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....

My Photo
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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Latest from Regis Tremblay

This episode has photos from today’s over-the-top police assault on the Village of Gangjeong to dismantle a Peace Tent and tower. An update on the progress of the base construction and Joyakgol screening The Ghosts of Jeju around S. Korea.

Also a commentary on the state of US aggression around the globe.

Update from Jeju Island

Catholic Bishop Peter Kang Woo-Il is in Gangjeong (white hair, on the bus beneath the tower)

Longtime Jeju international team member Paco reports:

After 16 hours without food and drink in the freezing cold and wind, the crackdown has ended and the tower is being taken down. However, Bishop Kang has negotiated the following with the police: The people who were arrested earlier will be released and the people who were in the tower have been taken to the police station where they will be questioned and released and not imprisoned. We will see what else happens from now...10 people have been injured. Tent and barricade has been destroyed. 

JungJoo reports:

This is going to be the last update from me. My phone is running out of battery. All roads to outer world are blocked by police. No one is allowed to be out and in again. No water no electricity and no toilet. But we are still okay.

It is clear that the emails to the South Korean military command have helped make it possible for Catholic Bishop Kang to be able to negotiate release of those arrested.  The Korean military knows that people around the world are watching and are outraged.  You can send a message of solidarity with the Gangjeong villagers by writing to the South Korean military command at:

Fracked Up: Radioactive Waste Problem

With the worldwide price of oil continuing to drop, natural gas companies in North Dakota are trying to stay competitive by pushing through changes allowing radioactive fracking waste to be dumped in landfills. Current rules require drillers to transport potentially harmful fracking byproducts to specialized facilities in neighboring states, but with the industry fighting for its survival, cutting corners is just one strategy to remain profitable. RT’s Marina Portnaya examines.

U.S. Supports Nazi's in Ukraine

Ukranian neo-Nazi's pose with photo of Hitler.  These are the people the US-NATO are supporting in their war along Russia's border.  How can the mainstream media across the west keep refusing to cover this glaring truth? How can we in the U.S. deny that we have become a fascist nation? 

The WW II Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini defined fascism as the wedding of corporations and government.  Isn't that just what we have in the U.S. today?

The Women Turn Against Kiev's War

Fort Russ reports:

The women of Velikonovoselo are openly telling Ukrainian soldiers to leave and not bring war to their homes. [Even though there is no English translation on the video you will understand it by the pure emotion.]

The video shows a group of local women assembled at the local military commissariat and demanding to know where their mobilized sons and husbands are. The officers are replying that they are not in the zone of fighting but rather at the permanent bases of units to which they were assigned. This does not seem to placate the women, who only get more boisterous. But it's when the officer says that the Ukrainian troops will leave when [supposedly invading] Russian troops arrive (!) that the crowd explodes.

What’s interesting is that the women are no longer afraid of anything. It’s clear that the mobilization [call for more conscripts because Kiev's US-NATO backed war on eastern Ukraine is not going well] was the proverbial last straw.

Half a year ago ten Right-Sectorites [Kiev's neo-Nazi shock troops] with assault rifles would have quickly restored “order”. Now something is stopping them. Clearly they are afraid. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Reminder: Must Watch

Originally aired on BBC2 in 1992, 'Operation Gladio' reveals 'Gladio', the secret state-sponsored terror network operating in Europe.

Gladio is the core fascist instrument of control that still remains in place - just with a different name.

It's the connection of corporate fascism, organized crime, the military industrial complex, and the international bankers.  It's the dark heart of global capitalist dominance.  Shouldn't we at least recognize it and understand how it works?  Shouldn't we tell others what we face?

Report from Jeju Island

At this moment it is the early hours of Saturday morning on Jeju Island, South Korea.  Police buses are coming into the small fishing and farming village.  The 500 year-old village of about 2,000 people has already been forced to surrender its sacred rocky coastline and the pristine environment offshore where endangered soft coral reefs are found.

The Navy base now under  construction will eventually host US aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, and destroyers outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' interceptors, all to be aimed at China and Russia in that part of the world.  

A call went out for help and people rushed in to join the barricades against the threat to destroy the permanent protest tents that are a symbol of the villagers refusal to give even more precious land for the base.  But the South Korean government, under the forceful direction of the Pentagon, pushes ahead.

The people on Jeju need our solidarity and prayers.  Their spirited and determined eight-year daily struggle at the Navy base gates has spread globally.  Hearts from around the world are in Jeju right now.

You can send a letter to the South Korean military administration at the following email.  Please let them know you support the people of Gangjeong village.  Remind them that the whole world is watching and enraged.  Send message to:  

Our Fascist Friends - Hard to Swallow

A Ukraine military vehicle dressed up for war on their fellow citizens who just happen to share Russian culture due to their living near the border.  Sadly those people become expendable as the US-NATO intend to create chaos inside Russia toward the goal of balkanizing that sovereign nation

Many warn
of the collapse

to extract
the breath
from the living

is afraid
of something
or someone

(fear nothing
fear itself)

becomes scarce

we all suck
the same air
our planet
is hot
and fragile
as our own
life is...

not a free country
many use
the word
when they
look toward Washington

U.S. supports
fascism in
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
United Kingdom
and many

never apologizes
for anything
never admits
when wrong

It gets
stuck in the throat
goes down hard

always difficult
to swallow

Moral Injury from Iraq War Ignored

“I was an American sniper, and Chris Kyle’s war was NOT my war. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the hit movie captures the truth of the Iraq conflict. I should know. I lived it.” A former American sniper in Iraq, Garett Reppenhagen, joins Lawrence O'Donnell to discuss the Clint Eastwood film, “American Sniper,” and his time serving in Iraq.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

McCain: Protesters are 'Low Life Scum'

On Thursday, January 29, CODEPINK protesters spoke out during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing attempting to perform a citizens’ arrest on Henry Kissinger. Holding handcuffs and large signs that read: KISSINGER: WAR CRIMINAL and ARREST KISSINGER FOR WAR CRIMES, activists read aloud a citizens’ arrest [pasted below]. In response, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Committee, called the human rights activists “lowlife scum” and said it was “the most disgraceful and despicable demonstration he had ever seen.”

