Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, June 16, 2012

HUMANITARIAN DRONE STRIKES?



This is quite a story....gives you an idea what kind of folks have been working at Newsweek magazine.  Be careful what you read.

Friday, June 15, 2012

GERMAN BLOCKUPY ACTION





Big action in Frankfurt last month.  Good interview in the video below.

VILLAGERS BLOCK HEARING ON JEJU


Sung-Hee Choi reports on Gangjeong villagers blocking a Navy "public hearing" about building housing for military personnel on June 15:
In an absolute opposition to the Navy’s military housing project, the villagers occupied the Navy’s hearing for the 2nd time. The Navy could NEVER process the hearing. Still the Navy attempted to enforce hearing with a sudden RAID of ‘RECORDED VOICE,’ which was absolutely and fiercely protested by the villagers. The Jeju media reporters say that the hearing was ‘crept.’

The Jeju Sori even used the phrase such as, ‘approaching the climax’ in its article title to describe Navy’s such incredibly naked fraud behavior that has been in fact nothing new since they sneaked like thieves into the Gangjeong village in 2007 and bribed a few villagers and made a false propaganda through TV broadcasting that the villagers were in favor of naval base. [In a secret election villagers voted 94% to oppose the Navy base several years ago.] The use of ‘recorder’ for 20 minutes in the small locked studio room in the back side of hearing stage was a way for the Navy to evade furious people’s protest and to fake the fact as if the hearing was done on June 15 will remain one of the most scandalous and shameful traces throughout the South Korean military history.

The villagers having succeeded to completely dissipate the Navy’s hearing on May 29, gathered in more numbers this time when the Navy attempted the 2nd hearing in the same place of the Kim Jung Cultural Hall which is about 10 minute car distance from the village. The hearing was specifically focused on the draft on the prior environmental review for the military housing project.

About 200 villagers and peace activists gathered even before the start of hearing at 5:00 pm, in resolute spirit to end Navy’s such bald-faced behavior to forcefully drive the project.

As soon as people saw the Naval base project committee personnel and workers of their contacted companies, they were in great fury. Civilian-costumed policemen and a few villagers who are in favor of Naval base also were shown.

Navy’s holding a hearing in the place that is not in the village was already infuriating thing. If they are honesty and dignified, why they cannot hold a hearing in the village? 
The Navy had even a banner that read, “Who would be responsible for a village elementary school being disappeared when students are 80 among 1,900 Gangjeong villagers?” It was to threaten the villagers, meaning that the villagers can only sustain their home town by accepting more populations of at least 616 households of military family members.

Does the navy conspire to make the small village with the military-friendly electorates? The banner was soon taken down by the furious villagers.

Mass protest began when the contracted companies’ workers began to attempt to distribute propaganda materials. Villagers furiously tore glossed papers of them full of sumptuous colors and false rhetoric; and threw down them on the floor in front of the two Navy officers who don’t seem to recognize their wrongdoings of stealing villagers’ hometown. One of two was a lieutenant commander Jung who had been detected to secretly hang a banner in the village last year, which was to falsely impute the protesters as pro-north leftist.

It even appeared that the Navy side (policemen?) stealthily took photos of the protesting people from the locked studio, which provoked villagers. Mayor Kang and villagers demanded a police intelligence officer to identify the men inside but the police officer rejected it. People blocked the window of the studio with banners. 
Further preposterous thing happened around 5:10 pm. People were shocked by the sudden recorded voice heard in the hall, that the hearing started. Of course, people protested demanding to stop it.

Infuriated Mayor Kang heightened his voice, “This is the Navy’s another fraud. What on earth hearing being done by recorded broadcasting! The men inside the close studio should show up themselves!”

The recorded voice (talking on the purpose and content of hearing) went on for about 20 minutes and the Navy officers withdrew from the hearing hall around 5:30 pm as people’s protest became stronger. People were more infuriated by their attitudes to attempt to evade the site without proper explanation on recorded voice. People surrounded them and fierily protested to them: “It is totally betraying of villagers!”

