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

Saturday, June 30, 2012


(You have to keep hitting the play button but it will eventually work)
A young man, Dongwon, occupied a crane on the dredging barge for 7 hours today (June 30) to stop the construction work and to protect the soft coral reefs. After the 7 hour long struggle on the crane he was arrested by Jeju marine police on charges of obstruction of business and intrusion to ship.  He had been also arrested and imprisoned last August and was on two years probation. Dongwon who once was a social worker has met Gureombi rock while travelling to Jeju Island and is now wholly devoting his life to this struggle to stop the military base.


Makiko Sato writes from Japan:

I hear that in 1960, nearly 30 million petitions were sent and 100,000 citizens surrounded the Diet [parliament] building, trying to stop the signing of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. But last night [June 29], the record of the latter was broken.  According to the organizer, ultimately more than 150,000, turned up and surrounded the official residence of Prime Minister in Tokyo, in order to appeal against the restart of any of the currently operationable 50 Nuclear Power Plants, which are in temporary halts for regular inspections, out of order or probably broken.   
Some children in Fukushima have been already developing abnormalities in their thyroid glands, and perhaps those in Kanto area, especially in Chiba, as well, have been similarly suffering from the continued burning of contaminated rubbles from the north. Why such municipalities accept such incineration is for money paid with our tax money. So, we are sickening or killing children by accumulating our national debts.  (I feel sick.)
 And Fukushima Daiich has been and definitely other Nuclear Power Plants here in near future will be, controlled in terms of security by Magna BSP, an Israeli military firm.  Soon, this firm may take over all security sections in Japan, including those of banking, military and space control systems here.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Voice of Art  is releasing Part 1 of its new episode entitled “Iraq Veterans Against the War” on Friday, June 29. The episode features the historic march and returning of Global War on Terrorism service medals by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) in Chicago during the May 2012 NATO summit.

The Voice of Art team spent the month of May following members of the Chicago IVAW chapter as they planned and carried out their action, which echoed the throwing back of medals by anti-war Vietnam veterans in Washington DC in 1971. The four featured veterans - Aaron Hughes, Iris Feliciano, Greg Broseus and Alejandro Villatoro - in addition to being peace activists, are also artists who use their creativity to process their wartime experiences.

 Every day 18 veterans commit suicide. One third of female active duty service members are sexually assaulted by their male peers. Millions of service members and veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries. While these warriors struggle to heal, the same military that welcomed them with open arms now neglects them as veterans.

After discharge from service, integrating back into civilian society often comes with crisis. In Chicago, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War are using art to process their experiences and to educate the public about the traumas of war.


On July 1, student loan interest rates are set to double, but it seems that Congress will step in just in time to prevent this from happening. Although doubling interest rates was eluded, other parts of the deal will have students paying interest on loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate. Maxwell John Love, a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, joins RT with more.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


  • I walked for 45 minutes today back and forth to the place where I could buy two bus tickets to Portland for a meeting on Saturday and then again on Sunday to catch the train to Philadelphia.  We've been doing lots of walking at our house these days as we move to have just one car between three of us.  On my way home I was crossing a quiet side street when a young guy zoomed his car around the corner and just missed running me over by inches.  A man passing the other direction in his truck saw the whole thing and yelled "Wow" out his window.  Luckily I am still spry enough and jumped out of the way just in time.  I hate cars.
  • Some don't yet quite get that we can't keep relying on the car culture and hope to survive.  Take for example the Sierra Club.  This U.S.-based national environmental group reportedly has recently accepted $26 million in donations from Chesapeake Energy, the natural gas fracker.  What do they have to do in return?  They are promoting support for electric cars as an environmental alternative.  Forget that building roads requires massive fossil fuels.  Forget about all the resources used up making cars themselves.  Forget that when you plug in and recharge your "all electric car" it means you are linked like a parasite to a coal or nuclear power plant.  Ignore those facts please.
  • Sadly the Sierra Club could be working on promoting public mass transit but instead they took a dive and grabbed the $26 million from an energy corporation.  You should be careful which "environmental" groups you send your money to.


In this 25 minute speech, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took to the Senate floor and challenged Congress to break free of its billionaire masters and work for the American people.

The Vermont senator discussed income inequality, “Today,” he said, “the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of America – 150 million people. Today, the six heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune own more wealth than the bottom 30 percent. Today, the top one percent own 40 percent of all wealth, while the bottom sixty percent owns less than 2 percent. Incredibly, the bottom 40 percent of all Americans own just 0.3 percent of the wealth of the country.”


The US-NATO Military Crusade on Syria and Iran
Selected Articles
Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)
June 27, 2012

American-led imperialism has evolved from bloody bouts of episodic militarism over several decades to the present day state of permanent belligerence, with wars or war-making stretching from North and East Africa into the Middle East and Central Asia and beyond to Eurasia, the Far East and the Arctic. Of most immediate concern are the ongoing American-led war plans within the broader Middle East/Central Asian region involving coordinated actions against Iran, Syria and Pakistan. 

We are living in an era hallmarked by “The Globalization of War” conducted by the very states that proclaim to be defenders of democratic rights and international law. 

The chief protagonist of this globalized war is the United States of America. The US, along with its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Britain, France, Canada and Germany among others, as well as an array of proxies – such as the Persian Gulf Arab states – is now emboldened to strike militarily in any region of the world. 

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in "an advanced state of readiness" for several years. US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a "humanitarian" military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO) would play a central role. 

We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria or Iran, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war. In the face of blatant media disinformation, a "Re-Learning Process" must be launched, which focuses both on the background and history of US led wars as well as on recent developments including US, NATO  and Israeli war plans directed against  Iran and Syria. 

This selection of articles prepared by Global Research purports to dispel the daily flow of media distortion, which presents war as a humanitarian undertaking. 

