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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Friday, Dec 3

4:30 pm (PT)
Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

'Beating the Bomb' covers 50 years of the Peace movement in Britain against the historical and political backdrop of the atomic age. The narrative follows the now called 'nuclear deterrent', starting at the dawn of the nuclear age in WWII to present day. Nuclear weapons shaped the power structures that rose out of the rubble of WWII and underpin them to this day. It is widely argued that the pressing issues of the day, from poverty to climate change cannot be tackled without addressing the underlying economic system. The film evidences the claim that the foundations of our economic system are 'straight power concepts'. The most straightforward of these concepts being the bomb, both in its physical manifestation and also in the mindset it engenders and stems from.

The film charts the efforts of individuals and organizations to rid Britain of its nuclear weapons system from past to present. It also frames the nuclear weapons issue within the wider context of global justice. The documentary is a tribute to peace campaigners and accordingly features interviews with Tony Benn, Mark Thomas, Walter Wolfgang, Helen John and Vivienne Westwood, bringing into special focus the UK-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. It is an attempt to mediate their spirit and commitment and to thus empower and inspire the viewer.

Bruce Gagnon from the Global Network is also featured in the film.


Students throughout Italy have been protesting against planned cuts to the education system. Thousands stormed historic sites and disrupted roads and railways as they rallied against the reforms proposed by the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister.

Monday, November 29, 2010


A planning meeting for the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home will be held on Saturday, Dec 4 from 12:30-3:30 pm at the Addams-Melman House (212 Centre St) in Bath. All are invited and please bring your own lunch.

The meeting will follow the weekly Advent vigil at Bath Iron Works on Washington Street from 11:30-12:30.

This meeting will be an opportunity for us to review the statewide effort here in Maine and discuss what the next steps will be as we continue to build public consciousness about the important link between war in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan and the economic collapse here at home.

In the last vote by the House of Representatives (last summer) on the war funding supplemental bill our two members of the House from Maine (Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree) voted against more money for war. Then in the recent election they were both reelected by comfortable margins while across the country many Democrats lost their seats in Congress.

Our challenge now is to find ways to turn our two Republican Senators from Maine (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) away from their continued support for endless war funding.

The Bring Our War $$ Home effort has also grown nationally, in particular due to Lisa Savage's efforts to get national CodePink to make the campaign a priority. In addition activists in many states have taken up the call.

Despite Republican efforts nationally to sell themselves as being able to solve our national fiscal crisis they will be unable to make a serious dent in the problem as long as Congress is spending $8 billion per month on the war in Afghanistan.

The public will increasingly be looking for answers to the economic crisis and since neither the Democrats or Republicans will take on military spending in a serious way the opening is widening for the peace movement to inject this issue into the public debate. But in order to be successful at this there must be a serious and sustained campaign to bring this issue alive. A one-time event or appeal won't do the job.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Actor Mark Ruffalo reads union leader Eugene V. Debs' famous Canton, Ohio speech.

On June 16, 1918, Debs made a speech in Canton, Ohio, urging resistance to the military draft of World War I. He was arrested on June 30 and charged with 10 counts of sedition. His trial defense called no witnesses, asking instead that Debs be allowed to address the court in his defense. That unusual request was granted, and Debs spoke for 2 hours. He was found guilty on September 12. At his sentencing hearing on September 14, he again addressed the court, and his speech has become a classic. Heywood Broun, a liberal journalist and not a Debs partisan, said it was "one of the most beautiful and moving passage in the English language. He was for that one afternoon touched with inspiration. If anyone told me that tongues of fire danced upon his shoulders as he spoke, I would believe it."

He said in part:

“Your honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the form of our present government; that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in the change of both but by perfectly peaceable and orderly means....

"I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and factories; I am thinking of the women who, for a paltry wage, are compelled to work out their lives; of the little children who, in this system, are robbed of their childhood, and in their early, tender years, are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon, and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the machines while they themselves are being starved body and soul....

"Your honor, I ask no mercy, I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never more fully comprehended than now the great struggle between the powers of greed on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of freedom. I can see the dawn of a better day of humanity. The people are awakening. In due course of time they will come into their own.

"When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the Southern Cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches the Southern Cross begins to bend, and the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of Time upon the dial of the universe; and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the look-out knows that the midnight is passing – that relief and rest are close at hand.

"Let the people take heart and hope everywhere, for the cross is bending, midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning."

Debs was sentenced on November 18, 1918 to ten years in prison. He was also disenfranchised for life. Debs presented what has been called his best-remembered statement at his sentencing hearing:

“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The Advent vigils (four weeks in a row) began today at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine. BIW is the place where Navy Aegis destroyers are built that are presently being used as part of the U.S.-South Korea (ROK) war games which are bumping up against the coastline of North Korea. I noticed that the USS Cowpens is a part of this U.S. naval battle group that is being led toward North Korea by the aircraft carrier named the USS George Washington.

I know about the USS Cowpens because it was the ship that fired the first shot (cruise missiles) in the 2003 U.S. shock and awe attack on Iraq. I know this because the woman who was driving the USS Cowpens at that historic moment has become a friend of our family and was at our home for Thanksgiving just two days ago.

This young woman was a Lieutenant in the Navy and was the Officer of the Deck at the time of the Cowpens attack on Iraq. She has since gotten out of the Navy and is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). She has not yet gotten over the pain of her role in that unprovoked, immoral, and illegal attack on Iraq.

North Korea knows all about the U.S. proclivity to attack smaller countries for no good reason. In years past the world has watched the U.S. beat up on Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Libya, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. North Korea must wonder if their day is coming soon as well.

As I noted in other recent blogs on this subject, the U.S. and South Korea have been running aggressive military war games each month since last July and these massive drills are directed right at North Korea. North Korea must each time put their military and their population on alert because they can't take any chances. Having seen the U.S. record of attacking weaker countries they must consider that this time the war games could be for real.

As I stood on the sidewalk in front of BIW for the hour-long vigil today I held a sign with a picture of a train painted on it by one of our local artist friends. The sign read "Built in Bath". Some of the passing Saturday early-shift workers got the message and smiled as they drove home. The truth is that a number of those working inside BIW know that their "product" is a first-strike attack military machine. They'd rather be building rail systems or wind turbines. But we make weapons and we make war in America today and military production is one of the few jobs around in our declining economy. It's like those who worked in the death camps for Hitler's Army during WW II. It was a job and they wanted to believe that their country was right - Germany uber alles. In America we say - USA, USA, #1!

