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, June 30, 2013


Anne Braden: Southern Patriot provides an in-depth portrait of the legendary Southern organizer and journalist whose life long activism exemplified what progressive white people can do to fight racism. She was labeled a "race traitor" by white supremacists and praised by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Saturday, June 29, 2013


We showed the film at Global Network conference today in Sweden...... It was a smashing hit....people were crying and they were clapping to the music at the end.....I handed out the DVD's strategically to key leaders in various Swedish cities, and from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Japan and Mexico.....people passed the hat to send money to the village but I insisted they keep the money towards sending someone to the village ASAP......they loved the music, the story, and the resistance.....many people sent congrats to Regis's was a European opening night showing......5 stars

Folks should order this film and show it locally.  People are moved when they watch it and then they want to do something.....


Our high north space organizing conference in Kiruna, Sweden is now in its third day. 

My suitcase didn't arrive with me on the plane and I had to borrow some clothes from my host family.  Finally it was delivered to me last evening and we learned that the bag had made a trip to Hawaii instead of being sent to Sweden.  One woman at the conference remarked that "Americans don't know much about Europe so that explains why the bag was sent to Hawaii."

Yesterday we loaded on a bus and made the one hour trip to the Esrange Space Center where they launch rockets and serve as a downlink ground station for images from satellites.  The public relations person told us that they only do civilian space operations there but our group of 50 people from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Japan, Mexico and the US had earlier listened to a presentation by Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal provide conclusive evidence that in fact Esrange downloads many images for military operations.  It was a real pleasure to witness the strong response from the conference participants to the evasiveness of the Esrange public relations officer.

Just listened to an excellent visual presentation by Global Network board convener Dave Webb from England who showed how  the Pentagon's "missile defense" system works and is being used to surround Russia and China today.  He also had some great photos from the many years of Global Network meetings in various countries during our 21 years of organizing.


Rumored to be the descendants of Alexander the Great, the Kalash people have in fact inhabited northern Pakistan's Chitral valley since long before the legendary conqueror came to the region. They uphold a rich cultural heritage, with polytheistic beliefs, seasonal festivals, and a variety of other traditions that are at odds with Pakistan's dominant Islam. Today, even as the the majestic peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains shield the Kalasha from the region's worst violence, their culture faces a variety of pressures: poverty, tourism, and Islamism are all contributing to the erosion of Kalash identity. Still, a dedicated group of Kalash advocates are fighting to keep their culture alive.

In May 2013, director Iara Lee traveled to the Chitral valley to document the Kalash spring festival, Joshi. The Kalasha and the Crescent uses the festival as an entry point into this vibrant community and the tough questions facing it. What does conversion to Islam—whether forced or spontaneous—mean for Kalash identity? Can Kalash traditions withstand the challenges brought by globalization on the one hand and by religious tensions on the other? Join members of the Kalash community and observers from around the world as they reckon with these questions.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Diane Wilson, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, like a Guantanamo detainee, managed to scale the White House Fence, in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the 104 hunger striking Guantanamo detainees, most held without charges. She was immediately surrounded and arrested by a Secret Service swat team armed with automatic weapons and a German shepherd.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I am off early this morning to Boston to catch my plane to Sweden for the Global Network annual space conference.  Hope all my connecting flights work out.....and hope I can get some sleep on the plane.  Love this cartoon sent by a friend this morning.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Washington has revoked Edward Snowden's passport and said that he should be prevented from traveling any further. That's as officials demand that he be returned to the jurisdiction of the United States. Some lawmakers are urging Washington to spare no effort to put him on trial in the US, even going so far as to threaten Russia over its involvement. RT's Gayane Chichakyan reports.


On March 2nd, 2013, warriors across 14 Pacific island nations answered a call, brought on by the threat of climate change. The warrior spirit of the Pacific Islands rose to show the world "We are not drowning. We are fighting." The Warrior Spirit of the Pacific Islands has now awoken to fight climate change.

We're not giving up. We're going to fight for what is ours - our island homes and cultures.


  • Good news came to us today from Jackie Cabasso (Mayors for Peace) who reports the following:  Yesterday the US Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted the Mayors for Peace resolution Calling for US Leadership in Global Abolition of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs at their annual meeting in Las Vegas! Don't let what happened in Vegas stay in Vegas!! Read the final resolution with the list of 30 sponsors here
  • It's refreshing to see that big city mayors understand the current massive imbalance in our federal spending.  They feel the pain as social programs are cut and all the nation's problems are dumped in their laps.   Hopefully their resolution will begin to have some impact on the way Congress looks at the federal budget priorities. Up to this point it is clear that Congress has become virtual captives of the military industrial complex.
  • One example is the June 14 vote in the House of Representatives on the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act which approved $638 billion for the Pentagon. The vote was 315-108 in favor of passage.  Democrats voted 103-90 for the huge military spending bill with about half of the members of the "Progressive Caucus" voting yes.  These same "progressive" Dems complain about cuts in social spending, they grumble about war spending but when it comes time to stand with the forces for peace they run into the arms of the weapons corporations who give generously to their campaigns. 
  • All of this massive military spending should be put in the context of new reports indicating that nearly 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,021 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families. Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.



NRO: The "Other" Intelligence Agency 

By Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs)

Now that every member of Congress and the White House staff is avoiding learning anything about the National Security Agency, in favor of calling for the head of Edward Snowden (with the exception of admirable efforts by Mark Udall and Ron Wyden), it is time to remind everyone that NSA is not the largest U.S. technical intelligence agency by budget.  That honor goes to the even lesser-known National Reconnaissance Office, or NRO.  The NRO, which spends in the neighborhood of between $15 and $16 billion per year, is the largest of any U.S. intelligence agency, at least in budget authority.  Its staff is small, because its business is flying spy satellites, using partial budget authority of the Air Force.

