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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hedges: "The Game is Fixed"

Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges sits down with Ben Makuch at the Toronto VICE office to discuss what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Hedges discusses his new book Wages of Rebellion, an investigation of the social and psychological factors that cause revolution, rebellion and resistance. From Wall Street corruption to why the elites in corporate media have eviscerated traditional investigative journalism, Hedges tries to make sense of the world we live in.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wilkerson: "Assad is the Legitimate Government of Syria"

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the U.S./Saudi unholy alliance in Syria and a relationship that has distorted development throughout the region.
Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."

Endless War & Not Enough Peace

  • Yesterday was the first of the annual Saturday Advent vigils at Bath Iron Works here in Maine.  Sponsored by the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm the vigils are held during the noon shift change and will continue through December 19. There were 18 of us yesterday.
  • I am spending quite a bit of time reading articles about the Turkey-Russia conflict.  I've not found any of the media in the US mentioning the now well established fact that Turkey has been stealing oil from Syria and hauling it into Turkey in long truck convoys.  France and Russia began to bomb them cutting into profits for President Erdogan and his son who runs a company that exports the oil to Japan and Israel.  His daughter runs a hospital that treats ISIS fighters inside Turkey.  How could the American media miss that story?  Find it here and here.  You can tell the Russians have had it with Washington, London and Brussels.  They are now publicly revealing loads of intelligence information in order to pull the mask off the face of the US-NATO war in Syria.  It's about time.....
  • Zero Hedge reports: Last month, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) went on CNN and laid bare Washington’s Syria strategy. In a remarkably candid interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gabbard calls Washington’s effort to oust Assad “counterproductive” and “illegal” before taking it a step further and accusing the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are "sworn enemies.” In short, Gabbard all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.” Gabbard has apparently had just about enough of Washington vacillating in the fight against terror just so the US can ensure that ISIS continues to destabilize Assad and now, with bi-partisan support, the brazen Hawaii Democrat has introduced legislation to end the "illegal war" to overthrow Assad.  Gabbard, who fought in Iraq - twice - has partnered with Republican Adam Scott on the bill.Watch her CNN interview here.

Sunday Song


Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Film for Our Times

Yesterday MB and I went to see the new movie called Trumbo.  I didn't know much about the life of Dalton Trumbo but this film is a work of art and I came away with my soul stirred.  The story reminds us all in that these times of endless war and the destruction of our constitutional rights we each must draw upon our reservoir of courage and fierce determination - we are not the first to face the boot of the repressive forces in this country and surely won't be the last.

Years ago I read the anti-war classic Johnny Got His Gun and it left a deep mark on me.  MB reminded me this morning that the book was written by Dalton Trumbo.

You don't want to miss this great story.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Ukraine Story

This video gives a review of the last two years in Ukraine.  This backgrounder is a good intro for anyone who feels confused about the civil war going on.  The US has been directing the puppet regime in Kiev's attack on their own citizens in the eastern regions of Ukraine - in the Donbass as it is called.
The Kiev regime has been shelling homes, schools, hospitals, day care centers, churches, rail systems, power plants, airports and more.  Those living in the east have formed self defense forces and have received some material aid from Russia although there is no evidence that Russia has sent tanks and troops into Ukraine.
It is my opinion that the US wants to create chaos along the Russian border in eastern Ukraine as part of its ultimate goal to force regime change in Moscow.

Global Corporate Empire Update

"Turkey decided to down a Russian bomber because it continues to patronize the terrorists. The other reason is the fact that in five days Russian airstrikes destroyed over 1,000 tank trucks carrying stolen oil from Syria to Turkey."

If anyone ever doubted that the joint criminal enterprise called NATO was supporting and directing the terrorist groups in Syria, the same groups, they claim, that conducted the attacks in Paris and on the Russian airliner over Sinai, they now have the proof.  Can there be any doubt that this attack on Russian forces in Syria is intended to disrupt the Russian-Syrian campaign against those NATO supported terrorist groups? Can there be any doubt that if they are willing to shoot down one Russian aircraft they are willing to shoot down more? Can there be any doubt that this attack is intended to push Russia to react with counter force against Turkey resulting in a claim by NATO that it is under attack, resulting in a general war?

As tensions between Russia and Turkey continue to ratchet up, 57 per cent of readers believe the prime minister should back Putin's nation. This is despite Downing Street coming out in support for its NATO ally after the Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down in Turkish airspace sparking a potentially deadly international crisis.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "We will continue to work closely with the Turks and we will stand by the offers of support we have made to them already." But in a poll of more than 2,300 people, just eight per cent of them believed the British government should support Turkey. It revealed a fair 35 per cent believe Britain should sit on the fence and "stay out of it".
He [Putin]  told a press conference yesterday: 'The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes' flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time.

'Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place.'

Ahead of the conference, Putin and Erdogan traded barbs, with the Russian leader saying he was waiting for an apology and Erdogan ruling out any such move.
Putin has dismissed as 'rubbish' Turkey's claim that it would not have shot down the jet if it had known it was Russian.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gathering of Generations

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Protest at Turkey Consulates & Embassies

Obama and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Message from a friend in Ukraine: All who want peace in the world, gather for a protest near the Consulates and Embassies of Turkey all over the world to express your thoughts and feelings concerning the downed Russian aircraft. We propose to do this in the coming days. We demand to convict the political leadership of Turkey who are the direct perpetrators of this crime, and their curators from NATO who cover them. I write to you to ask to support this activity.