Call for Help on Jeju

From Jeju Island, South Korea by Fr. Pat:

Urgent call for people to go to Gangjeong this weekend as villagers brace themselves for yet another unleashing of brutal state violence. Gangjeong villagers are on tender hooks as they await the administrative execution of a demolition order by the Ministry of Defence (Saturday Jan 31) against a protest site set up to resist the building of military accommodation in the village center right next to a primary school. The navy are not content with taking over the coastline and destroy marine life with the building of the naval base they now want to irreversibly transform the village into an ugly military camp town. The administrative executive order will apparently be enforced by a bunch of hired thugs and military police from the mainland-apparently numbering up to 900 invaders in total who could descend on the village to stage a brutal show of state violence against defenseless villagers/activists. Please spare a thought for the villagers and activists who continue to resist state violence as they struggle to retain the identity of this once pristine village now blighted forever by an ugly naval base. We stand together and resist together - please help them stop the takeover of their village and the militarization of the island of Jeju!

We Are Killing Each Other Rather Than Going After the Oligarchies

If you watch nothing else see the comments at 2:25 by a self-defense force volunteer.  He says it all.

Now is the Time to Raise Holy Hell!

  • I had a message this morning from Sputnik News/ Ria Novosti News Agency in Russia.  They asked me to comment on the Obama administration decision to seek a base Pentagon budget of $534 billion and another $51 billion for wars when it sends its 2016 spending request to Congress next week.  (Not counted in these numbers are the offline costs of military portion of NASA, Department of Energy nuclear weapons programs, military retirement costs, Homeland Security, secret black budget and more.  Add it all up and the military budget is more than $1 trillion per year.) The article reporting on this is here

I sent my comments right back to Sputnik News:

The 2016 Pentagon funding request by the Obama administration indicates an on-going commitment to empire building and the encirclement of Russia and China.  There will be bi-partisan efforts in Congress to remove the sequestration caps on the military budget as both parties now view the Pentagon as virtually the only federal jobs program. 

Communities across the nation are increasingly becoming dependent on war funding which raises serious moral questions about the ‘soul of America’ that we have to have endless war in order for workers to feed their families.

It is more than interesting that Obama is requesting $51 billion for the war in Afghanistan – a war that the president has said is now over.

The 2016 military budget will continue the process of cutting troop levels and benefits while increasing spending on high-tech weapons programs that are already well over budget.  The weapons corporations, whose stock values have risen in recent years, are driving this expansion of war spending as their profits continue to go up. 

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank said last September, “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment – that could present an opportunity.”  Ablin oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman and Boeing stock shares.

The Navy says their ship building budget is “unsustainable” as they seek to build more aircraft carriers, new nuclear submarines, and high-tech destroyers outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems – all to be used in the confrontation with Russia and China.  The entire space dominance project of new military satellites, ground stations, launch vehicles, and cyber warfare is punching a hole in the national treasury. 

As a result of this continued expansion of US war spending social progress across the nation continues to be defunded.  Unemployment grows, education funding is collapsing, the physical infrastructure of the nation is falling apart and the people are more depressed than I’ve ever seen them.  They understand that corporations control our government and they feel helpless to do anything constructive about it.  The demonization of Russia and the fear-mongering about ISIS keeps the people afraid and off balance. 

The electoral victory of the left in Greece is a wonderful antidote to this despair and we hope to see more public rejection of the corporate austerity strategy in the coming year.

  •  In a related story last night MB and I attended a local county meeting of the Democratic party who had a speaker addressing the new budget proposal by our right-wing Gov. Paul LePage.  He has proposed to again cut income taxes on the rich in Maine, get rid of the estate tax, and increase sales taxes which disproportionally fall on the poor and the working class.  Our annual state budget is $3 billion per year (population in Maine is about 1.2 million people) and the governor wants to cut $600 million in taxes and replace that with $424 million in sales tax.  So do the math and you see that education, health care, and public infrastructure in Maine will continue to collapse.
The corporate oligarchy is hitting the American people at both ends.  At the national level they are destroying social progress and expanding military spending.  Social program responsibility gets shifted to state and local communities - most of whom can't afford to deal with it.  Then at the state levels the same kinds of cuts are happening as $$$ gets shifted into the pockets of the rich.

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

I asked the speaker last night (Garrett Martin from MCEP) what the governor's own party was saying about his budget proposal.  One state elected official in the audience answered that the Republicans in Augusta were "perplexed" since they always oppose increases in sales tax.  Martin said the Democrats were keeping their mouths shut for now - sort of waiting for Godot.

Now is not the time to be quiet and complaint.  The social swamp is being drained.  This is the time to raise holy hell while we still can. It's also way past time to link the national social spending cuts and increases in Pentagon spending to the local and state cuts.  Trying to keep them separate is a losing strategy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

West's Agri-Giants Snap Up Ukraine

By Frederic Mousseau

OAKLAND, United States - At the same time as the United States, Canada and the European Union announced a set of new sanctions against Russia in mid-December last year, Ukraine received $350 million in US military aid, coming on top of a $1 billion aid package approved by the US Congress in March 2014.

Western governments' further involvement in the Ukraine conflict signals their confidence in the cabinet appointed by the new government earlier in December 2014. This new government is unique given that three of its most important ministries were granted to foreign-born individuals who received Ukrainian citizenship just hours before their appointment.

The Ministry of Finance went to Natalie Jaresko, a US-born and educated businesswoman who has been working in Ukraine since the mid-1990s, overseeing a private equity fund established by the US government to invest in the country. Jaresko is also the CEO of Horizon Capital, an investment firm that administers various Western investments in the country.

As unusual as it may seem, this appointment is consistent with what looks more like a takeover of the Ukrainian economy by Western interests. In two reports - "The Corporate Takeover of Ukrainian Agriculture" and "Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict" - the Oakland Institute has documented this takeover, particularly in the agricultural sector.

