Organizing Notes

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

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Korean Version

Friday, August 19, 2016

Blame the Russians.....

There are calls in the US media for the Pentagon to hack Russian servers, as payback for the alleged hacking of Democratic party e-mails earlier this year.

War Incorporated

We Hear What You Say

Children of god
on children of Earth
so says
Indian activist
John Trudell

One does not sell
the Earth
that the people
walk on
we are the land

Predators tried
civilizing us

Crazy Horse
we hear
what you say
one Earth
one mother
One does not sell
the Earth the people
walk upon

How do we sell
the stars?
How do we sell
the air?

Crazy Horse
we hear what you say
We are
the 7th generation

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Organize Local Events during October 1-8

Please let us know what and when you plan events during the week of local actions.  We'll widely share the list with other groups around the world and the media.

Still More from Korea Trip

On August 14, Veterans For Peace members Bruce Gagnon and Will Griffin - on a 3-week peace tour in South Korea - joined a demonstration against the U.S.’ decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea.

CNN is a Chump Network

Russian Scholar Stephen Cohen says Donald Trump is being wrongly linked to Putin and criticized because he's trying to end the new Cold War.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THAAD Speech at Seoul Rally

Excerpts from my speech about THAAD at the big rally on August 14 in Seoul and follow-up interview with Coop TV.

At the end of the talk I shared information about the Global Network's October 1-8 Keep Space for Peace Week of local actions around the world.  I invited the audience to consider organizing anti-THAAD events during that period of time and then I presented our poster to one of the leaders from the Seongju village.


Olympic Fun

Since I missed all the Olympics while in Korea I found this piece to be quite a laugh.

Years ago at an international peace conference in Greece I learned that the Olympics were originally founded as a disarmament policy.  Each year the winner of the Greek city-state games had to go home and tear down the walls surrounding their city.

Wouldn't it be great if the cumulative winner of the Olympics these days had to go home and totally disarm!?  If that was the case the US likely wouldn't be spending alot of time and energy trying to get Russia banned from the games.


Native Americans Resist Oil Pipeline

The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee

New York Times
Sunday Review

By Maureen Dowd


All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The G.O.P. angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.

They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.

They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.

The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

Hillary will keep the establishment safe. Who is more of an establishment figure, after all? Her husband was president, and he repealed Glass-Steagall, signed the Defense of Marriage Act and got rid of those pesky welfare queens.

Pushing her Midwestern Methodist roots, taking advantage of primogeniture, Hillary often seems more Republican than the Gotham bling king, who used to be a Democrat and donor to Democratic candidates before he jumped the turnstile.

Hillary is a reliable creature of Wall Street. Her tax return showed the Clintons made $10.6 million last year, and like other superrich families, they incorporated with the Clinton Executive Services Corporation (which was billed for the infamous server). Trump has started holding up goofy charts at rallies showing Hillary has gotten $48,500,000 in contributions from hedge funders, compared to his $19,000.

Unlike Trump, she hasn’t been trashing leading Republicans. You know that her pals John McCain and Lindsey Graham are secretly rooting for her. There is a cascade of prominent Republicans endorsing Hillary, donating to Hillary, appearing in Hillary ads, talking up Hillary’s charms.

Robert Kagan, a former Reagan State Department aide, adviser to the McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns and Iraq war booster, headlined a Hillary fund-raiser this summer. Another neocon, James Kirchick, keened in The Daily Beast, “Hillary Clinton is the one person standing between America and the abyss.”

She has finally stirred up some emotion in women, even if it is just moderate suburban Republican women palpitating to leave their own nominee, who has the retro air of a guy who just left the dim recesses of a Playboy bunny club.

The Democratic nominee put out an ad featuring Trump-bashing Michael Hayden, an N.S.A. and C.I.A. chief under W. who was deemed “incongruent” by the Senate when he testified about torture methods. And she earned an endorsement from John Negroponte, a Reagan hand linked to American-trained death squads in Latin America.

Politico reports that the Clinton team sent out feelers to see if Kissinger, the Voldemort of Vietnam, and Condi Rice, the conjurer of Saddam’s apocalyptic mushroom cloud, would back Hillary.

Hillary has written that Kissinger is an “idealistic” friend whose counsel she valued as secretary of state, drawing a rebuke from Bernie Sanders during the primaries: “I’m proud to say Henry Kissinger is not my friend.”

The Hillary team seems giddy over its windfall of Republicans and neocons running from the Trump sharknado. But as David Weigel wrote in The Washington Post, the specter of Kissinger, the man who advised Nixon to prolong the Vietnam War to help with his re-election, fed a perception that “the Democratic nominee has returned to her old, hawkish ways and is again taking progressives for granted.”

And Isaac Chotiner wrote in Slate, “The prospect of Kissinger having influence in a Clinton White House is downright scary.”

