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 27, 2016

Sunday Song

Demonizing Russia Good for War Machine Profits$

A wonderful book I'd highly recommend is Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz. I want to share one story from the book.

After gold was discovered in the Black Hills the U.S. Army was sent in to clear the Indians out of their paha sapa even though they had been promised in a previous treaty that they would "own" this territory as long as the grass grew green. The inevitable battle led to Custer's last stand and the resulting major military campaign to bring the "hostiles" onto reservations in the dusty lands of southwest South Dakota.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull held out as long as they could. But the cold winters and diminishing buffalo and other wild game forced them ultimately to surrender. This process literally broke the hearts of the people. The conditions of surrender were that they had to give up their guns and their horses - essentially their very way of life.

The government was to provide them with all they needed from then on. Food, clothes, and even tepees. But they soon found out the promises were not honored. The blankets they were given were so thin they could not keep the people warm at night. The flour had bugs in it and the bacon was rancid. The people could not even go and hunt anymore as their guns and horses were gone. They continued to starve and die. But they honored their word to the white man's government and stayed peaceful.

The weapons contractors, that had grown rich from the Indian wars in the 1860's, were getting restless. This peace with Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull was cutting into their previous enormous profits. So they came up with a plan.

They created a national public relations campaign and had artists create renderings of Crazy Horse on the war path again killing farmers and raping white women and children. These stories were placed in the big newspapers across the country and the public became outraged. Soon the Congress appropriated more funds to return the "hostiles" to the reservation.

In fact, during this campaign of deception, Crazy Horse was sitting in his tepee on the reservation without a gun or horse to his name.

When you think about it the story is virtually the same today in Iraq. The government creates a pubic relations campaign about weapons of mass destruction and then sells the story using the mainstream media to justify a war and make enormous profits for the weapons corporations.

When I was in the Air Force, during the Vietnam War, I learned how they did the same thing to sell that war as I read The Pentagon Papers - the government's own secret history of how they lied to create that war.

The process is again under way today in Asia-Pacific as we see the U.S. beginning to provoke and demonize China and Russia in a new arms race that would bring huge profits to the war industry.

They say that every criminal has an MO - modus operandi - method of operation. When I was young I wanted to be an FBI agent when I grew up so I could fight against organized crime.

Then one day I woke up and realized that the military industrial complex was the essence of organized crime. So I took myself to the peace movement where I could fulfill my boyhood promise to work for "truth, justice, and the American way."

Sometimes I wonder if the fate of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the other native people will be the fate of the American people of today as well. In order to pay for endless war the government, clearly under the control of the military industrial complex as former President Dwight Eisenhower warned us, is now moving to destroy social progress in our country as they cut education, health care, and the like. In a way I wonder, are we now being brought onto the reservation too?

Under the New World Order job # 1 of corporate globalization is to maximize profits internationally. Allegiance to country is a thing of the past. Corporations move overseas to seek the lowest wage workers possible. Unemployment grows and the local tax base drys up as jobs leave the U.S. The process of corporate disinvestment in America is underway. The Pentagon says that "security export" will be our role under corporate globalization. Endless war.

What can we learn from the time of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull?

Crazy Horse is remembered for these words: "A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."

What is our vision for the future of North America and for our Mother Earth?


Maine's Racist Governor Loses Grip Once Again

Our Gov. Paul LePage here in Maine has a long history of raging against critics who challenge his racism, frequent gross exaggerations and outright lies.

Just a couple days ago LePage went after the Democrat in the state legislature who chairs the Health & Human Services Committee in the House of Representatives. 

The dispute is over whether Blacks and Hispanics from out-of-state are the primary reason drugs are flowing into Maine.  LePage claims he has a three-ring binder full of photos of Black & Hispanic faces who have been arrested for these crimes.  Law enforcement officials in LePage's home town of Lewiston were quoted on the radio saying that 90% of those arrested for drugs in their city are white.

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Service reported that, in 2014, 1,211 people were arrested for selling or making drugs in Maine, and, of those, 170 – or 14.1 percent – were black.

After seeing LePage (who is a big supporter of Trump and whose daughter has been hired to work on the Trump campaign) do this repeatedly over the last six years in office one might wonder when the Democrats who control the state House will vote in favor of impeachment articles that have previously been filed against LeRage.

The man is sick and should not be leading our state government.  He belongs in a program for alcoholic abusers.


