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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, May 02, 2015

There is No System of Support for Young People in Baltimore

Activist Zachary Murray says police violence is a symptom of a larger problem in Baltimore.

Cut the Pentagon's budget, and the local police militarization budgets, and there will be all kinds of $$$ to do what is most needed across America.  Organizers have got to start making these vital connections in their articulation and outrage.

Training the Ukrainian Nazis

Ukraine’s is a complex and a multilevel tragedy – as the economy continues to collapse, the Kiev leadership is hell-bent on destroying civil liberties and eliminating dissent. All awhile Washington and its European allies remain largely silent. And the lack of credible Western media coverage is part of the problem. CrossTalking with James Jatras, Mark Sleboda and Domitilla Sagramoso.

Prominent American historian Stephen Cohen believes that Ukraine is the epicenter of a global geopolitical transformation, and that the world as it existed before the crisis will never be the same again.  See more here

A Year Ago in Odessa

On this day a year ago nearly 50 people lost their lives in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, when a building with anti-Kiev activists inside was set ablaze by neo-Nazis. It's been dubbed the worst tragedy the city has seen since the WWII.

This event was largely ignored by western media.  The massacre in Odessa should not be forgotten.

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Soul of Our Nation is Rotting

Boarded up row houses in Baltimore poor neighborhoods

The poor in Baltimore, Maryland have essentially forced the state to prosecute six cops for the death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced that the death of Gray has been ruled a homicide and that criminal charges will be pursued. The protests in that city have no doubt ensured that the legal system had to put these cops on trial.  The solidarity protests in New York City and across the nation were also instrumental in pushing this decision.

But don't think for a minute though that the larger issue of poverty, unemployment, declining education and public services in Baltimore's black community will also be on the table for discussion and reform.  In fact things are heading towards total collapse there and in poor communities across the nation.

The Washington Post reports:

Inequality in Baltimore has been thrust into the national spotlight this week, with riots and civil unrest in that city following the funeral of Freddie Gray. This inequality has roots that stretch deep into the past. It's been exasperated by bad policy decisions in the present-day. And it makes itself felt in every aspect of life in the city, from the racial composition of neighborhoods to the number of empty houses standing in them.
For another illustration, let's look at a hypothetical case of two babies born on the same day this year in Baltimore. One is born in Roland Park, a wealthy neighborhood in the north of the city. The other is born just three miles away in Downtown/Seton Hill, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
The Roland Park baby will most likely live to the age of 84, well above the U.S. average of 79. The Seton Hill baby, on the other hand, can expect to die 19 years earlier at the age of 65. 

There is so much poverty in Baltimore that people can't afford to pay their utility bills.  Thus like in Detroit, the city of Baltimore is now planning to shut off life-giving water supplies for those who can't afford to pay.  This is just one step toward privatization of water in cities across the nation as the corporations attempt to take control of H2O.  The corporations know that if they control water and control food then they will have the people locked in a state of slavery.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Baltimore officials are sending turn-off notices to 25,000 delinquent water customers, giving them 10 days to pay long overdue bills or face the loss of water service.

The customers — both residential and commercial users in the city and Baltimore County — together owe more than $40 million in long-unpaid bills, said Public Works director Rudy Chow. He said officials decided it was time to crack down on the growing problem of accounts that go unpaid for months or even years.

There is a reason poor people protest and even riot.  It is ultimately an appeal to the morality and sense of justice of the nation - a cry for help.  The unemployment rate among African Americans is nearly double the national rate. An Urban League report in 2013 revealed the unemployment rate of black male teenagers in the city of Chicago was at an astounding 92%.  That number is likely to be about the same in most major cities as jobs have gone overseas and the federal government has slashed youth job programs in order to move the $$$$ into the Pentagon's endless war budget.

There will be more clashes like Baltimore in the near future because the nation refuses to deal with the intentional structural breakdown of employment and income distribution.  In fact it is getting worse as the wealthiest people and corporations continue to get more tax cuts at the local, state and national levels. The rich are hunkering down and stashing as much money as they can.

In 1858 speaking of slavery Abe Lincoln said that, "A house divided against itself cannot stand".  The words first came from Jesus in Matthew 12:25, "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." 

How in hell can the American people think our nation can stand while millions of our people live in grinding poverty?  What does it say about the soul of our nation that this is allowed to happen?  What does it say about our collective souls when we blame the victims and ignore the institutional barriers set up in this country to keep people down?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is This?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rebellion Continues in Sicily

The Sicilian village of Niscemi keeps scoring unlikely victories in its battle to keep a controversial U.S. military satellite system from going online.