For the first 15 or 20 years following establishment of the NRO in 1960, the agency had an even more benign reputation among arms-control liberals than did the NSA, and for a very concrete reason.  The early imaging satellites launched by NRO disproved Soviet bomber gaps and missile gaps, thereby making the case for smaller strategic nuclear budgets (admittedly, they did not seem very small in the height of the Cold War, but could have been even larger).  This tendency to rely on "national technical means of verification" led to a knee-jerk assumption by many liberals that the NRO was benign-by-design.  How could a spy-satellite agency be a subject of Constitutional debate?

Those that ask this question do not realize how profoundly the NRO changed during the 1980s, and particularly in the aftermath of the Cold War.  The NSA was on a mission during the Reagan years to limit the exposure of ground-based listening posts in sensitive locations like Iran and Turkey.  The NRO could claim new frontiers in chip integration and RF antenna design that would allow the fielding of massive geosynchronous satellites with unfurlable antennas as large as two football fields, and "close-listen" satellites in low-Earth and Molniya orbits that would allow particular conversations (voice or email) to be picked up in specific regions of the planet.  During the 1980s and 1990s, a vast array of NSA capabilities moved to space, courtesy of the NRO.

In my earlier post on NSA, I pointed out that this move made it easy for NSA to expand to full broadband intercept of all communications.  It is much harder to make a satellite turn itself off for one specific region, than for the same satellite to pick up everything globally, but make much of its intercepted content deniable except when other agencies of government specifically needed that information.  Thanks to NRO, the NSA was scooping up everything from the Clinton era on - not just from the post-9/11 era.  Bush's FISA Bypass flap was about making collected NSA information usable and only partially deniable - prior to 2002, the information was collected but was denied to exist.  The constellation of NRO satellites also made it easier for signals intelligence to update itself for the TCP/IP packet-switching era of the Internet.  Many ground-based NSA resources of the past were designed for circuit-switched, nailed-up connections between sender and receiver.  NRO satellites could function just as well in the packet-switched anything-to-anything world, as in the circuit-switched telco world of the past.

During the 1980s, huge new ground stations were built at locations such as Menwith Hill in England and Buckley Field in Colorado, specifically to download, analyze, and store this massive treasure-trove of data.  The rationale for these satellite-downlink stations is similar to that for the NSA's new Utah Data Center opening this summer in Bluffdale, Utah -- the stations wouldn't be built if the agencies didn't have the data to fill them up.

In the 1990s, organizations like Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, submitted testimony to Congress on the potential problems of new classes of spy satellites.  We were privately told by Air Force officials that the protests were appreciated, because no member of Congress ever raised these issues.  Most members wouldn't know the difference between imaging and signals satellites in the first place, and virtually all members of Congress did not want to learn more about the NRO or NSA - rubber-stamping any new project was preferred.  This led to huge scandals in the mid-1990s -- at one point, NRO Director Jeff Harris was removed from the agency because he could not account for $2.5 billion of the agency's annual budget.

The NRO influence and budget continued to grow following Sept. 11, and continues to grow today.  Its classified budget is believed to exceed $15 billion.  The NRO launched six satellites in the course of 2012, of which citizens were allowed to learn virtually nothing, and the agency expanded staff at its Chantilly, VA headquarters and at Buckley AFB in Aurora, CO.  What happens if a contractor is upset about satellite capabilities and decides to reveal information a la Edward Snowden?  Do American citizens need to know each orbital plane and each frequency band of all of NRO's spy satellites?  Perhaps not.  But does the public deserve to know about the general class of advanced spy satellites like Advanced Orion and Advanced Jumpseat, and their possible role in violating civil liberties?  Of course they do.  But the attitude of the Obama administration, and 90 percent of the members of Congress, is that the public has no right to be asking about technical intelligence agencies in the first place, let alone the right to deserve honest answers.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Real revolutions find a role for everyone to play in creating the change.  Do what you do best but do it with intention so that it helps bring the changes we need. 

These yoga folks took their spiritual practice right into the heart of the fight in Turkey and added something important.  It's the same way that the Catholic priests and nuns bring themselves into the Navy base struggle on Jeju Island.

How can you add something to the coming non-violent liberation of the people and the Mother Earth from the corporate control and domination?


A Third Way

By Noba from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island

The number of protesters has gradually increased throughout the week. On Friday, June 21 it hit its peak with the incorporation of more Catholic priests and nuns (and those of various churches). As seen in the video, everyone gathered around the naval base in a single file which eventually broke out into singing/dancing. However, there were no police nor construction to oppose throughout the day.

An interesting occurrence happened today between activists and the police. The SOS team (Save Our Seas) went out to sea today for its weekly, Wednesday act of kayak protesting and monitoring around the naval base construction. It was quite possibly my favorite time with SOS, not only from the joy of cruising through the huge waves (a lot of wind and rain throughout the day) but from what happened afterwards. Once we brought our kayaks in from the sea we were treated with warm potato pancakes. The SOS set aside half its serving for the police and coast guards. As a result, they enjoyed the food and immediately offered us all coffee to drink together. Although such an event may not seem significant, it represented in it’s nature the truth of humanity. Regardless of our differences or which side we decide to stand on, we can still uphold the law of nonviolence. We all tread different paths but at the end of the day, our paths converge to the same goal: love.

In other news regarding SOS, , it has been decided to monitor the construction base in kayaks everyday in addition to the much larger weekly, Wednesday gatherings. 1 or 2 kayaks will go out to sea to investigate the construction’s mismanagement and record its findings. I volunteered to be one of the few to do so on a daily basis. I will post any important information regarding this in the near future.



  • The FBI confirmed last week that drones are carrying out surveillance within the United States. FBI Director Robert Mueller called the drone use "very seldom," while acknowledging regulations to address privacy concerns have yet to be completed. Meanwhile, in the latest leak of classified National Security Agency material, The Guardian reported Thursday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has signed off on rules that appear to grant wide latitude to the NSA in retaining and making use of Americans’ private data, rather than "minimizing" its usage. 

