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

Monday, August 26, 2013

DRONES, SURVEILLANCE, AND CENSORSHIP



This latest edition of This Issue features Shenna Bellows from the Maine ACLU.  She talks with me about the drone surveillance bill that passed the Maine legislature this spring but was vetoed by Gov. LePage.  The bill would have required the police to obtain warrants before using drones for surveillance.  The bill also would have allowed for "weaponized" drone testing in the state.  Shenna also speaks about the NSA surveillance program and the recent revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

I learned just last night that the public access TV channel in Brunswick, where my show has been running for the past 10 years, has cut my show times in half.  I've had a set schedule that ran the show four times each week but a recent staff change by the town of Brunswick has also brought political changes.  In addition to my show times being cut by 50% they did the same thing to shows produced by the local Brunswick-based PeaceWorks.  They went from two shows per week to only one.  (Just to illustrate the point a non-political show called Train Times, produced some place else, is running nine times per week.)

My show, This Issue, is the second longest running locally produced TV show on public access in Brunswick.  The whole idea of public access TV is to encourage local people to bring their ideas, creativity, and issues to the airwaves.  It's becoming clear that in the midcoast of Maine political commentary "outside the box" is being pushed off the air. (Brunswick residents may reach TV 3 at 725-0614.)

I often hear veterans say to people like me, "If it wasn't for us fighting overseas you'd have no right to free speech."  Of course this is nonsense as GI's "fighting" overseas are not fighting for my free speech but for corporate interests.  But never the less, I'm still waiting for the day when these same vets come to the aid of those of us who daily are losing our "freedoms" to assemble, to speak, and to be free from government surveillance.

I won't hold my breath while waiting.....it's like waiting for Godot.

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