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

Friday, December 31, 2010


U.S. Army helicopters on Okinawa are driving the public crazy. Here is a brief comment by Global Network board member Makiko Sato from Japan about this video:

This video shows how the U.S. helicopters are harassing villagers in Takae by flying very low or carrying concrete blocks or fully-armed soldiers on the heads of villagers. Several days ago they blew over a vigil tent set up the villagers by hovering right over it. At the end of the video, the past record of U.S. military's aircraft crashes in Okinawa are shown.

This is the same brutality of power as is seen in Jeju.


Cyberwar. A conflict without footsoldiers, guns, or missiles.

Instead the attacks are launched by computer hackers. Digital spy rings. Information thieves. Cyberarmies of kids, criminals, terrorists - some backed by nation states.

In the US there is a growing fear that they pose a massive threat to national security, and a conviction that the world's military superpower must prepare for the fight ahead.

At stake: Crucial national infrastructure, high value commercial secrets, tens of billions of dollars in defence contracts, as well as values like privacy and freedom of expression.

In this episode of Fault Lines, Josh Rushing enters the domain of "cyber" and speaks to a former US national security official turned cybersecurity consultant, a Silicon Valley CEO, a hacker, and those who warn of a growing arms race in cyberspace.

He asks: Is the US contributing to the militarisation of cyberspace? Are the reports of cyber threats being distorted by a burgeoning security industry? And are the battles being waged in cyberspace interfering with the Internet as we know it?


After WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London an international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials released a statement in support of his work.

We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. "If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me," Ellsberg says. "I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist... Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am."

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I wrote to Sung-Hee Choi (in photo above) and told her that people were wondering what happened to her when she got arrested on December 27 along with thirty-three others as they tried to block the Navy from sending in the cement trucks to cover the rocks along the coast in the Gangjeong village. This is her response:

When I was arrested, I had a sign, made by the Gangjeong villagers and hung on my neck that says ‘No naval base that is faked as a civilian-military complex harbor (Gangjeong villagers’ Committee against naval base).’

The police was relatively gentle to me. They dragged me with the sign. So I was wearing the sign most of time when I was in the two police stations (I was first in the Seogwipo police station near Gangjeong then was moved to the northeastern part police station of the Jeju island). The arrest itself was illegal and unjust and at first I did not say anything even my name. But they already knew my name with a letter miss-spelled.

There is a policeman who is a spy in the village all the time.

Yesterday, I got the letter from the Jeju police that I was arrested for bla bla bla…

I guess all the arrested got the similar letter and there should be joint action for it. But I can’t think of it now well until I write about the Jeju. There are so many things in my head and I am struggling to narrow it.

Thanks very much for all the care and concern again.

MAKE A CALL: If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC (or in your own country) and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone in Washington is 202-939-5600


One of my favorite blogs called Ten Thousand Things posted this about Jeju Island:

Every summer, hundreds of dolphins, traveling from Alaska, visit the sea off the village of Gangjeong, Jeju Island. Video courtesy of Yang Dong-Kyu, a filmmaker who filmed this hauntingly beautiful footage of the dolphins responding to his calls in summer 2009.

Jeju Island, a World Heritage Site, is a jewel of biodiversity. The southern coast of Jeju Island is home to soft coral habitat. In 2001, the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration designated it a national monument protection area. The Gangjeong coast is a seasonal habitat for hundreds of dolphins that live there from June until September. They migrate from Alaska through the North Pacific Ocean to Jeju Island, the only dolphin habitat in South Korea.

And now Seoul is about to destroy the dolphin habitat and the traditional farming and fishing village of Gangjeong to transform an island known for biodiversity, international peace, honeymoons, and school trips into a focal point of rising militarism and an arms race in East Asia. Seoul's target: China, ironically the home of many of the tourists who visit Jeju.


  • I love this photo of art on the "wall" built by Israel to keep the Palestinian people in a box. It just shows you can't kill the spirit. Reports in the news sound like Israel has been hitting the people in Gaza hard again. My heart breaks everytime they slam Gaza - it's like shooting birds in a cage.

  • I've started work on our next Space Alert! newsletter. Yesterday was the deadline for copy and as usual I have to be flexible about it with those who have committed to writing something. I guess I was a bit unrealistic to put the deadline so soon after Xmas. I always dread getting started to work on the paper because I collect a huge stack of materials to sort through, but once I get going I love the challenge of finding the important bits of information and putting it into a readable format.

  • I had a visit yesterday from freelance journalist Matthew Reiss who is contemplating a move from New York City to Maine. He wanted to get a look a Bath Iron Works so I drove him around the shipyard and then the timing worked out nicely for him to come on my radio show where I interviewed him about his specialty - U.S. foreign policy in the Asian-Pacific. He has written alot about China, Japan, and South Korea and has recently done stories about Jeju Island. So with the Jeju Navy base issue so hot, and the Bath Iron Works connection being so important since they build the Aegis destroyers that will be ported at the Jeju Navy base, it was a great chance to bring all these elements to local listeners. We would talk for 10 minutes for so, then play some music, and then talk some more during the two-hour show. Peter Woodruff, who normally co-hosts the show, was not there as he and his wife were off gallivanting on a bit of a mini-vacation. Hope you had a nice break Peter.

  • I don't do fundraising during the holiday season for the Global Network. I read years ago in a non-profit fundraising guide that it is actually one of the worst times to try to fundraise. There are other times of the year that have proven to be much better opportunities to seek support. It always amazes me how many non-profits are out flooding the public with donation requests during this holiday season. With that said though I have been astounded by a couple very large donations that have arrived in the Global Network mail box in recent days. Some people seeking tax deductions do like to end the year by making donations to their favorite groups. This is evidence to me that if you do good work consistently people who have money to give will remember you without having to hound them during this end of year rush. Build it and they will come....... thanks to all of you for your kind support over the years.

