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

Monday, October 31, 2011


The story of those who passionately care about humanity and our nation, enough to risk arrest and trial to stop the illegal and immoral killings done with drone technology by the US government and the USAF.

Trial begins on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 in Dewitt, (East Syracuse) New York.


Makiko Sato writes from Japan, "Now in Japan, some women from Fukushima, along with supporting women from many places, have been staging a demonstration in front of the relating ministry in Tokyo, demanding policy changes as to nuclear power plant issues, etc. This has become much trouble to our government."


The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran...... "Back to the future" is how Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, Central Command’s chief of staff, described planning for a new posture in the Gulf. He said the command was focusing on smaller but highly capable deployments and training partnerships with regional militaries. "We are kind of thinking of going back to the way it was before we had a 'big boots on the ground' presence," General Horst said. "I think it is healthy. I think it is efficient. I think it is practical."

  • The Epoch Times also reports, "There will be some U.S. troops staying behind, however, including 150 at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad who will serve as military liaisons, Navy Capt. John Kirby told the military’s American Forces Press Service (AFPS). The majority of the work will likely fall on an estimated 17,000 civilian contractors. “After our troops are gone, the diplomatic mission that remains will be of unprecedented size and complexity,” said U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, during a Feb. 1 hearing, according to a transcript. Kerry stated the 17,000 contractors will be spread across 15 different sites, which “will include three air hubs, three police training centers, two consulates, two embassy branch offices, and five Office of Security Cooperation sites.”

  • This big storm that hit the Northeast this weekend has left one-half million people without power as of Sunday. It is easy for me to view this storm, coming so early in the year, as being linked to the reality of Climate Change. Weather patterns worldwide have been thrown topsy turvey by the combination of military weather modification experimentation and the massive footprint of human fossil fuel use. The top user of fossil fuels, in fact the world's largest polluter and contributor to greenhouse gases, is the U.S. war machine. One has to wonder why most environmental groups say virtually nothing about the Pentagon's ecological footprint? Why is that? Why would environmental organizations not take on the planet's largest polluter?

Sunday, October 30, 2011



The Occupy Wall Street protesters who were left without power after their gas-fueled generators were confiscated by New York City authorities on Friday may have found the idea solution in the form of a stationary bicycle hooked up to charge batteries.

Once again the people show the creativity to trump the oligarchy in New York.


As I hoped it was possible for me to spend several hours in the garden yesterday. I pulled up our carrots and picked up many sticks that had fallen from the big trees in our yard that make for good kindling. I brought in two wheel barrows full of wood in anticipation of the big storm that began last night. After being on the road for two weeks it felt so good to be outside working in the yard.

The wet snow and wind storm began last evening around supper time and the electricity went out sometime during the middle of the night. I went outside this morning to clear the snow from the wooden steps at each of our four doors and then worked to shovel the entrance to the driveway as well. The snow was very heavy because it was so wet and slushy. In the nine years we've lived in Maine this was the first time it has snowed before Thanksgiving Day.

Housemate Karen was gone to Boston to visit her new granddaughter. We have a running joke at our house that whenever it snows Karen seems to be out of town. She kept her string alive. MB recently dislocated a finger on her hand so she could not shovel and housemate Amanda has some hand problem as well so I was on my own dealing with the snow.

The power returned while we were finishing up supper tonight by candlelight. I spent the day catching up with my snail mail since I couldn't get online and check my emails. When you lose power all your "normal" patterns are changed and life slows down quite a bit. It felt like Christmas in a way as we were all huddled around the wood stove in the kitchen, Amanda's two kids were playing on the floor, the feeling of family and holiday time was a joy.

We were supposed to host our monthly Addams-Melman House potluck supper tonight but we cancelled it due to weather. Two friends didn't get the message and showed up anyway.


Saturday, October 29, 2011


Dear Friends,

I hope this letter finds you doing well. I have just returned from Washington DC where I was part of a trial of those arrested at the White House on March 19 opposing the endless and growing string of U.S. wars. On that day 113 people (including many veterans) were arrested but only 18 of us went to trial. We were found guilty by the judge but he chose to impose only a minor fine, which was a victory of sorts.

I am writing to ask for your help. As you may know the Global Network will be 20 years old in 2012. We’ve been asked by the leaders of the Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea to hold our annual space organizing conference there next year. Our Board of Directors/Advisers has agreed and we will travel to the village on February 24-26 for what will be an extraordinary event.

The mayor of Gangjeong village is now in jail for standing on top of a crane. Several others, including a handful of Catholic priests, have recently been arrested for blocking cement trucks from entering the Navy base construction zone where they would pour concrete over the rocky coastline to build the piers. The ships to be ported at this proposed base will primarily be U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers, outfitted with so-called “missile defense” systems, that are being used by the U.S. to surround China’s coast in a provocative move to give the U.S. first-strike capability.

It is crucial that the Global Network go to Gangjeong to show support for the small village (population about 1,900) that has been non-violently resisting this base for the past few years. The problem, as you can imagine, is that it is not cheap to fly to South Korea and it is my job to raise funds so we can help get some of our key leadership from India, Sweden, England, U.S., Australia, Japan, and other places to this event.

I am thus writing to ask you to consider making a special donation to the Global Network for our travel fund for our 20th anniversary conference – probably one of the most important space organizing events we’ll ever hold.

