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, April 28, 2008


I leave in the morning for Brazil where I will speak at the Global Greens conference in Sao Paulo on May 2. It is a great honor to have been invited to speak on a plenary panel called "Climate Crisis: Impacts on communities, economies, and peace and international stability."

I will take the train to New York and then fly from there to Sao Paulo on a long 12-hour flight. Fellow Mainer, and founder of the Greens in this state, John Rensenbrink will be on the same plane and we will share a room once we arrive.

I've never been south of Mexico city in Latin America and look forward to meeting many new people. It appears that I will also co-facilitate a workshop with a group of Japanese Greens on peace issues so that will also be a real pleasure.

I will try to blog while gone, hopefully the hotel I will stay in will have a computer I can use.

I get home on May 5 and will then look forward to no trips for awhile. I could use a good stay home rest for awhile but could not pass up this chance to speak to Greens from about 75 other countries.


It is time to wake up from the deep sleep. The dream is over.

I read this morning an article in the Washington Post about the large numbers (the surge) of voter registrations in North Carolina as they approach the Democratic party primary. One young woman said she wanted to return to the days when her generation would have a better life than her parents. In her mind it seems one just has to plug in the right candidate and all will be well again. Shangri-la.

Then I read an article about gas prices climbing and convenience store owners not being able to make money as customers are not buying things inside their stores after pumping gas. Many of the store owners are trying to sell their business but there are no buyers.

Then it was an article about hunger in Mauritania and the Post reported that, "Mauritania is caught in a global food trap, producing only 30 percent of what its people eat and importing most of the rest. As prices skyrocket, those who can least afford it are squeezed the most as the world confronts the worst bout of food inflation since the Soviet grain crisis of the 1970s."

My mind wandered to the unthinkable. How long before we face that food shortage here as rich farmlands are paved over for shopping malls across the U.S. and legions of remaining acres are growing corn to make ethanol to feed our cars?

Truckers in Maine are heading to Washington DC today to protest rising fuel prices. The Portland Press Herald reported this morning that, "Independent trucker Albert Raymond said he spent $82,000 to fuel his big rig last year – $12,000 more than the year before.......They plan to join hundreds of truckers from 25 other states for a demonstration at the Capitol today, the latest in a series of protests by truck drivers this month."

Having lived in the American west for some time as a young boy I learned about towns that became like ghosts when the westward expanding railroad passed them by. The trucking industry feels like a ghost town in the making.

The politicians just bloviate [speak pompously]. This is a new word for me but it has captured my imagination. It is a word that resonates with me at this moment. Politicians are blowhards. They talk big, and fast, and loose. They bloviate about all these issues but nothing happens as the corporations just continue to destroy all life around us.

According to World Wide Words, "This word is almost entirely restricted to the United States; it doesn’t appear in any of the British English dictionaries, not even the big Oxford English Dictionary or the very recent New Oxford Dictionary of English. Yet it has a long history.

"It’s most closely associated with U. S. President Warren G. Harding, who used it a lot and who was by all accounts the classic example of somebody who orates verbosely and windily. It’s a compound of blow, in its sense of 'to boast', with a mock-Latin ending to give it the self-important stature that’s implicit in its meaning."

One example of a bloviator is my Congressman Tom Allen, the "good" Democrat from Portland, Maine. He met the truckers on the highway yesterday and called for "an investigation of price fixing, manipulation, rampant speculation and other unscrupulous behavior in the petroleum markets." This is what the Democrats do, they call for investigations and then nothing happens. You and I know that the oil corporations are thieving like crazy, their profits have hit the roof. We don't need another investigation, we need action! Will the Democratic party bloviators actually nationalize oil corporations or move to tax the hell out of their profits and use that money to build alternative transportation like rail systems? Don't hold your breath.

This same Rep. Tom Allen will soon vote on the new Nancy Pelosi plan to give Bush $172 billion more for the Iraq occupation. The Democratic party leadership wants to give Bush money for the rest of 2008 and 2009 so they can get the votes out of the way now in order that people will have forgotten about it by the time of the national election in 2008. Instead of fighting Bush, denying him more money for this insane and costly Iraq occupation, the Dems want to slip him the cash now and then criticize the Republicans for a "failed" Iraq policy. It's a bloviators paradise!

