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....

My Photo
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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein went to Winnsboro, Texas and spoke about environmental issues just before she tried to hand supplies up to blockaders sitting in the trees. She was arrested by local police officers hired as TransCanada security.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Monday, October 29, 2012


Hurricane Sandy has caused chaos to the U.S. presidential election, with rallies cancelled and early voting disrupted. But it's the economic storm over the last few years which is worrying the electorate. RT's Marina Portnaya looks at criticism thrown at the two major candidates over their links to the rich who are still hogging the wealth of the nation.



I am laying on my bed inside my simple tiny log cabin on the edge of Black Hills national forest. My cabin has no heat (except for a space heater), is not insulated (I stuffed newspaper in the cracks in the door jam), and the toilet and shower house is 1/2 mile away.  But amazingly the cabin has Wifi....go figure.

From my window, through the trees, I can see the tops of one of those jagged rocky eruptions that make this place so wondrous and special.  When you look closely at them you see images of people - and when you look at the faces of the old Lakota they often look like the rocks.

Each day I've been driving to different parts of the Black Hills, paved mountain roads and dirt logging roads. Yesterday I saw prairie dogs, coyotes, buffalo, deer, wild turkeys, various birds, a hawk, and antelope.  I love to go walking through the woods collecting firewood - I feel like it is my spiritual practice. 

I brought along a small hot water maker and have been eating instant oatmeal and tea for breakfast each morning.  (I am getting tired of oatmeal.)  For lunch it has been bread and peanut butter and a couple times canned sardines.  For supper I've been going out to local restaurants but the pickings are slim.  I've eaten buffalo three times.  Most places are shut down as the tourist season is over.  The roads are largely deserted.  This is my favorite time of year to come here.

My rental car is covered with dust from the many gravel roads I've been on.  The snow we had the day after I arrived when I drove to the Russell Means memorial is now mostly melted.  The colder temps are now gone too and today it will hit 62 degrees.  Climate change for sure.  Not the usual weather for fall.

I'm reading alot and thinking alot too about the disintegrating condition of our politics and environment.  I just watched a video of postal workers protesting against the coming privatization of the post office.  I noticed it was just postal workers - every group on their own - every person for themselves - dog eat dog culture - the business model of organizing.  We can never win anything as long as we are all separated and isolated, each doing our own thing.

As I drive around I've been listening to the Lakota KILI radio station.  The first words out of every Lakota's mouth are always Mitakuye Oyasin which mean All My Relations or We are All Related. It is a simple but profound Lakota prayer. To pray this prayer is to petition God on behalf of everyone and everything on Earth.

Mitakuye Oyasin honors the sacredness of each person's individual spiritual path, acknowledges the sacredness of all life (human, animal, plant, etc.) and creates an energy of awareness which strengthens not only the person who prays but the entire planet.

I wish our organizing model could reflect this powerful truth.  Alone we are nothing....what happens to one will surely happen to another.....we need each other.....victory in our struggle for life, fairness, truth, justice, peace, environmental sustainability can only come from a deep unity.

We have to come together like never before - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  Mitakuye Oyasin.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Saturday, October 27, 2012


The South Korean government and Samsung (the lead Navy base contractor) are now working 24 hours a day.  This means that all night long the cement trucks roll into Gangjeong village and the people must be there to try to block their entry.

The people are tired and are getting little sleep.  They are feeling worn down.  Several have been taken to the hospital as they have been injured by the hordes of police who have been brought in from the mainland to push them away from the construction gate.

There is an urgent need for more people to go to Jeju to help offer support to the villagers.  There is urgent need for people to call the South Korean embassy in your country and tell them to stop the Navy base construction.  There is urgent need to help spread the word about this fight.

This video tells more about the story.

Visit the web site Save Jeju Now.

Boycott Samsung.


Former Florida conservative congressman Joe Scarboough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program, challenges Obama's drone program while the "liberal" defends it.  The role reversal is interesting.

Friday, October 26, 2012


White Clay, Nebraska borders Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.  Pine Ridge does not allow alcohol sales.  White Clay has a population of 14 citizens and four alcohol stores.

The Nebraska police and state government protect the liquor business.

Nebraskans for Peace, American Indian Movement, and other activists have been organizing in recent years trying to get the White Clay liquor business shut down.  This is a video about the story.

The genocide of native cultures continues.  Capitalism comes first. Racism holds fast.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Fellow Mainer Robert Shetterly interview about his series called Americans Who Tell the Truth

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I drove about three hours to Kyle, South Dakota today which is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  It was snowing while I drove.

I had heard on KILI radio (The voice of the Lakota Nation) as I got near the Black Hills yesterday that a ten-hour memorial service would be held for Means today.  He died the day after former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern passed on.  So I was determined that I would go join the honoring of Russell Means.

I got there about 1:00 pm and there had to have been 400 or so people there by then.  I stayed four hours and many more came and went during that time.

Family and fellow American Indian Movement (AIM) activists told moving stories about Means.  He grew up tough and had to learn to fight as he stood up to the ever present racism that exists in Indian country and across the nation.  His youngest son talked about having picked up the newspaper today and saw that the KKK was active again in the Black Hills town of Custer - named after the Army general who was sent to drive the Lakota people out of their sacred lands once gold had been discovered there in 1874. 

