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 30, 2019

O's whup the Yanks


Baseball season has begun.  My life-long favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, had the worst record in baseball last year.  They have all new management now and got rid of most of their older, more expensive players.  They are going young with a bunch of unproven kids.

Yesterday in their season opened they lost to the damn evil empire - the New York Yankees.  Today they beat the Yanks 5-3 and gave their new rookie manager Brandon Hyde his first major league win.

After the game was over the team placed Hyde in a laundry basket and showered him with all kinds of liquid.

It's a great beginning to a new era in Baltimore.  I like Hyde already.  Go O's!

Bruce

No to NATO march in DC


Lynda Williams (Global Network advisory board member from California and physics teacher) helped me carry our brand new banner today in Washington DC at the No to NATO march.

Will Griffin (GN board member and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran) made it for us and had it delivered to Maine - arriving on Thursday just in time for my train ride to DC yesterday.  I can tell you that lots of people from the march and tourists that we marched past took photos of the banner so it sure attracted attention.

I'd guess there were over 500 people in the event that kicked off what will be a week long series of protests, conferences, concerts and more as the NATO foreign ministers are coming to DC to plan more of their destabilizing, deadly and expensive regime change wars.








In the morning I go to nearby Silver Springs, Maryland to visit our dear friend Herschel Sternlieb from Brunswick, Maine who moved down here to be near his son after the recent passing of his wife Selma - one of our peace stalwarts in Maine.

In the afternoon (3:00-7:00 pm) I've been invited to speak at an anti-NATO conference being organized by the U.S. Peace Council at the All Souls Unitarian Church (1500 Harvard St NW) in DC.  Really looking forward to being a part of this event with some great speakers.

Early Monday morning I'll join my Catholic Worker friends for their weekly protest vigil at the doors of the Pentagon as the thousands of workers arrive.  It's always a remarkable experience.  I'll be bringing our Global Network banner there as well.

Following that event at noon on Monday I'll be interviewed live on RT TV here in DC about Trump's 'Space Force' proposal.

Then on Tuesday I'll be doing a workshop (Automated Warfare: robots, cyber & arming the heavens) at another No to NATO conference that will be held at St. Stephens Episcopal Church (1525 Newton St NW) from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Early Wednesday morning I hop back on the train and head back north to Maine.  It will be a busy time here in DC but already the trip is proving to be very rewarding. 

I'd say that today's march was one of the most diverse events I've attended in years.  Quite a good sign to see various movements coming together and making the deadly connections between our issues.  Now if we can just get the environmental community to discover the fact that the Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on Earth we could really get rolling.

Bruce

Coast Guard ship on Jeju Island - why?



Jeju Island, South Korea as a US Coast Guard ship recently arrived at the new Navy base in Gangjeong village.

This is a clear sign of US arrogance and how they view South Korea as 'Pentagon turf' by sending a Coast Guard ship that far from home to Jeju Island.

From Sung-Hee Choi in Gangjeong:


US Coast Guard ship, Bertholf, Out of Jeju!

Don't cut the trees in the Bijarim-ro!

United States should make an apology for the Jeju April 3rd!

It is the time, especially for the remembrance of April 3rd uprising and massacre (March 18 to April 7). And it is annoying that a USCG Bertholf came to Gangjeong while innumerable trees are cut for the expansion of a road named Bijarim-ro for the planned air force base (2nd Jeju airport) in Seonsan during this period. United States should first make an apology for the Jeju April 3rd massacre 71 years ago!

Gangjeong, Bijarim-ro, and April 3rd together.

Friday, March 29, 2019

"I broke from a collective delusion"



Journalist Chris Hedges interviews former combat veteran and US Army officer, Spenser Rapone about bravery and morality.

The second lieutenant was given an “other than honorable” discharge June 18 after an Army investigation determined that he “went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers” and thereby had engaged in “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

In other words, kicked out for having a mind of his own - not something the US military likes in any GI.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Heading to DC for anti-NATO protests




I leave early in the morning by train for Washington DC to join the several days of anti-NATO events.  I'll be staying at the Catholic Worker house in DC.

NATO is expanding like a cancer into a global military alliance on behalf of corporate interests.  Why is NATO moving into the Asia-Pacific region?  It was supposed to be only a European alliance?

The US uses NATO (which it controls) to justify its interventions that the United Nations does not support.  This is in part why NATO is expanding globally - the US wants to replace the U.N. with NATO as 'the global decision making body'.

When you add up the US and NATO military spending it comes to well over 50% of the global total. 

The United States continues to have the highest military expenditure in the world at $1 trillion per year. In 2017 the US spent more on its military than the next seven highest-spending countries combined. 

At $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998. Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by Putin's desire to invest more in development and fighting poverty.

China, the second largest spender globally, increased its military spending by 5.6 per cent to $228 billion in 2017.   

Bruce

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

India's ASAT Test



India tests anti-satellite weapon


This is clearly motivated by the seemingly poor electoral prospects of a Prime Minister, who was once viewed by many in India as the one who could bring economic prosperity to the millions of people. Instead, he has brought religious bigotry and neoliberal economic policies that is playing havoc with the lives of uncounted farmers and working people.

