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, June 30, 2016

The Soap Opera Continues.....

You can't make this shit up......the script must be written in Hollywood.

No, on second thought, they are writing it on Madison Avenue in New York conjunction with Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington DC.

All of the regional houses of the corporate gangster American oligarchy are writing this and laughing at the public as they fall for the soap opera now called 'The 2016 National Election'.

The corrupt corporate oligarchies don't need us anymore - we are being turned against one another.

Outrage Continues in Sicily at U.S. Space Tech Base

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

MUOS is used for drone-to-Earth communication. The MUOS is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) (300 MHz to 3 GHz frequency range) SATCOM system, primarily serving the Pentagon. Intended primarily for mobile users (e.g. aerial and maritime platforms, ground vehicles, and dismounted soldiers), MUOS will extend users' voice, data, and video communications beyond their lines-of-sight.

The MUOS system includes four ground station facilities. The four ground stations, each of which serves one of the four active satellites of the MUOS constellation will be located at: the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station at Kojarena about 30 km east of Geraldton, Western Australia; Naval Radio Transmitter Facility (NRTF) Niscemi about 60 km from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy; Naval SATCOM Facility, Northwest Chesapeake, Southeast Virginia; and the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Hawaii.

Along with transmitter stations in Virginia, Hawaii and Australia, the MUOS bases will function as a relay station for instantaneous multimedia communication between U.S. armed forces personnel stationed around the world.

According to journalist Antonio Mazzeo Due, “The MUOS embodies the many contradictions of neoliberal globalization. It kills in the name of peace and order. It destroys the climate, the environment, the land. It squanders human and financial resources.”

Sicilian activists are against the military exploitation of their land and have been organizing to fight against the MUOS. For the No MUOS resistance Sicily is a bridge of peace between Africa and Europe.

High power broadcast transmitters at mobile frequencies are the source of concern among the local residents, who fear cancer-inducing effects and other health hazards. The environmental impact of the station is also a source of concern. Niscemi is home to “la Sughereta”, a nature reserve containing one of the few wild cork oak woods still left in the country. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Quit Clowning Around

we need
to quit

Quit the show
resign from the game
the rat race
declare our
mental competence
decolonize our minds
and our
lost souls

Reconnect to
what is real
and true
Mother Earth
and our sacred
the things
that walk
that fly
that swim
that crawl
our plant
brothers and sisters
the air
the sky

We got sold
a bad trip
with one hell
of a hangover
it was a trap

'make $$$$
be free'
'we don't need
or nothin'

and easily
picked off

The show
is over
we've had
the jokers
the wild cards
the game is rigged
and only the devil
treads there...

Deadly Connections Emerge Between Ferry Disaster and Jeju Navy Base

the Hankyoreh reports:

It has been officially confirmed that the Sewol ferry was carrying 410 tons of iron bars meant for construction at the time of the sinking. The government acknowledged that 278 tons of these iron bars were bound for the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island [South Korea].

But instead of closing the case, the government’s confirmation is only stirring up more suspicions. If the investigative period of the Special Sewol Investigative Commission comes to an end on June 30 as the government intends, we will be even further away from learning the truth about the tragedy two years ago that claimed the lives of 304 people, nine of whose bodies have never been recovered.

Around 9 pm on Apr. 15, 2014, the Sewol ferry departed Incheon Harbor on its own, while poor weather compelled other ships to remain in port. Following the disclosure of the iron bars that were intended for the Jeju naval base, allegations are being raised that the ship put to sea rashly in order to meet the construction schedule for the base.

See the rest of this important story here 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

More History from 'Democracy Land'

Memory of Fire
Century of the Wind

By Eduardo Galeano

1952: On the High Seas
Wanted: Charlie the Tramp

Charles Chaplin sails for London. On the second day at sea, news reaches the ship that he won't be able to return to the US. The attorney general applies to his case a law aimed at foreigners suspected of communism, depravity, or insanity.

Some years earlier Chaplin had been interrogated by officials of the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service:
Are you of Jewish origin?
Are you a Communist?
Have you ever committed adultery?

Senator Richard Nixon and the gossip columnist Hedda Hopper agree: Chaplin is a menace to our institutions.  Outside theaters showing his films, the Legion of Decency and the American Legion picket with signs demanding: Chaplin, go to Russia.

The FBI has for nearly thirty years been seeking proof that Chaplin is really a Jew named Israel Thonstein and that he works as a spy for Moscow.  Their suspicions were aroused in 1923 when Pravda printed the comment: Chaplin is an actor of undoubted talent.

1954: Washington
The Deciding Machine, Piece by Piece

Dwight Eisenhower  President of the US. Overthrew the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran because it nationalized oil. Has now given orders to overthrow the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.
Sam Zemurray  Principal stockholder in United Fruit.  All his concerns automatically turn into US government declarations, and ultimately into rifles, mortars, machineguns, and CIA airplanes.
John Foster Dulles  US Secretary of State.  Former lawyer for United Fruit.
Allen Dulles  Director of the CIA.  Brother of John Foster Dulles.  Like him, has done legal work for United Fruit. Together they organize "Operation Guatemala."
John Moors Cabot  Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.  Brother of Thomas Cabot, the president of United Fruit.
Walter Bedell Smith  Under Secretary of State.  Serves as liaison in Operation Guatemala.  Future member of the board of United Fruit.
Henry Cabot Lodge  Senator, US representative to the United Nations.  United Fruit shareholder.  Has on various occasions received money from this company for speeches in the Senate.
Anne Whitman  Personal secretary ot President Eisenhower.  Married to United Fruit public relations chief.
Spruille Braden  Former US ambassador to several Latin American countries.  Has received a salary from United Fruit since 1948.  Is widely reported in the press to have exhorted Eisenhower to suppress communism by force in Guatemala.
Robert Hill  US ambassador to Costa Rica.  Collaborates on "Operation Guatemala". Future board member of United Fruit.
John Peurifoy  US ambassador to Guatemala.  Known as the butcher of Greece for his past diplomatic service in Athens. Speaks no Spanish.  Political background: the US Senate, Washington DC, where he once worked as an elevator operator.

1955: Guatemala City
One Year after the Reconquest of Guatemala
Richard Nixon visits this occupied land.  The union of United Fruit workers and five hundred and thirty-two other unions have been banned by the new government.  The new penal code punishes with death anyone who calls a strike.  Political parties are outlawed.  The books of Dostoyevsky and other Soviet writers have been thrown onto the bonfire.

The banana kingdom has been saved from agrarian reform.  The vice-president of the US congratulates President Castillo Armas.  For the first time in history, says Nixon, a Communist government has been replaced by a free one.

Close U.S. NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire, England

Monday, June 27, 2016

Clinton paid off by Wall Street - What do they want in return?


