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, March 10, 2012

BREATHING LIFE INTO DEMOCRACY


  • I went to the Lenten vigil today at Bath Iron Works. These vigils are held every week during Lent to protest against the Navy Aegis destroyers that are built here in town. While standing with my sign as the workers headed home I recalled the first time I ever talked about Jeju Island. That was during a protest at one of the Aegis ship "christenings" a couple of years ago. We heard that there was to be a protest the same day in Gangjeong village from our Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi (on the right in the photo above). She was the person who got us into this issue - helping us to see that the Aegis warships, with their so-called "missile defense" systems on-board, were going to tragically alter life on Jeju Island. We've been at it ever since trying to build awareness and solidarity.
  • When I got back home from the vigil today I did a half-hour radio interview with a station in Vancouver, Canada. I urged the listeners to call the South Korean embassy/consulate in their city to tell them No Navy Base! I also urged folks to check out this blog for on-going updates on the situation in the village.
  • Today is the last day of my week long fast in solidarity with Jeju Island native Yang Yoon-Mo. Professor Yang is on his 32nd day of hunger striking as he demands that the Navy base destruction in his village be halted. Last summer he fasted 71 days. Sung-Hee writes that "Yang has stopped even salt four days ago. He maintains himself with a sip of water just to not have dry neck. We are very worrying about him. Something should be done to stop his fast." He has made it clear that this time he will not allow anyone to talk him out of his hunger strike. He is willing to give his life for his village and for the nature that he so deeply loves. Whenever I got hungry or felt weak during the fast I just thought of Yang and got back to work.
  • There was a protest rally in Seoul last night and I wanted to share a report by a wonderful Irish Catholic priest I met during our recent trip to Jeju Island for the Global Network conference. We were arrested together crawling under the razor wire. Here are the words of Patrick Cunningham:

Amazed by the great response to your appeal for funding towards sending Veterans for Peace to Gangjeong - a fantastic idea and tremendous response taboot! Work has me stuck here in Seoul but as you'd appreciate my heart is very much in Gangjeong and with the struggle there! I've been attending some of the vigils in Seoul and the one tonight was well attended - 500 or so! They are organized by an Association of Civil Society NGO's campaigning on the Dual Issues of 'Anti Korea-USA FTA' [Free Trade Agreement] and the 'Save Gangjeong' campaign. Reps from 'People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy' and 'Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea' (SPARK); the opposition political party - Democratic Party reps. including leading party figure Jong Dong Yong have got right behind the campaign and took to the stage to give rousing, powerful addresses in an impassioned plea both to stop the destruction of Gureombi and of course with parliamentary elections looming took the opportunity to make an outright condemnation of Lee Myong Bak and his government's policies! Many folks and iconic figures from the 1980's Labor and Democracy movements made their presence felt tonight in a very moving, dynamic and uplifting rally interspersed with some great song and dance! Old figures from the democracy movement of yester-year making reappearances is a sad reflection of the times we are living in - democracy here I guess is on life support!!

Peace-Pat

ISRAELI NEWSPAPER SLAMS NETANYAHU


Published March 9, 2012

Israel must not bind itself to Netanyahu's vulgar rhetoric on Iran


The spine-chilling fear is that one day, all of us will discover too late that we have become hostages to his Churchillian speech, but without a Churchillian victory.

Haaretz Editorial

Anyone who cares about Israel's future could not help but feel a chill upon hearing Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech at the AIPAC conference - if not because of the gravity of the existential threat it described, then because of its sheer vulgarity and bad taste. The prime minister, as if he were no more than a surfer leaving feedback on a website, did not hesitate to crassly compare Israel today to the situation of European Jewry during the Holocaust. And to spice up his speech with one of those visual gimmicks he so loves, he even pulled out a photostat of correspondence in order to imply a comparison between U.S. President Barack Obama's cautious approach toward attacking Iran and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's refusal to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz.

Netanyahu sometimes seems like he is holding a debating competition with himself. Every speech is the "speech of his life" and must overshadow its predecessor, while afterward, as if they were rehashing a sporting event, he and his aides gleefully count the number of standing ovations, especially from his American listeners. And in order to wring an ovation from the end of every sentence, it seems as if all means are legitimate: kitsch and death, threats and vows, warnings and rebukes of the entire world.

