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 30, 2006


Keep Space for Peace Action-Faslane 365
December 12th – 13th 2006
at Faslane Nuclear Base, Scotland

Faslane is the UK’s nuclear submarine base, and central to the government’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear weapons. It currently hosts 4 submarines carrying 58 Trident missiles and up to 200 warheads – each 8 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Women from the Greenham Common peace camp started off the first three days of Faslane 365, a year long peaceful blockade of the naval base involving groups and organisations from Scotland, England, Wales and beyond.

Since then different groups have been going along to show their protest and take action over a two day period. A particular session from December 12-13 (the anniversary of the US decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Treaty and deploy Missile Defence systems) has been set aside to focus on space issues as part of this year long protest – a Keep Space for Peace Block.

You are invited and encouraged to take part - please gather from noon on December 12. Bring food to share, warm clothes, waterproofs, musical or other instruments...

We can help organise workshops/discussions on:

· The Weaponisation of Space
· Missile Defence
· Britain’s role in Star Wars
· And more...

Bring sleeping bags and tents and camp by the base or stay at a campsite, youth hostel or bed and breakfast nearby.

Be ready to blockade the base on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Come for one day or three – come to join in, take action or support . . .

For more information see attached leaflet, go to:, or contact:
Yorkshire CND
tel: 0845 458 3315
mobile: 07818 411823

Sunday, October 29, 2006


  Posted by PicasaWar, war, war, endless war. How can a country support preparations for endless war and have social progress as well?

How can we in the U.S. spend 50 cents of every tax dollar on the Pentagon and still have money for taking care of our kids, have health care for everyone, and create good jobs for people so they can provide for their families and do something that is meaningful with their lives?

When weapons are a nation's # 1 industrial export, as they are in the U.S. today, what does that say to the rest of the world? We are not your friends. We are predators. We are a violent and vengeful people. We will take you out if you stand in the way of our control of the world's oil and water. You get on your knees and submit to our authority or else!

As we now face the coming election the corporate controlled media are calling for a change in Washington. We are being told that the Democrats would be more humane and be more moral in using the enormous power of the U.S. around the world. The violent military baton is being handed from the preemptive Republicans to the timid Democrats. The outcome? The Democrats, we are often told, will do a better job of administering the empire.

Yes, we will still have an empire - a declining economic and expanding military empire. The Democrats will utilize the "soft" power to enforce the corporate empire. We should all feel better about that we are told by the corporate media.

The soft power of Clinton's economic sanctions and no-fly zones of Iraq killed one million people during his tenure. Clinton's Kosovo war was the soft power in action.

Both parties are committed to the exercise of power on behalf of corporate globalization's agenda.

Think of America as a pyramid. At the top are 29,000 who own the equivalent wealth of 96 million people at the bottom. That is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy.

So on November 7 we get to vote for the leaders of the oligarchy. We should have no illusions.

Friday, October 27, 2006


I have been volunteering for a Maine congressional candidate on my free time lately. His name is Dexter Kamilewicz. His son was in Iraq for 11 months and was nearly killed 4 times from IED explosions. He is home now with a messed up back and yet to be determined mental state after suffering several concussions.

Dexter is calling for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, a cut in funding for the war and impeachment of Bush-Cheney.

On Wednesday night Dexter had a scheduling conflict and I was asked to go speak for him at a candidates forum out in western Maine in a tiny rural town called Harrison. The local VFW hall sponsored the event. It was to be an event mostly attended by local candidates with substitutes for the heavy hitters.

Once there in walked our incumbent congressman Tom Allen, the Democrat. Allen went first and did a mind numbing 4-minutes on the intricacies of Medicaid and then his small business health plan. He made no mention of the war.

When it was my turn I talked about Dexter's bio, about his son Ben's experience in Iraq, mentioned how a group of veterans had asked Dexter to run, and then talked about Allen's record on voting for war funding. (He has voted yes to fund the war 7 times to the tune of $354 billion.) Then I talked about how under corporate globalization the Pentagon says America's role will be "security export" which means endless war. I said Dexter wanted to cut the military budget to fund education, health care, and jobs by building rail and solar.