This collection consists of  three previously published I-Books (PART I), each of which contains 30 or more chapters on different dimensions of the US led War in the Middle East and Beyond. For the most recent news reports and analysis scroll down to Part II and III, respectively on Syria and Iran. 

See rest of the post here


You can see the entire comic series by the Korean Catholic Human Rights Committee here

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Documentary movie about the "Industrial Workers of the World" (IWW, also referred to as The Wobblies), the largest union in the history of the labor movement in the United States.


This is a cartoon about the campaign against the naval base in Gangjeong, Jeju Island by Mr. Park Heung-ryeol, originally produced for the Catholic Solidarity for Jeju the Peace Island, and later translated into English.


Watch the full film at:
Running time 43 minutes

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


A surprise Arab drive for freedom, the West's structural crisis and new hope coming from Latin America. That's the modern world in the eyes of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali, two prominent thinkers and this week's guests on Julian Assange's show on RT.

Monday, June 25, 2012


House Republican leaders are pushing legislation to waive up to 36 key environmental, public land management, and other laws. Setting up military style border control surveillance, detention, patrol and searches -- potentially including the use of unmanned flying drones -- 100 miles from the northern and southern border of the United States.

Almost all of Maine would be in the  "drone zone".

See more details here


  • A Norwegian corporation that builds off-shore wind turbines is holding three public meeting across Maine this week.  The Gulf of Maine has huge wind potential and so far it appears that U.S. industry is slow, like they are in most alternative energy development, and will get beat to the finish line by overseas developers.  That makes it more likely that the construction of the wind turbines would be done offshore as well.  Let's hope I am wrong.  A couple of friends went to the meeting today and I'll be anxious to hear what they say about it.
  • I had my doctor appointment today to review my heart stress test and he said they found no plaque blockages in my veins though he said my heart had an irregular beat.  But he said that was just me.  Sounds normal for me - always have to do things a bit off beat.  He urged me to continue good diet and exercise habits.  
  • My work on our Space Alert! newsletter is done and is now in the hands of our graphic designer Nancy Randolph.  She does the layout and does about as good a job as anyone I've ever seen.  Hopefully will be at the printer by the end of the week.  Think it will be a good edition.
  • I tape my next public access TV show on Wednesday.  Going to interview a couple of folks about the East-West Highway the corporations want to build through Maine.
  • I head to Philadelphia on the train July 1 and will be there til the 5th.  The Occupy movement is holding a national gathering there and I will be joining with the Veterans Peace Team which is a new project of Veterans for Peace.  We will be involved in many public events to stand in solidarity with various protesting groups.  Should be an exciting time.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


For the first time in Greece a documentary produced by the audience. "Debtocracy" seeks the causes of the debt crisis and proposes solutions, hidden by the government and the dominant media.  Excellent film that reviews historical and current reasons for international fiscal crisis with particular emphasis on Greece and the European Union.

As the Native Americans said, "Put your ears on the railroad tracks and hear the train coming."

The solution?  Nationalize the banks.  Stop paying the national debts to these corrupt banksters.

And a second great film:

"Catastroika - Privatisation Goes Public"

Documentary - privatization goes public. First step is to destroy democracy.  Step two the banking interests take over - the bankers junta.  Step three public assets are sold off and the people get thrown to the wolves.  Step four - militarize the culture and repress the inevitable people's resistance.

Our hope - connect the dots to corporate domination and push them back.  

German Subtitles

English Subtitles

French Subtitles 


Saturday, June 23, 2012


Join your charitable host Robert Foster - and our special guest, General Baxter, direct from AFRICOM - as we delve into the dark heart of the matter.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Here is my video report from our February trip to Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea where we held the Global Network's 20th annual meeting.

Thanks to filmmaker Eric Herter for taking my raw video footage and making this film.  He spent alot of time working on this.

You can order copies of this on DVD from the Global Network for $15.  Send check to GN, PO Box 652, Brunswick, Maine 04011.


Unmanned drones are revolutionizing modern warfare. The aircraft have flown countless missions in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. By 2020 there may be as many as 30,000 surveillance drones flying in the US, but critics argue that drones are an invasion of privacy. So who stands to benefit from the mass production of the craft? Amie Stepanovich, associate litigation counsel for EPIC, joins RT to help answer this question.


A critical look at the growing effort to do geo-engineering on and around our Mother Earth.

Are we really capable of managing the planet?

Should we allow the "scientists" to even try?

Watch out for the words "Earth systems governance".

Earth, Inc.

The biggest capitalist project ever.

What kind of relationship should we have with technology?

Can we master ourselves before we try to tackle the Earth?

Thursday, June 21, 2012


  • It was hot here yesterday, a real scorcher.  Hit 89 degrees which for Maine at this time of the year is hot.  The humidity was high as well.  Felt like Florida and I dressed like I was back in the sunshine state too.  A friend told me that this spring was the hottest on record in Maine.  Still the climate change deniers will say that there is nothing to worry about. We've pared ourselves down from three cars to one at the Addams-Melman House to try in a small way to reduce our carbon footprint.  
  • I had a call from a professor friend on the west coast yesterday who can't find work.  He is only 60 and is really worried about how he will be able to economically survive.  I suggested that he might consider getting a housemate which would help reduce his living costs.  We are just getting ready to add two more housemates at our place which will take us up to five people.  The old way of everyone living in their own house needs to change.  Share cars, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, etc and reduce your overall impact.  It also makes life more affordable when you share all the costs for food and utilities.  Gardening is easier the more people you get involved in pulling weeds.  I acknowledge that finding the right mix of folks is very important but so far it has worked well for us.
  • On Friday night in Brunswick will be the next meeting of a network of folks we are calling Vital Connections.  We meet every other month and have a pot luck supper together and then ask three different people to speak for 10 minutes each about their work.  The idea is that we've all got to get out of our boxes by stretching our ability to connect the dots and begin to see that the progressive community will continue to be defeated on virtually every issue until we realize that we have to create a new organizing model that puts us into cooperative and collaborative situations with other people and groups that we have not traditionally worked with.  The Occupy movement has helped people see this a bit better but still even Occupy has been real slow to see the importance of linking the military issue into all their other articulations.  The Pentagon is obviously the enforcement arm of corporate globalization.  The growing militarization of our domestic culture, and the introduction of surveillance drones, is clear evidence that the corporate power structure sees the American people as the enemy.  I will be one of the three presenters on Friday night.  It will be held at the Brunswick Library with the pot luck supper starting at 6:00 pm.  Public is welcome.  Connect the dots and survive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