Mr. Narebdra Modi and his Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are getting ready for paramilitary elections starting next month and he facing a difficult challenge. The timing of the anti-satellite test clearly indicates his political motive. He wasted no time before calling a press conference to announce the success of the test and to brag about how India now joined the exclusive club of nations that possess such capability.

In actuality, hitting a satellite with a rocket is much less difficult than intercepting a long-range missile. Satellites are highly vulnerable because their trajectories are precisely known, especially if it is one of your own. Favorable test conditions can also be created by using sunlit times. The satellites are also have a relatively large cross-section making it easier to see and hit. There are also no decoys to worry about like in an antimissile system.

Regardless, this is a reckless act that should be widely condemned. Creating more space debris in an orbit filled with space debris is extremely dangerous for all space missions. Unfortunately, India is following the footsteps of major space powers like the USA and China. There should be a renewed demand from the international piece community for an ASAT ban urgently.

My thoughts.

Subrata Ghoshroy
Visiting Professor Tokyo Institute of Technology
and

Research Affiliate Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Trump says he beat ISIS......


According to WikiLeaks cables the US created the war on Syria in 2011.  Assad had refused to allow a pipeline through his country that western oil corporations wanted.  The rest is all background noise.

Syrian people's support for Assad, help from Russia, Iran and Hizbollah is what beat ISIS which was funded, armed, trained and directed by the CIA, Israel and Saudi Arabia on behalf of the resource extraction corporations. Even Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is talking about this fact during her current presidential campaign.

In the meantime Israel continues to illegally occupy the Syrian Golan Heights.  The Golan Heights is the area captured from Syria and occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War, territory which Israel effectively annexed in 1981. Trump just days ago 'recognized' Israel's theft of the Golan Heights. This is the region that has much of Syria's oil and water supplies.

This is all part of the 'Greater Israel' plan to take more land and expand its control of natural resources in the region - as well as serving as a growing military bastion in the region for corporate interests.

Bruce

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

There is no black or white - only shades of gray



We know the western corporate owned media lies to us all the time.

Why would we believe them when they tell us not to read or watch international media that conflicts with Washington's game plan?

We get intimidated to even listen to thoughts of others that our ruling oligarchy's paint as off-limits.

It makes me furious to hear the ruling elites.  Sadly many out in the hustings, knowing full well better, keep in line by closing their mind and hearts to the rest of the world.

The US is preparing for a war with Russia and China.  Shouldn't we be asking why?

Bruce

Monday, March 25, 2019

U.S. blocks treaty to ban space weapons



Another excellent video by Global Network board member Will Griffin.

This one outlines the US efforts to block a United Nations treaty to ban all weapons in space.

Power to the people - give peace a chance


Former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) from 1969-1981.

As a Senator, Gravel became nationally known for his forceful but unsuccessful attempts to end the draft during the War in Vietnam and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 at some risk to himself.

It was all a distraction



Iran-Contra hearings, Watergate, and now Russiagate were all distractions.....nothing much came from any of them.

Russiagate has imploded after Robert Mueller's investigation found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. The Grayzone's Aaron Maté explains why the conspiracy theory was bogus from the beginning, and how corporate media outlets spent the past 2 years lying.

Bottom line remains - the Democrats lost an embarrassing election to Trump and didn't want to take responsibility for their own failures.  So they blamed it all on Russia.  It didn't stick.  Gee, I wonder why?

What will the Dems do next?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Windy day at Bath destroyer shipyard

 







There were 14 of us yesterday at Bath Iron Works shift change for the Lenten Vigil for disarmament and peace.  These vigils will continue every Saturday in April from 11:30 am for an hour.

Except on Saturday, April 27 BIW has announced the 'christening' of the third Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer.  Folks will gather for our protest at 8:30 am on the north end of Washington St. across from the post office.

People coming for the blasphemous event will come on bus (to the south end) and walkers will enter into the shipyard on the north end. (How could the Prince of Peace bless such a killing machine?)

This destroyer will be named the 'LBJ' after the Vietnam War-era Democrat who escalated the killing and was driven from office by the growing national outrage.  Naming the ship after LBJ is an attempt to rewrite history.

Protesters are coming from around Maine on April 27 to declare opposition to this warship.  The three Zumwalts built at BIW cost a total $21 billion.  The original plan was to build more than 30 Zumwalt's but the Navy objected saying it would eat up too much of their ship building budget.  The standard Aegis destroyers built in Bath cost about $1.5 billion each.

Obama was pushing the Zumwalt's as a reward for General Dynamics Corp. which owns BIW.  The majority stock owners of General Dynamics are the Crown family in Chicago who helped Obama become president.  They helped Obama raise more money from the military industrial complex than his rival Sen. John McCain from Arizona did.

All in all it is a theft from the public.  As Eisenhower said in 1953, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

These words resonate today - probably even more than in 1953.  These days we must see a complete industrial conversion to sustainable living if we hope to provide our children and grandchildren with a future on Mother Earth.

The non-violent protest at BIW on April 27 will address all of these concerns.

In the end the US must give up its violent addiction to endless militarism if we hope to live on this beautiful spinning planet.  It's really that simple and clear.

Bruce

Sunday song