During the Q & A period Allen got asked by a woman in the audience to respond to what I said on the war. He went into his morality rant about having an obligation to take care of the troops and ended with a fierce cry that "we aren't going to let happen again what they did during the Vietnam war by blaming the troops" giving the impression that those wanting to cut funding were somehow blaming the troops. A new version of redbaiting if you will.

I asked to answer his nonsense and said that Allen was being disingenuous that in fact no one was blaming the troops. I said that Bush has promised to stay in Iraq during the rest of his tenure in office and that in spite of Allen saying he and the Dems have a plan to bring the troops home in 2007, how is he going to get Bush to do that unless you cut the funds? He gave no response to this question.

I've been around a while and know when a politician is trying to "redirect" as they say in the legal profession. His rant was intended to move the eyes and mind of the voters away from his votes on the war to the peace movement’s call to cut funding. He was trying to play the blame game as George W. Bush would say. For him to call himself against the war, and then try this ridiculously absurd tactic, just reveals to me what kind of a character Allen is. He is a career politician who will do virtually anything to stay in power.

My job is to be a peace activist and to tell the truth as I best see it from my own experience. I am noticing that many liberals who support Allen are having a hard time facing the truth these days about how their candidate says he is against the war but keeps voting to fund it.

Party loyalty trumps truth for many people. It is amazing to see smart “liberals” just click off their brains when confronted with the facts.

Some people take the peace movement for granted. They figure we are so desperate to “win” that we will spend our lives working for peace but then in an election like this we will put our conscience aside and vote against our best interests. I’ve got some news for you. Forget it, won’t happen with me. I am holding onto the truth and voting only for people who are real. People like Dexter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Bush announced yesterday a new strategy that will likely send more troops to Iraq. Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said that any U.S. troop withdrawal would now be pushed back into 2008.

As Casey and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad held their press conference in the well-guarded green zone in Baghdad the electricity went out on the U.S. compound.

The politicians are always saying, "We are almost there, just a little bit longer." This builds hope and forces patience on an increasingly restive American population. In the meantime Congress keeps spending $8.5 billion a month on the war. GI's get killed guarding convoys delivering cheesecake to chow halls on the permanent bases built and operated by Bechtel and Halliburton. They have no incentive to allow the U.S. to leave. So we stay.

In fact the more chaos and violence in Iraq the better as far as these big corporations see it. So can anyone doubt that they have helped to perpetuate the escalating level of violence in Iraq?

The peace movement has to get out of bed with the Democrats. The Dems are now saying give it another year, we should withdraw by the end of 2007. In another year how many more, on all sides, will be dead?

There have been 3,038 coalition deaths, 2,803 Americans, two Australians, 119 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 17 Poles, two Romanians, two Salvadoran, three Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of October 24, 2006, according to a CNN count.

At least 21,077 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, says the Pentagon.

Bring the troops home now!

Monday, October 23, 2006


On our way back from India we read in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, that 655,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war and occupation since March 2003. The study was done by Johns Hopkins University and was first published by The Lancet, the influential medical journal.

The figure means that about 2.5% of the Iraqi population has died since the war began.

Now tell me why the American people are sitting on their asses day in and day out and letting this happen? Tell me why the politicians in the Democratic Party are not screaming at the top of their lungs and calling for an immediate cut in funding for the war and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq yesterday!

I'll tell you why. These sorry excuses for political leaders, backed up by the corporate dominated media, are doing the bidding of the corporations that are profiting from the war. The weapons corporations, the oil corporations, and the corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel are making huge money off the deaths of Iraqi civilians and American GI's. They own these politicians. Lock, stock, and barrel.

I'm sick to my soul with the "I'm almost there" talk by Democratic politicians. I'm tired of them saying, "Maybe we'll call for withdrawal in 90 days, or 6 months, after we retake the House of Representatives next month." It's all bullshit and you and I both know it. Then why aren't you standing on street corners in the pouring ran holding a sign calling these people liars and thieves?