  • I am going back to the chiropractor today for my aching back. It was aggravated by having to shovel snow four times the other day during our big storm. We got about 7-8 inches of snow in all but the wind was howling so long and hard that the snow kept reappearing in places that had previously been shoveled. I actually love being outside in those moments, the little kid in me enjoys playing in the snow. I just don't have the back of the little kid anymore.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


News conference in Jeju City opposing the Navy base

The protests against the Navy base on Jeju Island (in the Gangjeong village) moved to the biggest city on the island today - Jeju City - as activists attempted to set up an encampment vigil outside the Island assembly building.

(You should remember that Korea is about 13 hours ahead of us in time.)

Sung-Hee Choi reports from Jeju Island:

Yesterday, while I was in the village, the Pan Island Committeee Against the Military Base confronted the Jeju City authorities and police as the city did not allow the activists' tent vigil in front of the Island assembly. One member was arrested and two women - of whom one was greatly wounded in her face - were carried to the hospital.

Otherwise, the Lee Myung bak [right-wing] national government announced on Dec. 27 that it would manage 10 ports as the governmental management port including Gangjeong (Civilian-military complex), Hwasoon (maritime police port) in the Jeju island, and Chuja Island in the southern part, near the Jeju Island. The other two ports will be in the East Sea (Japan Sea) while five ports will be in the western sea. People say the plan must be against China.

MAKE A CALL: If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone is 202-939-5600

Monday, December 27, 2010


I got these photos from a Jeju Island media can see more of them if you click on the link in the headline above.

I've not yet heard from Sung-Hee Choi yet, she might have been arrested for all I know.

It is obvious that the Navy has pushed through with their cement trucks and will now begin to pour concrete over the sea life that lives among the rocks along the coastline of the Gangjeong village.

All of this in order to build a Navy base that is needed as the U.S. Navy builds more ships and deploys them in the region. Maine's Sen. Olympia Snowe (Republican) has said over and over again to the media in our state that more Navy ships are needed to "protect" against China's expanding power. There can be no doubt that this base has nothing to do with North Korea. It is all about projecting power toward China in order to block their ability to import oil on ships along the waterway between Jeju Island and mainland China.

The Chinese import 80% of their oil via this sea route and if the U.S. can successfully "choke off" their ability to transport oil then the U.S., who can't compete with China's growing economy, would be able to still hold the "keys" to their economic engine.

It is hardball politics that the U.S. is playing here in this expensive and dangerous game. The people on Jeju Island, sadly enough, are just pawns in the way of imperial designs.

Thirty-four citizens arrested trying to block 66 cement trucks from dumping their concrete on the rocky coast.

If you'd like to help please call the South Korean embassy in Washington DC and tell them to stop building the Navy base and to quit arresting the villagers. The phone is


As I write this the people of the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea are in the midst of the fight of their lives. It is today that they face down the Navy and the plans to destroy their sacred coastline for the Navy base where U.S. Aegis destroyers (built here in Bath, Maine) will be ported.

As I write this they might be sitting in the road trying to block the construction machinery from beginning work. They might be getting arrested in large numbers. They are so isolated and few around the world know anything of their struggle to save the rocks, the water, the coral, the fish and their way of life.

On Christmas day a Catholic mass was held for the villagers along the rocky coastline by the Bishop of Jeju Island. Below is the latest report we got from Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi who has been at the village for the last couple of weeks standing with the people and helping to spread word about their fight to others in Korea and around the world:

In the Joongduk coast - the planned naval base area - snowflakes fell onto the beautiful coast rocks and sea, as well, displaying a mysterious view as the sea horizon became clouded. It was a terrible feeling to think that the most beautiful rocks and sea in the Jeju Island might be covered with concrete if the naval base construction is enforced.

At 3:00 pm, there was a peace mass, called, ‘the Christmas missal to save life and peace of the Jeju Island,’ lead by Fr. Kang Woo-Il, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea & the Bishop of the Catholic Jeju district, along with many fathers and nuns in the Jeju island. The event was hosted by the Special Committee for the Island of Peace, Catholic Jeju district. About 400~500 followers and Gangjeong villagers gathered and represented their will to save the Jeju island of Peace from the naval base construction.

Bishop Kang Woo-Il led the mass and said, “Military base cannot save peace and life” and that he “would be together with the lonely and oppressed Gangjeong villagers.”

The least we can do is to let others know about this terrible moment so that the valiant struggle of the Gangjeong villagers is not done without the world knowing about it. Please pass on word about this and also call the South Korean embassy in your country and protest the construction of the Navy base for U.S. warships on Jeju Island.

As you can see in the small yellow signs being held by the people in the crowd that read "No War" the villagers understand that construction of this Navy base, so close to China's coastline, is a wildly provocative move in the U.S. military strategy to surround China. It will only bring more conflict to their part of the world.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


A reminder to be nice to each other during the new year......

Saturday, December 25, 2010


The perfect story for Christmas - the greedy Scrooge-like corporations driving people from their homes even after they have paid their mortgages. Shouldn't Obama and the Congress be all over this? But that would require them to get out of bed with these corrupt Wall Street banksters.

