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

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Things in the presidential horse race are lining up pretty much as one might expect - from a corporate perspective anyway.

The decks are being cleared to limit debate and blur focus. The remaining "viable" candidates now include John McCain who says we will be in Iraq for 100 years, Hillary who I once saw on "Face the Nation" saying "The American people need to relax, we are going to be in Iraq for a long time," and Mr. Obama who is now being "sold" to the public as the change agent. I still maintain that Hillary will be the Democratic party nominee and her choice for vice-president will be Obama. Don't expect anything from them. This thing is being scripted.

Kucinich supporters in Maine are feverishly sending emails around urging each other to still stand for him in the up-coming Maine caucus. The progressive Dems, as they call themselves, have a real challenge now to justify staying in that corrupt party. But most of them will likely find a way to do so as they delay the inevitable reality that their party is now a corporate appendage and virtually nothing more. Kucinich is being shoved out of the party for having dared run for president and speaking out against the Iraq occupation, for single-payer health care, and for impeachment. The Dems will now do to Kucinich what they did twice to Cynthia McKinney - run corporate controlled and "acceptable" candidates against him.

As an organizer I have a very practical question. How do we use this presidential campaign to keep our key issues in front of the American people? Hillary-Obama aren't going to do it.

I can only come back to Cynthia McKinney and her run for the Green Party nomination. We know that she will have the ability to bring peace activists, social justice activists and people of color together in a serious issue campaign. How can we ignore that?

We've reached the edge of the cliff in America. The corporate goons are ready to give us a push. Should we still be standing there debating whether the Democrats are going to come save us or dig in and save ourselves?

We have been playing defense much too long. The time has come for us to play their game on our terms.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The things that stood out most in Bush's last (thank god) State of the Union speech last night were the ties he and Cheney were wearing. One was red and the other blue. Someone gets paid to coordinate their wardrobe.

Nancy Pelosi had on a faded purple dress and alternated from jumping up and clapping for various Bush statements, particularly the ones about we are going to kick terrorists behinds, to then slumping down in her seat looking bored and half asleep.

After the speech it was very interesting to see Bush work the line of Republicans and Democrats asking for his autograph on the booklet containing his speech. "Look honey, I got the autograph of the worst president in the history of the country! How much do you think it will be worth on e-Bay?"

For those of you who didn't watch here is what you missed:

Bush promised the nation he would "stay on offense" which of course means more war.

The economy is entering a period of "uncertainty." Thus Congress should make "tax relief" permanent for the rich.

He threatened Iran again.

He pointed out our "hero troops' in the audience.

We are "spreading the hope of freedom" around the world. This of course means we are using our military to bust the chops of countries not submitting to the authority of corporate globalization.

Then he smiled his way through a mind numbing list of his old standards:

  • "No child left behind" is the greatest thing in the world.
  • We need privatization of education so our kids can learn to read.
  • More free trade agreements signed (he nodded his thanks to the Democrats).
  • Faith based volunteerism, or as he called them "Armies of Compassion", will solve our social problems. Everything gets militarized these days, including our compassion. Be sure to snap to attention and salute before you hug anyone or hand them food at the local soup kitchen. And don't forget to say, "Sir Yes Sir" instead of "you are very welcome."
  • Our poor Pentagon needs more money because all their toys are broken from the noble war in Iraq.
  • More stuff like that but I ran out of room on my note pad.

Watching the speech with me was a former Navy officer who was assigned to Aegis destroyers during Bush's "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq in 2003. This particular person, now thankfully out of the Navy, was the officer on the deck when her ship launched the first cruise missile used in the attack. She told me it was routine to drive the Navy ships (always in a convoy) through the Straits of Hormouz and when they did it was "standard operating procedure" for Iran or the United Arab Emirates to scramble little boats that would watch the U.S. Navy ships. She became quite animated talking about how Bush "blew out of proportion" the recent incident as a way to demonize Iran.

It is always very interesting to see a person, who has had a personal experience otherwise, recognize how a politician is misleading the nation. This young former Lieutenant will be forever changed by that experience.

So all in all the whole Bush speech was a bore and another sad moment for America.

Why don't we ever see one Democrat stand up and say, "Bush you are full of shit!" That would be the real state of the union.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I listened to Obama's South Carolina victory speech last night. Quite a big win over Hillary. Near the end of the speech, in one very interesting phrase, he dropped something that I thought will be important to watch. After using the word change about 400 times during the bulk of the speech, just near the end, he tempered it all by saying something to the effect that "change would be slow to come". No one noticed as they were madly waving their campaign signs with the word CHANGE emblazoned on them. Is he sending a signal to the powers that be that he will not get "out of control"?

His new slogan is Yes We Can (Si Se Puede). Maybe it will morf into Maybe We Can or Sometimes We Can, or Slowly We Can. Let's watch how it goes.

I went to a Maine Veterans for Peace retreat at the Chewonki Foundation on Friday night and all day Saturday. We slept in a yurt that was heated by a very small wood burning camp stove and we took turns in the middle of the night stoking the fire. The place actually stayed quite warm. We had a nice meeting, elected Dud Hendrick as our new president, and reviewed several projects that are now underway. We also watched a really excellent film called Soldiers of Conscience. I'd highly recommend it.

One of our upcoming projects is a March 11 Congressional Candidates Forum on Military & Foreign Policy that will be held at the public library in Portland. We have six candidates Democrats running for the First Congressional District seat nomination and the top five of them have agreed to come to the event. Jack Bussell from Maine VfP and I have been organizing the forum and we now have a dozen peace and justice groups from across the district co-sponsoring it. It should give us a great opportunity to see how the candidates deal with each other and these important issues in front of a big audience.