The Navy left out the hall around 5:45pm. People followed them to their car and continuously protested them.

Mayor Kang said, “We the villagers have made an agreement that we absolutely oppose the military residence in our village. We will never allow it!”

It is expected that the Navy would still enforce the project as it asserts that the hearing ‘has been done.’ Can you believe? It plans to finish the housing project by 2015 when the base is planned to be complete. In more detail, after today, it plans to work on the document on prior environment review, to complete the work-ordering on it in August through consultation with the Ministry of Environment next month and to start on environment impact assessment on the other hand. If the Ministry of National Defense approves the project in October, it will begin to purchase lands from November.

However, if it enforces the project, big controversy on scandalous procedure matter will surely arise. The Navy should remember that there were about 200 witnesses of people today, who clearly remember ‘recorded fraud,’ OPERATED by the Navy.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SYRIA?


Between Imperialism and Repression

by Sami Ramadani, Samuel Grove

See full interview at New Left Project

See article on Pentagon planning for Syria invasion here

Sami Ramadani is a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University and has been an active participant in campaign's against Saddam's regime and anti-imperialist struggles for many years. In an in-depth interview, he spoke to Samuel Grove about the dynamics of the conflict in Syria, arguing that democratic resistance to Assad's brutal regime has been eclipsed by reactionary forces, backed by Western and Gulf states, with potentially momentous implications for the Middle East.


Grove: The upheaval in Syria is an enormously difficult subject for Western outsiders to get a handle on. One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of different interests jostling for position and power, from both within and outside the country. Let us start with the regime itself. Can you give us a brief history of where the Al-Assad family came from and the direction they have taken the country since they came to power in 1970?

Ramadani: Following the magnificent peoples' uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, toppling two entrenched dictators, there developed a tendency not to closely examine the nature of the various forces competing for political power both within the opposition movements and the Arab regimes. Events in Libya and NATO's intervention there have alerted most people to the dangers of hijacking the peoples' struggle for freedom by reactionary forces. A brief look at the nature of the Syrian regime and its changing role in the region is crucial in trying to understand the current conflict and the reactionary forces' success in hijacking the people's struggle for radical change.

Syria has been run by a ruthless, corrupt regime. Syrian left activists have been on the receiving end of severe repression since Hafiz Assad's coup in 1970. It was after that coup that Henry Kissinger described Syria as "a factor for stability," despite Soviet military backing for the regime. Hafiz Assad's regime, funded by the Saudi medieval dictators, played a leading role in the 1970's and early 80's in weakening the Palestinian resistance.  During the 1975-6 civil war in Lebanon Syrian troops sided with pro-Israeli Phalange and other extreme right wing forces. The regime, in return for US promises over the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Saudi petro-dollars, also backed the 1991 US-led war over Kuwait.

The Syrian forces' presence in Lebanon had the full support of the US and Saudi rulers and the tacit support of Israel. It was only after Syria's gradual foreign policy shift and reversal of roles from enemies to allies of the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements that the US and Saudi rulers shifted their stance. They pursued an aggressive campaign to force a Syrian withdrawal (1985) from Lebanon, particularly after the 2003 occupation of Iraq. US forces even killed some Syrian soldiers on the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

The opposition to the Syrian regime was not confined to the left, but included the Moslem Brotherhood, who led a popular revolt in 1982 in their stronghold of Hama. The regime crushed the uprising by bombarding the City and killing thousands of people. Nevertheless, Arab nationalism has for a century or more been Syria's main ideological current, developed in the struggle against Ottoman rule and, much more deeply, against French colonial rule. Syria won its independence from France in 1946.

The Brotherhood today are backed by the Qatari and Saudi dictators, but the media rarely dwell on the irony of these dictators championing democracy in Syria while crushing any opposition to their rule and sending their troops to help crush the people's uprising in Bahrain.

