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

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Snowden's revelations about the NSA has seen US intelligence bosses go to great lengths to justify their activities. Officially they've been told to use 9/11 as their main argument, according to a document leaked in the media. And some politicians are happy to follow that advice. Pepe Escobar joins RT to discuss this issue.


Bring Our War $$$$ Home now......

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I head to Washington DC in the morning for three days of meetings about the Obama "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific.

The meetings will assemble a couple dozen key activists from around the country to create an on-going strategy to bring greater peace movement activity around this important issue.  At this point there is not yet enough understanding and organizing going on around the surge of 60% of US military forces into the region in order to control China and Russia.

Congress and the military industrial complex are certainly far ahead of us.  Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee stated just yesterday:

"Although it is often said, it is worth repeating: U.S. policy towards the Asia-Pacific remains a truly bipartisan effort. I understand there are a variety of perspectives on the region and the long-term security role our Nation should play there. I can say with confidence there is a broad consensus at a strategic level to continue the now seven-decade old project to maintain a stable balance of power in the region. What this series [hearings, closed briefings, and other committee engagements] will explore are some of the operational and tactical-level questions that concern our future posture in the region. What shape should our naval posture and presence look like? What role will the Army and Marine Corps play? How should our allies contribute and what are the limitations to cooperation? I look forward to exploring these questions and more as we begin this process."

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), from the same congressional committee, said:

“The Obama administration has recognized that strategically, economically, and diplomatically, the Asia-Pacific region will provide our greatest challenges [China & Russia] and opportunities [more money for military industrial complex] going forward. It is time for Congress to devote more of our resources and energy to providing leadership in this arena. All of us, particularly those on the Armed Services Committees, have a responsibility to consider the long-term demands on our military power. This series aims to enhance the understanding of Asia-Pacific Security issues for both our colleagues in Congress and the general public.”

I am happy to say that the recently produced documentary The Ghosts of Jeju is one of the first contemporary films to bring this issue of the pivot, and the use of military space technology to direct all Pentagon operations, to the peace movement and public at large.  Using the Jeju Island Navy base story as a baseline, the film by Regis Tremblay gives a clear view to how the pivot is impacting our hopes for peace and the human and ecological consequences of expanded US militarism throughout the Asia-Pacific.  This film should be viewed by all peace groups across the US and beyond.  Find more information about the documentary here.


The new Zumwalt class "stealth" destroyer being built by General Dynamics at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine was moved to dry dock and then into the Kennebec River over the weekend.

Coming out of dry dock at BIW does not mean the ship is ready to put to sea. BIW will keep finishing their work on the ship before installing a considerable arsenal of weapons, including two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS), which can fire rocket powered, computer-guided shells that can destroy targets 63 miles away. That's three times farther than ordinary destroyer guns can fire. In addition cruise missiles (the weapons that were first to be fired from destroyers to start Bush's "shock and awe" in 2003) will be installed. The Zumwalt will ultimately be equipped with 80 missiles, including Tomahawk cruise missiles and Seasparrow surface to air missiles.

The $4 billion warship will be one of three Zumwalt class destroyers the Navy builds.  Originally the Navy intended to build as many as 20 of these ships but the Pentagon scuttled the program due to excessive cost.  (Previous destroyers were costing about $1.5 billion each.)  But Obama rescued the Zumwalt with a compromise that will fund the construction of three of this ships - all to be built at BIW.

Navy Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt program manager, told the media that the ship was the "most complex surface combatants the US Navy has ever developed.....[and] make it a 100% globally deployable asset to the fleet."

Translation:  This "stealth" destroyer will be a key element in the US military encirclement of China.

The blessing from Jesus Christ will have to wait until the spring.  You can be sure that a protest will be scheduled when that big event is held.  In the meantime activists in Maine will hold their annual weekly peace vigils at BIW during the entire Advent season (from Nov 30 thru Christmas eve).  They will be done each Saturday from 11:30 am until 12:30 as the weekend shift leaves the shipyard.


From Miami, Florida.....trying to go to organic farming conference in Cuba but US government won't let them sail their boat to Havana.

We, in the US, are the "freedom" folks except when it applies to things like having access to the people of Cuba.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Please Sign-On to this Important Letter:

Here is the final version of the International Sign-on letter regarding Fukushima. Please send this to individuals and organizations you know who would be willing to sign on.