This time, too, it's not quite clear what he wanted to obtain via this inane rhetoric - a combination of wretchedness and megalomania - aside from applause. Did he want pity? To prick the conscience of the world? To terrify himself, or perhaps to inflame the Churchillian fantasy in which he lives? But one thing is clear: Aside from the fact that he deepened our feelings of victimhood, insulted the American president and narrowed the options for diplomacy, Netanyahu did not improve Israel's situation one jot by this speech, just as he hasn't by any of his others.

Netanyahu isn't the first Israeli prime minister, especially from the right, to harp on the trauma of the Holocaust. But in contrast to Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, who at the moment of truth also displayed diplomatic and leadership abilities, Netanyahu was and remains essentially a PR man: someone for whom words and rhetoric replace reality. The spine-chilling fear is that one day, all of us - himself included, despite his caution and hesitation - will discover too late that we have become hostages to his Churchillian speech, but without a Churchillian victory.

THE STRATEGIC NATURE OF THIS LOCAL STRUGGLE


Veterans for Peace Leaders Going to Jeju Island, South Korea

Veterans Peace Team to Support Gangjeong Villagers


Three leaders of the U.S. national group called Veterans for Peace will arrive on Jeju Island, South Korea on March 13 to stand in solidarity with villagers who are fighting against a Navy base. It has been reported in South Korean media that the proposed Navy base will be a port-of-call for U.S. warships including Aegis destroyers (outfitted with "missile defense" systems), aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines. The Navy base would be 300 miles from the Chinese mainland.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has raised funds to send the Veterans Peace Team to Jeju Island. Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon said, "We held our annual conference on Jeju Island on February 24-26 after being invited by Gangjeong villagers. Seven of our members from around the world were arrested for crawling under the razor wire on Gureombi rock. We left Jeju Island determined to go home to our respective countries and expand our solidarity efforts with Gangjeong village. This Veterans Peace Team is the first delegation - we plan to send more activists in the weeks ahead."

On the Veterans Peace Team will be:

Elliott Adams (New York), past president of Veterans For Peace and a member of Veterans Peace Team. He served in the infantry as a paratrooper in Vietnam, Japan, Korea, and Alaska. He has spent 15 years in local elected public office. Now he is dedicating his life to stopping war.

Mike Hastie (Oregon), army medic during the Vietnam War and respected poet and photographer, also a member of the Veterans Peace Team.

Tarak Kauff (New York), former paratrooper, lifetime member and organizer with Veterans For Peace, who initiated with others the Veterans Peace Team, designed to stand in opposition to state violence alongside nonviolent people exercising their right to address grievances.

A Navy base on Jeju Island will become a key military target as the Obama administration "pivots" its foreign and military policy toward the Asia-Pacific. The Pentagon is now essentially doubling its military presence in the region as a way to "contain and control" China. China imports 60% of its oil on ships. The Navy base on Jeju would give the U.S., Japan, and South Korean military forces a strategic post from which to choke off China's ability to import oil thus giving the U.S. the keys to China's economic engine.

"Jeju Island is an early spark in the coming dangerous and expensive super-power confrontation between the ever-expanding U.S.-NATO military alliance and China. The intent is to fully submerge China under corporate globalization. Sending international peace workers to Jeju Island at this time signals to everyone involved that the global peace movement clearly understands the strategic nature of this local struggle," Gagnon said.

DIRTY WATER, DIRTY BUSINESS - WE SHOULD ALL BE WEEPING

Mayor Kang holds a shirtless and weeping Father MoonThis is a photo after the Navy's first blasting on Gureombi rock on Jeju Island. Sung-Hee Choi writes:

The issue of erupting underground water by a blast of rock is a very important matter as the Jeju media reports that the clean water in the Gureombi rock was changed into muddy water by the blast of the rocks. The underground water underneath the Gureombi rock is highly guessed by the villagers to be connected with the Gangjeong stream that feeds citizens in the Seogwipo City (the southern part of the Island). Beside that the sea in front of Gangjeong is known as the most cleanest and beautiful sea throughout the Jeju Island, being the only UNESCO-designated soft coral habitats and one of the most frequent sites of the Indo-Pacific bottle nose dolphins, the IUCN-listed endangered species.
It is becoming more than obvious that South Korean President Lee's rush to push through this flurry of destruction before the coming spring National Assembly elections is not well thought out. The environmental implications of continued Navy base construction are staggering.