I strongly agree that there must be a clear message from the international community of peace loving people that what Turkey has done is way beyond bounds.  Turkey's President Erdogan supports fundamentalist Islam and has been enabling ISIS.  The US of course knows this and tries to pretend it wants to destroy ISIS but that is not the case.  Washington wants ISIS to continue to grow in order to take down Syria, Iran and then Russia.

Wake up and smell the coffee folks.  This Turkish take down of the Russian plane is another US-NATO (Turkey is a NATO member) attempt to justify and start a war with Russia.  Now is the time to speak out before the nukes start to fly.

For those who think that war with Russia is not possible I say this - stop thinking rationally and begin to recognize that the US government is controlled not by the citizens but by a criminal syndicate of psychotic corporate operatives.

Take action: You can call the Turkish embassy in the United States at 202-612-6700 and press # 8 for the office of the ambassador.  I just called and was hung up on but got my message delivered before they did.  My bottom line is that Turkey is way out of control and in the wrong on this one.

Get more background here

Trump: "I Was the One"

More bullshit from the leading Republican candidate for president.  His Hollywood inspired campaign seems well coordinated to ensure that the oligarchy's favorite candidate Hillary Clinton will be elected as the US's next president.

Compare and Contrast

Just which government is telling us the truth about Syria and Turkey?

Former General Says Turkey Shootdown was Pre-Planned

The former US general's words speak for themselves.....

Pilger on Western Support for ISIS

Afshin Rattansi goes underground with John Pilger. Award winning journalist and author, Pilger talks about how Washington, London and Paris gave birth to ISIS-Daesh. 

Full Moon Society

The sacred moon
follows one
around our planet

For generations
we've lit our
night fires
and shared our hearts
with Mother Moon

A unifying
each of us
has some
with the shape shifting

once proposed
a huge advert
on the night orb
so we would
never forget
their toxic

Long called
'The poor man's
the wondrous moon
shares its glow
with all,
no charge,
just a bit
of reverence

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Reflections on a Trip and More.....

I got home last night after the long, but uneventful, trip from England to Maine.  It took a train, two planes, a bus and a car to get me from Leeds back to Bath.

I thought I'd share some reflections from the trip and also some thoughts about 'endless war' events currently in the news.

  • The people we met with in Sicily were top of the mark - good organizers, very kind and welcoming.  We ate pasta two meals each day while there and I was in heaven.
  • Two of the No MUOS groups (in Ragusa and Niscemi) have joined the Global Network as affiliate members which is a great thing.  We were impressed with their campaign to shut down the new US space directed communications base in Niscemi.  We asked them to try to get more English language subtitles on protest videos and the like so that more people can learn about their campaign.
  • Dave Webb did a great job lining up my trip around England.  I spoke on three different college campuses and we drove a long way to three different US space warfare downlink/radar installations throughout Britain.  We met many determined activists along the way.
  • Luckily throughout the trip to Sicily and England we did lots of walking which is often hard to do when you are traveling.  
  • Activists in England are very excited about Jeremy Corbyn winning the Labor party chairmanship in recent months.  Corbyn is a long-time Parliament back bencher from London who has been an active leader in the peace movement for years.  The inside story is that the battle for Labor's soul - between the left and the remnants of the Tony Blair crew - has taken on new life as Corbyn reluctantly took his turn to run for chair and unexpectedly this time the public responded wildly which has put life back into all the movements.  The corporate media is attacking Corbyn mercilessly every day and he and his spokespeople have decided only to do live interviews so that their words cannot be cut and pasted into trash stories intended to mislead the public.  Smart idea.
  • Dave and I rode the trains a couple times and the privatization of the once proud British rail system continues to show that the corporations can't and won't deliver important services to the public.  The corporations are not keeping the rail lines in good repair which means the public has to repeatedly bail them out with more funds.  The trains don't run on time and many scheduled routes are changed or cancelled creating much disarray and disapproval from the riders.  
  • The French terrorist event happened just as we were moving from Sicily to England.  When I, and others, heard about a terrorist 'passport' being found (coincidentally just like on 9/11 in New York) we didn't buy the story.  While I have no evidence to support this - I do believe that the French terror event was another of the Gladio-style false flag events that continue to be used by the western capitalist governments to promote war and the loss of our freedoms.  
  • In the case of the French terror event the US, France, England and other NATO allies are using the horrible killings to justify widening their already insane war in Syria.  The massive refugee crisis in Europe has largely been a result of the US-NATO wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.  I am convinced that the ultimate US-NATO goal is to widen the chaos even further which serves several wicked purposes: forces the public to support even more wars; creates even more military industrial complex profits which means more austerity cuts in human services; helps undercut the big protests (now looks like they have been banned) in Paris around the climate change summit; and ultimately consolidates power in the corporate dominated governments of the NATO war machine as we see even many left/liberal politicians now scrambling to prove they will be 'tough on terror'.  Hillary Clinton is just one example.
  • Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet today raises the question about NATO (Turkey is a NATO member) possibly attempting to find a pretext to create a "No fly zone" across Syria (something Hillary Clinton has been advocating).  This would put Russia and NATO directly at odds and increase the possibility of a more direct war between them.
  • The recent energy blockade of Crimea and cutting the power lines by US-sponsored Ukrainian agents seems to be timed to increase the pressure on Russia at the same moment that the US-NATO are expanding their war to take down the Moscow supported Assad government in Syria.  The US-NATO is obviously working overtime to create as many points of instability as possible on or near the Russian border.  I would not at all be surprised to see the puppet government in Kiev (under full US control) again move to restart the war and shelling of Ukrainian citizens living in the Donbass (eastern Ukraine) along the Russian border. 
  • I've got much administrative work to get caught up with since being away.  As winter approaches here in Maine there is also much yet to do to prepare the house and outside for the coming snows.  I went out and brought in some wood today which is something I always enjoy doing. 

