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, June 30, 2018

Rallies to free the children


Ellen Davidson wrote today:

On our [Tarak Kauff, Bruce Gagnon, Ellen Davidson] way home from giving a presentation on the Veterans Peace Team delegations to Okinawa in Blue Hill, Maine, last night, we stopped in Damariscotta to join one of the anti-ICE vigils and marches around the country. I was expecting to join a dozen or so of the faithful with signs, being ignored or greeted with hostility by the rest of the world. Imagine my surprise to find both sides of the bridge filled with people—more than 300! With very few exceptions (I only counted four), response from the passersby (this is a hot tourist spot) was enthusiastically positive. Two young boys across the road from me were practically dancing as they greeted the passing cars. An eagle came by and flew over our heads as if to say “I pity the fools who think they can use me as a symbol for oppression and nationalism. There are no borders where I fly.”   See more of Ellen's bridge photos here

In addition to the three of us listed just above we were joined by fellow VFP members Dud Hendrick and Russell Wray at the Blue Hill library last evening for our talk on Okinawa.  All of us have gone to Jeju Island, South Korea and Okinawa together over the last few years.  We have been determined to share the stories and lessons learned from those experiences with as many people as possible.

Each of us spoke for a few minutes and Ellen (who took these photos) showed a slideshow of the resistance by the people in Okinawa against the current US base expansion on Oura Bay where a twin-runway is being built on top of the pristine water body.

From left to right - Dud Hendrick, Russell Wray, Tarak Kauff, and Bruce Gagnon. 

A collection was taken and $377 was donated for future Veterans Peace Team solidarity delegations to key places around the world where the US is creating havoc.

See more of Ellen's photos from the event last night here

Bruce

Friday, June 29, 2018

Trump's fans love 'Space Force'

Report on GN confab in Oxford, England - next 2019 meeting in Russia



Our 26th annual Global Network conference was held from June 22-24 at the Friends Meeting House (Quakers) in Oxford, England.

See a photo display of the week-ends events here

Will Griffin, Mary Beth Sullivan and I went a week early to Leeds (Yorkshire) and GN board convener Dave Webb organized a talk for us over four nights in different places including Edinburgh, Scotland.  At each event we were asked for our reactions to Donald Trump.  Trump will be visiting England in mid-July and protests are planned all over the United Kingdom.

I told people that the one good thing about Trump is that his volatility and his lack of core beliefs will ensure that public opinion around the world will turn against him and the US ensuring the quicker collapse of the US military and economic empire.

Our task here in the US is to help lessen the impact on people and the environment as the inevitable fall takes place.

During our meeting in Oxford (attended by the most diverse group we’ve ever had) it was decided that the theme for our next annual Keep Space for Peace Week (October 6-13) would be the ‘space force’.  We’d like to invite artists to send us design ideas for our space week poster.

Trump’s space force proposal must still be approved by Congress and the Air Force is not happy about the idea since they currently are predominately in charge of Pentagon military space operations.  There is also the issue of regional competition as the space force bill in Congress was introduced by a congressman from Alabama where the Army Space Command is headquartered – at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.  (This is the place where 100 former Nazi scientists were brought after WW II under Operation Paperclip to create the US space program.)  Huntsville is called the ‘Pentagon of the South’ and was the place we held our Global Network annual meeting last year.

The Air Force Space Command is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and they have a lot to lose if a new separate space force is created.  So there is much yet to be determined about how this will all work out.

During our Oxford meeting we decided to hold our 2019 GN conference in Moscow with a side-trip study tour to Crimea afterward.  We don’t have a fixed date yet but will likely go there in the spring (April or May) and would anticipate making the trip about eight days long.  One could choose to come to just the Moscow part or the Crimea leg of the journey – or both.

We are deeply concerned about steroidal NATO expansion and US ‘missile defense’ deployments ringing the Russian borders.  We feel that citizen diplomacy is needed now more than ever between Russia and the west as a new Cold War is underway and updated weapons technologies make nuclear war more likely than ever.  In recent years we have developed some good contacts which make a meeting in Russia possible.

Let us know if you might be interested in making the trip with us to Russia.  We’ll likely take 25 people.  I will do my best to raise funds to help defray some of the costs for lodging, local transport and interpreters.

Some of the things we anticipate doing while in Moscow and Crimea include: Meeting with military experts; meetings with students, veterans, journalists and activists; cultural experiences and museums; meeting with Crimean Tartar leaders; and much more.