By Barbie Latza Nadeau

NISCEMI, Italy — Sicilian pensioner Salvatore Terranova blames America for messing with his pacemaker. Every six months or so, he has to drive across the island to Palermo to get it re-calibrated. His doctors told him that he uses the computer and cellphone too much, even though he says he doesn’t actually use electronic devices much at all. Terranova says his pacemaker won’t keep its beat because he lives across a dusty road from the U.S. Navy’s Niscemi Naval Radio Transmitter Facility antenna farm and Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite ground station. “My doctors told me I had to move out to the countryside for my heart,” he told The Daily Beast at a café in the main square here. “But I’m afraid the country life is going to kill me.”

Terranova, who is the base’s closest neighbor, keeps a constant eye on the facility’s two 495-foot-high antennas and the 40 other smaller sensors that flicker on and off, sending low-frequency radio signals to U.S. and NATO ships in the region. He says the antennas aren’t all on at the same time, and that usually when authorities come to test the area for air quality, fewer of its lights are flickering. But he’s really worried that when a trio of new massive satellite dishes go online, the real trouble will begin. He also says that every few weeks or so, the giant “No MUOS” protest sign hanging on his front gate disappears. “It’s the Americans who take it,” he says. “I report their military license plate numbers to the police, but nothing ever happens.”

The antenna farm has been running unchallenged for around 20 years, but activists are focused on blocking the additional three 60-foot-diameter MUOS satellite dishes, which are nearly ready to beam communications to unmanned drones and U.S. soldiers in real time via the Niscemi site as well as ground stations in Australia, Hawaii, and Virginia.  The dishes are set to go live sometime after the last of five Lockheed Martin satellites are launched in November—and only if the United States manages to overturn a stop-work order handed down by local Sicilian authorities in time.

Ever since the Italian government under Silvio Berlusconi signed off on the U.S. Navy’s use of the land six years ago, the No MUOS activists of Niscemi have been doing everything they can to stop work at the site—with an astonishing level of success. Twice, they have won injunctions against the United States. At the moment, work at the site is at a standstill as a court in Palermo weighs the legality of the facility’s existence, based on a challenge stemming from the Region of Sicily’s decision to withdraw its authorization in 2013. On April 27, a Sicilian court rejected the United States’ appeal to release the sequestered site. There are still legal avenues for the U.S. military to pursue, including another court date July 8, and they could always ask for intervention from the Italian government. Meanwhile, the activists were able to notch one more victory in their David vs. Goliath battle: Two weeks ago, the activists went to the European Commission in Brussels to launch an appeal to stop MUOS at a European level as well.

Residents aren’t only worried about health effects from electromagnetic charges. The Niscemi site is also smack in the middle of the protected Sughereta Nature Reserve, known for its ancient cork oak trees and recognized as a protected site by the EC. The MUOS base sits high above a forest, on a plateau where construction is legal. Just a few feet away, breaking ground for any reason is strictly prohibited. The No MUOS activists claim that the border distinguishing those two areas was moved in 2012.

The activists say they are worried about the “consequences of the installation of this system on: human health, the ecosystem of the Sughereta park, the quality of agricultural production, right to mobility and to the development of territory, right to peace and security of our homeland and of its inhabitants.”

Protesting MUOS has become an obsession for the town of 28,000, which, according to a sign at Niscemi’s city limits, is also known as the artichoke capital of Sicily. Before the latest stop-work order, activists frequently cut through military fences and scurried up the giant antennas, forcing the U.S. Navy to halt transmissions. The vocal Mothers Against MUOS lined up children’s toys against the base’s fences and organized shifts to block the road. Other No MUOS groups held protests along the road leading up to the base with such vigor that the U.S. Navy needed hundreds of Italian police in full riot gear to protect the delivery of equipment and personnel during the height of the construction phase.  Since 2009, there has been a sit-in encampment not far from Terranova’s farm, where protesters hold constant vigil on a little piece of land they bought from a local farmer.

Few believe the stop-work order will last. A previous halt was overturned because the permissions that were granted were done so legally. The current injunction means the U.S. Navy cannot conduct the crucial tests to prepare the MUOS ground station for the November launch, though few activists in Niscemi believe tests aren’t being done anyway.

Gaetano Impoco, one of the most vocal leaders of the activists, points to a February 2010 conversation between former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Ignazio La Russa, Italy’s then-minister of defense, that was exposed by WikiLeaks (PDF) and during which, he says, the pact with the devil was made. According to the diplomatic cable, the United States put pressure on Italy to cut corners. “On MUOS Niscemi, SecDef requested that La Russa assist in securing final approval for the site, noting that if construction of the antenna did not begin by March, the U.S. might have to look elsewhere in the Mediterranean.” 

Impoco and other activists say permissions were then pushed through without adequate tests or consultation with the local community in order to pacify the Americans, whose military-base presence in Italy is substantial and lucrative for the government. There are seven major U.S. bases in the country, not counting Niscemi and other smaller installments.  “The Niscemi people were sold out,” Impaco told The Daily Beast. “By the time anyone realized what was going on, it was far too late.”