But now we have these revelations that the water table that feeds the southern part of the island lies underneath the rocks that will be blasted, cemented, and exposed to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines - all sorts of industrial and radioactive wastes from the Navy. There is no way in hell that the drinking water contamination is not going to be massive. Just check any military base in the world to see if this isn't the case. We know that the military is the biggest polluter on the planet

And then, of course, there is the massive pollution that will be done to the sea. The dredging has already begun just off the coastline to make it possible for these big U.S. warships to come into port. That means the soft coral will likely be killed and large amounts of fish and other sea life will be destroyed. This is a fishing and farming village. Their way of life is being totally disrupted.

Now you know why the South Korean activists call President Lee "the bulldozer". He comes from the corporate development interests who for whatever reason seem to have no spiritual connection to anything - particularly the environment. Like most developers they are blinded by their love for money. They have an insatiable appetite for money and power. They are broken spirits who have convinced us to give them power. Now they have the power and look at what they are doing with it. Disgusting.

Equally disgusting is the large number of workers and police who do the daily bidding of these corporate development interests. Of course everyone needs a job but at what point do these workers see that they are active participants in killing the environment and in killing the so-called democratic society that they are supposed to be protecting? Where is the moral outrage? Will people do anything for money? Even to the point that they destroy their own nest? Think about it.

Shouldn't we all be weeping? Where is our damn humanity?

Friday, March 09, 2012

CLINGING TO THE DIRT TO SAVE IT



Day 3 of direct action and arrests in Gangjeong village as people made their way through the pirate base fence.

BRIBES, LIES & MORE WAR FROM OBAMA AND ISRAEL


US 'offered Israel new arms to delay Iran attack'

AFP

Mar 8, 2012

The United States offered Israel advanced weaponry in return for it committing not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities this year, Israeli daily Maariv reported on Thursday.

Citing unnamed Western diplomats and intelligence sources, the report said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the US administration offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes.

In return, Israel would agree to put off a possible attack on Iran till 2013, after the US elections in November.

See full story here

MUST SEE THIS ONE



See CNN coverage of Jeju Island story that has a good quote from actor Robert Redford about the "missile defense" connection of the base. Click here

The opposition Democratic United Party said it will scrap the plan to build a naval base on Jeju if it takes control of the legislature next month and wins the presidential election in December. See story here

PRESIDENT LEE - TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!









Fr. Paul Moon Kyu-hyon was violently arrested today.
Smugglers? Sort of. Due to villagers blocking entrances to Navy base construction site the Navy had to bring their blasting explosives by the sea.
Villagers and supporters began tearing down the Navy's fence yesterday in Gangjeong village. People had recently spray painted the long white wall so the Navy two weeks ago began covering the graffiti with scenic photos of Jeju Island's many environmental treasures - a tragic display of irony and green washing.

30 were arrested in this wall dismantling including Fr. Paul Moon, Jesuit Fr. Lee Young-chan, Jesuit Br. Pak Do-hyun, Catholic Human Rights workers, Kang Eun-joo and Lee Eun-jeong, and Angie Zelter.

Some of them were moved to Seobu police station in Jeju city. The Navy intends to charge them with "violence". More irony. Protecting the peace and the fragile environment is violence. Destroying the peace and fragile environment is what? Security, safety, god sent? Give me a break.

Veterans for Peace now has three of its members leaving for Jeju early next week. Enough funds are coming in to likely pay for a second delegation in the coming weeks. Contact us if you are interested in going. We are particularly interested in folks who can go for two weeks or more.

Al-Jazeera reports this morning on the growing protests over the blasting.

The petition site Avaaz sent campaign organizers an email this morning saying, "We’re seeing a massive spike in public attention around Jeju, both internationally and in our petition, which has had 1,000 more signers in the last 3 days."

One South Korean newspaper reports that Adm. Choi Yun-hee, the Navy’s chief of staff, filed a complaint with the prosecution Friday against Kim Ji-yoon, a proportional representative candidate for the Unified Progressive Party, for defaming the Navy.

The complaint was made after Kim referred to the naval base as a “pirate base.” On her Twitter account, she posted Wednesday, “Let’s oppose the Jeju pirate base to protect Gangjeong”.

It is obvious people are looking for ways to express their outrage. I still think a good way to send a message to the South Korean government (and the Pentagon) is to call Capt. Kim (the defense attache) at the South Korean embassy in Washington DC (202-939-5600).

