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 16, 2020

What is U.S. role in Syria?


   

See more on this story here

Beautiful sea-diving women of Jeju Island



Seven months pregnant and apprehensive of the effect motherhood would have on her career as a professional freediver, Kimi Werner took a trip to the island of Jeju in South Korea to meet her heroes, the haenyeo – a group of freediving and fishing women often regarded as Korea’s first working mother’s whose culture dates back centuries.

Expecting her first child, Kimi explored how the haenyeo represent feminine strength and resilience as a self sufficient sisterhood of diving mothers and grandmothers. As Kimi transitions from a solo underwater adventurist to a mother cultivating a family, she longs to learn from the haenyeo elders - many of which are well into their 70’s and continue to dive.

Join Kimi on her journey in Lessons from Jeju, where she gains a deeper understanding of what it means to pass on her own legacy and learns motherhood for a professional athlete isn’t a roadblock but instead a path forward.

Space Force: 'Super- duper'


 
NPR reports:

Trump held an Oval Office ceremony Friday to sign the 2020 Armed Forces Day Proclamation and unveil the official flag of the Space Force, the newest military branch. Standing alongside senior leaders of the military, Trump called the unfurling a "very special moment."

"We've worked very hard on this and it's so important from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, from every standpoint there is," Trump said. The flag design comes from the seal of the Space Force, which was approved by the president in January. It sparked some Star Trek fan outrage for what some people have called its similarity to a logo in the science fiction franchise.

According to the White House, the dark blue and white of the flag is meant to represent the "vast recesses of outer space" and includes a elliptical orbit with three large stars meant to symbolize the branch's purpose: "organizing, training and equipping" Space Force troopers, in the language of the Pentagon.

The Space Force was created in part to protect strategic American space infrastructure, including communications, navigation and spy satellites, from adversaries such as Russia and China.

"As you know, China, Russia, perhaps others, started off a lot sooner than us," Trump said. "We should have started this a long time ago, but we've made up for it in spades. We have developed some of the most incredible weapons anyone's ever seen. And it's moving along very rapidly."

[This statement is our course total fiction as the US has been leading the way in militarizing and weaponizing space - especially since the early 1990's when its only competitor the former Soviet Union collapsed.]

Trump teased what he called a new weapon that could attack at such a high speed it would overwhelm an enemy's defenses.

"We have, I call it the 'super-duper missile.' And I heard the other night [it's] 17 times faster than what they have right now," Trump said.

It wasn't immediately clear what missile the president was describing, but the U.S. and other advanced powers are known to be developing new hypersonic weapons, designed to race at many times the speed of sound.

Trump was joined by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who praised the president for his efforts to push the new organization within the Defense Department.

"With the establishment of Space Force and establishment of Space Command, the United States is now doing what it needs to do to protect our assets in space and ensure that space remains the heavens by which we not only protect America, but we sustain our economy, we sustain our commercial capabilities, we sustain Americans' way of life," Esper said.

[The true purpose of the Space Force is to give the US 'control and domination' of space and the ability to 'deny' others the use of space. See Vision for 2020 here.]

Trump officially created Space Force, the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Services, in December. It's the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Is this the best we got?


 
Notice Biden talks about 'health insurance'.  He's not talking about Medicare4All.  He's talking about making sure the insurance corporations keep their dirty hands on control of health care in America.

That's not what the vast majority of the people want.

Plus he can hardly put together a clear sentence anymore.

Is this the best that we got?  Hardly....

Bruce

Out of work, out of $$, running out of time.....



This thing ain't over yet - going to hit us hard.

Solutions?

End the war$, tax the rich and corporations (many of whom are not paying any taxes), enact Medicare4All, and stop bailing out Wall Street and the aerospace industry.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Pentagon's Bio-warfare labs



By Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

The US Army regularly produces deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins in direct violation of the UN Convention on the prohibition of Biological Weapons. Hundreds of thousands of unwitting people are systematically exposed to dangerous pathogens and other incurable diseases.  Bio warfare scientists using diplomatic cover test man-made viruses at Pentagon bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world. These US bio-laboratories are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

Georgia is a testing ground for bioweapons

The Lugar Center, Republic of Georgia

The Lugar Center is the Pentagon bio laboratory in Georgia. It is located just 17 km away from the US Vaziani military airbase in the capital Tbilisi. Tasked with the military program are biologists from the US Army Medical Research Unit-Georgia (USAMRU-G) along with private contractors. The Bio-safety Level 3 Laboratory is accessible only to US citizens with security clearance. They are accorded diplomatic immunity under the 2002 US-Georgia Agreement on defense cooperation.

The USA-Georgia agreement accords diplomatic status to the US military and civilian personnel (including diplomatic vehicles), working on the Pentagon program in Georgia.

