Organizing Notes

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

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Latest Wave of Strikes in France

French trade unions plan to hold more strikes that will now target the transport system, in an effort to force the government to walk away from bitterly disputed reforms through a massive wave of labor unrest.

Save the Date for Ukraine Forum

Will be held in Brunswick, Maine......

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Answer

U.S. Convoy in Czech Republic 'Mooned"

A Czech veteran opposed to the “aggressive missions” of the US in Europe was arrested this weekend for 'mooning' a US military convoy heading to the Russian border to perform war games.
Martin Zapletal, a member of a group of Czech and Slovakian soldiers opposed to NATO, described the US soldiers as “aggressors, killers and occupiers” as Dragoon Ride II paraded through their country heading eastward.
Police arrested Zapletal who is understood to be facing charges of “disorderly conduct,” for which he could be jailed for up to the three years.
More than 1,400 US soldiers and 400 military vehicles are part of the convoy, which is making a 2,200 km “tactical road march” from Germany to Estonia, before the provocative annual drills begin. 

Memorial Day Parade in Maine

There was a forecast for steady rain today at the same time we were set to take part in the Memorial Day parade from Topsham to Brunswick, Maine.  Our local group PeaceWorks and Maine Veterans For Peace lined up as we do each year and thank goodness the rain held off til the end of the parade.

The theme of the parade this year was "Remember Pearl Harbor" - another incendiary memory that the military industrial complex keeps alive in order to sell endless war and weapons.

Our PeaceWorks planning committee agreed that we would riff off the 'Pearl Harbor' theme in order to bring the contemporary Japanese issue of Article 9 to the local public.  There has been a major campaign in Japan during the past couple of years to Save Article 9 of their constitution that calls on Japan to "forever renounce war".  The US is pressuring Tokyo to dump Article 9 in order to allow Japan to join Washington's war follies around the globe.  It seemed like a good act of solidarity for us to carry their message into the parade.

Understanding that most of the public would have no clue what the banner actually means I wrote an Op-Ed for the local paper that was printed last week.  You can see it here

In addition we made 1,000 flyers explaining the Article 9 issue that Morgana Warner Evans and I handed out as our group walked along the parade route.  Fearing that the rain would wash out our leafletting plan I was thrilled to see the downpour hold off during the entire parade.  We handed out all the flyers and could have used a couple hundred more as we ran out right before the end.

You'll notice in the third photo from the top two men walking with sticks in the front of our parade entry.  They are both members of Veterans For Peace (Bob Dale and Victor Skorapa) and are in their 90's.  Bob made it the entire three-mile parade route and Victor (at 93) made just over half the distance.  It was inspiring for us and for those in the crowd to witnessed these two determined peaceful men press on.

Photos by Nancy Randolph

Control the Masses

Excellent documentary on the origins of the corporate oligarchy figuring out how to use mass psychology to control the people.  Long but highly educational video.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The French Revolt

France is really rocking with labor protests and those by youth who see little future for themselves.

The French determination to sustain these protests over time is both inspiring and tactically smart - as they recognize that one off events just won't do the job.   

Sadly we don't get to see many videos that show anything but the violence in the streets - this one above at least gives us some glimpse into the larger issues which the French movements are upset about.

I hope to find more videos about what is happening in France.  I would appreciate anyone that can point me in the right direction.  Thanks.

Peace Walk Planning Meeting - Commitment, Joy & Love

I drove north three hours yesterday to Hancock, Maine, with John Morris, for the upcoming Maine Peace Walk planning meeting.  The October 11-26 walk will begin at the Penobscot Nation and end at the Kittery Naval Submarine yard in southern Maine.  We'll have to do some shuttling during the walk - actual walking distance will be about the same as last year - just over 175 miles.

Our theme this year will be Stop the War$ on Mother Earth.  In our statement about the walk we say:

We come together out of our deep concern about the many different wars being waged on Mother Earth, ranging from over-fishing, deforestation, and human-caused extinctions, to climate disruption and endless war.

Close to home we support the Penobscot Nation’s struggle for Justice for the River, opposition to the East/West Corridor, and conversion of war production to alternative energy at Maine shipyards.  We know from past experience of walking through rural and urban Maine that many people will be reached with our messages. We hope this spiritual act of walking and sharing conversation and food will help people in our state feel less isolated and despairing about the future.

We met yesterday at the home of artist Russell Wray who creates fantastic sculpture.  (He created the dolphin Maka we carried on our walk van last year and the amazing banner that hung on the side of the van.) His gallery inside the house is full of the most incredible work - all centered around nature.  His web site is here

Our planning meeting began with a delicious pot luck lunch and we had a great time going through the whole walk schedule dividing up responsibilities.  A good peace walk needs a strong core of people and I'd say that this 2016 walk will have about the strongest core of folks I've ever had the pleasure to work with.  They are serious, spiritually based, totally committed to preserving Mother Earth, clear about what walks can and can't do, and people who enjoy each others company.  No big egos are involved - only a commitment to get the work done.

We've signed up more than 20 groups around Maine and Massachusetts as walk co-sponsors which is an all-time high for a walk here in our state.  The outreach has already been beyond anything we've ever done before.  And everyone is excited and humbled by the Penobscot Nation offering to host our first night supper and ceremony on Indian Island.  This will ensure that we begin this walk with a clarity about the spirit we carry with each step we take.  Buddhist monks and nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji order will again lead our walk.

There is alot of tragedy and sadness in our collective work these days.  But the meeting yesterday reminded me of the joy and love that also comes with this work when you surround yourself with people of good heart.

Our next planning meeting will be held on Saturday, August 20 at the Lincolnville Beach park (on US Hwy 1) from noon to 3:00 pm.  All are welcome to join us.  We'll begin with a pot luck lunch.

Sunday Song

구럼비야 사랑해 from cho sung bong on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Building Resistance to Pipelines

It Takes a Cabin to Stop a Pipeline from R3IMAGE on Vimeo.

On April 20, 2016 Kinder Morgan announced that it would suspend the North East Direct (NED) pipeline. One month before the news was announced Will Elwell - a traditional New England timber framer - built a replica of the Henry David Thoreau cabin in the pathway of the NED pipeline in Ashfield, Massachusetts. 

This video captures the sentiments of Elwell the day after the pipeline was halted and explores the future purpose of the Thoreau cabin. It is also a celebration of the relief that came just as suddenly to unsuspecting towns across New England as the day when the threat of the pipeline was announced. 

The towns now organized are coming together to drive the nail into the coffin of Kinder Morgan and all pipelines throughout the region.

