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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I was honored to be involved in the weekend drone conference and protest in Syracuse, New York organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.  I've just returned home after spending Sunday night in jail (with maybe one hour of sleep) and the long eight-hour drive back to Maine.  So my mind is slipping a few gears, my wrists still hurt after about 11 hours of wearing handcuffs, but my heart and soul feel strong from the experience.

The drone conference began on Friday evening at a local community center in the Syracuse black community.  More than 200 folks showed up for the event that featured some of the great activists from around the country like Col. Ann Wright, Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, Charley King, Mark Johnson, Elliott Adams, Howie Hawkins, Nick Mottern, Joe Lombardo, the Grady sisters, Tighe Barry, Debra Sweet and a large delegation of Veterans for Peace members from many states.

I spoke Saturday morning on a plenary panel along with Kathy Kelly and David Swanson. This gave me the chance to put drones into the larger context of US strategy and space technology development that is being used to advance the "interests" of corporate globalization and their effort to control resources around the planet.  I suggested that we might think of military space satellites as being the "triggers" that makes it possible for drones to fire their deadly "Hellfire" missiles that frequently kill innocent civilians in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

In addition I did a workshop entitled "Full Spectrum Dominance" that allowed me the time to thoroughly cover the nuclearization and weaponization of space issues. 

On Sunday morning we gathered for a meeting on the planned civil resistance action later that day at Hancock Air Field from where the "Reaper" drone is flown over Afghanistan by military personnel sitting in front of computer terminals at the base - all hooked up by military satellites and Space Command down-link stations spread around the world.

The rally near the Air Field began around 1:00 pm and featured several speakers.  I was invited to say a few words.  I said that it was understandable that Americans are upset when innocents, including children, were killed and injured in the recent Boston bombing.  “Isn’t it equally wrong for us to do the same thing in Afghanistan and Pakistan?” I asked.  Our nation is so full of hypocrisy when it comes to the word terrorism.  When others do it we get all riled up but when we do it somehow our soldiers become heroes.  It's been this way in the US since we began killing the Indians.

After we had moved to the base in a slow funeral procession four of us from Veterans For Peace (VFP) stood next to the yellow crime scene tape the military and the local police used to mark the point we were not allowed to pass without risk of arrest.  A large number of activists crossed this line and performed a die-in blocking the entrance to the base.  They covered themselves in white sheets smeared in red.  While a policeman was issuing a warning with a bullhorn the four of us from VFP began reading the names of children killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan.  Once we finished reading the names we stepped over the line and were quickly grabbed by the cops, handcuffed, and escorted to the waiting big black police bus. 

Once everyone had been arrested and the remaining rally participants had walked back to their cars the county police drove the bus to one of their offices where one-by-one they got all of our personal information.  This took some time and when they had finished and were set to take us to appear before a judge in another place, the bus would not start.  So we sat waiting for the military to send one of their buses that we eventually boarded and were then taken to the small courthouse in the suburban town of Dewitt where the base is located.  This nightmare was to last until midnight for us as we sat on the bus, still in handcuffs, while the "wheels of justice" took their ever-loving time to grind on.

We'd had no food or water since noontime and the police were not interested in giving us any.  After hours of sitting in the courthouse parking lot some of us began to negotiate with the police to give us water and bathroom visits.  It took awhile but we finally prevailed and each got about 1/2 of cup of water in the smallest Styrofoam cup possible and a chance to go to the toilet with our handcuffs still binding us.

It was taking nearly 30 minutes to process each of us by the judge who had been called in to deal with our arraignments.  Once I finally got inside my wrists had begun to swell from the tight cuffs.  The judge showed no mercy and set bail for me at $1,500 with others (for various reasons) reaching as high as $3,000 each.  This was outrageous and I told the judge I thought the bail was punitive and excessive.  He said something like, "Well you all are costing the citizens of Dewitt alot of money and we want to make sure you come back for next court appearances."  (Often when I've been arrested at these kind of events I've been released on my own recognizance or only had to pay $50-$100.)

We finally got to the county jail (in another location) about 1:00 am and inside our holding cell (men in one and women in another) some time later.  Needless to say none of us slept more than one hour that night on the narrow cold cement benches that ran the length of both sides of the cell.  Only after having to ask were we given toilet paper.

