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.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Snow report and more from Maine

  • We have had a record cold streak here in Maine and after another big dump of snow more extreme cold is on the way.  To me 'climate change' means disruption of the normal, traditional, weather pattern where you live.  That's what we've had the last few years in Maine - year round - and this winter is our hardest yet since moving here in 2003.

  • To my Florida friends who wonder if we are ready to surrender and come back to Florida - while I can't speak for Mary Beth - I say no, I am staying here.  Remember I had my DNA tested recently and 1% of me comes from Finland/Northwest Russia! The cold is in my bones - I love it.

  • I had a call this morning from a VFP member in the Boston-area who informed me that Tom Gale had died yesterday from a heart attack.  I last saw Tom in late-September at their annual BBQ of the Smedley Butler Brigade chapter of VFP.  We had our photo taken together but I can't find it.  He was a good man and I am sad to hear of his passing.

  • We've heard the bill has now been written that would give General Dynamics Corporation $60 million from the taxpayers of Maine.  It should be assigned to an upcoming Taxation Committee public hearing - likely January 22.  We need to increase our outreach to the public to alert them about the corporate welfare giveaway that is being proposed by my own State Rep. Jennifer DeChant and Sen. Eloise Vitelli - both Democrats.  It seems that it does not mean much to call yourself a Democrat anymore. If you truly stand with the poor then how can you propose a corporate tax subsidy for the 5th largest weapons corporation in the world when we have 43,000 kids in our state living in poverty, out of a population of 1.34 million in Maine?  Just makes no damn sense to me.
Made by Lisa Savage in Solon, Maine.  She is a public school teacher that daily sees many of these poor and neglected kids.  For her all this is very real.

I am so tired of politicians saying they care for the poor and then watch them turn around and carry water for a mega-corporation that has more money than god.  Yesterday someone sent me an interesting quote from Fortune Magazine about General Dynamics.  It goes like this:

 "Boeing makes planes; Raytheon makes missiles; General Dynamics makes money.”
 Enough said....


US-Israel regime change operation in Iran

The MEK, delisted as a terrorist group by Hillary Clinton, who have committed numerous atrocities in the Iran-Iraq, and are now promoted in the Western media as "freedom fighters".

Like all the US-backed Al Qaeda offshoots and ISIS-in-disguise in Syria - MEK is being used as the violent force inside Iran's protests.

This is the same script that the US used in the 2014 coup in Ukraine and has used repeatedly in recent years in all of the color revolutions the CIA has been sponsoring.  In the case of the Ukraine the US used the Nazi forces who predominate in the west side of the country as the violent battering ram to take down the elected government in Kiev.

This is how the US does foreign policy anymore - first the threat is made to a particular nation.  They are told either you surrender or you will be destabilized and taken down.  Any nation that refuses is put on the list.

Learn to match the list with the places the US military is operating and the location of news reports talking about 'freedom fighters' liberating their country from despots.

Just one note - please ask yourself why the US does not support the freedom fighters inside Saudi Arabia.....


Friday, January 05, 2018

The crowded, noisey & dangerous skies over Okinawa

Listen to VFP member Ken Mayers from New Mexico explain the issues surrounding U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa over the decades.

Jury selection today for Aegis 9 trial

On April 1, 2017 another Aegis destroyer was 'christened' at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine.  Nine of us were arrested as we protested outside the public entrance gate of the shipyard.

Today we spent the entire day at the court for jury selection which will continue on Tuesday, January 9 at 1:00 pm in the West Bath District Court (New Meadows Road).  Three hundred people were in the jury pool and had to fill out a questionnaire that included their connection to BIW and their views on civil disobedience.  They saw us sitting in front of the jury box so we know many had to do some thinking about what protest happened at BIW and why.  Forty-one local citizens will be picked from the larger pool and the prosecutor and our side will choose the jury from that lot.

The trial is now tentatively set for February 1-2 at the Sagadahoc County Courthouse in Bath.

The ‘Aegis 9’ 

1. Lisa Savage – Solon, 60 years, School teacher
2. Jason Rawn – Lincolnville, 45, War tax resister, house painter
3. Bruce Gagnon – Bath, 65, VFP (Veterans For Peace & Global Network)
4. Natasha Mayers – Whitefield, 70, Artist
5. Bob Dale – Brunswick, 92, VFP, retired Navy pilot
6. Mike Tork – Cape Cod, MA, 69, VFP, former Navy Vietnam vet
7. Mark Roman – Solon, 69, Woodworker
8. Russell Wray – Hancock, 61, Artist
9. Jessica Stewart – Bass Harbor, 37, Catholic Worker activist

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Remembering Jackson State.....

As the US lectures Iran and other nations about the 'sanctity of democracy' and the rights of peaceful protests let's remember Jackson State.

My sense of what is going on in Iran is that this is another CIA 'color revolution' on the same order as others we've seen in recent years - in particular the 2014 coup d'etat in Kiev, Ukraine.  The US and Israel are out for regime change in Iran - just like in Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela and more.

I saw a friend post today about the Iran protest story and he commented, "Don't forget Standing Rock, the Democrat convention in Chicago, the American war in Vietnam, Kent State, to name just a few more."  He was responding to a news story headline that read: As US seeks emergency UN meeting on Iran, Russia reminds it of Ferguson & Occupy crackdowns. 

After reading the Facebook post my thoughts went right to Jackson State in Mississippi.

On May 15, 1970, dozens of Jackson, MS city and state policemen unloaded more than 460 rounds of gunfire into Jackson State University's Alexander Hall after claiming to have seen a sniper in a window on the building's top floor. The shooting was the culmination of years of racial tension in the city. Two innocent black men were killed.

The desperation in Washington is increasingly revealing the oligarchies erratic behavior.  The empire knows its global control is fading fast.  Trump was not supposed to be elected president.  He was the foil put up to ensure the very hated Hillary Clinton would win.  But Trump caught on by mining a deep resentment across the working class who are being dumped by the corporate oligarchy.

Hillary was to be the 'liberal woman' to lead the US back to domination over Russia and China by playing hardball and keeping her domestic base appeased with slight gestures that had no impact on foreign and fiscal policies that are controlled by the corporations.

But the whole thing went haywire and today we deal with the imbecile that was put in place to act the political clown.  He's still doing the job.

In one way Trump helps show the world the real face of America - greed, self-righteousness, bitter mean spirit, and disconnected from nature.  This is the legacy of our history - come back to haunt us at our greatest time of need.

Here in Maine we are right now being hammered with a snow blizzard - following nearly two weeks of sub-zero weather - setting new records.  Part of our house has frozen pipes.  Everyone is talking about the reality of climate change but Trump is tweeting about the size of his red button.

There is no answer - just the sadness of our moment as we descend into a downward spiral.  My hope comes from all who continue to stand up - speak out - stand for principle and work in a cooperative way.  This is the model for a future that we might not live to see.


Rally at Maine's State Capital

Yesterday was a good day for our campaign.  The Portland Press Herald carried two letters to the editor opposing the $60 million corporate subsidy to General Dynamics (GD).  So far across the state as best we can track 14 letters and Op-Eds have appeared in seven newspapers expressing opposition.  We hope you will write something for a daily or weekly paper in your community soon.
I was in Augusta on Wednesday to join the rally inside the Hall of Flags organized by the Alliance for the Common Good.  Over 50 people were there and I got a chance to address the crowd.  I talked about GD’s request for $60 million in corporate welfare from an already strapped state.  Three Maine legislators were in the audience at that moment and I had a chance to hand four other legislators some info about the GD welfare request.  Those I spoke with expressed opposition but the proof will be in the pudding.
The Taxation Committee in Augusta begins hearings next week and so far the Rep. Jennifer DeChant (Dem-Bath) and Sen. Eloise Vitelli (Dem-Arrowsic) bill to give GD $60 million over the next 20 years is still not written.  It appears DeChant continues to work with GD’s lawyers and lobbyists to complete the bill for Taxation Committee hearings that would be on January 22. So preliminarily we should plan to go to Augusta on that date to pack the hearing room.  We will keep you posted as things further develop.
The Times Record in Brunswick is working on a big story about GD’s big program to buy back their own stock to help drive up the price of it.  I reminded the folks in the Hall of Flags today that between 2009-2016 GD bought back $12.9 billion of its own stock.  You can only do that when you have lots of excess cash in the bank.  So clearly GD does not need a penny from Maine.  Our task now is to help to public find out about this.
Please be sure to contact your state representative and senator ASAP and share with them your thinking about GD’s request.  You can find contact info for the Maine Legislature at
If you’d like to learn more about the details of the GD $60 million request watch this interview with Orlando Delogu – expert on these issues and emeritus Professor of Law at USM.
Your help to spread the world on Facebook and Twitter would be great. 
Please do what you can – we will have just a couple more weeks to alert the public to this raid on the state treasure chest by the corporate pirates.  Surely we can all think of many important needs that $60 million could be used for in Maine.
In peace,
This campaign is supported by:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (Brooksville)
COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats, Hancock)
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (Bath)
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Green Horizon Magazine (Topsham)
Island Peace & Justice (Deer Isle)
Maine Green Independent Party
Maine Natural Guard (Solon)
Maine Peace Fund (Portland)
Maine Veterans For Peace
Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center (Portland)
Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (Brunswick)
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine (Bangor)
Peace & Justice Group of Waldo County
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center (Blue Hill)
Resources for Organizing & Social Change (Augusta)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Nazi's march in Ukraine

