Organizing Notes

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

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Navy Tries to Kill Gangjeong Village on Jeju

Press conference by Gangjeong villagers held in front of the Jeju Island provincial government building (South Korea). The banner said "Navy killed all the Gangjeong villagers and then just take away the property! You have already taken away our land, destroyed our community and now even try to take all our property away!" 

Navy files suit for losses against locals that opposed naval base in Jeju

Activists, civic and religious groups accused of causing loss of taxpayer money for delaying construction in Gangjeong Village 

The South Korean Navy is demanding damages from local groups and residents in Jeju Island for “taxpayer losses” incurred by their opposition to the construction of a new naval base.

The groups targeted include the village association of Gangjeong in the city of Seogwipo.

“On Mar. 28, we filed a suit with Seoul Central District Court for the exercise of indemnity rights for the Jeju multi-purpose port complex,” the Navy announced in a press release on Mar. 29.

“The purpose of this exercise of indemnity rights is to hold those responsible accountable for losses in taxpayer money from among the additional costs of 27.5 billion won (US $23.8 million) incurred due to the [14-month] delay in the port’s construction period owing to illegal obstruction of operations,” it added.

The total compensation claim amounted to 3.4 billion won (US$2.9 million) of the additional costs, with the Gangjeong village association listed among the defendants alongside five groups and 117 residents and activities who took action to oppose the naval base construction.

Last year, Samsung C&T demanded 36 billion won (US$31.2 million) in compensation from the Navy for delays in the construction schedule; a figure of 27.5 billion won (US$23.8 million) was finally settled on after mediation by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board. Mediation is currently under way for Daelim Construction’s claim for 23 billion won (US$19.9 million) in compensation.

The Navy called the claim a “legitimate measure for legal responsibility for causing construction delays and losses in taxpayer money through their illegal obstruction of a state effort undertaken according to lawful procedures.”

In addition to holding residents and activists accountable for the additional costs incurred by their opposition, the Navy‘s decision to pursue the claim following the base’s completion on Feb. 26 appears intended to send the message that those who oppose state efforts in general will face legal action.

The Gangjeong village association responded with indignation.

“We intend to discuss this with residents at the village level,” said association head Cho Gyeong-cheol, adding that legal professionals were being consulted on a response.

“The same Navy that said it would be ‘working with residents’ is now demanding compensation, and it hasn’t even been that long since they finished. It’s shameful to see the Navy going on about the ‘shared benefits for residents,’” Cho said.

Hong Gi-ryong, the head of the provincial countermeasures committee‘s executive committee, said it “makes no sense for the Navy to demand compensation when resident lives have been devastated.”
Hong went on to say residents and groups planned a joint legal response with the group MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society.

In 2007, the administration selected Gangjeong as the site of its naval base construction despite procedural objections over an ad hoc general village association meeting attended only by a portion of residents. The construction went ahead despite the objections of local residents, activists, and religious workers, and was finally completed in February. Around 600 people were prosecuted over obstruction, with some 400 million won (US $346,000) in total fines to residents and activists.

Take Action:  Please call the South Korean embassy or consulate nearest you and complain about this outrageous action to destroy Gangjeong village.  Here is the link to find the ROK consulate nearest you in the US.  Do it today!

The Struggle for the Future

Indigenous groups pay homage to Berta Caceres

Even after Berta Cáceres was murdered, the threat remains for the indigenous communities in Honduras affected by the dams. But Berta's fight is not dead, it continues with her daughters. "She is here, she lives in every one of us," said her daughter Laura in an emotional speech.Copinh Intibucá

Posted by teleSUR English on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Europe Wake Up

get off your knees
end your
'special relationship'
with the
war mongering

Stop following
corporate oligarchy
over the cliff
into the gates
of hell

do you really want
to end the
refugee crisis?
Then stop
to Pentagon
and Wall Street's
eternal lies

Stop repeating
Washington's blather

Stop accepting
that NATO expansion
and encirclement
of Russia
will bring security

wake up
from your
long sleep

The U.S.
brings chaos
corporate domination

does not believe
in democracy

Wake up
Who are the
real terrorists?

Wake up
and live

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Can't Take a Joke....

 European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has criticized Ankara's reaction to a satirical clip about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broadcast on German TV. Summoning the ambassador over the matter alienates Turkey from the EU, Juncker said.

The EU chief "does not approve of [Ankara's] decision to summon Germany's envoy just over a satirical song. He believes this moves Turkey away from the EU rather than brings it closer to us," Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told a news briefing on Wednesday.

She proceeded with quoting the Commission chief as saying that Turkey's reaction "doesn't seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which are values the EU cherishes a lot."

The satirical piece about the "big boss from Bosporus" titled "Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan" (or "Erdo-how, Erdo-where, Erdogan," according to the authors' English version) was broadcast on Germany’s NDR TV channel earlier in March. Shortly after that, ambassador Martin Erdmann was summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry to provide an explanation. Turkey also reportedly pressured Berlin into removing the clip.

Germany will not back down on the rights of its press following the Turkish reaction to the satirizing of Erdogan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said on Wednesday. "Germany's position on freedom of the press and expression isn't negotiable," she commented.

Political satire is protected by the freedom of the press, she added, saying that "for us it has been important to clearly express our position." Chebli added that German Ambassador Martin Erdmann also attended the start of the trial last week of two Turkish opposition journalists "to send a signal" about press freedom to Ankara.

Bring on the 'Natural Guard'

The Times Record
Brunswick, Maine

A March 18 article in The Times Record, “Vietnam facing severe drought,” caught my attention. The AP reported, “Vietnam’s southern Mekong Delta, the country’s main rice growing region, is experiencing the worst drought and saline intrusion in recent history that has affected more than half a million people.”

Here in Maine we had little winter this year with temperatures warming to record levels. There have been 10 straight months of record setting temperature rises worldwide. Our weather is changing — and unless something is done now our children and the future generations will suffer terribly. What are we willing to change in order that they have a future?

The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and 1,000 bases in 150 foreign countries (See David Vine’s new book, “Base Nation”). The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day and that doesn’t include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers.

Yet, despite having the planet’s single largest carbon bootprint, the Pentagon has been granted a unique exemption from reducing — or even reporting — its pollution. The U.S. won this prize during the 1998 Kyoto Protocol negotiations (COP4) after the Pentagon insisted on a “national security provision” that would place its operations beyond global scrutiny or control. As former Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat recalled: “Every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got.” ( Also exempted from pollution regulation: all Pentagon weapons testing, military exercises, NATO operations and “peacekeeping” missions.)