I'm getting fed up. And I'm also getting fed up with the freaking liberals who say they are against the war and then turn around and vote for these politicians that are enabling the Bush war. Put up or shut up. Don't make your moralistic statements that you are against the war and then vote for the people who are funding it. Don't stand there and tell me the Democrats are going to change it all if they just take control of the House. It's a lie.

The Iraqi people are facing genocide. Even if the shooting stops today the people will continue to die due to the fact that they don't have clean water, food, adequate health care, and because they are massively exposed to depleted uranium. The U.S. wants them to die so that it will be easier to maintain control of their oil down the road. Can't you see this reality staring you in the face?

So quit telling me that the Democrats care and that they are going to end this occupation. They have funded these permanent bases for a reason. The U.S. intends to keep its troops in Iraq. Period. And three years from now, five years from now we will probably be having this same conversation.

It goes like this. The Democrats believe in empire. They support empire. They always have and they always will.

Figure it out. Now!

Friday, October 20, 2006


  Posted by PicasaThis report covers the period of Oct 1-14 as Mary Beth (MB) Sullivan and I traveled to India on behalf of the Global Network. Our five-city speaking tour was initiated and coordinated by J. Narayana Rao from Nagpur who is a leader of the group called All India Peace & Solidarity Organization.

After two very long flights, with a long lay over in London, we arrived in Chennai (formerly called Madras) along India’s southeastern coast. Our plane landed around 4:00 am and we took a cab to our hotel in downtown Chennai. Even at that time of day the traffic was quite intense and we quickly learned that driving in India went by very different rules than we were used to. Cars don’t stay in lanes and horns serve as turn signals to warn others on the road while they weave through traffic, barely avoiding trucks, buses, bicycles, motorbikes, rickshaws, people and animals.

Our host in Chennai was Global Network board member Sri Raman. Sri is a journalist and a leader in the Indian anti-nuclear movement, which has grown dramatically since India first exploded a nuclear weapon in 1974. (The nuclear test was called Smiling Buddha.)

October 2 was Gandhi’s birthday and we took the day to rest and adjust to the time change. We hired a motorized rickshaw and went to see the Bay of Bengal and a Hindu temple. The driver turned out to be a great guide and took good care to teach us as much as he could with his broken English. That evening back in the hotel, on Indian TV, I listened as two Texas fundamentalist preachers promised “super-natural blessings” to anyone who obediently followed Gold’s wishes and sent them $8,500 – whether they have it in the bank or not. God only responds to faith they told the listeners.

The next day we took a site seeing trip to one of the 16 World Heritage sites at Mahabalipuram to see the monuments and temples. The long cab ride along the beautiful Bay of Bengal took us past many signs of grinding poverty as we saw poor fishing villages made of palm fronds and tarps, people bathing with buckets of water along sidewalks, goats and cows everywhere and garbage piled along the way. In the afternoon, back in Chennai, we went to a public event commemorating Gandhi where Sri’s Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace had an anti-nuke display. There we met members of the peace group that included a doctor, union leader, several journalists, a physicist and others. They reported that initially the Indian people were proud that they had developed the nuclear bomb, seeing it as a symbol of a great nation, but that in recent times people were becoming more thoughtful about the dangers and ultimate cost of the nuclear arms race.

On October 4 Sri’s group organized a news conference for me to speak with the media. Thirteen different media outlets attended, including several TV stations. Two large papers, The Hindu and Indian Express were there as well. MB and I spent the afternoon searching for an Internet café hoping to check our emails and nearly got killed trying to cross a busy street. Once on-line we learned that another GN board member, Bob Anderson in New Mexico, had been arrested when he stood up at an event organized at the University of New Mexico promoting the development of nuclear weapons. Bob had dared to question why there was no one opposed to nukes on a five-person panel and when he said that nuclear weapons were genocidal he was attacked, handcuffed and hauled out by the police. As the U.S. lectures the rest of the world about the evils of nuclear weapons it is important to recognize the hypocrisy of America as it builds new generations of nukes.

