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....

My Photo
Name:
Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Saturday, March 02, 2013

NEXT GENERATION OF SURVEILLANCE



Argus Panoptes is the name of a giant of Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and who was said to be “all-seeing”. What an appropriate name for DARPA’s latest wide area monitoring system, described as the “next generation of surveillance”.  When mounted on a drone, ARGUS (which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) has a  1.8 Gigapixels video system that allows the constant video surveillance of a small city, complete with the tracking of moving objects and incredible zoom-in capabilities.

Are we at the point yet that we can see advancing, unregulated, technology as the real enemy?
Argus Panoptes is the name of a giant of Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and who was said to be “all-seeing”. What an appropriate name for DARPA’s latest wide area monitoring system, described as the “next generation of surveillance”.  When mounted on a drone, ARGUS (which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) has a  1.8 Gigapixels video system that allows the constant video surveillance of a small city, complete with the tracking of moving objects and incredible zoom-in capabilities. - See more at: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/argus-the-technology-that-takes-video-surveillance-to-another-level-video/#sthash.LS5wP09z.dpuf
Argus Panoptes is the name of a giant of Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and who was said to be “all-seeing”. What an appropriate name for DARPA’s latest wide area monitoring system, described as the “next generation of surveillance”.  When mounted on a drone, ARGUS (which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) has a  1.8 Gigapixels video system that allows the constant video surveillance of a small city, complete with the tracking of moving objects and incredible zoom-in capabilities. - See more at: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/argus-the-technology-that-takes-video-surveillance-to-another-level-video/#sthash.LS5wP09z.dpuf
Argus Panoptes is the name of a giant of Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and who was said to be “all-seeing”. What an appropriate name for DARPA’s latest wide area monitoring system, described as the “next generation of surveillance”.  When mounted on a drone, ARGUS (which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) has a  1.8 Gigapixels video system that allows the constant video surveillance of a small city, complete with the tracking of moving objects and incredible zoom-in capabilities. - See more at: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/argus-the-technology-that-takes-video-surveillance-to-another-level-video/#sthash.LS5wP09z.dpuf
Argus Panoptes is the name of a giant of Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes and who was said to be “all-seeing”. What an appropriate name for DARPA’s latest wide area monitoring system, described as the “next generation of surveillance”.  When mounted on a drone, ARGUS (which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) has a  1.8 Gigapixels video system that allows the constant video surveillance of a small city, complete with the tracking of moving objects and incredible zoom-in capabilities. - See more at: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/argus-the-technology-that-takes-video-surveillance-to-another-level-video/#sthash.LS5wP09z.dpuf

Friday, March 01, 2013

BEWARE OF THE SIDE EFFECTS


I am on the bus from Portland to Boston where I will get on a plane (United Airlines which has just merged with American Airlines which will likely merge with XYZ next year and then merge again with ABC the year after.  Soon there will be one airline and it will be easier to nationalize it) heading to San Francisco.

I've been invited to attend a private seminar Techno-Utopianism--- Killing the World where I will give an update on the latest happenings in the world of space technology.  There will be an amazing group of presenters, all with the purpose to try to find our way out of this dark maze of technology uber alles that we find ourselves locked in - resulting in our spiritual disconnection from Mother Earth.

Can there be any doubt that technology has been firmly inserted into our veins and brains?  Sit on a bus or train and watch us with our gadgets - lost in a wired world where the art of human interaction seems forever lost.   

Listen to the talking heads on TV deny the existence of climate change and promise us that fracking is a safe technology that will help us become more energy independent.  Witness the politicians like Maine's new Sen. Angus King reassure us that drones are "humane weapons" - smarter than an artillery shell.  And watch our eyes grow heavy as now reassured, we go back to sleep aided in part by the new wonder drugs our doctor prescribed for our depression.... please beware of side effects, call your doctor if erections last for more than eight hours!

