation on popular progressive WBAI radio in New York City. The show is called Asia Pacific Forum and I had a chance to ask listeners to call the South Korean mission at the United Nations. You can hear the interview here

Friends from New York City to Arkansas to Seattle have been passing on my email appeal that I sent out yesterday to their local email lists. We've heard back from so many people who told us the South Korean embassy or consulate would ask them their name and contact info when they called and then say "We'll have someone contact you" even before the caller had said why they were calling! When the caller would say, "Let me tell you why I am calling" the South Korean representative would quickly add, "You are calling about Jeju. We are getting many, many calls."

I've had some behind the scenes dialogue with one overseas South Korean staffer who told me today in a private email, "The Kangjeong village in which the people try to stop a naval base is designated as one of the most beautiful marine area in the world. What a sad reality! I understand that you feel frustrated when you call the Embassy and receive a cold shoulder for your call. I am sorry about it but please also understand that this is a government entity and the person who answers the phone cannot do anything for such a sensitive issue. I have same dilemma that my personal view and political stance are not in accord with those of my government and the people (in conservative wing) but I just work for the embassy to support my family."

So it is clear that as a result of these calls to various South Korean offices all over the world many of the staffers are in quiet agreement with us and they are very sad about what their government is doing to the people of Gangjeong village. I can promise you that these office workers at these embassies and consulates are indeed passing on our messages up the "chain of command" because they often are in deep sympathy with our calls. So if you haven't yet made a call please do. They are a big help.

Global Network board member Regina Hagen (Germany) arrived at our home yesterday for a short visit before we head south on Thursday to Andover, Massachusetts for our 19th annual space organizing conference. People are still registering and it is looking to be a great event. I took Regina for a kayak paddle in the slight rain today along a tidal estuary that flows into the sea near Georgetown. It was very quiet in this place and only the birds could be heard. I stopped paddling and just drifted with a breeze blowing on my back and my thoughts went to those in Gangjeong village who are fighting so hard to save their sacred coastal community.

At our meeting this weekend I'm going to ask the Global Network board to approve us sending another one of our leaders to Jeju as soon as possible. I think we need to keep encouraging others to go there so they can experience the beauty and sorrow of this special place. For me Jeju Island is a place that connects the space organizing work we do with the important need to protect our natural environment from the evils that come from greed, power, and war.

MORE FROM COAL COUNTRY CONTROVERSY

Monday, June 13, 2011

A CONVERSION FOR THIS MILITARY MAN



Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

YOUR HELP NEEDED ONCE MORE

The banner reads: Keep Gangjeong, Keep Peace

Mr. Ko, chair of the Committee to Stop the Naval Base, in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea. This machine is the one that lifts the huge cement tetrapods into the ocean to widen the piers to dock U.S. warships. This is what they must do every day in one way or another to stop the Navy base construction.


Call South Korean Embassy - No Navy Base on Jeju Island

The latest word from Jeju Island is that Professor Yang has resumed his hunger strike and has left the hospital in Jeju City and has been taken to a Buddhist monastery. Sung-Hee Choi is still in jail (waiting for her trial to resume on June 22) and she is hunger striking again in solidarity with Professor Yang.

We ask you now to please make another round of phone calls to South Korean embassies in your country. This time Mr. Ko (in the photo above) asks that you give feedback to the village on the response you get when you call. Even if they refuse to talk with you please pass that information to me at globalnet@mindspring.com and I will send it to MacGregor Eddy who is now in Gangjeong village and she will give it to Mr. Ko.

We ask that you tell the South Korean embassy that you want them to stop building the Navy base because it is leading to the destruction of the soft coral reefs offshore and will destroy the farming and fishing village of Gangjeong. The Navy base, which will be a port of call for U.S. Navy destroyers and other warships, will become a lightening rod for conflict with China.

In the U.S. you can call the South Korean Embassy in Washington DC at 202-939-5600 and/or you can call the South Korean office at the United Nations in New York City at 212-439-4000.

Thanks very much for your effort. I am certain the villagers will be encouraged to know you have made the call.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

GROWING COST OF WORLD WAR III

Is there any doubt the U.S. has World War III underway right now?

Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya-Yemen......more certainly on the way. Supremacy in space technology, the U.S. Space Command says, "enables the war fighter" at sea, in the sky, and on the ground. All being done to the benefit of corporate globalization.

The UK's Mail Online reports:

The cost of the U.S. campaign in Libya is set to exceed the $750 million Pentagon estimate set out in March, according to a leaked Department of Defence Memo.

The 'eyes-only' DoD dossier said the U.S. had already spent $664 million in Libya by mid-May - a running cost of $60 million a month since the bombing began in March.

At the current rate of spending, the U.S. will have to shell out at least an extra $274 million till the end of the current 90 day no fly zone.

One of the architects of the current U.S. strategy is former Naval War College instructor Thomas Barnett. During the Bush II administration he was described as Donald Rumsfeld's "strategy guy". He is the author of several books including "The Pentagon's New Map". The video below is a segment from his standard presentation which was given to high levels of military and CIA brass, Congressional leaders, and other elite opinion makers during recent years.

He identifies part of the world as the "Non-Integrating Gap" and outlines a strategy to bring the gap into line with a "global investment climate" - corporate globalization.

He outlines two forces that would be used to "shrink" the gap. One is the overwhelming military force of "Leviathan" and the other "Systems Administration". Leviathan would smash opposition to corporate control and Sys Ad forces, that Barnett says "will never come home", will remain in country to remake and refashion the offending nation in the image of a corporate client state.

There is no doubt there is a world war underway. Obama is the latest water carrier for this corporate agenda. All we need now is for people to wake up and see that the cutbacks in social progress in America (and allied countries) is the way that the corporations intend to pay for Leviathan and Systems Administration, which in the final result means endless global war.


SUNDAY SONG