Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Updates on Neocon War in Ukraine

  • John Rachel writes a good article called Obama’s Neocons and Other Hawkish Lunatics. He covers many of the key players.  Neocons ain't just a Republican thing.  They've successfully taken over both mainstream political parties in Washington.
- Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, wants confrontation with Russia, "preventive" war on North Korea
- Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lied to Congress under oath, wants to arm Ukraine against its eastern citizens
- Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, is virulently anti-Russian and was instrumental in toppling Ukraine's elected president
- Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Breedlove, has made wild accusations of Russian troops in Ukraine without any evidence....even German intelligence rejected his claims
- Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry put a unique spin on the old GOOD COP/BAD COP routine. 

  • Last night I watched the new Russian film that gives their side of the Crimea story. We won't get this perspective from the corporate owned media.  The film is more than two hours long and called Crimea - The Way Back Home.  It's worth the time.  I learned quite alot about the dangerous period right after the US-NATO coup in Kiev as the neo-Nazi's were sent to take similar control of Crimea after their chaotic Maidan broke Ukraine in half.  I had not known that scores of local citizens did much to defend themselves from the vicious attacks by the nationalist death squads.  Amazingly the entire Russian operation, including Putin sending in the 'little green men', was done without anyone (as far as I know) being killed.  You can watch it here
  • Neo-Nazi's death squads have been given official status inside Kiev's military.  This means they will also get training from the US Army who are now in western Ukraine for that purpose.  Rada [Kiev's parliament] Deputy and Ukrainian nationalist leader Dmitriy Yarosh announced that a procedure for incorporating the 'Right Sector' into the Ukrainian Armed Forces as an subordinate organization had been agreed upon. See more on the story here
  • Neocon grandpa Zbigniew Brzezinski has warned that a Moscow-friendly Greece could paralyse NATO's ability to react to 'Russian aggression'. The Cold War-era hawk, who was Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser from 1977-1981, said Poland too 'could be a target' after Russia's annexation of Crimea last year, as well as former Soviet states such as Moldova, Georgia and oil-rich Azerbaijan.  The neocons are pumping up the Russia fears - reigniting the Cold War hysteria that proved so successful for the west following World War II.  See the whole story here

Build the Future in Bath

 Eisenhower Warned Us Of Power Of 
Military Industrial Complex

Times Record Op-Ed

By Bruce K. Gagnon

The Times Record recently reported that Meals on Wheels programs are being cut. Here in Maine education programs continue to be slashed and tuition continues to rise for already- beleaguered college students. The new Republican-controlled Senate wants to shut down the food stamp program. It’s as if the American people have become the enemy.

We are told that the Pentagon- NSA-CIA budgets (nearly $1 trillion a year once all added up) are for our ‘security’. But real security — job security, health security, food security, education security, environmental protection— are all crumbling around us.

Even BIW will see cutbacks as the Times Record reported on January 12. The Navy has determined that its shipbuilding budget is “unsustainable.” It can’t afford to cover the mounting costs of new aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and the Zumwalt destroyers being built at BIW. The latter costs more than double what the previous Aegis destroyer cost. The Navy’s solution for its budget crisis? Cut jobs, outsource to non-union workers, and, over time, likely move to get rid of the unions at shipyards like BIW.

What is the Plan B for Bath? Who ever thought the Navy base in Brunswick would close and that thousands of jobs would be lost? How can our nation afford the expensive high-tech weapons systems that are costing the taxpayers an arm and a leg? How can we effectively deal with the coming ravages of climate change unless we immediately begin a transformation of our industrial policy from endless war to building rail systems, wind turbines, a solar society, and tidal power – all of which would help us in some degree deal with climate change?

Where is our congressional delegation when we need it to advocate for a new sustainable technology direction? Collins, King, Pingree and Poliquin remain on bended knees begging for more Pentagon funding because military production is the only real federal jobs program left. They might talk a good game about environmental sustainability, but what are they doing to lead our state and the nation toward the kind of conversion that will be necessary if our children and grandchildren are to have any chance of decent lives? The Native Americans said that all decisions must be made based on how they impact the next seven generations. Sadly, our elected officials are thinking only about their next election!

Studies have long revealed that our tax dollars create fewer jobs in military spending than in other fields. Building commuter rail systems at BIW would, in fact, nearly double the jobs. In addition, rail would get us out of our polluting cars and offer future generations a chance of survival.

The corporate oligarchy that runs the show in Washington has plans for more war. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are a royal mess after our interventions there. Next on the target list for war are Ukraine, Iran, Russia, China and Venezuela. Imagine the tax dollars that will be wasted in those future futile battles. Our American economy has become addicted to war spending. What does it say about the soul of our nation that we must have endless war in order to provide workers with jobs so that they can feed their families?

The American people are told that we are the exceptional nation — the exceptional people, but in fact people are really the same all over the world. They love their children, they love to laugh, and they love to share food with one another. By making us fear and hate one another, the corporations can persuade us to make war. In that way they can get control of natural resources and markets and make big money off the preparations for conflict.

Our only hope is to join hands across the nation and insist that these expensive, endless wars cease. We should listen carefully to the words of former President Dwight Eisenhower who warned as he left the White House: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed…. Beware of the power of the military industrial complex.”

- Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks and lives in Bath, Maine

Democracy or Oligarchy?

Empire with Marwan Bishara examines the rise and role of the new oligarchs and the decline of democracy in the United States and beyond.

