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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


A few of the speakers at the Town of Brunswick and MRRA public hearing the other night.

Especially moving was the last speaker of the night, a woman we did not know who came from the Brunswick community. She told a heart breaking story about a father in Afghanistan holding his small daughter who had been killed by a drone, and concluded her words with a special surprise statement.


By Loring Wirbel and Bill Sulzman, Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs/Global Network board members

Peace groups internationally are putting the pressure on President Obama this fall, as he ponders the request from Gen. McChrystal for a “surge” troop escalation in Afghanistan. Thankfully, leading Democrats and even former President Clinton are urging caution, though few are taking the wiser step of recommending a pullout. But there is an additional decision Obama must make, one which the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space sees as a fundamental issue in the upcoming Keep Space for Peace Week.

As soon as CIA Director Leon Panetta was appointed in an acting role to his post, he asked Obama for a significant escalation in armed “drone” flights, utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), over both Afghanistan and Pakistan. These robot planes are flown by ground-based pilots, either in-country or even in the United States, using space as the navigational medium. The UAVs can accurately send bombs to pinpoint locations, though this does not mean there is no “collateral damage” in terms of civilian human casualties.

The Global Network wants to remind people that standoff war using robotic technology is neither surgical, nor antiseptic, nor moral. It can be appealing to the White House and to the American public, because it is allows nearly infinite kill ratios – thousands of so-called adversaries can be killed with very little chance of U.S. casualties. With no American soldiers coming home in body bags, few U.S. citizens care about anything else.

Yet turning the Afghanistan-Pakistan war into a UAV turkey-shoot is little different from the assassination squads approved by former Vice President Dick Cheney. In fact, it is no accident that, on two successive days, the New York Times reported on Blackwater (now Xe) being assigned to Cheney’s death-squad team, and the same Blackwater group being used for outsourcing of armed UAV flights. One method of killing is being used to replace the other.

Not so long ago, UAV pilots used joysticks to control UAVs, emulating a video game. Now they use Google Earth on touch screens to point to a location they want a robot plane to bomb. Within a year, those Google Earth applications will be available for special iPhones and Blackberries made for U.S. troops. And all those means of delivering death use space. Many of the war-fighter tools that are employed from space also take advantage of the Pentagon’s new cyber-warrior tools, which have culminated in the establishment of a dedicated Cyber Command to control computer networks here and abroad.

Moral review of space policy is ruled out because the critic can never have access to the “secret information” needed for evaluation. Hiding the truth from the enemy means hiding it from the public. Real public discourse cannot happen, either, because the body politic cannot be trusted with all the facts.

The Global Network has had reason to see optimism in recent months: No true weapon in space has yet been fielded by any nation. Obama has canceled planned missile-defense ground-based components in Poland and the Czech Republic. The world’s leaders are pledging to work harder to banish nuclear weapons. And Obama has called for a review of the October 2006 National Space Policy that calls for virtual U.S. “ownership” of orbital space.

But like so many national-security realms where Obama has taken tentative half-steps, the struggle for peace in space is far from over. The U.S. military remains by far the largest user of orbital space. Its satellites for intelligence, communications, and navigation remain the key enabling components that allow the U.S. and its allies to conduct war. And Obama’s new sea-based missile-defense plans allow a more provocative stance in challenging the nations like Iran and North Korea that are trying to foil global management plans.

For Keep Space for Peace Week, we urge activists throughout the world to examine closely the claims for “sanitizing” warfare. We urge citizens to not be swayed into thinking that a war allowing more invisible means of killing others is somehow one that can be accepted better than bloody battles on the ground. Space is the ultimate commons, and no one has the right to dominate the planet through unilateral control.

October 3-10, 2009

Keep Space for Peace Week:
International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space

No Missile Defense
No Use of Space for Drone Wars
Stop Endless War
Convert the Military Industrial Complex
Fund Human Needs