Thanks go to our wonderful hosts in Oxford who made our meeting there a special one.  We gave our ‘Peace in space’ award to the Oxfordshire Peace Campaign in recognition of their steady and important work around the expanding US base at Croughton – a key intelligence, surveillance and war fighting operations installation.

Bruce

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Making sparks fly today in Bath....


Housemate Brown Lethem made a new yard sign for us and I was cutting the wire frame so we can put it in the ground.  It was pouring rain outside so did it inside. 

Nice photo actually by Laurie Wainberg.

Minerals mean money and chaos


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Politics inside the Democrat Party....

The Guardian reported today:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic socialist from the Bronx, has unseated Joe Crowley, a 20-year congressman, in a stunning political upset that sent shock waves through the party.
The victory, in a New York district primary election to determine who stands against the Republicans in November’s midterms for a seat in Congress, immediately prompted debate about the wider ramifications for the Democrats, and whether it heralds a further move to the left.

Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a former organizer for Bernie Sanders. She would be the youngest female member of Congress in history if she wins as expected in November.

She won by a margin of 57.5%- 42.5% over Crowley in a majority minority district that included parts of Queens and the Bronx.

This is how it works inside the Democrat Party.  Obama rode the anti-war horse into the White House, dismounted, stuck the horse in the barn, locked the door and threw the key into the Potomac River.  The horse was never seen or heard from again as Obama moved on to his 'Terror Tuesday' meetings where he picked victims from his 'kill list' provided by the CIA.

The fact that these 'progressive' folks keep getting elected reveals that the public is yearning for authentic politics.  Sadly once one 'wins' and gets deep into the Democratic Party their wings are clipped and they fall prey to the warmongers who run both mainstream political parties in America.

It just might be time to consider non-violent revolution in this country as the 'electoral option' is sealed up like a bank vault.

Bruce  

Update:  She has put her anti-war stuff back on her web site under the category 'A Peace economy'. Glad to see it.  See it here

Why are refugees coming from the south?


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Photos from Global Network conference in Oxford

Regina Hagen (Germany) spoke about the current situation with Europe's military space program.
Members of the Oxfordshire Peace Campaign (who hosted the conference) received the GN's 'Peace in space' award.  Each year they are the first to commit to organizing a Keep Space for Peace Week event in their community. It was agreed that Trump's proposal to establish a 'Space Force' would be the theme of space week this coming October 6-13.
The beautiful grounds of the Oxford Friends Meeting House where our GN annual meeting was held. 
The catered food at the event was wonderful and well received by all.
Sung-Hee Choi (South Korea), Angie Zelter and Dave Webb from the UK enjoying the beautiful weather and meeting house garden during a break.

Prabhakar Jalluri (India) and Will Griffin (Pennsylvania)
Lindis Percy (England) with one of her famous upside down American flags.
New GN Advisory Board member Aruna Kammila is a law school professor from India.  She spoke movingly about the need to protect space from greed and warfare.
Yasuo Ogata is a former member of the Japanese parliament and is also a new GN Advisory board member.  He currently serves as the Co-chair of the World Conference against A & H Bombs.
Social worker Mary Beth Sullivan (Maine) was also appointed as a new Advisory Board member for the GN.  She's been active with the group for more than 20 years.
A broader view of the lovely garden at the Oxford Friends Meeting House. 
On the last day of the conference we took a trip to Croughton AFB for a protest and decorated the base fence.  
Tia Patrick (Mississippi) and Reece Chenault (Kentucky) are both with US Labor Against War.  Tia reported on their recent delegation to South Korea to visit farmers resisting deployment of the US THAAD 'missile defense' system in their community.
Three radomes are visible in the background.  The US uses Croughton AFB as a central surveillance and intelligence gathering and relay hub.  The base's role is being expanded.
Some of the group pose for a photo before we left the base.
A more discreet version of 'Yankee go home'  

Photos by Will Griffin and Paul Mobbs (Click on the photos for a much better view)

Sitting Bull: See how the white man treats his children


The refugee



Dislodged
by chaos
separated
from home
and family

climate change
drought
escape for life
in leaky boats
refused at borders

refugee
rejected
vilified
running out of hope

Divide and conquer
blame refugee
rather than
corporate oligarchy
that created
refugees
from war$
Iraq,
Syria,
Afghanistan,
Somalia,
Libya,
Latin America....

refugee
we all
just one war
one economic disaster
one environmental
catastrophe
away

refugee
all our relatives
refugees
from somewhere
at some point
during human history

refugee
refugee
refugee......