Communities are coming together across the board to fight for their town sovereignty and energy independence. This vignette ponders the role of the Thoreau cabin to further these pursuits. As far as Elwell is concerned, "this is only the beginning."

The video concludes with a song led by friend Tom Neilson called "That pipeline ain't gonna pass."

Friday, May 27, 2016

Silencing America as it Prepares for War

By John Pilger

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention.  The great counter revolution had begun.

The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.

“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.”  So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.

The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”

On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power.

In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.

As a direct consequence, China reportedly has changed its nuclear weapons policy from no-first-use to high alert and put to sea submarines with nuclear weapons. The escalator is quickening.

It was Hillary Clinton who, as Secretary of State in 2010, elevated the competing territorial claims for rocks and reef in the South China Sea to an international issue; CNN and BBC hysteria followed; China was building airstrips on the disputed islands. In its mammoth war game in 2015, Operation Talisman Sabre, the US practiced “choking” the Straits of Malacca through which pass most of China’s oil and trade. This was not news.

Clinton declared that America had a “national interest” in these Asian waters. The Philippines and Vietnam were encouraged and bribed to pursue their claims and old enmities against China. In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.

Clinton, the “women’s candidate”, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the frontline of a beckoning war with Russia. It was through Ukraine – literally, borderland -- that Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.

Sanders, the hope of many young Americans, is not very different from Clinton in his proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He backed Bill Clinton’s illegal bombing of Serbia. He supports Obama’s terrorism by drone, the provocation of Russia and the return of special forces (death squads) to Iraq. He has nothing to say on the drumbeat of threats to China and the accelerating risk of nuclear war. He agrees that Edward Snowden should stand trial and he calls Hugo Chavez – like him, a social democrat – “a dead communist dictator”. He promises to support Clinton if she is nominated.

The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.

In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

 The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief  of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.

In Britain, this is Blairism. The Christian war criminal Tony Blair got away with his secret preparation for the invasion of Iraq largely because the liberal political class and media fell for his “cool Britannia”. In the Guardian, the applause was deafening; he was called “mystical”. A distraction known as identity politics, imported from the United States, rested easily in his care.

History was declared over, class was abolished and gender promoted as feminism; lots of women became New Labour MPs. They voted on the first day of Parliament to cut the benefits of single parents, mostly women, as instructed. A majority voted for an invasion that produced 700,000 Iraqi widows.

The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on the New York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels.  Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.

~ John Pilger originally hails from Australia.  Arriving in London, Pilger freelanced, then joined Reuters, moving to the London Daily Mirror, Britain's biggest selling newspaper, which was then changing to a serious tabloid. He became chief foreign correspondent and reported from all over the world, covering numerous wars, notably Vietnam. He became the youngest journalist to receive Britain's highest award for journalism, Journalist of the Year and was the first to win it twice. He also has created many award winning documentaries.

Shades of Black & Blue

Are we on
the reservation
or not?

Have we become
the latest version
of those
to be caged
by Mr. Big?

Taking care
of 'biz' at home
now out the door
fish to fry
in cheaper

What to do?

Many attempts
many failures
to slay the
dark beast
that marks
our door
have always
been hard
to vanquish
but try
we must

Still the beast
our harvests
its bootprint
leaves ugly
marks and stains
much pain
around our
orbiting satellite

The people
are turned
one against
the other

our unity
thru solidarity
made difficult
but not impossible
by those
who say
they know best

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Managing the Syrian Narrative

21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen speaks to RT International about the recent push by Washington to create a new US-friendly militia, allegedly to “fight ISIS” in north eastern Syria.

Electoral Illusion & Deception

Financier George Soros and Hillary Clinton.  Soros is doing his best to support her campaign for president

  • I've been saying for some time that I believe Donald Trump was encouraged to enter the Republican presidential race in order to throw a bomb inside that operation to ensure that Hillary Clinton gets elected.  I've mentioned in the past about Bill Clinton's phone call to Trump shortly before he declared for the Republican nomination.  The Washington Post ran a story where it is quite clear that Bill Clinton was encouraging Trump to run.  Why would he dare do that?  My opinion is that the corporate oligarchy that wants Hillary Clinton to be elected understands she has massive negatives with the American people.  The only way to get her elected is to have a Republican candidate with even more negatives running against her.  Trump fits that requirement.  Every day I hear more mainstream 'news' stories reporting on some lefty Bernie Sanders supporter saying they will 'hold their nose' and vote for Clinton because 'The Donald' is just so bad.  Works like a charm.

  • But this kind of high stakes 'democracy' can't be left to chance - or to the unobstructed will of the great unwashed - the voting public.  There have to be intervening forces put into place to help direct and act out the script.  Enter super financier and philanthropist George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.  Soros has long been known as an anti-Communist from Hungary and has been a leading force in the directing and funding of 'Color Revolutions', particularly in Eastern Europe.  From those so-called 'battles for democracy' have come a series of right-wing governments that have then been invited to join NATO which has led to US-NATO bases and military operations now reaching the Russian borders.  Soros and his foundations rely on NGO's to do the 'pro-democracy' grassroots work that leads to regime change which is then redirected into the hands of right-wing governments under US-NATO control.  The 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine just being the latest example.

  • China and Russia recently have passed laws severely restricting the funding of NGO's in their countries largely out of concern for Soros, USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, and CIA interventions in the affairs of those two nations.  It has become clear in recent years that the US-NATO want regime change in Moscow and Beijing and they use many tools including NGO funding to create internal destabilization toward that end.

  • But Soros is not only active overseas with his internal political manipulation tactics.  Even inside the US we find Soros actively funding operations to ensure that his favorite candidates and policies carry the day.  His support for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton is one such case.  Thus it becomes interesting to begin to trace the links between the Soros support for Clinton and his funding of domestic NGO's who are being used to organize anti-Trump events which build the fear and create social chaos around the Trump campaign.  This strategy is obviously being carried out to further drive up Trump's negatives by unsuspecting organizations who believe they are just speaking out against Trump's racism, anti-immigrant positions and the like.

  • Over the years Soros (calling himself a liberal who believes in democracy) has funded many organizations on the left.  My personal opinion, based on 36 years of active involvement in the peace & justice movement, is that 'liberal foundations' are used by the corporate oligarchy to direct messages on the left, set in place gate keepers against more radical organizing, and to appoint 'leaders' on the left by giving them access to funding, media, etc.  Over the years I saw foundation funders kill the Nuclear Freeze Movement in the mid-1980's by requiring them to move the national campaign office from St. Louis to Washington DC.  Once inside the vortex of Washington the freeze movement died a quick death - the corporate Democrats were getting worried about surging grassroot demands to end the nuclear arms race which would impact military production at the congressional level.  Similarly we've seen in more recent years that some 'progressive funders' have mandated that grant recipients stop using the word 'disarmament' and instead use 'arms control' if they wished to qualify for grants.  In just recent days I saw an email about one 'progressive funder' saying that it was time to redefine the word 'peace' because organizations having received their funding over the years had not been able to stop endless wars and arms races.  So I am absolutely convinced that money drives the mission across the NGO world - our movements get watered down and redirected off message if they want the cash.

