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. @BruceKGagnon

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.

The Other Current U.S. Regime Change Operation

"If There’s a Threat On This Continent, It’s the US" - Ecuador Foreign Minister

As Latin American leaders respond to US President Barack Obama's declaration that Venezuela poses a “national security threat,” Sputnik’s Karina Stenquist sat down for an exclusive interview with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño to discuss relations between the US and Latin America.

Citing unrest in Venezuela, Obama issued an executive order on March 9 declaring that country to be national security threat and announcing sanctions against seven officials, marking a high point in tensions between the two countries since President Nicolas Maduro took office two years ago following the death of Hugo Chavez.

The response from Maduro and other Latin American leaders was swift and, for the most part, unified in vocal opposition to the move by the US.

Even Raul Castro of Cuba — whose country is in the midst of a historic normalization of relations with the US — criticized the order, denouncing "the violation of sovereignty or the damage of peace with impunity in the region."

The twelve-country Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) condemned Obama’s executive order as well, calling for its retraction.

Shortly afterward, leaders of the member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) met in Caracas, and drafted a formal response to the executive order, firmly rejecting it as a "threat of interference that runs counter to the principle of sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states."

Patiño, in his turn, called Obama’s order "a decree that in no way favors good relations between countries on the same continent."

Sputnik: What came of the ALBA summit?

Patiño: “In that meeting, we couldn't even conceive of, much less tolerate, the idea that Venezuela is a threat to the US. Where is the threat? There isn't the slightest possibility of being a threat.

“They're a trade partner of the US, they sell them oil every day, there are all sorts of relations — commercial, tourist — between the two countries. That's why the order doesn't make the least bit of sense, doesn't have the least basis.

“[During recent violence and protest in Venezuela] there has clearly been an attempt to impose violent conditions made by some violent groups. We're not talking about all the opposition — there is democratic opposition, who we spoke with at the UNASUR commission. But there are also violent groups, that, when you ask them, when they are interviewed, ‘Why are you out here?’ — ‘We're here in the street until Maduro leaves.’ They want Maduro out by elections or, if not, by force.

“The Venezuelan revolution isn't going to come to an end through external meddling. And it's not their place to put an end to the Bolivarian revolution, but to respect each country.”

Sputnik: How do you respond to those that say that Latin American leaders are overreacting, talking about invasion and conspiracy, when it's just formal language to impose limited sanctions?

Patiño: "When a government says something, when the president signs something, when he uses 'I', 'I, the President of the United States, Barack Obama', you can't say it's just a formality. Just to take measures.

"The problem is that, often, that decision, those orders, have been a prelude to military interventions. We know that — like Afghanistan, like Iraq, and other countries — that they were considered a threat and then invaded. They aren't always invaded. Sometimes not. But often it's just this justification that's given for intervention.

"Because, if I consider you a threat to me, I must act to stop that threat…That's why the terms he uses are so serious."

Sputnik: White House spokesperson Jen Psaki recently called accusations of conspiracies leveled by Nicolas Maduro against the US "ludicrous" and cited a "long-standing policy" of not backing coups or other non-democratic transitions of power. How do you respond?

Patiño: "We in Latin America have a long-standing tradition of US intervention. We know it. By heart and forever. For all of the 20th century, and even the 19th century, with the first interventions by the filibusters, as they were called, in Nicaragua.

"But in the 20th century: The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Chile. Not just military interventions, but we're talking about dictatorships, imposed by political powers in the United States. Chile, Argentina, Uruguay.

"In our country, in Ecuador, in 1963: We had a lovely tradition of democracy, economic progress and, as a result of CIA actions, a dictatorship broke that democracy to pieces… It's a shame, but the US longstanding tradition is one of intervening, invading, abusing and producing dictatorships in our region.

"If there is a threat on this continent, it is the United States. They're the only one that can be considered to be such from historical experience. They are a threat to our countries. And, despite that, we still believe they can change, someday, we know it's difficult."

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

March 16 marked the 1,000th day that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living, under asylum, in the embassy of Ecuador in London. The Swedish prosecutors who have been after him since 2010 on charges of sexual assault have, for the first time, conceded to interview him in the embassy instead of insisting he must be questioned in Sweden, where he fears further extradition to the United States.

One of the reasons Swedish prosecutors are changing tack is that, as a result of legal proceedings concerns a petition made by Assange, courts directly admonished the prosecution for its inaction.

Sputnik: What does this sudden change in strategy mean for Assange?

Patiño: "At least, we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time. And very late in coming. But we're starting to see it. We told Sweden right at the start, the first day, we're prepared to facilitate conditions for you to take his statements. Because we knew there were important charges against Julian Assange…and in four and a half years, not even a first step has been taken to address those charges….

