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

Saturday, February 02, 2013

TARGET SHOOTING


Big game hunting I think they call it........

GOD'S A SPORTS FAN?


Friday, February 01, 2013

ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS ARE WAR CRIMES



Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank violate international law, and the country must "immediately" withdraw all settlers from such areas, UN human rights investigators have said. Israel has not co-operated with the inquiry, set up by the Human Rights Council (HRC) last March to examine the impact of settlements in the territory, including East Jerusalem. "Israel must ... cease all settlement activities without preconditions [and] must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers" from the occupied territories, the fact-finding mission concluded in a report released on Thursday. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Jerusalem.

DEFENDING DRONES


In this interview MIT professor and former fighter pilot Missy Cummings attempts to gloss over the growing opposition to drone warfare.

She punks out on the moral and ethical questions. She does effectively plant the seed that when "smaller" countries get their hands on these drones and put weapons, or anthrax, on them ....well, we are going to have to defend against those.....!!!

I can hear the cash register ringing now.

See segments 2 and 3 here

OBAMA LEADS RESOURCE WARS TO AFRICA


  • I emailed around a John Pilger article this morning that began with: "A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger.... The invasion has almost nothing to do with 'Islamism', and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a 'menacing arc' of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus 'red menace' of a worldwide communist conspiracy."
  • When you really study this map you can see why the corporations are willing to kill in order to control the continent.  There is huge profit at stake. So the African-American president leads the US into war on the African continent.  It's all very convenient.  If George W. Bush was pushing the Pentagon's Africa Command (AfriCom) into war operations the black leadership class might speak out but with Obama in office they are largely silenced.  Very sad. I hope readers can see the cynical calculation being undertaken by the corporate oligarchy in this evil story.
  • Nile Bowie (Malaysian journalist) concludes an article posted on Global Research with, "The ostensible role of the first African-American US President is to export the theatresque War on Terror directly to the African continent, in a campaign to exploit established tensions along tribal, ethnic and religious lines. As US policy theoreticians such as Dr. Henry Kissinger, willingly proclaim, 'Depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the Third World,' the vast expanse of desert and jungles in northern and central Africa will undoubtedly serve as the venue for the next decade of resource wars." 
  • In the end one must surely understand that Africans know their land is being raped for profit and they will fight for it.  They will be called terrorists.  Why do we let the capitalists play this game year in and year out?  Why do we remain silent as our national budgets are drained in order to pay for another war zone?  How could anyone justify supporting Obama today?  How?

NONVIOLENCE SPIRIT WALK



An invitation to join a journey of transformation, the Nevada Desert Experience Sacred Peace Walk, from Las Vegas, NV to the Nevada National Security Site ( aka the Nevada Test Site) March 23 - 29, 2013. Complete information may be found at www.nevadadesertexperience.org

PROFESSOR YANG BACK TO JAIL



Paco reports from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island:

Very bad news from Gangjeong today! Film critic Yang Yoon-Mo's most recent trial has finished today and he was sentenced to 1 year & six months imprisonment, unsuspended. He was arrested and imprisoned directly from the court. More details on the case and verdict later. Yang Yoon-Mo has been one of the longest protestors the base and has previous spent several months in prison on two different occasions for his protests. He brought much attention to the struggle in 2011 when he fasted for more than 70 days almost dying.
Judge Oh Hyeon Gyu said that his sentence was changed from probation to imprisonment because the judge "doesn't see a will for self-reflection" (meaning Prof. Yang is not sorry for his courageous actions). What an absurdity! What arrogance!  Today is also Prof. Yang's birthday.
 See an incredible interview with Yang here

Thursday, January 31, 2013

LOSING THE CAPACITY FOR THE SACRED



In this lecture, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges examined how America has devolved, economically and politically, into a Third World country and the role that inverted totalitarianism plays in consolidating the control of rapacious elites over our political and economic systems.

PUT THE BANKSTERS ON ICE



Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson tells Al Jazeera's Stephen Cole that Europe should let banks that are ran "irresponsibly" go bankrupt.

Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Grimsson also held his country as a model of economic recovery after its near-collapse four years ago.

"We didn't follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies. And the end result four years later is that Iceland is enjoying progress and recovery."

ASSORTED BAD NEWS


  • The National Weather Service says Wednesday's high temperatures set records across Maine.  We had temps in the 50s all over the state.  Two days prior we had zero degrees weather.  A 50 degree shift in two days is unreal.  Tomorrow it will drop back down to 25 degrees.  The wind is blowing outside at 60 mph - power lines are down across the state.  The tarps on our wood piles are flapping like flags in the wind.  Our right-wing governor still denies that climate change is happening.  I bet though he won't step out onto the thin ice at any local ice fishing spot.
  • I've been watching the confirmation hearings for former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel who was nominated as Obama's next Secretary of War.  He's pledging that "all options are on the table" which is Washington code for keeping nuclear attack on the agenda.  He also pledges full support for Israel.  He supports expansion of Cyber warfare and he is worried about cuts in the Pentagon budget.  In other words Hagel is in the mainstream of US military empire decision making.  So what confuses me is the amount of emails I've seen from peaceniks who are urging people to support Hagel's nomination.  Why?  There has been some right-wing push back against Hagel (for being a too tough on Israel) but I think it is all a good cop-bad cop show. When the pro-Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance sends around the following message of support for Hagel you know to watch out:  "We endorse the confirmation of Senator Chuck Hagel for the position of United States Secretary of Defense for his support of our nation's missile defense and growth of it with our allies."   
  • Israel hit Syria today.   Peace Association of Turkey has issued the following statement.

    We strongly condemn Israeli assault against Syria. The air strike by Israel to Syria has no legal basis or excuse. The statement that Syria has been sending weapons to some forces in Lebanon and these are even chemical weapons is a totally unsubstantiated claim. The reality is; 2 were dead 5 were injured during the air strike!

    The reality is; Israel carried out this attack under the approval by USA!

    The reality is; Israel is trying to intervene in the Syria equation in its own way!

    The reality is; Syrian Islamist terrorist groups, Islamist AKP Government in Turkey, anti-Syria Islamist Arab regimes have taken position on the same side with Zionist Israel against the people of Syria!

    It is impossible to assume the fact that the strike is carried out at a time when for the first time the Syrian opposition has given the green light to the negotiation calls by Damascus is a coincidence. Israel is now coming to the stage once more as the main provocateur in a regional war.

    Peace Association condemns aggressive Israel in the strongest terms and conveys its solidarity feelings to the people of Syria, who have been exposed to the strike by the Israeli aircrafts, as if being under the threat of reactionist terror is not enough.

NOW THEY WANT TO RAPE MOTHER EARTH



Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians mobilized for the Idle-No-More movement's Global Day of Action this week. Activists have vowed to continue protests until the Harper government repeals legislation which legal experts have called unconstitutional.

Activists accuse the Harper government of lacking concern for the environment.

A global protest against Canada's government is unprecedented in Canadian history.

Analysts say that the international outcry indicates that the Harper government is shredding up Canada's once good reputation in the world.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

OBAMA'S PIVOT ONTO A PACIFIC CORAL REEF



Tubbataha Reef off the southern Philippines is home to some of the richest marine life on the planet. It's much deserving of its world heritage site status. But it's now under serious threat since a US Navy minesweeper ran aground on a coral wall on January 17th. Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan reports from Palawan.

DOES THE CIA RUN THE SHOW?



“The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
– William Colby, former CIA director

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
– William Casey, CIA Director (from first staff meeting, 1981)

CYBER SPACE: THE NEW WAR ZONE



At a time many are talking about cutting the size of the US military, the Department of Defence has signalled it will dramatically increase the size of its Cyber Command over the next few years.

The Pentagon is working overtime to ensure that cyber war becomes the next great fear in the minds of the American people - coming after the Red scare of the Cold War and the present "terrorism" freak-out with the Muslim world.

