Organizing Notes

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

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

South Korean's don't want war



The latest poll conducted by the Korean National Assembly and Korea Research: Koreans’ overwhelming support for engagement with North Korea in the New Year.

  • 81% support the North-South Korean summit meeting in 2018
  
  • 71% support South Korea’s sending a special envoy to North Korea
  
  • 67.8% support postponing the US-Korea Joint Military Drills to periods after Winter Olympics
  
  • 60% regard North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics very important
  
  • 50% think that the North-South Korean family reunions should be held during the Lunar New Year in 2018 regardless of current tension.
  
  • 47.4% believe that inter-Korean relations will improve in the New Year
  
  • 42.8 think that the new security policy of the United States doesn’t help Korea
  
  • 55.2% think positively about the Korean government’s reevaluation of the 2015 Korea-Japan bilateral deal regarding Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery (“Comfort Women”)
  
  • 70.2% support keeping the Peace Statue (“the bronze comfort girl statute") in the original place across from the Japanese embassy in Seoul
  
  • 67.2% expect that China’s economic retaliation of Korea caused by the deployment of THAAD in Korea will gradually lessen
  
  • 62.4% have faith in Japan-Korea’s bilateral relationship. A majority of Korean believe that historical issues be treated separately from areas where two nations can cooperate, such as security in Northeast Asia and economic, social and cultural areas.

The face of fascism in the Holy Land


Sunday Song




Saturday, December 30, 2017

Global Network 26th annual space conference at Croughton, UK

Croughton USAF base near Oxford, England being upgraded for surveillance, communication, command and control and the planning and execution of endless wars.

The push for global domination relies heavily on military satellites for surveillance, communication, command and control and the planning and execution of exercises and wars. However, military satellites require ground-based stations to send and receive information/commands - so a global military presence requires an extensive network of various bases and space centres.

The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space has campaigned to raise awareness of these issues, to help coordinate actions at related ground-based installations and to “Keep Space for Peace” for 25 years.

In 2018, we will be holding our annual Space Organizing Conference in Oxford, England.  This will also include a protest at the major US/NATO military space communications and control centre at nearby “RAF” Croughton.

Croughton is an American military and intelligence communications base on the border of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. It is a major hub in the US global electronic communications, control and surveillance network which serves the interests of the US military and intelligence services regardless of the location and the mission objectives.


It handles a huge portion of US military communications in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and is used to route vast amounts of data captured by Washington’s network of listening posts in diplomatic premises back to America for analysis by the CIA and the NSA. A secure fibre-optic link between Croughton and the US air base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti helps to co-ordinate drone strikes over Yemen.

The US is now spending over £200m to transform the base into one of its largest intelligence hubs outside the US to become a new centre for counter-terrorism operations in Africa.

The GN's 26th annual conference will be held from June 22-24, 2018 in Oxford with a side trip to Croughton for a protest.

You can find the full schedule and registration information here

Friday, December 29, 2017

Which war in 2018?

Advert for war propaganda video game


I was reading The Saker this morning - one of my daily stops along my milk route as I explore what others are thinking and doing.  Saker is a Russian emigre living in Florida.  He is an expert on US-Russian military issues and I have learned much from him- especially the Ukraine story.

While trying to grapple with an unstable coming new year, he wrote an article '2018 war or no war?'.  He is trying to get a handle on what US-NATO-Israel will do in their sick quest to knock down Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and many others.  Mr. Big wants it all - the question is how far will he go?  Some of the outcome depends on us.

Saker writes:

Now let’s sum this all up.
The chances are high that in 2018 the USA will:

  • Escalate the war in Afghanistan
  • Renege on the nuclear deal with Iran
  • Back an Ukronazi attack on Novorussia
It is quite possible that the USA will also

  • Shoot down a Russian aircraft over Syria
I find it unlikely that the USA will

  • Invade Syria
  • Invade Venezuela
I am unable to evaluate whether the USA will:

  • Disconnect Russia from SWIFT or seize Russian assets
  • Attack the DPRK

Also looking at 2018 the outlet Space News reports on the wrangling in Congress that continues over establishment of an independent service level Space Force.

Lawmakers fault the Air Force for not investing in important technologies that the military needs to ensure access to space. “We got behind, we became dependent on a Russian engine, we kept using a launch vehicle that is massively expensive, we didn’t take advantage of commercial opportunities,” Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said. “There is no question that we have been lagging.”