"The second reason [that the Swedish prosecutor has changed her mind]- which is really worrying — is that the prosecutor says, 'OK, now I'll do the interview because the statute of limitations is running out.' I have to ask myself: what if the statute of limitations was 50 years? Would they take 50 years? Leave someone stuck in our embassy for 50 years?

"It's incredibly serious…And in the mean time to have so flagrantly, so gravely, violated the human rights of Julian Assange. 1000 days! And now to just say, 'OK, I can take the statement.' Why didn't they do it the first day?…

"And imagine, they take the statement and come to the conclusion that they shouldn't go ahead with the charges? Shouldn't take him to trial? 'Truth is, yes, with what you've told me, you should be able to go home. Nothing's happened here.' And the 1000 days?" 

Stirring Up More Chaos in Europe

A convoy of US Army military vehicles, mostly IAV Stryker armoured personnel carriers, departed the military base in Tapa, Estonia Saturday. The 1,770 km (1,100 miles) tour through six European countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Germany) will end at Vilseck in Germany.

The trek is being called the "Dragoon Ride," after the unit’s name – the Dragoons. The tour is aimed at demonstrating strength and solidarity to US and NATO allies in eastern Europe, according to U.S. Army Europe spokesman Lt. Col. Craig Childs.

Notice in the video an American GI showing a little kid the heavy machine gun.  This is how the US does international promoting killing and war.

Activists in the Czech Republic are threatening protests.  In an interview with Sputnik, Eva Novotna, press-secretary of Ne základnám ("No" to bases) organization denounced the decision of the Czech government to allow the US convoy to travel across the country as a "naivety bordering on stupidity."

"It is a provocation, a demonstration of force and an attempt to split the Czech society into two implacable camps," Eva Novotna underscored. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Family Business of Perpetual War

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, speaking to Ukrainian and other business leaders at the National Press Club in Washington on Dec. 13, 2013, at a meeting sponsored by Chevron.

Exclusive: Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan have a great mom-and-pop business going. From the State Department, she generates wars and – from op-ed pages – he demands Congress buy more weapons. There’s a pay-off, too, as grateful military contractors kick in money to think tanks where other Kagans work, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business: she has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia – and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so America can meet these new security threats.

This extraordinary husband-and-wife duo makes quite a one-two punch for the Military-Industrial Complex, an inside-outside team that creates the need for more military spending, applies political pressure to ensure higher appropriations, and watches as thankful weapons manufacturers lavish grants on like-minded hawkish Washington think tanks.

Not only does the broader community of neoconservatives stand to benefit but so do other members of the Kagan clan, including Robert’s brother Frederick at the American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly, who runs her own shop called the Institute for the Study of War.

Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (which doesn’t disclose details on its funders), used his prized perch on the Washington Post’s op-ed page on Friday to bait Republicans into abandoning the sequester caps limiting the Pentagon’s budget, which he calculated at about $523 billion (apparently not counting extra war spending). Kagan called on the GOP legislators to add at least $38 billion and preferably more like $54 billion to $117 billion:

“The fact that [advocates for more spending] face a steep uphill battle to get even that lower number passed by a Republican-controlled Congress says a lot — about Republican hypocrisy. Republicans may be full-throated in denouncing [President Barack] Obama for weakening the nation’s security, yet when it comes to paying for the foreign policy that all their tough rhetoric implies, too many of them are nowhere to be found. …

“The editorial writers and columnists who have been beating up Obama and cheering the Republicans need to tell those Republicans, and their own readers, that national security costs money and that letters and speeches are worse than meaningless without it. …

“It will annoy the part of the Republican base that wants to see the government shrink, loves the sequester and doesn’t care what it does to defense. But leadership occasionally means telling people what they don’t want to hear. Those who propose to lead the United States in the coming years, Republicans and Democrats, need to show what kind of political courage they have, right now, when the crucial budget decisions are being made.”

So, the way to show “courage” – in Kagan’s view – is to ladle ever more billions into the Military-Industrial Complex, thus putting money where the Republican mouths are regarding the need to “defend Ukraine” and resist “a bad nuclear deal with Iran.”

Yet, if it weren’t for Nuland’s efforts as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, the Ukraine crisis might not exist. A neocon holdover who advised Vice President Dick Cheney, Nuland gained promotions under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and received backing, too, from current Secretary of State John Kerry.

Confirmed to her present job in September 2013, Nuland soon undertook an extraordinary effort to promote “regime change” in Ukraine. She personally urged on business leaders and political activists to challenge elected President Viktor Yanukovych. She reminded corporate executives that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” and she literally passed out cookies to anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square.