No MUOS activist Maurizio Giannetto, who is a radio technician, is a sort of NO MUOS tour guide, leading the way up a rugged off-road trail past Terranova’s farm through wildflowers and cork trees to the U.S. Navy’s perimeter fence closest to the three massive satellite dishes. Along the way, he points out the various surveillance cameras on cherry pickers that can be raised and lowered to get a closer look at who is gawking through the fence. “Look,” he says. “There are no above-ground bunkers, they are all buried below ground. What does that tell you about the safety of the site? Even the personnel are afraid of too much exposure to the radio waves.”

When asked about this, Jeff Galvin, a U.S. Embassy press attaché in Rome, told The Daily Beast there are no bunkers, and that there are certainly none hidden underground, though because the site was used by the Germans to launch counterattacks against Allied forces in 1943, no one can be completely sure just what leftovers might be in the area from World War II. In any event, he says the U.S. military is not hiding people from electromagnetic contamination. In fact, he says, the opposite is true. “MUOS is safe. It does not present a health or environmental threat to the people of Niscemi or to the people hiking around in Sughereta,” Galvin told The Daily Beast. “We can say that with assurance. We have people working there as well, and we wouldn’t do anything to put them in danger, either.”

Still, Giannetto is concerned. He says the fight against MUOS has exacted a heavy toll on the community.  Six years ago, the groups against MUOS started out with one objective, but now egos and hidden agendas have started to tear the town apart. “This has become about so much more than these dishes,” he says pointing through the barbed wire fence at the three monstrous saucers backed by hundreds of antenna towers secured by cables. “It is about whose right it is to decide what happens on this land. It’s not America’s right to use our land for this.”

Like others, he is also concerned that the peaceful town where he was born will be a military target once the MUOS is online, and he, like others, have little doubt that despite their protests, the Americans will prevail. “If you want to disrupt the United States’s military power, you disturb the telecommunications,” he says. “We are all in the target area.”

Some of the NO MUOS protesters have a strong desire to de-militarize all of Sicily. Elvira Cusa leads a protest group different from the one Impoco and Giannetto are part of. Speaking to The Daily Beast as she smoked cigarettes outside a MUOS meeting in Niscemi last weekend, Cusa admitted health wasn’t her group’s primary concern. “The principal reason may be risks to our health, but we also know this base will be an instrument of another kind of death,” she told The Daily Beast. “They won’t just kill us, they will kill others, too from our town with their drones.”

Referring to the collateral death of Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto in an unmanned drone attack against al Qaeda in January, she said, “If we allow this to happen, we are all accomplices to killing our brothers.”

One of the activists’ favorite theories is that the reason the MUOS was not installed at the nearby Sigonella base, which houses both the U.S. Navy and Air Force and dozens of other military contingents, is because the electromagnetic activity could cause the missiles to explode, an idea put forth by Marcello D’Amore, a La Sapienza professor of electrical engineering who concluded that anyone living near the Niscemi site was at risk. A further study conducted by AGI-Analytical and American Maxim Systems, which included a risk-assessment model of electromagnetic radiation on weapons systems, ammunition, propellants, and explosives at the existing base in Sicily, came up with similar findings. “The computer simulation of the model led to an unexpected ‘no’ to the hypothesis of using the base in Sigonella,” the authors said.

The U.S. government disputes that reasoning. Galvin at the U.S. Embassy in Rome says the MUOS was not installed in Sigonella because it offers a “navigational hazard” to the Air Force and Navy aircraft, and not the potential danger to weapons held there.

Galvin points to MUOS ground stations in Australia, Hawaii, and Vermont that have not received the same scrutiny and attention from those local populations. To appease the people of Niscemi, he says the Sicilian site will be the only MUOS ground station to have additional monitoring devices that constantly control the levels of electromagnetic and radio activity. He says that for those concerned about health risks, there is nothing to worry about. “For the anti-war protesters, though it is a highly visible symbol of something that people and activists can focus on.”

Tax the Rich, Decentralize the Media, More Democracy, Cooperatives, Break Up Big Landholdings

Russel Brand: Ahead of the release of mine and Micheal Winterbottoms new film, 'The Emperor's New Clothes' I take a look at how the political parties are powerless in tackling the larger economic problems we face.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hearing from Baltimore Gangs

Members of the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods and the Crips talk to 11 News in Baltimore, saying they did not make a truce in order to harm police officers.

See more on this story here

Life Under the US-NATO Backed Shelling of Donetsk

The people of Donesk in eastern Ukraine try to carry on with life while living under the constant shelling by the US-NATO directed Kiev military regime. This shelling is currently being done in violation of the Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement.