Friday, August 26, 2016

I Am Free

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Protests Widen in South Korea Against U.S. THAAD Deployment

Thousands of South Koreans in the city of Gimcheon have joined protests against the planned deployment of an advanced US 'missile defense' system called THAAD near their city.

Protests against THAAD have erupted almost daily across the country since the announcement of the decision by Washington to deploy the system which will be aimed at China and Russia.

White Helmets Equals Black Ops

Funded by US AID - that should tell you something.....

White Helmets are nominating themselves for the Nobel Peace Prize.  I'd guess that Obama will send a letter of recommendation on their behalf.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Russian Students Speak Out

Now the shoe is on the other foot.  Let's see how the American people feel when others around the world call into question US moral depravity..... and rightly so.

Protecting Our Water

Water is life
piss oil
into the lakes
we kill
the future

is god
by too many
on bended knees
every morning
as they pray
over the stock

by their love
for the green frog $kin
can't $ee
our connection
to the sacred
Mother Earth

Money trumps
clean water
clean air
clean food

the truly crazy
among us
think they can
buy health
and long life

Our way out?

Reorient our nature
away from
dog$ eat dog$
to a spiritual
to all life

that is the greatest
the best treasure
the highest reward
when we give
our relatives
a future
on this spinning orb
zooming thru space

Hoka Hey!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

October 11-26 Penobscot Nation to Kittery, Maine

Walk route

  • Oct 11 (Penobscot Nation on Indian Island)
  • Oct 12 (Dexter)
  • Oct 13 (Pittsfield)
  • Oct 14 (Unity)
  • Oct 15 (Waterville)
  • Oct 16 (Augusta)
  • Oct 17 (Norway)
  • Oct 18 (Lewiston)
  • Oct 19 (Brunswick)
  • Oct 20 (Brunswick day off)
  • Oct 21 (Freeport)
  • Oct 22 (Portland)
  • Oct 23 (Saco)
  • Oct 24 (Kennebunk)
  • Oct 25 (York Beach)
  • Oct 26 (Kittery)

Provoking Nuclear War by Media

By John Pilger

The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually “condemned ethnic cleansing”, opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia. Buried near the end of a 2,590- page judgement on Karadzic last February, this truth further demolishes the propaganda that justified Nato’s illegal onslaught on Serbia in 1999.

Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006, alone in his cell in The Hague, during what amounted to a bogus trial by an American-invented “international tribunal”. Denied heart surgery that might have saved his life, his condition worsened and was monitored and kept secret by US officials, as WikiLeaks has since revealed.

Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda that today runs like a torrent across our screens and newspapers and beckons great danger for us all. He was the prototype demon, vilified by the western media as the “butcher of the Balkans” who was responsible for “genocide”, especially in the secessionist Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prime Minister Tony Blair said so, invoked the Holocaust and demanded action against “this new Hitler”.  David Scheffer, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], declared that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been murdered by Milocevic’s forces.

This was the justification for Nato’s bombing, led by Bill Clinton and Blair, that killed hundreds of civilians in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios and destroyed Serbia’s economic infrastructure.  It was blatantly ideological; at a notorious “peace conference” in Rambouillet in France, Milosevic was confronted by Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of state, who was to achieve infamy with her remark that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it”.

Albright delivered an “offer” to Milosevic that no national leader could accept. Unless he agreed to the foreign military occupation of his country, with the occupying forces “outside the legal process”, and to the imposition of a neo-liberal “free market”, Serbia would be bombed. This was contained in an “Appendix B”, which the media failed to read or suppressed. The aim was to crush Europe’s last independent “socialist” state.

Once Nato began bombing, there was a stampede of Kosovar refugees “fleeing a holocaust”. When it was over, international police teams descended on Kosovo to exhume the victims of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. The final count of the dead in Kosovo was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the pro-Nato Kosovo Liberation Front. There was no genocide. The Nato attack was both a fraud and a war crime.

All but a fraction of America’s vaunted “precision guided” missiles hit not military but civilian targets, including the news studios of Radio Television Serbia in Belgrade. Sixteen people were killed, including cameramen, producers and a make-up artist. Blair described the dead, profanely, as part of Serbia’s “command and control”. In 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, revealed that she had been pressured not to investigate Nato’s crimes.