Working with other key neocons, including National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman and Sen. John McCain, Nuland made clear that the United States would back a “regime change” against Yanukovych, which grew more likely as neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias poured into Kiev from western Ukraine.

In early February 2014, Nuland discussed U.S.-desired changes with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (himself a veteran of a “regime change” operation at the International Atomic Energy Agency, helping to install U.S. yes man Yukiya Amano as the director-general in 2009).

Nuland treated her proposed new line-up of Ukrainian officials as if she were trading baseball cards, casting aside some while valuing others. “Yats is the guy,” she said of her favorite Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Disparaging the less aggressive European Union, she uttered “Fuck the EU” – and brainstormed how she would “glue this thing” as Pyatt pondered how to “mid-wife this thing.” Their unsecure phone call was intercepted and leaked.

Ukraine’s ‘Regime Change’

The coup against Yanukovych played out on Feb. 22, 2014, as the neo-Nazi militias and other violent extremists overran government buildings forcing the president and other officials to flee for their lives. Nuland’s State Department quickly declared the new regime “legitimate” and Yatsenyuk took over as prime minister.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had been presiding over the Winter Olympics at Sochi, was caught off-guard by the coup next door and held a crisis session to determine how to protect ethnic Russians and a Russian naval base in Crimea, leading to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and annexation by Russia a year ago.

Though there was no evidence that Putin had instigated the Ukraine crisis – and indeed all the evidence indicated the opposite – the State Department peddled a propaganda theme to the credulous mainstream U.S. news media about Putin having somehow orchestrated the situation in Ukraine so he could begin invading Europe. Former Secretary of State Clinton compared Putin to Adolf Hitler.

As the new Kiev government launched a brutal “anti-terrorism operation” to subdue an uprising among the large ethnic Russian populations of eastern and southern Ukraine, Nuland and other American neocons pushed for economic sanctions against Russia and demanded arms for the coup regime. [See’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

Amid the barrage of “information warfare” aimed at both the U.S. and world publics, a new Cold War took shape. Prominent neocons, including Nuland’s husband Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century which masterminded the Iraq War, hammered home the domestic theme that Obama had shown himself to be “weak,” thus inviting Putin’s “aggression.”

In May 2014, Kagan published a lengthy essay in The New Republic entitled “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,” in which Kagan castigated Obama for failing to sustain American dominance in the world and demanding a more muscular U.S. posture toward adversaries.

According to a New York Times article about how the essay took shape and its aftermath, writer Jason Horowitz reported that Kagan and Nuland shared a common world view as well as professional ambitions, with Nuland editing Kagan’s articles, including the one tearing down her ostensible boss.

Though Nuland wouldn’t comment specifically on her husband’s attack on Obama, she indicated that she held similar views. “But suffice to say,” Nuland said, “that nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.”

Horowitz reported that Obama was so concerned about Kagan’s assault that the President revised his commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of the criticism and invited Kagan to lunch at the White House, where one source told me that it was like “a meeting of equals.” [See’s “Obama’s True Foreign Policy ‘Weakness.’”]

Sinking a Peace Deal

And, whenever peace threatens to break out in Ukraine, Nuland jumps in to make sure that the interests of war are protected. Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande hammered out a plan for a cease-fire and a political settlement, known as Minsk-2, prompting Nuland to engage in more behind-the-scenes maneuvering to sabotage the deal.

In another overheard conversation — in Munich, Germany — Nuland mocked the peace agreement as “Merkel’s Moscow thing,” according to the German newspaper Bild, citing unnamed sources, likely from the German government which may have bugged the conference room in the luxurious Bayerischer Hof hotel and then leaked the details.

Picking up on Nuland’s contempt for Merkel, another U.S. official called the Minsk-2 deal the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit.”

Nuland suggested that Merkel and Hollande cared only about the practical impact of the Ukraine war on Europe: “They’re afraid of damage to their economy, counter-sanctions from Russia.” According to the Bild story, Nuland also laid out a strategy for countering Merkel’s diplomacy by using strident language to frame the Ukraine crisis.

“We can fight against the Europeans, we can fight with rhetoric against them,” Nuland reportedly said.

NATO Commander Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove was quoted as saying that sending more weapons to the Ukrainian government would “raise the battlefield cost for Putin.” Nuland interjected to the U.S. politicians present that “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems.’”

Nuland sounded determined to sink the Merkel-Hollande peace initiative even though it was arranged by two major U.S. allies and was blessed by President Obama. And, this week, the deal seems indeed to have been blown apart by Nuland’s hand-picked Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, who inserted a poison pill into the legislation to implement the Minsk-2 political settlement.