This past weekend while I was in NYC for the Peace & Planet conference and march I was shocked to hear one peace activist defend Victoria Nuland who is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State. The person told me that those who talk about Nuland's 2013 speech on a stage flanked by logos from Chevron and Exxon, as she thanked the oligarchy for their support in helping to instigate the coup d'etat in Kiev, were being unfair.  The activist had "checked the online records of the $5 billion expenditure Nuland talks about that funded the operation and each penny that went to non-profits and other groups in Ukraine was accounted for".  Those who side with Putin the activist said, reminding me of a 1950's red-baiting attack, are obviously supporting Russian oligarchs.

I had to catch my breath as I was stunned to hear these words from this person.  I could only ask this question:  Do the people in eastern Ukraine have the right to defend themselves against the constant shelling from the Kiev regime knowing this war on the people of Donbass is being funded and directed by the US-NATO?  The activist hemmed and hawed and finally someone approached us and I staggered away.  I know that the money that Nuland handed out in Kiev was used to set up, pay for, encourage, enable and direct the so-called 'Maidan revolution' that kicked-off this provocative war on Russia's border.

Learning about the deep underside of Ukraine during the past year has helped me understand my own country much better.  As I watch the take down and destruction of Ukraine I can more easily see the future here in the US. 

This current regime change policy on Russia's doorstep is coming out of Washington and both political parties are complicit in the process.  Many 'liberal Democrats' who support this war project are allied to so-called progressive foundations that fund many NGO's.  Thus just like what happened in Kiev with Nuland's $5 billion, funds will be used across the US and throughout the west, to bring some organizations, scholars and activists to a particular position.  This is the way Washington and its CIA-Pentagon-National Endowment for Democracy-Soros apparatus operates. 

Japan is the U.S.'s Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier Aimed at China

US and Japan issue a joint statement, on additional missile-defense warships that will be stationed at an American naval base in Japan.

It should always be remembered that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the grandson of a Japanese fascist military leader during WW II.

Monday, April 27, 2015

‘Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves’

Riots have broken out in Baltimore, Maryland during the past few days after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, suffered a spinal injury while in police custody after his arrest on April 12 and died seven days later. Six city police officers have been suspended pending an investigation into Gray’s death.

Tonight the Baltimore Orioles baseball team cancelled their game at Camden Yards - likely out of concern that it would not be safe for fans to make it to the stadium.  The Orioles game last night had some tense moments when some of the protests were happening just outside of the ball yard. The riots appear to be spreading and the governor has apparently called out the National Guard.

I was born in Maryland and have been an Orioles fan my whole life.  I checked out one fan chat site tonight and there is quite a political discussion going back and forth.  Many white folks just want their baseball and are quite upset with the young black kids who are out in the streets raising sand.  I put up a comment thanking one guy for his good statement and have been getting trashed by several other fans who are responding to my words. 

While checking out these fan sites I discovered a statement by John Angelos who is the son of the owner of the Orioles.  It's quite a strong statement and I share it below.  He was responding to Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander who took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive. Orioles COO John Angelos seized the opportunity to respond with a qualified and brilliant defense of those protesting.

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.
That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.
The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

 Many Americans can't handle the truth that John Angelos speaks above.  Instead of blaming their corporate masters for essentially abandoning the people in order to maximize profits - many (especially white) Americans want to blame the legions of Black, Hispanic, and poor white people who have been thrown onto the dust heap of history because they are now superfluous populations to the mega-corporations.  The rich don't give a damn about country anymore - they have gone global and are out to make money anyway they can.  If the country falls apart they don't care because they've moved on.  In fact the ruling elites are happy to see the people tear each other apart because it saves them the trouble of having to deal with the mess they have left behind.

The big problem in this country is that most people have no class consciousness.  They learned to glorify and imitate the rich and famous and they expect that everyone else should do the same.  But let's be real here - just how many spaces are actually available on the elites dance floor for the struggling masses who have been cast aside? How many jobs are really out there anymore?  How many poor and working class kids can afford to go to college?  How many Black kids have gone to jail on petty charges that white folks would never face?

There is an author in Maine by the name of Carolyn Chute who has a new book out called ‘Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves’.  She is a poor person and writes about this very same story from the perspective of a rural Mainer who has seen the nation abandon her people in the western Maine mountains.  The title of her book tells the whole story.  What is happening in Baltimore is no surprise and the elites know it.  If the ruling class gave a damn about the country the militarization of the police would not be happening and Black Lives Matter would not be a growing movement.  But they don't care - in fact the rich prefer a race war and the way things are going they just might get one - sadly so.

But if white folks think they can hide in their gated communities with their armed guards then they've got a big surprise coming.  You don't abandon a large percentage of the society, cut taxes on the upper crust, destroy public education, dismantle social progress and then expect that the poor will just sit back and accept this growing inequality, police brutality, and moral injustice.  Life just doesn't don't work that way.  Ask the Palestinian people - they know all about it.