The U.S. is outfitting these Navy Aegis destroyers with "missile defense" systems and activists in South Korea and Japan clearly understand the role of these warships in U.S. military strategy. The U.S. intends to use these MD systems to pick-off retaliatory strikes after a Pentagon first-strike attack on North Korea or China. The U.S. is doubling its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region for a clear reason.

Like any bully, the U.S. military is poking a sharp stick at North Korea (and China) and basically daring them to fight back. The U.S. (and their junior partners in South Korea and Japan) are out to militarize the region and are just itching for a military response that would then "justify" an overwhelming response.

The U.S. weapons corporations love this game of hardball, or as it used to be called, gunboat diplomacy. The power tripping U.S. government intends to keep pushing North Korea into a corner and will keep pissing on them until they get another response. At the rate things are now going it likely won't take long.

The key factor in all of this is China. How long will China allow the U.S. to keep pouring gasoline on the hot fire in the Asian-Pacific? They hold our debt yet know that if they cut the U.S. loose then the entire global economy will suffer even more. But China is quickly getting fed up with U.S. military bravado in their back yard.

China must support North Korea because if that country is toppled then the U.S. would put military bases right on China's border. This was an important reason for the Korean War in the first place, the U.S. wanted to take control of the entire Korean peninsula and thus have bases right alongside Russia and China.

If the American people knew half of what was going on in their name they'd be freaking out but due to corporate control of the media, and generations of government brainwashing, most of our citizens are in the dark. Virtually all they know about any of what is going on right now in Korea is what they are told by the same people who are stirring the boiling pot of war.

Sadly most Americans have to learn the hard way. Hopefully it won't take a shooting war with China to wake the public up from their deep sleep.


Immediately cancel the joint ROK-US drill mobilized with an aircraft carrier in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

We, praying heavenly bliss for all the people who have been victimized by the incident that has occurred on the Yeonpyeong Island in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) on last [Nov.] 23, deliver our deep condolence to their bereaved families. We also pray that all the wounded could get recovered soon.

In the meantime, various fields and classes have expressed their concern that the [South Korean President] Lee Myung Bak government’s hostile policy against North Korea and gradually increasing ROK-US joint war exercises could bring war in the Korean peninsula but the authorities of South Korea and United States have ignored those advices. As a result, a limited warfare has actually happened and all the citizens are greatly shocked.

What is most urgent at this point is to solve the crisis of the militaristic collision between the South and North Korea at flashing point. The authorities of the South and North Korea should immediately stop their actions to more aggravate the situation and should immediately enter for dialogue.

The Yeonpyeong Island incident should not be the fuse that makes a terrible disaster that could not be recovered by retaliation and chastisement. In the situation when militaristic clash is already predicted, being consistent only with hard-line confrontation policy can never be the measure to solve the militaristic crisis we are now facing in the Korean peninsula.

The both authorities of the ROK and US should moderate and moderate again themselves toward the directions of mitigating the danger of militaristic clash currently being formed and of preventing any extended war.

In the sense that it is a highly dangerous move to heighten the militaristic danger in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) that the both authorities of ROK and US have announced that they would process the ROK-US joint military drill with the mobilization of an aircraft carrier USS George Washington for the response of Yeonpyeong Island incident, we urge the immediate stop of it.

The both authorities of ROK and US have announced that, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 9,600 ton class cruiser Cowpens, 9,750 ton class destroyers of the Shiloh, Stethem, Fitzgerald participate [the drill] and the ROK military would join it with the two of the Korean style 4,500 ton class Aegis destroyers, patrol frigate(s), convoy(s), logistic ship(s), anti-submarine air crafts.

Even though the United States Forces of Korea says the ROK-US joint military drill is the exercise to strengthen deterrence power and increase regional stability, it only heightens the crisis of militaristic clash in reality.

Especially, there is high concern that the drill joined by an aircraft carrier in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) would provide another militaristic clash again. In case that the intention to increase the degree of drill brings the militaristic actions that could bring about any militaristic clash in the borderlines of the West Sea (Yellow Sea), the situation of the West Sea (Yellow Sea) would be unfolded toward more dangerous direction than now.

Currently, the both ROK and US authorities, operating the ROK-US joint crisis management team, are heightening crisis situation. Even though it is the situation that the joint crisis management team has elevated their watch condition yet [to its 2nd stage], it is told that they are considering elevating the DEFCON (Defense Readiness Conditions) even to its 3rd stage.

In other words, it means that the situation that wartime operational control right would be transferred from the hands of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [of the ROK] to those of the Combined Forces Command would occur, and that such situation would be converted in which the Korean peninsula issue does not stay any more within the domestic situation but into which the United States would directly involve.

We, Korean people do not want the United States intervenes into the issue of the Korean peninsula. We above all, oppose her intervention of which the direction goes toward that of the military crisis acerbating.

We hoping that the Yonpyeong Island accident this time would become the moment to wake up the urgency to improve the relationship between the South Korea and North Korea not the kindling of expanding war, demand as the below.

The both authorities of South Korea and United States should immediately withdraw their plan of the joint ROK-US military exercise in which an aircraft carrier joins in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

The both authorities of South Korea and United States should stop the militaristic response measure and should prepare for the peaceful measure to remove the danger of militaristic clash in the West Sea (Yellow Sea)!

Nov. 26, 2010

Imagination for International Solidarity; All Together; Anti-War Peace Solidarity; Revolution 4.19 Committee; People’s Solidarity for Social Progress; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea; Hunger Strike Comrades’ Council for the Withdrawal of Troops, 2005; Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements (Christian Social Mission Solidarity Council; The Association for Migrant Workers’ Human Rights; Farmers’ Pharmacy; Solidarity for the Practice of Joint Declarations; Supporting Committee for Prisoners of Conscience; Korea Council for Democratic Martyr; Institute for Research in Collaborationist Activities; Central Council for the Nation’s Self-Reliance, Peace, and Reunification; Pan Korean Association for Reconciliation (Inc.); Korean Democratic Workers’ Council; Association of the Family Movements for Democracy Practice; Buddhism Peace Solidarity; Council for the Drive on Our Nation’s Unification through Federation System; Korean Peasants League; Pan Korean Bereaved Families’ Association for Nation and Democracy; Pan Korean Bereaved Families’ Association for Democracy Movement (Inc.); Pan Korean Poor People’s Association for Liberation; Korean Women Peasant Association; Pan Korean Women's Solidarity; Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification of Korea, South Korea branch; Veterans for Peace, Corea; Unification Square; Pan Korean Young People’s Solidarity; 21st Century Pan Korean University Students’ Association; June 15 Youth and Student’s Solidarity)

Friday, November 26, 2010


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is the largest military force ever assembled, with a potential armed force of more than seven million.