Local Events

· Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 3) Protest at Kirtland Air Force Base (Truman Gate), 11:00 am
· Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 10) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street, 11:30 am Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm & Maine Veterans for Peace (207) 763-4062
· Brunswick, Maine (Oct 4) Public talk and video about use of space technology for directing UAV (drone) attacks in Afghanistan/Pakistan war, Curtis Memorial Library, 7:00 pm
· Burlington, Vermont (Oct 6) Drones protest at Democracy statue, 199 Main Street, 3:00 pm WILPF
· Burlington, Vermont (Oct 6) Educational program 4-6 pm at Fletcher Free Library, 235 College St., Keep Space for Peace film and talk about US use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan WILPF
· Busan, South Korea (Oct 9) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at YMCA, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 7) Public talk by Fr. Louis Vitale on morality of UAVs and standoff warfare
· Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 8) Bannering at Schriever AFB
· Creech AFB, Nevada (Sept 25-30) Peace encampment to ground the drones at key UAV base Code Pink
· RAF Croughton, England (Oct 3) March to, and demonstration at, main gate of U.S. Space Communications Base, 12-3pm Speakers: Bruce Kent, Susan Clarkson & Chris Cole
· Damascus, Syria (Oct 4) Issue news release in Arabic and web postings Dr.Ghassan Shahrour
· Fort Meade, Maryland (Oct 10) Protest at National Security Agency (NSA), Pledge of Eesistance-Baltimore
· Groton, Connecticut (Oct 5) Vigil at Groton Electric Boat shipyard, Atlantic Life Community
· Halifax, Nova Scotia (Oct 6) Film Screening and Discussion of Arsenal of Hyopocrisy, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Just Us! Café, 5896 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax Peace Coalition
· Incheon, South Korea (Oct 15) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Christian Solidarity for Life and Peace, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Jalgaon, India (Oct 9) Talk on space issues at North Maharashtra University
· Jalgaon, India (Oct 10) Talk on space issues at Nutan Marathi College
· Kimhae, South Korea (Oct 13) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at YMCA, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Leeds, England (Oct 8) Talk by Professor Noel Sharkey (robot and artificial intelligence expert) on "Robot Wars, drones and teaching machines to kill, the ethical issues" at 7pm in LTB 3 at Civic Campus, Leeds Metropolitan University Sponsored by Yorkshire CND and The Praxis Centre
· Mahrashtra, India (Oct 5) Talk on space issues at University and MGM College of Computer Science
· Menwith Hill, England (Oct 3)Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire, Sponsored by CAAB & Yorkshire CND or 07766558833
· Mumbai, India (Oct 2) New book called “World Without Wars” to be released. Book will include chapters on space organizing issues.
· Mumbai, India (Oct 7) Talk on space issues at Mumbai University Department of Eurasian Studies
· Mumbai, India (Oct 8) Talk on space issues at S.E.S. College, New Mumbai
· Olympia, Washington (Oct 3 & 4) Tabling to preserve space for peace at Traditions Cafe 12-4 pm
· Oslo, Norway (Oct 14) Keep Space for Peace seminar featuring Karl Grossman & Roman Dolgov at Litteraturhuset, 6:00 pm
· Sacramento, California (Oct 8) Leafleting for International Week of Protest of Militarization of Space, 1:00-1:00 pm, Cathedral Square, 11th and K St., Co-sponsored by Sacramento Area Peace Action, Sacramento Valley chapter of WILPF, and Grandmothers for Peace International. Call 916-448-7157
· San Francisco, California (Oct 11) CodePink peace walk on the Golden Gate Bridge to Ground the Drones
· Seoul, South Korea (Oct 11) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Saegil Institute for Christianity and Culture, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Seoul, South Korea (Oct 16) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Lifepeace Fellowship, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 17) Sweden in NATO and the use of Space Conference with Claudia Haydt, Jan Tamas, Dave Webb, Kirsti Kolthoff, and Ingela Maertensson. Sponsored by Women for Peace, WILPF, No to EU, PAND Sweden, Swedish Peace Committe. Swedish Peace Council, World Peace March and Swedish Womens Left Association
· Sydney, Australia (Oct 8) Space video showing at University of Sydney Seminar Rm 365 Education Facility) 6:30 pm WILPF and AABCC For more info, ring Stefania 9960 2952; Denis 0418 290 663
· Sydney, Australia (Oct 9) Space for Peace stall at Town Hall, 12:30-2:00 pm WILPF and AABCC For more info, ring Stefania 9960 2952; Denis 0418 290 663
· Tacoma, Washington (Oct 7) Vigil & leafleting outside U.S. District Courthouse focusing on Keeping Space for Peace (12 - 1 PM) before the Federal Trial of Nicole Scott, who has twice been arrested for trespassing on Federal property during nonviolent actions at Trident submarine base Bangor. Sponsored by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action ( Courthouse information at: Contact for more info.
· Tokyo, Japan (Sept 26) Talk on space issues and new National Defense Program guidelines
· Tucson, Arizona (Oct 3) Tucson WILPF Branch event "Ground the Drones!" 2 pm at Himmel Park Library, 1035 N. Treat. Speaker & video to promote awareness of two local businesses involved in Drone warfare: Raytheon Missiles (which makes drones) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base that trains pilots.
· Tucson, Arizona (Oct 8) Peace Vigil at Raytheon Missile Factory from 6:30-7:30 a.m. at Herman's Road entrance, on Nogales Highway (3rd traffic light south of Valencia on Nogales Highway, extension of 6th Ave. south), Jack or Felice at 323-8697 or
· Valley Forge/King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Oct 10) Peace in Space/Peace on Earth! Vigil at Lockheed Martin, Mall & Goddard Boulevards, Noon Brandywine Peace Community
· Vandenberg AFB, California (Oct 3) Vigil at front gate of Star Wars missile launch base, 1:00 pm Dennis Apel (805) 343-6322
· Washington DC (Oct 5) No good war, No good drones protest at White House, gather at McPherson Square (15th and I Streets NW) at 10 a.m.
· Washington DC (Oct. 9) Noon-1:00 pm Vigil at White House, sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Contact Art Laffin, 202-360-6416


The proposed new "Eco-Friendly" Navy base at Jeju Island in South Korea
The brilliant coral reefs Jeju residents want to protect

I leave on October 6-25 for another speaking trip to South Korea. I'll be traveling this time to several cities and near the end of the tour I will be visiting Jeju Island which is just off the southern tip of South Korea, very near the Chinese mainland.

In 2002 the South Korean government announced the intention to build a Naval base on Jeju Island and since that time people have been organizing to stop the construction of the base.

According to one South Korean peace organization (Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea- SPARK), “Setting the Aegis [destroyer] in Jeju Island and operating the ships as an element of constructing an Asian missile defense system is part of the U.S. military program. From the geographical point of view, the naval base in Jeju Island cannot have been anything else but the U.S. missile defense base on the sea. Jeju Island is at the center of conflict structure of northeast Asia in reference to missile defense system. The island is located at the gateway of East Asia. Recently, the strengthening of the U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea military alliance led by the U.S. is an unstable fact. Under the circumstance, the naval base in Jeju Island would become a stepping-stone for the U.S. navy. It would also be inevitable that Jeju Island would turn to be a focal point of an arms race in Northeast Asia.”

Local protests against the base have even been organized under the ocean in order to show the world the precious coral reefs that would be in danger of destruction from the militarization of their island.

Construction will begin in December and the base is slated to be completed in 2014. The Jeju base will serve as the home port for the Navy's strategic mobile fleet of two Aegis destroyer-led squadrons to be initially operational beginning next year.

The Navy's Aegis combat system, built by Lockheed Martin, is the same missile defense system that Obama has declared he intends to deploy throughout Europe. These Aegis-based missile defense systems will take the place of the controversial systems Obama recently decided not to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Korea Times reports:

"Jeju has long been considered a tactical, strategic point to secure southern sea lanes for transporting energy supplies and to conduct mobile operations in the case of an emergency in the region," the Navy official said.

"Following the construction, the Navy will be able to successfully conduct long-range operations to protect our commercial vessels in blue waters, including the Malacca Strait, as well as carry out full-scale operations around the Korean Peninsula," he said.

China imports the majority of its oil through the Malacca Strait and the U.S. strategy is to put in place the ability to choke off this transit route thus giving the Pentagon the ability to control the keys to China’s and the world’s economic engine. The opening of a Navy base, and homeporting Aegis missile defense systems on Jeju Island, will be a major provocation toward China. It will ensure an even larger regional arms race.


