Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....
- Name: Bruce K. Gagnon
- Location: Bath, Maine, United States
Saturday, September 15, 2012
HEAVY HEARTS TURN TO JOY AND DANCE
While delegates were inside voting on resolutions villagers and supporters did 1,000 bows outside the conference hall
|The crew outside conference hall gather to rejoice - victory is found in new relationships made and new determination to keep fighting!|
Late last night we received word that the IUCN's World Conservation Congress (WCC) had voted against the resolution calling for an end to the Navy base in Gangjeong village. The official count was:
Governments - 20 yes, 68 no, 60 abstentions
NGO's - 269 yes, 120 no, 128 abstentions
I am told that in order to "win" our side needed 50% from each government and NGO's. I also have heard that the South Korean (ROK) government got 30 votes. So at these events the government side gets stacked and serves as a veto against resolutions that stand up against the status quo. A rigged game from the start.
We have no information yet about any of the NGO's that voted No or abstained. But I'd bet my life that many of them were bribed, coerced, or had serious conflicts of interest (meaning they get money from big corporations like Samsung).
Hopefully some good journalist will take this whole thing apart and give the public the real inside story.
In the end to have gotten this far, to have forced their way inside the WCC and forced a vote that the right-wing ROK "government" and Samsung DID NOT WANT was itself a major victory. New meaningful relationships with honest environmental activists from around the world were made. Much is likely to flow from this experience.
Paco posted on Facebook some quick reactions from the WCC that included:
Friday, September 14, 2012
PUSH TURNS TO SHOVE
WORLD’S LARGEST ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION IN
Should it answer to conference sponsors Samsung and Korean government, or to its historical mission to protect environment and social justice?
JEJU ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA – September 14 - The world’s largest and oldest conservation organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is holding its giant quadrennial convention on Jeju Island, South Korea. But what conference planners weren’t expecting was massive protests from the local community, joined by international activists, against a gigantic navy base being built seven kilometers away. As a result of this controversy, an emergency motion to stop base construction has been drafted, which will be voted on tomorrow, Saturday, September 15.
The South Korean government, which is subordinate on military matters to the U.S., under the US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, is building the enormous base on the coast at Gangjeong, a traditional farming and fishing community. If the project is allowed to continue, it will be large enough to hold 20 warships, including Aegis destroyers, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and 8,000 troops. South Korea is already one of the most militarized places in the world. But this new base is part of the Pentagon’s recently announced plan to move 60 percent of its military resources from Europe and the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific region – the “Pacific pivot.” The idea is to circle China with Aegis missiles. Islanders fear the base would destabilize the region, lead to a new Cold War, and turn their home into a first-strike target.
A recently leaked communiqué, obtained by a Korea National Assembly member, reveals the close connection between the Pentagon and base construction. The communiqué, sent by the commander of the US Naval Forces, Korea, to the South Korean defense minister, directly requests that the base plan be designed to accommodate an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
The base would also destroy local livelihoods, biodiverse habitats in land and sea, contaminate one of the cleanest and most abundant freshwater sources in the world, kill the planet’s largest temperate soft-coral habitat (15 acres), contaminate the rich volcanic soil in nearby farms as well as nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Korea’s last 100 dolphins which frequent Gangjeong would also suffer. The villagers have been protesting for over five years, facing arrest, imprisonment without habeus corpus, and daily police brutality.
On May 30, 2012, three UN Special Rapporteurs sent a joint allegation letter to the South Korean government regarding numerous “acts of harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment of peaceful protestors in Gangjeong village,” requesting a response within 60 days. That was three and a half months ago, but the Korean government has yet to respond.
An American scientist, Dr. Imok Cha, was deported upon arrival at the airport on the first day of the conference, where she was expected to give presentations on an independent environmental assessment that exposed the flaws in the Korean government’s Environmental Impact Assessment for the base construction.