We will deliver this letter to the UN on Nov. 7 so we will need the signers before then. It looks like removal of the rods will start on the 8th. And the 7th coincides with the showing of a pro-nuclear movie on CNN called "Pandora's Promise."

Please ask signers to contact me at

Please also encourage people to plan actions on the weekend of Nov. 9 and 10. We have our first action being organized at Grinnell. We will post the actions on  

Thank you,
Margaret Flowers M.D.

A Global Call for International Assistance with the Crises at Fukushima

The crisis situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan is deteriorating and threatens not only the survival of the population of Japan but could also become a significant global disaster. We express our deepest sympathies to the people of Japan for the tragic loss of life, habitat and infrastructure they are continuing to suffer as a result of the triple disasters – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear, that began on March 11, 2011. The potential for additional massive radiation releases now is cause for grave international concern. The attention and resources of the international community must be focused on Fukushima to resolve this crisis in the safest and most transparent way.

Decommissioning of the entire Fukushima nuclear power plant will take many decades; however, there are two urgent situations that require international intervention. First is contaminated water at the site and second, and more dangerous, is the spent fuel rods, particularly those in Building Four. TEPCO has not demonstrated the capacity to manage these problems nor has it been forthcoming in a timely way about the magnitude of the problems at Fukushima.

TEPCO delayed public admission about the problems with groundwater that is flowing from the surrounding hills into the site. The water presents two dilemmas: it undermines the structural integrity of the damaged reactor buildings and it must be contained because it becomes contaminated when it flows through the site. TEPCO is pumping the contaminated water into temporary storage tanks, some of which are already leaking. Each day, contaminated water leaks into the Pacific Ocean. The capacity to physically hold this contaminated water on site is diminishing. TEPCO lacks an effective long-term solution to this problem.

In November, 2013, TEPCO plans to begin removal of more than 1,300 spent fuel rods located in the heavily-damaged Building 4. The rods are in a pool that is 100 feet above the ground. The roof over this pool was destroyed in the earthquake and tsunami two years ago and debris litters the pool which further complicates removal of the rods. Under normal operation, these rods were moved by computer-assisted cranes that knew their exact location, but that equipment was destroyed. The rods must be removed under manual control because of the debris and damage that has displaced them.

This is a task that requires great skill and precision. If a spent fuel rod breaks, gets too close to another rod or is exposed to the air, there could be a massive release of radiation into the air. According to Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, "If you calculate the amount of cesium 137 in the pool, the amount is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs." This could badly contaminate the Northern Hemisphere.

Removal of the spent fuel rods is urgent because another earthquake could also lead to the release of radiation. However, it is imperative that this task be performed with the greatest accuracy and transparency. TEPCO vice president, Zengo Aizawa, admitted in August, 2013 that "we need support, not only from the Japanese government but from the international community to do this job."

The risks of these tasks are global and require assistance from the planet’s best experts. Therefore, we, the undersigned, call for the following actions to be taken immediately.

  • That the government of Japan transfer responsibility for the Fukushima reactor site to an international engineering firm overseen by a civil society panel and an international group of nuclear experts independent from TEPCO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as outlined in this open letter to the United Nations.
[See letter here:]

  • That the decommissioning process be done safely so that workers at the Fukushima site are protected from exposure to hazardous materials, are compensated fairly and are provided with all necessary support given the tremendous risks that they are taking in this disastrous situation.
  • That the Japanese and global media be permitted around-the-clock access to accurate information throughout the entire process of removal of the spent fuel rods so that the Japanese people and the international community can be informed of any risks to their health.

In addition, we call for three days of global action focused on the crises at Fukushima on November 9 through 11 to coincide with Armistice Day and the 32 month anniversary of the disaster.


Green Shadow Cabinet Sub-committee on Fukushima: 

Jackie Cabasso, Secretary for Nuclear Affairs
Dr. Margaret Flowers, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Health
Bruce Gagnon, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Space
Steven Leeper, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, adviser to the sub-committee
Dr. Jill Stein, Green Shadow Cabinet, President
Harvey Wasserman, Green Shadow Cabinet, Secretary of Energy 


Monday, October 28, 2013


Recent Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) annual conference in Liverpool. Mayor Kang from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island was a guest speaker (and singer).