The Ukrainian parliament in Kiev added a clause that, in effect, requires the rebels to first surrender and let the Ukrainian government organize elections before a federalized structure is determined. Minsk-2 had called for dialogue with the representatives of these rebellious eastern territories en route to elections and establishment of broad autonomy for the region.

Instead, reflecting Nuland’s hard-line position, Kiev refused to talks with rebel leaders and insisted on establishing control over these territories before the process can move forward. If the legislation stands, the result will almost surely be a resumption of war between military forces backed by nuclear-armed Russia and the United States, a very dangerous development for the world. [See’s “Ukraine’s Poison Pill for Peace Talks.”]

Not only will the Ukrainian civil war resume but so will the Cold War between Washington and Moscow with lots of money to be made by the Military-Industrial Complex. On Friday, Nuland’s husband, Robert Kagan, drove home that latter point in the neocon Washington Post.

The Payoff

But don’t think that this unlocking of the U.S. taxpayers’ wallets is just about this one couple. There will be plenty of money to be made by other neocon think-tankers all around Washington, including Frederick Kagan, who works for the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly, who runs her own think tank, the Institute for the Study of War [ISW].

According to ISW’s annual reports, its original supporters were mostly right-wing foundations, such as the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, but it was later backed by a host of national security contractors, including major ones like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provided training for Afghan police, and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplied software to U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan.

Since its founding in 2007, ISW has focused mostly on wars in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, including closely cooperating with Gen. David Petraeus when he commanded U.S. forces in those countries. However, more recently, ISW has begun reporting extensively on the civil war in Ukraine. [See’s “Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War.”]

In other words, the Family Kagan has almost a self-perpetuating, circular business model – working the inside-corridors of government power to stimulate wars while simultaneously influencing the public debate through think-tank reports and op-ed columns in favor of more military spending – and then collecting grants and other funding from thankful military contractors.

To be fair, the Nuland-Kagan mom-and-pop shop is really only a microcosm of how the Military-Industrial Complex has worked for decades: think-tank analysts generate the reasons for military spending, the government bureaucrats implement the necessary war policies, and the military contractors make lots of money before kicking back some to the think tanks — so the bloody but profitable cycle can spin again.

The only thing that makes the Nuland-Kagan operation special perhaps is that the whole process is all in the family.

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

U.S. Priorities Are Screwed Up!

Plenty of $$$$$ for war but virtually nothing else across the USA these days!  The people are clearly the enemy unless they are willing to put on a uniform and perform US-NATO war making on various countries that happen to sit on, or near, vast stocks of fossil fuels or other precious natural resources..... give me a f#@*ing break!

Poroshenko Yells at Laid-Off Workers

Translated from Russian by J. Hawk

Ukraine’s president Poroshenko made threats against the about to be laid off Borispol airport workers. He yelled at the assembled workers, then said that if they raise their voice against him, “they’ll be taken away.”

At first Poroshenko issued an emotion-laden explanation of the reasons behind layoffs. He said that they are not illegal, and that if the airport workers believe they were laid off unlawfully, they can turn to the courts. Courts whose impartiality will be ensured by…Poroshenko himself.

“Right now the government is economizing. Yanukovych [former president who was ousted in US directed coup] cost the state 1.5 billion hryvnya per month. Now we are spending only 800 million on the president—we are making cutbacks. The presidential administration was cut by 40%. Today, when there’s a war on, nobody will be supported by the government budget. That’s why there are cuts. In full accordance with the law.”

Poroshenko also exhorted the laid-off workers to "earn money."

These words caused an even greater upset in the crowd. In order to calm down the protesters, the Poroshenko sternly warned: “Don’t you raise your voice at me, or you’ll be taken away.”

J. Hawk’s Comment: What that last phrase means is anyone’s guess. In this day and age, it could mean imprisonment or even death. However, Poroshenko is clearly losing it. He’s not used to people questioning him, he can’t conceive of the Maidan project he conceived and funded backfiring on him (think of the investment!), yet the situation is slipping out of his control so he is lashing out.

Incidentally, do watch the video. Poroshenko’s hand gestures are a wonder to behold. That’s quite an exercise in finger-wagging!

Bruce's Comment: I can't wait to watch the version with English translation!

Filming the Jeju Story

Today I taped another edition of my public access TV show This Issue with Paco Michelson and Hee Eun Park (Silver) about the Navy base resistance on Jeju Island in South Korea.  Thanks to my crew of veterans Eric Herter and Dan Ellis for their work in the engineering booth and on the camera.