Here’s how much Hillary Clinton was paid for her 2013-2015 speeches:

  • 4/18/2013, Morgan Stanley, Washington, DC: $225,000
  • 4/24/2013, Deutsche Bank, Washington, DC: $225,000
  • 4/24/2013, National Multi Housing Council, Dallas, Texas: $225,000
  • 4/30/2013, Fidelity Investments, Naples, Fla.: $225,000
  • 5/8/2013, Gap Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,000
  • 5/14/2013, Apollo Management Holdings LP, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 5/16/2013, Itau BBA USA Securities, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 5/21/2013, Vexizon Communications Inc., Washington, DC: $225,000
  • 5/29/2013, Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. LLC, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 6/4/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, Palmetto Bluffs, SC: $225,000
  • 6/6/2013, Spencer Stuart, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 6/16/2013, Society for Human Resource Management, Chicago, Ill.: $285,000
  • 6/17/2013, Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, Mich.: $225,000
  • 6/20/2013, Boston Consulting Group Inc., Boston, Mass.: $225,000
  • 6/20/2013, Let’s Talk Entertainment Inc., Toronto, Canada: $250,000
  • 6/24/2013, American Jewish University, Universal City, Calif.: $225,000
  • 6/24/2013, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company LP, Palos Verdes, Calif.: $225,000
  • 7/11/2013, UBS Wealth Management, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 8/7/2013, Global Business Travel Association, San Diego, Calif.: $225,000
  • 8/12/2013, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,000
  • 9/18/2013, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Chicago, Ill.: $225,000
  • 9/19/2013, American Society of Travel Agents Inc., Miami, Fla.: $225,000
  • 10/4/2013, Long Island Association, Long Island, NY: $225,000
  • 10/15/2013, National Association of Convenience Stores, Atlanta, Ga.: $265,000
  • 10/23/2013, SAP Global Marketing Inc., New York, NY: $225,000
  • 10/24/2013, Accenture, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 10/24/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 10/27/2013, Beth El Synagogue, Minneapolis, Minn.: $225,000
  • 10/28/2013, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, Ill.: $400,000
  • 10/29/2013, The Goldman Sachs Group, Tuscon, Ariz.: $225,000
  • 11/4/2013, Mase Productions Inc., Orlando, Fla.: $225,000
  • 11/4/2013, London Drugs Ltd., Mississauga, Canada: $225,000
  • 11/6/2013, Beaumont Health System, Troy, Mich.: $305,000
  • 11/7/2013, Golden Tree Asset Management, New York, NY: $275,000
  • 11/9/2013, National Association of Realtors, San Francisco, Calif.: $225,000
  • 11/13/2013, Mediacorp Canada Inc., Toronto, Canada: $225,000
  • 11/13/2013, Bank of America, Bluffton, SC: $225,000
  • 11/14/2013, CB Richard Ellis Inc., New York, NY: $250,000
  • 11/18/2013, CIIE Group, Naples, Fla.: $225,000
  • 11/18/2013, Press Ganey, Orlando, Fla.: $225,000
  • 11/21/2013, U.S. Green Building Council, Philadelphia, Pa.: $225,000
  • 01/06/2014, GE, Boca Raton, Fla.: $225,500
  • 01/27/2014, National Automobile Dealers Association, New Orleans, La.: $325,500
  • 01/27/2014, Premier Health Alliance, Miami, Fla.: $225,500
  • 02/06/2014,, Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,500
  • 02/17/2014, Novo Nordisk A/S, Mexico City, Mexico: $125,000
  • 02/26/2014, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Orlando, Fla.: $225,500
  • 02/27/2014, A&E Television Networks, New York, NY: $280,000
  • 03/04/2014, Association of Corporate Counsel – Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.: $225,500
  • 03/05/2014, The Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver, Canada: $275,500
  • 03/06/2014, tinePublic Inc., Calgary, Canada: $225,500
  • 03/13/2014, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, Orlando, Fla.: $225,500
  • 03/13/2014, Drug Chemical and Associated Technologies, New York, NY: $250,000
  • 03/18/2014, Xerox Corporation, New York, NY: $225,000
  • 03/18/2014, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Montreal, Canada: $275,000
  • 03/24/2014, Academic Partnerships, Dallas, Texas: $225,500
  • 04/08/2014, Market° Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
  • 04/08/2014, World Affairs Council, Portland, Ore.: $250,500
  • 04/10/2014, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., Las Vegas, Nev.: $225,500
  • 04/10/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment, San Jose, Calif.: $265,000
  • 04/11/2014, California Medical Association (via satellite), San Diego, Calif.: $100,000
  • 05/06/2014, National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, Washington, DC: $225,500
  • 06/02/2014, International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association, Denver, Colo.: $225,500
  • 06/02/2014, Lees Talk Entertainment, Denver, Colo.: $265,000
  • 06/10/2014, United Fresh Produce Association, Chicago, Ill.: $225,000
  • 06/16/2014, tinePublic Inc., Toronto, Canada: $150,000
  • 06/18/2014, tinePublic Inc., Edmonton, Canada: $100,000
  • 06/20/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment, Austin, Texas: $150,000
  • 06/25/2014, Biotechnology Industry Organization, San Diego, Calif.: $335,000
  • 06/25/2014, Innovation Arts and Entertainment, San Francisco, Calif.: $150,000
  • 06/26/2014, GTCR, Chicago, Ill.: $280,000
  • 07/22/2014, Knewton Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
  • 07/26/2014, Ameriprise, Boston, Mass.: $225,500
  • 07/29/2014, Coming Inc., Coming, NY: $225,500
  • 08/28/2014, Nexenta Systems Inc., San Francisco, Calif.: $300,000
  • 08/28/2014, Cisco, Las Vegas, Nev.: $325,000
  • 09/04/2014, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, San Diego, Calif.: $225,500
  • 09/15/2014, Caridovascular Research Foundation, Washington, DC: $275,000
  • 10/02/2014, Commercial Real Estate Women Network, Miami Beach, Fla.: $225,500
  • 10/06/2014, Canada 2020, Ottawa, Canada: $215,500
  • 10/07/2014, Deutsche Bank AG, New York, NY: $280,000
  • 10/08/2014, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Chicago, Ill.: $265,000
  • 10/13/2014, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Colorado Springs, Colo.: $225,500
  • 10/14/2014,, San Francisco, Calif.: $225,500
  • 10/14/2014, Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego, Calif.: $335,000
  • 12/04/2014, Massachusetts Conference for Women, Boston, Mass.: $205,500
  • 01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc., Winnipeg, Canada: $262,000
  • 01/21/2015, tinePublic Inc., Saskatoon, Canada: $262,500
  • 01/22/2015, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Whistler, Canada: $150,000
  • 02/24/2015, Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, Santa Clara, Calif.: $225,500
  • 03/11/2015, eBay Inc., San Jose, Calif.: $315,000
  • 03/19/2015, American Camping Association, Atlantic City, NJ: $260,000
Total: $21,667,000

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her husband Bill hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.

Say 'NO' to NATO's Endless War$

How Dare the Neo-Cons Push Us into Nuclear War?!