A major factor in the crisis that led to deadly protests and eventually to president Viktor Yanukovych's removal from office in February 2014 was his rejection of a European Union Association agreement aimed at expanding trade and integrating Ukraine with the EU - an agreement that was tied to a US$17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After the president's departure and the installation of a pro-Western government, the IMF initiated a reform program that was a condition of its loan with the goal of increasing private investment in the country.

The package of measures includes reforming the public provision of water and energy, and, more important, attempts to address what the World Bank identified as the “structural roots” of the current economic crisis in Ukraine, notably the high cost of doing business in the country.

The Ukrainian agricultural sector has been a prime target for foreign private investment and is logically seen by the IMF and World Bank as a priority sector for reform. Both institutions praise the new government's readiness to follow their advice.

For example, the foreign-driven agricultural reform roadmap provided to Ukraine includes facilitating the acquisition of agricultural land, cutting food and plant regulations and controls, and reducing corporate taxes and custom duties.

The stakes around Ukraine's vast agricultural sector - the world's third-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat - could not be higher. Ukraine is known for its ample fields of rich black soil, and the country boasts more than 32 million hectares of fertile, arable land - the equivalent of one-third of the entire arable land in the European Union.

The maneuvering for control over the country's agricultural system is a pivotal factor in the struggle that has been taking place over the last year in the greatest East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

The presence of foreign corporations in Ukrainian agriculture is growing quickly, with more than 1.6 million hectares signed over to foreign companies for agricultural purposes in recent years. While Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont have been in Ukraine for quite some time, their investments in the country have grown significantly over the past few years.

Cargill is involved in the sale of pesticides, seeds and fertilizers and has recently expanded its agricultural investments to include grain storage, animal nutrition and a stake in UkrLandFarming, the largest agribusiness in the country.

Similarly, Monsanto has been in Ukraine for years but has doubled the size of its team over the last three years. In March 2014, just weeks after Yanukovych was deposed, the company invested $140 million in building a new seed plant in Ukraine.

DuPont has also expanded its investments and announced in June 2013 that it too would be investing in a new seed plant in the country.

Western corporations have not just taken control of certain profitable agribusinesses and agricultural activities, they have now initiated a vertical integration of the agricultural sector and extended their grip on infrastructure and shipping.

For instance, Cargill now owns at least four grain elevators and two sunflower seed processing plants used for the production of sunflower oil. In December 2013, the company bought a “25% +1 share” in a grain terminal at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk with a capacity of 3.5 million tonnes of grain per year.

All aspects of Ukraine's agricultural supply chain - from the production of seeds and other agricultural inputs to the actual shipment of commodities out of the country - are thus increasingly controlled by Western firms.

European institutions and the US government have actively promoted this expansion. It started with the push for a change of government at a time when president Yanukovych was seen as pro-Russian interests. This was further pushed, starting in February 2014, through the promotion of a “pro-business” reform agenda, as described by the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker when she met with Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsenyuk in October 2014.

The European Union and the United States are working hand in hand in the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture. Although Ukraine does not allow the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which ignited the conflict that ousted Yanukovych, includes a clause (Article 404) that commits both parties to cooperate to “extend the use of biotechnologies” within the country.

This clause is surprising given that most European consumers reject GM crops. However, it creates an opening to bring GM products into Europe, an opportunity sought after by large agro-seed companies such as Monsanto.

Opening up Ukraine to the cultivation of GM crops would go against the will of European citizens, and it is unclear how the change would benefit Ukrainians.

It is similarly unclear how Ukrainians will benefit from this wave of foreign investment in their agriculture, and what impact these investments will have on the seven million local farmers.

Once they eventually look away from the conflict in the Eastern "pro-Russian" part of the country, Ukrainians may wonder what remains of their country's ability to control its food supply and manage the economy to their own benefit.

As for US and European citizens, will they eventually awaken from the headlines and grand rhetoric about Russian aggression and human rights abuses and question their governments' involvement in the Ukraine conflict?

~ Frederic Mousseau is Policy Director at the Oakland Institute.

The Word on Kiev Streets

What do Kiev locals think about President Poroshenko's recent call for more war mobilization in Ukraine?

Ukraine is broke and the US-EU are funding the war.  How much more $$$ should be poured down this rat hole?

Your $$ at Work

Discretionary spending is those federal tax $$$ that Congress votes to put in one category or the other.

More Evidence of US-NATO Coup in Kiev

Ukrainian Deputy Oleg Tsarov: US to stage a civil war in Ukraine! This was November 20, 2013 right before Maidan began in Kiev which led to the present chaos and war in Ukraine.  He refers to TechCamp - info available about it here.

Clear evidence that the US-NATO was indeed planning the coup d'etat in Ukraine and for a civil war that would give Washington the chance to draw Russia into military conflict.

This kind of stuff is illegal under international law but since when does the US corporate dominated government give a damn about the rule of law?  The US is into creating chaos, selling weapons, and taking land and resources.  You might call it piracy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow in the Face

Swirling wind
face slapping snow
almost up to knees
I don't fear it
the force of
is fierce
and beautiful
in the moment

the angry
smacks her children's
but still
they pay
no mind

their appetites
are more
than the
can sustain

mother is furious
the brats
care less

Chicago Event Discusses NATO Expansion & Ukraine

At a meeting on January 10, 2015 two speakers discussed the background causes of the Ukraine troubles (now drawing the U.S. and Russia closer to possible military confrontation). Speaking were Dr. John J. Mearsheimer, co-director of Program on International Security Policy at University of Chicago; and Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO website, and also from Chicago.

Dr. Mearsheimer spoke of the real reason of the crisis: "We are interested in peeling away Ukraine and Georgia from Russia's orbit and making [them] bulwarks of the West, right on Putin's doorstep." Mearsheimer goes on to remind us how sensitive big powers are to that kind of thing with the way the U.S. reacted to the prospect of Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962. American foreign policy, rightly or wrongly, was obsessed with upholding the Monroe Doctrine declaring U.S. hegemony in the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Mearsheimer and Rick Rozoff fleshed out the three parts to the West's strategy vis-a-vis Russia and its immediate neighborhood in Eastern Europe: 1) NATO Expansion, 2) European Union Expansion, 3) Promote Democracy (meaning putting in power leaders who are pro-Western and anti-Russian).

