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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Save the Griz

Zionists brutalize pacifist Jews in Israel....

Israeli police spraying disgusting "Skunk water" in the face of Anti-Draft Protesters ("Skunk water" is a liquid that smells like raw sewage and was designed by chemists to nauseate people for days after exposure) at anti-Draft protest in Bnei Brak, [a city near Tel Aviv] on Monday, August 6, 2018 over the recent arrest of Nissan Rada, a religious Jewish boy who refused to serve in the Israeli army.

Religious Jews have been resisting recent efforts by the Israeli government to draft them, due to their firm belief that that the Zionist philosophy and its movement is contrary to the foundations of the Jewish religion, which include the belief that Jews are forbidden to wage wars against any nation.

Police were seen dragging the protesters brutally and dispersing the crowd with horses and water cannons, spraying colored water at high pressure directly on the crowd.

Dozens of people were reportedly arrested, and many were wounded and hospitalized.

A similar protest took place in Jerusalem on Thursday, Aug. 2 when 46 people were arrested and the police used similar tactics.
One person on Facebook posted this question under the video:

Wait! So these Religious Jews are against Zionism. Does that make them "anti-Semitic," according to the logic of those who want to say that people in general who oppose militaristic Zionism are anti-Semitic?
This is evil. It's fascism. It's a government that cares nothing about heart and soul - it smashes those most peaceful. Israel should be boycotted by the entire world.  Zionism is a cancer to Israel and to the world.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Very important interviews.....

Abby Martin and Mike Prysner lay out exactly what happened to teleSUR and Empire Files.

The censorship from Fazebook and other social media outlets is getting worse by the day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Living with a gem

This photo is of Mary Beth (MB) and me in Edinburgh, Scotland last June just prior to the annual Global Network conference in Oxford, England.  Dave Webb kindly arranged a day trip there from his home in Leeds and we spoke to a packed room that night.

MB is a social worker who works with the homeless in Portland - a 45 minute drive each way from Bath.  She's moved to just three days a week in order to have time for things at home.  Truthfully, she spends most of her days off doing social work in the Bath and Brunswick area with her 'peeps' - people she adores and helps care for - from 19 to 95 years old.  One of her brothers calls her a saint which is about right.

MB enjoyed the nightly pub visits while we were on the trip to the UK in June.  Being of Irish descent she likes her brew and the noisy company in a good pub.  It reminds her I think of a Sullivan (Boston area) family get together.

But truth is that the UK trip was a working trip - daily traveling and speaking.  Not complaining but MB (and me) have not had a real break this summer.  We both need one.

Since my knee operation on July 16 MB has been watching over me like a mama bear.  Even when  she's been so tired she can't even see straight she still gives my bum knee a massage and often gives one to my good leg too for its extra hard service during this past month.

MB's heart is bigger than imaginable.  I love her and am grateful for all she does for me and everyone else. 

One of her childhood friends called from Massachusetts and wants to come up to Maine for the Labor Day weekend.  So the three of us are going to get away for a couple days.  That is exciting and I know we both need a bit of a change of scene.  Maybe there will be a pub visit as well.


U.S. cops being trained by Israeli military


What are US cops being trained for with these brutal tactics that are used on Palestinians?

Are the American people going to be put inside Gaza-like occupation zones and subjected to never ending check points and harsh treatments?

What is the reason this is happening?

And then there is this nonsense reveled in the video below about Congress (now virtually under the control of AIPAC) pushing legislation to criminalize criticism of Israel and any support for the BDS movement.  Such much for democracy - yeah.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

What kind of seed?

Fellow Mainer Regis Tremblay graciously agreed to interview me for the recent taping of This Issue - my public access TV show that airs on about 17 stations across Maine.

At the time this was filmed I was still in the thick of the more painful part of my knee replacement surgery recovery process.  My voice was weaker than I had imagined it would be.

But thanks to the energy from Regis and his animated questions I got by.

It is really such an important subject to discuss - space.

What kind of seed should we take with us as we move off this planet?


Monday, August 27, 2018

Preparing for Keep Space for Peace Week

Since the 1990's the US Space Command (soon likely to be transformed into the Space Force) has been saying that America must 'control and dominate space and deny other nations access to space'.  The US says that it will be the 'Master of Space'.

Every year since 2001 the Global Network has organized Keep Space for Peace Week in October.  Just today I emailed around the first few events that we know have already been scheduled during the protest week.  I got a call from one group in Philadelphia and another in California who are also working to set in motion events.  My experience over the years of doing this is that individuals and organizations will during the month of September begin making their plans for space week.

