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. @BruceKGagnon

Friday, March 19, 2010


* Today marks the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. It should be called the "forgotten occupation". We now have "continuity of government" in Washington as the Obama-team has embraced the Bush war machine and successfully neutralized a significant part of the left. Obama has done what Bush could never dreamed of doing - expand the war in Afghanistan and quieted the anti-war fervor across the country. Whether it is war or corporate health care plans, Obama has shown that he works for the rich in this country. Normally the left fights those who champion the interests of the rich and powerful, but the magician in the White House has changed that. The Democrats have now become appendages of corporate power and significant segments of the "progressive" community have become apologists for Obama and their weak-willed party.

Jane Hamsher writes about all this on her blog at Fire Dog Lake, "Whatever Barack Obama wants to do will be the farthest left any piece of legislation gets, and if anyone should try to challenge from the left, the unions and the liberal organizations and party blogs would rise up to condemn them and whip them into line — even if it means completely reversing themselves and devolving into total incoherence. And they’ll be rewarded with carve-outs and corporate money and expensive advertising and personal sinecures for playing their role in facilitating the corporate cash pipeline. Because that’s the job of the ever-expanding veal pen: cover Obama’s left flank and shut down progressive opposition."

I would call it corruption - and spiritual decay.

* Some of us though remain obstinate and continue to make demands on the corporate Democrats who now run the country as Republican-lites. Just this past Wednesday 25 of us gathered in downtown Portland to hand out 400 leaflets for our Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. We spread out to several busy lunch time street corners and held signs and talked with the public about endless war spending. Then we took letters up to the office of our Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and told her staff that we are working hard across the state to organize the public to demand that she, and Maine's other member of Congress (Rep. Mike Michaud), become leaders in the House of Representatives against any more war funding. They both voted last December in favor of another $137 billion for Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan war funding as part of the 2010 Pentagon appropriation bill.

* Last night I was asked by the local group PeaceWorks to moderate a wind power forum that drew 125 people. Wind power has become a hugely controversial issue in Maine as big industrial corporations want to build wind farms on the tops of some of Maine's most spectacular mountains. Local folks are organizing in communities across the state to slow down the push to build these industrial wind farms that would export the energy via the grid to other New England states. Opponents of these big corporate wind farms instead suggest that we must let communities decide for themselves if they want to host wind turbines and allow them to benefit from the profits rather than have corporations take control of everything.

* I will be on two conference calls today. The first one is to help plan the International Conference for a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World that will be held in New York City on April 30-May 1 just prior to the UN's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Activists by the thousands will be coming from all over the world for the events. I, along with Global Network Chairperson Dave Webb from the UK, am coordinating one of the workshop tracks for the conference. We are being overwhelmed with requests for workshops.

The second conference call today will be of the national No Bases Campaign committee. Last year we organized a national conference in Washington DC and have not done much since. The call today is to try to reenergize the effort and I have suggested that we might consider holding an annual meeting in a different part of the country near a key U.S. military base as a way to highlight the particular role of that base and as a way to begin to broaden out the No Bases movement.


Yang Dong-Kyu, a filmmaker from Jeju Island, South Korea took this video last year.

It is on the soft coral reefs and creatures living under the Gangjeong sea where the Jeju naval base is planned to be set up. How on earth the Navy is attempting to build the naval base that would kill all these precious creatures?
For more info. Please see here.

2010 is the UN-designated bio-diversity year. It is totally wrong that the South Korean Navy and Jeju politicians are driving for the naval base that will be used for the U.S. missile defense system for her domination strategy in Asia, especially to control Chinese sea-lane for oil passage.

The South Korean government wants to start the naval base construction, at least within the first half year of 2010. If no action against it is done, as Bruce Gagnon said, Who will speak for the fish, who will speak for the coral, who will speak for the water, if the people don't do it?" And who will console the suffering of the people in Life and Peace Village, Gangjeong, if we don't fight with them?

Who will keep the Jeju Island as Island of Peace if we don't pay attention to all the strategy by the U.S. government and arms corporations who are now driving to swallow all the precious Islands of Jeju, Okinawa, Guam, Hawaii, Diego Garcia and many more, by building the bases despite the peoples fierce struggle and tremendous environmental damage on the earth?

- Sung-Hee Choi (Inchon, South Korea)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


My latest cable TV show with friend Richard Rhames who is a vegetable farmer in Biddeford, Maine and a long-time activist in the state.


For further study on this topic read "A Plague Upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan's Biological Warfare Program" by Daniel Barenblatt.

The book details how the U.S. imported Japanese biological warfare technologies and scientists into the country after the end of WW II and used their expertise to develop biological weapons that the Pentagon used during the Korean War.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The U.S. imperial empire - bases, bases and more bases. Money, money and more money.

Control and domination.....extraction of declining supplies of oil and natural gas....resource rich African continent....the creation of Africa Command (AfriCom).....endless export as America's role under corporate technology coordinating all U.S. warfare.....your tax dollars at work.....shutting down social U.S. bases in Colombia right along the border of oil-rich Venezuela......NATO expansion surrounding natural gas-rich Russia......bases surrounding China......empire....empire....more empire....Democrats and Republicans together, working in harmony, to fund empire of bases.....Democrats and Republicans, working in harmony, together destroy social progress in America because we can't afford guns and butter anymore......

Imperial America.

Imperial Japan......fascist Germany.......blitzkrieg....invasion and occupation of other countries who had done nothing to provoke Japan or Germany......deja vu all over again

Good Germans....compliant Japanese......Americans busy with consumerism and distracted by TV......Americans look the other way...turn our heads....maybe it will all go away....maybe our imperial Army will just vanish and we won't have to react......if we react someone might think poorly of us....go along to get along.....Obama will fix it....that's life in America.