NSA data collection center in Utah

  • The Utah Data Center, also known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, is a storage facility for the US Intelligence Community that is designed to store extremely large amounts of data.  The megaproject was recently completed at a cost of $1.5 billion despite ongoing controversy over the NSA's involvement in the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.  The data center is able to process all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all types of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter'.
  • James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, said the public had yet to grasp the significance of Utah's data-mining. "It's basically a hard-drive. It's also a cloud, a warehouse. It'll be storing not just text and audio but pictures and video. There's a lackadaisical attitude to this. People pay no attention until it's too late." Bamford wrote a cover story about the centre for Wired last year
  • It's fascinating to watch the politicians in Washington try to scurry as the spotlight gets brighter on the NSA global surveillance program.  To deny or make excuses as they are exposed for spying on hundreds of millions of people worldwide just reveals the contempt that "our leaders" have for the truth, civil liberties, and real democracy.  This is a huge story and mainstream media should be digging like hell to learn more about this but they appear to be content to read the headlines as Edward Snowden's leaks are bouncing around the globe.
  • There is growing evidence that Libertarians are seeking common ground on these civil liberties issues with people on the left.  This will become a powerful alliance and we should all welcome such a conjunction of interests with open arms.  We don't have to agree on every issue in order to stand together to protect our fundamental rights to privacy, free speech, free assembly and more.
  • I taped another edition of This Issue this morning and my guest this time was Dr. Julie Pease from Brunswick.  We talked about the controversy around Obamacare and the need for a single-payer health care program - Medicare for all.   She was a good guest and did a great job explaining how that law is a corporate insurance industry program.  The massive administrative duplication that comes from the thousands of insurance companies, over $450 billion a year, is enough in itself to make one object to the present system.  That wasted money alone could cover the bill to pay for health care for the whole nation. 
  • I was contacted early this morning by Voice of Russia wanting my comment on the groundbreaking ceremony for the Aegis Ashore "missile defense" (MD) system at Deveselu military base in southern Romania. The base will be operational in 2015 giving the Pentagon one more dramatic military tool in their quiver against Russia.  They are taking the successful Aegis Destroyer based MD system (known as SM-3) and putting it on ground-based launchers as well.  The program is being tested on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.  Sold to the public as protection against Iran and North Korea, the MD system is actually being used to surround Russia and China giving the US military the ability to take out their retaliatory capability after a first-strike attack.  Very destabilizing stuff.


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Sunday, October 27, 2013


I went down to South Portland yesterday to support the exciting campaign in that city to pass a referendum outlawing a Tar Sands pipeline scheduled to carry that dirty fossil fuel product into their port.  The election will be held on November 5.

About 200 folks turned out to work the major intersections in South Portland....if you want to reach the American people then stand on a busy street and they will drive by.

This campaign has effectively taken the raging national issue and found a way to bring it home to the local community.  That is good organizing.


Brandon Bryant, a former sensor operator for the U.S. Air Force Predator program. He manned the camera on the unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. After he left the active-duty Air Force in 2011, he was presented with a certificate that credited his squadron for 1,626 kills. In total, he says he was involved in seven missions in which his Predator fired a missile at a target.


Saturday, October 26, 2013


  • Michael Hadfield, Professor of Biology, University of Hawai'i, writes: "Pagan Island, one of a string of volcanic islands that make up the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas [in the Pacific Ocean], is an ancient home to the Chamorro people and the habitat of unique animals and plants, many of them endemic, rare and endangered. Those natural and cultural resources are being put at risk by a plan by the U.S. Marines to use the island as a live-fire training ground. In scoping documents related to the environmental impact statement required for that plan to go forward, the Marines have characterized Pagan Island as being desolate and uninhabitable.' Photographs included here show how untrue this is." 
  •  The militarization of Pagan Island is another example of the US "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific to control China.  As the Pentagon moves 60% of its military forces into the region it needs more bases, training fields, ports of call, and barracks for its troops.  Guam, Jeju Island, Okinawa, Philippines, and more are being taped to take on additional US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.  No wonder the people in these places are furious with our government.  You can sign a petition opposing the Pagan Island "live-fire training" here.
  • Yesterday four of us vigiled at Bath Iron Works (BIW) as they prepared to put the Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer into the water.  While standing across from BIW's administration building Jon Fitzgerald, lead counsel for BIW, came out and talked with me for about 30 minutes.  He's actually a nice man and we had a wide ranging discussion about conversion, climate change, tax breaks for BIW and more.  (Many people in Maine fondly remember his father who years ago led BIW and met with peace activists to discuss conversion of the shipyard.  This happened before I moved to the state so I am not privy to all the details but it was my understanding that these discussions ended when General Dynamics bought BIW.  If I got that wrong Mr. Fitzgerald can correct me as he told me he is now a reader of this blog.)  Our conversation was cordial but at times we disagreed, particularly over the need for BIW to get more tax breaks from the struggling taxpayers in Bath.  At one point we were talking about climate change and I asked him if he had children.  He does and I went on to describe how the Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on the planet.  Fitzgerald said that BIW has been very interested in building offshore wind turbines but our right-wing Gov. LePage has done everything he can to disrupt that effort as he moves to make Maine reliant on fracked natural gas.  I look forward to more discussions with Mr. Fitzgerald in the future, knowing that we will still be opponents on issues like warships and corporate welfare.  But at the least we can acknowledge each other's humanity and have civil dialogue.  That's a good start.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Finally got the photos from inside the Hall of Flags in Augusta a week ago for our Maine Drone Peace Walk closing ceremony.