  • The Soros Open Society Foundations have over the years funded many 'left or liberal' groups which include AFSC, Center for American Progress (a Clinton linked operation), Democracy Now, Human Rights Watch (also linked to Clinton), and Veterans For Peace.  This is just a tiny list of Soros grantees.  

  • In recent months though I have been hearing about Soros funding NGO's across the US to specifically focus on the Trump campaign.  I've heard that and Veterans For Peace (among many others) have received grants from Soros to help organize protests at Trump rallies.  Lately we've seen some of these events turn quite ugly.  I am certain that progressive groups taking these funds from Soros don't see themselves as doing back-door work for the Clinton campaign - but in the end that is what is basically happening.  Soros has a track record of funding NGO's in order to create social chaos which then helps oligarchic efforts in a particular country to take control of the government.  I do see a clear link between the anti-Trump NGO operations and their results contributing to helping Clinton get elected to the White House.  

  • Because of the massive corporate money now put into elections in the US (and around the world) the will of the people gets diluted and redirected into pre-determined places by the forces at work behind the scenes.  Many good-hearted and well-meaning individuals and NGO's get used by this dirty game to become two-bit actors in the wider circus side show called elections.  I am sure it is hard for a poor struggling NGO to turn down hundreds of thousands of dollars when offered - especially if the purpose of the grant is to go after someone like Donald Trump.

  • I write all this not to point fingers at any particular NGO but instead to help shine a light on the 'behind the scenes manipulations' of democracy that are going on today and getting worse.  It is wise for all of us to see the depths that the corporate oligarchy will go in order to control our societies.   

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Message for Memorial Day Parade in Brunswick, Maine

Times Record (Brunswick, Maine)

By Bruce K. Gagnon

The 2016 theme for the local Memorial Day Parade is “Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later.” This theme has many contemporary applications that I would like to address.

After the surrender of the fascist Japanese government in 1945 a new constitution was written for Japan.

On May 3, 1947, Japan’s postwar constitution went into effect. The progressive constitution granted universal suffrage, stripped Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power, stipulated a bill of rights, abolished peerage and outlawed Japan’s right to make war. The document was largely the work of Supreme Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur and his occupation staff.

Over the years the Japanese people came to strongly support the new constitution, particularly Article 9 which reads in part: “Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

Japan’s crimes against their Asia-Pacific neighbors, particularly their brutal occupation of China, are well known. What is not so well known is that even during WW II a Japanese peace movement existed that resisted, often at risk of their own lives, the aggressive war making of their nation.
So following the establishment of the new Japanese constitution in 1947 the Japanese people have come to cherish the peaceful Article 9. Sadly Article 9 is now in danger.

Since the US announced “pivot” of 60 percent of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific to “contain” China, Washington has been pressuring Japan to get rid of Article 9. The US has repeatedly called on Japan to begin a major military mobilization to assist the US in trying to control China. China of course has directly seen the results of a militarized Japan and has repeatedly spoken out against this serious development.

Current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is widely viewed as a right-wing nationalist. Shinzo Abe is the grandson of a former WW II fascist leader in the imperial Japanese war cabinet who was considered a “Class A war criminal.” The Japanese peace movement today considers Abe a fascist.

Prime Minister Abe has begun to push through the national Diet (Parliament) in Tokyo a “reinterpretation” of Article 9 that will allow Abe to join US offensive wars around the globe. During the last year the Japanese people have overwhelmingly denounced these developments out of fear that the imperialist strains that have been dormant in Japan since the end of WW II are returning to the surface – this time sadly under the encouragement of the US government.

“Article 9 is one of the very keystones of the Japanese post-war constitution; it renounces war and says that Japan will not maintain [offensive] military forces,”’ explains Toshiaki Miura, a journalist at one of Japan’s leading daily newspapers, Asahi Shimbun. “Article 9 restrains the military and has made pacifism an important part of Japan’s national psyche.”

Recent polls have revealed that the majority of the Japanese people want to keep the Peace Constitution as it is — in one Asahi Shimbun poll 68 percent opposed the change to Article 9. Religious leaders and prominent civil society organizations have also raised their concerns with massive protests throughout the country.

Critics, including constitutional scholars, say any such reinterpretation would make a mockery of formal amendment procedures and essentially gut Article 9, opening the door to bigger changes later despite assurances to the contrary.

“Abe knows that once even a tiny hole is opened, he and future conservatives can make the hole bigger with less popular resistance,” said Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano, a member of a group of academics opposed to the change.

On May 30 we will carry a specially made banner during the annual parade that reads: PeaceWorks Supports Keeping Peaceful Article 9 in Japanese Constitution — “Forever Renounce War.”

We urge our midcoast neighbors to seriously reflect on this important story during this time of remembrance.

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

Note:  Peaceful friends are invited to walk with PeaceWorks and VFP in the Topsham-Brunswick Memorial Day parade.  Starts at 9:00 am in Topsham on Monday, May 30.  We will dress in black. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

June 18 'Christening' Protest in Maine

Russian Coverage of Ukraine Workshop in New York

One Russian TV station covered the UNAC workshop I participated in during last Saturday's Left Forum event in New York City.  We talked about the situation in Ukraine with emphasis on the May 2, 2014 massacre in Odessa by the neo-Nazis.

Of course we had no coverage by any media from the US - mainstream or alternative.  No surprise there.

At the end of the news video the reporter mentions the Odessa Mothers Council petition calling for an international independent investigation of the May 2 massacre.  You can sign the petition here

It's Only $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Monday, May 23, 2016

U.S. Continues to Destabilize Moldova - Confronted by Locals

Vineyard of the Saker reports in part:

Recently, Robert D. Kaplan, a former Stratfor Chief Geopolitical Analyst, and currently a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) published a book “In Europe’s Shadow” where he lays out a plan to reunite Romania with “its lost province of Moldova.”

US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland [who ran the 2014 coup in Ukraine] visited Moldova back in January, with the task to coerce Moldova’s government and its oligarchs to change the country’s Constitution provision of neutrality.

Before she left, she gave a short speech at the American Embassy in Bucharest after a private dinner with PM Ciolos and President Klaus.

