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

Thursday, March 31, 2011


has a new article about the military space plane - the successor to the shuttle at their web site. Written by Noah Shactman.

The U.S. military likes to be a little sneaky with its robotic space planes. Unlike typical spacecraft, these vehicles can shift their orbits, frustrating the global network of skywatchers who keep track of just about every man-made object rotating the planet.

But the sleuths have their tricks, too. They’ve tracked down the X-37B on its second secret mission. And the information the skywatchers are finding says quite a bit about the classified operations of this mysterious spacecraft.

It took the amateur sleuths nearly a month to hunt down the first X-37B after it launched on its inaugural mission. That’s an eternity in sky-spotting time.

The second time around was easier. The U.S. space plane was discovered just four days after it blasted into orbit, earlier this month. Cape Town, South Africa’s Greg Roberts — “a pioneer in using telescopic video cameras to track spacecraft, chalking up exceptional results over the years,” according to — spotted this second secret spacecraft, just like he found the first.

The X-37B has generated intense interest, long before it ever left the ground. Boeing originally developed the 29-foot unmanned craft — a kind of miniature Space Shuttle — for NASA. Then, the military took over in 2004, and the space plane went black. Its payloads were classified, its missions hush-hush.

Depending on who you talk to, the space plane could be a prototype commando transport, an orbiting bomber or (most likely) a spy-above-the-skies. It could launch, repair or reposition U.S. satellites in low orbit. It could sneak up and disable or steal enemy satellites. Its pickup-bed-sized payload bay is particularly enticing to observers.

And now, there are observers — plural. Ontario’s Kevin Fetterof filmed the X-37B “gliding past the binary star Eta Serpentis,” according to, which has video of the flyby. Skywatchers Brad Young, Bill Young, and Alberto Rango have all reported sightings, as well.

You can even see the space plane for yourself: The X-37B is traveling in a slightly elliptical orbit more than 200 miles up, swooping from 43 degrees north latitude to 43 degrees south. (Check the real-time map at

That orbit gives some indications about what the space plane is actually doing up there. The typical spy satellite has a polar orbit, which means “it can cover the whole earth, and it can fly over the same spot at the same sun angle each time it comes overhead,” explains Brian Weeden, a former Air Force Space Command officer, now with the Secure World Foundation.

The X-37B, on the other hand, is orbiting around the fat middle of the planet, traveling over the Middle East, Africa, and fair chunk of China. “It means they are giving up global coverage and predictable shadow lengths, but getting more frequent passes,” Weeden says. The orbit lends credence to the idea that the space plane is an orbiting spy.

So does the X-37B’s altitude. It’s flying pretty low — one of the rare orbiters traveling beneath the International Space Station. “The lower you are,” Weeden notes, “the higher resolution you can get in any imagery.”

And the easier you are to spot from the ground.


Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the founding board members of the Global Network, has an alarming analysis of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home has announced a news conference and rally inside the Hall of Flags at the capital in Augusta on Monday, April 4 at 11:00 am. The event will be held on the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. – killed exactly one year after his famous anti-Vietnam war speech was delivered.

The National Priorities Project reports that the total debt of all 50 state governments is now $130 billion. The U.S. will spend more than $170 billion on our wars in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya this year. Maine’s share of war spending since 2001 has been $3.4 billion.

“Governor LePage and President Obama have it all wrong. Cutting taxes as a job creator is a known dead end street. Studies show that jobs are best created by state investment in education and infrastructure. There won’t be much recovery for Maine or any other state though until we Bring Our War $$ Home. We need to stop endless war spending if we hope to continue to support social progress. Interestingly, 65% of the people across the nation now favor withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it’s only going to happen if the public repeatedly demands it,” said Bruce Gagnon of Veterans for Peace.

Speakers at the event will include:

* Michael Brennan – Former State Senator and social worker (Portland)
* Alexandra Valente and Nicole Moreau – Student activists (UM-Farmington)
* El Fadel Arbab – Immigrant advocate, Fur Cultural Revival (Portland)
* Dud Hendrick – President, Maine Veterans for Peace (Deer Isle)
* Lisa Savage – Public school teacher and CodePink Maine Coordinator (Solon)
* Matt Hight – Union member (Biddeford)
* Peter Woodruff – Union member (Arrowsic)
* Natasha Mayers – Union of Maine Visual Artists (Whitefield)
* Music by Raging Grannies

Members of the Union of Maine Visual Artists will be on hand after the rally to help the public create images of where they believe our war $$ should be spent in Maine.

“Nation-wide people are increasingly using the Bring Our War $$ Home message in their local organizing. Resolutions have passed in Deer Isle and Portland, Maine and also in Amherst and Northampton, Massachusetts and just this week in Hartford, Connecticut. Many other communities are considering resolutions right now and Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has begun to help promote the message to mayors of other hard-hit U.S. cities,” said Lisa Savage coordinator of CodePink Maine.

See the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign web site here


Photo from the war in Libya

A sign – handwritten on cardboard fashioned from a discarded box of rations – hangs around the dead men’s necks. It reads: TALIBAN ARE DEAD. According to a source in Bravo Company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the men were killed by soldiers from another platoon, which has not yet been implicated in the scandal. “Those were some innocent farmers that got killed,” the source says. “Their standard operating procedure after killing dudes was to drag them up to the side of the highway.”

You've likely heard about the article in a recent Rolling Stone magazine called The Kill Team. The photo just above is one of those that were discovered when the military finally investigated and are now prosecuting an Army unit deployed in Afghanistan for killing innocent civilians for sport. It's sick stuff.