The House Ukraine Resolution Vote Tally


(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

      H RES 162      2/3 YEA-AND-NAY      23-Mar-2015      7:08 PM
      QUESTION:  On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Agree
      BILL TITLE: Calling on the President to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Republican21410 20
Democratic13438 16
TOTALS34848 36

---- YEAS    348 ---

Bishop (GA)
Bishop (MI)
Brady (PA)
Brady (TX)
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Brownley (CA)
Carson (IN)
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Costello (PA)
Curbelo (FL)
Davis (CA)
Davis, Rodney
Ellmers (NC)
Emmer (MN)
Franks (AZ)
Graves (GA)
Graves (LA)
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Heck (NV)
Heck (WA)
Herrera Beutler
Hice, Jody B.
Huizenga (MI)
Hurd (TX)
Hurt (VA)
Jackson Lee
Jenkins (KS)
Jenkins (WV)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Kelly (IL)
Kelly (PA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lieu, Ted
Lujan Grisham (NM)
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Maloney, Carolyn
Maloney, Sean
McMorris Rodgers
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Mooney (WV)
Murphy (FL)
Murphy (PA)
Poe (TX)
Price (NC)
Price, Tom
Rice (NY)
Rice (SC)
Rogers (KY)
Rooney (FL)
Ryan (WI)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanchez, Loretta
Scott (VA)
Scott, Austin
Scott, David
Sewell (AL)
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Swalwell (CA)
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Thompson (PA)
Van Hollen
Walters, Mimi
Wasserman Schultz
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Wilson (FL)
Young (AK)
Young (IA)
Young (IN)

---- NAYS    48 ---

Chu, Judy
Clark (MA)
Clarke (NY)
Clawson (FL)
Duncan (TN)
Frankel (FL)
Johnson (GA)
Johnson, E. B.
Waters, Maxine
Watson Coleman

---- NOT VOTING    36 ---

Bishop (UT)
Boyle, Brendan F.
Brown (FL)
Davis, Danny
Doyle, Michael F.
Duncan (SC)
Graves (MO)
King (IA)
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Ryan (OH)
Smith (WA)
Wilson (SC)

Take Action:  If you'd like to sign a petition opposing sending weapons to Ukraine go here

Monday, March 30, 2015

Gardening in Eastern Ukraine

A special video about a woman in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine who is gardening to prepare for spring planting.  In the midst of continued shelling by the US-NATO puppet regime in Kiev Zina keeps gardening because she wants to create something beautiful for her beloved community.

BIW Lenten Vigils - Last Call

George & Maureen from the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm in Hope, Maine keep these vigils at BIW going

The regulars in the snow on a cold day last Saturday
The Navy's new 'stealth' Zumwalt destroyer peeking out from Bath Iron Works.  Reports are that the ship launching will be delayed due to major problems with the complicated and expensive technology on-board.  This warship is costing more than twice as much as past destroyers at the shipyard.

Suzanne and Mary Beth waiting for BIW workers to leave at noon last Saturday.  The message of conversion of the shipyard to building rail, solar, wind and tidal power systems is a regular theme at our vigils.  Sadly our elected officials from Maine, both Democrat and Republican, remain on their bended knees begging for more $$$$ for warships. They talk a good game about sustainability but are doing little to move us from endless war to actually having the ability to deal with climate change by dramatically changing our fossil fuel dependent way of life.  These vigils serve as the conscience of the future generations.

It was cold with blowing snow last Saturday as we again gathered at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for our series of Lenten peace vigils.  Next Saturday will be the final Lenten vigil.  We'll meet from 11:30 am - 12:30.

We must give special thanks to George & Maureen from the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm in Hope, Maine.  For many years they have kept these BIW vigils going through Advent, Lent, Keep Space for Peace Week, and other special occasions including 'christenings'.

I think our conversion of the shipyard message is seeping into the workforce and the community at large.  At our larger than usual vigil two weeks ago at BIW we had one current and one previous shipyard worker in attendance.  Another worker recently took a flyer from Maureen at one of the vigils and said to her, "You need to update this thing."  So yes, some of the workers are paying attention and want even more information about our concerns and proposed solutions.

These vigils are special times for me.  Some folks like to talk to one another during such a vigil but I prefer to stand apart and try to establish eye contact with the people going by.  I want to see where their heads are at.  I want to see their reaction to my sign.... I tend to switch my sign regularly because I want to transmit many different thoughts.

You really get a sense of the core of the nation when you stand outside a military production facility. You hear some nasty comments from some aggressive workers who want to defend their job.  It's understandable, everyone wants to feel great pride in their work.  But we also see some very thoughtful and kind workers who are pleasant, friendly, and appear to appreciate that we are outside the shipyard gates helping to foster a public discussion about what kind of product should be made inside the facility.

How can we ever hope and dream about conversion of the military industrial complex unless and until the peace movement helps create a consistent, lively and dynamic discussion about such a concept?  We've got to make some sparks fly.

Photos by Roger Leisner

US: Master of Space

During the taped interview I also talked about some things that were left on the cutting room floor.  One of them was the growing problem of space debris.  There are now more than 25,000 tiny bits of junk whirling through space at 15,000 mph and this problem would be accelerated if any country was to attack another with an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon.

The International Space Station (ISS), which cost taxpayers $100 billion, has to frequently be moved to avoid space debris that is passing dangerously close.  Some scientists have predicted that someday the ISS will be destroyed by flying space debris making the problem even worse.  Any war in space would create so much space junk that no nation would ever be able to get a rocket off the planet again - space would become so polluted with debris that it would become an orbiting minefield.

Thus the urgency to create a new treaty at the United Nations to ban all weapons in, and through, space.  But sadly the US and Israel continue to block any progress on such a treaty essentially because the US wants to be the Master of Space.

The US, China and Russia have all tested ASAT weapons in the past.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why U.S. Claims Venezuela is a 'Security Threat'

Israel's Brutality Against Palestinian Children

Palestinian children on the radar - as video emerges showing masked Israeli soldiers raiding West Bank homes at night and interrogating young boys.