The US Cyber Command is headquartered at Ft. Meade, Maryland which also houses the NSA.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all have Cyber command structures that fall under the national.  US Cyber Command reports directly to US Strategic Command (StratCom) based at Offut AFB, Nebraska.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX


  • The Washington Post this morning reports: "President Obama is riding a wave of personal popularity into his second term, with his highest favorability ratings since his first year in office...Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s."
  • What would make those polled so favorable toward Obama?  The economy better?  Climate change taken care of?  Wars over and military spending reduced?  Our civil liberties restored?  Guantanamo closed?  Banksters jailed? It appears that people's standards for success have dramatically fallen.
  •  I occasionally correspond with a Catholic priest who lives and works in Brazil.  His recent letter included the following news:  "We are suffering the worst drought of the past 50 years here in the Northeast.  There were no crops of corn or beans.  Most of the dams are dry or very low on water.  There is very little in the way of forage for the livestock.  The cashew tree didn't even flower this year in this region.  A nearby municipality had a thriving industry of honey production.  Because there were so few flowering plants around, the hungry bees fled the hives for other regions.  We heard here that 60% of the USA, Canada, and Central America all suffered severe droughts too."
  •  Long-time Global Network board member Karl Grossman has written an important article entitled Will the Internet Remain Free?   Worth checking out.
  •  Increasingly we are hearing that the big Internet corporations want to make users pay for various levels of access to the world wide web.  That would mean that the wealthy could afford unlimited access to knowledge and communication while the poor would live inside a box. All Internet users should be able to access any web content they want, post their own content, and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or financial limitations imposed by their service providers. 
  • McClatchy newspapers report:  

    In a letter last month to Obama and congressional leaders, 11 Democratic and 11 Republican lawmakers asked that Defense Department spending be put squarely on the table in the coming clashes over debt reduction..... Who are these unlikely partners?  Democrats who want to preserve social programs, tea party-backed Republicans focused on slashing the debt and libertarians aligned with Rep. Ron Paul – the Texas Republican and 2012 presidential candidate – who generally oppose U.S. military ventures abroad.... Some independent studies have indicated that Pentagon funding of big weapons systems has diminishing returns when it comes to job creation. Total federal money to the five biggest defense contractors – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon – increased by 10 percent from 2006 to 2011. But their combined number of employees dropped by 3 percent during the same period, according to a report last year by the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group in Washington.  See the full story here

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

KILLING THE STORY ABOUT INDONESIAN SLAUGHTER



Excellent documentary film about western efforts to put anti-communist dictator Suharto into Indonesia in 1965 and the resulting years of repression and chaos.

Throughout the film the narrative is supplemented by official government cables that arrogantly bragged about the western role in installing Suharto.

Media in the UK reported the coup d' etat by Suharto as "The Gentlemanly Affair" while in the US newspaper headlines declared "Gleam of Light in Asia".

Researchers estimate that from 1 to 3 million "suspected communists" were killed by the brutal Suharto regime with full backing from the west - particularly the US, UK, and Australia.

Each of the nine YouTube segments of the film are about 10 minutes long and once one of them is finished find the next one on the top right side of the screen.

ROCKET LAUNCH HYPOCRISY


The self-righteous, hypocritical bullshit is heating up on the US, Japanese, and South Korean side.  Even the United Nations is involved.  They are all once again lecturing and threatening North Korea about launching a rocket into space.  The message is - you are not allowed because you are bad!

Forget the fact that the US launches more military rockets than anyone else in the world.  What right does the US have to say who can - and who can't - launch rockets into space?  Are we king of the world?

How come the US can invade all kinds of countries, lead the world in arms exports, overthrow governments and install puppet regimes - and then is allowed to launch all the missiles it wants?  No one says a word about US rocket launches.

It's a double standard.....

The US has no right to tell other nations what they can launch.  As long as the Pentagon has nuclear weapons that can be fired at any moment, and is developing the world's most technologically advanced space warfare system, it has no legitimacy on the subject.