29 minute radio interview of me by David Swanson on his Talk Nation show.  The show is syndicated by Pacifica Network.

On his web site David wrote:   Bruce Gagnon describes U.S. and NATO plans in the works to militarily surround and threaten both Russia and China. Gagnon is co-founder and coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space at He's the author of Come Together Right Now, and of a chapter in The Military Industrial Complex at 50.


I've been hearing from some friends during the past week that they have been having trouble seeing the blog.  One said he was getting weird advertising coming on the screen and another this morning said nothing was there at all.

I use Mozilla Firefox to look at the Internet and the blog was showing up fine for me.  But when I went to Internet Explorer (IE) I found no copy on the blog.  My photo was there, as was the Recent Posts menu on the left side, but everything else was blank.

I called my friend Dan, my "Blog Doctor", who has fixed things for me a couple of times before and asked him to check it out.  The blog showed up for him on Firefox but not on IE.  Then a half hour later he called me back and said it was back on IE.  I checked and yes it was.  Then a few minutes later it was gone again.  God knows what the deal is?

My first suggestion is that everyone should be using Mozilla Firefox to surf the web because it is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web.  IE is a corporate entity.

If you don't already have Firefox you can download it for free here

If ever you can't see the blog, or it appears to have become an advertising agency for some corrupt corporate scheme, PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY LEAVING A COMMENT OR SENDING ME AN EMAIL.

Thanks and sorry for the hassles.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012



One of Obama's former professors appears to have turned against him, according to this video.

"President Obama must be defeated in the coming election," Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. "He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States."

Unger said that Obama must lose the election in order for "the voice of democratic prophecy to speak once again in American life."

Well done if you can understand half of what the professor says.  As the folks in Maine like to say, "Those Harvard boys are wicked smart."


  • I took a heart stress test yesterday after a recent annual physical revealed a sketchy EKG.  My doc sent me to a cardiologist who ran the tests.  I seemed to do well on the treadmill (no chest pains or shortness of breath).  The disconcerting part was when they shot a radioactive solution into my veins so they could test my heart function.  I learn more next week when the cardiologist reviews the results with me.  I glowed in the dark all night - looked like a neon street sign.
  • I must begin in earnest today wrapping up our next Global Network Space Alert newsletter.  It's going to be more graphic and pictorial than past editions.  
  • I had a call last night from Mark Swaney in Arkansas.  We've been friends since the early 1980's in Orlando, Florida.  He was working as an engineer back then at Martin Marietta (before it merged into Lockheed Martin) and called me one day to say he wanted to quit and could I help him.  Having never met Mark I got right to the point and asked him if he'd like to hold a news conference and announce his resignation from the military industrial complex due to moral issues with building Patriot nuclear missiles.  He said yes so I organized the news conference and he spoke out publicly.  In those days the local media thought those kinds of stories were worthy of coverage - especially in a right-wing military town like Orlando.  Mark eventually moved to Arkansas where he became a key leader in the Green Party.  Last night he told me that the AFL-CIO endorsed him last time he ran for office.  He said that the Democrats are doing nothing for the progressive community anymore in his state.  Some of the constituency groups are finally waking up.
  • The Washington Post has an attack dog columnist that uses humor, razor blades, cynicism, and irony to beat up on his victims.  His name is Dana Milbank and he went to Yale University where he was a member of the Skull & Bones Secret Society (just like the Bush family and Sen. John Kerry among other notables).  In his latest piece he cuts up the left and Occupy declaring the end of the movement.  Milbank's job is to mock and humiliate his targets and he does a fine job of it.  The oligarchy places their operatives in all the right places and this Skull & Bones member knows his job.  The oligarchy has its boot on the necks of the 99% and mocks us for being slow to push the boot away.

Monday, June 18, 2012


This crazy corporate proposal to divide Maine right in half is drawing strong opposition.  The East-West highway would be a half-mile wide toll road just for heavy trucks.  The environmental and cultural implications are enormous.

Many activists here in Maine say we've been a resource extraction colony (fish, timber, bottled water) for hundreds of years.  The corporate colonization continues.

First of three part video report by Regis Tremblay.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


A collection of clips showing military chaplains and some of the many fundamentalist parachurch ministries that operate freely within the military clearly stating what their real mission is. Video also shows the mission of these chaplains and parachurch ministries being put into practice in Afghanistan.

It is a Holy War.

 Help Build the Wall separating Church and State in the U.S. Military!


Saturday, June 16, 2012


This is quite a you an idea what kind of folks have been working at Newsweek magazine.  Be careful what you read.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Big action in Frankfurt last month.  Good interview in the video below.


Sung-Hee Choi reports on Gangjeong villagers blocking a Navy "public hearing" about building housing for military personnel on June 15:
In an absolute opposition to the Navy’s military housing project, the villagers occupied the Navy’s hearing for the 2nd time. The Navy could NEVER process the hearing. Still the Navy attempted to enforce hearing with a sudden RAID of ‘RECORDED VOICE,’ which was absolutely and fiercely protested by the villagers. The Jeju media reporters say that the hearing was ‘crept.’