How do we move away from this toxic industrial way of life we have today here in the U.S.? How do we begin to quickly move to a different kind of industrial footprint? Rather than polluting cars, endless dirty wars, and a crumbling national infrastructure is it possible we could quickly make a shift to a sustainable future?

Germany is helping to show the way by lessening fossil fuel use and moving toward solar and wind power. Residential power prices are at their lowest levels in more than a decade. Coal-fired, gas- fired and nuclear power plants are being shut down throughout Germany — no longer needed. Why couldn’t we do that in the US? We know this direction creates more jobs and gives our kids a chance for a real future.

Around the world we are almost daily hearing about more severe weather like in Vietnam where drought will surely impact its ability to feed people. Stronger hurricanes and typhoons will intensify the already tragic global refugee crisis. Rising sea levels are already impacting some small Pacific islands. Where will those people go?

In the U.S. we are told there is no money to create a national emergency program to jump start a sustainable transition. Few, if any, politicians are willing to call out the elephant in the middle of the room – the Pentagon which today rakes in 54 percent of every federal discretionary tax dollar [National Priorities Project]. Are Sens. Collins and King, and Rep. Pingree, willing to call for the conversion of military production at places like BIW to build commuter rail systems, off- shore wind farms, tidal power and more?

When a nation moves toward a sustainable future the need to go to war for oil is dramatically reduced. Obviously the oil corporations, and the military industrial complex that former President Eisenhower warned us about, won’t like this plan but immediate profits and our children’s future don’t go hand-in-hand.

What if we converted the US war machine? When you add up all the various ‘national security’ pots of gold our annual taxpayer appropriation for the military costs right at $1 trillion?

Why not turn the Pentagon into the “Natural Guard” and build rescue hospital ships at BIW and send them to places around the world to help people who will be suffering as our Mother Earth’s body convulses in toxic shock.

Instead of killing people around the world to secure “our oil,” why not rely on the sun and the wind for power and turn global enemies into friends?

It takes vision, and a little light, to see the needed direction for our nation during this very Dark Age we are currently living in. Each of us must take some level of responsibility for this predicament but more importantly each of us must help do whatever we can to bring on the Natural Guard.

What is the most important job of a human being on Earth today? Make lots of money, buy lots of stuff, or protect the future generations? To me it is a no-brainer.

~ Bruce K. Gagnon is a member of PeaceWorks and lives in Bath. 

Japan Poised to Serve as Agent for U.S. Military Interventions

Thousands of anti-war protesters rallied outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Tuesday, railing against the Japanese government's new so-called security law which marks a historic departure from the country's decades-long pacifism.

The controversial "war legislation," a package of bills that passed parliament in September and took effect on Tuesday, reinterprets Article 9 of the country's Constitution, which renounced war as a means to settle international disputes following World War II.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushed for the revisions which "expand the activities of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) overseas, even in situations when Japan is not under direct attack," The Asahi Shimbun reports. "The laws call for the SDF to provide greater support to the militaries of the United States and other nations anywhere in the world."  

Nukes are Still Bad

For info about divesting from nuclear weapons companies, go to

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Trump and Clinton: Censoring the Unpalatable

By John Pilger

A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party's nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the "women's candidate" and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his "hope" campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also "antiwar".

Obama was never antiwar. On the contrary, like all American presidents, he was pro-war. He had voted for George W. Bush's funding of the slaughter in Iraq and he was planning to escalate the invasion of Afghanistan. In the weeks before he took the presidential oath, he secretly approved an Israeli assault on Gaza, the massacre known as Operation Cast Lead. He promised to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo and did not. He pledged to help make the world "free from nuclear weapons" and did the opposite.

As a new kind of marketing manager for the status quo, the unctuous Obama was an inspired choice. Even at the end of his blood-spattered presidency, with his signature drones spreading infinitely more terror and death around the world than that ignited by jihadists in Paris and Brussels, Obama is fawned on as "cool" (the Guardian).

On March 23, my article, "A World War has Begun: Break the Silence", was published across the web. As has been my practice for years, I had syndicated it to an international network, including, the liberal American website. Truthout publishes some important journalism, not least Dahr Jamail's outstanding corporate exposes.

Truthout rejected the piece because, said an editor, it had appeared on Counterpunch and had broken "guidelines". I replied that this had never been a problem over many years and I knew of no guidelines.

My recalcitrance was then given another meaning. The article was reprieved provided I submitted to a "review" and agreed to changes and deletions made by Truthout's "editorial committee". The result was the softening and censoring of my criticism of Hillary Clinton, and the distancing of her from Trump. The following was cut:

"Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism. Trump's views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama... The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system... As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies - just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about hope."

The "editorial committee" clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world. Like all censorship, this was unacceptable. Maya Schenwar, who runs Truthout, wrote to me that my unwillingness to submit my work to a "process of revision" meant she had to take it off her "publication docket". Such is the gatekeeper's way with words.

At the root of this episode is an enduring unsayable. This is the need, the compulsion, of many liberals in the United States to embrace a leader from within a system that is demonstrably imperial and violent. Like Obama's "hope", Clinton's gender is no more than a suitable facade.

This is an historical urge. In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals seem to pay unflagging homage, John Stuart Mill described the power of empire. "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians," he wrote, "provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end." The "barbarians" were large sections of humanity of whom "implicit obedience" was required.

"It's a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers," wrote the British historian Hywel Williams in 2001, "but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open ended nature - its conviction that it represents a superior form of life [while denying its] self righteous fanaticism."

He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, in which Blair promised to "reorder this world around us" according to his "moral values". The carnage of a million dead in Iraq was the result.

Blair's crimes are not unusual. Since 1945, some 69 countries - more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - have suffered some or all of the following. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed. The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. With the demise of the European empires, this has been the project of the liberal flame carrier, the "exceptional" United States, whose celebrated "progressive" president, John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962.

"If we have to use force," said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton and today a passionate campaigner for his wife, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

One of Hillary Clinton's most searing crimes was the destruction of Libya in 2011. At her urging, and with American logistical support, NATO, launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, according to its own records, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads. See the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross. Read the UNICEF report on the children killed, "most [of them] under the age of ten".

In Anglo-American scholarship, followed slavishly by the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic, influential theorists known as "liberal realists" have long taught that liberal imperialists - a term they never use - are the world's peace brokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis. They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified "failed states" (nations difficult to exploit) and "rogue states" (nations resistant to western dominance).

