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, May 12, 2018

Report from Russia


By Regis Tremblay

Six days in Moscow. Watching the news from over here. Very discouraging. From the EU comes news how they are angry that Trump (US neocons) pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement. They are figuring out 1) they can't trust their American masters, 2) they must take their own interests first, 3) they have to avoid war. 4) because of US wars of regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, millions of "immigrants" have flooded the EU and are causing havoc and chaos. In Sweden they are experiencing a 160% increase in violent crime over one year. The same is true in Germany, Italy, France, and the UK.

Things are very bad in the EU politically, economically, and militarily. It seems they have been forced to recalculate the relationship with the US and what is best for each country. The Transatlantic Partnership is being torn apart....thanks be to whomever for that.

Trump is being portrayed as a fool, clown, moron, and unstable. America's actions with Trump center stage makes one embarrassed to be associated with it.

Here in Russia, people are carefully watching the election in Iraq today, Iran's reaction to the US pullout of the nuclear agreement, Israel's bombing of Gaza and Syria and the attacks on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights.

From what I can tell, Russia wishes to avoid war at all costs. Being here for the second time, I can understand why. Russians seem to believe that President Putin will not take the country to war unless the Motherland is attacked.

Westerners claim that Putin is weak and has backed down to the US and Israel. Russians insist that he is not weak, but strong and insisting on international law and the UN Charter.

I learned today that Russia's "relationship" with Israel is almost purely the history of Russian Jews who migrated to and formed the (illegal - my judgment) 1948 formation of Israel. There are still millions of Russian Jews here in Russia.

Russia is a friend of Syria and has offered military and economic assistance to the Assad government. There, Russia will "bend" but not "break."


In relation to Iran, Russia "doesn't have a dog in the fight" except for being a partner in the Nuclear Agreement. Her interests in the Middle East are not oil, but 1) a pipeline for gas and oil to Europe, and 2) the completion of the New Silk Road connecting far east Asia with Europe, all the way to Portugal. I point out in my film, Thirty Seconds to Midnight, that America will never let this happen without risking all-out war. A united Eurasia would represent the most powerful economic, political, and military bloc in the world and a new world order not based on American interests.

I have also learned, from some, that there are indeed thousands of Russian troops in Donbass to protect Russians and Russian speakers there from the attacks of the Ukrainian army.

Putin has made it clear, in spite of thousands of NATO/US troops and bases along Russia's borders, that Russia's line in the sand is any invasion or attack on Russia itself.

The feeling of the people I have met is that tensions are very high and the worst ever. Many are afraid of war and some are afraid of nuclear war...because of America's aggression and attempts to subjugate the entire world.

I often quote Henry David Thoreau who said in the late 19th century, "How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it."

When people ask me where I am from (they really know before asking) I say "North America." I then explain that the American government does not represent me and I am ashamed to be associated with it. I tell them, I come as friend and a citizen of Mother Earth...and I come in peace and solidarity.

They get it.

Je Suis Russia!

Regis Tremblay
Brunswick, Maine

The Coming War Against Iran



By John Kiriakou

I spent nearly 15 years in the CIA. I like to think that I learned something there. I learned how the federal bureaucracy works. I learned that cowboys in government – in the CIA and elsewhere around government – can have incredible power over the creation of policy. I learned that the CIA will push the envelope of legality until somebody in a position of authority pushes back. I learned that the CIA can wage war without any thought whatsoever as to how things will work out in the end. There’s never an exit strategy.

I learned all of that firsthand in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. In the spring of 2002, I was in Pakistan working against al-Qaeda. I returned to CIA headquarters in May of that year and was told that several months earlier a decision had been made at the White House to invade Iraq. I was dumbfounded, and when told of the war plans could only muster, “But we haven’t caught bin Laden yet.” “The decision has already been made,” my supervisor told me. He continued, “Next year, in February, we’re going to invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam Hussein, and open the world’s largest air force base in southern Iraq.” He went on, “We’re going to go to the United Nations and pretend that we want a Security Council Resolution. But the truth is that the decision has already been made.”

Soon after, Secretary of State Colin Powell began traveling around Europe and the Middle East to cultivate support for the invasion. Sure enough, he also went to the United Nations and argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, necessitating an invasion and overthrow because that country posed an imminent threat to the United States.

But the whole case was built on a lie. A decision was made and then the “facts” were created around the decision to support it. I think the same thing is happening now.

Iraq Redux

First, Donald Trump said repeatedly during the 2016 campaign that he would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (which he did on Tuesday), also known as the Iran sanctions deal. The JCPOA allows for international inspectors to examine all of Iran’s nuclear sites to ensure that the country is not enriching uranium and is not building a weapons program. In exchange, Western countries have lifted sanctions on Iran, allowing them to buy spare parts, medicines, and other things that they had been unable to acquire. Despite the protestations of conservatives in Congress and elsewhere, the JCPOA works. Indeed, the inspection regime is exactly the same one that the United Nations imposed on Iraq in the last two decades.