At 4:30 am the police entered our holding cell and asked if we were ready to make our one allowed phone call.  We looked at each other with an astonished laugh and said no.  At 6:30 am I was able to call home and talk with Mary Beth who began the process of making my bail arrangements with great help from the folks at the Syracuse Peace Council who did support work for those in jail. (Others got to the phone at various times during the day - the last getting to make his call around 4:00 pm on Sunday.)  Every step with the jailers was like pulling teeth.

Finally I was released at 5:00 pm on Monday and quickly got myself loaded into my rental car and made way for Maine.  I was very tired and was not sure how far I could drive before needing to stop.  I grabbed a cup of tea and some gas and said good-bye (for now) to Syracuse.  I drove four hours and made it to Wayland, Massachusetts where a friend of ours took me in for the night.

Once home today I began to get a look at some of the news coverage of the protest and the many photos being posted on Facebook.  I had a call from the Iranian News Agency in Washington DC who wanted an interview and two of our local newspapers have taken notice as well. 

One question from the media was why the harsh bail?  I answered that in a way it is the "supreme compliment".  These drone protests at Hancock Air Field have been escalating during the past two years as more people learn about the Syracuse connection to the killing of innocent people overseas.  The local military and police authorities want to crack down to "deter" future protests.  They figure that people will think twice before coming to Hancock.  But in fact that strategy will backfire in their face.  The primary reason I went to Hancock was because of the "Orders of Protection" that have been given to everyone arrested there during the last two actions.

This ridiculous "Order" says that we must "stay away from Hancock... and refrain from assault, stalking, harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, strangulation, criminal obstruction of breathing or circulation, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, intimidation, threats or any criminal offense or interference with the victim or victims of, or designated witnesses to, the alleged offense and such members of the family or household of such victim(s) or witness(es) as shall be specifically named Greg Semmel."

The judge handed me the "Order" to sign.  I said that I had no idea who Greg A. Semmel was.... as it turns out he is commander of Hancock Field.  I said I'd not know the man if I stumbled into him on the street.  The judge then said, good you don't have anything to worry about then.

But this "Order" is something to worry about because it makes it possible for the State of New York to arrest me and incarcerate me for up to seven years for contempt of court if I return to protest at the base.  They are cracking down hard on the protests because they are working.  The public is beginning to learn about these killing drones and minds are changing.  The protests must be stopped.

Just as we are learning here in Maine, as our state Attorney General (a Democrat) tries to kill a bill that would require police to have a warrant before doing domestic drone surveillance, extraordinary steps are being taken by the government to "protect drones" from activists.

Obama has announced that 30,000 drones will be buzzing around the US in coming years snooping on all of us.  Our Attorney General in Maine calls drones "an economic driver" and our new Sen. Angus King from Maine called them "humane weapons" while being interviewed recently from Washington on TV.  As the fiscal fabric of America unravels drones are the latest economic stimulus package from the federal government and states are now lining up with their empty hands held out in subservient anticipation.  Drone protests are obstacles to be dealt with.

So rather than protecting the constitution, the lives of innocent people in war zones, and getting serious about real problems like growing poverty and climate change our political class is working overtime to guard the drone industry and threaten activists with serious jail time if we keep opposing them.

These twisted drone plans will indeed backfire.  Upon returning home I noticed emails flying around raising funds to help people pay for their bail at Hancock.  The protests will continue there, as they should.  More people will join this Gandhian wave.

People clearly understand that we must protect the peace, the innocents, social progress here at home and defend our basic right to protest injustice and wars. We have no other choice.

PS  In all my tiredness I forget to mention that 31 of us were arrested and I must return to Syracuse on May 7 for a pre-trial hearing.  


See the full news article here

Also a bit of coverage in the Portland Press Herald of my arrest (thanks to Maine friend and fellow activist Lisa Savage for alerting media here in the state.)  See it here


From Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea.

See much more about the Jeju story here

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Global Network board member Agneta Norberg (Sweden) holds map showing US-NATO military bases all around the world.  She and Global Network chair Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK) are at an international conference in Istanbul, Turkey opposing US-NATO deployment of "missile defense" systems in that country aimed at Syria.

Dave Webb reports:

At the conference - well attended with 150-200 (mostly young people). Agneta and I have given our presentations on behalf of the Global Network - we have heard many calls for stopping the imperialist intervention by the US and its allies. Support for the Syrian people and their right to self determination has been expressed by all speakers. Agneta and I added our concerns about the use of space and the expansion of NATO and the number of US bases being used for the continued militarisation of space and solidarity with the protests against the US Patriot missiles being stationed in Turkey.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Just arrived in Syracuse, New York after an eight-hour drive from Maine in a rental car.