You'd think these disclosures would force Congress to reevaluate our multiple wars and the damage they are doing to everyone involved but things just roll along. In fact, we are now advancing this global war onto the African continent with the attacks on Libya. The U.S. and our NATO allies love to blow things up and hold ground.

If you listen closely to Hillary Clinton and the Pentagon brass in the last day or so you can hear the sounds of trial balloons being released and seeds being planted into the minds of the American people.

Corporate news bureaus are reporting that "world leaders say Qaddafi must be removed" and the "Obama administration is engaged in a fierce debate over whether to supply weapons to the rebels in Libya." The New York Times reports, "The French government, which has led the international charge against Colonel Qaddafi, has placed mounting pressure on the United States to provide greater assistance to the rebels."

Sending arms would also create the need to send military advisers. Already there can be no doubt that CIA and U.S. and allied "special forces" troops are working inside Libya to direct "the resistance fighters".

The Times continued, "In London, Mrs. Clinton and other Western leaders made it clear that the NATO-led operation would end only with the removal of Colonel Qaddafi, even if that was not the stated goal of the United Nations resolution."

The war-like Democrats will lie down alongside their war-mongering Republican colleagues in the Congress and will watch this play out and offer no resistance. The Congress is just the puppet show, there to give the public the illusion that democracy still exists in this blood-stained land. But in fact the oligarchy had this whole plan mapped out long ago. All the places on this planet that harbor oil, natural gas, water, and other abundant mineral resources are on the hit list.

It is the job of the U.S. to lead this assault on the remaining global resources for the benefit of the corporations. America has been turned into a killing culture and it is our job, with the help of any willing allies, to take control of these resource rich lands. Killing people does not matter. Their lives rate below that of the oil or other treasures.

Freedom, liberty, democracy are all part of the puppet show in order to humanize and legitimize these killing fields with the war weary public. Democrats like Obama help keep the peaceniks tamed and in their cages. Republican politicians keep their party faithful distracted by whipping up outlandish fears about the U.S. becoming "a secular atheist country" that is potentially dominated by "radical Islamists."

Few are then left to stand on street corners and protest these wars and call for our war $$ to be brought home. Others are either cowering in their homes or glued to the TV set watching the latest fireworks displays from Libya. All the while the soul of the American people shrivels up and we become accustomed to the killing and barbarity done in our name.

It's a roller-coaster ride for all of us as the biblical injunction "Thou shall not kill" flickers now and then in our consciousness, trying to stay alight against the winds of madness and war.

Update: Reuters is reporting that "President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday. Obama signed the order, known as a presidential 'finding', within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter."


Prediction: 20 Years of War in Libya

By David Swanson

Johan Galtung, sometimes called the father of peace studies, predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union and the refusal of Egyptian soldiers to attack civilians.

His prediction of the collapse of the US empire in 2020 appears to be on schedule. So, it was noteworthy when he predicted on Tuesday at the University of Virginia that the war in Libya would last 20 years. If, however, NATO and the opposition were to kill Gadaffi, he said, the fighting could go on for more than 20 years. This prediction came the day after Obama gave one of those speeches, like his speeches on Gitmo or Iraq, where he persuades you that something is already over without actually making that claim. How can the war (excuse me, humanitarian intervention) in Libya be over and have 20 years left to go?

Galtung argues that predictions of quick success in Libya depend on an ignorance of history and a reduction of broad social forces to the caricature of a single person. There are five forces at work in the Arab Revolution, Galtung argues: opposition to dictatorship (demand for civil rights), opposition to inequality and poverty (demand for economic rights), opposition to the U.S. and Israeli empires, the revolt of the youth, and the revolt of women. When a government is on the wrong side of all five forces, Galtung claims, it is doomed.

Egypt scores a negative 5; its government imposed/imposes dictatorship and inequality, supports the rule of the two empires, and suppresses youth and women. Tunisia, because of advances in women's rights, scores a negative 4. To explain why Libya only scores a negative 3, Galtung goes back to 1915 when Arabs revolted against the Ottoman Empire with the aid of France, the UK, and Russia. France took over Lebanon and Syria. The UK took over Iraq and Palestine. The next revolt came in the 1950s and 1960s against the French and the British. This revolt was led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and then by Gadaffi. The United States became Israel's patron and developed the current empire. Gadaffi gained the reputation of an opponent of the U.S. and Israeli, as well as French and British and Italian empires. In Galtung's analysis, such a reputation lasts forever.

So, Gadaffi's government gains points for holding an aura of anti-imperialism and for relatively little inequality. Similarly, Galtung gives the governments of Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia negative fives but suggests that Syria and Iran score better on the basis of past resistance to empire.

The opposition in Libya, according to Galtung, stands for the West. France, Italy, the UK, and the US are likely to invest huge sums in that opposition. On Monday Obama promised to transfer $33 billion in seized Libyan assets to "the people" of Libya; that means the opposition. What's underway, Galtung says, is a civil war, not a no-fly zone protecting civilians. And killing Gadaffi would make him a martyr.

This analysis fits with some facts that aren't paid enough attention to, I believe. Nonviolent campaigns against tyranny succeed more often than violent ones. Nonviolent campaigns succeed more often when violence is used against them. Too much violence can destroy them, but it takes more than is commonly imagined. Gadaffi's military is not primarily foreign mercenaries. Prior to U.S. involvement, military forces were defecting to the rebel side; now one doesn't hear of that happening. The leader of the rebels is a CIA creation. Going back to the U.S. liberation of Cuba and the Philippines, the U.S. military has stepped in to "help" dozens of countries and overstayed its welcome every single time without exception.