In 1967 Syria was invaded and a strategic part of its territory, the Golan Heights, was occupied by Israel. Since then, successive regimes legitimised their rule partly by working for or at least appearing to be actively trying to liberate Syria from occupation. However, US promises of rewarding Syria by forcing Israel to pull out of the occupied lands came to nothing despite Syria's compliant policies.

Concurrently with the failure of the US to deliver on its promises, a number of factors changed Syria's role. These include the rise of Iran as a formidable anti-US anti-Israeli power, the Palestinian uprisings, the unstoppable rise of the Lebanese resistance, led by Hizbullah, leading to the liberation of southern Lebanon from occupation and defeat of Israeli-Saudi-US backed forces, the arrival of hostile US forces along Syria's borders with Iraq, and the rise of Iraqi resistance and defeat of US forces in Iraq.

The Syrian armed forces and security apparatus, with its multi-layer pyramids of informers, form the backbone of the regime's control over Syrian society. Much is made of the sectarian nature of the Syrian regime and its reliance on the Alawite communities. I think this is highly exaggerated and ignores the much wider circles of support that the regime has acquired, whether this support is active, passive or of the `better devil you know' type.

The powerful, mostly Sunni, merchant classes of Syria, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo, have close links with the regime. Indeed, the US-led economic sanctions are partly directed at this merchant class to force it to shift its stance. Sections of the middle and upper middle classes also tacitly support the regime. Syria's religious minorities, including Christians who form 10% of the population, are fearful of the Moslem Brotherhood's social and cultural agenda for Syria. They too would rather have the secular regime than a state dominated by a Saud-Qatari backed Brotherhood. Importantly, the Kurdish minority are also fearful of the influence of Turkey on the Muslim Brotherhood and the fact that the Syrian Free Army is headquartered in Turkey, which has a horrific record of killing over 20,000 Kurdish people in Turkey. Millions of women also fear the social programme of the Brotherhood.

In the context of the current conflict, the poor, the unemployed and students who were supportive of the initial, largely spontaneous protest movement are now much more reticent, partly due to regime repression but primarily because of their opposition to the NATO-Saudi-Qatari meddling and the militarisation of the sections of the opposition, particularly the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army which are dominated by the Brotherhood.

Grove: This puts us in a difficult situation. As left wing activists we support the rights of people to freedom, equality and self-determination. As activists based in the imperial centres we are opposed to the actions of our governments to deny people these rights. So our support for
freedom and equality and our opposition to imperialism tend to go hand in hand. However the picture you are depicting in Syria is tied to the implication that we cannot do both these. Is it possible to support Syria's democratic struggle AND oppose foreign intervention? Or is this a luxury we cannot afford?


Ramadani: You raise a very important question. Let me make it crystal clear: it is vital for the left to always oppose both imperialism and regimes that repress the masses. This is a matter of principle that should never be abandoned. Movements that abandoned one or other of these inseparable objectives have committed serious and sometimes fatal errors.

For me the complexity of the problem resolves itself in determining whether the people's struggle for civil rights and social emancipation are clearly directed against both domestic reaction/repression and imperialism. In Iraq and Libya yesterday and Syria today, imperialism has succeeded in exploiting the struggle for democracy and eclipsing the progressive opposition forces. The left has to face the facts and not sweep inconvenient developments under the carpet. Syria today has NATO-backed armed groups, led by Saudi/Qatari-funded reactionaries. Syria is a major target of US-led imperialism to install a client regime or, failing that objective, to plunge the country into a sectarian blood bath. The duty of the left in Britain is to firmly uphold and raise the banners high: "Hands off Syria", "don't Iraq Syria", "don't Iraq Iran", "It is for the Syrian people to determine their future"...

Grove: How do you see this conflict playing out? Do you see a victory for the reactionary forces as moving us closer to a war with Iran? Is there still a potential for revolutionary change in Syria?

Ramadani: Yes, I think that a victory for the Saudi and Qatari ruling classes, backed by the US, will be a major setback for the people in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and the entire region. It will plunge Syria and the entire region into a sectarian bloodbath, and will strengthen plans to attack Iran.