The Jeju Sori even used the phrase such as, ‘approaching the climax’ in its article title to describe Navy’s such incredibly naked fraud behavior that has been in fact nothing new since they sneaked like thieves into the Gangjeong village in 2007 and bribed a few villagers and made a false propaganda through TV broadcasting that the villagers were in favor of naval base. [In a secret election villagers voted 94% to oppose the Navy base several years ago.] The use of ‘recorder’ for 20 minutes in the small locked studio room in the back side of hearing stage was a way for the Navy to evade furious people’s protest and to fake the fact as if the hearing was done on June 15 will remain one of the most scandalous and shameful traces throughout the South Korean military history.

The villagers having succeeded to completely dissipate the Navy’s hearing on May 29, gathered in more numbers this time when the Navy attempted the 2nd hearing in the same place of the Kim Jung Cultural Hall which is about 10 minute car distance from the village. The hearing was specifically focused on the draft on the prior environmental review for the military housing project.

About 200 villagers and peace activists gathered even before the start of hearing at 5:00 pm, in resolute spirit to end Navy’s such bald-faced behavior to forcefully drive the project.

As soon as people saw the Naval base project committee personnel and workers of their contacted companies, they were in great fury. Civilian-costumed policemen and a few villagers who are in favor of Naval base also were shown.

Navy’s holding a hearing in the place that is not in the village was already infuriating thing. If they are honesty and dignified, why they cannot hold a hearing in the village? 
The Navy had even a banner that read, “Who would be responsible for a village elementary school being disappeared when students are 80 among 1,900 Gangjeong villagers?” It was to threaten the villagers, meaning that the villagers can only sustain their home town by accepting more populations of at least 616 households of military family members.

Does the navy conspire to make the small village with the military-friendly electorates? The banner was soon taken down by the furious villagers.

Mass protest began when the contracted companies’ workers began to attempt to distribute propaganda materials. Villagers furiously tore glossed papers of them full of sumptuous colors and false rhetoric; and threw down them on the floor in front of the two Navy officers who don’t seem to recognize their wrongdoings of stealing villagers’ hometown. One of two was a lieutenant commander Jung who had been detected to secretly hang a banner in the village last year, which was to falsely impute the protesters as pro-north leftist.

It even appeared that the Navy side (policemen?) stealthily took photos of the protesting people from the locked studio, which provoked villagers. Mayor Kang and villagers demanded a police intelligence officer to identify the men inside but the police officer rejected it. People blocked the window of the studio with banners. 
Further preposterous thing happened around 5:10 pm. People were shocked by the sudden recorded voice heard in the hall, that the hearing started. Of course, people protested demanding to stop it.

Infuriated Mayor Kang heightened his voice, “This is the Navy’s another fraud. What on earth hearing being done by recorded broadcasting! The men inside the close studio should show up themselves!”

The recorded voice (talking on the purpose and content of hearing) went on for about 20 minutes and the Navy officers withdrew from the hearing hall around 5:30 pm as people’s protest became stronger. People were more infuriated by their attitudes to attempt to evade the site without proper explanation on recorded voice. People surrounded them and fierily protested to them: “It is totally betraying of villagers!”

The Navy left out the hall around 5:45pm. People followed them to their car and continuously protested them.

Mayor Kang said, “We the villagers have made an agreement that we absolutely oppose the military residence in our village. We will never allow it!”

It is expected that the Navy would still enforce the project as it asserts that the hearing ‘has been done.’ Can you believe? It plans to finish the housing project by 2015 when the base is planned to be complete. In more detail, after today, it plans to work on the document on prior environment review, to complete the work-ordering on it in August through consultation with the Ministry of Environment next month and to start on environment impact assessment on the other hand. If the Ministry of National Defense approves the project in October, it will begin to purchase lands from November.

However, if it enforces the project, big controversy on scandalous procedure matter will surely arise. The Navy should remember that there were about 200 witnesses of people today, who clearly remember ‘recorded fraud,’ OPERATED by the Navy.


Between Imperialism and Repression

by Sami Ramadani, Samuel Grove

See full interview at New Left Project

See article on Pentagon planning for Syria invasion here

Sami Ramadani is a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University and has been an active participant in campaign's against Saddam's regime and anti-imperialist struggles for many years. In an in-depth interview, he spoke to Samuel Grove about the dynamics of the conflict in Syria, arguing that democratic resistance to Assad's brutal regime has been eclipsed by reactionary forces, backed by Western and Gulf states, with potentially momentous implications for the Middle East.

Grove: The upheaval in Syria is an enormously difficult subject for Western outsiders to get a handle on. One of the reasons for this is the sheer number of different interests jostling for position and power, from both within and outside the country. Let us start with the regime itself. Can you give us a brief history of where the Al-Assad family came from and the direction they have taken the country since they came to power in 1970?

Ramadani: Following the magnificent peoples' uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, toppling two entrenched dictators, there developed a tendency not to closely examine the nature of the various forces competing for political power both within the opposition movements and the Arab regimes. Events in Libya and NATO's intervention there have alerted most people to the dangers of hijacking the peoples' struggle for freedom by reactionary forces. A brief look at the nature of the Syrian regime and its changing role in the region is crucial in trying to understand the current conflict and the reactionary forces' success in hijacking the people's struggle for radical change.

Syria has been run by a ruthless, corrupt regime. Syrian left activists have been on the receiving end of severe repression since Hafiz Assad's coup in 1970. It was after that coup that Henry Kissinger described Syria as "a factor for stability," despite Soviet military backing for the regime. Hafiz Assad's regime, funded by the Saudi medieval dictators, played a leading role in the 1970's and early 80's in weakening the Palestinian resistance.  During the 1975-6 civil war in Lebanon Syrian troops sided with pro-Israeli Phalange and other extreme right wing forces. The regime, in return for US promises over the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Saudi petro-dollars, also backed the 1991 US-led war over Kuwait.