Galtung doesn't predict that the United States will be at war in Libya for 20 years. He expects Western Europe to take over the poisonous role of empire from the current global power. China, he believes, even if it were powerful enough to step into that role, is not stupid enough to do so.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) has launched a petition calling on President Obama to oust General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the head of the White House’s jobs panel, if the executive doesn’t step down voluntarily. Feingold’s complaint stems from recent revelations that GE will pay no taxes this year, despite making more than $5 billion in the United States in 2010.

Get more info here


During March 20 protest at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia in support of Bradley Manning

  • The governator of Maine took down the mural from the Department of Labor office sometime over the weekend. Was probably during the dark of night. He has hidden it and won't disclose the location. Even the artist of the mural had no idea her work was being removed nor does she know what was done with it. The Union of Maine Visual Artists is planning a news conference on Friday in the state capital Hall of Flags to demand the return of the mural and have invited me to speak on behalf of the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. Things will start at noon.

The latest faux pas from the governator was his statement about prisoners in the Maine jail system getting "health care and some education" while old ladies go without. “If it were up to me, I’d find a dungeon very cheaply and house them all," he grunted as his divide the public against one another strategy continues to play out.

  • The National Police Agency in Japan announced today:

It gave up transportation of a man’s body found in Okuma-town, Fukushima prefecture within 10km from Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. The body showed such a high level radioactive contamination that there is no way to carry it. There is possibility that more bodies are left in this 10km area. The agency says it has to plan “a measure to counter this”. The agency says the man's body was found by the Fukushima Prefectural Riot Police men and others who had been informed of it, in the open lot of a workshop 5 to 6 km from the nuclear plant.

The surface of the body counted radioactivity level of “over 100,000 CPM (count per minute) ” for which a whole body decontamination is required. There is possibility that while carrying it, the body will contaminate the men at work. The agency gave up moving the body because it will contaminate the recipients and the surroundings, too. The body is contained in a sack and laid in the nearby building for the time being.

The military intervention in Libya has cost the United States “about $550 million” in extra spending so far, a Defense Department spokeswoman said Tuesday, providing the first official estimate of the mission’s price tag. Almost 60 percent of the total cost has been for munitions — the most expensive of which are Tomahawk missiles, which cost more than $1 million each to replace.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The City of Hartford, Connecticut has just passed the Bring Our War $$ Home resolution. They join Deer Isle, Portland, and Solon (School Board) in Maine and the cities of Northampton and Amherst in Massachusetts in passing similar resolutions. Activists in Maryland had a meeting last weekend where more than 40 organizations (including labor) joined in to plan a statewide campaign around the Bring Our War $$ Home theme. Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has also recently begun to help promote the message to mayors of other hard-hit U.S. cities. It's growing.


Why can't more labor leaders see it, and say it, so clearly?



Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent and much more is committed to the military mission in Libya. United States president Barack Obama has said it is in the country's national interest to have intervened in the north African state. But the massive cost of yet another military campaign has had some questioning whether it's worth it. Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington.

New data from the Pew Research Center published Monday afternoon show that just under half the public – 47 percent – thinks it was the right decision to conduct military air strikes in Libya. Another 36 percent say it was the wrong decision and 17 percent are unsure.


  • Stars & Stripes reports, "U.S. troops in Europe are now forbidden to wear their uniforms off post 'to the maximum extent possible,' including daily commutes to and from the office, as part of an effort to prevent service members from standing out in a crowd, according to U.S. European Command. The new policy, which comes three weeks after a deadly shooting outside Frankfurt Airport that left two Airmen dead and two badly wounded, takes effect immediately."

It appears that the "liberators" are wearing thin on the public in Europe as is the case with the rest of the world. I can't imagine though how dressing in civvies is going to make much of a difference. Still the expensive sneakers, flight sun glasses, cowboy belts, baseball caps, T-shirts with corporate logos, noticable paunch, and short haircuts just might be a dead give-away that these are still Yanks.

  • I watched corporate CEO's crying poor mouth last night on the CBS TV program 60 Minutes. The head of CISCO said they had to move their operations to Ireland because of the 35% corporate tax rate in the U.S. In Ireland he said they only pay about 12% and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been moved there. The threat was clear. Either Congress lowers the corporate tax rate to virtually zero or CEO's will keep moving the jobs overseas. It's a global bidding war to the bottom of the barrel. "My investors demand this" was the refrain heard again and again from the big boys. Nothing but greed. General Electric, the world's biggest corporation, paid no taxes in the U.S. last year. In fact they got a $3.2 billion "tax benefit" in 2010.

  • The big question on every one's mind now is will Obama send ground troops into Libya? I've seen Internet rumors flying around that 4,000 U.S. troops are already there but have not been able to confirm that. I can't imagine Obama and NATO just pulling out and leaving control of the oil fields to the Libyan people. Also another key issue right now is whether or not Depleted Uranium (DU) is being used by NATO. Again I've seen conflicting reports from good sources. I wouldn't doubt it though. You have to remember that the U.S. used DU weapons during the war against Yugoslavia and in Iraq and likely in Afghanistan as well. When you are trying to "clear out" a region so you can control their oil or lay pipelines the existence of people becomes a pesky problem. The use of DU allows over time a slow form of genocide that would ultimately clear the path for the oil corporations. Now I can hear you thinking - the U.S. would never do such a thing! Just remember though the U.S. Army handing out small pox laden blankets to the Native American people. It's called modus operandi - MO.