Democracy Now discusses the latest issues of domestic surveillance with Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and author of the forthcoming book, "Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance." Boghosian examines the increasing monitoring of ordinary citizens, and the corporations that work with the government to mine data collected from a wide range of electronic sources.

  • Just a reminder that on July 4 the Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home and PeaceWorks will do a drone/NSA surveillance bit in the Bath, Maine parade.  We will have puppets, bulging eye headbands, T-shirts, banners and signs to bring the domestic surveillance issue to the public.  Bring something creative on this theme if you can.  If you don't we'll have extras to share.  The parade beings at 11:30 am and we will gather just after 10:30 am by the cemetery (across from the pizza place) on Lincoln and Congress Ave.  (Or you can come to the Addams-Melman House at 212 Centre St and leave your car here.)  Following the parade we will have a pot luck picnic back at the Addams-Melman House in Bath.  All are invited.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


On 1 Year, Snowden, Manning and More

by Julian Assange

It has now been a year since I entered this embassy [Ecuador embassy in London] and sought refuge from persecution.

As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.

But today, Edward Snowden's ordeal is just beginning.

Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.

Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.

Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.

A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program - involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants - to spy on everyone in the world.

As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.

The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.

It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice.

Edward Snowden is the eighth leaker to be charged with espionage under this president.

Bradley Manning's show trial enters its fourth week on Monday.

After a litany of wrongs done to him, the US government is trying to convict him of "aiding the enemy."

The word "traitor" has been thrown around a lot in recent days.

But who is really the traitor here?

Who was it who promised a generation "hope" and "change," only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?

Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?

Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?

Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?

Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth - every single one of us - and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that "we're going to have to make a choice."

Who is that person?

Let's be very careful about who we call "traitor."

Edward Snowden is one of us.

Bradley Manning is one of us.

They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.

They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.

The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.

One day, they will run the CIA and the FBI.

This isn't a phenomenon that is going away.

This is inevitable.

And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.

This isn't how to fix things.

The only way to fix things is this:

Change the policies.

Stop spying on the world.

Eradicate secret law.

Cease indefinite detention without trial.

Stop assassinating people.

Stop invading other countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.

Stop the occupations, and discontinue the secret wars.

Stop eating the young: Edward Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, Gottfrid Svartholm, Jacob Appelbaum, and Bradley Manning.

The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.

That tactic must not be allowed to work.

The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified.

What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity?

Tell your governments to step forward.

Step forward and stand with Snowden.

- Julian Assange is an Australian editor, activist, journalist, and founder of Wikileaks.


Saturday, June 22, 2013


New documentary Grasp The Nettle shows how state inaction on climate change fosters direct action on society’s margins.

Two years before the Occupy movement sprang forth in New York and London, a motley group of land rights activists occupied a piece of disused land in west London to create an alternative model of moneyless, sustainable living. Little did they know they were about to embark on an extraordinary journey, at once harrowing and inspiring, that would take them into the heart of Westminster.


Abby Martin talks to Karen Hudes, former senior executive at the World Bank, about her experience blowing the whistle on the high level corruption within the international financial system and how her story was censored.

Corporate globalization is a criminal syndicate.

Friday, June 21, 2013


"This man is a war criminal."


  • Early this morning the phone rang but I was still in bed so I let the message machine pick it up.  When I finally listened to the message it was from a woman politician in Norway calling about the Global Network 21st annual space conference in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29.  She wants to come and needed more information.  
  • I did a radio interview on Voice of Russia two nights ago about the conference - they were particularly interested in discussing how the US radar facilities in Vardo, Norway and Thule, Greenland are key instruments in the Pentagon's mis-named "missile defense" system aimed at Russia.
  • The photo above is from the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna.  When I visited Kiruna years ago a young woman came to my talk and said she worked at Esrange and kept seeing that information downloaded from satellites was immediately sent to the US.  She asked why and got no answer.  It indicates how the downlink stations in Sweden and Norway are tied into US military operations.  This will be a big theme of our conference.  I am told that the Communication Director at Esrange has contacted our folks in Sweden and said he wanted to meet us at Esrange when we go there during the conference.  I'm sure his job will be to tell us that everything that happens at Esrange is for civilian use.  We've heard that tune many times before.  They say that at NASA too but we know better.
  • It's interesting that Obama was just in Berlin where he made his big speech about wanting to cut back on US-Russian nuclear weapons at the same time he is expanding "missile defense" systems to surround Russia.  He knows Russia will never agree to a plan that would make them more vulnerable.  His speech was pure public relations - done to try to impress the European audience on the heels of the embarrassing disclosures about NSA spying on everybody around the world.  The speech was also intended to mollify the left in the US and some have taken the bait.  
  • Following Obama's call for more nuclear weapons cuts, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, "Apart from the role of nuclear weapons and issues related to the ceilings in the nuclear arms area, the Russian leadership will also take into account the missile defense situation, the creation of non-nuclear precision weapons [Pentagon's Global Strike program], the possibility of deploying weapons in space, to which Moscow categorically objects, and refusal of a number of countries to take part in key arms control agreements. [The US and Israel have refused for years to negotiate with Russia and China on a ban on weapons in space.]  Without taking all these circumstances into account, it is wrong to talk only about the role of nuclear weapons as a factor affecting strategic stability." 
  • In related news the Obama administration had promised to build Israel a state-of-the-art facility to house a new ballistic-missile defense system, the Arrow 3. The Arrow 3 is capable of intercepting missiles at a range of up to 1,500 miles and can maneuver in midair to chase them. Last February, Israel conducted the first test of the Arrow 3 in space. That test was overseen by the United States.

    Read more here:

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Thursday, June 20, 2013


On the occasion of the visit of President Obama to Berlin, organizations of the peace and civil rights movements of Berlin called for red-carding Obama and showing US policies their limits. This was done in a demonstration and symbolically by surrounding the US embassy in Berlin on June 17.

