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, July 04, 2020

Time for some political fireworks.....



I think this video is great - it is so Lisa Savage - creative, direct talker and fiercely independent.

Lisa is always devoted to her students in her rural school district where poverty and neglect are daily occurrences.

Lisa has lived this reality for many years and is a determined true revolutionary who believes in justice for the humans, nature, animals, the water, air and sky.

We are lucky to have her carrying these voices and spirits into the Ranked Choice Voting election here in Maine next November.

Please do what you can to help pass the word.

See her July 4 message here

Bruce

Friday, July 03, 2020

John Pilger film - a must watch



The Coming War on China, from award winning journalist John Pilger, reveals what the news doesn’t – that the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and the world’s second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, may well be on the road to war.

Nuclear war is not only imaginable, but planned. The greatest build-up of NATO military forces since the Second World War is under way on the western borders of Russia. On the other side of the world, the rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance.

To counter this, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’ during his time in office, which meant that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China. A policy which has been taken up by his successor Donald Trump, who during his election campaign said “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing”.

Filmed on five possible front-lines across Asia and the Pacific over two years, the story is told in chapters that connect a secret and ‘forgotten’ past to the rapacious actions of great power today and to a resistance, of which little is known in the West.

~  John Pilger is an Australian journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He has been mainly based in Britain since 1962.

Pilger is a strong critic of American, Australian, and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist and colonialist agenda. Pilger has also criticised his native country's treatment of Indigenous Australians. He first drew international attention for his reports on the Cambodian genocide.


His career as a documentary film maker began with The Quiet Mutiny (1970), made during one of his visits to Vietnam, and has continued with over 50 documentaries since. 


Pilger won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award in 1967 and 1979. His documentaries have gained awards in Britain and worldwide, including multiple BAFTA honors. The practices of the mainstream media are a regular subject in Pilger's writing.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Australian Prime Minister opts for a military led recovery from the Covid recession


The decision of the Australian Government to spend $270 billion on military spending is backward thinking and ultimately a disadvantage for all Australians.

“We now know why the Australian Government has been conducting a scare campaign about China and Chinese cyber warfare. Clearly it is intended to build up a fear of China which will allow Australians to acquiesce in the exorbitant spending proposed,” said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign.

“Tensions in the Indo Pacific region are largely those manufactured by the Morrison Government in partnership with US and are being used to rush Australians into accepting the purchase of exorbitant and unnecessary weaponry.

“Scott Morrison has deliberately ignored the positive role of China in the Covid crisis. This socialist country has aided many millions with free medical equipment. It offered assistance to the State of New York, to Italy and to many developing countries including those suffering from US sanctions such as Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran.

“The US has maintained all its sanctions. As a result governments have been less able to assist their citizens suffering from the pandemic. The US also withdrew $400 million from the WHO which affected medical aid to many parts of Africa,” Mr Doherty said.

“The Government continues to spend recklessly on the military amid the pandemic and is planning to send Australian Defense Forces forces to the RIMPAC exercises at the cost of many more millions.  This money would be far better spent on constructing more social housing and more socially useful projects such as Jobkeeper.

“The Government is ideologically committed to assist arms companies rather than the people of Australia or the region.  The Government’s hypocrisy is evident in their approach to the Yemen war.  Australia has donated $40 million to the UN fund for Yemen but just one Australian arms company has been given $36 million to supply weapons to the Saudis who are prosecuting the war in Yemen.

“The Morrison Government is on a path to causing more misery in Australia and the region, once again at the behest of the US Trump Administration.” 

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Danger ahead - Pentagon preparing for war with China & Russia



About 350 soldiers parachuted into Andersen Air Force Base on Tuesday to complete a training mission that began with a marathon flight from Alaska. Five C-17 Globemasters flew the paratroopers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska to Guam, where they secured the air base as part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise, the Army said in a statement Tuesday.

The soldiers are with the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team — the Army’s only Pacific airborne brigade. They learned of the mission only several days before the jump, the Army said.

 “This scenario tested our ability to execute real-world missions and demonstrated that we are capable of deploying anywhere in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area at a moment’s notice,” Col. Christopher Landers, commander of the 4th Brigade, said in the statement.

Reported by Stars & Stripes

Excellent interview on 'Russia paying to kill U.S. troops' story....



Multiple US outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan and that President Trump has taken no action. 

The Grayzone's Max Blumenthal breaks down the story's flaws and how it continues a Russiagate-era push of the Democratic Party to the right. 

 "The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says. 

Max Blumenthal is editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

My wedding vows


When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You've got a friend

Thank you Bill [Bliss, our minister friend].  When we spoke on the phone about two weeks ago you asked me if I was nervous.  I cavalierly said, “No, we’ve been together for 20 years.”  Well in the last 24 hours I’ve been frozen with anxiousness and got up at 4:00 am this morning to completely change what I am going to say.

MB Sullivan and I have been friends since the mid-1990’s when she came to Florida to be with her mom during her last days.

We became close during that time as she volunteered at the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice where I worked.

She organized a trip for about eight of us from the Florida Coalition to the state of Guerrero in Mexico where we learned much about poverty and injustice there.  She served as our translator.  I have a photo from that time which I cherish.  MB was surrounded by Mexican women and I was in the frame but off to the side where I was admiring how much the women took to her easy smile and wonderful laugh.

But I was a bit slow in those days and it took me awhile to come around to facing the music.  It wasn’t until 1998 when MB was injured in a car crash in Selma, Alabama, along with our Buddhist friends Utsumi and Denise.  She needed to return to Sarasota, Florida, where she was by then helping look after her dad, for an operation on her arm.  A car relay was organized with various folks leap-frogging her back home.  I did one section of the trip and while in my truck, nauseous from the pain killers she was taking, she threw up.  It was in that moment that I fully realized I was in love with her.

We began dating in the last year of my son Julian’s time in high school and she eventually moved in with us.

The first time MB took me to Sarasota to meet her dad Jimmy Sullivan was one that I’ll always remember.  We were invited for dinner and Jimmy never spoke a word to me.  He watched TV during dinner and had the clicker in his hand switching to various sporting events.  At the time I took it personally, figured he must not approve of me.  But this morning at 4am you could say I had a ‘divine revelation’.

I realized that Jimmy was just deeply sad, and in a way, mourning the loss of his close orbit to the sun – to MB.  In a way he must have felt that he had become like the planet Pluto – sent on a faraway dark orbit.  MB later told me though that he said to her, “I guess Bruce is alright because his dog Red is so well behaved”.

But he began making spaghetti and meat balls on the first night of our visits after that.  I grew to love Jimmy Sullivan very much – just like everyone else.

What a blessing it is, how lucky we all are, to be in MB’s orbit – benefiting from her light, her warm glow, her love, her joy.  She has a huge heart as you all know and that laugh – it’s as big as the whole universe.

I vow to remain faithful to my lucky orbit around MB’s sunny side.  I vow to continue learning what ‘unconditional love’ means from her.  I vow to continue learning to be a better person – god knows how far I’ve come in the last 20 years.

I grew up in a hard scrabble family – love was intermittent and often hard to find.  I didn’t really know what a real loving relationship looked like – how to do it.  It’s taken me some time to learn. MB is a great teacher.

I love you MB Sullivan.

Please join me, even though you all are on mute, in singing a bit of this song:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Thank you all for being with us [on Zoom] today.

Bruce  

Monday, June 29, 2020

VFP member comments on the psyop 'Russia story'


For the past several days I've been following the back-and-forth debate on a Veterans For Peace (VFP) list serve about the New York Times 'fake news' story alleging that Russia is paying the Taliban to attack US troops in Afghanistan.  I left the names of the posters off in order to respect their privacy.

Bruce

My own comment was:
The Russians don’t need to pay the Taliban to kill Americans.  After 20 years of utter failure in Afghanistan the US is trying to shift responsibility and blame – it’s likely a signal of the new anti-Russian policies that will be followed by a Biden administration. 

Here are some other comments:

  • NY TIMES reports to CNN tonight that US intelligence agencies reported to White House months ago that Russian intelligence agencies offered financial bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops.  For months, White House has known about this and been "deliberating options" on this matter, but had "no comment" to TIMES reporters.  It is unknown whether these bounties were involved in the 20 American troops KIA last fall in Afghanistan. If VFP remains silent on this, we should close up shop.
  • No sources.  No evidence.  No fact-checking by American media. I'm not surprised Rachel Maddow fell for this. Suckers one and all.
  • Trump is a fucking traitor, a Ruski asset. No other president in my lifetime would have not done what he hasn't done. In fact I doubt if any other in history. All would have taken some action. Is America right for being in Afghanistan and Iraq, hell no but our troops are there and the president has a duty to protect.

  • I have no idea if Russia paid some of the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan and I am no fan of Donald Trump but I have some questions about how our media is presenting this new issue.  I say this because I saw similar actions myself while in Laos during the 1968 Battle of Tet.  It was our government paying tribesmen to kill North Vietnamese soldiers.  One has to wonder why this story of Russians paying Taliban to kill Americans in our current Afghanistan war is anything new or different than what appears to be part of larger war strategy. The question to me now is the politics of it.   Why is this being pushed now with an election so close?  The Democrats in the campaign of Joe Biden are using it as a way to revive the Cold War as we go to November.  But a larger question is why is the American media being so one-sided and blind to the historical context of these kind of stories.
  • One thing is certain, we have reached a consensus on the fact that this “Russian bounties for killing U.S. soldiers” story is baseless. We, as an organization, should say so.
  • The Russian DNC hacking story never had any evidence, but it was finally demolished a few months ago when Crowdstrike, the cyber security firm that allegedly "discovered" the hacking, admitted that it never had any evidence that the data was hacked by Russia.
  • Yup, here we go again. False news is not just Trump's game. Biden is definitely counterproductive. This imperial nation needs to go ahead and collapse!
  • Personally, I am not trying to nit-pick this issue. Ain't the hill I wanna die on; it fits perfectly ito the context of the Gulf of Tonkin "Incident" [circa] the 70s, and the WMD BS of the the little Bush era.
  • Silent Biden is speaking out on this phony story, criticizing Trump for not doing something to Russia for putting a bounty on US troops. He is not only useless but counterproductive. When Trump said he would consider talking to Maduro, Biden criticized him for cozying up to a dictator and Trump immediately backed down. Trump is terrible but Biden may be worse on foreign policy. When he becomes president, Biden will continue his 45 year-record of militarism, war and regime change.
  • The Times story seems to have instantly flushed out all those Putin lovers that used to fill this list with Russia love.

  • The point of the story is to insinuate that Russia is the problem rather than the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The Russians are supposed to be particularly evil with the insinuation that the U.S. military presence is somehow made more benign by comparison. Ridiculous. Our cluster bombs are precious and pure, I suppose. 
  • This is more narrative control promoting the new cold war, that the hoax of Russia-gate was about. How can one believe US intelligence, especially when it comes to Russia, our needed enemy to fuel our own military based economy.  No named sources, with different reporters confirming their own reports with each other. Assertions, anonymous sources, nothing really verified with evidence. Remember the bullshit the NYT and press said constantly about Iraq.  Lies, lies, lies.  US troops or their surrogates remain illegally in Afghanistan, and Syria, murdering and destroying.  That is the despicable issue that goes on and on. And US supports Jihadi killers against Russians in Syria. When will the US just quit its illegal and destructive interventions and sanctions anywhere and everywhere?
  • In fact the US has unseated duly elected leaders, and is attempting repeatedly to do the same in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
  • So, let me see if I've got this right. We've been bombing the shit out of Afghanistan for years with some of the greatest intensity and the greatest number of Afghani civilians killed in recent years and the Afghani fighters are trying to kill us - not because of that - but because the Russkies are paying them bounties? This not only sounds like CIA war propaganda, it sounds like really bad war propaganda. I hope no one in our membership would be naive or stupid enough to believe this for a minute. If you're a board member who even considers that this sounds credible, please resign ASAP. WE need sharper minds with better memories at the helm.

