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, August 24, 2019

History lesson: CIA running drugs



Gary Webb, the Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who broke the story of the CIAs involvement in the importation of cocaine into the U.S., died December 10, 2004, reportedly from self-inflicted gunshots to the head. It was a tragic end to a brilliant, and tragic, career.

In August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News published Webb's 20,000 word, three-part series entitled Dark Alliance. The articles detailed the nexus between a California coke kingpin, CIA officials and assets and the Nicaraguan Contra army, whose funding had been cut off by an act of Congress in the mid-80s. Webb found evidence that the CIA had direct contact with the smugglers, knew the proceeds were going to fund the murderous Contras, and tried to cover it up when other law enforcement agencies began investigating. The most troubling aspect to the story was that the central player was no ordinary drug lord. He was the man many credit for popularizing crack, the highly addictive, smoke-able form of cocaine.

For many African-Americans, the story smacked of a grand conspiracy to destroy the black community. There were rallies in Watts and Compton [Los Angeles], and heated discussions on black media across the country. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus called for a federal investigation. In November 1996, CIA director John Deutch appeared at Locke High School in South Central Los Angeles to personally answer to the allegations. He was met with loud jeers. It was a PR disaster.

But it was Webb who found himself on the ropes. Ironically, the CIA did little to publicly counter his allegations. Instead, the media did its dirty work for them, most notably the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. The mainstream media accused Webb of exaggerating his findings.

Friday, August 23, 2019

I endorse this message!


Putin's reaction to Pentagon's test of missiles which violated INF Treaty



Putin’s address to the permanent members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation came with strong assertions about its position vis-à-vis Washington’s formal withdrawal from the INF treaty. Putin’s speech came five days after the United States made a test launch of a ground-based cruise missile which, according to the US military, hit the target at a distance over 500 kilometres.

According to Putin, the testing of a missile with characteristics prohibited under this treaty taking place just 16 days after Washington’s own denunciation, was obvious not to be an improvisation but the next link in a chain of events that were planned and carried out earlier. The speech was an important indicator about Russia’s position for the future and a planned Russian reciprocal response.

 - Drago Victorien

The US has built a missile launch base in Romania with another currently near completion in Poland.  At both of these bases will be a ground-based launch site called 'Aegis Ashore'.  From this base the US could launch SM-3 'missile defense' interceptors and first-strike attack cruise missiles which could hit Moscow in 10 minutes time.

In this video Putin refers to the Tomahawk nuclear-capable cruise missile as the one that was tested on August 18 by the US.  The test was conducted from San Nicolas Island, California, and the Pentagon said that "the test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight."

The US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Moscow earlier this month. The INF Treaty (signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987) limited the development of ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

Putin correctly states in the video that a test of this system, from a ground-based launch platform so soon after US withdrawal from the INF, clearly indicates that the US had been developing this technology long before Washington withdrew from the treaty.

The US has lately been pulling out of virtually all arms control treaties. George W. Bush withdrew the US from the ABM Treaty (that outlawed 'missile defense' systems) in 2002, Trump quit the Iran-Nuclear Deal and now again Trump has walked away from the INF Treaty.

It is as clear as a bell that Washington intends to move from arms control to 'full spectrum dominance' and refuses to be restricted by any sane attempts to restrain and reduce the arms race.  In fact Washington currently refuses to declare a nuclear 'No First Use' policy.  Russia and China have long renounced the first use of nuclear weapons.

Also in the video Putin refers to Russia's annual military spending (just over $60 billion a year) while the Pentagon budget is well over $1 trillion a year once all the various military pots of gold are added up.  So there is obviously no 'rough equivalence' between the two nation's military forces.

The US leads the pack by a wide margin and intends to keep driving a new arms race that is profitable for the aerospace industry and creates new global instability.

The constant demonization of Putin and Russia is surely intended to disguise the true US intentions of putting Washington in the dangerous position to be 'Master of Space' and 'King of the Hill' on Earth.

Sadly most Americans (and much of the west) appear to have fallen for Washington's propaganda.

Bruce

Israel wants Washington to invade Iran



Israel is trying to “suck America into” a war with Iran that could destabilize the Middle East and lead to a world war in much the way that the imperial rivalries in 1914 led to the First World War, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned in Washington.

A war with Iran, he said, could “perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become.”

But Israeli leaders want a war, and they are pushing one with the support of their American political friends, including Democrats like Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, whose overheated rhetoric about Iran recalls Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, Wilkerson said. Another pro-war faction are “warmed-over neoconservatives” who got us into the Iraq war.

“I’ve been there, done that; I don’t need the tour,” he said.

