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

Sunday, October 31, 2010


  • It's Halloween and in anther two hours the kids in the neighborhood will be knocking on our door wanting candy. Last night housemate Amanda threw a party for her two children and their friends. So the place was decorated and quite lively. Most of the rest of us in the house went out to the movie and dinner during the party. We saw Social Network about the founder of Facebook and the lawsuits that resulted after he stole the idea for the online site from others and then tried to cheat his "friend" and cofounder out of the riches that followed after it took off and became a global phenomenon. A story about greed and betrayal.

  • I saw yesterday that 47% of Democrats want someone to run against Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries before the 2012 election. It looks like his own party is now turning on him. Some of these folks are likely former supporters of Hillary Clinton but I would venture a guess that many are also people who feel Obama has betrayed his promises to fight for real hope and change.....

  • The rally to "Restore Sanity" yesterday in Washington DC by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert drew a huge crowd. I've watched several videos and looked at hundreds of photos (on the Washington Post web site) but was not particularly impressed with what most of the sign holders had to say.

Stewart had some nice closing comments about how we should all get along, and respect diversity, but the fact that so many people can get together (CBS News reported 215,000) without mentioning two wars that are draining the national treasury speaks to the reality of how the American people have been depoliticized (politically neutered). A straw poll of rally goers by pollster Celinda Lake revealed: "86 percent of those surveyed plan on voting Democratic next week, another 8 percent said they are undecided with 1 percent planning to vote Republican." So clearly a crowd of Democrats and 13% of them told the pollsters that ending war was their top priority. The #1 concern of the assembled was jobs with 41%. How about connecting the dots between war spending and economic collapse?

At the end Stewart had crooner Tony Bennett sing "America the Beautiful" which was a nice touch, but I was disappointed that the crowd then took to chanting the right-wings favorite mantra: "USA, USA, USA......."


Treatment centres are being prepared in Haiti to deal with the further possible spread of cholera. The outbreak is believed to have started ten days ago and has claimed over 330 lives. Aid agencies are also mobilising in case Tropical storm Tomas makes landfall. Al Jazeera's Craig Mauro reports on the attempts to contain the disease.

Friday, October 29, 2010


West Africa is reeling from severe flooding following heavy rain. Hundreds of people are known to have died. Worst affected is the tiny nation of Benin, where the receding waters are revealing the true extent of the damage. Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull has our exclusive report.

Instead of increased global militarism we should be marshaling the world to deal with our real coming crisis - climate change.


Participants at national conference October 9-10 in Nagpur, India - click on photo to see banners

  • The photo above comes from Global Network board member J. Narayana Rao in Nagpur, India who recently hosted my speaking tour to his country. In spite of the fact that the Indian government would not allow us to hold our 18th annual space organizing conference there, this national confab was a great success. Students and activists came from around the country to attend the event. See Rao's report and Nagpur Declaration here

  • The Obama administration has continued the long U.S. tradition of blocking any hope of creating new international law to protect space from the ravages of war. At the United Nations today the U.S. voted to abstain (and thus block) any real hopes to negotiate and pass the "Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities". The vote was 167 in favor with the U.S. abstaining. (Without the U.S. genuinely involved nothing can happen.) Today's vote came just two days after the Obama administration had the U.S. torpedo the U.N.'s annual Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty resolution supported by Russia and China. That vote: 170 in favour, 2 abstained (U.S. and Israel). Just who is pushing an arms race in space?

  • I woke up at 5:00 am this morning with a check list of things on my mind for next week's peace walk. Early on I had a call from a reporter at a major Maine newspaper who is doing an advance story on the peace walk. She couldn't believe it when I told her that our country is spending $8 billion a month on the Afghanistan war. She asked me three times if I was sure. She had asked me why we were walking and I told her that one key reason was because the public knew nothing about how much these wars are costing us. Her response spoke to the truth of my point.


Very interesting stories here from journalists Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley who have recently returned from Afghanistan.

It is increasingly clear to me that the U.S./NATO war is really about extending this deadly and expensive operation long into the future. They are slamming the door shut on every opportunity to negotiate with the "enemy". They are killing people who have gone over to the U.S. side thus making it clear to the people of Afghanistan that you either fight for your lives or die at the hands of the imperial occupiers.

This means permanent war in the region that is now costing us more than $8 billion per month.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Below please find the full schedule of Maine Veterans for Peace potluck supper/program events during the November 2-11 Walk for Peace, Human Needs, and Veterans' Care.

Potluck supper/program schedule

* Farmington potluck supper/program on November 2 (Tuesday) to kick-off the peace walk at 6:00 pm
Old South First Congregational Church
227 Main St

* Skowhegan potluck supper/program on November 3 (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
Skowhegan Community Center
39 Poulin Drive

* Waterville potluck supper/program on November 4 (Thursday) at 6:00 pm
Pleasant Street UMC Church
61 Pleasant St

* Bangor potluck supper/program on November 5 (Friday) at 6:00 pm
St. Johns Episcopal Church
235 French St

* Belfast pot luck supper/program on November 6 (Saturday) at 6:00 pm
UU Church
37 Miller Street

* Rockland potluck supper/program on November 7 (Sunday) at 6:00 pm
Rockland UU Church
345 Broadway

* Bath potluck supper/program on November 8 (Monday) at 6:00 pm
Grace Episcopal Church
1100 Washington St

* Freeport potluck supper/program on November 9 (Tuesday) at 6:00 pm
First Parish Congregational Church
40 Maine St

* Portland potluck supper/program on November 10 (Wednesday) at 6:00 pm
Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Church Hall
80 Sherman St at Mellen

On November 11 (Thursday) walkers will participate in the Veterans Day parade in Portland and afterwards will join a potluck lunch and Draw-a-thon at Space Gallery (538 Congress St)

We would like for you to let us know if you plan to be with us for any part of this peace walk so we can more effectively make our logistical plans. Contact us at and let us know the date(s) you plan to walk with us, your name, and contact information for each person.

For full walk schedule, route maps, and registration information see

Thanks for your support. See you on the road.