Yes we are so smart - as they say in Maine "you're so smart you must have gone to Harvard" - but with all of those smarts we are so fucking stupid.   We don't know how to live on this tiny spinning orb.  We are all divided against one another, killing each other over the color of flags, human made boundaries of separation, and differing views on the creation story.  Truth is none of us know much of anything - it's all the biggest leap of faith imaginable.  

Because we truly know so little, and because we are so arrogant, we are eager to grab onto some truth, any truth, and once we get it we hang onto it for dear life.  

I expect I'll come back from this experience with the zeal of a new convert but I'll do my best to remain humble.  After all, I'm truly as ignorant as the next person about virtually everything.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE RUSSIAN ARE COMING?



Swedish warmongers, including the head of the armed forces, have recently trotted out the Russian bear again to frighten the people into acceptance of more military spending, deeper involvement with USA/NATO wars, etc.
 

In response to that silliness, a Russian TV program has produced an appropriate non-military reaction.

COLA UPON LIPS



A boy must escape a world where the processed food is killing his neighborhood -- literally.

REMEMBERING



In 2008, Congress created a 13-year, $5-million-per-year propaganda project to clean up the image of the Vietnam War. It's called The Vietnam War Commemoration Project and it focuses on issues of individual honor and bravery. It avoids the controversial historical and moral issues of the war. In response, a number of Vietnam veterans have created The Vietnam War Commemoration CORRECTION Project as a provocation to open discussion as to what the Vietnam War means to Americans. Was the war even necessary? 

In 1945 did the US, in fact, betray its World War Two Vietnamese ally -- the Vietminh under Ho Chi Minh -- in order to support a continuation of French Colonialism in Vietnam? Many Americans feel the Vietnam War was a tragic debacle that still divides Americans.

The Pentagon "commemoration" of the war comes up far short of what is best for the future of America in a changing world. This short film is meant to raise questions. To contact The Correction Project, email us at namcor@midcoast.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

LEARNING TO TALK THROUGH THE CENSORS



Eric Mann, the leader the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles, describes his work for what he calls the "think tank/act tank" for democratic, international social movements. Mann was presented to students at UC San Diego who are studying revolutionary activists in labor, poverty and environmental causes.

DRONES IN AMERICA?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DRONE PUBLIC HEARING IN MAINE

Click on the photo for better view

Some of the folks gather outside the hearing room after a successful day at the capital

Peter Woodruff and I drove to the state capital in Augusta today to attend the drone hearing before the combined Senate and House Judiciary Committee.  The drone bill was last on their agenda so we met artist-activists Natasha Mayers and Suzanna Lasker in the Hall of Flags where we held signs opposing the drone surveillance state.  Natasha was dressed in her black garb with a drone state license plate around her neck.  She got lots of looks.

With some time to waste, and recognizing it could be a long day, we walked down to the capital basement cafeteria to get a bite to eat.  As we entered the packed dining area all eyes were on Natasha.

We next made our way up to the 4th floor hearing room and when we entered Natasha again captured all the attention.  She sat down in the front row - with stovepipe hat still on her head and drone state license plate still around her neck.  The chair of the hearing, with a smile on her face, told Natasha that she would have to take off her costume.  So Natasha took off the hat, put it on the floor in front of her and was then told to take the "sign" from around her neck as well.

After the drone bill was presented the audience was invited to speak.  First to the podium to speak in favor of the bill was Shenna Bellows from the ACLU who made a strong case against drones and then suggested that Maine follow the lead of the Virginia state legislature which recently passed a two-year moratorium on drone operations.

I was next up and read my prepared statement.  After I finished one of the conservatives on the committee asked me if I supported weapons on drones.  I said no because they were immoral and illegal and I then proceeded to tell how the United Nations and a journalistic investigatory body had delivered conclusive evidence that hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of civilians have been killed by US drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.  I talked about how the drone strikes had hit funerals and weddings.  The conservative senator shot back at me with the question, "You mean the military is doing that?"  Yes, I said, the military and the CIA.

Others in the audience also gave excellent testimony.  One young man talked about how you can now buy a computer hacking program for $26 that allows a person to download the surveillance footage that the police are getting from their snooping drones.  That really got the attention of the committee members.