Two decades after its original enemy, the Soviet Union, disintegrated, the alliance has been searching for a new identity and new role.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


We've got 19 family and friends coming over to the Addams-Melman House today.

Best wishes to all out there in TV land.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Farmageddon Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Farmageddon is a documentary about the escalating fight for food rights in America.

As we prepare our Thanksgiving dinners in the U.S. we should remember the organic farming communities around the world that are currently under attack from corporate agri-business.


Veterans for Peace is calling for a national action at the White House on December 16 to non-violently resist the wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan. I plan on taking the train south to Washington DC and will participate in this action.

Veterans and other activists from all over the nation will be joining in this important civil resistance event. We must publicly stand up against the senseless killing from these endless wars and we must demand that our government Bring Our War $$ Home.

I hope that if you can, you will also join this important event. Several members of Maine Veterans for Peace will be participating. We need a strong showing from all over the country in order to send Obama and the Congress the clear message that the peace movement will not stand idly by as they now push the withdrawal dates from Afghanistan into 2014.

We can't afford anymore war!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


South Korea has admitted it was the first to fire the shots in this incident. However it says the firing was part of a military drill, not directed at North Korea.

The U.S. and South Korean forces have been holding aggressive military war games directed at North Korea virtually every month since July. It was only a matter of time before this happened as the South Koreans, led by their right-wing President Lee (dressed in his bomber jacket like George W. Bush liked to do), has been spurred on by the Americans to incite greater tensions in the Korean peninsula.

This particular war game, called the Hoguk Exercise, involved 70,000 South Korean armed forces troops, 600 tracked vehicles, 90 helicopters, 50 warships, and 500 aircraft. The U.S. military is contributing the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 7th Air Force to the land and air training exercises, respectively. Pyongyang regards the exercises as training for an attack on North Korea, citing the fact that it is a large-scale joint South Korea-U.S. exercise encompassing naval fleets, air forces, and land exercises.

Lee has previously suspended reunification talks with the north and accelerated tough talk at the very time that the U.S. is expanding its military bases in South Korea and throughout the region.

There is no doubt in my mind that South Korea would never have fired these first shots so close to North Korean territory unless the U.S. had instructed them to do so.

Another key factor to be considered are the recent comments from South Korea's Defense Minister Kim that called for the U.S. to "redeploy" nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. This kind of dangerous talk had to anger and frighten North Korea.

The world should not suffer any more illusions about Obama and the Pentagon. The U.S. is out to create a global war. Only world opinion can stop them now.

Tim Shorrock: Direct Talks With North Korea Are the Only Answer to End Korean War on Democracy Now.


More talk about Obama potentially drawing a parimary challenge in 2012 if he continues to expand the war in Afghanistan (which he will do).

Very interesting new poll numbers by a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 62 % of Democrats say US troops should not be in Afghanistan.

The same Quinnipiac poll found military families split on the war, "with 49 % backing the US role and 47 % saying the troops should come home." Those families would not be increasingly taking stands against the war unless their loved ones in Afghanistan were not privately complaining to them about the insanity of it all.

Look for those numbers to only worsen for Obama and the war mongers.


According to renowned philosopher Slavoj Zizek the capitalist system is pushing us all towards an apocalyptic doomsday.

He points to the faltering economy, global warming and deteriorating ethnic relations as evidence.

Riz Khan speaks with Zizek, who has been called the "most dangerous philosopher in the West", about his controversial theories and prognosis for the future.

Monday, November 22, 2010


In addition to civilians who intended to engage in civil disobedience, police arrest Russia Today Press, bystanders, and targets some civilians not participating in the civil disobedience at the School of the Americas (renamed WHINSEC) at Fort Benning, Georgia.



I call it mental colonization. The corporations learned long ago, by hiring the best and brightest from the world of psychology, they can control the population by feeding us images and ideas over and over again. And since the corporations now control most governments around the world we see them doing much the same.

Take the economic crisis here in the U.S. for example. The public has now largely swallowed the line that the best way to deal with the economic collapse is to cut spending which essentially means gutting things like Social Security, education, and programs for the mentally ill. Structural adjustment they call it. The brainwashing has reached the point that large percentages of the public have "internalized their oppression" and have become advocates for the agenda of the oligarchy.

A few days ago I had a photo of Obama on this blog along with the two leaders of his "deficit reduction commission". One of the guys is former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson from Wyoming. I have always seen Simpson as a bell weather of things to come because he is a long-time functionary and friend of the CIA and the first president Bush.

In a column that appeared in the New York Times today, economist Paul Krugman writes:

Former Senator Alan Simpson is a Very Serious Person. He must be — after all, President Obama appointed him as co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction.

So here’s what the very serious Mr. Simpson said on Friday: “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ ” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued.

The oligarchy is setting this one up quite nicely. They are mind-bending (preparing, conditioning) the American people for the coming decision that is being sold to us like this: "Hey, what else can we do? We've got this terrible debt and we've got to do something extreme and drastic if we are to save the nation. So you must accept the dismantling of the entitlement programs if we hope for economic recovery. The pain must be shared. We will even 'trim' the Pentagon budget so no one will escape this cycle of slashing. But of course we must allow the rich to have their tax cuts because after all they are the vehicle that creates do want more jobs, don't you?"

The public will obligingly nod their heads in near unison, in faint hopes that the rulers of our corporate monarchy will spare them the coming pain if they just give their trust once more to the masters of Wall Street. Deep in our hearts though doubts remain, but we've been conditioned over time to hate those internal voices and feelings that try to warn us against danger. That is the result of the internalized oppression we have long ago swallowed. The dark pill in action so to speak.

Mr. Simpson's evil warning of a coming public blood-letting is what America does. Ask the current victims in Iraq or Afghanistan - or Panama, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Vietnam, Korea and more. Mr. Simpson speaks on behalf of the oligarchy who wants more blood and they are determined to get it.