Late that evening, after a wonderful dinner with several activists, Sri and another journalist took us to the train station at 11:00 pm. They waited for the train to arrive and carried our bags on-board for us as we learned is the custom in India. They sat in our sleeper coach and waited until it was time for the train to pull out before they left. I hardly slept at all through the night as the herky-jerky motion of the train, and the excitement about the coming trip, kept me from falling asleep. Starting about 6:00 am the train kitchen crew began walking the aisles selling chai coffee, chai tea and breakfast.

We arrived in Visakhapatnam on October 5 and were meet at the train by A. R. Subramaniam from the All India Peace & Solidarity Organization. After taken to a guesthouse to freshen up, our hosts immediately took us to a private school were we both spoke to an assembly of over 150 kids and teachers. The kids were 14-15 years old and the elaborate stage behind us had a huge poster of Gandhi with many of his core beliefs written on it. I went first and MB began folding origami paper cranes and she put them on a table in front of us on the stage. When it was her chance to speak she told the story of Sadako Sasaki from Japan. After the program MB gave the folded cranes to one of the woman teachers who was showing intense interest in them. The teacher was thrilled and immediately asked MB to teach her and the kids how to fold them. So they sat down on a doorstep, completely swarmed by a flock of girls, and began to fold. At the same moment I was approached by another flock of the school kids who wanted me to write something in their schoolbooks. I wrote about a different piece of my message in each of their notebooks in the hope they would further discuss the ideas in class.

Before leaving Visakhapatnam on the train that evening there was a small meeting arranged for us at our guesthouse. One man, a former government official and nuclear physicist, was particularly agitated about the U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act that passed the House of Representatives on July 26, 2006. (See how your congressperson voted by clicking on the link in the headline above.)

Everywhere we went in India our peace activist hosts were talking about this nuclear deal that will help India build as many as 30-40 more nukes a year. They could not understand why the American peace movement was not more aware of the bill that will dramatically increase nuclear tensions in Southern Asia, already a flashpoint for nuclear war as Pakistan and China will be forced to respond to India’s nuclear expansion. It became clearer to me that the U.S. intends to use India as a “military outpost” in its aggressive attempt to surround and “manage” China in the years ahead. The U.S. weapons industry is arming Pakistan and India, playing divide and conquer in the region, and making enormous profits in the process from the resulting arms race.

While in Visakhapatnam we were introduced to the people who have created the non-profit Ashoka Eye Hospital to help the rural poor get treatment for cataracts, glaucoma and other eye ailments. They treat 15,000 patients each year. One of the leaders of the effort, J.V. Prabhakar, reminded me of Muhammad Ali. He looked very much like Ali and also had the deep integrity and fierce determination of the former boxer. As we were preparing to head to the train station for the next leg of our trip I began to think that when I returned home I wanted to try to raise some money to send back for the eye clinic as a way of saying thank you for the kind hospitality we had received in Visakhapatnam. Just after coming to that decision Prabhakar approached me and asked me if I could help by raising some funds for the hospital. It was as if he had read my mind and this only made me more certain that it was the right thing to do. (If any of you would like to contribute to this fund that I will raise for the clinic, please send a donation to the Global Network and mark it for the “eye clinic” and I will send all money collected to India.)

I learned that in India today more than 300 million people live below the poverty level. That is the same number of people that live in the entire U.S. today. It is an enormous number of poor people. And what makes me furious is that the U.S. is trying to drag India further into the global arms race. The U.S. is now attempting to get India to create a “space command” so that they can join in the effort to militarize space. Imagine how much poverty will grow in India as the U.S. drags them further into becoming a regional military outpost for the empire.

After another all night train ride, I slept better this time, we got off in Raipur. We were taken to a Catholic church where we could shower and rest for a bit. It was here that we first saw elephants on the street. What a wonderful surprise! In the course of the day I spoke at two colleges and then MB and I spoke at an evening program at the church before getting back on the train about midnight.

In Raipur we learned about the government repression of indigenous populations in Central India where 60,000 people have been forced out of the mineral rich region. Maoist parties are fighting on behalf of the people with the government calling them terrorists. India has created its own version of the Patriot Act, modeled on the U.S. version, and is being used to go after internal opposition. A pipeline has been built to move iron ore from this central region to the coast where it is then loaded onto ships and taken to Japan. Japan is somehow putting the ore into the ocean, storage for future use, probably to build more of the cars that we like to buy in the U.S. and around the world.