Art props by Natasha Mayers.

Photos by Roger Leisner


Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman (UK) debates Russell Brand (comedian, actor, radio host, and author) about voting, revolution and beards.

Well worth a listen.

See more by Russell Brand here


I took the last trolley tour of Bath Iron Works (BIW) for the season yesterday run by the Maine Maritime Museum.  Mostly retired people, either on vacation or former BIW workers, filled the trolley for the one-hour ride through the bowels of the shipyard.  A man sitting in front of me said to his wife while parked alongside the Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer that it was " a weapon of destruction."  It was a pleasant surprise to hear those words.

The highlight of the tour was to advertise the "top secret" Zumwalt that was supposed to be blessed by Christ and launched last Saturday.  That event was cancelled due to the government "shutdown" although the workers at BIW were humming along as regular during that period.

A friend asked me how I felt seeing the inside of the place where I have protested for the past 10 1/2 years.  I told him the following:

It's quite amazing to see the incredible work that goes into building a warship; I can see how the workers feel proud of their "product" - just as I feel proud after stacking wood; It's very sad to see the wasted $$$ and human resources that go into building weapon systems that will be used to surround China and launch "preemptive" attack; With the coming severe reality of climate change (and extreme weather) it just a damned shame that they are not building rail systems, wind turbines, solar systems and other such needed things.  It breaks my heart to see the collapse of the Mayan civilization right before our eyes.

I will be down to BIW today from 3:00 - 4:30 pm to hold a sign that reads: Zumwalt Expensive Provocative.

I'm not certain how many will join me but it really doesn't matter in a way.  My message stands for itself.  Some workers inside BIW know they are on a fool’s errand.  Few of them have the courage to join with the voices of sanity in the community and around the world.  The $$$ is good, some of the best wages in Maine.  Capitalism has sold us on the notion that "me" comes first, middle and last.  Community and the greater good be damned.  Grab what you can while you can.  Most people have internalized that oppressive message.

The corporate oligarchy is arming itself to the teeth as they prepare for the final conflicts over rapidly diminishing natural resources on the planet.  The old school yard game of "King of the Hill" is playing out right here in Bath.

The Zumwalt's mission is to be the loaded gun pointed at the head of China and anyone else that tries to stand in the way of corporate global dominance.  I can't turn away from this one.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This interview with Dr. Michio Kaku is old but still holds up very well due to the continuing disastrous situation in Fukushima.  There is growing support for Kaku's call for TEPCO to be taken off the case and have an international team of experts take over the situation.

There is growing evidence that life in the Pacific Ocean is being killed by the radioactive mess pouring into the sea from the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Dr. Kaku was a founding member of the Global Network in 1992 and remains on our board of advisers.


The U.S. government has turned the Internet into a system for spying on all of us. Out of control government surveillance is a hazard to our civil liberties and to any hopes for real democracy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming..........


The first ever Zumwalt "stealth" destroyer built at Bath Iron Works

I learned today that the new "stealth" destroyer made here in Bath will be put into the water on this Friday, Oct 25.  I am going to put together a vigil on Washington St in front of the BIW administration office from 3:00 - 4:30 pm.  All are invited to join me.

This warship will be used to sneak up along China's coast because it will supposedly be able to evade radar detection.  There can be no doubt that its primary mission is not defense, but instead is a key tool in the Pentagon's first-strike planning.

