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, April 07, 2012

CATCHING UP

Long-time GN board member Carol Urner turned up last night in Anaheim

J. Narayana Rao (center) is touring India to spread word about space issues

  • As I am doing my speaking tour of the west coast, I just got an email from Global Network board member J. Narayana Rao (Nagpur) who is again touring India on our behalf. Rao reports he is 3,000 miles from home having reached the northeast state of Mizoram which borders Bangladesh and Burma. Rao has been non-stop in his efforts to reach out to college and university students around his country about India's growing role as a junior partner in the U.S. Space Command plan to surround China with "missile defense" systems. He usually finds that virtually none of the students know anything about space issues. He is planning an international conference on Nov 30 - Dec 2 and several Global Network board members will be attending as speakers. Rao is a retired railway worker and lives on a very meager pension. His commitment and dedication is amazing.
  • I am now on the train from Anaheim to Ventura. I spoke last night at the Unitarian church in Anaheim. Mansoor Sabbagh (his video interview with me is posted below on the blog) came again last night to film my talk. He also videoed my talk in Santa Monica a couple nights ago and has turned it into an audio file which he shared nationally with the Pacifica Radio network.
  • Yesterday morning Randy and Cris got me up early and we made our way to downtown Los Angeles where I spoke at the monthly meeting of the group called Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace. Before the meeting began I went out onto Wilshire Blvd to find a cup of tea and discovered the South Korean consulate was only one block away from the church where we met. During my presentation, while talking about Jeju Island, I suggested that they might consider holding their monthly vigil (which they do after each meeting) at the consulate in support of those protesting against the Navy base. I got a great response from the folks after my talk. Several people showed up that had heard me on one of the three recent KPFK radio interviews. It's been that way at virtually all the talks I've done.
  • GN board member Carol Urner (WILPF) showed up at my talk in Anaheim last night. She got a ride from her community with a woman who attended my talk in north San Diego county a few nights ago. Carol has been a dedicated campaigner on the space issue for many years and it was great to see her.
  • When our train arrived in Los Angeles this morning Randy got off and wished me well during the remaining three weeks of my trip. He and his partner Cris did a fabulous job of organizing my week of speaking events in Southern California. Last night Randy and I stayed at a hotel in Anaheim close to the Amtrak station. We did a review of the week and my evaluation was that the tremendous amount of radio coverage, that took our message to thousands of people throughout the region, was the best I'd ever experienced while touring. How could I not be thrilled with that?
  • One bonus from the radio during the past week was that some listeners contacted the popular nationally syndicated Gary Null show and suggested he interview me as well. So his staff called and they have scheduled me for April 13 at 9:30 am (PST). Null's show started out as a nutrition and health program but his message has gotten broader as he has increasingly become more radical. This will be a great break for the Global Network.

Friday, April 06, 2012

U.S. TRAINS IRANIAN TERRORISTS


Our Men in Iran?

The New Yorker
By Seymour M. Hersh

From the air, the terrain of the Department of Energy’s Nevada National Security Site, with its arid high plains and remote mountain peaks, has the look of northwest Iran. The site, some sixty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas, was once used for nuclear testing, and now includes a counterintelligence training facility and a private airport capable of handling Boeing 737 aircraft. It’s a restricted area, and inhospitable—in certain sections, the curious are warned that the site’s security personnel are authorized to use deadly force, if necessary, against intruders.