RT reports:

Thousands participated in a torchlight procession through Kiev on Monday night in honor of the 109th anniversary since the birth of Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) leader Stepan Bandera. The group collaborated with the Nazi Germany during the WWII and was responsible for mass killings of Jews and Poles.

Demonstrators carried flags of far right movements ‘Right Sector’ and Svoboda and banners reading "For the glory of heroes, for the future of children!"
These are the forces that the US is supporting in Ukraine today - and they are being set upon Russia with the US-NATO supplying offensive weapons, training and ultimate direction. 

The goal? Create chaos (Iraq/Libya/Syria style) on the Russian western border. Along Russia's eastern border is the North Korean crisis. Does Russia not have some reason for concern with US-NATO aggression?

Imagine the response from Washington if Moscow was setting up bases and arming terrorists along our Mexican and Canadian borders?  It's utter hypocrisy and the American people are generally kept ignorant about what our government is actually doing and they are kept quite distracted with tweets that misdirect our attention to the shell game going on before our very eyes.


Interview with Hiroji Yamashiro

Hiroji Yamashiro has become a symbol of Okinawa's movement against U.S. military bases. 

Learn more: 

-Prosecutors seek 2 1/2 year prison sentence for Okinawa's prominent anti-base protest leader: 

-Anti-base Okinawa released after five months in detention: 

-Defense at Yamashiro’s trial claims Japanese government should face discrimination charges: 

-More article from Japan Times on Yamashiro: 

-Veterans For Peace in Okinawa Resource List: Film produced by Hanayo Oya and Will Griffin

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Can space junk be cleaned up?

Thanks to my sister Laura for sharing this one....very important issue.

The only US Astronaut to ever speak at a peace in space rally at the Kennedy Space Center was Apollo 14's moon walker Edgar Mitchell.  He accepted our invitation to speak in 1989 at an event organized by the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.  (You can see a short clip from his speech in the documentary called Arsenal of Hypocrisy.)

In his speech Mitchell told those assembled that if the space junk problem gets much worse - particularly after a 'first war in space' - it would be the end of human ability to get a rocket into space.  A virtual minefield of space debris would hover over the Earth and rockets would not be able to get through the ring of junk - speeding thru orbit at 15,000 mph.  Rockets would be destroyed and contribute even more debris to the graveyard above the Earth.

The technologists and profiteers who view space as a new market for exploitation, occupation, militarism, nuclear power and more have treated our space environment in much the same way they have treated the oceans, rivers and lakes back on Earth.

There are only a limited number of parking spaces in Earth's orbits for satellites that these days are being launched faster than you can blink.  As legions of more launches take place the debris problem grows worse - lots of 'aerospace' people talk about it but few try to bring the world together to discuss how us earthlings should go about launching ourselves into the heavens. More international cooperation is called for here rather than more of the present ethic of control and domination.

Seems like every rich guy these days starts a new company to build a rocket to fly to some planetary body so they can bury their corporate flag into the regolith.  Underneath the cosmic dust they dream will be their fortune after mining for precious minerals.

It's the Wild West Show and the Gold Rush all over again - and lots of horses are being hitched.  The problem is that the barn is getting full and some horses ain't gonna make it inside.  What happens then?