Rozoff provided the background narrative to the steady march of NATO expansion since the 90s. In 1999 NATO held its 50th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C., while at the same time conducting its first war (to break up Yugoslavia, the first war in Europe since WWII). NATO then went on to conduct wars in three continents. Now, US-controlled NATO has 28 full members and 39 partner countries, nearly half of the nations in the UN.

The April, 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest was followed then by a war between Georgia and Russia in August, 2008, precipitated by plans to make Georgia part of NATO.

"It's clear," Rozoff noted, "that policy makers in the United States and also their NATO allies in Europe were envisioning some sort of continental system in Europe...There's not a single European nation...that has not either been a full member of NATO or a member of the Partnership for Peace program and in many instances several intermediate programs...So what we're talking about is the entirety of Europe being subordinated to a military bloc controlled from the other side of the Atlantic, and nothing less."

Both speakers underlined the sobering implications of NATO expansion. Rozoff ended his talk by saying, "I should let you know that both of us panelists objected to the original title that was proposed for this talk which included words to the effect of 'nuclear war' or something. However I woke up this morning to see that someone not noted for ever having being tremendously confrontational with the West, former Soviet President Michael Gorbachev, talk about just that prospect".

Labor Beat here presents a condensed version of Mearsheimer's and Rozoff's 50-minute discussion. Also, we have generously enhanced the video with news photos and maps. Here is an introduction to the Ukraine crisis, NATO, and relevant political geography touching upon Eastern Europe, Russia and the Black Sea region.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mothers, Wives Say Enough War to Kiev

  • January 22 - In Cheremhiv village in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of western Ukraine, there are mass protests against the new wave of mobilization, Navigator reports.

According to TV channel NTK, 30 draft notices were sent to the village, but the village council can’t distribute them – women are protesting and do not want to let their husbands and sons go to war.

According to village residents, they reject the mobilization of the men when the country is not at war, and ask why the police, prosecutors and officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) aren't sent to the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) first. According to them, even if the men survive in the Donbass, they return disabled and in a poor state.

The village council complains that they have been abandoned; the central authorities do not help, and efforts to argue or persuade fall on deaf ears.

  • There is growing evidence that 7,500 of Kiev's [mostly conscripted] forces are being surrounded in eastern Ukraine by the self-defense forces.  Many of these troops have apparently been killed and many more are reportedly surrendering.  From the Vineyard of the Saker I share the following:

What about the imperial "Axis of Kindness"?

The [US-NATO] Empire is in full combat mode.  After George Soros, the US Commander of NATO ground forces has visited Kiev and the western credit rating agencies have further downgraded Russia even though every single objective economic indicator says otherwise.  Things are a tad more complicated in Europe where the victory of Syriza in Greece will create a major risk for the future of the EU.  Sure, Merkel is more then willing to do the USA's bidding, but her popularity suffers from it and tensions between the EU plutocrats and the European people are only on the rise.  In France the entire Charlie Hebdo psyop has resulted in a chaotic and most volatile situation, the Polish nonsense about Auschwitz being liberated by Ukrainians has damaged the credibility of the russophobic camp and the awareness that the Kiev Junta and its supporters are bona fide Nazis is slowly but inexorably growing everywhere.

As Lincoln is supposed to have said "you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time".  Time is running out for the Nazi freaks in Kiev.

The Saker

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Western Troops in Ukraine

Is he American or British?  Is this a US military or Blackwater mercenary posing as a Ukrainian soldier in their uniform?  How many of these 'trainers' are there now from NATO inside Ukraine?  The evidence is mounting that the US-NATO are expanding their active military role in the Ukraine war along Russia's border.

Do the American people, and the people of Europe, want and support a US-NATO war with Russia?

Historic Victory for Left in Greece

Greece’s radical leftist party, Syriza, is leading the country’s parliamentary election, claiming 36 percent of the vote, and leaving the ruling New Democracy party in second place with 28 percent, according to the preliminary results.

"We murdered some folks" in Guantanamo

By David Swanson 

Murder at Camp Delta is a new book by Joseph Hickman, a former guard at Guantanamo. It's neither fiction nor speculation. When President Obama says "We tortured some folks," Hickman provides at least three cases -- in addition to many others we know about from secret sites around the world -- in which the statement needs to be modified to "We murdered some folks." Of course, murder is supposed to be acceptable in war (and in whatever you call what Obama does with drones) while torture is supposed to be, or used to be, a scandal. But what about tortures to death? What about deadly human experimentation? Does that have a Nazi enough ring to disturb anyone?

We should be able to answer that question soon, at least for that segment of the population that searches aggressively for news or actually -- I'm not making this up -- reads books. Murder at Camp Delta is a book of, by, and for true believers in patriotism and militarism. You can start out viewing Dick Cheney as a leftist and never be offended by this book, unless documented facts that the author himself was deeply disturbed to discover offend you. The first line of the book is "I am a patriotic American." The author never retracts it. Following a riot at Guantanamo, which he led the suppression of, he observes:

    "As much as I blamed the inmates for the riot, I respected how hard they'd fought. They were ready to fight nearly to the death. If we had been running a good detention facility, I would have thought they were motivated by strong religious or political ideals. The sad truth was that they probably fought so hard because our poor facilities and shabby treatment had pushed them beyond normal human limits. Their motivation might not have been radical Islam at all but the simple fact that they had nothing to live for and nothing left to lose."

As far as I know, Hickman has not yet applied the same logic to debunking the absurd pretense that people fight back in Afghanistan or Iraq because their religion is murderous or because they hate us for our freedoms. Hickman will be a guest on Talk Nation Radio soon, so perhaps I'll ask him. But first I'll thank him. And not for his "service." For his book.

He describes a hideous death camp in which guards were trained to view the prisoners as sub-human and much greater care was taken to protect the well-being of iguanas than homo sapiens. Chaos was the norm, and physical abuse of the prisoners was standard.  Col. Mike Bumgarner made it a top priority that everyone stand in formation when he entered his office in the morning to the sounds of Beethoven's Fifth or "Bad Boys." Hickman relates that certain vans were permitted to drive in and out of the camp uninspected, making a mockery of elaborate attempts at security. He didn't know the reasoning behind this until he happened to discover a secret camp not included on any maps, a place he called Camp No but the CIA called Penny Lane.