A friend sent me a message the other day that she had called Capt. Kim and he was complaining that he had a sore throat after taking calls for three days in a row. Keep sharing the love.

If you live outside the U.S. please call the South Korean embassy/consulate nearest you and say No Navy base!

You can also write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A GLOBAL STRIKE IS NEEDED



Millions of workers across India are protesting against rising prices and demanding better wages from their government. The 24-hour strike has ground transport and commerce to a halt in many parts of the country.

This is what the 99% all over the world should do together - hold a global day of striking against neo-liberalism and its militaristic policies.

NATO NOW IN SYRIA


Stratfor Emails: Covert Special Ops Inside Syria Since December


by John Glaser, Antiwar.com

Special operations forces from the U.S. and its allies have been on the ground in Syria since at least December, according to confidential emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that were released by WikiLeaks.

An analyst from Stratfor claimed in December 2011 that officials at the Pentagon clued him in on covert military operations taking place in Syria. “After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF [Special Operations Forces] teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces,” the email said.

“One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway, but all the operations being done now are being done out of ‘prudence,’” it continued. “They have been told to prepare contingencies and be ready to act within 2-3 months, but they still stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.”

Publicly, the Obama administration has retreated from its initial refusal to stay out of the conflict in Syria by agreeing this week to provide direct humanitarian and communications assistance to the Syrian opposition. While the official line remains to keep military options off the table for now, the change in policy could open the flood gates for expanded military intervention.

Complicating the official story, a report coming out of Lebanon this week claimed 13 French soldiers were captured in the Syrian city of Homs. The French Foreign Ministry denied the claims, saying there are no ground troops in Syria.

According to the Stratfor analyst, after rejecting the prospect of “an eventual air campaign,” the officials at the Pentagon told him “the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.”

The extent to which the information exchanged in the conversation was “hypothetical” is not clear and no U.S. official has made any comment on the information in the leaked email. The discussion appeared focused on contingency planning and the phrase “they said without saying” is never elaborated on. The date of the email coincides roughly with the first public reports of secret contingency planing in December.

Information in a report on Stratfor’s website published March 7, 2012, appears to have been taken at least partially from this very email. It reads: “The U.S. military indeed has updated its order of battle for Syria in preparation for any contingency operations, and this work allegedly produced the best order of battle the United States has had on Syria since 2001. However, contingency plans exist for numerous countries with which war is unlikely.”

In congressional sessions with top military officials on Wednesday, some in Congress expressed frustration with current policy, as articulated by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others. “I get irritated, I get angry,” McCain insisted, accusing the U.S. military of “standing on the sidelines” instead of waging an all out war on Syria, as he proposed on Monday.

FROM COSTA RICA



Support from UN mandated University for Peace, Costa Rica.

Yes it is spreading folks....do what you can to help.......

EVEN THE OLD MEN & WOMEN ARE BEING DRAGGED TO JAIL


  • The response to my request for funds to get two members of national Veterans for Peace to Jeju Island has been more than remarkable. People have given enough that we can now send four veterans to Gangjeong village. Two will go early next week and the other two soon thereafter. Thanks to all of you who have spoken with your heart. It's the best response to a fundraising request in my entire organizing career - and I've been around for awhile.
  • It's hard sleeping at night knowing the villagers are being dragged off by the police while I am in bed. Thus I'm not getting many winks. My entire being seems wrapped into one big bundle of solidarity.
  • Please consider sending some persons to Jeju from your community right away.
  • The latest news is from one of the international team in the village. He writes:
Today, the ROK Navy asked the Coast Guard to officially criminalize "leisure sports" (that means kayaking) in the Gangjeong port. We've heard that they are suggesting a $1000 and/or up to a year in prison for break this insane idea. Of course for the last week or so the police have illegally been spending lots of wasted effort and time and taxpayer money to try to block us from using the Kayaks from the port, but this suggestion really takes the absurdity to the next level.

THE PEOPLE'S WILL IS STRONGER THAN THE NAVY





People yesterday attempting to get onto Gureombi by kayak. You see the police boats pushing them away and tipping one kayak over.

The will of the people is strong. Stronger than the Navy.

You win these kind of struggles by being persistent and a royal pain in the ass.

