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, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Monday, October 31, 2005


Japanese peace activists protest U.S. deployment of Aegis destroyers (outfitted with Theatre Missile Defense systems) the last Sunday of every month. The U.S. is now in the process of deploying 10 Aegis destroyers (built at Bath Iron Works in Maine) at the huge Yokosuka navy base. The ships will be used to surround and provoke China.

Because China's economic growth will challenge the U.S.'s status as world "big dog," the Pentagon is now moving to double military operations in the Asian-Pacific region. This military encirclement of China, with Aegis destroyers along the Chinese coast based in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and new U.S. bases in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and others), will provoke a new arms race with China. China today has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. The U.S. nuclear arsenal now has about 7,500 nuclear weapons. Is China likely to attack the U.S. with 20 nuclear missiles? Is China likely to want to go to war with the U.S. at the very time that virtually every product in U.S. stores is made in China?

Why then does the U.S. feel it necessary to militarily encircle China? Could it be about oil? Could it be that a growing economy in China will need more of the world's declining supplies of oil (peak oil)? Could it be that if the U.S. controls the oil in the Middle East (which is not used in great quantity by the U.S. but is relied on by the emerging markets in the Asian-Pacific) then it holds the keys to the Chinese economic engine? Roughly 80% of China's energy imports pass through the waters adjacent to Taiwan. Could it be that by dramatically expanding U.S. naval operations near Taiwan (supposed to protect them from China) that the U.S. is making a military move to check-mate China's ability to move oil to their expanding economy?

If a new arms race ensues with China who benefits? Would it be the military industrial complex? Would it be the oil corporations?

We've got to learn to watch the left hand as well as the right hand. The U.S. multi-national corporate shell game is underway. Watch what the U.S. is doing in the Asian-Pacific region. Our friends in the Japanese peace movement are trying to alert us to the dangers of the U.S. military build-up in their region. They are warning the U.S. not to drag the once fascist (and imperialist) Japan back into the great power game. Time to pay attention.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Dick Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby gets indicted on five counts and the Republicans are now saying, "There is no one suggesting that Bush has anything to do with this matter." Yesterday Bush and Cheney went out to rally their base, and as usual they had to go to the friendly confines of a military audience.

The key question relating to the Libby indictments is of course - how deeply was Cheney involved in all of this? Did Cheney's chief of staff lie under oath to protect Cheney and Bush? I think the answer is a clear YES!

Let's face it. They were covering up an illegal war and dramatic lies about WMD'S in Iraq. News commentators spent hours yesterday wondering why Libby - "such a brilliant lawyer, who went to Yale, had the best pedigree, why would he lie? Why would he risk such a bright career?" He lied to cover their ass. Simple as that. People with the right pedigree lie in order to cover their deceptions all the time. Welcome to the USA. Welcome to corporate dominated government.

Let's just hope that more of the liars will be brought to justice. It would only be right considering all the damage they have done.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Yesterday peace groups all over the nation held vigils to remember the 2,000 GI's that have now been killed in the tragic war in Iraq and the 15,000 who have been seriously wounded. Also remembered were the 100,000 Iraqi people that have died in this needless and insane war.

In my town of Brunswick, where we hold regular Friday afternoon vigils at the town square, we had 40 people turn out. On a good day we normally get 15. The number of horn honks yesterday was quite revealing as we see growing numbers of the public turn against this war that has now cost the U.S. more than $300 billion.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) has just announced that he will introduce legislation in the House of Representatives to cut off further funding for the war. This legislation deserves the strong support of all Americans who oppose the war. Please contact your congressional delegation and demand they support Rep. McGovern's effort.

Yesterday over 175 folks gathered in downtown Portland, Maine as well. One of our local peace group members, Dexter Kamilewicz of Orr's Island, was there and was featured in an article in the local paper this morning. Dexter said the tragic milestone shows a democracy in the breakdown lane.

Dexter, whose son Ben is serving in Iraq with the Vermont Army National Guard, said he met several parents of active-duty military personnel at the recent September 24 antiwar protest in Washington.

He said they told him that they were disillusioned by an apparent lack of progress in Iraq and what they view as indifference to their concerns by those in power.

"Our members of Congress just sit by in silence without questioning, and approve the continuing slaughter and waste of money," Kamilewicz said. "We're just going to continue to pay a huge, huge price if we don't stop this war."

The time has come for the American people to step-up our protest of this war for oil. If we don't it won't be long before we gather to vigil in rememberance of the 4,000th GI killed in Iraq. Speak up, speak out now!

Sunday, October 23, 2005


The New York Times is reeling from the revelation that reporter Judith Miller (on left in photo above) not only lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but was involved in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Not yet fired by the Times, Miller has now acknowledged that she was involved in discussions with Vice President Cheney's chief aid Scotter Libby about Plame even before the Bush team disclosed that Plame was a CIA agent. This fact shows that Miller was not only involved in the selling of the illegal war in Iraq but was also involved in the coverup.