India is in the middle of 9% economic growth. Bankers are pushing loans onto the growing middle class and encouraging them to buy cars, cell phones, fancy clothes and other material goods. About 20% of India’s total population of 1.1 billion is now middle class. India “shining” it has been called by the right-wing BJP political party, which was recently voted out of power. The “liberal” Congress party now runs India, in coalition with several left parties, including the Communists that controls three state governments. But activists complain that the Congress party, very much like the Democratic party in the U.S., is controlled by the corporate globalization agenda.

On October 8 we arrived in Nagpur at 6:00 am. We had about two hours sleep on the train from Raipur. We barely got on the train, our hosts in Raipur had to plead with, and bribe, a train official to get us a 3rd class sleeper bed as I saw one of our friends offer a 500 rupee note in hopes of squeezing us onto the packed train.

J. Narayana Rao who had organized the entire trip for us met us at the Nagpur station. Rao has been a Global Network contact for many years though we had never before met. I had not known that three times in recent years he, at his own expense, had printed journals called Disarmament and Development and devoted them to covering the space work of the Global Network. He wanted to help us bring our message to India during Keep Space for Peace Week, thus the invitation to come in early October.

Rao is a retired railroad worker who now volunteers full-time in the peace movement. He lives on a very meager pension and, as we were to learn, is a top-notch organizer. Rao arranged for us to stay in a government guesthouse and after a quick shower he brought us to the center of town with many others to hang garlands of flowers on a Gandhi statue. (This is the same statue that appears on our 2006 Keep Space for Peace Week poster.) From there we spoke at a forum organized for the community that drew about 125 people and later in the day MB was invited to speak to the Nagpur Women’s Club about the impact of wars and terrorism on women and children.

Every time we spoke on this trip we were first presented with bouquets of flowers and often with beautiful shawls. Many times we were also given gifts and by the end of the trip we had to purchase another suitcase in order to carry the lovely presents home with us. One of my favorite gifts was a five-volume set of selected works of Gandhi, given to us by Rao.

During my first talk in Nagpur I held up a copy of the morning Indian English language paper that I had quickly read before breakfast. In the paper was an interview with the Indian Air Force Chief of Staff that mentioned that they were now planning to merge the Air Force and Indian nuclear forces under a new Space Command. Little did I know that the author of the article was sitting in the audience covering my talk and as it turned out we had articles about our speeches in several newspapers three out of the four days that we spent in Nagpur.

One very exciting thing happened while in Nagpur. We met a group of 11 medical students who had heard about our visit. They contacted Rao and said they’d like to come and took at 12-hour train ride, at their own expense, to spend two days in Nagpur attending our speaking events. They told Rao afterward that they’d like to be part of a national students organization he was trying to foster and he told us that the many meetings with students during our stay was going to be most helpful in his effort to activate young people.

On October 9 MB and I spoke to more than 125 students at the College of Commerce and later that day to 75 students and faculty in the Economics Department at another Nagpur college. Late that evening, around 10:00 pm, I also spoke to a Rotary Club made up of local businessmen.

On October 10 we were taken to nearby Sewagaram to see the Mahatma Gandhi ashram where he lived during many of his most active years. This simple but beautiful place, adorned with large trees planted by Gandhi and his followers, really brought home the reality about how Gandhi had made non-violence and Indian independence the central work of his life. Simple living, taking care of the land, spinning their own cloth, and active resistance to the British Empire all flowed from these small wooden huts with mud and stone floors. It was a very moving experience for us to touch this place.

During this busy day we were also taken to the nearby Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences to speak to over 100 medical students. I talked to them about the dangers of putting nuclear power into space and also the social costs, to a poor country like India, of participating in the U.S. Star Wars program. How can India take care of its poor people and create a space command I asked?

Gandhi had asked his private doctor to create a hospital for the poor. This huge facility, now teeming with patients, first began with two beds. It is a real testament to Gandhi, as we saw over and over again, just how much his prophetic vision had helped prepare India for independence and a decent future for its people.

