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....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Get the revised version of my book "Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire" - updated thru the end of 2008
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 09, 2011
U.S. DRONE REVEALED IN IRAN
Iranian TV has broadcast footage of an advanced US drone aircraft that Tehran says it brought down using electronic methods to override its controls.
The BBC's James Reynolds watched the footage and said the fact that the drone appeared undamaged provided some evidence to support Tehran's version of events.
The U.S. at first announced that the drone was on a surveillance mission over Afghanistan and went out of control and strayed into Iran. Later the U.S. admitted that the drone was on a CIA mission over Iran when it got brought down.
DECOLONIZING OUR CONSUMER MINDS
Produced by the Center for a New American Dream
Psychologist Tim Kasser discusses how America's culture of consumerism undermines our well-being. When people buy into the ever-present marketing messages that "the good life" is "the goods life," they not only use up Earth's limited resources, but they are less happy and less inclined toward helping others. The animation both lays out the problems of excess materialism and points toward solutions that promise a healthier, more just, and more sustainable life.
Animation by Squid and Beard: http://www.squidandbeard.com
- The German news magazine Der Spiegel reports on the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia in an article called A New Arms Race Looms between Russia and US. Der Spiegel wrote, "Evidence of that new arms race came last Tuesday [Nov 6], with Medvedev's appearance in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which borders the NATO and EU members Poland and Lithuania. The president pointedly activated a radar station. Medvedev had already announced that Russia would install modern Iskander short-range missiles near the NATO border if the US didn't back down. The missiles can be fitted with nuclear warheads and would be directed at the planned US defense positions in Europe, which are scheduled to be ready by 2020."
- The U.S. maintains its (and NATO's) surrounding Russia with "missile defense" systems is directed at Iran. We've been repeatedly told though by award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh at The New Yorker that Iran has no nuclear weapons nor any long-range missiles. What do you think is up?
- The U.S. has already begun to deploy third-generation Patriot missile offense systems in Poland (PAC-3 they are called). Does Poland really fear they will be attacked by Iran? "If the mullahs have a target list we believe we are quite low on it," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in an interview with Foreign Policy during his trip to Washington last year. But Sikorski admitted that Poland's real interest in the system is to be an active player in the new emerging security infrastructure in Europe, which includes NATO's endorsement of missile defense. "Our part of Europe has so far very few NATO installations," he said. "This is the game that seems to be the next project, so we decided to get involved."
- So NATO then is driving this new arms race across Europe, surrounding Russia. But who controls NATO? Who is driving the NATO military expansion to surround Russia? It's a circle, you always come back to U.S. foreign policy and the military industrial complex that stands to make alot of money by signing up all the NATO countries as partners in the missile offense program because all NATO systems must be "interoperable" which means they must all be linked together technologically. The technology flows from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, etc..... It's a dangerous and expensive circle game - clouded by the rhetoric about an exaggerated nuclear threat from Iran.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
John Lennon was killed on Dec 8, 1980. Five days later my son was born and we named him Julian after John's son.
John was just coming into his own when he was taken from us. Let's never forget him.
Check out this great lost interview with Lennon on revolution (personal and political) here
INTERVIEW ABOUT OCCUPY MOVEMENT
My latest public access TV show interview with Jerry Provencher from Bath, Maine
10 Years Too Many: National Day of Action Against Guantanamo
Join us in Washington, DC on January 11, 2012 to close Guantanamo!
When the Senate voted to down Mark Udall's (D-CO) amendment last Tuesday, the National Defense Authorization Act is now set to include provisions that would allow military police the streets, expand Guantanamo and indefinite detention elsewhere, and force certain terrorism suspects into military custody instead of charging them with crimes in civilian courts. In response to these draconian and shameful measures, Witness Against Torture continues to call for justice, human rights and the rule of law.
To mark the 10th anniversary of unlawful counter-terrorism detentions at Guantanamo and to call for an end to indefinite detention and unfair trials, we will be creating a human chain between the White House and the Capitol. We need 2,700 people – the number of detainees still unlawfully held by the US government at Guantanamo and Bagram.
For more info click here
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
OCCUPY DC STREETS
At least 60 protesters were arrested today in Washington during the Occupy DC protest. The activists braved the rain and cold on K street - the historical lobbying hub of the US capital as they barricaded four key intersections. Most of the protesters arrested were charged with blocking one of the busiest highways in the city.