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Plane

Turkey shoots down Russian jet over Syria.  Russia claims the plane was one mile away from Turkish border when it was destroyed.  Turkey is a NATO member and some are speculating that they are trying to draw Russia into wider war on behalf of the west.
It's been well known for a long time that Turkey helps fund, shelter, train, and fund ISIS along with the US, Israel, Saudia Arabia and Jordan.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Real Story

Everything you know about Thanksgiving is wrong ft. Franchesca "Chescaleigh" Ramsey.
Posted by MTV on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday Song


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tour of U.S. Space Warfare Bases: From Fylingdales to Croughton

US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base called Fylingdales way up in the Yorkshire Moors by day
Fylingdales by cold windy night (thankfully no rain). Ronald McDonald (on the right with the torch) joined this vigil telling us "I've come over to the other side."

Yesterday three of us drove from Leeds 90 minutes northeast to Fylingdales where we were joined by 10 others for a mile or so walk at 5:00 pm along the dark highway through the beautiful Moors to the US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base.

The half-moon lit sky, and a rare view of the stars, was a welcome sight as the rain did not fall on us and thankfully so because it was bitter cold and windy.  Three of the military police from inside the installation came out to hassle us a bit not wanting us to stand inside the entry road to the radar facility but there were no cars passing in or out so we insisted and after some debate with one of the long-time Quaker activists in our group they gave up and left us alone.

I was asked to share some words and I reminded the brave-hearted folks that they are not alone in this effort to expose the global nature of the US space domination program that has set up these installations in many out-of-the-way places around our spinning planet.  We need one another to help shine a light on these bases that all put together enable the Pentagon to wage fierce endless war on people who have usually done nothing more than live on top of vital resources that the greedy corporations want to control.

Early this morning Dave and I drove three hours south to another US space communications base - this one called Croughton.  We met nine activists in a small pub called the Black Bird for lunch and folks shared what they knew about the expanding mission of the Croughton base.  The activists came from various towns and villages in the Oxforshire region and are the first group each year to register their annual Keep Space for Peace Week event (held in early October) with us at the Global Network.

After lunch we drove around the base stopping at several key spots for a better view of the golf ball looking satellite dishes that are covered up so that you can't tell which direction they are directing their signals.  At the third spot we paused at US Air Force military police came driving up to the gate and followed us to the next place we stopped.  While at the last stop I told the MP's that I had myself been in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and became a peacenik during those years.

In front of Croughton main gate showing solidarity with friends in Sicily - both places doing US space warfare communications operations

At one of the stops we made around Croughton I was taken to the place in 2008 where I had helped the Lord Mayor of Oxford plant two oak trees.  Much to my surprise there was a plaque honoring that occasion fixed to an old wooden fence.

Following our three-hour drive back to Leeds I treated Dave to a fish & chips dinner at a local restaurant.  He's been kindly feeding me right on schedule during the past week and I figured I owed him one.

Take Down Syria?

What gives the US and NATO the right to decide who the leader of Libya or Syria should be?

What gives Obama and John Kerry the right to say 'Assad must go'?  What if Assad said 'Obama and Kerry should go'?

What do most people really know about Syria except what they've had drummed into their heads by the corporate owned media?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Full Spectrum Resistance!

Dave Webb and I capped off our excellent visit to London last night with a nearly two-hour meeting with the largely Korean 'Save Jeju Island' student group at the University of London.  We had a wide ranging discussion that included the history of the Global Network's efforts to support the Gangjeong village eight year campaign to oppose construction of the Navy base for US warships on Jeju. We also went wider and did an overview (with the help of Dave putting up various photos from the Internet onto the classroom screen as illustrations) of the Pentagon strategy to encircle and attempt to provocatively control both Russia and China.

One of the Korean students had come to my earlier talk at noon inside Parliament and returned last night saying that because she is just learning English she had only understood 30% of what I said the first time around.  So in hopes that she would develop a better understanding she came the second time!  That is dedication and I'm sure the pictures on the wall helped quite a lot.

Today we are heading off for a vigil at the US space warfare radar base called Fylingdales which is north of us here in Yorkshire.  The weather is likely to be harsh (more rain and wind) but I've noticed that the people here have webbed toes so it should 'not be a bother' as they say in these parts.  I will wear my long underwear just in case.

On Saturday we head to Oxford for a visit to still yet another Pentagon space warfare communications base at Croughton - that makes three of them in England and we will have visited all of them on this trip.