Helen Caldicott has been warning us about the dangers of nuclear war for the past 30 years and she is still at it - thank you Helen.

Isn't it time we stopped falling for the lies and deception coming from the likes of Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland, Ashton Carter, and the button pushers inside the Pentagon?

And isn't it time we stopped listening to the lies and deception coming from NPR, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC and the rest of the corporate owned media?

Russia and China are not the enemy.  The enemy are the corrupt corporate oligarchies that run this country and most of the world.  They are dragging us all to hell.  Why don't we stop following them over the cliff?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Must See Movie

It is called 'The Free State of Jones' and is a true story about anti-slave rebellion that happened in the very deep south state of Mississippi.

Just opened in theaters this weekend.  I'll be going to see it in the next few days.

History from South of the Border

Watching the UK & Germany

Jeremy Corbyn on the hot seat by mainstream media outlet in England.  Tony Blair's crew inside the Labour Party are at war with Corbyn over control.  Just like here in the US we see Hillary's crew kicking the shit out of the Sanders folks.

The corporate oligarchy has virtually every institution in the US infiltrated - money and influence.  We can't reform our way out of the corrupt evil system that worships what the Native Americans called the Green Frog Skin - the $$$$.  The money system interrupts our spiritual connection with our Mother Earth and one another.  We have to move quickly toward a whole new way of living.  Each of us should begin with a cleaning out of our colonized minds.

I try to watch UK politics closely - there is a waving pattern between Washington and London.  Things have a tendency to happen here or there first with the other then following - the political agenda thus becomes clearer.

I lived in Leicester, England for three years as a boy.  I was heavily influenced by British culture.  Pieces of my heart remain there. The same with Germany - I lived there twice growing up in an Air Force family.

By following German politics closely I've learned that the Nazis didn't really lose the war.  The U.S. just made them junior partners, similar to what happened with Japan after the end of WW II.  David Talbott, in his book The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, writes:

"During the war [Maj. Gen.] Reinhard Gehlen had served as Hitler's intelligence chief on the eastern front. His Foreign Armies East (Fremde Heere Ost) apparatus relentlessly probed for weaknesses in the Soviet defenses as the Nazi juggernaut made its eastward thrust.  Gehlen's FHO also pinpointed the location of Jews, Communists, and other enemies of the Reich in the 'bloodlands' overrun by Hitler's forces, so they could be rounded up and executed by the Einsatzgruppen death squads.  Most of the intelligence gathered by Gehlen's men was extracted from the enormous population of Soviet prisoners of war - which eventually totaled four million - that fell under Nazi control.  Gehlen's exalted reputation as an intelligence wizard, which won him the Fuhrer's admiration and his major general's rank, derived from his organization's widespread use of torture."

To make it quick and simple, Maj. Gen. Gehlen made a deal with Allen Dulles (then running the precursor of the CIA called the OSS) that if he and his team were spared trial at Nuremberg he'd turn over his 'rat line' of fascist operatives throughout Europe and would work for the US.  Gehlen was brought to the US and put through loyalty tests and eventually sent back to the newly created West Germany where he was put in charge of intelligence in the post war 'free' Germany.

Gehlen's post-war operatives across Europe where used to disrupt and destroy left-wing attempts to win electoral victories in European countries (Operation Gladio).  His death squads were used to target the Algerian independence movement. Gehlen and Dulles worked overtime to destabilize the Soviet eastern bloc taking great pleasure in making Stalin hyper-paranoid thus getting him to overreact and launch brutal internal crackdowns on innocent Soviet citizens.

Now that the American imperial project is crashing and burning the real history of the 'Cold War' has begun to emerge and the blinders of deception are steadily falling from the public's eyes.  What comes next is unknown but until the American people learn the real story behind this 'Hollywood democracy' little can change for the better.   

Sunday Song

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Why the British said 'No' to Europe

By John Pilger

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain.  The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life. 

A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.

Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.

The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation”, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.

All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor. In Britain today, 63 per cent of poor children grow up in families where one member is working. For them, the trap has closed. More than 600,000 residents of Britain’s second city, Greater Manchester, are, reports a study, “experiencing the effects of extreme poverty” and 1.6 million are slipping into penury.

Little of this social catastrophe is acknowledged in the bourgeois controlled media, notably the Oxbridge dominated BBC. During the referendum campaign, almost no insightful analysis was allowed to intrude upon the clichéd hysteria about “leaving Europe”, as if Britain was about to be towed in hostile currents somewhere north of Iceland.

On the morning after the vote, a BBC radio reporter welcomed politicians to his studio as old chums. “Well,” he said to “Lord” Peter Mandelson, the disgraced architect of Blairism, “why do these people want it so badly?” The “these people” are the majority of Britons.

The wealthy war criminal Tony Blair remains a hero of the Mandelson “European” class, though few will say so these days. The Guardian once described Blair as “mystical” and has been true to his “project” of rapacious war.  The day after the vote, the columnist Martin Kettle offered a Brechtian solution to the misuse of democracy by the masses. “Now surely we can agree referendums are bad for Britain”, said the headline over his full-page piece. The “we” was unexplained but understood -- just as “these people” is understood. “The referendum has conferred less legitimacy on politics, not more,” wrote Kettle. “ …  the verdict on referendums should be a ruthless one. Never again.”

The kind of ruthlessness Kettle longs is found in Greece, a country now airbrushed. There, they had a referendum and the result was ignored.  Like the Labour Party in Britain, the leaders of the Syriza government in Athens are the products of an affluent, highly privileged, educated middle class, groomed in the fakery and  political treachery of post-modernism. The Greek people courageously used the referendum to demand their government sought “better terms” with a venal status in Brussels that was crushing the life out of their country. They were betrayed, as the British would have been betrayed.

On Friday, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was asked by the BBC if he would pay tribute to the departed Cameron, his comrade in the “remain” campaign. Corbyn fulsomely praised Cameron’s “dignity” and noted his backing for gay marriage and his apology to the Irish families of the dead of Bloody Sunday. He said nothing about Cameron’s divisiveness, his brutal austerity policies, his lies about “protecting” the Health Service. Neither did he remind people of the war mongering of the Cameron government: the dispatch of British special forces to Libya and British bomb aimers to Saudi Arabia and, above all, the beckoning of world war three.

In the week of the referendum vote, no British politician and, to my knowledge, no journalist referred to Vladimir Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941.  The Soviet victory – at a cost of 27 million Soviet lives and the majority of all German forces – won the Second World War.

Putin likened the current frenzied build up of Nato troops and war material on Russia’s western borders to the Third Reich’s Operation Barbarossa. Nato’s exercises in Poland were the biggest since the Nazi invasion; Operation Anaconda had simulated an attack on Russia, presumably with nuclear weapons. On the eve of the referendum, the quisling secretary-general of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, warned Britons they would be endangering “peace and security” if they voted to leave the EU.  The millions who ignored him and Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Obama and the man who runs the Bank of England may, just may, have struck a blow for real peace and democracy in Europe.