Several speakers talked about the untiring efforts of Means to teach his people about their treaty rights (Treaty of Ft. Laramie 1868) which recognized that the Black Hills belonged to the native people.  But like so many other treaties the U.S. government violated it and stuck the people on reservations.

Today the people live in grinding poverty.  But this remarkable gathering today showed that thanks to leaders like Means and many others the people still maintain their dignity, humor, love of nature and family, and their connection to the Great Spirit.

I made the long drive back to my small, cold cabin in the Black Hills through the wind-driven snow.  Very few cars were to be seen on the hilly, curvy roads in the dark.  Earlier in the day I had seen deer, buffalo, and antelope as I made my way to Pine Ridge.

It was truly an honor to spend the day with these good people.  It's a day I will never forget.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012




The same corporations that said DDT and Agent Orange were safe have now put millions of dollars into the campaign against our right to know what's in our food. In November, Californians will vote on the most important issue to ever affect our food supply. As Goes California, So Goes the Nation.

Monday, October 22, 2012



This is what the Democrats bring us today......Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) not only serves in Congress but is also chair of the Democratic Party.  Hold your nose.

Sunday, October 21, 2012




Saturday, October 20, 2012



Occupied By Art is a neighborhood-based effort working to build community and save Maple Edge Studios (331 Middlesex Rd., Topsham, Maine) from foreclosure.


It is starting to look like Jeju Island will be turned into a national sacrifice area.   Latest information reveals that there is growing concern and evidence that Air Force and Marine bases could be established on the "Peace Island".  Here is the latest from a member of the National Assembly.

On Oct. 18, the issue raised in the National Assembly inspection on the Republic of Korea Air Force was on the ‘South zone search and rescue corps’ that is being discussed to be installed in the old but currently unused Alttre Air Field, Moseulpo.

Kim Jae-Yoon, Democratic United Party, a member of the Defense Committee of the National Assembly claimed that it is a tactic ultimately to build an Air Force Base. He claimed that the Jeju, Island of peace is at the risk to be degraded as the ‘Island of military base.’

Speaking at a Pentagon news briefing last June, Pacific Command commander Admiral Samuel J. Locklear said: “We’re not really interested in building any more U.S. bases in the Asia-Pacific."  “We shouldn’t have to at this point in time. We have reliable partners and reliable allies, and together we should be able to find ways to—not only bilaterally, but in some cases to multilaterally—to be able to find these locations where we can put security forces that respond to a broad range of security issues.”

Translation: The U.S. is having the South Korean government build the Navy base on Jeju Island for us.  A couple nights ago I was watching the local Congressional debate on TV and our Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Democrat) was asked where we can cut the federal budget.  Her answer was that we can cut back on some of the money we spend on foreign bases by getting our allies to build them for us.  She didn't say we shouldn't have or use the bases for our military empire.  This "liberal" instead said we should get others to pay the costs for us.  

In the meantime the dredging of the ocean, just offshore from Gangjeong village continues.  The protests at the Navy base destruction gates continue as well.

Friday, October 19, 2012


George McGovern is nearing the end of his life.  I voted for him when he ran for president in 1972 - my first vote.  I also worked as a volunteer on his campaign.  I put one of his bumperstickers on my desk at Travis AFB, California and went door to door off base in the evenings to help his campaign.  What I learned first-hand was that the mainstream Democratic party operatives in California, and all over the country, virtually abandoned McGovern because they thought he was too radical.

McGovern's loss to Nixon was hard to swallow.  In 1968, as a young 16 year old conservative, I supported Nixon.  But by 1972 I had been transformed by joining the military during the Vietnam War.  There was no turning back for me after that.