This video was made by Ted Forsyth from Rochester (NY) Indymedia who did interview with many of the speakers who are coming to Syracuse.

The “Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire" convergence begins tonight and runs through Sunday.  Civil resistance is planned for Sunday at Hancock Field (drone base) which I plan to participate in.

I was in Augusta all day yesterday to attend the Maine legislature's Judiciary Committee work session on the drone bill.

Attorney General Janet Mills still opposes any requirements for police to have warrants. She also spoke alot about drones being an "economic driver for the State of Maine" and wants no restrictions on them - especially attempts to regulate drones having weapons on board.

Drone makers and Presque Isle airport representatives pushed hard for no limits on weaponized drones in Maine that could be tested in the northern part of the state.

I still think a two-year moratorium on all drones in Maine is the best step. Such a moratorium would give us more time to educate and mobilize the public who is strongly against drone surveillance as they learn about it.
But those pushing drone testing don't want a moratorium - they want to move ahead quickly with a bill that has very limited regulation and allows weaponized drones testing.

The drone industry is drooling at the idea of big profits from the surveillance society and they sell the idea to the public by promising lots of jobs.  Yesterday in Augusta the drone maker was threatening the politicians that if they didn't pass a bill that allows "weaponized drone testing" in Maine then he pull up his stakes and move some place else. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The George W. Bush presidential library extravaganza is a disgrace to law, morality, justice, and truth.

The man should be tried and put behind bars as a war criminal - right alongside of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Colon Powell and the rest of the crooked bastards.

Obama will now go and proclaim all the great things Bush did which is disgraceful and demeaning to all those innocents who Bush and company had killed.  It indicates how the corporate oligarchy works - good cop and bad cop - but in the end they all protect one another.  Just like the mob - it's a criminal syndicate in action.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I've just learned that the Maine state legislative drone bill (LD 236) is being discussed again tomorrow (Thursday) by the Judiciary Committee in Augusta at 1:00 pm on the 4th floor of the capital building.
It would be very important to come to this work session if you can or at least to contact members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary to let them know you demand that the police must have warrants before doing drone surveillance of citizens in Maine.
It appears that Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills (a Democrat) is pushing hard to gut the warrant requirement in the bill and that the Democrats on the committee are weakening under her pressure. AG Mills wants the police in Maine to make their own rules about how they do drone surveillance.

Throughout our history though we have seen that government has over and over again used every available means to monitor innocent people and to suppress legitimate dissent - drone surveillance will be no different.
You can find the Judiciary Committee members contact info at


Emily Wang from Regis Tremblay on Vimeo.

Regis Tremblay writes:

Taiwanese peace activist, Emily Wang, is being held by Korean Immigration and is to be deported for opposing the construction of that massive naval base in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, South Korea. The base will serve the purposes of America's "pivot to Asia" and will not ensure the security of South Korea or S. E. Asia.

After a casual visit to Gangjeong Village, Emily discovered the struggle opposing the construction of the base and her conscience demanded she remain. While there, Emily discovered an amazing ability to create beautiful art depicting the struggle and the beauty of Gangjeong village. Her art is being sold to support the activists who are struggling day and night for seven years.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


  • Jane Brown (left), Richie Havens, and me at the October 24, 1987 protest outside the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. I was saddened to hear today about the passing of the legendary folk singer.  He came to the protest at the space center that I organized while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.  He was very kind to us, didn't ask for any money, just poured his heart out in his energetic and humble way.  He just wanted to help.

  • We had two big protests that year against the militarization of space - the first one in January 1987 drew more than 5,000 people and 186 were arrested for symbolically trying to enter the base to sit on the launch pad where Trident II nuclear missiles were being test fired.  Jane Brown was a good friend and leader of the South Florida Peace Coalition and had arranged for Havens to sing at our rally in October.  You can see a news article from the Orlando Sentinel (dated September 3, 1987) which promoted our October 24 rally here.  Back in those days we could actually get some media coverage of these events before and after they happened.

  • I am wearing a hat that read "American Agriculture Movement" which was given to me by another speaker that day - an old peanut farmer from northwest Florida by the name of Fred Williams.  Fred came to speak out against the militarism of space which for us was a big deal.  Family farmers struggled to survive as they are pitted against corporate agri-business and he appreciated that we were getting his message out to folks from the cities.  In return for inviting him to speak at our rally he invited me to his farm, loaded me into his pickup truck and drove me around to other peanut farms in his neck of the woods and even over the border into lower Alabama.  He would introduce me to his farmer friends and say, "Bruce is going to tell you about Star Wars." They were very receptive to what I had to say and understood that an arms race in space was going to cost all of us an arm and a leg.

  • On our weekly radio show tonight at a nearby college station partner Peter Woodruff and I did an hour tribute to Richie Havens by playing his music. He was a great man, a great worker for peace and justice, and will surely be missed by all of us.  He fully gave his life to his beliefs.




One of America's most dedicated activists is Max Obuszewski, from the “Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore,” who shares his views on Earth Day/Endless War.

I've known Max for a long time and when ever there is a call for action he is near the front of the line.  For many years he worked for the Quaker-funded American Friends Service Committee until they began downsizing some years ago.  But Max has created a life for himself that allows him to remain steadfast in his work.

He is a true defender of peace, life on Mother Earth, and the sacred.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I was invited this evening to participate in a debate on "missile defense" that was held live on Huffington Post.  Two right-wing pro-MD advocates against me and a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

I had to restrain myself a few times when the folks from pro-MD groups made outlandish statements.

You judge who won the debate.



On Friday morning I drive a rental car from Maine to Syracuse, New York to participate in the Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire: A Convergence for Action! on April 26-28 at Hancock Field.  Hundreds of antiwar activists are expected to attend from all over New York and around the country for a weekend of workshops, music, networking and action. I will speak on a plenary panel during the conference.

The Air National Guard base at Hancock Field near Syracuse has remotely flown the MQ-9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan since late 2009. 

The National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last year by President Obama allows for the establishment of six national test sites where drones could fly through US civil air space.  Hancock Field is one of 37 sites around the nation that have applied to be selected as one of the six test sites.  Powerful Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is using his influence in the Senate to push the selection of Hancock as one of the bases.

There have been a series of protests at Hancock Field during the past couple of years including major civil disobedience actions opposing the operation of drones at the base.  In late 2011, 31 activists were found guilty after trespassing to protest the MQ-9 Reaper drones.

The events this weekend are being sponsored by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars which is primarily composed of activists from upstate New York representing a diverse assortment of Peace and Justice organizations in different cities. They seek to educate the public and Hancock Air Base personnel about the war crimes perpetrated in Afghanistan with the MQ.
MQ-9 Reaper is built by General Atomics.


Glenn Greenwald, columnist for The Guardian and author of the book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful.


Intrigue. Romance. Revolution. It all comes together in this action-packed documentary film which chronicles the tumultuous birth of a new nation in East Timor through a never-before-seen perspective.

Kirsty Sword, a young Australian activist, aspired to be a documentary filmmaker, but instead became a underground operative for the Timorese resistance in Jakarta code named 'Ruby Blade'. Her task: to become a conduit of information and instruction for the enigmatic leader of the resistance, Kay Rala "Xanana" Gusmão, while he was serving life in prison for his revolutionary activities. Through correspondence, they fell in love.

Alias Ruby Blade captures their incredible love story from this beginning to the ultimate triumph of freedom in East Timor, demonstrating along the way the astonishing power of ordinary individuals to change the course of history.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


4th Amendment to the US Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

On Friday, April 19 in Watertown, Massachusetts during the manhunt for Boston Marathon bombing suspect police and federal agents spent the day raiding people's homes and performing searches. Police were filmed pushing people from their homes at gunpoint, marching the residents out with their hands raised in submission, and entering the homes to perform their searches.

As I watched this from afar I could not help but flash back to the Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 –  February 28, 1991) which the Pentagon claimed was the first space war.  It was during that time that the US Space Command "field tested" their entire space warfare technology system.  They pre-identified all of Iraq's military targets in advance with space satellites.  In the first 2-3 days of the war some 95% of those targets were bombed, essentially ending the war.  But the "war" would last for several more weeks as cruise missiles (at $1 million each) and other weapons were expended and aerospace corporations were working round-the-clock to replace them.  The Space Command checked out many other aspects of their "yet to be put into action"  war-making high-tech do-dads during that show.

While I know nothing about the guilt or innocence of the two young men accused in the Boston Marathon bombing, it does seem clear to me that at the very least this incident offered Homeland Security the opportunity to do a field test and they made full use of it.

We saw the latest in domestic surveillance technology being used.  We saw massive coordination of local, state, federal police/military forces - all now indistinguishable from one another - they looked like one huge invading army.

We most dramatically saw the field test of plans to shut an entire major city down - locked down under military control.

On December 31, 2011, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.  The act authorizes the military to detain, indefinitely and without trial, anyone it deems to be a terrorist or supporter of terrorism, including any US citizen.

We saw these same militarized police forces suppress the non-violent Occupy movement all over the US just last year.  The American people should be careful what they cheer for.  Next they might come for you.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


A deeply touching and outrage-inducing documentary about contemporary Iraq from the perspective of a taxi trip through the country.

Along the way the film maker and taxi driver speak to many ordinary people who share stories of Iraq past and present.  One man said, "They [Americans] are still here....their aim is to create disorder in Iraq".  The order "to kill our best people" by death squads and militias "comes from outside the country."

In Falluja the film maker interviews a hospital administrator who reports, "In 2005 we noticed a spectacular increase in genetic malformations in new born babies."  This genocide (caused by US military white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons) was an intentional decision by the US to clear out the population.

Many political operatives in the US government (including V-P Joesph Biden) have long called for breaking Iraq into three separate countries - divided between the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.

I'll never forget hearing former Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld walking out of the Pentagon and telling a reporter, "We plan everything."  That has stuck in my mind like a bad dream.

Could one possibly consider that the Bush shock and awe attack and occupation of Iraq always intended to create sectarian chaos which would lead to the balkanization of the country?  By doing this it makes it easier to negotiate oil extraction agreements with just one of the new entities.....and it helps to keep the people divided against one another while their oil is taken and their social and political structures collapse around them.

Chaos theory was used by the US-NATO to break Yugoslavia into pieces.  Chaos theory was used to "liberate" Libya to get western corporate control of  their oil - the largest source on the African continent.  Chaos theory is now in place as we witness NATO's destabilization of Syria.  Chaos theory is also being introduced by the CIA into Venezuela.

Chaos theory is being brought to us here in the USA.

It's a dirty old game. It's pure evil.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Here is the full-page coverage last Monday in our local Times Record (midcoast Maine) newspaper about the Jeju Island Navy base fight. 

Fellow Maine activist Carolyn Coe went to Gangjeong village for three weeks and did this great report.  I am amazed and happy that the paper covered this considering that the Navy Aegis destroyers, outfitted with so-called missile defense systems, are made here in Bath.

It's a really good thing for the community to have to see this.  Thank you Times Record.


An interview with Edward S. Herman who was co-author with Noam Chomsky of "Manufacturing Consent".


Activists in Stockholm, Sweden recently changed the signs inside the metro - putting peace messages where bland commercial adverts had been.


Mark Mazzati tells Jon Stewart that there are two separate US kill lists for Yemen -- one for the CIA and one for the Pentagon.

He has a new book on the CIA called The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


  • It's a sad testimony about politics in the US these days when the simplest of gun control measures could not get approved in the Senate which is controlled by the Democrats.  Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday that the Senate will “take a pause” and return to consideration of gun legislation at a later date. Don't hold your breath waiting.  Polls show that 90% of the citizens wanted something - anything - done to stop the spread of gun violence across the nation but the influence of the corporate gun industry stood in the way.

  • Housemate Karen Wainberg and I hit the streets today in Bath taking our Fair Budget door hanger literature to about 200 homes.  In three other parts of town volunteers did the same.  I'll be continuing this effort in the coming days and plan to distribute about 1,000 pieces in Bath before done.  We now have activists in 22 Maine communities passing out 10,000 such pieces of literature.

  • I noticed today after I handed one of the door hangers to a construction worker he began reading it aloud to a couple other workers who were taking a break with him.  An older couple walking their dog stopped on the street and began reading the piece after I gave it to them.  It was good to see that folks did not just immediately crumple it up and stuff it into their pocket as often happens when I hand out literature.  In this case though the door hangers are very attractive, have a great piece of art on them, and are being distributed during our annual tax time when people are thinking about how the government wastes much of their hard-earned money on crazy follies like the occupation in Afghanistan.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Venezuela's post-election crisis is growing deeper, with at least seven people killed during clashes between the opposition and police. President-elect Nicolas Maduro says he has proof that the US embassy is financing the ongoing protests.

The deaths occurred on Monday, when hundreds of protesters took to the streets in various parts of Caracas and other cities. The demonstrators blocked streets, burned tires, and fought with security forces.

The fatalities include two people shot by opposition sympathizers while celebrating Maduro's victory, state media reported. One person died in an attack on a government-run clinic in a central state. Two others, including a policeman, were killed in an Andean border state, officials told Reuters.

"The most serious thing is that in these violent actions, seven Venezuelans died," said Attorney General Luisa Ortega. She added that 135 people have been arrested in suspected connection with the violence.

According to Maduro, who spoke on Venezuelan television on Tuesday, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles ought to be held responsible for the violent demonstrations now taking place in Caracas and throughout the country, which have already left sixty-one injured. He also made pointed accusations at the US as having a key role in the current instability.


The first US Patriot missiles are operational outside the town of Gaziantep in Turkey, 43 kilometres from the Syrian border. Three NATO countries - the United States, Germany and the Netherlands - are involved in the operation.

This is one more example how US-NATO are now sticking themselves into every conflict on the globe as they attempt to justify an ever expanding military role for the capitalist-serving alliance.

The Global Network will be sending two of our board members (from the UK and Sweden) to Turkey for a peace conference at the end of April.  Because these so-called "missile defense" systems are now being spread into this volatile region we think it important to support the peace workers there.


  • Helen Caldicott reports: The Obama administration has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population.  Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. 
  •  Some loyalists are still waiting for Obama to unveil his hidden plan to be a real progressive but it appears that the magician is having way too much fun with his current act.   Don't hold your breath. 
  • The Pentagon owns or leases 75% of all federal buildings.

  • A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck Khash, Iran, making it the biggest earthquake to hit there in forty years. Estimates have varied widely on how many people may have been injured or killed. And one week ago, a deadly earthquake hit Buhsher. The National Iranian American Council is urging people to join them in calling on Obama to act so that sanctions do not in any way block earthquake relief efforts in Iran.  You can help by sending a message from here

  • Last night I picked up the local paper (Times Record) which covers the midcoast of Maine.  It was the Monday edition, I was a day late looking at it.  I turned the second section of the paper over to see the back page and was immediately stunned.  There at the top of the page a very familiar face jumped out at me.  It was Mayor Kang from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  There before my eyes was a full-page layout with many color photos of the village Navy base resistance efforts along with words by Carolyn Coe from Maine.  Carolyn went to Jeju for three weeks during Christmas break and since returning home has done two feature radio stories on WERU where she volunteers as a stringer.  I had forgotten that she'd ask me weeks ago where she might try to place such a photo essay and I had suggested the Times Record.  I never gave it a second thought and it was really remarkable for our paper to run the piece considering our local connection.  Inside the short story Carolyn wrote she made sure to mention that the Navy Aegis destroyers built here in Bath are likely to be deployed on Jeju.  It makes the April 28 visit to nearby Brunswick of Young Hee Jong (Chairwoman, Gangjeong Women Villagers' Committee to Stop the Naval Base) all the more special.  We now have six Mainers who have gone to Gangjeong village and five of them will be at the April 28 speaking event to hear Young.  Her talk will be held at the Curtis Memorial Library.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Abby Martin talks to activist, author and Princeton professor, Cornel West about class warfare, race issues, corporate greed, and the American empire.

This is an excellent interview and gets down to the nub of some of the key questions of our time.  Highly recommend watching it.

Monday, April 15, 2013



Lockheed Martin last week unveiled the concept design of the company’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicle.

They've got plans to keep their corporate endless welfare program going for another generation.

I was out working in the yard today cutting wood for next winter and I noticed a couple boys, about 4-5 years old, playing two doors away.  One was yelling to the other, "I'm going to kill you."

I couldn't help but think how tragic it is that the American culture is being hollowed out and turned into not much more than a killing machine to benefit global capitalism.  In a way these little kids seem to understand that the only real future for most working class kids in Maine, and across the nation, will be killing people.

Their education system in Maine is now being destroyed.  There are few jobs.  No real investment in the state economy is being made by private capital or the government.  We are being abandoned and these kids will have one primary employment option.  Their parents are so fixated on the economic rollercoaster they are riding that they can't see much beyond this moment that is already hard enough and only getting harder.



Guantanamo Bay, Cuba 

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago. 

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity. 

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. 

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either. 

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try. 

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray. 

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone. 

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping. 

There are so many of us on hunger strike now that there aren’t enough qualified medical staff members to carry out the force-feedings; nothing is happening at regular intervals. They are feeding people around the clock just to keep up. 

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not. 

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the “food” spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity. 

When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding. 

The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one. 

I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen’s president do something, that is what I risk every day. 

Where is my government? I will submit to any “security measures” they want in order to go home, even though they are totally unnecessary. 

I will agree to whatever it takes in order to be free. I am now 35. All I want is to see my family again and to start a family of my own. 

The situation is desperate now. All of the detainees here are suffering deeply. At least 40 people here are on a hunger strike. People are fainting with exhaustion every day. I have vomited blood. 

And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made. 

I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

- Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call.

Sunday, April 14, 2013



Saturday, April 13, 2013


  • I went to Brunswick this morning to join with local activists to hand out literature about the federal budget at the post office.  They had a good bunch of folks there so I went along Main Street and handed out our Fair Budget for All....Why Not? flyers to every shop keeper in the downtown area.  Then I walked over to the mill where the weekend flea market and farmers market are happening.  There the people were coming and going in droves and I handed out about 300 flyers in an hour. 

  • While at the mill I had some nice conversations with several of the people.  Many thanked me for being out there as I told them that we were trying to defend social progress.  When I mentioned Obama's proposed cuts to Social Security to older people their ears perked right up.  One guy told me that we all need to listen to the Graham Nash song "Military Madness" - we've got to cut the military budget he shouted.  Music to my ears so I thought I'd post that song below.

  • It is always encouraging to see folks come alive a bit when you are handing out flyers.  I'm just getting started and have several thousand copies of the flyer to put on doors here in Bath during the coming days.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Massive Antiwar-Protest @ Berlin University on April 10:
Students shouting down German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière

German Defence Minister wanted to speak at Berlin’s Humboldt University on the role of the Bundeswehr

But students did not let him speak at all. The CDU politician finally gave up.

Dozens of students on Wednesday prevented  a speech at the Humboldt University in Berlin by German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière. The CDU politician wanted to give a lecture on “Army of Unity – The contribution of the Bundeswehr to social cohesion”.

But right from the beginning the minister was greeted by about 300 students with rhythmic clapping and chanting as “Thomas, we love you” and was prevented from speaking. After some time, however the protesters shouted exclusively slogans like “Never again Germany”, “Germany sucks” and “No more war”.

Several groups had mobilized in recent days over the Internet to protest against the event.

De Maizière then tried to come up with the students this week, writing on a computer, “Who’s afraid to hear an argument?"  It remained just as unsuccessful as the request of University President Jan-Hendrik Olbertz.
After about half an hour the defense minister left the university.

Upon leaving de Maizière told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, “I think it is not a sign of strength, to avoid such a discussion It’s of no use.” Nevertheless, he would continue to occur at universities. “I do it gladly. Berlin is not everywhere.”


Maine Legislature & the Debate Over Drone Surveillance Warrants
Maine's Joint Judiciary Committee had their work session on LD 236 "An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use" yesterday in our capital city of Augusta.  After a long debate between the Attorney General and the ACLU the assembled committee members voted unanimously to kick the drone bill can down the road - they decided to postpone any decision for another two weeks.

The session began an hour late so four of us stood outside the hearing room and held signs opposing drones.  In another hearing room next door a packed crowd was debating the merits of gun control and many Tea Party members were there.  They were very interested in our anti-drone signs and we found most agreed with our concerns about drone surveillance without warrants.

One of the gun-rights supporters showed us a bumper sticker that had a drone on it and the words "Protect our 2nd amendment rights to shoot down drones."  It was heartening to have discussions with these Tea Party folks about an issue that we could agree on and felt good to have a civil exchange for once. In that moment we could see each other’s humanity and agree that the power structure often keeps us divided against one another.  So it was good to hear they were thinking along those lines like we are. I intend to follow up with some of their leaders to see if we can work together on the drone bill.

Once the hearing began it was clear that Maine's Attorney General (AG) Janet Mills (former V-P of Maine Democratic Party) was hardly in a mood to negotiate with the ACLU over the fundamental question: Should law enforcement in Maine be required to have a warrant before they can use a drone for surveillance of citizens?

AG Mills made the following case:
·    We have a serious disagreement with the ACLU on several points
·    It's a burden on law enforcement to get warrants - you can't always find a judge to authorize them
·    The bill contains too many cumbersome procedures for law enforcement
·    The ACLU bill weighs the scales against law enforcement

Instead AG Mills proposed a temporary moratorium until July 1, 2014 to allow a consortium of law enforcement agencies to come up with "minimum standards" that would include prior authorization by "some official" before drones could be used for surveillance. She didn't specify who the official should be - hopefully someone that is not too difficult to reach on weekends like those hidden judges. 

Most important for me though was her last point, sort of slipped into the conversation almost as an after thought.  But this one had clearly been thought out.  AG Mills said that the drone bill should in no way impede the possibility of a drone test center in northern Maine.  Bingo!

I am convinced that the leadership of the Democratic Party in Augusta is under intense pressure these days on the drone bill.  They are hearing strong support from the grassroots who obviously understand the fundamental importance of protecting our tattered civil liberties against coming unwarranted drone surveillance. But the Democrats, who now control the Maine legislature, but not the governorship, also have their eyes on that big prize.  In 2014 the Democrats want to win the governorship again.  And they want the support of the police, the growing aerospace industry interests in Maine, the fledgling drone manufacturing folks in our state, and the citizens up north surrounding the now closed Loring AFB who think a drone test center and a missile defense base located there would be a big job creator.

The Democrats understand that the federal government's national jobs policy these days is military production and endless war.  They've seen the writing on the wall that declares military projects are the priority of the corporate dominated government we live under.  The Democrats think that if they want to win the governorship they have to throw a bone to folks around Loring and to the aerospace industry

The fact is that 37 states are now in full capitalist-competition for the six drone testing sites around the US that Obama has announced will ultimately bring 30,000 drones into our skies.  It will become a bidding war, and sweeteners will have to be thrown at the feet of the Pentagon to entice them to come to a particular community.  One such piece of candy could be the promise that the Maine state legislature will not require drone operators to have a warrant before they do surveillance on citizens across our state.

I came away from the Judiciary Committee work session on LD 236 seeing the deadly connection between the bill's key element - protecting our civil liberties - and the proposed drone test base in Maine. 

For those wondering if drones will ever come to Maine, the question has been answered.  They are here now and we'd better look up before it is too late. 


Committee Clerk: Susan Pinette
Policy Analysts: Margaret Reinsch, Susan Johannesman
Fiscal Analyst: Alexandra Avore
Hearing Room: Room 438, State House - phone (207) 287-1327
Chairs' Office: Room 433, State House
Mailing Address:
Committee on Judiciary
c/o Legislative Information
100 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

District No. 5 
Linda M. Valentino
Boom Road
Saco, Maine 04072
(207) 282-5227 residence

State Capitol Address
Senate Chamber
3 State House Station 
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 287-1540
(800) 423-6900
Legislative Web Site

home: (207) 838-3013
office: call his legislative aide, Marc Malon, @ (207) 287-1515
street: 176 Cottage St., Sanford, ME 04073

home: (207) 733-8856
office: (207) 287-1505

159 Dodge Rd.
Whiting ME 04691

Address: 9 Bowker Street, Brunswick, ME 04011
Home Telephone: (207) 725-5439
Business Telephone: (207) 622-3789
Fax: (207) 622-3792
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 6 Russet Lane, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
Cell Phone: (207) 749-9443
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
Personal Web Site: Facebook: Kim Monaghan-Derrig
(This link is outside the Maine Legislature web site)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 1008 Middle Street, Bath, ME 04530
Home Telephone: (207) 442-8486
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 17 Pine Street #2, Portland, ME 04102
Cell Phone: (207) 332-7823
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
Personal Web Site:
(This link is outside the Maine Legislature web site)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 34 Blanchard Road, Cumberland, ME 04021
Home Telephone: (207) 829-5095
Business Telephone: (207) 774-7000
Cell Phone: (207) 318-3238
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: P. O. Box 427, Harrison, ME 04040
Cell Phone: (207) 712-5222
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Democratic Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: P. O. Box 701, Bethel, ME 04217
Home Telephone: (207) 875-5075
Business Telephone: (207) 824-0717
Cell Phone: (207) 739-9971
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Republican Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 27 Sherman Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
Home Telephone: (207) 784-0036
Cell Phone: (207) 577-6962
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Republican Office)
Personal Web Site:
(This link is outside the Maine Legislature web site)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 17 Pine Street, Milford, ME 04461
Business Telephone: (207) 827-7296
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Republican Office)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 79 Phillips Road, Glenburn, ME 04401
Home Telephone: (207) 884-7118
Cell Phone: (207) 249-0472
Home E-Mail:
Legislative Web Site:
(Additional information, news, etc., from the House Republican Office)
Personal Web Site: Facebook Representative Stacey Guerin
(This link is outside the Maine Legislature web site)
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469

Address: 14 Oak Hill Street, Penobscot Nation, Indian Island, ME 04468
Home Telephone: (207) 827-0392
Business Telephone: (207) 817-7300
Tribal Telephone: (207) 817-7300
Home E-Mail:
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
State House TTY Line: (207) 287-4469