To make things worse at Guantanamo would require a particular sort of idiocy that apparently Admiral Harry Harris possessed. He began blasting the Star Spangled Banner into the prisoners' cages, which predictably resulted in the guards abusing prisoners who did not stand and pretend to worship the U.S. flag. Tensions and violence rose. When Hickman was called on to lead an assault on prisoners who would not allow their Korans to be searched, he proposed that a Muslim interpreter do the searching. Bumgarner and gang had never thought of that, and it worked like a charm. But the aforementioned riot took place in another part of the prison where Harris rejected the interpreter idea; and the lies that the military told the media about the riot had an impact on Hickman's view of things. So did the media's willingness to lap up absurd and unsubstantiated lies: "Half the reporters covering the military should have just enlisted; they seemed even more eager to believe the things our commanders said than we did."

After the riot, some of the prisoners went on hunger strike. On June 9, 2006, during the hunger strike, Hickman was in charge of guards on watch from towers, etc., overseeing the camp that night. He and every other guard observed that, just as the Navy Criminal Investigative Service report on the matter would later say, some prisoners were taken out of their cells. In fact, the van that took prisoners to Penny Lane took three prisoners, on three trips, out of their camp. Hickman watched each prisoner being loaded into the van, and the third time he followed the van far enough to see that it was headed to Penny Lane. He later observed the van return and back up to the medical facilities, where a friend of his informed him that three bodies were brought in with socks or rags stuffed down their throats.

Bumgarner gathered staff together and told them three prisoners had committed suicide by stuffing rags down their own throats in their cells, but that the media would report it a different way. Everyone was strictly forbidden to say a word. The next morning the media reported, as instructed, that the three men had hung themselves in their cells. The military called these "suicides" a "coordinated protest" and an act of "asymmetrical warfare." Even James Risen, in his role as New York Times stenographer, conveyed this nonsense to the public. No reporter or editor apparently thought it useful to ask how prisoners could have possibly hung themselves in open cages in which they are always visible; how they could have acquired enough sheets and other materials to supposedly create dummies of themselves; how they could have gone unnoticed for at least two hours; how in fact they had supposedly bound their own ankles and wrists, gagged themselves, put on face masks, and then all hanged themselves simultaneously; why there were no videos or photos; why no guards were disciplined or even questioned for ensuing reports; why supposedly radically lax and preferential treatment had been given to three prisoners who were on hunger strike; how the corpses had supposedly suffered rigor mortis faster than is physically possible, etc.

Three months after Hickman returned to the U.S. he heard on the news of another very similar "suicide" at Guantanamo. Who could Hickman turn to with what he knew? He found a law professor named Mark Denbeaux at the Seton Hall University Law School's Center for Policy and Research. With his, and his colleagues', help Hickman tried reporting the matter through proper channels. Obama's Justice Department, NBC, ABC, and 60 Minutes all expressed interest, were told the facts, and refused to do a thing about it. But Scott Horton wrote it up in Harpers, which Keith Olbermann reported on but the rest of the corporate media ignored.

Hickman and Seton Hall researchers found out that the CIA had been administering huge doses of a drug called mefloquine to prisoners, including the three killed, which an army doctor told Hickman would induce terror and amounted to "psychological waterboarding." Over at Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye reported that every new arrival at Guantanamo was given mefloquine, supposedly for malaria, but it was only given to every prisoner, never to a single guard or to any third-country staff people from countries with high risk of malaria, and never to the Haitian refugees housed at Guantanamo in 1991 and 1992. Hickman had begun his "service" at Guantanamo believing the prisoners were "the worst of the worst," but had since learned that at least most of them were nothing of the sort, having been picked up for bounties with little knowledge of what they'd done. Why, he wondered,

    "were men of little or no value kept under these conditions, and even repeatedly interrogated, months or years after they'd been taken into custody? Even if they'd had any intelligence when they came in, what relevance would it have years later? . . . One answer seemed to lie in the description that Major Generals [Michael] Dunlavey and [Geoffrey] Miller both applied to Gitmo. They called it 'America's battle lab."

Sunday Song

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Can We Handle the Truth?

Lenten Vigils at Bath Iron Works

Lenten Vigils for Disarmament at BIW in Maine

Starting on Ash Wednesday, February 18, we will gather at Bath Iron Works from 11:30 – 12:30, and we will continue every Saturday of Lent (February 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, 28 and Holy Saturday on April 4) at the same time.  We will gather across from the BIW administration building on Washington Street.  (In particular the March 21 vigil will be expanded as it will be the official Maine site for the nationally called Spring Mobilization for Peace.)

We stand against the building of these guided missile warships [cruise missiles and ‘missile defense’ interceptors] here in Maine.  We stand together to witness to our absolute need to stop war and our preparations for war.  We stand with the innocent, the voiceless, and those grieving because of our failure to see the true costs of war. 

Lent is a time to fast from our culture of excess by resisting the temptation of militarism.  We need to stand together to express our opposition to this ongoing crime against peace which is the building of these guided missile warships here at BIW.

- Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm 763-4062

Protests Inside Supreme Court

From Popular Resistance:

On the anniversary of the Citizens United decision the US Supreme Court was interrupted by a series of protests decrying the corruption of government made worse by the decision.

Reuters reports:

Activists staged a rare protest inside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, shouting denunciations on the fifth anniversary of a ruling that lifted limits on corporate spending in elections as police rushed to corral them, knocking over chairs and causing a ruckus in the normally staid chambers.

While the protests were ongoing they report “Chief Justice John Roberts tried to begin business but kept being interrupted by shouts.”  The New York Times described the protests reporting:

The disruption came shortly after the justices took their seats on the bench at 10 a.m., when a woman rose in the back of the courtroom and yelled, “Overturn Citizens United.” She was hustled from the room. It was the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling, which allowed unlimited political spending by corporations and unions.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. seemed to take the protest in stride. “Our second order of business this morning …” he started to say, but he was interrupted as a second protester rose, followed, one by one, by five more.