About 1,000 people marched from Bertolt-Brecht-Platz to Platz des 18. März and demonstrated for an immediate end of the war in Afghanistan, a worldwide ban on combat drones, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the end of missile defense shield, a stop of the armament madness of the USA, an immediate closure of Guantanamo and the release and compensation of all political prisoners, as well as active engagement against the inhumane prison industry in the USA.

After the rally, they red-carded Obama while surrounding the US embassy.

Furthermore you will find some pictures of the actions here.

Reiner Braun and Lucas Wirl
IALANA Office Berlin


Yesterday the Maine House of Representatives passed our drone bill 115-33.  (The Maine Senate had previously passed the bill as well.) It was a mixed victory.

On the positive side, the long sought after police warrant requirement was in the bill which would allow law suits against the police if they violate the warrant provisions.  The bill also has a two-year moratorium on police use of drones in Maine.

On the negative side, the bill carried an amendment that allows testing of weaponized drones in Maine.  The bill language reads something like this: An unmanned aerial vehicle may not employ the use of facial recognition technology or be equipped with a weapon except .....  for the purposes of research, testing, training or manufacturer of such vehicles.

I was told that the office of Gov. LePage (Republican) wrote the weaponized drone language.  He is likely to sign the bill because of the inclusion of that language.  Many Tea Party activists across the state strongly supported the bill's warrant requirements which ensured many Republicans in the legislature would vote for it.

I must say that the ACLU in Maine was instrumental in getting this bill passed.  They pushed very hard for the police warrant requirement and from my understanding Maine is now the first state legislature in the country to pass such a bill.  I worked directly with Shenna Bellows from the ACLU for months on this and our role was to help build the grassroots support for the bill.  All indications are that the continual grassroots pressure was a key to building deep and wide support in the legislature for the warrant requrement.

But we did not always agree on the bill language.  The ACLU really wanted the warrant requirements and in the end they had to settle for the drone weapons testing in order to get what they wanted.  The weapons testing was not an issue the ACLU would draw the line for.  Just yesterday we in the peace community were asked by state House leadership to agree to the drone weaponization language and I said that it was not possible.  I told Rep. Seth Berry (Democrat) that "I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well.  I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones.  I can't morally or ethically do it."

Sometimes even progressive groups don't agree on everything and you have to work together as best you can.  Shenna tried hard to have our voice included in the middle of the negotiations but in the end the ACLU decided to set a precedent by getting a bill passed somewhere in the country with the warrant requirement in it.

So in the end the Maine police can't spy on you without a warrant but the drone industry and the military can freely practice killing you with Hellfire missiles.   Such is the sausage making business.

Our next steps will be to organize an anti-drone presence in the Bath July 4 parade and then do a Maine drone peace walk from Limestone to Augusta on October 10-19.  We will stay on the drone issue in Maine.  It's not over by a long shot.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The Maine drone bill has hit a snag.  A couple potential drone manufacturers in Maine, along with the Presque Isle airport (who wants to be a drone test site), are pushing for language in the bill to allow testing of weapons on drones.  Maine Attorney General Janet Mills (Democrat) and Gov. Paul LePage (Republican) are largely behind this effort.

The Maine House of Representatives tabled the bill last night in order to buy time to add the drone weapons testing amendment.

Late last night I was talking with Shenna Bellows from ACLU about all this and she said Rep.Seth Berry in the House wants our endorsement of the drone weapons testing lingo for the bill.  Then this morning we got an email directly from Rep. Berry asking for our support.

This is what I wrote back to him:

I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well.  I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones.  I can't morally or ethically do it.
Everyone promises job is to try to end wars and the massive military spending. If we converted the war industry to peaceful production we'd have loads of money for building rail, a solar society, fixing roads and bridges, and much more.
The definitive study on creating jobs was done by UMASS-Amherst, please take a look:
This feverish last minute scramble is how bad laws get written.  That's why I've all along suggested a two-year moratorium should be passed on drones in Maine which would give us all time to do it right.
In the end though the drone testing deal will be a challenge as Obama is calling for 30,000 of them to fly over our heads in coming years.  We will be told it is OK because it will create jobs.
That's why I'm now organizing a walk to stop drones in Maine from Limestone to Augusta next Oct 10-19.  We need more time to get the public engaged in this discussion.
Many thanks for listening.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space


Construction trash and debris floats out of a gap in the silt protectors. Gangjeong was once famous for the cleanliness of it's Joongdeok Sea.

Although just recently made, these caissons are already falling apart, perhaps due to rough weather and poor construction.

On June 5 and 12, the Gangjeong village SOS (Save Our Seas) Ocean Team again took to the seas to monitor the Navy base construction. On one of the trips, June 12, they were joined by a large group of students from an alternative school who had come to visit Gangjeong. The students had a short experiential learning session about the ocean construction and the Joongdoek Sea. Otherwise, the construction continued with the same violations which always occur, despite claims to the contrary by both the Samsung construction companies and even the complicit provincial government.

The military industrial complex views nature as an obstacle that must be run over in order to build its outposts of imperial expansion.  They don't care what they do to the undersea soft coral reefs nor to the fish or the water.  The sacred rocky coast has been blasted and cement poured over it and no thought is given to the life that lived amongst the rocks.  It is covered and forgotten.

This militarism is a disease.  It is a cancer.  It is disgusting and must be stopped.

You can help by watching and sharing the new documentary film about the Jeju Navy base resistance called Ghosts of Jeju.

The nature has ghosts too and we humans will be haunted for years to come after what is being done to Jeju Island and its surrounding sea.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



Now people are protesting in Brazil as they see cutbacks in education and social spending.

The whole world is fed up with the corruption that comes from our governments being taken over by corporate power.  They privatize - they cut back - they steal our natural resources - they pollute our Mother Earth - they make war and use police violence to repress the public - and then they lie about their devious intentions.

The world is moving in a wave against these corporate dominated governments.  Keep it going.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Drone bill wins in Maine Senate - Goes to House on Tuesday

Great news.  Our drone bill (LD 236) minority report won big in the State Senate in Augusta today.  Your calls and emails worked.

Now we need you to make one more round of calls/emails to House members in Augusta as the bill will come before the House on Tuesday.

You can find their contact info at (House)

The minority report not only put the warrant requirements back into the bill (which Attorney General Mills repeatedly tried to kill) but also declares a two-year moratorium on the use of drones in Maine.

Great effort by ACLU in Maine and our grassroots supporters made this happen.

So please help us push through this last step - contact your Maine House member now.  Ask them to support warrants before drones can be used for surveillance in our state and the moratorium.


This is video of the Directed Energy Weapons lobby set up in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. The Military Industrial Complex is not shy about courting members of Congress. They had models of some laser weapons on display, sandwiches and drinks, chocolates and little gadgets to give away.


Tariq Ali is a famous writer and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


After making basketball history playing alongside the North Korean National Team, Vice Correspondent, Ryan Duffy and the Harlem Globetrotters sit down for a meal with the North Korean players, sharing highlights from the game and reactions to the surprise appearance of the Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un.


What would white folks say if their communities were turned into oil cesspools like this?  Why do Nigerians have to live this way?



Last night at 9.00 PM police forces intervened against the Istanbul Gezi Park resistance violently, following the speech of Prime Minister Erdoğan in Ankara.

This is an obvious declaration of war against the people.

All main highways of Istanbul were occupied by demonstrators. Tens of thousands of people were in the streets, trying to march to Taksim square. Police uses not only tear gas but also rubber bullets.

Prime Minister Erdoğan also ordered that doctors and medical volunteers who were treating the victims of police violence should be arrested and many were.  One hotel in the city opened their doors to those needing to escape the police violence and people formed a human chain outside the hotel doors to keep police from going inside.
The Confederation of employees in the public sector (KESK) is calling for a general strike on Monday.


Saturday, June 15, 2013


Right out of high school a friend ran for freshman class president at the local Community College near Beale AFB in California where our father's were stationed.  In high school he was not particularly popular nor was he one to follow the crowd.  When I asked him how he went from being a virtual nobody to class president in his first year of college he replied, "Bruce, people are basically sheep."

This poll on the question of NSA surveillance reflects that sad fact.  Democrats, like most Republicans,  largely "follow their leader" and don't bother thinking for themselves.  My friend was right - most people are indeed sheeple.

We can only hope they will get a spine before it is too late.


Another fan posted this photo on the Orioles chat site to make the point that the military has infiltrated virtually all sporting events in the this case sponsoring the black racing car

I checked the fan reactions this morning to my post last night (see post below) about camo baseball uniforms at the most popular Baltimore Orioles chat site.  There were some and thought I'd share them.  It's nice to see some thoughtful responses.  Makes you remember that you are not usually alone in your feelings about some issues.  Finding a way to make your feelings known can often open the door for others as well.

  • On the bright side...we didn't have to see the awful O's hat tonight.
  • I agree, totally awful. And, unlike Memorial Day, I fail to see why Flag Day has to be related to the military. Sure, the military is an important part of America, but it is not the only thing the flag represents. I'm not too fond of all the sports uniforms "tributes" lately. Watching the NFL players wear pink all October is probably the worst. I think there are better ways to show respect than to wear it on your sleeve- literally. 
  • Crap, does that mean we have to suffer the camo again when it's the b-day of the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc? Maybe they can wear suits and ties on the FBI's birthday and ninja outfits on the ATF's birthday.
  • Not trying to disrespect the Army. I just find all this dress-up kind of trite. 
  • I love the reason they are wearing them..but I absolutely abhor the look. And I missed the Friday night black tops because of it tonight. 
  • The military industrial complex? Really? The hats were kind of cool. For winning 4 of 5 people sure do have their feathers ruffled tonight. 
  • An eloquent letter that does not take an overt political stance (as in left vs. right or liberal/progressive vs. conservative), but totally reflects my position on the issue (and that of my father-in-law, who's on the opposite side of the political spectrum from me). Yes, enough with the camo hats/uniforms--I'd take the all-orange look 162 days a season if that meant no more camo ever. 
  • Bruce, I admire your courage and mostly agree. But what most people don't know is that this MLB merchandise pays a FRACTION to the military families (auctions aside) and the profit margins even on the July 4 hats are huge. To me its very hypocritical of a multi-billion dollar industry taking a PENNY while promoting the men and women who serve. And they take A LOT of pennies. As far as promoting the war "machine", I may not go that far....but there is a ton of manipulation by MLB at the fans expense...literally...
  • I'd like to hear Tony's [owner of the chat site] take on this issue because he is a true military hero who has multiple stints in Afghanistan, and as such, has huge credibility for me. As do you.
  • This town needs an enema. I think they are kind of cool....for a change of pace. A few times a year won't kill you. 
  • Dear Orioles: Please stop wearing those Cam hideous uniforms. Pay tribute to the Army, the Flag, fine, get rid of the caps and uniforms. 
  • As a war veteran and still serving member of the USAF, I don't mind it one bit.
  • I'd love to have one of the Jerseys held at auction for my man cave. 
  • I like the digicamo unis. And I like the hat for July 4th. I've been wearing the red version from a few years ago recently, trying to get it broken in. I have a lot of O's hats to maintain in my rotation!!
  • This would explain why the Army stopped sponsoring NASCAR. They decided to go after one of the "Big Three". At this rate the 2025 Superbowl will be held at Airborne Ranger stadium at Ft Bragg! 
  • Yet still in National Hot Rod Association.
  • I thank you for your service. While I respect your right to your opinion, I'd say the email is fairly heavily influenced by an overt political stance. It doesn't take a real genius to read between those lines. I'm pretty sure the only corporate agenda controlling MLB is trying to make as much money as the NFL. I doubt any other agenda is in play.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I love baseball and the Baltimore Orioles are my favorite team.  Because I grew up in a military family we moved every 2-3 years.  I lived all over the US and in England and Germany (twice).  I never really had a home town to speak of.  The Orioles were my roots.