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. The M.E.K. had its beginnings as a Marxist-Islamist student-led group and, in the nineteen-seventies, it was linked to the assassination of six American citizens. It was initially part of the broad-based revolution that led to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran. But, within a few years, the group was waging a bloody internal war with the ruling clerics, and, in 1997, it was listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. In 2002, the M.E.K. earned some international credibility by publicly revealing—accurately—that Iran had begun enriching uranium at a secret underground location. Mohamed ElBaradei, who at the time was the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring agency, told me later that he had been informed that the information was supplied by the Mossad. The M.E.K.’s ties with Western intelligence deepened after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2003, and JSOC began operating inside Iran in an effort to substantiate the Bush Administration’s fears that Iran was building the bomb at one or more secret underground locations. Funds were covertly passed to a number of dissident organizations, for intelligence collection and, ultimately, for anti-regime terrorist activities. Directly, or indirectly, the M.E.K. ended up with resources like arms and intelligence. Some American-supported covert operations continue in Iran today, according to past and present intelligence officials and military consultants.

Read full story here

FATHER MOON SEVERELY INJURED

Father Moon (on the left) badly hurt when police push him from tetrapod


Paco Booyah writes from Jeju Island:

As you all know, today [April 6] we here in Gangjeong have suffered a huge shock. Finally we see the result of the over aggressive and illegal actions of the police. Father Moon was almost murdered. It is a miracle that he is still alive.

Today is Good Friday according to the Christian calendar. Because of this, at 11 a.m., the ocean team, the catholic fathers, other catholics, and other activists joined together to perform the "Stations of the Cross" traditional catholic ceremony. This ceremony involves 14 "stations" marking the last moments of Jesus' life before his death. We adapted it and made 14 stations all around the edge of the destruction site. At each stop the Fathers led us in prayer and short meditations related to Jesus death and also to our struggle here. We began at the Naval Base Office gate and ended on the west pier of Gangjeong Port. It was a very beautiful and moving time.

During the final station, #14, an activist went down the huge concrete tetrapods to the water to swim. This area is a public area and none our actions were even close to illegal. As the activist attempted to enter the water, a coast guard officer very aggressively chased him, despite both of them being on the dangerous tetrapods. This scared and angered many of the people attending the mass, and several people walked out onto the tetrapods to see, and also to ask the coast guard officer to be more careful.

When this happened, another coast guard officer came and also began acting very aggressively, trying to illegally block our access to the public area of the tetrapods and the surrounding water. As the coast guard officer tried to block another swimmer from going down to water, Father Moon, tried to help the swimmer and block the coast guard officer. Shockingly the officer was very aggressive even though they were both dangerously at the top of the tetrapod pile (and he was a young man, while Father Moon is elderly and walks with a cane). Many people called for the officer to be reasonable and careful and that Father Moon could fall down. As they struggled, suddenly the coast guard officer accidentally caused Father Moon to lose his balance and fall.

The next moments were a terrible shocking nightmare to all of us watching. The young coast guard officer regained his balance but Father Moon could not and fell into a huge hole between the tetrapods. As he dropped around 5 meters, his body bounced off the tetrapods below three times, before he landed at the bottom. All of us were totally shocked at this horror that had happened for absolutely no reason, and many of us thought that Father Moon was dead. Although several people went down to him, it was very deep and we were afraid to move him in case of spinal injuries.

Finally, the 119 (Korean Emergency Rescue) came and after around 30 minutes lifted him out. He was taken to a hospital in Seogwipo for tests and treatment. He has been conscious this whole time. Very, very happily, he did not die. As has been reported, according to initial tests and scans he has broken 4 vertebrae in his back and also broken one of his hands. Also he will need to stay at least 6 months in the hospital to recover. He has been moved to Jeju University Hospital in Jeju City. We are still waiting for the final report about his condition after a complete medical exam, but its seems that he didn't hit his head. Of course he is very weak and shocked and in a lot of pain. When we met him, he asked about Brother Song and when he heard that Brother Song has developed a ringing in his ear because of police violence, he cried. We are all in a state of shock here.

Finally to add to our shock and sadness, the coast guard has decided that our lives are not important and that they are going to lie to cover their mistake. They are claiming that Father Moon pushed the coast guard officer and then the officer didn't touch him and he fell on his own, losing his balance because of the push. Of course, in the moments after it happened, you could see very clearly in the face of the officer that he knew he had made a huge mistake. And even if this story were true, why was he even there and why was he aggressively blocking us from a public area? But now the police are going to lie to cover it all up! Are they really human? Have they no sympathy for suffering? Do they not care about human life? Unbelievably shameful.