Whether or not the targeted regime is a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevant. In the Middle East, western liberalism's collaborators have long been extremist Islamists, lately al-Qaeda, while cynical notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for conquest and mayhem - as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Haiti, Honduras. See the public record of those good liberals Bill and Hillary Clinton. Theirs is a standard to which Trump can only aspire.

~ Journalist, film-maker and author, John Pilger is one of two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an Emmy and a British Academy Award, a BAFTA. Among numerous other awards, he has won a Royal Television Society Best Documentary Award. His epic 1979 Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

America - Land of the 'Exceptional Democracy'.....

Extreme Voter Outrage In ArizonaWay beyond mad, voters were extremely outraged at the Arizona Election Fraud Hearing.
Posted by Let The Madness Begin on Monday, March 28, 2016

Voter reaction in Arizona.....

It's a Failure

The Pentagon fights the Syria! 
Different militias backed by the two U.S. war-making departments have apparently started fighting each other...all at the American taxpayer's expense.
For more on this RT is joined by former CIA officer Ray McGovern

Remember Odessa Crimes by Neo-Nazis Supported by U.S.

A Ukrainian 'Maidan' Nazi activist confesses to mass murder in Odessa at the Trades Union Hall on May 2, 2014.  On that day over 50 unarmed and innocent citizens (including a pregnant woman) were burned alive, shot, and clubbed to death by marauding nationalists from the Right Sector. 

Journalists of the website "Golos Pravdy" have published this video in which one of the activists of the Maidan, Vitalij Ustimenko confessed to intentionally burning the inhabitants of Odessa on May 2, 2014.

The confession video was sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine but there has been no response.  Up to this date no one has been prosecuted for these crimes even though there is massive video evidence of those responsible for the killings of innocent victims.

Soon after the Maidan (Coup d'état) in Kiev which was a US project, one of the first things that the new right-wing government did was to ban the speaking of Russian inside of Ukraine.  Russian speaking citizens, particularly in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, began to collect signatures and hold referendums demanding 'local autonomy' in order to protect their culture and their civil rights. 

Under the direction of the US Embassy the Kiev government sent Nazi's from the western parts of Ukraine to the east and they attacked Russian speaking citizens who were holding peaceful rallies and marches.  Soon after that the US directed Kiev puppet regime began sending their Army to shell communities in the east.  Schools, churches, hospitals, airports, day care centers, apartment blocks, rail stations, and other places were regularly bombed - all in violation of international law that clearly makes it illegal to target civilian infrastructure.

The people in eastern Ukraine formed citizen militias in order to defend themselves.  Men and women from all walks of life fought back against the US-NATO directed war against the people of eastern Ukraine.  The US-NATO responded by sending more military aid to their Kiev project and US Army Special Forces began holding training operations in western Ukraine for the Nazi battalions that have been merged into the official Ukrainian Army.

Russia shipped military hardware to the eastern self-defense forces along with regular convoys of humanitarian aid to the people in the Donbass who were cut off from electricity, food, medical care and more.  As the self-defense forces in the Donbass began to have success by pushing back against the Nazi forces controlled by Kiev the US and the Ukrainian government were forced to negotiate a ceasefire (the Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 agreements).  The fragile ceasefire remains in effect but Kiev's military daily continues to probe for advantage against the self defense forces. 

As we approach the second anniversary of the May 2 massacre in Odessa we should all find ways to stand with the people of eastern Ukraine who remain under siege from the US-NATO war project.

The goal of the US-NATO in Ukraine has always been about trying to create instability and chaos along the Russian border.  The US wants regime change in Moscow. Turning Ukraine and Georgia into US-NATO military bases coupled with the destruction of Syria and the destabilization of Iran are key steps toward this ultimate devious plan.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Former CIA Agent: Yugoslavia Take Down Was Staged and False

 WebTribune published their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for his book “Secrets of the White House” in late 2015.

Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, has authored many books which disclosed the secrets of both the CIA and the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has been arrested and detained several times. Mitt Waspurh, a personal friend who worked at the Senate and shared information was killed at gunpoint. As a senior CIA operative, Baer worked in Yugoslavia during the 1991-94 period and in the Middle East. He has worked on several documentaries on National Geographic, accusing the Bush administration of waging war for oil.

The interview was conducted live in Canada.

Where and when was your first job in Yugoslavia?

I arrived by helicopter with three agents. We landed on 12 January 1991 in Sarajevo. Our job was to keep an eye on alleged terrorists of Serbian nationality, who were expected to attack Sarajevo.

Who were the terrorists in question and why were they supposed to carry out these attacks?

They gave us files about a group called “Supreme Serbia” detailing plans to conduct a series of bomb attacks on key buildings in Sarajevo in opposition to Bosnia’s ambition to leave former Yugoslavia.

Did that group ever exist and what exactly you were doing in Sarajevo under CIA command?

No such group ever existed! Our headquarters lied to us. Our mission was to alarm and spread panic among politicians in Bosnia, simply to fill their heads with the idea that Serbs would attack. To begin with, we accepted the story, but after a while we started to wonder. Why were we raising such hysteria when the group clearly did not exist?

How and when did the mission end and did it have a name?

For me it ended after two weeks, I landed a new job in Slovenia. The operation lasted a month and had the name “Istina” (i.e. “truth”) although it was anything but!

Why did you go to Slovenia?

I received instructions that Slovenia was ready to declare independence. We were given money, a few million dollars, to fund various NGOs, opposition parties and various politicians who have inflamed hatred.

Did you have an opinion about the CIA propaganda and did your colleagues think?

Of course, no one turns down a CIA mission, especially when we were all nervous and prone to paranoia! Many CIA agents and senior officers disappeared simply because they refused to conduct propaganda against the Serbs in Yugoslavia. Personally I was shocked at the dose of lies being fed from our agencies and politicians! Many CIA agents were directed propaganda without being aware of what they are doing. Everyone knew just a fraction of the story and only the one who create the whole story knew the background – they are politicians.

So there was only propaganda against the Serbs?

Yes and no. The aim of the propaganda was to divide the republics so they would break away from the motherland Yugoslavia. We had to choose a scapegoat who would be blamed for everything. Someone who would be responsible for the war and violence. Serbia was chosen because in some ways it is a successor to Yugoslavia.

Can you name the politicians in the former Yugoslavia were paid by the CIA?

Yes, although it is somewhat delicate. Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegovic, many counselors and members of the government of Yugoslavia, were paid as were Serbian generals, journalists and even some military units. Radovan Karadzic was being paid for a while but stopped accepting help when he realized he would be sacrificed and charged with war crimes committed in Bosnia. It was directed by the American administration.