Interview with Jeju Island Activists

The latest edition of This Issue features Paco Michelson and Hee Eun Park (Silver) from the Jeju Island International Solidarity Team.  They visited Maine for a couple days near the start of their national tour to share the story about the Navy base struggle in Gangjeong village where US warships will be ported as part of the US ‘pivot’ to surround China.  The 500-year old fishing and farming community on Jeju Island is now being destroyed to build the base.
See  for more information.

Protest in Prague: Tanks-No-Thanks

Pressenza reports:

In Prague’s Wenceslas Square some 1,500 people demonstrated yesterday, Saturday 29th March, against Operation “Dragoon Ride” in which US army personnel and equipment are crossing Czech Republic territory starting today on the way to their German base. Speeches were given by several anti-war organisations, including the Communist Party and World without Wars and Violence all of which spoke highly critically of the government for the way that the decision to allow this procession has been made without going through parliament and knowing that 70% of the population is against the presence of foreign troops.

What concerns the demonstrators apart from being an unnecessary show of strength is that this troop build-up looks like a step towards a war that implicates the whole of Europe.

Demonstrators did not allow themselves to be provoked by dozens of counter-protesters with American, Ukrainian and NATO flags who came to threaten the speakers.

Most organisations present agreed that the only way towards peace is to exit NATO which they consider to be an instrument of the USA to justify aggressive foreign policy. Dana Feminova, speaking for World without Wars and Violence said, “Although I don’t share the opinions of Putin in many areas, I have to agree with the analysis of our former President Klaus who said that Russia has no responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis.”

The atmosphere among protesters is one of great concern. Some have compared what is happening now to the invasion by Nazi Germany in 1938 after the Conference of Munich in which the then Czechoslovakia was handed over to Hitler by France and the UK.

It is certainly true that the last time tanks entered Prague, they were Soviet ones coming to crush moves to democracy and before that they were Hitler’s tanks so the presence of foreign military vehicles on the streets, far from reassuring people is making them nervous. 

USA: Protector of Monarchies

They are back
those Bush-era
have returned
with a vengeance
they lied
us into
shock & awe
and are now
to set up
the next tragic
bombing run

The NY Times
and Washington Post
just carried
from the likes
of war criminal
John Bolton
calling on the
unholy alliance
to unleash
their reign of terror
against Iran

The Obama
is also infested
with neo-con
the man
who ran
on the peace message
won the Nobel prize
mixing it up
with the worst characters
that Amerika
has to offer

The other US ally
in this suicidal
rush into war
with Iran
is the head-choppin
oil-rich monarchy
in Saudi Arabia
they fund
Sunni extremists
the region
we supply their weapons
and give them cover
by having our
presidents kiss
them on the cheeks

the USA
long ago
in revolt
against a royal family
has fallen
far from its once
of democracy
and freedom
from despotism

we now carry water
for the greedy
desert kings

is lost
in the darkness
all for the toxic
black gold 

Sunday Song

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Protest of U.S. Army Convoy in Prague

RT reports:

Several hundred protesters gathered for an anti-NATO rally on Saturday in Prague, protesting against a US military convoy set to parade through the Czech Republic. The rally clashed with a pro-NATO demonstration held nearby.

Footage by RT’s Ruptly agency shows anti-war activists carrying flags and placards with logos such as ‘Tanks? No Thanks!’ and ‘Stop US Army.' At the same time, the pro-NATO demonstrators armed themselves with flags in support of the US military forces.

Scuffles and arguments erupted between the two groups. There were no reports of violence and police made no arrests.

The anti-NATO protesters have been speaking out against the bloc's 'Operation Dragoon Ride' drills, which involve over 100 US Strykers stopping in a new European city every night.

Demanding Justice

As protestors gather across Mexico to demand answers about the 43 students who have been missing since September, demonstrators in Washington, DC are also showing their support, hoping to inspire progress from the US. Anya Parampil reports live from the DC protest.

Saturday at the Movies: U.S. Base in Sicily Draws Mothers & Youth Protest

The English subtitles begin soon after the film is underway. 

A hundred miles off the coast of Africa, the American military has built a base in Niscemi, Sicily. Behind the cordoned-off facility, there is a new war instrument called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). MUOS is used for drone-to-Earth communication. 

"When the Americans landed they began to collaborate with the mafia....."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Why Do Washington-London-Brussells Hate RT?

Media wars have reached a whole new level.  Secretary of State John Kerry, members of the EU and NATO all have singled out the television station - RT - as some kind of security threat. They are trying to Putin-ize the network and make the global public afraid to listen to the what they have to say.

On my way to the store this morning in the car I was listening to right-wing talk radio shock-jock Glenn Beck.  He was lauding the new 'film' by Fox News screamer Bill O'Reilly called "Killing Jesus".  Seems a real disconnect that mean-spirited O'Reilly is channeling Jesus - but then again it makes sense - the Fox News host wants to deepen his credibility with the growing Christian fundamentalist audience.  Too bad O'Reilly didn't learn anything about how to treat other people while studying the prince of peace.

Listening to Beck promote the O'Reilly film I thought about the steady flow of disinformation that is aimed at the public citizenry by corporate controlled media.  Especially younger people, who have little direct political experience, their minds are open books to be filled with the fear-based agenda of the corporate empire.

The good sign is the existence and growing popularity of RT, PressTV and other alternative media sources. I try to share many of these sources here on the blog and in other places.  I know it's a drop in the bucket but when we see the US-NATO talking heads crying about RT and other media we should feel confident that our collective sharing of these voices is indeed freaking out the oligarchy. 

Their cover is being blown.

What is the Story in Yemen?

Over a dozen are killed or injured in Yemen as Saudi Arabia and its allies push on with a full-scale campaign of airstrikes against rebels in the country. For more on the topic, RT talks to Franklin Lamb, who's an International lawyer and political analyst.