Wilkerson, a retired army colonel who now teaches government at Washington-area universities, served Powell during the run-up to the Iraq war.

He spoke at the annual Israel lobby conference at the National Press Club, sponsored by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and Institute for Research: Middle East Policy.

The conference aired on C-SPAN.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Stop deforestation



The Amazon rain forest has been burning for weeks at a record rate, adding to an already alarming level of deforestation.

"I am praying God every minute"



More from the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.

"I can't handle it any more. My whole body is worn out. It's worn out so much, that if I hear any sound, my body is all shaking. It's the fear. We are living in fear and we don't know when will it end." - tells through tears Vera Vasilievna. She can't even hide from shelling any more: her husband is paralysed and her lungs already turned black after months she spent in the basement.

Kirova Street is the most dangerous spot in Kominternove settlement. Bullets are flying here day and night, most of the houses are nothing but ruins, lush gardens are burnt down by tracer munitions.

Ukrainian soldier, look whom you are shooting at! There are no military positions on this street, just elderly, desperately trying to survive in this Hell! Broken windows in their homes are taped with plastic. There is no gas and regular power blackouts, as result of shelling. Each gunshot and mine flying over their roof makes old people tremble. And this is the second war in their lives...

Donbass Rose

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"I'm ready to take more risks"



Our workshop under the shade tree during the 2019 Peace Fair in Brunswick, Maine.

We talked about the connections between militarism and climate catastrophe.

Camera work by Peter Woodruff (retired BIW worker) and editing by Martha Spiess.

Caroline Galactéros: “Isolating Russia to Please the US Was a Stupid Calculation”


At the time of the August 19 meeting between the Russian and French heads of state, Caroline Galactéros, Doctor of political science, Colonel within the operational reserve of the Army, president of the Geopragma think tank, and specialist in Eastern Europe, decrypts for “L’Invalide” what the real stakes of this Franco-Russian summit are.

Question: After the absence of Vladimir Putin at the 75th anniversary in Normandy, Emmanuel Macron would like to catch up with and revive the Minsk process, and also to address the issue of Donbass at Brégançon before the G7 in Biarritz. Does this French ambition seem credible to you?


Galactéros:  “Obviously no. I would like to believe that our President has realised that he must urgently overcome the neoconservative networks that have infiltrated his administration (like Donald Trump’s) and see Russia forever an enemy of Europe. This fossilised vision, remote-controlled from Washington, has the advantage of preventing the EU from getting closer to Moscow, and therefore from keeping it strategically under exclusively Atlantic control. Unfortunately, some recent major appointments to the diplomatic and national strategic evaluation apparatus have little hope of a strategic upgrade by the president. The prisoner of the Elysee and that of the White House are still very far from fomenting their ‘great escape’…

The question of Donbass is simple. It is a purulent abscess that Vladimir Putin keeps under his thumb to make it impossible for Ukraine to join the EU, a stepping stone towards NATO. After the various waves of enlargement of the Alliance, which has removed the Russian protective glacis, this absorption of Ukraine by NATO is a non-negotiable red line for Moscow because it would put the forces of the Alliance in contact immediately from those of Russia. In order to ‘settle the Donbass issue’, Kiev must first and foremost respect the Minsk Accords, and above all, Moscow must obtain a written agreement from the United States to ensure that Ukraine remains a strategically neutral buffer zone. and never be more encouraged nor allowed to join NATO. If Paris were able to obtain that, then our star would shine forever in the Russian skies and beyond, in all the European woes. And we would then exercise de facto leadership. We are far from this. Washington continues to provoke Moscow and Paris is silent. The last summit of the Alliance allowed it to reaffirm. via its General Secretary, its intention to welcome Ukraine and Georgia in the Alliance…“

Franco-American relations seem to be at an impasse, is it out of spite or opportunism that France turns to the old Russian ally?

“France has still not understood – and even seems unable to understand – that there is a structural difference in interests between Washington and the European Union. Our political and strategic allegiance is deep, but it is based on a fantasised convergence of interests. Under Trump, who holds us on ‘short reins’ and loudly proclaims his contempt, we feel ourselves orphaned by a tutelage that until then was soft and allowed us to obey … saving face, in military or declaratory rodomontades . But in fact, in 2013, with Obama and his famous ‘red line’ in Syria, the die was cast. But then, redoubling our servility, we had no burst of saving pride. Nothing has really changed in Paris. This is the drama. Because the rest of the world moves at high speed. I fear that our president, despite his lyrical musings, is not really aware of our history with Russia over the centuries, nor has any structured strategic vision. He does not see France in his flesh or his heart, and words are not enough to embody a will. He wants to be the self-proclaimed leader of a resurgent Europe, but he does not apprehend the conditions.