Yves Smith has written the popular and trenchant financial blog "Naked Capitalism" since 2006. Yves has spent more than 25 years in the financial services industry and currently heads Aurora Advisors, a New York-based management consulting firm specializing in corporate finance advisory and financial services. Prior experience includes Goldman Sachs (in corporate finance), McKinsey & Co., and Sumitomo Bank (as head of mergers and acquisitions). Yves has written for publications in the United States and Australia, including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Slate, The Conference Board Review, Institutional Investor, The Daily Deal and the Australian Financial Review. Yves is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Friday, December 24, 2010


War is hell, but for Hollywood it has been a Godsend, providing the perfect dramatic setting against which courageous heroes win the hearts and minds of the movie going public.

The Pentagon recognises the power of these celluloid dreams and encourages Hollywood to create heroic myths; to rewrite history to suit its own strategy and as a recruiting tool to provide a steady flow of willing young patriots for its wars.

What does Hollywood get out of this 'deal with the devil'? Access to billions of dollars worth of military kit, from helicopters to aircraft carries, enabling filmmakers to make bigger and more spectacular battle scenes, which in turn generate more box office revenue. Providing they accept the Pentagon's advice, even toe the party line and show the US military in a positive light.

So is it a case of art imitating life, or a sinister force using art to influence life and death - and the public perception of both?

Empire will examine Hollywood, the Pentagon, and war.

Interviewed are Oliver Stone, Chris Hedges and Michael Moore.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, December 23, 2010


  • Alex Smith produces a program in Vancouver called Radio Ecoshock and had me on this past week. He told me it will start broadcasting on 24 college and community stations this Friday, Dec 24th, and on through that next week. At the end of the show I told Alex he did the one of best interviews I'd ever done. I loved how prepared he was and also how clear he was about what direction he wanted the interview to take. You can listen to the entire interview here

  • I missed doing our weekly radio show last night on WBOR at nearby Bowdoin College along with co-host Peter Woodruff who works at Bath Iron Works. We've been doing the show for the past two years - playing political music and commentaries. I hurt my back and after a trip to the chiropractor yesterday I was not in any condition to sit for two hours on a stool at the radio control board. Next week though I've got to be there as Peter will be away and I have to do the show on my own. I'm think I'll play a bunch of songs by The Kinks.

  • During this holiday time I am thinking of the growing number of poor people in this country. As welfare for the rich grows (more tax cuts and corporate subsidies) we are seeing more "little" people hit rock bottom. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that 42,389,619 Americans received food stamps in August, a 17% rise from the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tracks the data. That number is up 58.5% from August 2007, before the recession began.

In our nation's capitol, Washington DC, 21.1% of the public is on food stamps - the highest in the nation. In Maine 18% of the population now qualifies for food stamps. I've recently heard that the government is cutting back on how much money they give to the poor each month in food stamps as the demand grows for that support.

During this holiday season, when people all over the world go to church to pray and celebrate the birth of the "Prince of Peace", it might be good to remember what Jesus had to say about killing and the poor. Isn't it time that more of the good Christians spoke out on these important matters? It's nice that they help feed the poor, but how about turning over the tables inside the temples of the money changers? How about speaking out about the structural impediments to ending war and poverty?

What would Jesus say about that?


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


  • It's snowing again. A heavier snow this time and likely will be a big shoveling day. We've not had much real intense cold so far though, it is warm one day with the ground thawing out and then it gets a bit cold - back and forth. Your body can't really adjust properly and makes it easy to catch colds.

  • I was interviewed by Dr. Helen Caldicott for an hour last night for her radio show called If You Love This Planet. The show airs in Australia (where she lives most of the year) and also plays on many U.S. stations, particularly along the Pacifica Radio Network. We talked quite a bit about Obama and Helen is extremely disappointed in his first two years in office. She follows the space issue very closely having written a book called "War in Heaven". In 1997 Helen came to Florida for a couple of days to help our campaign to stop NASA's launch of the Cassini space probe with 72 pounds of plutonium-238 on-board. As we drove from place to place I talked to her about the broader space weaponization issue which she was not up to date on. She immediately got the significance of it and set to work learning more and teaching others.

One key area that we focused on during the interview is Obama's deployment plan for missile offense systems surrounding Russia and China. This led to the whole "security export" topic and my analysis about the Pentagon's plan for endless war to the benefit of corporate globalization and resource extraction. Not a happy holiday message at all.

She was also interested in our local efforts around the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign and told me that she'd like to come to the northeast for a few days in March when she returns to the states. She offered to give us a couple days to help us out, so if any of you reading this might like to have Helen visit to make the connections between endless war and fiscal crisis at home let me know and I'll put you on the list.

Helen said our interview should be on her web site within the next two weeks so just check the link above and you should be able to find it. I'll post a reminder when I hear it is on-line.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger is one of many high-profile public supporters of Julian Assange and his organization WikiLeaks. Pilger has attended Assange’s court proceedings in London and has offered to contribute funds for his more than $300,000 bail. Pilger’s latest film, The War You Don’t See, includes interviews with Assange. Pilger says that WikiLeaks is revolutionizing journalism and galvanizing public opinion to stand up to global elites.


Tea bag protest sign

  • I was at the Sears auto center today getting new tires for our car. We had a snow storm yesterday afternoon and I had to drive through it and our nearly bald tires were spinning a bit in the snow. While I waited for the work to be done I went next door to a coffee shop so I could go on-line and check my emails. When I returned to the auto center waiting room three men were watching Fox News and I heard one of them saying, "I am tired of the nanny state. I think we should get rid of these laws like helmets for motorcycles and seat belts. If people want to die then it will help with population control." He had on a BAE Systems (aerospace corporation) jacket and had that look and walk of a neighborhood bully. This whole Republican take over in Maine (and most of the rest of the country) has emboldened these kinds of guys.