Make the Connections

Bruce Gagnon answers some questions outside of Bath Iron Works in Maine on March 21 about "What needs to happen to stop the US from emptying its treasury on endless war" and "Why are you protesting the building of the Aegis Destroyer"?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Military Public Relations or Food for Hungry Kids

  • Each branch of the US military spends hundreds of millions of $$$ each year on their public relations marketing campaigns. The idea is not only to recruit young people to join the military but to also convince the average American taxpayer that the massive amount of money wasted on our endless wars is a valid expenditure - because we are doing good bringing 'freedom and democracy' to the world.  It's all about creating illusions and mythology. 
  • The Navy has a big marketing program where they describe their branch of the military as "A global force for good".  The Army goes for the macho image with their "Army Strong" theme.  The Air Force uses the aggressive "Fly-Fight-Win" while the Marines goes with the exceptionalist tag "The Few, The Proud, the Marines?"
  • I learned today that 9,000 poor people across Maine have been kicked off 'food stamps' because they are unable to 'work or volunteer' under new guidelines forcing those getting welfare to 'earn' their benefits.  Maine is a very rural state with a population of about 1.2 million.  Many people live far out in the woods and have no reliable transportation.  Public transportation is virtually non-existent across Maine.  Thus many people are not able to travel to find jobs (that don't exist much anyway) or to volunteer with agencies that don't exist near their homes or are too far away to be able to reach on foot.  It's really just one more callous right-wing strategy to continue their relentless attacks on social progress.
  • The so-called conservatives and their neo-con partners in the Democratic Party, who claim to be worried about America's huge debt, really don't give a damn about that.  They know their unending wars are the biggest contributors to the national debt and they are in no hurry to stop creating global chaos.  The 'fiscal conservatives' know that more tax cuts for the rich also help create more debt and they don't seem to care.  The right-wing really wants to run up massive debt so they can have a stronger argument to attack social progress.
  • We had a phone call last night at our home from a local family that is on food stamps.  Due to continued cutbacks in their food stamps they now run out of food around the third week of each month.  They often ask us to help them with bread and milk which we always do.  But last night they told Mary Beth that they had no food in their house.  So today MB went to the store and bought food for the family.  You can be sure that there are millions of others across the nation in this same boat with no one to call for help.
  • I'd venture to guess that with just the public relations budget of the military our government could fund the food stamp program so children and their parents don't have to go hungry.
  • In 2009 an Associated Press investigation found that over the previous five years, the money the military spent on public relations at home and abroad had grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion that year. These numbers tell you all you need to know about the priorities of the US.
  • The US is selling 'color revolutions' all over the globe promising people if they join the side of capitalist globalization their lives will be paved in gold.  They will be free.  People around the world should be very careful about that word 'freedom'.  What it really means is that under capitalism you will be free to be on your own with no help from the government.  Corporations will be free to pick your pockets without any intervention or protection by the government.  The corporations have taken the word freedom and turned it inside-out.  

A Subtle Reminder

Hummers to Ukraine

US unloading hummers in Ukraine to help the Kiev regime better wage war on Russia's border.  Overall 230 of them will be shipped to Ukraine along with loads of other weapons systems.

Who does this benefit?  Of course first on the list is the military industrial complex that is witnessing an endless flow of American tax dollars into the weapons industry bank accounts.  Secondly it benefits the fossil fuel extraction corporations that want control of Russia's natural gas (largest supply on Earth) and can only get it if there is 'regime change' in Moscow.  Destabilizing Russia's border leads to the opportunity for destabilization inside of Russia.... a color revolution inside of Russia.

The US wants another fool like Boris Yeltsin to be running Russia who will hand over the nation's  assets to western banksters, agri-business interests like Monsanto (Russia has outlawed GMO's), and the US-British cabal of oil majors.

The fact that Russia can fight back (usually the US only likes to attack those that can't realistically defend themselves - Granada, Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama, Libya, Yemen, etc) seems not to bother the corporate oligarchy now in control of things in Washington.  They are blinded by their greed and appear quite ready to plunge the planet into a deadly World War III.

Opposing U.S. 'Missile Offense' Radar Base in Kyoto

U.S. X-Band Radar Base Jeopardizes Environment and Lives of Citizens of Kyotango in Japan

By Prof. Harumi Ishino

Is establishment of the U.S. Kyogamisaki TPY-2 Radar Base (The 14th Missile Defense Battery) in the city of Kyotango really necessary for defense of the nation? Is it really for enhancing safety and peace, and for benefit of people?

According to Government’s announcement, the purpose of establishing X-band radar base in Kyotango is for ‘missile defense’ to control especially attacks from North Korea. It is uncertain, however, that the X-band radar, providing data for interceptor missiles attacks of U.S. Navy Aegis really protects Japan. The establishment of a radar base in Kyotango is a part of U.S. military ‘ballistic missile defense systems’ strategies for controlling South East Asia, and it means to defend U.S. bases in Pacific region and U.S. homeland in the first place.

The operation of X-band radar of Kyotango started December 26th, 2014. It has brought a drastic change on the life of people nearby small villages, namely Ukawa and Sodeshi (population 1,400). They live on mainly agriculture and fishery. The quiet environment of typical Japanese seaside villages is now a forefront of modern missile wars under the U.S. and Japan Security Treaty. With operation of X- band radar, they are now exposed to threats, or first attacks from other nations, and also, to unknown environmental change.

Today, local residents are exposed 24 hours continuing low frequency noise (55 to 70, over the limit of 41 decibels) caused by the engines. It is almost unendurable to human body. Many complain of headache or insomnia. Japan’s Ministry of Defense and local government of Kyotango discussed the matter in February, and now the U.S. Army has applied noise reducing mufflers. Yet, it does not seem to reduce noise effectively. Like Shyariki in Aomori, they had to have electricity directly from the electricity company to solve problem, which takes almost over a year.

