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

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Professor Yang-Yoon Mo now in Jeju jail for the 4th time with an 18 month sentence

Grassroots media activist Park Sung-Soo in Jeju jail for 28 days after refusing to pay large fines

Yang Yoon-Mo and Park Sung-Soo (Dungree) hit their 60th and 7th day respectively at the Jeju prison in South Korea as of March 31.

You can send a solidarity message to these two non-violent peace workers by emailing them via

Professor Yang ended his long hunger strike last week and we hope his recovery is going well.

Park (Dungree) has for the past couple of years been one of the key producers of videos of the Gangjeong village resistance to the Navy base.  His almost daily updates have kept many of us intimately connected to the protests on Jeju Island.

Free all the political prisoners!

Stop the oppression of tremendous fines!

Stop the Navy base construction!

Boycott Samsung! 


Saturday, March 30, 2013


Solidarity action with Guantanamo hunger strikers at Times Sq. in NYC last Thursday

  • On Sunday, March 24 human rights activists throughout the US (including NYC, Chicago, Ohio) began a seven day fast and series of actions in solidarity with the men currently on hunger strike at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The US Navy now reports that three hunger strikers have been hospitalized and that ten are being force fed — a practice condemned by human rights organizations and used in efforts to “break” prior hunger strikes at Guantanamo. Some hunger strikers have lost consciousness and are experiencing severe drops in body weight.
  • Defense attorneys for hunger-striking prisoners at Guantánamo Bay are accusing military officials of imposing harsh conditions in a bid to halt their protest. An emergency motion filed in federal court says guards are denying prisoners water and keeping camp temperatures at "extremely frigid" levels to increase their discomfort. Dozens of prisoners have refused food for nearly two months over intrusive searches and their continued detention without charge. The allegations come as the International Committee of the Red Cross has begun a fact-finding mission at Guantánamo to evaluate conditions for the hunger-striking prisoners.

  • Today was the last of the Lenten season peace vigils at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine.  BIW Security, for the first time since I began joining these vigils 10 years ago, was present and stayed for the full-hour that we stood on the sidewalk holding signs as the Saturday shift left work.  These vigils have been organized at BIW for the past 13 years during the Lenten and Advent seasons by the Smiling Trees Disarmament Farm based in Hope, Maine.  Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen told us the story today of their first vigil when just three of them stood in the -4 degree cold while a couple TV stations  interviewed them.  After that TV coverage more people began to join her and husband George. We will be back out to BIW during Keep Space for Peace Week in early-October and throughout the Advent season.

Friday, March 29, 2013




Eight activists were arrested blocking the gates at Creech AFB drone base in Nevada on March 27 as the finale event of the annual Nevada Desert Experience peace walk.

  • The Judiciary Committee of the Maine state legislature will meet on Thursday, April 11 at 9:00 am (4th floor) at the capitol in Augusta for a work session on drone bill LD 236.  The bill is called "An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use" and would require law enforcement agencies in Maine to obtain warrants before using drones to gather information on a private citizen.  There appears to be strong support in the legislature for the bill although the Maine Attorney General (a Democrat) is presently opposed to the bill because she does not want to restrict the state police.  We urge Mainers to join us on April 11 to show the state that the public is indeed deeply concerned about drone surveillance.  We also urge you to contact members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know you support the bill.  The committee list is here
  • We are now gathering petition signatures of folks across Maine to present to the state on April 11.  If you'd like to sign give me your name and town in Maine by April 8.  Send to 
  • Rumors are mounting that aerospace interests in Maine want to establish drone operations in the northern part of the state.  This would be in addition to the efforts already underway to put a "missile defense" base in northern Maine near the community of Caribou.  The lack of jobs is a huge issue in Maine and the military is the only institution with any money these days.  The goal appears to be to turn our state into a military colony.
  • The entire month of April is being dedicated as a month of actions by the national Stop Drones campaign.  You can see the growing list of events planned across the country at the national CodePink web site.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Teachers, workers and activists hope to pressure Chicago to abandon plans to close 61 schools.


On Tuesday, Obama signed the Agriculture Appropriations Bill into law. Within the legislation exists a provision, "The Monsanto Protection Act," that has many concerned about the future safety of food because it protects genetically modified seeds patents from litigation over health risks. Since Obama signed the bill nearly 250,000 have signed a petition to the president.

RT's Margaret Howell has more on the bill and how "frankenfish" could be making their way into supermarkets across the nation.


  • As the wealthy have gotten wealthier, a new study reported by the Washington Post found, an economic arms race has been created in which the middle class has been spending beyond their means in order to keep up with the Joneses. The study calls this “trickle-down consumption.” The result? Americans are saving less, bankruptcies are becoming more common, and politicians are pushing for policies to make it easier to take on debt. As the rich spend more on things like expensive preschools or fitness clubs or even fashion, their middle-income neighbors start spending more on these goods too — without cutting back elsewhere. It's the "success" mythology in action.  Another example, in this declining economy, 32% of US couples in 2012 spent more than $25,000 on their wedding.