Next up were those who opposed the drone regulation bill - land surveyors, state police, a drone maker and the Attorney General's office.  But most of them agreed that a one year moratorium would be useful and necessary if the state was going to get a handle on the coming surge of drones flying over our heads and the resultant public outrage.

The Judiciary Committee co-chairs Sen. Valentino (Saco) and Rep. Charles Priest (Brunswick) declared that another hearing would be necessary before making any decision.  On March 7 at 2:30 pm the committee and the public will continue this drone debate.  More people will be needed in the audience and it would be helpful if Mainers would contact their state legislative delegations in support of "An Act to Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use" - LD 236 (SP 72).

I intend to be there that day. Hope you join us.

WHITE ROSE

Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl (center), and Christoph Probst (right), leaders of the White Rose resistance organization

On Feb. 22, 1943, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst were executed for their role in urging students to rise up and overthrow the Nazi government. They were members of a group called the White Rose, who organized nonviolent resistance to Hitler, and were arrested for printing and distributing anti-Nazi flyers. 

See trailer for film about the life of Sophie Scholl: http://bit.ly/ZwGVHQ 

Here is one of the leaflets they were handing out: 

 The Fifth Leaflet (Feb 1943)
 A Call to All Germans!

The war is approaching its destined end. As in the year 1918, the German government is trying to focus attention exclusively on the growing threat of submarine warfare, while in the East the armies are constantly in retreat and invasion is imminent in the West. Mobilization in the United States has not yet reached its climax, but already it exceeds anything that the world has ever seen. It has become a mathematical certainty that Hitler is leading the German people into the abyss. Hitler cannot win the war; he can only prolong it. The guilt of Hitler and his minions goes beyond all measure. Retribution comes closer and closer.

But what are the German people doing? They will not see and will not listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. Victory at any price! is inscribed on their banner. "I will fight to the last man," says Hitler…but in the meantime the war has already been lost.

Germans! Do you and your children want to suffer the same fate that befell the Jews? Do you want to be judged by the same standards as are your traducers? Are we to be forever a nation which is hated and rejected by all mankind? No. Dissociate yourselves from Nazi gangsterism. Prove by your deeds that you think otherwise. A new war of liberation is about to begin. The better part of the nation will fight on our side. Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too late. Do not believe the Nazi propaganda which has driven the fear of Bolshevism into your bones. Do not believe that Germany's welfare is linked to the victory of National Socialism. A criminal regime cannot achieve a German victory. Separate yourselves from everything connected with fascism. In the aftermath a terrible but just judgment will be meted out to those who stayed in hiding, who were cowardly and hesitant.

What can we learn from the outcome of this war?

The imperialist ideology of force, from whatever side it comes, must be shattered for all time. A one-sided Prussian militarism must never again be allowed to assume power. Only in large-scale cooperation among the nations of Europe can the ground be prepared for reconstruction. Centralized hegemony, such as the Prussian state has tried to exercise in Germany and in Europe, must be cut down at its inception. The Germany of the future must be a federal state. At this juncture only a sound federal system can imbue a weakened Europe with a new life. The workers must be liberated from their condition of down-trodden slavery.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violence - these will be the bases of the New Europe.  Support the resistance. Distribute the leaflets!

CONNECT THE DOTS



Hope Festival in Orono, Maine on April 27 inside the UMO recreation center.

DRONE INDUSTRY STEPPING UP LOBBYING CAMPAIGN



This guy calls himself a representative from an aerospace "trade organization".  In truth they are a lobby group that promotes expanded use of drones all over the country and around the world.

18 states and many local governments are now considering banning drone flights.  The city of Charlottesville, Virginia recently passed a two-year moratorium on drones.

There are numerous health and safety questions that must be answered.  Airspace over Maine is already quite busy.  Drones have proven to frequently crash.  Civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan report severe depression from the incessant humming that comes from endless drone flights over their heads.