Today we are having a pot luck supper at our house. We are going to start a regular monthly potluck on the 4th Sunday here. Sometimes we will have a speaker, sometimes music, sometimes a video, and other times just chat with each other. We've had a great response to the idea. It seems to be snowing south of here and that might impact attendance as one friend from Kennebunk sent an email saying she would not likely come as a result of the weather.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


For many years a peace group in Albuquerque, New Mexico has been teaching and organizing in their community about the Star Wars issue. Led by activists Bob Anderson and Jeanne Pahls, the group called Stop the War Machine, has developed considerable expertise about plans to move the arms race into space.

Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque is a key Star Wars research and development facility. The base hosts the military's Directed Energy and Space Vehicles directorates. The combination of both is called the Phillips Research Site.

The year 2007 marked the 10th anniversary of the Air Force Research Laboratory's consolidation of all air, space, and cyberspace technologies under one umbrella.

In 2007 the Directed Energy program boasted that their scientists and engineers had continued "to improve the nation's ability to use directed energies, such as high-energy lasers, high-powered microwaves and to precisely project these directed energies at the speed of light anywhere, at any time to detect, track, and deter or use lethal force to destroy any threats to the U.S. and the Warfighter."

Translation: The Pentagon is making progress with their testing program to fire lasers from earth to space, through space, and from space to the planet below.

Also in 2007 the directorate claims they "successfully attained full transmitting capacity of 180 antenna elements with a radiating power of 3,600 kilowatts at their Alaska program called high frequency active auroral program (HAARP)." This directed energy project is one that is believed to be testing the capability to lift the earth's ionosphere to manipulate global communications and modify weather.

In their October 26, 2007 Kirtland AFB newspaper called Nucleus, the Air Force bragged that they were "Leading the world in research and development for supremacy in the cosmos.....The use of ground based, airborne, and space-based directed energy weapons will alter current and future defense and warfare concepts."

In addition to Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque is loaded with key aerospace weapons corporations that are making big money by supplying the workforce and technologies for space war. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon now have huge production facilities in the city and even the University of New Mexico has become militarized as many departments at the institution receive funding to help provide basic research for these classified weapons programs. The growing secrecy on a public campus has been a key issue that Stop the War Machine has campaigned against.

On February 11 the Global Network and Stop the War Machine will organize a protest in Albuquerque at the annual meeting of the Space Technology & Applications International Forum. This event brings military, aerospace industry, academia, and NASA together to promote the nuclearization and weaponization of space.

These war making centers are growing all over the U.S. and around the world. It is crucial that we teach others about what is happening in our communities and that we publicly protest this consuming drive to endless war.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The British Guardian newspaper ran a story yesterday called "Pre-Emptive Nuclear Strike a Key Option, NATO Told."

The newspaper called a new report, written for NATO by five top military officers, "a radical manifesto". The former armed forces brass from the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, and the Netherlands called the nuclear option an "indispensable instrument" that must be used if necessary in a pre-emptive attack to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Yes, you read that right. NATO, nothing more than a U.S. military tool to spread war, wants to use nuclear weapons to protect the "west's values and way of life" which are under threat by crazy people who want to use nukes, they say.

Here are the actual words from the 150-page blueprint for disaster: "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

Oh boy these folks are crazy for sure.

Ok, let's look at what is really going on here. The U.S., which has always controlled NATO, is growing worried that a unified Europe, through the European Union, will soon have their own military alliance and won't need NATO any longer. That of course means less influence for the U.S. and the loss of a big military "tool" that has been useful as it is in Afghanistan today.

The NATO report just happens to also call for the consolidation of the U.S., NATO, and the EU into a new pact for a "grand strategy". This is not likely to happen as much of Europe is increasingly worried that the U.S. has gone empire mad.

Along these lines, the NATO report calls for a shift from consensus decision making in NATO to simple majority voting. The U.S. wants to increase its leverage and ability to drag NATO into more military adventures without having to bring all NATO member nations on-board.

The report also suggests NATO agree that military operations could be undertaken without obtaining U.N. Security Council agreement, once more reenforcing the fact that the U.S. wants to use NATO as a first-strike tool.

The report says that "the west is adrift and not facing up to the challenges" around the world. Here the five generals are trying to shame NATO members into "cowboying up" their testosterone levels and agreeing to move NATO into a perpetual state of war with those not submitting to the dictates of corporate globalization.

NATO should have been disbanded right after the former Soviet Union collapsed. Today it is a dangerous guard dog run amok, not only in the European neighborhood, but globally. NATO is not out fighting for freedom and democracy either. They are a tool of the international mafia - now commonly called the military industrial complex.

This NATO report should be tossed in the trash. In its place should be a global debate about the need to shut NATO down before they do indeed use some of their nukes.

Clearly NATO is the danger these days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I don't have any stocks and bonds. But I still keep an eye on what is happening with the stock market because it is an indicator that things are not well in the "market place."

I heard a right-wing commentator on the radio this morning going on about the "magic" of the market place. The market creates winners and losers he said. The market takes care of everything. We don't need social programs......if you can't "make it" on your own then you are just a loser.

It's the wonders of capitalism.

There is no way you can wage endless war and still have a sound economy. The capitalists in America like to brag that they bled the former Soviet Union to death by forcing them to spend their national treasure on the military rather than on building a sound economic future.

