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, November 26, 2013


  • I heard today from Jun-san Yasuda.  She was the Buddhist nun who brought the large Japanese delegation on our recent drone peace walk in Maine.  One Japanese student who walked with us, Maho with the great voice, is leaving for home tonight after having spent the time since the walk caring for Jun-san.  Jun-san had to drop out of the walk after the first couple days when she was diagnosed with lime disease. Jun-san last night showed Maho the new documentary The Ghosts of Jeju.  Already being translated into Korean, we learn that Maho was so moved by the Gangjeong village story that she wants to translate the film into Japanese.  That is how the magic of the walk keeps working.  Filmmaker Regis Tremblay was excited to hear about the Japanese translation.  Jun-san told me she wants to visit Jeju Island soon and is looking for a travel partner.  If anyone is interested in going with her you can let me know and I can put you both in touch.

This outrageous article promoting and justifying US military expansion into the Asia-Pacific appeared in the USA Today on Monday:

The Pentagon is fortifying bases in the Pacific and looking to revive World War II-era air bases as part of an effort to survive a Chinese missile attack that could wipe out critical installations on Okinawa and elsewhere, military records, interviews and congressional testimony show.

The strategy indicates the evolution of the administration's shift toward Asia, which includes the creation of a growing base in northern Australia. Chinese missiles have been a preoccupation of Pentagon planners who worry they could be used as a threat to deny access to the region by U.S. ships, planes and troops.
Chinese ballistic missiles — termed anti-access, area denial weapons — mean that virtually every U.S. base in the Pacific is under "heavy threat," said Michael Lostumbo, director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Study. A RAND report found that 90% of the bases were within 1,080 nautical miles of China, the distance it defined as being under heavy threat.
This mainstream media story is part of the "pivot" public relations roll-out that is now underway.  In February a series of congressional hearings are to begin and their primary goal is to further the public fear about the coming "China attack".  Military industrial complex on-going profitability depends on keeping the big China fear alive and growing.  With coming economic collapse here in the US the weapons lobby is working hard to keep their strangle hold on the discretionary federal budget.  Keep your eyes open for more of this and learn to read between the lines.
The environmental implications of this US/NATO Asia-Pacific pivot are real and drastic. (The Pentagon calls it "rebalancing" these days, likely to mean that we are "evening up" our capability against China, but like the last cold war the US exaggerates the "enemy" capability in order to justify its own overwhelming superiority) 

In Hawaii there is some evidence that should give us pause as we see the expansion of US military efforts to occupy, or re-occupy, various Pacific island communities. A Honolulu media source reports:

From World War II until 1990, the Navy used the 45 square-mile island off of Maui for target practice, raining down thousands of bombs, grenades, projectiles and other explosives — one of which, a 500-pound bomb, missed Kahoolawe and hit Maui. The military contractor has since cleared close to 30,000 munitions from the uninhabited island, according to a Navy report. But that work ended in 2004 and the island remains hazardous.

In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower transferred the title for Kahoolawe to the U.S. Navy with a stipulation that it be returned to Hawaii in a condition for “suitable habitation.”

The Navy’s occupation of the island was controversial, sparking decades-long protests by Native Hawaiians. Well-known activist George Helm and his cousin Kimo Mitchell disappeared in rough seas during a trip to rescue other bombing protesters who were hiding on the island.

The U.S. government finally agreed to pull the troops out in 1990.

Under a deal brokered by Sen. Daniel Inouye in 1994, the federal government set aside $400 million for cleanup efforts. Out of that, $44 million was appropriated to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, a state agency created to restore the island.

By 2004, the Navy had used up all the funding that it had received, but it only cleared all ordnance from 75 percent of the land’s surface; not the 100 percent agreed upon, according to Michael Nahoopii, executive director of the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission. The Navy was also supposed to clear ordnance from 25 percent of the ground’s subsurface, to a depth of four feet, but only cleared 9 percent, he said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

its lyme, not "lime"

12/9/13, 6:42 AM  

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