Please pray for Father Moon. Please pray for all of us here. And please pray for the hearts of the coast guard, that they will not lie about what they have done.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

DRONES 'R' US



Nick Mottern, journalist and director of KnowDrones.com, displays a replica of a "Reaper" drone and has sidewalk conversations about drone warfare outside New York's Museum of Modern Art.

DAY OFF


I have the day off today in Santa Monica although it began with a 5:30 am radio interview on KPFK for half an hour. I've now done three interviews in recent days on this landmark progressive station that is part of the Pacifica radio network. I'm told that the three shows I was on are among the most popular at the station.

It seemed like half the crowd that attended the jam packed meeting last night came after hearing me on the Lila Garrett show on KPFK. It was one of the most diverse meetings I've spoken to in many years. The library meeting room was full and people were standing outside the door. There were a huge number of questions and after we got thrown out of the library because it had to close people surrounded me on the sidewalk for another half an hour asking more.

Earlier in the day Randy took me to the Los Angeles Catholic Worker House where I spoke to the staff and volunteers. I focused on Jeju Island since I thought they'd appreciate hearing about the extraordinary participation of priests and nuns in the protests there. They also had many questions about my own personal story. Stayed for lunch of tortillas and beans which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So I have an easy afternoon and evening ahead of me. Right now I am in a local coffee shop picking up their Wifi connection. Later today I will have dinner with an Iraq veteran that someone suggested I meet.

Early tomorrow (7:30 am) I go into downtown Los Angeles to speak to the Interfaith Communities United for Peace & Justice at their monthly meeting (Immanuel Presbyterian Church). Then Randy and I will take a bus to Anaheim where I speak at the Unitarian Church at 7:00 pm.

I shipped newsletters and books to various local hosts along the 24-city speaking tour route. I've already run out of books here in Los Angeles. People should know that they can order my book online by using the green Donate Now button on our web site. The cost is $15 (includes s/h) and just specify that you want my book and we'll send it right away.

TAKING IT TO SAMSUNG



Taking it to Samsung's front door.....human chain around Samsung construction HQ in Seoul yesterday......

We heard from a friend who just bought a new cell phone. He told MB that he made sure not to buy a Samsung product.

Boycott Samsung....No Navy base on Jeju!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

CUT THE CARDS

Priests cut Samsung credit card in half during mass at Navy base destruction gate

  • Last night in Santa Monica students from the community college tried to speak with the board of trustees who are preparing to privatize the public institution but they were pepper sprayed and a couple of them were taken to the hospital. The students were demanding that the college trustees move their meeting to a bigger room that would allow students to attend the meeting. The trustees refused and held their meeting in a small room that would not accommodate more than a couple students. When a large group of students tried to enter the room police hit them with the pepper spray. The trustees are planning to increase tuition by 300% for the most popular classes which will create a two-tiered system that will allow only those students with more resources to be able to get the best education. Randy's partner Cris Guiterrez was there with the students last night and was shaken by the experience.
  • Working Assets is a progressive telephone and credit card company that donates some of its profit to organizations doing good work. But they run their credit card through the Bank of America. Recently MB and I cut our Working Assets credit cards in half and cancelled our membership with them in protest of their association with Bank of America. It's good to see that in South Korea the movement against Samsung is growing. Samsung not only makes electronics but they also are a huge construction corporation and have many other business operations. Cut the cards from these bad corporations!
  • Yesterday while cruising the San Diego harbor we learned that the Navy has named a big supply ship after Cesar Chavez and another after civil rights legend Medger Evers. Totally disgusting!
  • Today is the day 44 years ago that MLK was killed. We all need to stay committed to his vision of a world without war and with justice for all.

GAGNON INTERVIEW



Interview done with Mansoor Sabbagh while in Santa Monica last Sunday. He works for Global Voices for Justice.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

SAN DIEGO NAVAL HARBOR

I was taken on a two-hour boat tour today of San Diego harbor by Carol Jahnkow who has worked at the Peace Resource Center in this community for the past 30 years. I spoke at an event they hosted last night.

On the harbor tour we saw Aegis destroyers, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, helicopters and war planes. This San Diego Naval yard is huge and you can just imagine the ecological damage that has been done by the dredging of the bay over the years and from the accumulation of various toxins that come from munitions, refueling, paint, nuclear releases and more.

As we rode the harbor tour boat I couldn't help but think of Jeju Island and the damage that is being done to that pristine environmental jewel. The thought that the Navy ships from San Diego would likely be docking there was more than sad. We've got to stop that base from being completed. Boycott Samsung.

It's been fun to spend the day with another experienced organizer who has spent the last 30 years working on many of the same wars and issues that I have organized around - except we were both on opposite sides of the country. We picked each others brain all afternoon.

Tonight I speak again in San Diego County - this time in Oceanside on the north end. In the morning Randy Ziglar and I head back to Los Angeles on the train for a noon meeting at the Catholic Worker House and then an evening talk at the Santa Monica library.

My speaking tour is off to a good start.

CALDICOTT: TIME TO OCCUPY YOUR CONGRESS & PENTAGON

ANOTHER LONG DAY IN GANGJEONG



Gangjeong 4-3 (April 3) long day Struggle. Pastors entered the military construction site breaking through the fence in the early morning, five pastors were arrested. . .Catholic tent was demolished by police. . . Veterans (victims of Agent Orange during Vietnam war) hold pro-base rally. . .Candlelight vigil in Jeju city on 64th anniversary of April 3 massacre (under orders from U.S. military at least 30,000 Jeju citizens killed. . .Pastors still engaged in sit-in at the gate of naval base site.

Monday, April 02, 2012

TRAINS NOT WAR


  • I am on an Amtrak train heading south from Los Angeles to San Diego. This morning at 7:00 am one of my (three) interviews played on KPFK radio. The show was heard from San Diego to Ventura which is a huge listening area. David Swanson followed me on the Lila Garrett show. I have to say it was one of the best radio interviews I have ever done - Lila is a real pro and was prepared. She guided me through the interview like few others have done. You can listen by clicking on the April 2 download here
  • I told people that they could find my entire speaking schedule here on the blog. When I got on the train I checked the blog hits counter and found that already today 900 people had visited which means that there was a pretty nice response from the radio show. (I only had 300 hits on Sunday.)
  • Yesterday I did a half hour video interview while in Santa Monica and it should be put up on the Internet fairly soon. I'll post it here ASAP.
  • In my talks I will suggest that the peace movement needs to make a positive transformative demand. We are always saying NO to endless war and wasteful military spending. What is our yes? Studies show that while we do get 8,600 jobs for every billion dollars we put into military production, we'd get 19,675 jobs per billion $$ if we invested our tax dollars building a national rail system. The obvious side benefit would be that we wouldn't have to keep going to war for oil to fill the tanks of our gas guzzling cars. Help us put some elbow grease behind this demand - trains not war!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

SUNDAY SONG



Anti-NATO conference and protests planned in Chicago May 18-20. I'll be there.



WEST COAST SPEAKING TOUR SCHEDULE


West coast speaking tour begins April 2 in San Diego. Below is my full schedule. I expect to try to weave many issues into my talks. Most of my presentations will come under the title of The Deadly Connection—Endless War and the Ecological, Economic Crisis.