The Associated Press has reported,  “A super-stealthy destroyer that could underpin the U.S. Navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic ‘rail guns’ right out of a sci-fi movie.  Using electric pulses, not chemical explosives, the ‘rail gun’ can shoot a 40-pound metal slug from New York to Philadelphia at up to 5,600 mph — more than seven times the speed of sound — with 32 times the force of a car traveling at 100 miles per hour."

The new stealthy DDG-1000 being built by General Dynamics in Bath will cost between $4-7 billion each.  The Navy did not actually want the destroyer because it would eat up too much of their shipbuilding budget.  But Obama, who was strongly supported in his run for president in 2008 by the Chicago-based Crown family (which are majority stockholders in General Dynamics), has insisted the ships be built.  

Almost every major defense contractor (including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine, L-3 Communications) and subcontractors from nearly every state in the U.S. are involved to some extent in this project, which is the largest single line item in the Navy's budget.

Previous versions of Navy destroyers, outfitted with ‘missile defense’ systems cost about  $1.5 billion each.


  • Word comes today from Jeju Island where a dedicated Catholic activist supporter of the village struggle against the Navy base was hit by a big construction truck and carried to an emergency room of a hospital. No word yet on extent of injuries.  It is just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed the way the police and naval authorities are ramping up construction and repression of the people. Boycott Samsung - the lead construction contractor for the Navy base.
  • I met for lunch today with Nicholson Baker and Tom Jackson .  Nicholson is writing an article about the Obama pivot into the Asia-Pacific and some of the key weapons technologies being deployed there.  Nicholson is an author and composer.  He is the person who wrote the incredibly moving Jeju Island song that is featured in the beginning of the documentary film The Ghosts of Jeju.
  •  I am getting caught up with my neglected administrative work load following the end of the peace walk.  I also have alot to do around the house and garden to prepare for winter.  This morning I took a car load of junk to the city dump and for the last two days have been stacking wood given to us by our two neighbors on either side of our house.  Stacking wood is one of my favorite outdoor tasks - I can actually see some real results after a few hours of work.


Fr. William "Bix" Bichsel, S.J. spent about two weeks on Jeju Island, South Korea recently (late September through early October). It was a transformative experience for the 85 year old Jesuit. In this interview, In this interview, Bix speaks passionately about the struggle by the people of Jeju Island to stop construction of the massive naval base that is unnecessary from a military perspective, and will only serve to increase tensions in the region.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The Obama corporate health care program is a mess.  This situation appears to be worsening by the day.

The complexity of trying to sort through zillions of insurance companies, with confusing and competing policies, is enough to make the average citizen go crazy.

We need a simple one-stop Medicare for all.


US officials responsible for the secret CIA drone campaign against suspected terrorists in Pakistan may have committed war crimes and should stand trial, a report by a leading human rights group warns. Amnesty International has highlighted the case of a grandmother who was killed while she was picking vegetables and other incidents which could have broken international laws designed to protect civilians.

See more here


Insurers stop covering for cell phone use, called the next 'casualty catastrophe' after tobacco and asbestos; phone manufacturers hit with a class action and personal lawsuits; and the warning deep inside your mobile.

I am becoming more and more uncomfortable around cell phones.  Sadly when I travel I am far too reliant on Wifi.  Our bodies are being fried.


Maine is a beautiful state to walk through.  Water, mountains, trees, farms, poverty, and interesting people.

One of my favorite moments on the walk was along the narrow rural Highway 2 from Skowhegan to Farmington.  (On this route truckers often blasted their horns.)  We approached a local mom & pop breakfast joint and three guys were in the parking lot watching us pass by.  I crossed the road and handed them each our flyer.  One of them asked how much it would cost to get a hunting license to shoot down drones.  I told them the story about seeing a bumpersticker that said, "Protect my 2nd amendment right to shoot down drones."  They liked that and as I pulled away one said, "Hey, you guys are doing a good job."

What made this a special moment for me was the cultural connection I felt to these guys.  My step-father was from Rumford, Maine and came from a paper mill family.  He was working class.  My mom married him when I was about three years old, so Wes was essentially my father.  When I talked with the three guys on Hwy 2, I saw Wes.  I loved being able to have that connection - it's a good part of what I am.

As the Buddhists chanted Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō I was lifted, by connection to the spirit of community and genuine purpose, to a new strength.  I often was dragging by the end of the day but was reminded how much energy the walking community can bring.