  • The U.S. media is gloating just a bit as North Korea backed down from another military confrontation with South Korea. Right on schedule the right-wing government, led by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (nicknamed the bulldozer and the rat by his people), stepped up with another round of war games virtually on the North Korean border. These military exercises, coming regularly these days, are without a doubt being strongly encouraged by the Obama administration who themselves are taking on the role of playground bully when it comes to North Korea and Iran. Thank goodness North Korea was wise enough to show restraint as clearly the U.S. and their junior-partners in Seoul are not capable of doing so.

  • Global Network board member Alice Slater (New York City) was quoted in a news release today about Obama's efforts to pass the new START Treaty in the Senate. She stated:

The Obama administration will pay a heavy price to ratify the modest START treaty should it receive the required 67 Senate votes this week to enact it into law. The president originally promised the weapons labs $80 billion over ten years for building three new bomb factories in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Kansas City to modernize our nuclear arsenals as well as an additional $100 billion for new delivery systems -- missiles, bombers and submarines. He then sweetened the pot with an offer of another $4 billion to the nuclear weapons establishment to [try to] buy the support of Senator Kyl. Additionally, he is assuring the Senate hawks that missile [offense] development in the U.S. will proceed full speed ahead, even though Russia and China have proposed negotiations on a draft treaty they submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to ban space weaponization. Every country at that conference voted in favor of preventing an arms race in outer space except the United States, still caught in the grip of the military-industrial-academic-congressional complex which President Eisenhower took great pains to warn us against in his farewell address to the nation.

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Justice Through Music partners again with the band Op-Critical, , in a new music video rendition of Roger Waters’ “The Wall,” to focus attention on the heartbreak of endless wars. “We made a few changes in the lyrics,” said Op-Critical’s Storm, “with the most powerful being: ‘Daddy, what’d you leave behind for me? On the Mall you left another name on the Wall.’”

The video, posted a few days ago on YouTube, has already had thousands of views and rave reviews.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The U.S. and South Korean governments plan to cover this rocky coastline on Jeju Island with cement as they build docks to port Navy warships to help surround China's coastline
Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi (right) joins the protest in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island as construction begins

After months of delay due to elections and court hearings, the plan to build a Navy base in the Gangjeong village is now back underway. The villagers had hoped that the new governor on Jeju would protect the village but he will not. Likewise they lost a final legal battle to block the base construction. Now all that is left to the villagers will be to use their own bodies to stop the destruction of the sacred coastline.

Below is a report from Sung-Hee Choi who has gone to Jeju Island to be with the villagers during this hard time. We will keep you updated as things develop. You can help by calling the South Korean embassy in your country and tell them to "Stop building the Navy base on Jeju Island" which is called the island of peace and has been recognized by UNESCO as a global environmental jewell.

By Sung-Hee Choi (South Korea)

December 20

Today, around 8: 30 am, six stone powder dump trucks, a water-purifier tank cargo truck, a light truck, a cement-mix car, and a water car came to the planned naval base area.. The purpose of the Navy was the installation of the water-purifier tank in the planned naval base area of the Gangjeong village. Even though we intended to prevent the entry of those cars, since about 100 cement-mix cars uploaded with panel materials would come again in large size on Dec. 27, after the village meeting on Dec. 22, our opinions were collected to save our power for the D-Day. The corporation that was in charge of the construction of the water-purifier tank was the Daerim industry, the company that has been the cause of the Yongsan tragedy [where neighborhood activists were killed by the police when they tired to stop the "redevelopment" and loss of their homes and shops in their community] with Samsung [the developer].

There were about seven activists from the Pan-Island committee against the naval base, about seven villagers despite their busiest harvesting season of the year, and some peace activists in the planned naval base area of the Gangjeong stream. Despite little choice today considering the expected continuous struggles, the villagers’ council and the Pan-Island committee would resist against construction with all their power on Dec. 27, 2010.

Currently about 10 trucks are expected to come tomorrow at the similar time and the measure on that is still uncertain. However, it is expected that various struggles would be considered after the villagers’ general meeting on Dec. 22 that is the continuation of Dec. 17 meeting and many villagers and activists would gather power for Dec. 27.

Otherwise, Catholic priests peace mass against the planned naval base was held in the Joonduk coast connected from the Gangjeong stream, another absolute preservation area for an hour from 12pm.

UPDATE: For an update on the situation in the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island for Dec 21 see here


Chris Hedges: Obama is a "Poster Child for the Death of the Liberal Class"

The compromise tax-cut deal that President Obama signed into law on Friday has angered many of his supporters. In his new book, Death of the Liberal Class, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges argues that the failure of President Obama to represent the interests of his supporters is just another example of a quickly-dying liberal class. In the book, Hedges explains how the five pillars of the liberal class: the press, universities, unions, liberal churches and the Democratic Party have become corrupt.

See an article by Hedges about his arrest in Washington last Thursday here


The Washington Post has an important story today about the expansion of domestic surveillance by local police agencies across the country in connection with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Below are a few bits from the article:

On a recent night in Memphis, a patrol car rolled slowly through a parking lot in a run-down section of town. The military-grade infrared camera on its hood moved robotically from left to right, snapping digital images of one license plate after another and analyzing each almost instantly.

At the same time that the FBI is expanding its West Virginia database, it is building a vast repository controlled by people who work in a top-secret vault on the fourth floor of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington. This one stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime. What they have done is appear to be acting suspiciously to a town sheriff, a traffic cop or even a neighbor.