The responsibility for military space may be too much for the Air Force to handle on top of its other missions, Smith said. “The Air Force is in charge of a lot of things. They’re in charge of nuclear weapons. They’re in charge of air superiority. Being in charge of space is third on that list.”

They've all got their hands in this pie  - Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and more.  Space warfare preparation and 'defense' is the biggest industrial project in Earth history.  Big enemies are needed to sell this one to a worn out public. Thus Russia and China public whippings - and back to the old days of sweet azaleas on the plantation. They are pushing anything that increases the military space budget - they are the aerospace industry.  The makers of dreams and those taking the global war system into the heavens.

Looks like the confederacy is alive and well.  My vote - no thanks.  I'll go down swinging.  Every now and then you get a hit.  Got to run it out....

Bruce

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The streets of L.A.



Downtown Los Angeles, Christmas Day 2017.

We have massive social neglect all across the US - but for some reason many accept that we should hand over more corporate welfare to the likes of General Dynamics weapons corporation.

Please help me understand this huge contradiction....

Bruce

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

'We are determined'......



In an N.F.L. season marked by President Trump’s attacks on football players who have “taken a knee” during the national anthem, a collaboration with The New Yorker explores the legacy of dissent in sports.

Soul of America?


The return to a feudal society is fast on the way in the United States.

My acupuncturist (being provided by the VA) and I talked about this very thing today.  He has young children and is worried about the future.  Most people know the score but want to blame others (immigrants, people of color, etc) which reminds me that the oligarchy remains successful pitting us one against the other.

One thing that gripes me is how partisan much of the 'resistance' appears to be.  Currently here in Maine we've heard strong outrage from liberals against our Republican Sen. Susan Collins for supporting Trump's tax bill giveaway to the rich.  It's devastating and people ought to be angry.

But the interesting thing in my own community is that many of these same outraged grassroots Democrats are finding it hard to speak out publicly to their own local party leaders who are the ones that will introduce the $60 million corporate welfare giveaway to General Dynamics (GD) which owns the Bath Iron Works shipyard.

While they may privately grouse about the bill (to be introduced in the next legislative session in Augusta in January) few, if any, of the local Democratic party loyalists are willing to Collins-ize their leaders.  It's really very sad to watch.

I consider it hypocrisy and I can very well imagine stalwart Republicans calling out liberals for such behavior.  I'm afraid that I wouldn't disagree with the right-wingers on this one.

Do you oppose corporate welfare only when it is done in Washington by a Republican administration and Congress?  In our own hometown of Bath we witness a well-endowed weapons maker (5th largest in the world) be able to neutralize opposition by getting our local Democratic Party state representative and senator to be primary co-sponsors of the tax subsidy bill.  It freezes grassroots 'progressives' and local Republicans will mostly support the bill.  Great strategy.

This is a key reason that I've lost faith in political 'parties' anymore because eventually they get frozen by the contradictions of the sausage making process inside the so-called 'people's assemblies'.

I think you can only escape being a captive of any party by maintaining your independence of will and thought.  Without freedom of action then judgment, truth, and accountability suffer badly. You can't be a true citizen unless you are able to publicly challenge all the political leadership - no matter their party affiliation.

The American political experiment is over - we've been hijacked by the big corporate masters like GD.  They have undue influence (they are helping to write the tax subsidy bill being drafted by Rep. Jennifer DeChant from Bath) and unless stopped we will see even greater erosion of democracy and social stability.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for the Dems - it's time to fish or cut bait.

Bruce

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Coverage of VFP in Okinawa on RT



The US government claims that RT (Russia Today) is part of a Moscow plot to steal elections in this country.  It's all bullshit.

Elections in the US are routinely stolen by big corporate money, candidates who are corporate operatives, and if needed,  the hacking of voting machines and suppression of voter turnout.  This is the playbook that the oligarchies use to steal elections in America.  It helps to divert anger and attention away from themselves toward the Russians.

RT interviews critics of US domestic and foreign policy.  It's fair game - they are an international media outlet.  If people, like me, are willing to appear on RT then what is the big deal?  I'd like to go on CNN or FOX News but they are not going to invite me.  I'm glad RT exists.