To get closer to Moscow (as indeed to Tehran), Paris must become a credible and reliable power, whose word one can count on, who is mentally independent, free, sovereign. In short, we just have to stop saying mere words and leave our US proxy status. Here again, we are far from doing this. Since Nicolas Sarkozy with Libya, then Francois Hollande with Maidan and the Mistrals, France is unfortunately no longer considered autonomous, even less strategically independent. Its signature no longer has any weight. Its vision of the world and of its place within it, in respect of his own interests and values, is nowhere to be found. In Syria, its bewildering game of destabilising a sovereign state and supporting the worst terrorist groups that strike it on its national territory and undermines its unity, has profoundly discredited it. Our foreign policy is a-historical, schizophrenic, and suicidal.”

Under what conditions could Russia hear the French position in Iran and Syria?

“Washington wants to break the Russian-Iranian axis and uses Paris to do this. Unlike us, Vladimir Putin is anything but an ideologue. He’s a pragmatic one. Concerning Syria, France has unfortunately been trapped in the American game of regime changes, miles away from any democratic perspective. On the Iranian issue, it has aligned itself with Washington’s warmongering, quickly giving up its initial intransigence, after the US’ exit from the JCPOA, and showing itself unable to operate the INSTEX mechanism, which would make it possible to counter the extraterritoriality of the American law. Bursts of sanctions that sought to stifle the Iranian economy, freeze all competition, and provoke a political and social crisis to destabilise the Islamic Republic. Then we started to say, as Washington did, that we should extend the spectrum of the Agreement to ballistic questions or something else …. In short, we went to sleep. Today, instead of saying once and for all that Paris would remain alongside Tehran in the JCPOA without asking for renegotiation or extension, in order to obey Washington and Tel Aviv we dare to ask Tehran, in the name of ‘de-escalation’ to respect the Agreement, when it was Washington that tore it to pieces. It’s the world upside down. What does one hope to gain in terms of credibility by such an attitude? It is up to the US and not Iran to respect the JCPOA! The recent statements of our Foreign Minister criticising Tehran for threatening to disobey the Agreement are staggering and typical of the reversal of wrongs and the manipulation of the reality that has characterised our so-called moral diplomacy for far too long.

Our leadership is floating, and so is the conscience of our national interests. This is the great paradox of a presidency based on technocracy, but which methodically destroys the tools of the regalien and the authority of the state … Whatever ‘legitimist’ I am politically, who decided to put hopes on the one, whoever he is, and to who the insignia of honour is given to govern our motherland, I come to wonder if our president only believes in the Nation, in France as a historical and cultural entity of its own, or if he rather believes progress (iveness) consists of erasing, according to multilateral agreements and renouncements of sovereignty and authority, the last concrete and symbolic instruments of our independence. The Pact of Marrakesh and the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle are sad examples of this sly relinquishment masked by great pomp.

To return to the conditions in which Moscow might see some interest in involving us again in the Syrian and Iranian issues – from which at the same time our moralising and cynical approach arose – even if Vladimir Putin and his spokespersons display a gallant contempt for sanctions , it seems obvious to me that only lifting them would be a serious and tangible sign of a recovery of autonomy of Europe and France in relation to America. It would be enough for Paris to understand it, to want it, and to decide on it. The opposition of only one EU member is enough to prevent their renewal. Dare to disobey and resist. This would be a big blow to the hornet’s nest of our collective inconsistencies and a true strategic revolution for Europe, its first step in the world of adults, without armbands, without buoys, without a harness! Without a leash, if to be brief. What are we waiting for? What can we still lose after our industrial jewels, our honour, and our soul? Our pusillanimity becomes really unbearable.”

The question of Crimea and the repression of the opposition are issues of concern for Quai d’Orsay. Can this prevent France from halting the economic sanctions?

“Quai d’Orsay, and those who unfortunately control it and take Putin’s Russia for Stalin’s USSR – mentally sclerosed and fossilised so as not to have to think otherwise than as Pavlov’s dogs – are constantly seeking new demands and requirements to present in Moscow (against of course no concessions or openness on our part). They pretend to ignore the obvious: it is up to us to take a step towards Russia and lift the sanctions. As for Crimea, everyone knows that there is nothing to do or hope for. We played and mounted (at minimum – condoned as France) a coup in Ukraine …. and we lost, a bit like in Syria. With Maidan, we served on a silver platter for Moscow the opportunity to take back Crimea, which was wrongly granted to Ukraine by the Ukrainian Khrushchev in 1954. As for the repression of the opposition in Russia, unfortunately we are reaping the rewards of our hopeless policy of ostracisation. Vladimir Putin is becoming more and more a prisoner of the conservative currents and tries to optimally hold the helm, but he sometimes has to give guarantees and does not control everything, far from it. The release of the banker Delpal, most likely imprisoned in spite of the Kremlin, is a very positive sign that the Russian President is now able to loosen some of the barriers that constrain his room for manoeuvre. We are wasting precious time not helping him. Who will come to power after him? Maybe a true autocrat, far less shrewd and anti-European.