In an alarming move pointing to future developments, a major US-led military exercise is taking place in Jordan. 12,000 multinational forces from 20 NATO members and Arab states are taking part in Operation Eager Lion 2012, the first of its type in the region. US military sources do not hide the fact that the simulation of amphibious landings and other war manoeuvres were intended to be "noticed" by Syria and Iran.

Syria is of pivotal importance not only due to its historic role and strategic location but also because it is Iran's only ally in the region. Installing a pro-US regime in Damascus, or crippling Syria through severe sanctions, terrorist attacks and sectarian civil war will apply further pressure on Iran to either concede to US demands or be attacked.

I think that Iran's nuclear energy programme is not the major US concern, especially given that the CIA itself has admitted that there was no evidence that Iran was working on producing nuclear weapons. Iran is a formidable regional power, and one of the world's largest oil producers, which happens to be implacably opposed to US and Israeli policies. Its policies run counter to US plans and have created problems for the US in Afghanistan and Iraq and for Israeli policies in Palestine and Lebanon.

Following the uprisings, the Saudi and Qatari rulers are being encouraged by Washington to strengthen their influence in the Middle East by restoring their lost influence in Syria and Lebanon. In the latter, defeating Hizbullah (and its Christian and left and nationalist allies) is the main objective. They are trying to drag Hizbullah into another Lebanese civil war. Al-Jazeera and Arab states' media have been conducting a prolonged and intense racist and sectarian campaign against Iran, portraying it as the main enemy and
accusing Syria and Hizbullah of being stooges of Iran. [Ramadani talks much more about Al-Jazeera in the extended interview.]

This is not to argue that the counterrevolutionary onslaught will be successful. The people of Syria are overwhelmingly opposed to political and social change in their country that is funded and backed by the dictatorships of Riyadh and Doha. Women, most of whom enjoy vast social rights compared to Saudi women, ethnic and religious minorities and the democratic left in Syria are a formidable force against Saudi-Qatari-funded forces and are opposed to calls for NATO intervention. Militarisation of the conflict and resorting to terrorist attacks are signs of failure of the reactionary forces to gain mass support for their line. However, the struggle of the anti-imperialist left and other democratic forces in Syria, as in Iraq, remain difficult and very complex, due to the brutality of and corruption-ridden regime on the one hand and the intervention of NATO and Saudi-Qatari rulers on the other.

Years of repression by the dictatorships, backed by colonial and imperialist powers for so many decades, has organisationally weakened the left and other democratic forces. It is obvious that with Saudi-Qatari backing, the leaderships of the Brotherhood and Salafi forces are, in the short term, reaping the fruits of the uprisings. These forces have always played a dual role amongst the poorest sections of the population, giving voice for their demands while acting as a lid on the more politically and socially radical demands of the people. At critical times, as in Egypt, Iraq and Syria today, they have played a counter-revolutionary role and were accommodated by imperialist powers.

However, the uprisings in the region have unleashed massive popular energies that bode well for the future.

In the short term I am quite pessimistic about radical democratic transformation in Syria. I think that is no longer possible in the current phase of the struggle, because of the weakness of the left organisations and the foothold gained by the reactionary forces in the country. But longer term the uprisings across the Arab world are laying new foundations for the left to organise and prepare for the protracted battles to come. The masses have flexed their muscles in an unprecedented way. I think their triumphs and setbacks are massive schools for the new generations to develop more effective means and organisations to lead the struggle forward.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PENTAGON PUBLISHES MASSIVE LIST OF DRONE BASES ACROSS U.S.


Secrecy News Blog:  http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the United States that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones.  A new report to Congress lists each of the 110 sites "and the UAS likely to fly at that location."  See "Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability," Department of Defense, April 2012.

The newly disclosed DoD report was first reported by InsideDefense.com.

The actual or potential drone bases are located in 39 of the 50 states, from Fort McClellan in Alabama to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.