Maine Veterans for Peace
865-0655 or 443-9502


The United States currently ranks 49th in the world in overall life expectancy, according to a study published in the academic journal Health Affairs, slipping dramatically during the last decade. The noteworthy decline is highlighted by the fact that in 1999, the World Health Organization ranked the US as 24th in the world in the same category, life expectancy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Author and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges recently made an appearance on Canadian television’s “The Agenda With Steve Paikin” to make his case about how the American liberal class and its institutions have spectacularly failed those whom they supposedly aimed to serve, taking no prisoners (et tu, Bill Clinton) and hitting on the major themes of his new book, the aptly titled “The Death of the Liberal Class,” while he was at it.


It looks bad for the Democrats come election day. Here in Maine a right-wing tea-bagger is expected to be our next governor. He wants to privatize public eduction, doesn't believe in climate change, and wants to run welfare recipients out of the state. It's going to be rough.

All across the country similar stories are in the offing. Right-wing religious zealots are going to be elected to the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and to several other governorships. The tea-party, made up of angry white folks, are fired up and ready to start shooting if they don't win on November 2.

The Democrats have little energy these days. Obama is crossing the country fast and furious, replaying his worn out "progressive message" that worked well in the 2008 election, but is having little impact this time around. Large portions of the progressive community are virtually idle at this time - not able to stomach campaigning for a party that has betrayed its base on virtually every issue and then publicly smacked them down when they dared to express their disappointment.

Already Obama is sending messages via the media that he is eager to work with a right-wing controlled House of Representatives following the collapse of his party. It will make passing legislation to gut Social Security and the few remaining social programs that much easier. He will likely find strong "bi-partisan" support to continue to expand his war in Afghanistan-Pakistan and any talk of troops returning home in 2011 will be gone with the wind.

The Democrats are learning that their fall into the eager arms of corporate capital is having a direct result in them losing their activist base. Just two years ago pundits were predicting the demise of the Republican Party after the sound beating they took in the national elections following a strong vote for the Democrats who largely ran against Bush's costly wars. But once in power the Democrats turned on their base and sat on their hands as the wars expanded and further cutbacks in social progress were coupled with massive welfare checks for the banksters and insurance companies.

The truth is that real progressives have virtually no one representing them today and many will choose to either stay home on election day or pick and choose very carefully when they enter the voting booth.

An economically collapsing America, already dangerous to the world with its eager to kill military empire, will become even more of a threat following this election. Here at home civil liberties will be in even greater danger as the right-wing consolidates power and will embrace the worst elements of the corporate police state. The most we can hope for is that the confused middle class, who are now turning to the tea-party candidates in droves, will quickly learn that the new "rulers" have no intention of making life better for them as these politicians will eagerly give way to the demands of the corporate oligarchy who pumped big money into their campaigns.

For the rest of us it is not the time to cower and hide. The coming period will call upon us to display uncommon courage and determination to stand up for those who are being cast aside by the corporate agenda.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Seymour Hersch has another big Pentagon story in The New Yorker, this time called The Online Threat: Should we be worried about a cyber war?

The Pentagon is working overtime to ensure that cyber war becomes the next great fear in the minds of the American people - coming after the Red scare of the Cold War and the present "terrorism" freak-out with the Muslim world. In the story Hersch casts doubt on the fear-mongering with this passage:

American intelligence and security officials for the most part agree that the Chinese military, or, for that matter, an independent hacker, is theoretically capable of creating a degree of chaos inside America. But I was told by military, technical, and intelligence experts that these fears have been exaggerated, and are based on a fundamental confusion between cyber espionage and cyber war. Cyber espionage is the science of covertly capturing e-mail traffic, text messages, other electronic communications, and corporate data for the purpose of gathering national-security or commercial intelligence. Cyber war involves the penetration of foreign networks for the purpose of disrupting or dismantling those networks, and making them inoperable. (Some of those I spoke to made the point that China had demonstrated its mastery of cyber espionage in the EP-3E incident, but it did not make overt use of it to wage cyber war.) Blurring the distinction between cyber war and cyber espionage has been profitable for defense contractors—and dispiriting for privacy advocates.

Hersch recalls the story about the U.S. Navy EP-3E spy plane that bumped up along the coastal border of China soon after George W. Bush came into office. The Chinese brought the plane down onto Hainan Island and proceeded to take it apart piece by piece. They learned alot about the U.S. electronic surveillance program in that incident and the Pentagon used it as an opportunity to start crying wolf - the Chinese are coming and are ready to cyber attack us here at home - NOTHING IS SAFE!

One has to wonder if the incident over Hainan Island was a fix. The plane, a slow lumbering propeller driven spy aircraft, was destined to be intercepted during such a mission. With present satellite technology available to the Pentagon today you have to wonder what the plane could do that military satellites aren't already capable of delivering.

The military industrial complex loves these kinds of scare can anyone refute them? How can an inquiring mind or a skeptical public stand up against "the best and the brightest" inside the Pentagon? What they say is gospel, right?

So today we see massive amounts of your tax dollars being poured into the cyber war rat hole to "protect and defend" us against Chinese computer attack when in fact the cyber command is developing U.S. "offensive" cyber attack programs with these new infusions of cash.

So be careful not to fall for these mental tricks being pulled on the public. I know it is almost Halloween and scary things are standard operating procedure this time of year.

Just close the door on this one.

Monday, October 25, 2010


We in America believe we live in a democracy where we are free to choose. Yet as Americans, most of us do not choose to raise our children to fight in wars of occupation. And we do not choose to have our tax dollars fund corporate wars. And we certainly do not ask those who serve in the military to risk their lives for anything other than to defend our constitution and our nation. Still the occupation of Iraq continues, and the war in Afghanistan rages into its tenth year, neither protecting the constitution nor our country’s citizens. It is as if someone, somewhere, has decided that we in America must live under a permanent war economy and that some of our families will have to be sacrificed and traumatized by war so that others may live in excessive comfort.

And, unfortunately, it seems as though those who commit us to these wars, our elected representatives, are not hearing our voices as we implore them to bring our soldiers home, to provide them with the highest quality health care available, and to desist from draining our
town budgets to wage these wars. Do the citizens of Maine realize that the annual war cost to them over the last nine years has been $325,000,000, that over this nine year period $2,940,000,000 of their tax dollars has been spent on these wars? Perhaps our representatives will listen to us if we take to the streets.