Two of my favorite progressive journalists talking to each other about health care. Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report being interviewed by Paul Jay of The Real News Network.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Last night nearly 30 peaceniks attended the joint meeting of the Brunswick Town Council and the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA). The MRRA has been tasked by the state with the responsibility to plan for what will happen at the local Naval Air Station after it closes in 2011.

At the beginning of the meeting one town councillor said she had never seen so many people at one of their meetings since she began serving on the council. Most of those in the packed audience had come because of the flurry of news articles and letters to the editor in the local paper about using the base as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Test Center.

One of the first things that was stated by the leadership of the MRRA was that the town council would have no authority over any decisions made by the redevelopment agency. The members of the MRRA are all appointed by the governor and as one member told the audience, "We are appointed for four-year terms and have no constituency."

Yeah, right.

Again the MRRA, sensing that there was deep concern in the audience about the drone issue, launched a preemptive strike when one member declared, "UAV's are consistent with our aviation feasibility study" that recommends "aviation and aerospace" as potential uses of the closing base.

In my words to the town council and MRRA I shared conclusions from a recent study by three UAV experts to the Welsh government where they suggest that drones testing is not safe.

I said: Airworthiness standards are insufficiently mature to allow their use over populated areas; the need for segregated airspace for drone testing will impact civilian air operations; they will invade our privacy because they are outfitted with surveillance cameras and there will be no real controls over who gets the information; they will pollute and make unwanted noise; AND PROBABLY MOST IMPORTANTLY because of intermittent communication and loss of contact arising from terrain shielding and the absence of on-board pilots to deal with emergency situations they will not be immune to crashes – it would be like your cell phone temporarily being out of reception range, drones fly by receiving radio signals from satellites; termination of flights will not be controllable.

In the last month two UAV's crashed in Iraq and one crashed in Wales.

Several other strong presentations were also made that appealed to these two government bodies to create a positive sustainable presence at the closing base. One speaker, reminding the MRRA that they had just said the redevelopment plans included a world-class resort hotel and two different college facilities, questioned the logic of having drones buzzing around these heavily populated institutions. That one drew a hearty laugh from the assembled.

After a while the council chair tired of hearing from the great unwashed in the audience and determined that no one else wanting to talk about drones (at this advertised public hearing) could speak. Only local residents with something else to say (and obviously more important) should address the be-knighted, she concluded. That didn't work out well as still a couple more anti-droners took to the podium.

We got a spirited lecture from John Richardson, former speaker of the Maine House of Representatives who now sits on the MRRA board. He was appointed by the governor as his Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. Mr. Richardson did a long bloviation about how he opposed the war in Iraq and led the effort to have the Maine House pass a resolution against it. Very commendable.

But then Mr. Richardson, and MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque, launched their final strike against us by saying that at this time there was really no issue about drones. There was no need for concern, they warned. At this time there were "no proposals" to use the base as a drone flight test center.

Of course these guys think we just fell off the back of the pumpkin delivery truck. It was like listening to Bill Clinton give a definition of what "is" is.

My reaction to all this? Why, if there would ultimately be no plans for drone testing in Brunswick, did Mr. Richardson feel the slightest need to tell the local newspaper on September 1, "There are many adaptive uses of UAVs that could be very helpful to the nation and then the world. I wouldn't cast out of hand UAV research or testing, because of the potential benefits to the nation in the areas of search and rescue, air and water quality, homeland security and even forest fire prevention."

Some people will do and say anything to make a buck.

Tonight I drive south to Portland to attend a meeting of the Maine State Rail Plan Technical Advisory Committee. In my early years as an organizer I co-founded a group called the Peoples Transit Organization in Orlando, Florida that fought against more and wider road building and instead pushed for bus expansion and construction of light rail in the community. One of our first acts was to suggest to the City Council of Orlando that they put a free trolley line in the downtown area. They laughed us out the door. Last time I visited Orlando I saw a free trolley line carrying folks from one end of downtown to the other.

It would be great if tonight, instead of driving to Portland, I could take a light-rail line just like the one in the video above now being used in San Diego, California. It could be built at Bath Iron Works or at a new facility on the grounds of the closing Brunswick Naval Air Station. Research shows that more jobs would be created for local workers than we will get from testing drones or building Aegis destroyers in our community.

But sadly these ideas were not very welcome last night. The MRRA and their courtiers have their own plans afoot - and remember, they are beholden to no one.

Monday, September 28, 2009


There is a secret nuclear facility in the Middle East producing plutonium which has the capacity to make 10 nuclear warheads a year.

It is Israel's ongoing nuclear weapons production that drives the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Saddam wanted a bomb because Israel had one. The Iranians were then worried both about an Iraqi and an Israeli bomb. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others are annoyed at their geostrategic helplessness in the face of Israeli nukes.

Isn't it more than interesting that no one in the US political class ever talks about the nukes in Israel. And Israel refuses to sign the UN's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Please note that no American politicians are suggesting that Israel should allow international inspections of their nuclear facilities or that they should be bombed for remaining secret.

Why is this double-standard at work?


In Pittsburgh last week a G 20 protester was snatched by the cops (or was it the military?). One might call it a kidnapping. Was this done to send a message to the protest movement in the US? Was it a sign of things to come?

One should remember that this happened during the Obama administration. If it had happened under the Bush regime all holy hell would be sounded.

The Washington Post reported: Obama brushed off demonstrations in the city. He said they were mild compared with some in the past at international gatherings.

"I fundamentally disagree with their view that the free market is the source of all ills," he said. "Many of the protests are just directed generically at capitalism. ... One of the great things about the United States is you can speak your mind."

Yeah Mr. Obama, we sure do have the right to speak our mind in the US. Just tell that to the guy that got dragged into the car........what happened to him anyway? Did he get released? Was he a government agent and was this whole thing a set-up just to create fear? What's the story Mr. President? You believe in democracy, don't you?


John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods has argued that American workers do not deserve a health care system. We believe that health care should be affordable for everyone, not just rich people. So Mr. Mackey, this video is for you!

This action was organized in Oakland, California.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I had a wonderful day yesterday at the Common Ground Fair just outside of Unity, Maine. The weather was a perfect fall day, sunny and cool, and the crowds were enormous - 26,000 in fact.