At each stop we are sharing the stories about how the entire global space warfare apparatus fits together to ensure US 'Full Spectrum Dominance".  Our message though is that there is growing awareness of the role these bases around the world play in directing Pentagon endless warfare on behalf of corporate capitalism - and we are calling for "Full Spectrum Resistance" to close down these expensive and dangerous space control bases.

You pick - total military space control (what the weapons industry says will be the largest industrial project in Earth history) or social progress for the people of the planet.  We all live in 'democratic' societies don't we - we supposedly get to choose how our tax money should be spent? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

From The Kinks to Parliament in London

Standing in the rain in front of Big Ben and the British Parliament

Last night just before entering the theatre for the wonderful musical about the early years of my favorite rock-and-roll band The Kinks

Last night Dave Webb took his son and I to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London to see the award winning musical called Sunny Afternoon about the early years of my favorite band called The Kinks.  The three-hour show frequently brought tears to my eyes as I watched actors playing band leader brothers Ray and Dave Davies go through their many struggles to make music their way - having run up against the power of the music industry.

As the hits began to mount up for The Kinks during the early-1960's 'British pop Invasion' songwriter Ray Davies wanted to write more meaningful music about the world around him - not just the money producing 'boy meets girl' tunes that make it to the Top of the Pops.  The show used the band's music to bring these issues to the audience with Ray's character even once declaring "We are a Socialist band," as they ran up against the greedy corporate forces in the music industry.  They were banned from playing in the US for a period of four years during the crucial mid-60's for refusing to play along with the pay-to-play game then rampant in the American music scene.  This ban helped put the Kinks into relative obscurity as they were largely kept out of the vast American market.  On the good side though it made it possible for Ray to create the kind of music that he wanted to make despite the demands of the industry.

I didn't want the show to end and as we made our way to the London home of longtime peace legend Bruce Kent, where we were to spend the night, the songs kept playing in my head for hours.

Earlier yesterday Dave took me to Leeds Beckett University (he formally taught Peace Studies there before recently retiring) and I spoke to more than 30 students in a talk organized by the current department teachers.  I got more questions from that assembled group of students than I'd ever had from any college audience which reflected well on the current Peace Studies staff at the school.

This morning we made our way from Bruce Kent's home on a bus and then the underground to the Parliament building in London where a room had been reserved for my talk by a member of the House of Commons.  Twenty folks turned up for the meeting which featured a discussion about the Pentagon's military space program and how it is today being used to project global dominance on behalf of the interests of corporate capitalism.

A big issue in the UK right now is Trident nuclear submarine/missile replacement (upgrading) that is estimated to cost more than 137 billion pounds.  New Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been against Trident and is trying to advance a national debate about the costly and dangerous nuclear program - especially during this time of austerity budgets.  My question to the group inside Parliament today was: "Does Britain have the satellites in space, and the ground stations around the world, to direct the UK's Trident missiles to their targets?"  The answer was a clear NO.  My next question was then, "Who does the UK rely on to direct Trident nukes to their target?"  The answer of course is the Pentagon.  So in my mind that means that the UK is essentially subsidizing at the rate of 137 billion pounds a new US weapon system.  During these days of severe human needs cut across the UK do the citizens really want to hand the US military the gift of four new nuclear subs that the British government does not really control?

Tonight I speak at the University of London School of Oriental and Asiatic Studies (SOAS) about the Navy base currently being built for US warships on Jeju Island, South Korea and the role that installation will play in the US military 'pivot' to provocatively control China.

Just for your listening pleasure here is one of my favorite Kinks songs - which was not part of the show last night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the Wind and Rain at Menwith Hill U.S. NSA Spy Base

Menwith Hill by day

Dave and I at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England tonight in the driving wind and rain holding No MUOS flag given to us in Sicily - we are united in the struggle against the more than 800 U.S. bases around the world!
Talking with Lindis who has supreme stick-to-it-ivness which is what every organizer needs

My host in England this week, Global Network board convener Dave Webb (also chair of CND), arranged for me to speak this morning at Bradford University before an event sponsored by the Peace Studies Department.  Students and local community people turned out for the hour-long discussion.

Early this evening we made the 45-minute drive through end of day traffic to the U.S. NSA space satellite spy base at Menwith Hill for the weekly protest organized by CAAB (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases).  We were joined by 10 other people in the wind driven hard rain as American workers came out of the base - a woman in the first car to come out flipped us the bird.  The presence of up-side-down American flags signaling distress rankled many of the Americans but it is important that they learn that all over the world people want U.S. war fighting bases shuttered.

Lindis Percy has been leading the weekly protests at Menwith Hill for many years through all kinds of bad weather.  In addition to the NSA role of spying on the people of Europe the base is also a key station for the 'missile defense' (MD) program. Menwith links up with the SBIRS satellite system to help direct the growing and provocative Pentagon MD system that is now being used to encircle Russia and China.

Lindis leaves tomorrow for Cuba where she will join fellow Global Network board member Dennis Apel from California at an international No Bases conference in Guantanamo.  They both were chosen by our Global Network leadership to represent the organization at that important conference.

In the morning I speak to another group of students in Leeds before Dave and I take the train to London where we will be for the next two days.  More on all that later.