Big Upcoming Peace Conference in New Jersey

An invitation to the UNAC Conference, May 8-10 in Secaucus, NJ. "End the Wars at Home and Abroad". Many topics and great speakers.

Go to for more information and to register. The audio for this video was recorded by Tylon Washington of GoPro Radio and the video created by Ramiro Funez of Honduras Resistencia.

I'll be attending and speaking at this event which will bring together many people of color, international activists and every day folks from around the US. This event will be heavily infiltrated by the FBI and other such government spies who are very worried about the various movements coming together and finding common ground to organize against the corporate oil-i-garchy that is running our country and much of the world.

Success Mythology

that's the way
we spell

At an early age
our minds
are occupied
by the corporate

My mother
taught it
to me well

Keep your
nose clean.
Don't rock
the boat.
the corporate ladder.
Get a job
with a fancy title.
A business card
your mother
can brag about.
You can't beat
city hall
so don't
bother trying
cause you
might get on some
and get blackballed
or embarrass
the family.
Keep your
head down
your mouth
and your eyes
fixed on the money.

This mythology
that we can
all become
keeps the people
from one another
It's anti-nature
and allows
the oligarchy
to have their way

Only when
we reject
the business model
can the people
really take back
of our lives
our resources
and our futures

U.S. Pushing Destabilizing 'Missile Defense' in Asia-Pacific

The Asia Pacific Phased Adaptive Approach: Current Status of the U.S. and Japanese Missile Defense, and U.S.-led Missile Defense in East Asia

Solidarity for Peace and Reconciliation in Korea (SPARK)

In its 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR), the Obama administration announced that it would adopt a Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) in the Asia Pacific region, but this has yet to be formalized. Platforms, such as the Patriot system and Aegis Ship, and sensors, such as diverse land-based radars, required for phase 1 of the Asia Pacific Phased Adaptive Approach (APPAA), are already in place. Based on this, there has recently been a speed-up in the building of the trilateral U.S.-Japan-South Korea missile defense, considered the core of the APPAA. Some warn that the allied countries lack formal agreements that clarify and resolve potential controversies surrounding various issues, such as integrated approach, rules of engagement and command and control. But now there seems to have been considerable progress in eliminating such obstacles.

Current Conditions related to Missile Defense between the United States and its Allied Countries in the Asia Pacific Region

U.S. MD System in Northeast Asia

The United States deployed the THAAD (Theatre High-Altitude Area Defense) MD system in Guam in 2013 in response to the so-called threat of the North Korean missile Musudan. The U.S. Department of Defense has requested the deployment of 32 Aegis ships by 2014, and 41 Aegis ships and over 300 Standard Missile-3 interceptors by 2018. As of late 2013, 16 Aegis destroyers had been deployed as part of the Pacific fleet.

In addition, U.S. Forces in Japan deploys 24 Patriot PAC-3 launching pads, and U.S. Forces in Korea deploys 48 PAC-3 launchers (2 battalions) in Suwon, Osan, Kunsan, and Daegu.

U.S. Forces in Japan operates the AN/TPY2 MD radar in two regions of Japan (Shariki Air Self-Defense Force base and the Kyogamisaki Air Self-Defense Force Base), and is scheming to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea.

Japan’s MD System

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force currently possesses four Aegis ships, and plans to upgrade two of its destroyers to be BMD-capable by 2019 as well as procure two more Aegis BMD-capable destroyers. Japan is jointly developing the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missiles with the United States.

Japan possesses 18 PAC-3 batteries and 36 launchers.

It also deploys seven state-of-the-art FPS-3(advanced model) and 4 FPS-5 radars. It is considering the deployment of a space-based early warning system in the late 2010’s.

Japan is considering the introduction of the THAAD system and plans to deploy the Aegis Ashore SM-3 interceptor missile. Should it acquire all these systems, Japan would have a four-layered missile defense.

South Korea’s MD System

South Korea possesses two PAC-2 battalions (8 batteries, 48 launchers), procured from Germany, and is in the process of upgrading to PAC-3. South Korea also plans to directly procure PAC-3 from the United States.

South Korea also possesses three Aegis destroyers but they are not equipped with interceptor missiles. It plans to introduce three additional Aegis destroyers between 2022 and 2028.

USFK deployment of the THAAD system is becoming a fait accompli, and there is talk of South Korean forces acquiring the THAAD system and the SM-3 and SM-6 interceptor missiles.

Meanwhile, South Korea is in the process of developing M-SAM and L-SAM. The operational deployment of M-SAM is projected for 2018-2019, and L-SAM for 2023-2024.

In terms of sensors, South Korea currently operates the Aegis SPY-1D radar with a detection range of 1000 km along with 2 (Super) Green Pine early warning radars with a detection range of 500 km for Block A and 900 km for Block B.