During this same day Rao, as he did for every meal we ate, arranged for a different person to be in charge of hosting us. For lunch Dattaji Meghe, a member of the Indian Parliament and Chancellor of the Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, another teaching hospital that serves the poor, feed our small delegation at his office.

On October 11 Rao had three more talks for MB and I arranged in Nagpur including two wonderful events at the National College of Social Work and at the Women’s College. At each event more than 100 students heard us speak and they asked piercing questions about the U.S. role in the world and the lack of response by the American people to our corrupt government. In the afternoon we spoke at another medical school to 75 students.

It was hard to say good-bye to Rao and the many other good friends we made while in Nagpur. Being able to spend four days with them gave us a real chance to share the local life of the people as we were taken to home after home throughout the city.

On October 11 we took the train to New Delhi, our last stop on this long journey from south to north. We arrived in New Delhi on October 12 and local hosts organized a news conference for us attended by 10 different newsmen. New Delhi, an enormous modern city, has the world’s worst air pollution I read while there. Walking down the street one can breathe in the equivalent of 20 cigarettes. The next morning we boarded a plane to make the long flight home, again with a six-hour layover in London.

In the London airport we picked up a UK newspaper and I noticed a feature story about the U.S. population hitting 300 million. The story explained that the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population though we use 25% of the world’s energy. Thus the need to keep our military boot on the necks of the rest of the world so we can extract the “necessary” resources to maintain our standard of living. The article said that in the U.S. today five pounds of garbage are produced for each person while in developing countries, like India, they produce one pound of trash per day. In the U.S. each person uses 350 liters of water per day while in Sub-Saharan Africa the average person uses 10-20 liters of water each day.

Our experience in India was a dramatic reminder to MB and I about how we live here in the U.S. Scientists say that in order to continue life on Earth, the way we humans consume today, we will need six more planets in the coming years. The corporations, who are pushing global consumption today, tell us not to worry. They have six planets in mind they say and they are now preparing the technology to go mine the Moon, Mars and the asteroids for precious minerals. Just keep forking over our tax dollars they tell us so they can prepare to mine the sky.

We learned much about Mahatma Gandhi during this trip. His non-violent way of living on our Mother Earth is more relevant today than ever before. Gandhi calls on us to change the way we live and to give up our addictions to food, material things and gas guzzling cars. MB and I came back asking ourselves many important questions about how we should live.

We thank our dear friends in India for this wonderful experience. We thank you for giving us your time, your hearts, and your love. We are proud to work alongside you as we all try to live out the teachings of Gandhiji.

Thursday, October 19, 2006



Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

NASA is inviting public comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission, seeking input for plans for the robotic exploration of Mars.

NASA plans a sustained series of Mars missions every 26 months into the next decade. NASA proposes to use nuclear batteries to power land rovers to explore Mars and take soil and rock samples. They plan to establish mining colonies on Mars in years to come.

This is your chance to share you opinion with NASA. Comments must be sent to them by Monday, October 23. Comments may be sent via email to or by mail to:

Mark R. Dahl, Program Executive
Mars Exploration Program Office
Planetary Science Division
Mail Suite 3X63
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546-0001

Key Points:

- NASA and the Department of Energy have long records of accidents and toxic contamination, from radioactive spills at production facilities and from space launch explosions. Expanding space plutonium power systems will increase chances of environmental contamination from plutonium.

- Page 4-31 of the DEIS identifies Potential Land Decontamination Cost Factors. It examines the cost of decontaminating affected areas, including Mixed-Use Urban areas at $1.5 billion per mile. The “secondary societal costs” of an accident identified include relocation of residents; destruction or quarantine of agricultural products; land use restrictions; and restriction or bans on commercial fishing.

- Every expansion of the plutonium process, including research, development and transportation of this deadly material over thousands of miles, increases the risk of nuclear accidents or theft.

- Every effort made to improve the design of nuclear-powered batteries for use in space furthers the technological infrastructure for the development of nuclear powered space-based weapons.