~ 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.

Putin Responds to U.S. 'Missile Defense' Deployments in Eastern Europe

At a discussion with representatives of various media outlets, Putin urges journalists to report genuinely on the impending global conflict being promoted by US-NATO. 

He discusses the Pentagon's deceptive story about what 'missile defense' (MD) is and the purpose of the U.S. deployments in Romania and Poland.

Russia and China have been repeatedly saying for several years that any hopes for serious negotiations for reductions of nuclear weapons are dead in the water as long as Washington insists on surrounding them with these MD deployments.

Wake up and smell the coffee.  The U.S. is pushing war with Russia and China.  They are both pleading with the world to take notice.

Neo-Cons Pushing U.S. Toward the Big War

Germany’s top diplomat, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had harsh words for NATO regarding its planned buildup of troops along Russia’s western border, saying: “What we should avoid today is inflaming the situation [between Ukraine and Russia] by warmongering and stomping boots.”

Author and contributing editor at The Nation magazine, James Carden, joins RT America’s Anya Parampil to discuss NATO and the 51 diplomats at the US State Department who signed onto internal memo advocating for regime change in Syria, which he calls “atrocious” and “very disturbing.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Creating a False Crisis in Order to Privatize the VA Health Care System

I went to the Veterans Administration (VA) health clinic at Togus, Maine earlier this week to meet with a doctor in preparation for an upcoming test.  I've been in the VA health care system for a couple years now and must say the treatment I have received has been excellent.

I've noted recently an avalanche of bad coverage for the VA in the mainstream media and have come to the conclusion that it is an orchestrated campaign in order to create the momentum to privatize the VA.

The corporate health insurance companies would love to get their hands on the money that is spent on the VA health care system each year.  The movement to privatize the VA is also linked to the corporate health insurance companies wanting to kill any program that smacks of government sponsored health care - what we call a single payer system or Medicare for all.  The privateers want to destroy all their competition.

The 2016 budget includes roughly $70 billion in discretionary funding for the VA, for a total budget of about $168 billion — the rest being made up of mandatory benefit programs such as pensions and disability payments for veterans.  That is a huge amount of money - even if only the $70 billion part of the VA budget got privatized you can see the impact that money would have in the hands of the already well endowed private insurance profiteers.

With all the U.S. wars during the past 30 years I'm sure the costs for veterans care is growing dramatically - the corporate insurance companies want those bucks.

In my view the VA health care system is a good model for the entire nation.  I've had nothing but positive and caring service at the Togus clinic here in Maine.  The private companies don't want to see a successful government run health care model thus they have been running their mainstream corporate media campaign to destroy the credibility of the VA system.

Every time I go to the VA clinic at Togus I say to myself - this is the kind of care and treatment that every citizen should get - at no direct cost.  If only a portion of the money we currently spend in the 'for profit' health care world could be put into a Medicare for all system we'd have much better care at a much lower cost.

Don't fall for the demonize and privatize the VA scam that is being run these days.  Keep the VA and expand the system into a real national health care program for everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

No Reform Coming from Democrats.....

The Electronic Intifada reports:

Allies of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred at the Democratic platform drafting committee’s first round of hearings on 9 June over the issue of Palestinian freedom and Israel.

The clashes point to deeper struggles over Israel taking place within the party.

Sanders’ backers called for elevating Palestinian rights and acknowledging Israel’s military occupation in the party’s general election platform.

The video above shows highlights of the exchanges.

Those requests from Sanders allies were roundly rejected by Clinton supporters, who recycled platitudes about Israel’s security, apparently disputed the existence of Israeli military occupation and attacked the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The 15-member drafting committee includes five members chosen by Sanders, among them grassroots activists and at least one BDS supporter.

The other ten, appointed by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, mostly include lobbyists and establishment insiders.

“China will react if provoked again: you risk the war”

Interview with Andre Vltchek

By Alessandro Bianchi

Andre Vltchek has become renowned in Italy for being the co-author, along with Noam Chomsky, of the famous book “Western Terrorism” (Ponte alle Grazie).

 A documentary filmmaker, novelist, essayist, philosopher and intellectual, multi-faceted Vltchek is the cosmopolitan man par excellence, a “true revolutionary” as he likes to call himself. In recent years with his camera and his extraordinary commitment against injustice on this planet he has explored every corner of the Earth and taken over the length and breadth of Western terrorism, one that our media likes to censor and hide from our consciences.

 After the interviews with the great Australian journalist John Pilger and the famous American playwright John Steppling, we have the honor and privilege of speaking to our great friend of l’AntiDiplomatico, asking some questions on burning current international issues.

Q: I start from a brutal question: What has become of a country that it offering Donald Trump as its ‘best candidate’?

AV: It is not much different from the country that it used to be for decades, even centuries. Since the beginning, the US presidents (all of European stock, of course), had been promoting slavery, extermination campaigns against the native population of North America, barbaric wars of aggression against Mexico, and other Latin American countries, the Philippines, etc. Has anything changed now? I highly doubt it. Donald Trump is horrendous, but he is also honest. Both Presidents Clinton and Obama were great speakers, but unrepentant mass murderers.

Q: In a recent survey over 53% of Americans were against both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. How long will we continue to consider the United States a democracy? And why, in your opinion, is abstention the only form of “rebellion” by a population completely excluded from the decision-making stage?

AV: “Democracy” means nothing else other than, “rule of the people”, in Greek. There is nothing democratic about the political concepts of the United States and Europe. And there is absolutely nothing democratic about the “global arrangement” through which the West has been ruling over the rest of the world for decades and centuries. The second part is, I’m convinced, much more important, much more devastating; in the West, people have been tolerating their insane political system, in exchange for the countless privileges they are getting from their countries’ plundering of the planet, and violating entire nations and continents. But in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, those “un-people” have no choice at all.

Q: Is Bernie Sanders really the change that many in Europe have described?

AV: Bernie Sanders is like those liberal members of the German National Socialist Party during the WWII, or of the Italian Fascist movement during Mussolini. They’d do much for their own workers and peasants, socially… as long as funds were flowing in from the countries plundered by their imperialism. Under Bernie Sanders, Western workers would definitely do much better, but the rest of the world, the “wretched of the Earth” would still have to pay the bill.

Q: What would happen to the world under a Hillary Clinton’s presidency?

AV: Nothing exceptional – things would stay the same: sponsorship of “Color” or “Umbrella” or whatever “revolutions”, some more coups, “regime changes”, direct invasions, bombing, propaganda warfare against China, Russia, Iran, South Africa and what is left of the Latin American revolutions. There would be plenty of torture in “secret centers”, but it would not be as advertised and glorified as it would be if Trump were elected. World War III would become a great possibility, but such a scenario is quite possible under any new US administration… To answer your question: business as usual.

Q: What did you feel when you recently saw Obama speaking in Hiroshima and not apologizing for what was done by his country, declaring almost sarcastically – as the head of the world’s first atomic power – hope for a world without nuclear weapons?