“One person, one vote,” one said.

“We are the 99 percent,” said another.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

KEXP Radio in Seattle

Interview on KEXP radio in Seattle recorded January 18, 2015. Interviewed by Mike McCormick.

U.S. General Awards Medals in Ukraine

General Ben Hodges, Chief of the US Army in Europe, awarded US army medals to Ukrainian soldiers in Kiev's Central Military Hospital on January 22.

The General said the medal is "a symbol of the US army in Europe" and is given "for excellence". 

If anyone had any doubt that the Kiev regime is carrying water on behalf of the Pentagon and NATO then this video should dispel those doubts.  For a US Army general to be visiting Ukrainian soldiers, and awarding medals, indicates to me that this civil war in eastern Ukraine is indeed about provoking conflict with Russia.  There is no question as to who is really running this deadly show in Ukraine.

This is more than unbelievable - it's insane and our country is on a suicidal course that could end in a nuclear confrontation.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Just a Harmless Movie?

The reactions to the pro-war 'American Sniper' film are proving that it is serving its true purpose which is to pump up the domestic jam for all things military.

Just like the 1968 Vietnam war promo movie Green Berets with John Wayne, this new 'American Sniper' is serving the interests of the US war machine.

From what I've seen and read about this new movie it is not intended to question the lies and deception by the Bush administration that initiated 'shock and awe' of Iraq in 2003.  Instead it's purpose is to reenergise the militarization of American culture - to demonize the people of the Middle East in the eyes of movie goers - and those goals seem to have been achieved with many of the legions who have gone to see the box office smash which made an estimated $105.3 million during the entire four-day MLK holiday weekend.

The saddest thing about the film is that it completely drowned out the MLK holiday message of peace and social justice.  Just a coincidence I am sure.......

Jesus is Not an American?

We Steal from Our Children's Future

After all
the lies
all the
false promises
the words
have little

New enemies
are created
to justify
the thievery
our children

We revel
in the
war stories
missile launches
bomb blasts
reenlistment bonuses
memorial parades
flag waving
pledge making

our hearts
have grown hard
and bitter
we are
walking dead(ly)

to steal
from the
or without

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winning Hearts for Jesus

More evidence that US is heavily involved in outfitting the Kiev regimes soldiers.  American evangelists are sending these recording to win 'hearts for Jesus'.  The Baptists would not have the ability to give these solar-powered recording devices to all of the Kiev junta's troops without Pentagon intervention.

We saw the same thing early on in Afghanistan when US troops were handing out bibles to the civilians there.  The crusaders are still at it!

We Were An Invading Country

The movie 'American Sniper' based on the memoirs of Navy Seal Chris Kyle has grabbed six Oscar nominations and shattered US box-office records. In the process it's also inflamed debate over US wars. Kyle served in Iraq and was credited with being America's deadliest sniper. After leaving the army he was shot dead by a fellow veteran he was trying to help. RT's Marina Portnaya takes a look at the controversy around the film.

US-NATO Ukraine War News

The Kiev puppet regime of the US-NATO has re-launched their offensive on the eastern part of Ukraine where the self-defense forces have held on despite constant shelling of their cities and towns.  Many civilians have been killed by Kiev shelling in recent days.

The battle for what is left of the Donesk airport appears to have been won by the eastern self-defense forces.  The Kiev junta has sent in waves of ill-trained conscripts to try to retake the airport but they faced death and capture.  One of those captured at the airport was the Right Sector Neo-Nazi commander Oleg Mikhailovich Mikats.

In desperation the Kiev regime is drafting another 50,000 conscripts who will be quickly 'trained' and thrown like cannon fodder into the civil war.  Recent reports have been that many of their soldiers are refusing to join the battle which has made it necessary for another call-up of unwilling men.  See this short video below of one recently captured Kiev draftee who indicates his unwillingness to keep fighting. At the end of the clip see one of the self-defense forces leaders describing an unknown military shell they captured - would not be surprised at all that the US is providing Kiev with depleted uranium shells.  That would be a war crime since they produce radioactive debris.

The US-NATO military machine are doing their best to rescue the collapsing Kiev project.  RT reports that Washington is sending in more Pentagon troops to advise and direct the Kiev forces - likely fearing they will lose without active US support.

“This week, a delegation from the US Army Command, headed by Commander of US Army Europe, Lt. Gen [Frederick Ben] Hodges, will arrive in Ukraine,” Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces, said at a media briefing in Kiev on Monday. 

There are also growing reports that various European economies are being heavily impacted by the US-NATO sanctions on Russia.  Many business leaders across Europe want the sanctions lifted but the EU governments appear to be under the control of the US and unable to make independent decisions about their own policies.

The new Republican controlled Congress in Washington is going to be eager to push further war moves toward Russia.  There can be no doubt that the US is playing with fire and the global community needs to speak out now before this proxy war gets even hotter.

Budgets are Moral Documents

My latest show which reviews the recent election and discusses Maine issues with Leslie Manning, member of the Friends [Quaker] Committee for Maine Public Policy and the Public Policy Committee of the Maine Council of Churches.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spying on the Press

British security agency GCHQ has stored thousands of emails from journalists working for the world’s biggest news organizations, according to a new batch of Edward Snowden leaks. Emails from the BBC, Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post and others were saved by GCHQ, allegedly as part of a ‘test exercise’ conducted by the agency.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ground Zero Protest

Ground Zero Center for Non-violence Action: Memorial on the Death of Planet Earth. January 17, 2015 at Trident Naval Base Bangor.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Am Here

It's like quoting
from the bible
the sacred cows
are coming home
to graze
on the bones
of the nation
the one who eats
the fat


Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Herndon, Virginia, has been awarded a $963,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ground subsystems support. Contractor support includes sustainment engineering, technical assistance and program management services for ground subsystems to include sustainment, assessment, system modification and technical support. Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Needham, Massachusetts, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2020. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with two offers received. Fiscal year 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $4,361,537 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8214-15-D-0001).