I worked for several hours at the Veterans for Peace table gathering signatures on the petition opposing the plan to create an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight test center (the drone zone the local paper calls it) in nearby Brunswick. Under another of the huge tents the Peace Action Maine table was doing the same thing so between us we reached many people on the topic.

At 2:00 pm about 15 fellow peace activists from around the state gathered by one of the fair entrances where we dressed ourselves in black capes and put on white masks. We hung big black sandwich-board signs over our shoulders that in white letters raised the issues of endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two of us with drums, one in front and the other near the rear, pounded a slow and steady heartbeat as we walked throughout the huge fairgrounds for more than 30 minutes in a solemn single-file. The crowds would stop what they were doing and watch us though many more than we would have expected at such a "progressive" fair stood with blank stares on their faces. Of course we received many positive messages too but following our second time around the fair, after we had removed our costumes, all those participating agreed that many people in the public are in emotional shutdown.

It reminds me of the book called Art of Loving by Eric Fromm. He told the story about pre-Nazi Germany where psychology students went out onto the streets and queried the public about their reasons for virtually ignoring the warning signs of a coming fascism. The students found that the public did not want to think about it nor did they wish to act.

In his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Fromm wrote:

To have faith means to dare, to think the unthinkable, yet to act within the limits of the realistically possible; it is the paradoxical hope to expect the Messiah every day, yet not to lose heart when he has not come at the appointed hour. This hope is not passive and it is not patient; on the contrary, it is impatient and active, looking for every possibility of action within the realm of real possibilities. Least of all it is passive as far as the growth and liberation of one's own person are concerned....

The situation of mankind is too serious to permit us to listen to the demagogues - least of all demagogues who are attracted to destruction - or even to the leaders who use only their brains and whose hearts have hardened. Critical and radical thought will only bear fruit when it is blended with the most precious quality man is endowed with - the love of life.

At about 4:00 pm yesterday Maine Veterans for Peace president Dud Hendrick and I did a one-hour talk with about 25 people under one of the small workshop tents provided by the fair. We spoke about the growing US military empire and told some stories about how US bases in places like Diego Garcia, Marshall Islands, Greenland, and South Korea have stolen land from the peoples of those countries. We asked why the American people are not more engaged about the many thefts that result when one nation builds an empire?

My bottom line message was conversion, beating the swords into plowshares, and the need for all of us to find ways in our everyday lives to enflesh, to give life, to that demand if we hope to successfully bring home the empire.

Watch CBS TV News segment on the F-22 and local production jobs

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, September 26, 2009



The Guardian in the UK reports, "Only a few hundreds protesters took to the streets of Pittsburgh to mark the opening day of the G20 summit of world leaders, but the police were taking no chances.

Sonic weapons or long-range acoustic devices have been used by the US military overseas, notably against Somali pirates and Iraqi insurgents.

But US security forces turned the piercing sound on their own citizens yesterday to widespread outrage. Pittsburgh officials told the New York Times that it was the first time "sound cannon" had been used publicly."

Our government has declared open war on our citizens - at least those of us who disagree with official policy. Peaceful protest in the US is now seen as a declaration of war by the corporate controlled government. They are telling us to submit to their authority......

Friday, September 25, 2009


As the anti-coup resistance approaches 90 consecutive days of civil disobedience the current illegal Honduran government has increased repression in the neighborhoods of the capital city, forcing the poor to fight or starve.

The Obama administration continues to sit on the sidelines and watch (and in many ways encourage) the whole sordid affair.


Something fishy is going on here in Brunswick, Maine.

The corporation that is proposing to bring an Unmanned Flight Testing Center to the soon to be closed Naval Air Station in Brunswick is called Grifin LLC. As their headquarters, on a request for federal funding application, they give the address of 10 Mast Lane in Brunswick. The photo above is that address. Does not look much like your typical aerospace corporate HQ. One friend remarked that it appears as if Grifin LLC is fronting for some larger entity.

We learned yesterday that a similar drone flight test center in Wales, being challenged by the peace movement there, had recently had a UAV crash. You can see the story here

We also learned that three UAV experts in Wales have made public a study saying that UAV testing is not safe, especially near populated areas. You can see the report here

We have shared this latest info from Wales with media around Maine. It will be interesting to see if any of them do anything with it.

The Maine Aerospace Alliance (MAA) has just hired a guy with a background at Lockheed Martin to be their new Executive Director. The MAA has been instrumental in promoting the drone test center in Brunswick.

The newsletter of the Manufacturers Association of Maine reports that the MAA is "Partnering with Grifin LLC, Applied Thermal Sciences, Telford Aviation and Maine Aerospace Consulting to
determine the feasibility of creating an Unmanned Flight Center (UFC) in Brunswick."

We will continue to do our best to bring it all out into the open so the public can have something to say about it before it is a done deal.

We are being told by some local state politicians not to worry about this drone flight test center. But I've come to believe that these politicians are just trying to get us to give up and go away while they all work quietly behind the scenes to make it happen.

Many in state and local government think that we have to take Pentagon money if we want local job creation because there is nothing else to replace it. Better here than somewhere else one local official told one of our supporters just yesterday about the drones. This kind of "resignation" is what will in the end result in the further militarization of our economy and our culture unless we each unequivocally stand up against this.

We will only get solar, wind, and public transit manufacturing, instead of more military production, if we fight for it now. Otherwise the momentum of the status quo will prevail.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Author Woody Tasch clearly explains how current models of economic growth depend upon destructive and unsustainable living practices which do not support well being.

We need new economic models and a new consciousness about what kind of spending, job creation, and production would be good for our economy and for the survivability of the future generations.

In other words bold new thinking and the guts to publicly stand up for it.


* Our garden is beginning to fade as fall approaches. The sunflowers are always majestic but the various kinds of squash are my favorite now after we had to pull up all of our tomatoes which were destroyed by the blight.

* I've done two radio interviews this week. The first was an hour spot on Helen Caldicott's show that soon airs on Pacifica Network. The second was with one of the best talk show hosts in the country, Peter Werbe out of Detroit. He's just a brilliant interviewer. He takes summer vacations in Maine and always mentions a little joint just north of here in Wiscasset called Red's Eats which is famous for their lobster rolls. The owner, who recently died, had a last name of Gagnon. His family is still running the place. (Tonight I do another radio interview with a Jamaica station and Friday night one from Florida.)