I've long maintained that this kind of blood thirstiness would again return here to the U.S. at some point. It was only a matter of time before the oligarchy would have to bring their blood stained swords home again and use them on us. In order for corporate globalization's plan of 21st century feudalism to flourish, they must cut the heart of America's dream of social progress into shreds.

They've done this kind of thing before in this country. I recall the treatment of the Native Americans at the hands of the "founders" of this so-called American democracy. The oligarchy effectively took out those who stood in the way of their imperial dreams - the conquering of the entire North American continent. Only the rugged "native savages" stood in their way. Mythology was then created (Thanksgiving) which rewrote the conquering Christians real story. The truth was that the Indians heads were hung on posts after the massacres and Thanksgiving became the annual celebration of conquest. Today we hear that "The Tomb," inside Yale University where the Bush boys and John Kerry were taught to worship the devil at the Skull & Bones secret society, holds the skull of Geronimo who had the gall to fight the colonizers to the bitter end.

Now the American people must be brought onto the reservation and Mr. Simpson gets goose bumps of excitement as he thinks of the battle ahead. Imagine the rows of skulls that may some day line the interior spaces of "The Tomb" at Yale. The conquering forces always get to make the rules - and to write the history books (and newspaper articles).

Some of us will keep trying to listen to our weak and trembling inner voices though......we hope for the strength to stand against the tide. Maybe if we can de-colonize our minds we can be a free people after all. Let there be light.

By the way, try wrapping your head around this question. After all the years of Reagan and Bush tax cuts for the rich, how come we don't have jobs in America today? If the rich create all the jobs then where the hell are they?


Scientists say that we will need six planets to supply the growing population on Earth all the resources we consume. Thus one reason that the Space Command is developing the capability to control who in the future will have the ability to get on and off the Earth as the corporations move to "mine the sky".

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The rocks cried bitterly

by Minsung's dad, a Gangjeong villager

I went to the Joongduk Sea around the dawn.

Several fishing boats were still lighting up on the horizon beyond the Beom Island.

As soon as the Sun rises up, the lights of the fishing boats began to disapear from my eyes.

The sea raised up water fog.

The Sun began to slowly, very slowly brighten the broad rocks of the Joongduk coast.

The rocks were to welcome the Sun stretching their arms.

I opened my eyes and looked at the sky and earth, too.

I saw the yellow flags standing here and there.

The struggle of the spurting grassroots. But I could not read even the letters since they were torn and worn out [by the strong winds in the Jeju Island].

As if they know or not the cry of the Gangjeong villagers who have been craving then frustrated, the rocks were crying twisting their bodies.

The rocks were crying twisting their bodies.

The rocks that were lined up in long length and sea, hugging each other, were crying bitterly.

Even the wind cried with sound and every living creature who was breathing there was bitterly crying.

And I cried bitterly, too.

The rocks cried louder than cow’s.

The rocks cried bitterly recalling their existence that has changed into the molten for one hundred million years.

They cried bitterly.

Nov. 9, 2010
Jeju Island, South Korea


On Friday I drove south to Cape Cod, Massachusetts where I had been invited to speak after a showing of the documentary film Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space. Even though the new award-winning film is being shown worldwide a U.S. distribution deal has still not been signed.

The film's director made copies available to the Global Network for distribution during our recent Keep Space for Peace Week but this was a very limited series of showings. The screening on Friday night was organized by a group called Cinema Politica that is coordinated out of Montreal, Canada. Since the film is being widely distributed in Canada they sent it out to their local chapters who each week show a political film to local audiences.

The Cinema Politica chapter on Cape Cod (in Falmouth) is run by four men and women in their early 30's - young folks by my definition. They began the 90-minute Pax Americana screening at 7:30 pm and I never expected the 30 people in attendance to stick around long enough to hear me speak after the film was over. So I cut my words short and expected a couple of questions before people jumped up and left. Needless to say at 10:15 pm virtually everyone had remained and I ended the evening after having weaved in most of my key points which included inviting them to send representatives to the 2011 Global Network space organizing conference that will be held in Andover, Massachusetts in June.

The Space Command's PAVE PAWS radar is located near Falmouth on the Cape. PAVE is an Air Force program name, while PAWS stands for Phased Array Warning System. The radar is used to detect and track sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The system also has a secondary mission of Earth-orbiting satellite detection and tracking.

Similar space radar tracking installations are located at Beale AFB in northern California (where I lived during my senior year in high school); Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; Fylingdales, England; and Thule, Greenland.

These radars have been upgraded in recent years for participation in the U.S. Space Command's Star Wars program. These radars play a key role in Pentagon first-strike attack planning that include the ever expanding "missile defense" program that is now being used to surround Russia and China.

About one-third of the folks who turned out to see the film on Friday night were younger than the usual grey hairs that come to most peace movement events. The organizers appear to be committed to continuing to introduce these issues to folks in their community.

In years past there was much organizing going on around the PAVE PAWS radar on Cape Cod, largely concerning the question of health affects. But things seemed to have slowed down in more recent times. My hope is that by coming to the Global Network conference in 2011 they will meet other activists who have similar radar facilities in their communities and not only learn more from each other but also find inspiration and energy after making contact with other activists.

Between now and June 2011 I hope to get out to meet more local peace groups in the New England region in hopes that they will want to send delegations to our annual space organizing conference.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Also see Encircling Russia, Targeting China, NATO'S True Role in US Grand Strategy by Diana Johnstone

Friday, November 19, 2010


Cold War Atomic Craziness

by Karl Grossman

On Long Island [New York], where I live, a bill was recently passed by the Suffolk County Legislature providing for prisoner labor to sort metal which has piled up at the former BOMARC base in Westhampton.

The legislature's presiding officer said that Suffolk County could make millions of dollars by selling the metal as scrap.

The base was transferred to the county after its closing and has been used as a firing range for police, an impoundment yard for vehicles and for storage of old equipment and county records.

To get some background on the BOMARC base, I went to Google, putting in the words BOMARC and Suffolk. Among the first websites listed was that of the New York State Military Museum which related: "BOMARC, the missile site in Westhampton was operated by the 6th Air Defense Missile Squadron of the USAF Air Defense Command. It was operational with the first version of the BOMARC missile, the BOMARC A, from 1959 through 1964. The base has 56 missile shelters. Each missile was armed with a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead."