- Plutonium production is expensive and diverts tax dollars from more important social concerns present in our society today.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available in Acrobat format by clicking on the link in the headline above.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The new U.S. National Space Policy from the Bush administration was released late last week, interestingly on the last day of our annual Keep Space for Peace Week. The new policy makes several policy departures from past space doctrines. They are:

* Calling for the deployment of offensive weapons systems in space to "deter" and "deny" others the "use of space". This is a very provocative notion and will give the Pentagon the green light to put anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons in space that would be able to knock other countries satellites out of orbit.

* Saying the U.S. will "oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space." This means that the U.S. is now on record as being totally opposed to the development of an international treaty at the U.N. that would ban all weapons in space. The treaty, annually promoted at the U.N. by Russia, China and Canada seeks to close the door to the barn before the horse gets out. The U.S. and Israel have been blocking such a treaty since during the Clinton administration.

A key reason for America's desire to kill such treaty negotiations is that the military industrial complex views space as a new market. The weapons corporations have been saying for years that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth. Both Democrats and Republicans get the message and understand that their corporate paymasters want them to leave the door open to a new costly and destabilizing arms race in space.

One last key element of the new Bush space policy is the expanded use of nuclear power systems to "enable or significantly enhance space exploration or operational capabilities." What this means in English is that the aerospace industry wants to establish mining colonies on the Moon, Mars and other planetary bodies and they want to power these bases with nuclear reactors. The military has also long been saying they need nuclear reactors in space to provide power for space weapons systems. So the nuclear industry also plans to get in on using space as a new market for increasing corporate profits.

I did a radio interview with a Florida talk show early this morning about Bush's new national space policy. There were quite a few callers and every one of them understood the dangers involved with this new space policy. So it is clear, once again to me, that the public does not support this idea of the nuclearization and weaponization of space.

The problem though is what to do about it. How can we change public policy when the Democrats and Republicans are holding the door to Congress open only for the weapons corporations who now control national policy?

My answer is the same as always. Talk about the money wasted on programs like these and you will find that the public increasingly will listen to us as they begin to see how their tax dollars are wasted on endless war. Cutbacks in education and health care are having an impact on their children's future.

We've also got to begin to run candidates for local office that will speak out directly on these issues and call for conversion of the military industrial complex. We are finding that here in Maine the conversion issue is resonating quite well and now have a Green candidate for Governor and an Independent Congressional House candidate speaking regularly about the idea. They are saying we could create good jobs in our employment strapped state by converting military production facilities into building rail systems, solar systems and windmills.

Monday, October 16, 2006


  Posted by PicasaSpent the day trying to get through two-weeks of mail from the post office. Quite a few orders for our new "War from Space? Voices of the Global Network" video that our friend Eric Herter filmed in Vancouver at the World Peace Forum last June. He edited it into a one-hour documentary which I think came out nicely. Eric lives here in Brunswick and was an Associated Press camera man stationed in Vietnam for many years. While there he somehow heard of the Global Network and when he moved here a couple years ago was very surprised to discover that we had moved here as well. He is a Vietnam war veteran and married a woman from Vietnam. They have a wonderfully bright kid named Samantha and her mother Hoa has taught her to call me uncle.

I heard from J. Narayana Rao today from Nagpur, India who organized our speaking tour there. He says about our visit that, "Both of you, with scholarly analysis of events which hitherto not heard at Nagpur, have won the hearts of various sections of people. I have called a meeting on the coming Wednesday to take stock of things and plan further dissemination of the information you have provided and also plan events. I will be extremely benefitted in my work with my association with you and the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space."

So it appears our tour is having an impact and that is good to hear. I am going to suggest to our board of directors that we invite Rao to be a board member. As the U.S. pulls India into Star Wars we will need a good organizer like him in India to help build resistance to those plans.

While away Bush released his new national space policy. I will address it in greater detail later on the blog but for now you can see it yourself by clicking on the link in the headline above.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


  Posted by PicasaMary Beth and I arrived in Boston last night around 10 pm and were picked up at the airport by her brother John who lives in Boston. We spent the night there last night, I slept very well but MB's time clock is off so she tossed and turned some of the night. This morning we took the train to Portland where friend Karen Wainberg picked us up and drove us home to Brunswick. It is great to be home and the weather greeting us in Maine is a near perfect fall day. Cool, clear blue sunny sky, with leaves turning colors and falling on the ground. Our friend Debbie had left a pumpkin sitting by our front door and our two dogs, having been tended by friends while we were gone, were waiting for us with wagging tails.