The US has all kinds of media outlets operating in Russia - including Voice of America and dozens of others.  They have had free license to spread Washington's propaganda for years.  Lately, following Washington's crack down on RT, the Russian Duma (parliament) has demanded they take reciprocal actions against American media operating there.

Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are among ten American media outlets operating in Russia that are now considered "foreign agents" under a new directive from the Kremlin – a tit-for-tat response to a similar U.S. move.

"Our measures were entirely a mirror response to the suppression of Russian media in the United States," the head of the Federation Council's Commission on the Protection of State Sovereignty, Andrei Klimov, was quoted as saying.

"The list includes American propaganda companies that live on government money and broadcast in the Russian language," Klimov said, adding that CNN was not on the list because it was not "a propaganda company."

But why was the US so upset with RT from the start?  It's because RT breaks through the otherwise dominant news reporting of mainstream media which are under the control of the Deep State.  Mr. Big wants total control - half measures are not acceptable.  They want to control the world and Russia and China are the two primary obstacles.  Russia being able to project information to US viewers is seen as violating Mr. Big's 'Full Spectrum Dominance' rule.

I had an exchange with a friend today whose son is in the Army Special Forces.  He's lately been deployed to western Ukraine where the US has set up a training base for the Kiev puppet government's Army, propped up by the US and NATO since they put it in power in 2014.

My friend's son is itching for war - they want to take down North Korea.  They are ready to 'Fight tonight' as the new Army slogan goes.  Trump just gave the go ahead to send offensive weapons to the Kiev regime that can be used against the self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine which have been continually attacked since 2014.  The US goal is to create a failed state on the Russian border - and potentially use Ukraine as a jump off point for 'shock and awe' on Russia.

It's all about the threat - put a loaded gun up to Russia and China's head and threaten global war if they don't surrender to Washington-Paris-Brussels-London-Bonn.  Russia and China are not going to surrender.

The US has lit so many regional fires around the world that the Pentagon can't keep them all under control.  US forces are worn out and over extended.  Many of the top military brass appear to believe that they could prevail in a nuclear war.  The introduction of 'missile defense' gives them the false hope they can survive a counter attack after a US first-strike on Russia and China.  The US Space Command annually war games that very thing.  They call it the Red Team verses the Blue Team.

The era of US world domination is over.  People are resisting the western corporate imperial project everywhere.  We all wish these peace movements were stronger like the one that exists in Okinawa today.  They are the role model for all of us - city mayors and a governor on their side - huge majorities of the people want US bases on the island closed.

So keep the alternative views coming our way RT.  We appreciate them very much! 

Bruce

Snow in Maine on Christmas



The view from our back and front yard on Christmas day during the early part of the blizzard.

The shoveling and roof raking once the storm stopped took hours but MB and I enjoyed doing it and loved being outside.

There is always something very special about being outside during and after a storm.  The city grinds to a halt and a lovely and peaceful quiet takes over that is a rarity in this hectic world we live in.

I experienced similar moments of solitude during hurricanes in Florida - when nature takes over humans become secondary.

Bruce

Pentagon Expanding 'Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre' in England



This video investigates not just USAF Croughton near Oxford, England ('RAF' assumes a level of control that does not, in reality, exist), but also the evolution of the idea of "network-centric warfare" as it has developed at this site.

USAF Croughton is about to undergo a large upgrade to extend its mission. The new 'Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre' (JIAC) will create an intelligence hub in Europe that will co-ordinate NATO (but predominately US) military and intelligence services across the new 'electronic battle space'.

That means not just continuing its existing involvement in various activities which violate international law and the Laws of War; it will intensify the capacity of the US to project its power using technology across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The video concludes with a brief snippet from the 'Keep Space for Peace' week demonstration and rally at Croughton in October 2017.

Paul Mobbs
England

* The Global Network will hold its 26th annual space organizing conference next year in Oxford which will include a side trip to Croughton for a protest.  The events will take place on June 22-24.  

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017


By Thomas Kircher

They say
Dickens
Prowled the London streets
At night while stalking Scrooge
And Christmas ghosts.
Like any good bounty hunter he knew
They could be tracked,
Captured at gunpoint,
Put on display,
Bent against
That long moral arc
That lived within
His beating heart.
If karma is a bitch
She’s howling at the moon tonight,
In this modern age,
With its silos of steel and glass,
Where bitcoins are stored
Against the beast
Now stirring at the gate.
Old Marley
Still rattles his chains,
Only now, like
The hooded man who stands
At the gallows,
Offering out advice,
Tells Scrooge
Not to take the bait
This time around.
Times have changed.
Tiny Tim is just
Collateral damage
In the cross-fire of the culture wars.
Now the ghosts of Christmas wait
For a drink with Scrooge
Down at the bar.  After all,
There are still
Deals to be done
Before the final call.