“We powerfully support the desire of the people in Moldova to have responsible leaders who can implement reforms. This is the best way to assure the future of Moldova. Romania and the United States, in conjunction with NATO, have support programs in place to assure the security of Moldova but the government has to work to implement these programs.”

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe, and its economy heavily relies on Russia. 

Everyone understands that a NATO membership will cut all economic ties with Russia, including jobs, and it will turn Moldova into a failed state, or in the CIA doublespeak, the country would stop being vulnerable to “Russian pressure.”

NATO also planned military drills in neutral Moldova, chosen to start on May 2nd, the day of remembrance for the victims of the Odessa Massacre.

According to V.V. Pyakin, a political analyst with the Concept Technologies Foundation, a think tank located in St. Petersburg, NATO was in a process of conducting a full-scale invasion of Moldova with the annexation of a Southern part of Ukraine including Odessa to construct a NATO Navy base there. Moldova was supposed to become a part of Romania automatically with the US military forces arriving to the capital and taking  over the government of Moldova. That’s why NATO needed all those military “drills” in the Black Sea region and in the Baltics simultaneously.

When the patriotic forces of Moldavia discovered that NATO was about to enter the territory of Moldova in four formations, 100+ motorized units each, they protested loudly and blocked the entrance of NATO troops on the border. Meanwhile, the biggest political fraction in Moldova threatened the impeachment of the president for treason, if  NATO troops would be allowed to enter the country.

By Victory Day [May 9 celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany by the former Soviet Union] it became apparent that the Nuland-Kaplan-NATO plan for invasion of Moldova was foiled. All Americans could do was to “crash” a Victory Day parade in the center of Moldova’s capital by coming uninvited and bringing their motorized vehicles to it.  [One arrogant US Army officer was caught on video ordering Moldovan citizens to leave their own celebration in the city square.]

And that’s where NATO troops and Moldovan patriots came face to face.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Is NATO Really Preparing for War with Russia?

By Leonid Ivashov (General-Colonel, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, International Journalism professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations)

One of the most important questions of our time is whether NATO is really preparing for an open war with Russia, and the alliance has already found the place where it starts, or is it a game of nerves, verbal and declarative, but, in fact, not dangerous fuss?

This isn't horseplay, but serious preparations for war. And not only in the region of our North-Western borders, but along the entire perimeter of Russia. And the start of active preparation for the military phase was triggered by the "National Security Strategy of the USA", which was adopted in February last year. It stated that there is no multi-polar world, because there is no alternative to American leadership. This whole "Strategy" is riddled with phrases like:

We will defend our interests from a position of strength. We will conduct combat operations anywhere in the world. We will act outside of international law and so on...

And the main target of these military preparations is Russia. And all because Russia is slowly but consistently changing the world. Turned Eurasia towards itself, began to develop relationships in Eurasian, and other regions. The Shanghai cooperation organization, CSTO, Eurasian economic union, the group of BRICS countries – all this is created on the initiative of Russia. That is, the Americans are loosing the lead. Their global domination today in fact is melting. And the goal of the United States – to pin down, and even to crush Russia, as they do with those smaller countries that try to resist. That's all: the goal of global West is to stop the independent foreign policy of Russia.

With regard to Russian threat. I would advise NATO generals to calculate the ratio of personnel of the armed forces of NATO countries, equipment and qualitative characteristics. They clearly show that it is NATO that is creating shock troops, which threaten Russia, conducting exercises: military-air, naval, ground. Regularly in the Baltic sea area BALTOPS exercises are conducted, during which they practice strategic airlift of US troops from American territory. And that the Baltic States scream that Russia is going to conquer them – first, we don't need them. And even if they beg to join Russia or for the rapprochement with Russia, there is no need to hurry, they should not be accepted. Such countries are always better to have as an enemy than an ally or part of Russia. However, we must defend the Kaliningrad region, and not only by military means, but also with soft power. There, unfortunately, Germans and Poles are more active than our officials from Russia.

Lets look were around our borders NATO is now most active? Eastern European countries, which joined NATO and the EU, became the weakest European link. Americans are now using them against Europe and against Russia. The same Poles: whatever the Americans tell them – they salute, and say: "Yes, sir!". This also applies to missile defense system, and strengthening of the naval component of Poland in the Baltic sea region. Now supposedly the Poles are asking the Americans to open a military base.

Look at Romania: Americans patched the holes on the old Romanian ships, and now actively use them in the Black sea region, deployed some F-22s, modern combat aircraft.

The Balts have nowhere to go: they say yes to everything, as long as America supports the current political elite in power, and fills its pockets.

These are completely dependent countries – the countries of Eastern Europe. Sometimes Hungary, the Czech Republic try to resist, particularly in relation to anti-Russian sanctions, but they are immediately threatened with a coup, anti-government rallies, accused of corruption... The Americans got a strong hold over Europe, including Western, through the instrument of weak Eastern Europe. South-East Europe is also pitted against Russia. The Balkans have always been the military fuse of Europe, and today Americans are trying to turn it into a powder keg. In fact, the accession of Montenegro to NATO has already been decided, however, God help if the whole of Montenegro collects two battalions. So there is no military gain here, but Montenegrians are the destroyers of the Orthodox Slavic world. Milo Djukanovic is, in fact, the Western, Pro-American agent, and the task of the West is to destabilize not just the Balkan region but the entire Orthodox Slavic space. The people of Montenegro, of course, are against NATO, against quarrel with Russia, with Serbia, but no one asks the people, and demands for a referendum are just rejected. The same difficult situation, on the brink of civil war, is in Macedonia. Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina is subjected to coup attempts for elimination from political arena of the popular president Milorad Dodik. [See an example of how US is destabilizing Moldova here]

And Serbia itself is stretched, either you join NATO and then the EU, or you will live in a blockade, as today. For Serbia to apply for EU membership, it is necessary to recognize Kosovo's independence, and in the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia Kosovo is its integral part, but it is forced to do so.

In a prosperous at first glance Croatia we see growing social tension: rallies and protests are commonplace. So the Balkans are again on the brink of internal turmoil with a threat of external military intervention.

Will the Balkans become the stage for a local conflict, which will eventually grow into global? It is unlikely to turn into a global conflict, because today's Russia will not militarily interfere. The West will just break the Serbs, so that the Serbs, as Bulgarians now, will unquestioningly obey their masters from Washington and Brussels.

Today we are observing an attempt to transform the Orthodox-Slavic world into some semblance of present-day Ukraine.