Leadership at the IUCN conference have refused to give the Gangjeong villagers their own exhibition booth to expose the litany Korean-government violations, offering no explanation. On the last day of his tenure as president of IUCN, Ashok Khosla denounced the campaign to save Gangjeong Village from base construction, calling the movement “colonial” because non-Koreans were involved. However, attendees know the reason that IUCN officials have done their best to silence the Gangjeong villagers: the main sponsors of their conference in Jeju are the Korean government ($20 million) and Samsung Corporation, which is also the lead contractor of base construction. Soon after Khosla issued his “colonialism” charges, a group of South Koreans representing 189 South Korean organizations, denounced Khosla, and charged him with ignoring their clearly expressed opposition to the base that had been going on for over five years.
As a result, a massive division within the formidable organization has been cleaved between its Secretariat and the 8,000 members in attendance who object to leadership’s decision to side with its sponsors. One organization, the Center for Humans and Nature, from Indiana in the U.S., has drafted an emergency resolution to stop the construction. It will be on the Assembly floor for a vote before international governments and NGOs, this Saturday (Korea time), the last day of the conference.
Many members feel the entire future and credibility of the 64-year-old conservation institution is at stake, if politics prevent the resolution from passing.
Contact: Koohan Paik
Update on Resolution
Word from the IUCN on Jeju about status of resolution is as follows:
"And the situation on #181 is extremely intense right now. The steering committee had suggested the elimination of the motion. After a long heated discussion that made the President leave the role of chairman to someone else for that discussion, the suggestion was voted and while a majority of governments voted YES, a majority of NGO's voted NO. So it was taken to contact group again and it will continue tomorrow morning at 7AM, in the contact group."
Thursday, September 13, 2012
A LOOK INSIDE GANGJEONG
This is an interesting video about the Gangjeong village fight against Navy base. It appears to be a TV news documentary but I don't know that for sure. It is well done and gives you many different views of people and scenes from the protest there. It is all in Korean.
The artist they feature calls himself dopehead zo and he is one who has come to support the villagers. He plays guitar, sings, translates, and does many other jobs as he has fit into the community like one of their own.
At 4:23 into the video you see Professor Yang Yoon-Mo (who has done two major hunger strikes almost to the death in the past year) trying to block construction operations. He is in the brown clothes.
It's well worth the look.
It is obvious that since the U.S. war on Afghanistan began in 2001 opium production has steadily risen. Many maintain that the long known CIA-mafia-drug-weapons-trade-business is one reason that the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan continues today. Other key factors include controlling Caspian Sea oil/natural gas pipeline routes in the region and helping to establish military bases near China's border.
U.S. foreign and military policy has been privatized into the hands of corporations (overt and covert) who see this region of the world as key to long-term plans for global control.
There is a reason that "democracy" has broken down and the wishes of the public are now largely ignored by the political class. They don't give a damn want the taxpayers want. They don't care that 70% of the American people want us out of Afghanistan.
So when it comes to solutions - what are the people to do? How can we impact a system that is dead to the moral, ethical, constitutional, and budgetary appeals made by the public?
A full page advert in the New York Times (while maybe helpful in some cases) isn't going to be the "silver bullet" we need. Many people who share our analysis and concerns are not ready to take the next big step into non-violent resistance action. They are still "banking" on the increasingly slim possibility of hope and change coming from Washington.
Here in Maine we now have an interesting U.S. Senate race. The Republican and Democratic party candidates are both weak. Independent (and former governor) Angus King has a massive lead in the polls. He was once a Democrat and is a corporate man. You might call him a centrist.
On 9-11 the Maine Democratic party Senate candidate Cynthia Dill sent around an email on the subject of freedom and terrorism and concluded with these words: “Still, it is important to remember what has not changed: Our freedoms and liberties, our democratic way of life, which were so brutally attacked on 9/11, continue to shine – brighter than ever - as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world."
Local peace activist Morgana Warner Evans (now a college freshman) wrote to Dill saying, "I find it confusing that you do not mention unwarranted wiretapping, the suspension of habeas corpus, or any of the other threats to our liberty that have been put in place in the name of security when you acknowledge that 'our freedoms and liberties...continue to shine brighter than ever.' After seeing your definite misconception of this issue, I wonder if I can still vote for you."
Dill replied to Morgana: "There is plenty of work to do in our quest for a more perfect union."