The guests did a great job of telling the heartbreaking story about the eight-year long struggle in Ganjeong village to resist the base that will host US Navy destroyers, aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines.

Silver concluded the show with a moving appeal to the American people to help stop the US from expanding its military empire in the Asia-Pacific which could very well lead to a devastating war in her country.

The show should be available on YouTube in about a week.  I'll post it as soon as I can.  This Issue presently plays on 14 local stations across Maine.

China Takes on World Bank

Michael Hudson Report: Britain, German, France and Italy among those who joined Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, it is an expression of discontent over World Bank polices that force developing countries to depend on the US.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jeju Island Vigil Today at BIW

Our friends Hee Eun Park and Paco Michelson arrived in Bath, Maine today on the train from Boston.  After lunch in our kitchen, warmed by the wood stove, we walked down to Bath Iron Works (BIW) for the 3:30 pm shift change.  We tried to hand out flyers to workers as they poured out of the shipyard but only about half a dozen took one.

As usual we got several comments like "Get a job" and "It's only because of the work we do here [building Navy destroyers] that you have a right to protest."  The fact is that if many of the workers had their way we'd not be allowed to vigil at BIW at all. This is interesting because the military maintains that US warships are protecting "our freedoms".  The logic actually escapes me.

Friday morning I will interview Hee Eun and Paco on my public access TV show and then in the evening they will share a new film (Gureombi The Wind is Blowing) at a local church in Bath about the eight-year non-violent protest movement in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  Then on Saturday they will speak at the Lenten peace vigil at the shipyard during the noon shift change.  So they are going to get their share of street time in cold and windy Maine.

Last night they both spoke at Boston College and from Maine will head to New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, Portland (Oregon), Tacoma and Seattle on their tour to share the Jeju Island, South Korea 'No Navy Base' story.

It's great to have them visit Bath - the smallest city on their speaking tour - but certainly an important place considering that the Aegis destroyers made here will be ported at the Navy base being built in Gangjeong..... a tiny 500-year old fishing and farming village that is being torn apart..... all to benefit the US's so-called 'pivot' of 60% of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific region to 'contain' China.

Thanks to retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff for the photos.

Drone Base Blocked by Books!

Peace activists block the front gates of Hancock Field Air Force Base outside of Syracuse, New York in a most creative way.  An absolutely brilliant protest.

Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Drones flying over Afghanistan are piloted from the base since 2009. It is also a training center for drone pilots, sensor operators and maintenance technicians

Today’s action at Hancock’s main gate is one chapter in the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars’ five-year scrupulously nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock war crimes. Since 2010 there have been over 160 anti-Reaper arrests at Hancock, resulting in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and Orders of Protection…as well as some acquittals. See

Those arrested for closing the gate with giant books were: Danny Burns, Ithaca, Brian Hynes, Bronx, Ed Kinane, Syracuse, Julienne Oldfield, Syracuse, Fr. Bill Pickard, Scranton, Bev Rice, NYC, and James Ricks, Ithaca.  

Trouble is in Store......

Round Table on Defining a new security architecture for Europe that brings Russia in from the cold in Brussels on March 2.

John J. Mearsheimer is an American professor of political science at the University of Chicago. He is an international relations theorist.

Also see this article where Former German Chancellor [Helmut Schmidt] Asks for More Understanding for Russia. Russia’s main concern isn‘t Ukraine Schmidt says.

"Putin directs his attention particularly to China," said former Chancellor Schmidt in an interview with Bild. "The West must be more appreciative of this."

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Have Progressives Been Complicit in Supporting the U.S. Ukraine-Russia Policy?

Round Table on European security -  Katrina Vanden Heuvel is the editor, publisher, and part-owner of the magazine The Nation. She has been the magazine's editor since 1995. She is a frequent guest on numerous television programs.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, powerful Democrats like House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.), House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) joined House Speaker John Boehner and an array of other Republicans in a letter to the White House pushing for arms for Ukraine.

It's obvious that many so-called 'progressive Democrats' are full-fledged members of the war on Russia's border team.  Bad news for sure.  Who will hold back this run-a-way freight train to hell?

The Collapsing American Empire at Work

If you are an English speaker it is best to turn the sound off and read the subtitles.  With two different voices going on it can get a bit distracting. 

But I think this is a very interesting interview that helps us again see the bigger picture of US-NATO intentions in eastern Europe. 

This German radio interview is with former German spy Rainer Wolfgang Rupp also known under codenames Mosel and Topaz. He talks about American strategy for development of a new version of NATO (even further under US-UK control) and the role of Germany in it.