Trump has kept up his anti-Iran rhetoric since becoming president. More importantly, he has appointed Iran hawks to the two most important positions in foreign policy: former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton as national security advisor. The two have made clear that their preferred policy toward Iran is “regime change,” a policy that is actually prohibited by international law.

Perhaps the most troubling development, however, is the apparent de facto alliance against Iran by Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent “presentation” on what he called a clandestine Iranian nuclear weapons program was embarrassingly similar to Powell’s heavily scripted speech before the UN Security Council 15 years earlier telling the world that Iraq had a program. That, too, was a lie.

Another Hyped Threat


Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman, the godfather of the Saudi war in Yemen, which in turn is a proxy war against Iran, recently made a grand tour of the United States and France talking about “the Iranian threat” at every turn. The rhetoric coming out of the UAE and Bahrain is at least as hostile as what has been spewed by the Saudis.

Meanwhile, there’s silence on Capitol Hill. Just like there was in 2002.

I can tell you from firsthand experience, that I’ve seen this before. Our government is laying the groundwork for yet another war. Be on the lookout for several things. First, Trump is going to begin shouting about the “threat” from Iran. It will become a daily mantra. He’ll argue that Iran is actively hostile and poses an immediate danger to the United States. Next Pompeo will head back to the Middle East and Europe to garner support for military action. Then US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will scream in front of the UN Security Council that the US has no choice but to protect itself and its allies from Iran. The final shoe to drop – a clear indication of war – will be if naval carrier battle groups are deployed to the eastern Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, or the Persian Gulf. Sure, there’s always one in the region anyway. But more than one is a provocation.

We have to be diligent in opposing this run into another war of choice. We can’t be tricked or taken by surprise. Not again.

~ John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

Plutocracy IV - Gangsters for Capitalism


Plutocracy IV - Gangsters for Capitalism from Scott N on Vimeo.


Scott Noble writes of Part IV:

"More than any other entry in the series so far, this film is directly relevant to current events. With some notable exceptions, most of the strikes I covered in parts 1-3 merely set the stage for the next phase of labor struggle -- they didn't usually result in triumphant victories. Oftentimes it was more a case of one step forward, two steps back. Here, I cover a number of militant, highly organized and often ingenious labor actions that collectively compelled great changes at the state level. We can thank these activists for the very existence of the American middle class. I should also stress that Gangsters includes some truly remarkable and harrowing footage of labor strikes and battles between workers and police (especially during the pivotal year of 1934), much of which was only made available in the last few years."

You can find the entire series here

Friday, May 11, 2018

Away to Wells Beach


MB and I are in Wells Beach (in southern Maine near the Massachusetts border) for a weekend visit with some of her relatives.  Her family spent many summers here when they lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  So this is one of her favorite spots.

I had been saying that after returning from the long and intense trip to Okinawa - which came right after my 37-day hunger strike against the bad General Dynamics corporate welfare bill - I needed a weekend away just for a chance to relax.  So this worked out well for both of us.

MB and I spent a couple hours this morning planting some more seeds in our veggie garden at home.  It's coming along quite nicely.  One problem though is another woodchuck family has moved into our back yard and if not trapped they will eat everything we plant.  So a trapper was coming today and will release what he catches in a state park in western Maine.  

The weather today is sunny but quite cool with rain in the forecast for Saturday.  But I don't care - I just want to sleep, relax, walk a bit on the beach, and eat.  That should all happen without any problem.

Bruce

Israeli terrorism - funded by U.S. taxpayers



At around 2:00 P.M. on Friday afternoon, 13 April 2018, some thirty residents of the Palestinian village of Madama tried to remove a roadblock the Israeli military had placed at the eastern entrance to the village. About eleven soldiers then arrived on the scene. In the clashes that ensued, residents threw stones at the soldiers from a distance of 50-80 meters, and the soldiers fired stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets at the villagers. Seven residents sustained injuries from the rubber-coated metal bullets the soldiers fired: two were taken to a hospital in Nablus for medical treatment, and the other five were treated on the spot.

These are the terrorists that Washington and Saudi Arabia are allied with and wanting to form a coalition with to go to war with Iran.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mainstream media spin on Syria



Journalist Tom Duggan reporting from Damascus, Syria.

Israel attacks Syria immediately after Trump withdraws from the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US are determined to start a wider war in the Middle East that draws in Iran.

RT reports:

Some 28 Israeli aircraft fired around 60 air-to-surface rockets in a massive overnight strike in Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Syrian air-defense systems managed to intercept more than half of the missiles. 
A total of 70 projectiles, including 60 air-to-surface rockets and more than 10 surface-to-surface missiles, hit Iranian military targets and Syrian air-defense systems near Damascus and in the south of the country on Thursday morning, the Russian military said in a statement.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Retired CIA man brutalized at CIA director confirmation hearing



Warning: police violence—— Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and whistleblower, spoke out during Gina Haspel’s CIA director confirmation hearing against her participation in the agency rendition and torture program. He was brutalized by police who ripped him out of the hearing room and while he shouted that they had dislocated his arm they continued to shove him into the ground. This violent suppression of peaceful protest is unconscionable!!! #BlockHaspel

McGovern is a leader in the group called VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). He is a former US Army infantry/intelligence officer, 27-year CIA analyst and CIA Presidential briefer (retired). 