MLK told us our soul was dead.

He was right and we killed him.


Obama's ploy to hold a rally in Rep. Dennis Kucinich's home district in Cleveland, Ohio proved to be too much for the Congressman to stand. He flips his vote to yes on the corporate insurance health care bill after winding us all up about how the bill was no good.

In the end the "call from the party" trumps the truth and good government.

We citizens are left remembering that the only ones we can trust are each other out here in the grassroots. In the end the politicians do what they have to do to save their own seats. Re-election comes before anything else.

The only folks who are going to save us ...... is us.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010



I've had lots of responses to my post the other day about the Marines being used to clear out southwest Afghanistan. One friend here in Maine sent me the above map that was in a Canadian newspaper in 2008. This map lays out a similar pipeline route from Turkmenistan that would deliver natural gas through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and then into India.

The June, 2008 Globe and Mail story was entitled "Pipeline opens new front in Afghan war."

Here are a few tidbits from it:

"Afghanistan and three of its neighbouring countries have agreed to build a $7.6-billion (U.S.) pipeline that would deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan to energy-starved Pakistan and India – a project running right through the volatile Kandahar province – raising questions about what role Canadian Forces may play in defending the project.

"To prepare for proposed construction in 2010, the Afghan government has reportedly given assurances it will clear the route of land mines, and make the path free of Taliban influence.

"The so-called Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India [TAPI] pipeline has strong support from Washington because the U.S. government is eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran.

"Afghanistan's national government could reap $160-million (U.S.) a year in transit fees, an amount equivalent to half the government's current revenue.

"The pipeline proposal goes back to the 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with California-based Unocal Corp. – and its U.S. government backer – while considering a competing bid by Argentina's Bridas Corp. Those U.S.-Taliban talks broke down in August, 2001. India, which desperately needs natural gas imports to fuel its growth, later joined the revived project."

So the picture gets clearer still. It is likely that the plan in the end would call for parallel pipelines carrying oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea region - one turning east into Pakistan and then India and the second continuing south into Pakistan and ending at ports along the Arabian Sea.

But everyone acknowledges now that the "success" of these proposals is conditioned on stabilizing Afghanistan - what the U.S. and Canadian governments call dealing with "security concerns."

One of the chief concerns of the U.S. and their NATO allies is certainly making sure that Iran does not succeed in their efforts to have the pipelines run through their country. So in a sense the U.S.-NATO war on Iran has already begun.


Monday, March 15, 2010


Went to see the new movie called Green Zone last night and I would highly recommend it. It is a good "Hollywood" story (starring Matt Damon) about the U.S. government's deception about the WMD's being in Iraq as justification for the attack and occupation that still continues to this day.

As I was coming out of the theater I tried to pick up what others were saying. One young woman was telling another that the film was "too political."

I won't give away the story line but do think it is an important film. Even though I know the WMD deception story I still came away feeling pretty angry about the whole thing.

While it is a war movie the violence is not gratuitous.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This is the U.S. Futenma Marine base on Okinawa, Japan. The people of Okinawa have been organizing for years to close U.S. bases there. Today Okinawa hosts about three dozen U.S. bases and 75% of American forces that are based in Japan which are spread out amongst 90 bases across the country.

Imagine living with these helicopters and planes flying virtually every day over your home - day and night.

There are almost 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world as part of the empire. People want them closed.

Think of the huge amount of funds that are wasted maintaining these imperial bases. What could we do with those funds back here at home?

Don't the people in all these places around the world have a right to be free of our military bases?


The Washington Post today introduces us to a controversy over Afghanistan war strategy. The Post reports that operations in Delaram (in the southwest) are "far from a strategic priority for senior officers at the international military headquarters in Kabul. One calls Delaram, a day's drive from the nearest city, 'the end of the Earth.' Another deems the area 'unrelated to our core mission' of defeating the Taliban by protecting Afghans in their cities and towns."

Why then are the Marines fighting in this part of the country?

The Post continues, "The Marines are constructing a vast base on the outskirts of town that will have two airstrips, an advanced combat hospital, a post office, a large convenience store and rows of housing trailers stretching as far as the eye can see. By this summer, more than 3,000 Marines -- one-tenth of the additional troops authorized by President Obama in December -- will be based here."

Again the Post adds, "They [some officials] question whether a large operation that began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja, a poor farming community in central Helmand, is the best use of Marine resources. Although it has unfolded with fewer than expected casualties and helped to generate a perception of momentum in the U.S.-led military campaign, the mission probably will tie up two Marine battalions and hundreds of Afghan security forces until the summer."

And finally the Post reports, "Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan now wants Marine units to push through miles of uninhabited desert to establish control of a crossing point for insurgents, drugs and weapons on the border with Pakistan. And he wants to use the new base in Delaram to mount more operations in Nimruz, a part of far southwestern Afghanistan deemed so unimportant that it is one of the only provinces where there is no U.S. or NATO reconstruction team."

When you check the maps above a clearer picture emerges. The bottom map is the proposed pipeline route to move Caspian Sea oil through Turkmenistan into Afghanistan and then finally through Pakistan to ports along the Arabian Sea where U.S. and British tankers would gorge themselves with the black gold.

The whole reason the U.S. is in Afghanistan and Pakistan today is to deny those pipelines from being routed through Russia, China, or Iran.

Then look at the top map where the U.S. Marines are operating inside Afghanistan and causing some controversy within the military. They are building big bases in desolate southwestern Afghanistan and wanting to extend control in that region near the border of Pakistan - all of which are areas that must "be controlled" if pipelines are to be successfully built and maintained.

It seems quite obvious to me what is going on. I'd like to hear what you think.