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 23, 2013

VFP SUPPORTS MANNING & JEJU


We had our Veterans for Peace retreat today and during the lunch hour we went out to a local bridge in Augusta for a protest in support of whistle blower Bradly Manning.  Today marks day 1,000 in jail without formal charges against Manning.

The retreat went very well and we were very moved while viewing the video by Regis Tremblay about the Jeju Island Navy base struggle.  The rough video cut is just a taste of what is to come in this dynamic story that puts the current Korean situation in a historical context that most people in the US know little to nothing about.  Happily VFP agreed to give Regis $1,000 to help him defray his many costs in production.

Friday, February 22, 2013

MORE ON PALESTINIAN OSCAR FLAP



Palestinian director Emad Burnat arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday and was unexpectedly held for questioning for nearly an hour and a half by US immigration officials. According to Burnat, the immigration agents threatened to deport him and his family if he couldn't provide adequate proof that he was nominated for an Academy Award. The news broke after documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted the news and now the director of "5 Broken Cameras" joins us to give a first-hand account of what happened.

BELGIAN MP TELLS TRUTH ABOUT AFRICA POLICY



Laurent Louis, Minister of the Belgian Parliament, delivers the truth about the French "total re-conquest" of Mali and the reasons that underlie this latest neo-colonial war in Africa. The 32-year old MP is one of the most vilified political figures in Europe and after viewing his speech it's easy to understand why he's being targeted.

You can read the full speech here

THIS IS REALLY SICK



On Sept. 11, 2001, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Couch’s friend died co-piloting the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. Soon after, Couch became one of the first military prosecutors assigned to the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay to prosecute men alleged to have carried out the terrorist plot. He ultimately would refuse to prosecute one detainee: Mohamedou Ould Slahi. “It became clear that what had been done to Slahi amounted to torture,” Couch says. “Specifically, he had been subjected to a mock execution. He had sensory deprivation. He had environmental manipulation, that is, cell’s too cold or the cell is too hot ... He was presented with a ruse that the United States had taken custody of his mother and his brother and that they were being brought to Guantánamo.”

Couch says he concluded Slahi’s treatment amounted to illegal torture. “I came to the conclusion we had knowingly set him up for mental suffering in order for him to provide information,” Couch said. “We might very well have a significant problem with the body of evidence that we were able to present as to his guilt.”

Don't ever try tell me that Obama is not the same corporate slime that George W. Bush was.......

ONLY THING I HAVE LEFT IS HOPE.......



Occupy Asheville, North Carolina and VFP are alive and well in 2013.

IN HARMONY AND UNITY


  • I love this photo and the caption that came with it described a scene in Africa where some white person put a basket of fruit under a tree and then tried to get the kids to have a race to see who would win the fruit.  The children objected saying they could not imagine having one person "win" the fruit while all the others went without.  So the kids sat down in a circle and shared the fruit with one another.  Tell me - is it really our nature to cut each others throat or are we cooperative beings?  Is capitalism's dog-eat-dog culture the appropriate answer to our problems on Mother Earth?  Are the indigenous cultures backward and out of step?
  •  Last night we had over 40 people turn out in Bath for a public meeting to discuss big corporate $$$ in politics.  Next month we take a resolution to our city council so it was a good warm-up toward that end. 
  • Tonight I go to Augusta for a meeting of the Alliance for the Common Good.  We've got alot on our plate as the state continues to slash social spending while at the same time handing out $100 million this year in corporate welfare.  In a small population state (1.2 million) like Maine, mired in fiscal crisis, that $100 million would go a long way in helping to prevent social collapse.
  • On Saturday I will be at the annual day-long retreat of Maine Veterans for Peace in Augusta.  Then in the evening I will attend a public meeting at Bowdoin College to support some students that are attempting to get their administration to divest from fossil fuel stocks.  Should be an interesting meeting as this junior Ivy League school tends to have very conservative politics as it is primarily a rich kids campus.  One Asian student recently told me that her effort to show a Jeju Island Navy base resistance video at the college was met with anger and derision by a fellow Asian student "leader" who told her that at Bowdoin "We don't get involved in political issues."  It's a training ground for the children of the 2%. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

MY VISION WAS CLOUDY



Renowned American peace activist and former US Army colonel and State Department official Ann Wright spoke at a public meetings in the Teachers' Club, Parnell Sq, Dublin on Thursday, February 14, and at Richardson's Bar in Galway on Monday February 18th. The Dublin meeting was jointly organised by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish anti-War Movement (IAWM) and the Galway meeting by Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW).

Earlier on Thursday Ann Wright will met TDs and Senators who are opposed to the US and British wars and the use of Shannon as a military airport. On Monday the 18th she visited the airport with local activists, and witnessed first hand the extent of Ireland's involvement in US wars.

LET'S TRY IT AGAIN



Last time I posted this fantastic film it was taken down from the Internet.  Let's see if we can do it again.

A Palestinian saying he is an Oscar nominee? It seems impossible for Los Angeles airport security! Not even when they show him his invitation to the ceremony!

Emad Burnat, whose "5 Broken Cameras" is competing for an Oscar, said US immigration officials took him, his wife and young son aside when they arrived in Los Angeles from Turkey.
 

Michael Moore writes: "Although he (Burnat) produced the Oscar invite nominees receive, that wasn't good enough & he was threatened with being sent back to Palestine. ... Apparently the Immigration & Customs officers couldn't understand how a Palestinian could be an Oscar nominee. Emad texted me for help ... I called Academy officials who called lawyers. I told Emad to give the officers my phone # and to say my name a couple of times," Moore tweeted on Tuesday evening.

You want to watch this - it will change you.  Let's hope it doesn't get taken down from the Internet again.  And pray that it wins the Oscar....it should.  