The progressive South Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh reports today:

With North Korea declaring its intention to push ahead with a third nuclear test following the United Nations Security Council resolution on its launch of a long-range rocket, it seems hardly a coincidence that the US, China, and Japan have launched their own interceptor missiles and spy satellites. As the intensity of the North Korean nuclear crisis soars and the strategic competition between the US and China, and between China and Japan, heats up in the Asia-Pacific region, military tensions are on the rise in Northeast Asia.....

On Jan. 26 (local time), the US Defense Department announced that it had succeeded in a test of a missile defense system that can intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that are aimed at the continental US while they are still outside the atmosphere..... 

On Jan. 27, Japan launched the Radar-4 information-gathering satellite, which functions as a spy satellite, from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture. Now that the satellite, delivered on an H-2A rocket, has entered its planned orbit, Japan’s surveillance network has expanded to five information-gathering satellites three optical satellites and two radar satellites that are capable of monitoring every spot on earth once each day.

North Korea is not going to attack anyone.  If they did they'd be buried in conventional and nuclear responses.  North Korea knows it's on the US list of nations to be taken down.  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria and North Korea.  The North Koreans can see that the list is getting shorter and shorter.

To this very day the US has not agreed to a peace treaty with North Korea.  After 60 years of an "armistice" the war is officially still on.  (The definition of armistice: temporary suspension of hostilities by mutual agreement.)

North Korea has to wonder when "temporary" is over? 

The people in the US need to stop buying the mafioso bravado from their so-called government.  We are the global bully and nothing changes until the citizens here deal with the fact that our country is, as Martin Luther King so rightly said, "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

It's time to get real.

JEJU FILM WINS BIG AT SUNDANCE



Timely and great news has hit the media on the 8th Anniversary of Jeju’s designation as ‘The Peace Island” and the same day as the new declaration of Jeju as the “Demilitarized Peace Island”.

Jeju filmmaker O Muel‘s based-on-a-true-story film, Jiseul, which takes place during the 4.3 Jeju Massacre has won the Grand Jury Prize in the “World Cinema Dramatic” section of the Sundance Film Festival.

Jeju was originally designated the “World Peace Island” on January 27, 2005 as a formal governmental apology for the terrible 4.3 massacre which took place from 1947-1954. Hopefully this Sundance award will help to bring 4.3 the attention of more people.

Jiseul will make its out-of-festival Korean premier on Jeju Island on March 1st. Previously Jiseul was chosen as Korea’s Best Indie Film of 2012 by the Association of Korean Independent Film and Video.

The film’s title “Jiseul” means potatoes in Jeju dialect. During the massacre it was the only food the villagers had while hiding together in the cave.
 
More details about the Sundance win can be found in this article.

An interview with the director about the film can be found here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

WHY DO WE NEED A NAVY BASE ON JEJU ISLAND?



Bruce Cumings is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Chicago, and specializes in modern Korean history and East Asian-American relations.

He shares his views with Regis Tremblay about the Navy base now being built on Jeju Island in South Korea.

Bruce is arguably one of the leading experts on Korean History and the Korean War. His book, The Korean War, A History, is a must read for anyone interested in discovering the truth about Korea and the Korean War. He revealed the previously untold stories of the bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and exposes the appalling massacres and atrocities committed on all sides.

WHO REALLY RUNS THE SHOW?