  • On Saturday evening I've been invited to speak in Portland to 140 students from throughout New England at a regional meeting of college chapters of Alpha Phi Omega (the community service fraternity).  The theme is Team Work.  Should be an interesting experience. I'll talk about a few different teams I've been on over the years and some of the glaring differences between them.
  • On Sunday evening in Newton, Massachusetts I will speak at the First Unitarian Church, 1326 Washington Street at 7:00 pmTopic is "How space technology coordinates all warfare on Earth."   MB will come with me and we can stay at the home of her brother who lives in the area.   
  • Then come Monday I get on a plane in Boston and fly to South Dakota where I will go on a personal retreat until November 5.  I will mostly spend time in the Black Hills, what the native people call the Paha Sapa - the heart of the Earth.  I lived in this place for three years growing up when my dad was stationed at Ellsworth AFB outside of Rapid City.  It was there I was first touched by native culture, history, and spirituality.  My family moved many times in that nomadic military world but I always felt that this was my favorite place - the one that was hardest for me to leave.  I've tried to go back there throughout my adult life as often as possible (not often enough) and each time I feel a sense of peace that I've found in few other places.
  • I need to recharge my soul - it takes a toll on you doing this work day in and day out.  I plan on doing alot of walking in the woods, reading, writing, and just a bit of thinking.  As an organizer I am always thinking about strategy - how do we best reach the people and help move things in a better direction?  These are hard times for us and in many ways the lens in which I view our present moment is colored by the way I see American history.  The genocide of the Native Americans is essential to my world view.  Our government determined that the Indians stood in the way of "progress" and had to be destroyed and their lands taken from them.  Nature was a commodity. Today we see a corporate system that determines that because of job outsourcing for cheaper labor, robotics, mechanization, and computerization that loads of people are not needed - they are superfluous.  I believe that in the U.S. the poor and the middle class are being brought onto the reservation.
  • This 21st century reservation is a bit different.  This time you get a credit card (indentured servitude), a color TV and a car.  As long as you can keep making the minimum monthly payments you are OK.  But when your job gets downsized or exported and you can't pay the bills you are going to be out on the street fending for yourself.  Statistical evidence shows when this happens to people there is a direct correlation to diminished life span.  Some might even call it a form of genocide - corporate style.
  • One of my favorite stories is one about Sitting Bull, Sioux Leader and Medicine Man, who was forced to bring his band onto the reservation in 1881 because they were starving.  (Just a few years before gold had been discovered in the Black Hills and the Army was sent in to clear a highway so miners and settlers could come.) The Army had systematically reduced the buffalo herds down to near nothing after they had invented new high-powered rifles that were used from trains to kill the buffalo - leaving them to rot on the plains.  In 1884 Sitting Bull joined the Wild West Show for several months and visited many of the big cities along the East coast.  While in the cities he would sit on a door stoop and homeless street kids and beggars came to ask him for money so they could eat.  He gave many of his earnings from the Wild West Show to these people.  When he returned to the Standing Rock reservation Sitting Bull told the people, "We are in big trouble.  You should see how the white people treat their children."
  • These are the threads that run through me - they create much emotion, outrage, a sense of solidarity, and love for the Earth.  They also create an understanding of what this system of corporate capital is willing to do to the people.  Like the Indians said, put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.
  • I am going to the Black Hills to reconnect with the good spirit world.  I need it badly.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Scenes of violence return to the streets of Athens where police have resorted to tear gas to disperse anti-austerity protesters. Thousands of Greeks voiced their anger over a new round of cuts being demanded by the country's lenders in exchange for another bailout payment. This coincides with a general strike that has seen tens of thousands of people walking off the job - for the second time this month. RT talks to Panagiotis Sotiris from the University of the Aegean.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Citizens for Peace in Space protesting outside Schriever Air Force Base (Star Wars base) in Colorado Springs during Keep Space for Peace Week.  The base logo reads "Master of Space."

  • The controversy over Republican V-P candidate Rep. Paul Ryan's phony pot and pan washing at a Ohio soup kitchen over the weekend has got me going.  He arrived with his family after the meal was over and all dishes were washed.  Ryan, wife, and kids put on white kitchen aprons and he commenced to re-wash a couple steel serving pans.  They mentioned the story on mainstream news last night but let him off the hook when the reporter claimed that Ryan "washed some dirty dishes".  This is how they do it at corporate media central.
  • Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested Tuesday outside the venue at Hofstra University where Obama and Mitt Romney met for their nationally televised mud wrestling match.  I read this morning that both women were handcuffed to a metal chair in a remote police warehouse on Long Island for eight hours.  Real threats to corporate capital.  Stein-Honkala will be on 85% of state ballots in the upcoming election. 
  •  The Pentagon is now preparing to deploy F-16 fighter bombers in Poland.  The Russians are asking why?  F-16's are able to carry nuclear bombs, which are currently stored at nine American depots in five countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey. 
  • One out of eight persons in prison on the entire planet Earth is African-American.


Two weeks into the West Bank's annual olive harvest, Israeli settlers have destroyed hundreds of trees and attacked Palestinian farmers in what rights groups warn is a dangerous escalation of violence.

Israel, and their fanatical settlers, are committing genocide against the Palestinian people.  It's got to stop.

Boycott Israeli products.  Demand an end of U.S. military aid to Israel. 


Veterans for Peace Protest, October 7, 2012 from Will Holloway on Vimeo.

Veterans for Peace protest to mark 11 years of war in Afghanistan held at the Vietnam Veterans Plaza in New York City on October 7.  The city has a rule that the memorial closes at 10:00 pm but VFP refused to leave and 25 were arrested.

It's time to end the U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


This video includes scenes from the U.S. attack on prisoners at the Koje POW camp during the Korean War..

But interestingly it begins with some references to germ warfare against North Korea.  The U.S. adamantly denied all such charges at the time.  But years later it has been clearly proven to be true in a book called “A Plague Upon Humanity” by Daniel Barenblatt. Barenblatt tells the story of the hidden history of Japan’s biological warfare program before and during WW II.  And as the Korean War heated up the U.S. used the Japanese bio-war experts to help spread deadly diseases against North Korean and Chinese forces. See a previous blog post about this here

Remember this video mostly presents the "official" story.  But the scenes from Koje give some idea of the use of military force against unarmed POWs.


North Korean POWs brought to U.S. camp on Koje Island during Korean War.