The Syrian forces' presence in Lebanon had the full support of the US and Saudi rulers and the tacit support of Israel. It was only after Syria's gradual foreign policy shift and reversal of roles from enemies to allies of the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements that the US and Saudi rulers shifted their stance. They pursued an aggressive campaign to force a Syrian withdrawal (1985) from Lebanon, particularly after the 2003 occupation of Iraq. US forces even killed some Syrian soldiers on the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

The opposition to the Syrian regime was not confined to the left, but included the Moslem Brotherhood, who led a popular revolt in 1982 in their stronghold of Hama. The regime crushed the uprising by bombarding the City and killing thousands of people. Nevertheless, Arab nationalism has for a century or more been Syria's main ideological current, developed in the struggle against Ottoman rule and, much more deeply, against French colonial rule. Syria won its independence from France in 1946.

The Brotherhood today are backed by the Qatari and Saudi dictators, but the media rarely dwell on the irony of these dictators championing democracy in Syria while crushing any opposition to their rule and sending their troops to help crush the people's uprising in Bahrain.

In 1967 Syria was invaded and a strategic part of its territory, the Golan Heights, was occupied by Israel. Since then, successive regimes legitimised their rule partly by working for or at least appearing to be actively trying to liberate Syria from occupation. However, US promises of rewarding Syria by forcing Israel to pull out of the occupied lands came to nothing despite Syria's compliant policies.

Concurrently with the failure of the US to deliver on its promises, a number of factors changed Syria's role. These include the rise of Iran as a formidable anti-US anti-Israeli power, the Palestinian uprisings, the unstoppable rise of the Lebanese resistance, led by Hizbullah, leading to the liberation of southern Lebanon from occupation and defeat of Israeli-Saudi-US backed forces, the arrival of hostile US forces along Syria's borders with Iraq, and the rise of Iraqi resistance and defeat of US forces in Iraq.

The Syrian armed forces and security apparatus, with its multi-layer pyramids of informers, form the backbone of the regime's control over Syrian society. Much is made of the sectarian nature of the Syrian regime and its reliance on the Alawite communities. I think this is highly exaggerated and ignores the much wider circles of support that the regime has acquired, whether this support is active, passive or of the `better devil you know' type.

The powerful, mostly Sunni, merchant classes of Syria, particularly in Damascus and Aleppo, have close links with the regime. Indeed, the US-led economic sanctions are partly directed at this merchant class to force it to shift its stance. Sections of the middle and upper middle classes also tacitly support the regime. Syria's religious minorities, including Christians who form 10% of the population, are fearful of the Moslem Brotherhood's social and cultural agenda for Syria. They too would rather have the secular regime than a state dominated by a Saud-Qatari backed Brotherhood. Importantly, the Kurdish minority are also fearful of the influence of Turkey on the Muslim Brotherhood and the fact that the Syrian Free Army is headquartered in Turkey, which has a horrific record of killing over 20,000 Kurdish people in Turkey. Millions of women also fear the social programme of the Brotherhood.

In the context of the current conflict, the poor, the unemployed and students who were supportive of the initial, largely spontaneous protest movement are now much more reticent, partly due to regime repression but primarily because of their opposition to the NATO-Saudi-Qatari meddling and the militarisation of the sections of the opposition, particularly the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army which are dominated by the Brotherhood.

Grove: This puts us in a difficult situation. As left wing activists we support the rights of people to freedom, equality and self-determination. As activists based in the imperial centres we are opposed to the actions of our governments to deny people these rights. So our support for
freedom and equality and our opposition to imperialism tend to go hand in hand. However the picture you are depicting in Syria is tied to the implication that we cannot do both these. Is it possible to support Syria's democratic struggle AND oppose foreign intervention? Or is this a luxury we cannot afford?

Ramadani: You raise a very important question. Let me make it crystal clear: it is vital for the left to always oppose both imperialism and regimes that repress the masses. This is a matter of principle that should never be abandoned. Movements that abandoned one or other of these inseparable objectives have committed serious and sometimes fatal errors.

For me the complexity of the problem resolves itself in determining whether the people's struggle for civil rights and social emancipation are clearly directed against both domestic reaction/repression and imperialism. In Iraq and Libya yesterday and Syria today, imperialism has succeeded in exploiting the struggle for democracy and eclipsing the progressive opposition forces. The left has to face the facts and not sweep inconvenient developments under the carpet. Syria today has NATO-backed armed groups, led by Saudi/Qatari-funded reactionaries. Syria is a major target of US-led imperialism to install a client regime or, failing that objective, to plunge the country into a sectarian blood bath. The duty of the left in Britain is to firmly uphold and raise the banners high: "Hands off Syria", "don't Iraq Syria", "don't Iraq Iran", "It is for the Syrian people to determine their future"...

Grove: How do you see this conflict playing out? Do you see a victory for the reactionary forces as moving us closer to a war with Iran? Is there still a potential for revolutionary change in Syria?

Ramadani: Yes, I think that a victory for the Saudi and Qatari ruling classes, backed by the US, will be a major setback for the people in Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and the entire region. It will plunge Syria and the entire region into a sectarian bloodbath, and will strengthen plans to attack Iran.

In an alarming move pointing to future developments, a major US-led military exercise is taking place in Jordan. 12,000 multinational forces from 20 NATO members and Arab states are taking part in Operation Eager Lion 2012, the first of its type in the region. US military sources do not hide the fact that the simulation of amphibious landings and other war manoeuvres were intended to be "noticed" by Syria and Iran.