Little did the villagers of Gangjeong on Jeju Island ever realize that their fight to save their fishing and farming way of life, they’ve been in this village over 400 years, would have such global strategic implications. As you know the Global Network has been doing everything we can for the past two years to build international support for the village. We want to honor their invitation by bringing a strong and diverse delegation to this important conference. It will be a great opportunity for us to show that peace groups all over the world support the noble efforts of the Gangjeong village.

Please send your tax-deductible donation for our special travel fund either by using our regular mailing address (see just below) or by using the secure Donate Now button on our web site home page.

Let me know if you have any questions about this request or if you might be interested in traveling to Jeju Island with us for the conference.

I thank you in advance for your support and promise we will send you a full report about the conference. Best wishes.

In peace,

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 28, 2011


At the White House fence on March 19Align Center
The judge went easy on us when he sentenced our group of 18 anti-war protesters to a $150 fine with no community service this morning inside the Washington DC courtroom. It was clear during the many statements made to the judge during the sentencing that he was indeed impacted by the testimony of the group during the trial.

He kept the trial strictly along traditional lines by denying our right to call witnesses who could testify to U.S. war crimes that violated international law. But during the trial he did allow people to slip these important topics into their remarks during opening and closing statements.

I had my chance to make a statement at the time I was sentenced by the judge. I said the following:

I grew up in a military family and was a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968, as Vice-President of the Okaloosa County Florida Young Republican Club. When I was a kid I wanted to be an FBI agent because I wanted to fight against organized crime.

In 1971 I tried to join the Air Force because I hoped to be a career man like my dad. But I flunked my induction physical and had to get a waiver to get into the military when most people were trying to get waivers to stay out. It was during this time, while in the Air Force, that I became a peace activist.

Reading the Pentagon Papers, which were published during this period, finished off any remaining illusions I had about American exceptionalism or democracy. I learned how our government lied in order to justify the war in Vietnam and this process has been repeated over and over again to justify endless wars.

I went to the White House on March 19 to fight against and expose the organized criminal syndicate that controls our country – what we call the military industrial complex.

(My use of the word “fight” during this statement was intentional, as the word became a major issue during the trial. The prosecution maintained that the use of the word while chanting, “They say get back, we say fight back” just before our arrest at the White House indicated that we were essentially a rowdy mob.)

I believe that our interference with pedestrian traffic outside the White House was a small matter when we see how these wars kill legions of innocent people and have bankrupted our nation and destroyed social progress. Just in the short time I witnessed you dealing with other criminal cases here in your courtroom it is clear that your job will become harder as more people will be forced into criminal behavior because of the economic collapse.

The real harm has also been to the thousands of GI’s who today suffer from physical and emotional problems due to their participation in these wars. There has been an epidemic of suicides among these troops – some are even killing themselves before they are sent to Iraq or Afghanistan just because they feared what would happen to them as they witnessed their brothers and sisters come back messed up from war.

I live in an intentional community in Bath, Maine where I work full-time for peace and justice and try to prevent the arms race from moving into space.

I don’t believe I did anything wrong on March 19. The wrong people are being punished by the judicial system.

There was an older black woman sitting in the courtroom amongst our supporters during today’s sentencing process. She was waiting for her son to be sentenced – he had been brought into the courtroom in orange jail garb with chains connected to his feet and hands before our case was called. During our sentencing statements I saw her paying close attention and at times crying so after we were finished, right before the judge began to pass judgment on her son, I went up to her and wished her good luck. She looked deeply into my eyes and said, “I am so proud of you people.”

It is not only the people in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya-Yemen-Somalia who are being destroyed at the hands of U.S. militarism. The poor in our own country are left without jobs and then have to turn to selling drugs or their own bodies on the streets in order to make a buck so they can survive. They are then locked into the jails of the Prison Industrial Complex. The judge is just one more cog in this evil machine.

For several days this week we interrupted the judge’s mundane job of sending legions of poor people from the nation’s capital to these cells of desperation. For a short time we challenged him, his clerk, the U.S. Marshall, the court stenographer, the two Park Police who testified against us, and the two government prosecutors to think outside their normal boxes. But the most important heart we reached during this trial was the black mother who feels alone in our heartless society as she sees her beloved child suffer inside this demented and broken system.

After my good-byes to our group I immediately headed for Union Station and was lucky to just catch the noon train back to Boston. I expect to get home by midnight. I’d like to spend the weekend walking in the woods and working in the yard cleaning up the now depleted garden and raking the falling leaves. From these leaves we will make compost in our annual ritual of turning decay and death to new life – in the form of a robust and enriched soil to grow our food in the next year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I've been gone from home for two weeks....I am homesick....this song is for me.



Our group of 18 were found guilty by a DC Superior Court judge today after a long three-day trial. We have to wait until Friday to get our sentence from the judge so my trip home has now twice been delayed. The government is seeking the maximum penalty which is $1,000 fine and 40 hours of community service. We shall see what the judge says. Our side put on a good case but I've come to believe that you can't get any real justice from this corporate dominated legal system that rules us.

The news from Oakland, California today is that the mayor has flip-flopped and decided that Occupy Oakland can return to their camp site. She said they could only go onto a concrete area, not the grass, and had the cops put up a fence between the two spots. A group of Marines, in solidarity with the young former Marine Scott Olsen who is in the hospital facing surgery after being shot in the head by Oakland police, came to the encampment and took down the fence and the occupiers retook the whole space

There is a movement in Oakland to gather signatures to force a recall election of the mayor. She's a "liberal" and I read today that her attorney adviser was threatening to quit his job saying that she had not listened to his opposition to unleashing the gendarmes on the peaceful protest movement.