  • In 2011 the wealthiest Americans (those with earnings in the top 20%) contributed on average 1.3% of their income to charity.  By comparison the poorest Americans at the bottom of the income pyramid donated 3.2% of their income to charity.  The poor tend to give to religious organizations and social-service charities, while the rich prefer to support colleges and universities, arts organizations, and museums.

  • The Boston Globe reports that Gregory Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington, has leveled blistering charges of misplaced power and a morally bankrupt culture in the nation’s “military-industrial complex”.  While attending a military budget conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts Foster's speech was laced with accusations of “militaristic civilian officials” who serve not as civilian overseers as intended but “military advocates” who are “politically afraid of the military.”  What we have is an “American way of war” on autopilot that is too expensive, wasteful, and indiscriminately destructive—“killing people and breaking things”—and a growing global reputation of hypocrisy.

  • Natural Society reports: Genetically modified humans is the next venture for biotechnology companies working with the US military, with the admitted goal of producing a ‘super soldier’ that does not require food or sleep to perform Olympic-style physical feats. The genetically modified humans, or ‘super soldiers’, will even be able to regrow limbs that were destroyed by enemy fire and live off of their fat stores for extreme lengths of time. Backed by $2 billion a year in funding, the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently unleashed the news after years of secret experimentation and study. The organization did not say whether or not genetically modified humans currently exist to such an extent, however it is known based on previous reports that human chimeras have already been created outside of the public spotlight. Such scientific experiments have drawn fire from scientists and activists alike, who are demanding for laws to forbid the creation of ‘monsters’. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Depositors in the Bank of Cyprus, the biggest bank on the island, will reportedly lose from 30 to 40 per cent on their holdings above 100,000 euro as result of a bailout agreement which Cyprus and the troika of international backers signed on Monday.


A new powerful institution, the BRICS joint development bank, is set to emerge on the international financial arena - that's as the 5th annual summit of the world's fastest emerging economies has kicked off in South Africa.

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, China, India and the host nation this year are joined by Egypt's president Morsi - who's hoping to book a place in the club. RT's Alexey Yaroshevsky has more.

Update:  The BRICS group has unveiled a new development bank, which is aimed at breaking the monopoly held by Western-backed institutions. Under the deal, the two largest economies of the emerging power groups, China and Brazil, agreed to remove nearly half of their trade exchanges out of the US dollar zone. See more here


I am so happy to see the Idle No More indigenous movement spreading throughout Canada and the US (and around the world).  The native people understand how to live on Mother Earth - they know the rhythms of the planet, they don't have to be told how important it is to protect the water and the air.  They deeply acknowledge our (human) connection in the web of nature.

The arrogance of the white civilization has tried to drown the wisdom of the native people.  The white culture, so self-assured and violent, long ago lost its spiritual connection to the Earth.  So-called modern society with its roads, air conditioned homes, polluting factories, wars, and resource gouging appetites is a broken mess.  It's a way of death and the native people have been warning us for hundreds of years that disaster would be the result of our out-of-balance way of living.

The coming harsh reality of climate change offers us a clear choice.  One direction is to immediately stop all the techno fixes to the human-made calamities that we face.  Things like the insane geo-engineering plans to mess with the ionosphere and inject the dieing oceans with chemicals.  That is more of the sick crazy way of trying to control and dominate nature.  It's a dead-end street - a death road.

The other choice is to simplify our lives, get rid of our cars, create public transit, grow our own food, weatherize our homes, reduce our consumption dramatically, and limit our fossil fuel addiction. We must demand the dismantling of the Pentagon and convert it to the Natural Guard that works to help people face the coming storms from a wounded and thrashing Mother Earth.

The deck is stacked against us.  The corporations control our governments and they are locked into the profit and domination mentality.  We've all got to begin to make this transition in our daily lives and each of us must help break the corporate arterial blockage of our democracy.

We are indeed talking about what kind of life the next seven generations will face.  It is our moment in history that determines the future.  

The Hopi Elders in Arizona long ago passed the following words to us:

"It is time to speak your truth, each of you.  Do not look outside yourself for the leader.  There is a river flowing very fast.  Trust the river has its destination.  You must let go of the shore, push off into that river.  Keep your eyes open and your heads above the water.  See who is in there with you and celebrate.  The time of the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves.  We are the ones we have been waiting for...."


Crystal Zevon, now on the road documenting the resistance movement across the US, made this video and writes:

On March 18th near Ponca City, Oklahoma, the first Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Camp began with a ceremony and talks by local Indigenous speakers from the Ponca Nation. Casey Camp-Horinek is a longtime environmental activist and her brother, Carter Camp was one of the leaders of A.I.M. (the American Indian Movement) and he figured prominently in the standoff at Wounded Knee in 1973. 

Their message went straight to the heart of the evil that is upon us with the Keystone XL Pipeline. They have been in this battle for their survival for a long time, and they came to spread the message that stopping this Tar Sands Pipeline is no longer just about their lands, it is about survival for all of us.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Protest demonstration at New York City headquarters of L-3, a manufacturer of electronic components for drones, on the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War.


As part of Obama's recent announcement about expanding "missile defense" (MD) systems in Alaska, along with studies to determine a possible site for an East Coast base in the US, the Pentagon also announced a second MD X-band radar would go into Japan.