The deep connection of seeing and feeling the land, water and sky brought it all home for me.  Our machines are killing us.  They are killing nature. Now and then we'd make cars stop to let us walk by in a group.  Most folks were fine and enjoyed the parade.  But still, almost always in larger population centers, some drivers got more impatient and demanding.  Then they'd zoom off - 0 to 60 - in just seconds.  We were literally just taking a couple steps forward while watching this illustration of speed-time-power-success, that under girds the machine-culture mythology, roar into the distance.

Chanting Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō would come in and out of my head.  Sometimes I'd chant to myself and other times I was fixed on wandering thoughts or organizing needs of the walk. (Being the perfectionist that I am it was always on my mind to try to stay flexible and patient with everyone.  My way was not always going to be the best way.)  Ego gets involved a bit here as does one of the other manifestations of the business model - competition.  It all comes out during such experiences.  So I had some interesting internal reflection over these things.

When you hit the walkers wall (about day 2-3 for me) you begin to question your sanity and your endurance.  Once you push thru that self doubt things get easier.  But in those moments the weak and dark corners inside of us awaken.  I found chanting would help bring me back to the light side.

We were lucky to have Jules Orkin with us from Veterans for Peace.  He lives in New Jersey and does alot of peace walks with Nipponzan Myohoji.  He brings along his van to help with shuttling.  Early on he offered to take charge of the daily vehicle shuttling process.  It was a big help but more than that Jules became my co-organizer and I loved working with him.  A retired bookstore owner, with more than 10,000 books still in his possession, Jules has a great sense of humor and a big heart.  We had first met in jail last spring when we were among those arrested at Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York protesting against that drone operations base.  Jules and I were among the last three men to be released from jail so we had a good bit of time to connect.  I'll miss him alot. 


Bangor area activists sing to us
Prayer time before dinner

Brother Kanaeda has an incredible voice and we loved his slavery-era blues songs
Starr Gilmartin shared why she was walking

The ever lovable Br. Gilberto with Jules Orkin

From our drone peace walk pot luck supper and program in Bangor, Maine on October 12. 

Photos taken by Katie Greenman.

Monday, October 21, 2013


In this exclusive, unedited interview, Malala Yousafzai offers suggestions for Americans looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Two of our Japanese walkers inside the Hall of Flags in Augusta on Friday

Walkers and supporters after our closing ceremony inside the capital building


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Pentagon unit held 'phony' ceremonies for MIAs, using planes that can't fly

A unit of the U.S. Department of Defense has been holding so-called "arrival ceremonies" for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains of missing American service men and women returning that day from old battlefields.

After NBC News raised questions about the arrival ceremonies, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn't even fly but were towed into position.

See the whole story here


The Navy base has become the new God to the South Korean government.  Power and profit trumps the body and blood of Christ.

The corporations are the new pharaoh.

Then in the last couple of minutes of the video you see the villagers playing games together, once again showing how determined and resilient they are as a people.

Gangjeong village Mayor Kang recently did a speaking tour to Dublin, Ireland, England (Menwith Hill and London) and Paris.  He was featured in an interview which is available here


Saturday, October 19, 2013


About 60,000 African migrants have arrived in Israel since 2006, fleeing unrest in their home countries. But upon arrival in the ostensibly democratic country, the migrants have faced intense persecution and have been branded as "infiltrators" by right-wing politicians and activists.


Drumming and chanting outside Bath Iron Works (BIW) while waiting for workers to get off work
The peace walk ended today as we visited Bath Iron Works 

We did a walking tour along Bath Iron Works before gathering to vigil

There is alot to write about from our last two days of the peace walk.  I've yet to get any photos from our wonderful ceremony inside the state capitol in Augusta.  I'll post them when I can.  We had an astonishing entry into Augusta yesterday - cars were honking at us like crazy - it felt like the circus was coming to town.  People asked me why we had such a great response as we walked to the capital.  I'm not sure, maybe the public thought we'd come to liberate them from our right-wing Gov. LePage.  Maybe they'd heard about the walk and wanted to let us know they agree with us.  Anything is possible these days.

Artist Natasha Mayers met us at the capital building front door with loads of her big colorful pieces of drone surveillance art props that she used last summer in her local July 4 parade.  Big eyes spying on people inside a shower curtain, laptop keyboard hooked up to the NSA - stuff like that.  The pictures will tell the story.

A hundred folks came to stand in a circle with us inside the Hall of Flags at the capital.  The Buddhist monks (we were joined by two more monks for the 14 miles walk from Belgrade on Friday) led us in chanting as we began our final program.  Speakers were Kathy Kelly, Tarak Kauff, Shenna Bellows (former ACLU director in Maine and now candidate for the Senate against Susan Collins), and Lisa Savage.  Songs from walkers were included in the program as well.