Imagine just for a moment how we could use that $172 billion to repair this crumbling America. Will Hillary or Obama call on Nancy Pelosi to back off that disastrous plan? Will Tom Allen stand up against Pelosi? The fact is right now Tom Allen's staff won't return our calls when we have called his office to discuss this issue.

The American dream is over. Bloviators have taken over. In the place of real democracy we now have hot air, and lots of it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


No justice for Sean Bell. He comes out of a nightclub in New York city, having done nothing wrong, and is approached by plainclothes cops who pull a gun on him. They shoot Bell 50-times. Bell had no gun. The police are acquited by a judge. Once more we see a innocent black man gunned down by "law enforcement" and the cops are set free.

If Sean Bell had been white none of this would have happened. He would not have been hassled by cops, he would not have been shot, and most certainly cops who killed an innocent white man would have been punished.

Two Americas. Two sets of justice in America. One for white people and another for people of color.

How can anyone expect black people to have faith in this white man's system?

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Bishop Thomas Gumbleton speaking at Omaha conference

By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon

Admittedly, “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference. But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland. And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited. There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom. But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission. In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’ It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere. Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations. Here’s a rundown:

Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’

Through its National Security Agency “component command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.

The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom installations under StratCom’s command.

Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war” with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization and “domination” of space.

StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race in space.

In actively promoting the development of new generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America will wield offensive nuclear capability for the remainder of the 21st century.

Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,” StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

Operating like some executive branch vigilante and scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom. In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes. This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.” This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally. Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world. Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response. Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it: “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence. While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom. From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center. British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.” Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants. In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.” Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust. Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere. The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city. The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way. Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves. Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States. To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world. So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help. That was good, he said. But we need to act fast. Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on:

- Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I had a nice surprise today when I heard that Maine Public radio was going to be airing my March 27 speech at the University of Maine-Orono. The talk will be played this coming Friday at 1:00 pm (EST). (You can listen by clicking on the MPBN website in the headline link above.)

A weekly series called "Speaking in Maine" will air the talk that was entitled “A Leftist Analysis of Elections: Why the Republican and Democratic Parties and the Political Process Are Obstacles to Real Democracy.”

I was invited to speak at UMO by Doug Allen who is a professor of Philosophy. My talk was part of the Socialist and Marxist Studies Lecture Series at the school.

When the talk was taped on March 27 I was told it would likely be aired statewide on MPBN but I have to admit I was skeptical. Even though I've been here in Maine for five years now it is still hard to completely get that conservative Florida culture out of my head. Having my talk aired on statewide public radio in Florida could never have happened - totally impossible. Maine, despite its many contradictions, is still a very different state from Florida.

Dare we criticize the corporate dominated political system and offer an alternative vision for politics in America? It should be interesting to see what comes from this opportunity to reach so many folks across our state.

Monday, April 21, 2008


You will have to forgive me for this one. I just can't pass it up.

While on the long drive home from Omaha I picked up the local newspapers each day to see how the same, or different, they were from any other paper in the country. Generally they are all the same. Same Associated Press news stories, same wire service photos, same columnists from the big newspapers. No wonder the American people are under control these days. Managed news, managed public.

One columnist who is a bell weather for the power structure is David Broder from the Washington Post. You can always count on him for the centrist line. But on this occasion something he said really jumped out and, well, bit me.

Broder was reporting on the recent congressional hearings where Gen. David Petraeus testified about "progress" in Iraq. Broder said, "Petraeus told [Republican Sen. Richard] Lugar, "We've got to continue. We have our teeth into the jugular, and we need to keep it there."

Broder continued by reporting that after his testimony before Congress Petraeus stopped by the newspaper for more discussions. "The general clearly likes that phrase, because he used it twice more during his visit to The Post. I can see why Bush admires his aggressive tone. And I can understand why his troops revere their commander. "

It all comes together for me now. We always hear the politicians and the media talking about how we honor the troops for their "sacrifice" in Iraq. Maybe there is something to the whole Yale University Skull & Bones Club that Bush, John Kerry, and Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank belong to where they worship in the "tomb" and are known to crawl into caskets for dark rituals.

Listen to the BBC radio story on Skull & Bones.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I'm in bed with the flu, yesterday I could hardly move as my body ached and my stomach was in horrid pain . So I spent the evening watching my Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees (the evil empire) in a baseball game via my laptop. I will watch another game today. Sometimes you just have to make such sacrifices.