I had well over 1,200 emails waiting on me and I just spent two hours weeding through them. It appears that Bush has released his long expected new national space policy while we were gone, just on the heels of our Keep Space for Peace Week.
Have not had a chance yet to look at the details but it will likely give the green light to deploy weapons in space.

In the photo above the deputy mayor of Nagpur in India welcomed us to his city as we were brought to the statue of Gandhi to adorn it with flowers. We spent four days there working hard and speaking to hundreds of folks and got covered in the paper nearly every day during the visit. One headline about one of my talks read, "U.S. is source of violence and arms race in world."

More later.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Have a six-hour layover at London airport so thought I'd post a quick hello. Trip to India went very well. Should be home by afternoon on Oct 14.

Folks in India worked us hard and especially in Nagpur where we spent four days. They were taking us to at least 3 events a day at local colleges/universities/medical schools as well as community events. Got to speak to a huge number of medical students which was quite great. One group of 11 medical students took a 12-hour train ride to Nagpur so they could come to two days worth of my speaking events. The organizer of my entire trip who lives in Nagpur has undertaken to help organize a national students peace group and he felt my presence was quite helpful in reaching alot of students.

MB and I fly into Boston and then take the train back to Maine.

India is an amazing experience with just staggering poverty and at the same time a kindness that you will find hard to duplicate in many other places. I will need to sit on the trip for a few days before trying to write a report.

Of course the big story was the North Korea nuclear test and the utter hypocrisy of the U.S. lecturing them and Iran about developing nukes while America works on new generations of nukes and Star Wars on top of that.

Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


First, after you read this, click on the link in the headline above and read about my close friend Bob Anderson getting manhandled and arrested for speaking out at a pro-nuclear weapons event on the University of New Mexico campus. This is a sign of the times to come.

I am in Chennia (Madras) at an internet cafe with Mary Beth. Our host, Global Network Board Member Sri Raman from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament & Peace, today organized a news conference for me to speak at. Three TV stations and two of the biggest papers in the country, The Hindu and Indian Express, were among the 13 media outlets that showed up.

I talked about how 61% of the American people now oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq and that opposition is growing daily. I talked about the hypocrisy of the U.S. telling North Korea and Iran they can't have nuclear weapons and then the U.S. is moving to build new generations of nukes. I wish I had known about this treatment of Bob Anderson before the news conference but be damn sure that I will share the story with the Indian people during the rest of my journey. I also said that the U.S.-India nuclear deal should not be passed by the U.S. Senate next month. The House (with my congressman's support) already voted in favor of it. The Indian peace movement is strongly urging the deal not go forward because it will increase India's ability to make more nuclear weapons which will only make things in this already dangerous region worse! The U.S. has been helping Pakistan with nuclear technology and new high-tech conventional weapons. Once again the old U.S. strategy of arming all sides increases chances of war but is good for weapons corporation profits.

Signs of corporate domination of India are everywhere. They are pushing low-cost loans to the people here so they can buy, buy, buy everything from cell phones, big cars, fancy western clothes, expensive high-tech toys, and the like while legions of people are sleeping in the streets and many places have no sewar systems.

We are proud of our friends in the peace movement here and they were thrilled to learn of our recent 10-day fast against the war. They were even more thrilled as the day we arrived (Monday) was Gandhi's birthday and a national holiday and I was carrying the full-page advert we took out in the Brunswick Times Record about our fast and it had Gandhi's photo on it.

So somebody reading this please tell Bob Anderson in Albuquerque that I am dedicating the rest of this trip to him and his courage.

Much love and peace to all of you. Stand up now....stand up for something now....while you can still stand.

And remember what Gandhi said:

"When I despair,
I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants, and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall.

Think of it - always."
Mahatma Gandhi - early 20th century