It's become harder and harder for me to remain a fan but I keep trying in spite of the big $$$ takeover of sports.  But the worst part for me is the increasing militarization of baseball.  Just tonight, after being at a meeting in Portland to hear a peace movement speaker, I came home to check to see how my O's did.  They beat the Red Sox.  I was excited until I saw the camouflage uniforms the O's wore on the field.  This is happening with increasing regularity.

I feel like we are living in Nazi Germany where Hitler used every manifestation of popular culture to promote his dark war agenda.  He ingratiated himself with youth scouting, he gave awards to families that had been on the land for hundreds of years as many German farm families had, he gave awards to families with certain numbers of kids which was almost all German families...... it went on and on.

In the US we know we've become an occupied country when every where we turn we see indications of the militarization of our culture.  Baseball is just the canary in the coal mine. I often tell the story about the Sears department store trotting out a new kids clothing line a couple years ago - military uniforms for boys. The message: this is your future, this is all you can be.

I had to do something so I wrote the following letter to the Major League Players Association tonight.  It's a small gesture but I can't remain silent about this.  I also posted these comments on a Orioles fan chat site.  It will be interesting to see the responses.

I am 60 years old and a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan.
I am also a Vietnam-era veteran who learned during that time to be opposed to our endless wars.
I am deeply troubled by the growing takeover of MLB by the military industrial complex.  It is sold as patriotism and "support our troops:" but what I see is the use of baseball to sell the military mindset and endless war to the public.
Baseball belongs to everyone.  Once it begins to come under the control of any particular corporate agenda the sport loses.
The camo hats and uniforms, the constant hyping of the war machine at games indicates that this takeover is well underway.
I can feel myself slipping away from the game that I love so much because I find it hard to watch this dangerous militarization of baseball.
I hope the players are concerned about this as well.  If not, we are all in trouble.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Bath, Maine


As the U.S. vows to take "all necessary steps" to pursue whistleblower Edward Snowden, James Bamford joins Democracy Now to discuss the National Security Agency’s secret expansion of government surveillance and cyberwarfare.

In his latest reporting for Wired Magazine, Bamford profiles NSA Director General Keith Alexander and connects the dots on PRISM, phone surveillance, and the NSA’s massive spy center in Bluffdale, Utah. Says Bamford of Alexander: "Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy."

The author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America," Bamford has covered the National Security Agency for the last three decades after helping expose its existence in the 1980s.


Here is the best story yet from Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey.  Stories sent via those damn "smart phones".

Piano concert in Taksim

Istanbul, June 14, 1201 hrs.

Dear people,

Every revolution needs its heroes. Ours is called Davide. He is the piano man.

Yesterday and tonight he has been playing in Taksim for twelve hours straight, until ten o’ clock in the morning. When the rain started, people held a canvas over him and his piano, and he continued to play. ‘Imagine’, ‘Let it be’, ‘We are the World’, ‘Bella Ciao’, etc. etc. Fifty meters away there was a row of police buses and water cannons ready for the final attack. On the other side, candles were burning in honour of the people who died in the protest.

Same concert, next morning.

Throughout the night, live streamers had to work in shifts to cover the marathon. People from around the world were touched by so much beauty. Messages of solidarity kept pouring in from every inhabited continent.

Davide is a Sicilian who lives in Germany. He came here with his piano on a truck to defend Gezi park. “This is what I can do,” he told me afterwards, “it’s not much, but it’s loud.” He intends to resist until the threat on the park is lifted.

That threat was reiterated earlier in the day by prime minister Erdogan. He appealed to the Turkish mothers to take their children out of the park, because things could turn very ugly.

In response, the Turkish mothers showed up to form a human chain around Gezi in support of their children.

Afterwards, they swirled through the park by the hundreds, harvesting applause wherever they went.

The threat of brutality didn’t stop the people from gathering in the park. Once again, the place was packed by citizens of all ages determined to resist.


St. Pete for Peace, Bradley Manning Support Network, Occupy Tampa, Tampa Light Brigade, Vets for Peace and others protest at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on June 1, 2013.

MacDill AFB hosts United States Central Command (CENTCOM), United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) and a detachment of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Thursday, June 13, 2013


It's a classic...shows you can't believe a word that comes out of any of these guys mouths....they are all hacks.

Anyone that still believes anything that Obama-Biden say (and the Democratic Party) need to have their heads examined.  The evidence is more than clear that both the Dems and Repubs are playing the American people like a fiddle.

It's time to quit dancing with these crooks. Protest and survive.  Remain timid and we all go down hard.  It's your call.


Svalbard Satellite Station in Norway helps serve US war fighting operations thus violating the Treaty of Svalbard 

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Bruce Gagnon (GN Coordinator) (207) 443-9502  and Agneta Norberg (Stockholm)

Concerned activists and writers from around the world will gather in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29 to discuss how the ‘High North’ of Sweden has become one of the largest training places (called NEAT) for NATO war exercises and advanced weapons testing. 

The High North also hosts ground stations for military satellites and tests drones that are increasingly being used in the US-NATO war in Afghanistan.

Indigenous Samic people will be present at the conference to talk about the impact of these military operations on their lives.

Swedish Peace Council Vice-Chair Agneta Norberg stated:  “US-NATO wants to control Russia and eventually get a hold of the enormous resources under the Arctic ice cap that is now melting due to climate change. To make Russia obedient the US-NATO is surrounding Russia with missile defense interceptors – key elements in their first strike system. For this purpose huge radars are installed in Vardö, Norway, close to Russian border, and on Thule base in Greenland. Norway and the US have established satellite stations on the Island of Svalbard which violate the Treaty of Svalbard that forbids the deployment of any war making technology.”

Global Network board convener Dave Webb (Chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK) said:  “Not many people know that the satellite receiving stations in Sweden and Norway fulfill an important role for NATO and the US military. Space technology is vital to the military’s global reach and we really need to support and stand with those campaigning for alternatives to war in their protest against these installations spread around the world.”