For the New York Times to have a reporter involved in the selling and coverup of a war is a massive betrayal of the public trust by a media outlet. The Times should immediately fire Miller and should do a front-page apology to the American people and the rest of the world for their crucial role (as America's newspaper of record) in creating justification for the war. In addition, the Times must call for an immediate withdrawal from the war and must call for the legal prosecution of all those implicated in the selling and coverup of the war. And that includes Judith Miller and anyone else at the Times that played any role in the scandal. How can anyone ever believe anything the Times ever prints again unless they purge themselves from the outrageous relationship their paper has forged with the war-making machine of the Bush Pentagon?

I urge you to join me in writing a letter to the New York Times calling on them to take these steps to make good to the public.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Would you trust this woman, Harriet Miers, with the crucial swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court? Many conservatives are saying they oppose her nomination and Democrats, as usual, aren't saying much of anything. So far she has been a total bust as she meets with senators to try to gain their support for her nomination. In fact, things have gone so poorly that the White House has cancelled any further meetings. She had to call one Republican senator back after their meeting because she had so severely blown the answer to a question - a real embarrassment. A Judiciary committee form that she was given was so poorly filled out that Republican Sen. Arlen Specter sent it back to her to fill out again! Is this the best that America has to offer? Miers once told Bush "you are the best governor Texas has ever had". Hello, is anyone being fooled here? This has nothing to do with her being a woman. This has to do with her being absolutely and totally incompetant. The Miers nomination should be pulled. Time for plan - B........Mr. Bush.

The White House is completely unraveling these days. With the Karl Rove scandal, the Libby/Cheney scandal, the Tom Delay scandal, the Iraq war lie scandal, the U.S. troops in Afghanistan burning Taliban bodies scandal, the fiscal crisis scandal, the Pentagon cost overruns scandal, the hurricane Katrina scandal, the lack of attention to global warming scandal, and more, Bush is quickly declining in the polls and looking more inept every day. The question now is, will Bush finish his term or will he be forced to resign? Will Cheney finish the term? Can the sad-sack Democrats find a backbone and run with the football that has been handed them?

Stay tuned fans!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Yes big brother is watching and we should be careful what we say!

While I was recently in Wichita, Kansas an op-ed of mine on the Pentagon's plans for weapons in space was published in the local paper. Wichita is a company town. Boeing has major operations there and has been developing the Airborne Laser at that location.

Not long after my op-ed was published, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency did a response to my piece in the local paper. They challenged my "contention" that there are now plans to put weapons in space.

Now maybe I have missed something. Maybe I've been teleported to another planet or have been seeing all this in my dreams. Maybe my 20 years of work on this issue never happened. Maybe my subscriptions to Aviation Week & Space Technology and Space News, which I thought regularly report on Pentagon efforts to produce weapons for warfare in the heavens, never arrived at my door. Could it be that the Space Command's Vision for 2020, Strategic Master Plan, Joint Doctrine for Space Operations, U.S. Air Force Doctrine: Counterspace Operations (all of which are available in full on the home page of the Global Network's web site) actually do not make the case for U.S. "control and domination" of space and the need to "deny" other countries access to space?

It is nice, I guess, to know that the Missile Defense Agency feels that it must respond to one of my lonely op-ed's. I suppose it is reassuring to know that with all those hundreds of billions of our tax $$$$$ they actually do something inside the Pentagon. But why deny to the citizens of Wichita that they are working on space weapons? What is the Pentagon, and aerospace corporations like Boeing, trying to hide by saying they are not working on offensive systems for space control and domination. And why do they want to deny they are working on systems like Rods from God and the military space plane that would give them the capability to hit targets on Earth from space?

Could it be that they only want the people to think this whole Star Wars program is only about 'DEFENSE'? And do they fear that if people learned the truth, that Star Wars is really about offense, then people might not support the massive waste of their tax $$$$$$ for offensive warfare in space?

Big brother has a lot of $$$$$ riding on keeping the people ignorant about Star Wars. Big brother wants us to keep our traps shut!!!!! I should remember that a whole bunch of people are making big $$$$$ from the plans to put weapons in space. People like me, and others in the Global Network, stand in the way of their fancy cars, fancy homes, fancy vacations and country club memberships.

Big brother is a frightened little boy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The Pentagon is acknowledging that they are going to have to cut some big ticket items from their budget. The fiscal crisis is beginning to hit home and even the military industrial complex is going to be affected. The nation's debt is bigger than ever, its been growing like a drunken tourist in Las Vegas slapping down their credit card and purchasing anything that moves. May I suggest a few more items for the Pentagon to consider dumping while they are at it? How about the various weapons in space technologies that are now several times over budget? Systems like the SBIRS satellite; Rods from God; the military space plane; the Airborne laser; ground-based laser; the Aegis Theatre Missile Defense system; Space-based radar; Space-base laser development project; the nuclear rocket; and the whole moon-Mars series of missions. If these programs were cut then maybe the government would not have to cut health care and food stamps for the poor.