In response to concerns that information in the database could be improperly used or released, FBI officials say anyone with access has been trained in privacy rules and the penalties for breaking them.

But not everyone is convinced. "It opens a door for all kinds of abuses," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now leads the American Civil Liberties Union's campaign on national security and privacy matters. "How do we know there are enough controls?"

The vast majority of terrorism leads in the United States originate from confidential FBI sources and from the bureau's collaboration with federal intelligence agencies, which mainly work overseas. Occasionally a stop by a local police officer has sparked an investigation. Evidence comes from targeted FBI surveillance and undercover operations, not from information and analysis generated by state fusion centers about people acting suspiciously.

"It's really resource-inefficient," said Philip Mudd, a 20-year CIA counterterrorism expert and a top FBI national security official until he retired nine months ago. "If I were to have a dialogue with the country about this . . . it would be about not only how we chase the unknowns, but do you want to do suspicious activity reports across the country? . . . Anyone who is not at least suspected of doing something criminal should not be in a database."

Ramon Montijo has taught classes on terrorism and Islam to law enforcement officers all over the country.

"Alabama, Colorado, Vermont," said Montijo, a former Army Special Forces sergeant and Los Angeles Police Department investigator who is now a private security consultant. "California, Texas and Missouri," he continued.

What he tells them is always the same, he said: Most Muslims in the United States want to impose sharia law here.

"They want to make this world Islamic. The Islamic flag will fly over the White House - not on my watch!" he said. "My job is to wake up the public, and first, the first responders."

Like Montijo, Walid Shoebat, a onetime Muslim who converted to Christianity, also lectures to local police. He too believes that most Muslims seek to impose sharia law in the United States. To prevent this, he said in an interview, he warns officers that "you need to look at the entire pool of Muslims in a community."

When Shoebat spoke to the first annual South Dakota Fusion Center Conference in Sioux Falls this June, he told them to monitor Muslim student groups and local mosques and, if possible, tap their phones. "You can find out a lot of information that way," he said.

A book expanding on what Shoebat and Montijo believe has just been published by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based neoconservative think tank. "Shariah: The Threat to America" describes what its authors call a "stealth jihad" that must be thwarted before it's too late.

The book's co-authors include such notables as former CIA director R. James Woolsey and former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, along with the center's director, a longtime activist. They write that most mosques in the United States already have been radicalized, that most Muslim social organizations are fronts for violent jihadists and that Muslims who practice sharia law seek to impose it in this country.

The DHS also provides local agencies a daily flow of information bulletins.

These reports are meant to inform agencies about possible terror threats. But some officials say they deliver a never-ending stream of information that is vague, alarmist and often useless. "It's like a garage in your house you keep throwing junk into until you can't park your car in it," says Michael Downing, deputy chief of counterterrorism and special operations for the Los Angeles Police Department.

The vast majority of fusion centers across the country have transformed themselves into analytical hubs for all crimes and are using federal grants, handed out in the name of homeland security, to combat everyday offenses.

This is happening because, after 9/11, local law enforcement groups did what every agency and private company did in Top Secret America: They followed the money.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


George Harrison wrote one for the "me culture"...... as in "don't tell me that" or "don't ask me to think about that"......"I just want to worry about me" get the drift.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Here is the hope man.....Chris Hedges acknowledged to me on Thursday that he has been getting some heat from folks for his "stark" ruminations about our future.

He said he's been trying to address the "hope" question in his writings the last few months. He put it all together at the rally before the White House civil disobedience action.


Guest piece by my good friend and fellow Maine activist Lisa Savage - telling the truth

See no evil, hear nothing but NPR, say Merry Xmas!

By Lisa Savage

'Tis the season of holiday parties, a chance to see people and relax a bit. Mark and I don't get invited to old friends' dinner parties much anymore; no one would ever say why, but I imagine it's because people are afraid we will talk about politics and bum them out. We did get invited to a neighborhood Christmas party last week, and went and had a good time. Tonight we will drive about an hour to attend the annual holiday gathering of a peace and justice group in the western Maine mountains. I'm sure it will be a very different crowd.

At last week's party I wore what my husband affectionately described as "your Bradley Manning schoolgirl look." I put a festive red cardigan over my Free Bradley t-shirt, and then asked myself what a high school kid would wear with such an ensemble (short skirt over leggings plus boots). I love my Bradley Manning t-shirt but don't get to wear it much. It's too cold outside, and I don't dare bring political messaging to my place of work.

Only one person remarked on my shirt, asking me about its cool graphics. When I said it was Bradley Manning he replied, "Who's that?" I said it was the person who supplied WikiLeaks with the info in the first place. Still no recognition. This person has advanced degrees and teaches at a local college. "I am sorry I asked, please stop. I have been depressed lately," he told me. Wow.

I was careful not to bring up politics because NOBODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT! When they ask what I have been up to lately, they do not really want me to tell them. I talked about the weather, holiday plans, people's health, family news, and anything else but. Old friends we have kind of lost touch with avoid us because they are afraid we do not know how to act politely at parties anymore. I was determined to prove them wrong. But I suppose I blew it in advance by wearing my t-shirt.

Anyway, I was in a discussion about the weather for upcoming holiday travel with two people I have known for years. They were wondering if it was snowing in Washington DC that day and I said that it was because I had just seen a video of a snowy scene where "hundreds of people got arrested today for chaining themselves to the White House fence."

The two partygoers turned away from me in unison, as if we were in a dance that had been rehearsed.

Which I suppose we were.