It plans to construct an AMD Cell by 2015 and interface it with the USFK’s TMO Cell.

Australia’s MD System

In cooperation with the United States, Australia maintains several early warning radar sites but currently has no BMD intercept capability.

The Australian navy plans to procure two Aegis vessels to equip them with BMD capabilities against short- and mid-range ballistic missiles.

Distant from Northeast Asia, Australia is only at risk from ICBMs but has no plans to counter such missiles with BMD.

Australia has been participating in trilateral MD discussions with the United States and Japan.

Expectation of THAAD Deployment in South Korea and U.S.-led MD in Northeast Asia

THAAD is not aimed at North Korea but aimed at China

The THAAD system’s effectiveness in intercepting North Korean ballistic missiles is extremely limited.
A North Korean short-range ballistic missile, with its short range and low apogee altitude, is difficult to intercept with the THAAD system.

The KN-02, with a range of 120 km, has an apogee altitude that is below the THAAD system’s intercept altitude of 40-150 km.

If launched at a lower angle of fire, the Scud B, with an apogee altitude of 90km, is also capable of evading the THAAD system’s intercept altitude. If launched from north of Pyongyang at a lower angle of fire, the Scud C, with an apogee altitude of 150 km, can also evade the THAAD system’s intercept altitude as it targets South Korea’s capital and central provinces. Therefore, it can only be concluded that THAAD is really designed to intercept China’s mid-range ballistic missiles aimed at USFK bases.
With a detection range of 1000-2000Km, the THAAD system’s AN/TPY-2 radar is capable of detecting potential threats from missile bases in northeast and central China. Therefore, the THAAD radar can detect China’s mid-to-long-range ballistic missiles aimed at the United States and Japan and provide early warning to the U.S.-Japan intercept system.

Some of U.S. and South Korean military officials point to North Korea’s Rodong missile as the reason for the need for THAAD deployment.

But the likelihood that North Korea would attack the South with its Rodong missile is virtually zero.
With a range of over 1,300 km, the Rodong missile is a weapon system designed to counter Japan, U.S. Forces in Japan, or U.S. reinforcements in the event of a contingency on the Korean peninsula. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that North Korea would forgo its short-range ballistic missiles, such as Scud B or C, which are much better suited for an attack on the South, and choose to strike with a Rodong missile.

If North Korea were to attack the South with a Rodong missile, it would have to launch it at either a higher or lower angle of fire, but raising the angle of fire slows down its speed and lengthens its flight time, thereby making it easier to intercept. Attitude control also becomes more difficult, thereby diminishing its accuracy.

The Significance of THAAD Deployment in South Korea in U.S.-led MD in Northeast Asia

THAAD deployment in South Korea makes U.S.-led MD in Northeast Asia closer to completion.
In terms of information gathering, the THAAD radar would radically expand its ability to detect and track China’s ballistic missiles. Along with the PAC-3, it would also create a multi-layered MD system to defend against Chinese ballistic missiles aimed at USFK bases.

THAAD deployment in South Korea means South Korea becomes a U.S. MD outpost against China.

U.S.-Japan-South Korea (Military) Information-Sharing Arrangement for the Building of  U.S.-led MD in the Northeast Asia

The signing of the U.S.-Japan-South Korea military information sharing arrangement is the key to constructing the U.S.-led MD in the Northeast Asia. The United States and Japan are scheming once again the signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Japan and South Korea.

By linking the MD systems of Japan and South Korea, the U.S.-Japan-South Korea military information-sharing arrangement and the Korea-Japan GSOMIA integrate the U.S.-Japan-South Korea MD systems to complete the Northeast Asia MD system under U.S. and Japanese leadership.

U.S.-Japan-Korea Combined MD Exercises and the Creation of an MD Operational Plan and Command Control Structure

Every two years, the U.S. Strategic Command conducts 'Nimble Titan', multilateral MD exercises, which include Japan, Australia, EU, and South Korea as participants.

Every year, the United States and Japan conduct Keen Edge, a BMD command exercise. Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force is the only military force that has jointly trained with the United States in an exercise that is not a simulation but a kinetic training based-BMD exercise.

Since 2012, the United States, Japan, and South Korea have held combined MD exercises called Pacific Dragon.

The Creation of an MD Operational Plan and Command Structure between the United States and South Korea.

South Korea and the United States have come to agreement on 'the Concepts and Principles of ROK-U.S. Alliance Comprehensive Counter-missile Operations' and based on this, plan to create by 2015 an operational plan (OPLAN) that mobilizes U.S. MD assets.

The mobilizing all of U.S. MD assets in an ROK-U.S. combined operational plan means what used to be an operational plan to defend South Korea from the North would be expanded to become, in effect, an operational plan against China at least in relation to MD operation.