War Criminals in Our Midst

From Pol Pot to ISIS: The blood never dried

By John Pilger

In transmitting President Richard Nixon's orders for a "massive" bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, "Anything that flies on everything that moves".  As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a "merciless" attack on the rubble of Syria, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger's murderous honesty.

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery - including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields - I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of "fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders". Once Nixon's and Kissinger's B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of "Operation Menu", the west's ultimate demon could not believe his luck. The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors "froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told... That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over." A Finnish Government Commission of Inquiry estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died in the ensuing civil war and described the bombing as the "first stage in a decade of genocide". What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.

ISIS has a similar past and present. By most scholarly measure, Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of at least 700,000 people - in a country that had no history of jihadism. The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common. Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear. On the way I met people proud, above all, to be Iraqis, the heirs of a civilization that seemed, for them, a presence.

Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda - like Pol Pot's "jihadists" - seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of 'Shock and Awe' and the civil war that followed. "Rebel" Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote, "The [Cameron] government seems to be following the example of Tony Blair, who ignored consistent advice from the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy - and in particular our Middle East wars - had been a principal driver in the recruitment of Muslims in Britain for terrorism here."

ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in "our" societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.

It is 23 years since a holocaust enveloped Iraq, immediately after the first Gulf War, when the US and Britain hijacked the United Nations Security Council and imposed punitive "sanctions" on the Iraqi population - ironically, reinforcing the domestic authority of Saddam Hussein. It was like a medieval siege. Almost everything that sustained a modern state was, in the jargon, "blocked" - from chlorine for making the water supply safe to school pencils, parts for X-ray machines, common painkillers and drugs to combat previously unknown cancers carried in the dust from the southern battlefields contaminated with Depleted Uranium. Just before Christmas 1999, the Department of Trade and Industry in London restricted the export of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Kim Howells, parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Blair government, explained why. "The children's vaccines", he said, "were capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction". The British Government could get away with such an outrage because media reporting of Iraq - much of it manipulated by the Foreign Office - blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.

Under a bogus "humanitarian" Oil for Food Programme, $100 was allotted for each Iraqi to live on for a year. This figure had to pay for the entire society's infrastructure and essential services, such as power and water. "Imagine," the UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck, told me, "setting that pittance against the lack of clean water, and the fact that the majority of sick people cannot afford treatment, and the sheer trauma of getting from day to day, and you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And make no mistake, this is deliberate. I have not in the past wanted to use the word genocide, but now it is unavoidable." Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. "I was instructed," Halliday said, "to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults."

A study by the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 "excess" deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, "Is the price worth it?" Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it."

In 2007, the senior British official responsible for the sanctions, Carne Ross, known as "Mr. Iraq", told a parliamentary selection committee, "[The US and UK governments] effectively denied the entire population a means to live."  When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was consumed by regret and contrition. "I feel ashamed," he said. He is today a rare truth-teller of how governments deceive and how a compliant media plays a critical role in disseminating and maintaining the deception. "We would feed [journalists] factoids of sanitised intelligence," he said, "or we'd freeze them out." Last year, a not untypical headline in the Guardian read: "Faced with the horror of Isis we must act." The "we must act" is a ghost risen, a warning of the suppression of informed memory, facts, lessons learned and regrets or shame. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 1998, when Denis Halliday revealed the extent of the suffering in Iraq for which the Blair Government shared primary responsibility, Hain abused him on the BBC's Newsnight as an "apologist for Saddam". In 2003, Hain backed Blair's invasion of stricken Iraq on the basis of transparent lies. At a subsequent Labour Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a "fringe issue".

Here was Hain demanding "air strikes, drones, military equipment and other support" for those "facing genocide" in Iraq and Syria. This will further "the imperative of a political solution". The day Hain's article appeared, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck happened to be in London and came to visit me. They were not shocked by the lethal hypocrisy of a politician, but lamented the enduring, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in negotiating a semblance of truce. Across the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those regarding each other as terrorists and heretics have faced each other across a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, there is a vapid, almost sociopathic verboseness from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their "coalition of the willing" as they prescribe more violence delivered from 30,000 feet on places where the blood of previous adventures never dried. They seem to relish their own violence and stupidityso much they want it to overthrow their one potentially valuable ally,  the government in Syria. 

This is nothing new, as the following leaked UK-US intelligence file illustrates:

"In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces... a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals... a necessary degree of fear... frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention... the CIA and SIS should use... capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension."

That was written in 1957, although it could have been written yesterday. In the imperial world, nothing essentially changes. In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that "two years before the Arab spring", he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. "I am going to tell you something," he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, "I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria... Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate... This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned."

The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west - Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia. The obstacle is Turkey, an "ally" and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian "rebels", including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.

A truce - however difficult to negotiate and achieve - is the only way out of this maze; otherwise, the atrocities in Paris and Beirut will be repeated. Together with a truce, the leading perpetrators and overseers of violence in the Middle East - the Americans and Europeans - must themselves "de-radicalise" and demonstrate a good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home. There should be an immediate cessation of all shipments of war materials to Israel and recognition of the State of Palestine. The issue of Palestine is the region's most festering open wound, and the oft-stated justification for the rise of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made that clear. Palestine also offers hope. Give justice to the Palestinians and you begin to change the world around them.