This was the model for Washington’s subsequent invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and, by stealth, Syria. All qualify as “paramount crimes” under the Nuremberg standard; all depended on media propaganda. While tabloid journalism played its traditional part, it was serious, credible, often liberal journalism that was the most effective – the evangelical promotion of Blair and his wars by the Guardian, the incessant lies about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction in the Observer and the New York Times, and the unerring drumbeat of government propaganda by the BBC in the silence of its omissions.

At the height of the bombing, the BBC’s Kirsty Wark interviewed General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander. The Serbian city of Nis had just been sprayed with American cluster bombs, killing women, old people and children in an open market and a hospital. Wark asked not a single question about this, or about any other civilian deaths.

Others were more brazen. In February 2003, the day after Blair and Bush had set fire to Iraq, the BBC’s political editor, Andrew Marr, stood in Downing Street and made what amounted to a victory speech. He excitedly told his viewers that Blair had “said they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right.” Today, with a million dead and a society in ruins, Marr’s BBC interviews are recommended by the US embassy in London.

Marr’s colleagues lined up to pronounce Blair “vindicated”. The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, said, “There’s no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially to the Middle East … is now increasingly tied up with military power.” 

This obeisance to the United States and its collaborators as a benign force “bringing good” runs deep in western establishment journalism. It ensures that the present-day catastrophe in Syria is blamed exclusively on Bashar al-Assad, whom the West and Israel have long conspired to overthrow, not for any humanitarian concerns, but to consolidate Israel’s aggressive power in the region. The jihadist forces unleashed and armed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and their “coalition” proxies serve this end. It is they who dispense the propaganda and videos that becomes news in the US and Europe, and provide access to journalists and guarantee a one-sided “coverage” of Syria.

The city of Aleppo is in the news. Most readers and viewers will be unaware that the majority of the population of Aleppo lives in the government-controlled western part of the city. That they suffer daily artillery bombardment from western-sponsored al-Qaida is not news. On 21 July, French and American bombers attacked a government village in Aleppo province, killing up to 125 civilians. This was reported on page 22 of the Guardian; there were no photographs.

Having created and underwritten jihadism in Afghanistan in the 1980s as Operation Cyclone -- a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union -- the US is doing something similar in Syria. Like the Afghan Mujahideen, the Syrian “rebels” are America’s and Britain’s foot soldiers. Many fight for al-Qaida and its variants; some, like the Nusra Front, have rebranded themselves to comply with American sensitivities over 9/11. The CIA runs them, with difficulty, as it runs jihadists all over the world.

The immediate aim is to destroy the government in Damascus, which, according to the most credible poll (YouGov Siraj), the majority of Syrians support, or at least look to for protection, regardless of the barbarism in its shadows. The long-term aim is to deny Russia a key Middle Eastern ally as part of a Nato war of attrition against the Russian Federation that eventually destroys it.

The nuclear risk is obvious, though suppressed by the media across “the free world”. The editorial writers of the Washington Post, having promoted the fiction of WMD in Iraq, demand that Obama attack Syria. Hillary Clinton, who publicly rejoiced at her executioner’s role during the destruction of Libya, has repeatedly indicated that, as president, she will “go further” than Obama.

Gareth Porter, a samidzat journalist reporting from Washington, recently revealed the names of those likely to make up a Clinton cabinet, who plan an attack on Syria. All have belligerent cold war histories; the former CIA director, Leon Panetta, says that “the next president is gonna have to consider adding additional special forces on the ground”.

What is most remarkable about the war propaganda now in flood tide is its patent absurdity and familiarity. I have been looking through archive film from Washington in the 1950s when diplomats, civil servants and journalists were witch-hunted and ruined by Senator Joe McCarthy for challenging the lies and paranoia about the Soviet Union and China.  Like a resurgent tumour, the anti-Russia cult has returned.

In Britain, the Guardian’s Luke Harding leads his newspaper’s Russia-haters in a stream of journalistic parodies that assign to Vladimir Putin every earthly iniquity.  When the Panama Papers leak was published, the front page said Putin, and there was a picture of Putin; never mind that Putin was not mentioned anywhere in the leaks.