As my mother always said, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

We are spending $12 billion a month on the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The House of Representatives voted last week to approve $649 billion in 2008 for the Pentagon. This is more than the entire world combined spends on the military.

According to former CIA analyst Chalmers Johnson, "By 1990, the value of the weapons, equipment, and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in American manufacturing."

When you spend more than 50% of the national budget on militarism then someone and something gets left behind.

When you disinvest in a nation's physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, school buildings, etc) and in a nation's human infrastructure (health care, mental health programs, education programs, etc) you are creating a Third World nation. This is what is being done to the U.S. today by the corporations that now dominate our government.

Citizens around the world are now boycotting U.S. made products or corporate businesses in their community. They want some way to express their enormous outrage over U.S. foreign and military policy.

The purveyors of greed, militarism, and environmental devastation represent the death culture. They call themselves the winners.

Those of us who hold a vision of a cooperative society, a sharing culture, an environmentally sustainable way of life, are considered the losers by the capitalists.

There is a war going on for sure. It is a war between those who are blind about what their rape and pillage mentality is doing to our Mother Earth and those of us who understand that the only hope for the future generations is to live in harmony with our planet in a way the Native Americans have long taught us.

The marketplace is killing the future. The time has come for the losers to take over. It's our only hope.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The woman who published my book, Nancy Randolph, held an event today in Brunswick called Authors Talk Peace. She had six people, whose books she has published with her small company called Just Write Books, come to the public library and each spend an hour reading and answering questions from the public.

I've been in bed for the past three days with a severe cold and flu but dragged myself to the event at 4:00 pm figuring I could do my scheduled hour. There was a small group that came and I read some bits from my book which Nancy just finished republishing for me.

My book was first published in 2005 and I was nearing the end of my second printing stock. I figured that if I was going to re-order more books I might as well update it through the end of 2007 with some of my newer writings. So I added six new articles and several new pieces of art by W. B. Park whose work appears throughout the book.

Nancy has been a great person to work with. These days she lays out all the Global Network's leaflets and brochures and she also did our last newsletter - Space Alert! She has a real artist's eye and always comes up with excellent designs.

So I am back in bed wiping my running nose and hoping I will recover soon as my pounding headache is more than I can stand.

I just finished re-reading Philip Agee's book, On The Run, and once again was deeply moved by his courage and unwavering determination to break the CIA's corrupt and violent interventions around the world. The personal sacrifices Phil made in order to bring the truth about the CIA's global war on people's liberation movements and nations that dared to stand against Washington's domination, was just staggering. Few of us would have shown such strength.

In recent days some of us in Maine have been having a series of email exchanges about the perilous times we face in this country as we see the dark hand of fascism at work. One important short video sent around by one friend is about the recent passage in the House of Representatives (and now in committee in the Senate) of the "Homegrown Terrorism Act." Basically the bill criminalizes thought, speech, written arguments, and persuassion. Very dangerous stuff.

So it could soon be criminal for books like Phil's On the Run, or even my humble little book, to be available because they are critical of our government and call the public to action. Simply calling for the people to organize could soon be seen as an outright act of terrorism under this proposed law.

Our civil liberties are in grave danger.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The lead story on the Pentagon's new AFRICOM web site is entitled "U.S. Sailor Helps Save Drowning Woman in Gabon."

Here come the good white guys to the rescue.

In another place on the web site, Frequently Asked Questions, one finds this:

"What is U.S. Africa Command designed to do? U.S. Africa Command will better enable the Department of Defense and other elements of the U.S. government to work in concert and with partners to achieve a more stable environment in which political and economic growth can take place."

In February of 2007, the site continues, George W. Bush created U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). "The decision was the culmination of a 10-year thought process within the Department of Defense acknowledging the emerging strategic importance of Africa, and recognizing that peace and stability on the continent impacts not only Africans, but the interests of the U.S. and international community as well."

But critics maintain the command’s creation was motivated by China and oil. With Soviet influence gone and France’s traditional presence much diminished, China has poured money into the continent in recent years as its growing economy needs greater access to natural resources. And the United States is projected to import at least 25 percent of its oil from Africa by 2015.

According to Black Agenda Report editor Bruce Dixon, "From oil rich northern Angola up to Nigeria, from the Gulf of Guinea to Morocco and Algeria, from the Horn of Africa down to Kenya and Uganda, and over the pipeline routes from Chad to Cameroon in the west, and from Sudan to the Red Sea in the east, U.S. admirals and generals have been landing and taking off, meeting with local officials. They've conducted feasibility studies, concluded secret agreements, and spent billions from their secret budgets."

"Their new bases are not bases at all, according to U.S. military officials. They are instead 'forward staging depots', and 'seaborne truck stops' for the equipment which American land forces need to operate on the African continent. They are protected anchorages' and offshore 'lily pads' from which they intend to fight the next round of oil and resource wars, and lock down Africa's oil and mineral wealth for decades to come."

A couple years ago I saw two different items on C-SPAN that put all this in perspective for me. One was a presentation by a high-level National Guard military officer before the right-wing Heritage Foundation. He had a large map of the entire African continent on an easel and was pointing out how every state National Guard unit in the U.S. would be assigned a different African country. Each unit would create a relationship with a particular African nation and then establish a small U.S. military outpost, or as Dixon says above, lily pad base. These would be used as jumping off points in order for the Pentagon to have the ability to rapidly deploy forces in order to squash any effort to stand against U.S. corporate control.