Syria is of pivotal importance not only due to its historic role and strategic location but also because it is Iran's only ally in the region. Installing a pro-US regime in Damascus, or crippling Syria through severe sanctions, terrorist attacks and sectarian civil war will apply further pressure on Iran to either concede to US demands or be attacked.

I think that Iran's nuclear energy programme is not the major US concern, especially given that the CIA itself has admitted that there was no evidence that Iran was working on producing nuclear weapons. Iran is a formidable regional power, and one of the world's largest oil producers, which happens to be implacably opposed to US and Israeli policies. Its policies run counter to US plans and have created problems for the US in Afghanistan and Iraq and for Israeli policies in Palestine and Lebanon.

Following the uprisings, the Saudi and Qatari rulers are being encouraged by Washington to strengthen their influence in the Middle East by restoring their lost influence in Syria and Lebanon. In the latter, defeating Hizbullah (and its Christian and left and nationalist allies) is the main objective. They are trying to drag Hizbullah into another Lebanese civil war. Al-Jazeera and Arab states' media have been conducting a prolonged and intense racist and sectarian campaign against Iran, portraying it as the main enemy and
accusing Syria and Hizbullah of being stooges of Iran. [Ramadani talks much more about Al-Jazeera in the extended interview.]

This is not to argue that the counterrevolutionary onslaught will be successful. The people of Syria are overwhelmingly opposed to political and social change in their country that is funded and backed by the dictatorships of Riyadh and Doha. Women, most of whom enjoy vast social rights compared to Saudi women, ethnic and religious minorities and the democratic left in Syria are a formidable force against Saudi-Qatari-funded forces and are opposed to calls for NATO intervention. Militarisation of the conflict and resorting to terrorist attacks are signs of failure of the reactionary forces to gain mass support for their line. However, the struggle of the anti-imperialist left and other democratic forces in Syria, as in Iraq, remain difficult and very complex, due to the brutality of and corruption-ridden regime on the one hand and the intervention of NATO and Saudi-Qatari rulers on the other.

Years of repression by the dictatorships, backed by colonial and imperialist powers for so many decades, has organisationally weakened the left and other democratic forces. It is obvious that with Saudi-Qatari backing, the leaderships of the Brotherhood and Salafi forces are, in the short term, reaping the fruits of the uprisings. These forces have always played a dual role amongst the poorest sections of the population, giving voice for their demands while acting as a lid on the more politically and socially radical demands of the people. At critical times, as in Egypt, Iraq and Syria today, they have played a counter-revolutionary role and were accommodated by imperialist powers.

However, the uprisings in the region have unleashed massive popular energies that bode well for the future.

In the short term I am quite pessimistic about radical democratic transformation in Syria. I think that is no longer possible in the current phase of the struggle, because of the weakness of the left organisations and the foothold gained by the reactionary forces in the country. But longer term the uprisings across the Arab world are laying new foundations for the left to organise and prepare for the protracted battles to come. The masses have flexed their muscles in an unprecedented way. I think their triumphs and setbacks are massive schools for the new generations to develop more effective means and organisations to lead the struggle forward.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Secrecy News Blog:

The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the United States that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones.  A new report to Congress lists each of the 110 sites "and the UAS likely to fly at that location."  See "Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability," Department of Defense, April 2012.

The newly disclosed DoD report was first reported by

The actual or potential drone bases are located in 39 of the 50 states, from Fort McClellan in Alabama to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.

Currently, the DoD and the military have "88 active certificates of authorization (COAs) at various locations around the country" that permit them to fly UASs outside of restricted military zones, the report to Congress said.  COAs are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

But "The rapid increase in fielded UAS has created a strong demand for access within the NAS [National Airspace System] and international airspace. The demand for airspace to test new systems and train UAS operators has quickly exceeded the current airspace available for these activities," the report said.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, evidently receptive to this demand, said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization act that integration of drones into domestic airspace should be accelerated.  See "Senate: Drones Need to Operate 'Freely and Routinely' in U.S.," Secrecy News, June 8, 2012.

The website Public Intelligence previously identified 64 U.S. drone site locations.  See also "Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil" by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired Danger Room, June 13:

"UAS will not achieve their full potential military utility unless they can go where manned aircraft go with the same freedom of navigation, responsiveness, and flexibility," the new DoD report to Congress said.

A bill "to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles" (HR 5925) was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 7 by Rep. Austin Scott.  A companion bill (S.3287) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul.


Don't purchase Samsung products.  Honor the boycott of Samsung called for by workers who are being contaminated by toxic chemicals during production as well as the Gangjeong villagers on Jeju Island who are fighting to save their way of life.  Samsung construction (destruction) company is the lead contractor building the Navy base on Jeju.

Help speak for the soft coral, the dolphins, the shell fish, the sacred rocks that are being blasted by Samsung on the coastline.  Help speak for the water that is being contaminated by Samsung's destruction activities.


A draft agreement leaked Wednesday shows the Obama administration is pushing a secretive trade agreement that could vastly expand corporate power and directly contradict a 2008 campaign promise by President Obama. A U.S. proposal for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact between the United States and eight Pacific nations would allow foreign corporations operating in the U.S. to appeal key regulations to an international tribunal. The body would have the power to override U.S. law and issue penalties for failure to comply with its ruling.

Democracy Now speaks to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a fair trade group that posted the leaked documents on its website. "This isn’t just a bad trade agreement," Wallach says. "This is a 'one-percenter' power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights."


I went to the world premiere of the new film created by Architects & Engineers for 9-11 Truth two nights ago in Portland.  The 90-minute documentary is packed full of leading experts and scientists who categorically proved that the three buildings (including Building 7) were brought down on 9-11 by controlled demolition.  They make an absolutely iron clad case that nano-thermite (which is only produced by and available to the military industrial complex) was used to sever the steel columns that had to be cut before the controlled demolition was possible.  Scientists found traces of nano-thermite in the 9-11 ash debris.