In that spirit, we in Veterans For Peace will commence a walk for peace this November 2-11. We will walk for nine days through rural Maine. We will not march. We will not demonstrate. We will walk to bear witness to the damage these wars have done to our villages and towns. To our families. We have listened to reports claiming that the burden of these two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been disproportionately borne by those living in rural communities. We have listened to reports of the sky rocketing suicide rates of soldiers serving in these wars. We have listened to reports of soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Brain Trauma Injury, and Military Sexual Trauma being redeployed into theaters of war multiple times.

Now we want to listen to our neighbors’ stories and accounts. We want to carry their narratives with us as we walk. We want to share them with Congressman Michaud and Congresswoman Pingree, with Senator Collins and with Senator Snowe. And we want to rebuild the social contract in this state between its citizens and its congressional representatives to ensure that our soldiers’ commitment to serving their country will not be abused and our hard-earned tax dollars not misspent.

We who will walk do not delude ourselves into thinking that our efforts will end the wars, nor do we imagine that our witness will completely alleviate the pain inflicted on our communities. But we assure our fellow citizens that our commitment to ending these wars, to healing the wounded, will be that much stronger from having entered their communities and hearing their voices. We ask our neighbors to join us for a mile or many, for an evening or two. We want to hear from them.

For more information about the VFP Peace Walk, please go to our website at

Doug Rawlings
Veterans For Peace
Farmington, Maine

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Sign reads "Listen to the public's rage"

Unlike the right-wing tea-baggers in the U.S., the working class in France understands there is a war upon them and it is coming from the global corporate elite. Sadly in the U.S. many of those who are angry at their economic situation are naively turning to the very people who are oppressing them for answers and support. They will learn in time that they are being badly misled and used by the oligarchy.

Go to this link to see many more photos and also read many excellent comments by French citizens and their supporters in other countries about the French strikes. Those who are paying close attention understand that global capital is now out to suppress the working and middle classes all over the world. The French recognize that the raising of their retirement age is just the first step. Now that it has passed there will be plenty more of these "austerity" measures coming their way. They don't intend to sit back and comply.

Obama's "commission" on Social Security reform will propose an increase in retirement age in the U.S. soon after the November 2 election. We will be told we have to accept this in order to deal with the deficit. The question should be posed: What will the banksters, insurance corporations, and war industries have to give up? The answer from the oligarchy will be: Nothing!

It's way beyond time for some class consciousness here in America.


Increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe — including the U.S. — are likely over the next 30 years, a new study predicts. Moreover, by the year 2100 drought in some regions could be unprecedented in modern times.

Increasing drought has long been forecast as a consequence of warming temperatures, but the study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research projects serious impacts as soon as the 2030s. Impacts by century's end could go beyond anything in the historical record, the study suggests.

"We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community," study author Aiguo Dai said in a statement. "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous."


The Secret Iraq Files

Almost 700 civilians, including pregnant women and the mentally ill, killed for coming too close to checkpoints.

All to "avenge" 9-11?

It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint - revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat. This special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Friday, October 22, 2010


This animate was adapted from a talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert.


Protest on Saturday, Oct. 23, from 3:30 to 5:00 pm

I will be heading south to Kittery, Maine tomorrow for a demonstration at a new military recruiting center. Here are the details:

Protest at the main gate of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Walker Street in Kittery, Maine - a demonstration in opposition to the new multi-million dollar army recruiting battalion headquarters being built on the shipyard grounds.

A Regional Recruiting Battalion Headquarters is currently being built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. They will be targeting our youth regionally for recruitment and we will be there to protest! We will be carrying signs protesting this new aspect of the shipyard. We suggest slogans such as, "Keep our kids innocent" and "I don’t want to sell my soul to the Army" or "Killing civilians is not in my future."

This event is sponsored by New Hampshire Peace Action, Peace Action Maine, the New Hampshire and Maine chapters of Veterans for Peace, and Seacoast Peace Response.

For more information contact Will Hopkins, Director, New Hampshire Peace Action, 603-225-0559 (office) or 603-254-4727 (cell).


A friend of mine, Tom Weis, is riding his bike across the country to organize support for a green future. On his blog he says the following, "On September 12, 2010, I began biking from Boulder, Colorado to Washington, DC, calling for a modern day, green energy moon shot for America: a 100% U.S. renewable electricity grid by 2020. For the next two months, I will be pedaling solo 2,500 miles to Washington, DC on my futuristic, electric-assist rocket trike.

"It’s time for a new national conversation about our energy future, one I intend to have with everyday Americans I meet on Main Street, America. This ride is about the American people 'taking back our power' by demanding a green industrial revolution that will put unemployed Americans back to work, reestablish our role as world economic leader, and help ensure future generations a livable planet."

I met Tom years ago when I lived in Orlando, Florida. He was organizing on environmental issues and I was working on peace/space issues. We both are still at it and have stayed in touch over the many moons that have passed since then.

He has obviously determined that the time has come to go back to the grassroots in order to stir the imagination of the public in order to refocus them on what is needed if we are to get out from behind the eight ball. I think he is right.

Similarly the peace walk that I am now working on comes from the same organizing analysis. We need to be out on the streets reaching out directly to the public stirring their hearts and moving them to action.

Last night, as I dragged my worn out body into bed, I got a phone call from a woman in Belfast, Maine. She had seen a flyer about the peace walk at the Reny's department store where she works. She wants to participate and was so excited about the idea of the walk that I got charged up. She said she was going to talk to everyone at work about it.

This is what we are looking for. Here we are just a couple of weeks away from a national election where you'd hope the candidates would be talking about these issues but they are not because the two war parties are under the grip of the corporations that make money off our addiction to oil and militarism. But obviously there are people out there, like the woman who called and the legions of people Tom is meeting on his bike ride, that care about the future and are looking for some way to get connected to real solutions. They are looking for hope and change.

This is the job of an organizer and the groups we work with - it's our job to create ways for the public to see us, to get excited by the energy of our events, and to then be inspired enough to take our message to others in their life like the woman who works at Reny's is doing.