The three days of events are being sponsored by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN), Women for Peace, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. People will be coming to the conference from Japan, Germany, England, Russia, France, United States, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

2013 marks the 21st annual meeting of the Global Network.  Each year the organization holds a space organizing conference in a different country.  In 2012 the group met on Jeju Island, South Korea where villagers are protesting the construction of a Navy base for US warships.

The GN was founded in 1992 to stop the nuclearization and weaponization of space.  Today the GN has 150 affiliate groups located on all continents of the world. 

For more information about the conference check the GN's website at


Protesters in solidarity with whistleblower Private Bradley Manning interrupted President Obama as he stumped for Ed Markey's senate campaign June 12 in Roxbury (Boston) Massachusetts. They chanted 'Whistleblowing's not a crime! Free Bradley Manning!' and blew whistles. One protester was arrested.

The loyal liberal base, who hated when George W. Bush waged wars and prosecuted whistleblowers, were not pleased that anyone would interrupt their Democratic Party love fest with such inconvenient issues.

Our Maine friend Ridgely Fuller (top right of screen in black shirt chanting) made the trip and sent me the video.

Being a resister most often times requires one to be a bit of a pain in the ass rather than a go-along-get-along person.

Just yesterday I had a message from Global Network board member Lynda Williams (physics teacher in California) who was at a climate change conference.  She was devastated to realize that not one person there was willing to say a mumbling word about the world's biggest polluter with the largest carbon boot print on the planet - the PENTAGON.  In fact some of the science-niks present were even suggesting that we should hope and pray that the military will come up with the "technical solution" to climate change.  Lynda was talking to various folks at the event but finding no interest in discussing the military.

This morning she sent me this message:

In closing remarks as the microphone was passed around I said, first, how good it is to see scientists working to save the planet but, secondly, that I was disappointed that there was no mention of the military and its contribution to climate change and that there will never be a chance of reducing GHG if the military continues to pollute indiscriminately AND I said, The real inconvenient truth is that you can't be a climate activist without being a peace activist. I said I was interested in hearing people's opinions. Well no one applauded my talk whereas everyone else got applause. Only one person replied saying that we have to be positive and work with the military to green it blah blah was awful. And this is the film maker who made Cosmos with Carl Sagan. I'm still shaking from speaking up but it is the fact. A young woman came up to me and said, and this is what they all say, 'new technology comes from the military and maybe they can solve the problem." It is mind numbing.
The old saying is stand up and speak out even if your knees are shaking.  It's good to see alot of that going on across the land.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


A series of bombshell NSA leaks has renewed the call for more oversight of our nation's spying agencies. But, the best the White House and Congress can offer is a secret court that issues secret warrants and writes secret legal opinions. RT Political Commentator Sam Sacks reports on what exactly is going down in the secret FISA court.

Authoritarian governments use secrecy and fear to control their citizens.  That is what we have in the US today - all nicely wrapped up in a flag.  You can dress fascism up all you want but in the end you have to call it what it is.....fascism - the wedding of corporations and the government.

The facade is crumbling all around us.  People around the world have long ago learned that the American "democracy show" was like a Hollywood production - all image and no reality.  Now that same truth is coming home to the American people.  Some still refuse to see the writing on the wall but many have begun to acknowledge the truth.

The corporate dominated media is working overtime to bring on talking heads who defend the government's secrecy and destruction of our constitutional rights to privacy, speech, assembly and free press.  They are fearful that even greater truths will be revealed by other courageous whistleblowers.  In a panic they must press ahead hard to crack down in a futile attempt to stop the bleeding.

But the horse is now out of the barn and there will be no returning.  The corporate democracy show is over and it's just a matter of time before the final curtain falls. 


Obama has indeed announced that 30,000 drones will be flying over the US in the coming years to watch all of us.  Reassuring isn't it?

Here in Maine the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign and PeaceWorks are going to do a joint effort for the July 4 parade in Bath this year. This parade draws a huge crowd and gives us a great chance to spread our message about protecting our rights to privacy.

Since the drone and the surveillance issues are so important right now we are going to combine them as our theme for July 4.

We urge you to consider joining us on July 4 to help carry puppets, signs, and banners. The parade begins at 11:30 am and we will gather just after 10:30 am by the cemetery (across from the pizza place) on Lincoln and Congress Ave. (Or you can come to the Addams-Melman House at 212 Centre St and leave your car here.)

Some ideas we have for signs are: Drones over Maine Watching You; We've Got our Eyes on You; One Nation Under Surveillance; Protect Our Constitutional Right to Privacy; and One Nation Under Drones.

What better time than July 4 to remind people just how fragile our constitutional rights to privacy really are these days.

We'll have a pot luck picnic at the Addams-Melman House after the parade.  All are invited.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Charged with overseeing the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, the FISA court wears out its rubber stamp. 


Monday, June 10, 2013


Here is an important video from inside the center of protests in Turkey.

All around the world governments are cracking down on freedom and liberation movements.  To risk life and limb people must be quite fed up with the existing order that is increasingly under the control of corporations.

It is clear to me that the people in Turkey have tried to remain non-violent in their resistance to their corrupt government but they have reached the point where they must find ways to defend themselves.  Building barricades and throwing tear gas canisters back at the police is not violence.

The Turkish government has obviously declared war against dissent in their nation.  Things will indeed never be the same there ever again.


Vietnam war-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg writes:

In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.

Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


From the Turkish resistance.......


Saturday, June 08, 2013


US NSA spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England

By Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs)

When the UK Guardian published direct orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to Verizon on June 5, many readers did not have the slightest idea what they were looking at.  The methodology used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct domestic surveillance is not new - what was new in the story was the direct proof that presidents from Reagan to Obama have consistently lied about what the NSA does, domestically and internationally.  Authors such as James Bamford, Duncan Campbell, Desmond Ball, Nicky Hager, and Matthew Aid have been disclosing the details about this global system for years.  It seems as though it's time for another refresher tutorial so that people understand what their government does on a daily basis, so they don't use ridiculous terms like "warrantless wiretap."