Although, more than half of the people in the region were against the planning of the U.S. army site at the beginning, they were almost forced to offer their land for use (300 yen per 1m²).

They signed the contract, saying it was not for money the government paid them, but for the sustenance of villages, as the young generation tends to leave and forsake their native places. Moreover, they could not dare say no to the strong advocacy of ‘defending the nation’, and of ‘national interest’. Their ancestors who died during World War II sleep in the graves faced with the present radar base across the road. It was only reluctantly that they conceded.

All process from the start of construction through installation of the radar base was disputable. The related information was almost completely undisclosed. Before the actual construction, no satisfactory explanation on the adverse effects or possible health hazards was given in the town meetings or in the public hearings. Neither local governments of Kyotango and Kyoto Prefecture, nor Self Defense Forces which was supposed to work with U.S. military could give appropriate answers to questions raised by people concerned. No environmental assessment was conducted by the Government, since there is no domestic law applicable.

The construction of the site began suddenly in May 27th, 2014 with no public information until the very day before. The body of the radar was brought in, with no proceeding public notice. It was at midnight of October 21, as if in the case of emergency traffic, they drove trains of trucks from Komastu airport of the Self Defense Force base. The process reminds us that Abe regime was preparing for the secret law to be enacted in the first half of the year 2014. This move was mainly for the sake of the military cooperation with U.S. Forces. On December 6th, 2014, the secret law was put in force.

A group of concerned citizens (Kyoto Citizens for Preservation of Environment)¹ sent an inquiry letter to U.S. Forces Headquarters, Zama Camp, addressed to Commander Angelella Salvertore in September 2014. The letter focused on the environmental questions citing the articles (Chap 12, 13) of Japan Environmental Governing Standards (JEGS). The answer from U.S. Army authorities was expected. In November, an answer letter came from Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Toner.  In the inquiry letter, was a crucial question whether U.S. Army has already conducted any environmental research on the base site before starting the construction?

To this question of an environmental research required in JEGS, their answer was vague, although they say they will comply with JEGS. Not referring to an environmental research directly, they say that natural resources management plans is not required, as the size of the site, 8.7 acres is less than the size applied to regulation, 500 or more. They add that “in case of smaller size, it is required if they have natural resources that are especially vulnerable to disturbance, but the land is not sustaining or serving for any known species for concern”.

It is reported that U.S. Forces in Zama asked Government of Japan for the need of research before the construction of the new base in Aug, 2013, and was given a negative answer (Kyoto Newspaper, Aug 8, 2014). It seems that the U.S. Forces agreed to the idea that no research was needed. 

However, under the U.S. regulations of NEPA, it seems they did conduct a small scale research. They mentioned that they conducted surveys on the noise, water, and electromagnetic wave with assistance of Ministry of Defense, and would conduct the surveys also after operation begins.

At present, the data of surveys before the construction turned out to be no help for the noise problem. The data given on electromagnetic waves was only at a few spots and counting data was far from satisfactory. The adverse effect of electromagnetic waves (6km radius) is still not clearly explained by either U.S. Army or Ministry of Defense, even after the start of operation. No satisfactory information is given to the public as to water and water supply system (50 tons’ need) or the water contamination that might be caused.

They say they conducted a physical survey of the caves (Ana-monju in Japanese) beneath the base site, and judged no physical damage would be caused. This cave is in fact listed in Red Data of Kyoto Prefecture as a protected landscape (formed with volcanic rocks 25 to 15 million years ago). The details of the survey are not given to public. They neglect the cave itself has been a sacred spot of religious worship of Monju (one of Buddha’s disciples) since 17th century, related to a nearby temple Kuonji. It is notable that they did not put much consideration into Japanese historical, cultural heritages.

To the question on the protection of endangered species, such as falcon (category II, vulnerable) and some vegetation (Red Data of category of Kyoto Prefecture), U.S. authorities denies direct harm. Their answer indicates that they limited the area of research to the small area of the actual site.

However it seems that change of environment at even one spot affects birds and plants in various ways, in a larger scale. Without conducting the proper environmental assessment, nobody really can predict how operation of X-band radar base with its electromagnetic waves, hazardous noise, and other possible contamination would affect the whole environment of living creatures.

The area is located at the east end of San’in Kaigan (Seaside) global Geo Park of UNESCO. It is evident that the army base would damage the beautiful landscapes, affecting bio-diversity environment, and local industries such as fisheries.
Mayor Yasushi Nakayama requested Major Jason Albright to call attention to the garrison to safety and security for citizens of Kyotango in Sept, 2014. People were worried about possibilities of traffic accidents or crimes caused by U.S. service personnel and civilian employees.

In spite of urgent driving lessons given to U.S. Army garrison, the numbers of traffic accidents counts 14 cases (at the end of February 2015), which is unusually high, with stationing of 160 personnel and civilians. The details of the accidents were not openly informed. People still fear for future accidents. They are worried that the region would be like Okinawa where many accidents and crimes are daily reported.

People begin to understand what the establishment of U.S. base in Kyotango in Kyoto means. Similar to the situation of Okinawa, the rights of people are not much regarded in Kyotango. The threat and danger which might be caused by the U.S. Army stationing in Japan, now is becoming a reality in the Kansai area. People of the mainland of Japan realize that they share agony with people of Okinawa.

Japan’s defense policy and recent government’s decision toward closer cooperation with U.S. Forces, denies rights of people for safety and peace, damages the environment, and violates the Constitution of Japan.

- The Global Network will hold our 23rd annual space organizing conference (July 29-August 2) in Kyoto in order to stand with the people of Kyotango in their opposition to this 'missile defense' radar base.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Ditch At My Lai

By Mike Hastie

This is the picture of the infamous ditch at the My Lai Massacre site that I took when I and three other Vietnam veterans went back to Vietnam in March of 1994.