  • The U.S. intelligence agencies are producing false reports to fog over the minds of the American people day in and day out. VFP should be reminding people of this, I agree. If those in power gave a hoot about any American lives they would pull all U. S. Soldiers and mercenaries out of Afghanistan immediately. But, hey, there is no profit in that so they don’t.
  • If this information is proven to be true, this is another issue which VFP should bind with other Veterans organizations and declare the Trump Admin. to be treasonous.
  • I trust that Veterans For Peace will not fall into the trap of blaming the Russians for U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. That would be counterproductive for an organization that seeks to end wars and avert a nuclear holocaust.
  • This is pure fabrication. The military/corporate elite has a vested interest in keeping the war going in Afghanistan, and what better conduit for ginning up their pro-war agenda than the NYT. And what better fall guy than Trump. Our BS meters should be redlining. 
  • So since the Times reported something an anonymous source supposedly connected to US intelligence services and it appeared on CNN, we are supposed to believe it? Whatever happened to the dictum "consider the source?"  
  • It looks to me like a Democrat plan to complete softening us up to be ready for Biden's military attack on Russia to keep his Military Industrial Complex contributors happy.
  • Right on schedule they are with their endless propaganda. They used to say that in the former Soviet Union people had to learn to read Pravda ‘up-side down’.  Time to learn that skill here as well. 

Dem message to progressives: 'Piss off'



Krystal Ball explains what the Democratic party would look like under a potential Biden administration.

Make sure to watch the Sen. Joe Biden bit at 4:34 into the video - surprise, surprise!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

It's deja vu all over again

By Caitlin Johnstone

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim.

As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.

The consensus-manufacturing, Overton window-shrinking western propaganda apparatus has been in full swing with mass media outlets claiming on literally no basis whatsoever that they have confirmed one another’s “great reporting” on this completely unsubstantiated story.

“The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting,” the NYT story’s co-author Charlie Savage tweeted hours ago.

“We have confirmed the New York Times’ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan,” tweeted The Washington Post‘s John Hudson.

“We matched The New York Times’ great reporting on how US intel has assessed that Russians paid Taliban to target US, coalition forces in Afg which is a pretty stunning development,” tweeted Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold.

All three of these men are lying.

John Hudson’s claim that the Washington Post article he co-authored “confirmed the New York Times’ scoop” twice uses the words “if confirmed” with regard to his central claim, saying “Russian involvement in operations targeting Americans, if confirmed,” and “The attempt to stoke violence against Americans, if confirmed“. This is of course an acknowledgement that these things have not, in fact, been confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal article co-authored by Gordon Lubold cites only anonymous “people”, who we have no reason to believe are different people than NYT’s sources, repeating the same unsubstantiated assertions about an intelligence report. The article cites no evidence that Lubold’s “stunning development” actually occurred beyond “people familiar with the report said” and “a person familiar with it said“.

The fact that both Hudson and Lubold were lying about having confirmed the New York Times‘ reporting means that Savage was also lying when he said they did. When they say the report has been “confirmed”, what they really mean is that it has been agreed upon. All the three of them actually did was use their profoundly influential outlets to uncritically parrot something nameless spooks want the public to believe, which is the same as just publishing a CIA press release free of charge. It is unprincipled stenography for opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies, and it is disgusting.

Read the rest of this important article here

Sunday song