A second C-SPAN experience was when I watched a three-hour presentation by then Naval War College futurist Thomas Barnett who said, "We will be fighting in Africa in 20 years for their oil." He went on to say in his talk that the U.S. would no longer do international treaties because they would limit our ability to attack other nations - preemptively. Barnett said, on that occasion, "Adolph Hitler never had to ask permission to invade another country and neither will we."

So as I watch events in Africa today on American corporate TV, I filter it all through these previous moments of clarity.

About a year or so ago I attended a panel discussion in Brunswick where we heard from African activists who live nearby. Maine, because it is so white, has been a major federal relocation state for Africans who have been allowed into this country after escaping the chaos in Somalia, Congo, or Sudan. I will never forget one of the men asking the white audience where we thought the Africans were getting their weapons to kill one another. He said, "We don't make weapons in Africa." They largely come from the U.S. and other European countries.

The U.S. sells military equipment to African nations via the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Top recipients of these arms sales are Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Just like in the Middle East, the sale of weapons and U.S. support for dictators in these countries, helps create more instability and chaos. So much so that now the American people are told that we need AFRICOM to go into the region to bring "stability."

AFRICOM will serve as coordinator of U.S. covert operations in Africa. Civilian assistance funds will be funneled through AFRICOM. The funding mechanisms for AFRICOM will also permit private military contractors like Blackwater USA, Dyncorp, and Triple Canopy to extend their operations on the continent.

It is all about the "privatization" of foreign and military policy these days. The more you privatize the more deadly the game becomes because no one is responsible anymore. It's all about what the corporations want and in the case of Africa the corporate globalists want their resources - and it doesn't matter how many people have to be killed to get them.

It's a deadly shell game and one that we've seen play out time and again. Sadly the African people will be made to suffer.

Nothing will change here until the American people figure out that our democracy is dead. Our current presidential election horse race is nothing but a distraction and political entertainment to keep our eyes off the ball.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Kodiak Island in Alaska is famous for huge Kodiak bears, world-class salmon fishing, and the magnificent green that the island turns during the summer--which is why Kodiak is affectionately called Alaska's Emerald Isle.

But in recent years Kodiak Island has become known for something else. Star Wars. Hard to believe?

In 1992 the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation’s (AADC) was created and built the Kodiak Launch Complex. The people on the island organized to fight this development saying that putting a rocket launch facility on this pristine place would severely impact the fishing and tourist industry.

The public was promised that the launch complex wouldn't have any significant impact on the environment though Republican Sen. Ted Stevens made sure that no Environmental Impact Statement was required. The promoters of the launch complex also assured island residents that all launches would be for civilian uses, there would be no military role for the facility.

Local activists though knew better than to trust the assurances of these politicians. They smelled something fishy going on. They learned that each launch could release approximately 23,500 pounds of hydrochloric acid into the atmosphere and other dangerous substances into the ocean. They knew that this contamination could over time have tremendous negative impact on the local environment. (At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, after each space launch, there are significant fish kills due to the accumulation of toxic exhaust pollutants in the water.)

People also worried what would happen to wayward missiles that failed to properly launch.

As it turns out the only launches from the Kodiak spaceport so far have been military tests.

According to Alaska activist, and Global Network board member Stacey Fritz, "Until 2001, the Air Force with its Atmospheric Interceptor Tests had been the Kodiak Launch Complex's only customer. More of those tests are planned, but in 2001 the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command arranged for the AADC to host twenty of the U.S. Army Strategic Target System missile tests, commonly known as the STARS program. These are the missiles that simulate incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles fired from Asia so that the military in the South Pacific can attempt to intercept them in mid-air with the latest missile defense technology. "

Things now seem to be picking up even more for the Kodiak site as the AADC announced last December that the "Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) requires a dedicated rocket motor storage facility and an additional launch pad. KLC’s existing two launch pads are right next to each and can not be used simultaneously, thereby limiting customers and launches. The additional facilities will allow multiple launch customers to be on site simultaneously, double KLC’s launch capabilities, and result in KLC being a full service spaceport. AADC is currently developing a long-term relationship with the U.S. Air Force. The USAF plans on initiating the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program with the goal of having launch on demand capability – placing national defense assets in orbit with very little lead time. KLC is an attractive launch site for the ORS program because the KLC offers flexible launch scheduling not available at other U.S. launch sites; and launches from KLC avoid populated areas, environmentally sensitive areas, and congested air routes."

The AADC is requesting $35 million for these launch site upgrades.

Once more we see how the military industrial complex lies their way into a community with false promises. Then once established, they dramatically expand their operations. Any chance to protect the community from this rampant militarism is lost as the local economy becomes reliant on the few jobs created and the local political class and media become subservient to the big money thrown around.

This story is being repeated daily across the nation and around the world as the military empire gobbles up community after community for bases, training facilities, and weapons testing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The U.S. was founded as an anti-monarchist nation. The idea was that a kingdom was antithetical to the notion of freedom and democracy. Today the U.S. is so deeply "embedded" with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that one might say they have become joined at the hip, or the purse.

George W. Bush told the American people that he was going to the Middle East last week to bring peace to the region. He lied. His real purpose was to go to the region as a salesman. And he made quite a deal.

Bush delivered promises to the region of weapons sales in the amount of $20 billion. That is quite a haul for the military industrial complex. As a way to make this deal palatable to the American people he made lots of bold and threatening comments about Iran's desire to take over the region. Thus Bush portrayed himself as a protector of the holy crown.