Most of our these local friends started out standing on the bridge with us in '03, '04, maybe '05. Then a lot of people quit coming. I have never challenged anyone on this or asked them to defend their decision, but a ton of them have rushed up to me in the produce department or at the post office to apologize guiltily, mostly explaining either that they were too busy or stopped because "it didn't make any difference -- nothing changed." (The general public in the U.S. has the historical awareness and political sense of very young children.)

Over the years many, many people have thanked Mark and me for continuing to publicly vigil for peace, and to protest the wars. I think the message is: Keep it on the bridge where it belongs, but don't bring it to our parties.

Almost all of these people do charitable works, and a lot of them happen to be artists. Either they do not consider political organizing fun, inspiring, and exciting -- or it's too scary. Maybe some combination of the two.

Maybe there is a lot of guilt for continuing to live well while children in Afghanistan starve and freeze in between air strikes we are financing.

I can't be sure about any of that, but I am pretty sure about this: any literate person with Internet acces who cannot identify Bradley Manning is in a willful state of ignorance.

Bliss? I doubt it.


Friday, December 17, 2010


I am on the train heading home…will be a late night since I have to switch from Amtrak to a bus once I get to Boston and I will likely have a good wait.

I spent much of the day waiting inside the National Park Police headquarters building with about 25 others who were arrested yesterday at the White House.

Everyone that refused to pay the $100 fine had to go to the Park Police HQ to get their court date. They told us to come at 8:00 am so I got a ride with the seven women from Western Massachusetts who were also arrested. When we arrived there were a handful of others already waiting. We tried to hand the police our yellow slip of paper outlining our charge, “Reusing to obey a lawful order”, but they said they were only processing a few at a time. This made no sense.

After five hours of waiting, and continually being hassled by the Park Police who would not allow us to use their restroom or have more than seven people at a time waiting in the lobby, I finally left for the train station. I had already told the cops I was going to leave whether they “finished” my paperwork or not, I had a train to catch. They told me a “bench warrant” would be issued for my arrest if I left. One of the women from our group drove me to the nearest subway stop and while we were in her car she got a phone call saying my paperwork was done and one of the women grabbed it for me after telling the cops I had gone outside to take a leak. She will mail it to me.

It wasn’t until a couple of the people who were tired of waiting called their Congresspersons office, to complain that the Park Police would not allow us to use the toilet, that the cops relented and allowed people to use a port-a-toilet in the garage where we were first brought the day before for processing.

We were told over and over again today that their computers were down…… just imagine all that money paid to corporations to run these big government computer systems and they don’t work. But we never believed this one. They were just pushing us to pay the $100 fine as they kept telling us that if we would just hand over the money we could leave right away – they wouldn’t need the computer to process that transaction they said – yeah right!

This morning before leaving the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House for the Park Police station we checked the Washington Post to see what coverage they gave to the protest. There was no article but they did have a large close-up photo of Daniel Ellsberg and a few other people holding a banner. In the photo caption the Post reported that Ellsberg and “several others” were arrested for not dispersing. Several others! More than 130 arrested (we’ve heard 131, 135, and 138) and they say several…..the Post and other major papers dragged us into these wars and now mislead the public about the resistance to them.

Are they afraid of the American people? Damn right they are.

Former career CIA agent Ray McGovern was arrested with us yesterday. He had this to say about what he hoped to see come of the exercise in civil disobedience:

There's a saying that hope is the twin. Augustin said that hope has two daughters-- anger and courage. What we have seen in our [trying to stop the war] policy is a lot of anger.....but anger is not enough, you've got to have courage.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


There were 131 arrested at the White House today as hundreds turned out in the cold and snow for the Veterans for Peace action calling for an end to the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We waited holding onto the fence for over an hour before the Park Police began arresting us. They loaded three city buses with the resisters and drove us about six miles to the headquarters of the DC Park Police where we were quickly processed and released. We were given two options: pay a $100 fee and be done with it or instead plead not-guilty and be scheduled for a trial at some point down the road - likely in the spring. I chose the latter and all of us who plead not-guilty have to return to the Park Police HQ tomorrow to get our date to return for arraignment.

I then made my way back to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House where I stayed last night and will stay again tonight. Also here are seven women from Northampton, Massachusetts (including 91 year old activist legend Frances Crowe) who all got arrested today as well.

In the beginning of the video you can see me in a blue jacket - I was one of the first to jump over the barrier that the police had put in place in order to try to keep us away from the fence. The police were actually quite good to us today, very gentle and friendly, with many of them smiling and putting our handcuffs on very loose. I was able to slip out of mine quite easily after I was put on the bus.

There was alot of international and alternative media covering the action today but we saw no sign of any of the corporate network TV being there. No surprise really in America where information is tightly controlled.

The best speech of the day, at the rally that kicked off the event, was by award winning journalist Chris Hedges. He has often been criticized for his strong and direct analysis of the current situation in the U.S. (his book called "The Death of the Liberal Class" being one example) but today he challenged us using the word "hope" over and over again. He told us that civil resistance to the empire, at a time when reform is dead inside the halls of Washington DC, is the only way to create hope.

So essentially in answer to his critics Hedges is challenging them to either put up or shut up. You want hope he is saying, then get off your arse and go out and organize non-violent resistance to the war machine!

It was a special experience to be with so many veterans in this act of truth. Dan Ellsberg, who helped turn me into a peace activist with his release of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, was beaming like a lighthouse along the rocky Maine coastline as he hung onto the fence.

Our job now is to extend this energy into our local communities - places like Maine where the newly elected Republican controlled state legislature is going to cut $800 million more out of the budget - most of it will come from social programs.