What was that? "Each missile was armed with a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead." The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had the TNT equivalent of 13 kilotons.

There were further details on other websites. They told of how the mission of the BOMARC base in Westhampton—and BOMARC bases set up all over the nation—was to blast Soviet bombers from the sky. Why use nuclear-tipped missiles? That way a direct hit need not be made. Once a BOMARC missile came close to the Soviet bombers, the atomic weapon on its tip would be detonated and destroy not one but part of a formation of bombers.

A November 21, 1958 front-page article in the New York Times (downloadable from the New York Times' online archive) was headlined: "Riverhead Missile Base to Get Bomarcs With Nuclear Warheads by '60." It began: "The Suffolk Bomarc Base, ninety miles east of New York City, will be equipped with anti-aircraft missiles carrying nuclear warheads. The missiles, which have a range up to 250 miles, will be launchable from the site near Riverhead, L.I." There would be 56 Bomarc missiles "at the ready." The article spoke of there being, a day earlier, a "press conference by Army and civilian engineers" and "Air Force and Boeing Airplane Company specialists" at which these "experts confirmed that the Bomarc base would soon be fully operational atomically." The story further noted: "No special provisions have been made for atomic hazards; they are not needed, the engineers said."

Curiosity led me to information on the Nike bases I knew were set up on Long Island around the same time. BOMARC was an Air Force project and its acronym combined the names of its developers: BO for Boeing and MARC for Michigan Aerospace Research Center. Nike was an Army missile program and named for the mythical Greek goddess of victory.

There are numerous websites about the Nike bases established on Long Island and elsewhere in the U.S. and how the Nike Hercules model was nuclear-tipped—with bases on Long Island armed with nuclear-tipped Nikes including those in Rocky Point, Amityville, Lido Beach, Oyster Bay and Lloyd Harbor. While a main reason for the BOMARC base in Westhampton was to intercept Soviet bombers headed to New York City, the Nike bases were primarily set up to defend facilities on Long Island considered strategic, among them, according to the New York State Military Museum website, Brookhaven National Laboratory and military industrial facilities including the then Grumman Corp. and Republic Aviation factories.

There were three types of Nike nuclear tips: "low-yield" 3-kiloton; "medium yield" 20-kiloton; and "high yield" 30-kiloton

I put together an article for Long Island newspapers on the metal scavenging project at the ex-BOMARC base and referred to some of the history of nuclear-tipped missiles on Long Island. Editors inquired: how could this be? If these nuclear-tipped missiles were detonated over and around Long Island, wouldn't there be impacts to people on the ground? Absolutely. We would have had warheads with vast explosive power—comparable to and greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb—detonating all around us, spreading deadly radioactive fall-out.

With all the violence of recent years—and our concerns of violence ahead—we should give thanks that somehow we got through this Cold War atomic nightmare.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Protests are continuing in Haiti over the cholera outbreak that has now killed more than 1,100 people and infected some 17,000. On Wednesday, residents in the city of Cap-Haitien clashed with U.N. troops for the third consecutive day. Crowds have taken to the streets expressing anger at the Haitian government and the United Nations for failing to contain the disease.


At the exact same time that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was publicly slamming Democrats for their call for a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, he was privately begging President George W. Bush to bring some troops home in hopes of retaining control of the U.S. Congress in the days before the 2006 midterm elections.

This has come to light via a passage in Bush's new book, Decision Points. McConnell has not denied the allegation, and the Senator's hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, decries the story as "contemptible hypocrisy and obsessive partisanship that have come to mark the senator's time in office."

It goes to show that the peace movement was having a major impact on the national scene at that time. Should we not take that as an indication that our movement should re-engage and push harder now to Bring Our War $$ Home?


Video report from Tom Weis who is riding his "rocket trike" across the country to Washington DC. Tom is spreading the word about a sustainable energy future and is featuring various positive actions that local communities are taking to build a new infrastructure not dependent on fossil fuels and cars.

Tom began the ride in Colorado and he is now in Ohio.

See his video blog here

You can sign his on-line petition here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Bowles (left) and Simpson (middle) scheme with Obama to destroy social progress

The more I think about Obama's deficit reduction commission the madder I get. I was talking with one person the other day about the proposal to raise the retirement age to 69 and the guy said it was fine because we are all living longer than ever.

What he didn't say, and likely didn't know, is that there is a class analysis to this increase in life span in America. It is the wealthy and the white-collar workers who are living longer. People who sit behind desks, paper pushers and money changers with good health care policies, are the ones who grow older. But working class people - construction workers, janitors, factory workers, maids, cooks, truck drivers, farmers and farm workers die younger. Their bodies wear out from a lifetime of hard work and a 69 year old retirement age is a death sentence for them.

The reality is that Obama's "commission" is nothing more than an attempt by the rich and powerful to sentence the working class to a lifetime of drudgery - a return to feudalism.

But who can be surprised by this? The co-chairs of this phony commission are former Bill Clinton adviser Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.). Bowles is a Wall Street corporate Democrat and right-winger Simpson is the long-time buddy and political ally of George H. W. Bush. The arrogant Simpson sent an e-mail around this past summer complaining that the government is "like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"

The truth is that the rich don't mind a suckling tit, they just don't want anyone else crowding them as they feast away on the government's breast.

The job of these two guys is to prepare the American people for the collapse of social progress by keeping a steady drumbeat of worry about the deficit. Will they suggest that we end the war in Afghanistan and stop flushing $8 billion a month down a rate hole? Will they suggest taxing the rich and ending corporate welfare? No they won't.

In fact the Washington Post has reported that the staff for the "commission" are being paid by big time corporate entities that have long advocated for destroying the "entitlement programs" which officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and what is left of the welfare program. The Post says:

For example, the salaries of two senior [commission] staffers, Marc Goldwein and Ed Lorenzen, are paid by private groups that have previously advocated cuts to entitlement programs. Lorenzen is paid by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, while Goldwein is paid by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is also partly funded by the Peterson group.

We'd better begin to inject some serious class consciousness into our organizing if we hope to prevent the total dismantling of social progress. There is a class war going on in America and it is coming from the top and Obama is helping to lead it against the very people who voted him into office.

Recent polls reveal that the public does not support the destruction of the "entitlement programs" and wants the rich to pay more in taxes. But don't expect this commission to reflect those views. Obama, always the magician, has willingly empowered another slight-of-hand game that will take from the poor and give to the already fattened rich.