Hillary is a safer bet in many ways for conservatives. Trump likes to say he is flexible. What if he returns to his liberal New York positions on gun control and abortion rights?

Trump is far too incendiary in his manner of speaking, throwing around dangerous and self-destructive taunts about “Second Amendment people” taking out Hillary, or President Obama and Hillary being the founders of ISIS. And he still blindly follows his ego, failing to understand the fundamentals of a campaign. “I don’t know that we need to get out the vote,” he told Fox News Thursday. “I think people that really wanna vote are gonna get out and they’re gonna vote for Trump.”

Hillary, on the other hand, understands her way around political language and Washington rituals. Of course you do favors for wealthy donors. And if you want to do something incredibly damaging to the country, like enabling George W. Bush to make the worst foreign policy blunder in U.S. history, don’t shout inflammatory and fabricated taunts from a microphone.

You must walk up to the microphone calmly, as Hillary did on the Senate floor the day of the Iraq war vote, and accuse Saddam of giving “aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda,” repeating the Bush administration’s phony case for war.

If you want to carry the G.O.P. banner, your fabrications have to be more sneaky.

As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt noted on MSNBC, “the candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign policy perspective is in fact Hillary Clinton, not the Republican nominee.”

And that’s how Republicans prefer their crazy — not like Trump, but like Cheney. 

Total Opposition to THAAD in Seongju

The local Seongju TV reports 908 people shaved their heads as an expression of opposition to the THAAD, in a park of Seongju, Kyungsang province of Korea.

Remembering the day of August 15, the 71th anniversary day of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonization, the original plan was to have 815 people. But more than 900 people volunteered for shaving hairs.

Not only men but women, too. It is told to be a record that such numbers of people got shaved in a same spot and day. The blue is a symbolic color of anti-THAAD protest in Seongju which has 45,000 population.

In Korea to shave your head is an act that indicates total commitment to the struggle.  It is also rare that women shave their heads.

It's Called Genocide

Little to no access to water, food, electricity, sanitation, proper healthcare – these are just some of the things that have resulted from the Israeli siege of Gaza. And Dr. Mads Gilbert has got something to say about it.

Last Day in Korea

Our last day in Seoul began with Will Griffin and I participating in a debriefing meeting this morning along with the large Japanese delegation.  During that meeting I passed out Keep Space for Peace Week posters and flyers (October 1-8) and invited Korean and Japanese participation in the event.

My words had to first be translated into Korean and then Japanese as you see in the above clip.

Then Will and I joined a 15-person protest next to the US Embassy in Seoul during the lunch hour and it was interesting to watch the reactions of embassy personnel read our Veterans For Peace banner as they passed by.  The Korean activists involved in this anti-THAAD protest were handing out flyers and getting signatures on a petition.

The VFP flag Will and I were holding is one that I delivered to the Korean VFP group several years ago at the request of Korean War veteran Tom Sturtevant from Maine.  He has since passed away and our VFP chapter in Maine was named after him.  Tom would have been happy to know that the flag he sent to Korea was still being used - especially right outside the US Embassy.

I leave for home tomorrow.  It's been a busy and wonderful trip to Korea this summer.  Very hot but as usual the people we met were outstanding activists and we especially must give thanks to our two guides/translators Juyeon Rhee and Hyun Lee who were not allowed into the country.  Even know they were born in Korea they were still denied entry into the country prior to this trip starting because of their anti-THAAD efforts back in the US.  But they continued to coordinate our trip on a daily basis by phone and email ensuring that other guides/translators were found to help us along the way.


Monday, August 15, 2016

More Photos from Seoul Events

Just arrived at the US military base Yongsan in downtown Seoul yesterday for rally and march near the base gates.  This THAAD prop was later set on fire by the protesters and the police immediately came and extinguished it which created a toxic cloud that was not fun to breathe. (CLICK ON THE PHOTOS FOR A BETTER VIEW)

As we marched by the US base a long line of police stood on one side of the road for as far as the eye could see.  Some even stood on top of the long rows of police buses parked on the opposite side of the street. 

I think most of the police were relieved that nothing happened - they are largely drafted for 18 months and get to choose between being in the Army or the police.  We were told they prefer the police because they have an easier time but then have to increasingly pull duty going up against protests.
One of the leaders from Seongju where the US wants to deploy the THAAD 'missile defense' system at the huge rally last night. The formally conservative community of Seongju voted 85% in favor of the right-wing dictator (President Park, daughter of former brutal dictator) in the last election.  Since they learned about THAAD the community of 10,000 has overwhelmingly resigned from the right-wing political party.  They now say that THAAD should not be deployed anywhere in South Korea and that the dangers of 'missile defense' must be understood throughout East Asia.  Seongju residents have become heroes to the peace movement in South Korea. 