Information obtained from the US federal contracts registry clarifies some of the military activities at The Lugar Center – among them research on bio-agents (anthrax, tularemia) and viral diseases (e.g. Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever), and the collection of biological samples for future experiments.

Pentagon contractors produce bio agents under diplomatic cover


The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has outsourced much of the work under the military program to private companies, which are not held accountable to  Congress, and which can operate more freely and move around the rule of law.  US civilian personnel performing work at The Lugar Center have also been given diplomatic immunity, although they are not diplomats. Hence, private companies can perform work, under diplomatic cover, for the US government without being under the direct control of the host state – in this case the Republic of Georgia. This practice is often used by the CIA to provide cover for its agents.

Three private American companies work at the US bio-laboratory in Tbilisi – CH2M Hill, Battelle and Metabiota. In addition to the Pentagon, these private contractors perform biological research for the CIA and various other government agencies.

CH2M Hill has been awarded $341.5 million DTRA contracts under the Pentagon’s program for bio-laboratories in Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, South East Asia. Half of this sum ($161.1 million), is being allocated to The Lugar Center, under the Georgian contract.


According to CH2M Hill, the US Company has secured biological agents and employed former bio warfare scientists at The Lugar Center. These are scientists who are working for another American company involved in the military program in Georgia – Battelle Memorial Institute.

Battelle as a $59 million subcontractor at Lugar Center has extensive experience in research on bio-agents, as the company has already worked on the US Bio-weapons Program under 11 previous contracts with the US Army (1952-1966).

The private company performs work for the Pentagon’s DTRA bio laboratories in Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Battelle conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation using both highly toxic chemicals and highly pathogenic biological agents for a wide range of US government agencies. It has been awarded some $2 billion federal contracts in total and ranks 23 on the Top 100 US government contractors list.

The CIA-Battelle Project Clear Vision

Project Clear Vision (1997 and 2000), a joint investigation by the CIA and the Battelle Memorial Institute, under a contract awarded by the Agency, reconstructed and tested a Soviet-era anthrax bomblet in order to test its dissemination characteristics. The project’s stated goal was to assess bio-agents dissemination characteristics of bomblets. The clandestine CIA-Battelle operation was omitted from the US Biological Weapons Convention declarations submitted to the UN.

Top Secret Experiments

Battelle has operated a Top Secret Bio laboratory (National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center – NBACC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland under a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract for the last decade. The company has been awarded a $344.4 million federal contract (2006 – 2016) and another $17.3 million  contract (2015 -2026) by DHS.

Fort Detrick, Maryland has been the primary US bio-warfare lab for the Pentagon since after WW II.

Amongst the secret experiments, performed by Battelle at NBACC, are: Assessment of powder dissemination technology ; Assessment of hazard posed by aerosolized toxins and Assessment of virulence of B. Pseudomallei (Meliodosis) as a function of aerosol particle in non-human primates. Melioidosis has the potential to be developed as a biological weapon, hence, it is classed as a category B. Bioterrorism Agent.  B. Pseudomallei was studied by the US as a potential bioweapon in the past.

Besides the military experiments at the Lugar Center in Georgia, Battelle has already produced bioterrorism agents at the Biosafety Level 4 NBACC Top Secret Laboratory at Fort Detrick in the US. A NBACC presentation lists 16 research priorities for the lab. Amongst them to characterize classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens for their BTA (biological threat agent) potential; assess the nature of nontraditional, novel and non-endemic induction of disease from potential BTA and to expand aerosol-challenge testing capacity for non-human primates.

See the rest of this important article here

Find more on the history of Fort Detrick here

Art Auction to help Savage campaign




The Lisa for Maine Art Auction will be LIVE on May 21, at 5:30 p.m. Bidding on pieces featured on this page starts May 18!

Support Lisa Savage’s campaign for U.S. Senate and local Maine artists by bidding on their work in a silent auction or by Zooming in for the live event. Even if you aren’t planning to bid, feel free to join us for the virtual event for a fun and uplifting time with Auctioneer Richard Roberts!

Pieces linked below are ready for bidding via our Google Form. High bids will begin to be announced on May 18 for certain items below at 6 p.m. The leading bid will thereafter be updated twice per day, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., until the live event begins, at which point the silent auction will close. For each work donated, the artist will decide how much of the sale price to receive as an honorarium, and will donate the rest to our campaign for people, planet, and peace. 

 See the art work here

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Latest edition of Space Alert online


Latest Space Alert newsletter now heading to the print shop

See the full edition here

Unfinished bizness


  • It was quiet around here in Brunswick for almost two months. Now folks hope the virus is over and they are starting to hit the streets again.  Car traffic is picking up.  In 14 of Maine's 16 counties things are starting to open again.  The other two counties (York and Cumberland) are still mostly on lock down.  I live in Cumberland County.