U.S. Army officer likely doing "re-education" of North Korean and Chinese POWs at Koje camp.  The primary goal was to get them to "renounce" Communism so the U.S. could refuse to repatriate them to their respective countries.

Doing labor at Koje POW camp.

Last winter Korean War veteran Tom Sturtevant from Maine passed away.  I was a friend, we met at our Maine Veterans For Peace chapter, and he went to South Korea with us in 2009 for the Global Network annual conference that was held in Seoul.  Tom was deeply affected by his participation in the Korean War as a Navy man working on an aircraft carrier that played a key role in the US saturation bombing of North Korea.  Tom spent much of his adult life becoming a student of the war.

After his death his family asked VFP to go through his papers and books and these documents were then given to various people.  Knowing of my continuing interest in Korea I was given Tom’s Korean War files and books.  One of these books was a treasure beyond imagination.  It is called Koje Unscreened by Wilfred Burchett and Alan Winnington – both attended the Korean War cease-fire talks at Panmunjom from the time they started until the Americans broke them off on Oct 8, 1952.

I had never heard of a place in Korea called Koje.  As it turns out Koje is another island just off the southern tip of the Korean mainland and in this case the U.S. used it as an enormous prisoner of war camp largely due to its isolation.  In recent days I have read the book and done hours of Internet research about Koje and discovered that in addition to Koje, there was another island prisoner of war camp that the U.S. ran during this same period – it was on Cheuju (Jeju) island.

While doing my Internet searching I found many photos from Koje that help illustrate life at the U.S. camp.  International media was largely kept away from this place so few journalists ever bothered to tell this story to the world.  The book was published in April of 1953, while the Korean War was still in stalemate.  Much of what you find on the Internet is the official U.S. line that reflects the fact that few journalists ever investigated, or were allowed to really know what happened at Koje.

On July 27, 1953, a cease-fire agreement between the U.S. and North Korea marked the end of the Korean War. The war killed more than 37,000 Americans along with approximately three million Asians beginning in June 1950.

The Korean War though is not really over.  Today the U.S. occupies the Korean mainland and regularly engages in war exercises aimed at the north with its puppet South Korean (ROK) government that came to power after WW II.  Following the Japanese defeat they were driven from Korea and the U.S. put the former Koreans who had collaborated with the Japanese in charge of the ROK.  This led to civil war as the U.S. and its South Korean puppets considered those Communists who had fought against Japanese imperialism the new enemy.

Koje Unscreened tells the largely unknown story (outside of Korea and China) about the prisoner of war camps on the island. 

POW camps in North Korea contained only a few thousand prisoners while those in the South, mainly Koje, contained some 170,000 People’s Army (North Korean) soldiers and Chinese troops. 

With peace negotiations at Panmunjom largely stalemated (between July 1951-July 1953) over the prisoner of war exchange issue the U.S. tried to avoid taking that final step of breaking off the talks because it would look bad in the eyes of public opinion.  They wanted to provoke the Korean-Chinese side to do it instead.

President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson seized on the prisoner disparity issue as a weapon and took the decision to detain a large proportion of the Korean and Chinese POWs.

China’s Chou En-lai (directed peace talks for their side) said at the time, “The U.S. has in the prisoner of war camps under its control, placed large numbers of U.S., Syngman Rhee [ROK] and Chiang Kai-shek [Nationalist Chinese] special agents posing as Korean and Chinese prisoners of war, to coerce prisoners of war to make declarations ‘refusing repatriation’…Prisoners of war who refused to submit were viciously beaten up by these special agents.”

The U.S. initiated an international public relations campaign to show that the prisoners did not want to return to their respective Communist countries.  The authors wrote that by chance or otherwise, Catholic Cardinal Spellman ‘happened’ to visit the camps…and by the same sort of coincidence the State Department's U.S. Information Service broadcast a long interview with the prelate on January 28, 1952 from Tokyo in which Spellman said that “of 150,000 prisoners, 71 per cent do not want to be returned to Communist rule”. The broadcast went on that Spellman described a group of 300 Chinese who had tattooed themselves with the words ‘I am anti-Communist’ in the Chinese, Korean and English alphabets.  “The anti-Communist tattooed Chinese,” Spellman claimed, “want to be placed in the frontline of the UN forces so they can demonstrate actively their opposition to Communist rule in their own country.”

POWs "building" the Statue of Liberty with Christian cathedral replica in background - a photo op for the world to create the impression that North Korean and Chinese POWs had renounced their country.

The Statue of Liberty amongst the thousands of POWs who just really wanted to go home.

At one point the U.S. tried to turn 38,000 North Korean prisoners over to Rhee who would “press-gang” them into his army.  This did happen in many cases and some of the soldiers made their way back to join the North Korean army.

U.S. Gen. “Bull” Boatner was sent to Koje to “use maximum force” to get the prisoners to renounce Communism.  The authors interviewed a Canadian soldier, Cpl. John Jollymore, who reported that Boatner visited the Canadian run prisoner compound on Koje on June 3, 1952 and said, “I don’t want you to shoot the prisoners, slash them with your bayonets or butt them with your rifles, but if you must shoot, shot to kill, kill, kill.” 

ICRC (Red Cross) did a study of the Koje camp and reported that four days after the prisoner lists were exchanged on Dec 19, 1951, almost 800 of these ‘reclassified civilians’ were beaten up, six were killed and 41 wounded by rifle fire for protesting being classified as ‘South Korean civilians’.  They demanded their right to prisoner of war treatment as loyal members of the North Korean People’s Army.  The ICRC found 9,200 prisoners in a state of semi-starvation but their report was ignored by the western media.

On May 23, 1952 a letter was smuggled from Koje to the media and was signed by 6,223 North Korean prisoners.  In part it said, “Not a day, not a night but the sacrifice of some of our comrades occurs.  The American guards, armed to the teeth, are repeatedly committing acts of violence and barbarity against our comrades.  They drag them out and kill them either in public or in secret with machine-guns and carbines.  They drive our comrades by the thousand into gas chambers and torture rooms.  Many patriots are loaded into iron barred cages of police cars and taken to the seashore where they are shot and their corpses cast into the sea.”

There was another U.S. prison of war camp on nearby Cheju (Jeju) Island.  In September 1951, 97 Chinese POW’s were killed there and in October 56 more were killed and 120 wounded when American troops open fire on prisoners for dancing and singing in celebration of third anniversary of the establishment of Chinese People’s Republic. The “official” U.S. story, fed to UPI, was that “the Communists planned to break out and join the Red guerrillas in the Cheju Mountains.” 

The authors maintain, “The previous large-scale massacres of war prisoners had all been against Korean prisoners.  This time it was doubtless hoped that the provocation might be more effective if directed against the Chinese and to make it doubly effective, the day chosen was China’s National Day.”

The book reports that the U.S. broke 67 of the 243 articles of the Geneva Convention by its actions on Koje. Article 118 of the Geneva Convention reads:  “Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.”

All of this has much relevance to me as we watch Obama’s military pivot into the Asia-Pacific and the U.S. “containment” of China picks up pace.  The words of authors Burchett and Winnington, writing in April 1953, seem prophetic: “America’s policy is for more war, a bigger war, war with China and wars elsewhere in the Far East to commit China’s armies.”

The evidence of U.S. brutality and deception also are important to remember as we see a lineage of these policies run from Korea to Vietnam and then on to Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and to Libya.  At some point the American people must come to grips with the ugly and cruel evidence that the U.S. military empire is little different from the evil done by WW II fascist enemies in Germany, Italy, and Japan. 



Here is a report from Jeju Island about the numbers of police who have been used to oppress the Gangjeong villagers resistance to the Navy base.
About 130,000 mainland police as a total number of persons have stationed in Gangjeong village since last August of 2011 and the budget of 4.2 billion Won (about 3.5 million US$) was spent for this.

According to the document submitted by the police for parliamentary inspection of state on October 15, a total of 194 police units have been mobilized and 352 police men a day in the average have stationed in Gangjeong village, so total number of police is reaching to 128,042.

Mainly the budget was spent for food, accommodation and transportation by ferry. During the same period, a total of 586 villagers and activists were arrested, among them 493 have been indicted for trials.

Monday, October 15, 2012


The retired space shuttle Endeavor has been brought to Los Angeles where it will be entombed in a museum as are so many other relics of "progress".

The space plane was hauled from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center, where it will be displayed in a new exhibit hall. The two-day, 12-mile journey began on Oct. 12.

About 400 trees had to be cut down in order for the shuttle to be transferred to the museum.

“They are cutting down these really big, majestic trees,” said Lark Galloway-Gilliam, a neighborhood council member and longtime resident of the Leimert Park area. “It will be beyond my lifetime before they will be tall like this again.”

We have been taught to worship technology and to reject our spiritual connection to nature.  The space shuttle was a military program.  It was used to place war-making satellites into space or to repair them.  It was used to run Star Wars tests during its orbital missions.  It was used to do research for many science projects that in the end benefited mega-corporate interests and were subsidized by the tax paying public who got little in return.

The successor to the shuttle is now being prepared for its third launch.  The X-37B military space plane is set for takeoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on October 25.  The last mission of this "global strike" vehicle remained in orbit for over one year because it is essentially a space drone.  Many speculate that the mission of the X-37B, beyond spying from space, could be to drop bunker buster type weapons on ground targets after zooming down from space.

In fact at the U.S. Space Command they have been computer war gaming such a first-strike on China set in 2016.  The military space plane is the first system used to launch the attack that attempts to take out China's underground nuclear missiles (about 20 of them) that are capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S.

After the initial U.S. attack from space China attempts to fire a retaliatory nuclear strike. The U.S. "missile defense" systems presently deployed in Taiwan, Japan, Okinawa, and South Korea - as well as on Aegis destroyers outfitted with interceptor missiles deployed just off China's coast - take out the remaining Chinese capability.

Thus another key element in U.S. first-strike war planning is being put into space and the public will be made to cheer it the way they cheer the retiring shuttle.

Bread and circus.  It's a broken spiritual connection that has us worshiping Gods of Metal rather than the sacredness of all life.


Blocking the gates at Kleine Brogel, Belgium airbase to prevent NATO nuclear weapons exercises.  Should we not be talking about who and what NATO "protects"?  Hasn't NATO become the military arm of corporate capitalism?

  • Early this morning peace activists began using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F-16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel, Belgium. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes. From 15 to 26 October, Belgian F-16s from the military base of Kleine Brogel are participating in the NATO war exercise “Steadfast Noon” in the German air base of Büchel. This exercise is a way of training for the deployment of nuclear weapons. All NATO countries that have American nuclear weapons on their territory are participating: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Some other countries are taking on a supportive role. 
  • For the first time Walmart’s retail workers have gone on strike and momentum is building fast. Workers in Florida, Maryland, Texas, Washington, California, Missouri, Minnesota and Kentucky all walked off the job -- bringing the strike to a total of 12 states. These workers don't have a union, and they are taking a huge risk by going on strike. But if they know that tens of thousands of people are standing with them, it will give them the boost they need to keep up the fight in the face of Walmart’s potential retaliation.  Show your solidarity by signing here 
  • The latest health study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage.  See the full story in the UK's Independent   
  • India's nuclear industry, Australia's newest prospective uranium customer, has been slammed by that country's own auditor as dangerously unsafe, disorganised and, in many cases, completely unregulated. The two countries will soon begin negotiations on a safeguards agreement to allow Australian uranium to be sold to India, after the Labor Party last year dropped its long-standing opposition to trading with countries outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Australia holds the world's largest uranium reserves and exports more than 7,000 tonnes every year, including to China. The government's refusal to sell to India was a source of continuing friction between the two countries. India's last nuclear weapons test was in 1998, but its civilian nuclear industry is growing rapidly, with the number of operating nuclear plants expected to rise from 20 to more than 60 over the next decade.  See full story here 
  • All of the above are examples to me of the present reality of corporate capital run amok.  As I cast about like a fisherman trying to find my/our way out of this insanity I keep running into the long tall wall of capitalism.  This morning I watched the daily video report from the month-long South Korean SKY march.  At one point they were rallying outside a huge COSTCO (which is a big corporate wholesale operation throughout the U.S. and now I assume going global).  While the speakers were Korean I could piece together that it must be a labor dispute, and likely also about the Yankee cultural invasion.  Capital, when it goes global, runs over tradition, culture, law, the environment and the like.  It is backed up with a growing NATO-led military boot.  
  • Unless and until we begin to talk about capitalism - and move away from reformist measures which are blocked at virtually every turn by corporate money - we are not going to make any real progress as organizers and activists.  My son Julian has introduced me to Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, and professor at the European Graduate School and senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana.  The latest piece Julian sent me by Zizek is called "Capitalism: How the left lost the argument".  My son is pushing my politics.  I am trying to embrace the challenge.  You might want to take a look at the article here

Sunday, October 14, 2012


New Mexico residents are trying to a break free from Los Alamos’ nuclear legacy by creating more environmentally sound ways of living. At the forefront of this struggle is renegade architect Michael Reynolds, creator of radically sustainable living options through a process called "Earthship Biotecture." Reynolds’ solar homes are created from natural and recycled materials, including aluminum cans, plastic bottles and used tires. These off-the-grid homes minimize their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels by harnessing their energy from the sun and wind turbines. In Taos, New Mexico, Reynolds gives Democracy Now a tour of one of the sustainable-living homes he created.


Even in the bedrock of the south, at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the space week message was seen on the street.
Gun-Britt Mäkitalo (above) and Agneta Norberg (below) held a workshop about the resistance against Navy base on Jeju Island on October 13th. It was part of the one-day event called Inspiration the World at Workers Studiehouse in Stockholm, Sweden.
GN members Gun-Britt and Agneta came to our 20th annual conference on Jeju Island last February and were among those of us who were arrested for crawling under razor wire to get onto sacred Gureombi coast. The Gangjeong village coast is currently being blasted and having cement poured over the rocks to build the docks for U.S. warships that will encircle China with "missile defense" systems.
Drone death march through the streets of Boston by WILPF.
GN board member Sung-Hee Choi talks about South Korea's growing cooperation with the U.S. military in developing space warfare technology during a protest at Navy HQ in her country.

Weekly anti-war vigil in Montrose, California held Keep Space for Peace Week posters.
Space week event held in Nagpur India.

India has more than 300 million people living in poverty.  The U.S. has pressured India to create a Space Command where they are now testing anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons as part of U.S. effort to "contain" China.

Peaceniks were up with the sun to hold a vigil at Raytheon in Tucson, Arizona.  Raytheon builds the "kill vehicle" for Pentagon "missile defense" systems.

Workers at Raytheon were greeted with this sign as they came to work.

Here are a few photos from Keep Space for Peace Week events around the world.  Our message continues to spread thanks to dedicated peace workers.

You can click on the photos for a better view.

Poco y poco.


Saturday, October 13, 2012


Below are excerpts of an excellent interview with Kang Jeong-Koo, a longtime activist scholar, with Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK).  SPARK is a Global Network affiliate group and has been heavily involved in the campaign on Jeju Island to stop the Navy base construction.  This interview is done by Christine Hong and was published in Asia Times.  You can see the full interview here.