AV: I’m quite immune to such speeches, aren’t you? Although, yes… somehow Obama’s is much more disgusting than others, because he is smart and we all “know that he knows”. He is thoroughly dishonest and it is clear. It would be somehow more acceptable to see George W. puking over sushi. And Trump: he’d probably declare in Hiroshima that he’d nuke half of Asia if it would help the West to retain its control over the world. At least one would not harbor any false hopes.

Q: Will the growing US expansionism come to a breaking point and collision with China?

AV: Yes it will. I have no doubt about it. China is one of the greatest cultures on Earth, and it is one of those countries that suffered immensely from colonialist horrors and humiliation. Chinese people are indignant. Indignant! For decades, despite everything, they tried to make peace with the West. They are in fact the most peaceful big nation on Earth and what do they get in return? They get insults, provocations and intimidation.

The Western public should learn and remember one essential thing about China: no matter what European and North American propaganda barks about the People’s Republic, China is much more “democratic” than the West. It is democratic in its own way. For thousands of years, it developed its own political system. Its rulers, no matter who they are, are given a conditional right to govern by the people. In the past, but even now it is called a “Heavenly Mandate”. If the rulers fail to respect the will of the people, they get deposed. And the Communist Party of China is greatly respectful of the desires of the majority of the Chinese people. When they want liberal reforms, they are delivered. When they want more Communism and an epic fight against corruption, like now, China’s government immediately reacts. It is powerful and democratic, although a very specific and complex arrangement.

And now, the Chinese people are outraged and they are sending clear signals to Beijing: “do not succumb to the West.” “If you do, our nation will suffer immensely, and the rest of the world will turn to ashes.”

Do understand: Chinese people are brilliant; the West cannot fool them. And they are thoroughly sick of Western imperialism. This time, if confronted and provoked, the Chinese government would yield to the pressure from its people: it would be forced to give orders to fight – to defend its motherland!

Q: Although it is NATO that is bringing his installations more and more to the East, in Europe our information apparatus feeds the danger of an aggressive Russia. Who benefits from spreading these Russophobe feelings?

AV: Of course, the Empire! Of course, the Western supremacists!

With Russia, it is almost similar to China: people there have had it up to here with the West! The Russian people suffered immensely from Western imperialism. Throughout their history they fought countless invasions led by the French, Scandinavians, Brits, North Americans, Germans, Poles, Czechs and others. Tens of millions of Russian people died, fighting all sorts of Western expansionism. They defeated Nazism. They helped to liberate much of our world from colonialism. Of course the West never forgave Russia for fighting the epic battles against its expansionism and colonialism.

But it is not only European and North American propaganda that is responsible for the present state of things: it is also the people, quite ordinary people, living in the West.

For years now, the fake European ‘left’ is trying to portray European citizens as victims of the US imperialism. It is even trying to make the world feel sorry for those European workers who do not get a fair deal from their governments! It is thoroughly absurd. Overwhelming the majority of European citizens are unhappy with the social deal they get, yes; and that is why they are so angry with their governments. Because they want more, much more! They couldn’t care less that their benefits, salaries and other privileges, have been, for decades and centuries ‘subsidized’ by the plunder of other parts of the planet; that they are paid for by blood. There is absolutely no solidarity in the West towards its own victims, and the recent ‘refugee crises’ is direct proof of it. Fanon and Sartre had already determined more than 50 years ago, each and every European citizen is responsible for (and has been benefiting from) the countless genocides and unbridled theft. It has to be repeated again and again: you give Europeans once again ‘all benefits that they can eat’, you make them work shorter hours, and you give more money, and they’d be back in a self-congratulatory, self-righteous mode; damned be the rest of the world. The only reason so many are so pissed off at the US is because they see North America as promoting a ‘bad deal’ for its own masses, not because it is ruining the rest of the world!

So, back to Russia… Russia, despite its heavy flirtation with capitalism and some quite unsavory oligarchs, is still building its foreign policy on the Soviet ideals of internationalism, solidarity and logic. And even domestically, President Putin is slowly, step-by-step, restoring many important Soviet achievements that were torpedoed by a nitwit, and one gangster – Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Let’s not forget that one poll after another clearly demonstrates that well over 50% of Russian citizens still wants both socialism and the USSR back. And the Russian government is listening.

The West, both the elites (consciously) and ordinary people (sub-consciously), want Russia to go to hell; to disappear, drown, explode. It is because Russia is once again defending humanism all over the world. If it succeeds, the elites would lose their power over the planet, and the ‘ordinary citizens’ of the West would lose their privileges; the plunder would have to stop, and the life of one African or Asian person would suddenly gain the same value as that of a one European or North American. And that would be really ‘unacceptable’!

On top of it, Russia and China have become two great allies. They’d never be divided as they were during the Cold War Days. Russia and China together cannot be defeated: militarily, economically or morally. The West can only try to destroy them internally, through horrendous sets of tricks, propaganda and toxic lies. But now even such a scenario is unlikely. Russian people, like their Chinese comrades, are well aware of what is going on. And there are tens of millions of their martyrs who are reminding them what is to be expected from the West.

Encircled and provoked, Russia is once again turning into a mighty monolithic defense wall. Its people are ready! They want peace, above anything else. But if they’d have to fight for their own survival, and for the survival of the world, they will. And this time again, if there is a showdown, two enormous nations, Russia and China, standing side-by-side, will defeat fascism!

That is why Russia is hated. That is why China is hated. They are forming a tremendous, final defense line protecting humanity from the Western terror.

Q: Since the advent of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, which began with the famous Obama’s speech at the University of Cairo in 2009, the Eastern Mediterranean has become a powder keg. Was it an external plan – a planned destruction of the states hostile to rulers in Washington, like Libya and Syria in particular, or was it a real quest for democracy and freedom?

AV: Both. Some socialist movements in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, for instance, were genuine. I was making films about the so-called Arab Spring, and I’m well aware of how complex the situation really was. But it goes without saying is that the West immediately infiltrated and ‘derailed’ the revolutions, turning them into what you have described.

Remember, the West had absolutely no appetite for risking its dictatorial powers over the area. It had no desire to let democratic and revolutionary forces take control of their countries. Why? Just look, again, at the polls: the majority of Arab people see the United States and Israel (definitely not Iran or Syria) as the greatest danger to the world. Could you imagine what the Arab people would do if true democracy (rule of the people) were to be victorious? They’d side with Russia and China, not with the West. And they’d throw their ‘elites’ groomed in and by the West, straight out the window.

Q: Is it right today, to define Aleppo as the “Stalingrad of Syria” and “the cemetery of the dreams of fascist Erdogan” as stated by the Syrian President Assad?

AV: Yes, it is like that, or at least, it is somewhere along those lines. Aleppo, Homs… Yes. I wrote about it earlier, comparing Syria to Stalingrad.