After the event was over we walked to the nearby offices of the Mediation and Resource Center where we had a supper and a time for shared reflections on the walk experience before settling down on the carpeted floor for the night.  Then this morning we were up early and made the drive to Bath to prepare for our final vigil at BIW.  There was supposed to be the "christening" of the new "stealth" destroyer today but it was cancelled due to the government shutdown.

We walked from the Addams-Melman House in Bath down the hill to BIW at 10:00 am this morning.  We walked past the entire shipyard so everyone could have a good look at it and then came half-way back and set up a two-hour vigil outside the BIW administration building.  The monks led us in chanting and drumming until 11:00 and then we began a program of speakers and singing right up until the noon shipyard whistle blew and the weekend shift workers began streaming out in their trucks and cars.  They are used to seeing many vigils there but today was different.  We had alot more people today than usual, we set up on both sides of the road, plus we had these monks dressed in their bright robes. 

Once the BIW workers passed by we walked back to the house and had a wonderful lunch that Karen Wainberg had prepared for everyone.  The house was full of people and we all had mixed feelings (I wasn't the only one a bit sad) as others expressed that they too did not want the walk to end.

I helped clean up the kitchen after everyone had left but then finally had to come up into my office and sit down.  I soon fell asleep in a chair while trying to write this post.  I am dog tired but my heart feels full of love and I feel a great sense of satisfaction.  This is now my eighth such walk (seventh that I have organized) and I'd never been able to walk every step of the way because I usually have many responsibilities that kept me from always walking.  But on this journey I was determined to walk each and every one of the steps.  Miraculously my feet, which usually are in severe pain when I walk long distances, did not give me nearly as much trouble.

I loved this experience for many reasons.  The hard work that so many of the walkers shared to help with all the many tasks of shuttling vehicles, lugging things around, preparing food for breakfast and lunches, speaking and singing during our evening programs, and more made this event a joy to be a part of.  We had no real problems and everyone got along so well.  It was a living and breathing community of love and deep concern and I am certain that the public that saw us along the highways of Maine could feel it as well.

We directly reached many tens of thousands of people.  We handed out hundreds and hundreds of flyers along the way.  One man in a rural area near Belgrade took a flyer I offered him.  He was putting out the trash and shook my hand and thanked us and said, "You are doing a good job.  Keep going."  Maybe he had seen the article in his local paper about the walk or saw us on TV.  It often felt like people did know who we were as we came into their community.

We were walking about drones but the message was bigger than just that and I felt the public understood that too.  We were saying that there is a better way for our nation and the people who honked, or waved, or flashed peace signs seemed hungry to connect with us.  We gave them hope.

One of our walkers, a young man named Jason, told me his faith in humanity was restored by the walk.  So was mine.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


One of the young Japanese men on our peace walk, named KO, showed me this video tonight.  I loved it and asked him to send me the link so I could put it here.


We did 17 miles today from Waterville to Belgrade.  We are staying at the country home of a group of great activists who work on water and other environmental issues here in Maine.  Not long after we arrived Tarak Kauff and Mike Tork, key leaders in national Veterans for Peace, pulled up.

While we were taking a break along the road today a young woman jumped out of a car and bowed to our group.  We recognized her from yesterday as we entered Waterville.  She was at a gas station and as we passed by she stood with an unforgettable look on her face - near tears.  She was wearing a fancy blue dress with blue heeled shoes.  I handed her a flyer and she thanked me.  As it turns out she is part Japanese and went on the Internet and found our walk route schedule and joined us for a couple miles.  She was chattering the whole time in Japanese to the various members of Nipponzan Myohoji.  Just an example of more walk magic.

The house we are staying at tonight is ripping with energy right now - crowded but full of excitement as our numbers swell.  I've been hearing all day from folks who plan to join us at the state capital Hall of Flags tomorrow at 3:00 pm for our closing ceremony/rally/news conference.  I am expecting that it should be a fun day.

Years ago in Florida when I organized the 700-mile Walk for the Earth from the Everglades to the state capital in Tallahassee we asked people to come and walk the last mile with us.  On that final day 500 people showed up for the closing walk.  We won't have that many folks tomorrow but we'll have a nice crowd to share the experience and hear our great speakers and the music.