Update:  Foiled again! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BUILD COMMUNITY AND SURVIVE

  • Professor Yang-Yoon Mo is back in jail on Jeju Island for his third time and is hunger striking against the Navy base for his third time.  How can people be put in jail for non-violently trying to protect nature?  The real criminals who are destroying a South Korean government designated "special preservation area" never stand trial.  This photo was taken a couple of nights ago when supporters held a candlelight vigil outside the jail.  Yang is now on his 19th day of fasting and has been moved to the prison hospital.  Several other protesters are going to trial this week for attempting to block Navy base construction.  More international support is urgently needed on Jeju.

  • Today I hitchhiked to Brunswick and back (about 12 miles from here) for a dentist appointment.  It was very cold and I spent a long time waiting for someone to stop to give me a ride.  My dentist told me that people think something is wrong with you if you don't have a car - you must be a loser or a criminal.  Everyone knows that cars are an indication of stability, competence, and success.  Most people try not to look at you....you can see the fear in them.....Americans have been taught to fear everyone which is why we are so isolated from one another and unable to successfully respond as the corporate oligarchy takes the country apart at the seams.  We've lost our sense of community.  We used to be "our brother's keeper."

  • Next Tuesday, February 26 a Public Hearing on Drone use by law enforcement in Maine will be held at the state capital in Augusta. The hearing begins at 1:30 pm in Room 438 of the State House.  The bill is called an "An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use".  I intend to go to the hearing and to speak out against the invasion of drones over our heads across the nation.  See more here

BRENNAN UNFIT FOR CIA JOB


Now is the time to let the US Senate know that we don't support Brennan for the CIA job - he is the consumate political hack who lies about and distorts the consequences of the US drone program.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WHICH IS SUSTAINABLE?


  • An underground single-shell tank at the Department of Energy Hanford, Washington nuclear facility is leaking up to 300 gallons of radioactive waste a year. The tanks contain a mix of high-level radioactive and hazardous chemical waste left from chemically processing fuel irradiated at Hanford reactors to remove plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program. As many as 67 of the tanks are believed to have leaked in the past.
  • Maine Veterans For Peace will hold its annual retreat on Saturday, February 23 at the Viles Arboretum in Augusta.  It will run from 9:00 am til the end of the day.  Part of the retreat will be spent standing in solidarity with Bradley Manning on the Kennebec River Bridge in Augusta from 11:30 to noon.  That day will mark his 1,000th day in prison for having exposed the war crimes, the corruption, and abuses of the U.S. government. Due process has been denied Manning and his rights, in general, have been trampled.  We will be demanding that Manning be released when his pre-trial hearing begins February 26th.
  •  Israeli authorities raided the home of Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi overnight (Feb 17) in east Jerusalem, harassing his family members and arresting his brother. Issawi, 33, is among several hunger strikers currently held in Israeli prisons who are on strike against the practice of 'administrative detention' in which Israeli authorities detain Palestinians without charge or trial for indefinite periods of time. Issawi has been on hunger strike for over 200 days and is on the verge of death. Reports have suggested that he has been force fed by Israeli guards to be kept alive.
  • At Europe's premier security conference in Munich, Germany, this month, the Pentagon's No. 2 official, Ashton Carter, reassured the assembled that the US would not abandon Europe as he made the case for the expensive and destabilizing US "pivot" of its foreign and military policy into the Asia-Pacific. While Asia has prospered for 70 years, "it's not automatic," he added. "And I think a central reason for that peace and prosperity has been the pivotal role of American military power in that part of the world."  This statement is telling and underscores the thinking that it was the US "protection" (which led to wars in Korea and Vietnam and massive killing in Indonesia on behalf of corporate capital) that led to the economic boom in the region.  By creating a new arms race in the Asia-Pacific the military industrial complex will now put Russia, China and North Korea into the "bad guy" box and use them to frighten the American people into giving even more of their hard-earned tax dollars for endless war preparation.

Monday, February 18, 2013

AMH UPDATES


  • Addams-Melman House (AMH) housemate Karen Wainberg returned home today from Washington DC after attending the Climate Change rally that organizers say drew nearly 50,000.  Karen stayed at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in DC which she loved and she raved about hanging out with Kathy Boylan and all the others who live there.  While at the CW House Karen ran into our long-time Florida friend John Linnehan.  She told us the march and rally were in freezing cold but was thrilled by the experience.
  • Over the weekend we had very high winds and cold here with a touch of snow.  Outside our house looks like wind-swept sand dunes this morning that I used to play on when my family lived in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  No similarities in the outside temperature though.
  • We have a high school exchange student staying with us for a few days.  He is from Spain and is attending the local high school here in Bath.  Along with him we've had a local girl with us for the weekend - someone who has been a friend since we moved to Bath six years ago.  MB and I took them both bowling today.  A fun time.
  • This morning I did a radio interview on the Washington DC-based program called Clearing the Fog which is hosted by stellar activists Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.  Also on the show was former Veteran For Peace president Elliott Adams who lives in upstate New York.  We talked about Korea, nuclear weapons, Obama's "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific, space weapons technology, and more.  You can listen to the show here
  • Tomorrow (Tuesday) night I do my own weekly radio show with partner Peter Woodruff on WBOR in Brunswick.  The two hour show begins at 6:00 pm and we'll be talking about climate change and playing music related to that subject.  You can pick up the show live here

Sunday, February 17, 2013

U.S. STANDS ALONE IN THE WORLD


IT WILL NEVER BE RIGHT



Footprints for Peace organizes an annual "Walk for a Sustainable Future" through mountaintop removal country in East Kentucky. This is a glimpse of the 2013 200-mile walk.

SUNDAY SONG