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, May 09, 2020

Notes from online GN board meeting


Due to the virus pandemic our annual Global Network meeting (scheduled for Ottawa in May along with many other groups in a coalition conference) was cancelled.  Thus we have needed to bring together our board members via Internet and did so last night.

Twenty of our board members from India, U.S. (Maine, Massachusetts, New York, California, Pennsylvania, Washington & Hawaii), England, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Russia were on the call.

We spent 2.5 hours listening to each other report on to what is happening in our part of the globe during this pandemic as well as major military operations currently underway by our own government and/or the U.S.

It was such a positive experience that we decided to get together again next month for another round.

Here are a few notes of highlights from the folks.

  • The hypocritical Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that his country supports the global ceasefire a day after it resumed weapon sales to the outlaw nation Saudi Arabia.  In addition Canada is planning on purchasing a fleet of new fighter jets with the bids due this June. The Canadian government wants to buy 88 fighter jets for $19 billion in an "open and transparent" competition. However, in May, the Canadian government made a $70 million payment to the U.S. military to remain in the F-35 development consortium bringing Canada's total payment of $540 million to date. Many peace activists expect that Canada will buy the Lockheed Martin stealth fighter, a carbon-intensive combat aircraft for first-strike operations that the country doesn't need. Activists are calling on the federal government to invest in a green new deal, not buy a new weapons system.
  • The Japanese government had agreed to the deployment of US 'missile defense' (MD) systems called Aegis Ashore in two communities inside the country.  Aegis Ashore is a ground-based launching system that replicates the Navy's Aegis destroyer MD program.  Aegis Ashore has been deployed on the land in Hawaii, Romania and Poland.  These launch platforms can fire SM-3 (Standard missile interceptors) or first-strike attack nuclear capable cruise missiles.  Residents near the two Japanese cities have been vigorously opposing these deployments and the government appears to be wavering about one of the communities called Akita.  The people fear health impacts from the radar systems that are part of Aegis Ashore as well as the reality of becoming a direct target in a war with China or Russia.
  •  The Trump administration is pressuring the South Korean government to increase its 'cost sharing' of the expense of United States Forces in Korea (USFK). Washington insisted that Seoul increase 'their contribution' by 500% but very recently changed the proposal to 53%. Still this outrageous demand is not going over well in South Korea as could be expected.  
  • The South Korean government is creating a Space Force, purchasing four Global Hawk drones and will be launching a military satellite this year.  The air force gallery in the Jeju Aerospace Museum promotes South Korea's vision of being an aerospace power.
  • In Australia the usual rotation of US Marines into a base in Darwin (in northern part of the country) have been cancelled due to the virus.  But the US continues to send personnel to its big space spy base at Pine Gap which is located in the middle of the country on indigenous lands.
  • In Germany the government was slow to respond to the virus.  Borders have been closed and racism has grown worse as the lock down appears to bring out the worst in many people.  
  • The virus gives us all a moment to pause (the Earth has been healing itself during the global shut down) and we should use this opportunity to strongly project our transformative visions for a more sustainable way of living.  In particular our call for massive cuts in military spending, ending war, and converting the war machine to needed and useful production that helps deal with our real problem - climate change.
  • Been working with black and brown people who experience the brunt of the virus and racism in the US.  If we are ever going to change anything then they must lead the movements.  In a strange way this is a hopeful time as we either do this right now or humanity will be lost.  It is time for everyone to step forward to resist the ravages (human and environmental) of capitalism.
  • One of our board members from Sweden couldn't be on the call due to illness but sent this message along:  I want to contribute here with what I know about the enlarging of Esrange in the North of Sweden to be able to launch mini-satellites. (Esrange is the worlds biggest downloading station from satellites and has a rocket station.) Angstrom laboratories in Uppsala, Sweden, has developed the prototype of mini-satellites for military use already in 2005. Mini-satellites will most probably be used for damaging Russian and Chinese satellites. I am prepared to write about these rather alarming developments at Esrange in the next issue of Space Alert. Another thing is that Israel most probably is training drones at North European Aerospace Test range. 
  • The US-NATO war games called RIMPAC are held in the Pacific and peace groups have been working hard to get them cancelled this year.  The word is now that they will only do the naval portion of the war exercises this year - the practice land invasions that are usually done with the Army and Marines are cancelled.  
  • A corporation that promotes 'spaceports' is pushing to have the state of Hawaii help fund one there.  This is happening in many places around the US and throughout the world.  
  • As the aerospace industry moves to launch tens of thousands of 'mini-satellites' for 5G and other uses they are saying they need more launch facilities.  Even in Brunswick, Maine aerospace operatives are pushing for a spaceport at the former navy base.  It is important to remember that a spaceport that got forced on the people of Kodiak Island, Alaska was sold to the public as a 'civilian launch facility' but every launch over the years since it was established as been a Star Wars technology test.  
  • News has emerged that the US (since it orchestrated the 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine) has built 15 bio-warfare labs in that nation.  Recent reports indicate that cattle grazing near the labs have been dying.  Little public information is available.  The US has also set up similar bio-war labs in Georgia, also along Russia's border.
  • Pentagon recruiting is increasing during the pandemic as unemployment grows and young people have few options.
  • Migrant farm workers, considered 'illegal' in California, are now being called 'essential workers' as they harvest our food.  But they are still treated poorly - lacking good housing, health care, fair wages and more.  
  • Homelessness is growing in the US during this pandemic.  Here in Maine our state has taken good steps to help treat those experiencing homelessness with dignity which has not always been the case.
  • India is spending three times more on the military than on health care during this virus pandemic.  India has 300 million people living in poverty.
  • We should explore space but not exploit it.
  • Many current US military bases in the US (like Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg in California) will be renamed as Space Force bases.
  • The UK has announced it intends to create a Space Force and will focus on building and launching mini-satellites.  Most of these satellites (as is the case with most space technology) would be 'dual use' - meaning serving two masters - both military and civilian purposes.
  • We must do more to show the 'deadly connections' between nuclear weapons and space technology.  These are not separate issues.  
  • The corporate media is not covering any of these space issues in a real way anymore.  Thus the work of the GN is needed now more than ever.  It is really the only international organization doing this kind of work to stop the nuclearization and weaponization of space.
  • Our next Space Alert newsletter is now in design mode as all copy has been sent to our lay out person.  It should be in the mail pretty soon.  The focus of this coming issue will be the Space Force.  The public relations campaign around the Space Force keeps saying that it will be a 'lean' organization - meaning it won't be expensive.  But the truth is that for many years the aerospace industry has bragged that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in human history.  Who will pay for this? 
  • You can find a list of our GN board members here