  • Years ago I read a book by former CIA agent Miles Copeland who had "retired" and gone to work for oil corporations as their Middle East operative.  He essentially carried on the same covert ops that he had done for the CIA but was working for private interests.  He described, with great pride, how often the local CIA offices in various oil rich nations were the last to know about his activities.  The privatization of foreign and military policy.  A very dangerous but real trend. How can we claim to be a democracy when corporations are running their own spy teams and increasingly corporate mercenaries are hired to carry out various military operations?  In the end the taxpayers are paying in more ways than one can imagine.
  • In his book The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA's original political operative, Miles Copeland shares many hair raising stories.  Here is one that stands out:  "Naturally, we had some trouble in getting clearance for projects involving the use of Nazis and ex-Nazi, but our difficulties disappeared when our friends in Israel's Mossad admitted that they, too, were using ex-Nazis for a number of nefarious purposes, and for the same reasons that they were attractive to us."
  • The Washington Post reported last December that, "Two of the Americans killed in Benghazi [Libya] were members of the CIA’s Global Response Staff, an innocuously named organization that has recruited hundreds of former U.S. Special Forces operatives to serve as armed guards for the agency’s spies....The security apparatus relies heavily on contractors who are drawn by relatively high pay and flexible schedules that give them several months off each year....who often earn $140,000 or more a year and typically serve 90- or 120-day assignments abroad." 
  • Active duty service members committed suicide during 2012 at a record pace: more than 349 took their own lives across the four branches, or one every 25 hours, a Department of Defense spokesperson recently confirmed.  One of the darkest undercurrents of the glaring statistics is that one suicide in a family boosts future suicide risks for everyone else inside the home. They can be contagious.

BREAK THE CENSORSHIP INSIDE ISRAEL




The award-winning documentary “Five Broken Cameras” tells the story of Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer, who in 2005 picks up a camera to film the nonviolent movement that erupted in his village, Bil’in, to stop the confiscation of their lands. For the next 6 years, Emad documented the growing movement, which was joined by Israeli and international peace activists. He also filmed his private life, his family and especially his son Gibreel who was growing up in this violent reality. Emad partnered with Israeli filmmaker and activist Guy Davidi to create this inspiring and engaging film.

“Five Broken Cameras” achieved major worldwide success due to its sensitive tone and sincere storytelling. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Oscars; won 30 awards worldwide including Sundance Film Festival 2012 Directing Award, International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) Audience Award and Jury Mention and Best Documentary in Michael Moore’s Documentary Festival in Traverse City.

In Israel, the film won Best Documentary in Jerusalem Film Festival; was shown in one of the two Israeli documentary channel (Channel 8) and in cinemas across the country.  Despite international and local acclaim, Five Broken Cameras will not be screened as part of the educational cultural program in Israel.

 An effort is underway to raise funds to show this great film to Israeli youth.  To make a donation toward that end click here

This film is now available on Netflix 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

COAL IS KILLING US



Searching for Occupy went to St. Louis to see what Veterans for Peace, Occupy St. Louis, RAMPS and Indigenous People from areas affected by Peabody Coal Mining had to say to the corporate energy giant that has raped the land and displaced people for generations. 

Veterans for Peace dropped the first banner. Two more were dropped during the demonstration. 10 protesters were arrested outside Peabody Corporate Headquarters.

CORPORATE CORRUPTION IN SOUTH KOREA



This from the Ssangyong Motors workers:

South Korean auto company, Ssangyong Motor fabricated its accounting books to justify the mass layoff of 3000 workers in 2009. The labor union protested the layoffs with a 77 day long sit-in strike, but its desperate outcry was brutally crushed by riot police. Due to economic hardships, post-traumatic stress, and severe depression, 24 workers and family members have died since, 13 committing suicide.
 While campaigning for presidency in 2012, the ruling Saenuri Party had promised to carry out a parliamentary investigation to expose and correct the massive injustices, but ever since its election victory, the Saenuri Party has refused to keep its word.

We call on the ruling Saenuri Party to keep its promise and carry out a transparent parliamentary investigation.

We call on Mahindra(Indian conglomerate) to live up to its responsibility it has assumed by taking over Ssangyong Motor by :
- Engaging in dialogue with the Korean Metal Workers' Union,
- Apologizing to the bereaved families, and
- Reinstating all the Ssangyong Motor workers unjustly pushed out of the company in 2009.

Further, we call on the South Korean government to :
- Apologize for the state violence against the workers in the 77-day strike in 2009 and punish those responsible
- Apologize for the 24 deaths and reinstate all the dismissed Ssangyong Motor workers
- Stop labor repression such as the damage claim suits and provisional seizure of workers' assets.

Please spread this video to help reinstate the dismissed Ssangyong Motor workers.

SUNDAY SONG