Mobilizing U.S. MD assets in an ROK-U.S. combined OPLAN against North Korea and integrating this with South Korea’s MD means South Korea’s MD will become subordinate to U.S. MD and South Korea’s MD operational command will be according to U.S. strategic interests and under direct U.S. operational command. In the event of a contingency, the United States, which already has wartime operational control authority over South Korean forces, would also exercise control over ballistic missile detection and interception against North Korea and China. While its capability to intercept North Korea’s short-range ballistic missiles remains limited, this increases the probability of South Korean MD assets being committed to the defense of the United States, Japan, and U.S. Forces in Japan, as well as to support Japan’s exercise of the right of collective self defense.

On April 16, 2015, U.S. and South Korean military officials agreed to create a 'Deterrence Strategic Committee' to lead in the creation of a combined MD operational plan, including the concretization of the concept of 4D (Detect-Defense-Disrupt-Destroy).

Combined MD Operation and Command Structure between the United States and Japan

Based on information produced through their sensors, the United States and Japan carry out joint operations from their joint operation command center at the Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo. Based on information acquired through their radar, the joint operation command center quickly decides which country has the responsibility of MD interception. In relation to MD, it can be said the United States and Japan have built a truly joint command relationship.

Formation of South Korea-U.S.-Japan trilateral MD and military alliance in Northeast Asia, and expansion of NATO into the Asia Pacific region

The relationship between Japan’s exercise of the right of collective self-defense and South Korea-U.S.-Japan trilateral MD

A key scenario mentioned by the Abe administration [Japan] of its exercise of the right to collective self-defense is that Japan would intercept ballistic missiles aimed at the United States, U.S. bases and/or U.S. naval ships. For this, early detection of ballistic missiles fired from North Korea or China is pivotal, and this would be premised on South Korea, the United States and Japan sharing information about ballistic missiles from North Korea and/or China and forming a trilateral MD.

By signing the U.S.-Japan-South Korea military information-sharing arrangement and becoming an axis in the trilateral MD, South Korea effectively assumes a supporting role in the exercise of collective self-defense by Japanese Self-Defense Forces, which seeks eventual invasion on the Korean peninsula.

Formation of South Korea-U.S.-Japan military alliance based on construction of trilateral MD

The construction of a trilateral MD system among South Korea, U.S. and Japan means building a trilateral military alliance. The three countries will accelerate combined MD training exercises and intensify maritime interdiction trainings, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) against North Korea, to expand the military relationship between Japan and South Korea in the areas of operations and logistics assistance and advance the trilateral relationship to a (quasi) military alliance. The U.S. and Japan are also pushing for signing the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

Meanwhile, should South Korea decide to acquire an SM-3 interceptor missile in the future, it will most likely procure it from Japan, and this would make South Korea, which may also import F-35 parts from Japan, dependent on Japan in the area of logistics.

The construction of the South Korea-Japan MD and military alliance raises the possibility that South Korea will become a subordinate partner to Japan and under Japanese control across the board in the areas of information, operations, and logistics. Furthermore, we cannot rule out the possibility that, with Japan’s exercise of its right to collective self-defense, South Korea could be partially under the control of Japan’s tactical operation in a South Korea-U.S.-Japan combined operation against North Korea and/or China.

Prospects of APPAA, Expansion of NATO into the Asia Pacific region and Structure of Confrontation in Northeast Asia.

During his visit to South Korea and Japan, Martin Dempsey, Chair of the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff, announced, “We're making progress on building an integrated air and missile defense umbrella, (and) both the (South) Koreans and the Japanese have made some commitments in procurements on their side to make us more interoperable.”

Dempsey’s comment signals that APPAA, with the U.S.-Japan-South Korea trilateral MD as its basis, is making significant progress. From now on, the key points in the APPAA will be the coordination of interests and an agreement that reflects all parties’ interests regarding the level of the interface of MD assets and radars among South Korea, United States, Japan, and Australia, the exercise of command and control, and rules of engagement, etc.

Meanwhile, the South Korea-U.S.-Japan military alliance, combined with the U.S.-Japan-Australia (quasi) military alliance, builds a front line surrounding North Korea and China in the Asia Pacific region.

Also, the South Korea-U.S.-Japan trilateral alliance will merge with NATO, which already expanded to the Asia Pacific region when countries in the region joined it through individual partnership - South Korea in 2012, Australia in 2013, and Japan in 2014.

The APPAA, combined with the Middle East Phased Adaptive Approach (MEPAA) and the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), would build MD on a global level and bring about the formation of a multilateral military alliance in the Asia Pacific region as well as a global military alliance.

The U.S.-led construction of a global MD and military alliance is provoking strong opposition from China and Russia. This can result in the creation of a structure of Cold War-like military confrontation in Northeast Asia between the U.S.-Japan-South Korea-Australia versus North Korea-China-Russia.