  • I'm really tired of war and corporate control. My whole life has been one war after the other. My adulthood has been one long protest against U.S. wars. Can there be any doubt that America is one sick GD country? Addicted to war - addicted to violence - a killing culture - like a drunk at the bar, always needing another swig. I think the public is beginning to open their eyes but they are weary from it all. They are tired and I wonder if they have it in them to stand up to another Anschluss (Hitler's annexation of Austria). Got to keep moving forward......all of us. Got to make some demands on this corporate dominated system. It's a matter of survival now. We owe it to ourselves, to our past relations, and to the future generations.

  • See an interesting new study called "The Partisan Dynamics of Contention: Demobilization of the Anti-War Movement in the U.S., 2007-2009" about how subservience to the Democratic party has drastically injured the peace movement.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Tens of thousands of Germans took to the streets Saturday to protest against nuclear power. Under the banner "Fukushima means: no more nuclear power stations," marches took place in Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and capital Berlin, ahead of the vote in wealthy Baden-Wuerttemberg Sunday, where the nuclear issue was set to play a key role. In Berlin alone, police said the "organisers' aim of getting 50,000 would be basically achieved."

On Sunday the Associated Press reported:

German chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have suffered a historic defeat in a state ballot after almost six decades in power there, preliminary results showed Sunday, in an election that amounted to a referendum on the party's stance on nuclear power.

The opposition anti-nuclear Greens doubled their voter share in Baden-Wuerttemberg state and seemed poised to win their first-ever state governorship, according to preliminary results released by the state electoral commission.

"We have secured what amounts to a historic electoral victory," the Greens' leader Winfried Kretschmann told party members in Stuttgart.

The Greens secured 24.2 percent of the vote, with the center-left Social Democrats down 2 percentage points at 23.1 percent. That secures them a narrow lead to form a coalition government with a combined 71 seats in the state legislature, the results showed.

See more video from Germany here


Saturday, March 26, 2011


The Green Train - Witness - Al Jazeera English

Once upon a time Iraq boasted an extensive railway network criss-crossing the country. But like so much else there, trains were a victim of the years of conflict and now only a skeleton service still runs.

Sixty-one year-old Abdul Latif Salman has a unique connection to the railways and a personal history that mirrors the turbulence of recent decades.

In his youth he was one of three drivers assigned to Saddam Hussein's private luxury train.

He was later a prisoner of war in Iran for ten years and his son was killed by a bomb attack on a government building in Iraq.

Today, Salman is a driver once again on the newly-revived passenger service running from Baghdad to the south.

Filmmakers Rashed Radwan and Carmen Marques' take us on a journey with him through the heart of modern Iraq calling at stations once thought to be shut forever, in communities that have been under siege for years.

With Salman's reminiscences of other times and places as a backdrop, we meet the ordinary passengers who have lived through and survived the worst of times in a country struggling to put itself back together.



No matter how hard they try to hide the truth, NATO (America's military toy) is driving this war against Libya.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Some of the news conference coverage


Approximately 300 people packed the hallway outside the Maine Department of Labor waiting room, as those from throughout the state gathered to express their concerns about Gov. Paul LePage's decision to remove a mural depicting Maine's labor history.
I missed attending a hastily called news conference today in Augusta, Maine, organized by the Union of Maine Visual Artists and the state AFL-CIO, because I was taping the next edition of my TV show. The news confab was speaking out against our reactionary Gov. Paul LePage's decision to take down a mural that is on the wall inside the lobby of the state Department of Labor.

The governor apparently received an email signed by "Secret Admirer" who complained that the mural was inappropriate for the Department of Labor. The photo above is only part of the mural which depicts the history of workers in Maine who have labored in the textile and paper mills and at Bath Iron Works (BIW) among other places. The art piece tells the story of labor strikes and worker victories to bring safe and fair working conditions.

The anonymous email, which precipitated Gov. LePage's rampage against labor history in Maine, is as follows:

February 24, 2011

Dear Governor LePage:

Welcome to Augusta. You are doing a great job. Keep it up.

The purpose of my letter is to express my disbelief of what I saw at the Maine Department of Labor Offices in Augusta during a recent visit. While sitting in the lobby I had the opportunity to study a very large mural which adorns the lobby area. In this mural I observed a figure which closely resembles the former Commissioner of Labor. In studying the mural I also observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.

Mr. LePage with all due respect I must say: "MR. LEPAGE, PLEASE TEAR DOWN THIS MURAL."

Again, thank you for your candor and fresh approach to State Government. Keep up the good work.

A Secret Admirer......

So obviously all it takes is a complaint from one right-winger and the new Tea Party Republican governor tries to wipe out more than 100 years of gritty worker history in our state. Just one comparison to "communist North Korea" and down the mural comes in the tradition of Ronald Reagan's famous Berlin call on Gorbachev to "tear down that wall."

As I am writing this I got a call from Peter Woodruff, union worker at Bath Iron Works, who took the day off so he could attend the news conference. He was asked to speak by leaders of the Union of Maine Visual Artists and he talked about another 100 workers being laid off today at BIW. He concluded his words with a call for the several hundred people to show up for the April 4 Bring Our War $$ Home rally at the state capital.

The hardcore right-wing is feeling empowered right now in the U.S. They are demanding things like taking down murals - thoughts they'd never have entertained before the recent election - which LePage won with only 38% of the vote in a three-way race. Each week we are seeing more and more evidence that the war on the working class is in full-swing in our state.

It's going to take all of us to hold on to social progress at the rate things are going. We are going to be called on to stand up and speak out even when our knees are shaking from fright.