Yesterday it was announced that General Motors and the United Autoworkers Union had reached agreement to seriously cut health care benefits for the workers. This will start a serious freefall of health care benefits for all American workers. Wouldn't this be a good time to pass national health care - a single-payer program that guarantees coverage for everyone? By cutting out these wasteful Pentagon space projects Congress could go a long way in balancing the budget and offering real health security to the nation. I am more worried about my ability to get health care than being attacked by terrorists. Isn't it terrorism of our own people when social spending gets cut and the bloated military budget exists?

Saturday, October 15, 2005


We had over 40 people join us yesterday in Biddeford for our reading of the names of the Iraqi war dead in the office of Sen. Olympia Snowe. It took 6 1/2 hours. We asked her staff what they will do when it soon will take us 8 hours or more to read the names. Will you stay with us as we run into the night we asked? Why won't the senator, who was elected to represent the people, agree to a town hall meeting on the Iraq war? This is not supposed to be a country ruled by kings and queens and lords and ladies we said....we are supposed to have a democracy where the people make decisions about how our tax dollars should be spent and when we go to war. The staff director of the office tried to pretend that they were thrilled we had stopped in....but in fact we were a pain in the ass all day long as we spread our Iraqi war cloth out across their floor and they were climbing over bodies all day long trying to get to the copy least for one day this office felt the war had come home to them. Two mothers of GI's were with us - one who has a son now in Iraq and the other who has a son soon to go. A third parent in our group had a son return from Iraq a couple of months ago. We are determined to continue reading the names. We all must find ways to stretch ourselves a bit - doing something that is beyond our normal political boundaries.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


On Friday I will be organizing our sixth occupation of a congressional office in Maine where we read the names of the Iraq war dead. This time we will enter the Biddeford office of Sen. Olympia Snowe and read the names of dead American GI's and an equal number of innocent Iraqi civilians. We expect the reading to take just over six hours. We will have folks coming from throughout the state, from many different peace groups, to participate in the action. As we read each name an X will be marked on a large banner representing each person. We will also read a statement to the staff of the senator demanding a public town hall meeting on Iraq. So far our two Republican senators refuse to face the public on this issue. The U.S. is now spending $6 billion a month on the Iraq war. As of today, 1,965 GI's have lost their lives during the war to control Iraq's oil.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Just got back yesterday afternoon from a wonderful trip to Great Britain. The nine-city (town) trip was arranged by GN member Dave Knight who drove me over 1,500 miles from Leeds to London and then on to Glasgow in Scotland and then back to Yorkshire. In all I spoke to a couple hundred people, did interviews on radio (including BBC), and saw wonderful rolling green countryside lined with stone walls and stone homes built hundreds of years ago. The picture above is of the U.S. space spy satellite base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire where I spoke in the rain last Saturday at a protest organized in conjunction with Keep Space for Peace Week. Then the next day, Sunday, Dave took me out to the moors where we joined a tree planting within earshot of the Fylingdales U.S. radar system that is being upgraded for Star Wars. A weekend peace camp was set up just outside the gate at Fylingdales and I was asked to plant the tree in memory of an American jazz musician who had moved to the area years ago and had recently died. He was a long-time supporter of the many peace camps and demonstrations at Fylingdales.

While on the trip, during the Q & A following my talks, I was always asked why the American people allow the U.S. to go around the world doing preemptive military invasions, and now sit back and watch plans for domination of space. How do the American people respond to your message I was asked over and over again? What are they doing to stop this "nonsense?" How can they let Bush get away with this? Why does the U.S. think they have the right to destroy the U.N.? Why don't Americans speak out more about corporate globalization?

I had answers for each of these questions, as you can imagine. But how would you answer them if you had been in my shoes? What would you tell a room of questioning Brits? How would you respond when asked why Americans let the corporations take over our democracy?

Monday, October 03, 2005


Am on my way to Coventry for a talk this evening. After arriving early Saturday morning in Manchester, on an overnight flight from Boston, I made it just on time to a one-day Keep Space for Peace conference being held at the Leeds Metropolitan University. Was a good event, with great discussion, and it is refreshing to see a strong regional group of people who understand the space issue and stay committed to it. With the U.S. space bases, Menwith Hill and Fylingdales, up here in Yorkshire there is much to keep people busy.

Last night my friends took me two-hours north to see my favorite musician Ray Davies perform in Newcastle. Ray, the singer/songwriter extraordinare of The Kinks fame, started the show with the song "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." Mixing old hits and new songs (from a soon to be released new album) it was a wonderful night inside the Victorian Journal Tyne Theatre. I ended my new book, Come Together Right Now, with two of Ray's songs. I had only seen him perform once before...probably 15 years ago inside an arena in Lakeland, Florida. So last night was up-close and personal and quite wonderful. I'll be singing for days to come.