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, June 24, 2021

Meeting Navy CO at BIW

 

 

Yesterday four of us peaceniks returned to the Navy compound gate at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for an hour as part of our bi-weekly vigils.

As we've come to expect we are now seeing more sailors (of all ranks) turn their eyes to the ground as they pass us by. More than a third of those passing me who refused a flyer made sure to say, 'We can't take one'. That means of course they have been ordered by their commander to 'stand down'! No interaction with those 'activists'. 

It's a big mistake because it causes the wheels to turn and many sailors (liked happened to me during my time in the Air Force during the Vietnam war) begin to question the definition of democracy. 'I thought we had this massive-offensive military in order to spread democracy! And I can't even take a flyer. But I can die in battle representing corporate interests. Where truly is this democracy?'

Most of us at these vigils wear our Veterans For Peace shirts and Peter Morgan always flies his VFP flag. I keep changing my sign. Yesterday I used a sandwich-board sign made by artist Natasha Mayers. Here she is wearing it at one of her recent arrests at a BIW 'christening'.

 

Artist and activist Natasha Mayers (left) with her sandwich-board sign at BIW.  Ridgeley Fuller (Belfast) on the right.

 

Early on one sailor took my flyer, paused, looked me in the eye, and while smiling said, 'Thank you for being here'. He then walked away and the next thing I knew this same sailor was talking to John Morris at another of our protest positions and they spoke for a long time.

We go to lunch afterwards to kick-around what happened at our vigils. John reported that the sailor took a 2nd flyer, saying it would be shared. Apparently the sailor has applied for conscientious objector status (CO). When asked why, John said the sailor didn't believe in the mission anymore and wanted out.

That takes guts and we wish this person the very best. The sailor had not heard about VFP so John gave a good explanation about the group.

We are told that another VFP member from Massachusetts wants to come join us next Wednesday. Normally we'd not go that particular week (only do the 2nd & 4th Wednesday) but since we have a guest coming we'll return to the Navy compound gate at 11:00 am.

One BIW worker I met during last year's labor strike - we met on the picket line - walked by again yesterday for the 2nd time this month. We always have a nice chat. He's a very loving man - very religious and credits Jesus with turning his life away from drugs, alcohol and the like. We exchanged thoughts about the nature of God - I told him I gravitate more toward Native American spirituality - the Great Spirit. I did ask him if he thought Jesus (the Prince of Peace) would call the destroyers made at BIW 'evil'?

We parted in peace. It was nice.

(I'd like to offer a sincere welcome to BIW and Navy 'investigators' who are reading this blog. I hope you all are learning something as you keep an eye on us dangerous rascals.)

Bruce 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Black Ops in the Black Sea

HMS Defender. (Royal Navy)

 

The former British ambassador reacts to news that Russia fired warning shots at a British destroyer on Wednesday that entered the territorial waters of Crimea, still claimed by Ukraine.

Russia said Wednesday it had fired warning shots at a British warship [with BBC reporter conveniently onboard] that had entered its territorial waters. The British Ministry of Defense has denied the incident took place, saying, “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”

 

By Craig Murray

Sometimes it is worth stating the obvious. The United Kingdom does not have a coast in the Black Sea. British warships are not infesting the Black Sea out of a peaceful intent, and there is no cause for them to be entering disputed waters close to anybody’s coast. This is not a question of freedom of navigation under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. There is nowhere that a British warship can be heading from the UK under the right of innocent passage that would require it to pass through coastal waters by Crimea. The Black Sea is famously a cul-de-sac.

I expect we will now be in for a mad frenzy of Russophobia, yet again. I shall comment further once I have more details of why and exactly where Russia was firing warning shots. But just remember this, it was not Russian warships near the British coast, it was British warships in an area where they had no business other than ludicrous, British nationalist, sabre-rattling. 


The UK needs to lose its imperial delusions. Sending gunboats to the Crimea is as mad as – well, sailing an aircraft carrier expressly to threaten the Chinese. There are those who see this activity as evidence of the UK’s continued great power status. I see it as evidence of lunacy.

~ Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. This article is from CraigMurray.org.uk

'Exceptional nation' cracks down on press freedom

 

 

RT reports:

US authorities have apparently seized the web domains of Iran’s international media outlets Press TV and Al-Alam, along with the Yemeni TV channel Al Masirah, run by the Houthi faction, an Iraqi Shia satellite channel, and others.

Visitors to the PressTV.com and a number of other websites were greeted on Tuesday with a notice that they were seized under US laws that allow civil and criminal forfeiture of property involved in “trafficking in nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological weapons technology or material, or the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance.”

The seizure notice by the US Department of Justice also invokes a law governing presidential authority in dealing with “unusual and extraordinary threat; declaration of national emergency,” which includes the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 and the ironically named Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006.

Are we too competitive?

 


Are we too competitive, 
dog-eat-doggers?
 
Toes on the line,
keep your nose clean,
don't rock the boat,
climb the corporate ladder.
 
Every person,
every organization
for themselves?
 
Some reject this system
but I wonder
how many of us
have internalized
the hyper-competition model
even as we resist capitalism?
 
Do our movements
compete with one another,
helping to keep us isolated
sadly ineffective,
and under corporate control?
 
Compete for money,
media coverage,
volunteers,
'Likes on Fazebook'?
 
Dreams of grandeur,
a spot near the top.
 
Our egos
take a ride
on the cloud of hope.
 
The system
is deeply embedded
in us.
 
Is it possible
to question,
and defeat
institutionalized
Madison Avenue-brand
three-piece suit
fascism?
 
Slavery 
by another 
name.
 
Are we 
too competitive
to come together?
 
