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: Brunswick, 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, March 02, 2019

Don't let Venezuela fall off your map.....


Maduro 1: Abrams 0: but this match is far from over…

The Saker writes:  

There is a very real possibility that Venezuela might do for Latin America what the Ukraine did for Russia: act as a surprisingly effective “vaccine” against the AngloZionist propaganda.  An indigenous leader like Evo Morales, who has declared his full and total support for the elected government of Maduro, is an inspiration to the people of Latin America far beyond the borders of Bolivia.  The Russian ambassador to the UN got it right: there are already other leaders after Maduro which the AngloZionists want to eliminate and replace by a pliable puppet à la Guaido or Duque Márquez.  At the end of the day, this is a typical dialectical problem: the more brutal and overt the US aggression against Latin America is, the more successful coups or even invasions the US organizes, the stronger the anti-Yankee feelings generated among the people of the continent.  Think of it this way: the US has already terminally alienated the people of China, Russia and Iran, along with most of the Arab and Muslim world, and thanks to that alienation, the leaders of China, Russia and Iran have enjoyed the support of their people in their struggle against the AngloZionist Empire.  Could something very similar now already be happening in Latin America?

Conclusion: focus on the right question

To defeat the Empire’s plans for Venezuela, it is crucial that we all keep hammering over and over again: the choice is not between Maduro or Guiado, the choice is not between poverty under the Chavistas and prosperity under the AngloZionists.  This is how the agents of the Empire (whether paid or simply stupid) want to frame the discussions.  The real issue at stake here is the rule of law.  The rule of law inside Venezuela, of course, and the rule of law internationally.

First year law students are often taught that the purpose of the law is not “justice” per se, but to provide a mechanism to solve disputes.  That mechanism is, admittedly, a highly imperfect one, but it is understood by civilized people as being preferable to the alternative.  The alternative, by the way, is what happens in every time a so-called “humanitarian intervention” is launched: a humanitarian disaster.

Yet, this is the typical modus operandi of the Neocons (and of all imperialists, really). First, chose a country for destabilization, then use your control of the international financial markets and trade to trigger an economic crisis; then, send your “democracy promoting” spooks and agents of influence to foment protests or, even better, violent disorders; then send some “unidentified snipers” if the legitimate government does not use enough violence to quell the protests, then denounce the leader you want replaced as  “monster” “animal” or even “new Hitler” and threaten to overthrow him.  After that, declare urbi et orbi that it is “highly likely” that the “new Hitler” will massacre his own people, add a false flag op if needed, and then declare a “coalition of the willing” composed of “friends” of the country you want to occupy who will take action due to the “ineffectiveness of the US”, ditch any thoughts about international law and only speak of “rules-based order“.

When you listen to the supporters of Guaido you will always hear them talking about how terrible Maduro is, how horrible the economic situation of Venezuela really is, how corrupt the members of the regime are, etc. etc. etc.  This is all a smokescreen.  Even the accusation that the last elections were stolen by Maduro is just another smokescreen.  Why?  Because even if Maduro did steal the election, Guaido did not have the right to declare himself President, Trump had no right to recognize him as such, and the Empire had no business threatening a military intervention or even a violation of the sovereign border of Venezuela under the ridiculous pretext of bringing in humanitarian aid while, at the same time, keeping the country under draconian (and fully illegal) sanctions.  The solution to a crisis brought about by a violation of law cannot be a wholesale abandonment of the very core principles of law, but such a solution can only be a restoration of law and order by legal means.  Kinda obvious, but so many seem to forget this, that it is worth repeating.

The most powerful tools in the arsenal of the Empire are not it’s nuclear forces or its bloated, if generally ineffective, armed forces.  The most powerful tool in the Empire’s arsenal is its ability to frame the discussion, to set what is focused upon and what is obfuscated.  The Empire’s legacy corporate Ziomedia even dictates what words should or should not be used in a discussion (example: never speak of “illegal aggression” but speak of “humanitarian intervention”).

This is why we must speak of “true sovereignty“, of “international law“, of “constitutional procedures” and of “aggression” and “threat of aggression” as war crimes.  We need to continue to demand that basic fundamental principles of civilized societies (such as the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”) be upheld by governments and by the media.  We need to deny the rulers of the Empire the right to declare that they have the right to completely ignore the most sacred principles of the post-WWII international order.  We need to continue to insist that a just international order can only be a multi-polar one; that a single World Hegemon can never deliver justice and that there shall be no peace if there is no justice.  Finally, we need to ceaselessly demand that each country and each nation live according to its own traditions and beliefs and reject the notion that a single political model must, or even can, be applied universally.