Tom will be blogging during his bike ride and I will be a regular reader because I too need to be recharged by good old fashioned grassroots organizing. Keep peddling Tom, just like I will soon keep walking here in Maine.

And while I am walking I'll be telling folks that the only way our nation can afford to fund Tom's excellent vision of a "green industrial revolution" is to stop our wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan for oil and to Bring Our War $$ Home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Some would call this genocide......



Space week advertising on a door in Walpole, Massachusetts

I am at the Newark airport waiting on my flight to Boston. My flight from India got in at 4:00 am....for once I actually slept some on the plane. I am groggy though.

From Boston I take a bus to Portland where MB will pick me up for the final leg home. It's been a long trip and I am ready to go home.

I watched four movies on the plane. I gave my mind a rest from reading and such and just zoned out on the films. One of them that I watched was the Iraq war movie called the Hurt Locker....I was not overly impressed with it.

Once home, and rested up a bit, I will dive right back into organizing for the Maine Veterans for Peace Walk for Peace, Human Needs and Veterans' Care from November 2-11. I hope all Mainers reading this will join the peace walk for a day or even for a few hours. See more information about the route schedule here

The walk will be a bit like a vacation for me after this long trip to India. The route will take us through some beautiful country near the mountains and also along the ocean.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



French Unions have launched another strike against pension reform - the fourth major action in a month.

It comes as the unpopular pension reform bill edges closer to becoming law.

Trains and airports are running well below capacity and marches are planned across the country.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Marseille, France's main southern oil port, where dock workers have been on strike for two weeks.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The idea was for me to speak at the Women’s College in Srinagar today but it is closed due to the separatist turmoil in Kashmir. So we checked out of the government guesthouse and moved to the local home of an friend of Rao, a man who is a retired government worker.

As we drove from the college to the private home they explained to me that everything is closed in Srinagar today. All shops, even the corporate malls that fear they have to comply with protest movement demands, have shuttered their doors and windows.

The Muslim community is the majority here by about 80%. In Jammu it is about 40%. Thus the entire state is now increasingly Muslim and they are demanding “Azadi” or freedom. The Indian government has long ago promised autonomy for this state but has failed to deliver. People have had enough waiting.

After lunch we loaded into a press car from the Rising Kashmir newspaper and took a long driving tour of the city. We stopped and took a stroll through a beautiful botanical garden, more than 700 years old, that sits at the foot of the jagged mountains that surround the city. As we left the garden I noticed the waxing moon nestled near the top of the mountain range and I told the others that everywhere I go in the world I see the moon. It belongs to everyone I said.

Srinagar is one of the most interesting cities I have ever seen. The very old buildings, many of worn wood, have a real character. We drove around the huge Dal Lake and I heard that tourism, which is Kashmir’s biggest industry, is now decimated due to the political unrest. All along the lake are wonderful long wooden houseboats that tourists would normally rent as hotel rooms but they are now largely vacant.

Following the driving tour we stopped at the Rising Kashmir newspaper. Little did I know that our host is the father-in-law of the editor of the newspaper. We visited him in his office and talked about the Global Network’s efforts to keep the arms race out of space and the upcoming visit of Obama to India. Syed Rafiuddin Bukhari handed me a recent edition of the paper where he wrote a column about Obama’s trip. In the piece he describes that other countries are in competition with the U.S. over the $10.9 billion weapons deal with India. He wrote, “His visit will be followed by Presidents of France and Russia and before that German foreign minister is scheduled to visit New Delhi on October 18. Intense lobbying for the agreement has been on for many years with all the countries putting weight behind their products, which they believe, would fit in the requirements of Delhi.”

Bukhari felt that the U.S. was likely to get the weapons deal in the end due to greater political clout. He felt though that the hopes of separatist activists in Kashmir to get Obama involved in the “Azadi” issue was not likely to happen.

In the Rising Kashmir today an Op-Ed by the title “Listen to the stones” has a line in it worthy of note, “Wounded is an inner state of being in Kashmir.” As I wrote in an earlier post, Indian military forces have killed 111 people as the resistance has grown during recent months.

The piece also reports, “They [the young stone throwers] are viscerally anti-India but also anti-Pakistan. They are speaking a dogged new language of non-violence but are not above picking up the gun. They threaten to engulf India in a new round of bloody militancy but keep cajoling it not to push them that far. They have a disarming collegiate politeness but are floating on lethal helium of rage. Their talk has an undertow of radicalized Islamic rhetoric, but they are proud of Kashmir’s syncretic traditions. They are uncomfortable being typecast.”

The Indian government has been slow to respond to the growing cries for independence. The Indian right-wing party (BJP) refuses to even consider any change of status for Kashmir. Instead a multi-party commission was just sent from New Delhi to Kashmir to review the situation but their window-dressing proposals were not taken seriously. The money to create 43,000 make-work jobs for Kashmir has just been announced, likely as a strategy to keep the youth off the streets.

Protest leaders have announced a “black day” on October 27, calling for a complete strike in Kashmir.

The Rising Kashmir also carried a news story today entitled “Obama visit: Indian jet deal may create 27,000 jobs in US”. It reads in part:

Two major fighter jet manufacturing companies – Boeing and Lockheed Martin – are vying for the $10 billion Indian tender; which is expected to be raised by the U.S. officials during the November India visit.

“If either jet wins, we estimate that it could bring 27,000 jobs to the U.S.,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told a Baltimore-based think tank, thus indicating the importance the U.S. attaches in bagging such a deal.

Thus it is clear why Obama is unlikely to intervene in the Kashmir conflict that is a key spark to the already unstable relationship between India and Pakistan. As long as the U.S. keeps arming both sides, as it has done for years, the profits will continue to grow for the American weapons industry and the dangerous trigger for future conflicts in the region will be set.

This is the American global marketing strategy for the U.S. “security export” role in the world under corporate globalization. More weapons – more war – more profits.

As I continue to read the book by former Indian Naval Chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, he makes all this even more clear. One important strategy of corporate globalization he reminds the reader is “balkanization.” They did it in Yugoslavia when they broke apart that socialist country by fueling ethnic conflicts. Bhagwat says the global corporate agenda is now the same everywhere, fuel the rage and divide the people against one another. Then sell weapons and steal natural resources and exploit cheap labor as the people fight one another.