Q: What do you think will be the final scenario for Syria? It risks crystallization like the Cold War-style situation between the two blocks – Damascus, Russia and regional allies, on the one hand, and Kurds with the United States on the other – and Raqqa, which would become a new Berlin?

AV: The Western planners are definitely trying to fragment the entire Middle East. They already have done, on several historical occasions. But this is a new chapter. They play with the Arab countries as if they were simply some milking cows. There is no regard for human lives, or local national interests. It is because the West, despite its hypocritical rhetoric (political correctness) does not really consider non-whites and non-Christians as human beings. You kill millions, so be it. You ruin 5 regional states; who cares?

Q: What role, in your opinion, do the human rights NGOs play in the current international context?

AV: Even that term, ‘human rights’, makes me ill. You have to really go back to Fanon and Sartre… They said it all. Human rights are only for ‘humans’, therefore for the West. And for the rest of the Planet: there, the ‘human rights’ are used to discredit uncomfortable, even ‘hostile’ governments through countless implants like NGOs. Who talks about the real human rights violations, those committed by the West? Europeans and North Americans have already butchered hundreds of millions of people, or close to one billion, to be precise. They have been looting, torturing and raping. Even now, they are killing millions directly and tens of millions indirectly. But it does not count; because their victims are not white, therefore not human, and as a result, they don’t really have any rights.

Q: 14 years ago, the coup in Venezuela against the democratically elected President Hugo Chavez failed and began the US exit from Latin America. Shortly after, the US invaded Iraq. Today the hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean wobbles, and Washington uses all the weapons at its disposal to return to Latin America. Is, in your opinion, President Rafael Correa right when he says that we are facing a new Plan Condor in the region?

AV: Definitely! Comrade Correa gets it right, most of the time. This is new, ‘final’ offensive of the Empire in Latin America. I have just returned from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay; it is absolutely horrible what is going on there. The Empire is trying to finish both BRICS and all the Latin American revolutions.

Q: If that is the case, considering what has also happened in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia, which techniques are being used today?

AV: The same as ‘before’, the same techniques, which have been used against, for instance President Allende and ‘Unidad Popular’ in Chile, before the 9-11-1973 US-orchestrated coup.

The West is supporting, even financing the right-wing media, it is financing ‘the opposition’, encourages capital flight of billions of dollars, works closely with the local ‘elites’ to create ‘deficits’, ‘uncertainty’ and despair. It creates corruption scandals, and it even supports fake ‘left’ anti-government movements. And of course it is training and corrupting some key military cadres.

Q: The future of the world offers at the moment two possible paths: a US unilateralism, particularly in the event of Clinton’s presidency, made up of areas of “free” trade treaties around the world on the NAFTA model (such as the TTIP in Europe), with millions as the desperately poor products of them, profits only for multinationals, and the planned destruction of all countries who rebel against this vision (Libya and Syria style); or, the second possibility: a period of multilateralism, respect for sovereignty, self-determination and peace. If the alternative project to the ‘Washington Consensus’ were to prevail, it would be that of the BRICS and regional integration in Latin America, designed and built by Chavez, Lula and Kirchner. And which of the two views will prevail in your opinion?

AV: There will be great battles fought for the future of the world! The coming years will be very tough. In order for the second scenario to win, the world would have to return where the struggle for independence and against Western colonialism and imperialism was lost or abandoned more than 50 years ago. Let’s face it: the world was never really completely de-colonized. It would be total hypocrisy to claim otherwise.

One of the popular views in the liberal circles of the West is that we are actually ‘all victims of capitalism’. I disagree. This savage global capitalism is only one of the most terrible bi-products of the dominant Western culture of racism, greed, brutality and unbridled desire to control the world. The world is still being battered by the Western/white/Christian supremacy dogmas and practices, by the most primitive and fundamentalist ‘principles’.

The truth has to be unveiled. If the West insists, if it keeps pushing, the battles have to be fought. And they will be fought. And the forces of internationalism, humanism and solidarity will have to be victorious, or soon there will be nothing left of the human race.

~ Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

History Again....?

If Washington was willing to kill so many Native Americans in order to take control of this continent -  just how many people is the U.S. bankster-led government willing to kill today in order to take control of the whole planet?

The corporate masters want to put most of us on the reservation now - the Native elders tried to warn us.  The shit is hitting the fan.

U.S. & NATO Trying to Use Finland as War Base Against Russia

By Kerstin Tuomala, Finland

Thank you for this very moving video [BIW protest] and for that you care! Greetings to all the protesters.

The USA has this year for the first time since World War II exercised on Finnish territory. We have a right-wing government who says “yes” when USA invites itself. They maybe believe USA is interested in Finland because we are so “good”, but the real reason is that we have a 1,300 km long border with Russia – the longest that a single country in whole Europe has. Until now we have followed a paraxis we had during the Cold War through the pact of friendship, support and cooperation we had with the USSR. The most important idea was that Finland committed not to threaten, nor let any third party threaten nor attack, the Soviet Union through our territory.

Since the end of the Soviet Union our politicians supported, by a very strong opinion of the people, has continued the interaction in a peaceful way with Russia. Now they try to turn the opinion in all ways.

Still we are many who understand to appreciate a good life in peace. It is still very frightening that not our foreign minister nor our defence minister nor the government as such, seems to care about this, but want us to go closer to the bilateral war exercises with the USA and also with NATO.

Part of the very big Baltops NATO exercise this year in the Baltic Sea was taking place on the Finnish coast exercising invasion - although the main exercise was in other part of the Baltics in June. In May the USA soldiers exercised together with Finnish soldiers a land war in southwest of Finland. There were more than 100 USA soldiers and USA tanks for two weeks and the same amount of time 6 – 8 F15 planes exercising together with the Finnish Air Force near the border of Russia and in fact all over Finland, also here in the North.

We protested in Kemi, and other groups protested near the main bases for these exercises and some of these protests were also seen in the news on television. We are trying to build a stronger opinion against these “war games” which are too dangerous.

I believe the strongest fight is the fight of the minds and this has also the pro-NATO side realised. They have the main media – we have each other.

Still there are also small flashes of hope – at times persons with a good competence and a genuine will for peace  get their voices heard in the TV media and the newspapers still print also the writings of us who stand for peace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mexican Teachers Feeling the Corporate Global Crackdown

In the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, a deadly police crackdown against teachers has left nine people dead and more than 100 wounded. On Sunday, police descended on teachers in the community of Nochixtlán, where they had set up blockades to protest against neoliberal education reform and the arrests of two teachers’ union leaders last week on what protesters say are trumped-up charges.

"As soon as they arrived, they began to attack. And we were few, very few," said a Oaxacan teacher. "Then we started running. But they began to attack right away, instantly. At no time did they give warning to clear the area."

Democracy Now goes to Oaxaca to speak with Gustavo Esteva, founder of the Universidad de la Tierra in Oaxaca and author of many books, including "New Forms of Revolution."