This year's events are more crucial than ever as we face the recent Trump proposal to create the 'Space Force'.  In our local newspapers, just during the last week, there have been two major articles supporting this proposal which must in the end be approved by Congress.

In the early 1980's when Ronald Reagan came out with his Star Wars proposal it was met with much derision by the mainstream media.  But this time around the media has been consolidated into fewer corporate hands.  In fact many of the companies inside the military industrial complex have invested their massive war profits since the 1980's into buying up radio, TV and newspapers so currently there is little 'mainstream' critical analysis about the cost and provocative nature of the US desire to dominate space.

The need for public expression against moving the arms race into space - what the Pentagon has said will be the largest industrial project in human history - is needed now more than ever. Much of the public never hears or sees any real opposition to crazy ideas like the Space Force due to this corporate media consolidation thus while citizens might be opposed to the idea they go along with it because they've given up hope of changing any thing - they see or hear of little opposition. 

Keep Space for Peace Week (October 6-13) plays an important role in our effort to help enliven the public to speak out against such a historically dangerous proposal to move the arms race into the heavens.

If you organize any event during space week in your community please do let us know so we can add it to the list of actions.  At the very least write a letter to the editor of your local corporate owned newspaper and tell them how you feel about the idea.

You can see our space week poster - No Space Force - here


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Help us link endless war & climate change

In Portland, Maine.  Please join us.

Sunday song

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Steady progress in my recovery

It's been 39 days since my knee replacement surgery.  I am getting out more often walking and going to the YMCA where I ride the stationary bike (which feels really good).  My Physical Therapist pushes me hard twice each week to bend the knee and break through the scar tissue.

Two days ago Mary Beth took me to see the doctor for the first time since the operation.  He was very pleased with the healing of the incision and the progress I am making with using the leg.  He decided I could skip the next appointment and just come back in early October.  He's such a nice man - I really grew to like him so much.

The hardest thing for me has been to give up the heavy duty meds which I did a few days ago but resumed taking at 2:00 am last night while once again failing to get to sleep.  They help block the sensation of pain and discomfort.  While not taking them, each night was full of frustrating tossing and turning, getting up, coming back to bed and cursing the night.  My knee is still mostly numb and the nerves are now and again 'firing' as if trying to reconnect.  The doctor says the discomfort is normal (when you quit the meds it's obviously predictable) and suggested I try over the counter pills which so far have been little help to me. 

I get the most relief from frequent icing of the knee. 

In the meantime I've been able to get some work done though the resulting stiffness while sitting at my desk limits my time there.  But I've been generally keeping up with my work and have continued doing a couple of radio interviews each week on the Trump Space Force proposal.  Thank goodness for Global Network advisory board member Karl Grossman who has been a man on fire writing numerous articles, doing radio interviews and more.  It's really been great to have him filling the gap at this crucial time.

I'm also doing prep work to put in motion my trip to Moscow in mid-October that is intended to make arrangements for a larger group trip (25 activists from the GN and Veterans For Peace).  It's been quite wonderful to see the excitement and interest in the study tour that we will take to Russia in the spring of 2019.  We are sadly going to have to turn some people away - but that just might force us to organize a second one later in 2019.  We'll see how that all goes.

I highly recommend an excellent and interesting article on Putin that ran in the Canadian Dimension magazine earlier this year.  See it here


Friday, August 24, 2018

Understanding Korea with Hyun Lee

Will Griffin sits down to interview a contributor from ZoominKorea, an online resource that progressive minded individuals and groups interested in Korean issues as well as other U.S. based media can access for timely updates on major news stories related to Korea.

Hyun Lee just recently returned from a trip to South Korea where she organized a delegation for Jesse Jackson to speak with South Korea’s government representatives and across the country to promote peace on the peninsula.

She has extensive knowledge on Korean history and current issues in the region. In this interview, Hyun breaks down current US-DPRK relations and explains what needs to be done to move forward on a path to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Uri Avnery 'Presente'

We have this evening said the final goodbye. The hall in which Uri Avnery's coffin had been placed was very crowded. There were TV cameras and Knesset Members from various parties, and a high level Palestinian delegation and very many people who had either known Uri personally or read his articles and books and heard about him. There were very moving speeches and eulogies. And then it was over and the body was taken to be cremated - as he specifically asked and arranged for, already some time ago. His ashes will be scattered by his closest friends in the seashore of Tel Aviv, which he loved.  We will never again see him on the way to the beach, nor hear his voice or read a new article by him. But we will continue his life work without him, as best we can, as he wanted and expected of us, and because it is our own cause. 