Currently, the DoD and the military have "88 active certificates of authorization (COAs) at various locations around the country" that permit them to fly UASs outside of restricted military zones, the report to Congress said.  COAs are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

But "The rapid increase in fielded UAS has created a strong demand for access within the NAS [National Airspace System] and international airspace. The demand for airspace to test new systems and train UAS operators has quickly exceeded the current airspace available for these activities," the report said.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, evidently receptive to this demand, said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization act that integration of drones into domestic airspace should be accelerated.  See "Senate: Drones Need to Operate 'Freely and Routinely' in U.S.," Secrecy News, June 8, 2012.

The website Public Intelligence previously identified 64 U.S. drone site locations.  See also "Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil" by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired Danger Room, June 13:

"UAS will not achieve their full potential military utility unless they can go where manned aircraft go with the same freedom of navigation, responsiveness, and flexibility," the new DoD report to Congress said.

A bill "to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles" (HR 5925) was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 7 by Rep. Austin Scott.  A companion bill (S.3287) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul.

DO THE RIGHT THING


Don't purchase Samsung products.  Honor the boycott of Samsung called for by workers who are being contaminated by toxic chemicals during production as well as the Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island who are fighting to save their way of life.  Samsung construction (destruction) company is the lead contractor building the Navy base on Jeju.

Help speak for the soft coral, the dolphins, the shell fish, the sacred rocks that are being blasted by Samsung on the coastline.  Help speak for the water that is being contaminated by Samsung's destruction activities.

PACIFIC TRADE AGREEMENT SECRECY



A draft agreement leaked Wednesday shows the Obama administration is pushing a secretive trade agreement that could vastly expand corporate power and directly contradict a 2008 campaign promise by President Obama. A U.S. proposal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact between the United States and eight Pacific nations would allow foreign corporations operating in the U.S. to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its ruling.

Democracy Now speaks to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a fair trade group that posted the leaked documents on its website. "This isn’t just a bad trade agreement," Wallach says. "This is a 'one-percenter' power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights."

LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS



I went to the world premiere of the new film created by Architects & Engineers for 9-11 Truth two nights ago in Portland.  The 90-minute documentary is packed full of leading experts and scientists who categorically proved that the three buildings (including Building 7) were brought down on 9-11 by controlled demolition.  They make an absolutely iron clad case that nano-thermite (which is only produced by and available to the military industrial complex) was used to sever the steel columns that had to be cut before the controlled demolition was possible.  Scientists found traces of nano-thermite in the 9-11 ash debris.

Regis Tremblay filmed the event and has put some of the Q & A and an interview with architect Richard Gage along with the film trailer into this video above.  It is time that we all support the call for a new independent investigation to 9-11.

Unlike some in the peace movement I've never been reluctant to speak about 9-11.  I have seen the 9-11 inside job used to justify two immoral and costly wars and to destroy our civil liberties.  When I saw photos of George W. Bush reading "My pet goat" upside down on 9-11 I knew there was something rotten going on for sure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BLOWING THE RIGHT WING'S COVER



There is a reason that the right wing works so hard to restrict voting.  Right now in Florida the Republican Gov. Scott is in a battle to purge voters from the rolls.

The oligarchy and their right-wing allies don't believe in democracy.  This short video clip offers some clear evidence of that fact.

