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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Expanding U.S. Military Operations in Asia-Pacific & Beyond

Professor Yang Yoon-Mo (right) alongside former Army Col. Ann Wright while she was visiting Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  Yang did hunger strikes on each of his three long jail sentences for trying to block Navy base construction vehicles.  As the US 'pivots' into the Asia-Pacific region more ports-of-call are needed for Pentagon warships.  Jeju Island thus has been caught in the middle of this US-China confrontation.

  • The news release we sent out to media outlets across Maine about our Saturday Bath Iron Works (BIW) protest got picked up by the Bangor Daily News.  See their article here.  That story in turn was surprisingly picked up by the military Stars & Stripes newspaper.  Find it here.
  • We are excited that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will be at our Saturday protest in Bath during the 'Christening' ceremony for the next Aegis destroyer.  Jill is the only candidate for president that is connecting all the dots - calling for the conversion of the military industrial complex so that we have the funds to really deal with climate change by building rail, solar, wind, tidal power and expanded energy conservation programs.  
  • The Bath Police Department called again yesterday about our Saturday BIW protest.  They were concerned that they might have to arrest our delegation that will attempt to deliver letters to Maine's elected officials (US senators and representatives) who will be at the ceremony.  They said BIW will not let our folks enter the ceremony even though the public is invited to attend.  I told them we are not looking to get arrested but just want to hand the letters over to the politicians.  The police said they'd try to see if the letters could be officially received and handed over to our Maine Congressional delegation.  Have not heard back as of yet.  Either way we will still try to deliver the letters.
  • Doctors Without Borders is reporting that another of their hospitals, this time in Yemen, has been bombed. Airstrikes carried out on October 26 by Saudi Arabia in northern Yemen destroyed a hospital supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The small hospital, in the Haydan District in Saada Province, was hit by several airstrikes beginning at 10:30 p.m. Hospital staff and two patients managed to escape before subsequent airstrikes occurred over a two-hour period. One staff member was slightly injured while escaping. With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care. "This attack is another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine," said Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen. Saudi Arabia's airstrikes are being coordinated by US military space satellites.  
  • An online petition has been created to Tell President Obama to Consent to Independent Investigation of Kunduz Hospital Bombing in Afghanistan.  Attacking a protected site such as a hospital is a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. The precise GPS coordinates of the four-year-old MSF hospital in Kunduz were provided to US and Afghan authorities in Washington and Kabul in the days prior to the bombing, and the hospital contained nearly 200 patients and staff at the time of the attack.   
  • The US, as part of Obama's 'pivot' of 60% of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific, is repeatedly poking China attempting to get a military response that would justify even further American military operations in the region.  The latest attempt by the US Navy to sail close to Chinese naval installations in the South China Sea is hailed as being about supporting free navigation of the oceans and the US trots out the Law of the Sea Treaty as justification for this position.  (This is of course more than hypocritical since the US has refused to sign onto the Law of the Sea Treaty.)  China imports 80% of its resources to run its economy through the South China Sea and has upped its military presence in the region largely as a result of the US 'pivot'.  So we are witnessing the classic case of which came first - the chicken or the egg?


Blogger Lisa Savage said...

"They said BIW will not let our folks enter the ceremony even though the public is invited to attend."

This is the kind of thing I think about when people in the U.S. trumpet our constitutional right to free speech. As long as you do not oppose the military-industrial complex, you are free to speak. Dissent, however, seems to be squelched regularly and people just look on as if it were a non-issue. Someone in my twitter feed actually called us "domestic terrorists" because of this plan to exercise our right to free speech.

10/29/15, 3:57 AM  

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