To all the very many who wrote us expressing support and condolences in this sad hour, many thanks and our apologies for not being able to give personal answers - the flood is simply far too overwhelming.

Adam Keller
Beate Zilversmidt
on behalf of the Gush Shalom team

See an excellent story in the Washington Post about Uri's life and work here.
He was a man of great courage, vision and determination.   His light will not go out.

Now that makes good sense....

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has suggested that one way to influence Russian behavior would be to limit the size of NATO and limit its expansion into Eastern Europe by not insisting that Ukraine and Georgia be members.

“Sanctions are sort of the stick, and the question is what is the carrot. I would say that one of the carrots might be considering whether or not we continue to insist that Ukraine and Georgia be in NATO,” Paul said.

“I think that if you really wanted to influence Russia’s behavior and you were talking in a one-to-one basis with Russia and you were to have some sort of agreement, I think an agreement not to have Ukraine and Georgia in NATO might lead to less conflict in both Ukraine and Georgia.”

We've been warned about censorship....

Facebook has, for the second time, censored TeleSUR English with no explanation.

Many other groups advocating non-violent issues and organizing are being censored on Facebook.

Who gets the bread?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Empire collapse

Carl Boggs writes in Counterpunch:

The monotonously endless anti-Russia crusade serves a number of political agendas for Democrats and the Washington power structure.  It rationalizes Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, delegitimizes and weakens the Trump presidency, sets momentum for impeachment, and helps drive up Pentagon (and intelligence) spending.  Often forgotten is a yet another, deeper factor: Russia has long been targeted as an intolerable obstacle to U.S. Eurasian supremacy, years before the Trump phenomenon was on the horizon.
A mixture of aggressive U.S. moves – tightening economic sanctions on Russia, increased nuclear “flexibility”, new (hardly veiled) military threats against the Putin regime, and a much-hyped shift from counter-terrorism to expanded confrontation with designated enemy states – is not quite the radical departure being touted. Quite the opposite: it perfectly fits well-established neocon agendas, nowadays pervasive at the White House (Bolton, Matteo, Mattis), as well as within sectors of Congress (Graham, McCain, Menendez, et. al.), the Democratic Party (Clintonites), and corporate media (CNN, New York Times, etc.).  While this same media pretends outrage over Trump’s supposed weakening of NATO, the president and his stable of warmongers move to upgrade the American nuclear triad in Europe and rehearse simulated attacks on Moscow and other Russian cities.  As for the economic punishment, has been described as “sanctions from hell” by one of its senate backers.
The new Pentagon budget calls for expanded U.S./NATO military forces along Russian borders, its purpose to “defeat Russian aggression”, for which nearly seven billion dollars has been specifically earmarked.... " 

We must support Korean reunification

For the divided families
for those broken hearts
bring all the families together
let them be reunited
let there be peace
on the Korean peninsula
at long last

We demand
and we pray

A break from the madness

Monday, August 20, 2018

View of Korean unification talks

South Korea's President Moon’s approval rating was the lowest last week (58%) due to a series of issues. Underlying causes include his team’s shift toward conservative economic policies that favor corporations such as Samsung, on the one hand, and, the main right-wing party’s obstructionism, on the other. 

Many in Korea, especially progressive, feel that President Moon has killed the spirit of candlelight revolution.  As the current peace process depends much on President Moon, his losing support from people negatively impacts the peace process.  Almost every day right wing parties criticize inter-Korean engagement with Neocon rhetoric. Last year, a right wing Korean lawmaker visited John Bolton, delivering a letter promoting hard line policy. That's where they are.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a direct communication line between Bolton and Korean right wing forces. Excellent interview related with this Professor Tim Beal. As U.S.-DPRK talks stall, need for peace in Korea more urgent than ever.  Listen at Loud and Clear.

My take away: timing, timing, timing and a sense of urgency!

North Korea will once again try to accelerate the stalled peace process via South Korea in hopes of getting some reciprocal reaction from the US. 

South Korea is also pressuring NK to offer the most concrete "concession" to Trump (something he can boast about) ever before the November election such as proving the list of their nuke to the US.