I read a very alarming account this morning of a martial law run through called Operation Sudden Impact that was held in three southern states in recent days. There is a TV news story about it at this link:

Federal law enforcement agencies co-opted sheriffs offices as well state and local police forces in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas as they practiced "rounding up" terrorists.

The authorities even raided businesses and store owners, confiscating computers and paperwork in an effort to "track down possible terrorists before something big happens".

Have no doubt that plans are being implemented to pull something big, possibly before the next election.

Who will protect the public when the gestapo comes around? Sadly the media and the Democrats stand back and applaud.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Global Network Conference Keynote in Omaha, Nebraska

April 12, 2008

By Ko Young-dae (Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea)

After the September 11 incident, by the Bush administration's decision, the USSTRATCOM began to develop a close relationship with the Korean Peninsula. On December 31, 2001, Bush submitted the Nuclear Posture Review, which defined Russia, China, and the so-called "rogue states" - North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya - as potential targets of pre-emptive nuclear strikes. Moreover, North Korea and Iraq, unlike the other three nations, were singled out as "chronic military concerns." Since Iraq is under US occupation, only North Korea remains as a "chronic military concern."

Moreover, based on the NPR, the Bush administration has formulated a nuclear war strategy plan with North Korea and Iran as the main targets, thereby making the Korean Peninsula the most dangerous region in the world, with the US nuclear weapons playing a part in military strategy.

This nuclear war plan is called CONPLAN 8022, which combines five regional theatres into a single unit and articulates the idea of a global strike, where by the US can strike at any region within one hour.

CONPLAN 8022 was completed in November 2003, and was approved by former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in June 2004. This plan includes Pinpoint attack, destruction of underground military facilities, cyberwarfare to demobilize anti-missile systems and air defense, and the use of Special Operational Forces to seize North Korea's nuclear facilities and weapons.
It can't be denied that CONPLAN 8022 may have been implemented in 2003, when it was formulated, and the Korean peninsula was immersed in a military crisis atmosphere.

Bush also strengthened the OPLANS of the USPACOM, ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC)/United Nations Command (UNC). These included PACOM, CFC, UNC OPLANS 5026, 5028, 5029, 5030, in addition to 5027. OPLAN 5027 was developed beginning in 1974, but OPLAN 5026 and 5029 were developed at the same time as CONPLAN 8022, and have similar operational purposes and complementary characteristics.

OPLAN 5027 also is based on the use of nuclear weapons. The pre-emptive strike strategy appeared after OPLAN 5027-98. OPLAN 5027-04 includes MD, while OPLAN 5027-06 includes pre-emptive strike against North Korea's nuclear missile facilities.

During the 25th ROK-US Military Committee Meeting (November 2003), it was agreed that CONPLAN 5029 would develop OPLAN 5029, but it was not established due to the ROK government's opposition. Under US pressure, however, in June 2005 defense ministers agreed to push OPLAN 5029, which is expected to be completed by 2008. OPLAN 5029 violates international law because it is very aggressive. It envisions military intervention during turmoil in North Korea, and even in times of natural disasters. The main purpose of OPLAN 5029 is to allow the US, not South Korea, take over and seize North Korea's nuclear facilities, weapons, and materials.

As requested by the US, OPLAN 5026 was agreed upon during the ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting(SCM) in December 2002 and was completed in July 2003. It stipulates pinpoint attacks on 700 targets including nuclears biological, and chemical (NBC) facilities and command and control facilities. It also includes a counter plan against North Korea's long-range artillery. Thus OPLAN 5026 functions as a supplement to OPLAN 5027 and 5029, and CONPLAN 8022.

If a war breaks out in Korea, USSTRATCOM, with strengthened authorities, increased responsibilities, and organic units, is likely to take the commanding lead. USSTRATCOM's role has expanded to nuclear and conventional war, space, global strike, missile defense, cyberwarfare, and Combating WMD. To perform this role, USSTRATCOM subordinated USSPACECOM in October 1, 2002, and organized Air Combat Command, USPACFLTCOM, USATLANTFLTCOM. Intelligence reports including IMINT and SIGINT collected from the Korean peninsula and the rest of Northeast Asia are reported to the USSTRATCOM.

"A Framework for Peace and Security in Korea and Northeast Asia," formulated by the Atlantic Council Working Group in April 2007, cites North Korea's fear of a potential US attack as one of the reasons why the North developed nuclear weapons, the fear of a potential US attack.