I couldn't resist getting into this one so I wrote: "I was actually considering voting for you Cynthia until I saw this 9-11 bit. It then came clear to me that there is no one in the Democratic party willing to tell the truth about the corporate oligarchy that has taken over our country. I'll have to sit out the Maine Senate race because none of the candidates are free to speak the truth....very sad indeed. Corporate feudalism takes over and the Dems are still chanting USA, USA at the convention."
I thank Morgana for initiating this discussion on Dill's Facebook page. It makes me proud to see this young person take the lead on calling out the so-called "progressive" Senate candidate and getting many people around the state to engage in this important discussion.
The Democrats are nearly a dead party in Maine. They've lost their way as they cave into corporate imperial machinations.
The only voices left to speak for us?
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
MAINER ON JEJU ISLAND
First chance at internet this afternoon....4:15 pm Sept. 12...besides that, it has been overwhelming, non-stop, and unbelievable. I'm afraid uploading video is a problem...wireless here is sooooooo slow..11 hours to upload one 3 minute video...I have two ready to do...will try to make them lowest resolution and try again.
This is a police state!!!! Today 80 police showed up...already three times to remove activist blocking the gate to prevent cement trucks from entering....the cops surround them, pull them apart and haul them off to the side. It is turning ugly....getting rough, several young girls - they are their all the time - have been injured, bruised, and broken bones.....I literally cried after watching the first two yesterday.....they are so committed to their village and not afraid. You will cry when you see their faces lying on the ground.
Good news....the IUCN conference granted the village time in one of the programs, and over 100 traveled the four miles by bus to the village from the conference center yesterday to listen to the mayor and villages tell their story. They vowed to return to the conference and force a resolution of support from the IUCN for the villagers opposing the base.
Later in the evening there was the most fantastic music and dancing outside the conference center with many conference participants from around the world dancing and singing. WOW.....
I've been only eating Korean food...quite good really and not as spicy as some would have you believe. No Pepto Bismol needed, no nothing...everything going down regularly! Also, they put me up in a priest's temporary residence! Typhoon last week knocked out hot water heater....so cold showers and cold shaves! Sure wakes you up in a hurry.
These people are beautiful....warm, friendly...I've been treated like a VIP....they all knew "someone" was coming to make a film....and the stuff I'm getting is awesome....the high definition is incredible.
I got roughed up a bit today...not hurt...the cops leave you alone even when you stick a camera in their faces...but it got rough with several girls kicking as they were being hauled away....the cops form a cordon around them so they can run back and lay down in front of the trucks....I got trapped in the cordon and they would not let me out!
So, it is non-stop....some kind of direct action going on all day long....people sit in front of the gates all day long!!!! Many priests are there every day....some come and go. Mass everyday at 11 am....Fr. Moon...long white beard, white cassock and green stole is an iconic figure. He knows me now and I will interview him one of these days. Amazing man....arrested several times. Smokes like a sailor.
Had to take time out this afternoon to email, capture hours of video, and re-charge batteries....it is going to be an amazing documentary....
Got to go, and will try to find a way to upload video so you can get an idea of what is happening here and see the commitment of these people to save their village and their island! Occupy and every other activist group could learn how to do it from the villagers....this is their final hour....and the government of the U.S. is behind it.....they hate our government, Obama, and the U.S. Military.....I have felt rage, embarrassment and shame. They believe that most people in America want peace and not war making....but they say, it is the same thing here and all over the world.....seems like everybody else knows it is the multinationals who have taken over the planet.....one can only hope we and the rest of the planet wake up and come together to push back....
More from Gangjeong Village as I can find time.....Up at 5:30....to bed around mid-night....drop dead tired and conk out.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
WAR AT HOME REPORT: IMPORTANCE OF CHICAGO STRIKE
I think the teachers strike in Chicago is a bellwether event. We must all find some way (even if just small) to lend support for the teachers, students, and parents who are involved. Our support must also be vocal so that the greater community hears us speak out.
