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....

My Photo
Name:
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 09, 2019

Hitler's rocket team built U.S. space program

Listen to "The hidden history of former Nazi officials’ role in U.S. space program" on Spreaker.



A regular Thursday segment deals with the ongoing militarization of space.

As the US continues to withdraw from international arms treaties, will the weaponization and militarization of space bring the world closer to catastrophe?

Brian and John speak with Prof. Karl Grossman, a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and the host of a nationally-aired television program focused on environmental, energy, and space issues, and with Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

For more details on this story go here.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Dick Cheney: The king of terrorists




The eagle has landed....


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Climate change update



The military is preparing for climate change, even if the White House isn't.

The big problem is that the Pentagon is the largest contributor to global warming of any institution on Earth.  Thus unless we convert the military to the 'Natural Guard' (doing emergency relief work after severe weather events) and turn the military production system into a sustainable technology development process then we are all sunk.

The upside is that we get more jobs when we make the transition away from fossil fuels.  See one of the studies that reveal the numbers here.

Bruce

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The dirty inside story about Venezuela



BBC Reporter Greg Palast corrects US Media on Venezuela.

This is a really important inside story on why the US is running the coup d'etat in Venezuela.

Interview of Palast by Jimmy Dore.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Upcoming speaking event in California



I'll be speaking twice during the upcoming Pacific Life Community retreat in Menlo Park, California on March 15-18.  This annual gathering of west coast Catholic Worker activists and supporters will be held at the Vallombrosa Center. 

On Monday, March 18 a protest will be held to conclude the weekend retreat.

For more details call the phone numbers listed above on the flyer.  (Click on the flyer for a better view if necessary.)

We are debt slaves




Economist Michael Hudson explains how economics lead to Trump and the need for Revolution.

He reviews debt history - all the way back to Babylonian law which called for the forgiveness of debt.  Hudson traces the line from there to the Roman Empire purging these debt forgiveness laws under force of violence.

Today we suffer from this rotten historical record.

Here in Maine we have a very poor state.  Our roads and bridges, schools and hospitals, education and social care programs are all in big trouble.

Maine's solution is that each election the people vote to approve more Bonds (borrowing money from Wall Street) which keeps the state in eternal debt.  The people become even more impoverished.  It kills the children's future.

It's an evil system.

Hudson blows the lid on Obama's slight of hand - representing Wall Street while keeping the 'liberal base' under control. Obama smiled and graced the White House with his 'Tuesday drone Kill List' and attacks on Libya, the take down of Ukraine and the war in Syria.

Citi Group owned Obama.

The Crown family in Chicago (majority stock holders in the General Dynamics Corporation which owns Bath Iron Works here in Maine where destroyers are built) helped Obama raise funds across the nation in his first White House race when he received more campaign donations from the military industrial complex than his rival Sen. John McCain did.

So from the start Obama was bought and sold by Wall Street and the war machine - among other notables I'm sure.

A frequent refrain heard these days is 'if we could just go back to the Obama times in America every thing would be alright again'.  Pure fantasy.

American is ruled by corporate oligarchies.  Democracy is a show horse - a Hollywood and Madison Avenue fabrication.  We are being hollowed out.

The Democrats are simply the liberal wing of corporate control.  That is why anyone who tells this truth inside the Democrats is vilified by the corporate media. 

The only solution is political independence and a strong drive to critique and organize to change the entire system.  It also helps to stop watching MSNBC, listening to NPR and reading the New York Times.

Bruce

Monday, March 04, 2019

Toxic military pollution is killing us....

Art Schaap, owner of Highland Dairy in Clovis, New Mexico is planning to kill all 4,000 of his cows because seven of his 13 wells have been contaminated by toxins that entered the groundwater at nearby Cannon Air Force base. (Photo: Courtesy of Farm Journal)

Wisconsin State Farmer journal reports:

Art Schaap, owner of Highland Dairy in Clovis, New Mexico is facing a unique kind of devastation. He’s dumping 15,000 gallons of milk each day, had to let his 40 employees go and plans to kill all 4,000 of his cows because seven of his 13 wells have been contaminated by toxins called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that entered the groundwater at nearby Cannon Air Force base.

Last summer, Schaap learned about the substance that would turn his life upside down. Not only were his cows and calves impacted, but Schaap himself has eight to 10 times the normal levels of PFAS in his blood stream. And his wife is likely facing the same fate.