This ditch is where American soldiers herded close to 100 Vietnamese civilians, and executed them at point-blank range with automatic weapons. Now, imagine this village being one of a thousand villages that were bombed or received artillery rounds throughout the Vietnam War. One was done by air, My Lai was done with troops on the ground.

The ones that were done by air strikes or artillery rounds are what I call My Lais from the skies. They may not have been 504 murdered, but they were atrocities, and many times far exceeded 504 with major B-52 carpet bombing. They happened everyday during the Vietnam War. You do not bring the enemy to the peace table by just killing military combatants. You ultimately bring the enemy to the peace table by killing innocent civilians. They are military targets. This strategy is as old as warfare itself.

The U.S. Government lied about this in Vietnam, because lying is the most powerful weapon in war. If one were to emotionally absorb this statement about killing innocent civilians because they are military targets, you can imagine what it did to hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans when they came home and had their core beliefs destroyed. That is why denial is a sacrament. The greatest lie of the Vietnam War is unspeakable.

I was in a military unit that had three fire bases that had heavy artillery, and tanks that had 90mm guns. God only knows how many rounds were fired by those weapons during the lifetime that those weapons were in Vietnam.

You wonder how many innocent Vietnamese were killed while the U.S. exercised the insane policy of free-fire-zones. Deciding to remain on their ancestral homeland was no excuse as far as the U.S. military was concerned.

You have personality disorders, and you have barbaric personality disorders. It's all so neat and orderly. And, it all starts in the, "Orderly Room." Some people call it the Pentagon.

I just got through listening to Seymour Hersh testify on "Democracy Now," about the My Lai Massacre. What he said was extremely powerful, to say the least. I have such a vivid memory of the day I spent four hours at the My Lai Massacre site with my fellow vets. As we drove up to the massacre site, there was a Vietnamese woman who worked at the massacre site who had to leave on a bicycle, because she could not be present when American veterans came to visit.

The whole time I was there my gut was in my throat. I think I felt the same way when I was at the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1954, when I was nine-years-old. The over powering feeling I had at My Lai that day was absolute shame.

Guilt, is I have done something bad, Shame, is I am bad. My national shame was who I was.

My father was a career Army officer, a WWII veteran, so I was born in the U.S. military before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I lived in Japan from 1947 to 1949.

After a couple of hours at the My Lai Massacre site, the four of us went into a separate building that had a statue of Ho Chi Minh. There was a guest book there, so we signed it.

After awhile, I left the building because I wanted to go through the massacre site again to take more pictures. It was during that time that a tour bus showed up, and out stepped about 45 Vietnamese people, many of them small children. When that happened, and they saw me, I felt like a murderer.

The shame inside of me was over whelming. I took a picture of all of them standing by the large monument depicting the massacre, with Vietnamese holding dead children. I hurried to take more pictures, so I could get away from this bus load of people, the so-called "gooks" that my country referred to. I had my head down, as I was headed back to the building where I last saw my other vet friends. While I was doing this, I was stopped by a Vietnamese man who was on the bus. He looked to be a man who had fought against the Americans.

He stuck his hand out and we shook hands, followed by him saying something in Vietnamese that I perceived was very kind, and compassionate, as I could see it in his face. I will remember that moment the rest of my life.

Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
March 25, 2015

I am become death...
the destroyer of worlds.
Robert Oppenheimer
Father of the Atomic Bomb

Spring Comes to Maine


   These daffodils just appeared at the entrance to our driveway. It must be Spring!   Peter

One-Third of Spain Living in Poverty

Thousands of protesters came to Madrid last weekend from across their nation to try and get the government to listen to their demands. 'Dignity March' was a public protest over social injustice and stubbornly-high unemployment in Spain. Last year hundreds of thousands marched in the capital.

Pushing Back Against Washington-Tokyo Military Alliance

Japanese island of Okinawa takes on the U.S. military presence there - while Tokyo sides with the Americans. The U.S. will keep increasing its military presence in Asia, in order to put pressure on China.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Business of America is War

Washington wants to work with a new global development fund - spearheaded by China. That's a massive U-turn by US officials who just 2 weeks ago slammed London for seeking to engage with the Bank. RT is joined by Gerald Celente.

The Truth is Not Always a Pleasant Thing

In 1964, with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in viewers minds, the Cold War at its frostiest, and the hydrogen bomb relatively new and frightening, Stanley Kubrick dared to make a film about what could happen if the wrong person pushed the wrong button.

We are back in that moment today.

Lenten Vigil at BIW Photos

These photos are by Roger Leisner and more can be found here

We'll be back in front of Bath Iron Works on March 28 and April 4 from 11:30 am to 12:30

Message from Sicily: We Are Against Illegal Military Occupation....

 'No MUOS', the Forest and the Island 

By Elisa Andretti

“We are together in this battle with our kids; our strength and inspiration, they were the first to undertake the protests. We are against illegal military occupation of Italian soil by the US Navy, against illegal installation of antennas and the health hazard those antennas represent; we are against becoming a primary military target in US conflicts. We fight for life, respect, cooperation, regardless of ideologies and political labels” (“No-MUOS Mothers“, Niscemi, Italy, 8 March 2015).

I am introduced to the No-MUOS movement and its initiators, the “No-MUOS Mothers”, by Daniela and her friends, one Saturday morning in my hometown in Sicily. MUOS stands for Mobile User Objective System, a network of powerful antennas which are being installed around the globe (four stations between US, Europe, Australia and Hawaii) by the US military.