You mentioned that the media was controlled and funded, how exactly did that happen?

This is already known, some CIA agents were responsible for writing the official statement that the announcers read on the news. Of course the news presenters were oblivious to it, they got the news from their boss and he got it from our man. Everyone had the same mission: to spread hatred, nationalism and the differences between people through television.

We all know of Srebrenica, can you say about it?

Yes! In 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we were supposed to train military units to represent Bosnia, a new state that had just declared independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story and unfortunately many people are being manipulated. The number of victims is the same as the number of Serbs and others killed but Srebrenica is political marketing. My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media. When I asked why, he said you’ll see. The new Bosnian army got the order to attack homes and civilians. These were of course citizens of Srebrenica. At the same moment, the Serbs attacked from the other side. Probably someone had paid to incite them!

Then who is guilty of genocide in Srebrenica?

Srebrenica should be blamed on Bosnians, Serbs and Americans – that is us! But in fact everything has been blamed on the Serbs. Unfortunately, many of the victims buried as Muslims were Serbs and other nationalities. A few years ago a friend of mine, a former CIA agent and now at the IMF, said that Srebrenica is the product of agreement between the US government and politicians in Bosnia. The town of Srebrenica was sacrificed to give America a motive to attack the Serbs for their alleged crimes.

Ultimately why do you think Yugoslavia collapsed and why did your government want to do it?

It is all very clear, the people who incited the war and dictated the terms of the peace now own the companies that exploit various mineral resources and the like! They simply made slaves of you, your people work for nothing and that produce goes to Germany and America…they are the winners! You will eventually have to purchase and import what you have created yourself, and since you have no money, you have to borrow, that’s the whole story with the whole of the Balkans!

You were never in Kosovo as a CIA agent, but did you feel any pressure from America?

Of course! Kosovo has taken for two reasons, first because of mineral and natural resources, and secondly, Kosovo is a military base of NATO! In the heart of Europe is their largest military base.

Do you have a message for the people of the former Yugoslavia?

I have. Forget the past, it was staged and false. They manipulated you, they got what they wanted and it is stupid that you still hate one another, you must show that you are stronger and you realize who has created this! I sincerely apologize! That’s why I have for a long time disclosed the secrets of the CIA and the White House!

U.S. Spies in North Korea

Reporter Matthew Cole discusses his piece for The Intercept headlined The Pentagon’s Missionary Spies: U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage.

The article looks into U.S. efforts to penetrate North Korea by NGO's like the Humanitarian International Services Group which was funded through a highly classified Defense Department program.

This is Theft - Wag the Dog Politics!

 I like her outrage - about time folks had higher expectations about how this country runs elections.

Sunday Song


Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Hypocrites in El Norte

Who has the largest prison population on Earth composed of the poor and those entrapped for petty drug crimes?  The enslaved now work for corporations from the jail house making peanuts per hour. 

Yes, tell us Obama who locks up these political and economic prisoners?  Which nation should pull the log out of their own eye before they cast aspersions on others?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Remembering the Story in Argentina

Torture is Terrorism: A Survivor's StoryIn Argentina, when the military dictatorship came to power in 1976, thousands of people who were seen as a political threat were kidnapped and tortured by the military. This is the story of one of the women that were kidnapped. The story of torture and pain behind the era of terror of the military dictatorship in Argentina. #NuncaMas
Posted by teleSUR English on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Peace Movement Ebbs & Flows Depending on Which Party is in Office

Saw it during the Bill Clinton years and now the Obama years.  Peaceniks who identified themselves as 'Democrats' became scarce when both those Democrat presidents continued doing the war making that previous Republican presidents had done.  Pentagon budget increases continued under Clinton and Obama just like they did during the administrations of Bush I and Bush II.  Star Wars research and development funding and deployments remained steady when both parties were in power.

Domestic surveillance and destruction of our privacy and civil rights expanded under Obama.  Cutbacks in social programs continued under Democrats as they had under Republicans.

During the Obama administration I watched local peace groups all over the country fold up their tents and shut down operations.  One group in Florida that I had spoken to more than any other organization during my career (about 20 times over the years) had me come talk just after Obama was elected.  I warned them to watch both of Obama's hands - he is a magician just like Bill Clinton.  They didn't like that I was being critical of 'their new president', most of them were loyal Democrats.  They never invited me back - nothing personal, they just didn't want to hold Obama to the same standard that they held the Bush crime family to.

In February of 2012 I wrote on this blog:

Just this morning the Washington Post carried a story entitled 'Poll finds broad support for Obama’s counter-terrorism policies'. The article reveals that a new "Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns.....77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year."

The poll also shows that "that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed."

So here is my prediction.  If Hillary gets elected the missing Democratic Party peaceniks (the ones who have Obama bumper stickers on their cars right next to the bumper stickers that read 'War is not the answer') will stay missing.  If Trump (or any other Republican) gets elected the ranks of the peace movement will again swell with outraged Democrats who will criticize every drone mission that a Republican president flies.

One thing is certain in this biz - and I've been at it full-time since 1982 - if there is a Republican in office then we've got a movement.  If we have a Democrat in office then those remaining loyal peaceniks on the streets will have their hands full carrying the endless war burden that others don't wish to acknowledge.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What is in Kerry's Briefcase?

Russia’s president is curious as to why US Secretary of State John Kerry has to carry his own luggage. Amused that there seems to be no one to help him, Putin cracked a joke, hinting that America’s top diplomat may have brought money “to haggle with.” 
“But today when I saw the footage of you going down the plane and carrying your luggage I was a bit upset… On the one hand, it’s quite a democratic way of conduct, but on the other hand, I thought, probably, the situation in the United States is not that good. There is no one to assist the Secretary of State carry his luggage,” Putin said.

“Then I thought there was something in that briefcase of yours you couldn’t trust anyone else with. Probably you brought some money to haggle with on key matters”.

John Kerry said he would reveal the secret of his briefcase’s contents later, promising that it would be a surprise.

“When we have a private moment, I’ll show you what’s in that briefcase. And I think you’ll be surprised. Pleasantly.”

Kerry arrived in Moscow on Thursday and has been holding negotiations with Russia’s President and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The negotiations are said to concern a number of issues, such as the situation in Syria, the Ukrainian crisis, the recent Flydubai crash, and the fate of Ukrainian pilot Savchenko.  

How Can a 'Peacenik' Vote for Clinton?