This Working Group's suggestion is valid, considering the development of the crisis at the time. Whenever Bush exerted pressure on North Korea, by including North Korea as a preemptive strike target in the NPR, including it in the "axis of evil", expanding the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) that is anti-North Korea blockade policy, North Korea responded in defense of its system. For example, in response to the "axis of evil" label, it considered it as a declaration of war against NK. In response to being targeted for a preemptive under NPR, it stated that the Agreed Framework would have to be reevaluated completely. It claimed that the PSI is another example of the US's hostle policy, which aims to isolate and strangle North Korea.

Thus when the US occupied Iraq and began to talk about a military crisis in Korea, in October 2003, North Korea announced that it had completed the reprocessing of nuclear materials and that it was strengthening its nuclear deterrence capability as a self-defense measure. This turn of events shows that North Korea decided to develop nuclear weapons US military policies such as the preemptive strike plan and CONPLAN 8022.

The Bush administration is capable of pressuring North Korea militarily, more than any other previous administration, because of the ROK-US Alliance, which came into being based on the Mutual Defense Treaty and Agreed Minutes (November 1954). With the establishment of the alliance, South Korea became dependent on the US in political, military, economic, state, reunification matters, in all matters. In military matters. ROK forces lost wartime military operational control authority, (OPCON), to US Forces in Korea. This means that South Korea has limited power over military administration and is dependent on the US in areas such as military strategy and weapons systems.

After the Cold War, as the US became the only superpower and as South Korea surpassed North Korea in military capabilities, the ROK-US alliance's stance against North Korea became more apparent. In June 1994, the Clinton administration contemplated a nuclear strike against NK, but gave up after computer simulations showed that vast destruction in South Korea and even Japan world result.

The aggressive nature of ROK-US alliance has heightened during the Bush administration. The US and South Korean authorities are thinking of a new ROK-US alliance based on strengthening their postures against North Korea, as well as expanding operations to 'out of area', beyond the Korean peninsula.

First, this involved relocating of US forces from the forward deployment near the DMZ to the rear, out of range of North Korea's long-lange artillery, removing the abstacles to launching a preemptive strike, and installing MD. To implement CONPLAN 8022, the US to deploy Aegis destroyers and submarines carrying Trident missiles, equipped with the most advanced utra-sophisticated conventional warheads, on the high seas near the Korean peninsula.

Moreover the policy of Strategic Flexibility was agreed on, allowing 'out of area' operations beyond the Korea peninsula, which was prohibited before January 2006. Therefore, US Forces in Korea, without consultation or agreement by the ROK government, have acquired the potential to intervene in a conflict in the Taiwan strait or any other crisis region in the world.

The new alliance's call for 'out of area' operations beyond Korea suggests a call for a regional alliance. The current Asia-Pacific alliance system is based on bilateral alliances such as the US-Japan, US-Australia, US-Korea, and Japan-Australia alliances. The US is using the USPACOM's Theater Security Cooperation Plan to develop bilateral alliances into an Asia Pacific regional military alliance.

On November 18, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and then-President Roh Moo Hyun agreed to expand the ROK-US alliance into a global alliance and agreed to explore South Korea's participation in NATO and the Global Partnership program, which suggests the US ambition of elevating the Asia- Pacific alliance into a global military alliance.

The US government reportedly is planning to establish the US-led Pan- Asia Pacific Security Union. The first step toward this is to include South Korea and Japan in PAPSU, and the South Korea-USA Summit Talk in April will be the beginning of this first step. The second step is to include Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand in PAPSU. The plan to establish PAPSU clearly shows the US government¡¯s intention to build a multilateral security alliance in the Asia-Pacific region.

The formation of a US-led Asia-Pacific alliance and a globel alliance will be facilitated by US-led combined exercises such as the Rim of the Pacific exercise which involves Asia Pacific alliance nations and NATO, and the Theater Security Cooperation Plan, RF-A/N, in which the US's Asia-Pacific allies and NATO countries take part.

Countering this trend, China and Russia are increasing their military cooperation and are engaged in combined exercises such as landing on the Korean peninsula. They are continuously engaged in combined exercises through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In August 2007, SCO, in order to counter NATO's eastward expansion, held large-scale combined exercises, using advanced conventional weapons, in Xinjang, China and Chelyabinsk, Russia, in the Eurasian heartland. This suggests the US's global alliance building may lead to a new Cold War.