These are all principles which the Neocons hate and which they would love to bundle together under a single all encompassing concept, like George Orwell’s “crimethink“.  Mostly, the Neocons like to use the “anti-Semite” and “anti-Semitic” to dismiss these principles, and when that fails, then “terrorist” is always available for use.  Don’t let them do that: every time they try that trick, immediately denounce it for what it is and continue focusing on what really matters.  If we can force the Neocons to deal with these issues we win.  It is really that simple.

It is impossible for me to guess how this conflict will play itself out.  Will the brazen arrogance of “the Yankees” be enough to seriously red-pill the people of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America?  Maybe.  My hope and my gut feeling is that it might.

The Saker 

Ralph Nader: The left-right alliance



On June 21, 2018, The American Conservative hosted its annual crony capitalism conference at which Ralph Nader delivered a speech on the military industrial congressional complex titled "Eisenhower's Warning: Prophetic and Presently Understated."

Nader is an author, consumer advocate, and former presidential candidate. He is one of America's most effective social critics, and has emerged as a leading voice against the growing convergence of government and corporate interests. He is the author of Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Why the Kim-Trump Summit was a – predictable – fiasco


By Jan Oberg (Sweden)

Peace can never be achieved this way

a) The issue is about peace, not only nuclear weapons. The US has not been willing to sign a peace agreement after all these years. After some kind of peace process and treaty has been achieved, you can turn to the specific issue of nuclear weapons.

b) Making peace takes time, thorough preparations, lots of different expertise, long consultations and only face-to-face meetings when all are sure that, when the parties finally meet at top level, some kind of deal will be signed.

c) This would have been an issue for the UN if it were respected and used fairly by member states around the world. Naive and egotist people believe they can do miracles without the institutions of the international system. Probably Trump and Kim are in the same category believing that they are all capable and great guys of history (worthy of, perhaps even, the Nobel Peace Prize).

d) Peace is not a goal that can be achieved by measuring personal chemistry of some ‘great guys’. A medical doctor may be a great guy but if s/he knows nothing about the science of medicine, the result will be quackery. Peace-making is about identifying interests, addressing systematically the problems standing between parties, dealing with deep serious, inter-connected and very difficult issues in a broad time and space perspective.

Neither this Summit’s great guys nor the media have the slightest expertise on what it takes to make peace – while, as we all know, they know everything about war and the military. And, so, they seem quite surprised at the failure of this Summit.

It’s a hugely a-symmetrical conflict

a) The military expenditures of the US are 100-150 times larger than North Korea’s.

b) South Korea’s military expenditures are 5 times larger – and you can add Japan (6 times larger) and China (20 times larger)

c) The US has 6550 nuclear weapons, North Korea perhaps 15 (and hardly the technology to carry them anywhere far).

The nonsense repeated again and again for years that North Korea is a huge threat to world peace is just that – nonsense. But it serves a purpose.

Symmetrical and a-symmetrical conflicts must be handled in different ways and this one is a-symmetrical on all scales – an issue you have not seen any commentator mention.

And throughout modern history, the US has inflicted much more harm on North Korea than the other way around.

Sanctions means hell and amounts to terrorism

Sanctions are so easy to install, you don’t even have to think. Lifting them proves – invariably – to be much more difficult. In the meantime, they play into the hands of hardliners and destroy any middle class that could bring about political changes – and create a mafia class instead.

Over time, they destroy civil society and kill more and more innocent civilians in larger or smaller numbers for which reason the are – according to any definition of terrorism – a terrorist weapon. A weapon of mass destruction.

See, that’s why the US can not lift the sanctions on North Korea now. Trump admits it was a central issue!

Why should North Korea trust the US?

The US has disappointed/cheated North Korea before – particularly after the Agreed Framework negotiated by Jimmy Carter in 1994.

The US has withdrawn from the most important deal about nuclear weapons, the JCPOA with Iran – while Iran has kept its promises point by point.

The US spares no opportunity to demonise, threaten and install primary and secondary sanctions on the very side that has kept its promises while the US itself violates international law and keeps harassing Iran’s leaders as well as its people.

Libya’s Ghadafi ended up being killed in the gutter after having sworn he would never acquire nuclear weapons.

Saddam was accused of having them and then murdered while not having them. Anybody apologised?

Do Western media and politicians seriously believe that they don’t see such things in Pyongyang?

Remember, nuclear weapons have terrible consequences even when not used physically.

That’s a good enough reason that they should be abolished.