Stop the Lies, Close U.S. Bases Around the Globe

  • Our 'Situation in Ukraine' workshop went well yesterday at the Left Forum in New York City and we had good attendance - especially considering there were a slew of them to choose from at the same time.  We had a woman from Odessa, Ukraine with us in the workshop who did an excellent job of sharing the reality of living in the post-coup country that is being dismantled by the US-EU in their project to destabilize things along the Russian border.  One Russian TV channel covered the event and interviewed me after things were over.  The second workshop I participated in (Just Transition) was where I presented my PowerPoint full of photos from our efforts in Bath, Maine to bring the conversion of the Navy shipyard to public consciousness.  

  • Later in the day yesterday I had the honor to meet award winning journalist John Pilger who is in NYC doing interviews for his upcoming documentary film 'The Next War'.  He interviewed me for about an hour and we had a very interesting back-and-forth discussion of everything from US domestic politics, Obama's 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific, space technology, hope, and spirituality.  I liked him alot, a very grounded and gentle man.

  • Also yesterday about the same time I was doing the Pilger interview a protest in support of the Okinawan people was held at Grand Central Station in NYC.  One of the organizers was Rachel Clark (a Japanese-American woman who was the interpreter during our VFP trip to Okinawa last December).  She wrote this morning:

We explained about the recent rape murder case which is one out of more than 9 thousand recorded cases in the last 71 years. US bases do not protect their host countries. Instead they bring crimes. As our responsibility, we have to close our overseas bases, 800 of more of them. We also need to re-examine and reallocate our tax money so that peace making effort gets more budget than military-industrial complex.

  • I also noticed today that a protest was held in Okinawa at the Camp Schwab US Marine base where more than 1,500 people were led by women as they silently marched to express their growing outrage against US bases and the continued rapes and killings by US military personnel there.  What will it take for the American people to see that our string of 1,000 military outposts around the world are fueling hatred against us?  Shut them down and bring the troops home.  Put them to work building rail systems, solar power, wind turbines, tidal power systems, and retrofitting homes across the nation for energy conservation.  

Beautiful Statement

Rapper activist Immortal Technique on immigration and purposeful injustice as he supports Green Party's Jill Stein for President.

We're not talking about putting a band aid on a gashed wound. The Green Party takes the non-watered down positions that Democrats pretend to have.

How could Obama talk about Black Lives Matter? You want to hold up a picture of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, I have some pictures of Black and Brown children killed by your drown strikes. 

Stop being afraid to teach the truth.

Sunday Song


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Finger Lickin Good?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Heading to NYC

  • MB and I are on the train heading for New York City.  We'll be attending the annual Left Forum where I will speak in two different workshops - on the Situation in Ukraine (organized by UNAC) and the other called 'Just Transition' about the need to convert the war machine to peaceful and sustainable production.  Also while there I will be interviewed by John Pilger for his new film and possibly another interview with Russian TV.  During the past week I've done one Russian TV interview via Skype and a radio interview from Riga, Latvia.  Russian TV-5 wanted to get me in the studio while in NYC so that might just work out.  They are much more interested in discussing the US-NATO war exercises on the Russian border than media in this country. 
  • This morning we learned of another Okinawan woman having been killed by an American man working for the US military.  People in Okinawa have been dealing with rapes and killing by soldiers and civilians working for the Pentagon since US bases were established on the island following the end of WW II.  The people of Okinawa want US bases closed and their lands returned to the people.  The tide is turning against the US military empire. The world has had enough of US bases and all the hypocrisy, environmental degradation, violence and sadness that comes with these outposts for corporate domination and endless war. Unfortunately the US media (for obvious reasons) doesn't give much coverage to these cases because of the negative impact on Americans 'exceptional' identify.
  • I submitted yesterday an Op-Ed to our local newspaper in Brunswick, Maine about Washington's attempts to get the Japanese government to kill Article 9 of their constitution that says they must not have an offensive military and that the Japanese people must 'forever renounce war'.  Every year our local peace groups (PeaceWorks & VFP) march in the Memorial Day parade - the theme this year is 'Remember Pearl Harbor'.  So it seemed like a good opportunity to bring the issue of the US trying to remobilize Japan to be a full partner in US 'containment' of China which was brutally occupied by imperial Japan during WW II.  The current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the grandson of a 'Class A' war criminal who served on Japan's imperial war cabinet.  We made a special banner that we will carry and flyers to hand out to the crowd along the parade route.  This is another subject that most Americans know nothing about.  
  •  Obama's announced visit to Hiroshima is connected to all this.  The Japanese are having another election in July and Obama wants to put his arm around Shinzo Abe and give his right-wing government a boost in the polls.  Obama will talk about the need to get rid of nuclear weapons at the same time the US is planning to spend one trillion dollars on Pentagon nuclear modernization.  Obama will likely point the accusing finger at China, North Korea and Russia and blame them for the breakdown in nuclear arms reduction talks.  But the truth is that US deployments of so-called 'missile defense' encircling Russia and China (and NATO expansion) are the real reasons that nuclear disarmament negotiations have come to a stand still.  Obama's 'legacy visit' is just all about 'perception management'.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Washington Turning Up the Pressure on Russia

Putin Is Being Pushed to Abandon His Conciliatory Approach to the West and Prepare for War

By Alastair Crooke (The Huffington Post)

BEIRUT — Something significant happened in the last few days of April, but it seems the only person who noticed was Stephen Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University.

In a recorded interview, Cohen notes that a section of the Russian leadership is showing signs of restlessness, focused on President Vladimir Putin’s leadership. We are not talking of street protesters. We are not talking coups against Putin — his popularity remains above 80 percent and he is not about to be displaced. But we are talking about serious pressure being applied to the president to come down from the high wire along which he has warily trod until now.

Putin carries, at one end of his balancing pole, the various elites more oriented toward the West and the “Washington Consensus“ and, at the pole’s other end, those concerned that Russia faces both a real military threat from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a hybrid geo-financial war as well. He is being pressed to come down on the side of the latter, and to pry the grip of the former from the levers of economic power that they still tightly hold.

In short, the issue coming to a head in the Kremlin is whether Russia is sufficiently prepared for further Western efforts to ensure it does not impede or rival American hegemony. Can Russia sustain a geo-financial assault, if one were to be launched? And is such a threat real or mere Western posturing for other ends?

What is so important is that if these events are misread in the West, which is already primed to see any Russian defensive act as offensive and aggressive, the ground will already have been laid for escalation. We already had the first war to push back against NATO in Georgia. The second pushback war is ongoing in Ukraine. What might be the consequences to a third?

Putin is being pushed to wield the knife — and to cut deeply.