The photo above is the one I referred to yesterday that was in the Washington Post. (Click on it for a better view.) With all the violence unleashed by those Oakland cops on innocent occupiers the use of this photo clearly indicates to me the existence of a public relations campaign being undertaken to paint the cops as the white hats and the Occupy movement as the black hats. I strongly believe that this PR campaign is being directed by the highest levels of the U.S. government.

This Kent State-like attack in Oakland is going to strengthen the Occupy movement. Add the new study published today saying that the income disparity gap in America is wider than anytime since right before the Great Depression and one can only come to one conclusion - the Occupy movement is absolutely right about its claim that the oligarchy owns and runs the country. We are the 99%.

The rich are guilty as charged of unrestrained greed, corruption, arrogance, thievery, warmongering, and manipulation of our democracy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011




Leah Bolger of Oregon is the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, is occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington DC, and risked jail on Wednesday, with another case pending against her, to speak up in the Super Congress (Deficit Committee) hearing, in which she was arrested. She has been released.

Bolger comments: "I had to speak up. The witness, Douglas Elmendorf, was hiding the fact that military spending has increased dramatically in real terms and as a percentage of discretionary spending. He was focused on percentage of GDP, as if war spending should increase whenever it can, not whenever it has to. The simple deficit solution of taxing the rich and curtailing the militarism is favored by the majority of the public. The 99% had no other voice in that room to compete with those of the corporate lobbyists."

Please make note of the elected officials on the committee laughing at Leah (a former U.S. military officer) as she makes her statement. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) on the left side of the screen is the third leading Democrat in the House of Representatives. This is the kind of arrogance of power we are now experiencing from both parties.


In the Washington Post today was a photo of an Oakland cop petting a kitten. The caption stated that police had removed occupiers from their Oakland encampment and they "had left" the cat behind.

The intent of the photo and caption was to show the cops as kind and thoughtful after they had just beaten protesters. This is the way propaganda is done.

16 police agencies used tear gas, concussion bombs, direct sound weapons, and rubber bullets to attack the campers.

It is obvious that a decision has been made nationally to begin a process of taking down the occupy sites that have spread to most states. The goal of the oligarchy will be to turn public opinion against the occupy movement by having the police use violence which will inevitably draw some forms of response thus giving further justification for even more harsh treatment by the cops.

Fortunately some communities in the U.S. will resist the temptation to join this militaristic orgy unleashed by the city of Oakland. Local organizing campaigns in support of Occupy should be stepped up now in response to this assault mentality before it can take hold of the whole nation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Our trial inside DC Superior Court began at 9:30 am this morning. Nineteen of us are on trial for our March 19 anti-war protest outside the White House.

The judge ruled against our motions to dismiss and to have three witnesses appear on our behalf to testify about U.S. government violations of international law.

The ruling against the international law witnesses was made despite a beautiful statement by one of our defendants Richard Duffree who said, "We are entitled to present our grievances to the government somewhere." The point being where else can the people go to register their complaints about presidential war making when they have been repeatedly ignored at every level of government?

The judge did acknowledge that we had few "effective" alternatives available to us but stated that we had alternative "legal" avenues available to us.

There is a huge divide, an enormous wall, standing between the reality of our time and the ability to get an honest and fair hearing before the U.S. legal system which appears to exist primarily to protect our present corporate dominated oligarchy.

This trial is likely to take 2-3 days before it is concluded. I will try to keep posting as we go along.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I was up early this morning to join the weekly Catholic Worker community vigil at one of the entrances to the Pentagon. About a dozen of us stood in the cold morning at 7:00 am for an hour as more than 8,000 military and civilian personnel filed by us into this one heavily guarded entry way.

I held a sign that read No Weapons in Space and others held signs with biblical quotes or words from Martin Luther King Jr. opposing killing and war.

On the way back into downtown DC we passed a museum that was advertising their current show: The State of Deception, The Power of Nazi Propaganda. Quite ironic I thought having just come from the Pentagon that is the world's leading promoter of violence while selling itself as the bastion of freedom and democracy.

After a quick hot cup of tea and something to eat I joined the Freedom Plaza marchers as they passed the White House and stopped at the entrance to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building. This headquarters for corporate lobbying has huge flags hanging from their facade that read Jobs and the Free Enterprise system. The Chamber HQ faces the White House, with Lafayette Park sitting between them, as a clear reminder that the business of America is business.

We tied a huge banner (Chamber of Horrors) across the entry way and chanted and held signs for the next hour. Several of the 60 attending the protest spoke on a megaphone about the corporate greed that was leading to record home foreclosures, lack of affordable health care, environmental destruction, and endless war.

When we finished it was quickly decided that we should march back to Freedom Plaza in the middle of the street. So off we went with the DC police going ahead of us blocking traffic. We had an unimpeded path back to the plaza which is home to about 70 tents including a food tent, information tent, media tent, and a medical tent.

As we made the short march back to the plaza many on the street waved and smiled. The people are happy to be witnessing some manifestation of the growing movement across the country to take back our democracy. You can see the pride in many faces as they feel they have in some way been a part of this rising tide.

There might still be small numbers actually in the streets but the movement is clearly growing in the hearts of the people.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Catholic priest is yanked off the top of a cement truck by police in Gangjeong village

I had dinner last night, following the close of the Asia-Pacific conference, with Global Network board member Wooksik Cheong (Peace Network) who lives in Seoul, South Korea and Youn-Ae Park who lives in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island. They spoke at the conference and will be doing additional speaking appearances along the east coast and in California.

Wooksik is the person who delivered the invitation to the Global Network to hold our 20th annual space organizing conference in 2012 on Jeju Island from Gangjeong village leaders. He will now facilitate a committee of people to help plan and implement the conference.

During dinner we went over all the details and sorted out who would do what. The hosts will essentially cover all lodging, food, and internal transportation costs while it will be my job to raise the funds to get our Global Network leaders to Jeju. The program we came up with will be very exciting.

The presence of Wooksik and Youn-Ae at the weekend conference gave the Jeju Island Navy base fight a strong visibility. It is clear that the Jeju Island issue has now become one of the top international concerns among the peace community in the U.S. and beyond.

What is most exciting is that a growing linking of Hawaii-Guam-Okinawa-Jeju is happening where not only the anti-base struggles in these places becomes known but key activists from each location are increasingly being connected and are coordinating their efforts. There were several calls during the conference to hold coordinated actions at each of these locations, and others, across the Pacific in the coming year.

There was a very large delegation of Chinese at the conference. I met one lawyer from the National University of Singapore who specializes in space law and I look forward to having more communication with him. We have found few who work on space law and share our view that the heavens are the province of all human kind. There is a growing movement within the aerospace industry to pull the U.S. away from the Outer Space and Moon Treaties which don't allow private control of celestial bodies.

Just a bit more about Gangjeong village. In recent days Catholic priests have increased their efforts to block cement trucks from entering the Navy base construction area. Several have been arrested. This is a welcome development as the Catholic community in South Korea (10% of Koreans are Catholic) increasingly expands their support for the Jeju Island struggle.


Saturday, October 22, 2011


By Glenn Greenwald

President Obama announced yesterday that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, and this announcement is being seized upon exactly the way you would predict: by the Right to argue that Obama is a weak, appeasing Chamberlain and by Democrats to hail his greatness for keeping his promise and (yet again) Ending the War. It’s obviously a good thing that these troops are leaving Iraq, but let’s note three clear facts before either of these absurd narratives ossify:

First, the troop withdrawal is required by an agreement which George W. Bush negotiated and entered into with Iraq and which was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament prior to Obama’s inauguration. Let’s listen to the White House itself today: “’This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave. . . .’ an administration official said.” As I said, it’s a good thing that this agreement is being adhered to, and one can reasonably argue that Obama’s campaign advocacy for the war’s end influenced the making of that agreement, but the Year End 2011 withdrawal date was agreed to by the Bush administration and codified by them in a binding agreement.

Second, the Obama administration has been working for months to persuade, pressure and cajole Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain in that country beyond the deadline. The reason they’re being withdrawn isn’t because Obama insisted on this, but because he tried — but failed — to get out of this obligation. Again, listen to the White House itself:

The Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq expires at the end of the year. Officials had been discussing the possibility of maintaining several thousand U.S. troops to train Iraqi security forces, and the Iraqis wanted troops to stay but would not give them immunity, a key demand of the administration. . . .

“The Iraqis wanted additional troops to stay,” an administration official said. “We said here are the conditions, including immunities. But the Iraqis because of a variety of reasons wanted the troops and didn’t want to give immunity.”

The Obama administration — as it’s telling you itself — was willing to keep troops in Iraq after the 2011 deadline (indeed, they weren’t just willing, but eager). The only reason they aren’t is because the Iraqi Government refused to agree that U.S. soldiers would be immunized if they commit serious crimes, such as gunning down Iraqis without cause . As we know, the U.S. is not and must never be subject to the rule of law when operating on foreign soil (and its government and owners must never be subject to the rule of law in any context). So Obama was willing (even desirous) to keep troops there, but the Iraqis refused to meet his demands (more on that fact from Foreign Policy‘s Josh Rogin).

Third, there will still be a very substantial presence in that country, including what McClatchy called a “small army” under the control of the State Department. They will remain indefinitely, and that includes a large number of private contractors.

None of this is to say that this is bad news (it isn’t: it’s good news), nor is it to say that Obama deserves criticism for adhering to the withdrawal plan (he doesn’t). It would just be nice if these central facts — painfully at odds with the two self-serving narratives that started being churned out before the President even spoke — were acknowledged.

I believe the country has not even gotten close to coming to terms with the magnitude of the national crime that was the attack on Iraq (I think that’s why we’re so eager to find pride and purpose in the ocean of Bad Guy corpses our military generates: tellingly, the only type of event that generates collective national celebrations these days). Needless to say, none of the responsible leaders for that attack have been punished; many continue to serve right this very minute in key positions (such as Vice President and Secretary of State); and (other than scapegoated Judy Miller) none of the media stars and think-tank “scholars” who cheered it on and enabled it have suffered an iota of stigma or loss of credibility. The aggressive war waged on Iraq began by virtue of a huge cloud of deceit and propaganda; perhaps it could end without that.


Occupy Wall Street: Washington Still Doesn't Get It

By Matt Taibbi

Rolling Stone

I'll have more coming out about this in a few days, but there have been two disgusting developments in the realm of plutocratic intervention on behalf of Wall Street that everyone protesting should take note of.

The fact that both of the following things took place in the middle of the full fever of OWS, when everyone is supposedly trying to placate anti-banker sentiment and Obama and the DCCC are supposedly pledging support of the protesters, shows how completely bankrupt this system is and how necessary street-level protests have become. Popular uprising is probably the only move left to stop developments like the following:

1) Bank of America is shifting a huge collection of Merrill Lynch derivatives contracts onto its own federally-insured balance sheet. This move of risky instruments off the uninsured Merrill balance sheet onto the commercial bank's balance sheet was done to prevent Bank of America's creditors from attacking the firm with collateral calls and other sorties. Essentially, an irresponsible debtor, B of A, is keeping a loan shark from breaking his legs by getting his rich parents to co-sign his loan. The parents in this metaphor would be the FDIC.

The FDIC naturally is not pleased with this development, but the Fed, the supreme banking regulator, is apparently encouraging this move. Here's how Bloomberg characterized this move:

In short, the Fed's priorities seem to lie with protecting the bank-holding company from losses at Merrill, even if that means greater risks for the FDIC's insurance fund.

Again and again, the Fed proves it has no appetite for allowing Wall Street to eat its own pain, and continually encourages banks to stick the government with its losses and bad assets. This move will allow Bank of America to keep a Band-Aid over its disastrous financial situation far longer than it would be able to in a genuinely free market. People should be outraged at this development.

2) Barack Obama is apparently expressing willingness to junk big chunks of Sarbanes-Oxley in exchange for support for his jobs program. Business leaders are balking at creating new jobs unless Obama makes compliance with S-O voluntary for all firms valued at under $1 billion.

Here's how to translate this move: companies are saying they can't attract investment unless they can hide their financials from investors. So the CEOs and gazillionaires on Obama's Jobs Council want the politically-vulnerable president to give them license to cook the books in exchange for support for his jobs program. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"All you're going to do is have more fraud. The ultimate losers are going to be investors," said Jeff Klink, a former federal prosecutor whose Gateway Center firm helps clients prevent and detect fraud.

If the financial crisis proved anything, it's that Wall Street companies in particular have been serial offenders in the area of dishonest accounting and book-cooking. Sarbanes-Oxley is obviously no panacea, but removing it in exchange for a temporary, election-year job boost is exactly the kind of myopic, absurdly irresponsible shit that got us into this mess in the first place. For Obama to pull this in the middle of these protests is crazy.

If anyone thought OWS has already done its job, and Washington has gotten the message already, think again. They're not going to change until the protesters force them to change, it seems.

Friday, October 21, 2011


My latest public access TV show interview with Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald in a discussion of their new book "Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire".


I am now at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington and will be staying here the rest of my time in this city.

This afternoon I head over to American University where the conference called Peace in Asia and the Pacific: Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization will be held. I will speak about the growing movement against "missile defense" on the opening plenary panel. The conference will continue on Saturday.

On Sunday I'll head back to Freedom Plaza for more of the occupy events. Monday I'll join the weekly Catholic Worker morning vigil at the Pentagon. My trial for civil disobedience at the White House last spring opposing the Afghanistan war begins on Tuesday morning. There are 20 of us in the trial from the March 19 protest. Hopefully it won't be postponed again.


Thursday, October 20, 2011



Today I joined a protest at Citibank by Freedom Plaza occupiers. The bank had to close its doors for the hour we were there and customers had to be turned away.

Six of our folks went inside the bank and one at a time made statements and held signs. More than 40 of us then followed them inside the bank and were led in chants by a person with a megaphone. A film crew got the whole action. It took 20 minutes for the police to arrive to move us all out onto the sidewalk where we continued to chant, hold signs, and pass out flyers to people on the street.

Many in the public stopped to see what was going on but most of the "suits" passed us by refusing to take our flyers. It's interesting that these "fiscal conservatives," dressed in their pinstripes, don't seem at all troubled by the fact that Citibank hasn't paid any taxes during the last four years.

On November 5 a global day of action will be held to remove your money from the corporate banks and put it instead in small local banks and credit unions. Next we've got to figure out the credit card system as the big corporate banks control that market.

Here is a list of complaints against Citibank that was on the flyer we handed out:

1. Citigroup has paid ZERO corporate taxes for the last four years.

2. Citigroup has 427 subsidiaries in foreign tax havens to hide their profits.

3. Citigroup was the LARGEST recipient of federal bailout money-- $476 billion.

4. CEO John Havens receives $9.5 million annually, while paying their tellers $12.65 an hour.

5. Citigroup just posted a 3rd quarter net profit of $3.8 billion, a 74% increase over last year.

6. Their largest stockholder is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah.

Speaking of banks and Wall Street $$$, today in the Washington Post there is a story that Obama has raised more money from the banksters and hedge fund types than any of the Republican presidential candidates. How can anyone doubt that Obama is not still seen as "the man" by the big Wall Street operators?

He's given them damn near everything they want and will keep doing so until the people rise up.

You can see that Post story here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Taped from inside the DC studio at lucky on this one....great timing.


I arrived at Freedom Plaza (Occupy DC) this morning in Washington. My cousin Bob drove me from his house in Maryland where I had been over the last few days for a family reunion.

There are an impressive number of tents on the mostly concrete surface of the plaza that sits between the White House and Congress. It's raining today so things seem slow. I went across the street to a coffee shop where I could check my emails and discovered I had an email from Russia Today TV wanting to interview me about Obama's new deal with Romania to put "missile defense" systems in their country. When they realized I was in Washington they told me to come right over to their TV studio which was just blocks away. I went and did a short interview which I should be able to upload onto the blog soon.

The occupy movement, which I've now experienced in Portland and here in DC, reminds me of the old Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton movie "Reds". There was one scene from the streets of Moscow where people stood around fires to keep warm and debated the need for revolution against the corruption of the czar.

Today at Freedom Plaza I sat and listened to several occupiers debating what was the best way to get out from behind the corporate capitalist black ball that blocks real democracy. This public ferment is now happening around the nation and while no one knows what will come next I think it won't be possible to put this restiveness back into a bottle.

While much of Washington appears on the surface to be humming along normally, I noticed one young activist at Freedom Plaza engaging a group of nearly 20 well-dressed young people about this new movement. I saw many people stopping by the information table on the plaza - asking questions, taking literature, dropping money into a donation jar, and taking photos. Clearly there are many mainstream people who are very interested in all this ferment.

Tonight at 6:00 pm the General Assembly will be held on Freedom Plaza. In the meantime I am trying hard to stay caught up with emails and phone calls.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Got to give Fox credit on this one.... the FBI has done a series of these fabricated terrorist episodes in order to keep the people afraid and in support of endless war. The Iran story being the latest example.

Good for Fox ..... this time.


Monday, October 17, 2011


The Washington Post reported last week that a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution that was being prepared to be passed by the Montgomery County (Maryland) Council was killed after intervention by Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, the military contracting giant that employs more than 5,000 workers in the county.

The article revealed that Lockheed Martin contacted Democrats in Maryland and threatened to move their operations to neighboring Virginia if the resolution was passed.

The Post wrote, "Council members and county officials were called by one of Lockheed Martin’s top lobbyists, a state delegate, and the offices of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D)."

So the process of public discussion of local impact of war policy was interrupted by corporate pressure. This is a perfect illustration of the classic definition of fascism: the linking of government and corporations.

In this case corporate wishes trumped the public good, democracy, and the rule by, of, and for the people. The "people" never had a chance to even have a crack at the question at hand.

This is an example of an organizing strategy that likely had misplaced priorities. Had the organizers who brought this resolution to the Montgomery County Council first taken it to the public in a grassroots campaign of education and gathering support, the public might have had a chance to withstand the preemptive attack by Lockheed Martin. But by taking the resolution to the County Council without first doing the public campaign it is quite likely that the public was largely unaware of what came down.

These resolutions are most useful when they come out of a larger organizing campaign that first creates deep and wide public education, debate, and consciousness raising. Then, even if they fail to pass a legislative body, the resolutions have become part of the public discourse and the impact is still made.

It is always much more work to do the grassroots organizing around these resolutions but the real value of them is in the public debate. Local organizers should consider the campaign approach before putting these important questions into the hands of politicians. As this case shows, no matter how well meaning local elected officials are, the corporate interests prefer to shut down real democratic debate before it happens.

Sunday, October 16, 2011



This song in honor of the family reunion I attended yesterday in father's immediate family came together, the first time I had ever seen many of them. Very moving experience.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


A global movement is growing to counter the reality of corporate globalization.

We've got to keep spreading this deep into the consciousness and fabric of each of our nations.

We can't allow any political party to hijack this movement. It must stay independent....and maintain the ability to be critical of the corporate policies of any and all governments and political parties.

The final key pieces of the movement to be added though must be the ecological and peace links. We can't survive in a world where the resources of the globe are poured into endless war and environmental destruction.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tax Dollars At War from Softbox on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I interviewed Mia and Steve Athearn, organizers of the Walk for Fukushima, on my public access TV show that now airs in 13 Maine communities. The walk began in Rockland, Maine on Sept. 4 and ended 16 days later at the Japanese Consulate in Boston.


My friend Tom Weis is going to ride his rocket trike across the country again. You might remember he rode last year to promote investment in renewable energy resources.

This time he is going to combine that message with opposition to the proposed 1,700 mile Keystone XL pipeline.

Over the next 10 weeks, Tom will be amplifying the voices of people in MT, SD, NE, KS, OK and TX who are resisting this dirty pipeline invasion.

I'll keep updating his progress on the blog and you can also follow him day-to-day on his website here


In the protest movement popularity contest, Occupy Wall Street is whupping the Tea Party.

The demonstrations against big banks has a 54% favorability rating compared to the conservative group's 27%, according to a new Time magazine poll.

A sizable number - 23% - said they didn't know enough about the Wall St. protesters to make a decision.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg has ordered that the occupation of Zuccotti Park end at 7:00 am tomorrow in order for the city to "clean" the park. On top of that the city is now going to ban sleeping bags, tarps, and sleeping in the park which would essentially kill the occupation.

The shit is ready to hit the fan.

You can show support by calling Mayor Bloomberg at 212-NEW-YORK (or New Yorkers can call 311) asking him not to interfere with Occupy Wall Street.



The assassination of John F. Kennedy was to me the coup d'etat that put the CIA and corporate forces in control of the U.S. government. They've had control ever since.

No one is allowed to become president anymore unless they are under the control of the CIA, oil corporations, banks, military industrial complex and the like.

The History Channel did this series on JFK's killing a few years ago. They clearly put LBJ right in the middle of the whole thing. This one segment gives you just a bit of the strong evidence to show Johnson's role in the cover up.

I highly recommend watching each segment.

The value of this is making the links to where we stand now. If you want to understand the power dynamics in the U.S. today you must be clear about the JFK assassination. This story indicates that we can't "elect" our way out of this crisis but must instead build a national and international people's movement that does not rest until all these corporate forces are turned from power.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


UAV Tactical Systems company based in Leicester, England which builds the Watchkeeper is in part set up by the Israeli company Elbit Systems. Elbit specializes in the manufacturing of electronic defence devices for the Israeli Army.

This action was held during the Global Network's annual Keep Space for Peace Week.

I lived in Leicester for nearly three years as a young boy. Living in England had a big impact on me. One of the women in the video, dancing with the banner (Anna Cheitham) once took me back to visit my old neighborhood. We were the only Americans living there so all of my mates were English. I tried to teach them baseball (which I failed at) but they got me playing soccer and cricket and singing carols door-to-door.



A great video that reveals the stark and profound hypocrisy of the U.S. government when it talks about freedom and democracy.

I want to hear Obama and Hillary tell the cops in New York and Boston to "knock it off"....that will be the day.

I just learned about this Iran-Saudi Arabia deal.....V-P Biden calling it an "act of war". The U.S. trigger finger is itching again.....they are rolling the dice. The U.S. and Israel want to take out Iran so bad they can taste it. U.S. now has Iran surrounded. Iran has oil.....endless resource wars.

The links between Wall Street banksters, the oil companies, and the increasingly "privatized" wars are so obvious. Corporate war for global control and domination.

Take a stand today against this while you still can.


This morning in Jeju.... 8 Catholic priests blocked the road entering naval base construction site for more than 3 hours. Some of them even sat under the huge concrete mixer truck.

Father Andrew Park Dong-ho said during a Mass, announcing the nationwide church movement, that opposition to the project has now become “the decision of the Catholic Church” in Korea. Fr Daniel Kim Chang-hoon, vicar general of Jeju, who presided over the Mass, said “the Church has a duty to protect life and peace,” further noting “the protest against the naval base is also one of the Church’s duties.”

I sure wish we could get Catholics engaged like this in the U.S.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011



I went back down to Occupy Portland for nearly five hours today holding my Veterans for Peace sign that reads "How is the war economy working for you?" I also handed out a couple hundred more flyers.

Veterans for Peace was busy today as many of them were arrested at 1:00 am this morning in Boston when the cops grabbed about 50 of the many who have been occupying a park there.

Then this action was held in Washington earlier this morning at the Hart Senate Office Building and from what I heard they had to close the place down.

Things are popping everywhere across the country. Keep the organizing going folks. Get out and support your local actions. This movement is going to have to keep building before we see any real don't expect the worm to turn overnight. Keep the heat on.


@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street from adele pham on Vimeo.

Black and Latino voices growing on Wall Street....


Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island to join rally against right-wing South Korean President Lee at White House

Protest in front of White House on the evening of the South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak's state dinner. Meet at Lafayette Park at 5:30 pm

The Global Campaign to Save Jeju Island joins forces with Korean-American activists to call attention to failed Lee Myung-Bak policies.

United States, Washington, DC, —U.S.-based peace activists will assemble in front of the White House on October 13 as a signal to visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak that his support for the illegal construction of a naval base on Korea’s Jeju Island is garnering international heat.

Since 2007, protests have occurred at the site of the proposed base, which would host up to 20 American and South Korean warships, including submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers, several of which would be fitted with the Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.

South Korea started construction of the base in January but protests halted the work in June. Construction has again resumed despite democratic appeals for its halt, including one from the Jeju Provincial Council on Oct. 4 following a 22-day investigation into the procedures that set the plan into motion.

Just last week nine Catholic priests, a South Korean journalist and 11 college students were arrested as part of the Jeju naval base protests under the banner of violating Article 314 which is the penal code for "obstruction of business" and is most often used to arrest and imprison trade unionists for exercising their democratic rights. Two hundred others have been called in for questioning by police not because they have committed any crimes, but because they are being targeted for their political beliefs and affiliations and for exercising their democratic rights.

Recently the Pan-Korean Committee to stop the Jeju naval base stated, “The police are indiscriminately and violently arresting and detaining not only the Gangjeong villagers and activists who protest against naval base construction but also clerics and news reporters, too. It is the police who have downfallen as the guards of the naval base construction, not minding the protection of the people’s basic rights such as the freedom of expression.”

Among those imprisoned is the democratically elected mayor of Gangjeong, the tiny fishing and farming village on Jeju’s south shore that is the site for the slated construction. The vote to authorize the installation of the naval base was decided by 87 people—some of whom were reportedly bribed—out of a village of 1,900 and an island of more than a half-million people.

Jeju Island, 50 miles southeast of South Korea’s mainland, is a pristine 706-square-mile volcanic island that is the site of three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. It was also the scene of a 1948 massacre by South Korean police and military forces of 30,000 civilians. In 2005, Roh Moo-hyun, then South Korea’s
president, apologized for the atrocities and designated Jeju as an “Island of World Peace.”

U.S, President Barack Obama will host Lee for talks and a state dinner on October 13. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has also invited Lee to address a joint session of Congress during his state visit.

Details regarding the Protest Lee Myung-Bak in DC rally can be found on the protest homepage

Monday, October 10, 2011


Excellent news today from Sung-Hee Choi on Jeju Island, South Korea:

3,600 Catholic clerics nationwide launched the ‘Catholics Solidarity to Realize the Jeju Peace Island,’ on Oct. 10. The mass for its launch was held in the Gangjeong port at 7pm with 1,000 clerics and followers joining. See this link for many images.

The Catholic Solidarity, centered on the Catholics Justice and Peace committee of the 14 dioceses nationwide was composed of the various clerics from convent, monasteries, human rights committee and labor groups such as the Association of Major Superiors of Women Religious in Korea, Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Men’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic life, Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice, Catholic Human Rights Committee and Catholic Labor Pastoral Association of Korea.

The total number of the members of the Catholic Solidarity reached to 3,835 as of Oct. 10 and if additionally collected, it would exceed 4,000.

They told through its draft of the launch statement that “The stop of the naval base construction is the only way to save the peace in the Korean peninsula and Jeju Island.”

The Catholic Solidarity came to a mutual agreement for each diocese to hold mass or lecture meeting on the Jeju naval base and to visit the Gangjeong to hold life and peace mass there. It also made consent to have a large rally in Seoul in November. The discussion to organize the lay believers is also underway, as well.


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was one of the speakers at mass protest in London this past weekend that was calling for end to war in Afghanistan and foreign troops pullout.


We stole their lands and killed the people by the millions. We've done our best to destroy their culture and lock the remaining people into little boxes called reservations.

Most importantly we've tried to drown their wisdom, their native knowledge about how to live on the land, in a sea of green paper - the green frog skins.

Sitting Bull told the story about when he went to the east coast with the Wild West Show and he sat on a door stoop in a busy urban neighborhood. All the little kids, the street urchins, came begging for coins. When he got back home to South Dakota Sitting Bull told the people, "We are in big trouble. You should see how they treat their children."

Not only their children are left to fend for themselves on the streets but the water, the air, the plants, and the animals are being destroyed by this grinding machine of capital uber alles

The white man's culture won the war but it is a losing civilization. It has no heart and no soul. It teaches greed and possession. It teaches fear and hatred and retribution. It's called the business model. Free market - which means the rich are free to exploit everyone else and they are very good at it.

Let the native people's love for the Earth come into our hearts on this day. Let us remember our connection to all things - the things that crawl, the things that swim, the things that fly - all our relatives.

The white man's greed and hunger for control and domination is now a global disease. This system has to have more oil, more military bases, more guns and missiles, more warplanes and drones, more bombs and more warships than anyone else.

It's a mental disease and all of us living in this culture are afflicted with it on some level.

Let today be the day that we recommit to decolonizing our minds. Let our minds and our hearts be free again. Free to feel the energy and connection with our relatives in the living world.

Life is the great mystery. It is to be lived as a free human being, not as a slave to the green frog skin way.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


We had 55 folks from all over Maine gather today at the University of Maine-Augusta for our Bring Our War $$ Home 30-day Care-a-Van finale celebration. It was a great event.

People brought food to share and we heard from several leaders across the state talk about the campaign and the growing protests in NYC and Washington. We also listened to two renowned poets read their works as well as two inspiring singers.

The next step for the campaign will be to meet on Saturday, Oct 29 in Augusta (King Street Resource Center) from noon to 3:00 pm to evaluate and discuss ideas for our next phase. People seem to want to keep the Bring Our War $$ Home effort moving. We all take great pride in the fact that this Maine-initiated campaign has now become an integral part of the growing national movement.

It just goes to show what can happen when good spirited people work together toward a common goal across a state. We have focused our energy and public consciousness on the links between war spending and economic crisis.

Build it and they will come.



The new Von Braun III building on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama where the Army's "Missile Defense" Command is headquartered.

This "institution" reveals the importance and resources that the Pentagon is putting into Obama's preferred military strategy that is being used to surround Russia and China these days.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


New York City police commissioner: Police overtime has cost $1.9 million so far

Karen Wainberg and I went to Portland today to join the Occupy Wall Street event. It's been going on for a week. When we arrived there were just a few folks in Monument Square but more were gathered at their camp site about one block away. We stood on the side of the road facing traffic and held our signs and handed out flyers to passing motorists.

After a few hours more began to arrive. It was a hot day for October, 89 degrees, but seeing the buses go by with rubber necking tourists inside made it bearable. Very few people were negative as they passed us by during the 4 1/2 hours we were there. By the time we left about 75 people were protesting in the square. We heard that last night about 200-300 people had come to be a part of the Occupy Wall Street action.

Many young people either came to the square to hold a sign or to see what is going on. I handed many of them a flyer. It was good that today we had several of us there from the peace movement holding signs that connected the dots between endless war and economic crisis here at home. Many of the younger activists have been working on environmental or corporate power issues, and while they are against the war, they've not had many chances to make these important connections. So it is vital that peace movement people go into these spaces and help make these links. Everyone is totally receptive.

When I got home I saw an email from friend David Swanson, one of the leaders of the Occupy DC effort that began this week in Washington. He posted several videos like the one below on his web site and wrote this:

We intended to hold signs and sing inside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, protesting its promotion of unmanned drones, missiles, and bombs, including its sponsorship by and promotion of weapons corporations. We don't have any museums promoting health coverage or education or retirement security.

We had marched from the Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square occupations, taking over the streets of DC. The museum knew we were coming. Some of our group got in and dropped a banner. Hundreds of us did not. Instead, we were greeted at the door with cans of pepper spray.

There were three sets of entrance doors. I was among the first to open the third set of doors. A guard shook a can of pepper spray in front of me and demanded that we back out. But a dozen feet away at the second set of doors, people were staggering out and collapsing in pain, having been pepper sprayed in the face. I started to go toward them, but began coughing and vomiting. A lot of people were effected, directly or -- like me -- indirectly by the pepper spray.