* The drone story here has been top bill on the local newspaper twice this week. The letters are starting to flow into the newspaper. I sent one in this week and an activist in Kennebunk had a good one in the paper yesterday. This weekend is the famous Common Ground Fair here in Maine. It is one of my favorite annual events, a real celebration and display of the growing organic farming movement in the state. Several huge tents also house all the key social justice, environmental, and peace movement groups in Maine. We will take our little neighbor friend with us and go up on Saturday. I'll help out at the Veterans for Peace table and we will be talking up the drones issue while there. As people around the state learn more about the possibility of testing drones here in the Midcoast they are going to squawk.

* Sarah Palin made her highly anticipated speech in Hong Kong yesterday and this morning I read a review of it by the great British journalist Robert Fisk. You can see it here There is no doubt that she will be running for president in 2012 and this is a warm-up trip for her so she can claim to have foreign policy experience. She concluded the speech with some slams on China and inferred that we need to "ramp up" military spending to protect America from the Reds........It's going to be a wild ride.

* Our weekly radio show at Brunswick's Bowdoin College will now be on Sunday mornings. Peter Woodruff reports that station management has once again moved our slot, this time to the 10:30-12:00 time. Each semester when the students get back they get first pick of the best times. There are a few old-timers like us that have shows year round but Peter and I seem to be the #1 step-children and they keep bouncing our show around the dial. Might it have to do with the fact that we talk politics? Impossible........

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Mike Papantonio gives a great historical perspective on the current racist right-wing surge to defend the health insurance corporate interests.

While I don't share Papantonio's optimism about Obama, I think he is right-on with the rest of his piece. Worth watching.

Papantonio has a show called Ring of Fire on Air America radio.


Speaking of Mongolia, sandwiched between America's two biggest rivals, Navy Admiral Timothy Keating, Commander, US Pacific Command recently told the media, "They’re in, of course, a strategically critical spot for us, with Russia to the north and China in the south. They have some marvelous natural resources upon which they intend to capitalize. So they’re a good partner of ours, they’re good friends, and we enjoy working closely with them."

Indeed the US is very interested in the resources that lie beneath the soil of Mongolia. They have the world's third largest deposits of uranium with virtually none of it currently being extracted. Coal and gold are also available in Mongolia and the multi-national mining industries are salivating at the chance to get at all of these deposits - and they want to keep competitors like Russia and China at arms length.

But even more important is the strategic value of Mongolia's location. It is the perfect military outpost for any nation trying to surround Russia and China as the US is today.

Since 9-11 happened in 2001 the US has expanded its interaction with Mongolia. Military advisers now routinely make their way to Mongolia and the US is helping to finance and outfit new military bases there and is working to have unlimited access to them.

In August of this year the sixth annual Khaan Quest 2009 multinational military exercises were held there, jointly run by the Mongolian Armed Forces and the US Pacific Command under the Global Peace Initiative program, at the Five Hills Training Camp, 60 km west of Ulaanbaatar. Over 700 military personnel from Mongolia, US, India, South Korea, and Cambodia took part in the war games.

The Global Peace Initiative is a program managed by the U.S. Department of State to supposedly train "peace keeping troops" around the world. In truth this program recruits nations like Mongolia to have the Pentagon train their military forces for deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and gives the US a "legitimate" excuse to set up military operations at bases inside their country.

You can imagine that China and Russia are not thrilled to have the US military prowling around another country right on their border. Mongolia is just one more example of the current aggressive US plan to create more military outposts around the world - particularly in Central Asia.

Be prepared next to hear that NATO wants to set up "global partnership" relationships with Mongolia.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Swift Engineering is developing the Killer Bee unmanned aerial vehicle and produced this video animation of the UAV on a mission.

This is the future of, "sanitized," and fewer casualties for the "good guys". They need more testing areas for these systems and places like Brunswick, Maine are high on their list.


The signs say "Release the political prisoners"
Three of the South Korean reunification activists remain in prison

I hope you remember my previous posts about the six South Korean activists who were arrested last May under the oppressive "National Security Law". They were charged with the following crimes: Calling for the abolition of National Security Law, demanding withdrawal of the US troops, a peace treaty between the US and the North Korea, and reunification of North and South Korea.

Imagine that.......

Three of the six have been released but the three in the photo above still remain in prison and are facing 3-5 year prison sentences. These three are from the Seoul office of the Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification (PKAR) and are in the top leadership of the organization while the three who were recently released worked in PKAR offices in other parts of the country and were not at the top levels of leadership. Clearly the present right-wing South Korean government is acknowledging that they don't really have a strong case against the three they have released although they have been each put on several years of probation.

I was recently asked by the lawyers for the three that remain in prison to send a letter commenting on their demands that US bases be closed and US troops be sent home. They wanted to show that this is a position that is held even in the US and I have gladly sent the letter.

According to Korean Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi, "The National Security Law was made by the right-wing in South Korea after the establishment of its own separate South Korean government [1948], to purge their opposition. The precedence of the law was the ‘Law for Maintenance of the Public Security’ under the Japanese colonialism (1910~1945) that oppressed the independence movement activists who were against the Japanese imperialism. The ‘Law for Maintenance of the Public Security’ under Japanese imperialism was called ‘the most vicious law in the world’ and was abolished by the order of the headquarter of the united alliance countries after the defeat of the Japanese imperialism on October 15, 1945. More than 13,178 have been indicted under the National Security Law and went to trial from 1961-2002. The law has been used for the purpose to oppress the progressive movement who criticized the dictatorship governments."

While recently in South Korea I visited Eun-A Choi (the woman in the above photo) at the prison where she is being held. She had facilitated the plenary panel I spoke on during our Global Network space organizing conference in Seoul last April.

It is obvious to me that these trials of PKAR activists are meant to strike fear in the hearts and minds of the South Korean people by their right-wing government. And I have little doubt that the US, which also wants to suppress the anti-base and reunification movements in South Korea, is privately encouraging the government to pursue these policies.