  • Dentists are clamoring to open as they report that infections and such are on the rise which could lead to serious illness.  I can relate to this concern since for the past two weeks I've had a tooth infection and need it pulled.  My regular dentist examined me last week and agreed that we should pull the tooth, but I've had to wait another week to see a surgeon.  I go in today - I'll be glad to stop taking the pain pills.  I hate to take medications.

  • Like many, I agree that the best part of the virus pandemic has been the slow down of life and our massive ugly polluting impact on the natural world. So in a way it breaks my heart to see things ramp up again.  Back to hustling, endless growth, money-mongering, war-mongering and all the rest that comes with a capitalist, consumerist, car culture.  Ugh....

  • Gotta put down the guns, all religion is one, politicians only want to blind you, break away....got to give out your love.  'Unfinished Business' - a song by Dave Davies (The Kinks).  These words are his as I listen to the song while I type this.  I often do this when I write - take words, phrases or thoughts from songs and try to plug them into a poem or a post.  Peace is the only way....unfinished business.  Yeah...

  • The artwork above is from friend Russell Wray in Hancock, Maine who is a great advocate and defender of sea life.  He made this banner for one of our past peace walks across Maine.  He does amazing sculpture of nature.  We have one of his etchings on the wall in our home.  See his website here

Bruce

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Trump tries to re-write WW II history


Trump has created a fury when the White House made the above Tweet on May 8.  Washington once again attempts to re-write history by claiming that the US and the UK defeated Nazi Germany.

But in fact it was the Soviet Union that defeated the Nazi Army. (It was May 8, 1945 in Berlin when Soviet soldiers captured the city and at the same moment it was May 9 in Moscow due to time differences. The Russians claim victory day as May 9.)

Throughout most of WWII, the US and UK faced just 10 German divisions combined. The Soviets alone fought more than 200 German divisions largely as a result of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union.

The numbers don't lie.  Here are the figures for total losses in WW II:

  • UK 451,000
  • U.S. 419,400
  • France 600,000
  • Soviet Union 27 million

You can imagine the outrage that is felt in nations that were part of the former Soviet Union when they hear the west (US-NATO countries) attempt to erase their dramatic contributions toward defeating fascism during WW II.  In response the Russian Foreign Ministry made the following statement.

Soviet soldier raising the flag after they took Berlin from the Nazis on May 9, 1945


Statement by the Foreign Ministry concerning US attempts to rewrite the history of the Victory over Nazism

Attempts to distort the results of the defeat of Nazism and the decisive contribution our country made, which are continuing in Washington even during these days of universal celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory, cause utter indignation.

In this context we cannot neglect the commentary posted on the White House pages in social networks where the victory over Nazi Germany is credited exclusively to “America and Great Britain.” On the eve of this sacred holiday US officials could not garner the courage and will to even in passing pay tribute to the indisputable role and incomparable colossal losses suffered back then by the Red Army and the Soviet people for the sake of the humankind. Remarks by US official representatives turned out to be extremely restrained.

Regretfully, such an attitude is in apparent contrast with the statement made Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump on April 25 on the occasion of the historic meeting of Soviet and US soldiers on the Elbe in 1945.

The document stresses the joint efforts of our nations in the fight against a common enemy.

We proceed from the assumption that real historical facts may not be ignored, regardless of feelings towards both the Soviet Union, which liberated the world from the brown plague, and our country of today. This is evidenced not only by the numerous grounded responses to the White House tweets from Russians and also from Americans who know their history and people from around the world. It is indicative that their reasonable and fact-based comments are being regularly deleted. And this is being done in the “most democratic country,” which tirelessly proclaims its “adherence to freedom of speech”!

The topic of the scared deeds of the older generation in that war must not turn into another problem in bilateral relations, which are going through hard times as it is. Russia and the US, despite disagreements, can counter ever-increasing present-day challenges on the basis of trust, mutual respect and while taking into account each other’s interests.

We intend to have a serious conversation on this issue with US officials. 

Critical review of Sanders & his so-called 'revolution'



This is an excerpt of an interview recently conducted with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author Chris Hedges.

Hedges discusses Bernie Sanders' decision to run as a democratic candidate and not an independent despite 2016 DNC corruption. In addition, he examines the Sanders' campaign failure and whether it should be attributed to internal or external factors.

To watch the full video visit: https://youtu.be/elJwNiAgcmA

Monday, May 11, 2020

Must see this one....



We watched this great film the other night for $5 online.

It was shown in only one theater in our state when it came out last year and only for two days.  We were shocked that no other theaters in Maine picked it up.  Of course we should not have been surprised at all.

This is a very important (and suspenseful) film based on a true story about a brave woman from a British spy agency who revealed to the press that George W. Bush and Tony Blair lied their respective nations into the Iraq war by fabricating a story to pressure the United Nations to support the 2003 'shock and awe'.

I strongly urge everyone to watch it.

It's one of the most important stories in contemporary human history.

Bruce

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day message


Sunday song