The Vice Foreign Minister Conference among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, held in Washington D.C. on April 16, 2015, and the fourth International Security Conference centered around North Korea, China and Russia, held in Moscow, symbolically represent the rising military tension based on the building of MD and military alliances in the Asia Pacific region.

US Worried About Losing Dominance in Space

CBS TV show 60 Minutes takes a dive and does a puff-piece on behalf of the US Space Command who wants more $$$$ to "protect their military satellites" that allow them to have full spectrum dominance.

Note the person from the organization (Secure World Foundation) supposedly working to prevent an arms race in space who mostly carries water for the Space Command program during the TV segment.

Space junk is a huge problem and in the video they try to pin alot of it on the Chinese but I can assure you that the collective trash from all space faring nations has been a problem for a long time and it is getting worse by the day.

The story should havementioned how the US and Israel for years have been blocking the negotiations for a new treaty at the United Nations called 'Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space' - PAROS.  The official position of the US during Republican and Democrat administrations has been that "there is no problem in space thus no need for any new treaty."  The truth is that the US does not want to be constrained by any treaty limitations.  Thus we are off to a new space-based arms race and the aerospace industry is pleased with the profits they are making.

In fact some years ago the industry publication called Space News indicated that high-tech space technology would be the "largest industrial project in the history of Earth" necessitating the development of a permanent funding source.  The editorial in the publication called for the elimination of the "entitlement programs" that officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the welfare program.  These are the programs that Space News suggested should be cut in order to pay for Star Wars and interplanetary exploration. 

To watch these videos click on them to start and then hit the full screen button in the lower right hand corner.  Or if that does not work go to CBS News page here

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Enemies of the Republic

Dr. Gerald Horne holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies. His research has addressed issues of racism in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. He has also written extensively about the film industry. Dr. Horne received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Princeton University.

Notes from NYC Peace & Planet Confab

Three Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist led peace walks converged on New York City yesterday and were honored at the end of the Peace & Planet conference held at Cooper Union. The walks came from the west coast, New England, and the south.

Things went well yesterday at the Peace & Planet conference in New York City.  More than 500 folks from around the world (the most from Japan) were in attendance.  The two workshops I participated in (US military 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific and US imperialism) were well attended considering there were about 40 workshops to pick from.

Global Network board convener Dave Webb (National chair of CND in the UK), Ko Young-Dae (SPARK in South Korea) and I did the Asia-Pacific workshop with heavy emphasis on US 'missile defense' (MD) deployments in the region.  Ko is a brilliant analyst who has spoken at two Global Network conferences over the years and will join us in Kyoto, Japan for our 23rd annual event on July 29-August 2. Dave did an excellent PowerPoint presentation showing how the US global MD system is connected via space satellites and ground radar stations around the planet.  It really helps people to see the pictures to understand how this first-strike system works.

Ko talked about how possible US deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is presently a huge political issue.  The US maintains it is aimed at North Korea but Ko clearly showed how THAAD would not work against North Korean missiles because they don't fly high because of the short distance they would have to travel to hit South Korea.  In fact Ko reminded us the US MD system in the Asia-Pacific is aimed at China and the THAAD radars would extend US reach further into Chinese territory.  Key to US missile defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific has been to construct a three-party military agreement which links US-Japanese-South Korea systems.  The military connection between South Korea and Japan (who for years brutally occupied Korea) does not sit well with many Koreans - especially since the right-wing Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (the grandson of a WWII fascist military leader) is rekindling the military might of Japan.  Ko also stated that deployment of THAAD in South Korea would sever relations with China at a time when the two countries have growing economic ties.

In the second workshop on US imperialism I was one of six speakers.  One of the best was Al Marder from New Haven, CT who is in his 90's but still going strong.  I've known Al for many years and before the workshop began he reminded me how movements are like the ocean tides - they ebb and flow.  Without our constant organizing Al told me "the ebbs would last much longer."  One key theme that kept emerging from the presenters in this workshop was US support for fascist groups around the world.  A speaker from Brazil reported that US is actively supporting "Christian fundamentalists" in his country who are adopting fascist tendencies.  From Ukraine to the US we see the same problem - the wedding of corporations and government - the classic definition of fascism.

Today there will be a march from Union Square in NYC to the United Nations demanding the elimination of nuclear weapons and an end to war.  I will march with the national Veterans For Peace contingent. I head home on Monday morning on the train.

Richard Rhames on Current Issues

My latest guest Richard Rhames discusses tax cuts in Maine, austerity cuts in Washington and war in Ukraine. 

Richard is a vegetable farmer, public TV activist, former Biddeford, Maine city council member and a rock and roll guitar player and lead singer in his local band.

Richard has been on my show more than anyone else over the last 10 years.  He calls them like he sees them.

Sunday Song