The arms sales deal includes $123 million worth of precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia so they can continue to hold off opposition to their authoritarian kingdom.

The United Arab Emirates coughed up $9.763 billion for a Patriot missile defense system and upgrades to early warning aircraft.

Kuwait will get $1.691 billion worth of missiles and upgrades to its Patriot missile system.

Much more will be disclosed at a later date when no one is paying any attention.

Congress has 30 days to block the weapons sales. They won't need the deadline because they will not do anything to stop it. The Democrats, by and large, want the weapons contracts in their congressional districts because endless war is the industrial policy of America today.

Now you would think that Israel is upset about Bush handing out weapons to Arab countries. But they are not. Why? Because Washington, the Associated Press reports, has promised to counterbalance the sales to Arabs with new military "assistance" (which probably means grants) to the Jewish state -- a more than 25% increase over the next 10 years.

Thus high and dry in the desert. Arm all sides, keep the war footing high, drain the national treasury right before our eyes all the while convincing the American people they are protecting us from terrorism.

High and dry for sure.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I am working hard today with Mary Beth to tie up as many details as possible about our April 11-13 annual space organizing conference set for Omaha, Nebraska.

There are so many things yet to do. We've got most of the speakers now in place though we are still waiting confirmation from a couple of them. The brochure was just printed and goes to the mailing house in the morning.

One of the huge jobs, being coordinated locally by Nebraskans for Peace, is the task of organizing enough home hospitality and food for the people we think will come. Already folks are registering for the conference and we expect it will likely be the largest Global Network conference we've had yet.

This will be our 16th annual conference so that is saying something. In the past we've met in Germany, England, Canada, Australia, Florida, Washington DC, New Mexico, Alabama, Colorado, Maine, New York, and California. Some of those locations we've visited several times.

We've got a great group of co-sponsors for the conference at StratCom this year. They include:

After Downing Street; Bite the Bullet Campaign; Codepink; Committee for the Rescue & Development of Vieques; Fellowship of Reconciliation; Grandmothers for Peace; International Network Against Foreign Military Bases; Nebraskans for Peace; No Nukes North-Alaska; No To Bases Initiative-Czech Republic; Nukewatch; Omaha Catholic Worker; Peace Action; PeaceMajority Report; People's Action for Clean Energy; United for Peace & Justice;
Veterans for Peace; Women for Peace Iowa; Des Moines Catholic Worker; and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.

A recent article by Stan Cox, called REAL-LIFE STAR WARS: StratCom & the Militarization of Space, does an excellent job of laying out the present day role of StratCom as they truly have become the central planner and initiator of U.S. global war fighting. It is must reading for anyone wanting to understand the current planning for war in and from space and U.S. plans for endless war.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Cartoonist Anne Gibbons created this great piece of art above. She was one of the women who organized my speaking tour to the New York City area last August around Hiroshima and Nagasaki days. She tells me she is a regular reader of this blog so it will be a nice surprise for her to click here and see her own work.

We are expecting to get "slammed" by a snowstorm on Monday Fox News reported tonight. They do love the sensational. I missed the last two big snow storms while in Florida so I am actually looking forward to being here this time. I need to bring in some more wood for the stove tonight and get ready to shovel tomorrow.

Everyone in my house has been passing around the flu bug the last 10 days or so and up to this point I have escaped it.....I hope I can continue to dodge it.

Been watching the coverage of presidential "sweepstakes" on TV today while cooking a big pot of chicken soup for the infirmed at the house. I was fascinated to see that Fox News acknowledged that listeners to of the South Carolina Republican debate the other night, on their network, had picked Rep. Ron Paul as the winner by a wide margin. His anti-war message is really stirring people even in the Republican Party. The media keeps trashing him but he keeps giving his party hell for wasting our national treasury and lives on that fiasco.

MSNBC is not allowing Rep. Dennis Kucinich to be in their up-coming presidential debate. It's really amazing how the networks think it is their job to decide who is a legitimate candidate and who is not. I sent them a letter complaining about their decision to exclude Kucinich but don't think they care much what the public thinks. If they did care they wouldn't make such a decision to start with. If you'd like to lodge a complaint send an email to:

The Green Party of California is having a debate tonight in San Francisco with all declared candidates for their party's nomination. I will be excited to see how it goes and to see how my favorite in that race, Cynthia McKinney, is received.

My basketball team, the Washington Wizards, beat the Boston Celtics last night. The Celtics, the best team in the league right now, had only lost four games before last night. I know you all are excited to hear this big news.

Friday, January 11, 2008


This report covers the period of Dec 29 - Jan 7 as I traveled to Florida for a six city speaking tour.

On Sunday, December 30 I delivered a talk entitled "Keep Space for Peace" at the Manatee Unitarian Fellowship in Bradenton. Friends from my Florida Coalition days, Don and Jane Thompson made the arrangements. The response from the congregation was quite wonderful.

On December 31 I did an early morning radio interview with a station in the Tampa-bay area promoting my appearance at a planned "Peace Day" event on January 1 on Siesta Key.

The January 1 "Peace Day" event has been held for the past 18 years as a way to bring together people from many different faiths. Again, Don Thompson arranged for me to speak at the event that was held this year at the St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Siesta Key (Sarasota). The event was attended by about 150 people and I gave a brief introductory talk in the morning and then after lunch I was given a two-hour block to speak and answer questions from the diverse audience. It was a very exciting day for me.