Like Milosevic, Putin is Demon Number One. It was Putin who shot down a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Headline: “As far as I’m concerned, Putin killed my son.” No evidence required. It was Putin who was responsible for Washington’s documented (and paid for) overthrow of the elected government in Kiev in 2014. The subsequent terror campaign by fascist militias against the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine was the result of Putin’s “aggression”. Preventing Crimea from becoming a Nato missile base and protecting the mostly Russian population who had voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia – from which Crimea had been  annexed – were more examples of Putin’s “aggression”.  Smear by media inevitably becomes war by media. If war with Russia breaks out, by design or by accident, journalists will bear much of the responsibility.

In the US, the anti-Russia campaign has been elevated to virtual reality. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, an economist with a Nobel Prize, has called Donald Trump the “Siberian Candidate” because Trump is Putin’s man, he says. Trump had dared to suggest, in a rare lucid moment, that war with Russia might be a bad idea. In fact, he has gone further and removed American arms shipments to Ukraine from the Republican platform. “Wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia,” he said.

This is why America’s warmongering liberal establishment hates him. Trump’s racism and ranting demagoguery have nothing to do with it. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s record of racism and extremism can out-trump Trump’s any day. (This week is the 20th anniversary of the Clinton welfare “reform” that launched a war on African-Americans). As for Obama: while American police gun down his fellow African-Americans the great hope in the White House has done nothing to protect them, nothing to relieve their impoverishment, while running four rapacious wars and an assassination campaign without precedent.

The CIA has demanded Trump is not elected.  Pentagon generals have demanded he is not elected.

The pro-war New York Times -- taking a breather from its relentless low-rent Putin smears --  demands that he is not elected. Something is up. These tribunes of “perpetual war” are terrified that the multi-billion-dollar business of war by which the United States maintains its dominance will be undermined if Trump does a deal with Putin, then with China’s Xi Jinping.  Their panic at the possibility of the world’s great power talking peace – however unlikely – would be the blackest farce were the issues not so dire.

 “Trump would have loved Stalin!” bellowed Vice-President Joe Biden at a rally for Hillary Clinton. With Clinton nodding, he shouted, “We never bow. We never bend. We never kneel. We never yield. We own the finish line. That’s who we are. We are America!”

In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn has also excited hysteria from the war-makers in the Labour Party and from a media devoted to trashing him. Lord West, a former admiral and Labour minister, put it well. Corbyn was taking an “outrageous” anti-war position “because it gets the unthinking masses to vote for him”.

In a debate with leadership challenger Owen Smith, Corbyn was asked by the moderator: “How would you act on a violation by Vladimir Putin of a fellow Nato state?”

Corbyn replied: “You would want to avoid that happening in the first place. You would build up a good dialogue with Russia … We would try to introduce a de-militarisation of the borders between Russia, the Ukraine and the other countries on the border between Russia and Eastern Europe. What we cannot allow is a series of calamitous build-ups of troops on both sides which can only lead to great danger.”

Pressed to say if he would authorise war against Russia “if you had to”, Corbyn replied: “I don’t wish to go to war – what I want to do is achieve a world that we don’t need to go to war.”

The line of questioning owes much to the rise of Britain’s liberal war-makers. The Labour Party and the media have long offered them career opportunities.  For a while the moral tsunami of the great crime of Iraq left them floundering, their inversions of the truth a temporary embarrassment.

Regardless of Chilcot and the mountain of incriminating facts, Blair remains their inspiration, because he was a “winner”.

Dissenting journalism and scholarship have since been systematically banished or appropriated, and democratic ideas emptied and refilled with “identity politics” that confuse gender with feminism and public angst with liberation and willfully ignore the state violence and weapons profiteering that destroys countless lives in faraway places, like Yemen and Syria, and beckon nuclear war in Europe and across the world.

The stirring of people of all ages around the spectacular rise of Jeremy Corbyn counters this to some extent. His life has been spent illuminating the horror of war. The problem for Corbyn and his supporters is the Labour Party. In America, the problem for the thousands of followers of Bernie Sanders was the Democratic Party, not to mention their ultimate betrayal by their great white hope. In the US, home of the great civil rights and anti-war movements, it is Black Lives Matter and the likes of Codepink that lay the roots of a modern version.

For only a movement that swells into every street and across borders and does not give up can stop the warmongers. Next year, it will be a century since Wilfred Owen wrote the following. Every journalist should read it and remember it.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

~ 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.