More than 500 aerospace companies are eager to develop this new drone market.  The drone industry is  pushing back hard against those who say local police should be required to secure search warrants before using drones to snoop on the public.  Industry lawyers say we have nothing to fear – that all we have to do is ask local police and they will be transparent about their drone use.

In an ironic turn, President Obama, who began his presidency denouncing predecessor George W. Bush's expansive use of executive power and lack of transparency, is now using similar tactics — including secret justifications and undisclosed intelligence assessments.

Obama has been asked to explain his views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against U.S. citizens, especially when operating on U.S. soil. In fact some in Congress have asked Obama whether he thought the Administration could legally carry out drone strikes inside the United States. In response, Obama emphasized that the Administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.”

The question the public is asking is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important question that cannot be ignored.

Already we are facing a severe loss of our liberties with the recent signing of the NDAA that allows indefinite detention of citizens without charges or legal representation.  Warrantless wiretapping is also a serious concern.

Throughout American history we have been reminded that government has over and over again used every available tool to repress legitimate dissent – drones will be no different.

We must take proactive steps to ban these surveillance systems now while we still can.

Monday, February 25, 2013

DRONES DO NOT EXIST



In a rare admission, Robert Gibbs, the former White House Press Secretary under Obama, told reporters Sunday that he was ordered to act as if there was no such thing as an active US drone program.
 
“When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you’re not even to acknowledge the drone program,” Gibbs said on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes” this past weekend.

Gibbs said that he was told “You’re not even to discuss that it exists.”

HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES?


  • Today I am preparing for two events.  One is the drone hearing at Maine's state house tomorrow at 1:30 pm where a bill to ban drones in our state will be heard.  I will try to make a statement if possible.  The second is a seminar I've been invited to in San Francisco this weekend called Techno-Utopianism--- Killing the World.  The meeting will "explore the negative role of recent generations of technological 'advancement.' The idea is to challenge the fundamental world-views of our society that celebrate and embrace the inevitable virtues of technological innovation----and the prevailing attitudes about 'progress' and human authority over nature." Others attending this meeting will be Langdon Winner, Vandana Shiva, Richard Heinberg, Pat Mooney, Paul Kingsnorth, Charlene Spretnak, Stephanie Mills, Kirkpatrick Sale, Chet Bowers, Lisi Krall, Godfrey Reggio, Lorna Salzman, as well as Rob Dietz, Severine von Tsarchner Fleming, Andy Kimbrell, and Jerry Mander. It's a real honor to be invited to speak to these folks.  I am excited about how much I will learn there and how it will better enable me to connect the dots in my writing and speaking.
  •  I just spent a good long time talking with Mary Beth this morning about these two events and what the critical message is and how best to say it.  We help each other often in these moments.  She is now writing a letter to the editor in her head about drone policy and this discussion helped her clarify things.  She increasingly is getting invitations to speak to church congregations - one of the few activists I know who gets such invites anymore.  She has the great ability to bridge those two worlds.
  • David Swanson sent around a brilliant piece called Witness at a Drone Hearing where he suggests Leo Tolstoy should be invited to testify at the upcoming House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington on drones.  David extensively quotes Tolstoy on killing.  Here a few gems:
-  Every man of the present day, if we go deep enough into the contradiction between his conscience and his life, is in a state of despair.
 - This contradiction, which is a quintessence of all the other contradictions, is so terrible that to live and to take part in it is only possible if one does not think of it—if one is able to forget it.
- If there were no external means of dulling their sensibilities, half of mankind would shoot themselves without delay, for to live in opposition to one's reason is the most intolerable condition. And that is the condition of all men of the present day.
- All men of the modern world exist in a state of continual and flagrant antagonism between their conscience and their way of life.
- Everyone knows that if murder is a sin, it is always a sin, whoever are the victims murdered.....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

ONE OF A KIND COP



Julianna Forlano from Absurdity Today! speaks with retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis about stopping the Tarsands Pipeline, Occupy Wall Street, and police apathy in the face of their own rights being dissolved.

MADRID


Madrid, Spain , February 23, 2013 anti-austerity protest.

SUNDAY SONG