Similarly in the US we see the Obama administration refusing to shut down the Patriot Act which gives our government the power to suppress movements in this country that stand against its aggressive war making policies.

In times like these we must support activists in other countries who are being punished for their peace making efforts. You can write or call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and tell them to release the PKAR activists from prison. Here is the information:


Address : 2320 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-939-5663
Fax: 202-342-1597

Monday, September 21, 2009


Today the newspaper in Brunswick, Maine reported that efforts to turn the closing local Naval Air Station (set to shut down in 2011) into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight test training center are moving ahead. The local director of the base redevelopment agency told the paper, “We’re certainly going to look at that,” he said. “They’re looking at that right now, and in an area like this, where it’s much more rural, it makes some more sense for us.”

The article concluded with words from Eric Bleicken from Grifin LLC, the corporation pushing this idea. He told the newspaper, “Let’s say you wanted to track whales along the Maine coast: You put a sensor in a blimp that can stay up there days or weeks at a time, and you simply track the whales and transmit that data to a ship or a computer on land,” he said. “You could be watching for drug traffickers or forest fires. It really opens the door to many, many uses you can’t accomplish today that are non-military. And most of the military uses are non-lethal. There are systems that can fire rockets, but those are the exception, not the rule.”

We are getting reports from all over the world that aerospace corporations are selling drone testing to local communities and in every case are claiming that the drones will be for non-military purposes. These people are lying through their teeth and no one should believe a world of it. Tracking whales - come on......these UAV's are to kill people and to spy on us.

See the full article here

We need to raise $1408.08 for a full page ad in the Brunswick Times Record opposing the testing of drones at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Your $20 donation to a signature ad will express your strong opposition to drones in Maine. The language will read something like this:

We strongly oppose turning the Brunswick Naval Air Station into a base or a testing facility for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones). These weapons, flown by pilots sitting at consoles in Nevada and New Mexico, kill hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and devastate communities. We the citizen/taxpayers of Maine will be asked to pay to facilitate this technology. We do not want our community involved in this “hands off” way of expanding the war.

People all over the state are worried about this possibility. Please send a check to the address below and include your name, address, town, phone number and e-mail address.

If you cannot afford $20, send what you can.

Come to the Common Ground Fair this weekend and pick up more literature on drones and their role in the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sponsored by Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks, PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011, Christine DeTroy, treasurer.


The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: "Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

Obama does not seem to know what he wants to do. Media reports maintain that he is undertaking an extensive review of Afghanistan. Previously it was thought that Obama had agreed with Gen. McChrystal's "counterinsurgency strategy" but now key members of his own Democratic party are publicly warning that their patience on Afghanistan is running out. The president is thus beginning a "logic chain" review of the current war plan. Public support for Obama's "good war" is in free-fall as up to 57% of the American people now oppose this eight-year mess.

In another article in the Washington Post this morning they report: But Obama's deliberative pace -- he has held only one meeting of his top national security advisers to discuss McChrystal's report so far -- is a source of growing consternation within the military. "Either accept the assessment or correct it, or let's have a discussion," one Pentagon official said. "Will you read it and tell us what you think?" Within the military, this official said, "there is a frustration. A significant frustration. A serious frustration."

This is the right time for anti-war activists to be stepping on the gas. This is one time when public pressure can bear serious fruit.

Obama does not want to end this occupation. He does not want to anger the Pentagon. He is a people pleaser. The massive US military base building now underway in Afghanistan indicates to anyone paying attention the true US intensions.

But the Democrats, already in trouble with their "base" of voters for failing to deliver on real health care change, cannot afford to have the peace movement on their backs in the 2010 Congressional elections. So they are in a position now where they must begin sounding like they have serious doubts about Afghanistan in order to cool down the public concern. But if we have learned anything in recent years it is that there is a very long distance between Democrats talking a good game and delivering on their big talk.

Now is not the time for the peace movement to take the steaming kettle off the hot stove.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


By Chris Hedges

The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state.

The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem. We are the problem. If we do not tap into the justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we do not militantly push back against corporate fraud and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the political vacuum we have created will be filled with right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons will inherit power not because they are astute, but because we are weak and inept.

Violence is a dark undercurrent of American history. It is exacerbated by war and economic decline. Violence is spreading outward from the killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan to slowly tear apart individuals, families and communities. There is no immunity. The longer the wars continue, the longer the members of our working class are transformed by corporate overlords into serfs, the more violence will dominate the landscape. The slide into chaos and a police state will become inevitable.

The soldiers and Marines who return from Iraq and Afghanistan are often traumatized and then shipped back a few months later to be traumatized again. This was less frequent in Vietnam. Veterans, when they get out, search for the usual escape routes of alienation, addictions and medication. But there is also the escape route of violence. We risk creating a homegrown Freikorps, the demobilized German soldiers from World War I who violently tore down the edifice of the Weimar Republic and helped open the way to Nazism.

It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending these young men and women to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans. It is we who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests. The rage of the confused and angry right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be our rage. And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but because of our moral cowardice.

See the full article by Chris Hedges here


Ray Davies (The Kinks) talks about the damage from the popular TV show X Factor. Davies has long been a critic of corporate domination of the music industry.

The X Factor is a television music talent show franchise originating in the United Kingdom, where it was devised as a replacement for Pop Idol. The competitions, now held in various countries, are contested by aspiring pop singers, and talent filled aspiring performers drawn from public auditions. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The prize is usually a recording contract (in addition to the publicity that appearance in the later stages of the show itself generates, not only for the winner but also for other highly ranked contestants). The format creator is Simon Cowell who also judges and mentors on the UK series.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Yesterday we witnessed a flurry of emails and articles proclaiming victory after President Obama's announcement that he was going to scrap George W. Bush's plans to deploy missile defense interceptors in Poland and a Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic. There is no doubt that our peace activist friends in those two countries do indeed have reason to celebrate after their hard and determined work to stop those deployments. We also need to recognize and thank the many people around the world who acted in solidarity with them during these past couple years of intensive campaigning.

But now that we've had a day to rejoice, the time has come for more reflection on what the Obama administration intends to do next. I've quickly learned during these eight months of watching Obama in action that when he gives something with one hand it is wise to watch what his other hand is taking away.

