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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PIECES OF THE PUZZLE


  • I taped the latest edition of my public access TV show yesterday.  My guest was Shenna Bellows, the Executive Director of the ACLU in Maine.  We talked about our work together on a drone bill in our state legislature last spring.  It passed but with an exemption to allow for weaponized drone testing in northern Maine.  Interestingly enough our right-wing Gov. LePage demanded the exemption then vetoed the bill anyway.  We parted ways with the ACLU once they agreed to the weaponized drone exception - ACLU felt it important to give in on that issue in order to get the police warrant requirement before they use drones for surveillance.  Yesterday during the show Shenna said they now feel that they gave too much to the governor and the drone manufacturing company who wanted the exemption but then turned against the bill anyway.  I wonder if the governor wanted to divide us and then vetoed it after having achieved that goal.  But in the end we are still friends with the ACLU and will continue to work together.
  • For many years I've been saying that one key reason the US-NATO are surrounding Russia is because they have the largest supply of natural gas in the world.  This morning I stumbled upon a very interesting article about this subject.  The bottom line is that many NATO countries rely on Russia for natural gas.  The US, with its expanding fracking effort to mine natural gas, wants those European markets.  See the whole story here
  • The Global Network has been approached by some folks asking for more information about how drones use satellites to do their dirty work.  GN board member Loring Wirbel explains:
In all military fields, the Pentagon uses the proprietary U.S. systems it can, then fills in gaps with commercial systems. For navigation of drones, the Pentagon is stuck with federal GPS, as it does not trust European Galileo or Russian Glonass systems. For drone-to-Earth communication, the Pentagon can use U.S. satellites such as MUOS (Mobile User Objective System), AEHF (Advanced Extremely High Frequency), GBS (Global Broadcast System),  WGS (Wideband Global SATCOM), and a secret satellite network know only as PAN (what PAN stands for is secret). To fill in the gaps, the Pentagon contracts with any commercial satellite company with Ku-band or Ka-band services, such as Hughes, Iridium, or Intelsat General. No one says no.

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