Neocons Want War with Iran - They Want War with Practically Everybody

A Neocon Admits the Plan to Bomb Iran

Exclusive: The neocon Washington Post, which wants to kill the talks aimed at constraining Iran’s nuclear program, allowed a contrary opinion of sorts onto its pages – a neocon who also wants to collapse the talks but is honest enough to say that the follow-up will be a U.S. war on Iran, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Not exactly known for truthfulness, U.S. neocons have been trying to reassure the American people that sinking a negotiated deal with Iran to limit its nuclear program would be a painless proposition, but at least one prominent neocon, Joshua Muravchik, acknowledges that the alternative will be war – and he likes the idea.

On Sunday, the neocon Washington Post allowed Muravchik to use its opinion section to advocate for an aggressive war against Iran – essentially a perpetual U.S. bombing campaign against the country – despite the fact that aggressive war is a violation of international law, condemned by the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal  as “the supreme international crime.”

Given that the Post is very restrictive in the op-ed pieces that it prints, it is revealing that advocacy for an unprovoked bombing campaign against Iran is considered within the realm of acceptable opinion. But the truth is that the only difference between Muravchik’s view and the Post’s own editorial stance is that Muravchik lays out the almost certain consequences of sabotaging a diplomatic solution.

In his article headlined “War is the only way to stop Iran” in print editions and “War with Iran is probably our best option” online, Muravchik lets the bloody-thirsty neocon cat out of the bag as he agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hysterical view of Iran but recognizes that killing international negotiations on limiting Iran’s nuclear program would leave open only one realistic option:

“What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. … Sanctions may have induced Iran to enter negotiations, but they have not persuaded it to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons. Nor would the stiffer sanctions that Netanyahu advocates bring a different result. …

“Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes, although an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would entail less need for boots on the ground than the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State, which poses far smaller a threat than Iran does. … Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary.”

Typical of the neocons, Muravchik foresees no problem with his endless bombing war against Iran, including the possibility that Iran, which Western intelligence agencies agree is not working on a bomb, might reverse its course if it faced repeated bombing assaults from the United States.

This neocon-advocated violation of international law also might further undermine hopes of curbing violence in the Middle East and establishing some form of meaningful order there and elsewhere. This neocon view that America can do whatever it wants to whomever it wants might actually push the rest of the world into a coalition against U.S. bullying that could provoke an existential escalation of violence with nuclear weapons coming into play.

See the rest of the article here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Friedman: "U.S. Stages Color Revolutions"

George Friedman, Founder and CEO of Stratfor the ‘Shadow CIA’ firm, talks about US foreign policy aims and strategies.  Friedman says that Germany is the wildcard in the Ukraine civil war.

Stratfor bills itself as a geopolitical intelligence and consulting firm, with revenues derived from subscriptions to its website and from corporate clients. On the consulting side, the company says it helps clients to identify opportunities, make strategic decisions, and manage political and security risks. 

Stratfor is headquartered in Texas. Stratfor consults more than 4,000 companies, individuals and governments around the world. Among the clients of Stratfor are such organizations as Bank of America, the US State Department, Apple, Microsoft and Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, Cisco and other large commercial firms and organizations.

You can listen to the entire speech by Friedman in Chicago here

You can see more on Friedman here

The Long War

Michel Chossudovsky is a Canadian economist and founder of the website (Centre for Research on Globalisation). He is a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, a contributor to the French magazine Le Monde diplomatique and an author.

After working for the United Nations as a consultant and advising several governments in Latin America and Africa, he became renowned for his criticism of neoliberalism and the Washington Consensus. In 1993 Chossudovsky wrote an article in the New York Times saying that Yeltsin's neoliberal reforms and privatization policies in Russia would lead to economic disaster as they indeed did.

Keane: "Put U.S. Bases into Eastern Europe"

Jack Keane is a retired four-star general and former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and a defense analyst currently serving as Chairman of the Board for the Institute for the Study of War.

This is a perfect example of the kind of media we are getting these days across the USA.  War mongering to the max.

Where to Find the News?

  • It's like a circus sideshow watching the election in Israel.  Netanyahu is going nuts as he tries to create big fear across his country.  The Washington Post reports today:  “The right-wing government is in danger,” Netanyahu said. “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out."  The man is a racist and fascist and likely a psychopath and I pray he loses the election today.  Some 20 percent of eligible voters in Israel are Palestinians, also referred to as Israeli Arabs. In recent elections, many have opted to boycott the polls in protest of the Israeli political status quo and the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza. But this year, a coalition of Arab parties opted to run on a joint ticket and stands to become the third-largest bloc in the Israeli Knesset, or parliament. Netanyahu would rather pass legislation banning anyone in the country from voting unless they were pure Jewish blood.  Israel is no doubt an apartheid state.