Bruce

Update:  Christine DeTroy from Brunswick, Maine called and told me she read this poem at the rally on Saturday, June 30 opposing Trump's separation of refugee children from their parents.  The speaker that followed Christine at the rally was Sen. Angus King (I-ME).  I had a big laugh to hear that King had to listen to my poem.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Message from Noam Chomsky to GN space conference in Oxford


U.S. Air Force base called Croughton near Oxford - a major hub in the Pentagon's global electronic communications, control and surveillance network which serves the interests of the US military and intelligence services. Photo by Mary Beth Sullivan


Message from Noam Chomsky to the delegates to the annual Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space 26th Conference June 22-24, 2018 in Oxford, UK.


Last January, the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist was moved forward to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has been to terminal disaster since the Clock was first set in 1947, at the dawn of the nuclear age.  The first setting was seven minutes to midnight, halcyon days by current standards.  The only previous setting at two minutes to midnight was in 1953, when the US and then the USSR exploded thermonuclear weapons, demonstrating that human intelligence, in its glory, had devised the means to destroy us all, and much of the rest of life as well.

The shocking record of the nuclear age yields two crucial conclusions.  First, it is a near miracle that have survived thus far, having approached perilously close to disaster many times, frequently by accident, sometimes by reckless acts of leaders.  We cannot expect that miracles will persist.  The second lesson is that at each point, the escalation of the race to terminal disaster could have been stopped by sane decisions, impelled by an informed and engaged public.  To mention only one ominous current example, the eastward expansion of NATO after the collapse of the USSR, in violation of commitments to Mikhail Gorbachev, has fulfilled the warnings of George Kennan and other senior statesmen that this “policy error of historic proportions” would lead to rising and very dangerous tensions on the Russian border, tensions that could explode at any moment.  There have been many prior cases.

The Obama-Trump program of modernization of nuclear weapons has already proceeded so far, according to an expert study, that it “creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.” Trump’s recent Nuclear Strategy Review lowers the threshold for nuclear attack and calls for new and dangerous weapons.  Russia is also modernizing its forces, and there are serious danger points elsewhere.

The next step in the race to terminal destruction is the nuclear weaponization and militarization of space, an extremely hazardous initiative, another “policy error of historic proportions.” As throughout the nuclear age, the US is in the lead, this time under a leadership that openly seeks to dominate by force.  As before, others will surely follow, narrowing further the already much too slim prospects for survival.

As always before, sane decisions can avert this tragedy.  And once again, the actions of an informed and engaged public can be a powerful force to shift policy dramatically from race to destruction to ending the nuclear age before it ends all of us.

~ Noam Chomsky  

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Speech on space colonization in Oxford


Photo by Will Griffin

For many years the Global Network has been saying 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 recent 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 laboratory accidents as they fabricate these nuclear generators for space missions.  Worker contamination and release of radioactive contamination into the air and local water supplies has been a problem revealing that space nuclear-power is killing people even before a launch might occur.

In Jack Manno’s book called Arming the Heavens: The Hidden Military Agenda for Space 1945-1995 he tells the story of Major General Walter Dornberger, Hitler’s military liaison who worked with Werner Von Braun to build the V-1 and V-2 rockets for the Nazi war effort that were used to terrorize London and other European cities near the end of WW II. Like Von Braun, Dornberger came to the US at the end of WW II as part of the secret program called Operation Paperclip.  Dornberger became a top executive in Bell Aviation Corporation in New York.  Speaking before a congressional hearing in Washington in 1958, Dornberger insisted that America’s top space priority out to be to “conquer, occupy, keep, and utilize space between the Earth and the moon.”  In an address to a National Missile Industry Conference, he dismissed NASA’s early space-flight program as “space stunts” and urged that more attention be given to space weaponry.  “Gentlemen,” he told the missile men, “I didn’t come to this country to lose the Third World War – I lost two.”

In a Congressional study published in 1989, entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 years, the author explains the value of having the US control the ‘Earth-Moon gravity well’.  He writes: ”Nature reserves decisive advantage for L4 and L5, two allegedly stable libration points (on either side of the moon) that theoretically could dominate Earth and moon, because they look down both gravity wells.  No other location is equally commanding.  Armed forces might lie in wait at that location to hijack rival shipments on return [to Earth].”

He continues, “Military space forces at the bottom of Earth’s so-called gravity well are poorly positioned to accomplish offensive/defense/deterrent missions, because great energy is needed to overcome gravity during launch.  Forces at the top, on a space counterpart of ‘high ground,’ could initiate action and detect, identify, track, intercept, or otherwise respond more rapidly to attacks.  Put simply, it takes less energy to drop objects down a well then to cast them out.”