SPARK was established in 1994. Many Koreans believed that it was high time for us to end the division of Korea, to realize a reunited state, and to get foreign troops out of the Korean peninsula. Never in our history have foreign troops been stationed in the Korean peninsula for as long as US troops have been here - over 65 years. China, during the Tang dynasty, stayed only nine and a half years. During the colonial period, the Japanese military was here for almost 40 years. In 1958, the Chinese army withdrew from North Korea. By contrast, that same year, the United States deployed up to 1,300 nuclear bombs here in South Korea, only removing its nuclear arsenal from South Korea in 1991. If we think the South Korean people panicked when North Korea had five or six nuclear bombs, how did the North Korean people feel from 1958 through 1991?

In the greater Asia-Pacific region, we're seeing the United States attempt to preserve its hegemony by using the resources of allied countries. This reminds me of the Libyan war. In the initial stage of the Libyan crisis, the United States intervened but then withdrew. It did not wish to waste its money. Instead, it wanted France, England, and Italy to underwrite the costs of the intervention. The exact same policy applies to South Korea, Japan, India, and Australia.

 The naval base at Gangjeong is not against North Korea. If the strategic purpose of the base were truly to check North Korea, the naval base should be located near North Korea. But Jeju is located in the southern part of South Korea. There is no other reason for this base other than to surround and encircle China.

And it doesn't matter that the naval base is, in name, South Korean. The United States, according to its Status of Forces Agreement and its Mutual Defense Treaty with South Korea, can use at whim and at will any South Korean base.

The Korean people know that the naval base at Gangjeong is not for the South Korean Navy but for the US Navy. Look at the Pyongtaek base. Pyongtaek is the nearest US military installation to Beijing and Shanghai. It is only one or two hours away by civilian airplane. Firing a missile would take no time at all. So the US military installations that are the closest to China are the Pyongtaek and Gangjeong bases, which the United States wishes to be built at Korean expense. The same is true of Japan, Australia, Singapore, and India.

 The stationing of US troops on our soil and South Korea's military alliance with the United States have proved to be the most formidable obstacles to the struggle for peace. It's for this reason that anti-Americanism - understood critically as a people's struggle for the withdrawal of US troops - increases as each day passes. Our country is a sovereign country. We do not want to remain in a subservient or sub-imperial relationship to US military empire. It is both foreseeable and inevitable that in the near future, our people's power will make it impossible for US troops to remain on our soil.

There is no doubt that the authorities targeted SPARK, one of the organizations at the forefront of the resistance, to discourage and suppress strong protest against the construction of the naval base at Gangjeong in Jeju. All those who have been investigated and indicted are peace and reunification organizations, like SPARK, and the activists and advocates from these organizations. So far, approximately 300 residents of Gangjeong involved in the resistance to the construction of the naval base have been detained at least once; four of them have been given suspended sentences and four are still in jail. Fines of approximately $400,000 have been levied upon them. The situation has been far worse in the case of non-village peace activists and advocates.

- Christine Hong is an assistant professor of critical Pacific Rim studies at UC Santa Cruz. She is a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the coordinating committee of the National Campaign to End the Korean War.

Friday, October 12, 2012


 My friend Rick Rozoff from Chicago (who runs the Stop NATO list serve) comments on the disaster of U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.

“Most arguably, the only accomplishment, dubious as it is, is that opium production has skyrocketed,” international affairs commentator Rick Rozoff told RT. “In terms of the Afghan people who suffered indignities, bombing and helicopter gun attacks, unspeakable massacres of the sort that occurred in Kandahar in March of this year – they certainly have nothing to be grateful to NATO.”

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Public forum on October 16 in Santa Barbara, California - more info near end of the video.


I have been pleased to see just how much anti-war activity there has been across the U.S. during the past week or so.  These events have been organized by a myriad of organizations including Veterans for Peace, CodePink, Keep Space for Peace Week, UNAC, and hundreds of local groups.

Usually, just weeks before a national election, many activists get distracted by the public relations show.  But this time around I see alot less grassroots energy going into campaigns of weak-kneed Democrats.  Instead the anti-war organizing, while not large, has been steady and unrelenting in its criticism of both war parties.

Obama's poor debate showing appears to have put the presidential race into a statistical deadlock.  That means some wavering Dems will return home and vote for the Obamanator.  If Romney pulls out a victory we'll likely see a surge of loyal Dems (party first types) return to the peace movement and begin lashing Romney for using drones (something they would not criticize Obama for doing) and other such transgressions.

We saw this phenomenon during the presidency of Bill Clinton.  Dems abandoned the peace movement after he was elected but we still limped along protesting Clinton's harsh sanctions of Iraq that ultimately led to the death of 500,000 children.  When asked about this on the CBS-TV show 60 Minutes (5/12/96), Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said without a flinch, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it."

Loyal Dems did not take Albright to task for being a war monger the way they would just a few years later when George W. Bush and his crew of pirates came to power.