CIA agent eludes killing of UK teen



As the US government hunts Julian Assange, it refuses to extradite a CIA agent who killed UK teen Harry Dunn in a road incident.

The British Home Office has sought the extradition from the US of an American citizen for a road collision that killed 19-year old British citizen Harry Dunn in August 2019. The American driver of the car that killed Dunn is Anne Sacoolas. The US government claimed she had diplomatic immunity because she was the wife of a US diplomat working in the UK at a nearby US military base.

The base is called Croughton very near the city of Oxford.  In 2018 the Global Network’s annual space conference was held in Oxford and included a protest at Croughton.

Sacoolas fled the UK on a US military plane in September, and the US has fought her extradition since. But recently a new twist emerged. Sacoolas was not the wife of a diplomat, as the US claimed, but in fact,  a CIA operative. Dunn’s family is voicing outrage, saying that they were lied to by both the US and British governments.

Croughton is an important military and intelligence communications base for the US and NATO and a major hub in the global electronic communications, control and surveillance network which serves the interests of the US military and intelligence services regardless of the location and the mission objectives. It handles a huge portion of US military communications in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and is used to route vast amounts of data captured by their network of listening posts in diplomatic premises back to the US for analysis by the CIA and the NSA.

U.S. spy base Croughton near Oxford, England 

Friday, May 08, 2020

What will be the cost$?



Welcome to Space Force....

The U.S. Space Force unveiled its first official recruiting commercial on May 6, featuring scenes from space, rockets launching, military troops in spacesuits and a glimpse of the secretive X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an Air Force-owned, unmanned space craft that looks like a small version of a space shuttle and will launch this month

The military space plane will be launched by the Space Force in Florida from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, which will transition at some point to Cape Canaveral Space Force Base. It will mark the sixth mission into space for the X-37B, but the first conducted by the Space Force, which will be responsible for the vehicle’s launch, its operations in orbit and its landing.

The X-37B completed its most recent mission in October 2019 after spending 780 days in orbit. The 'super drone' has spent a total of 2,875 days in space, serving primarily classified operations, officials said. 

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Jesse Ventura joins Green Party: Will he run for prez?



Caleb Maupin is a widely acclaimed speaker, writer, journalist, and political analyst. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and in Latin America. He was involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement from its early planning stages, and has been involved many struggles for social justice. He is an outspoken advocate of international friendship and cooperation, as well 21st Century Socialism. 

Caleb interviews Owen Charles, Green Party member from Connecticut about current events in the party and the chance that former Minnesota Independent Gov. Jesse Ventura might run for president as a Green.  Just last weekend Ventura joined the Green Party.

Owen came to Maine last winter, along with other Greens from his state, to help Lisa Savage collect signatures to get on the ballot in her race for the US Senate seat now held by Republican Susan Collins.  The election in November will be a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election in Maine. 