In many states during this so-called primary season - where both mainstream political parties play their corporate shell game - the stories about voter suppression are growing by the week.

During the latest round in the Arizona primary it was more than evident that the chest-thumping exceptional democracy can't, or doesn't intend to, organize fair elections. States like Florida, my old stomping grounds for 30 years, once again get a prize for maximum voter denial.

My favorite story from the recent Florida primary was when a voter entered a polling station in Polk County (rural central Florida redneck place where I used to do farmworker union organizing). The person was told that the Democrats were not on the ballot that day - only Republicans.  The voter keep insisting until finally the worker at the polls relented and went into a back room to 'discover' that indeed there were Democratic party ballots.  This kind of suppression not only helps the Republicans but also Hillary Clinton as a larger primary voter turnout works against her medieval candidacy.

Here in Maine, like most other places around the country, there is already growing debate within the 'peace movement' community about what to do after Clinton wins the nomination.  Should peaceniks vote for Hillary who guarantees more military spending and more wars?  Even Trump is at times sounding like a non-interventionist compared to Clinton. Some peaceniks actually maintain that they must support the candidate that neo-cons like Robert Kagan are supporting - Hillary Clinton.  I can't figure it.

Here is the Washington Post reporting on their recent meeting with Trump:

Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post's editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War.

Speaking ahead of a major address on foreign policy later Monday in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Trump said he advocates a light footprint in the world. In spite of unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Trump said the United States must look inward and steer its resources toward rebuilding domestic infrastructure.

"Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia," said Trump.

Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said, adding later, "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

This is obviously one key reason Jeb Bush has endorsed Ted Cruz over Trump.  On some level Trump is upsetting the imperial war project.  Hell, Bernie Sanders ain't saying half of the stuff that Trump told the Post.  Clinton is saying none of this!

How about one more semi-endorsement from the depths of hell?  Bush's war hungry V-P Dick Cheney has pointed his dark light on Clinton.  He told the UK's The Telegraph this:

Former US vice president Dick Cheney has praised Hillary Clinton as one of the more competent members of President Barack Obama's administration, saying it would be "interesting to speculate" on how she would perform as president.

I'm not suggesting that I, or anyone else, should vote for Trump.  But I will say that for peaceniks to say they have to vote for Hillary just to keep Trump out of office is more than strange.  They both are corporate pirates.

How can a self-respecting political activist who has given their life toward working for peace, turn around and vote for Hillary Clinton?  Honduras, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Palestine and more.  We know where she stands and it is bad news.

I want to support a positive, alternative, transformative vision of the future.  Neither Republicans or Democrats offer that.  I will vote for the Green Party's candidate Jill Stein who is real and tells the truth about what must be done now if we hope to survive on this planet.  Build it and they will come.....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Seeing Behind the Tragic Curtain

Originally aired on BBC in 1992, 'Operation Gladio',  the NATO sponsored terror network operating in Europe.

In the context of the horrific killings in Brussels it might be worth while for people to watch this video.  We know that professional 'law enforcement' types have long ago said that most criminals have a way of repeating their bad behavior over and over again.  It's called 'modus operandi'.

Who benefits from alleged Muslim terrorist bombings like the one in Belgium?  Who created ISIS (which took responsibility for the attacks) in the first place and essentially funds it and controls it today?  What is their real agenda?  How can those who created ISIS best get away with their sinister plans?  What do they want from the public?

Yesterday I watched a US 'national security representative' saying on mainstream TV news that the Europeans are far too lax in their security operations.  They need to do more like the US does, the agent suggested.  Europe must share more intelligence information with the US, the agent said.  The agent was calling for a total coordinated surveillance operation throughout Europe, costing an enormous amount of taxpayer money, that would all be run through and controlled by the US security state.

I don't know what really happened in Brussels. But since reading 'The Pentagon Papers' years ago (that told Washington's own dirty secrets about the true origins of the Vietnam War) I've come to witness an endless string of 'terrorist events' around the world with inquiring eyes. These events always have the same result - they justify more domestic surveillance, the loss of civil rights, ever-upward levels of military spending, more social spending austerity cuts, and endless war that only benefits the corporate oil-i-garchy - what I've come to call Mr. Big - the corporate criminal syndicate that runs the world.  The modern day pirates.

Watching the BBC Gladio documentary puts all of the above into a frame of view that allows everyone a glimpse into how the 'deep state' manipulates all of us.

Terrorism will end when we stop believing and supporting those that are moving the human pieces on the Grand Chessboard.  We are the ones that can end terrorism by withdrawing our consent from this corrupt global system that is killing us all.

California Veggies & Fracked Water

A story about the Central Valley's Cawelo Water District where the drought is causing farmers to use recycled oil water to irrigate their crops. 
Watch what you eat.  Profits trump health.
Learn more at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Looking at the Stars

By Kim Sung-Ku
Gangjeong villager and poet (Jeju Island, South Korea)

The stars which used to shine in my distant memory are still in my heart despite the passing of 50 years.  The river of stars flowing in the Milky Way is a scene which one hardly sees in the modern times running toward development.  One day in April 2007, I was anxious, not knowing what I could do after hearing an unbelievable story about naval base construction in my village.

Now the base has become a reality and the Gureombi rock covered by cement for the base construction has become a memory.  The hill where I flew kites, the ditch where I caught frogs and minnows, and Gureombi rock - the rest area where we used to share food in my childhood disappeared.  And now they have become unbearable to look at with concrete and buildings replacing them.  Totally strange men who kicked out my memories openly stride there.

The true masters of the land have been kicked out.  And now false masters pretend to take their place.  The naval base was nominally built for the development of the village.  But the development has torn the hearts of the villagers to pieces.  The site with the dramatically and luxuriously changed look has now become land where we cannot reach or stand.  Is this progress?

The splendid lights have been taken out from the river of stars in the Milky Way.  The numerous memories of our fathers, their fathers, and their fathers, have now been cut.  The distance between us has also grown.  Alas, I look at the stars and sky with all my last desperate energy.  Today only memory is alive.  I struggle to save that memory, hoping the stars and sky will remain in my heart.....

Socialism No Longer a Dirty Word

Despite a concerted effort by the U.S. Empire to snuff out the ideology, a 2016 poll found young Americans have a much more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.

Though he died 133 years ago, the analysis put forward by one of the world’s most influential thinkers, Karl Marx, remains extremely relevant today. The Empire’s recent rigged presidential election has been disrupted by the support of an avowed socialist, Bernie Sanders, by millions of voters.

