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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

PAST NOT FORGOTTEN

Sen. John Kerry (center front) and S. Brian Willson (left front)

Since I emailed around the Stephen Zunes article about Sen. John Kerry the other day, entitled The Case Against Kerry, there has been a fascinating back and forth discussion on the Veterans For Peace list serve by guys who knew Kerry back in the heyday of the anti-Vietnam War movement. 

Last night well known peace activist S. Brian Willson, pictured above on left in front row, sent around this photo along with a message about Kerry.  Brian, it should be remembered was nearly killed, and lost both of his legs, when ran over by a train in 1987 while trying to block a weapons shipment to Central America.

After Kerry's election to the Senate, Brian was appointed to his veterans advisory committee.

Here is what Brian had to say about John Kerry:

This is a photo taken by photographer Richard Sobol of the thank you party, June 1985, John Kerry gave for us 12 Kerry Commandos (all Viet Nam Veterans) that helped elect him to his first US Senate victory in the 1984 campaign. I sit front left having refused to wear the required "black tie attire".  Kerry of course sits center front, with Joe Bangert right of Kerry, and Bilodeau (one of Kerry's Swift Boat crew), left, now deceased. 

It was at this party, about 1 or 2 am in the morning when Kerry, under the influence, uttered 2 remarks that never left my memory: (1) "my initials JFK will one day carry me to the White House" (John Forbes Kerry); and (2) "Now that I have been in the Senate for 6 months I have had the benefit of briefings from the CIA and Pentagon and have a new appreciation for the use of 'contra forces'." 

At the time the CIA Contra operation in Afghanistan was the largest in CIA history, bigger than the Contra operation in Nicaragua. By 1988, Kerry was also supporting the Nicaragua Contras ("humanitarian aid"). By the time of this party, Kerry had already acknowledged that he had NOT thrown his military medals 14 years earlier, on Friday, April 23, 1971, during VVAW's Dewey Canyon III (April 18-23) Action on the Mall in DC, even as Kerry had emerged that week as the titular up front leader of the vets on the Mall. During his campaign for Senate when being criticized for being a traitor for having thrown his medals, he responded that he had not thrown his medals but instead those of another vet who was not present. Kerry at the time invited reporters to his Beacon Hill Boston apartment to see his intact war medals.

Some of those in the photo have stuck with Kerry all through the years. Kerry and I parted ways in 1987-88.
Kerry has undergone at least one, and perhaps two plastic surgeries to soften the sharpness of his chin and nose so that he might appear more photogenic.
The guy is Mr. Plastic.

S. Brian Willson
Veterans For Peace

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