I am starting to feel just a bit sad as I contemplate the end of the walk.  It's such a wonderful feeling of community that having it end is not what I really want.  I feel so lucky to be with this incredible and dedicated group of people.


In a boon for military contractors, the Obama administration is relaxing controls on military exports, allowing some U.S.-made military parts to flow to nearly any country in the world with little oversight. ProPublica reports that beginning this week, thousands of parts for military aircraft can be sent freely around the world, even to some countries currently under U.N. arms embargoes. Previously, military firms had to register with the State Department and obtain a license for each export deal. That allowed U.S. officials to screen for issues including possible human rights violations. But now, tens of thousands of items are shifting to the Commerce Department, where they fall under looser controls. The changes were heavily lobbied for by military firms including Lockheed Martin, Textron and Honeywell.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


  • We walked 12.6 miles from Farmington to Waterville today (had to shuttle a bit because of the long distance.)  After our lunch stop at the half-way point our support mini-bus would not start and we had to have it towed to a repair shop.  Don’t yet know what the problem was.  Going to likely cost us an arm and a leg for the towing and repair.
  • A man named Mike from Cape Elizabeth, Maine showed up this morning to join us for the rest of the walk.  He read one of the articles in the paper over the weekend and decided he wanted to jump in with us.  Good to know that the media we’ve had is having an impact.  Kathy Kelly arrived in time for supper tonight at the church in Waterville. Mayor Karen Heck of Waterville also came to the church to welcome us and told us she issued a proclamation at their city council meeting last night in support of the walk. 
  • Our hosts tonight are Mark Roman and Lisa Savage who win the prize for most hosting during the walk.  This will be the third night they signed up to take on the host duties.  They’ve really given all they have got and more to the effort. (They were both also responsible for arranging the mayor's proclamation.)
  • While we walk the military industrial complex and their dark agents continue apace.  I read today that the Obama administration is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former government officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s worst conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions. Under the new system, whole categories of equipment encompassing tens of thousands of items will move to the Commerce Department, where they will be under more “flexible” controls. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
  • I just told Veterans for Peace member Jules Orkin about the bit above and his response was, “Wasn’t that Obama’s campaign slogan – yes we can?”  It’s confirmation of the horrid decision to hollow out our country and turn us into the “security export” bit role players.  We’ll make weapons for conflicts in regions where diminishing natural resources are located and then use those conflicts as an excuse to send in the troops to bring “stability” and, for good measure, a little bit of “democracy”.
  • Many of us have been noticing that the public appears to be more receptive to our message than on previous walks.  We’ve concluded that people are waking up from their deep sleep and starting to realize that we've been shafted and the clamp is ready to come down.  The ultimate question is whether the public will turn toward a fascism, that offers easy answers and scapegoats those who challenge them, or will they recognize the corporate take over of our nation for what it is and move toward non-violent resistance.  By walking we like to think that we offer the people an alternative vision and sign of hope.  Time will surely tell which way the hammer will swing.


Of all the walks I've ever been on this is the most singingest walk I've experienced yet.  We've had incredible singing during breaks and evening programs.  Here is just a sampling by two of our Japanese friends. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


We were walking along today from Mercer to Farmington when a big green bus zoomed by us.  I noticed it said Bread & Puppet on the back.  Then minutes later the bus had turned around and pulled into a parking lot in front of us.  A bunch of young people jumped out and they immediately began unloading band equipment from the rear end.  Soon we had the Bread & Puppet marching band leading our walk.  They played When the Saints Go Marching In and Down by the Riverside as we continued walking.  Then they apologized saying they had to get on to do a show someplace and headed back to their bus.

It is things like this that keep happening during these walks....magical moments.  Guaranteed to be one or more each day for sure.

We walked 14.4 miles today and had a wonderful pot luck supper at a church in Farmington.  The event was hosted by Veterans for Peace co-founder Doug Rawlings and our walkers were divided into various homes for the night.  I am in a log cabin in the woods (with Internet connection) somewhere eight miles from Farmington.

Tomorrow we head to Waterville.  We've been picking up more people as we go along, today three more full time walkers joined us.  More are expected to come onboard in the next days.

We are asking people to join us in Augusta at the capital Hall of Flags on Friday, Oct 18 at 3:00 pm for our closing ceremony/rally/news conference. Kathy Kelly, Tarak Kauff, and Shenna Bellows will be among the speakers.

You can find the entire walk schedule here