In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials concluded a deal with special services of the United States to release an Afghan diplomat, who had been held hostage by Al-Qaeda militants. The amount of the ransom was unaffordable - $5 million.

To obtain the money, the Afghan officials first looked into the secret fund, from which the US Central Intelligence Agency was funding Kabul on a monthly basis. Within a few weeks, they raised $4 million. The militants agreed to accept the remaining amount from the CIA through similar funds in other countries, the article says.

Noteworthy, the former leader of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, confirmed that the CIA was funding the presidential palace in 2013.

For the first time in more than a decade, more than half of Americans see Russia as a serious threat to the U.S.

A CNN/ORC International survey indicates that Russian President Vladimir Putin's unfavorable rating among Americans has soared over the past month. And the poll indicates that the vast majority of the public says Moscow's actions in neighboring Ukraine break international law, and half of those questioned say a new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia is likely. According to the poll, 69% of Americans say they see Russia as threat to the U.S. "That's a 25-percentage point increase since 2012 and represents the highest number on that question since the break-up of the Soviet Union," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

  • This Russia is our #1 enemy poll indicates that the corporate controlled media has done its job very well.  They successfully created enough fear and doubt that Washington is now internally positioned to widen the war on Russia's border with little push back from the public.  Sadly many liberals and even peaceniks are falling for the bait.  Reports from around the country indicate that most local peace groups are finding many of their members and supporters largely ignorant about the Ukraine-Russia story.  The public is largely held back from further curiosity about the story by many factors.... including re-cycled red baiting that is still a powerful deterrent to critical thinking and action.  But even with that said I am slowly seeing more signs of interest among some as they put the pieces to the puzzle together and realize the severe danger a new cold/hot war with Russia would bring.

  • The mess that we see in Syria, primarily orchestrated by the cancerous US-NATO alliance, has left tens of thousands of people dead and millions of others displaced both internally and externally. There is some talk of the "moderate opposition" agreeing to allow President Bashar al-Assad to stay in power for two more years.  The two years are expected to be followed by snap presidential elections. These negotiations are apparently due to the joint Egyptian-Russian efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis.

Boeing Co.’s Directed Energy Systems division in Albuquerque, New Mexico is leading a US Navy effort to build a beam control system that can provide pinpoint accuracy for laser weapons on warships. The company’s Defense, Space and Security unit, headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., won a $29.5 million contract with the Office of Naval Research to build a precision beam control system for ship-mounted solid-state lasers – building on truck-mounted laser systems developed for the Army.

All of Boeing’s laser-related work is based in New Mexico, where the company has concentrated its expertise in developing electro-optical systems and other directed-energy technology, such as high-powered microwaves. That’s largely the result of Boeing’s work with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Boeing was the prime contractor of the now-defunct Airborne Laser Program – a nearly two-decade, $5 billion effort by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to mount a high-powered laser on a Boeing 747 to destroy ballistic missiles as they take off. Much of that work was based at AFRL. After it ended in 2011, Boeing’s Albuquerque division continued to lead the company’s directed-energy operations.  

Right-Wing Pushes to Extend Full Spectrum Dominance

 Objectives for the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act

The ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation has published a backgrounder on the NDAA.  Here is the part relevant to nukes and 'missile defense'.  (See the entire document by clicking on the link in the headline above.)

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a central piece of legislation for Congress each year. The NDAA is one of the last remaining bills that enjoys true bipartisan consensus, in part because Congress understands the critical need to set defense policies and guidelines for national security. The FY 2016 NDAA will continue in this tradition. The NDAA does, however, face a range of problems. A team of Heritage Foundation national security experts have compiled a set of 10 objectives—addressing issues from military morale to missile defense to Taiwan and China—that Congress should support.

Nuclear Weapons and Missile Defense Policy

U.S. nuclear weapons and missile defense capabilities remain essential in the face of growing ballistic missile threats and other nations’ nuclear weapon capabilities. A modern, flexible, and capable nuclear weapons posture is essential to keeping the U.S. safe, allies assured, and enemies deterred.

In order to improve the U.S. strategic posture, Congress and the Pentagon should:

Oppose misguided arms reductions. Congress should not provide funding for implementation of agreements that put the U.S. at a disadvantage and that do not benefit U.S. national security—such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which does not provide predictability in U.S.–Russian relations, and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Russia is violating. Congress should not provide funding for unilateral nuclear weapons reduction efforts while all other nuclear players are modernizing and expanding their arsenals.