“This has poisoned everything I’ve worked for and everything I care about,” Schaap told New Mexico Political Report. “I can’t sell the milk. I can’t sell beef. I can’t sell the cows. I can’t sell crops or my property. The Air Force knew they had contamination. What I really wonder is, why didn’t they say something?”

The Department of Defense has disclosed 121 installations where groundwater has been impacted by PFAS.

In addition the military has contaminated much of the US with Perchlorate.  The toxic substance is often found in lettuce and cow's milk.

Perchlorate, the explosive main ingredient of solid rocket and missile fuel, can disrupt the thyroid gland's ability to make essential hormones. For fetuses, infants and children, disruptions in thyroid hormone levels can cause lowered IQ, mental retardation, loss of hearing and speech, and motor skill deficits.

Perchlorate, most of it leaking from military bases or defense plants, contaminates more than 500 drinking water supplies in at least 20 states, serving well over 20 to 40 million people. Among major Perchlorate-polluted sources is the Colorado River, which is used to irrigate 1.4 million acres of cropland in California and Arizona. Officials have found Perchlorate in 319 wells in California.

In a recent letter I received from Maine's Republican Senator Susan Collins about these military pollution epidemics she wrote:

....the DOD identified 401 active or closed military installations with known or suspected releases [of PFAS] .....The FY18 NDAA established and provided a $7 million authorization to conduct a nationwide health study on the impacts of PFAS in drinking water. The FY19 NDAA authorized an additional $10 million for this effort and included provisions which create a path forward towards the creation of a national database for service members and veterans who experience health issues as a result of PFAS contamination.  
Recognizing the enormous scale of the contamination in the US and at Pentagon bases overseas it is pretty obvious that $17 million to 'study the problem' is chump change.  It's not a serious effort and I think the reason is quite obvious.


The Pentagon and Congress do not want to alarm the public that the military is killing us while claiming to be protecting us.  They don't want to make a big deal about it because people would be quite rightly outraged and demand these bases be closed!  The public would demand compensation and clean-up - something Washington is not interested in doing.  It's just like the Agent Orange denials for so many years.

Maryland-based activist Pat Elder has been working on this issue for some time and is currently touring parts of the nation (The Million Parts per trillion Tour) in order to alert the public about these contamination zones at military bases.  He is one of the few in the nation working on this cancer-causing issue.

Be sure to click on the links in this post to learn more and help spread the word.  Rarely does this information make it into the mainstream media.

Bruce 

Sign of things to come....



Two excellent commentators on the European-Russia scene.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the Munich Security Conference, and Angela Merkel's stunning defiance of Mike Pence, after the United States Vice President urged Germany to cease its economic activities with Russia and China, starting with Nord Stream 2 and the deepening energy links to Russia.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Why is Julian Assange being punished?


The prisoner says no to Big Brother

By John Pilger 

Whenever I visit Julian Assange, we meet in a room he knows too well. There is a bare table and pictures of Ecuador on the walls. There is a bookcase where the books never change. The curtains are always drawn and there is no natural light. The air is still and fetid.

This is Room 101.

Before I enter Room 101, I must surrender my passport and  phone. My pockets and possessions are examined. The food I bring is inspected.

The man who guards Room 101 sits in what looks like an old-fashioned telephone box. He watches a screen, watching Julian. There are others unseen, agents of the state, watching and listening.

Cameras are everywhere in Room 101. To avoid them, Julian manoeuvres us both into a corner, side by side, flat up against the wall. This is how we catch up: whispering and writing to each other on a notepad, which he shields from the cameras. Sometimes we laugh.

I have my designated time slot. When that expires, the door in Room 101 bursts open and the guard says, "Time is up!"  On New Year's Eve, I was allowed an extra 30 minutes and the man in the phone box wished me a happy new year, but not Julian.

Of course, Room 101 is the room in George Orwell's prophetic novel, 1984, where the thought police watched and tormented their prisoners, and worse, until people surrendered their humanity and principles and obeyed Big Brother.

Julian Assange will never obey Big Brother. His resilience and courage are astonishing, even though his physical health struggles to keep up.

Julian is a distinguished Australian, who has changed the way many people think about duplicitous governments. For this, he is a political refugee subjected to what the United Nations calls "arbitrary detention".

The UN says he has the right of free passage to freedom, but this is denied. He has the right to medical treatment without fear of arrest, but this is denied. He has the right to compensation, but this is denied.

As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them.

That explains why he is being punished.