People rise up?
Not if the
capitol crew
has their way
part of the entertainment
these days

Up against the wall
time to stand
or fall
no half-stepin
no time for mythology
no time for me-ism

We've had our minds
lost our humanness
back down the road
a piece

finding bits of it
along the way now
moss on trees
small boy
warming hearts
he deserves
a chance
to live
we fight for him

we walk on
singing da-da-da-da
and stomping our
sore tired feet

We love
the drum
chant gets us
up the hills
and down
the wet road
mile after

Cars whiz by
clouds in the sky
many wonder why
I have no doubts
I am here

Defending Social Progress from the Agents of Doom

Yesterday about 60 people gathered at Ground Zero Peace Center for a five-hour meeting that included speakers and music.  I talked during the event about the program of the Global Network and my participation in the MLK peace walk through Washington state.  Following the meeting the folks broke up into small groups and I joined the one that was planning the civil disobedience action at the front gate of the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base.

The submarine base is less than one mile down the two-lane country road from the peace center.  We walked in single file through the rain to the base and then had a moving ceremony that was highlighted by several women in black robes holding candles in front of a coffin that contained the earth.  Gregorian chants were played on a sound system as the state police and base security (one with sentry dog and machine gun) lined up to block any attempts to cross the 'forbidden line' toward the base.

After some time the casket was carried into the roadway that leads into the base and people were immediately detained by the police. A second group entered the roadway and then I was the last to step beyond the forbidden line into the road and I kneeled down and initially refused to move.  One tall state policeman ordered me to move and as I looked into his eyes I noticed that he was quite unsure of himself in that moment.  I eventually stood up and was moved to the middle of the four-lane base highway and like the nine others was ticketed on the spot for 'unlawfully' being on the highway.  A fine of $56 was handed to me for my brief moment of civil disobedience.

This morning I did a half-hour radio interview on KEXP radio (Mike McCormick show).  I've been on the show once before some years ago.

I head home early in the morning. It's been a great visit to the Seattle area and I thank Nipponzan Myohoji for the great peace walk experience.

If you want to see the American people just go join a peace walk and the public will drive right by.... people of all ages, colors, income levels.  The highway is still the one place you can have face-to-face contact with the non-choir.

It was fitting to be part of this symbolic action at the front gate of the Navy base after walking so far through the region.  The Navy (which recently acknowledged that their ship building budget is 'unsustainable') wants even more of the nation's treasury for aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, and destroyers that are all far over budget.  The only way to pay for them is to further decimate social spending across the land.  The 15 new incoming Republican senators in Washington have pledged to dismantle the food stamp program and attempts are presently being made to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

For me this peace walk was a living prayer and cry out to the public to defend these programs against the agents of doom who now run the US government.

Sunday Song

Friday, January 16, 2015

King on Vietnam War

MLK died for our collective sins in Vietnam and here at home where the poor were, and still are, ignored and repressed by the corporate oligarchy that controls our government.  King was killed because he moved beyond civil rights into the peace movement as he could no longer ignore the great evil that Washington was committing in Vietnam and across the US.  King had the courage to tell the truth knowing full well that his life would likely end. 

The nation besmirches King's memory by largely focusing on his early "I have a dream" period and by refusing to recognize and honor his peace activism and his work to upend the corporate war on the poor. 

We honor MLK by keeping his whole life in front of the public and continuing his work for truth, peace, and justice.

Planting Seeds of Peace

Video is from the MLK peace walk here in Washington state and flashes between the walk and Jeju Island where a large delegation from this region recently went to stand in solidarity with the people in South Korea.

Today we did about 14-miles to the Ground Zero peace center (next door to Bangor nuclear submarine base) and had supper.  Soon after arriving at the peace center an 81-year-old man arrived with US Marine patches on his clothes.  He told us he used to work security at the Bangor sub base in the 1970's so we sat around and shared protest stories with him and talked politics.  He said he was driving by the peace center and heard the drums of the Buddhist monks.  Just goes to show that these protests get inside folks and sometimes it takes a while for them to be able to step over the line to our side of the street.

Tomorrow we head back to Ground Zero for a program where I will be one of the speakers and then we'll walk to the front gates of the base for a non-violent action of civil resistance.  On Sunday morning I do a radio interview in Seattle and then head home early Monday morning.

It's been a great walk and I am glad I came along to be a part of it. I figure thousands of people read my sign as we walked along the highways and through busy city streets.  Jerry Mander (former advertising executive now turned writer and activist) often says that the corporations try to plant product images inside our heads and they never go away.  I figure we can do the same thing with our messages for peace and justice.  Walks are good ways to make that happen.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Visit to Chief Seattle's Grave

We walked 12-miles in the rain today from Bainbridge to Chief Seattle's grave on the Suquamish reservation.  Around his grave site these words are inscribed in the stone:

"Even the rocks that seem to lie dumb as they swelter in the sun along the silent seashore in solemn grandeur thrill with memories of past events connected with the fate of my people, and the very dust under your feet responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is the ashes of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch, for the soil is rich with the life of our kindred."

Tomorrow we return to this same spot for a ceremony before walking the final leg of our journey to the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action next to Bangor Naval nuclear submarine base.  On Saturday there will be a protest and civil resistance action at the base.

Today we had 100% more supportive reactions as we walked to the Suquamish reservation than we got yesterday while walking in Seattle.  I am told that there are many ex-hippies on Bainbridge Island and the native people on the reservation are also inclined to be supportive of the peace walk because the Nipponzan Myohoji monks have long developed positive relationships with the people on the reservation.

Preperations for War with Russia

A train loaded with US military vehicles, including Strykers, Humvees, and SUVS was seen rolling through the city of Klaipeda, Thursday, as American troops resume NATO training in the region. The 2nd Cavalry Regiment arrived in Lithuania from their base in Vilseck, Germany, on Janary 8th. The US troops have since resumed allied training under 'Operation Atlantic Resolve', with the Lithuanian military.

You can be certain that after these war games are over near the Russian border that this military hardware will be left there in anticipation of future uses.