Help the movement become a global pain in the ass!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

THE ALARMED VILLAGE



The pre-dawn alarm goes off in the Gangjeong village and folks prepare to attempt to block the Navy plan to blast the coastline.

Sorry we don't have a translation but the human dynamics speak for themselves.

Please remember that Yang Yoon-Mo is now on his 29th day of hunger striking. It is just day 4 for me. Thanks to the others that are fasting in solidarity with Yang. The list now includes:

Robert Shetterly (Maine)
Tom Kircher (Maine)
Tamara Lorincz (Novia Scotia, Canada)
George McAnanama (New York City)
Margie Warner (Winnipeg, Canada)
Judith Hicks (Colorado)
Russell Wray (Maine)
Dr. Ron Saff (Florida)
Kay Warren (Washington)
Dennis Apel (California)
Megan Rice (Nevada)
Lindis Percy (England)
Boryana Tacconi (Massachusetts)
Katherine Muzik, Ph.D. (Hawaii)
Marylia Kelley (California)
Natasha Mayers (Maine)
Molly Willcox (Maine)
Wilbert Eastman (Ohio)
Dud Hendrick (Maine)
Jennifer Doering (Washington)
Jason Rawn (Maine)

You can see the opposition political parties speaking at the end of the video. They came to the village to be with the people.

Keep building support.

BLASTING BEGINS


Leading opposition party political leaders came to the village to offer supportSwam to Gureombi rock

The Navy did its first blast of the Jeju coastline today. More than 100 villagers and supporters blocked the streets with buses, cars, motor cycles and their chained bodies. At least 20 were arrested. God knows how many were roughed up by the police.

Thanks to many of your letters Jeju Island Gov. Woo has asked for a delay in Navy base construction but the right-wing government of South Korean President Lee is pushing ahead with his destruction knowing that national elections in the spring could overturn his dastardly plans. So now a provincial verses national government battle is also underway.

Jeju Island is an early spark in the coming dangerous and expensive super-power confrontation between the ever-expanding U.S.-NATO military empire and China. The intent is to "contain and control" China and fully submerge that nation under corporate globalization. Our coordinated international peace response to these moves on the grand chessboard is timely and crucial.

Sending international peace workers to Jeju Island at this time signals to everyone involved that the global peace movement clearly understands the strategic nature of this local struggle. Obama's announced "pivot" toward the Asia-Pacific means a virtual doubling of U.S. military operations in that region - thus the Navy needs more ports-of-call near China's coast. In this case Gangjeong village is only 300 miles away.

To that end I have been calling for activists around the planet to immediately send delegations to Jeju to offer witness and support. I've just been told that two leaders from Veterans for Peace (VFP) in the U.S. are willing to go. I've pledged to raise $3,000 immediately to get them there. Can you help with a donation? If so just click on the green Donate Now button on the left side of this blog. Or you can send a check to the Global Network at the address just below.

I had my computer guy come yesterday because my desktop had become very slow and irregular. He took it away and discovered a big spyware originating in South Korea had attached itself to my computer. He was able to remove it and gave me a print out to detail the story.

This is serious biz and the blast of the Gangjeong village coastline is not the end of this fight. It's only the start. Let's all do what we can.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

THE RUSSIAN VIEW OF MD



This RT video gives an interesting insiders view of how the Russians feel about expanding U.S. & NATO "missile defense" deployments near their borders.

I found the bit near the end from inside a Polish village where the U.S. is setting up a base for these systems rather sad....a kind of other side of the Earth version of Jeju Island without the rocky coastline. But still worrisome to local people and obviously disruptive to their lives.

We have hardly any contacts in Poland or Romania where the U.S. is going to be deploying "missile defense" interceptors. If anyone can help us make some contacts in those countries that would be great.

All of this means we are in a new and dangerous arms race. It's an arms race that none of us can afford.

A TASTE OF THE MOMENT



A brief look at life inside Gangjeong village where the mayor leads a meeting of the villagers and supporters to plan strategy to block the blasting of their sacred coastline.

AIPAC CONTROLS U.S. POLICY

MIC CHECK!



Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) hails from Miami and is a right-wing Cuban-American deeply connected to lifelong fascist elements. Her speaking at the AIPAC meeting, and pushing legislation to bring on war with Iran, is evidence of the seriousness of the current challenge for global supremacy by the corporate oligarchy. Anyone who doubts the seriousness of this moment in world history is fooling themselves.