In mid-April, General Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee (a sort of super attorney general, as Cohen describes it), wrote that Russia — its role in Syria notwithstanding — is militarily ill prepared to face a new war either at home or abroad, and that the economy is in a bad way, too. Russia, furthermore, is equally ill prepared to withstand a geo-financial war. He goes on to say that the West is preparing for war against Russia and that Russia’s leadership does not appear to be aware of or alert to the danger the country faces.

Bastrykin does not say that Putin is to blame, though the context makes it clear that this is what he means. But a few days later, Cohen explains, the article sparked further discussion from those who both endorse Bastrykin and do precisely mention Putin by name. Then, Cohen notes, a retired Russian general entered the fray to confirm that the West is indeed preparing for war — he pointed to NATO deployments in the Baltics, the Black Sea and Poland, among other places — and underlines again the unpreparedness of the Russian military to face this threat. “This is a heavy indictment of Putin,” Cohen says of the revelations from this analysis. “It is now out in the open.”

What is this all about? For some time there have been indications that a key faction within the Kremlin, one that very loosely might be termed “nationalist,” has become deeply disenchanted with Putin’s toleration of the Washington Consensus and its adherents at the Russian central bank and in other pivotal economic posts. The nationalists want them purged, along with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s perceived Western-friendly government. Putin may be highly popular, but Medvedev’s government is not. The government’s economic policy is being criticized. The opposing faction wants to see an immediate mobilization of the military and the economy for war, conventional or hybrid. This is not about wanting Putin ousted; it is about pushing him to wield the knife — and to cut deeply.

What does this faction want apart from Russia preparing for war? They want a harder line in Ukraine and for Putin to reject U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s snares in Syria. In short, Kerry is still trying to force Assad’s removal and continues to push for further U.S. support for the opposition. The American government is reluctant as well to disentangle “moderates” from jihadis. The view is that America is insincere in trying to cooperate with Russia on a settlement and more intent on entrapping Putin in Syria. Perhaps this is right, as Gareth Porter and Elijah Magnier have outlined.

    The Obama administration is acting to weaken Putin and Lavrov’s hand, and therefore strengthening the hand of those in Russia calling for a full mobilization for war.

What this means at a more fundamental level is that Putin is being asked to side with the nationalists against the internationalists aligned with the Washington Consensus, and to purge them from power. Recall, however, that Putin came to power precisely to temper this polarity within Russian society by rising above it — to heal and rebuild a diverse society recovering from deep divisions and crises. He is being asked to renounce that for which he stands because, he is being told, Russia is being threatened by a West that is preparing for war.

The prospect of the seeming inevitability of future conflict is hardly new to Putin, who has spoken often on this theme. He has, however, chosen to react by placing the emphasis on gaining time for Russia to strengthen itself and trying to corner the West into some sort of cooperation or partnership on a political settlement in Syria, for example, which might have deflected the war dynamic into a more positive course. Putin has, at the same time, skillfully steered Europeans away from NATO escalation.

But in both of these objectives the Obama administration is acting to weaken Putin and Lavrov’s hand, and therefore strengthening the hand of those in Russia calling for a full mobilization for war. It is not coincidental that Bastrykin’s alarm-raising article came now, as the Syria ceasefire is being deliberately infringed and broken. Is this properly understood in the White House? If so, must we conclude that escalation against Russia is desired? As Cohen notes, “the Washington Post [in its editorial pages] tells us regularly that never, never, never ... under any circumstances, can the criminal Putin be a strategic partner of the United States.”

Is the die then cast? Is Putin bound to fail? Is conflict inevitable? Ostensibly, it may seem so. The stage is certainly being set. I have written before on, “the pivot already under way from within the U.S. defense and intelligence arms of Obama’s own administration” toward what is often referred to as the “Wolfowitz doctrine,” a set of policies developed by the U.S. in the 1990s and early 2000s. The author of one of those policies, the 1992 U.S. Defense Planning Guidance, wrote that the DPG in essence sought to:

    ... preclude the emergence of bipolarity, another global rivalry like the Cold War, or multipolarity, a world of many great powers, as existed before the two world wars. To do so, the key was to prevent a hostile power from dominating a ‘critical region,’ defined as having the resources, industrial capabilities and population that, if controlled by a hostile power, would pose a global challenge.

In an interview with Vox, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was clear that this was broadly the bearing by which the Pentagon was being directed to sail. Then again, there is the rather obvious fact that, instead of the much-touted U.S. military pivot ostensibly being to Asia, the actual NATO pivot is being directed to Central Europe — to Russia’s borders. And NATO is plainly pushing the envelope as hard as it dares, up and against Russia’s borders.

Then there is the rhetoric: Russian aggression. Russian ambitions to recover the former Soviet Empire. Russian attempts to divide and destroy Europe. And so on.

    Is conflict inevitable?

Why? It may be that NATO simply presumes these envelope-pushing exercises will never actually come to war, that Russia somehow will back off. And that continuously poking the bear will serve America’s interest in keeping Europe together and NATO cohesive, its sanctions in place, divided from Russia. NATO is due to meet in Warsaw in early July. Perhaps, then, the Western language about Russia’s “aggression” is little more than America heading off any European revolt on sanctions by stirring up a pseudo-threat from Russia and that the Russians are misreading American true intentions, which do not go beyond this. Or do they?

The extraordinary bitterness and emotional outrage with which the American establishment has reacted to Donald Trump’s probable nomination as a presidential candidate suggests that the U.S. establishment is far from having given up on the Wolfowitz doctrine. So has Putin’s strategy of co-opting America in the Middle East been the failure that the Bastrykin faction implies? In other words, is it the case that the policy of gaining cooperation has failed and that Putin must now move beyond it, because America is not about to cooperate and is, instead, continuing the process of cornering Russia?

As the Texas Tribune reported on May 4, “For the first time since his own presidency, George H.W. Bush is planning to stay silent in the race for the Oval Office — and the younger former president Bush plans to stay silent as well.”

To get a sense of the war within the Republican Party (and the Democrats are no less conflicted), read this reaction to that story by the two-time Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. Here’s a small selection:

    Trump’s triumph is a sweeping repudiation of Bush Republicanism by the same party that nominated them [the Bush’s] four times for the presidency. Not only was son and brother, Jeb, humiliated and chased out of the race early, but Trump won his nomination by denouncing as rotten to the core the primary fruits of signature Bush policies ... That is a savage indictment of the Bush legacy. And a Republican electorate, in the largest turnout in primary history, nodded, ‘Amen to that, brother!’

Buchanan continues in another piece: “The hubris here astonishes. A Republican establishment that has been beaten as badly as Carthage in the Third Punic War is now making demands on Scipio Africanus and the victorious Romans” — a reference to Paul Ryan’s attempts to make Trump adhere to Bush Republicanism. “This is difficult to absorb.”