We've got to increase our efforts to connect the dots between war spending and social collapse.

See two photo slideshows from the action here and here

Additional video coverage here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I am on the bus heading to Boston where I will transfer to a train for Washington DC. When I arrive in DC I'll grab a taxi and get to a local church just in time to attend the Veterans for Peace meeting to review plans for the anti-war action tomorrow at the White House.

There are five of us from Maine (that I am aware of) who will be joining this protest. Four of us are members of Maine Veterans for Peace. I have no clue how many people will attend this event which begins at 10:00 am with a rally in Lafayette Park just across the street from the White House and concludes with a civil disobedience action in front of "the people's" house.

Years ago I was arrested for sitting in front of the White House along with alot of other activists who at that time were opposing U.S. policy in Central America. I don't remember for sure if we spent the night in jail or not. I have no idea what is likely to happen to us this time around.

I am glad to be joining this event although I must acknowledge that I don't believe that Obama can be reached by moral, ethical or fiscal appeals in relation to his war on Afghanistan. I am essentially joining this action because I must. I am doing it because I feel that people right now have the responsibility to publicly stand in opposition to the empire's endless war machine. The public needs to know that someone cares and is taking action.

Obama and the Pentagon have already begun to signal that the 2011 withdrawal date from Afghanistan is being rubbed out and a 2014 date is being trotted out as the next target. But I don't have any faith in the 2014 date either. At the rate of $8 billion a month there is way too much money being made on the war to bring it to a halt anytime soon. It's a lucrative gravy train for many corporations.

I will be proud to join with the others tomorrow that are stepping forward to say enough of this insanity. I hope those of you at home will make a call and write a letter to the editor as a show of solidarity with those of us at the White House. This action will only be as effective as you help us make it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


How can there be economic recovery as long as the U.S. taxpayers subsidize multi-national corporations to move jobs overseas?

Chew on that one and see how it tastes......

We are being played like a fiddle.


At least four prisons in Georgia remain in lockdown five days after prisoners went on strike in protest of poor living and working conditions. Using cell phones purchased from guards, the prisoners coordinated the nonviolent protests to stage the largest prison strike in U.S. history.

There are reports of widespread violence and brutality by the guards against the prisoners on strike. Democracy Now speaks to longtime prison activist Elaine Brown of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Excellent and detailed look inside the whole Wikileaks history and operation


There are some people in the power structure that you have to keep your eye on. One of them is Dana Milbank, a columnist at the Washington Post. (He also is a Skull & Bones member from his Yale days).

Milbank uses "satire" in his writings but he has a clear agenda and often uses a sharp knife to eviscerate his targets. Basically I'd call him mean spirited - but you'd expect that from someone who learned to worship skulls and bones inside the "Tomb" at Yale.

I've been formulating a theory for some years that the power structure is moving the vast majority of us onto the "reservation" because we are what you might call superfluous populations now that the corporations have moved jobs overseas. We're just not needed and the rich folks, like those that Milbank carries water for, can't leave it to chance that we will all accept our fate without raising a fuss.

My theory is heavily influenced by the treatment the "white man" bestowed upon the American Indians during earlier times. In particular I highly recommend the book by Mari Sandoz called "Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas". This historical novel is a masterpiece at describing the reason and methods used by the "Great White Father" in Washington to destroy the Sioux nation in the Dakotas after gold had been discovered in the Black Hills. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were the last two holdouts but were finally forced onto the reservation, and both ultimately killed, as the once great tribes of the plains were brought under control.

In this history you see the modus operandi of the military industrial complex as they fabricated stories of Crazy Horse back on the war path in order to justify continued appropriations for the weapons makers. In fact Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull had been brought onto the reservation and had no weapons, or horses, to their name. You can see that these methods of media and public manipulation and fear mongering are still being used to this day.

In the latest Milbank piece entitled "Obama finally stands his ground" he takes on the left for their opposition to the tax cut compromise that benefits the fat cats. He writes, "the White House has delivered to disgruntled liberals a message summed up by Vice President Biden in a private session with lawmakers on Wednesday: Take it or leave it."

Milbank's mission here is to sow discord within the "liberal" wing of American politics. He continues, "This is a hopeful sign that Obama has learned the lessons of the health-care debate, when he acceded too easily to the wishes of Hill Democrats, allowing them to slow the legislation and engage in a protracted debate on the public option."

After bringing the Indians onto the reservation the white rulers still worried that they might regroup (imagine that being done without weapons or horses or a way to feed themselves) so they turned Indian against Indian by manipulating the leadership into desperate struggles for power as they in fact sat powerless on the barren reservations in South Dakota.

Similarly Milbank undertakes this strategy in his piece by pitting liberal Democrat Peter Defazio (Oregon) and his supporters against Obama with this bit of dynamite:

"Ringleader DeFazio has played the role of irritant before. During a House Democratic caucus meeting with Obama last year, he went to the microphone to give his laundry list of complaints about the White House. Replied Obama: 'Don't think we're not keeping score, brother.'

"But if he kept score then, it was private. Now Obama is publicly taking on the DeFazio crowd, with his talk of 'sanctimonious' liberals and his warning that his opponents would be blamed for 'smaller paychecks' and 'fewer jobs.' For once, reporters could tell Obama was angry without asking White House press secretary Robert Gibbs for evidence."

The ruling elite are heading in a certain direction. They are smashing social progress and have learned that if they can destroy the opposition's ability to reorganize or regroup then they will have much more success in achieving their goal. So Milbank's job is to help turn the Democrats against one another, and to discredit those like Rep. DeFazio who dare stand up and speak against the bleeding of the working class to benefit the richest among us.

