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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Imperial updates

 


  •  Responsible Statecraft reports: Think tanks shape discourse and policy through testimony and media coverage, and employ experts who claim to be unbiased — simply putting forth ideas to win out in the free market. This market, however, is rigged.

It’s well known that Pentagon contractors spend hundreds of millions each year on lobbying, but the other powerful weapon contractors wield to influence U.S. national security priorities — think tanks — is often ignored. A report released from the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, or FITI, at the Center for International Policy reveals more than $1 billion in defense contractor and U.S. government funds flowing to the top 50 most influential U.S. think tanks from 2014-2019.

It is part of a think tank’s role to recommend policy, and putting ideas forth into debate can be a public good. However, when these ideas are linked to specific defense companies who stand to gain billions of dollars by promoting their systems — and play into the Pentagon’s narrative — think tanks have an obligation to let consumers of their work know if it is funded by those who will profit from their recommendations. Instead, in far too many cases, these funding links are obscured.  

 


Award notices indicate that SpaceX could receive more than $149 million and L3Harris could receive more than $193 million to produce capabilities for the Tracking Layer Program.

Through the broader program, SDA aims to implement a robust architecture made up of multiple layers of nearly 1,000 satellites that can provide unique military insights and capabilities such as spotting hypersonic weapons or potentially deterring potentially aggressive actions in cislunar space, or the area within the Moon’s orbit—by 2026.

  • J Sandy Davies (in Common Dreams)  provides an excellent summary of the violent conflict that has recently broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan and what should be the stance of the U.S. in seeking peace for the region: 

As for the destructive and destabilizing role the United States habitually plays in the greater Middle East, Americans should beware of any U.S. effort to exploit this conflict for self-serving U.S. ends. That could include fueling the conflict to undermine Armenia’s confidence in its alliance with Russia, to draw Armenia into a more Western, pro-NATO alignment. Or the U.S. could exacerbate and exploit unrest in Iran’s Azeri community as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. 

At any suggestion that the U.S. is exploiting or planning to exploit this conflict for its own ends, Americans should remember the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan whose lives are being lost or destroyed every day that this war rages on, and should condemn and oppose any effort to prolong or worsen their pain and suffering for U.S. geopolitical advantage.

 Instead the U.S. should fully cooperate with its partners in the OSCE’s Minsk Group to support a ceasefire and a lasting and stable negotiated peace that respects the human rights and self-determination of all the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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