One of the ways to disable USSTRATCOM's CONPLAN 8022 is to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. For the 55 years since the Korean War ended with the signing of the armistice agreement, the Korean peninsula has been experienced continuous military confrontation and local conflicts, and has been exposed to the constant danger that these could escalate into all-out war.

The only way to ensure peace on the Korean peninsula is to conclude a peace agreement and end the Korean War legally and to demilitarize to the level where the two sides would not be able to engage in aggressive all-out war. Moreover, during this process the USFK must be withdrawn. The USFK are the principal offender in the military crises that destabilize the Korean peninsula. Therefore, unless and until the USFK are completely and permanently withdrawn from South Korea, it will be impossible to establish peace on the Korean peninsula. Also, withdrawal of the USFK is an obligation stipulated in article 60 of the armistice agreement.

In the 9․19 Joint Declaration resulting from the 6-Party Talks in Beijing, it was agreed that holding a forum on the establishment of a peace structure for the Korea peninsula greatly increases the chances for concluding a peace agreement. If a peace agreement for the Korean peninsula is concluded, the withdrawal of the USFK is realized, and peace is established on the Korean peninsula, this will be a major contribution to the attainment of peace in the Northeast Asian region as well.

SPARK (Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea) is now working with other civic organizations to realize the conclusion of a Korean peninsula peace agreement and the withdrawal of the USFK. SPARK is also struggling to prevent the reinforcement of the South Korean-US military alliance, since it is incompatible with a peace agreement and withdrawal of US troops.

Our struggle to achieve that result will make a small contribution toward disabling USSTRATCOM and CON-PLAN 8022 here.

We rely on the Global Network's active support and engagement to this end.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Vigil outside of space weapons symposium in Colorado Springs. More than 7,500 from aerospace industry and military attended the $25 million arms bazaar.

News conference to start the weekend in Omaha

Protest at StratCom

We made it home safe and sound....4,949 miles all together. We are happy, had a great trip, felt really good about the conference and protest at StratCom, got energized from seeing old and new friends, but are completely road weary and worn out like an old shoe.

Last night we dropped Brendan O'Connor off fairly close to his hometown in Cooperstown, N.Y. Brendan was a great addition to our car on the way home. When we made the crazy snowstorm drive from Colorado Springs to Omaha he was a key driver in our second car and his experience of driving in upstate New York winters paid off.

We stopped in Chicago on the way back east and had dinner two nights ago at a restaurant owned by family friends of Karen from times past. It was a fun visit for all of us as we talked politics with Greg Morelli who not only is co-owner of the place with his brother but is also a host of a local radio show on Chicago's Air America station called Family Values with an Oy Vey. Greg is a real comedian with good politics. He tried to get us drunk but we had more driving to do.

Gas ain't cheap along the highways of America these days and the talk is that truckers are planning a national strike soon in hopes of shutting down the country. They are paying more than $4 a gallon for diesel fuel and are losing money.

In Iowa my brother-in-law told me that the farmers are making more money off corn than ever before as ethanol production has pushed the price of corn high and exports are growing as well. Many farmers are switching from growing soy beans to the more lucrative corn crop. Farming for cars, just doesn't sound right.

The peace in space movement has less good news to share. Even though we had a great conference, our biggest ever, the military industrial complex is forging ahead with their plans to move the arms race into space. So we can bask in the glow of a successful confab for a few days and then need to get back to slogging away in the salt mines.

If you did not yet see the conference intro done by Dave Webb be sure to watch it here.

And be sure to read the excellent Omaha Reader interview with Mary Beth about conversion.
To see more conference photos click here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


In Iowa now and getting ready to head east after visiting my sister. Sun is rising and the sky looks clear.

We are all feeling great about the Omaha confab. (Photo above taken during our April 11 protest at StratCom. Huge security presence that day.)

On Sunday, after our annual business meeting, about 50 of us went to a local health food restaurant for lunch. The joint has anti-war signs in their windows and it had a second floor room just big enough for four large tables that fit us all. It was a nice ending to the weekend and people were really buzzing.

So now we start the long drive home. We've added a fourth person, Brendan O'Connor, to our car as he lives in upstate New York and we will drop him off on the way home. About 26 hours of driving from here to Maine. We plan on making it to Chicago tonight and will stop at an Italian restaurant there that is owned by some old friends of our other passenger Karen Wainberg. For me it is a great plan as I have not had a good Italian meal since we left home. I chart my course by the meals along the way.