It's a very good interview.

Paramilitary invasions in Venezuela: Made in USA


Invaders captured in Chuao.

by Nic de la Riva
reprinted from Liberation News

In the early morning of Sunday, May 3, the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela along with the Special Actions Forces of the Venezuelan National Police repelled an armed invasion by speedboats off the coast of La Guaira, less than an hour from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, recalling past U.S.-backed paramilitary invasions in Latin American states such as the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and the Contras in Nicaragua. As we go to press, the government has issued a maximum alert, with other terrorists having been apprehended in Chuao, west of La Guaira, and other plots suspected.

Venezuelan authorities captured various weapons such as 10 rifles, a Glock 9mm pistol and 2 machine guns along with loaded cartridges of various calibers. Other objects captured were identification documents, satellite telephones, uniforms (including a helmet with a U.S. flag on it) and two notebooks detailing the operation, known as “Operation Gideon.”

Reports have stated that from eight to 10 invaders were killed in the first encounter, along with two being captured. One of the captured is reported to be an agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Americans Luke Denman and Seth Barry , captured by Venezuelan authorities on the coast of Aragua state. Both are U.S. military veterans from Texas, contracted with Silvercorp and are associates of Jordan Goudreau.

The origin of the speedboats has been confirmed through GPS data on the satellite telephones as taking off from Riohacha, Colombia, which is located in the La Guajira department that borders Venezuela.

While this attempted invasion was taken care of swiftly and efficiently by the Venezuelan government, further action and investigation will be taken to protect Venezuela from more paramilitary invasion or the activation of paramilitary cells already within Venezuela.

Both the U.S. government and the U.S.-backed part of the opposition led by self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó have denied any involvement in the invasion. However, several non-state actors are coming forward and contradicting these statements.

The most vocal of these actors is Jordan Goudreau, a former U.S. Special Operations soldier, who currently owns Silvercorp, a paramilitary contractor that specializes in “strategy” and “procedural executions.” He claims to have been working for months with the U.S.-backed, Guaidó-led faction, formulating a 70 page, $212 million contract to train paramilitaries, many of whom are deserters of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, in order to execute what he confirms as Operation Gideon. This operation planned to invade Venezuela as near to Caracas as possible in order to take Caracas and overthrow the Maduro government.


Goudreau has produced the contract, which includes the signatures of Juan Guaidó, Juan José Rendón, and Goudreau himself. He has even confirmed that Operation Gideon is the same operation outlined by Cliver Alcalá, the Venezuelan ex-military officer who turned himself into the U.S. government after the U.S. placed bounties of millions of dollars on the heads of not only Alcalá, but high Venezuelan officials such Nicolás Maduro and PSUV vice-president Diosdado Cabello, falsely accusing them of being involved in “narco-terrorism.” It is language strikingly similar to that used against Panama’s leader Manuel Noriega before the December 1989 invasion by U.S. imperialism.

But Goudreau also details the vacillation and “backstabbing” of the opposition who would not pay his company’s $1.5 million retainer, and accused opposition leaders of hoarding million of dollars, funds stolen from Venezuela by imperialist countries and given to the U.S.-backed opposition.

Aside from the statements of Goudreau and Alcalá, other connections can be made linking the invasion to U.S.-backed Contra style operations originating from Colombia that are also connected to the Guaidó faction. For example, the captured assault rifles, which are not the same used by Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces, match those used in the attempted coup by Guaidó and Leopoldo López on April 30, 2019.

The Venezuelan government and its civic-military union have been preparing for invasions like this as part of its initiative “Escudo Bolivariano” or “Bolivarian Shield.” Recently, Venezuela has intercepted the illegal transport of arms into Venezuela, for which Alcalá has already claimed responsibility. They have also arrested members of the National Guard who allegedly robbed weapons from military detachments in Miranda. They have captured various leaders of the armed opposition such as Rubén Darío Fernández, known as “Búho” who has confessed that another leader and confidant of Alcalá, Robert “Pantera” Colina, was heading a terrorist squad with a goal of assassinating members of the Venezuelan executive branch. “Pantera,” who is seen on video calling for the “liberation” of Venezuela, is reportedly among the eight-10 killed during the La Guaira attempted invasion.

President of the Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello confirms that they have been expecting invasions like this, and is in fact expecting more, which has been confirmed by Goudreau in his statements that other cells are activating. But despite the violence of the U.S.-backed opposition, which tries to take advantage of an economically blocked country in the middle of a global pandemic, Cabello made the following statement on the “arrogant” Venezuelan right-wing:

“We have defeated them in the street, we have defeated them electorally, we have defeated them militarily… Because of this, they have left all their hope in a military intervention of the highest level… Our answer is this: Bolivarian Fury.”