To isolate Russia to please our Grand ally was a stupid calculation. Not only has this pushed it to Peking out of spite and necessity, but it leaves Europe disarmed, caught between an America more leonine than ever, and a China that aims more and more openly for the progressive dismemberment of the Old continent and the domination of Eurasia. Not to admit that, in this distressing scenario, Russia was our master asset, and to accept to let ourselves be isolated as Washington dictates to us, is a major strategic mistake, which our policies, all trends combined for at least 20 years and the ‘Wars of Kosovo’, bear heavy responsibility for. I am in favour of France, without further delay, rethink from top to bottom its foreign policy and defence. It must structure it around a realistic and human Gaullist posture, which alone can restore its stature and weight, instead of dissolving its historical, political, and ethical flesh in the abstract vapours of Western multicultural sheep behavior. From this point of view, the presidential gesture, at Brégançon as before at Versailles, can be very useful. But only if it fits into a vision and a clear will, supported by a lucid, enviably pragmatic, and strict evaluation of our national interests. Otherwise, the ‘pas de deux’, successful or missed with this or that, will be reduced to political communication, and even to a sad comedy: that of our consented abasement in the declining pageantry and luster of a great nation . Then the cure will turn out to be even worse than the illness, and no head of state will be mistaken anymore. Vladimir Putin less than any other.”

~ L’Incorrect, Hadrien Desuin

Who's your daddy?


Who's your daddy?

Has it hit home
yet?

We know the score
but are slow,
hesitant,
to step up

It's the time to move....
don't look back

Dems got big $$$
from oligarchies
Repubs too,
similar corporate $$$$
Mr. Big controls
it all

But it is election time,
again,
pressure is intense,
'line up with
the slow walkers'
who allow
status quo
to grind on,
distraction
from truth

Who's your daddy?

There is a place
up ahead
where we are going,
it is the spirit
and breath
that gives our children,
life on this
fragile globe

Who are we?

Alien?
Ape man?
Lost
and hopefully
found,
before it's
too late

Eleven years left
to swing things
around,
or so they say

Let's rise
with the sun,
feel the heat
feel the connection

Bruce

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

NED: Who actually is doing the interferring?



In this Grayzone special, Max Blumenthal attends a Capitol Hill gathering of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and explores the group's destabilizing global campaign to meddle in other countries' affairs.

The report covers the NED's interference in foreign elections in Russia and Mongolia, its participation in coup attempts from Haiti to Venezuela to Nicaragua, and its escalating public relations efforts against China and North Korea.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Getting beyond the fabricated story.....



Global Network board members Bruce Gagnon and Will Griffin discuss the current crisis in Ukraine: how fascists are killing thousands of people, support from the right-wing authoritarian government, and how the US supports and trains the fascists.

Sign the petition to ban weapons going to the US-NATO backed regime in Kiev here

Also this excellent article by Diana Johnstone on the origins of the 2014 coup in Kiev - see here

GN Website:
http://space4peace.org/  

Weekend at Cape Cod


MB and I went to Truro on Cape Cod, Massachusetts over the weekend to attend her Sullivan family party that was held at her brother's place.

We drove to Portland, Maine and then took a bus to Boston.  We then walked about half an hour to the ferry terminal and took the boat to Provincetown which was about a 90 minute ride. The boat was amazingly fast and the scenery quite wonderful.

P-town as it is called was loaded with tourists as there was a festival there over the weekend.  MB's brother lives right across the street from the bay so it was a relaxing time to sit on the deck and enjoy the water and the beautiful sunsets.

The family party, as always, was big and loud with loads of food and the famous Sullivan family desserts.

Then on Sunday we took the ferry back to Boston, walked to South Station for the bus which took us back to Maine.

It was a great weekend and we are so glad we didn't try to drive all the way to Cape Cod.  No stress, just a fun weekend and always great to hang out with her two brothers.

This was our first taste of any kind of summer vacation - short but still sweet.  But there is more to come next weekend.  More on that later.

Bruce

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday song