Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, March 31, 2012


$20M plutonium project at ORNL to support space program

By Frank Munger
Knoxville News Sentinel
March 30, 2012

OAK RIDGE, TN — Over the next two years, Oak Ridge National Laboratory will carry out a $20 million pilot project to demonstrate the lab's ability to produce and process plutonium-238 for use in the space program.

Tim Powers, director of ORNL's Non-Reactor Nuclear Facilities Division, said the technology demonstration will include development of neptunium-237 targets that will then be introduced into the High Flux Isotope Reactor to produce small amounts of Pu-238. Later, workers will remove the targets from the reactor core and process the radioactive materials in hot cells at the lab's Radiochemical Engineering Development Center, separating the Pu-238 from the neptunium and purifying the plutonium.

Powers said the ORNL program will support the U.S. Department of Energy's plan to eventually produce 1½ to 2 kilograms of Pu-238 per year, using existing infrastructure within the DOE complex. For years, the U.S. has relied on purchases from Russia to supplement the inventory of the radioisotope for the space power program. There have been multiple proposals to re-establish a U.S.-based production program, none of which took hold.

According to Powers, very small amounts of neptunium will be introduced into the High Flux Isotope Reactor in the early stages of the demonstration project. Over time, some of the targets will be withdrawn for evaluation, while others will be left in the reactor core for longer irradiation periods, he said.

Pu-238 is a sister isotope to the plutonium-239 that's used in nuclear weapons. It's considered the optimum material for power sources — known as radioisotope thermoelectric generators or RTGs — on deep space missions.

The RTGs supply electricity to spacecraft that are too far from the sun to use solar panels. The heat generated by plutonium's natural decay is converted to electricity, which then powers transmitters and other instruments.

In addition to using the lab's 85-megawatt research reactor and the nearby Radiochemical Engineering Development Center, ORNL plans to do some of the nuclear processing work for the project at Building 3535 — also known as the Irradiated Fuels Examination Lab.

Powers said NASA is providing funds for the project. The research money is funneled through the U.S. Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy program to the Oak Ridge lab.

ORNL is just one of the institutions participating in the program. The Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory also will be producing Pu-238, and Powers said Oak Ridge would provide information on target development, production evaluation and flow sheet on its processing work to Idaho.

DOE will eventually make a decision on where best to do the plutonium work following the various pilot projects. "We think we're the best choice," Powers said.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I've written many times about the Pentagon's plan to surround Russia and China with so-called "missile defense" systems - what many are rightly calling missile offense.

In the Asia-Pacific the U.S. and its allies have been deploying two basic MD systems. One is the SM-3 interceptor missile that is on-board the Navy Aegis destroyer. These ships are being ported in Japan, South Korea, Australia and visiting other nations in the region. The Navy base on Jeju Island would be a port-of-call for these ships. Jeju is just 300 miles from the coast of China.

The other version of MD that the U.S. has been deploying in the region is PAC-3 (Patriot 3rd generation). These systems are now being deployed in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

All of these systems are being used to surround China's coastal region and are unmistakeably key elements in U.S. first-strike attack planning.

The latest news is that PAC-3 will next be plunked down on the island of Okinawa which is already overflowing with U.S. military bases against the will of the people.

The Japanese government is using the possible "threat" from North Korea as an excuse to expand the PAC-3 deployments into Okinawa. I don't believe it. The U.S. and Japan always use North Korea as the reason for their encirclement of China - just like the Pentagon uses the phony Iran threat to justify their "missile defense" encirclement of Russia. By now we should all realize that the military industrial complex are habitual liars.

Activists in Japan report:

The latest news says PAC-3 are to get ready in two places in Okinawa mainland including Naha, and the other islands of Okinawa (Ishigaki, Miyako, Yaejimai).
Some Okinawan citizens are angry, of course. And as for the mainland of Japan, three places including Ichigaya Self Defense Forces (SDF) station in Tokyo.

Currently (that is, in this missile crisis), Japan's SDF's MD troops are under the command of the U.S. MD troops. So the present deployment of PAC-3s and SM-3s must be based on U.S. MD system strategy.

Another rumor has it that this heavy deployment of PAC-3 in Okinawa are to make Okinawa (the mainland and nearby small islands) a permanent and integrated military base.

Okinawan peace activists will hold a rally today against deployments of PAC-3.

It is also reported here that the U.S. is demanding more money of Japanese government to pay costs for its relocation budget of some forces from Okinawa to Guam.


Tears of Catholic priest Fr. Chung Man-young at Samsung Construction HQ in Seoul. When the singer songwriter Kwon Seong-il was singing. .."Gangjeong, you are the smallest village on earth, however, the peace of whole country shall start from you. You were broken and torn apart, but we don't forget you. You have fallen and tumbled down, but will stand again, we'll be with you." .... Fr. Chung Man-young, is one of the Jesuit priests, who have led Catholic mass at Samsung since March 12 in Seoul.

In other news from the Navy base fight, the government's prosecutor has demanded 2 years imprisonment and 1 year respectively to Jesuit priest Fr. Kim Jeong-wook and Presbyterian pastor Lee Jeong-hoon at Jeju court. They broke through the fence and entered Gureombi rock on March 9. Catholic mass has been held at Samsung since the two were put into jail on March 12.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Covert U.S. drone attacks on Yemen have increased this month to exceed the number of strikes on Pakistan's tribal areas, a Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports states. Up to 500 people, many of whom were civilians, have been killed since last May as part of the U.S. drive to eliminate al-Qaeda from the Arabian Peninsula, according to the report. But, even after attacks with civilian casualties, there has been little reaction from the Yemeni government. Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports.


Art work by Natasha Mayers from Maine (Click on graphic for better view)

  • I have to thank my Southern California speaking tour coordinators Randy Ziglar and Cris Gutierrez. They wrote my excellent news release and have organized a series of talks ranging from San Diego, Oceanside, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Anaheim. In addition they've arranged for me to do two advance radio interviews on the great Pacifica station KPFK based in Los Angeles. Yesterday I taped an energetic show with Leila Garrett and tomorrow I'll do one with Blaise Bonpane. Can't thank Randy and Cris enough. I'll be staying at their home while in the area and Randy is a great veggie cook and gardener. He's also a huge supporter of public transit so all of our comings and goings will be on local buses and trains.
  • I also have two other radio interviews scheduled before I head west as folks in other cities are getting their local media to cover my trip.
  • Most of the rest of my west coast tour train and bus schedule was arranged for me by Global Network board member MacGregor Eddy from Salinas, California. She used her Amtrak travel rewards to book most of my segments from Los Angeles north. What great support that is for the organization. MacGregor is a dedicated WILPF member and regularly organizes protests at Vandenberg AFB in California when they fire rocket launches toward Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Yesterday I finished working on my basic talk for the speaking tour and the schedule is now nearly complete. I've been out walking everyday this week trying to build up my stamina and making sure my mind is focused on the month ahead. I am excited and ready to go.
  • Here is an interesting bit I saw this morning on the email about drone pilots and PTSD:
    Quaker House Counselor Lenore Yarger had a Hotline call from a member of the Air Force whose command was trying to ignore his medical conditions and discharge him at the end of his term of service. He described a number of PTSD symptoms and Lenore asked him if he had been in combat. He explained that he has been working here in the U.S. as a drone pilot. He had seen the effects of the drones he was operating, and was very disturbed by the effects. Even though he was continents away, he found the work traumatic and distressing. Lenore explained to him steps he could take to get his medical issues addressed before his administrative discharge is complete. In fact, according to rules of war, drone pilots are considered legitimate targets and this might alert more U.S. communities to the way the presence of drone pilots can put them at risk.


Why did activists spray red paint at Samsung construction headquarters in Seoul, South Korea?

Yeo Ok Yang interviews with press. Yellow banner says "Don't kill Gureombi. . .Stop Blasting."

Six arrested. Samsung wants huge fines against activists.

Boycott Sumsung - the lead contractor for destruction of Gureombi.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012



A Very Scary Light Show: Exploding H-Bombs In Space from NPR on Vimeo.

Humans playing God again....dangerous, insane, climate altering in ways we can't imagine.

The scientists and militarists are still at this process of playing God.

We need to shut them down. They use our money and they abuse our Mother Earth. They are making life uncertain for the future generations and all other life forms on the planet.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Organize a local action on April 17 in conjunction with groups all over the world calling for an end to militarism.

Fund human needs! Protect the environment! Convert the military industrial complex to peaceful and sustainable production!

Join hands around the globe.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Global Network Coordinator Embarks on 30-Day West Coast Speaking Tour

The Deadly Connection—Endless War and the Ecological, Economic Crisis

For Immediate Release

Contact: Bruce Gagnon - 904-501-4494

Recognized by artist Robert Shetterly in his series Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bruce Gagnon, an international peace organizer and activist, will embark on a 30-day west coast speaking tour that will take him from San Diego, California to Bellingham, Washington. The 24-city trip will run from April 1-30.

Gagnon, who coordinates the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space from Bath, Maine, will help local communities explore and confront the reality of the Pentagon’s drive for “full spectrum dominance.” He will discuss the impact that our expanding militarism has on our natural ecosystems and our economic crisis at home. From Maine to Jeju Island, South Korea his indefatigable studying, traveling, and organizing has shown how the Pentagon’s intent to control the planet on behalf of corporate globalization has moved from land to sea to air to space pouring our natural and fiscal resources into escalating war-making and violence.

Gagnon’s assessment is: “The Pentagon will send our kids off to foreign lands to suppress opposition to corporate globalization. How will we ever end America’s addiction to war and violence as long as our communities are dependent on military spending for jobs? We must vigorously work to convert the military industrial complex to decentralized sustainable technologies like wind-power, solar, and mass transit.”

His talks will challenge communities to discuss the strategies behind President Obama’s “pivot” and expanding U.S. militarism in the Asia-Pacific region; current U.S. space technology strategy; the need to promote the conversion of the military industrial complex to sustainable production to mitigate climate change; the 2012 elections, and what Americans can do about corporate domination of Congress.

Gagnon concludes, “U.S. foreign and military policy today is all about control of declining natural resources around the world. The Pentagon is restarting the Cold War by surrounding Russia and China with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems that are actually key elements in U.S. first-strike planning. We do have a real problem today and it is called climate change. We can’t afford the pay for endless war that only benefits the mega-corporations and further pollutes our planet. During this speaking tour I intend to share a spirit of determination and non-violent resistance with people throughout the west coast. We need to make a collective demand across this nation and around the world. We are tired of war, tired of corporate domination, and determined to take back our governments. The future generations depend on our courage and our success.”

Gagnon intends to use Amtrak trains and buses for most of the west-coast travel during this tour.


I leave this Saturday for the west coast. Below is my speaking tour schedule so far. Still a couple more dates/times to be added. Looking forward to the trip. I expect to try to weave many issues into my talks. Most of my presentations will come under the title of The Deadly Connection—Endless War and the Ecological, Economic Crisis.
  • April 1 Los Angeles, CA (Overall L.A. coordinator) Randy Ziglar 310-452-0362 & Cris 424-214-8096

  • April 2 San Diego Mariah Gayler 619-263-9301 Brethren Peace Campus, 3850 Westgate Place, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

  • April 3 Oceanside Oceanside Public Library Community Room, 330 N. Coast Highway, 7:00 – 9:00 pm Carol Jahnkow 619-263-9301

  • April 4 Los Angeles L.A. Catholic Worker House, 10:30 am

  • April 4 Santa Monica Ocean Park Library, Community Room, 601 Main Street, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

  • April 5 Santa Monica Day off

  • April 6 – Los Angeles Andy Griggs (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace) 7:00 am 310-704-3217 Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd. LA (Entrance on Berendo)

  • April 6 – Anaheim Unitarian Church in Orange County, 511 South Harbor Blvd at 6:45 pm Randy Ziglar; Ruth Shapin 714-633-0922

  • April 7 – Ventura Cindy Piester (VFP) 805-407-7997 Foster Library, 651 E. Main St., 3:00 pm talk (TV interview also)

  • April 8 – Ventura

  • April 9 – San Luis Obispo Henriette Groot 805-602-1539 San Luis Obispo Library Community Room, 995 Palm Street at 7:00 pm

  • April 10 – Berkeley Vic Sadot (UU Fellowship Hall) 7:00 pm 302-607-1884 Fellowship: 510-841-4824

  • April 11 – Sacramento Winnie (Peace Action) 916-448-7157 cell 916-599-6635 and Riad Bahhur 916-650-2738 & cell is 916-471-8721
- Sacramento City College on Wednesday 3:00 - 4:20cpm
- Peace Action Sacramento, Community room at Colonial Heights Library, 4799 Stockton Blvd, 7:00 pm

  • April 12 – Santa Rosa Santa Rosa Junior College, 7:00 pm Lynda Williams 415-350-8418, 415-350-8418
    - KAOS Radio interview 12:30 pm

  • April 13 - Santa Rosa Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County (467 Sebastopol Ave), 6:00 pm Susan Lamont 707-575-8902

  • April 14 – Boonville Barbara & John Lewallen 707-895-2996 Lauren’s Restaurant Noon, 12:00-3:30 pm

  • April 15 – Garberville John Haynes Memorial Veterans Hall, Conger & Locust St, 7:00 pm Fredy Champagne (VFP) 707-599-5378

  • April 16 – Day off

  • April 17 – Eugene, OR Gordon Sturrock (Squadron13) 541-729-7760, Anti-John Bolton rally

  • April 18 – Corvallis Linda Richards 541-740-3341 Oregon State Univ. Linus Pauling Science Center, Room 125, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

  • April 19 – Hood River Corie Lahr 909-215-4682 Riverside Community Church, 7:00 pm

  • April 20 – Portland Tom Hastings (503-327-8250, Whitefeather House) and Celeste Howard (503-648-7759 cell 503-946-6266), First Unitarian Church, 6:30 pm, Fuller Hall

  • April 21 – Hillsboro UU Community Church 10:00 – 2:00 pm Talk, potluck, conversation hour (Celeste Howard); and Forest Grove Pacific University, Taylor Auditorium, 7:30 pm Trelaine Ito (World Awareness Council)

  • April 22 – Beaverton Southminster Presbyterian Church, 11:45 am – 1:30 pm Mark Mullins (503-648-0411); Portland Community Media interview with David Delk (Alliance for Democracy) public access cable TV, 2 – 3 pm (503-232-5495) -

  • April 23 – Olympia, WA Holly Gwinn Graham 360-866-0257 and Tim Russell (SPSCC & media)

  • April 24 – Olympia Traditions Cafe, 6:30 pm, 300 5th Avenue Southwest

  • April 25 – Walla Walla Whitman College, Olin Hall Room 130, 7:00 pm Jennifer Doering cell: (858) 945-2813

  • April 26 - Bellingham 4:00 PM classroom presentation at Western Washington University (Arntzen Hall) and an evening event at Mt Baker Theatre's Encore Room at 7:00 PM, Gene Marx (VFP) 253-653-4423

  • April 27 – Bellingham 7:00 PM, Mt. Baker Theatre's Encore Room, 104 North Commercial Street, Gene Marx, 253-653-4423

  • April 28 – Seattle Leonard Eiger/Tom Shea 425-445-2190 and Rebecca Wolfe (UNA) 425-774-6546 (Mike McCormick KEXP radio Seattle, 7:15-8:00 a.m)

  • April 28 Redmond Soul Food Books, 15748 Redmond Way, Talk at 1:00 pm

  • April 29 – Seattle 4:00 pm, main Seattle speaking engagement at University Temple United Methodist Church

  • April 30 – Tacoma 12:30 – 1:30 pm, University of Washington, Tacoma, Carwein Auditorium, 1551 Broadway, Crawford,


Yang Yoon-Mo released from jail last week

Why Jeju Island matters to us

Times Record Op-Ed (Brunswick, Maine)
March 23, 2012
By Mary Beth Sullivan

The rocky sea cost of Maine has been a source of great solace for me. It knows my secrets, receives my tears, and cleanses my soul. It connects me to people around the world who come to the sea for solace. Today, it especially connects me to the people of Jeju Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site off the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Jeju also happens to be 300 miles from the coast of China, giving it strategic significance to my country’s military

On March 20, the multinational company Samsung, under contract with the South Korean Navy, plans to blast dynamite into the heart of an ancient, holy rock formation (Guroembi) in Jeju’s coastal community of Gangjeong. Destruction of Guroembi is the next phase in the effort to build a naval base at this southern coastal village.

The intent is for this naval base to dock U.S. nuclear submarines, Bath-built Aegis Destroyers, and aircraft carriers. President Barack Obama has declared a U.S. military “pivot” toward Asia, while China and the U.S. continue competing for the world’s oil, gas, and underground minerals.

The U.S. has a huge military presence in the Asia Pacific region already, and has an expressed goal of dominating militarily in all corners of the globe “to protect U.S. interests and investments.” A military base in Gangjeong will make Jeju Island a target in future geopolitical struggles between the U.S. and China.

For five years, Gangeong villagers have been fighting this naval base through political and legal means, while physically resisting each stage in the process. The navy has taken over people’s property; felled trees; destroyed greenhouses; built a fence preventing the village’s view or access to Guroembi, their ancient place of prayer.

Jeju is a volcanic island; Guroembi is unique. These living rocks have fresh water springs that lay beneath; colorful coral reefs that sit off shore; endangered red crabs that feed off these rocks. This eco system and the villagers – fishermen, women divers, farmers, lovers of nature – have had no voice in the decision to bury Guroembi in cement to build a naval base. They have been organizing for years to build community, to change the hearts and minds of decision-makers, and to prevent the destruction of their village.

The people also resist. When walls and razor wire prevent a walk to the Guroembi rocks, they kayak. When the kayaks are blocked, they swim. On March 19, I saw the photos of the many young people who, before dawn, went to the site where the dynamite is stored. They gathered with PVC pipes. They put their arms through the pipes to be connected to each other while preventing transport of the dynamite of destruction. Their eyes showed a gentle determination. It took hours, but their pipes were broken apart, and they are now in jail.

This nonviolent struggle also expresses a passionate commitment to a democratic process. The injustice of a navy’s dictate to confiscate land and expose an island to the vagaries of war in this 21st Century is an unacceptable control over people’s lives. The people refuse a quiet acquiescence.

I visited Gangjeong. I prayed on the Guroembi rocks. In our short time on Jeju Island, I got a glimpse of the determination and creativity the villagers have displayed over the years. We have been watching the videos from Gangjeong faithfully, of villagers and activists arrested for laying their bodies down in front of the wheels of the cement trucks, the cranes, the machines meant to blast holes deep into the heart of Gureombi. And, once released from prison, villagers lay their bodies down again.

I also visited Professor Yang Yoon-Mo who recently turned 56 in Jeju City prison. He is in jail for the second time in a year for putting his body in front of cement and construction trucks. The first time, he fasted for over 70 days. When I visited him in February, he was in his third week of another hunger strike. I can never express the emotion of the experience of hearing this gentle, holy man explain so clearly: “If Guroembi lives, I live; if Guroembi dies, I die. Do not cry for me, cry for the future generations who may not be able to know the beauty of Guroembi.”