It seems rather obvious to me that the Pentagon’s space weapons technology program has two distinct goals.  One is to control Earth on behalf of corporate interests and the other is to develop the necessary technologies to control the path way – or front gate – on and off of our planet.

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.  (I like to refer to it as ‘Pyramids to the Heavens’.) The Air Force is opposed to the idea - they want to control the seamless web between the Earth and deep space.  The bill to create the Space Force has passed in the US House of Representatives but did not get approval in the Senate.  This bill will likely come back again for another try.

As technology begins to enable resource extraction on planetary bodies the legal  question of ‘who can mine the sky and who can’t’ will become a greater source of conflict between nations.  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 selected 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 must continue to build international opposition to these frightening plans.

In 2015  Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law. This law recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain and encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.

“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”

Peter Diamandis,  the other Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc., said, “A hundred years from now, humanity will look at this period in time as the point in which we were able to establish a permanent foothold in space. In history, there has never been a more rapid rate of progress than right now.”

During the late 1990’s a group called United Societies in Space along with the World Bar Association published a series of publications called ‘Space Governance’.  Their goal was to rewrite international space law as the UN’s Outer Space and Moon treaties had declared that the planetary bodies are the province of all humankind.  The UN said there could be no private claims made on any solar system body. The UN correctly was trying to preempt the eventual global conflict that would arise if private property claims were to be allowed in space.

Declan O’Donnell, one of the leaders of the group at the time wrote, “We are the Fifth Force in nature.  Our society turned loose in the universe, armed with energy, cut free from the bounds of gravity, driven by a consensus destiny, and now organized under the idea of self-governance, will represent a new natural force.  Our abilities can be focused under this protective umbrella.  Our mansions can be built with a new source of financing.  Joining arms with our national efforts and priming the pump for private enterprise.  Metanation, the new space governance vessel under construction by USIS, Inc., intends to bring synergy to space.”

Also in this book was a piece written by Marshall Savage (author of Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in 8 Easy Steps).  He stated, “The proper place for atomic power can be seen if we look at it through the focal plane of lunar development.  On the Moon, the distinction between ecology and wasteland will be starkly defined….We really can’t mess up the Moon, either by mining it or building nuclear power plants.  We can ruthlessly strip mine the surface of the Moon for centuries and it will be hard to tell we’ve even been there.  The same is true of atomic power.  We could wage unlimited nuclear warfare on the surface of the Moon, and be hard pressed after the dust had settled to tell anything had happened.  There is no reason why we cannot build nuclear power plants on the Moon’s surface with impunity.”

In his 1996 book Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets and Planets, former NASA official John Lewis says, “Indeed, the global expansion of European technology and civilization brought about by the terrestrial age of exploration is but a pale foreshadowing of the opportunities before us as humans move out into space.”

The US Space Command, in their well-known 1997 document Vision for 2020, made clear how they saw their role in the future as space colonization became possible due to taxpayer funded space technology research and development. “Historically, military forces have evolved to protect national interests and investments – both military and economic.  During the rise of sea commerce, nations build navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests….Likewise, space forces will emerge to protect military and commercial national interests and investment in the space medium due to their increasing importance.”

This was essentially a declaration of war.  It was a declaration of intent to fulfill the dream of Walter Dornberger who wanted more than ‘space stunts’ from the new US national space program that he helped bring into existence.  Remember his words: America’s top space priority out to be to “conquer, occupy, keep, and utilize space between the Earth and the moon.”  The freight train is right on schedule.

The Global Network was created 26 years ago to sound the alarm – to wake up the sleeping masses who are thrilled by images of Elon Musk sending ‘hot rods’ into space.  Our goal has always been to steadily build an international constituency who understand the plans for space control and domination and can then help us build a new consciousness on Earth about what kind of seed we should carry with us as we inevitably journey into space.

Will we carry the bad seed of greed, private property, control and domination, and ultimately war into the heavens?  Or shall we carry the good seed of inquiry, cooperation, imagination and peace as rockets lift off from our tiny space satellite Earth? Who remembers the ‘Prime Directive’ from the Star Trek TV series – ‘Do no harm’?

This is why we meet here in Oxford this weekend.  We wish to continue to raise these fundamental questions and move together around our planet to ensure that we Keep Space for Peace.      

Thank you.

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Sunday Song