It's something we talked about while on my recent trip to Philadelphia and Baltimore.  The ranks of the peaceniks across the nation have certainly be thinned out during the Obama years but our determination to end these wars remains steady.  Like the ocean tides that come in and go out - the peace movement will again swell at some point.  Everything we do on a daily basis to keep the peaceful embers alive is more important than ever. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The month-long march across South Korea is now in its 6th day.  Here is a report:

The Oct. 10 spot for the March for Life and Peace was Daejeon, central city of the Choongchung Nam-do province and the 5th largest metropolis of South Korea. With a population of over 1.5 million in 2010, it is ‘a hub of transportation and the science and technology capital of Korea.’ ‘Research institutes in Daejeon include the KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute)’

The first site we visited was the navy headquarter of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, Gyeryongdae complex, which is the ‘tri-service headquarters from where all military operations are planned and controlled.’ The Defense Exhibition 2012 from Oct. 10 to 13 just started on the dame day of visit.

In its Korean site, it says the purpose of the exhibition is to open the door to the small and middle companies armed with advanced scientific technologies into the defense market and to improve defense industry; to promote the domestic and overseas defense corporation technology and information exchange; and to promote the establishment of the military-government-industry research institute and academy.

People having a small rally there where the navy blocked the gate, with two police cars and even a water cannon, denounced the enforcement on the Jeju naval base project, as well as demanded to convert the cost for arms to people’s welfare. It was a very appropriate site to hold the banner on Keep Space for Peace Week and to speak on the arms industry.

The next site people visited was the Daejeon city hall where the people had a press conference on the SKY Joint action and railroad workers’ strike site in the Daejeon train station. The Korean railroad system is being privatized and workers are suffering for the vicious irregular job systems. There was a solidarity talk meeting with them.

Finally the candle vigil was held in the station and many Daejeon citizens gathered to watch the event. The Gangjeong movies and Gangjeong style dance attracted the citizens in Daejeon, which made the march participants and Daejeon activists happy about it.


Photo of public lynching of African-American displayed at the National Great Blacks Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

I am just home from Baltimore, Maryland where I spent the last two days.  While there I stayed at the home of David Eberhardt who went to prison for nearly two years in 1967 for pouring blood on draft files with Phil Berrigan and two others to protest the Vietnam War.  Yesterday Dave took me to the National Great Blacks Wax Museum where I was moved beyond words by the displays of the slave ship passage from Africa and the lynching era (particularly in the American south).  I was so deeply touched by what I saw that I found myself writing some words which you can see at the end of this post.

Later in the afternoon I joined with other peace activists from the Baltimore area when we went out to the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters for an hour-long vigil as the workers were going home.  We held signs and soon attracted about 4-5 NSA police who asked us each for our name, address, etc.  I refused to give any information.  We only got one car honk during the hour we stood at the NSA which should come as no real surprise to anyone.

Last evening a dozen folks gathered at the home of Max Obuszewski for a pot luck supper and some political discussion.  For the third time during the trip I found us talking about the excellent book by Jim Douglass called JFK & the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters. In a few words, this book tells the story about why and how the military industrial complex had JFK killed. The book is part history, part mystery story, and part moral lesson.  I did a review of it a couple of years ago and you can read it here.

I am grateful to those who hosted me, particularly Bob Smith at the Brandywine Peace Community who initiated the trip and shuttled me for the two days in the Philadelphia area.

Will We Ever?

The savagery of the slave trade
beheaded slaves on-board the death ships
chained souls
brought to the land of the free and home of the brave....
Only to be worked to the bone on the earth
stolen from the Native Americans,
more genocide,
acts of deceit and ruthlessness from 'Our Founding Fathers'....
those great authors of a Constitution that denied
human existence of the Red, Black, Yellow, or Brown 'non-citizens' of
the 'greatest country in world history'
as the architects of American exceptionalism
call this shattered, divided, broken, and corrupt land.

The lynchings that accompanied slavery
and continued through Jim Crow,
and beyond,
revealed the cruel and ugly heart
of the American mythology.

Today this nation of purveyors of violence
fly drones made of steel and hubris
killing innocents
while they sleep
hold weddings
attend funerals.

The word terrorist is used to disguise these
imperial killings.....

Who is the real terrorist?
How can America ever be a free nation
until it purges
its violent dark soul?

America is so far from this place of healing and restorative justice.....
you can see it in the homeless as they stand on corners
of streets with boarded up empty houses.

Lost in this vicious maze of violence....
manufacturing killing machines
has become job 1
'$ecurity export' they call it with pride.

It's in the blood now
a lineage of killing....
heard one guy from Alabama on Rush
say he was 5th generation "warrior".
For whom I asked the radio?
Corporate globalization?
Sold yourself for what?

From the native 'savages'
(we call them this to absolve our own wrong doings)
to the slave ship
to the hanging tree
to the unmanned drones
the killing now so high tech that we have unfeeling machines do it for us....
"we did not know" they said at Auschwitz.....
we have become machines ourselves.
Cold dead steel.
Watch us as we look away
We are good at it.

The satellites on their orbital leashes
help pull the triggers these days.

We are so smart
we can kill from space.
But we still kill
without conscience
with reckless psychopathic abandon.
We are killers
and we don't seem to care.
We hardly ever did.
Will we ever?