DRONE RESISTANCE PICKING UP STEAM


  • Organizing against drones is picking up around the country.  It's a good sign.  Global voices are also growing against Obama's escalating use of drones in Central Asia and on the Arabian Peninsula.  But polls still show that more than sixty percent of Americans support Obama's drone attacks.  Much of that support is due to the perception that it saves "American" lives.  Kind of like the justifications for using the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • In an article in the UK's Guardian last Monday the writer asks, "For those Democrats who are comforted by the fact that Obama has the final say in authorizing drone strikes and so refuse to criticize the administration, ask yourself: would you be as comfortable if the next decision on who is killed by a drone was left to President Romney, or President Palin?"
  • I had a call yesterday from another Guardian reporter who was working on a drone story.  He  quoted me extensively in his pieceHowever, arms control groups and peace activists see the new weaponry as at best controversial. Bruce Gagnon, the co-ordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, said it would not be long before the drones were being used domestically. "People are beginning to see that these technologies are going to be dual use – meaning over there and back here at home," he said..... According to Gagnon, the advent of the small drone is another step in the military's bid to have battle fought by robots. "We have been seeing this attempt by the military to essentially roboticize warfare. It gives them two very valuable results, it lessens the price, as a drone is much cheaper than an F-16, and secondly it takes increasingly less people on the battlefield. "You still need a lot of people back home flying them and sitting in front of the computers," said Gagnon, "but it puts less people in harm's way and the Pentagon is happy about this. It is easier to sell endless war when fewer GIs are coming home in body bags."
  • The fallout for Obama on his drone attacks and endless war making seems to be happening more with people outside the United States. According to the 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey released on Wednesday Obama's drone program in foreign nations -- including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia -- has fueled mistrust and anger among Muslim nations and even among countries more closely allied with the US.  "There remains a widespread perception that the United States acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries," said the Pew report which accompanied the survey. The drone strikes are backed by 62% of Americans but have only minority support in every other country polled by Pew. The strongest overseas support for the U.S. strategy is in Britain, where 44% approve and 47% are against. But in France, China, Mexico and Russia there are large majorities opposed to it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MAJOR JOB LOSSES BY FAVORING MILITARY



Bob Pollin from UMASS-Amherst Economics Department: Cuts triggered by the Congressional sequestration process are not as big as Pentagon spin and military spending is an inefficient "job creator".

Why don't the Democrats latch onto this?

TAKING CONTROL OF RESOURCES


Remember that Libya has the largest supply of oil on the African continent.  Other resources like minerals (for cell phones and computers), water, and oil are abundant on the continent.

The U.S., via Africa Command (AfriCom), is now moving to establish small interventionary bases throughout Africa.  The Pentagon calls them "lily pad" bases.

It's endless war for oil.  And keep in mind that the first black president led the war on Libya and the surging of U.S. forces on the continent.

MAYBE I WAS WRONG


For the longest time I have been saying that Obama will win reelection because the oligarchy wants him back on the job.  After all, he has given them everything Bush gave them (bailouts for Wall Street, more war, attacks on civil liberties, cutbacks in social progress) but Obama has done something that no Republican could do.  He has kept the left under control.  So from that stand point it makes total sense.

But lately we've been seeing these desperate measures by the Obama-nator.  He had his staff release top secret information to the media about his drone strike baseball cards.  He's released top secret info to the media about Cyber attacks on Iran.  You only do that kind of thing when you are worried.

Maybe the oligarchy got their pound of flesh out of Obama and are ready to move on to new fresh meat.  Allowing Mitt Romney to become president helps a bit to mollify the hard to handle Tea Party-niks.  It throws fear and panic into the liberal class.  In a way who cares if the liberals hit the streets again - they'll just bring in the cops and bash some heads - the liberals will quickly scatter.  (At what point though do you begin to wonder when the cops figure out that they are next on the list to get screwed?  All the attacks on public sector unions - cops are unionized in the public sector.  Oh boy.  That could get interesting. Who will be brought in to bash the heads of cops when they go out on strike?  The National Guard?  Ouch!)

Let's look at the list of what Romney would bring.  More war?  Check.  Keep tax cuts for the rich?  Check.  Drain social programs including Social Security and Medicare?  Check.  Continue attacks on civil liberties?  Check.  Keep the left under control?  Well, at least by force of arms.....check.

It's going to be an interesting summer and fall watching this thing play out.  The oligarchy now has their two horses in the White House race.  And they are off.....Obama is in the lead by a head, Romney is closing, Romney takes the lead in campaign fundraising, Obama appears to be limping......will there be a surge?