Bhagwat writes:

Therefore, the big question is whether the Indian military is being nudged to reorient itself to moving away from defending India and Indian interests to such unending, quests as ‘furthering regime changes, democracy, and the smoke-screen, of the global war on terror’, under U.S. auspices.

In other words, bring India into the expanding NATO effort to encircle China. The U.S. intends to arm India and Pakistan to the teeth and is mastering the old British Empire dictum of “divide and rule”. It’s a win-win for the U.S. if you think about it. Make lots of profit for the weapons industry; expand the power and influence of the military industrial complex inside the increasingly American “warrior culture” economy, and spur conflict around the globe that then justifies expanded U.S. imperial bases in these countries enabling it to control declining resources and still hold the keys to the global economic engine. A desperate and dangerous strategy indeed.

Sadly those in Kashmir who dream for Obama’s claimed “hope and change” will find it is not likely in the cards for them. He has bigger fish to fry and the growing conflict here helps justify the sale of more weapons to make his corporate masters even richer.


The Pentagon is now working on several versions of the military space plane. They are selling it to the public as the "successor to the space shuttle" but it clearly is to be an offensive system.

When the U.S. Space Command annually holds their computer war game against China, set in the year 2016, the first weapon that is used is the military space plane that flies throw space and then drops a devastating first-strike attack on China's small nuclear force.

While the Pentagon acknowledges that they don't expect each of the versions of the military space plane now under development to work, they do expect at least one version to become operational in years to come.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I am in a government guesthouse in Srinagar after a harrowing 10-hour drive from Jammu through the mountains. We were put into a van at 7:00 am, a total of nine people crammed into the vehicle, and we set off through the mountains. The most important thing to know is that this narrow two-lane twisting road was loaded with trucks hauling produce, buses, cars, vans, military convoys, and motorcycles.

Besides sucking more diesel fumes than ever before in my life, it was a constant game of leap-frog as our two drivers (who took turns at the wheel) did all they could to move our van ahead of other vehicles every chance they got. Horns were constantly blowing as drivers attempted to get back into line before a head-on collision happened.

It was not a boring trip. All along the way there was much to see. Monkey families sat on the side of the road watching the show. Shepherds moving their oxen, goats, or sheep were part of the traffic pattern all day long. Once a lone camel walked down the middle of the curving highway causing vehicles to pull to either side of the narrow road.

My favorite site though were the pack horses, heavily loaded, and herded by nomad families. I could just imagine that this was how people made their way through these mountains for thousands of years, long before the motor vehicle was created.

To either side of the road were very steep drop-offs and many times I looked out my window to see the tires of the van near the edges of the cliffs. We averaged about 30 M.P.H. throughout the 300-kilometer journey.

Everywhere there were police and military along the highway. Many military bases are sprinkled along the Jammu to Srinagar road. I would venture to say that Army men stood guard by the side of the road at least every quarter-to-half mile from mid-way along the mountain highway until we reached Srinagar. When we came to little villages or bigger towns the military presence surged.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are very near this area. I can see why the U.S. will never "win" the war in Afghanistan....fighting in these mountains against people who know every nook and cranny of them must be an impossibility.

One Army base we passed had a sign that read, “Cut them, kill them, kneel not”.

We saw only two accidents all day long. One truck carrying apples from Kashmir, heading toward Jammu, had run off the road into the gutter and broken its front axle. As we approached Srinagar a car had been sideswiped by another vehicle. It’s really amazing that more damage was not done along the way.

Midway wide rivers formed at the bottom of the huge cliffs, as we got closer to the mountains that surround Srinagar. Also as we neared the end of the trip rice fields were everywhere and migrant farm workers were in the fields harvesting the crop by hand. Their makeshift tents were ever present near where they were working.

Everyone in India seems to have a cell phone. Cell phone companies have painted their ads all along this highway – Tata, Airtel, Reliance, Aircel. Even the poor appeared to be talking on their phones as we drove by.

One last observation – no one wears seat belts in India.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Video from South Korea, with English sub-titles, about U.S. military base expansion at Pyeongtaek and the impact on the local residents.

A second runway is being installed at the base and major land grabs by the U.S. military have taken even more farm land from villagers.

This expanded U.S. base will be used for regional power projection as the U.S. begins to create an Asian-Pacific NATO to surround China. The Pentagon is also deploying Patriot (PAC-3) missile offense systems here at the base.


I spoke to 100 people last night at the Jammu Club. They were mostly professional people - doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, military officers, political leaders, and bank employees (the banks are nationalized in India).

Sitting next to me on the dais was Mohammad Aslam Goni of the National Conference Party who is the former Advocate General for the Jammu & Kashmir state and currently political advisor to the Union Minister of Renewable Resources. I knew he was an important man when he was escorted into the hall by about a dozen men.

Following my talk Goni was asked to respond and the newspaper (one of two that covered the event last night) reported, "Goni expressed his disagreement with the chief guest ..... He [Goni] maintained that China and other neighboring countries have strengthened themselves in the race of defence and in compulsion the Indian government was focusing on defence. He added that Indian government was shaking hand with U.S. government for the safety of the country."

Not reported by the press was Goni's statement that even if satellites had to be destroyed and space junk made space unusable, then it was still worth it as long as India could protect itself from terrorism and outside aggression.

After he finished his remarks and returned to his seat, Goni leaned over and whispered to me, "I had to tell the truth". I shook his hand and whispered back, "Me too."

I actually liked Goni very much. We are of similar ages and I felt he was listening closely to my words. After the talk was over he invited Rao and I to come to his home this morning for tea.

A car has been furnished by a local politician for us while we are in Jammu. Sitting in the front seat has been a machine gun toting policeman. Everywhere you turn in Jammu there are police with guns and road blocks. In recent months there has been much unrest in Kashmir as stone throwing youth and growing members of the Muslim majority population demand independence. India has long promised Kashmir "autonomy" but the public has grown increasingly impatient. Some blame Pakistan for stirring up the youth. So far during this recent turmoil 111 people have been killed by the Indian government forces who have been trying to repress the dissent.