Regis Tremblay filmed the event and has put some of the Q & A and an interview with architect Richard Gage along with the film trailer into this video above.  It is time that we all support the call for a new independent investigation to 9-11.

Unlike some in the peace movement I've never been reluctant to speak about 9-11.  I have seen the 9-11 inside job used to justify two immoral and costly wars and to destroy our civil liberties.  When I saw photos of George W. Bush reading "My pet goat" upside down on 9-11 I knew there was something rotten going on for sure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


There is a reason that the right wing works so hard to restrict voting.  Right now in Florida the Republican Gov. Scott is in a battle to purge voters from the rolls.

The oligarchy and their right-wing allies don't believe in democracy.  This short video clip offers some clear evidence of that fact.


  • Organizing against drones is picking up around the country.  It's a good sign.  Global voices are also growing against Obama's escalating use of drones in Central Asia and on the Arabian Peninsula.  But polls still show that more than sixty percent of Americans support Obama's drone attacks.  Much of that support is due to the perception that it saves "American" lives.  Kind of like the justifications for using the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • In an article in the UK's Guardian last Monday the writer asks, "For those Democrats who are comforted by the fact that Obama has the final say in authorizing drone strikes and so refuse to criticize the administration, ask yourself: would you be as comfortable if the next decision on who is killed by a drone was left to President Romney, or President Palin?"
  • I had a call yesterday from another Guardian reporter who was working on a drone story.  He  quoted me extensively in his pieceHowever, arms control groups and peace activists see the new weaponry as at best controversial. Bruce Gagnon, the co-ordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, said it would not be long before the drones were being used domestically. "People are beginning to see that these technologies are going to be dual use – meaning over there and back here at home," he said..... According to Gagnon, the advent of the small drone is another step in the military's bid to have battle fought by robots. "We have been seeing this attempt by the military to essentially roboticize warfare. It gives them two very valuable results, it lessens the price, as a drone is much cheaper than an F-16, and secondly it takes increasingly less people on the battlefield. "You still need a lot of people back home flying them and sitting in front of the computers," said Gagnon, "but it puts less people in harm's way and the Pentagon is happy about this. It is easier to sell endless war when fewer GIs are coming home in body bags."
  • The fallout for Obama on his drone attacks and endless war making seems to be happening more with people outside the United States. According to the 2012 Pew Global Attitudes survey released on Wednesday Obama's drone program in foreign nations -- including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia -- has fueled mistrust and anger among Muslim nations and even among countries more closely allied with the US.  "There remains a widespread perception that the United States acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries," said the Pew report which accompanied the survey. The drone strikes are backed by 62% of Americans but have only minority support in every other country polled by Pew. The strongest overseas support for the U.S. strategy is in Britain, where 44% approve and 47% are against. But in France, China, Mexico and Russia there are large majorities opposed to it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Bob Pollin from UMASS-Amherst Economics Department: Cuts triggered by the Congressional sequestration process are not as big as Pentagon spin and military spending is an inefficient "job creator".

Why don't the Democrats latch onto this?


Remember that Libya has the largest supply of oil on the African continent.  Other resources like minerals (for cell phones and computers), water, and oil are abundant on the continent.

The U.S., via Africa Command (AfriCom), is now moving to establish small interventionary bases throughout Africa.  The Pentagon calls them "lily pad" bases.

It's endless war for oil.  And keep in mind that the first black president led the war on Libya and the surging of U.S. forces on the continent.


For the longest time I have been saying that Obama will win reelection because the oligarchy wants him back on the job.  After all, he has given them everything Bush gave them (bailouts for Wall Street, more war, attacks on civil liberties, cutbacks in social progress) but Obama has done something that no Republican could do.  He has kept the left under control.  So from that stand point it makes total sense.

But lately we've been seeing these desperate measures by the Obama-nator.  He had his staff release top secret information to the media about his drone strike baseball cards.  He's released top secret info to the media about Cyber attacks on Iran.  You only do that kind of thing when you are worried.

Maybe the oligarchy got their pound of flesh out of Obama and are ready to move on to new fresh meat.  Allowing Mitt Romney to become president helps a bit to mollify the hard to handle Tea Party-niks.  It throws fear and panic into the liberal class.  In a way who cares if the liberals hit the streets again - they'll just bring in the cops and bash some heads - the liberals will quickly scatter.  (At what point though do you begin to wonder when the cops figure out that they are next on the list to get screwed?  All the attacks on public sector unions - cops are unionized in the public sector.  Oh boy.  That could get interesting. Who will be brought in to bash the heads of cops when they go out on strike?  The National Guard?  Ouch!)

Let's look at the list of what Romney would bring.  More war?  Check.  Keep tax cuts for the rich?  Check.  Drain social programs including Social Security and Medicare?  Check.  Continue attacks on civil liberties?  Check.  Keep the left under control?  Well, at least by force of arms.....check.

It's going to be an interesting summer and fall watching this thing play out.  The oligarchy now has their two horses in the White House race.  And they are off.....Obama is in the lead by a head, Romney is closing, Romney takes the lead in campaign fundraising, Obama appears to be limping......will there be a surge?

Stay tuned for more.................

Monday, June 11, 2012



Koohan Paik addresses a Kauai gathering in February 2012 on the militarization of the Pacific, particularly on the connection between Kauai and the South Korean island of Jeju.

This is an excellent speech and she does a wonderful slide show from Jeju.  In the talk Koohan describes in vivid detail Kauai's role in testing the Navy Aegis "missile defense" program.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Normally in the film making process, script changes are made all the time. But few realize it's the Pentagon frequently calling the shots. RT talks to writer and former journalist for Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, David L. Robb. He shares his thoughts and sheds light on the approval process.