Many pro-engagement and pro-unificationists in South Korea feel that this is our LAST chance for peace and an eventual unification. President Kim Dae-jung tried and failed, President Roh Moo-hyun tried and failed, and President Moon is trying. I strongly agree with this view. We need to have a sense of urgency; now or never. There won't be another candlelight revolution that created this momentum. Koreans are tired and have many of their own domestic problems, including a very, very serious economic crisis, youth unemployment, poverty of elderly, etc. Meanwhile, people in North Korea are dying, perishing, starving...

Our action!: We need to massively help the inter-Korean team as Trump’s team is lost and dominated by John Bolton; Korea’s right wing parties and forces will do whatever to stop the current peace process; and President Moon's team has begun drifting. Our groups can stay focused and provide the most steady, smart and reliable support for the peace process!

By Simone Chun 

Northeastern University 
Boston, Ma.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The money go-round

In the 'More of the same department', The Los Angeles Times reports today in a story entitled Trump backed 'space force' after months of lobbying by officials with ties to aerospace industry:

The concept had been pushed unsuccessfully since 2016 by a small group of current and former government officials, some with deep financial ties to the aerospace industry, who see creation of the sixth military service as a surefire way to hike Pentagon spending on satellite and other space systems.

Sunday song

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Radical love

From Academy Award® -winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

Julian Assange hacked NASA plutonium space launch

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London at any time as their new conservative government has been pressured by Washington to turn over the Internet activist to the US for 'prosecution of alleged crimes'.  Since when is reporting on government corruption and secrecy a crime?  With this in mind I wanted to repost a blog I did in 2011 after my son Julian, who is a debate coach in Taiwan, brought it to my attention that Assange had likely hacked the 1989 NASA launch from Florida that I organized protests to stop.  Here is the story.

The leaflet above was advertising a protest I organized at the space center in Florida in 1989. This was during the period from 1987-1997 were we held one large protest after the other against the nuclearization and weaponization of space. Sometimes there were 500 people there, frequently about 1,000 came, and our biggest ever was more than 5,000.

Just today my son Julian, who grew up attending these events during his childhood, sent me an email with a link to a book written by Suelette Dreyfus with Research by Julian Assange that was published in 1997. The book was called Underground: Front Page. You can find the book here

Julian told me, "One of the debate topics for the Harvard tournament is about WikiLeaks and I've been doing a lot of research on Julian Assange. Here's a link to a book he worked the first chapter!!!"

So I dutifully clicked on the link.

Much to my surprise I found that the authors began their book with an account of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice's 1989 campaign to oppose NASA's launch of the Galileo plutonium-238 space probe that garnered international media coverage. This was the first of three major nukes in space campaigns that I led (the others Ulysses in 1990 and Cassini in 1997).

The authors wrote:

For weeks, the protesters had been out in force, demonstrating and seizing media attention. Things had become very heated. On Saturday, 7 October, sign-wielding activists fitted themselves out with gas masks and walked around on street corners in nearby Cape Canaveral in protest. At 8 a.m. on Monday, 9 October, NASA started the countdown for the Thursday blast-off. But as Atlantis's clock began ticking toward take-off, activists from the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice demonstrated at the centre's tourist complex.

That these protests had already taken some of the shine off NASA's bold space mission was the least of the agency's worries. The real headache was that the Florida Coalition told the media it would `put people on the launch pad in a non-violent protest'. The coalition's director, Bruce Gagnon, put the threat in folksy terms, portraying the protesters as the little people rebelling against a big bad government agency. President Jeremy Rivkin of the Foundation on Economic Trends, another protest group, also drove a wedge between `the people' and `NASA's people'. He told UPI, `The astronauts volunteered for this mission. Those around the world who may be the victims of radiation contamination have not volunteered.'

I'll always remember the 1989 launch of Galileo because it was delayed over and over again for about a week. The international media was gathered at the Kennedy Space Center tourist area with nothing much to do so each day during that week we'd assemble as many activists as we could get and hold another vigil and news conference which helped us tremendously to get the word out around the world about the deadly plutonium space launch.

In chapter one of this book is a whole section about a computer worm that got planted inside of NASA's computers during this very time. Was the Galileo delay due to a hacker trying to help us stop that launch? Was a hacker also trying to symbolically "sit on the launch pad"?

The authors wrote about NASA beginning to suspect that the worm inside their computers was put there by protesters. (In fact at the time I don't think I even had a computer or knew how to send email.)