Stay tuned for more.................

Monday, June 11, 2012

WHAT DO THE PALESTINIANS TEACH?




CONNECTING THE ISLANDS



Koohan Paik addresses a Kauai gathering in February 2012 on the militarization of the Pacific, particularly on the connection between Kauai and the South Korean island of Jeju.

This is an excellent speech and she does a wonderful slide show from Jeju.  In the talk Koohan describes in vivid detail Kauai's role in testing the Navy Aegis "missile defense" program.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PENTAGON SCREENS HOLLYWOOD FILMS



Normally in the film making process, script changes are made all the time. But few realize it's the Pentagon frequently calling the shots. RT talks to writer and former journalist for Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, David L. Robb. He shares his thoughts and sheds light on the approval process.

SHOW SUPPORT FOR VILLAGERS

Catholic priest Fr Kim Sung Hwan on the top of cement mixer truck in Gangjeong village

  • Koohan Paik from Kauai, Hawaii  just arrived in Gangjeong village and will be there for 3 1/2 weeks.  She's been heavily involved in the campaign to stop the Navy base and helped host our Global Network delegation last February when we visited Kauai.  The Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility is located on Kauai and is the key testing area where Aegis destroyers practice firing their "missile defense" systems.  It is the only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft and space vehicles can operate and be tracked simultaneously. There are over 1,100 square miles (2,800 km) of instrumented underwater range and over 42,000 square miles (109,000 km) of controlled airspace. The base itself covers roughly 2,385 acres (965 ha). These Aegis warships will be ported on Jeju Island and will play important roles in the Pentagon's first-strike attack planning against China.
  •  Koohan writes: 
      I just returned from the candlelight vigil -- wow! That was the first candlelight vigil I've ever been to with karaoke. A karaoke candlelight vigil. The mayor was decked out in the traditional silk Jeju attire and shades as he rocked out at the mike, telling everyone to stand up and dance, which we all did, of course, since the mayor went to jail for five months to defend his village. Everyone here is so passionate and smart and committed. And entertaining. And human. I met the head cook, the head of "field activities," the head of the media team, the head of the kayak team, the head of the "international team," and the head of the explosives team (they block trucks; not detonate dynamite). I met a famous actor from a television series who now lives here and fights in the struggle. I met an arrogant journalist from D.C. who kept interrupting everybody and was here on a grant to study and publish about the militarization of Jeju and Okinawa, and who didn't even know about the intimate connection between Okinawa and the Guam buildup, or much of anything else about Asia-Pacific militarization. I met the famous Father Moon, known nationally here for all his antics in protest of Pyongtaek military base, but not as famous as his brother, who is in all the history books for crossing the DMZ in protest of the division and serving time for five years for doing so. Every night, about fifty people from near and far, come to sing and dance after a day of anti-base protests.

    If this was the "candlelight vigil," I have yet to discover what the catholic mass tomorrow morning will be like. Will keep you posted...

  • Gangjeong villagers have learned that the Navy wants more land and will extend their "military restriction zone" farther into the village.  Protesters arrested in this expanded zone would face three years in prison rather than the one year they currently face when arrested for blocking construction vehicles.  It will be martial law.  The Navy intends to build military housing in the village for 600 families.  The base ultimately will have 7,200 military personnel stationed there.  Consider that the village only has a population of about 1,900 people so they will be engulfed by the military which means village life will be destroyed as will their farming and fishing livelihood. The village is being sacrificed on the alter of U.S. military ambitions in the region.
  • We continue to encourage people to travel to Gangjeong village to show your support for the campaign to stop the Navy base.  It's a very good way that local or national peace, religious, and environmental groups can show support.

MUSIC GIVES US STRENGTH



In honor of Odetta, the National Visionary Leadership Project offers this clip where Odetta speaks about her life as an activist. To see more oral history interview clips with Odetta, visit: http://www.visionaryproject.org/gordonodetta

SUNDAY SONG