For example:

Last week, the International Court of Justice ruled that the British Government had no legal powers over the Chagos Islanders, who in the 1960s and 70s, were expelled in secret from their homeland on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and sent into exile and poverty. Countless children died, many of them, from sadness. It was an epic crime few knew about.

For almost 50 years, the British have denied the islanders' the right to return to their homeland, which they had given to the Americans for a major military base.

In 2009, the British Foreign Office concocted a "marine reserve" around the Chagos archipelago.

This touching concern for the environment was exposed as a fraud when WikiLeaks published a secret cable from the British Government reassuring the Americans that "the former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not possible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve."

The truth of the conspiracy clearly influenced the momentous decision of the International Court of Justice.

WikiLeaks has also revealed how the United States spies on its allies; how the CIA can watch you through your I-phone; how Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took vast sums of money from Wall Street for secret speeches that reassured the bankers that if she was elected, she would be their friend.

In 2016, WikiLeaks revealed a direct connection between Clinton and organised jihadism in the Middle East: terrorists, in other words. One email disclosed that when Clinton was US Secretary of State, she knew that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding Islamic State, yet she accepted huge donations for her foundation from both governments.

She then approved the world's biggest ever arms sale to her Saudi benefactors: arms that are currently being used against the stricken people of Yemen.

That explains why he is being punished.

WikiLeaks has also published more than 800,000 secret files from Russia, including the Kremlin, telling us more about the machinations of power in that country than the specious hysterics of the Russiagate pantomime in Washington.

This is real journalism -- journalism of a kind now considered exotic: the antithesis of Vichy journalism, which speaks for the enemy of the people and takes its sobriquet from the Vichy government that occupied France on behalf of the Nazis.

Vichy journalism is censorship by omission, such as the untold scandal of the collusion between Australian governments and the United States to deny Julian Assange his rights as an Australian citizen and to silence him.


In 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard went as far as ordering the Australian Federal Police to investigate and hopefully prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks -- until she was informed by the AFP that no crime had been committed.

Last weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald published a lavish supplement promoting a celebration of "Me Too" at the Sydney Opera House on 10 March.  Among the leading participants is the recently retired Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop.

Bishop has been on show in the local media lately, lauded as a loss to politics: an "icon", someone called her, to be admired.

The elevation to celebrity feminism of one so politically primitive as Bishop tells us how much so-called identity politics have subverted an essential, objective truth: that what matters, above all, is not your gender but the class you serve.

Before she entered politics, Julie Bishop was a lawyer who served the notorious asbestos miner James Hardie which fought claims by men and their families dying horribly with black lung disease.

Lawyer Peter Gordon recalls Bishop "rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying."

Bishop says she "acted on instructions ... professionally and ethically".

Perhaps she was merely "acting on instructions" when she flew to London and Washington last year with her ministerial chief of staff, who had indicated that the Australian Foreign Minister would raise Julian's case and hopefully begin the diplomatic process of bringing him home.

Julian's father had written a moving letter to the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asking the government to intervene diplomatically to free his son. He told Turnbull that he was worried Julian might not leave the embassy alive.

Julie Bishop had every opportunity in the UK and the US to present a diplomatic solution that would bring Julian home. But this required the courage of one proud to represent a sovereign, independent state, not a vassal.

Instead, she made no attempt to contradict the British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, when he said outrageously that Julian "faced serious charges". What charges? There were no charges.

Australia's Foreign Minister abandoned her duty to speak up for an Australian citizen, prosecuted with nothing, charged with nothing, guilty of nothing.

Will those feminists who fawn over this false icon at the Opera House next Sunday be reminded of her role in colluding with foreign forces to punish an Australian journalist, one whose work has revealed that rapacious militarism has smashed the lives of millions of ordinary women in many countries: in Iraq alone, the US-led invasion of that country, in which Australia participated, left 700,000 widows.

So what can be done? An Australian  government that was prepared to act in response to a public campaign to rescue the refugee football player, Hakeem al-Araibi, from torture and persecution in Bahrain, is capable of bringing Julian Assange home.

The refusal by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra to honour the United Nations' declaration that Julian is the victim of "arbitrary detention" and has a fundamental right to his freedom, is a shameful breach of the letter and spirit of international law.

Why has the Australian government made no serious attempt to free Assange? Why did Julie Bishop bow to the wishes of two foreign powers? Why is this democracy traduced by its servile relationships, and integrated with lawless foreign power?

The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture.

So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police.

War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up, so can you: so can all of us.

~ John Pilger gave this speech at a rally for Julian Assange in Sydney, Australia on 3 March.

Sunday song