NASA was working in an information void when it came to WANK [worm planted by hackers]. Some staff knew of the protesters' action down at the Space Center, but nothing could have prepared them for this. NASA officials were confident enough about a link between the protests against Galileo and the attack on NASA's computers to speculate publicly that the two were related. It seemed a reasonable likelihood, but there were still plenty of unanswered questions.

It just goes to show that you never know who is paying attention to your efforts. Who could have known that Julian Assange, who has become such a historic figure due to his courageous work with Wiki Leaks, would be moved enough by our campaign to feature it in the first chapter of his book? Maybe it was because it was a classic story about out-of-control technology and the "little peoples" reaction. Any way you cut it one has to acknowledge that it has a nice twist.

One side story should be told here as well. My son Julian was nine years old in 1989 and one day during the campaign I came home and he had my gas mask on. In his most serious voice he told me, "Don't worry Dad, if Galileo blows up I could wear this gas mask for the rest of my life." He was trying to make me feel better. His words cut right to my heart and my soul and virtually every day since that time I have stayed true to the cause because I believe that no child, my own or anyone else's, should ever have to think of living in a radioactive wasteland wearing a gas mask for the rest of their life.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Parade postponed - we'll take it as a victory

Trump's big military parade has been postponed to 2019.  The cost had soared to $92 million.

The president of Veterans For Peace Gerry Condon writes:

Trump's military parade has definitely been "postponed" until at least 2019, according to multiple mainstream media sources.

Two hundred organizations were planning to protest, and the projected 92 Million Dollar price tag was an embarrassment.

The 4-6,000 troops who were to march in the parade must be relieved.

Protest actions being planned for D.C. will go ahead, with a somewhat different flavor. This is a victory. 

The main goal of this organizing was to stop the military parade from taking place, which would have been an affront to the entire world.

Veterans and military family members will lead a solemn procession among the various war memorials on the mall on November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the horrible carnage of World War I. 

Street theater will dramatize the costs of war and challenge the manipulation of support for soldiers, veterans and war dead to prepare the public for rich men's wars.

Keep on Waging Peace!

A CNN story on the parade cancellation had a tremendously wonderful quote from the leader of the American Legion (normally they are all about celebrating the wonders of the US military and the empire).  Maybe the crack in the dam is wider than we thought!  Here is the quote:

"The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation's support for our troops," American Legion national commander Denise Rohan said in a statement. "However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible."

Ba-boom!  That's quite a big statement in this war weary country.  The American Legion is aware that at least 22 US soldiers each day are taking their own lives.  It's time to stop the parades and these wars that only benefit the corporate elite.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

More from Karl Grossman on space issues

More from journalism professor Karl Grossman in this The Real News interview.

Karl, one of the founders of the Global Network in 1992, gives the organization a nice plug near the end of the video.

Karl has been on the 'space case' since just after the NASA space shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986.  He learned that the next mission of the Challenger was to carry deadly plutonium-238 on board.  He wrote a story for The Nation about that and one of the members of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice (where I was working at the time) alerted me to the article.  I called Karl and we've been working together ever since.

We were in almost daily communication during our international campaigns in 1989, 1990, and 1997 opposing NASA launches of even more plutonium-238 on the Galileo, Ulysses and Cassini space missions. 

The Global Network (created in 1992) was born out of these early campaigns to stop the launching of nuclear power into space.


JFK: Another vision for space

One more likely reason that JFK was assassinated by the military industrial complex.

At the time of his killing JFK was reaching out to Cuba to normalize relations; had made a largely ignored speech at American University in Washington DC calling for full nuclear disarmament; was carrying on secret personal correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev (leader of the Soviet Union); and had issued orders to prepare to withdraw US troops from Vietnam after his reelection.

It's all documented in this hugely important book entitled 'JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why it Matters' by James W. Douglass.

This book is a life changer.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

My interview on Loud & Clear

Listen to "Space Force” a gift to the military-industrial complex" on Spreaker.

President Trump’s new Space Force will be the first new military branch since the creation of the Air Force 70 years ago, if Congress approves it and it can get off the ground. But what exactly is a space force? And do we really need one? We’re joined from Maine by Bruce Gagnon, the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Getting word out opposing war in the heavens.....

There is quite a lot of action against Trump's proposed Space Force on social media.  The mainstream media though is lacking critical coverage of this arrogant grab of the heavens by the aerospace industry and their fundamentalist followers.  Do they think they will be closer to God - or do they think they are God?