Goni lives behind guarded gates in a beautiful home with lavish gardens. Goni, a lawyer by trade, was waiting outside for us in his garden where we were served mango juice and nuts. He immediately said that he enjoyed the talk the evening before, he had been sick in bed all day with a fever, but had received five phone calls urging him to come so he felt he must do so. During the two and one-half hours we spent at his home were were served a brunch and we discussed the Kashmir situation and U.S. foreign policy.

I asked Goni why India would want to follow a sinking ship (the U.S. military empire). He responded that in this unstable world India must choose between China (who attacked India in 1962 over a border dispute - Rao tells me that some believe that India might have been the one to instigate the trouble) or the United States.

Goni then told us that our peace in space message was prophetic and that he felt his words the night before had to be uttered because they were essentially the official position of the national government. He suggested that India was only interested in defending itself from possible aggression from Pakistan or China.

I reminded Goni, as I had told the audience last night, that it is the U.S. who has been helping Pakistan develop its military capability for many years. I remember back in 1974 while in the Air Force I was stationed in Hawaii under the Air Force Headquarters Command. My job was to maintain the personnel records of Air Force officers assigned throughout the Asian-Pacific region. One day I rifled through all the records of these officers and discovered they all had the same job description - they were assigned as embassy staff in each Asian-Pacific capital and their task was to serve as liaison between the host government and American weapons corporations. In other words they were salesmen for the military industrial complex and funded by the American taxpayers. Prominent among these locations was the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.

I learned alot listening to Goni today and left feeling close to him. Several times he brought up key points from my talk so it was apparent he had heard me and had also reflected on what I had to say. At one point near the end of our meeting I asked him to think about the satellites in space each time he uses his cell phone. If we allow the arms race to expand into space I said, the amount of space debris is likely to destroy the satellites you count on for your phone and your TV.

Tonight we have been invited to the home of the leader of the Jammu Communist Party for dinner.

We were supposed to head north the 300 kilometers to Srinagar early this morning but the invitation from Goni changed those plans. So we will proceed north at 7:00 am tomorrow for more meetings and talks.

Slowly, much like Johnny Appleseed, we are planting knowledge and concern about space issues across India.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments this week in the trial of the Newburgh Four, a high-profile case that has made national headlines as a potent example of so-called "homegrown terror." The defense has argued that the defendants were entrapped by government agents and not predisposed to commit a terrorist crime.

For several months, Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films traveled through Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey to track the Newburgh case and two others. In all three, Muslim men were arrested on terrorism charges. In all three, no terrorist crime was actually committed. And all three cases relied heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance recorded by a paid government informant.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


  • This is what the sleeper car looks like that I have been riding throughout India. I sleep on the top rack. The car is air conditioned and the curtains close. Not alot of room to move around but more comfortable than you might think.

  • India is a nuclear power but 79% of the rural population and 46% of city-dwellers have no toilets. You wonder how the country can afford to join the U.S. Star Wars program as a "junior partner"?

  • When you wake up on the train workers go up and down the aisle calling out, Chai tea, chai tea" really sounds wonderful and the tea tastes great. I've had alot of tea since I've been here and love it.

  • India's hosting of the Commonwealth Games has been the big story in the media while here. Corruption appears to have been rampant as money to build and staff the games was diverted off to line the pockets of certain people. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee in India caused quite a stir with his statement that "they [the rest of the world & the media] may have one standard of hygiene and we may have another." Oops!

  • The food has been great. I've eaten virtually everything that I am given (those who know me won't be surprised by that). I particularly love the breads.

  • Our train arrived three hours late in Jammu from Agra. Sat on the tracks for at least an hour outside the city before heading in for the final leg. I've been reading the book by Admiral Bhagwat called "The Eye Opening As I Saw". A very fascinating learning experience to get the inside view from a high-level military man as he gives his views on U.S. corporate/military strategy; India's surrendering its independence and autonomy to the U.S.; China's role in the world; the oil wars; and a whole lot more. Once I get a chance I'll post some of his golden words.

  • I love that expression...the other day in Nagpur a student was asked to sum up my talk, as is the custom, and she thanked me for my "golden" words...... very nice indeed.

  • One last thing. I saw a bunch of emails about Obama's Department of Energy running a sub-critical nuclear weapons test. This pretty well indicates that he is absolutely not serious about getting rid of nuclear weapons. One more time he screws his base and he does it right before the November elections. Can anyone doubt that Obama works for the CIA?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


October 13

I am in Agra now and yesterday Rao took me to see the Taj Mahal. It was just a short motorized rickshaw ride from our hotel and was quite crowded as there is a tourist festival going on at this time.

To say that the place is impressive is an understatement. Completed around 1653, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to build and was created by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love.. The Taj Mahal is an architectural wonder but the small detailed work on the inside really got my attention. I found the colorful tiny bits of stones, like tourquoise, onyx, amazonite, and cornelian that are embedded in the white marble to create images of flowers, to be beautiful and really fascinated me to imagine the work involved.

Last night we had a late dinner meeting with eight members of Indian Doctors for Peace & Development. This group is connected internationally to IPPNW and is regarded as one of the more active peace organizations inside of India. In this very informal setting I was able to review virtually the entire space warfare issue and they had many questions about India's role and what they could do to help. I asked them to consider making financial support for Rao's national student organizing effort a priority, telling them that on his meager railroad worker pension he was doing most of this travel and educational work using his own resources. They appeared to agree that this was something they could easily help with.

I was particularly impressed with the leader of the group. At the end of the evening he made a strong statement about the efforts now underway by American corporations to buy out Indian drug and agricultural companies. All those present agreed that the growing corporate domination of their government was a frightening prospect for their future. One doctor, who owns a local private hospital, told us that dengue fever and malaria were now an epidemic in Agra and that the federal government was doing little to help deal with this situation. The worsening divide between rich and poor inside India is further evidence that corporate greed was having a major negative impact on their ability to support human development.

The obvious implications of India's participation in the U.S. Star Wars program are more suffering for people already living in grinding poverty. These doctors understand that and I believe we have made some friends here. On the drive back to our hotel after the dinner one of the doctors told me that I was a clearly "a human being" and not what he considered to be a typical American. I appreciated that complement very much.