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

China responds to U.S. attacks



Washington in using the virus pandemic to further demonize China in its 'hybrid war' against Beijing.  Wars don't always have to be just shooting at someone.  Information, propaganda and economic disruption (sanctions) are all tools in the US bag of tricks that are being used in the vain attempt to bust China's chops.

The constant trash talking from Washington (and its corporate media outlets) that blames China as the 'source' of the corona-virus has drawn this short but clear response. This cartoon video clearly indicates that this non-kinetic war is heating up.

In addition to the current attacks on China the Pentagon is also working overtime to put in place the infrastructure for the real deal - the physical assault on China.  Expansion of US military operations throughout the Asia-Pacific have been underway since during the Obama administration with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 'pivot' of Pentagon operations into that region.  I've seen it myself on visits to Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and Australia where US base expansions are on steroids.  Add to that the same kind of aggressive military deployments in Hawaii, Guam, Taiwan and other nations in the region.  All-in-all its clear the US is preparing for war with China and Russia.

It's obviously quite crazy for Washington to think it can take on China and Russia when in reality, after almost 20 years, the US can't even handle Afghanistan.  But the US swears by chaos theory, it is willing to destroy and create mayhem (without real victory) knowing that it can set back peaceful development in a nation (or region) for years and we all know that the military industrial complex so badly needs endless war and conflict to keep the lucrative weapons production system churning back home.

The big problem for Washington though is that China and Russia (unlike Afghanistan and many other countries that the US attacks) can fight back and have the ability to take the war to the shores of America.

But the cats running the show in Washington are desperate as they see their own nation quickly collapsing (our piss-poor handling of the virus here just one example).  They know the empire is crashing to the ground, thus the strong urge to do something - anything - to halt this declining trend which makes for a dangerous and deadly climate.

See more on this subject here, here and here.

Bruce

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Protecting forest on Jeju Island



Citizens on Jeju Island, South Korea have been struggling hard for the past couple of years to protect several villages and a forest (Bijarim-ro) from destruction.

Plans are underway to build a second airport on the island, and many believe that the airport will also be used by the US military as an airbase.  This proposed airport will be close to the already constructed Navy base in Gangjeong village.

The US military always wants to have 'close air support' near to any Navy base where its warships are ported.  Such is likely the case with this current effort to build the airport.

Since trees were first cut down the people have been regularly re-planting new trees and tending to them. Save Bijarim-ro!

Alone in a changing world



In 1936, a family of Russian Old Believers journeyed deep into Siberia's vast taiga to escape persecution and protect their way of life. The Lykovs eventually settled in the Sayan Mountains, 160 miles from any other sign of civilization. 

In 1944, Agafia Lykov was born into this wilderness. Today, she is the last surviving Lykov, remaining steadfast in her seclusion. 

In this episode of Far Out, the VICE crew travels to Agafia to learn about her taiga lifestyle and the encroaching influence of the outside world.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Sentencing of Kings Bay (Georgia) nuclear base Plowshares 7


Letter to the judge

Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Court
Southern District of Georgia
801 Gloucester Street
Brunswick, GA 31520

Dear Judge Wood,

I write to you concerning the upcoming sentencing of the Kings Bay 7.

I urge you to sentence these nuclear weapons protesters to time served: Elizabeth McAlister; Fr. Stephen Kelly; Martha Hennessy; Patrick O’Neill; Clare Grady; Mark Colville; and Carmen Trotta.

I was in the U.S. Air Force for 3.5 years during the Vietnam War.  It is there that I became a peace activist.

Soon after getting out of the service in 1974 I heard then Gov. Jimmy Carter speak at my college in Florida that I was attending at the time.  I’ll never forget one thing he said: “The nuclear arms race is a disgrace to the human race”.  Carter of course went on to become president.

As president Mr. Carter built the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base in St. Mary’s, Georgia. I was never able to understand how Mr. Carter could go from his clear understanding that nuclear weapons were a ‘disgrace’ to then building the deadly Trident nuclear sub base.

It is my sincere hope that you will show deep compassion toward these fine people.  I know some of them – in particular Elizabeth McAlister who I last saw a couple of years ago and at that time she was beginning to have problems with loss of memory.  I’d imagine it is worse now.

The others are good peace workers who serve the poor and are absolutely committed to non-violence.

I can imagine that you were touched by them during the trial proceedings.  They speak an undeniable truth.  Their action to save humanity from what Mr. Carter called “a disgrace to the human race” should be honored.

I pray you will answer the call with mercy.

Best wishes to you always,

Bruce K. Gagnon
Brunswick, Maine  

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Sunday song