Following this event I drove east across the state to the home of Peg McIntire in St. Augustine. Peg, now 97, still remains very active in peace movement activities and was organizing a talk by me on January 3. For many years Peg served as the Treasurer of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and was recognized by most peace activists in the state as the heart of the movement. To this day she still receives invitations to speak around the northern part of the state.

On January 2 Peg and I drove north to Jacksonville where I spoke to the group called Wage Peace. My talk was entitled "A Positive Vision for the Future" and in it I strongly emphasized the need for the peace movement to promote conversion of the military industrial complex if we ever hoped to end war. Old friends Mary Claire Van der Horst and Al and his daughter Wendy Geiger were there. Mary Claire served as Secretary of the Florida Coalition for a long time and Al donated land in the middle of his tree farm north of Gainesville to the organization so we could build a kids peace camp. A subsequent donation made it possible to build a dining hall/meeting room on the land and peace camps are still held at the location.

At midnight on January 2 I did a second radio interview from the Tampa-Bay area.

On January 3 Peg's Unitarian Church in St. Augustine hosted my talk. I was introduced by a local radio talk show host by the name of Andy Johnson who lives in Jacksonville and had come to hear me the night before as well. Andy interviewed me on his show several times over the years. His show, a rarity in conservative and militarized northeast Florida, was broadcast from a Christian radio station where he had been purchasing time for many years to do his own progressive show. But the show was only three-hours while the rest of the station's time was spent on right-wing fundamentalist talk.

Andy, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives, has just taken over that station in Jacksonville (AM 1460 WZNZ). Beginning Monday, January 14, he will turn it into the only progressive talk station in North Florida. People anywhere can tune in on the station's website.

Andy is a cousin of Al Geiger, their families having been in the Jacksonville area for multiple generations. Andy's grandfather had owned the local dairy and was a member of the NAACP during the height of segregation. The KKK and local White Citizen's Council started a boycott of the dairy trying to force Andy's granddad to resign from the NAACP, but he refused.

At the January 3 talk, Peg asked Andy to not only introduce me but to also ask the audience, just after my speech, to make a donation to the Global Network. In classic southern Baptist preacher style, Andy joked about making people line up and file past him, repeatedly, if their donations were not large enough. Everyone had a great laugh and the crowd of 36 people produced the largest collective donation of the trip. Peg was thrilled. Andy also announced that he would be donating $3,500 worth of free advertising time to the Global Network on his station.

At mid-day on January 3, I did a full hour radio interview on the Tampa progressive station WMNF. News Director Rob Lorei, who over the years has extensively covered our space organizing, once again gave me a chance to speak with his large Gulf Coast listening audience. The primary purpose of the interview was to give advance notice about my upcoming talk in Clearwater.

On January 4, I spoke to more than 80 people in Clearwater at an event organized by Samm Simpson who ran for Congress in the last congressional election. She is planning to run again next November against the Republican arch-conservative militarist, Rep. Bill Young, who has been in office for 19 terms. Samm asked me to talk about "Swords into Plowshares: Transforming the Military Industrial Complex." This was a very remarkable event because of the diversity of the people who attended. There were blacks, Hispanics, old and young. There were Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich supporters, as well as Green Party activists who are supporting Cynthia McKinney for president. And afterward, at least half the audience stayed around for one full hour, talking with me and each other in one of the most lively events I had ever experienced. It was clear to me that Samm Simpson was a key spark plug in this part of Florida and the people there are lucky to have her as their candidate and fellow activist.

I had the day off on January 5 but put it to good use. In the morning I met old friend Greg Musselman for breakfast in Dunedin. Then for lunch I met friends John and Sheila Stewart in St. Pete at a wonderful Cuban restaurant overlooking the bay. Karl Grossman, and his wife Janet, joined us as they were staying with the Stewart's while on vacation in the area. Then for dinner I headed farther south to Naples to meet my hosts for my last talk.

On January 6 I spoke at the Naples Unitarian Church forum before the service began. About 75 people attended and I am grateful to Maureen Armour and Flo Beckler who arranged my talk and provided warm hospitality. I can't remember ever having spoken in Naples before, so it was a nice ending to a good trip.

Florida is a huge state and I saw a good portion of it during this week. While I did see many old friends, I also saw that the peace movement in Florida has been growing in recent years. It is now 10 years ago that I left the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice so that I could work full-time on space issues for the Global Network. In city after city there is new leadership within the peace community at a time when we need to be reaching beyond our previously existing circles.

My next trip takes me to New Mexico from February 6-17 where Bob Anderson has arranged a seven-city speaking tour. Included will be our protest at the annual space nuclear power symposium in Albuquerque where NASA, Department of Energy, and aerospace corporations meet to plan the full nuclearization of space.

Best wishes to all for a better year in 2008. Good luck and keep organizing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Philip Agee died yesterday in Havana at the age of 72. He is best known for having quit the CIA in 1968 and publishing a book called Inside the Company: CIA Diary. This act, breaking the code of silence within the CIA by revealing the names of agents in a 22-page list, made Agee a marked man for the rest of his life.

In 1978 Agee and his partner settled into Cambridge, England but was deported soon thereafter when Henry Kissinger urged then British prime minister Jim Callaghan to throw him out of the country. This act began an odyssey by Agee as he was forced to move from one country after the other as the U.S. used its vindictive powers to make an example of him. In his remarkable book in 1987, called On The Run, Agee offers us a rare insight into the life of a stateless man. He was ultimately expelled from five NATO countries.

