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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Protest Against Arctic Sea Drilling

An estimated 500 climate activists took to kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and even a solar-powered party barge on Saturday to tell Shell to get the hell out of Seattle. Rallying cry: #sHellNo!

The oil giant brought a huge drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, to the city’s port last Thursday, over objections from the mayor, city council, and a whole lot of pissed-off Seattleites. Shell plans to use the port as a staging ground for oil drilling operations in the Arctic over the next two years. The kayaktivists made their objections clear — and made for a pretty spectacle against the blue-gray background of Puget Sound.

The fossil fuel corporations are itching to start drilling in the Arctic Sea as climate change is melting the ice faster than anyone had expected.  

The Pentagon has created the "US Navy Arctic Roadmap: 2014-2030".  The plan includes such gems as the Navy needing ways to distribute fuel in the [Arctic] region to air and surface platforms.  Fuel allocation needs to be staffed and protected which means bases will be built.  How close would they be to Russia and how would that go over?  The current US-NATO movement of major offensive forces along the Russian border, having used the Ukraine crisis as a pretext, helps the military more effectively "control" the Russian bear in the event of future conflict over Arctic resource extraction.
In March, 2014 the Navy took New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), and others for a submarine ride below the Arctic ice.  Friedman wrote:

“In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean, and we’d better understand it,” noted Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. “We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.” Because if the Arctic does open up for shipping, it offers a much shorter route from the Atlantic to the Pacific than through the Panama Canal, saving huge amounts of time and fuel.

Our Sen. King here in Maine sent around an email called Impressions from the Arctic.  He told his constituents that there has been "a 40% reduction in ice as a result of global warming".  He reported that "previously inaccessible" gas and oil reserves were now going to create "new opportunities".  King concluded, "I am convinced we need to increase our capacity in the region, something I intend to press upon my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee as we work on our military priorities for the coming years."

Sen. King is now lobbying hard to have the next annual Arctic development conference in Maine next October.  

One reason the US is pushing for 'regime change' in Russia is because that nation has the longest land border with the Arctic Sea which gives them an advantage in the region.  So by breaking Russia into smaller countries the US hopes that would give the oil extraction corporations an easier hand in controlling things there.


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