Daniela, one of the activists, explains that the system is going to be operative as a whole by 2017. MUOS European station in Sicily is nearing completion and being tested, although built in a densely populated area: Sicily counts nearly 6 millions inhabitants, which will be continuously exposed to scientifically proven radiation damage. “No-MUOS Mothers” argue that, once completed, this European station will represent a primary military target for US conflicts across the globe, as MUOS system can be used to remotely control drones. Furthermore, MUOS system in Niscemi is being built against all Italian laws, breaking an extremely delicate ecosystem at the heart of a natural reserve, a forest of ancient cork oaks called “La Sughereta“. This place is considered so fragile and precious by Italian laws that visitors are asked to “not displace the sand“.

Andrea, one of the activists, finds such sign while walking to the hilltop, where three giant antennas are being built behind a fence. There are non-violent demonstrations, and the activists can only use their physical presence on site to slow down the works, which are proceeding regardless of the Regional Administrative Court judgement following their legal actions.

No-MUOS is a movement spreading across Italy and Sicily which represents eight years of full-time commitment to its initiators. The activists’ demands are about the right to self-determination of a nation, about the human right to live a healthy and peaceful life, and about respect of ecosystems and enforcement of Italian environmental legislation. At the time of writing, No-MUOS movements of Italy are preparing for a demonstration to be held nationwide on 4th April, 2015.

For more info on the campaign see here

Where Are The Liberals?

Obama is a busy man
he has a tough job
deliver the globe
to corporate capital
and keep the folks
back home
and his 'liberal' base
under control

So far
not much trouble
the liberals
in spite of
climate change
student debt
mounting despair
endless wars

Had a call today
someone wondering
what can we do?
What is the answer?

My response
we've got
a weak
peace movement
people are intimidated
by fear of
and the moments
are slipping by fast

Many activists
getting older
don't want to drive
all over Maine
many young people
raising kids
growing veggies
trying to create
an alternative
but the moments
are slipping by fast

Of course we need
a holy alliance
to protect the
mother satellite
and all her
wayward children

But sadly
there are intervening
factors like
'NGO kingdoms'
fear of losing
if people
come together
fear of being
called a 'radical'
fear it won't work
fear of even
about it all

One thing
I've noticed
there are
not so many
political cartoons
about Obama.
Reagan and Bush (I & II)
had many more.

the humor
seems lost
on many liberals
when a Democrat
is in the
White House

Washington Continuously Lies to Start Wars

CIA director John Brennan and a national PBS 'journalist' go over the corporate oligarchy talking points before a friendly audience

This is from the interview about Iran that I did yesterday. You can hear my words at PressTV:

The US government is a “criminal” organization that is making false accusations against Iran.

The US administration is a “criminal” organization that is making false accusations against Iran’s nuclear power program to deceive the public and justify a military assault on Iran, an anti-war activist and journalist in Maine says.

“The US and Israel have a plan for ‘regime change’ in Iran, they use nuclear weapons [claims] to justify their actions toward the Iranian government and the Iranian people, said Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

“We’ve seen Washington continuously lie to start wars,” Gagnon told Press TV on Monday. “The US is doing the same kind of trick to justify an attack on Iran.”

“The corporate, criminal syndicate that runs our government in Washington is repeatedly lying and deceiving the global public in order excuse its own aggressive behavior,” he added.

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its civilian nuclear program.

On Sunday, CIA director John Brennan repeated the previous allegations that Iran intends to produce a nuclear weapon and warned Tehran of “tremendous costs and consequences” if it moves in that direction.

Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Brennan’s provocative comments come as negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 –  the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – have reported progress ahead of a July 1 deadline for a comprehensive agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

Furthermore, the Al Jazeera television network released a secret Mossad cable last month which revealed that Israel has been aware that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and does not include “the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

Ban All the Bombs - Cut the Pentagon Budget

Get more information about Peace and Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Just and Sustainable World conference and protest on April 24-26, 2015 in New York City here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Doing What U.S. Does Best - Don't Dare Throw Eggs at Them

A convoy of US Army military vehicles arrived in Riga, Sunday as part of a 1,770-km (1,100-mile) tour through six European countries. The convoy is making its way through Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Germany, before reaching its final destination near the German town of Vilseck.

Czech people were told not to throw tomatoes and eggs at a US military convoy rumbling through Eastern Europe, the local media said, citing the laws of the land. Those in love with egg & tomato hurling may get up to three years if convicted.

“Should anyone emerge with the intent to attack the convoy, with [items] such as tomatoes or eggs, it would qualify as disorderly conduct according to Czech legislation (up to 2 years without parole, in recidivist cases up to 3 years) or damage to property (sentences in the range of 6 months to 3 years).”

This statement was aired on Czech TV Nova ahead of the planned US military convoy. 

Gore Vidal: The Only Art Form My Country Ever Created....

Swept Away.....

  • Dr. Christof Lehmann, founder & editor of nsnbc writes:  
"The peace process [in Ukraine] is being complicated due to disagreements within NATO. While an US/UK led faction is pushing for a belligerent policy towards Moscow, a French – German led faction is advocating for peaceful relations with Russia and greater integration of the EEU and EU. As long as this NATO-internal dispute hasn’t been settled it is probable that Ukrainian citizens on all sides will continue to bear the brunt of the geopolitical chess game."

  • Today I got the link to an interview I did last week for PressTV in Iran.  It was about Ukraine and Russia.  In part I said, "European businesses are suffering from the sanctions on Russia and they’re putting a lot of pressure on their governments to end this American war against Russia and Ukraine... The US wants to split Europe away from Russia, further isolating Russia. They want to stop Russian natural gas shipments into Europe… and they want to replace this with US fracked gas." 
  •  People had lots of good things to say about our weekend protest at the destroyer shipyard here in Bath.  Our message about building rail, wind, solar, and tidal systems at BIW is spreading and many more people are talking about it.  The politicians run from us here in Maine if we mention such things.  So the pressure to 'go along' keeps many of the public in line and quiet - they do what they are told - even if it is like swallowing some awful medicine.  But now and then we reach a tipping point and it's starting to smell like we are heading for the down-stretch.  Something is going to break - one way or the other - real soon.  And when things break the public will be frantically looking around for ideas, action plans and a certain 'political line'.  Folks with good hearts and good sense better create the political and social organizational infrastructure now because soon enough we are going to need it.  Don't want to get swept away in the tide.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Racism in the U.S. Army

Army officials are investigating disturbing allegations of a platoon stationed in Alaska given a free pass to use racial slurs against other officers and soldiers free of consequence, unofficially dubbing it ‘Racial Thursday.’ RT’s Manila Chan has more on the charges, and the possible punishments, if the platoon is found guilty.