The teachers are up against the corporate machine manifested in its control of both the Republican and Democratic parties. "Leaders" from both parties are publicly shitting on the teachers and students and expect them to take it without a whimper. The teachers have decided to stand up.
Teachers are key to the much needed resistance to the privatization of our lives. They are living witness to the corporate attempts to put education into a corporate controlled box that will dumb our kids down even further than they already are and turn them into capitalist non-thinking minions. Let's call it for what it is.
Back in the mid-1980's while living in Orlando, Florida a young student from El Salvador stayed at my house for some days. He had escaped from San Salvador after university students like him began organizing on campus to stop the cuts in education that the U.S. backed right-wing government was pushing. One day his university classroom door swung open and a severed head of a fellow student leader was rolled into the room. He left the country in fear of losing his life.
He told me how the teachers across San Salvador had led the marches in the city to stop the privatization of public services and loss of freedom they faced at that time. I've always remembered those images he planted in my mind. When I hear about the teachers on strike in Chicago my mind goes back to El Salvador.
We can't wait for "the perfect moment" to arrive before we start to fight back. There are a succession of perfect moments happening every day in our local communities. We need to step into them and give of ourselves to help protect the future generations while we still can.
THE RESOLUTION TO STOP NAVY BASE
Here is the resolution being brought to the World Conservation Congress by 34 environmental organizations from around the world. The word is that this is the most co-sponsors of any resolution at any ICUN event ever. This is the moment we have all been working for - when environmental groups worldwide begin to support Gangjeong villagers a new dynamic is created. The right-wing South Korean government (and their U.S. corporate handlers) will regret the decision to host the WCC on Jeju Island.
World Appeal to Protect the People, Nature, Culture and Heritage of Gangjeong VillageUNDERSTANDING that Gangjeong Village, also known as the Village of Water, on the island of Jeju, also known as Peace Island, is a coastal area home to thousands of species of plants and animals, lava rock freshwater tide pools (“Gureombi”), endangered soft coral reefs, freshwater springs, sacred natural sites, historic burial grounds, and nearly 2,000 indigenous villagers, including farmers, fishermen, and Haenyo women divers, that have lived sustainably with the surrounding marine and terrestrial environment for nearly 4000 years;
NOTING that Gangjeong Village is an Ecological Excellent Village (Ministry of Environment, ROK) of global, regional, national and local significance, sharing the island with a UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve and Global Geological Park, and is in close proximity to three World Heritage Sites and numerous other protected areas;
NOTING that numerous endangered species live in and around Gangjeong Village, including the Boreal Digging Frog (Kaloula borealis) listed on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species; the red-footed crab (Sesarma intermedium); the endemic Jeju fresh water shrimp (Caridina denticulate keunbaei); and the nearly extinct Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins;
NOTING the global uniqueness of the Jeju Soft Coral habitats, designated as Natural Monument 422 of Korea: the only location in the world known to have temperate octocoral species forming a flourishing ecosystem on a substrate of andesite, providing ecological balance to the Jeju marine environment and the development of the human culture of Gangjeong Village for thousands of years;
UNDERSCORING that of the 50 coral species found in the Soft Coral habitats near Gangjeong, 27 are indigenous species, and at least 16 are endangered species and protected according to national and international law, including Dendronephthya suensoni, D. putteri, Tubastraea coccinea, Myriopathes japonica, and M. lata;
THEREFORE CONCERNED of the Civilian-Military Complex Tour Beauty project, a 50-hectare naval installation, being constructed within and adjacent to Gangjeong Village, estimated to house more than 8,000 marines, up to 20 warships, several submarines, and cruise liners;
NOTING the referendum of Gangjeong Village on August 20, 2007, in which 725 villagers participated and 94% opposed the construction;
ACKNOWLEDGING that the construction of the military installation is directly and irreparably harming not only the biodiversity, but the culture, economy and general welfare of Gangjeong Village, one of the last living remnants of traditional Jeju culture;
NOTING the Absolute Preservation Act, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province (1991) and that Gangjeong Village was named an Absolute Preservation Area on October 27, 2004: a permanent designation to conserve the original characteristics of an environment from the surge in development, therefore prohibiting construction, the alteration of form and quality of land, and the reclamation of public water areas;
CONCERNED that this title was removed in 2010 to allow for the Naval installation, and that this step backwards in environmental protection violates the Principle of Non-Regression;