Can I take the log
out of my own eye?
 
Bruce 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Jimmy Carter on China and other things.....

 

 

I first saw Jimmy Carter (former Governor of Georgia) when he came to Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida in 1975 when I was attending school there after I got out of the Air Force the year before.

I was impressed with his speech and began paying attention to his presidential campaign. 

In 1976 I volunteered to help on his campaign. He was elected in November of that year. He was a one term president.

One of the key reasons I supported Carter was his statement: "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race." He used to say it often - as if to signal that America's long-running bout with militarism was misled. 

The public then had the 'Vietnam syndrome' and the corporate oligarchy wanted to get rid of that problem so they could return to full-blown empire building.

Once he became president, Carter built the Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia very near the Florida border. For more than 20 years I joined the annual peace witness at the base on New Years Eve. The building of the sub base helped to sour me on Jimmy Carter.

It wasn't until some years after Carter left office that I learned how he had been recruited by Zbignew Brzezinski to run for president on behalf of the Trilateral Commission. After the debacle of the Vietnam War the ruling elites decided they needed a fresh face - but one they would control. So they took a virtually unknown moderate southern politician, with no national base or experience in foreign affairs, and made him president.  They played the 'peanut farmer' card created by the best minds on Madison Avenue.

A book that really helped to put me over the top on Carter, and the Democrats, was Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management by Holly Sklar. 

Sklar wrote:

In 1973 the Trilateral Commission was founded by David Rockefeller, Chase Manhattan Bank chairman, Zbignew Brzezinski, [President Jimmy] Carter's national security advisor, and other like-minded "eminent private citizens." Some 300 members (up from about 200 members in 1973) are drawn from international business and banking, government, academia, media, and conservative labor. The Commission's purpose is to engineer an enduring partnership among the ruling classes of North America, Western Europe, and Japan-hence the term "trilateral" - in order to safeguard the interests of Western capitalism in an explosive world. The private Trilateral Commission is attempting to mold public policy and construct a framework for international stability in the coming decades. ..."trilateralism" refers to the doctrine of world order advanced by the Commission.


Shortly before Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, Richard Ullman wrote from inside the foreign policy establishment: "In the U.S. - among elites, at any rate-trilateralism has become almost the consensus position on foreign policy." But it was only at the time of Carter's election that the Trilateral Commission was given much media attention. "Sound the Alarm: the Trilateralists are Coming" teased William Greider in a post-inaugural article on the Carter Administration and the Trilateral Commission. Jimmy Carter has picked no less than twenty-five trilateralists to serve in the highest posts of his administration. Besides Brzezinski, founding director of the Trilateral Commission, we find: Vice-President Walter Mondale, (former) Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, (former) Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker.


I lost most of my hope for Carter during his ill-fated administration. In the years that followed I did regain a fraction of respect for him - largely based on his work with Habitat for Humanity, building homes with people who could not afford to purchase one on the open market.

But then when Ralph Nader (who I always supported) was running for president his last time, Carter came on TV and launched a mean-spirited tirade opposing Nader's presidential run. By that time I was no longer a Carter fan but was still shocked that this 'good Christian' could be so mean-spirited.

With that said, I do like his comments above on China - although note that they were directed at Donald Trump. I wonder if he'd lecture Joe Biden nearly as strongly about the same subject?  One can always hope I suppose.

In the end Carter was a very mixed bag. Emphasis on mixed and bag.

Bruce

Monday, June 21, 2021

American Exceptionalism: The Divine Lie


By Regis Tremblay 

My friend S. Brian Willson returns with a shocking look in the mirror for all Americans. We were founded on The Big Lie of white, European, male supremacy. A veteran of the war in Vietnam that changed his life and turned him into a staunch anti-war, anti-US foreign policy activist that cost him his legs when he attempted to block the shipments of arms to Nicaragua in 1987 at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

He is the author of Blood on the Tracks (Amazon) and is featured in a film I made in 2016, Warriors for Peace, Veterans Speak. I spent three days with Brian filming his story.

Could snivel-ization go dark?

 


 
This video by the German Space Agency does a decent job laying out how dependent we've become on satellites orbiting the Earth, and the ground stations spread around the globe, that relay signals. This is an important illustration of what current life has come to.
 
The video makes a vague reference to 'international cooperation' and the 'preservation and protection of our space infrastructure'. Nothing more explicit than that. It almost sounds like aerospace industry talking points. Don't harm our money machine - we've got to protect our 'space investments'.
 
The real danger though to these space assets is the US's long-known Pentagon doctrine of 'control and domination of space'. The US claims that it will be the Master of Space. Read about it in the infamous 1997 Space Command document called Vision for 2020
 
 

 

If there is ever a war in space then a massive cascading of satellite crashes will further pollute the space environment and turn the Earth dark. The list is endless....GPS, cell phones, ATM machines, weather prediction and more would be lost. This is what the video does chillingly show.

In 1989 Apollo 14 astronaut (and moon walker) Edgar Mitchell was a speaker at a protest I organized for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice at the space center in Florida.



During his speech Mitchell described to us that any war in space would be the 'one and only' due to the 'piranha laced-river of debris' that would orbit the Earth forever, 'entombing us on the planet'.

So the dreams of moving snivel-ization to Mars would be shot. Those scientists (many that work for the military) who talk about 'discovering the origins of life' would be out of a job.

In spite of the fact the future of humanity is riding on the imperative to ensure 'No war in space' ever happens, it appears that the Pentagon continues to rush headlong over the cliff. No one in Washington is listening to any of the serious questions and concerns about Space Force and US domination of the heavens. 

It's as if they are blind, deaf, and beyond dumb.

Bruce 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday song