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: Bath, Maine, 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.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

RAY MCGOVERN: WORKING FOR PEACE

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern speaks tonight at Bowdoin College in Brunswick


I had lunch with Ray McGovern today.  He swung by Bath and we walked down to our nice local Thai restaurant for a meal.  He was interested in the huge crane at Bath Iron Works that hangs over the city like a bad memory.  I told Ray about the USS Cowpens that was built in Bath and launched in 1989.  This Aegis cruiser became the first US Navy ship to launch ordnance in the opening stages of the Iraq War when she fired 37 Tomahawk cruise missiles in George W. Bush's "shock and awe" attack in 2003. 

I told Ray the sad story about the woman Lieutenant on-board who was driving the ship when it launched those missiles.  She came to one of my talks in Boothbay, Maine some years ago and would become close friends of Mary Beth and I. She also became a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and Veterans For Peace here in Maine.  She told us how, after their cruise missiles had been fired on a defenseless Baghdad, she went below deck to join the crew watching the burning city on TV.  The Navy personnel on the ship were cheering with each new explosion and she felt sick.  This remarkable young woman today suffers from a severe case of war trauma.

Ray is no stranger to these kind of stories.  He's been around war and peace activism for many years now.

Ray came from his native New York to Washington in the early Sixties as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. Ray’s duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, which he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

In January 2003, Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to expose the way
intelligence was being falsified to “justify” war on Iraq.

In 2011 Ray joined the US boat to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid and solidarity to the embattled Palestinian people.  At the behest of Tel Aviv and Washington, Greek authorities stopped the small flotilla from sailing to Gaza in a challenge to Israel’s four-year blockade of the narrow strip of land and its 1.6 million people.

Thanks go to Michael Cutting (Portland) who took on the challenge of organizing Ray's speaking tour this week in Maine and New Hampshire.  Ray specifically requested that he get to speak with students and Michael made Ray more than happy by securing invitations to speak to several high school and college audiences.

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