Think of the struggle and sacrifices people made to build the labor movement and to bring forward social progress. We all need to defend that hard won legacy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


My latest community access TV show features Richard Rhames from Biddeford, Maine. Richard is a small family vegetable farmer and has long been a political activist in the state. He also has a public access TV show called Out in Left Field and I am frequently a guest on his show.

Richard has now been on my show more than anyone else since I began it in December of 2003.


The Japanese and U.S. governments continue to lie about contamination levels released by the Fukushima power station. Why do the people have to suffer at the hands of these corporate fools? Is it because they don't want the people to demand the closer of all existing nuclear power plants throughout Japan and the rest of the world?

Aileen Mioko Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action, one of Japan’s leading voices challenging the production, commerce and transport of nuclear material, and calling for sustainable energy policies is interviewed by Democracy Now.

Let the truth be known about the Fukushima Nuclear Plants
-- An urgent demand to the mass media and the Government of Japan

People's Plan Study Group
17 March, 2011

Developments at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant could cause a catastrophic situation, aggravating damage brought by the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami which hit Japan on March 11. This is a serious emergency which is equivalent to what happened in Chernobyl, but should also be regarded as the first-ever incident of its kind since multiple nuclear reactors malfunctioned simultaneously. The released radioactivity could spread out beyond a 20 or 30 kilometres radius and cause an irreparable damage to human health, the environment and society.

The Government of Japan has met this crisis only with stop-gap measures and tried to abdicate its responsibility, thereby letting the situation to take an even more serious turn. But at this moment we are not taking the government to task on the whole range of its neglect because the situation is too urgent.

At this critical moment, we demand that the Japanese Government and the mass media tell us the whole truth about what is happening at the Fukushima reactors. The Government of Japan has only released a fraction of the necessary information and has refused to let people know what the worst case scenario is, leaving us completely unprotected. The Government of Japan has not taken any measures to minimize possible damage caused in this scenario. Instead of giving us the truth, the Government, the mass media which follow it blindly, and self-proclaimed “experts” are trting to play down the severity of this situation by, for example, suggesting comparisons with exposure to medical X-rays or radioactivity during an international flight, making the entire situation appear close to what normally happens in daily life. Data about the measured level of radiation is disclosed at random, but it does not contain information about what kind of nuclear materials are being released. Reporters attending the Government's press conferences don't dare to ask questions about this. There is also a lack of systematic warnings about internal exposure to radiation. Meanwhile, most foreign organisations, experts and media have already classed the Fukushima accident close to level seven in the International and Radiological Nuclear Event Scale, and foreign governments have accordingly asked their nationals to evacuate Japan. Where does this huge gap in their acknowledgment of the situation come from?

A favourable interpretation is that the Japanese Government have tried not to cause social panic. But the best way to avoid panic is to give people access to a correct understanding of ongoing events, let them know how to minimize the damage and allow them a variety of methods to do so. Panic occurs when a patient who has been told by their physician that they only have a stomach ache suddenly discovers that they actually have a severe tumour.

The accident at the Fukushima facility requires urgent and coordinated action. We demand that the Government of Japan acknowledge the severity of this situation, make people aware of it, and clarify how this emergency is to be dealt with without delay.


A US soldier has plead guilty to the murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians. Jeremy Morlock faces more than 20 years in prison for his part in a series of incidents that targeted civilians in Afghanistan. He has admitted using illegally obtained Afghan weapons to make it appear that the victims were enemy combatants. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.

See the new article in The New Yorker on this case by Seymour Hersh here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Here is former Sen. Joseph Biden, now V-P of the U.S., threatening in 2007 to impeach George W. Bush if he attacked Iran without Congressional approval.

But now he, and Obama, have done just that. They have attacked Libya, who is no "immediate threat" to the U.S., without going to Congress and asking for the authority to do so.

Did you notice how the Democrats cheered for Biden's threat against the "bad cowboy" George W. Bush? But now many of those same Democrats are very likely making excuses for Obama-Biden as they wage blitzkrieg in Northern Africa and Central Asia.

It is hypocrisy to pretend to be a peacenik only when the other party is in power. Real peace movement activists oppose war no matter which party is dropping the bombs. Anything else is just blind obedience and servility.

It is situations like this that are killing the Democratic Party with the thinking public. Over and over again we see examples of "say one thing" but "do another".

My mother always used to say, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." In Washington DC that doesn't seem to apply.


Obama's trip to India last October was in part to follow-up on the U.S.-India Nuclear deal (which Obama voted for while in the Senate). A key part of the deal was to expand the development of nuclear power there which would also help them to build more nuclear weapons.

The crisis in Japan has led many countries to review their nuclear plans, but not India. The state of Maharastra is still going ahead with plans to build the world's largest nuclear park in Jaitapur, a region along the Konkan coast that already sits atop a known fault line. The ambitious Indian-French project has not gone down well with those living near the earmarked site. Al Jazeera's Prerna Suri reports from Jaitapur.


As we move closer to the April 4 rally in Augusta it is important to remember that April 4, 1968 was the day MLK was killed. Many, including myself, believe he was killed to a considerable extent because of this speech. King was thinking about running for president along with Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the leaders of the peace movement as his running mate. The uniting of the civil rights and peace movements was a frightening thought to the ruling oligarchy.

By 1967, King had become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered -- King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."

Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," and the Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."

Let April 4 be the day that we not only remember King but rededicate ourselves to his courageous call for peace and justice.


(Click on graphic for larger view)

This ad will appear in three Maine newspapers this week - The Forecaster, the Capital Weekly, and The Maine Edge (Bangor). Combined circulation of these three papers is 100,000 (the entire population of Maine is about 1.3 million.) The ad was paid for by the 350 people whose names are listed.

Yesterday I went to Portland to do a 30-minute radio interview on WMPG and then did a 5-minute interview on the public access TV Channel 5. Both interviews promoted the April 4 Bring Our War $$ Home rally at the state capital. Word is getting around quite well about this event.

Also this week our radio spots on WBACH (three stations) and WERU will begin airing.

Our goal has been to reach out beyond our usual small circles of activism with this campaign and I can say that we've had good success in doing so. We've noticed that each time we hear our Congresswoman Chellie Pingree talk lately in Washington about war spending she states that she is hearing from the people back home and she always mentions the $3.4 billion that people in our state have paid toward the wars since 2001.

Obama ordered the firing of 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libya in the first blitzkrieg. Each of these satellite-directed missiles cost up to $1.5 million. That’s $168 million for one night’s assault. Estimates to maintain the no-fly zone, depending on how much of the country Obama wants to dominate, can cost $30 million to $100 million per week.

Rather than us banging our heads against the wall trying to talk with our elected officials we've switched it up a bit. We recognize that if we increase the public consciousness about the links between war spending and economic crisis at home the politicians will begin to hear the demand to Bring Our War $$ Home every where they go across the state. So far it seems to be working.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


SourceWatch reports:

Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Saudi Arabia with a population of 753,000 and capital city of Manama. Headed by the al-Khalifah family since 1783, the country was a British protectorate between 1861 and 1971. The king is the supreme authority.

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet has its headquarters in the port of Manama, Bahrain, the headquarters of CENTCOM's navy and marine corps leaders. The downtown area of Manama, the capital city, devotes 79 acres of land to the U.S. Naval Support Activity. Elsewhere in Bahrain is the Sheik Isa Air Base.

The U.S. began its military relationship with the country in 1949 when it stationed three naval warships there. The Federation of American Scientists writes, "Since then, Bahrain has allowed an increased U.S. military presence and facilitated U.S. access to the Middle East in times of crisis, such as the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and Operation Desert Storm. In 1995, Bahrain became the headquarters for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

"The U.S. is the dominant arms supplier to Bahrain; according to the U.S. State Department, over 95% of Bahrain's arms imports from 1995-97 came from the United States.

"The 2000 State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices describes Bahrain as a "hereditary emirate with few democratic institutions and no political parties," and warns that Bahraini "security forces committed serious human rights abuses." Although national law prohibits torture, the U.S. State Department stated there are "credible reports" that incarcerated prisoners have been "beaten, both on the soles of their feet and about the face and head, burned with cigarettes, deprived of sleep for long periods of time, and in some cases subjected to electrical shocks." Public demonstrations are rarely permitted, and individuals suspected of opposing the government have been detained for long periods without a trial.

Joseph Gerson, the Director of Programs for the American Friends Service Committee, writes, "U.S. bases serve interventionist aircraft carriers, destroyers, nuclear armed submarines and other U.S. warships. This includes bases in Spain, Italy, Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, Japan, and "access" agreements in Israel, the Philippines, Singapore, and other countries.



For those of you who are wondering: "What's a Draw-In?" I'll tell's fun, easy and will get your artistic and political juices flowing! Basically we park ourselves in the rotunda of the State House (we have permission!) with a table, some signage and plenty of (dry) art materials. We then wait for the public to pass by (usually on their way to speak to legislators) and solicit from them any ideas they might have on how we could better spend the huge sums of money that go into war spending. It's actually a very easy task and you don't have to be proficient at rendering Abrams tanks as, for example if you created a drawing of flowers in a vase, you would be making a perfectly effective political statement about a better way to spend our war dollars.

The other great thing about this action, we found from our last Draw-In, was that people are truly dis-armed when it comes to live artists! They get very excited to see their ideas visualized before them and be able to take their drawing away with them. For me as an artist, my favorite part is hanging out with other artists, making art and exchanging thoughts and ideas. It's a win/win in my book! So, will you come join us? I hope so! See you there. [Monday, April 4 at 11:00 am in the Hall of Flags]

Kenny Cole
Maine Draw-A-Thon


Chris Hedges is a journalist and columnist for Truthdig. This speech took place at Lafayette Park in front of the White House on March 19 during the Veterans for Peace protest.


Last night I attended a public meeting at my city hall that was called by the politicians who represent this area in the state legislature. They wanted public input on how they should react to the governor's proposed cutbacks in the state budget. The cutbacks will largely fall on public education and social programs. The governor wants to give tax cuts for those at the top. About 50 people from surrounding towns turned out.

While in Washington DC I had received an email from one of the legislators inviting the public to the meeting so I forwarded it around to a couple key people. Five members from the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign showed up and each of us stood up during the meeting and made statements. I also passed out flyers to everyone about our upcoming April 4 rally inside the state capital.

As usual the politicians were cold and made no comments about what we had to say about cutting war spending as one way to deal with our fiscal crisis here in Maine. As it turns out Maine's share of war spending since 2001 is now $3.4 billion - the same amount that our state will spend this year. One of our supporters last night told the state officials that our congressional Rep. Chellie Pingree in Washington was trying to bring our war $$ home and that she could use some help. (Last Thursday she voted for the Kucinich resolution in the House of Representatives that called for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. It lost badly.) This did not seem to phase them one bit.

But these politicians were not our real target. The people we were actually trying to reach were the 50 people sitting in the hearing - the taxpaying citizens who are having everything dumped on their shoulders by the corporate oligarchy.

As I was walking out to my car after the meeting was over I joked with an older couple, who I had never seen before, that our latest snow storm was not a good sign of spring. They laughed and then the woman said to me in her strong Maine accent, "We'll see ya in Augusta on April 4."

This was a wonderful gift as this woman was letting us know that she truly heard our appeals in the meeting to connect the dots between endless war spending and fiscal collapse at home.

The superintendent of schools, who I had met with last year to explain the campaign, also shook my hand and thanked me for being there before I left city hall. The former chief of police in Bath, who was there to speak against cutting treatment programs for drug addicts, did the same.

It feels good to know that our message seems to be breaking through the ice. Build it and they will come.

Se the local news report of this meeting here

Monday, March 21, 2011


War is peace

Security is killing

Capitalism is freedom

Corporations equal democracy

Black is white

Don't trust your judgement


More war for control of oil. NATO is the military arm of the U.S. imperial effort to control access to oil around the globe on behalf of corporate globalization.

A few members of Congress are saying that Obama violated the constitution by not going to Congress for permission to attack Libya. The Arab League, who supported the "No Fly Zone," says this attack is beyond defending the skies and is an illegal intervention.

As Daniel Ellsberg said in Washington this past weekend - Obama might have once been a "constitutional scholar" but he no longer is. He is now an international law violater just like George W. Bush. They both work for the CIA.



I've long been a fan of Dennis Trainor (No Cure for That) who narrates this video. (I've posted some of his more creative bits on here a couple of times.) I got to talk with him at the White House protest and after being arrested on Saturday and learned he lives in the Boston area. He is a dad and a trained actor who uses his skills and his heart to help push this movement along. I look forward to meeting him again.


From the left side David Swanson (holding sign) Mark Roman, me, and Peter Woodruff (with camera) at the White House fence. Bottom left in photo is Ruth Zalph an old friend from Florida days. We are chanting "Go home and organize".

University of Maine-Farmington student activist Nicole Moreau - one of the best young activists I have ever met during my days along the dusty protest trail.

I made it home just after 1:00 am this morning and am lying in bed typing this post. Can't find the energy to get up. Sadly Peter Woodruff had to get up at 5:00 am this morning to go to work. Mark Roman and Lisa Savage, who drove us back to Maine from the Boston train station, likely didn't get home til 3:00 am and Lisa had to get up early to teach school this morning. So I know I have it easy compared to them.

I have a zillion emails I've got to sort through. Our train, the non-express cheaper one, didn't have wireless. It would have been nice to have been able to spend those eight hours on the train doing some needed work.

Instead though I was reading a fascinating book called Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years by Russ Baker. It should be required reading for every citizen. It's the full story of how the Bush family was heavily involved in the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, the destruction of democracy, and the outsourcing of foreign policy to the CIA and corporate interests while heavily funded by the oil-rich Saudi empire. It's a mind blower. This book will help complete the picture about who runs the nation and how they have taken control. It connects all the dots for me.

You can see Baker, a mainstream journalist, on C-SPAN talking about his book here

Sunday, March 20, 2011


There were about 1,500 people at the Veterans for Peace protest at the White House yesterday. (More than 100 local protests were held yesterday across the nation.) Following the rally in Lafayette park we marched nearly one mile in a big circle through the streets and ended back up in front of the White House. We quickly climbed onto the fence and waited for the park police to give us our warnings before they started to make the arrests.

These photos are by Peter Woodruff, who was also arrested, and in all there were 113 of us put on buses and driven to the park police headquarters where we were processed in record time and released.

Fellow Mainers Mark Roman and Lisa Savage were arrested and University of Maine-Farmington students Nicole Moreau and Jade Forester were there to cheer us on.

I'll write more later about the day - need to get packed and head to train station for the return trip home.

The Washington Post coverage amounted to a photo of a person's two feet standing next to two empty combat boots with flowers in them. The caption reads: Boots belonging to a soldier who was killed in action were on display Saturday as anti-war protesters rallied in front of the White House to mark the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

And that is all they wrote. The "free press" in action.

We later discovered that the Post in fact did have an article about the protest in another part of the paper. See it here


Francis Boyle is a Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign.

Boyle said: "Without authorization by the United Nations Security Council and express authorization from the U.S. Congress pursuant to the terms of the War Powers Resolution, for President Obama to establish any type of so-called 'no-fly zone' over Libya would be illegal and unconstitutional."

While serving as the lawyer for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, Boyle procured the NATO no-fly zone over Bosnia. He is author of "The Bosnian People Charge Genocide."


Saturday, March 19, 2011


Daniel Ellsberg

Watermelon Slim (member of Veterans for Peace) singing about Howard Zinn

Last night Veterans for Peace held a warm-up event that packed Bus boys & Poets Restaurant in downtown Washington DC. A full slate of speaker videos can be found here

A couple of the better speakers, including Chris Hedges, seems to have been left out of the videos but still there are several you can watch.

If the attendance last night was any measure the event today should be well attended. Things begin at noon with 20 speakers at Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to be followed by a solemn march to the White House fence where we will refuse to leave and then likely be arrested once again.

Friday, March 18, 2011


The U.N. has now given NATO the authority to begin bombing Libya. Don't think for a minute that this will be a short-term campaign. Expect NATO to ultimately say they must "put bases" into the North African country in order to bring stability and democracy. But don't be fooled by that. This is all about Libya's oil.

According to the Washington Post:

France said it was prepared to launch attacks within hours, and Britain also indicated that it was prepared to act quickly. Initial strikes are likely to target air defense systems and runways; it was unclear whether plans were also in motion to strike at tank columns and other government ground forces headed east.

U.S. officials said that it would probably take several days for a full operation to be undertaken and that President Obama had not yet approved the use of U.S. military assets. Obama has preferred to let other nations publicly lead the response to the Libyan crisis, and White House officials said he would not appear on camera Thursday night to speak about the U.N. vote.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Undersecretary of State William J. Burns confronted sharply differing views about the Libyan crisis that crossed party lines. Some, led by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), said the administration has been too cautious in its response. “Time is running out for the Libyan people,” Kerry said.

But Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), along with several Democrats, warned of the “risk that our involvement would escalate” and said the administration should “seek congressional debate on a declaration of war” against Libya before U.S. forces participate in any action.

Using NATO (which is a military tool of the U.S. empire) as cover it is likely that once Gaddafi is taken down from power in Libya a puppet government will be installed that will allow the U.S. and British oil corporations to take control of the black gold.

Eventually the people of Libya, who are demanding and deserve freedom, will discover that they have been betrayed by a NATO command that is more interested in oil profits than their hopes and dreams. At that point the real revolution will begin but by then NATO bases will likely have settled onto the dusty lands of North Africa.

I am reminded of the words of Thomas Barnett, who during the Bush II administration was described as Donald Rumsfeld's "strategy guy", speaking to an auditorium full of high-level military brass and CIA operatives and saying, "In 20 years we will be fighting in Africa for their oil."

It appears that Barnett's prophecy is running ahead of schedule.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I am heading to Washington DC with some friends early in the morning by train. We are going to join the Veterans for Peace protest at the White House opposing endless war.

As I type this the House of Representatives in DC is finishing debate on the Kucinich resolution calling for a pullout of troops from Afghanistan. Looks like they have delayed the final vote on the resolution until later in the day. I'll have to do an update then.

You can get more info about the protest in DC here

There will many local anti-war protests across the country on March 19 - it's good to see folks cranking it back up again. God knows we need to make the case that war spending is killing us at home as we continue to plunder and slaughter innocents in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan.

Bring Our War $$ Home now!

UPDATE: The House of Reps defeated the Kucinich Afghanistan withdrawal resolution by a vote of 93-321. Only eight Republicans voted with Kucinich while 99 Democrats voted along with the Republican majority to continue the war. It's obvious that as long as the Democrats continue to support funding for wars not much can change. You can see the full vote tally here

The interesting thing is just before the Afghanistan vote, the House voted 228-192 to defund National Public Radio. All the Democrats voted against defunding NPR. You have to wonder where they figure they would get the $$ for NPR as long as their party supports spending $170 billion a year on endless war in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan.

The time for non-violent resistance to this madness is upon us.


The report on the crack of the #3 reactor came from the U.S. NRC, which has made it quite clear that the Japanese Government and Power Company are not telling the truth. Based upon prior performance, the U.S. NRC is not telling the truth either. So my guess is that the disaster is far more serious than the Governments of USA and Japan are letting on. A Crime Against Humanity. My guess is that the USA has a sophisticated spy satellite parked right over the nuclear disaster site and knows exactly how serious it is.

Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
Champaign, IL

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



The politicians from both parties in the U.S., fearing the public will get emotional and out-of-control, are continuing to reassure us that nuclear power is safe and necessary. I heard one last night say nuclear had to be included in the energy basket because there were not any other choices beyond oil and coal. Never a word about wind or solar or conservation.

But the pictures coming out of Japan tell another story. They speak of fear and disaster and inability of politicians to contain this mess. It appears that no one in Japan (or their "expert" advisers in the U.S.) know what to do next.

Dr. Michio Kaku (a founding member of the Global Network) is suggesting the following:

If I had the ear of the Prime Minister, I would recommend the "Chernobyl Option."

•Put the Japanese Air Force on alert
•Assemble a huge fleet of helicopters. Put shielding underneath them.
•Accumulate enough sand, boric acid, and concrete to smother these reactors, to entomb them forever.

This is what the Soviets did in 1986, calling out the Red Air Force and sandbagging the reactor with over 5,000 tons of concrete and sand.

International law Professor Francis Boyle has just sent around an email saying:

NHK [Japanese] news has just reported that the Ministry of Health and Welfare raised the permissible radioactivity level for NPP workers from 200 milli seivert to 250 milli seivelt. Isn't this breach of human rights? A violation of the Nuremberg Code on Medical Experimentation and thus a serious international crime?

Boyle is calling for an international movement to challenge all nuclear power plants (present and future) as a violation of human rights. I think he is absolutely correct.


Sung-Hee Choi reports from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island in South Korea:

The villagers have just got a small victory by getting the Island Council’s resolution reversing cancellation of the previous Island council’s past bill on the annulment of absolute preservation areas in their village. The ex-Island council had passed the bill in snatched way in Dec. 2009 and it became the legal pretext for the Navy to enforce the Naval base construction that the villagers oppose.

After the Jeju Island council’s March 15, 2011 vote was passed, the villagers and civic organizations gathered in delight, being proud of their first victory after nearly four years’ hard struggles, in front of the Island council. More difficult fights are still to come as this new resolution will not stop the Navy base construction by itself but could help in the legal action that is still underway.

The Gangjeong mayor led the people’s slogans. The slogans were rhymed between him and the other people as the below:

Mayor: We/ People: Can do it!
Mayor: We/ People: Did it!
Mayor: The persistent/ People: will win!
Mayor: Naval base/ People: absolutely No!
All: Fighting!