Space junk is the most visible and striking early sign that the corporate investment plan to control and dominate space for massive profit is already crashing off the rails.

Edgar Mitchell warned that because of space junk we might be entombed to the Earth.  We should listen closely to those words.  We could start by cleaning up our Mother Earth and slowing down the rush into the unknown.


Control of Jerusalem is a unilateral claim by Zionists

In depth analysis!

Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro reacts to #Jerusalem being declared the capital of Israel, and explains that the Jewish people relate to Jerusalem as a holy city, not as a political capital city. 

Jerusalem as the capital of the "Jews" is a #Zionist fiction, and conflicts directly with the teachings of #Judaism

To all those countries considering moving their embassies, please know that this would only benefit Israel and the Zionists, and has no benefit to the Jewish people at large. Israel does NOT represent world Jewry.

Who will speak for the sea life?

Oura Bay in Okinawa.

If the oceans die then the humans die as well......

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year's wishes for peace from Henoko

Hiroji Yamashiro singing his iconic protest songいまこそたちあがろう (Time to Stand Up and Fight) during a New Year's morning celebration on the beach at Henoko in Okinawa.

It is there that the people are resisting at the Camp Schwab gate and on kayaks in the water US efforts to build twin-runways on top of the bay for Marine aircraft that will destroy coral reefs and Dugong (relatives of the Manatee).

During the Obama administration his Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, repeatedly refused to meet with the Okinawan people as they pled with the US not to go forward with this disastrous project that will destroy the environment and further make the island a prime target in a war.

It was Hiroji Yamashiro that was jailed last year for five months in solitary confinement by the Japanese government (likely at the request of the US) for having committed the crime of helping to daily assemble the people at the gates of US Marine base Camp Schwab that sits on Oura Bay in Honoko.  He is still on trial, and if found guilty of his non-violent crime of citizen participation in a so-called democratic society, he will likely face even more jail time.

The people have been protesting against this new US base construction every day on sea and land for at least the past 16 years.  Imagine that kind of determination and love for one another and our Mother Earth.

While recently in Okinawa on the VFP delegation Hiroji joined one of our protests at the front gate of Kadena AFB where my step-father was stationed in 1953 during the Korean War.  I brought along some photos he had been taken in during his time there as he posed next to 500 pound bombs and on the back of the photo he had written - "These are dropped on North Korea all day, every day."

Following the protest that day at Kadena AFB Hiroji taped a message that will be played at the January 12-14 Conference on US Foreign Military Bases at the University of Baltimore in Maryland.

The people of Okinawa, like the people of Korea, know war very well and don't want anymore of it.  It appears that congressional leaders and the Trump administration in Washington are now pushing war with North Korea that if started would soon likely draw in Russia and China.  If that happens the Korean peninsula would be engulfed in flames as would Okinawa.

Let's move into the new year determined to each do what we can to prevent such an insane war from happening.  Help by writing a letter, making a call, speaking to others, resisting the massive Pentagon budget, sharing photos of protests from Korea and Okinawa and joining protests here in the US.  We've all got to contribute something to bring peace in 2018.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

South Korean's don't want war

The latest poll conducted by the Korean National Assembly and Korea Research: Koreans’ overwhelming support for engagement with North Korea in the New Year.

  • 81% support the North-South Korean summit meeting in 2018
  • 71% support South Korea’s sending a special envoy to North Korea
  • 67.8% support postponing the US-Korea Joint Military Drills to periods after Winter Olympics
  • 60% regard North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics very important
  • 50% think that the North-South Korean family reunions should be held during the Lunar New Year in 2018 regardless of current tension.
  • 47.4% believe that inter-Korean relations will improve in the New Year
  • 42.8 think that the new security policy of the United States doesn’t help Korea
  • 55.2% think positively about the Korean government’s reevaluation of the 2015 Korea-Japan bilateral deal regarding Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”)
  • 70.2% support keeping the Peace Statue (“the bronze comfort girl statute") in the original place across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul
  • 67.2% expect that China’s economic retaliation of Korea caused by the deployment of THAAD in Korea will gradually lessen
  • 62.4% have faith in Japan-Korea’s bilateral relationship. A majority of Korean believe that historical issues be treated separately from areas where two nations can cooperate, such as security in Northeast Asia and economic, social and cultural areas.

The face of fascism in the Holy Land

Sunday Song