In other words, don't complain as we are putting you on the reservation. If you do we will take you out the way Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull were destroyed.

Milbank offers this threat near the end of his piece. He says, "Liberals, if they can see beyond their pique, should realize that the emergence of Obama's forceful leadership could be good for them."

Translation: You'll be better off if you keep your mouth shut and go along for the ride. Otherwise we are going to beat the shit out of you.

And Milbank's final message is to Obama. In his last paragraph he tells Obama that if he continues to smash those on the left he will be a success.

"One White House official told me that Obama will build a 'shifting set of coalitions, issue by issue' over the next two years. If so, and if Obama will no longer allow those in the Capitol to run his presidency, he'll have a strong couple of years."

The warning has been given.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The real straight talk express with Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford

Tag team corporate political parties


The Kinks...time for some spiritual rejuvenation.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Two of the leaders of the new peace group called Paint (Peace Activists in Training) at the University of Maine-Farmington were recent guests on my public access TV show.

See them in action....they are wonderful young women leaders.


There was another of the Advent Bath Iron Works vigils today here in town. Twenty of us were out there for an hour as weekend shift workers left the plant. BIW worker Peter Woodruff was with us again holding a big sign that read "Onshore Jobs from Offshore Wind" and had some nice photos on it of huge wind turbines planted in the ocean.

A worker was walking down the other side of the street and I saw him yell over to Peter -something about the ships we make here protect your right to protest. I heard Peter answer, "I've been working here for 30 years." The guy on the other side of the street was stunned, took a second, and incredulously replied, "What are you doing?"

He couldn't understand why any worker would be outside BIW calling for the company to build wind turbines. In his mind BIW builds warships and that is all there is to it.

But Peter understands that our country can't afford to keep sinking massive amounts of money, that we are essentially borrowing from China, into building more Navy destroyers and then parking them off the coast of China. At some point very soon China is likely to pull the plug on this deal. Then what happens to BIW and the thousands of jobs there?

What happens to BIW when in the midst of this economic collapse Congress is forced to dramatically cut the military budget?

Wouldn't it make more sense to begin planning for conversion of the military industrial complex now? Wouldn't workers, who stand to lose their pay checks, and local towns like Bath which stand to lose their primary employment base be wise to begin talking about and planning for conversion of these facilities now? Shouldn't everyone be calling on our elected officials to begin lobbying hard for funds to convert from military production to building solar, wind turbines, and rail systems?

Who ever thought that the Navy base in nearby Brunswick would be closing in 2011 as is now the case? The community is scrambling to come up with a plan to replace the thousands of jobs that are gone because of the base closing.

America has a long legacy of ghost towns. If BIW closes, and there is nothing to replace the jobs, then this town dies a slow death.

My question to the workers at BIW, and the leaders in Bath, is what are you doing? Why are you not planning for conversion now?

Your golden goose can't lay these eggs much longer.


Immortal words from MLK

Friday, December 10, 2010


People all over the world are organizing to support the right of WikiLeaks to inform us about government corruption and lies.

There is something in the air....people are lifting the war machine boot off their necks.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


    Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff likes a big back drop just so you understand he is the head man at the Pentagon

  • I don't usually miss a war $$ vote in Congress but I did this time. I spend my days surfing the Internet looking for such things but the December 8 House of Representatives vote on 2011 Pentagon and war spending appropriations slipped by without a trace. Democrats once again did their best impression of right-wing war mongers by pushing it over the top with a vote of 212-206. Only 35 Dems voted against this endless war spending measure, all of the 212 votes in favor were Democrats. From Maine, Rep. Mike Michaud voted no but our other representative, Chellie Pingree who is also a Democrat, voted yes. Pingree keeps telling us she is against more war spending but votes like this indicate she is pulling our chain.

Rep. Michaud, who has consistently opposed additional war funding and represents the most conservative part of the state, was concerned that the bill contained $159 billion more for endless war. “I believe that we must finalize a responsible plan to end our time in Afghanistan. Our service members are doing their best, but corruption is rampant there and I will continue to oppose these types of funding measures in the absence of a plan to bring our troops home. It’s long past time that we invest in America so that we can improve our economy and start creating jobs again.”

I've seen nothing in any of the newspapers that I daily track about this vote. I only learned about it after a friend tipped me off.

  • Ralph Nader has harsh words for Obama's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic - he goes for expedience, like Clinton. Some call him temperamentally conflict-averse. If you want to be harsher, you say he has no principles and he's opportunistic. He's a con man. I have no use for him," Nader said. Nader went on to report that as he travels the country he is encouraging people to run against Obama in the 2012 election.

At this point the mainstream media, while acknowledging Obama has big troubles with his base, is also doing all it can to discourage anyone from running against the magician. With two more years of Obama's (and Democratic Party) sniveling weakness it is likely that someone will take the plunge and run against him.

  • Students in London have been rioting after hearing that their college tuition fees will triple. What did the British government expect after making such an announcement? The new party in power in England, the Lib-Dems, had promised before their recent election that they would oppose these student fee hikes but quickly betrayed their promise. One media outlet reported that "rampaging student protesters attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. One group of protesters, some chanting 'Off with their heads!' smashed one of the royal couple's rear car windows and splashed white paint on the vehicle. Charles and Camilla were visibly shaken, but unharmed."

Ah yes, the sounds of feudalism returning......the peasants marching on London once again and coming so close to a royal family coach. A security investigation must be undertaken immediately!