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

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.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

EUCOM AND AFRICOM

During my recent trip to Germany for the Global Network conference I arrived early and went for a quick visit to meet with activists in Southern Germany who have for years protested at the headquarters of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) in Stuttgart. Global Network leaders Bill Sulzman and Loring Wirbel (in photo above) also went along for this visit.

After a meeting with the Deputy Mayor of Stuttgart (who is a Green Party member) the German activists took us out to EUCOM for a walk around the perimeter of the base to show us the new security measures that have been taken. For years the activists have cut holes in the fence and walked onto the base to protest EUCOM's role as coordinator of all U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe.

EUCOM has also recently been involved in creating the new U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, which will be in charge of organizing U.S. plans to start a war there during the next 20 years so the U.S. can control the oil in Nigeria and other vital resources on the continent. (See the article from the EUCOM website linked in the headline above that announces the AFRICOM mission.)

While we were walking around the EUCOM base I had the idea that the three of us American activists should approach the front-gate and make a statement. So Bill, Loring, and I walked up to the gate and the only American we could find was the woman dressed in combat fatigues you see in the photo. All the rest of the gate guards were Germans from a private security corporation. The woman told us she was in the Ohio National Guard and her whole unit was in charge of doing security on the base because all U.S. military police from this base had been sent to Iraq. She too, once finished at this base, would be going to Iraq next she said. We gave her a leaflet prepared by the German activists which calls for all American soldiers to honor Nuremberg Principles that maintains it is the duty of soldiers to resist illegal and immoral orders. She read the whole leaflet right in front of us.

We also told her that we wanted to make a statement to her superiors so she got on the phone and the base Provost Marshall came out and we told him we were American activists and had come to support our German friends who wanted this base shut down. We said that the presence of U.S. weapons of mass destruction in Europe violated international law, as determined by a ruling of the World Court, and needed to be removed pronto. We also said that the U.S. occupation of Iraq was illegal and immoral and U.S. troops must be returned home. We ended by saying that we knew AFRICOM had just been created out of Stuttgart and was intended to direct endless war on the African continent.

The Provost, the man in the photo dressed in black, at first was quite hostile when I began making our statement. He tried to interrupt me but I told him to relax and to give me a chance to speak. As I went along he became more docile as he listened to the strong indictment of U.S. policy. In the end he took the leaflet we had given to the woman soldier and said he'd pass on our statement to his commander. The woman had folded the leaflet up and appeared reluctant to give it to the Provost. We were glad she had read it before he arrived.

In the end we shook their hands and left. I felt the young woman was quite impressed by the whole episode and I think she will long remember the day the three American activists approached the gate and told the U.S. military to close the base down.

I was glad I was wearing my Veterans for Peace button at the time.

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