More than 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia unleashed a torrent of suffering from which that country has never recovered. The same is true of the Blair-Bush crime in Iraq, and the Nato and "coalition" crimes in Libya and Syria. With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger's latest self-serving tome has been released with its satirical title, "World Order". In one fawning review, Kissinger is described as a "key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter of a century". Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his "statecraft".  Only when "we" recognise the war criminals in our midst and stop denying ourselves the truth will the blood begin to dry.

Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger 

A View on French Policy

Good strong words on the real story inside France .....

The Money-Go-Round......

Click on graphic for a better view

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can Obama Level with the People?

By Robert Parry

The atrocities in Paris, killing more than 120 people, have brought forth the usual condemnations against terrorism and expressions of sympathy for the victims, but the larger question is whether this latest shock will finally force Western leaders to address the true root causes of the problem.

Will President Barack Obama and other leaders finally level with the American people and the world about what the underlying reasons for this madness are? Will Obama explain how U.S. “allies” in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, have been fueling this Sunni extremism for years? Will he dare recognize that Israeli repression of the Palestinians is a major contributing factor, too?

On a practical level, will Obama finally release those 28 pages from the congressional 9/11 report that addressed evidence of Saudi support for the hijackers who attacked New York and Washington in 2001?

Does he have the courage to explain how this scourge of Sunni terrorism can be traced back even further to the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter started a small-scale covert operation in Afghanistan to destabilize a Moscow-backed secular regime in Kabul and that President Ronald Reagan then vastly expanded the program with the help of the Saudis, pouring in a total of $1 billion a year and giving rise to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?

Can Obama be convinced that telling hard truths to the American people is not only vital to a democratic Republic in a philosophical way but can have the practical effect of creating crucial public support for rational policies? Will he realize that propaganda schemes or “strategic communications” may be clever short-term tricks to manipulate the American people but they are ultimately counterproductive and dangerous?

Will Obama finally take on Official Washington’s well-entrenched neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” junior varsity by challenging their innumerable false narratives? Will he pointedly blame the neocons and the liberal hawks, including those who run the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times, for the disastrous Iraq War? Will he take on the “deep state” dug in at the big-name think tanks, not just at neocon havens like the American Enterprise Institute but at the center-left Brookings Institution?

Can the President muster the courage to ally himself with the American people, arming them with real information, so they can act like true citizens in a Republic rather than cattle being herded toward the slaughterhouse? Can he shake his own elitism or his fear of social ostracism to somehow become a true leader in his last year in office, rather than a timid follower of the prevailing “group think”?

Just because the “important people” have fancy credentials and went to the “right” schools, doesn’t mean that they have any monopoly on wisdom. Indeed, in my nearly four decades covering Official Washington, these “smart” folks have been wrong a lot more than they have been right. A leader of historic dimensions recognizes that reality and takes on the know-it-alls. In this case, a leader who enlists the American public by giving them reliable information could change this depressing dynamic.

If Obama could muster such courage and show trust in the people, he could bend the prevailing false narratives in the direction of truth and reality. On a practical level, he could help make the current Syrian peace talks succeed by stopping his endless repeating of the neocon/liberal-hawk mantra blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the entire mess and insisting that “Assad must go.” [See’s “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.”]

Twist Some Arms

Instead, Obama could twist the arms of his Saudi, Qatari and Turkish “friends” to get them to halt their financing and military support for Sunni jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and its various spin-offs, like the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. And he could work cooperatively with Russian President Vladimir Putin to squeeze concessions out of both the Assad regime and the U.S.-financed “moderate” opposition so a unity government can begin to restore order in Syria and isolate the extremists.

Once some security is achieved, the Syrian people could hold elections to decide their own future and pick their own leaders. That should not be the business of either Obama or Putin.

As part of this effort, Obama could finally release the U.S. intelligence analyses on both jihadist funding and the circumstances surrounding the lethal sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, which the Obama administration hastily blamed on Assad’s regime although later evidence pointed toward a likely a provocation by Sunni extremists. [See’s “The Collapsing Syria Sarin Case.”]

To create crucial space for cooperating with Putin, Obama also could let the American people in on the reality about the Ukraine crisis in 2014, which was used by the neocons and liberal hawks to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin. [See’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

U.S. intelligence analysts know a lot about key turning points in that conflict, including the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper attacks, which set the stage for ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych two days later, and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was used to build an anti-Putin hysteria. [See’s “MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking.”]

I’m told that these tragedies became propaganda weapons to deploy against Assad, Yanukovych and Putin rather than horrific crimes that deserved serious investigation and accountability. But whatever the ultimate conclusion about who is to blame for these crimes, why has Obama withheld from the American people what U.S. intelligence analysts know about those three incidents?

It was Obama, after all, who talked so much about “transparency” and trusting the American people as a candidate and during his first days in office. But since then, he has conformed to the elitist Orwellian approach of managing our perceptions rather than giving us the facts.

Yet, if Obama could get his cooperation with Putin back on track – recognizing how useful it was in 2013 when Putin helped Obama get Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons and assisted in wresting important concessions from Iran about its nuclear program – then the two powers could also weigh in on securing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another major irritant to peace in the region.

Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine – over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia – into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.

The neocons and liberal hawks outmaneuvered Obama who fell in line with the Putin-bashing, all the better to fit within Official Washington’s in-crowd.

