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'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Assange: Report on rigged court in London

 

Attorneys for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange are citing a 20-year-old extradition treaty between the US and UK at day four of the embattled journalist's extradition hearing. 

The treaty prohibits extradition for political offenses. 

Former UK MP and friend of Julian Assange George Galloway discusses the implications.

Bon Voyage Regis!

Embracing an old tree in Yalta, Crimea, Russia last fall (Photo by Regis Tremblay)

Our friend Regis Tremblay is moving to Yalta, Crimea.  He has decided to make a new life there and take his film making skills to Russia.  Part of his goal is to make films that reveal to Americans that Russians are just ordinary people - they love their children, they love to eat and drink, they love to laugh, they love their nation.

We will miss Regis.  He's done much to support our peace work over the years here in Maine by making films and helping us to expand our audience around our work at BIW and my space issues efforts.

He's also been a good friend - a big brother really.  He also makes very good pizza.


MB and I have already pledged to take a vacation next fall to visit him and our tour guide friend Tanya who lives in Crimea.

I am certain Regis will work hard to bring the culture and humanity of the Russian people to us back here in America.  God knows the people in the USA have been so brainwashed about Russia that we need all the help we can get.

So Bon Voyage dear friend Regis!  Take care of yourself.  Keep the good work flowing.

And let us both hug that tree next fall in Crimea!

Bruce

Friday, February 28, 2020

Ya'll come now, ya hear.....



I first learned about Operation Paperclip and the Nazi scientists creating the US space program when I read the book Secret Agenda by former CNN investigative reporter Linda Hunt. The book told in detail how 1,500 top Nazi scientists, engineers and intelligence operatives were smuggled into the U.S. through Boston and West Palm Beach, Florida. One hundred of them, along with 100 copies of Hitler's V-2 rocket, were brought to Huntsville, Alabama to create the U.S. space program. Wernher von Braun, the lead scientist of Hitler's team that built the V-1 and V-2 rockets was made the first director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.


In Germany the Nazis had a concentration camp called Dora where 40,000 Jews, Gypsies, French resistance fighters, homosexuals, communists and other prisoners of war (including a black American GI) were brought to build the V-1 and V-2 inside a mountain tunnel called Mittelwerk. By the time the slaves were liberated by the allies, over 25,000 had perished at the hands of the Nazi rocketeers.


Hitler's military liaison to von Braun's rocket team was Maj. Gen. Walter Dornberger. Several times Dornberger and von Braun met with Hitler requesting more money and more slaves so they could step up the rocket production effort. Hitler was anxious to use the rockets to terrorize European cities like London, Paris and Brussels toward the end of the war as the Nazi army began to lose. Dornberger and von Braun showed Hitler films of the V-2 rocket launches to prove they were making significant progress.

Kurt Debus, the chief of V-2 launch operations in Hitler's Germany, later became Chief of Operations for NASA at Cape Canaveral. When tourists converge on the Kennedy Space Center they pass by a portrait of the former German SS member that hangs in the entrance in honor of Debus's service as the center's first director.

In a book called The Hunt for Zero Point, respected military journalist Nick Cook talks much about the "black" (the Pentagon's secret) budget. For 15 years Cook had been a defense and aerospace writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, which some consider the bible of the international weapons community. Cook spent 10 years researching secret military programs in the U.S. and believed that well over $100 billion a year is spent on these programs outside the purview of Congress. Cook states, "It [black programs] has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billion of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But it has not stopped since then. In fact, under the Bush administration it [had] something of a resurgence. Stealth technology is a primary example...research into anti-gravity technology...has been going on for quite some time."

Cook traced the roots of the U.S.'s secret programs back to the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after WW II in Operation Paperclip. He states, "We know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret weapons programs...it is highly compartmentalized...and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop it? What model did they base it on? It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans - specifically the SS - for their top-secret weapons programs."


Wernher von Braun (center background in dark suit) was a Nazi SS member

"What I do mean," says Cook, "is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the second world war, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on - unwittingly - some of the ideology...What do you lose along the way?"

Could this be what former President Dwight Eisenhower was talking about just a few years later when in 1961 he warned the American people to 'beware' of the power of the military industrial complex? Could Eisenhower's prophetic warning been that an ideological contamination had come from America's embracing of the Nazi operatives?

Today Huntsville is called 'The Pentagon of the South'.  More engineers live there than any other place in the US.  Currently there is a raging battle going on inside the aerospace industry between Huntsville and Colorado Springs, Colorado (long home of the Space Command) as they compete to see which location will be named national headquarters of Trump's new 'Space Force' command structure.

Bruce

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Lenten vigils begin at BIW


Eleven of us gathered at Bath Iron Works (BIW) at 7:00 yesterday morning on Ash Wednesday to begin the annual Lenten vigils at the shipyard that only builds destroyers for the Navy.

We greeted the executives who were entering the administration building and the rank-and-file workers as they passed us by.

Our message to the workers is two-fold.  First, we can't afford war any longer - it is destroying our environment. The Pentagon is the largest contributor of green house gases which causes climate crisis.  The massive military budget must be used for urgent human, environmental and infrastructure needs.  War is obsolete.

Our second message is conversion.  We must convert the shipyard to build commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines, tidal power systems and other such technologies that help us begin the process of lessening our carbon footprint on Mother Earth.  It is a matter of survival for the future generations. 

Studies have long revealed that if we made such a transition we'd create more jobs as military spending is 'capital intensive', meaning it burns up funds while creating fewer jobs than if we invested in any other kind of production that would be 'labor intensive'.  See one of the recent studies here.

We will return to BIW every Saturday during Lent (until April 11) at 11:30 in front of the administration building on Washington Street in Bath.