Ros-Lehtinen's statement at the end of the video that these "Mic checks" come in waves of three is just too precious!

And listen as the "good" liberal Democrat Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) reminds AIPAC that the Pentagon provides Israel the extensive use of our military satellites to coordinate their aggressive military operations. Speaks for itself.

A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

Here is the evidence Capt. Kim. The mayor of Gangjeong village with other Jeju Islanders and their supporters yesterday protesting against the plan to blast Gureombi rock. You can't keep denying the growing international opposition to this Navy base! (See below for details about Capt. Kim)

  • I just finished an hour long radio interview with a station in Vermont. Longtime peace activist Joseph Gainza hosts the show and several folks called in. We talked a good while about Jeju Island and the Aegis destroyers (made here in Maine) that will be ported at this base. I asked listeners to call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC (202-939-5600). I just called myself and spoke to a very combative Capt. Kim who tried to tell me that the people of Gangjeong village support the Navy base and that U.S. warships will never port there. I told him I had just returned from a conference on Jeju Island where I heard the elected mayor of Gangjeong, the former governor of Jeju, and the head Catholic Bishop of Jeju all speak out in opposition to the base. Capt. Kim is full of lies and he is trying to blunt the opposition to the base. I concluded my conversation with him Korean-style (forceful with each other) and told him that their right-wing government's cover was blown - that people all over the world know that they have become military partners with their former imperial occupier (Japan) and the U.S. in a tragic and dangerous new strategy to surround China.
  • Evidence that people all over the world are becoming aware of this is the work of many dedicated activists who are pushing hard to share information about Jeju Island. Just a couple examples are the emails I saw this morning from Australia, Japan, the UK and Guam where they are also organizing on behalf of the villagers. Below is a remarkable email I received this morning from GN board member Agneta Norberg who lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She was one of those arrested with us last week when she nimbly moved her 75-year old body under the razor wire on Gureombi rock.
It is amazing what kind of reaction it has been since I returned to Sweden from Jeju. First, the newspaper in the county were I was born, up in the North, a rather prestigious liberal paper gave me a whole page today. With photo and correct text. Now the national radio called and a very popular journalist will visit me and make a portrait of who I am and what brought me to Jeju and he asked me specifically to give a frame why people are resisting there. So it is worth getting arrested. But the result must be a large protest storm all over the world. I just wanted to give a small positive glimpse in the darkness.
- Agneta

Monday, March 05, 2012

WOO ON NAVY BASE

Angie Zelter (UK) remained behind in Gangjeong village after the GN conference was over. She is staying for one month.


  • The news this morning from Jeju Island is that Gov. Woo has asked for a temporary Navy base construction pause to determine whether the mythical "civilian" use will be compatible with the military use. In other words - Gov. Woo is getting intense pressure from inside South Korea and from around the world. Remember Jeju Island is a world class tourist destination. Who wants to go on vacation and see the what the military has done to the environment? The Chinese provided one-half of Jeju's tourists this past year. You'd hope the Chinese government has the good sense to have someone in their tourism bureau make a call to the Jeju tourism agency and suggest that a Navy based aimed at China might be an impediment to further economic cooperation. Just a thought....... Please send Gov. Woo a note and tell him how you feel about the base: jejumaster@jeju.go.kr
  • I'm having to pick up my pace on some other priorities during this week. We sent a letter to be printed today that will go out to our snail mail list hopefully by the end of the week. Having begun my organizing career in the days when we talked on the phone and did mailings, I still believe in keeping in touch with our members in the old fashioned ways. The letter updates people on our recent trips to Hawaii and South Korea and lays out my work plan for the next couple of months. Included in that will be my 30-day speaking tour in April on the west coast from San Diego, Ca. to Seattle, Wa. and my trip to the mid-May protests at the NATO summit Obama will host in Chicago. Also on my plate now is the March 20 rally inside Maine's state capitol from 2:00-4:00 pm that will protest our tea-bag Gov. LePage's attacks on health care, the poor, the environment, labor, women, and education. The rally is being sponsored by Occupy Maine and the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home which I co-coordinate with Lisa Savage.
  • Yang Yoon-Mo is on his 27th day of hunger striking from inside the Jeju prison. I started my week-long solidarity fast two days ago and have been contacted by the following folks saying they will also fast in solidarity with Yang during the coming week(s).
Robert Shetterly (Maine)
Tom Kircher (Maine)
Tamara Lorincz (Novia Scotia, Canada)
George McAnanama (New York City)
Margie Warner (Winnipeg, Canada)
Judith Hicks (Colorado)
Russell Wray (Maine)
Dr. Ron Saff (Florida)
Kay Warren (Washington)
Dennis Apel (California)
Megan Rice (Nevada)
Lindis Percy (England)
Boryana Tacconi (Massachusetts)
Katherine Muzik, Ph.D. (Hawaii)
Marylia Kelley (California)
Natasha Mayers (Maine)
Molly Willcox (Maine)
Wilbert Eastman (Ohio)
Dud Hendrick (Maine)
Jennifer Doering (Washington)