  • April 1 Los Angeles, CA (Overall L.A. coordinator) Randy Ziglar 310-452-0362 & Cris 424-214-8096

  • April 2 San Diego Mariah Gayler 619-263-9301 Brethren Peace Campus, 3850 Westgate Place, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

  • April 3 Oceanside Oceanside Public Library Community Room, 330 N. Coast Highway, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Carol Jahnkow 619-263-9301

  • April 4 Los Angeles L.A. Catholic Worker House, 10:30 am

  • April 4 Santa Monica Ocean Park Library, Community Room, 601 Main Street, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

  • April 5 Santa Monica Day off

  • April 6 – Los Angeles Andy Griggs (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace) 7:00 am 310-704-3217 Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd. LA (Entrance on Berendo)

  • April 6 – Anaheim Unitarian Church in Orange County, 511 South Harbor Blvd at 6:45 pm Randy Ziglar; Ruth Shapin 714-633-0922

  • April 7 – Ventura Cindy Piester (VFP) 805-407-7997 Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., 3:00 pm talk (TV interview also)

  • April 8 – Ventura

  • April 9 – San Luis Obispo Henriette Groot 805-602-1539 San Luis Obispo Library Community Room, 995 Palm Street at 7:00 pm

  • April 10 – Berkeley Vic Sadot (UU Fellowship Hall) 7:00 pm 302-607-1884 Fellowship: 510-841-4824

  • April 11 – Sacramento Winnie (Peace Action) 916-448-7157 cell 916-599-6635 and Riad Bahhur 916-650-2738 & cell is 916-471-8721

- Sacramento City College on Wednesday 3:00 - 4:20 pm
- Peace Action Sacramento, Community room at Colonial Heights Library, 4799 Stockton Blvd, 7:00 pm
  • April 12 – Santa Rosa Santa Rosa Junior College, 7:00 pm Lynda Williams 415-350-8418, 415-350-8418
- KAOS Radio interview 12:30 pm
  • April 13 - Santa Rosa Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County (467 Sebastopol Ave), 6:00 pm Susan Lamont 707-575-8902

  • April 14 – Boonville Barbara & John Lewallen 707-895-2996 Lauren’s Restaurant Noon, 12:00-3:30 pm

  • April 15 – Garberville John Haynes Memorial Veterans Hall, Conger & Locust St, 7:00 pm Fredy Champagne (VFP) 707-599-5378

  • April 16 – Day off

  • April 17 – Eugene, OR Gordon Sturrock (Squadron 13) 541-729-7760, Ninkasi Brewery Patio, 7:00 pm
  • April 18 – Corvallis Linda Richards 541-740-3341 Oregon State Univ. Linus Pauling Science Center, Room 125, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

  • April 19 – Hood River Corie Lahr 909-215-4682 Riverside Community Church, 7:00 pm

  • April 20 – Portland Tom Hastings (503-327-8250, Whitefeather House) and Celeste Howard (503-648-7759 cell 503-946-6266), First Unitarian Church, 6:30 pm, Fuller Hall

  • April 21 – Hillsboro UU Community Church 10:00 – 2:00 pm Talk, potluck, conversation hour (Celeste Howard); and Forest Grove Pacific University, Taylor Auditorium, 7:30 pm Trelaine Ito (World Awareness Council) ito7221@pacificu.edu

  • April 22 – Beaverton Southminster Presbyterian Church, 11:45 am – 1:30 pm Mark Mullins (503-648-0411); Portland Community Media interview with David Delk (Alliance for Democracy) public access cable TV, 2 – 3 pm (503-232-5495) -

  • April 23 – Olympia, WA Holly Gwinn Graham 360-866-0257 and Tim Russell (SPSCC & media)

  • April 24 – Olympia Traditions Cafe, 6:30 pm, 300 5th Avenue Southwest

  • April 25 – Walla Walla Whitman College, Olin Hall Room 130, 7:00 pm Jennifer Doering cell: (858) 945-2813