Thomas Kircher
Biddeford, Maine

Happy holidays to you


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Final Advent vigil at BIW

Jane Newton

Maureen and Joergen Kehoe Ostensen handing out flyers as workers exit the shipyard at noon

Mary Beth Sullivan offering an alternative vision

Standing in the slush

Seven of us yesterday at BIW during the finale Advent season vigil.  Just before we walked down to the shipyard it began raining ice and it was quite cold.  Usually we draw 15-20 people for these vigils but Saturday was different.

See more photos from Roger Leisner here

Sunday Song




Saturday, December 23, 2017

Meeting report with State Rep sponsoring $60 million tax subsidy for General Dynamics


By Mary Beth Sullivan

It has been reported in newspapers that State Representative Jennifer DeChant is submitting a bill in this legislative season to provide a $60 million tax subsidy to BIW over the next 20 years.  This Bill would extend Maine's Shipbuilding Facilities Credit which has delivered BIW an annual $3.5 million subsidy since the 1990s.  When she received correspondences opposing this bill, she invited people to her home for a meeting to discuss this bill.  She then changed the venue to the Bath Library, then changed it again to City Hall.

The meeting took place on Thurs, Dec 21. Besides myself and State Rep. Jennifer DeChant, the following people were there: State Sen. Eloise Vitelli (who will be a Senate sponsor of the bill), Brown Lethem, Karen Wainberg, Jerry Provencher, Gary Anderson, Lisa Ledwidg, Lou Ensel and two VFP members who don't live in Bath, John Morris and Peter Morgan.

Martha Spiess showed up early to videotape the event, and Jennifer did not allow that to happen, so Martha left.  I did not know that occurred until I got home and read Martha's email.  I'm sorry that happened.

Jennifer reported that she did not intend for this to be a public meeting; she intended an “informal meeting.” She also reported that she is willing to hold a “public meeting” anytime. I disagree that a meeting held with constituents about pending legislation is something less than public. Transparency should be at the heart of a democratic process. I heard nothing in that meeting that an audience of Mainers would not benefit from knowing. 

Jennifer ran the meeting.  As I understood the basics:  she was asked by a constituent (BIW) to submit a bill to allow BIW to continue to receiving the tax break it has been receiving for the last 20 years. She agreed. The language for the bill is being written; it is in the legislature's Revisor's Office; BIW lawyers are assisting in drafting the language; it is important to her that language using some of these dollars for 'training' is in the bill.

Jennifer and Louise described that the process is this:  the bill's language will be completed soon.  The Taxation Committee will take it up, and hold a public hearing.  By law, the Taxation Committee needs to hold a public hearing, and give a 10-day notice to the public. When people come to the hearing, they can speak for three minutes on the bill and submit something in writing to the committee. The next step is a work session.  The public is allowed to attend, but not to speak or participate.  Then, if it passed out of committee, the bill goes to the floor. If passed, it goes to the Governor to sign.

I perceived the conversation that ensued as civil, lively, honest and blunt. Many of those attending had many questions, and expressed opposition to the bill.  My notes cannot do justice to the great questions and concerns that were expressed; I urge those who attended to add to this email any of the important exchanges that should be shared.

We were urged to pay attention to the Taxation Committee agenda (Jennifer said we could sign up as friends of the taxation committee to be apprised by email of when the hearings will happen) and to show up at the hearing to express our opposition.  Jennifer also urged us to stay in touch with her if we have any questions along the way.

Thanks to all for paying attention to this issue.  It is never too early to contact your local reps/senators to express your opinion of this bill. Consider letting them know that BIW is a strong, capable, successful shipbuilding company.  At $4 billion of taxpayers dollars a ship, they (and their parent company, General Dynamics) should certainly be able to budget well enough to meet their financial responsibilities.  On the other hand, Maine is constantly stressed in its efforts to meet the needs of its constituents impacted by a decaying physical, educational, medical and social infrastructure.  Create a vision for what you think might be a higher priority for the $3 million a year over the next 20 years, and share it with your State Representatives and Senators.