To find out why Marx’s popularity has stood the test of time, Abby Martin interviews renowned Marxist economist Richard Wolff, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UMass - Amherst, and visiting professor at the New School in New York.

Prof. Wolff gives an introduction suited for both beginners and seasoned Marxists, with comprehensive explanations of key tenets of Marxism including dialectical and historical materialism, surplus value, crises of overproduction, capitalism's internal contradictions, and more.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spiritually Disconnected

Native American activist/poet John Trudell (who died in late 2015) talks about how people today are suffering from a broken spirit - disconnected from nature, one another, and the past. We've all lost the tribal wisdom that was part of our ancestry.

We get seduced by the material world that teaches greed, power and unending amounts of possessions.

Walking into the Future

My friend Andy (in the photo) and I lived across the street from one another in Fort Walton Beach in the panhandle of Florida during 1967-1969.  He got me to join Sea Explorers where we had great fun racing canoes, camping, and other wise playing in the surrounding waters.  This hike was my first big organizing experience - our two crews were in competition to see which of them could get the most of their crew members to complete the entire 50-mile survival hike through the Eglin AFB forested bombing range carrying all of our gear during the hot and humid Florida summer. My step-father was stationed there before we moved to Beale AFB in California in the fall of 1969.

My crew got together and planned to carry just the bare essentials.  Andy's crew showed up at the start with ice chests, tents, and first-class eats.  My crew won the contest and Andy and I still laugh over the experience.  I gave him the winning crew patch many years ago.

Sometime back in the 1980's I was speaking in the Palm Beach, Florida area and there sitting in the audience was Andy Schmidt.  It was the first I'd seen him in many years and it was a wonderful moment to see his smiling face in the crowd.

Andy had his hands in many kinds of work over the years and lived in Hawaii for a bit.  On one of my trips about 20 years ago I got to visit with him while speaking on Oahu.  While there we got talking politics and he sounded just like the right-winger roots that grow deep in ultra-conservative northwest Florida.  Our friendship was chilled after that and went dormant.

These days Andy is back in his family home on our old street in Fort Walton Beach.  He is on the Internet all the time and has taken the leap into full-bore progressive politics.  He sends me many links to good articles he comes across and is reading books to catch up after many years of sailing blind.  I am really proud of him - not many people make huge political transitions in their 60's but he has done it.  Just goes to show that people can learn and change.  A good thing for sure!

The best thing though has been to rekindle our friendship - we were really good buddies back in those sea scout days.  To reconnect with Andy has brought us both a joyful memory of our youth and the determination to walk forward to deal with our chaotic future.  That's what friends really do.

Thanks Andy Schmidt!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fundamentalism in the U.S.

The Sen. Ted Cruz treatment from Samantha Bee....

Sunday Music Bonus

Pat Scanlon is a member of the Smedley D. Butler chapter of Veterans for Peace in Boston, MA. On March 17, 2016, St. Patrick’s Day and Pat’s birthday, a special event was held by Midnight Voices featuring a medley of Pat’s songs.

He is a gifted songwriter and banjo player whose songs are poignant, personal and will have audiences joining in the singing. Pat is accompanied by a long-time friend and former musical partner, Holly Gettings. This was Pat’s first public appearance in many years. The audio is fine even though the lighting was something out of our control and less than flattering.

Pat is a life-time member of Veterans for Peace and an incredible organizer of peace events, protests and vigils in the Boston area. He is also a pioneer in recycling in the entire country.

These songs are all copyrighted and used with Pat’s express permission here.

Words above and video by Regis Tremblay

Sunday Song


Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Happened in Libya?

On this day five years ago, a NATO-led coalition began its military intervention in Libya. French fighter jets were deployed over the African country on March 19th, 2011. The operation triggered a series of events that changed the face of Libya.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Art Can Make the Conversation Messy

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges sits down with political cartoonist Dwayne “Mr. Fish” Booth to discuss the use of art as a language to tell truth in an age of corporate domination of information.

With his cartoons, Mr. Fish confronts systems of power, exposing their brutality and folly in a way that words cannot.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Life of the Refugees

Thug life moment from Aunty Ji
Posted by Colonial Cousins on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fuck up all of these bastards! They are bunch of animals pretending to be human!2016 Holland , this is how people have...
Posted by No racism no war on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This is disgusting - these people are refugees from a US-NATO war on Syria. The Dutch seem to have forgotten their own hunger during WW II when they were digging up tulip bulbs for food....

Western culture is very sick. 

Killing Qaddafi

Washington is the judge, jury and executioner.  Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Honduras, Venezuela, now Brazil....the list is endless.  Mr. Big takes what he wants.  Killing is incidental.

Killary Clinton has signed up for the next round - taking over from Obama who gave the corporate oligarchy virtually everything that George W. Bush had given the ruling elite.  Except Obama offered one key additional thing -  he could demobilize much of the left while ensuring more foreign intervention and growing austerity budgets at home were possible without a big fight.  Killary's job will be similar - keep the women, unions and the rest of the liberals quiet as the rich take down the final stubborn layers of social progress.

Killery will also keep the 'Smart power' game rolling - regime change and endless war with a 'Democratic Party' face.  (Why does the world hate us so much you ask?)

Killery boasted on national TV after the murder of Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died!"

One more 'evil dictator' taken down - American exceptionalism at work.  Forget that Libya has the largest supply of oil on the African continent and shares major water resources with surrounding nations.  Mr. Big was just itching to get his hands on all the loot.

The secret is the propaganda campaign - the victim must first be demonized and then tried before the jury of the American people via corporate controlled media - the circus sideshow.  Once that is done the sailing is smooth.  Next up Moscow and Beijing.

It's called 'control and domination' through maximized chaos.....

truthout has a good story on Killery and her connection to the Libya take down called Exposing the Libyan Agenda: A Closer Look at Hillary Clinton's Emails .  Here is just one bit:

US-NATO intervention was allegedly undertaken on humanitarian grounds, after reports of mass atrocities; but human rights organizations questioned the claims after finding a lack of evidence. Today, however, verifiable atrocities are occurring. As Dan Kovalik wrote in the Huffington Post, "the human rights situation in Libya is a disaster, as 'thousands of detainees [including children] languish in prisons without proper judicial review,' and 'kidnappings and targeted killings are rampant'."