Will this mean war for sure?  The US often puts a loaded gun to the head of a particular nation and finds that the threat itself is enough to get its way.  Will such a threat work with Russia?

Why is this happening?  Follow the money.  See this latest big story about Russia turning off its gas pipeline to Europe through Ukraine.  Click here 

Smirking in Seattle?

Our 14-mile peace walk through Seattle ended today at the Sadako Sasaki statue near the Friends Meeting House.  Following the closing ceremony at the statue we moved to the ferry and made our way back to Bainbridge Island for supper at the Winslow Co-Housing.  I am spending the next two nights in an apartment at the Co-Housing complex where 80 people live.  The furnished apartment is temporarily empty while the owner is out of town so I have the whole place to myself.

We walked through Seattle's downtown black community, the Asian community, the business district during the lunch hour amongst the government buildings and restaurants, and the university district.  So we had a good look at the city.  You can imagine that legions of cars and people saw us, heard the drumming, and read our signs.

On the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island after we finished today's walk I rode with two Washingtonians and asked a series of questions so I could try to clear up some of my confusion about the last three days of walking in their state.  I've noticed that we got fewer honks, waves, thumps up and other positive nods than on any peace walk I've ever been on - and I've done about a dozen of them over the years in several different states.

During the past three days (but I want to particularly focus on today through "liberal" Seattle) we admittedly again got nice positive support from the vast majority of black people we saw.  Immigrants (African, Asian, Hispanic) would usually make eye contact and often would nod - they were generally making some kind of human contact.  But amazingly the vast majority (with a few notable exceptions of course) of white people avoided making eye contact and were most often near stone faced, even smuggish, as we passed by.  I've never before seen such emotional disconnection from so many white folks.  (And just to prove that I have not lost my mind a young South Korean woman artist who is walking with us had the very same reaction that I had.)

Of course I questioned my own reactions - although after 14-miles there appeared to be a real pattern to this across age and class divisions amongst white people.  But admittedly I know virtually nothing about white culture in the northwest of this country so I was eager to discuss this with people actually from this state.

Thus during the ferry ride today I told two Washingtonians of my observations and asked them if there was any merit to it.  Could I just be way off base?  Was I being needlessly judgemental?

Their response was quick and resolute.  No, I was not imagining this they told me.  White people in this region "smirk, are smug, don't want to engage, and even many well educated liberals think we live in a post-political period where protesting is old hat."  I was stunned to hear this as Seattle is perceived as a liberal bastion despite being the home ground of military contractor Boeing and Microsoft among many other high-tech corporations.

One of the Washingtonians told me that many folks in these parts are into wearing the right eco-clothes, eating the right organic foods, driving the right eco-friendly car, riding their bikes, and the like but when it comes to dealing with issues to stop endless war, the plight of the poor and minorities, and efforts to overturn the ravages of capitalism they are not so interested.

Now granted there are people like this all over America and around the world.  I understand that but I can say without hesitation that today was the most mind-blowing example of white people either ignoring or arrogantly smirking at us and our message that I have ever witnessed in my 36 years as an activist.

As we walked and I pondered this surprising observation I came up with a biological species identification that best described what I saw during this 14-mile field examination.  I called it Genus Ignorus. 

Tomorrow we go back out into the field for another day of examination of this Washingtonian species.  I'll be sure to pass on what I find.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Neo-Slavery Makes Comeback

For-profit prisons have created a “neo-slavery” in the US, according to award-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Inmates work eight hours per day for major corporations such as Chevron, Motorola, Nordstrom’s and Target, yet only have the possibility of making up $1.25 an hour. In addition, companies that provide services like phone calls overcharge prisoners on even the most basic services, making hundreds of millions in profits annually. RT’s Ben Swann speaks to Hedges, who explains how this shadowy system came into existence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Entering Tacoma

The Martin Luther King Peace Walk entered Tacoma today from the south.  It was a clear and sunny one so we had a great view of Mt. Rainer in the distance.  Quite a sight.  All together the walk did 14 miles from near the sprawling Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Air Force and Army) to Tacoma.

We are back to the Catholic Worker House in Tacoma for the night (we also stayed here the night before the walk began).  Just before dinner tonight about 40 homeless people and Catholic Worker volunteers gathered for a meeting that we were able to sit in and listen to.  They were discussing how the Catholic Worker community here (which has eight houses in the neighborhood) can serve the homeless population in a better way.  The message that most stood out was the need to show greater compassion for those who find themselves homeless.  One woman reminded everyone that most of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless ourselves.

During the walk today we passed through a heavy traffic industrial area which meant we had alot of people see our walk banners and signs.  We also passed through the black community where we got about the best reception we've had yet. I heard a story today that the black community in Seattle has dwindled to about 800 people in large part due to the cost of living jumping so high since the Microsoft and high-tech boom.  Many people from Seattle's black community moved to Tacoma which is more affordable for poor and working class people. 

My feet are aching badly and I am dog tired but my spirits are high.  I hope to be asleep by 8:00 pm tonight for some needed rest before we head off for another day of taking it to the streets.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Walking Thru Olympia

We began walking today through Olympia, Washington after spending last night in Tacoma at the Catholic Worker community led by the infamous Father Bix, the Jesuit priest who has been a mainstay of political organizing in this region for many years.  (Father Bix is 86 years old and recently took a large group of local activists to Jeju Island, South Korea for a solidarity trip.)

When we walked into the Olympia downtown area around noon we took a break to see this magnificent mural created by the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Mural Project.  They asked various local organizations to make a leaf that was then added to this brilliant public art piece.  This photo does not do the whole thing justice but you get an idea anyway. (Click on the photo for a better view.)

We walked about 13 miles today and ended up at the home of a Vietnamese couple who hosted us for a traditional dinner and are offering their home to our group of 12 walkers.  The husband walked all day with us and was once one of the Vietnamese boat people who fled his home country and was held in a refugee camps for several years before making his way to the US.

As is usual for me on peace walks I made a sign that says "Human Needs Not War$" which I will carry and keep turning facing the traffic so as many people driving by as possible can read it.  Call it my spiritual practice on a peace walk.