Thus, the Syrian crisis was left to fester with Obama acquiescing to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for arming and training “moderate” rebels although the President recognized that the idea was a “fantasy.” He also resisted some of the more extreme ideas, like an outright U.S. military invasion of Syria framed as a humanitarian “safe zone.”

But the Paris tragedy is another reminder that it is well past time for Obama to resurrect his helpful relationship with Putin and restore the teamwork that held such promise toward settling conflicts through negotiations, along the lines of the Iran nuclear deal.

If Obama were to choose that route – which could be implemented through a combination of truth-telling to the American people and pragmatic big-power diplomacy with Russia – he could at least start addressing the underlying causes of the violence tearing apart the Middle East and now spreading into Europe.

Or will Obama’s reaction to the Paris attacks be just more of the same – more tough-guy talk about “resolve,” more “targeted” killings that slaughter many innocents as “collateral damage,” more tolerance of Saudi-Turkish-Qatari support for Sunni militants in Syria and elsewhere, more acceptance of hard-line Israeli repression of the Palestinians, more giving in to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for “regime change” in the neocons’ preferred list of countries?

If the history of the past seven years is any guide, there’s little doubt which direction President Obama will choose. He will go with Official Washington’s flow; he’ll worry about what the editorialists at the Post and Times might think of him; he’ll accommodate the neocons and liberal hawks who remain influential inside his own administration. In short, he’ll continue down the road toward destruction.

~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. 

No MUOS Documentary

Above is the short trailer for the No MUOS documentary with English subtitles.

The whole documentary (Italian only) can be viewed here

Even though you might not understand Italian you can still get a great feel for the Sicilian culture and countryside and come away with a much greater understanding about their campaign to oppose the US space warfare communication base.

Labor's Battle in South Korea

Above are three short videos from the recent protests in Seoul, South Korea against the President Park Geun-hye (daughter of former brutal South Korean dictator) government that is cracking down on labor unions, small farmers, social justice and peace movements.  The right-wing government wants to break the unions which are fighting attempts by the corporate dominated government to get rid of permanent jobs and vastly increase the number of 'irregular' (part-time) workers.  Currently 33% of all Korean workers are irregular.  See more on this here

In recent days the government has raided union offices in attempts to arrest labor leaders in advance of the massive protests held during this past weekend.  Workers tried to block the police from entering union buildings.

More than 20,000 riot police forces overwhelmed 100,000 peaceful and unarmed citizens during protest marches through Seoul.
Global corporate capitalism is now on a binge to destroy labor rights and bring on further austerity (neo-feudalism) measures.  The fight back by progressive movements in South Korea is more advanced than in many other countries.  In South Korea the unions are working in harmony with farmers, peace and social justice movements understanding that only a united front against corrupt corporate run governments can hope to have any impact on these coming anti-democratic policies.
The fact that the U.S. essentially controls the South Korean government should be a signal to everyone that these kind of policies, if successful, will be increasingly brought to western nations.  Already austerity policies are being instituted around the world but the next steps are to completely destroy full time work, pensions, health care, public education and more.  
What is needed now is a unified global campaign of resistance against all these corporate plans to destroy social progress.  The old ways of each movement working in relative isolation will not have any impact on these corporate plans.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Song


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Visiting the U.S. Base in Niscemi

Dave Webb and I viewing the MUOS system this morning near Niscemi, Sicily

At the front gate of the US space warfare base.  In the distance US Navy military stand after we asked to speak with the base commander.  They refused our request.

The latest news about Sicilian activist Turi, who scaled the satellite dish at the US Navy space communications war base in Niscemi, is that his trial will happen in February.  In the meantime the US is claiming that Turi did 800,000 Euros worth of damage to the dish during his 30 hours of striking it with his carpenter hammer.  Turi is banned from coming to Niscemi by the court but those who know him say that ruling is unlikely to keep him away from further protests.

Dave and I spoke in Ragusa last night to about 50 people. Yosi did the translating and we had a vigorous discussion afterward. People in the audience clearly are tired of the constant US military presence in several parts of Sicily including the US naval base located in Catania.  They don’t trust the US any further than they can spit and expressed deep concern about Pentagon weather modification programs that they believe are having severe impacts on the soil quality and weather patterns throughout Sicily.

One woman asked if the Global Network has had any ‘victories’ over the years and I answered that getting people to know about, and begin to understand, the US military space domination program was our primary mission.  Until the people of the world understand what the US Space Command is doing we won’t have much of a chance to stop anything.  As Noam Chomsky often says, “How can you expect people to stop something they don’t know anything about?”  It is the work of the Global Network to change that dynamic and over the years I’d say we’ve had some success in helping to create this international awareness and some level of public protest.

Dave did a very good job with his PowerPoint presentation showing how the MUOS base in Niscemi fits into the larger Pentagon space warfare program.  Few of the folks in the audience had seen this larger picture before and now more clearly understand how this one military installation in Sicily is another key link in the expanding and provocative military program of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’.

This morning we made the one-hour drive from Ragusa to Niscemi and took a tour of the MUOS base where Turi just days ago climbed the giant satellite dish. As you look at the photo above it is the satellite dish on the left that he climbed onto.  Right after we arrived at the base three local Sicilian police and national military police cars drove up and seven officers got out and demanded our identification.  After they took our names and did background checks on us we were allowed to hike through the beautiful surrounding countryside to the fence for a good look at the satellite dishes.