CYBER ATTACK



CBS-TV 60 Minutes program on cyber warfare.

The Pentagon is pumping the money into their new Cyber Command. They've been scaring the hell out of the public about this "threat".

The U.S. - NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999 was a trial run for the work of cyber "warriors". They essentially crawled into Yugoslavia's air defense system computers and shut down their ability to defend themselves before the NATO attack. Since then the technology has been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and more.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

SHUT DOWN NATO



NATO, the world's biggest war machine, has evolved from a defensive to an aggressive alliance.

NATO adds fuel to the fire. Under the pretext of 'Responsibility to Protect', NATO attacked Libya to force a profitable regime change. This intervention escalated the conflict and caused thousands of casualties. The arms industry applauds. NATO's intervention in Afghanistan leaves the country in tatters and on the brink of a civil war, thousands have been killed. After a long-drawn-out war, the alliance reduces troop levels but plans for continued military presence, although military leaders admit that they have reached no tangible results so far.

While hopes are high for nuclear disarmament, NATO still deploys nuclear weapons in five European countries, jeopardizing disarmament processes and encouraging other countries to arm themselves. In times of austerity and drastic cuts to social spending, NATO members invest millions in missile defense and military power against imaginary threats.

A select club of 28 countries intervening worldwide to protect their own interests, in the possession of nuclear weapons and ready to use them first, form a threat to world peace.

Why an action day on April 1, 2012?

From May 20-21, 2012, the next NATO/G8 Summit will be held in Chicago. High on the agenda will be NATO's role as an instrument for military interventions all over the world, and the outcome of the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review (DDPR) currently being conducted within the alliance, defining the role of NATO's nuclear weapons.

A unified European action is needed well in advance, with a clear message to our European governments: NATO's tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are anachronistic, useless, illegal according to International Humanitarian Law, and counterproductive to the non-proliferation process. Military threats and interventions aggravate conflicts rather than resolve them.

Therefore, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix will organise a non-violent direct action day on April 1st at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Read more here

NATIONAL SECURITY LAWS

A bill, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, passed on Feb 27 in the U.S. House of Representatives (by margin of 388-3) and has passed in the Senate (Unanimous Consent. A record of each senator’s position was not kept). The new law would make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by lengthy terms of incarceration—to participate in many forms of protest associated with the Occupy Wall Street protests of last year.

Several commentators have dubbed it the “anti-Occupy” law, but its implications are far broader.The bill makes it a federal offense “to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.”

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.

In South Korea they have the antiquated "National Security Law" that was created by the Japanese Imperial Army during their 35-year occupation of Korea from 1910-1945. The law still essentially remains in place today and has been used by a series of right-wing governments to suppress the peace and reconciliation movement in South Korea since 1945. At the time of the end of WW II the U.S. put Koreans in power who had collaborated with Japanese imperialism and these elements largely remain in power to the present.

We are now seeing the equivalent of these steps into fascism here in the U.S. The Patriot Act and now these more recent chilling and outrageous laws that extend the powers of the state to control dissent are reminders of the coming ugly tide. Both the Republicans and Democrats are complicit in passing these "laws".

I've learned from the South Koreans that you must keep standing strongly against these dark forces and laws - never backing down from protecting our rights. It won't be easy to face this coming harsh tide. Our unity during this time is more important than ever. It is time to put aside personal agendas and ambitions and work across organizational lines in a determined way more than ever. The future of peace, environmental sustainability, social progress and democracy depend on it.

See the House of Representatives votes on this most recent bill here

GLOBAL CRIMINAL SYNDICATE



The CIA is the secret criminal arm of corporate globalization and the military industrial complex.