Before 2011, Libya had achieved economic independence, with its own water, its own food, its own oil, its own money, and its own state-owned bank. It had arisen under Qaddafi from one of the poorest of countries to the richest in Africa. Education and medical treatment were free; having a home was considered a human right; and Libyans participated in an original system of local democracy. The country boasted the world's largest irrigation system, the Great Man-made River project, which brought water from the desert to the cities and coastal areas; and Qaddafi was embarking on a program to spread this model throughout Africa.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Preparing for War with Russia Over Arctic

US and Norwegian pilots boast about their helicopters during NATO war exercise Cold Response 2016 held in Norway near the Russian border.

The US-NATO military operation is preparing for war with Russia over control of the Arctic Ocean as climate change allows for oil corporation drilling due to melting ice. 

The US-NATO are routinely leaving many weapons systems in Norway after the war games thus building up stockpiles for later use.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

It's Just Passion?

Samantha Bee sat down with a pack of young, college-educated Trump supporters to hear why they've so staunchly backed the candidate on 'Full Frontal.'

A Crisis of the Heart

On March 3 Peace Action Maine held an event in Portland linking peace and climate change.  Bill McKibben - author, educator, environmentalist, and co-founder of - was invited to speak via Skype. Following his talk I was asked to present a question to McKibben about the Pentagon which has the largest carbon footprint on the Earth and yet is excluded from the Kyoto Protocols.  His answer, let's say, was incomplete in my thinking.

Following McKibben was a panel discussion on Creating a Climate for Peace which included Sherri Mitchell, Indigenous Rights lawyer and Executive Director, Land Peace Foundation who is from the Penobscot Nation on Island Island here in Maine.

She spoke eloquently about some of the following things:

  •  We are uniting and rising up from all corners of the world to protect the planet
  • We have a spiritual and mental illness
  • We must look at the way we do activism
  • We must be love based - not conquest based activists
  • We are all part of one unified life system
  • We are all star dust and water
  • What ever we feed grows

Eric Herter from Brunswick did the camera work. 

Meeting with Sen. Angus King on US Syria Policy

A group of Maine peace activists met with Sen. Angus King (I-ME) on March 11 at the public library in Brunswick.  The 45 minute meeting to discuss Syria was attended by Rosalie Tyler Paul (Brunswick), Mary Donnelly (Brunswick), Joanne Hardy (Brunswick), Dud Hendrick (Deer Island) and Bruce Gagnon (Bath).

Sen. King sits on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees in Washington and was a former governor in Maine.  King told us that he spends 60% of his time on these issues.  He is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.

Rosalie began the meeting saying, "I want to speak to the opportunity that awaits our country to move beyond this very adolescent period. We have all the power to lead, we have the money and the muscle but not yet the moral leadership. If there is ever to be a coming of age for our species, we must stop killing each other and begin to cooperate."

We handed Sen. King two recent important articles on Syria and urged him to take the time to read them.  The first one is written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria: They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil. We briefly shared the findings from this excellent piece that ran in Politico with Sen. King - particularly this bit:

Our war against Bashar Assad did not begin with the peaceful civil protests of the Arab Spring in 2011. Instead it began in 2000, when Qatar proposed to construct a $10 billion, 1,500 kilometer pipeline through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Qatar shares with Iran the South Pars/North Dome gas field, the world’s richest natural gas repository. The international trade embargo until recently prohibited Iran from selling gas abroad. Meanwhile, Qatar’s gas can reach European markets only if it is liquefied and shipped by sea, a route that restricts volume and dramatically raises costs. The proposed pipeline would have linked Qatar directly to European energy markets via distribution terminals in Turkey, which would pocket rich transit fees. The Qatar/Turkey pipeline would give the Sunni kingdoms of the Persian Gulf decisive domination of world natural gas markets and strengthen Qatar, America’s closest ally in the Arab world. Qatar hosts two massive American military bases and the U.S. Central Command’s Mideast headquarters.

Of course, the Russians, who sell 70 percent of their gas exports to Europe, viewed the Qatar/Turkey pipeline as an existential threat. In Putin’s view, the Qatar pipeline is a NATO plot to change the status quo, deprive Russia of its only foothold in the Middle East, strangle the Russian economy and end Russian leverage in the European energy market. In 2009, Assad announced that he would refuse to sign the agreement to allow the pipeline to run through Syria “to protect the interests of our Russian ally.”

Secret cables and reports by the U.S., Saudi and Israeli intelligence agencies indicate that the moment Assad rejected the Qatari pipeline, military and intelligence planners quickly arrived at the consensus that fomenting a Sunni uprising in Syria to overthrow the uncooperative Bashar Assad was a feasible path to achieving the shared objective of completing the Qatar/Turkey gas link. In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria. It is important to note that this was well before the Arab Spring-engendered uprising against Assad.

The second article we handed Sen. King recently ran in the Boston Globe and was penned by Brown University senior fellow Stephan Kinzer entitled The media are misleading the public on Syria.
Kinzer writes:

Washington-based reporters tell us that one potent force in Syria, al-Nusra, is made up of “rebels” or “moderates,” not that it is the local al-Qaeda franchise. Saudi Arabia is portrayed as aiding freedom fighters when in fact it is a prime sponsor of ISIS. Turkey has for years been running a “rat line” for foreign fighters wanting to join terror groups in Syria, but because the United States wants to stay on Turkey’s good side, we hear little about it. Nor are we often reminded that although we want to support the secular and battle-hardened Kurds, Turkey wants to kill them. Everything Russia and Iran do in Syria is described as negative and destabilizing, simply because it is they who are doing it — and because that is the official line in Washington.

I had the occasion about 18 months ago to have a brief word with Sen. King about Syria and at that time he was holding fast to the line that the US was supporting 'moderate' Syrians in their efforts to overthrow Assad.  This time he never brought up the word - by now alternative media in the US has largely dispelled that notion.  In this meeting I focused in on how ISIS is funded which includes generous contributions of money and weapons from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and the US.  I mentioned that when Russia first entered Syria to help defend that legitimate government they began bombing ISIS oil truck convoys that were carrying stolen Syrian oil and moving it into Turkey.  Once there President Erdogan's son, who runs an oil distribution company, sold the oil to Japan and Israel and then shared the profits with ISIS.

Sen. King did not dispute any of these points we made about who was funding and arming Syria although he did say that the US too had bombed ISIS oil convoys heading into Turkey with the stolen oil.  "I am not going to defend Turkey but they are a strategic ally," he said.

Mary Donnelly spoke passionately about the refugees in Syria and that greater effort must be made to ensure that supplies of humanitarian aid get through to them.  Due to the recent ceasefire (largely organized by Moscow) some of that aid was now reaching the most hard pressed people inside Syria.