  • April 26 - Bellingham 4:00 PM classroom presentation at Western Washington University (Arntzen Hall) and an evening event at Mt Baker Theatre's Encore Room at 7:00 PM, Gene Marx (VFP) 253-653-4423

  • April 27 – Bellingham 7:00 PM, Mt. Baker Theatre's Encore Room, 104 North Commercial Street, Gene Marx, 253-653-4423

  • April 28 – Seattle Leonard Eiger/Tom Shea 425-445-2190 and Rebecca Wolfe (UNA) 425-774-6546 (Mike McCormick KEXP radio Seattle, 7:15-8:00 a.m)

  • April 28 Redmond Soul Food Books, 15748 Redmond Way, Talk at 1:00 pm

  • April 29 – Seattle 4:00 pm, main Seattle speaking engagement at University Temple United Methodist Church

  • April 30 – Tacoma 12:30 – 1:30 pm, University of Washington, Tacoma, Carwein Auditorium, 1551 Broadway, Crawford, crawford@u.washington.edu

DEMOCRACY SCHOOL



A direct democracy experience....a civic seminar

Occupy Wall Street folks are now looking at this work as a way to renew the movement.

Another way to extirpate the unhealthy corporate binds.


See more here

IT IS SPREADING


Cops try to prevent activists from putting kayaks in water to get to Gureombi


  • I got to Santa Monica last night after uneventful two flights. Took nearly one-hour to get my bags at baggage claim which is clear indication that the airlines are cutting back on workers and forcing people to do the work of those who have been laid off. Staying with Randy and Cris who are already briefing me on anti-corporate organizing happening here. They are working on passing a local ordinance called Rights Based Organizing which would (1) Reassert our inherent human and democratic rights (2) Establish the rights of nature (3) Subordinate corporate interests. I tape a video interview later this afternoon.
  • About 500 union activists marched in Gangjeong village yesterday on Jeju Island and police met them with pepper spray. About 30 of them finally made it to Gureombi rock by swimming and kayak. Several got over the razor wire. Eight were arrested blocking a police bus. Brother Song got badly hurt when cops dragged him from Gureombi and beat on him. Cut him up and damaged his teeth. He was arrested and taken to hospital. See latest Gangjeong village newsletter here
  • On Friday night former Army Col. Ann Wright (now a leading peace activist) spoke about Jeju Island in Berkely, CA. and the folks there came up with the following action plan:

  • Until Samsung immediately ceases construction of this naval base, and until Samsung immediately and completely funds reparations to the women and their families in order for them to attempt restoration of the destruction Samsung has already caused, we call for a nation-wide womencott of Samsung and its subsidiaries to include the following:

    1) May 2nd: National day of SMASHING SAMSUNG: gather all your Samsung products and bring to the Korean Consulate. Simulate 4 story concrete caissons smashing thru this pile of products in front of the Korean Consulate.

    2) SAMSUNG FREE ZONE: approach your city council to pass a resolution banning Samsung & subsidiaries products in your town

    3) NO FUNDING MILITARY BASE on Jeju Island: approach your congresspeople to write and co-sponsor a bill withdrawing all U.S. monies from South Korea for this base.

    4) WOMENCOTT SAMSUNG: spend three hours a week at your local electronics store, holding up banners, handing out flyers, encourage potential customers to never buy Samsung, and approaching the store to remove Samsung products from their shelves.

    5) WHERE in the WORLD is JEJU ISLAND? Symposiums, house parties, teach-ins: commit to helping to spread the word by hosting an event of your families, friends, co-workers, allies.

    6) PLEDGE: I pledge to womencott Samsung and its subsidiaries until they totally cease destroying Jeju Island and pay reparations to the people.

    INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WOMENCOTT OLYMPICS: The summer Olympics this July in London will give us “golden opportunities” to womencott Samsung if they are still persisting in destroying Jeju Island. Get your passport updated NOW!

    For more info contact Xan Sam Joi mzsamcodepink@yahoo.com