But here, in this crisis, is an opportunity. America could be heading into recession, corporate profits are falling, huge swaths of debt are looking suspect, global trade is sinking and U.S. policy tools for controlling the global financial system have lost their credibility. And there are no easy solutions to the global overhang of increasingly putrid debt.

Trump can simply say that American — and European — national security interests pass directly through Russia, which they clearly do.

But a President Trump — were that to happen — can lay blame for any perfect economic storm on the establishment. America is all knotted up at present, as the presidential nomination melee made clear. Some knots will take time to undo, but some could be undone relatively easily, and it seems that Trump has some sense of this. It could start with a dramatic diplomatic initiative.

Historically, most radical projects of reform have started in this way: overturn a piece of conventional wisdom and unlock the entire policy gridlock — the momentum gained will allow a reformer to steamroll even the hardest resistance — in this case, Wall Street and the financial oligarchy — into making reforms.

Trump can simply say that American — and European — national security interests pass directly through Russia — which they clearly do — that Russia does not threaten America — which it clearly does not — and that NATO is, in any case, “obsolete,” as he has said. It makes perfect sense to join with Russia and its allies to surround and destroy the so-called Islamic State.

If one listens carefully, Trump seems halfway there. It would cut a lot of knots, maybe even untie the policy gridlock. Perhaps that is what he intends?

~     Alastair Crooke, Former MI-6 agent; Author, ‘Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution’

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ain't No Life in Ukraine Anymore

The US coup d'etat in Ukraine destroyed the nation - intentionally - in order to create chaos along the Russian border.   The plan by Washington and Brussels was to bankrupt Ukraine and force Russia to have to deal with the economic consequences of their neighbor's collapse.  All this being aimed to help fulfill the goal of eventual regime change in Moscow.

The abrupt severing of the traditional ties between Russian and Ukrainian businesses, due to suicidal Kiev-imposed regulations, resulted in a 10.7% decline in GDP in 2014 and another 13.4% drop in 2015. Foreign trade, both imports and exports, decreased by one-third. The naive expectations of the incumbent government in Kiev – that Ukrainian products could obtain access to European markets – have been torn to shreds.

Sadly many Ukrainian people at first took the bait and supported the coup in Kiev.  But now the misled people of Ukraine are finding that the promises from America and Europe are hollow - like an empty well.  They've given up their independence, lost their economy, seen their country turned into a war zone and the once promised 'future in the European market' has turned out to be an illusion.  In the meantime the few assets of Ukraine are being sold off to foreign pirates at bargain basement prices.  This is how a nation is robbed and destroyed.  

All this has been done in the name of freedom and democracy.  In the end the only freedom is for the pirates to gain wealth and the democracy, like in so many other places, in just words with no real meaning.

Corporate War on Africa

Every drone flown by the U.S. military has inside a piece of the Democratic Republic of the Congo--a valuable mineral, of which the DRC has trillions of dollars worth buried underground.

For five centuries, the continent of Africa has been ravaged by the world's Empires for its vast untapped treasure. Today, the U.S. Empire is increasing it's military role through their massive command network, AFRICOM, carrying out several missions a day.

With the Congo being arguably the biggest prize for imperialist powers, Abby Martin is joined by Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to look at Empire's role in their history and current catastrophe. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Western Media Taken Over by Corporate 'Group Think'

In the west anyone who dares offer a balanced view of Russia is declared to have been 'Putinized'.  The 'group think' in western circles indicates that a new Cold War is being created come hell or high water.

The Danger of Demonization

By Robert Parry

Does any intelligent person look at a New York Times article about Russia or Vladimir Putin these days and expect to read an objective, balanced account? Or will it be laced with a predictable blend of contempt and ridicule? And is it any different at The Washington Post, NPR, MSNBC, CNN or almost any mainstream U.S. news outlet?

And it’s not just Russia. The same trend holds true for Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries and movements that have fallen onto the U.S. government’s “enemies list.” We saw the same pattern with Saddam Hussein and Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion; with Muammar Gaddafi and Libya before the U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign in 2011; and with President Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine before the U.S.-backed coup in 2014.

That is not to say that these countries and leaders don’t deserve criticism; they do. But the proper role of the press corps – at least as I was taught during my early years at The Associated Press – was to treat all evidence objectively and all sides fairly. Just because you might not like someone doesn’t mean your feelings should show through or the facts should be forced through a prism of bias.

In those “old days,” that sort of behavior was deemed unprofessional and you would expect a senior editor to come down hard on you. Now, however, it seems that you’d only get punished if you quoted some dissident or allowed such a person onto an op-ed page or a talk show, someone who didn’t share Official Washington’s “group think” about the “enemy.” Deviation from “group think” has become the real disqualifier.

Yet, this conformity should be shocking and unacceptable in a country that prides itself on freedom of thought and speech. Indeed, much of the criticism of “enemy” states is that they supposedly practice various forms of censorship and permit only regime-friendly propaganda to reach the public.

But when was the last time you heard anyone in the U.S. mainstream say anything positive or even nuanced about Russian President Putin. He can only be portrayed as some shirtless buffoon or the devil incarnate. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got widespread praise in 2014 when she likened him to Hitler.

Or when has anyone in the U.S. media been allowed to suggest that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his supporters might actually have reason to fear what the U.S. press lovingly calls the “moderate” rebels – though they often operate under the military command of Sunni extremist groups, such as Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. [See’s “Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Deception.“]

For the first three years of the Syrian civil war, the only permissible U.S. narrative was how the brutal Assad was slaughtering peaceful “moderates,” even though Defense Intelligence Agency analysts and other insiders had long been warning about the involvement of violent jihadists in the movement from the uprising’s beginning in 2011.

But that story was kept from the American people until the Islamic State started chopping off the heads of Western hostages in 2014 – and since then, the mainstream U.S. media has only reported the fuller story in a half-hearted and garbled way. [See’s “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

Reason for Conformity

The reason for this conformity among journalists is simple: If you repeat the conventional wisdom, you might find yourself with a lucrative gig as a big-shot foreign correspondent, a regular TV talking head, or a “visiting scholar” at a major think tank. However, if you don’t say what’s expected, your career prospects aren’t very bright.

If you somehow were to find yourself in a mainstream setting and even mildly challenged the “group think,” you should expect to be denounced as a fill-in-the-blank “apologist” or “stooge.” A well-paid avatar of the conventional wisdom might even accuse you of being on the payroll of the despised leader. And, you wouldn’t likely get invited back.