My sister is thrilled that we stopped by and it was a wonderful visit, even though very short. The town she lives in has only about 250 residents so visitors are always appreciated.
The local town newspaper says there is a rooster on the loose and the town council must intervene. Another key story is that the town's water system is falling apart and that 707,000 gallons of water were lost last month. That will be a huge expense for such a small town. One more example how wasteful military spending is when we look at other more important priorities that are being neglected.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The conference opened Friday night with an incredible presentation by Native American activist Frank LaMere and four young men who drummed and sang songs to us.

Our second day of the Omaha conference went exceptionally well. About 200 people attended throughout the day and we got great reviews of the many wonderful speakers.

The conference opened today with a StratCom introduction five minute video created by Global Network chair Dave Webb from England. Dave is also the Vice-Chair of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

On Sunday morning we will hold our annual business meeting and then go out together to a local restaurant where we have reserved a room for our key folks to have lunch together.

We must give great thanks to Nebraskans for Peace for the incredible hosting of the conference. Tim Rinne and Mark Welsh in particular worked very hard and did a remarkable job of arranging home hospitality and local transportation and all the other little things that one has to do for such an event. Many volunteers from Nebraska worked hard to make the conference a great success and we are most grateful to them all.

There were far too many wonderful speakers to try to name here. We plan to get copies of the videos that were taken and want to make a one-hour compilation of some of the most pertinent remarks. I hope we can have that done in the next few weeks.

We head to northwest Iowa on Monday morning to visit my sister who lives there. It will be nice to see her since our mother very recently passed away. With all the traveling of late I've not had much time to connect with family.

Friday, April 11, 2008


We arrived in Omaha at 9:00 pm last night after a hard 15-hour drive from Colorado Springs through a blinding blizzard. As we drove we saw at least 25 cars and trucks off the road in ditches and several turned completely upside down. In one instance a car passed us driving quite fast and then when it moved to get into our lane in front of us it skidded right off the road and into the snow. We are lucky to have made it alive and well. We had two cars loaded with people and our gear and we were able to stay together the whole way.

The weather forecast for Omaha is rain and some snow Friday and Saturday and I am certain that some number of our folks will have their flights cancelled as they attempt to get to Omaha today. My guess is that we will have to be making changes in the conference program as we go along.

Otherwise all is well in Omaha. More later.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


We were back at the space symposium this morning at 9:00 am for an hour of bannering and leafleting. I tried my hand at passing out leaflets and had pretty good luck. It was a cool but sunny morning, with the snow-capped Pikes Peak so near in the background. All of this put me in a particularly good mood and I greeted all the conference attendees with my sunny outlook as they were moving from the hotel to the convention building. It seemed that they were startled a bit by my being so friendly and I had better luck than expected with people taking my leaflets. That is except for the Air Force officers dressed in their uniforms, only one of them (a woman) would take one. I did invite the officers to help hold a banner - none agreed to help but several did have a laugh over it.

At 3:00 pm we moved to another part of the city to vigil at the front gate of Peterson AFB which is the headquarters for the Air Force Space Command. We stayed there for an hour as the shift was changing and big gas guzzling cars by the hundreds moved on and off the base. (About 18,000 military personnel and civilian contractors work at Peterson AFB.) We held our big new banner (above) that was given to me when I recently attended the Pacific Life Community retreat in Santa Barbara, California. The banner was painted during the retreat and used just once at the protest we held at Vandenberg AFB that weekend.

In between the morning and afternoon vigils today I went with Bill Sulzman and Jan Tamas to Colorado College where Jan spoke to a large class of students taking a course on the European Union. They had been studying politics in Central Europe and were eager to hear Jan's analysis of the Czech Republic "missile defense" radar deployment controversy. He did a fine job with some small assistance from Bill and myself.

So in spite of near total media blackout of our protests here in Colorado Springs we are still reaching many people with our message. When the corporate media won't cover our protests we've got to get out on the streets where we can still be seen by the public.

In Wednesday morning we go back to the Broadmoor Hotel for yet another day of vigiling outside the space warfare confab.