The US military uses X-band radars to precisely track the trajectory of an "enemy" ballistic missile, allowing its forces to launch Army ground-based (PAC-3) and Navy sea-based (SM-3) interceptors as soon as a missile is detected.

The Kyogamisaki base in Japan, on the Sea of Japan coast, has been selected as the site to deploy the second radar unit.

While the US claims that its MD program is aimed at North Korea's tiny nuclear program, the growing numbers of systems now being deployed in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Okinawa (and the direction they point) indicate they are in actuality being used against China.

Some reports have indicated that the Pentagon is also considering plans to deploy a third radar somewhere else in the region like the Philippines to create an “arc” across East Asia to bolster MD capabilities.

Monday, March 25, 2013


As Washington lawmakers pushes new austerity measures, economist Richard Wolff calls for a radical restructuring of the U.S. economic and financial systems. He speaks with Democracy Now about the $85 billion budget cuts as part of the sequester, banks too big to fail, Congress’ failure to learn the lessons of the 2008 economic collapse and his new book, "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.” Wolff also gives FOX news host Bill O’Reilly a lesson in economics 101.


  • The Pentagon's Southern Command has requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for "special" detainees prisoners on top of other renovations it says are necessary since Congress has decided to keep it open indefinitely. That brings the potential taxpayer bill for upgrading the facilities to an estimated $195.7 million.

  • While in Iraq Obama's new Secretary of State John Kerry warned that many in the US are wondering how, after Americans “have tried so hard to be helpful” in rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, the country could not do as they are told.  Kerry demanded that Iraq stop Iran from flying arms across Iraqi territory to the beleaguered Syrian regime, but found Iraq President Maliki unwilling to give ground.... Maliki repeated Iraq’s view that there is no definitive proof that the cargoes are arms, rather than humanitarian aid, as the Iranians contend. Kerry was left to say that he will gather more information to prove his point.
  •  Dungree (Real name: Park Sung-Soo) just got a 28-day jail sentence on Jeju Island for his protest activities - he refused to pay about $1,500 in fines.  The South Korean government is hitting the protest movement hard with fines for blocking Navy base construction efforts.  He has stayed in the Gangjeong village since summer 2011. With his unlimited energy and dedication, he produced the videos of struggle in Gangjeong almost everyday. His video ‘Gangjeong Style’ was a mega hit.  You can see much more about him and his photography here

Sunday, March 24, 2013


  • I'm always talking about conversion of the military industrial complex to peaceful production.  And when I do that I always mention the definitive jobs study by UMASS-Amherst Economics Department Professor Robert Pollin. And now you can hear from the man himself.

  • I got lucky this week by having two Op-Eds published in the two biggest newspapers in Maine.  The other day my piece was in the Bangor Daily News and this morning the Portland Press Herald ran a similar piece in their Sunday Maine Telegram.  You can read it here


Professor Yang Yoon-Mo has ended his 52-day fast against the Navy base on Jeju Island.  He remains in prison and issued this statement yesterday:

As I think that many people suffer from my fast, I don’t want to transfer them suffering any more.

I have taken fast to urge people concern with Gangjeong, to inform them on disappointing National Assembly, thoughtless Ministry of National Defense, and innocent villagers and activists oppressed by the judicature.

I consider those have become enough informed. And I accepted the earnest request by Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyon, Mayor Kang Dong-Kyun and representing group.

There will be no more fast in my life. Even though I stop fast, my struggle for peace will not stop.

I think I would live by 90 years old (laughter). So I state on my permanent struggle for the remaining 30 years. I will strive for demilitarizing the Island for life and peace.

While I am here in prison, I will return many of your favor and encouragement.

As a peace and unification worker, I will show myself, Yang Yoon-Mo,  as a peace activists and movie critic.

I pay gratitude to the concerns for me by elementary school students, parents, Catholic brothers & sisters and protestant devotees and to the letters full of passion for peace, via mail and internet.

Since I am not forgetting those blessings, I think my decision to stop fast is good.

I am grateful to all the messages of support and friendship by distinguished scholars, intellectuals, peace activists and artists from the United States, Australia, Okinawa and Japan, France, Nepal etc.

To return your concern, I intend for my complete change. I will exercise hard to strengthen my abdominal muscles ­(laughter).

I especially thank more than 24 days’ solidarity fast by a Korean woman in Hawai’i. (Ishle Yi Park is a poet and caring mother.)

I deeply thank her to take a spiritual response as an artist, despite my shallow idea and practice. Since I have received undeserved love, I will strive more for the world of peace, human rights and love.

Otherwise, I thank two men, Reverend Kim Hong-Soul and Reverend  Kim Hee-Young for their solidarity fast from March 26 to 29. The two are my true friends and artists, and holly friends that I’ve met in the world of peace. I thank their friendship and will not disappoint them.

The peace of Jeju is the peace of Asia. It contributes for the peace of the world. The agenda of peace is the discourse of the world.


Saturday, March 23, 2013


India's Maharasthra state has been hard-hit by poor rainfall and dwindling water supply - causing many farmers to have to pay for water tankers to deliver water on borrowed money.


Idle No More Oklahoma rallies at the state capitol to protect the water and environment of the area.

Crystal Zevon who sent around the above video, and has been with indigenous people's recently at Tar Sands protests as she tours the country, writes:

I believe the theme emerging from my travels is that our Native brothers and sisters have been in this fight for a very long time. They understand the absolute necessity of caring for the land, our environment, through our daily attention to our Mother Earth at the same time we are engaging in the fight against the Earth's oppressors and destroyers. These actions are not mutually exclusive, they go together. They embody the importance of community and identification with our own communities.

On my journey, I'm finding that the Occupy movement awakened a lot of people, a LOT of people, mostly white people, many of them unlikely allies only a year and a half ago.  And, for those of us who have been activists for a long time, the Occupy movement gave us the support and forward momentum we had been lacking.  Now, Idle No More brings us back to the root causes and offers us a place to 'begin'.  This country is raping and pillaging across the globe exactly as we did to the Red Nations (the term Deb White Plume of the Lakota Nation prefers be used), but I'm feeling strongly that we need to address the original harm done if we are ever to succeed in stopping the devastation our country creates on a global level.  It will require humility and a willingness to take a backseat more than we are accustomed to.  At least today, I believe it is what is necessary.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Why we are here - Veterans For Peace members Tarak Kauff, Mike Tork, and Ellen Davidson.

About 20 folks were at TransCanada today in Westborough Massachusetts, protesting the war on Mother Earth being waged by the Keystone XL pipeline.  Two were arrested, in totally bogus arrests, when they were not given time to leave.  

Video by Nat Goldshlag (VFP)


A remarkable film about the history and consequences of planned obsolescence.  It's a great follow-up to my recent report about the anti-technology seminar I attended in San Francisco. 

I highly recommend you watch this film - it's a blind blower for sure.


  • The graphic above was produced by the Pentagon's Africa Command (AfriCom).  It gives a clear indication how the military views the continent.  The Washington Post carries an article today called Drone base in Niger gives US a strategic foothold in West Africa.  The article reports that Obama has sent Predator drones and more than 100 troops to Niger.  The article only talks about the US being in West Africa at the request of host governments and the French to help fight terrorism.  (The Pentagon has already signed an agreement with Niger in January that provides judicial protection and other safeguards for US troops in that country.)  The article never made the slightest mention of resources which is really why AfriCom is ramping up US military operations there.

  • In fact France has interests in securing resources, particularly oil and uranium, which the French energy company Areva has been extracting for decades in Niger. Behind France's recent military intervention in neighboring Mali is the strong hand of the US.  The obvious goal is to militarize the entire region in order to control resources. Obama's strategy is to have France take the direct hit with the US taking a role in the background.  Obama figures it might not be a good idea to jump right into Africa while the US is still bogged down in Afghanistan.  But who better than the black president to get the US deeply engaged on the African continent.  Have you heard the Black Congressional Caucus or leading Black figures in the US publicly complain about Obama taking us into war in Africa?  Obama has effectively neutralized any opposition.
  • I got an exciting email yesterday from a student peace group at the University of Maine-Orono up near Bangor.  They read my Op-Ed in the Bangor Daily News yesterday about the proposed "missile defense" base in Caribou.  They wanted to express their concern and offered to help organize opposition to the base.  They are working on a protest rally for May 4.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail discusses with Democracy Now how the U.S. invasion of Iraq has left behind a legacy of cancer and birth defects suspected of being caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus.

Noting the birth defects in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Jamail says: "They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to... What this has generated is, from 2004 up to this day, we are seeing a rate of congenital malformations in the city of Fallujah that has surpassed even that in the wake of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that nuclear bombs were dropped on at the end of World War II."

Jamail has also reported on the refugee crisis of more than one million displaced Iraqis still inside the country, who are struggling to survive without government aid, a majority of them living in Baghdad.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Facing soaring deficits and disagreements over the mix of taxes and spending in the budget, it is valuable to consider what the American people think governmental spending priorities should be and how their preferences have changed over the last four decades.

Since 1973 the General Social Surveys conducted by the University of Chicago have asked people whether government spending in various areas from health to foreign aid is too much, too little, or about right.

The General Social Survey is a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago with principal funding from the National Science Foundation.

Here are the latest top funding priorities of the American people:

  1.     Improving the nation's education system
  2.     Halting the rising crime rate
  3.     Improving and Protecting the Nation's Health
  4.     Improving and Protecting the Environment
  5.     Dealing with Drug Addiction
  6.     Solving the Problems of the Big Cities
  7.     Improving the Condition of Blacks
  8.     The Military, Armaments, and Defense/National Defense
  9.     Space Exploration Program/NASA
  10.     Welfare
  11.     Foreign Aid/Assistance to Other Countries

Looking at how military spending and NASA are near the bottom while programs of social uplift generally dominate the higher priorities, one can see that the politicians in Washington are obviously not listening to the American people. 

With 57% of every federal discretionary dollar now going to the Pentagon it is more obvious than ever that the corporate-criminal-military-industrial-complex has completely circumvented the will of the public.

These finding should once again give the people confidence that their concerns for real social progress and peace are indeed shared by the vast majority of the nation.  Our task now is to effectively organize and fight for our collective vision of the nation.


One of the early US nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands 

  • I've had a very busy 24 hours.  I spent most of yesterday preparing the news release about our opposition to the basing of "missile defense" systems in Maine and then sending it around to media in our state and around the world.  Then I posted it on several other alternative news web sites and forwarded it to our Global Network email lists.  By the afternoon I got several requests for radio interviews including a long one with Voice of Russia.  This morning I noticed the Bangor Daily News had included some of the news release in a story they did about local support up in Caribou, Maine for the base.  Included with that story is an on-line poll where they ask if you support the base or not.  You can see the article and vote in the poll here
  • The Bangor Daily News today also put my Op-Ed on their web site and told me it will run in the paper on Thursday.  You can see it here
  • Coupled with Obama's announcement of expanded missile offense is the story that the Pentagon has just used B-52 bombers to carry out simulated nuclear bombing raids on North Korea as part of ongoing U.S.-South Korean military war games known as Exercise Foal Eagle.  The Washington Times reported that the planes are based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.  The U.S., the only country on the planet to ever actually use nuclear weapons, is putting the loaded gun to the head of North Korea but the threat is heard by Russia and China as well. Please recall that Obama said he wanted to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  These actions he is taking will not help to create the necessary positive environment to secure nuclear reductions.  In fact Obama continues to go well beyond George. W. Bush by taking provocative military actions, particularly in the Asia-Pacific, as he restarts the Cold War with Russia and China.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Scientific American reports, "The United States has begun producing plutonium-238 again for the first time in a quarter century, marking a key step toward averting a feared shortage of this important spacecraft fuel, NASA officials say."

The Department of Energy (DoE) nuclear labs are in charge of the deadly plutonium expansion program.  They tell us it is safe and necessary for deep space missions.

What they don't tell the public is that DoE's  history of handling toxic plutonium-238 (the most dangerous substance ever created) is very bad.  Countless cases of worker contamination have been reported during previous nuclear space missions.  The radioactive substance gets into the air and water systems near the labs where it is handled.

The Global Network began protesting the launching of nuclear materials when Galileo spacecraft was launched in 1989, Ulysses spacecraft in 1990, Cassini space probe in 1997, and a succession of Mars rovers since that time.  We will continue to stand against the processing and launching of radioactive space missions now and into the future.

The nuclear industry views space as a new and expanding market for their deadly substance.  They envision nuclear powered mining colonies on the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other planetary bodies.  Imagine a host of nuclear launches on rockets that blow up from time to time.

In the NASA Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for these past missions the space agency acknowledged in a worst-case launch accident scenario that a 60-mile radius of Florida could become contaminated as the winds carried the radioactive fallout east to Orlando and Disney World, south to Vero Beach, and north to Daytona Beach.  NASA said they'd have to come in and remove all the people; all the animals; all the vegetation; all the buildings; and even one-half inch of topsoil because everything would be radioactive for thousands of years.  Imagine that and then remember how our government has done with hurricane disaster relief.

Don't believe the nuclear space hype.  It's a dangerous and a ticking time bomb.



Charlottesville, Virginia, home to Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, has a long history of being a voice for freedom. Now it can add freedom from drones to the list, as Charlottesville's anti-drone resolution is the first of its kind in the nation. The resolution, which passed by a 3 to 2 vote, calls on the Virginia General Assembly and Congress to adopt legislation barring information obtained from drones from being used court-- and the city itself has adopted such a ban locally.

The measure also endorses a proposed two-year moratorium on drones in Virginia. Even though the legislation won't do anything to prevent federal or state operated drones from flying over Charlottesville, the resolution has raised awareness and prompted other cities and states across the US to take similar measures.

Eighteen states, including Maine's legislature, are now considering similar two-year moratoriums on drone use.  Such moratoriums would allow the citizens to catch up with this high-tech incursion into our civil liberties. 


This ground-based mid-course "missile defense" interceptor was deployed in Alaska in 2009.  The underground missiles are helping to spark a new Cold War with Russia and China.

The Obama administration’s announcement that a “missile defense” base on the east coast of the U.S. will now be studied is the perfect example of a corporate-driven “solution” searching for a problem.

The studies have been justified by the supposed “nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran”.  Using North Korea and Iran as justification for new missile defense deployments is sketchy since neither of those nations currently has a rocket capable of reaching the continental U.S.  Nor would they likely fire one even if they had the capability considering the massive nuclear response that the U.S. could then unleash.

The east coast basing location for the technically challenged missile defense interceptor system appears to be either Caribou, Maine or Fort Drum, New York.

These missile defense systems have not been proven to work.  When Obama first became president he in fact decided to de-emphasize this Boeing-led program because it had failed to effectively perform during testing.  This new decision to ramp up the ground-based mid-course interceptor program appears to be a political one. It indicates that Boeing has secured enough Congressional support to put the program in gear once again.

This entire story is a great illustration how our democracy, and our economy, have become captives of the military industrial complex.  We are reminded of Dwight Eisenhower’s warning to us to ‘beware’ of the power of the weapons industry.  Further attacks on social progress in the U.S. will be necessary to pay for these boondoggle deployments.

The Pentagon’s missile defense programs are the “shield” that accompanies U.S. first-strike attack planning.  After the first-strike sword is thrust at Russia or China those nations would theoretically launch a retaliatory response at the U.S.  It is then that the Pentagon’s “missile defense” systems would be used to pick-off the retaliatory strikes. 

Every year, the U.S. Space Command holds war games to practice a first-strike attack on China.  Both Russia and China have repeatedly complained about U.S.-NATO missile defense deployments that are now surrounding their nations.  Russia has threatened to pull out of the New Start Treaty (Obama’s 2011 agreement with Russia for modest nuclear weapons reductions) because of U.S. “missile defense” deployments. 

North Korea and Iran thus have become convenient excuses for the Pentagon to develop systems that are recreating the Cold War with Russia and China.

Maine Veterans for Peace and CodePink Maine have also taken a position to join the Global Network in opposing any “missile defense” base in the state and pledges to help build opposition against it.


Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is a coalition fighting the expansion and construction of Tar Sands infrastructure in the Great Plains. We are in solidarity with people indigenous to this continent, communities near the point of extraction, and communities living in proximity to these toxic, cancer-causing refineries.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Yesterday MB and I drove to Portland early in the morning and jumped on the bus to Boston.  We were going to join the Veterans for Peace (VFP) alternative St. Patrick's day parade through the streets of South Boston.

The traditional parade (with its military, fire and police focus) has refused for years to allow peace or gay rights groups to be in the event.  These organizations have taken the case to high courts and lost.  Three years ago VFP decided to just start a second parade that would follow in the steps of the traditional one.  Each year it has gotten bigger and yesterday was quite a large alternative parade with VFP members attending from throughout the area and from other states including New York, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Other contingents in the parade included LGBT, religious, labor, environmental, Bread & Puppet Theatre, Green Party, and more.

The big controversy in Boston is now that they make the alternative parade wait for the street sweepers to clear the streets after the first parade is over thus delaying our start by about an hour.  The thinking of the local power structure is that most of the parade watchers will be gone by the time the VFP parade begins.  But the local media has extensively covered the story and many people have taken the side of VFP and waited to see the alternative parade.

It was cold and windy as we waited for the go-ahead and once finally moving we warmed up to the sounds of five different bands interspersed in our parade.  The Leftist Marching Band was right behind the huge VFP delegation that was at the head of the parade and we were amazed that they played continuously during the 4.5 mile route that wound its way through the neighborhoods of South Boston.  Many people stood on their door stoops drinking and waving to us, others sat in their windows and gave us the peace signs, and many young people cheered as they stood in long lines to get into the Irish bars sprinkled along the parade route.  During the more than two-hour parade I saw only one person give us the "thumbs down" and she was chided by those surrounding her on one stoop where quite a party was going on.

MB and I got home at 10:00 pm and were wiped out from the long day.  My cold, which was already lasting a full week, was set back even more but it was a spectacular experience.  We were able to take our message directly to thousands of "Southies" and the local media was covering our presence as well.

Much respect and congrats should go to Pat Scanlon and all the other members of Boston-area VFP chapters for fighting for the right to be in the parade.  Build it and they will come.


Professor Yang Yoon-Mo hit 46th prison fast day as of March 18, 2013

On March 15, the National Network of Korean Civil Society for Opposing to the Naval Base dispatched some representing people to the Jeju Prison. They are Fr. Mun Jeong-Hyeon, Fr. Mun Kyu-Hyun, mayor Kang Dong-Kyun, Mr. Kim Duk-Jin (Secretary of the Catholic Human Rights Committee) and Jang Hana (National Assembly Woman). The group urgently appealed Prof. Yang Yoon-Mo to stop his fast, very concerning about his deteriorating health.

Prof. Yang has been fasting since the evening of Feb. 1 when he was directly arrested from the court. He has demanding the cancellation of the whole fraud of Government result report on deceptive simulation and revocation of the Jeju naval base project.

Jang Hana, the National Assembly woman told Yang that the Special Verification Committee of the Democratic Party would fight on the matters on the fraud simulation.

As 70 day period ended on March 11 and Governor Woo Keun-Min signed an agreement with the government on the Civilian-Military Joint Usage on March 14 (see the Korean articles on it and whole protocol here in Korean language)and , it is expected that the new Park Geun-Hye government would accelerate the naval base construction with false promise of local development.

It is known that Prof. Yang did not make a clear answer but said that he would seriously consider it in the group’s meeting with him specially given for 30 minutes on March 15.

Kim Duk-Jin, Secretary of the Catholic Human Rights Committee delivered the condition of Prof. Yang, saying, “he became tremendously thin at first glance. He looked very energy-less but seemed to endure by mental power.”

The group will visit Prof. Yang either on Tuesday (19) or Wednesday (20) again.

Currently Ishle Yi Park, a mother, poet and activist (Poet Laureate of Queens, 2004-2007), Hawai’i has been taking solidarity fast with Yang Yoon-Mo.  If it is right, she hits her 18th day fast as of March 17. She ‘plans on fasting as long as Professor Yang is fasting.’

We very concern both of their health and strongly hope they would stop fast.

- Reprinted from Save Jeju Now


The primary goal of the US plans to bolster missile defense in Alaska isn’t about tackling a North Korean threat, but putting a claim on the natural resources of the Arctic, former MI5 intelligence officer, Annie Machon, explained in an interview RT.

Machon, believes that the North Korean threat is just as unrealistic for the US as the one from Iran, with control over natural resources once again being Washington’s true aim. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Saturday, March 16, 2013


  • My sign today at the Lenten vigil at Bath Iron Works had a painting (by an artist friend) of a public transit system with the words "Made in Bath" underneath.  Studies show that if they built rail systems at BIW the number of jobs would nearly triple.  A no brainer.
  • I went to Portland yesterday morning for a meeting about putting a public transit system between that city and Auburn.  I've always been a huge supporter of public transit since living in Germany as a kid and seeing the value of it.  Funny though that most of my life has been in places that don't have much public transit, like Maine.
  • One of the more interesting things about the meeting was the sales pitch coming from the organizers of the event.  I never heard the words oil, climate change, nature, or environment ever mentioned.  One speaker summed up the prevailing message when he said, "We are not trying to move people - we are trying to drive development" into the places where the commuter rail system would travel and around the stations that would be built in each community where the train stopped.  I sadly noted to myself that capitalism has infected every facet of decision making in this country.  We can't even talk about public transit without it being taken over by the investors who are looking for the next big development opportunity.  It's all about leveraging "public-private partnerships" to fund rail.  
  • No company makes rail cars in the US so it is likely that the Maine system, if built, would purchase their equipment from Canada.
  • But still I continue to support rail expansion because it is anti-car, anti-oil consumption, anti-individualism, and if we got serious about it could help in a small way deal with climate change.
  • The news last night brought us word that Obama's new Secretary of War (former Republican senator Chuck Hagel) has announced "missile defense" changes that include: more underground interceptor missiles to be put into Alaska; a possible similar interceptor base in upper New York state or Maine; a second space warfare radar going into Japan; and some changes to Obama's earlier announced schedule (Phase Four plan now being amended) for interceptors that are being used to surround Russia.  It appears to me to be more about a push-back by Boeing forces who are behind the long-range Alaska-based interceptors.  Soon after coming into office Obama announced that he would scale back that system and instead reward the Chicago-based Crown family who helped him get elected - and they just so happened to be majority owners of General Dynamics which builds the Aegis-based system that he decided to favor.  Seems that things are evening back out - it's all corporate $$$ driving the policy.
  • There is a very important article being passed around by long-time activist John Stauber.  It's called The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats and blows the lid on the Democratic Party colonization of the left in the US.  You can see the whole article here
  • I have to say that I am intrigued by the new pope story.  It's a crumbling church and the revelations that the new pope was involved in throwing radical Jesuit priests under the bus in Argentina guarantees that their "fresh face" will come into "power" already compromised.  There is so much corruption in that church - their "holy bank" runs drugs, sells weapons, sells birth control devices while preaching the virtues of just the opposite.  Total hypocrisy. 


The full length version of 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centers in Iraq.


Regis Tremblay writes:

Many priests, nuns, ministers, and Buddhist monks regularly travel to Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island to protest the construction of the massive naval base that is destroying the village, the pristine ecosystem, and contributing to the military expansion of the United States, not to mention raising the already high tensions of the region.

Among the most regular protestors are three Jesuits who have made direct action their priestly ministry. All have been arrested and jailed for obstructing construction of the base. I spent many hours each day chatting with them and filming their encounters with the Korean police as many as ten times every day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The word "savage" has been used to refer to people from so-called primitive cultures, but in his 2011 documentary, filmmaker Adam Horowitz turns the concept on its head and questions who exactly has been the "savage" in the US nuclear bomb human experiment "Project 4.1".  

 In the 1950s, the U.S. nuclear test bombed the Marshall Islands 67 times, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to radioactive fallout measured at 750 times the level of emitted by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. After the people of Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one of these tests, the US intentionally moved them to a highly contaminated island to serve as nuclear test subjects for 30 years,  to measure the affects of nuclear radiation on humans. The experiment was conceived at Los Alamos.


The High North and International Security Conference

June 27- 29, 2013

Kiruna, Sweden

Welcome to the land of the Midnight Sun in Northern Sweden!  Welcome to take part in a two-day conference and listen to a gathering of experts who will educate you about how space is used in global warfare.  2013 marks the 21st year of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

International authors and activists will give lecturers about how the North has developed to be one of the most important places for space warfare, how satellites and drones are used, and inform you about the dangerous National Missile Defence, the Galileo installations, radars and more. You will also be educated about the many NATO war exercises taking place in the North at the largest training field for war, called NEAT, which surrounds the City of Kiruna. Samic people will be present to tell about the impacts of these war exercises on their lives.

We have to be knowledgeable and take action. For that purpose we will have a vigil at Esrange - the world biggest space ground station a couple of miles outside the City of Kiruna.

  • Kiruna Airport is located 10 km from the Centre. Buses are running. There are direct flights to Kiruna from Stockholm and Copenhagen.
  • There is no registration costs, the conference is free.
  •  People have to pay for lodging. We expect people from the whole North. (See hostel list below)
  •  Everyone has to pay $50 for one dinner and 2 lunches.
  • Breakfast will be available at the Malmfältets logi & Konferens, Campingvägen 3
Conference Programme:
Thursday June 27th

Arrival at Kiruna Airport. Coach to Kiruna. Speakers will be collected at the airport by Women for Peace.

17.00 - 20.00 Registration: Malmfältens logi and Conference, Campingvagen 3.
Gathering and snacks.

Friday, June 28th

8.00   Registration.
9.30    Gun-Britt Mäkitalo, Women for Peace,
            Siw Holma, parliamentarian for the Left Party
            Bruce Gagnon, Introduces the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
10.00  Bård Wormdal, Space Installations in the North - The Satellite War.
10.45 Representatives from Esrange or IRF inform about the space activities.
11.30  Questions and discussion.
12.30   Lunch
14.00 Departure for Esrange.
19.00 Dinner at Malmfältens Logi and Conference.

Saturday, June 29th

9.30  Lectures about Space-related issues:
National Missile Defence, Drones, Galileo, Esrange and so on.....Bruce Gagnon (US) Dave Webb (GB) Regina Hagen (Germany) and others not yet confirmed.
12.30 Lunch
14.00 Workshops about important issues. India-ESA Space Cooperation, War games - impact on the Samic Society, The Race for Arctic resources and more.
16.30 Gathering and discussion.
Dinner-place to be confirmed.

Sunday, June 30th  

9.00  – 13.00 Global Network yearly membership meeting (all are welcome)
Details about Housing: Eva Jonsson,

Details about the conference/Visa letter requests: Agneta Norberg,      
Kiruna Hostel                               
Malmfältens logi & Conferens 
Tommy´s House                           
Youth Hostel Point North         
Yellow Hostel                                    

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


On my latest public access TV show I interview Regis Tremblay about his activism and film making. While in Gangjeong village, South Korea, last September, Regis had the opportunity to interview over 20 villagers and activists who have been protesting the construction of a massive U.S. naval base in their tiny village to serve the needs of the U.S. “pivot to Asia” in order to check China.

Regis is working hard to finish a feature-length documentary, "Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War." See more here


A new Washington Post poll gives us the latest evidence that the American people are not stupid.  The poll found:

* Americans disapprove of the sequester cuts by 53-39
* 68 percent want Obama and the GOP to work together to avert the cuts, while only 28 percent want them to continue (the conservative position)
* 71 percent oppose cutting spending on Medicaid to replace the cuts; and 60 percent oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age to replace them.
* By contrast, 58 percent support replacing the cuts with more targeted cuts to military spending.
* 56 percent support replacing the cuts with an agreement that includes limiting deductions enjoyed by higher income individuals.

All we need now is to get folks to act on those positions.  In Maine we plan to deliver pizza-style door hangers across the state on April 5-13 asking people to call Congress and say "cut the military budget and defend social progress".

It's important for a dispirited public to see actual organizing that represents their own interests happening.  It gives people hope, gets them talking to their neighbors about the massive Pentagon budget, and encourages them to take action.

We don't have the corporate media on our side but we can walk door-to-door to pass on our message.  People want to be part of successful campaigns but they take hard work.  We have to do that work and now is the right moment to do it.



Where is the beauty in the city?

The rough roads are stained by oil.
Ugly buildings
made of steel and glass
have no heart.
Prisons they are, an artist's
built to save the banks
and insurance companies
$$$ by taking the shape and character
of a box.
Office workers inside cubicles inside a big steel box.
A white collar prison.

The billboards and neon signs
light the dark sky
but bring no joy or mystery
to the night.
Stars are hidden from plain sight
by the nuclear glow of the city.
Imagine, North Korea is mocked
because they can see the stars at night.

Noise is ever present.
The snarling traffic
and angry honkers
all in a rush to get somewhere,
no where, who knows where?

The air is heavy with exhaust fumes.
You notice it when you walk,
hold your breath til the cars pass by…2,3,4,5,6
hold it, hold it, hold it.

The people don’t say hello much anymore,
they are busy looking down at their hands
pushing buttons with their thumbs,
lost in a satellite uplink,
some inane subject as meaningless
as their job at the burger joint.

Soon the drones are to come here,
constantly humming overhead,
to spy on us,
because we've now become the enemy too.
Who cares about privacy?
Some say "I don't have anything to hide"
.....others fear the clampdown is near.

Block after block of shops, selling products
we don’t really need.
Told to buy stuff by ads
that quietly crawled into our heads,
and haunt us in unsuspecting moments.
We have become vulnerable to those who
specialize in planting corporate seeds
in our brains, but they’re not really our
brains anymore, they’ve long ago been taken
over by the merchants of profit and death.
Where is the beauty in the city?

The flowers are planted each spring
by city workers
in the median strips of highways.
Planted to amuse the cars;
that must be true because the drivers
never see the flowers, they are much to busy
texting on their gadgets,
even more inane conversations.
What can people actually be talking about?
Politics, religion, philosophy, art?

No, they are tweating things like:
“I bot a hot dog”
or “I’m goin home”
or “U see fun nu beer ad on Suprbwl?”

Where is the beauty in the city?       

By Bruce Gagnon