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, July 07, 2018

Saturday movie - a look back at 'shock & awe' in Iraq



Seven months after the end of the war, acclaimed BBC journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan (BEHIND THE LINES, TRAVELS OF A GRINGO) takes a brave and eventful trip through Iraq, seeking to shed light on the current situation.

Armed with just a camera, Langan witnesses insurgent attacks first-hand, survives a mob frenzy, secures secret meetings with hooded "resistance fighters," and obtains chilling footage of a suicide bomber's preparations and attack on a bridge manned by US soldiers.

The result is a stirring account of just how far we are from a true proclamation in Iraq of "Mission Accomplished."

This is a very compelling film.

Friday, July 06, 2018

U.S. puppet project in Ukraine literally falling apart



The US goal was always to create chaos and instability in Ukraine - along the Russian border.

The project appears to be working right on schedule.

Likely the US-NATO (who are happy to supply weapons and military advisers to Kiev) will not be bailing the country out and helping to repair their disastrous economy and infrastructure.

Don't forget there are several nuclear power stations in Ukraine.

(Click on the 'cc' in lower right hand corner for English subtitles if they don't appear when you start the video)

Bruce

Next BIW Civil Disobedience list



Below is the latest list we have of those seriously considering joining the civil disobedience (CD) action at Bath Iron Works in Maine during the next ‘christening’ of either a Zumwalt stealth destroyer or an Aegis destroyer.

At this time, we don’t have the date for the next ‘christening’.  We will spread word as soon as we hear something.

With the current Poor People’s Campaign attempting to connect militarism, growing poverty, climate change and the surveillance society we think this action fits quite well in that context.

The destroyers at BIW cost billions each, are provocative as they are deployed with ‘missile defense’ systems to encircle China and Russia, and contribute significantly to the US military carbon boot print.

Instead of building these warships we should be calling for the conversion of BIW to build commuter rail systems, tidal power systems, offshore wind turbines and other ways to help us deal with climate change. Studies show that peaceful conversion actually creates more jobs than military production does.

Please stay tuned and join us in Bath for the next protest at a ‘christening’ of another Navy destroyer.

Help us call for a conversion of our hearts and the military industrial complex.

Peggy Akers Portland, Maine
Peter Baldwin Brooks, Maine
Ellen Barfield Baltimore, MD
Lynn Bradbury Lubec, Maine
Meredith Bruskin Swanville, Maine
Nancy Button, Warren, Maine
Kathe Chipman Brunswick, Maine
Ann Cooper Freeport, Maine
Christine DeTroy Brunswick, Maine
Mike Donnelly Brunswick, Maine
Mary Donnelly Brunswick, Maine
Dan Ellis Brunswick, Maine
Jim Freeman Verona Island, Maine
Ridgely Fuller Belfast, Maine
Michael Gibson Lewiston, Maine
Nate Goldshlag Arlington, MA
Scott Hamann South Portland, Maine
Cynthia Howard Biddeford Pool, Maine
Suzanne Hedrick Nobleboro, Maine
Dud Hendrick Deer Isle, Maine
Rev. Mair Honan Freeport, Maine
Connie Jenkins Orono, Maine
Ken Jones Asheville, NC
Tarak Kauff Woodstock, NY
Bob Klotz South Portland, Maine
Carmen Lavertu Thomaston, Maine
Brown Lethem Bath, Maine
Rev. Leroy Lowell Casco, Maine
Kenneth Mayers Santa Fe, NM
Natasha Mayers Whitefield, Maine
John Morris New Gloucester, Maine
Jane Newton Georgetown, Maine
Jules Orkin Bergenfield, NJ
Rosalie Paul Brunswick, Maine
Roy Pingel Queens, NY
Doug Rawlings Farmington, Maine
Jason Rawn Hope, Maine
Bill Rixon Freeport, Maine
Lisa Savage Solon, Maine
Ginny Schneider Portland, Maine
Dixie Searway Vermont
Rob Shetterly Brooksville, Maine
Lora Somlyo Portland, Maine
Mary Beth Sullivan Bath, Maine
Will Thomas New Hampshire
Mike Tork Falmouth, MA
Karen Wainberg Bath, Maine
Russell Wray Hancock, Maine
Crystal Zevon Vermont

 For more information contact globalnet@mindspring.com     

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Why the demonization of Russia?



There are peaceniks out there who are internalizing much of the western media demonization of Russia and Putin.  I run into them all the time.

My basic response starts with the fact/question: What mainstream western media sold the WMD story in Iraq that justified Bush's 2003 'shock and awe'?  Did you believe the media?  What resulted from 'shock and awe'?  Did you see it repeated in Libya, Syria, and now Yemen (and Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and many, many more before)?

Most people by now have acknowledged that the corporate-owned media feed us the opposite of the truth in 2003 - in order to steer, intimidate and neuralize the public into supporting the war and the never ending 'war on terror' since then.

But what I don't understand is why some activists turn around today and believe the CIA, FBI, DIA, Clapper's clap-trap, Brennan, MSNBC and the Democrats.  When you have all those agents of doom pushing a story in the media my experience tells me to look the hell out.  Some shit is coming.

The US and NATO (the international armed force of corporate power - led by Washington) want regime change in Moscow.  Putin is on the shit list.  Why?  Because they won't get in line behind the 'most exceptional nation' on Earth - the USA.  Plus they have resources and the largest land border along the melting Arctic Sea where much oil and natural gas will be accessible. And they can fight back.

I look for possible reasons why a peace activist would join the demonization crowd.  Maybe, first, they like being with the crowd and the peace 'biz' ain't hot right now in the social world?

Maybe folks carry around the fear of previous episodes of red-baiting in this country - it stings hard for many and memories of pain are tough to shake.

It could also be some laziness - where people don't want to put in time reading real alternative media from other parts of the world.  Even if you are reading 'alternative' media in the US you are still reading 'filtered' news.  Yeah it takes effort, imagination and inquisitiveness to search for more opinions.

I accept that some don't want to bother with it at all....there are many complex reasons of course but indeed there are those who just want to avoid spats - and global domination is a big one.

But the worst case as far as I am concerned is when those who don't really know much about what is going on with Russia try to muscle others by defending the current status quo American brainwashing on Putin. 

As a last ditch argument people often throw 'Well the Russians and Putin are oligarchs' into the fire.  That short statement is so complex that all I can do is recommend you read the recent Saker thinking on this subject here.  I've learned so much from him since 2014 when I began following the US-directed Ukraine coup d' etat and needed some reliable and trustworthy information sources.  It is then that I stumbled on The Saker web site.

I hope that people will come around once they see others stepping forward and speaking out for reason and justice on the Russia issue (same as we would for any other country we are surrounding).

The first Russian I ever met was in 1984 when I was asked to represent Mobilization for Survival at the annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemoration events in Japan.  I was coordinating the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice at the time and had been working on space issues for about two years.

I arrived a day late in Tokyo for a three-day opening conference of anti-nuclear activists from around the world.  When I walked into the meeting hall many were yelling at the man at the microphone stand.  I sat down and tried to figure out what the hell was going on inside this 'peace meeting' - it felt like a war zone to me.

The guy at the microphone was Russian from a 'government sponsored' peace group.  People were demanding that he tell his country to get rid of nuclear weapons.  He tried to reason with the audience but few were listening and no one defended him in the room of a couple hundred folks.

Two days later I noticed him sitting alone in the hotel lobby.  I approached him and said that I had been deeply touched with sadness about the way he was treated when I had arrived at the conference.

He quickly poured out his heart and said, "When we go talk with our generals about disarmament they remind us that the US recently called us 'the epitome of evil' in the world."

He was referring to then President Ronald Reagan's famous 'Russians are the evil people' speech at a right-wing evangelical church convention in Orlando, Florida.  I remember this one well - in the spring of 1983 I organized a protest outside of the hotel where the convention and speech took place.

The New York Times covered the speech and mentioned our protest and even carried a photo of me in a Reagan mask with a bullhorn in my hand.  Back then the Times covered protests like these now and then.  These days the NY Times is too busy helping to sell the encirclement and possible war with the 'evil demons' in Russia.  It's dangerous, provocative and very unstable thinking.  It is also cruel and sadistic.  Ask the American Indians....

My first Russian friend was moved that I took the time to hear his strong desire for peace but he also wanted those in the west to look inside their own hearts and policies.  He gave me two wooden hand carved souvenirs from his native Soviet Georgia.  They hang in our house to this day and I remain committed to trying to build peaceful bridges where and when I can.

I've met a few other Russians since and always felt close to them and impressed with their thinking and hearts.  The US has done the world a great disservice in the way we have vilified Russia over my lifetime and beyond.

I want to help repair that divide - even if it only helps a little bit.

Bruce 

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Hear the warning


And remember that both Republicans and Democrats play good cop-bad cop in pursuit of the interests of the corporate oligarchy that controls the US.

I define corporate oligarchy as Wall Street bankers and investment firms, insurance companies, military industrial complex, pharmaceutical companies, fossil fuel corporations and high-tech firms among others.

Bruce

You are invited


I have knee replacement surgery on July 16 (please send me healing vibes).

Friend and excellent folk musician Tom Neilson had the idea to do a recovery concert for me a month later along with his partner Lynn Waldron.  I loved the idea and agreed.

Dan Ellis made the flyer and please note the change of venue.  (Click on the photo for a better view)

I'll put one of Tom's songs on my next Sunday Song.  He's a great writer of songs about the important movements of our time.

Bruce

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Moral injury - it happens to most of us


You asked,
How do we sustain and enhance our highest values at a time when lies,
violence and cruelty seem to underlie most short and long-term
policy decisions that impact our lives?

In other words
How do we live in a fascist state?

Do we remain silent?
Afraid
cowering
in the shadows?

Counting our pennies
hoping for a jackpot
a lottery win
so we can escape
to a Pacific island
(forget that,
they're going underwater)

Those harsh words
cutting us deeply
as children
were laying
the groundwork
for the brown shirts,
this time
they wear custom made
suits on Wall Street
they hire the unemployed
to do the killing
for them

We look for healing
not easy to find
in a capitalist 'paradise'
where hearts slam shut
at an early age
blistered and battered
by the dog eat dog
culture called 'freedom'

It's a fantasy

So we must fly
on the wings of truth
into the arms
of those who love
with warm hearts
and kind smiles

a strength that
we've seldom seen
in our days

We must embrace
an active love
and justice
to defeat
the bitter present

Bruce

Monday, July 02, 2018

Opening GN Oxford conference video



This video by GN board convener Dave Webb (Leeds, England) opened our conference in Oxford on June 22-24 with an illustration of the militarization of space and the growing international resistance.
 

Reporter's notebook: Inside story of U.S. war making



Featured in this episode is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sy Hersh who has exposed many war crimes of the military-industrial complex during his career.

From Abu Ghraib prison in the Anglo-American war on Iraq to the My Lai Massacre, Sy Hersh has exerted a damning skepticism of the official line.

His new book "Reporter - A Memoir" is out now.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

GN Outside Croughton AFB



Reece Chenault from US Labor Against War (USLAW) says, "This is a place where our movements are connected....from this ramped up surveillance outside of the law."

Sunday song





After a 20 year separation The Kinks are reuniting and in the studio making a new album.  Great news.

Bruce