New Stone Film

Up Next in Midcoast Maine

Monday, June 20, 2016

Putin: NATO Needs an External Threat

The annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum excels at inviting key figures of Western corporate media to quiz the Russian President on current affairs. On the one hand, this is done in an attempt to build bridges between the two countries, on the other hand, it is a way to draw a comparison to the US President who has never debated foreign policy decision-making with foreign journalists.

In this outtake, Putin outs the West in supporting Chechen separatism in Russia during the 1990s and early 2000s. Having weakened the country, the US withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, assuming that Russia would never again pose a nuclear threat to US hegemonic power. The US continued to build up its nuclear capability, and today inches closer to Russia's borders with so-called 'missile defense' systems that are key components of Pentagon first-strike attack planning.

In the absence of an exterior threat, Putin went on to say that the Washington-orchestrated coup in the Ukraine was done to justify the existence of an ever-expanding NATO bloc, under the pretext of the mythical "Russian aggression."

And a 2nd video with Putin commenting on Donald Trump, U.S. 'elections', sanctions on Russia and more.

Former Naval Academy Graduate Speech at Destroyer 'Christening' Protest

Dud Hendrick (center) made the following speech at the BIW rally before getting arrested at the shipyard

By Dud Hendrick
Reposted from Common Dreams

(Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered on Saturday, June 18, 2016 outside Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine during a protest against the christening of the U.S. Navy's new Zumwalt-class destroyer. The author, along with eleven other people, was subsequently arrested during an act of peaceful civil disobedience outside the shipyard's gates.)

I am a proud member of Veterans for Peace.  As a young man, really a boy, I received a Congressional nomination to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.  Totally a product, as we are all, of the era and environment in which I had spent the first 18 years of my life, I proudly went off to Annapolis; just as, seven years later, I proudly went off to Vietnam, having volunteered to serve there.  Among my Naval Academy classmates was Bill Fitzgerald.  He, too, proudly served in Vietnam.  In 1967, Bill died heroically when his base was overrun by Viet Cong.  The USS William Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke destroyer, was launched in January 1994.  I was here on that occasion as well, only across the street.

My politics have changed since the 1960’s. I credit truth-tellers like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn mostly.  But, our country’s heinous and bloody history in the intervening years has validated my change of heart.  Think of it—this history.  Low-lights might include:

  • In September of 1968, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, became Commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam. During this period he ordered the spraying of Agent Orange over the Vietnam countryside.
  • Later we bombed Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi not once, three times—each a war crime.
  • At war’s end we had killed 2-3 million Vietnamese. Unbelievably, a like number of Laotians and Cambodians were also killed. Today some 2-3 million Vietnamese exist (you can hardly call it living) in institutions, unable to take care of themselves, the second and third generations of Agent Orange exposure. A gift that keeps on giving.
  • The scholar William Blum reports we’ve bombed 28 countries since the Vietnam War.
  • Andrew Bacevich, the author and West Point graduate says we’ve bombed 14 Islamic countries in this century.
  • Over 250,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003. A couple of million made refugees.
  • More recently, we bombed the Kunduz Hospital in Afghanistan—again a war crime. Human beings! These were all human beings!
These are only a few pieces of a history that has earned the U.S. the distinction of being that country deemed to be the greatest threat to world peace according to an international poll.  The U.S. garnered 24% of the votes, well ahead of Pakistan, a distant second with only 8% of the votes.

No doubt we can attribute this unwanted eminence, in part, to this history I’ve cited as well as to Guantanamo, to Abu Ghraib, to Bagram Detention Facility and to the continuing policy of torture in such places as well as to our targeted assassination program—extra-judicial state-sanctioned murder by drones.  According to a recent report 90% of the victims of drone attacks in Afghanistan have been innocents.  Pakistan is the site of more U.S. drone strikes than any other country. The Obama administration has carried out more than 370 drone attacks there, killing as many as 1,000 civilians, including up to 200 children, according to data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
All this is well-known history around our digitally connected world.

What does all this have to do with why we are here to protest the launching of the Zumwalt destroyer?  Well, because this destroyer, the Monsoor, is another piece, another symbol, albeit a small, but expensive one, of how misguided our leaders are.   How wed to imperialism and world domination they are. The price tag on this destroyer is $4 billion and rising.  Alternatively, we could enable 40,000 students to attend four years of college debt free.  Whether we call it socialism or not, that would seem to make more sense than building one more warship to better arm a country that already spends more than the next seven biggest spending countries and already has the world’s most powerful navy by far.

At the beginning of my remarks I mentioned Admiral Zumwalt, after whom this new class of warship is named.  He who authorized the Agent Orange spraying of Vietnam ensuring the agonies of millions of Vietnamese and of the descendents of those American troops similarly exposed for generations to come.   It is an extreme irony isn’t it, that Admiral Zumwalt’s son, a young lieutenant who himself served in the Mekong Delta during the spraying, who died young, and his son, the admiral’s grandson, born with congenital anomalies, were evidently among the victims of the poisoning?  They, too, were human beings.  Something about reaping what one sows.

Our Congress, voting again and again for increased military expenditures, is like a pack of drunken sailors, totally out of control, but comparing them with military men would be unfair—given they are almost all millionaires or better and that their pockets and campaign war chests are lined with coin from those who benefit directly from our war-making---the wealthy elite who run the behemoth corporations of the defense and security industries.

I’d like to quote President Obama.  During his recent visit to Hiroshima he said, “We must change our mindset about war itself to prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun. We must see our growing interdependence as a cause for peaceful cooperation and not violent competition. We must define our nations not by our capacity to destroy, but by what we build. And perhaps above all, we must re-imagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.”

Wow.  Did he really say this?  Better that he really “be” this!

It is past time that we the people make certain that our leaders don’t simply utter platitudes, but that we insist they deliver leadership worthy of the people we believe we are and represent values that reflect a respect for our planet and for all people.  Human beings!  All human beings!  Fellow human beings!

In closing, let us consider the people of Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, Korea.

Over the past nine years the villagers, joined by thousands of other Korean and international activists, to include several of us here today, have worked to prevent the construction of a naval base on this once tranquil coast.  The war ships built here at Bath Iron Works will be harbored at Jeju further escalating tensions in the Asia Pacific.  We stand in solidarity with our fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters of Gangjeong village.
~ Dud Hendrick is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and was all-American lacrosse player at the academy. He is a Vietnam war veteran and member of Veterans For Peace .  He has traveled widely to meet with and to speak about the victims of U.S. foreign policy.  He resides on Deer Isle, Maine.

Zumwalt Destroyer Protest at BIW

Video by Eric Herter

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Now Appearing in Skowhegan, Maine.....

Lisa Savage (holding Syria sign) was the 'Master of Ceremonies' at our BIW rally yesterday. She kept the speakers and music going throughout the day, including during the arrests of the Zumwalt 12. I didn't have a photo of her until today. I wanted to include her in the photo essay I posted yesterday.