I live in Bath, Maine. I want my neighbors to have union-jobs, health care, affordable higher education for their kids. But to continue to build more Aegis Destroyers supports our acquiescence to militarism as the 21st Century’s answer to our global problems. The skills and talents of my neighbors can and should be used to create the renewable energy infrastructure Maine needs to get beyond our oil-based heating and transportation systems. We have real problems that we can surely come together to solve in a way that employs people to preserve life and bring hope to the 21st Century. We can look to the courage of the Gangjeong Villagers for inspiration. Their facebook page is No Naval Base on Jeju. May they people Gangjeong win this struggle to save Guroembi, to save Jeju Island.

- Mary Beth Sullivan, a social worker, lives in Bath, Maine. She can be reached at

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Chris Hedges talks about the power of truth and love.

I'd add the power of courage to his list.


Just back home from the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference. During lunch yesterday a plenary panel was held on the topic of "The War at Home on the Black Community: Mass Incarceration, Unemployment, Stop and Frisk." Eight activists from the black community spoke and their messages are worth sharing.

One talked about how the prison industrial complex is now completely interwoven into the national economy in the U.S. Thus it should come as no surprise that while blacks make up just 12% of the population in the U.S., they comprise 60% of the prison population.

In fact 1 out of 8 prisoners on the planet is an African-American.

Seven million Americans cannot vote these days because they have been convicted of felony offenses - a great majority of which are drug related. More than half of America's 6 million prisoners are in jail for drug convictions, with 80% of those in jail for "possession."

As we look at expected demographic changes in the U.S. in the next 20-30 years, blacks and Hispanics will become the majority population. Thus if the oligarchy successfully removes a significant number of those citizens from the voting rolls, the power elite stand a greater chance of maintaining political control.

By locking up vast numbers of people of color the power elite also successfully fragments the social fabric of black and Hispanic communities thus lessening their chance of developing generations of educated, active, confident, and politically powerful people. It's a form of social genocide.

One of my favorite speakers on the panel was Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report. He strongly made the point that while corporate globalization no longer needed many of what have become superfluous populations due to mechanization, computerization, robotics, and job out-sourcing, the central dynamic responsible for the huge black prison population remains to be white supremacy. He named it the "Black American Gulag."

In the end one of the speakers said that the black community across the nation remains in a state of sustained indignation. All of us should be outraged and indignant over the way blacks continue to be "legally lynched" in this country.

The recent shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida is just one more example of this legal lynching. Still the killer of Trayvon has not even been taken in by the police for questioning, let alone arrest. If the situation was the reverse, if Trayvon had shot a white man, he would have been arrested on the spot and a slam dunk case would be well underway ensuring that he would remain locked up for the rest of his long life - or knowing that it is Florida - he would be facing the death penalty by lethal injection.


The New York City Save Jeju Action Committee recently tried to deliver a bundle of thousands of petition signatures to the South Korean Consulate.

They were turned away and the South Korean government refused to accept the petition signatures. What does that tell you about the government of President Lee?

Probably most interesting of all was that near the end of the video you see two representatives from the U.S. State Department being used to run interference for the South Korean government. They are used to keep the activists from entering the consulate building. What does that tell you about the government of President Obama?

Can there be any doubt that the U.S. and the South Korean governments are working together to build this pirate base on Jeju Island?

Paco reports from Gangjeong village:

On Saturday morning while I was walking in the public port trying to go to mass, hundreds of yards away from the construction site, in a public area, with no kayak, no wetsuit, and no indication that i had anyway plan to do anything other than attend the mass, I was suddenly assaulted by possibly 7-8 policemen, who grabbed and dragged me tearing my pants, breaking my camera, and eventually pulling almost all my clothes off, before dumping me on the ground at the entrance to the port. All of this again in a frequently used public place, hundreds of meters away from the base. I am truly shocked by this abuse of power and this assault on my body, dignity, and belongings. This is disgraceful and totally unneccesary (about 5 minutes later the police withdrew and we walked to the mass!). This was 100% assault and harrassment with absolutely no legality! I am meeting with a lawyer tomorrow...