Dud Hendrick shared bits from a letter he handed to Sen. King that called on the US to end its massive and aggressive military empire of more than 900 bases.  Dud graduated from the US Naval Academy and served a tour of duty in Vietnam during that ill-fated war.

Joanne Hardy, an ardent supporter of the Palestinian people, urged Sen. King to push Israel to end its illegal settlement building which continues to displace the people into ever expanding refugee camps.  Sen. King responded, "We've never done anything about Israeli settlements. I'm very sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinians.  One of the problems is that it is easy to say one side or the other is right.  But can you sign an agreement with the Palestinians?  Who do you negotiate with?"  Joanne pointed out that real negotiations have "to be between relatively equal partners.  In this situation there is no equality between the occupier (Israel) and the occupied (Palestinians)."

Sen. King did acknowledge that Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu does not appear willing to seriously negotiate a real peace agreement.  King was reluctant to acknowledge that the US has tremendous leverage over Israel when one considers the huge amount of aid given to it every year.

(The main expression of Congressional support for Israel has been foreign aid. Since 1985, it has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel, with Israel being the largest annual recipient of American aid from 1976 to 2004 and the largest cumulative recipient of aid ($121 billion, not inflation-adjusted) since World War II. Seventy-four percent of these funds must be spent purchasing US goods and services. More recently, in fiscal year 2014, the US provided $3.9 billion in foreign military aid to Israel. Israel also benefits from about $8 billion of loan guarantees.)

Sen. King praised the Israeli 'missile defense' program called Iron Dome as something "that likely saved my son's life" when he was in Israel during the most recent exchange of Palestinian rockets and IDF counter-attack on Gaza.  While we didn't have time to discuss the merits of Iron Dome an analysis of the system's failures has been written by Subrata Ghoshroy who is a research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Program in Science, Technology, and Society.  His article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is called Iron Dome: Behind the hoopla, a familiar story of missile-defense hype.

After Sen. King left the Brunswick library meeting room our delegation remained to evaluate the meeting.  We agreed that unless fellow concerned citizens help by following up on these issues with Sen. King then we will not be able to move things forward.  One in our group remarked that, "Sen. King is still not willing to admit Israel's criminal behavior.  I was put off by his suggestion that the complicated history of the Middle East excuses US behavior in the region."

So we urge those Mainers who care about these complex but important issues in the Middle East to contact Sen. King and share with him your concerns.  You can send him a message at his web site here

Just yesterday Russian President Putin announced a pullout from Syria: "I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished. That is why I order to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow,” he said.

It will be more than interesting to see what the US and their partners (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel) will do next in their effort to topple Assad.  In an article today Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, writes:

Jeffrey Goldberg’s newly published book-length article on Barack Obama and the Middle East includes a major revelation that brings US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syrian diplomacy into sharper focus: it reports that Kerry has sought on several occasions without success over the past several months to get Obama’s approval for cruise missile strikes against the Syrian government. 

Goldberg reports that “on several occasions” Kerry requested that Obama approve missile strikes at “specific regime targets”, in order to “send a message” to Assad – and his international allies – to “negotiate peace”. Kerry suggested to Obama that the US wouldn’t have to acknowledge the attacks publicly, according to Goldberg, because Assad “would surely know the missiles’ return address”.
Now is indeed the right time for the peace movement around the world to call on the US to match the move by Russia to lower the military footprint on Syria.  If the world wants to bring peace to the region, and reduce the refugee crisis, then we must speak out now loudly and clearly demanding that the attempts to topple the elected Assad government must end.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Melting Arctic Ice - Future Conflict Zone

Many oil corporations and other business and military interests are excited about what 'opportunities' lie ahead as the Arctic ice rapidly melts due to climate change.

The Portland Maine Sunday Telegram ran a story yesterday entitled Diplomacy forum in Portland will spotlight Arctic, Maine about an international conference that will be held in that city this coming fall.  The newspaper reported:

A forum about Arctic diplomacy slated to take place in Maine’s largest city will focus on issues like climate change and shipping, and put a spotlight on its host, organizers said.

The Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials meeting will take place in Portland from Oct. 4-6. Officials from the council’s eight member nations, including the United States, and a host of non-governmental organizations will assemble for the midweek event.
Already the US and NATO have been ramping up war preparations for the coming conflict with Russia over control of the Arctic.  Russia has the world's largest land border with the Arctic Ocean and some in the western corporate oil-i-garchy have used this fact as a reason to push for regime change in Moscow - so that the oil companies could have a better chance at getting their drilling rigs into those areas once Russia has been broken into smaller constituent components that would be easier to control.

US-NATO have been stockpiling weapons in northern Norway and holding regular war games near the Russian border.  Moscow of course is aware of all this and is expanding its military operations in their large territory to protect their own interests.

Two years ago Maine's Sen. Angus King went on a submarine ride under the Arctic and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was along as well.  Friedman wrote a piece about the trip called Parallel Parking in the Arctic Circle in which he said:

But this wasn’t tourism. Climate scientists predict that if warming trends continue, the Arctic’s ice cap will melt enough that — in this century — it will become a navigable ocean for commercial shipping year round, and for mineral and oil exploration. Russia has already made extensive claims to the Arctic, based on the reach of its continental shelf, beyond the usual 12 miles from its coastline; these are in dispute. To prepare for whatever unfolds here, though, the U.S. Navy keeps honing its Arctic submarine skills, including, on our trip, test-firing a virtual torpedo at a virtual enemy sub, studying how differences in water temperatures and the mix of freshwater from melted ice and saltwater affect undersea weapons and the sounds a sub makes (vital for knowing how to hide), as well as mapping the Arctic’s seabed topography.

“In our lifetime, what was [in effect] land and prohibitive to navigate or explore, is becoming an ocean, and we’d better understand it,” noted Admiral Jonathan Greenert [the chief of naval operations]. “We need to be sure that our sensors, weapons and people are proficient in this part of the world,” so that we can “own the undersea domain and get anywhere there.” Because if the Arctic does open up for shipping, it offers a much shorter route from the Atlantic to the Pacific than through the Panama Canal, saving huge amounts of time and fuel.

Sen. King has since that 2014 trip been a vocal supporter of the US building more ice breakers in order to help open the way for commercial operations in the Arctic region.  The fact that the Arctic Council will be meeting in Portland next October indicates Maine's growing influence due to its obvious proximity to the melting sea.

I plan to organize a protest during at least one day while the Arctic Council meeting is going on.  I want to help alert the public to the environmental and peace issues involved as the corporate interests push and shove their way into that region.