RECALLING the numerous IUCN Resolutions and Recommendations that note, recognize, promote and call for the appropriate implementation of conservation policies and practices that respect the human rights, roles, cultural diversity, and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples in accordance with international agreements;
CONCERNED of reports that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the naval construction was inaccurate and incomplete and may have violated well-known principles of international law concerning EIAs, transparency, public and indigenous participation, right to know, and free, prior and informed consent;
CONCERNED of the destruction of sacred natural sites in and near Gangjeong Village, noting that the protection of sacred natural sites is one of the oldest forms of culture based conservation (Res. 4.038 recognition and conservation of sacred natural sites in Protected Areas);
ACKNOWLEDGING that IUCN’s Mission is “To influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable;” and that “equity cannot be achieved without the promotion, protection and guarantee of human rights.”;
NOTING Resolution 3.022 Endorsement of the Earth Charter (Bangkok, 2004) that endorsed the Earth Charter as “the ethical guide for IUCN policy and programme,” and that the military installation is contrary to every principle of the Earth Charter;
NOTING the U.N. World Charter for Nature (1982), and that the military installation is contrary to each of its five principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged;
AND ALARMED by reports of political prisoners, deportations, and restrictions on freedom of assembly and speech, including the arrests of religious leaders, for speaking against the naval installation and for speaking in promotion of local, national, regional and world conservation and human rights protections;
NOTING Res. 2.37 Support for environmental defenders, “UNDERSTANDING that the participation of non-governmental organizations and individual advocates is essential to the fundamentals of civil society to assure the accountability of governments and multinational corporations; and AWARE that a nation’s environment is only truly protected when concerned citizens are involved in the process;”
NOTING principles enshrined in the Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development such as those concerning military and hostile activities (Art. 36), culture and natural heritage (Art. 26), and the collective rights of indigenous peoples (Art. 15);
FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING that militarization does not justify the destruction of a community, a culture, endangered species or fragile ecosystems;
AND UNDERSCORING that IUCN’s aim is to promote a just world that values and conserves nature, and the organization sees itself as nature’s representative and patrons of nature;
The IUCN World Conservation Congress at its 5th session in Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6-15 September 2012:
1. REAFFIRMS its commitment to the UN World Charter for Nature and the Earth Charter;
2. CALLS ON the Republic of Korea to:
(a) immediately stop the construction of the Civilian-Military Complex Tour Beauty;
(b) invite an independent body, to prepare a fully transparent scientific, cultural, and legal assessment of the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area and make it available to the public; and
(c) fully restore the damaged areas.
Sponsor – Center for Humans and Nature
-Chicago Zoological Society (USA)
-International Council of Environmental Law (Germany)
-El Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental, CEDA (Ecuador)
-Sierra Club (USA)
-Fundacion Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Argentina)
-Center for Sustainable Development CENESTA (Iran)
-Asociación Preserve Planet (Costa Rica)
-The Christensen Fund (USA)
-Terra Lingua (Canada)
-Ecological Society of the Philippines (Philippines)
-Citizen’s Institute Environmental Studies (Korea)
-Departamento de Ambiente, Paz y Seguridad, Universidad para la Paz (Costa Rica)
-Coastal Area Resource Development and Management Association (Bangladesh)
-Fundação Vitória Amazônica (Brazil)
-Fundación para el Desarrollo de Alternativas Comunitarias de Conservación del Trópico, ALTROPICO Foundation (Ecuador)
-Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Ecuador)
-Fundación Hábitat y Desarrollo de Argentina (Argentina)
-Instituto de Montaña (Peru)
-Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, APECO (Peru)
-Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica, COICA (Ecuador)
-Fundación Biodiversidad (Argentina)
-Fundacao Vitoria Amazonica (Brazil)
-Fundación Urundei (Brazil)
-Dipartimento Interateneo Territorio Politecnico e Università di Torino (Italy)
-Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas (Costa Rica)
-Corporación Grupo Randi Randi (Ecuador)
-Living Oceans Society (Canada)
-Instituto de Derecho y Economía Ambiental (Paraguay)
-Korean Society of Restoration Ecology (Korea)
-Ramsar Network Japan (Japan)
-The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (Isreal)
-Chimbo Foundation (Netherlands)
-Endangered Wildlife Trust (South Africa)
Monday, September 10, 2012
GOOD INTERVIEW WITH BILL MOYERS
Bill Moyers talks to Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, who share their unique perspectives on the intersection of personal missions and modern politics.
Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School to become an internist specializing in environmental health. She was a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2002, co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities in 2003, and represented the Green-Rainbow Party in state races in 2004 and 2006.
Honkala is an anti-poverty activist and community organizer who co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. A formerly homeless single mother, Honkala became the first woman ever to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia in 2011.
SPACE TECHNOLOGY IS WATCHING YOU
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GREAT NEWS FROM JEJU
Paco writes from Jeju Island:
Basically things are going super well! Our presence at the IUCN WCC grows every day. Today many villagers and activists were both inside and out, dancing, talking, handing out information, inviting to tours, singing, etc. Everyone knows about Gangjeong, what has happened to us, and what is happening. Today I didn't meet a single person who hadn't heard of it, and 95% of the people I met were totally in support us, loved our resolution, our actions, and our talks. We barely gave out any of our newsletters today because almost everyone already read it!
Inside the WCC there were several great Gangjeong related talks and a press conference as well as a short Gangjeong traditional folk performance and short talk by Mayor Kang in the 3,000 seat Tamna Hall. It wasn't full of course, but there was a good crowd. We also got our revenge about blocking our booth and just set one up ourselves inside the main hall. Much better position than the regular booths and totally free! After so much bad press, the police at the WCC are very careful with us.
Meanwhile back in Gangjeong the police are not careful with us and attacked the gate protesters 5 times today. There weren't many people because many people were at the IUCN. This new shipment of police (they change every 2 weeks or so) is from Seoul and they are very rude, violent, and rough. They especially don't like cameras and hit several peoples cameras and also aggressively blocked people who were not doing anything except taking pictures.
Tomorrow is another huge day, mostly in the village. a lot of people are coming to join another eco-cide tour of land and sea of Gangjeong. Also the IUCN has arranged for 100 of their top people to come to the village from 2-4 pm and have a meeting with the villagers. Don't really know what its all about, perhaps just a good will visit, hopefully nothing worse/sinister, hopefully something more supportive. Who knows what the police will do but probably they will hide again since so many visitors are coming.
The navy and ministry of defense are very scared of all the support and attention we are getting and are issuing several sudden and silly statements as well as suddenly publishing a poorly made English/Korean booklet about the naval base, which they are giving out at the WCC. It offers zero evidence for their absurd claims and sometimes even accidentally supports us.
Well once again, I guess not so short. Everyone is feeling very great about the all the support we've gotten. Everyone is also very tired from non-stop work in both the village and the convention center. The resolution was handed in. Now we wait to see if it is accepted and will go to voting.
Thanks for all your support! Keep up your great solidarity actions and spreading the word, and prayer, and general awesomeness!
We can do! Let's totally revoke the naval base!
CHICAGO: BIRTH PLACE OF NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION DESTRUCTION
The showdown in Chicago — the nation’s third-largest school district — pits teachers against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff. Emanuel remains a close ally to Obama, while many of the policies at issue in Chicago are being pushed on a national scale by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Chicago Public Schools chief.
Democracy Now is joined by Pauline Lipman, professor of education and policy studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education and member of Teachers for Social Justice.
"DON'T CUT US OR ELSE!"
People that work inside the military industrial complex are getting mail from their particular company urging them to contact Congress immediately to prevent any cuts in military spending.
One weapons company executive told his employees that even Obama's Secretary of War Panetta feels these potential cuts could "clearly damage our national defense." (Would Panetta take that position in public without the approval of his boss?)