In his September 17 speech Obama stated that his new missile defense architecture for Europe would be more "comprehensive than the previous [Bush] program" and would be "enhanced" by NATO involvement.

Secretary of War Robert Gates was left to explain the details of the new missile defense "architecture" that would replace the now rejected deployment plan for Poland and the Czech Republic.

Gates stated that he was the one who had proposed three years ago to deploy the missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. He concluded that the original plan was no longer the best military "architecture" for the current "threat" from Iran. Thus instead of missile defense interceptors that would target offending missiles in their mid-course of flight, and that had a series of bad test results, the Pentagon now wanted to deploy in northern and southern Europe missile defense systems that had a proven testing record and were more appropriate for the kind of threat now expected from Iran.

The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected," Gates said. "This poses an increased and more immediate threat to our forces on the European continent, as well as to our allies."

Gates continued, "We now have proven capabilities to intercept these [short range] ballistic missiles with land and sea-based interceptors supported by much improved sensors. This allows us to deploy a distributed sensor network rather than a single-fixed site, like the kind slated for the Czech Republic."

US Navy Aegis destroyers, outfitted with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) missile defense interceptors, would "provide flexibility to move interceptors from one region to another," Gates said. In years to come the SM-3 will be upgraded and be deployed throughout Europe as land-based systems as well. Since 2007 the SM-3 has had eight successful tests, including the February of 2008 shoot-down of a falling military satellite with an SM-3 missile from an Aegis ship in what many saw as proof that these systems also had "anti-satellite" weapons capability.

You can watch brief video clips of Gates here and Obama here from yesterday, or look below at one of my earlier posts for the videos.

The Russians first reaction was positive, as would be expected, since they were deeply concerned that the Poland and Czech deployments could be used by the US as the shield in a first-strike attack. But their concerns have not completely disappeared.

The Washington Post reported today that Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, former chief of the Russian military's main research institute for nuclear strategy, cautioned that the reconfigured U.S. system could still pose a threat to Russia. "Everything depends on the scale of such a system," he told the Interfax news agency. "If it comprises a multitude of facilities, including a space echelon, it may threaten the Russian potential of nuclear deterrence."

As described by Gates and his top generals, Obama's new missile defense plan will unfold in three stages. By 2011, the Pentagon will deploy Navy Aegis ships equipped with SM-3 interceptors in the eastern Mediterranean.

A second phase in about 2015 will field an upgraded, land-based SM-3 in allied countries, and discussions are underway with Poland and the Czech Republic on basing the missiles in their territory, Gates said. In 2018, the third phase will deploy a larger and more capable missile, which will allow the system to protect Europe and the United States against short- and intermediate-range rockets and, eventually, intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Bloomberg News reports that, “This shift clearly benefits Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and is negative” for Boeing. “The move away from fixed missile-defense sites in Eastern Europe is a continuation of the more flexible, tactical missile-defense shield that Secretary Gates advocated," said Rob Stallard, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Inc. in New York.

The Pentagon’s 2010 budget seeks 250 Standard Missile-3 interceptors. It also seeks to increase to 27 from 21 the number of warships equipped to launch the Standard Missile-3s and requests $1.6 billion to develop software and hardware to upgrade ships and to develop a ground-based model.

The Pentagon is also now promising Poland that Patriot missiles will still be deployed in that country as previously planned.

So in the end I see this as an adjustment in strategy due to technology as much as anything. The flexible, more mobile, short range missile defense systems are proving ready to go while the former Bush proposal for Poland and Czech Republic included technologies that are not yet proven.

Obama can appear to be stepping back from an immediate confrontation with Russia but in fact he is following the lead of the Pentagon who for some time has been saying that they must move to expand the more promising Navy Aegis-based missile defense system. This program has already been dramatically growing in the Asian-Pacific region and will now be slated for expanded European operations.


Meet your fellow Americans who tea-bagged their way to Washington DC on September 12 to rally against fascism, socialism, welfare, czars, Obama, liberals, wine and cheese, abortion, and health care for all.

It just goes to prove that when you limit public education spending across the nation there is a direct consequence.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Secretary of War Gates on the new strategy for missile defense in Europe.

President Obama on the new strategy which will include more missile defense deployments on Navy Aegis destroyers in the European region and ultimately more mobile missile defense launch systems and radars in the region.

So bottom line, an adjustment in technologies but still a major commitment to expand US deployments of missile defense in Europe and throughout the world.


Click on photo of mural for a larger view

* We had a great time in Quebec. The old city is just the most beautiful place and the food was a special treat. I wanted to eat every 2-3 hours. One of the great scenes is the mural that tells the history of the city. One of the more interesting stories was that by the mid-1600s there were only 3,000 people in Quebec, mostly men. The British military were banging on the city walls. The king of France emptied out the Paris orphanages that were run by Catholic nuns and sent about 800 young women to Quebec to become brides for the men. They were well educated by the nuns so they ensured that the French language and culture would be entrenched in the new world. The men in Quebec were lined up and required by law to pick a wife. A priest and a couple nuns were on hand and the women were "allowed" to reject a husband if they suspected he might be a drinker ..... but they likely had little power in that moment. Today the woman are called the mothers of the nation.

* It now appears that we have won a victory as the Obama administration is reportedly going to scrap Bush plans to deploy missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. This is a big win for the activists in both those countries and for those of us around the world who have been working for years to limit the spread of these provocative systems. But the downside is that the US is likely to now deploy the systems instead in Israel and Turkey and at the present time the Pentagon is expanding missile defense deployments in Japan, South Korea and Australia. So we win one but we still have to press on to ensure that we shut down all of these space technology systems that are a part of the US first-strike planning program.