This video covers a few of the lowlights of CIA history.

You know they are doing the same things these days.....

"The CIA is a state-sponsored terrorists association. You don't look at people as human beings. They are nothing but pieces on the chessboard."

- Verne Lyon, former CIA agent in revealing documentary "Secrets of the CIA"

FROM THIS TO THIS


Which view do you like? Which vision of the future do you support?

Below Sung-Hee Choi brings us the latest twists from Jeju Island. Things are moving swiftly. You see the internal debate raging in South Korea. Please know that what we each do in our own community to support the villagers on Jeju Island will have some impact.

Sung-Hee Choi writes:

On the matter on the blast of the Gureombi, the Island provincial council would have an emergency general informal gathering at 11am on March 5. Three National Assembly men based on Jeju Island warned the Lee government. The Jeju regional branch of the Democratic Unity Party warned the possibility of the 2nd Yongsan tragedy, as well.

Upon the navy’s plan on the enforcement on the blast of the Gureombi, the Island council members and Jeju-based National Assembly men are all together denouncing the central government.

1. Oh Choong-Jin, chairman of the Jeju Island Council said in his interview with the Headline Jeju that “In the government measure this time, the opinion of the Jeju was harshly cut. The central government declaration on the enforcement of construction (destruction) is very disdaining of the Island people. In our meeting, we would seek for our own measures and would strongly urge the government to stop construction as the Island governor has rights to stop it.”

If the members of Saenuri Party (Former Grand National Party, the ruling party) are passive or express their opposition on such move, confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties are expected. Currently in the Jeju Island Council, the numbers of the ruling party members are smaller.)

2. Kang Chang-Il, Kim Woo-Nam, and Kim Jae-Yoon, three members of the Jeju-based National Assembly (All are members of the Democratic Unity Party) warned the central government in their joint statement, saying that, “If the Gureombi Rock is blasted , bigger disaster will come. The Seogwipo Police Station should not approve the navy’s blast on the Gureombi Rock.”

“The navy has re-applied for the blast of the Gureombi Rock to the Seogwipo Police Station, riding on the Lee government’s drastic measure. It is told that the matter has already been decided in the ‘secret meeting’ by the related offices of the Prime Minister Office, excluded of the Jeju Island. The Lee Myung-Bak government is showing an attitude of through ignorance on communication, full of arrogance and self-righteousness in its drive for the Jeju naval base.’

“How much more pain the Lee government is to inscribe into the Island people, by its enforcing of the construction masking the naval base as a ‘civilian-military combined port of call,’ ignoring the opinion of the National Assembly and villagers? How many people in the Gangjeong village should be arrested, taken away and imprisoned under the charge of obstruction of business for the government to pay attention to the voice of the Island people?”

“The Jeju Island and all the Island people have constantly demanded the central government to stop the enforcement on the naval base project and to form the objective and neutral verification committee on the layout. The police should never approve the navy’s blast of the Gureombi Rock.” ”

3. The Jeju branch of the Democratic Unity Party demanded the navy and its contracted companies to immediately stop their attempt to blast the Gureombi in their emergent statement on March 3.

The Democratic Unity party members said,

“In case of the blast on the Gureombi rock, the Gangjeong matter could bring an unexpected results and further concern on the possibility of the 2nd Yongsan tragedy has been raised. (The Samsung and Daelim companies who are leading the base construction, both were involved in the 2nd Yongsan tragedy in January, 2009. At the time five men resisting against forceful eviction were killed by the SWAT teams. These corporations were bulldozing entire neighbhorhoods and building high rise building that they would control.)

“The fact that the National Assembly has cut most of this year’s [base construction] budget with the agreement by the ruling and opposition parties is because the National Assembly has publicly acknowledged the problems of the currently driven Jeju naval base business. If the Lee Myung-Bak government is to drive the business despite that, it is a behavior thoroughly ignoring the National Assembly, the representative institute of the People.”

“In the condition when the ‘continuous business,’ is not guaranteed even though the construction including the blast of the Gureombi is enforced, it may remain disgrace of the totally unreliable national business that remains only a serious wound.”

“ The Jeju Island having publicly announced that the justification on the business has been in fact damaged though it is a national policy, has to make all the efforts to stop the blast of the Gureombi as a manager on the public water and its adjacent surface.”

SUNDAY SONG