If you have not yet seen it please watch the interview with emeritus USM Law professor Orlando Delogu who discusses this tax subsidy - watch it here

Thanks for you attention and activity around this issue.

In peace,
Mary Beth Sullivan
Bath, Maine

Israeli crimes against justice and peace



Fellow Mainer Amos Libby wrote a couple of days ago from Palestine:

Israeli soldiers on have arrested the mother of Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year old Palestinian girl arrested from her bed Tuesday morning at 3:00 am here in the village of Nabi Saleh. Arresting a child wasn’t enough for the Israeli occupation; now her mother is behind bars, too.

The Tamimi family have lived their entire lives under Israeli military rule, never knowing a single day of true freedom. It is their right and responsibility to protest for Palestinian freedom and equality.

A petition has been created telling Israel to release the members of the Tamimi family.  Please sign it here

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"I was the terrorist"



Outside the gates of Futenma Marine Corps air base in Okinawa – really moving video - during the recent Veterans For Peace delegation.

Full Space Issues interview now available



My interview on RT about space issues, done a couple of weeks ago, now available in full.

I am at the airport in Taiwan heading home.  Long trip ahead of me but ready to get home.

Bruce

Pushing WW III - These folks are crazy and dangerous


Military.com reports:

As the U.S. nears the completion of nearly two decades of combat in the Middle East, the commandant of the Marine Corps said the service is looking beyond the region and working to focus more on other parts of the world where new threats are emerging.

During a brief visit to the new Marine Corps rotational force in Norway as part of a multi-country Christmas tour of deployed Marine units, Gen. Robert Neller held a town hall forum and took questions from a handful of Marines from the 300-troop rotation. Addressing a question about where the Marine Corps saw itself fighting in the near future, Neller spoke plainly.

"I think probably the focus, the intended focus is not on the Middle East," Neller said. "The focus is more on the Pacific and Russia."

The commandant acknowledged that who and where to fight is not always a unilateral choice.

"The problem is, we may not be interested in the Middle East, but they seem to be fascinated with us," he said. "And as long as there are groups there that threaten the United States, there will have to be some presence."

The current Marine Corps deployed presence in the Middle East is robust.

More than 450 Marines are now deployed to Afghanistan in advisory and training capacities as local troops continue to battle the Taliban. Hundreds more are in Iraq, staffing two ground bases supporting the fight against ISIS and reinforcing the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. An artillery detachment in Syria recently departed for home after being credited with helping to achieve victory in the assault on the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate in Raqqa.

And elsewhere in the Middle East, elements of the Marines' crisis response force for the region are distributed in various countries, ready to respond to a regional crisis, provide aid to an embassy, or rescue a downed aircraft.

Traditionally, multiple stops on Neller's annual Christmas visit are to deployed Marine units in the Middle East.

Neller asked the enlisted Marine who asked the question how old he was when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. Eight, the Marine responded.

"If you look at the security situation in that part of the world, is it any better than it was at 9/11?" Neller said. "We've been there for 17 years next September. So we keep doing the same thing, getting the same result, and we're still unhappy. Maybe we need to change something."

He predicted "a slight pullback" from the Middle East in favor of presence in and focus on the Pacific and Eastern Europe, where North Korea and Russia pose regional and global threats.

The Pacific, in particular, houses three of the five threats in the Pentagon's "4+1" framework, Neller said: North Korea, China, and global terrorism. (The other two threats are Russia and Iran).

"So I believe we'll turn our attention there," Neller said. "We're going back to the Pacific."

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Corporate Tax Cuts: From DC to Augusta


By Bruce K. Gagnon 

The news that Sen. Susan Collins had ignored the wishes of the majority of Mainers on the recent Senate tax cut bill underscored just how far the greed and lack of care for the working people of this nation has gone.

The overwhelming evidence that the gap between the rich and poor is growing (about as fast as the Arctic ice is melting) indicates just how little our corporate ‘masters’ care about the country. The fact is they don’t.

Here in Maine we face a less well known corporate grab for the public purse. The recent news that General Dynamics is requesting a $60 million tax subsidy from Augusta is but one more shock to the system of a nation that is in decline as our human and physical infrastructure collapses due to neglect and outright abuse.