Following the base tour we went to the local library in Niscemi to do our talks to a second audience of 25 people.

In the morning Dave and I leave Sicily and fly to England where for the next week I will do a speaking tour taking me to Bradford, NSA listening post at Menwith Hill, Leeds, London, US early-warning radar at Fylingdales and the US space communications base at Croughton. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The View from Scicli

We were lucky yesterday that Yosi (on the right in photo above) has a dear friend living in Scicli.  His friend (on the left in the photo) and his wife (sitting next to him) were for many years ballet dancers.  They now teach ballet.  They prepared a wonderful meal.  Their friend (sitting in the middle) from Bulgaria made the best eggplant (pictured above) I've had in years.

The view from their terrazzo of the surrounding hills was magnifico!

The empty seat belongs to Dave who was taking the pictures.

Still Atop US Navy Sat Dish in Sicily

Update on Satellite Dish Climber:  Last we heard Sicilian activist Turi was still on top of the US military war fighting satellite dish surrounded by police standing at the bottom pleading with him to come down.  Turi is well known for having previously entered the base numerous times by cutting holes in the fence.  I’ve seen videos of him trying to plant seeds inside the base which was illegally built upon a oak nature preserve.

We spent yesterday touring two more ancient towns in southern Modica and Scicli.  We had lunch in a home with a great view of the town (which also had Wifi access which is so far hard to come by) and then our walking tour of Scicli was quite amazing – this is a place where people lived inside caves in the mountain sides right up until the 1960’s.  Once relatively unknown, a popular film about the cave dwellers brought the tourists to Scicli.

Our evening was spent at the home of a young man who recently won an award for his own film making which was his final project as he graduated college.  He cooked a lovely pasta meal for Dave, Yosi and I along with one of his lifelong friends.  Beginning supper at 8:00 pm, which has been normal for us so far, we sat around talking about the politics behind Italian wine and olive oil as well as US war mongering around the world.  We also discussed the growing military confrontation between the US and Russia-China as the later challenge Washington’s desire for unipolar global control.  By 11:15 we were still going strong and finally wrapped it up at 11:30 pm as we still needed to get a ride back to our digs in Ragusa 20 miles away.  So the three of us made it into bed just at midnight – another night on the political circuit in Sicily – with bellies full of wine, cheese and pasta.

Today we have a day off in Ragusa - we have come to the square by the cathedral where Wifi is available.  This evening a community supper is being organized for us.  We are learning much while here and eating well, drinking abundantly, and loving the passion of the Sicilian people. Our first talk is Friday night in Ragusa and then on Saturday we visit the US MUOS satellite warfare base.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Big Story from No MUOS Campaign in Sicily

No MUOS activist armed with his hammer before climbing the US military satellite dish

Dave Webb, Josi McIntire and I arrived in Sicily just after noon yesterday.  We landed at the Comiso airport that during the 1980’s was a US military base and a deployment site for more than 100 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles when Ronald Reagan made the move in October 1983 to position these nuclear-capable weapons in England and in Sicily.  He also deployed the Pershing II nuclear missile in Mutlangen, Germany all aimed at the former Soviet Union.  (The Pershing II was built in Orlando, Florida where I was living at the time and I organized a statewide demonstration there in October of that year as part of an international day of protest against these provocative deployments.)

Currently the Comiso base is an airport but you can see the remains of the nuclear bunkers just across the street from the main airport terminal.

After being picked up at the airport by our hosts they took us to nearby city of Ragusa near the southern coast where the owners of a lovely Bed & Breakfast have offered their place for the three of us to stay during our time here.

In the late afternoon just as the sun set two of the men from the local No MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) committee in Ragusa took us for a walk down the hill into the ancient part of the town called Ibla that was built in the 1400’s, devastated by an earthquake in the late 1600’s, and was rebuilt by the Spanish who occupied these lands at the time.  These days we heard speculators from the US, Germany, England and China are buying up many of these very old homes.

At 8:00 pm we were taken to the home of one of the local activists in Ragusa who hosted a dinner for 14 people and the several courses revealed the great hospitality of these wonderful new Sicilian friends. 

During the coming days here we will be shown the sites, treated to more such dinners, and we will speak twice in different towns.  We’ll also visit the military space communications relay base on Saturday being constructed by the US.  The No MUOS campaign has been fighting against this expansion of an existing US space communications base and they have successfully got a Sicilian regional court to temporarily stop construction of the base.  The US government though has demanded that the Italian government ignore its own judicial process in order to force the finalization of the MUOS installation.  In response to pressure from Washington a five-person committee was formed by the Italian government to make the final decision about the base expansion taking the case away from the Supreme Court which was supposed to rule on whether the US base expansion had followed all legal steps.

So organizing and protests will continue and things are expected to heat up in the coming month as the five-person appointed committee is set to meet in Palermo this December.  I’ll write in more detail on all of this in the coming days.

Update:  As we were taken on a drive today to visit the historic town of Modica our host received a call saying that one of the key No MUOS activists had climbed onto one of the US military satellite dishes and took a hammer to it.  Above you can see photos of him on the dish.  No word yet as to what will happen to him.