But the West’s demonization of foreign “enemies” is not only an affront to free speech and meaningful democracy, it is also dangerous because it empowers unscrupulous American and European leaders to undertake violent and ill-considered actions that get lots of people killed and that spread hatred against the West.

The most obvious recent example was the Iraq War, which was justified by a barrage of false and misleading claims about Iraq which were mostly swallowed whole by a passive and complicit Western press corps.

Key to that disaster was the demonization of Saddam Hussein, who was subjected to such unrelenting propaganda that almost no one dared question the baseless charges hurled at him about hiding WMD and collaborating with Al Qaeda. To do so would have made you a “Saddam apologist” or worse.

The few who did dare raise their voices faced accusations of treason or were subjected to character assassination. Yet, even after their skepticism was vindicated as the pre-invasion accusations collapsed, there was very little reappraisal. Most of the skeptics remained marginalized and virtually everyone who got the WMD story wrong escaped accountability.

No Accountability

For instance, Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt, who repeatedly reported Iraq’s WMD as “flat fact,” suffered not a whit and remains in the same prestigious job, still enforcing one-sided “group thinks” about “enemies.”

An example of how Hiatt and the Post continue to play the same role as neocon propagandists was on display last year in an editorial condemning Putin’s government for shutting down Russian activities of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy and requiring foreign-funded groups seeking to influence Russian politics to register as foreign agents.

In the Post’s editorial and a companion op-ed by NED President Carl Gershman, you were led to believe that Putin was delusional, paranoid and “power mad” in his concern that outside money funneled into non-governmental organizations was a threat to Russian sovereignty.

However, the Post and Gershman left out a few salient facts, such as the fact that NED is funded by the U.S. government and was the brainchild of Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director William J. Casey in 1983 to partially replace the CIA’s historic role in creating propaganda and political fronts inside targeted nations.

Also missing was the fact that Gershman himself announced in another Post op-ed that he saw Ukraine, prior to the 2014 coup, as “the biggest prize” and a steppingstone toward achieving Putin’s ouster in Russia. The Post also forgot to mention that the Russian law about “foreign agents” was modeled after a U.S. statute entitled the Foreign Agent Registration Act. [See’s “Why Russia Shut Down NED Fronts.”]

All those points would have given the Post’s readers a fuller and fairer understanding of why Putin and Russia acted as they did, but that would have messed up the desired propaganda narrative seeking to demonize Putin. The goal was not to inform the American people but to manipulate them into a new Cold War hostility toward Russia.

We’ve seen a similar pattern with the U.S. government’s “information warfare” around high-profile incidents. In the “old days’ – at least when I arrived in Washington in the late 1970s – there was much more skepticism among journalists about the official line from the White House or State Department. Indeed, it was a point of pride among journalists not to simply accept whatever the spokesmen or officials were saying, but to check it out.

There was plenty of enough evidence – from the Tonkin Gulf lies to the Watergate cover-up – to justify a critical examination of government claims. But that tradition has been lost, too. Despite the costly deceptions before the Iraq War, the Times, the Post and other mainstream outlets simply accept whatever accusations the U.S. government hurls against “enemies.” Beyond the gullibility, there is even hostility toward those of us who insist on seeing real evidence.

Examples of this continuing pattern include the acceptance of the U.S. government line on the sarin gas attack outside Damascus, Syria, on Aug. 21, 2013, and the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. The first was blamed on Syria’s Assad and the second on Russia’s Putin – quite convenient even though U.S. officials refused to present any solid evidence to support their claims.

See the rest of this important article here

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

Wikileaks Exposes U.S. Brazil Coup

Wikileaks catches Washington red-handed doing another coup d'etat on behalf of corporate interests.  How can the American people idly sit back and continue to watch Washington topple country after country?  In recent years Honduras, Ukraine and now Brazil have been taken down.

It's obvious that 'democracy' in the US does not exist. How the hell can the corporate state in Washington think it has the right to decide who can run a particular nation?

Ten countries have rejected this US-sponsored coup and have pulled their ambassadors as they refuse to recognize the new 'government' installed in Brazil.  Those countries are Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Russia and China.

Where are the voices from the rest of the nations around the globe?  Are they under the control of Washington as well?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Latest Public Access TV Show

My latest 'This Issue' public access TV show where I interview Lisa Savage, a long-time Maine educator and peace activist.

She talks about military recruiting in Maine's schools, and her newly-organized Maine Natural Guard, which is raising awareness about the huge carbon bootprint of the Pentagon, the amounts of money spent on wars and weapons, and the lack of coverage of these wars and other real issues in our mainstream media.

We also briefly discuss the situation in Palestine and the current Boycott, Divest, Sanctions campaign against Israeli apartheid.

Lisa is always a great guest - she got alot of information into this show.

Thanks to Eric Herter for uploading the show for us.  Also thanks to Dan Ellis and Donna Frisoli for their quick thinking when one of the two studio cameras stopped working in the middle of the show. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Those 'Brave' Nazis at it Again

A World War Two veteran has died after her sister, also a veteran, was attacked by nationalists. They threw a green dye at her during Victory Day celebrations in a city in central Ukraine.

May 9 was the day that people throughout the former Soviet Union celebrated the defeat of Nazi German forces during the WW II invasion of Russia that cost more than 27 million lives.

Ironically today the US-NATO, with German forces, are holding war games on Russia's border.  See here for more on that provocative military exercise.

Chaos in the Democratic Party

This video is from the Nevada state Democratic Party convention yesterday.  They were deciding on the final delegate count for the national convention - how many delegates would Clinton or Sanders get?  (The last 5:30 minutes give the best explanation as to what actually happened.)

As far as I can tell the Clinton forces pulled a couple of fast ones and changed the rules midstream and ended up giving Clinton more delegates than she actually earned to the national convention.  The Sanders people obviously didn't like the dirty tricks.

At some point a fight broke out and the police were called.

The bigger picture here is what is most important.  My guess is that Clinton knows that Sanders is closing strong with expected victories in most of the final primaries.  Clinton is going to use every tool possible at these state conventions to pad her numbers before the national convention.

This Nevada event will do nothing to reassure Sanders voters across the country that Clinton is an upstanding leader.  As this story is replicated across the country in the next few months, and it will be, we'll see the growing disillusionment of the Sanders legions.

It is actually unreasonable for anyone to expect that a party under the control of Clinton's corporate backers would ever allow a truly democratic process to take place - especially when so many people have lined up across the country to oppose her corrupt campaign for the White House.

There is alot of money at stake in this election.  Clinton represents the interests of the war machine, Wall Street, resource extraction companies, insurance and pharma industries, big agriculture and more.  Those embedded corporate players don't give a damn about democracy.

Sunday Song