Reports from the Imperial Project

  • Great cartoon above - full of truth.  The Washington-based 'liberators' are now setting up a 'no-fly zone' in northern Syria where US troops have been deployed - uninvited by the legitimate Syrian government.  The US has 'warned' Syria and Russia (who was invited by Syrian government) that their planes had better stay away from the area or else.  Of course this just happens to be the area where most of Syria's oil is located (surprise, surprise) and the US intends to break this region off and put it in the hands of more compliant forces who will allow US-Israeli agents to make money off the sale of the Syrian oil.  A perfect scam - of course the American people are being told the US is there to defend the Syrian people against their brutal President Assad who they keep reelecting by wide margins.  But it doesn't really matter, in this case, what the Syrian people actually want.
  • I taped my new This Issue public access TV show today and the guest was Kyle Bailey talking about the November 8 referendum in Maine on the question of Ranked Choice Voting.  If it passes RCV would allow you to rank your choices in order of preference on future ballots.  A real good idea.  It's worked well in the last two Portland, Maine mayoral elections.
  • The US has proposed a second option to the South Korean government for deployment of the THAAD 'missile defense' system set to go into the melon farming community of Seongju.  Due to massive protests in Seongju, and solidarity protests across their country, the movement against THAAD has become a big deal in South Korea.  So with that in mind the Pentagon is now offering to move the deployment site 18-kilometers away to a golf course - maintaining that any worries about the radar system's electro-magnetic radiation would thus be resolved.  The people are not buying it but the 'head man' of Seongju county (and a group of South Korean veterans) met with the government on their own accord to listen to the offer.  When residents learned about this they were furious and made their continued opposition widely known.  Seems like it might be time for a new 'head man'.
  • This coming weekend Mary Beth and I will drive north along the coast for a couple days of mini-vacation since we've had little time together this summer.  On the way back down the coast we'll drive the route for the coming October 11-26 Maine Peace Walk - the theme this year will be Stop the War$ on Mother Earth.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Indians Loading Sacred Pipes Frighten Cops

Our Responsibility to Dream Life into the Future

Sherri Mitchell is a member of the Penobscot Nation in Maine. She reflects on the way of life of indigenous peoples living in harmony with the earth and all things. Powerful and inspiring.

Sherri will be one of the pot luck supper hosts and ceremony speakers on October 11 on Indian Island (near Old Town) when the 5th Maine Walk for Peace begins its two-week journey through Maine starting at the Penobscot Nation.   

See more of Sherri's bio here

Video by Regis Tremblay.

Activists Instruct Military to Disperse and Desist at Drone Base

The folks in northern California continue their monthly protests and non-violent civil resistance at the Beale AFB drone base just north of Sacramento.

I lived at Beale from 1969-1971 when my step-father worked on the spy plane cameras for the SR-71.  I was fortunate to join these folks doing an action with them last March.  We were arrested and then federal charges against us were dropped before we had to make an appearance in court.

This particular action in the video is brilliant and ironic. 


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Untangling the Syrian War

Western media are working overtime to confuse public opinion and suppress efforts by some to deconstruct the entire Syrian mess. Social media, and even some 'peace movement list serves, are loaded with agents of the imperial war project that slam those who try to take a fair look at this issue.  (It is my experience that Pentagon operatives and some elements within the right-wing of the Democratic Party are behind these attacks.)

It has been obvious to me for a long time that the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and Turkey have been the predominant funders, supporters and weapons suppliers of ISIS.  The goal has been to break Syria into pieces - taking the oil in the north away from the government.

Recently, following the failed coup in Turkey, the government there is moving away from NATO and toward Russia and Syria.  How far Ankara will go in this breakaway from US control is uncertain.

Enter the Russians, Iran, Hezbollah, and now China on the side of the Syrian government.  They have basically determined that the US's long-term goal after taking down Syria is to then destabilize and destroy Iran.  From there Russia and China are on the list for regime change and balkanization.

The Russian military was invited by the Syrian government to come to their country.  The US was not invited which makes Pentagon military operations there a violation of international law.  The US often talks about the 'rule of law' but as we have repeatedly witnessed over the years, Washington is quick to violate international law in order to get what it wants.

Russia and China appear to have made the decision that backing the current Syrian government, which has huge majority support of the people, is key to creating regional stability and protecting themselves from the US-NATO endless war onslaught.

For a deeper understanding of the whole Syrian story, and how the war actually began, please read the excellent article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which can be found here


Sunday Song