Once again I say to my fellow citizens - it is time to rattle your chains.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Even though the train carrying nuclear waste has completed its journey the German anti-nuclear movement deserves great credit and recognition for their tremendous effort to slow the shipment. In doing so they have alerted the world to the issue and pumped life back into a sagging anti-nuclear power movement worldwide.

The German government had previously promised that they would move away from nuclear power but this shipment belies that pledge.

The resurrection of the German anti-nuclear movement, which was huge during the early 1980's and gave life to the Green Party, is a good sign for all of us.

This non-violent and determined movement in Germany should be a reminder to all of us that the tides of resistance ebb and flow much like the oceans. Our job as activists is to keep building, even during the times of low tide, so that when the need arises the movements can spring to life again.


Voters in southern Sudan have begun the registration process for next year's referendum in which the south will seek independence.

In addition to the broader referendum, a small region called Abyei, which sits astride the oil-rich border between the south and north, will vote to decide which part it wants to join.

There are already fears that the sharing of oil wealth may create trouble between the north and the south.

The Unity State, which is also rich in oil reserves, borders northern Sudan, and is a potential flashpoint.

Monday, November 15, 2010



Final pot luck supper in Portland - many Italian dishes, I called it "Little Italy"
Closing circle after reaching Portland

Buddhist nun Jun-san and Brother Kato during a break
Veteran Bob Lezer carrying the sacred banner the last leg into Portland

Veteran Russ Christianson (right) walking after serious dental surgery

Making sure every car possible reads our message

I worked five hours in yard today catching up with winter preparation. It was good to be outside even if it was a damp and cloudy day. I picked up fallen twigs and cut up tree limbs after our recent storm (housemate Laurie had already done alot of it) and I bagged up some leaves to stuff under one raised part of the house that is exposed to the cold. I borrowed a neighbors mulching mower and cut up most of the leaves in the yard so they can fertilize the grass. My body needed the exercise and my mind needed a break.

I found myself thinking of the peace walk often throughout the recent days. I can still hear the Buddhist chants and drum and can still feel the weariness that comes from such a long trek. As I write this I am the only one in our house and all is very quiet but part of me misses the community that forms on such walks. My sentimental side is always challenged in these moments after such a big project is completed and the world moves on to other more pressing matters. My heart is slow to follow......

Tomorrow I am right back into the fray with two radio interviews, one from Vermont and the other from California. On Wednesday I do an interview via Skype from England and then on Friday I drive to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to speak after a showing of the new documentary Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space.

I want to personally thank everyone who helped us make this a special event. Whether you walked, feed people, or provided home hospitality, your contribution made a difference to us all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010



Friday, November 12, 2010


The co-chairmen of the Obama's bipartisan deficit commission released a list of recommendations Wednesday on ways to reduce the nation’s deficit by $4 trillion by 2020.

Co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have proposed raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 by the year 2075, decreasing the cost of living benefits for Social Security recipients, imposing new limits on the Medicare health insurance program, and ending several middle-class tax breaks.



  • Yes, the G20 is really a replacement for dealing with the whole world at the United Nations. The corporate oligarchy wants to control things in that smaller space. Great sign!

  • I woke up this morning with my feet and ankles still sore from the walk. I guess I will be limping around for some time to come. We must travel to Boston today for a weekend memorial service for MB's sister-in-law who recently passed away after a long and valiant struggle against cancer.

  • It appears that Obama has agreed to a deal to allow the super rich in the U.S. to keep their Bush-era tax cuts for some more years to come. This at the very time that "fiscal conservatives" clamor about the national debt. The rich make BIG money off the wars but they don't want to pay their fair share in taxes to cover the costs. Next up: Obama will attempt to raise the Social Security retirement age. Will rank-and-file Dems have the stuff to take on their president over these core issues?

  • The Washington Post reports this morning that Obama's biggest concern right now is his own reelection. The rest of us can fend for ourselves. Here is a quote from the Post:

In his post-election remarks, the president has repeatedly expressed worries about "gridlock" in Washington. He has signaled that he wants to find big issues on which to compromise, with an eye toward his reelection campaign in 2012.

  • After I return from Boston I need a couple of days to take it easy, sort through the stack of Global Network mail left unattended while I was on the peace walk, and then I must begin to get going on our 2011 international space organizing conference that will be held in Andover, Massachusetts. Looks like we will try to do the event in June (final date will depend on availability of meeting facilities) and the confab will have a Raytheon focus since they are headquartered in that state and have "missile offense" production facilities in Andover. Part of my thinking to join the Nipponzan Myohoji peace walk through Massachusetts in February is that it would be a good opportunity to talk with local peace activists about the Global Network's space conference.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We finished the peace walk today in Portland by participating in the annual Veterans Day parade. Veterans for Peace (VFP) was pluncked down near the end of the parade between the girl scouts and a bunch of church people dressed as clowns.

There was some drama surrounding the parade that is organized by the right-wing American Legion each year. They have a rule that you can only have one banner and it can only have your name on it. In 2006 the American Legion tried to kick us out of the parade but the Portland City Council determined that they could not do so since the city pays for the police to close the streets. The city would have been libel for a lawsuit because of discrimination against veterans (who just had a different political opinion than the legion organizers) so we were allowed to participate.

Last year we decided to carry a banner that said U.S. out of Afghanistan and the American Legion was furious with us for pulling "shenanigans". This year we never got the application form in the mail and when our president Dud Hendrick called to enquire about our status the parade organizer told him to "fuck off" and hung up the phone.

Just yesterday the Portland Phoenix (weekly entertainment and arts newspaper) called Dud to find out if it was true that we had been kicked out of the parade. The Phoenix then called the Legion president and under press scrutiny he denied that we had been bounced. Just "no shenanigans," he said. So we were back in the parade.

We decided to carry our banner from the peace walk and line up like we did each day as we walked across the state - with the Buddhists from Nipponzan Myohoji right behind the banner.

Just as years past we had one of the largest, if not the largest, delegations of veterans in the parade. The response from the thin crowd lining the cold and windy street was quite good and we had volunteers hand out the last of our literature that we passed out all along the walk route explaining our purpose for walking. It was a good organizing opportunity.