* NASA launched a rocket on Tuesday that was to be used to create artificial clouds from polluting rocket exhaust at the outermost layers of Earth's atmosphere. The mission was clearly a military space technology test as it is a project of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program. This test shows again how military science today is a closed system because it does not concern itself with how their projects impact humans or the web of life on our Mother Earth. We know that for years the Pentagon and NASA have been testing technologies to change weather, interrupt global communications, and more. Since the use of poison gas and the explosion of the atomic bomb military scientists have attempted to recreate the power of God to allow themselves greater ability to control the world and our environment. The public allows them to get away with these programs because they are the "rocket scientists" and we are just the "little people". The time has come though for us to say enough is enough and demand that our tax dollars stop being used for these purposes. There needs to be more debate about science ethics and more scientists need to help the public understand, and be able to speak about, these programs that we are all paying for. It is not about being a Luddite but just trying to get a handle on the out-of-control nature of military science today. We can't have a democratic society when the people don't have a clue what is really going on inside the bowels of the military industrial complex.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Michael Moore interviewed by Jay Leno about his new movie, set to come out next week.

Sorry about the commercial that comes on first, don't seem able to get rid of it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Paul Jay from The Real News Network once again proves that he is a top notch interviewer....asking the tough questions of those who have a hard time being critical of the Obama administration.


My sister Joan is arriving for a visit tonight and in the morning Mary Beth and I will join her for a six-hour car ride north to Quebec City in Canada. We've never been there and are excited about the trip which will give us a chance to explore a bit of our French-Canadian roots.

Our father was full blooded French-Canadian and his family origins were in the Normandy region of France. Three Gagnon cousins made the trek to French Canada during the 1600's and were some of the early settlers in the "new world".

We will return on Thursday and I am not going to carry along my laptop. So I will get a much needed break from all things work related. See you then.

Friday, September 11, 2009


* Support for the "Left," the only mainstream political party in Germany that is demanding an immediate withdrawal of Germany's 4,200 soldiers in Afghanistan, rose four points to 14% in the latest poll. The campaign signs for Germany's Left party send a clear message: "Out of Afghanistan!" It's a sentiment widely held by many Germans and has increased since a German commander in Afghanistan ordered an air strike on two fuel tankers, hijacked by the Taliban last week, that left scores of people dead, including civilians.

* The Pentagon has proposed transferring U.S. military equipment from Iraq to Pakistani security forces to help Islamabad step up its offensive against the Taliban.

* A policy research group says the Taliban have a significant presence in almost every corner of Afghanistan, eight years after their overthrow by US-led forces. A security map showed substantial Taliban activity in at least 97 percent of the war-ravaged country. The council added that the Taliban now have a "permanent presence" in 80 percent of the country.

* The U.S. will not give up anti-missile defence, whatever the result of the ongoing check of the previous George Bush administration's plan may be, Martin Povejsil, new Czech ambassador to NATO recently said.

* Five years ago almost half of the Polish population agreed that "war under certain circumstances was justified,” now this number has dwindled to just 4%. Poles like Obama more than Bush, but are against his war in Afghanistan, according to a new survey.

* In February 2005, the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee cited "the need to continue examining the roles, missions, and capabilities of Japan's Self Defense Forces (SDF) and the U.S. Armed Forces required to respond effectively to diverse challenges in a well-coordinated manner." A few months later, Japanese forces participated for the first time in the Cobra Gold military exercise with the United States, Thailand, and Singapore. With 240,000 troops, extensive air and naval power, and a $50-billion annual budget, the SDF could soon provide key assistance to an overtaxed U.S. military in certain East Asian contingencies.

NATO wants to expand into the Asian-Pacific region and Japan's SDF are tops on the list as "global partners".

* Helicopter pilots from the Czech Republic Air Force recently underwent training at an Israeli air base in the Negev. They sought to learn from the Israeli pilots' experience, especially under desert conditions, to prepare for active duty in Afghanistan.

* "CIA had important successes in covert action. Perhaps the most consequential of all was Afghanistan where CIA, with its management, funnelled billions of dollars in supplies and weapons to the mujaheddin, and the resistance was thus able to fight the vaunted Soviet army to a standoff and eventually force a political decision to withdraw." [Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, BBC News, December 1, 2008]

* The United States is bracing for a possible nuclear war with North Korea, as well as the regime's possible sudden collapse, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies .

* Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sept 10 his country recognizes Georgia's two former breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as independent states.

* The US should remove its nuclear weapons from the Dutch Volkel air base in Noord-Brabant province, Labour MP Martijn van Dam told Radio Netherlands.

* Former Colombian president and head of the Organization of American States Cesar Gaviria -- not known as a progressive -- called the current Colombian government a "dictatorship" this past week. That's the government with whom the Pentagon wants to develop a longer-term "partnership" for new US bases in Colombia.

* Mission Space: Out in space two alien life forms are speaking with each other. The first spaceman says, "The dominant life forms on the earth planet have developed satellite-based weapons." The second alien asks, "Are they an emerging intelligence?" The first spaceman says, "I don't think so. They have them aimed at themselves."


Actor Charlie Sheen has done a remarkable job of creating a list of fundamental questions about 9-11 that have yet to be answered.

He is addressing these questions to President Obama asking for a new investigation. The questions are included in his letter called "20 Minutes with the President." See it here

I used these same questions on Wednesday evening during the radio show that Peter Woodruff and I do on a nearby Brunswick station. We had Stephen Shaw from Maine 9-11 Truth on the show to discuss the topic. For two hours we played 9-11 music and weaved Stephen's responses to the questions onto the air. He did a fantastic job and we felt good about helping to bring a bit more attention to this still unresolved matter.

9-11 opened the door to endless war for oil and control of pipeline routes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly few in the peace movement will publicly talk about 9-11 even though privately they have strong feelings about the case. For two years after 9-11, in every speech I gave, grassroots activists would always raise the issue during the question and answer sessions after my talks. But the leadership of their organizations would almost always shut down discussions of 9-11 not wanting to be "branded" as conspiracy theorists. The only conspiracy at work was their own silence.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was an inside job. The pancake collapse of the two towers, and then the fall of Building 7 which was not even hit by an airplane, should be enough evidence to convince even the most skeptical. Never in the history of steel framed buildings had there ever been such a collapse because of fires. They were obviously built to withstand fires. They were obviously brought down in a controlled demolition.

On and on the story goes......

We should not let this case die. It was the biggest crime perpetrated against the American people in our nation's history. The criminals are still in power. The criminals are not hiding out in caves in Afghanistan, they are inside the halls of our own government, they are inside our military-oil-congressional-media industrial complex.

Democracy only works when the public has the information and the motivation to demand that truth and justice prevail. It's never too late to start.