Another aerospace weapons corporation told their employees that the executives were getting in touch with its suppliers and subcontractors and urging them to rally their workers to rattle the Congressional cage.
These recipients of massive tax dollars are creating fear across the nation. They are pitting well paid war machine workers against social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Head start, and environmental protection. The message: cut those "welfare and entitlement programs" but don't touch Pentagon spending.
Of course these corporate wags are not telling their workers that military spending is actually the worst way to create jobs in our economy. They aren't telling the workers that if their production plants were converted to building solar, wind turbines, or rail systems the number of jobs would double or even in some cases triple.
Congress will likely cower under the power and influence of the military industrial complex. I know that in Maine the Democrats routinely line up alongside their Republican competitors to cheer each killing machine that comes across the assembly line.
Eisenhower's words turned out to be more than prophetic - beware of the power of the military industrial complex. They are stealing the future from all of us.
Sunday, September 09, 2012
CONNECT THE HIGH-TECH DOTS
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura concludes that the government is building top-secret space weapons at Area 51. His popular TV show called Conspiracy Theory looks into some of the black budget programs that have led to a succession of high-tech aircraft and space technologies.
Some years ago a reporter from the UK-based Jane's Defense Weekly wrote a book about the origins of Pentagon black budget programs and traced the secret government architecture back to Hitler's Nazi black programs that led to weapons developments like the V-1 and V-2 rockets.
After World War II 1,500 top Nazi scientists and operatives were smuggled into the U.S. under the program called Operation Paperclip. They created the U.S. space program, helped create the CIA and were instrumental in transferring the Nazi black budget programs to America.
In 2005 I wrote a blog post about all this. You can see the whole thing here
Here is a bit from that blog:
In a recent book called The Hunt for Zero Point, respected military journalist Nick Cook talks much about the "black" (the Pentagon's secret) budget. For 15 years Cook has been a defense and aerospace writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, which some consider the bible of the international weapons community. Cook spent the last 10 years researching secret military programs in the U.S. and believes that over $20 billion a year is spent on these programs outside the purview of Congress. Cook states, "It [black programs] has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billion of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But it has not stopped since then. In fact, under the Bush administration it is having something of a resurgence. Stealth technology is a primary example...research into anti-gravity technology...has been going on for quite some time."
Cook traces the roots of the U.S.'s secret programs back to the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after WW II in Operation Paperclip. He states, "We know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret weapons programs...it is highly compartmentalized...and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop it? What model did they base it on? It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans - specifically the SS - for their top-secret weapons programs."
"What I do mean," says Cook, "is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the second world war, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on - unwittingly - some of the ideology...What do you lose along the way?"
LOOKING FOR TROUBLE
This is a graphic made by our friends in the UK at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). They are planning to use it in a media briefing to illustrate the extent of U.S.-NATO "missile defense" bases that are being created to surround Russia and China.
There can be no doubt that the U.S. (and its NATO lap dogs) are looking for trouble. The want to create the justification for new arms races on the Earth and in space. They know that the profits will soar for the military industrial complex as a result. The Pentagon understands that by "containing" Russia and China in this coming period of intense competition for declining natural resources that corporate capitalism will take the "advantage".
Last night we went to the birthday party for Herschel Sternlieb in nearby Brunswick and he reminded me with great fervor that we have to call what the U.S. and NATO are doing today "total insanity". Hersch is absolutely right.
There is a spiritual disconnection at work here - those in power are blinded by their love for money and power. They have little to no ability to see beyond their noses - they are not able to see how their decision making affects the next seven generations. Even Obama, who frequently talks about his two daughters, in the next breath after uttering the words climate change talks about "clean coal" and extracting the natural gas "under our feet" by fracking.
Those in power don't have the best interest of the people at heart. They represent those who seek to control the water, our food, natural resources, and our governments.
We all must become more aware of the details behind the nice sounding phrases that come out of the mouths of politicians. We have to become more engaged in these issues because the existence of all our relatives (all life forms) hangs in the balance. The days of worrying about what our neighbors and co-workers think of us if we become politically active must end. We must put our children's and grandchildren's lives above our own allegiance to the success mythology.