Catholic priest Fr Kim Sung Hwan on the top of cement mixer truck in Gangjeong village

  • Koohan Paik from Kauai, Hawaii  just arrived in Gangjeong village and will be there for 3 1/2 weeks.  She's been heavily involved in the campaign to stop the Navy base and helped host our Global Network delegation last February when we visited Kauai.  The Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility is located on Kauai and is the key testing area where Aegis destroyers practice firing their "missile defense" systems.  It is the only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft and space vehicles can operate and be tracked simultaneously. There are over 1,100 square miles (2,800 km) of instrumented underwater range and over 42,000 square miles (109,000 km) of controlled airspace. The base itself covers roughly 2,385 acres (965 ha). These Aegis warships will be ported on Jeju Island and will play important roles in the Pentagon's first-strike attack planning against China.
  •  Koohan writes: 
      I just returned from the candlelight vigil -- wow! That was the first candlelight vigil I've ever been to with karaoke. A karaoke candlelight vigil. The mayor was decked out in the traditional silk Jeju attire and shades as he rocked out at the mike, telling everyone to stand up and dance, which we all did, of course, since the mayor went to jail for five months to defend his village. Everyone here is so passionate and smart and committed. And entertaining. And human. I met the head cook, the head of "field activities," the head of the media team, the head of the kayak team, the head of the "international team," and the head of the explosives team (they block trucks; not detonate dynamite). I met a famous actor from a television series who now lives here and fights in the struggle. I met an arrogant journalist from D.C. who kept interrupting everybody and was here on a grant to study and publish about the militarization of Jeju and Okinawa, and who didn't even know about the intimate connection between Okinawa and the Guam buildup, or much of anything else about Asia-Pacific militarization. I met the famous Father Moon, known nationally here for all his antics in protest of Pyongtaek military base, but not as famous as his brother, who is in all the history books for crossing the DMZ in protest of the division and serving time for five years for doing so. Every night, about fifty people from near and far, come to sing and dance after a day of anti-base protests.

    If this was the "candlelight vigil," I have yet to discover what the catholic mass tomorrow morning will be like. Will keep you posted...

  • Gangjeong villagers have learned that the Navy wants more land and will extend their "military restriction zone" farther into the village.  Protesters arrested in this expanded zone would face three years in prison rather than the one year they currently face when arrested for blocking construction vehicles.  It will be martial law.  The Navy intends to build military housing in the village for 600 families.  The base ultimately will have 7,200 military personnel stationed there.  Consider that the village only has a population of about 1,900 people so they will be engulfed by the military which means village life will be destroyed as will their farming and fishing livelihood. The village is being sacrificed on the alter of U.S. military ambitions in the region.
  • We continue to encourage people to travel to Gangjeong village to show your support for the campaign to stop the Navy base.  It's a very good way that local or national peace, religious, and environmental groups can show support.


In honor of Odetta, the National Visionary Leadership Project offers this clip where Odetta speaks about her life as an activist. To see more oral history interview clips with Odetta, visit:


Friday, June 08, 2012


Fascinating interview with Ray McGovern, former CIA intelligence officer about reasons behind Israel's attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967.

I learned alot listening to this video.


Sung-Hee Choi reports from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island:
[June 8] On the 2nd fierce day of struggle, clear oppression was held on religious events. Lots of police violence, a woman was carried to hospital then arrested. Eight people including two Catholic priests and two Protestant pastors were arrested. Many people were beat and injured including an arrested Catholic priest.  Forth caisson was put on the sea.

The village siren rang again around 1pm. Catholic priests, interrupted of their Catholic mass, started to stop construction (destruction) trucks. Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon lying again underneath a truck, Fr. Lee Young-Chan and Fr. Kim Seong-Hwan climbing onto the cement mixer trucks. Fr. Lee Young-Chan was soon arrested.

Meanwhile whenever people tried to stop other trucks, police’s brutal dealing of people was constant on the day. When two young woman activists stopped trucks, one of them entering underneath a truck, the police soon arrested her. The other young woman activist fell down when a police snatched her hair and severely pushed her back to the ground. She lost her consciousness so an emergency ambulance was called. However, as it was clear for people that the police wanted to arrest her, the people fought with the police. People carried her to their car, protecting her from the touch of police,
but the police eventually arrested her in the hospital after medical investigation (around 6pm). She was released from the police station around 9 pm, probably because of her weak health and the police being afraid of public opinion.
The police arrested Fr. Kim Seong-Hwan on a top of cement mixer truck by moving police bus close to the truck. They violently dragged him from the truck, making him severely injured on back .

The police also arrested two Protestant reverends violently. A young pastor fell on the ground and hit by a policeman, with his pants partially taken off from them.

Before that, the police had been violently interrupting a Protestant mass that was held in front of the naval base project building complex, moving pastors’ altar and cross etc.
The elderly villager who is one of advisory board members of the village and a former city council member was shocked by the police behavior. The police showing no respect to him arrested him under the false charge that he hit the policemen. It was not only him. Many villagers were brutally hit by the policemen yesterday.
Long day ended again. But we don’t know what will be today. With the government forcefully enforcing the naval base in the village, conspiring to make the whole village disappearing on the map with its attempt to designate military restriction zone in the village, people’s fiercer struggle is going on.

Please help us who are desperate.

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Local events are encouraged during Keep Space for Peace Week - October 6-13.  Help expand the public consciousness about how space is becoming increasingly militarized.  Satellites are the triggers that enable drones to fire their "Hellfire" missiles.  Satellites spy on us.  Military satellites make "Cyber warfare" possible.

When the Pentagon unleashed "shock and awe" upon Iraq in 2003, in the initial attack 70% of U.S. weapons were guided to their targets by military satellites.

The Pentagon brags that military satellites "enable the war fighter".  Enable is putting it mildly.

You can get a better look at the poster here