Thanks to an article printed in the Providence Journal on Nov. 3, we have learned that General Dynamics does not need another gift from the already broke State of Maine. Entitled Defense firms spend big on lucrative stock buybacks, the Journal reported that between 2009-2016 General Dynamics spent $12.9 billion buying back its own stock. (They can only do that when they have a bundle of excess cash sitting around.)

This was during the same period that General Dynamics was hitting up Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut for more money — implying that they might have to close up shop if they didn’t get the requested taxpayer subsides.


“I think, as taxpayers, we’re being taken for fools,” said William Lazonick, an economist at UMass Lowell and an expert on stock buybacks told the Providence Journal. “At a minimum, I would have a rule saying, ‘You’re not getting any subsidies if you’re doing buybacks. You’re showing us you don’t need the money.’ “

It should be remembered that when General Dynamics signs contracts with the federal government to build warships they write into the agreement all their costs (worker training, equipment, utilities, materials, profits and more). So, for the company to keep coming back saying they need even more money means they are double dipping the taxpayers.

Rep. Jennifer DeChant from Bath is now formulating the bill in Augusta that will give General Dynamics even more corporate welfare. Since 1997 the company has received $200 million in tax breaks from the State of Maine and the city of Bath.

The public outcry, not yet as sharp and loud as the one we’ve recently heard opposing the Senate tax bill in Washington, should now pick up as we head toward the January special legislative session in Augusta where the tax subsidy bill by Rep. DeChant will be considered.

Let’s just imagine for a moment what $60 million could be used for here in our already fiscally strapped state. Fixing roads and bridges, repairing rundown schools, hiring more teachers, helping those who can’t afford healthcare, beginning to do more about our own dependence on fossil fuels as climate change worsens by the day and lobsters head north seeking colder ocean waters.

Should we just surrender to the corporate agenda and turn over the public treasure chest to the already well-endowed mega-companies that now appear to be in full control of Washington and Augusta? Are people to expect few, if any, life supporting services from our national and state governments because we must first make sure that the fifth biggest weapons corporation on the planet, General Dynamics, has enough profits so they can buy back their own stocks?

General Dynamics last year paid CEO Phebe Novakovic $21 million — which included a $5 million bonus. Let General Dynamics take back some of the extravagant pay increases and bonuses from its top executives before it comes poormouthing to our already financially barren state treasury.

We have the right, and the responsibility, to speak out and demand this nonsense stops now. We are handing a collapsing nation, facing the ravages of global warming, to the future generations. The least we can do is call upon our state legislators to go to Augusta and say no to General Dynamics.

Before General Dynamics gets any more state taxpayer dollars it should be required to begin a transition process to build commuter rail systems, tidal power and offshore wind turbines to help us deal with our real problem — global warming.

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

Debating space colonization in Taiwan: Good seed or Bad seed?



My son Julian (on right in photo) teaches debate in Taipei, Taiwan and had me speak to his students today for 90 minutes about space issues.  The kids leave Friday for a big debate tournament in Beijing on 'space colonization'. 

The kids are middle school age and I was quite impressed at how much they already knew and how closely most of them followed the discussion.  A handful of them had lots of questions with Julian adding some (and debating me as well - something he has always liked to do).

We covered alot of ground - from weapons in space to planetary mining colonies.  One question that frequently came up was what will happen by 2050 - will there be war in space or will there be space colonies established by then?  That 2050 time frame appears to be one of the primary themes in their coming Beijing debate.

Two of the moms of the kids came by to check the discussion out and one of them kindly brought me a gift of honey from Taiwan.  A very nice gesture.  The other mom said she met me last January when MB and I attend Julian's wedding to his wife Emily.

I tried to pass on much of what I've learned about space issues over the last 35 years.  My bottom line question was what is the big hurry to colonize space?  I asked the kids how long we humans have been living on planet Earth?  We got many answers but in the end we agreed that it has been a long time.  So my point was why the big rush to colonize by 2050?  I made the point that we can't afford to take the bad seed of war, greed and competition (that has been sown deeply into the consciousness of us Earthlings) into space.  I reminded them of the 'Prime Directive' from the old Star Trek TV series - 'Do no harm when you venture off into space.'

I told them I was excited to know that students would be debating space issues because this is exactly what we need all over the world right now.  Most people don't know much (if anything) about space issues so we need to slow things down so that the global public can catch up with the technology that is pushing space warfare and colonization. 