After the parade finished we skipped the boring speeches on the steps of city hall (even though friends Gary Higginbottom & Karen Wainberg pulled some shenanigans and held the Bring Our War $$ Home banner during the ceremony right in the faces of the legion). Instead we took a sharp right onto a side street where we gathered for our final circle to conclude the walk. The VFP circle had at least 60 people in it and it felt good for others who had not yet had a chance to walk to have a taste of the experience. By this time many of us were noticeably limping and I think several were a bit melancholy to see this close knit walking community come to an end.

We were all invited over to the Space Gallery (a local art venue) to see the kick-off of an art show by Kenny Cole called "Hellfire Missile". CodePink Maine and artists from all over the state had created an event called Draw-a-thon II which invited the public to sit with an artist and collaborate on images of how they would rather see our war $$ spent here at home. One little boy told artist Brain Reeves that we should build a Sponge Bob statue so Brian drew Sponge Bob holding peace signs with his extended arms while mounted on a stone pedestal.

We will miss our Buddhist friends who were essential to the success of this peace walk. They are planning a walk through Massachusetts in February and I've told them I will be there for the two-week event. In the meantime I have to rest by swollen and very sore feet.

As I said last night at the pot luck supper in Portland, extraordinary times like these call for extraordinary efforts like this peace walk. We can't expect email organizing to get us out from behind the eight-ball that now sits in front of us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


March message focuses on the cost of war
Peace Activists march along the Sagadahoc Bridge into Bath on Monday.

(Troy R. Bennett / The Times Record)
By Seth Koenig

BATH — For the city of Bath, the total is $20.8 million.

Maine Veterans for Peace marchers in the midst of a 10-day trek from Farmington to Portland are carrying with them a list of dollar amounts. The numbers represent each town or city’s share of the country’s cost, so far, to fight the ongoing war in Afghanistan since 2001. The cost for the state of Maine over that time is $2.9 billion.

Bruce Gagnon, a longtime peace advocate who helped lead the walkers into his hometown of Bath on Monday afternoon, has been among those trying to draw attention to those figures through various events and activities for months. The number of marchers trekking from Farmington to Portland has fluctuated along the way, Gagnon said, but Monday’s contingent was around 40 people.

“We’re talking about the cost of war and going through 43 Maine communities,” he told a reporter from The Times Record as the group paused along the way in Woolwich. “We’re trying to get people to connect the dots between these wars and the economic problems this country is facing.

“We’re spending $8 billion a month in Afghanistan today,” he continued. “How can there be any economic recovery if we’re spending that much a month on a war? We’re trying to ask people how their communities might have been able to better spend that money locally.”

Monday’s portion of the trek brought the peace activists down Route 1 from Rockland to Bath, where they held a vigil outside Bath Iron Works as first shift workers poured out of the yard to go home.

The wet weather wasn’t as bad as it could have been in the aftermath of Sunday night’s storm. Neither was the response from BIW shipbuilders.

“I got as many good, positive waves in the last five minutes as I got fingers,” reported Gagnon from Washington Street as shipyard traffic rolled by.

There were some cat calls and disapproving gestures from some of the passing vehicles, but there were also some honks of approval and waves. The shipbuilders’ response was OK, Gagnon told a reporter on the scene, as was the weather Monday. The aftermath of Sunday night’s storm dampened the marchers to start the day, but by the afternoon, the sun was peaking out.

“We had some rain this morning,” Gagnon said. “We had some concerns because it was so windy overnight in Rockland, but the wind let up and it was just rain today. We’ve faced worse, actually. We’ve walked in gales before.”

Simple message

The message of the walk is simple: That the United States is spending money on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the expense of its own domestic economy.

Many marchers held signs calling for defense contractors like BIW to be converted to produce components of public transit or renewable energy systems.

“We need to convert to truly clean and green technology and stop warring around the world,” said marcher Betty Adams of Leverett, Mass., who called the Pentagon and its network of contractors the “largest polluter in the world.”

“We would like to see those dollars (currently being spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) spent back in our home communities,” she continued. “We need money for housing, health care, schools and public transportation, not killing people, which is against every religion.”

Along the route from Farmington to Portland, Veterans for Peace has events scheduled to discuss the costs of the war and domestic needs. Monday night, a pot luck dinner and talk was scheduled in Bath at the Grace Episcopal Church. A similar event is on the agenda for tonight at 6 p.m. at the First Parish Congregational Church in Freeport, as the marchers finish a Day 8 walk that will lead them down Route 1 through West Bath and Brunswick.

On Wednesday, the dinner program will make an evening stop at the Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Church hall in Portland, and on Thursday, the walkers plan to march in the city’s Veterans Day parade. After the parade, the Veterans for Peace group will gather at the Space Gallery in Portland for a lunch and draw-a-thon.

Gagnon said that, in addition to the financial information, the marchers are trying to create awareness of the emotional burden the ongoing wars are placing on young soldiers today. He said many are battling post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after tours abroad, and added that in 2009, more soldiers died of suicide than were killed in Afghanistan.

Gagnon said by sending military personnel back to the combat zones for several tours of duty, “people’s psyches are being stretched like a rubber band.”

“Families are being destroyed,” he said. “Communities are being destroyed.”

Monday, November 08, 2010


Obama sells $15 billion of weapons to India and quotes Gandhi.....the U.S. is dragging India into Star Wars and using India to help surround China which will make the region more unstable.

Anyone who falls for this Gandhi BS from Obama, while he expands the war into Afghanistan-Pakistan, is fooling themselves.


G20 Protests in Seoul, South Korea

  • I am really out of touch with much of the current news but am home tonight and have a bit of a chance to get caught up. I took a hot bath to soak my legs and feet. Now I want to add a few important items to the blog.
  • The G20 has been meeting in recent days in South Korea and the protests have been large there in opposition to the corporate takeover of the global economy and politics. You can see extensive photos and articles about the protests here
  • Last night I stayed in the home of friend Jerry Call near Rockland as the peace walk came through his community. Jerry had a sudden heart attack three weeks ago and died as he was being transported to the hospital but was revived by one of the emergency workers. He said he was walking into a peaceful fog as he passed into the great beyond and then was brought back into this dimension. He is on his feet now and came to the pot luck. We are very lucky to have Jerry back with us. He was the leading organizer in Maine during the past year of the movement for a single-payer health care program.
  • While at Jerry's place this morning we were watching the TV news and saw Obama speaking in India. As Obama was there selling them $15 billion worth of weapons of war he was quoting Gandhi left and right. It was enough to make me sick. But it was vintage Obama - the magician - watch both his hands and both sides of his mouth.