At 5:00 pm today we board the train to head north for Jammu in Kashmir. There is much unrest there now as the long unresolved Pakistan-India territorial conflict still rages. Rao says Kashmir is the most beautiful place in the world. I am ready to see it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


October 12

The man in the photo above was living 7 kilometers away from the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India on June 3, 1984 when at midnight a leak released deadly toxic gases into the air that drifted with the winds. The immediate human death toll was around 3,000 as 36 of the 56 municipal wards of Bhopal were impacted (approximately 600,000 of the nearly 900,000 people in the city have suffered various internal injuries). Today this man's face is scared and he, like many others, suffer injuries for which that have never been adequately compensated. To date he has only received $1,000 from Union Carbide.

Retired Army Colonel N. P. Dixit who hosted us throughout this very busy day in Bhopal took us inside the now abandoned Union Carbide plant. Dixit was in charge of the Army unit that loaded thousands of dead bodies into trucks right after the accident. Col. Dixit had to get a permit in order for us to get inside the still guarded but decaying plant.

A court case against Union Carbide on behalf of the victims is still pending. After 25 years of suffering and waiting, the victims, who have organized themselves to fight for proper compensation and treatment, are frustrated and angry at Union Carbide and the U.S. government.

To date the corporation has never apologized to the people of Bhopal despite the strong evidence that the tragic accident was caused by poor maintenance of the facility by the company.

The day began when Rao and I got off the train just after 6:00 am when it arrived in Bhopal. I slept for maybe two hours during the long bumpy all-night train ride from Nagpur. We were met at the station by several students from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) and were taken to the college guesthouse where we had breakfast and a chance for a shower. Soon after we finished eating Col. Dixit appeared with a small entourage and took us on a frenzied half-hour car ride through crowded and chaotic streets to a college on the outskirts of the city. When we arrived at the Bansal College of Technology we were immediately taken to a large meeting room filled with 200 students. After the usual formalities and introductions I spoke to the students about the space work of the Global Network and answered their good questions.

After the talk a group of about ten professors and administrators from the college gathered along with our party for a half-hour discussion about the possibility of the college hosting a future Global Network space organizing conference. They were extremely interested in doing so and Rao promised to follow-up with them in the near future.

When we left we raced back to the NIT where I again spoke to over 200 students being trained in high technology. Local newspapers covered the talk and I was later told that the TV station that filmed part of my speech was from a national network. Following a very lively question session several students approached Rao and told him they wanted to help the Global Network raise consciousness about space warfare issues in their country.

This was my appeal to the students at both colleges. We need your help if we are to prevent the arms race from moving into space. How can the people in a "democratic" society like the U.S. or India participate in a debate about whether their taxes should be used to build space weapons technology if they don't have a clue about the issue? We need students, especially those at technical colleges, to help us teach the public about the space issue.

In discussions following the talk at the NIT the professors and administrators expressed interest in also hosing a future Global Network space conference at their institution (which I was told is the 2nd leading technology institute in the country.) Col. Dixit, who showed great interest and support for the idea of the Global Network conference, pushed both colleges to commit to offering their facilities. His suggestion was that over the course of a weekend, conference events could be scheduled one day at one of the colleges and then on the second day at the other. That way more students and faculty could be involved.

This busy day also included a sit-down interview with a reporter at The Hindustan newspaper and then a half-hour meeting with the state cabinet minister who represents Bhopal. This meeting with the conservative (BJP) party member did not bear much fruit as he kept saying he agreed with us about the need to keep space for peace but then on the other hand maintained that if the Indian military said they needed space weapons to deal with China or Pakistan then they should have them, as well as any other military hardware the U.S. could sell them. India is not an aggressive nation he maintained, these weapons would be used to maintain the peace.

Of course that is always the sentiment of those who seek greater funding for miliarization. Since I have been in India I've heard much talk about their hopes to become a "Superpower" and some view the development of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons as one key ingredient in the stew that would make it possible for India to join the club of mega-warrior states.

I am writing this on the train again as we continue our journey north. We boarded the train at 8:00 pm and will arrive in Agra at 4:45 am. If I am lucky I will get an hour or so of sleep. But listening to the hyperactive five year old in the bunk below me gives me little confidence I will be lucky tonight.

Yes I am just a bit grumpy…..but I will get over it soon enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I am writing from Nagpur on Oct 10 but not certain when I will be able to post this, as I have no Internet connection at this time. I am staying in a guesthouse that the state ministers use when they come to Nagpur each year for the state assembly that meets for a couple of weeks. It is a humble room with bed, two chairs, a desk, and an Indian-style bathroom. Lucky for me it is air conditioned, as Nagpur seems to have a reputation as one of the hottest places in India. Nagpur is located about mid-center in the country.

I arrived here early yesterday morning after a 5:50 am flight from New Delhi. The plane stopped in Raipur first to drop off, and pick up, more passengers as it made its three-legged route between the cities.

Our Global Network board member J. Narayana Rao was waiting for me in Nagpur when I arrived. Rao is our key contact in the country, a retired railroad union man, who discovered the space issue some years ago while on our mailing list. He was organizing the GN’s international space conference that was to be held this weekend but was not allowed by the Indian government, which had to give permission under their archaic definition of democracy.

So instead, Rao quickly changed course and turned the event into a national conference, which successfully began late yesterday afternoon with more than 200 people attending.

I had lunch yesterday with the man who was invited to be the keynote speaker for the conference. His name is Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, the former Chief of the Indian Navy. This tall and slender man, with shining dark eyes, is a breath of fresh air. I learned that he had been “sacked” from his post a dozen years ago for speaking out against government policies. He was to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but the U.S. opposed his appointment and made sure he was forced out of power.

Two local newspapers this morning carried stories from a news conference Bhagwat held after his talk yesterday to the conference. One headline read: “Defence is the biggest corrupt sector” and the other “U.S. still funding terrorist outfits.” From the latter article: “Bureaucrats play stooges to arms manufacturers, deals are signed with greased palms, defence continues to be the most corrupt sector and government is feigning innocence. Nothing has changed. On the international front, U.S. continues to fund terrorist outfits including those in Pakistan,” Bhagwat said.

A truly independent man, Bhagwat confirmed my long held belief that the corporate international oligarchy is now taking over virtually all the governments of the world. The goal? Corporate domination of resources and markets with expanding militarism to be the tool of control.

Here are a few bits from his excellent speech last night:

“It is the policies of this [global corporate] oligarchy which determine priorities of national budgetary allocations on weapons systems and their expansion into space to target the planet earth, and for use in the oceans, and the seabed.

“As we see the world order today, the material conditions of the people from one continent to the other, the direct consequences of colonialism, breeding predatory wars for resources and markets, and conflicts within nations ….to further consolidate an extremely exploitative, parasitical and colonial regime to crush the ‘untermenshens’ or sub-humans which is the expression for the ordinary people of this planet, as never before at any time in world history. In our own country, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had described these conditions as the ‘terror of hunger and unemployment’, thinking they were inherent characteristics of those times in colonial India and would be eradicated when freedom was won!

“We are seeing a greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. We are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. I am convinced that we have reached the decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.

“A ‘Permanent War’ system nurtured by a permanent ‘War Economy’, fed by the predatory practices of Big banks and the multi-national corporations has led to the establishment of the National Security State which in turn advances the private interest of the financial oligarchy. The three golden rules, therefore, are US/NATO global military presence, global projection of military power and the use of that force in one conflict or the other to threaten the ‘lesser people’ of the world with ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ – including in space. The ruling classes are actually an alliance of the ‘Transnational Capitalist Class’, which delivers to itself profit, power and privilege through policy control and weaponisation.

“Either the Transnational Capitalist Class alliance self-destructs, compelled by the conscious mobilization of the working people in solidarity across the continents, those who oppose war and stand solidly together in a counterforce on the side of humanity, or we go further downhill the slope of lower depths, into an abyss. For every person there are always two choices in life: to accept things as they are or to accept the responsibility to bring about change – from a war economy to a political economy of peace to share, to preserve our environment and to belong to the commons in which every being has an equal stake for our minimum needs.”

Following his talk we showed the new documentary Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space. At the end I was besieged by many people that wanted a copy of the film.

Rao was particularly thrilled that about 60 students from colleges and universities across the country had come for the conference. He has been traveling across India for the past five years promoting the space issues work of the Global Network and it appears that his efforts are bearing fruit. I was very impressed by the sharpness and serious character of the students present and after the film was over I met professors from these same schools across the nation who also had come to Nagpur. They were teachers/students from many disciplines such as: political science, business, pharmacy, commerce, metallurgy and engineering. And these are just the few that I met.

Today the conference resumed and I spoke about the new “Strategic Partnership” between the U.S. and India. Increasingly the Pentagon is drawing the Indian military into the space weaponization game as a way to help create a military alliance against China.

In one session two women students spoke about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the links between nuclear power and building nuclear weapons. One of the young women, a fiery speaker, was so impressive that I invited her to accompany Rao to the U.S. next year for the GN’s 2011 international space conference. She said that she would be happy to come along.

At the end of today’s conference I was approached by a group of students and their professor from a social work college in Nagpur to tell me they were excited about my planned visit to their school tomorrow. In addition, a group of four people from Bhopal, where I will visit next, told me they wanted to welcome me in advance of my visit.

Rao and I will take the night train from Nagpur to Bhopal on October 11. I have long known of the Union Carbide accident there years ago that killed thousands of local citizens. I’m sure I will learn more about the famous disaster and look forward to that visit.

I will post more when I can but wireless connection is a rare find here. So far I have been luck to get online by a metallurgy professor at a Nagpur college.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


U.S. servicemen sit inside a C-17 Globemaster waiting to take off for Afghanistan at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek

  • I am in New Delhi suffering the reality of an up-side-down time zone sleep deficiency. I've been waking up in the middle of the night since arriving and having a real challenge getting back to sleep.
  • I am struck by the photo above of US troops being ferried from a US base in Kyrgyzstan into Afghanistan. The Pentagon's footprint in Central Asia is growing as Obama expands his "right war" into Pakistan and beyond.
The news in recent days about US supply convoys being twice destroyed inside Pakistan following the killing of Pakistan's security forces by US helicopter attacks suggests to me the decision will next be made in Washington to increase the process of moving the war into that broken country. The US will never be satisfied just turning Afghanistan to rubble as long as Pakistan sits next door. The Caspian Sea oil and gas pipeline routes, long desired by the corporate oligarchy that calls these shots, must pass thru Afghanistan and Pakistan if their devious plans are to come to fruition. Thus Pakistan must be taken out. In the national media in the past few weeks you can see signs that the American people are being prepared for just this next step in the global endless war for resource control. (See the Washington Post story entitled "Obama: We need to make it clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan")

  • I was impressed to read and listen to the commentary by one of the nation's best journalists, Glen Ford, about the October 2 "One Nation" protest in Washington. You can find it here. In recent days Ford and Chris Hedges have written strong words about how the event, as was expected by many on the left, was turned into a get-out-the-vote rally for the Democratic Party that made virtually no demands on Obama and his party. There has also been an exciting back and forth email exchange about this on the Internet so at least some strategic reevaluation is happening amongst some leaders in the peace movement.
  • A plan is surfacing to hold a conference in early April in Washington DC under the title of "Dismantling the Permanent War State". Journalist Gareth Porter has sent around a letter proposing the event and says, "The conference will seek to reverse the process of demobilization of organized opposition to that system that has been so effectively carried out over the past decade by the forces supporting the system. My sense is that we are a point in history at which, for a host of reasons, the Permanent War System is now supremely vulnerable and that vulnerability will continue to grow."
I am in favor of any conference or discussion that leads to real progressive strategic review. The present "inside-outside" strategy of engagement with the Democratic Party is bearing little fruit. When you are drowning the idea is to let go of the weight that is pulling you under and begin swimming for shore. It's time to get started.


It ain't about "defense"'s about the US military empire whose job is to protect the interests of corporate globalization

No serious cuts in Pentagon budget = no money for economic recovery at home