In the end, I said, the people and our planet are the ones that will pay the ultimate price if there are any mistakes or accidents from space technology - particularly as the nuclear industry views space as a profitable new market.  So the public has the right to be involved in the debate about how our collective tax money is used by the aerospace industry that is pushing space weapons and colonization.

I thanked the kids for listening and told them they were special because now they know something about this subject and that we need them to share what they know with others so that the people of the world can be involved in determining what kind of seed humanity carries into space - the good seed of love, cooperation, non-violence and sharing or the bad seed of greed, violence and competition.

It's a historic debate.

For homework I suggested they (and you) should watch the excellent documentary film called Pax Americana and the Weaponization of Space.

Bruce

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What goes on at Pine Gap NSA base in Australia?



Six protesters in Australia facing jail time for their actions at the US NSA space spy base at Pine Gap.

The base intercepts all communications (email, phone, fax) from throughout the Pacific region and sends them back to the NSA in the US.  Pine Gap also aids in Pentagon drone strike targeting in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Insider view of U.S. covert operations



Leroy Fletcher Prouty (January 24, 1917 – June 5, 2001) served as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President John F. Kennedy.

A former colonel in the United States Air Force, he retired from military service to become a bank executive.

Prouty subsequently became a critic of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the covert activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about which he had considerable inside knowledge. Prouty was the inspiration for the character "Mr. X" in Oliver Stone's film JFK.

Among other important topics Prouty discusses why JFK was killed by the CIA.

I am reading Prouty's book now and highly recommend it to others.  It is called The Secret Team.

This is important history from a high level inside player.  There is much to learn from Prouty and it indicates to me how the CIA now runs the US government (the deep state) and much of the world as well.

Bruce

Eating our way across Taipei

Night market

Stinky tofu stand - tastes good but does smell quite bad

Emily's favorite ginger duck restaurant

Last night Julian and Emily took me out for dinner.  First we walked through the night market - very crowded - and we got some stinky tofu.  Quite a good taste but it does smell bad.

Then we went to the ginger duck restaurant and the food was quite excellent.  A couple of beers helped wash it all down.

Today we went for a two-hour massage - only $40 each - a real deal and I can say it was the best massage I've ever had.  In Maine you'd pay three times as much for a two-hour massage and it would not be nearly as good. I was warned not to ask for the Thai massage - apparently they beat you up pretty bad when you get that one.  The massage therapist worked on my shoulders the most which were a real mess after sleeping on the floor a couple nights and getting dragged around by police at Camp Schwab in Okinawa.

I've been 11 days without pasta so we went to the grocery store and bought the fixings for pasta which I cooked tonight.  Bought a bottle of Italian wine to go along with it.  I am a happy man now.

Tomorrow I speak to some of Julian's debate students who leave on Friday for their 'space colonization' debate in Beijing.  Should be a great experience for me - really looking forward to it.

Bruce

Monday, December 18, 2017

The hidden story of U.S. complicity in bio-weapons development


731 - How America Exploited Japan's Biological Weapons Crimes from Paul Johnson on Vimeo.

Japan's 731 Biological Weapons unit committed some of the worst crimes against humanity in modern history. "731" is the story of their atrocities and how the US chose not to prosecute its leaders in exchange for data they obtained from human experimentation.

I've written about this story a couple of times.  See my blog post about this very important story here

Arriving in Taiwan







Soon after arriving in Taipei, Taiwan today my son Julian and his wife Emily took me for a great Chinese lunch and then a long walk up a nearby mountain that overlooks the city.  Their dog Junior came along with us.  It was quite a climb up the cement steps to the top - quite steep.

Near the top was the famous Grand Hotel.  Julian and Emily were married in the other Grand Hotel in the city of Kaohsiung.  The rooms were the biggest I'd ever seen in any hotel - a really beautiful place.

Taipei has a metro-area population of 7.4 million people.  The immigration process to get into Taiwan took me 50 minutes to get through - longer than any other country in my memory from my travels over the years. 

It is really great to be there - my third time visiting with them - the last two times Mary Beth was with me - wish she was here this time as well.

I stay until Friday and then head home.