Iran wishes to stay in nuclear deal



Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gave his reaction below to Trump pulling the US out of the Iran Nuclear Deal.  Many believe that Trump is carrying water for Israel and Saudi Arabia which both badly want war with Iran.  Neither of those two nations want to take on Iran alone so the goal is to drag Washington into the fray.  All other 'partners' in the deal still support it - China, France, Germany, Russia, and United Kingdom. US military bases today virtually surround Iran.


“This is a psychological war, we won’t allow Trump to win... I’m happy that the pesky being has left the Barjam." (Barjam is the acronym in Iran for the JCPOA.)

“Tonight we witnessed a new historic experience... for 40 years we’ve said and repeated that Iran always abides by its commitments, and the US never complies, our 40-year history shows us Americans have been aggressive towards great people of Iran and our region .. from the [1953] coup against the legitimate government of [Mohammad] Mosaddegh Mosadeq government and their meddling in the affairs of the last regime, support for Saddam [Hussein during Iran-Iraq war] and downing or our passenger plane by a US vessel and their actions in Afghanistan, in Yemen.”

“What Americans announced today was a clear demonstration of what they have been doing for months. Since the nuclear deal, when did they comply? They only left a signature and made some statements, but did nothing that would benefit the people of Iran.”

“This is not an agreement between Iran and the US... for US to announce it’s pulling out, it’s a multilateral agreement, endorsed by the UN security council resolution 2231, Americans officially announcement today showed their disregard for international commitments. We saw that in their disregard for Paris [climate change] agreement."

“Our people saw that the only regime that supports Trump is the illegitimate Zionist regime, the same regime that killed our nuclear scientists”

“From now on, this is an agreement between Iran and five countries... from now on the P5+1 has lost its 1... we have to wait and see how the others react. If we come to the conclusion that with cooperation with the five countries we can keep what we wanted despite Israeli and American efforts, Barjam can survive.” 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Our faint hearts....


Cold wind
coming
blow them away
as they count
their gold
the devil's brew

Domination ethic
burns bright
in heart's
of many
marching
(reluctantly
or not)
in Mr. Big's
parade

These 'holy
soldiers'
can't come
to grips with
changing weather,
global
income disparities,
and endless war

Lost without
vision
or courage
the gate minders
trudge along
bowing before
the green
frog skin $$$

Too much pain
and too much sorrow
in the land
of the
'shining city
upon a hill'

The collapse
is all around us
the future vision
obscured
by our faint hearts

Bruce

Monday, May 07, 2018

Weapons industry appetite for taxpayer $$$ is endless



  • The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has been saying for the past 26 years that the nuclear industry views space as a new market.  They've long envisioned nuclear-powered mining colonies on the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond. The announcement by NASA of a new nuclear reactor power system that could enable long-duration space colonies only confirms our worst fears.  Accidents at, or soon after, launch with nuclear payloads would endanger our fragile Earth environment.  But even more troubling is the history of Department of Energy lab accidents as they fabricate these nuclear generators for space missions.  Worker contamination and release of radioactive contamination into the air and local water supplies have long been a problem revealing that nuclear-power is killing people even before a launch might occur.
  • Trump's declared support for the creation of a separate branch of the military - the Space Force - is an indication that the aerospace industry has taken firm control of his administration.  The industry stands to make massive profit if such a separate 'space warrior force' can be created which would necessitate huge infusions of money into a program that the industry has long maintained would be the largest industrial project in human history - Star Wars.  The Air Force is opposed to the idea - they want to control the seamless web between the Earth and deep space themselves.
  • One of the key reasons for this push to expand the US 'space warrior' mission is that the aerospace industry wants to control the pathway on and off the Earth as technology begins to enable resource extraction on planetary bodies.  Pentagon documents have long maintained that an important role for US military space forces would be to control who is allowed to leave the earth to mine the sky and return with the enormous profits imagined from such an undertaking.  This would ensure that war in the heavens would no longer be a theoretical consideration - it would become a reality as the US enforced its mission of 'Master of Space' on behalf of corporate interests.
  • The use of nuclear power for military space operations - to power weapons in space - has long been on the Pentagon's drawing board.  The mix of nuclear power and space warfare is a deadly connection that must be avoided at all cost.  We will continue to build international opposition to these frightening plans.
  • Rhode Island journalist Alex Nunes is the reporter that helped us in Maine during our recent campaign to stop the corporate welfare bill for General Dynamics (owner of Bath Iron Works).  Nunes is currently writing about a similar effort under way in Rhode Island and Connecticut to extract tens of millions from those cash-strapped states for the same General Dynamics Corp..  You can see his writing here.  This morning Nunes posted the following message on his Facebook page.
This was how legendary consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader responded to the $83-million subsidy to General Dynamics-Electric Boat Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced last week. I imagine he feels the same about Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's $34-million deal to the same company. I sent him a listener question on the subject, which is what prompted the response.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Sunday song