A forest in Germany has been turned into a struggle over nuclear power.

More than 17,000 policemen were used to keep a trainload of nuclear waste on the move to a storage site at Gorleben.

Protesters are doing everything they can to stop it, including trying to blockade the tracks.

Al Jazeera's Guy Henderson reports from Leitstade, Germany.


These photos are from Saturday's walk from Bangor to Belfast. I am always a couple days late posting photos.

We arrived in Bath at 3:30 pm today just as the workers at Bath Iron Works were leaving work. We vigiled for a half-hour and people were surprised afterwards that it was not as negative a response from the workers as they had expected. Our signs were very positive making the call for conversion of the Navy shipyard that now builds Aegis destroyers which are outfitted with "missile offense" systems. It is clear that many people who work there would like to build wind turbines, rail systems or civilian ships.

We moved on to a local Episcopal church where I am now writing this post. We'll have a pot luck supper tonight.

When we left Rockland this morning it was raining after a huge storm passed through Maine during the night. By noon the storm had quieted and we finally saw the sun appear after several days of clouds and rain. We had a great lunch break at the home of Steve Burke who is a leader of the peace group in the Rockland area. His old house is right on Highway 1 in Warren so we were able to walk right up to his door.

Just beyond Rockland we walked through Thomaston where a local Episcopal church opened their doors to us for a break. They clanged the bells as we arrived at the church and served us coffee, tea, and snacks. They were so kind and had planned to come out and greet us as we walked past their church but our support people had stumbled onto the church by accident and knocked on their door to see if we could take a break there. So a nice coincidence for us.

We go back to Bath Iron Works at 8:00 am for a half-hour vigil before walking to Freeport. I notice that there is a 30% chance of rain tomorrow so maybe we will get lucky and avoid more water.

We had two newspapers cover us today (Village Soup in Rockland area and Times Record in Bath) so more articles should be out on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


This photo is from a national meeting held in New York City over the weekend. Notice our Maine banner hanging over the crowd. The meeting was to further plan the growing national effort to connect war spending to the economic collapse. One of our Maine Bring Our War $$ Home campaign leaders, Gary Higginbottom, went to represent us at the meeting.

The peace walk has arrived in Rockland with about 20 local people joining us the last two miles as we came into town. Earlier in the day a dozen folks from Belfast walked 12 miles with us as far as Lincolnville Beach. The support we are getting along the way has been wonderful.

Early this morning Maine Veterans for Peace member Bob Lezer, who was on the walk for the first several days, went to Portland to be on one of the network TV shows for a five-minute live interview about the walk. During one of our breaks this morning a person who worked at a diner we stopped at said she saw Bob on the tube. So the word continues to spread across the state about our effort.

In the morning we head toward Bath and plan a vigil at Bath Iron Works at 3:30 pm as the workers leave the shipyard. The weather forecasts cold and rain all day so it will be a tough one.

We've had acupuncturists and/or massage therapists at every evening stop along the way so far. Their help has been an enormous contribution helping us do as well as we have so far.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Buddhist monks from the Nipponzan Myohoji order lead a group of veterans from the Paul Bunyan park on Main Street in Bangor to the Peace and Justice Center on Park street on Friday. The Veterans for Peace group's walk was intended to draw attention to soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The statewide peace walk began in Farmington on Wednesday and ends in Portland Nov. 11
By Macey Hall
Special to the Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Veterans for Peace Walk came through Bangor on Friday as part of a 10-day trek across the state to raise awareness about the costs of war.

A Buddhist monk, the Rev. Gyoway Kato of the Nipponzan Myohoji order, is leading the walk along with Maine Veterans for Peace. The walk began Tuesday in Farmington and will end Nov. 11 in Portland, where participants hope to take part in the Veterans Day parade. So far they have walked 40 miles.

The group’s stop in Paul Bunyan Park was its third of the 10-stop peace walk. As the walkers gathered in the park gazebo, many held signs with messages such as “Make jobs, not war” and “Bring our war dollars home.” From the park, they walked to the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine on Park Street and gave a presentation at St. John’s Episcopal Church on French Street.

“War is linked to our failing economy,” said Dud Hendrick, president of Maine Veterans for Peace Chapter 001. “Money is needed so desperately, and it’s being spent on faraway places and not at home.”

According to the Maine Veterans for Peace website, the walk was organized to promote social progress, raise awareness about the impact the war in Afghanistan is having on the environment, and its cost to returning veterans, whose rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder are high. The group maintains that the war is costly, at more than $8 billion a month, and needs to end.

Participants walk an average of 16 miles a day, but because of the great distances between towns and cities they are visiting, they take shuttles to make up the difference. About 20 people made the trip Friday from Waterville to Bangor, but ended up walking only eight miles because of the rain.

There is a core group of 20 who plan to walk every day, but the public is invited to join the walk at any time, Hendrick said.

“So far, people have been very supportive. There’s been lots of honking of horns in support, and thumbs up,” he said.

Each evening the participants stay with a host in the towns they walk through and hold a public discussion.

“They’re very helpful to connect with people and put the conversation out,” Tim Bullock of New England Peace Pagoda, a spiritual group, said of the nightly presentations. “We discuss spending tax dollars, what the war is doing to us and taking from us. As we spend more and more on war, we’re unable to keep police departments fully staffed, teachers employed and schools open.”

Bullock said he got involved in this week’s event in Maine through Peace Pagoda, which held a walk last year to the United Nations in New York City. Members of Maine Veterans for Peace took part in that walk, so to repay the favor, Peace Pagoda members participated in the walk through Maine, Bullock said.

“I’m very honored to walk with Veterans for Peace,” the Rev. Gyoway Kato said.

The group will continue its walk in Belfast today. From there, participants will head to Rockland on Sunday, Bath on Monday, Freeport on Tuesday and Portland on Wednesday to take part in the parade on Thursday. By Thursday, the group expects to have walked a total of 126.8 miles.

Last year in the Portland Veterans Day parade, the Maine Veterans for Peace held a sign that stated, “Stop war in Afghanistan.” That resulted in their not being invited to participate this year, according to Alex Valente, a University of Maine at Farmington student and walk participant.

“We’re not doing this as a way of protest or disrespect,” she said. “We’re just doing it because they’re veterans and they should be able to march in the parade, too.”