Near the end of the rally last night, standing on the stage before the crowd of 10,000 people (here I am next to the leader of the progressive KCTU labor federation) they put on the screen behind us a rally of thousands happening at the same moment in Seongju.  We heard a speaker there and then both crowds - in Seoul and Seongu sang the same song together.  It is things like this that lead me to repeatedly say that Koreans are the best organizers that I have ever seen.  They really know how to put on a show.  
After attending another rally and march this morning honoring National Liberation Day from Japanese Occupation we marched through the center of Seoul.  Then we were taken to the National Assembly building where the Korea International Peace Forum was held.  I was proud of Will Griffin from Veterans For Peace who spoke on behalf of our two-person American delegation to an audience of Korean and Japanese activists.  A Chinese professor was not allowed into the country nor were our two Korean-American guides/translators from New York City.  One woman said during the event that "The three being stopped from entry shows how afraid the South Korean government is of growing solidarity with the movement against THAAD."
A photo of the international guests and peace forum organizers at the end of the event today. A proposal was made to establish the International Network for Peace in Korea and I pledged to take this initiative to the Global Network to get our organization's support for this new organization.  One South Korean organizer said, "We don't really expect anything from the US - we do expect people in East Asia to work together in solidarity to prevent war."  It is my hope that activists in the US will quickly learn that since no peace treaty was ever signed after the Korean War Armistice (ceasefire agreement) it means that the Korean peninsula remains a serious trigger for WW III. The US is the one that refuses to sign a peace treaty with North Korea.  I believe the reason is fairly simple - as long as the war is officially still on with North Korea then the US can 'justify' its occupation of the peninsula which ultimately is aimed at China and Russia.

Han Chung-mok (Standing Representative, Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements) concluded the peace forum today with these words:  "Solidarity and unity is the way we have to confront the endless wars of capitalism."

Solidarity must be active and on-going to be effective against those suffering under the boot of US military repression and war.  The Korean people know suffering deeply as they were ravaged by the US-led assault on their nation during the Korean War.  Since 1953 the US military presence in Korea has been nonstop and as we've repeatedly seen on this trip (and previous ones) the Pentagon continues to grab the lands of the Korean people for US base expansion as Washington prepares for war with China and Russia.

Korea is on the front-lines of this war preparation and will pay a tremendously heavy price should war break out.  Already the Pentagon has put into motion military plans to launch a pre-emptive strike on North Korea that could trigger nuclear war.

Will the American people continue to sit on the sidelines and let our country devastate Korea a second time?  Will the American people ever move beyond calling for a vague and relatively uncontroversial 'peace' on their protest signs and move into active solidarity which would change the very nature of our protests at home forcing us to spell out the real steps that would being true peace and reunification to the Korean peninsula.

NO THAAD in Korea!
Close US Bases in Korea!
No Anthrax in Seoul and at Osan AFB!
Stop US Military Exercises in Korea!
No Navy Base on Jeju Island!
Sign a Peace Treaty with North Korea!
End US Nuclear Hypocrisy - Cancel Obama's $1 Trillion Nuclear Weapons Upgrade Program!


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Big Crowds in Seoul

This short video shows two of the four events Will Griffin and I attended yesterday.

One was a large peace march in front of the US Yongsan military base in downtown Seoul.  The primary issues addressed in the preceding rally and march were continual Pentagon war exercises in Korea, THAAD deployments by the Pentagon and the recent trip by the Navy Vice-Admiral who commands the 'missile defense' (MD) program.  The Vice-Admiral came to South Korea and said that the THAAD would not be integrated into the US's MD program but instead would be a stand alone system and would only aimed at North Korea - not China.

The US has been telling similar lies about the MD deployments it has made in Turkey, Romania and Poland.  In that case the US claims the MD systems in those countries are aimed at Iran not Russia.  These are of course total fabrications of the truth.

The second thing that the Vice-Admiral said is that the radar's electro-magnetic radiation will not have any health impacts on the local populations.  The Pentagon refuses to do any health studies under public scrutiny.  I'll always remember the case in Cape Cod, Massachusetts where the people demanded that the state force the Pentagon to do a study about the early warning/MD radar there but the military has refused to do so - why does the Pentagon refuse?  Many people on Cape Cod have long maintained that their health has been affected by the radar - particularly they believe an increase in cancers is related to the radar.

Following the march in front of Yongsan we moved to a huge rally at the Seoul City Hall where 10,000 people gathered to protest against THAAD deployments in Seongju.  I was honored to be able to speak to the audience and at the end of my brief talk I presented our next Keep Space for Peace Week poster to a representative from Seongju.  The rally lasted four hours and included many wonderful cultural expressions that the Korean people use to educate and entertain those attending.

Today we are back out on the street for another mass march to celebrate Korea's liberation from fascist Japanese colonization.  One speaker last night said that Korea suffered terribly under Japanese colonization and now suffers under the American version of colonization.  The Korean people don't want to be occupied anymore.  They desperately want to reunify all of Korea in a peaceful and just way.


Sunday Song