Agee grew up in Tampa, Florida and came from a patriotic and devout Catholic family. He studied at the University of Notre Dame, became a CIA operations officer in 1957 and was posted in South America and Mexico.

I first met Agee in the early 1990's after receiving a call from his sister in Orlando, Florida while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. Philip had suggested she give us a call and inquire about volunteering. She became one of our regular mailing party letter stuffers and once organized a wonderful benefit concert for us at her home where she played the piano and had a violinist accompany her.

In 1995 I did a speaking tour of Germany and Phil's sister arranged for me to visit him and his wife, Giselle Roberge, in Hamburg. I stayed at their home for two nights and Phil gave me a walking tour of the city. I helped them move some furniture from a rental property they were cleaning out and they took me to dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant where the sauce was as good as any I've ever had.

Phil was a very humble and regular guy. There was no pretense about him and when I left Hamburg he gave me a signed copy of his gripping book On The Run.

In the 1990's Phil was allowed to visit the U.S. and returned to Florida to see his father who was near death. Once again his sister swung into action and arranged for Phil to speak at an event I organized for him at a church in Orlando. People came from all over the state to hear him speak and his talk was much about the broad direction of U.S. foreign and military policy.

When I think back it is clear that he had tremendous influence on how I do my talks today, emphasizing the general outlines of U.S. strategic policy so we are not just jumping from one crisis to another. It is best if the progressive movement has a wider view of where things are going so we can articulate these directions more effectively and organize around them more directly.

In Phil's later years he moved to Cuba and set up a progressive travel agency to help facilitate folks visiting Cuba. Writing in the UK Guardian last year about Cuba, he said: "All of Cuba's achievements have been in defiance of U.S. efforts to isolate Cuba. Every dirty method has been used, including infiltration, sabotage, terrorism, assassination, economic and biological warfare and incessant lies in the media of many countries."

Philip Agee was a courageous man. He was a patriot who wanted to return America to what it was supposed to be - a real democracy run by the people, not the greedy corporate militarists that have taken over the nation. He was willing to give up literally everything just in order to tell the truth. He had to be able to live with himself.

The powers that be in the U.S., led by George H. W. Bush, set out to destroy Phil. They had to make an example of him for fear that others might follow his lead and live by their conscience. Phil just tried to honor the moral truths he had been taught in church and in college. It was a shame that he suffered, often alone, for doing so.

Philip Agee is a man to be remembered. He was a real American hero.

Click on this link for a 2003 interview with Philip Agee by Amy Goodman at Democracy Now:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


The people vote today in New Hampshire presidential primary.

The media is pushing Barack Obama for president. They are saying Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Ron Paul basically do not exist, obviously because they are the most vocal about ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Now that John Edwards has begun talking strongly about poverty and corporate domination of our government the media says he is "too angry". The message to the voter - stay away from him.

I saw an article in the Washington Post two weeks ago about how Edwards is always late for each campaign event. They trashed him. Yesterday I heard that Obama had shown up two hours late for a campaign event, but it was framed as an example of how busy he is being the "front runner." All the candidates are likely late for these events. The Post story on Edwards though was to create more negatives on him. This is how the media does it.....drip, drip, drip.

Another example, I just heard a BBC report on National Public Radio from New Hampshire. They were interviewing Granny D, the elderly activist who walked all the way across the country advocating campaign finance reform a few years back. Granny D has endorsed John Edwards but all the reporter wanted to talk about was what did Granny think about Obama. Granny D fell right for the trick and went on about how "cute" he is and how all the women love him. Granny said Obama reminded her of JFK. But never did the reporter ask her why she was supporting Edwards - that was not the reason for the story. It's shameless.

It is quite amazing how people are led by the corporate dominated media. Obama is the latest version of the "unifier". But in truth he voted for the Patriot Act, has voted in favor of all the funding for the Iraq occupation, and supports many of the legislative requests of the insurance companies and banks. Thus he becomes acceptable to the big media boys.

When right-wing columnist George Will starts leading the charge for Obama then you know something smells fishy.

Respected black journalist Glen Ford has the following to say about Obama: "A Black presidential candidate who spends much of his time denying the significance of race in U.S. society, cozying up to Big Business, and assuring imperial interests that he will expand U.S. military capabilities, captured the often diametrically opposed imaginations of millions of Blacks and whites."

The people have to stop being led to the slaughter.....will they ever?

(Question on Wednesday morning after the "surprise comeback" by Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. On Tuesday the N.H. polls were showing Obama with a significant lead and Edwards with 17%, Richardson 5%, and Kucinich 2%. Then the vote happens and in one day's time Hillary wins and Edwards still comes up with 17%, Richardson 5%, and Kucinich 2%. So with all that volatility it is hard to imagine that only the top two candidates, Hillary and Obama, see any change from the poll predictions the day before. The presence of controversial Diebold voting machines makes alarm bells go off in my already cynical mind. It appears that others have had the same reaction and the group called Citizens for Legitimate Government have already done some research on this and published their findings.)

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I spoke this morning in Naples at the Unitarian Church issues forum before the service. There were about 75 people present. My talk went over well and after lunch with my hosts I headed for the Tampa airport (a three-hour drive).

I was flying on Air Tran and was to head to Baltimore to connect to Portland. The problem was that my layover in Baltimore was only 20 minutes, not much time for delays. As it turned out the plane from Tampa was going to leave 30 minutes late and I knew I'd be spending the night in Baltimore because there were no more flights to Maine tonight. Then Air Tran announced that the flight was overbooked and they offered one free roundtrip ticket to anyone willing to give up their seat. No one took the deal. So they sweetened the offer to include two roundtrip airline tickets so I took the bait.

