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.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Oura Bay, Okinawa: Mayonnaise theory

On Oura Bay, Okinawa in 2015 with Veterans For Peace delegation









Fellow Mainer Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle) and I arrived in Naha, Okinawa late last night after our long flight from Boston.  We spent the day relaxing and going for a walk in the driving rain looking for a lunch spot.

After an afternoon nap we were taken to dinner by the Okinawa chapter of Veterans For Peace (VFP) which is hosting a VFP delegation for the fourth time.  It was during this dinner that Dud and I learned about the mayonnaise theory of soil testing at Oura Bay.

We are here soon after the defeat of Nago City Mayor Susumu Inamine who was a leader in the campaign to stop the construction of twin-runways on top of Oura Bay for the US.  Due to the 'pivot' of US military forces into the Asia-Pacific (to encircle China and Russia with expanded Pentagon bases) more airfields, ports of call, and barracks are needed.

Thus, pristine Oura Bay, home of several endangered species, is slated to have millions of dump truck loads of landfill emptied onto the bay to build the unwanted airfield.

The Japanese government, at the demand of the US, has been doing soil testing at Oura Bay for the last 15 years in preparation for runway construction.  The people who love the bay have been daily protesting against this insane construction project during this entire period of time.

At dinner tonight, we were told that soil testing of the sea bed at Oura Bay has revealed some startling facts.  Several professional engineers, now part of the Okinawan peace movement, have stated that the bay's sea bed is too weak to support the runways.  The bed has been described as being similar to tofu - that the weight of the massive amount of landfill would slowly sink into the sea because there is not sufficient solid bottom to hold the airfield.

But that theory is being revised and a new theory has come into being.  The engineers now believe that the bed at the bottom of Oura Bay is more like mayonnaise which would be even less able to support the massive twin-runway construction project.


As a result of this new understanding the US, and their Japanese client government, are needing to revise the construction plan but the elected mayors and governor of Okinawa stand in the way.  In order to 'fix the plan' changes must be made in the elected officials of this beleaguered island - 20% of which is now inhabited by US military bases.

Just a few months ago the Japanese right-wing ruling party poured loads of cash into the Nago City mayoral election and were able to defeat runway construction opponent Mayor Susumu Inamine.  (His opponent never mentioned the project during the campaign.) It was a shocking defeat - especially when polls show that at least 80% of the public opposes US military bases here.

Coming next will be the re-election campaign of runway critic Takeshi Onaga, Governor of the Prefecture of Okinawa.  The Japanese government, under direction from Washington, will move to defeat Gov. Onaga by once again pouring massive amounts of cash into the election campaign.  They will surely also utilize the mainstream media to demonize Gov. Onaga.

One reason for the call for 500 people each day during the coming week to join the protests outside US Marine base Camp Schwab, which sits next to Oura Bay, is to enliven public consciousness about the absolute necessity to ensure that Gov. Onaga is reelected and the plan to build the airfield upon the pristine bay is defeated.

It is this historic moment that Dud and I (VFP member Tarak Kauff from Woodstock, NY joins us tomorrow) find ourselves here in Okinawa.

At dinner tonight I was asked what I tell folks back home when I talk about Okinawa.  I said that I tell people that:


  • Okinawan people want to be left alone and wish to be treated with respect

  • They want their lands back and the environmental destruction from US bases to end

  • They don't want a war and they know that Okinawa is a prime target


One person replied to me, "The first thing you said is the most important. We want to be left alone."

We hear a lot these days in western mainstream media about Russian interference in the last US presidential election.  That is an accusation that carries little real evidence.

But the truth about US interference in Okinawan elections is real and evident to the people here.  The level of US hypocrisy and arrogance is astounding to anyone who is paying attention.

Bruce

2 Comments:

Anonymous Kevin Martin said...

Thanks for the report, Bruce. Okinawa and its people are beautiful, and their steadfast struggle an inspiration.

4/23/18, 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Peter Sirois said...

Why must the world endure this expansion of American empire?

4/23/18, 1:22 PM  

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