Monday, April 07, 2008


We had two vigils in Colorado Springs today. The first held at noon on a busy downtown street. The second at 5:00 pm at the entrance of the Broadmoor Hotel where the Space Foundation launched its annual space symposium. Both vigils were organized by Citizens for Peace in Space, a co-founding affiliate of the Global Network.

The local newspaper reported this morning that 7,500 people would be attending the space foundation conference this year. The cost of putting on this event will be more than $25 million - mostly taxpayer money that is handed over to the aerospace industry to build space technology to "protect" us from our "enemies." The question remains, who will protect us from the waste, fraud, and corruption that is endemic within the military industrial complex?

This evening a community forum was held at the public library where we heard from three speakers who have come to this city to join the protests. Jan Tamas, a leader of the movement to oppose the U.S. Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic, reported that 70% of their citizens oppose the radar base. J. Narayana Rao from Nagpur, India talked about his organizing efforts to bring the space weaponization issue to the Indian peace movement and the public at large in his country. Mary Beth Sullivan, the Global Network's Outreach Coordinator, explored what an alternative sustainable technology future of windmills, solar, public railways, and more would look like instead of building weapons for control and domination of space.

We go back out to the entrance of the Broadmoor first thing in the morning. Once again we will hold signs and banners and hand out leaflets to those entering the space warfare confab.

Today Brendan O'Connor, who took a Greyhound bus from upstate New York to join us, dressed up in my old Darth Vadar costume and stood by the entrance. One man became angry at us being there and walked up to Brendan and shoved him with all his might and the mask flew off Vadar's face exposing a surprised 27-year old who handled it all very well. It was the perfect example of one of the "space warriors" thinking that these "peaceniks" had no right to be there holding our signs and banners.

The idea of replacing violence with non-violence is too much for some folks who make a good living preparing for the destruction of the world.

It is so important for us to be here in Colorado Springs to remind the space weapons industry that growing numbers of people around the world are catching onto their dangerous and expensive game and are standing against the madness.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


We arrived in Colorado Springs about an hour ago after a long but fun ride west from Maine. We did about 12 hours a day (with a few meals stops of course) and nights in hotels along the highway.

Last night we got a call while driving through Kansas (the Saudia Arabia of wind) from Danien Moran who was coming to the U.S. to join us in Colorado and then move on to Nebraska with us. Damien is from Ireland and was involved in the Pitstop Plowshares in 2003 at Shannon airport in Dublin to protest the U.S. military using the civilian airport as a refueling base on its way to bomb Iraq. The plowshares action symbolically hammered on a U.S. war plane and the activists were eventually acquitted before an Irish court.

In recent times Damien has been living in Poland and helping to organize protests against the proposed Bush deployment of "missile defense" interceptors in that country.

Damien told us last night that after he landed in Chicago, "As well as a a plowshares acquittal to my name I now have the privilege of being sent packing on a one-way flight from Chicago airport to Warsaw just 5 hours after I had landed. I was immediately detained and questioned by Homeland Security officers about our Pitstop Plowshares action at Shannon in February, 2003 (, why I was arrested, why our group 'sabotaged' U.S. military property. I informed them about our action and acquittal with pleasure. They were none too pleased. When the gung-ho Officer Bock shouted out that deportation was the least of my problems I decided there was no point of pushing his buttons too far. I made my anti-war statement, explaining that I was en route to visit my brother in Virginia, then planned going to Colorado Springs and Nebraska to speak at anti-militarism conferences/panels and demonstrations. I've been traveling and waiting in airports non-stop for the past 30 hours so now it's time to hit the hay. I will write a more extensive report tomorrow. Unfortunately I've lost $350 dollars in flight expenses while the Global Network ( Against Weapons in Space that invited me have been setback over $1,000. If anyone has spare change to donate and help with costs (will be dedicated to anti-militarist/missile defense/direct action purposes) please let me know. No Pasaran (New motto of U.S. Homeland Security dissenters)."

So far our other international speakers are entering the country without any problems. We begin protesting on Monday.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


We made it to Elmira, N.Y. before stopping at a hotel for the night. It was a 12 hour driving day. The weather was quite nice although we see that rain will be our fate for Friday's drive.

The news today is that NATO has agreed to support "missile defense" in Europe and the Czech government, despite major opposition from their public, will allow Bush to deploy the Star Wars radar base in their country.