I pressed Air Tran to provide me with a hotel for the night here in Tampa (which they eventually agreed to do) so I am scheduled to return home in the early afternoon on Monday.

While standing in line at Air Tran, waiting to get all this straightened out, I could see the poor airline employees pulling their hair out of their heads. They were clearly short handed, dealing with loads of frustrated people, and one of the supervisers acknowledged to me that the problems of delays has been mounting in recent times.

The reason my plane was late leaving Tampa is that when it was pulling into the gate to unload, before we were to board, there were no Air Tran workers on the tarmac to guide the plane to the gate. So it sat less than 100 yards from the gate for well over 1/2 hour.

Like so many other corporations the airlines are cutting back on employees and making current workers carry out the jobs of 2-3 others. All of this means service is hurting and the consumer is left holding the bag. Profits come before service. Public relations experts are left to formulate media campaigns to repair the damage.

Expect more of these cutbacks in service as the price of oil impacts virtually every aspect of our lives.

Let's hope I make in home tomorrow without further delay. I need a rest.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Just a quick one here as I pop out for a breakfast meeting with one friend and then a lunch meeting with another set of friends. I will eat my way south from Clearwater to St. Pete and then supper in Naples tonight.

Hopefully I will get a couple of minutes time to walk today as the exercise will be much needed after all the food.

My talk last night in Clearwater was very well attended, half the people there raising their hand when asked how many of the more than 80 present had come after hearing me on the fabulous alternative local WMNF radio station.

Half the crowd literally stayed around for one hour after the talk and had to be thrown out of the church and when I finally left at least 25 were still buzzing around under the awning outside the church. It reminded me of a scene from the movie Reds (Warren Beatty) right before the Russian revolution when people were out on the streets arguing politics in the dead of winter, huddled around fires.

The people were alive and very outraged at both parties and the corporate dominated media.

My host for the talk, Samm Simpson, is running for Congress again and is a real leader.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


The Iowa primary horse race takes place today. We are told by the corporate dominated media that voting every two years in national elections makes us special. In fact you can't have democracy by just voting. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

I turned on C-SPAN yesterday and saw Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence) being interviewed as a result of an action she took part in two days ago in Iowa. Kathy, and a couple others, were arrested standing in the campaign office of Mike Huckabee (Republican candidate for president) holding a banner that read "Who would Jesus bomb?"

(There were more arrests today in Barack Obama's Iowa campaign in Des Moines when eight folks read the names of Iraq war dead.)

Last night's event in Jacksonville turned out well with about 50 folks attending the Wage Peace meeting. They had a great finger food spread before I spoke and the question and answer period was quite stimulating as folks were really focused on how we engage with those in the public who don't agree with us or who lack access to the same information that alot of us have.

My bottom line is that we need to help create public discussion and we can only do that by being visible in the community. That can mean letters to the editor, public demonstrations, going door-to-door and more. The fact Kathy Kelly got arrested in a campaign office and then the next day was on national TV talking about why, is an indication that public protest activity can pay off.

Tonight I speak in St Augustine. It is quite cold here, very windy, not your typical Florida weather. The sun is shining though and the palm trees are swaying in the heavy breeze.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The photo above is from the annual, end of the year, Christian peace witness that is held at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska where the Strategic Command (StratCom) is headquartered. The Global Network will be holding our annual space organizing conference there next April 11-13. StratCom is now in charge of U.S. first-strike planning, the U.S. nuclear arsenal, NSA warrantless wiretapping, and all Space Command planning.

I am in St Augustine (Atlantic ocean side of the state) this morning at the home of dear friend Peg McIntire who I recently wrote about on this blog. Peg is a 97 year old activist who is still as busy as ever.

I spoke yesterday at a Peace Day event in Sarasota (on the Gulf coast side) and my message was well received. It was a day long event and I got to speak to the 150 people there early on and then after lunch they gave me a two-hour block of time for a more in depth discussion with questions.

The day before I was the speaker at the Bradenton Unitarian Church service and again was well received. Over the years I've been black-balled from a few Unitarian Churches for being too radical but the folks at the Bradenton church were probably the most enthusiastic Unitarian group I'd ever met with. Don and Jane Thompson, old friends from my days at the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice, made the arrangements for the Bradenton and Sarasota talks. Don is a retired minister.

Tonight I drive an hour north to Jacksonville to speak at the meeting of Wage Peace, the local peace group in that community. I have many old friends there and it will be a pleasure to see them all. On Thursday night I will be back here in St Augustine to speak at a meeting organized by Peg.

On Friday I head back west again and speak in Clearwater at an event being organized by Samm Simpson who was a candidate for Congress two years ago. She has stayed very active and is working hard to educate and mobilize the public in her district.

On Saturday I will be lucky to have lunch with old friend Karl Grossman who is on vacation in the state with his wife. Karl was one of the co-founders of the Global Network when we created it in 1992. Karl is a journalist and was the one who introduced me to the nuclear power in space issue all the way back in 1988. Without a doubt he is the father of the "no nukes in space" message.

On Sunday I will drive further south along the Gulf (golf) Coast to Naples where I will speak at the Unitarian Church. So I will be getting to talk to many Unitarians on this trip.

I return to Maine on Sunday evening. It's been snowing quite a bit in Maine the last few days. It seems that every time I leave Maine they have a big snow storm. I miss doing my share of the shoveling which I really enjoy.