Possession of nukes – not proliferation – is the issue

The general approach also in the Western media is biased and incompetent: How much can this President get the North Koreans to accept? De-nuclearization for no American de-nuclearisation, that seems to be Trump deal-making. Only because the conflict is so a-symmetrical.

And that comes after of the US itself refusing to have anything to do with the treaty for nuclear abolition and after its US Nuclear Posture Review that makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely and possible by “conventionalising” them and – right after the US (with a false pretext) has left the INF Treaty – the real reason being that it wants to be able to produce intermediate-range missiles in the region where the Koreas and China happen to be.

This reality show peace-making should stop. It could stop if US decision-makers and media learned to spell at least these three words: knowledge, humility and fairness.

~ Jan Oberg, director of TFF - Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research, in Lund, Sweden

Inside story from Venezuela



Moderate Rebels episode 36 (part 1 of 2):

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton report live from Caracas, Venezuela with journalist Diego Sequera of Misión Verdad.

They discuss the US-led coup attempt, the Trump administration's "humanitarian aid" stunt on the border, and the history of Chavismo and Bolivarianism.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ash Wednesday vigil at BIW


The Lenten Vigil for Disarmament begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6 from 11:30 am till 12:30 to protest the building of warships at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.

We will gather across from the Administration building on Washington Street and then walk up to the Navy Research building with signs.

We will continue the vigil each Saturday of Lent. (March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13 and 20th)

General Dynamics continues to build Aegis guided missile destroyers as well as the new Zumwalt stealth destroyer [the LBJ is the next Zumwalt scheduled to be ‘christened’ in the spring] here at the BIW shipyard. That reality is an ongoing crime against humanity.

It is time for us to set aside technologies that only enslave us to wars that never end.  Lent calls us to awaken to what we are about and repent for that we are doing that is wrong and to continue to build these Aegis guided missile destroyers is wrong.

So in the spirit of love together we stand in opposition to war and in hope for a disarmed world.

~ Smilin’ Tress Disarmament Farm
    Hope, Maine
   763-4062

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Washington not pursuing humanitarian goals


See more on the exposure of the failed US attempt to slip the Trojan horse into Venezuela here.

Climate change update


And we wonder why.....

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Send a message



Click here to send letter to Congress.



Monday, February 25, 2019

Trump admin is 'shameless'



Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza sits down with The Grayzone's Anya Parampil to discuss his secret meetings with Trump envoy Elliot Abrams, how the war in Syria reordered international relations, and Caracas' efforts to form a Non-Aligned Movement "adapted to the 21st century."

Feinstein blows off kids worried about climate change



This is how Senator Dianne Feinstein reacted to children asking her to support the #GreenNewDeal resolution -- with smugness and disrespect.

This California Democrat shows what Congress thinks of the future generations.

Throw all the arrogant bunch of them out and start over with a Congress full of 12-year olds.  We'd be much better off.

Anyone who believes the Democrats are working for the people needs their head examined.  These jerks work for the fossil fuel industry and Wall Street.

Feinstein should resign today after this display of ignorance and incompetence.

We need to call for massive cuts in the Pentagon budget and conversion of the war machine if we hope to have the needed resources to make the Green New Deal a reality. The Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on Mother Earth....

Bruce

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bolton chants 'Libertad' and 'All options are on the table'



On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN Investigator and Human Rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

This video is a must watch and a must share.  

Venezuela solidarity protest in Brunswick

Click on any of the photos for a better view









We had 50 folks turn out in Brunswick yesterday along the town green (covered in snow) for our local action along with hundreds of protests worldwide in solidarity with Venezuela's sovereignty.

I borrowed a small portable sound system from a friend and we asked people to share their thoughts.  Quite a few spoke up.  Then we walked toward downtown and back to increase our visibility.  The primary spot we stood was just across the street from the entrance to the grocery store so there was alot of traffic - and quite a good number of honks.

One of our speakers called out NPR (National Petroleum Radio) for their slavish reporting of government lies - always reading the memos it seems from the CIA and the Pentagon.  People are so fed up with corporate dominated media these days - it's like an epidemic of disgust.

There was another protest in Maine yesterday - in Belfast two hours to the north.  Here is a photo below from there.  The rest of the photos above were snapped by Peter Robbins from Sedgewick and Roger Leisner from Augusta.


Thanks to all who turned out around the state.  The public is skeptical of one more Washington regime change attempt - particularly when Venezuela has the largest supply of oil in the world.  But unless we get out on the street most people will feel isolated and figure no one else thinks like they do.  That's why so many honked their horns at us - they were thanking us for letting them see they are not alone and crazy.

Keep plugging away....

Bruce

Sunday song