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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Friday, May 02, 2014


People in the Philippines staged major protests during Obama's visit to sign new agreements to allow US military bases to return to their country.  The US was kicked out of the Philippines in 1992 and had to close its Navy and Air Force bases.

  • At Beale AFB in California on Tuesday, the two main gates into the base for the first time during rush hour commute were successfully shut down, simultaneously.  Thirteen people were arrested, six were veterans and three others had never done civil resistance before.  Beale AFB hosts the Global Hawk (Surveillance drone), the U2 spy plane and the MC12 Liberty aircraft, all participants in the so-called  "war on terror." The base also has a PAVE PAWS radar which plays a key role in space directed warfare.
  • Obama's visit to the Philippines this week was met with major opposition protests.  Long-time activist Walden Bello who represents Akbayan (Citizens’ Action Party) in the House of Representatives of the Philippines writes:
    As U.S. President Barack Obama descends on the Philippines, Manila and Washington are rushing to complete negotiations on an Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation (AEDC) between the two countries.

    What the agreement boils down to is that the Philippines will give the United States the right to operate bases in the country—for no rent—without the guarantee of U.S. protection of the country’s island territories.

    With the impending basing agreement with the United States, the Philippines is right back to its position during the Cold War, when it played the role of handmaiden to the U.S. containment strategy by hosting two huge military bases. The small window of opportunity to forge an independent foreign policy that the Philippines gained with the expulsion of the U.S. bases in 1992 will disappear with the impending signing of this latest pact with Washington.
  • Russia is calling an extraordinary meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the punitive operation staged by the Kiev authorities in Ukraine’s southeastern regions, a spokesman for Russia’s permanent mission at the United Nations told ITAR-TASS on Friday. Ukrainian special forces have started a punitive operation in the city of Sloviansk early on Friday morning. “A full sweep operation was launched” with armoured vehicles and warplanes involved in it, a representative of the city militia told ITAR-TASS. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry stated that two Ukrainian Air Force’s helicopter gunships Mil Mi-24 had been downed and a military transport helicopter Mi-8 had been damaged in clashes.
  • Boris Yulyevich Kagarlitsky is a Russian sociologist who has been a political dissident in the Soviet Union and in post-Soviet Russia. He is coordinator of the Transnational Institute Global Crisis project and Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements (IGSO) in Moscow. He writes:
    The arguments of the Kremlin in this dispute have not worked, and cannot work, for the simple reason that Western politicians for the present are not especially interested in what official Russia is thinking or doing. These politicians know perfectly well that there is no Russian invasion, and this, precisely, is the main international problem for them. To admit as much means admitting that the government in Kiev has gone to war on its own people.

    To speak of the Donetsk Peoples Republic as an independent political phenomenon in impossible, since this would require posing the question of the reasons for the popular protest, and listing its demands. The talk of Kremlin agents and of the ubiquitous Russian troops—who are impossible to discover, but who have occupied close to half of Ukraine without firing a shot or even showing themselves on Ukrainian territory—is playing the same propaganda role against the Donetsk republic as was played in the anti-Bolshevik propaganda of 1917 by stories of German spies and of money from the German General Staff.
  • Amid rising tensions with Russia, the U.S. defense chief Chuck Hagel said Washington and its allies may "adjust" the timing for fielding "missile defense" (MD) systems in Europe. For now, "we are continuing with our schedule with the enhanced adaptive approach to fulfill the commitments that we've made in the interests of Poland, Romania and our NATO partners," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon in mid-April. The adjustment appears to mean opening the door to additional deployments of MD in other nations that border Russia.
  • Georgia’s Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, said in Washington on April 30 that in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, NATO allies should deploy “defensive assets” in Georgia. Air defense and anti-armor capabilities – “this is something we need to put in Georgia and Russians will understand that you are serious,” Alasania told the Washington-based think-tank Atlantic Council’s “Toward a Europe Whole and Free” conference.  They are talking about MD deployments and putting them in Georgia would be one more provocative step toward encircling Russia with these systems that are intended to serve as the "shield" after a US-NATO first-strike attack is launched. 
  • It is obvious that the US is really stepping up the anti-Russian rhetoric and military "containment".  Things do not bode well for stability and peace in the region as US-NATO are forcing Russia to submit to corporate domination or face the possibility of major war.


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