The United States exited World War 2 with plenty of new global bases, acquired in some cases from the UK, or established as U.S. forces drove the Japanese west across the Pacific.  British authorities were worried about having signals intelligence (SIGINT) fall out of the hands of Anglo-Saxon nations, so they talked the U.S. into signing the UKUSA Treaty in 1946, which apportions signals intelligence duties across U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand -- and no one else.  UKUSA remains highly classified today, 67 years later.

The miserable status of signals intelligence collection during the Korean War spurred Harry Truman into creating the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD in 1952.  The mere existence of NSA was not disclosed until 1956.  It has since become the second biggest intelligence agency by budget, spending roughly $12 billion annually.

Buckley AFB near Denver, Colorado is a key installation in the US global listening program

When the U.S. was going through its base-building frenzy in the 1950s to establish a nuclear weapons infrastructure, it also built secret bases around the world to gather critical military intelligence everywhere on the planet.  Many bases were in global hotspots like Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.  The most common form of ground-based SIGINT base at the time was a massive series of concentric dipole antenna rings, variously referred to as Elephant Cages, Flare-9's, Classic Bullseye, or Wullenweber arrays.  Although the main focus was offshore, plenty of SIGINT bases were opened on domestic U.S. soil, in locations such as Winter Harbor, ME; Fort Gordon, GA; Medina Annex, TX; Two Rock Ranch, CA; and Skaggs Island, CA.

In 1960, the Air Force established the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to manage spy satellite programs.  NRO subsequently became a DoD intelligence agency in its own right, and the largest intelligence agency by budget, currently spending around $16 billion annually.  Throughout the 1960s, NRO concentrated on primitive imaging satellites aimed at missile fields in the Soviet Union, though that was to change as electronic integration improved.

NSA got caught up in the mid-1970s probes of intelligence agencies, and was forced to reveal domestically-aimed programs like SHAMROCK, though few in Congress asked if its international programs really aimed at the Cold War targets that were supposed to be NSA's bread and butter.  The so-called reforms Congress put in place created a new top-secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  All the judicial members of FISC and all its rulings are top secret.  The court is supposed to monitor the activity of the NSA.  The public learned for the first time in 2005 that there is also a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Appeals Court, but it did not convene until the 21st century, because the FISC never rejected an NSA request until the post-9/11 period.

When FISC began rejecting some Bush administration requests, forcing the convening of FISAC, George Bush issued executive orders that allowed NSA to bypass FISA requirements and conduct domestic surveillance as it saw fit.  Congress codified this procedure in its 2008 FISA "reforms."

Bobby Ray Inman, director of the NSA in the Carter years, believed in faster deployment of advanced integrated circuits into spy satellites.  As a result, new satellites were fielded in the 1980s that allowed real-time digital delivery of images and electronic intelligence from phone calls and computer messages, directly from geosynchronous orbit to ground stations.  NSA and NRO worked together to define new satellites such as Jumpseat, Ranger, and Advanced Orion, some of which sported unfurlable antennas as large as two football fields!  As a result, NSA shut down many of its ground stations in the 1980s, and opened new satellite downlink stations in Menwith Hill, UK; Buckley Field, CO; Bad Aibling, Germany; and other locations.  NSA also opened special ground stations at Yakima, WA and Sugar Grove, VA that intercepted communications from commercial satellites in orbit.

Two policy changes took place during this time without input from the public or Congress: Because satellites in geosynchronous orbit cover the planet in an RF footprint by their very nature, interception within the domestic U.S. became the rule, not the exception.  FISA rules or no, NSA was collecting everything globally - it simply could never acknowledge doing so.  Also, the agency established to intercept military communications of adversaries slowly was tasked with intercepting all commercial and consumer/civilian communications on the planet.  This was a massive expansion, requiring many more employees and facilities in the U.S. and abroad.

In the latter years of the Clinton administration, a significant furor was raised over the code name Echelon, which referred to a specific Compaq Computer client-server architecture for tracking communications through the use of key words.  Echelon was not the global network - this had been built over the previous four decades as a basic infrastructure of NSA and NRO missions.

Following Sept. 11 and passage of the Patriot Act, George Bush used the FISA Bypass as a cover for allowing the NSA to implement Stellar Wind, a program to put packet-sniffing equipment inside telephone switching centers inside the U.S.  This equipment, manufactured by Narus, Cisco, Blue Coat, and other companies, allows IP packets used in Internet communications to be probed deeply for both traffic analysis and content analysis.  Meanwhile, NSA was trying to shift from the circuit-switched telephony world of the past to the IP-based world of the future by implementing global programs that also allowed automated filtering and data mining of massive amounts of traffic.  Programs such as Trailblazer and ThinThread did not always work so well, though they cost a bundle.

U.S. wireline phone companies were not too crazy about being lured into this, but agreed to have interception equipment placed in the heart of their networks.  When Joe Nacchio was ousted from Qwest Communications, he claimed in a court hearing that NSA had forced him out when he refused to have such equipment added to packet switching networks.

The latest kerfuffle involving NSA, FISC, and Verizon illustrates the fact that NSA needs to work a lot harder with wireless cellular networks.  Some communications can be picked up using wireless methods, some phone calls and texts transferred to the wireline network at base stations can be intercepted at central switching centers, but NSA also needs the call records maintained by wireless operators to perform detailed traffic analysis.

Of course, there is far too much traffic collected for the NSA to be able to analyze using human agents.  That's why automated data mining and filtering tools like ThinThread are so important.  And this is why the NSA was running out of storage space in the Baltimore-Washington corridor to store all that global communication it had intercepted.  NSA asked Congress for the money four years ago to create a new Storage Station Freedom in Bluffdale, Utah to store the massive amount of voice and IP traffic it collects abroad, and here at home.  The Bluffdale facility is slated to open in late July of 2013.  But of course, you're unlikely to hear about its grand opening, as it's merely one more element of NSA's daily business you are not allowed to know.