It's been a great trip - the time our Veterans For Peace delegation spent in Okinawa was a remarkable experience.  We had a number of younger veterans (men and women) with us this time and most of them had not been on an international peace delegation before.  So it was a very interesting process to see them mature throughout the 10-day visit.  I know they learned a whole lot and there were many very emotional and moving moments as they confronted their own issues from the military.

There can be no doubt that trips like these change the lives of American citizens when they see the reality of US militarism from the other side of the base barbed wire fences.  Activists come home seeing what the US military empire does to the local culture, environment and the people with new eyes and a stirring in their hearts like never before.

Bruce 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Song



Saturday, December 16, 2017

More photos from VFP Okinawa trip













Photos by Ellen Davidson - see more here

Friday, December 15, 2017

Segment from recent RT interview on space issues



I never saw the whole interview that was done for RT a couple of weeks ago.  This is all they sent me.

Bruce

The U.S. broke the 2005 agreement with North Korea



Question to Putin from Kate de Pury of the Associated Press.

Putin: There was an agreement in 2005 that they [North Korea] will suspend their nuclear program, and they made certain commitments. Everybody was happy, we all agreed and signed this agreement. And then a few months later, the U.S. decided to go beyond this agreement, and they froze their assets, their bank accounts, and said North Korea should do something beyond this agreement.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Easy rider.......


Photo by Will Griffin ......see more at The Peace Report

Defend Oura Bay on Okinawa

Photos from yesterday Camp Schwab blockades














Photos by Ellen Davidson - see more here

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Blocking construction at Camp Schwab


We arrived early this morning at the gates of Camp Schwab at Henoko.  We held the great banner made by fellow Mainer Russel Wray (Hancock) as GI’s and Okinawan civilian employees began arriving for work.  The line of cars was long so entering the base was slow going which made it possible for the car drivers to get a good look at the banner.

Soon enough two Stryker assault vehicles (produced by General Dynamics) tried to leave the base carrying several decked-out combat Marines on top of each of them.  We moved out in front of the gate and blocked them for quite a while.  When the Japanese police were finally sent in to move us we all sat down in the road and the police tried to move us but we held on tight to each other.  They finally moved the Stryker’s around us so we just got up and continued with holding the banner. 

                                                                                                                  
At 8:15 am we moved to the construction gate entrance and were joined by about 100 Okinawan people (mostly elderly).  We all sat down and waited for the construction trucks to arrive.  About 8:45 lots of police came and began trying to tear us apart as we locked arms and legs.  One by one they dragged and hauled us away to a nearby cage that was guarded with many Japanese police.  


After sometime in the ‘cage’ we devised a plan to create a diversion at one part of the cage so that the police would be drawn there and then several of us lept over the fence and ran into the middle of the road and laid down in front of a couple construction trucks. Right behind me dove in VFP board member Monisha Rios who grabbed ahold of my leg and held on for life.  One of our guys, Miles Megaciph who is a former Marine who was once stationed at Camp Schwab (and is a rapper), dove under the truck that we were blocking.  The police worked hard to drag me and a couple of our other VFP folks back to the cage.  Miles was arrested for going under the truck and taken to the local jail house.

After a couple minutes I jumped the fence again, put on a side-step football move to get past the police, and got in front of the truck again.  After a bit the cops threatened to arrest me too and one of the protest leaders came and asked me to not be arrested.  So, I got up and moved back to the cage which was really hard for me to do under the circumstances.

All in all, we held up the line of construction trucks for maybe 30 minutes but when you figure that every day people are blocking the gates and slowing down the process to build the twin-runways for US Marine aircraft right on top of Oura Bay it makes it all worthwhile.  This whole movement is slowing down the war machine and forcing them to spend a lot more time and money.

Around mid-day we got a report that another Marine helicopter accident happened at Futenma where we protested yesterday.  The story is that a window fell out from a chopper and landed on top of an elementary school.  So, it’s almost like a daily occurrence now that parts of these US Marine choppers are falling from the sky and landing on schools and day care centers.  A quickly called protest was planned for this evening at the Futenma base but we are now an hour north of there and could not attend.

We’ve not had decent Internet connection for the last two days so its been tough to get out all the photos and video that our crew have been taking.  Every one is chomping at the bit to get the word out but we are doing the best we can to share information.

We heard that Trump’s Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama lost the special election today which will be a real set back for the Donald.  Nice to get some good news now and then.

Bruce