The banner we held at BIW during the arrests ended up in Lisa's van. So she took it to their weekly Sunday bridge peace vigil in Skowhegan, Maine this morning.

 Lisa is the founder of a new group called Maine Natural Guard.

Sunday Song

Saturday, June 18, 2016

More Photos from 'Stealth' Destroyer Protest at BIW in Maine

Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle, Maine) being arrested at Bath Iron Works.  Dud went to the U.S. Naval Academy and was an all-American lacrosse player there before going to Vietnam.  He made a great speech at the rally before we were arrested for blocking the road in front of Bath Iron Works where the $4 billion Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer was being 'christened'.  Dud told about his own conversion of heart - today he is an active member of Veterans For Peace.

Would Jesus Christ really bless a $4 billion destroyer or would he want to feed the poor and tend to the sick?  Can't we do something better with our friggin money?

Retired architect Cynthia Howard from Biddeford Pool, Maine being handcuffed and moved to a van for journey to Bath Police department for processing.  We were released on our own recognizance and have an August 2 arraignment in local District Court. 

Vietnam veteran and poet Gerry Kamke suffers from multiple ailments caused by his exposure to toxic Agent Orange during the war.  He has been in and out of hospital during recent months but came today and shared his story.  Thousands of people were lined up to go into the shipyard for the event and were captive ears for the messages from our speakers and musicians.

We saw a large number of the crew of the Zumwalt destroyer heading our way so we moved out into the middle of the road and refused to move.  Traffic backed up and the crew had to walk right by us.  No preaching to the choir today - in fact today the choir was singing in public.  Very powerful moments.

Jason Rawn (Lincolnville, Maine) has just recently come back from months in Okinawa and Jeju Island.  He stood daily with those struggling local people who oppose new U.S. military bases for the Pentagon's provocative encirclement of China and Russia in that part of the world.  Jason is also one of our great peace walkers here in Maine.

Karen Wainberg is one of our housemates at the Addams-Melman House in Bath.  She is now in a nursing home after a recent stroke and surgery.  It was inspiring to all of us to see Karen arrive at the event today in a wheelchair.  We expect her home soon. Our intentional community is named after Jane Addams, founder of social work and peace activist during WW I and Seymour Melman, former Columbia University professor who is regarded as the father of the 'conversion of the military industrial complex to sustainable and useful production' movement.

Peter Woodruff (in blue from Arrowsic, Maine) is a recently retired worker from the BIW shipyard.  Peter was the first and only worker to ever speak at a shipyard destroyer 'christening' protest.  Some years ago he publicly called for the building of offshore wind turbines at BIW and got more than 800 fellow BIW workers to sign a petition saying they supported that idea.  He and I did a weekly radio show for six years where we played political music and talked issues.  Today Peter can barely talk due to poisoning from the steel dust at the shipyard over the years. In the background is Pete Sirois (Madison, Maine) also a former BIW worker who now makes political videos and plays them on public access TV stations in his part of rural Maine helping us extend our message to more people.

A county sheriff stuck his elbow in my chest trying to get us to move out of the road.  He was one of only two cops I saw that went out of their way to be rude to us.  All the rest I saw were really kind, low key, respectful and even encouraging.  The Bath police department officer in charge told the county elbow thrower to back off.  One Bath cop told one of those arrested that "You all are the conscience of the community."  That was nice to hear.  Our message is indeed getting into the core of the local community.  Persistence offers rewards.

Rosie Tyler (Brunswick, Maine) sings along with Mike Hasty (Berwick, Maine) during the rally featuring speakers and music as the thousands of event goers lined up to enter the shipyard.  When we were sitting blocking the road I noticed Mike singing one of my favorite union organizing days songs:  "We shall not be moved.  Just like a tree standing by the water, we shall not be moved."

Artist Russell Wray (Hancock, Maine) being arrested with his dolphin head he made for this event.  While in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island last December Russell (who is most motivated by wanting to protect sea life from military toxics and sonar) became a fan of the Korean peace group called 'Hot Pink Dolphins' that creatively specialize in teaching fellow citizens about the dangers to sea life of the new Navy base on Jeju.  U.S. destroyers made in Bath, along with nuclear subs and aircraft carriers, will eventually be deployed by the Pentagon to the base on Jeju.  In order to build the base a 500-year old fishing and farming community has been destroyed and the villagers have gone to prison, lost their lands, and now face an absurd lawsuit by the Samsung Corporation (the lead base construction company). Samsung is demanding that the village of 2,000 people pay them $3 million in compensation for 'construction delays' after their village was stolen by undemocratic means by the Navy.  The U.S. Navy sent the specs for the base to the puppet right-wing Korean government and told them to build the base that will port U.S. ships.  A complete insult.

The Zumwalt destroyer crew members had to pass by our protest.  We are trying to prepare them for what they will see when they port in Korea, Guam, Philippines, Okinawa, Australia, Japan, Ukraine......the world is fed up with U.S. militarism and 'exceptionalism'.  It's time for the arrogance to end before it kills us all.

The $4 billion Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer.  The story is that the Navy didn't actually want the ship because of the cost - it would punch a hole in their ship building budget.  Obama forced the Navy to build three of the warships because he owed General Dynamics Corp. (that owns BIW) for helping to make him president.  The Crown family in Chicago are majority stock owners of General Dynamics and raised money for Obama to become president.  They ran interference for him within the powerful military industrial complex that ended up giving Obama more campaign money than his rival John McCain got.  Oligarchy controlled Obama from the start.

Tarak Kauff (Woodstock, NY) is a national board member of Veterans For Peace.  He often comes to Maine to support our events and is co-publisher of VFP's national newspaper called 'Peace in Our Times'. Behind him in red shirt is wonderful activist Connie Jenkins from Orono, Maine.  She spoke during the rally about our October 11-26 peace walk through Maine.

Sitting in the road and forcing the police to remove us.  It was the least we could do.

George Kehoe-Ostensen (Hope, Maine) is a longtime Catholic Worker movement activist.  He and his wife Maureen have been leaders for years in keeping the ongoing Advent and Lenten weekly vigils going at BIW.  Their high school son Jurgen handed out 100 flyers to those entering the shipyard and also asked to speak during the rally.

Artist Brown Lethem has been a peace activist since the early 1960's.  One of the cops overheard him talking about a protest he attended in 1963 at Fort Leavenworth and was amazed that Brown had been at it for so long.  Brown is one of our housemates at the Addams-Melman House in Bath.  He is also a member of VFP.

Eric Herter (Brunswick, Maine) is a Vietnam veteran whose life was changed by the war.  He comes from an established family in Massachusetts.  His grandfather was former Speaker of the House in Congress and governor of their state.  Eric was sent to Harvard to follow in the family foot steps.  After the war he went another direction and became an AP filmmaker and moved to Vietnam where he reported for that media outlet.  Eric is making a video about the event today. 

~ Photos by Regis Tremblay from Woolwich, Maine