During the Lenten season of self-examination and reflection, Christians who observe Lent typically make a commitment to fast, or to give up something.  We are calling on the US to give up war, arrogance, domination and the moral superiority that is rotting the soul of our nation.

The time has come to reflect on our evil killing ways around the world, to repent, to take responsibility for our actions and to change our hearts and our ways.

Bruce

~ Photo by Peter Woodruff - the sign I am holding was also made by Peter who worked at BIW for more than 30 years.  I carry it in his honor.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pay to play alive and well in South Carolina



A room full of rich people in South Carolina who paid thousands of dollars to the DNC to get into the debate - poor and working class people be damned.....

They cheered the statements in favor of the rich and booed statements opposing the rule of the 1%.

Welcome to democracy inside of the Democrat Party.

Understanding the mess in Syria




Pushback with Aaron Maté

Idlib is facing a humanitarian disaster as hundreds of thousands flee a Syrian and Russian military campaign to retake the province from militant rule. Overlooked in Western coverage of the crisis is that Idlib is mostly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a rebranded affiliate of Al-Qaeda -- and that Turkey, with U.S. backing, has intervened to keep the extremist group in place.

Guest: Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector and Marine Corps Intelligence Officer.

See an illuminating discussion of the Syria situation by people from Russia, Iran and Turkey here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Lisa Savage to take independent route to ballot



Our deadline to reach 2,000 signatures of registered Green party members in Maine is fast approaching.  An honest evaluation of our situation indicates that we have no chance of getting the required signatures for Lisa Savage's US Senate race by the March 15 deadline.  The two-party control of Maine's state government has ensured that they have crafted a ballot access law that makes it virtually impossible for us to succeed.

Maine's Secretary of State Matt Dunlap told the Bangor Daily News last week that moving to presidential primaries (rather than the traditional caucus) produced an “unforeseen consequence” for third parties. “I think it’s just circumstantial, not intentional,” he said, “but it does make it much harder for a statewide third-party candidate.”

In the past month we've been hearing from several past and present leaders of the Maine Green Independent Party urging Lisa to switch to Independent (called 'unenrolled' in Maine) so that she could continue to run.  By making such a switch Lisa could gather signatures from any registered voter - Greens, Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.  We would have to gather 4,000 signatures by June 1 which everyone believes will be much easier.

Because we could previously only get registered Greens signatures in Maine we were collecting at the average rate of one signature per hour.  Maine is very rural and we had to take our Green lists and drive from here to there in the snow and ice hoping we found someone at home.  We got over 900 signatures basically doing that.

Under the new 'Independent' designation we can stand in front of the post office, library or at some spring festival and gather signatures by the scores as people pass by.  So that is what Lisa has decided to do.

Former two-time Maine Green Party candidate for governor Jonathan Carter was one of those who has been encouraging Lisa to switch to Independent.  After hearing the news he wrote:

Lisa's decision to run as an independent is a smart move. The system makes it next to impossible for a Green to get on a statewide ballot. Lisa's message for People, Planet , and Peace is far too important to not have it as part of the US Senate race. Lisa has laid the foundation for a fantastic campaign. Let's keep this campaign going all the way to victory on election day! Thank you Lisa.


As Lisa and others have been alerting volunteers to this new decision the vast majority have responded with understanding and pledges of continued support.  Here is one story Lisa shared with me about one of her hometown (Solon, Maine) friends who has been helping on the campaign.

Anecdote: Mark [Lisa's husband] spoke with Solon volunteer and very old friend Sarah when she returned my call. What she told Mark was that she was deeply moved by the conditions she witnessed while canvassing in our area. Extreme poverty beyond anything that she was really aware of. "I live in a castle" was her comment (she and her woodworker husband live in a nice yurt he built & she has a separate studio for her artwork). She is even more fired up to support our campaign now.

Lisa has decided to stay in this race because she feels that she must give voice to the many in our state who are forgotten by the system - and its two corporate-controlled political parties.  She often speaks about the young students at her K-5 school.  She talks about their poverty, one of their parents being locked up in jail, having no food or heat in their homes.  No medical care to speak of.  No future.

This past week Lisa spent most of her vacation week off from school driving all over the state to meet students at various colleges.  The other night at Unity College a group of students attended a talk by Lisa where among others things she called for the erasing of student debt.  In the Q & A a young man shared how he was 'scared' about his future because of huge college debt.  You could just see the experienced teacher in her as she calmly and confidently responded to him with love and compassion.

The campaign strategy now is to send volunteers to primary voter polling stations across the state on March 3 - Super Tuesday.  We will be asking people to sign her ballot access petition and any registered voter will be able to do so.  It is possible we could come away from that one day with nearly half of the needed signatures.

I will need to return to my job at the Global Network on March 16 but will continue to volunteer in this campaign during my free time.  I believe in Lisa - as a friend and as someone who cares deeply about the future generations and all life on our Mother Earth.  The message she is delivering is important for the public to hear.

It's an honor to be with her on this path.  We must all find ways to speak these needed truths - now more than ever.

See Lisa's campaign news release here

Bruce

Monday, February 24, 2020

U.S.-NATO make grab for Arctic region





US-NATO will hold war games in Norway's Arctic Circle in March, where it will be supporting climate change-induced resource extraction and increasing the military tension with Russia. 

Russia has the world's largest land border with the Arctic.

The RAND Corporation (based in Santa Barbara, California) has come out with a study calling for the break-up (Balkanization) of Russia into smaller countries.  This would make it easier for western oil corporations to make deals with these 'new nations' to have access to Arctic resources.  Find the study here.

Of course these moves by US-NATO are provocative, destabilizing and are further leading to tensions with Russia that could explode in a full scale war.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sunday song