Internment / Resettlement Specialist (31E)
Enlisted - Officer - Active Duty - Army Reserve
Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel.
Some of your duties as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist may include:
- Assist with the supervision and management of confinement and detention operations
- Provide external security to confinement/corrections facilities or detention/internment facilities
- Provide counseling and guidance to individual prisoners within a rehabilitative program
- Prepare or review reports and records of prisoners/internees and programs
Job training for an Internment/Resettlement Specialist requires nine weeks of Basic Training, where you'll learn basic Soldiering skills, and eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in a field environment. Some of the skills you'll learn are:
- Military laws and jurisdictions
- Level of Force Procedures
- Unarmed Self-Defense Techniques
- Police Deviance and Ethics Procedures
- Interpersonal Communications Skills
- Close confinement operations
- Search and restraint procedures
- Use of firearms
- Custody and control procedures
Helpful attributes include:
- An ability to think and react quickly
- An ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- An interest in law enforcement and crime prevention
- Being physically fit
Advanced level Internment/Resettlement Specialist provides guidance, supervises and trains other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level I/R Specialist, you may be involved in:
- Supervise and establish all administrative, logistical and food support operations, confinement/correctional, custodial, treatment, and rehabilitative activities
- Responsible for all personnel working in the confinement/correctional facility, including security, logistical, and administrative management of the prisoner/internee population
- Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of an Enemy Prisoner of War/Civilian Internee (EPW/CI) camp
- Provide command and control, staff planning, administration/logistical services, and custody/control for the operation of detention facility or the operation of a displaced civilian (DC) resettlement facility
Related Civilian Jobs
The skills you'll learn as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist will help prepare you for a future with federal, state, county or city law enforcement agencies or the federal penal system. You might also be able to pursue a career as a security guard with industrial firms, airports or other businesses and institutions.
Related Army Positions
- Military Police (31B)
- Criminal Investigations (CID) Special Agent (31D)
Civilian Certifications Earned
Learn more about the relationship between military training and civilian certification requirements.
OCCUPY NEXT STEPS
Residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York have begun to occupy homes from which they had previously been evicted, as part of an Occupy Our Homes campaign. East New York has high levels of homelessness and high numbers of foreclosed homes.
This is my talk on November 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Moana Nui 2011 conference that was organized by a partnership between Pua Mohala I Ka Po and The International Forum on Globalization.
This panel that I was part of was called: MILITARIZATION & RESISTANCE IN THE PACIFIC.
The Pacific basin has been a frequent victim of military domination by global powers, fighting for regional political and economic control. 66 years after the end of World War II hundreds of U.S. military bases still spread from Hawaii across the Pacific to Guam, and many other Pacific islands, with dozens more in South Korea and Japan, and one on Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean), all directed at presumed threats from China.
Local peoples are outraged. Popular resistance in Guam, Okinawa-Japan, Jeju Island-South Korea, and elsewhere demands removal of U.S. occupying forces. Similar movements exist in Hawaii, where about 25% of total land area is devoted to military purposes, from nuclear ports to training areas to missile sites.
Ikaika Hussey, Craig Santos Perez, Christine Ahn, Suzuyo Takazato, Lisa Natividad, Bruce Gagnon, Kyle Kajihiro, and Mayumi Oda were speakers on this panel.
You can watch some of the audience Q & A and my response here
THE FUR IS FLYING
U.S. steps up its attacks on Russia.....complains about Russian elections (oops!)......U.S. these days is concerned about freedom of speech and assembly and clean elections all over the world - just not back here at home. Back in the USA the Senate just passed the new bill that allows activists (read terrorists) to be arrested and detained without charges or trials. We call it hypocrisy.
One other thought on why U.S. keeps taking jabs at Russia - consider the melting ice in the Arctic region and the oil underneath those icy waters........then take a look at your map and see which nations border the Arctic.
More conflict to come.......going after the Russian bear.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE
The worst drought in sixty years has thrown more than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa into crisis.
In Kenya, those already living in the greatest danger have been pushed even closer to the edge.
In the arid lands, deadly inter-tribal conflict is escalating as pastoralists compete over increasingly scarce resources, as climate change accelerates drought cycles.
As weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable, small scale farmers are struggling to grow enough food.
And in Nairobi's poorest neighborhoods, residents are reduced to eating one meal a day, as the price of food spirals out of reach.
As world leaders discuss climate policy in Durban, Fault Lines travels through Kenya's drought zone. In the second part of a two-part series, we ask how US policies intersect with drought and hunger, and how the United States is responding to the emergency in the Horn of Africa.
This episode of Fault Lines first aired on Al Jazeera English on December 5, 2011
THIS AND THAT
- I taped my public access TV show today and my guest was Jerry Provencher from Bath who is one of the leaders in the Occupy Brunswick. Jerry was a great guest and did a remarkable job making all the key connections - my favorite moment was when he said the U.S. military empire was essentially spread around the world to the benefit of corporate capital. I can't wait to see the final interview. The folks at Harpswell TV where we film the show have to do the final production work and then put it on DVD's for me to send around the state. The show now plays on 13 public access stations in Maine.
- Latest word from Jeju Island is that South Korean Navy might begin blasting the rocky coastline at any moment........they've been held off for a few weeks by public pressure but they are itching to begin the explosions of the sacred Guroembi. If you'd like to help you can send a message demanding a stop to Navy base construction blasting. Write to:
Woo Keun-Min, Jeju Island governor (Email: email@example.com)
Kim Kwan-Jin, South Korean Defense Minister (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Russian military leaders have warned the U.S. to back-off any plans to attack Iran. This whole situation is getting very dangerous and I fear that Obama's war team and Israel are like a run-a-way freight train heading down the mountain.
- It is interesting to watch how many Democrats on Facebook spend much of their time trashing one Republican presidential candidate after the other. They went from Palin to Bachmann, then to Perry, then Cain and now Gingrich. What you rarely see is Democrats talk about what they stand for, their vision of the future, nor do you often see the Democrat activists/operatives standing up against corporate domination of the political system and the economy. They have tried to rip off the Occupy movement message - with slogans such as Occupy the voting booth - but they really don't have a message of their own. That is why so many independent thinking activists have left the Democratic party tent. It's empty.
Monday, December 05, 2011
WHERE ARE THE CHURCHES?
Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?
By Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges gave an abbreviated version of this talk Saturday morning in Liberty Square in New York City as part of an appeal to Trinity Church to turn over to the Occupy Wall Street movement an empty lot, known as Duarte Square, that the church owns at Canal Street and 6th Avenue. Occupy Wall Street protesters, following the call, began a hunger strike at the gates of the church-owned property. Three of the demonstrators were arrested Sunday on charges of trespassing, and three others took their places.
The Occupy movement is the force that will revitalize traditional Christianity in the United States or signal its moral, social and political irrelevance. The mainstream church, battered by declining numbers and a failure to defiantly condemn the crimes and cruelty of the corporate state, as well as a refusal to vigorously attack the charlatans of the Christian right, whose misuse of the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism, bigotry and imperialism is heretical, has become a marginal force in the life of most Americans, especially the young. Outside the doors of churches, many of which have trouble filling a quarter of the pews on Sundays, struggles a movement, driven largely by young men and women, which has as its unofficial credo the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It was the church in Latin America, especially in Central America and Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, which provided the physical space, moral support and direction for the opposition to dictatorship. It was the church in East Germany that organized the peaceful opposition marches in Leipzig that would bring down the communist regime in that country. It was the church in Czechoslovakia, and its 90-year-old cardinal, that blessed and defended the Velvet Revolution. It was the church, and especially the African-American church, that made possible the civil rights movements. And it is the church, especially Trinity Church in New York City with its open park space at Canal and 6th, which can make manifest its commitment to the Gospel and nonviolent social change by permitting the Occupy movement to use this empty space, just as churches in other cities that hold unused physical space have a moral imperative to turn them over to Occupy movements. If this nonviolent movement fails, it will eventually be replaced by one that will employ violence. And if it fails it will fail in part because good men and women, especially those in the church, did nothing.
Where is the church now? Where are the clergy? Why do so many church doors remain shut? Why do so many churches refuse to carry out the central mandate of the Christian Gospel and lift up the cross?
Some day they are going to have to answer the question: “Where were you when they crucified my Lord?”
Let me tell you on this first Sunday in Advent, when we celebrate hope, when we remember in the church how Mary and Joseph left Nazareth for Bethlehem, why I am in Liberty Square. I am here because I have tried, however imperfectly, to live by the radical message of the Gospel. I am here because I know that it is not what we say or profess but what we do. I am here because I have seen in my many years overseas as a foreign correspondent that great men and women of moral probity arise in all cultures and all religions to fight the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed. I am here because I have seen that it is possible to be a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu or an atheist and carry the cross. The words are different but the self-sacrifice and thirst for justice are the same. And these men and women, who may not profess what I profess or believe what I believe, are my brothers and sisters. And I stand with them honoring and respecting our differences and finding hope and strength and love in our common commitment.
At times like these I hear the voices of the saints who went before us. The suffragist Susan B. Anthony, who announced that resistance to tyranny is obedience to God, and the suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who said, “The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” Or Henry David Thoreau, who told us we should be men and women first and subjects afterward, that we should cultivate a respect not for the law but for what is right. And Frederick Douglass, who warned us: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” And the great 19th century populist Mary Elizabeth Lease, who thundered: “Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master.” And Gen. Smedley Butler, who said that after 33 years and four months in the Marine Corps he had come to understand that he had been nothing more than a gangster for capitalism, making Mexico safe for American oil interests, making Haiti and Cuba safe for banks and pacifying the Dominican Republic for sugar companies. War, he said, is a racket in which newly dominated countries are exploited by the financial elites and Wall Street while the citizens foot the bill and sacrifice their young men and women on the battlefield for corporate greed. Or Eugene V. Debs, the socialist presidential candidate, who in 1912 pulled almost a million votes, or 6 percent, and who was sent to prison by Woodrow Wilson for opposing the First World War, and who told the world: “While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” And Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who when he was criticized for walking with Martin Luther King on the Sabbath in Selma answered: “I pray with my feet” and who quoted Samuel Johnson, who said: “The opposite of good is not evil. The opposite of good is indifference.” And Rosa Parks, who defied the segregated bus system and said “the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” And Philip Berrigan, who said: “If enough Christians follow the Gospel, they can bring any state to its knees.”
And the poet Langston Hughes, who wrote:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
And Martin Luther King, who said: “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ And there comes a time when a true follower of Jesus Christ must take a stand that’s neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take a stand because it is right.”
Where were you when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there to halt the genocide of Native Americans? Were you there when Sitting Bull died on the cross? Were you there to halt the enslavement of African-Americans? Were you there to halt the mobs that terrorized black men, women and even children with lynching during Jim Crow? Were you there when they persecuted union organizers and Joe Hill died on the cross? Were you there to halt the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in World War II? Were you there to halt Bull Connor’s dogs as they were unleashed on civil rights marchers in Birmingham? Were you there when Martin Luther King died upon the cross? Were you there when Malcolm X died on the cross? Were you there to halt the hate crimes, discrimination and violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and those who are transgender? Were you there when Matthew Shepard died on the cross? Were you there to halt the abuse and at times enslavement of workers in the farmlands of this country? Were you there to halt the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Vietnamese during the war in Vietnam or hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan? Were you there to halt Israel’s saturation bombing of Lebanon and Gaza? Were you there when Rachel Corrie died on the cross? Were you there to halt the corporate forces that have left working men and women and the poor in this country bereft of a sustainable income, hope and dignity? Were you there to share your food with your neighbor in Liberty Square? Were you there to become homeless with them?
Where were you when they crucified my Lord?
I know where I was.
The Obama war team has taken another step toward battle with Iran revealing just how much U.S. policy is now under the control of the hot heads in the Israeli government.
A U.S. military RQ-170 stealth drone, doing ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) was brought down last week over Iran. Iran claims they were able to recover the aircraft largely intact.
This drone was the same type that was used to provide ISR support for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.
The Washington Post reports, "The aircraft has special coatings and a batwing-like shape that is designed to evade detection by enemy radar. The aircraft could help the Iranians better understand the vulnerabilities of U.S. stealth technology and provide them with clues on how to spot other aircraft, U.S. officials said.
"The Air Force first acknowledged that it was flying stealth drones in 2009, after an RQ-170, which is made by Lockheed Martin, was spotted and photographed at the main U.S. airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan."
The Post tried to make it sound like the drone just veered off course while on a mission in Afghanistan. I seriously doubt it. We've known for several years, thanks to journalist Seymour Hersh, that the U.S. has been sending special operations troops inside Iran on destabilizing missions along with Iranian terrorist organizations. They've been blowing up targets and killing people. These drone missions are likely connectioned to those operations.
Routine ISR can be done with existing sophisticated U.S. military satellites orbiting the Earth. As was shown by their use in the U.S. Navy Seals raid on Abbottabad in Pakistan, the U.S. uses these drones when they are doing operational planning. To me that means these stealth drones are supporting existing special ops activities already inside Iran and/or they are doing ISR for future strike missions.
Either way it is abundantly evident that Obama is poking a stick into a hornet nest. Sooner or later he is going to get a reaction and that is when holy hell could break loose.
For those who still believe in Mr. Obama this is just one more bit of information in the avalanche of facts that indicates the "president" is indeed an agent of the CIA and the military industrial complex.
If this event had happened during the reign of George W. Bush the liberals would be screaming bloody murder - as they well should - but we'll now find them largely silent on this sad turn of events.
Once again Obama proves his worth to the corporate oligarchy. He gives them all they want and at the same time keeps a lid on the left-wing of his party. It's no wonder that the Republicans have such a sad lot running for president. The oligarchy knows it has a good thing going with Obama and they don't want to put it in any danger.
TEXAS STYLE SHOPPING
Creative action in Austin, Texas shopping mall.
The young woman who gets arrested was just a shopper and asked to join the protest. She was obviously not trained in non-violent civil disobedience because you see her struggling with how to react to being arrested.....but it was good that she felt called to join in. She has three broken ribs and was held for hours in the shuttered bowels of the mall.
Then later in the video the man who was shopping tries to defend the young woman and he is thrown out of the mall. So it is clear that his protest touched many people who were just there to shop.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
We had our statewide meeting yesterday of the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. The meeting was held in Augusta and we invited folks who have been involved in the Occupy Maine movement to join us as we spent time discussing the links between war spending and the economic collapse. Much on the minds of the twenty people who attended are the current local government attacks in Maine (and beyond) against the Occupy movement.
As I noted yesterday the government attempts to draw the Occupy movement into the vortex of permitting and regulation is a calculated attempt to strangle the energy and creativity of the effort. Any organizer, when they see this government strategy, should immediately turn away because once you fall into that black hole there is no beating it. The system is built by, and controlled by, the oligarchy and has been constructed to ensure corporate control of anyone who challenges it.
I was the last to talk in our go-around, and as I usually do, took the many good ideas I heard from the people sitting in the circle and put together a consensus action proposal. Tom Sturtevant had suggested we bring a resolution before the state legislature during the next session that would be a statement against "corporate personhood". I suggested that this resolution idea be broadened to include all of the key demands of our growing movement - end corporate power over our government, tax the rich, regulate the banks, create jobs by investing in physical and human infrastructure, end war spending (including the $12 billion we spend every month in Afghanistan), and so on.
During the last two years the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign held rallies in the state capitol Hall of Flags where we tried to model an inclusive process of connecting all of these dots. Sadly, when most progressive groups go to Augusta and hold rallies they usually just focus on their singular issue - unions, senior citizens, poor people - and they seldom make the effort to bring together the "grand coalition" that ultimately will be necessary if we wish to seriously take on the 1% who now control the nation and world - the corporate paymasters.
Our Republican Tea Party Gov. LePage will surely be coming into the next legislative session with calls for further dismantling of public education, social services, union rights, unemployment, and the like. He's already begun a public attack on those drawing unemployment (51,000 unemployed in Maine) saying they don't want to work. His strategy is to pit those who work against those who need help. Divide and conquer. It's cruel stuff.
It is my hope that we can create an effort in Maine that will bring together these diverse constituencies who are willing to connect all these dots and thus build a movement that makes serious demands that would go a long way toward alleviating the problem. We aren't going to have the funds to fix our bridges, fund education, or create jobs doing home weatherization (Maine has the oldest and leakiest housing stock in the nation) unless we tax the rich and Bring Our War $$ Home.
We decided to meet again on Saturday, January 14 at noon in Augusta to continue planning this process. It should be interesting.