CND in UK Speaks on Ukraine

NATO's expansion has been the main factor in provoking the crisis in Ukraine - the General Secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson, stated at the Stop the War Coalition meeting in the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London, Thursday.

Lenten Vigil in Bath to End War

  National Day of Mobilization from Regis Tremblay on Vimeo.

Here is the video from March 20 BIW Lenten protest in Maine organized by the Smilin’Trees Disarmament Farm and CodePink Maine.  Our two guests were Hee Eun Park and Paco Michelson from the Save Jeju Now international team representing Gangjeong village.

Sadly our sound system quit working half-way through the event - it impacted the skit organized by CodePink's Lisa Savage and my talk after that....but we managed.

Video made by Regis Tremblay and Peter Woodruff 

You Are What You Read......

Video from Hancock drone base 'book protest' near Syracuse, New York this past week.....

Sunday Song

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Good Day at BIW

Hee Eun Park (Silver) with message from Jeju Island at BIW today. (Photo by the Pizza King)

  • Just over 50 folks turned out today for the weekly Lenten season vigil at Bath Iron Works (BIW).  Thanks to Lisa Savage and CodePink Maine for bringing a big bus load of people from Portland and Brunswick to the event.  Lisa created and led a great skit that is being put onto YouTube as I write this.  It was cold and wet on this new spring day.  Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen with the Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm in Hope, Maine reminded us that this is now spring, even if it doesn't yet feel like it, and that under the ground were bulbs and other plants just waiting to emerge.  She said we should remember our vigils are also the seed.  Maureen invited the assembled to join the two remaining Lenten vigils at BIW on the next two Saturday's starting at 11:30 am.
  • Hee Eun Park (nicknamed Silver) spoke to many shipyard workers at 11:55 am as the noon shift change was in motion.  Hundreds were lined up in the cold to be released from inside the gates at the yard when the horn blasted.  A few were yelling at us - things like "I love war!" with a few hoots and howlers joining that chorus.  But the majority were respectful and listened to Silver's words blaring from our fragile sound system that luckily in this moment did transmit the message.  Silver told the workers that the people on Jeju Island loved them.  She cried when she said the people just don't want war - they had already long suffered during the 4-3 (April 3) massacres that led to the killing of more than 30,000 on Jeju under the full direction of the US military. 
  • The US took over Korea after the Japanese Imperial Army was defeated at the end of WWII.  Sadly, the US replaced the Japanese fascists with Japan's former Korean collaborators - thus nothing really changed for the people.  The peasants on Jeju Island resisted and were brutally brought into submission.  For many years the 4-3 massacre was a forbidden topic in South Korea under the series of US puppets who ran the country.  (If you watch closely you see the same thing happening in Ukraine today.  Same arrogant bullying to grab money, resources and lands for military bases).  These conflicts inside Korea ultimately helped create the Korean War that was all about the US and Europe imposing their control of the region for continued economic exploitation.
  • The inclusion of the voices from Jeju Island at the BIW today's event changed everyone in some way.  The important question of 'Where do these warships go?' was made real after hearing from Paco Michelson and Silver who are now on a national tour to tell the Jeju story.  I felt a shift in the people at the protest vigil.  I also felt that many of the workers are beginning to see that they must think about our foreign policy; they must think about the cost to the nation of having a militarized economy; their kids face a severe future with climate change and they should be actively doing something like speaking out to say "We want to build rail, wind turbines, tidal power, and solar - we must do it now if they will have any chance to survive on our Mother Earth!"  Where else except the nearly $1 trillion Pentagon-NSA-CIA budget will the $$$$ come from to make the kind of conversion of our war economy that is needed for survival?
  • We are trying to get the community to recognize that we need to move toward 'Plan B' now while there is still a chance.  Sadly, those with power and authority have their ears closed and their hearts darkened.  They huddle over their "New World Order" once forecasted, I heard, by Adolph Hitler. 
  • We can't just think of ourselves all the time - this every man for himself individualism is a huge part of the disease.  Silver reminded us about the need and value of community - such a love, respect and deep spiritual connection to your village, your land, the sea, all life engulfing - which Gangjeong villagers have manifested for more than 500 years.  We are fighting they say - every single day (and many nights) for the past eight years.  The people in Gangjeong village are crying out to the world to understand their struggle.  It is the same struggle everywhere.  
  • Jeju and Bath are connected - sadly by US Navy destroyers.  So let's have a real 'sister city' relationship.  Maybe we should approach Bath City Hall with a letter from Gangjeong village requesting sister city status.  The Jeju folks could explain about the soft coral forests just offshore that are being killed by dredging for the coming US warships.  Maybe the local newspaper (which ignored our attempts to put an announcement in the paper about the vigil) should print the Gangjeong letter?  We could try to hand the letter out at future vigils at BIW.
  • Folks in Bath understand the sea - the Navy dredges the Kennebeck River so they can get their destroyers out to the ocean.  Jeju and Bath have much in common - let's make it for something real! Anyone interested in that effort please let me know.  Maybe we could get letters from other cities around the world to Bath requesting they acknowledge the people on Jeju Island who are suffering because they must give up their lives and their culture so the US Navy can stick one more damn expensive and provocative warship down China's throat.