Modernize U.S. nuclear weapons. U.S. nuclear weapons and delivery systems are aging and investments in them are overdue. If not modernized, the U.S. will soon have inadequate nuclear weapons infrastructure and inadequate nuclear delivery platforms. Further delays increase the overall costs of the programs and leave the U.S. less capable of responding to unexpected developments in the nuclear programs of other nations. Congress must provide the 10 percent increase in additional funding requested by then–Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to address issues plaguing the nuclear enterprise.

Consider the benefits of yield-producing experiments for the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Conducting very-small-scale, yield-producing experiments would benefit the science that underpins the program, and the U.S. could gain important benefits; indeed, China and Russia are already conducting such experiments.

Advance a “protect and defend” strategic posture. At the core of today’s more dangerous world is a fundamental asymmetry between the values of the U.S. and the values of its adversaries. While the U.S. values the lives of its citizens, economic prosperity, and institutions, U.S. adversaries value leadership survival above all. The U.S. should develop precise means to credibly threaten that which its adversaries value, and deploy both passive and active defenses to remove the benefits that adversaries might gain by attacking the U.S. or its allies.

Re-evaluate U.S. strategic nuclear posture. The Pentagon currently bases its nuclear posture on the notion that “Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries, and prospects for military confrontation have declined dramatically.”  In light of Russia’s demonstrated recklessness in Ukraine, this posture is no longer valid.

Continue to develop a layered, comprehensive missile defense system. The system should be able to address various ranges of ballistic missiles in various threat scenarios. Currently, the U.S. continues to lag behind the ballistic missile threat. Space-based interceptors provide the best opportunity to accomplish these tasks at the best cost-per-interceptor ratio.

Deploy an X-band tracking radar to a European host nation that is a NATO member. The U.S. has previously determined the Czech Republic to be the ideal country for tracking incoming ballistic missiles from Iran. The radar would improve the capability of U.S. homeland missile defense systems, and it would serve as a visible reminder of U.S. commitment to European security.
Encourage NATO allies to enhance their ballistic missile and air defense capabilities. Allies can participate in the U.S. ballistic missile defense program in various ways, including making their ships (where applicable) compatible with the U.S. Aegis weapons system.

Nuclear weapons have played, and will continue to play, a significant role in deterring adversaries and assuring allies. Other countries are not only modernizing their arsenals, but also increasing the role that nuclear weapons play in their security strategies. The NDAA is a key tool for advancing a prudent U.S. nuclear posture. Similarly, Congress must ensure that the U.S. is ahead of the ballistic missile threat. A viable missile defense enterprise is the way to do so, as more than 30 nations around the world possess ballistic missiles that can strike the U.S., its allies, and forward-deployed troops within minutes. This leaves a very short time to react and protect what the U.S. values most: its population and economic centers. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rolling the Stones

Throwing the stones
rolling the dice
going for
the jackpot
the corporate man
Mr. Big
is on a roll
must be owned

Who will stop
the neo-cons
the con men
the mobsters
Daddy War-bucks
that run
the show?

I'm always looking
for clues
and ways to
figure out
what's going on
open to most
learned not to be
surprised anymore

We need new
and organizing

got to have
inquisitive mind
it's a survival
comes from
hard times
and mistakes

Only hope
is to remain
Mr. Big's
knee-breaker crew
the thugs
are ready to
bust us up

Ask the Indians
on the rez
how it goes
they know the story

The people
were meant
to love
and share
the consumer
tells us
'every dog
for himself'

It's so sad
they even
teach us to
and we buy
their shit
'we are just

is the door
to the light side

US Troops In Ukraine

US Army Lt. Col. Hickman sits in a NATO base in in Yavoriv, western Ukraine.

Interoperability actually means that the Ukraine military will be run through the US command structure.  In most places (South Korea, Japan, NATO) it ensures that the host country must purchase US weapons systems and that the Pentagon has the ability to ultimately control the joint operating forces.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cohen: "Russia Not Been Entitled to a Sphere of Influence"

John Mearsheimer, Stephen Cohen, Katrina Vanden Heuvel speak in a Round Table discussion on 'Defining a New Security Architecture for Europe that Brings Russia in from the Cold.' Gilbert Doctorow, Moderator. Brussels, 2 March 2015

Stephen Cohen is an American scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University. His academic work concentrates on modern Russian history since the Bolshevik Revolution and the country's relationship with the United States.

Bringing Life to the City

One Day in Detroit: No Bandages Needed from Stephen McGee Films on Vimeo.

Jeju Activists Coming to Bath

Sunday Song