Our friend Jan Tamas, a key leader in the opposition movement to the radar in the Czech Republic writes this about the "agreement." "The public opposition to the US plan of installing an NMD base in the Czech Republic continues to be very strong and so it will be very difficult for both the Czech government and especially the Czech parliament to pass this treaty. The government has a very small majority in the Czech Parliament and therefore the outcome of the vote is not predictable at this moment. Some members of the Czech Parliament from the Green Party, which is part of the government coalition have already expressed lack of satisfaction with the outcome of the NATO summit and may vote against the treaty. In any case, we will continue pushing for national referendum on this issue, so that all citizens of our country will get a chance to decide on this very important issue."

NATO expansion that is now underway is good for the military industrial complex as they require that all NATO members military forces and equipment must be "inter-operable." This means they have to have American military technology rather than their present systems which were likely purchased from Russia and other nations. In the end it dramatically enlarges a military force outfitted and controlled by the U.S.

So NATO not only expands the ring of military encirclement around Russia ever tighter but they also please the corporate military big-wigs who are now calling the political shots in their countries. Like in the U.S. the military industrial complex in Europe in moving to dominate governments. That means more militarization and less social spending.

Poland will be brought in line next as they will ultimately agree to host Pentagon "missile defense" interceptor missiles. Not long ago a team of American physicists declared that the U.S. deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic could not actually intercept any missiles from Iran (even if they had any). Instead, the scientists said, the systems could only work to pick off Russian nuclear missiles. Of course the Bush pirate crew vigorously denies any such intention on the part of the U.S. to surround or attack Russia. But Russia knows they are the real target - largely because they are now the world's leading producer of natural gas. The U.S. is putting its first-strike system in place.

Our annual Global Network conference in Omaha, and the preceding protest in Colorado Springs, could not turn out to be more timely.

The whole world is watching as they say. People are starting to pay attention to Bush's new arms race in Europe and in space. Just like Ronald Reagan in the early 1980's, with his Pershing II and Cruise missile deployments, Bush is poking at a hornets nest. The peace movement in Europe is waking up from its long slumbers and folks in the U.S. are even beginning to pay some attention to this issue.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


This is the leaflet that has been prepared for us to hand out to those "space warriors" who will be attending the Colorado Springs confab next week. Since we know that some of them regularly view this blog they can get an early glimpse.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


We leave early Thursday morning for the long drive to Colorado Springs in our rental mini-van. My Addams-Melman House mates Mary Beth and Karen will make the long drive west with me as we first go to protest the aerospace industries annual space symposium in Colorado. Each year they bring more than 5,000 space industry, military, politicians, and academia together to promote the weaponization of space. They bus in hundreds of unsuspecting high school students from around Colorado and run them through their safely guarded arms bazaar and fill their young minds with the "ooh and awe" of control and domination of the heavens - the masters of disaster in action.

Several days of protests are planned outside the event by our friends in Citizens for Peace in Space based in Colorado Springs. (Click on the graphic above to see it better.) We have about a dozen Global Network leaders from around the world coming to join these events.

From there we will drive back east to Omaha, Nebraska in time for the Global Network conference which is set to begin with a protest on April 11 at the front gates of StratCom which is located inside Offutt A.F.B.

Here is the revised schedule for Colorado Springs:

* Monday April 7, 5 - 5:45 PM - Bannering and leafletting before the opening banquet at the Convention Center at the Broadmoor. We will carpool from the Justice and Peace Office at 214 E. Vermijo at 4:30. Meet us there or at the Broadmoor.

* Monday April 7, 7 - 8:30 PM - Forum at the Carnegie Room, Penrose Public Library (downtown, Cascade and Kiowa) titled, "War or Peace in Space? a Global Perspective" - Panelists include J. N. Rao of India, Jan Tamas of the Czech Republic, Damian Moran from Poland and Mary Beth Sullivan from Bath, Maine.

* Tuesday April 8, 3 - 4 PM - Bannering outside the north gate of Peterson AFB. Carpooling from the J&P office at 2:30 PM.

* Wednesday April 9 10:30 - 12:30 - Bannering at the Broadmoor during the visits of hundreds of local school children to the "Lockheed Martin" Arms Bazaar Exhibit Hall. Carpooling from the J& P at 10 AM.

Colorado Springs is military central with five bases located there. Schriever and Peterson Air Force Base's are key space command facilities and have grown dramatically over the years. In addition, aerospace corporation production facilities are now the boom industry in the city. About half the population of Colorado Springs works for the military industrial complex.