It's been exciting for me to see so much activity because when Obama increased 'missile defense' deployments encircling China and Russia not many people paid any attention.  When the X-37 military space plane (a super drone that looks like a mini-space shuttle) flew unmanned orbiting Earth for a full year few complained to Obama about it.  Obama was a 'nice guy' and many liberal Dems weren't moved to criticize anything he did or said.

I recall one poll in the Washington Post years back that asked a question about Obama's drone killing program in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.  Seventy-some percent of self-identified liberals said they supported his program.  If it had been George W. Bush or Trump in office the vast majority of those liberals would have been critical of them.  Party loyalty trumps key issues and reduces movement building.

So this time when Space Farce comes along the Dem activists are out of power and are paying more attention to any issue they can ride.  We are happy to see them and we hope they'll dive into the issue and get their feet wet.

They could learn about the cost, implications to world peace, and environmental effects of the space program.  Learn about plans to mine the sky with nuclear-powered colonies on the moon, Mars and asteroids.  Ask who would be in charge of all those space operations?  Who would make the rules and the $$$$$$?  Who is paying for all the military satellites, launch rockets, and various weapons systems now being developed for space?  What is not being funded because of all the money wasted on Star Wars?

I spent an hour today being interviewed by J. G. Michael who does a podcast called Parallax Views.  He wanted to talk about space and it went well.  He knew the right questions to ask.  In the end I asked him how he knew about the Global Network.  He said at the age of 15 he heard or saw interviews with GN folks and began paying attention to space.  He's now 27 years old and is doing his bit to help.  Right before he told me this I had responded to his last question:  Why do you believe in protest?

I answered that I was freed, mentally liberated, by the small regular protests outside Travis AFB in California in 1971 as folks came to protest the Vietnam War and the role our base played as an airlift operations center for the war.  GI's flew to Vietnam and  bodies bags came back on the planes.  I saw them lined up daily on the flight line across the street from where I worked.

Protests create sparks and from that energy comes reflection and consciousness raising.  We have to create experiences for people - that is mostly how people change - it's slow work but important anyway.

During this recent splash about Trump's space force proposal there has been a nice opportunity to do several interviews on alternative radio.

Back in the days (1989-1997) of our campaigns to oppose the launching of plutonium-238 into space (on NASA Galileo, Ulysses and Cassini missions) mainstream radio interviewed us frequently.  I remember driving near my home in Orlando, Florida and hearing my interview on CBS radio news opposing a nuclear launch.  Independent radio talk shows, in those days flourishing across the nation, would frequently call for half or full hour conversations with callers on the line.  These days the corporations have largely consolidated those talk shows into fewer and more conservative hands.

Thanks to committed people like journalism professor Karl Grossman, a founder of the Global Network, we still see some regular writing about space issues.  He has a piece in CounterPunch today Turning Space Into a War Zone and here as well. 

Thank you for visiting Organizing Notes.  With the current crackdown on 'fake news' on social media, and the resulting censorship of many progressive voices, we have to each help spread the word more than ever.


Monday, August 13, 2018

Aerospace industry 'space farce'

Will Griffin's latest video does a superb job of reviewing background of US military space operations and shares where the aerospace industry is trying to take us in the years to come.

Griffin is on the board of the Global Network and is an Iraq and Afghanistan Army veteran.  He's also active in Veterans For Peace.

Please help spread this video around - particularly as we build-up to Keep Space for Peace Week - October 6-13.

Two trains are now on a collision course - one is called human progress on our Mother Earth and the other is called the 'Space Farce'.

Please do what you can to help derail this insane idea to move the arms race into the heavens.

See Karl Grossman's latest article on the Space Force at CounterPunch here


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Two of the better analysts out there.....

Mr. Big is losing his battle to turn us all into slaves - high-tech feudalism.  Hollywood has been showing us the future for years - wearing the spirit of the public down so they will surrender to corporate control.

One of the few things we have available to deal with our technological caging is ironically the Internet.  The crackdown to take that away from us has begun.  This video delves into this important element in the battle for control of the public mind.

Our rights to think and communicate are under assault.  It's really that stark now - we are here.....and the moment is a defining one.

Stay close to each other - don't be afraid - listen to one another as Mr. Big tries to split us apart.  Love one another but remain real and speak what is true.  We need more voices now.


Sunday Song

Saturday, August 11, 2018

We must stop the war march into space

Friday, August 10, 2018

Pence: "We must have American dominance in space"

I've been working on space warfare issues since 1983.  At that time I lived in Orlando, Florida (one hour from the space center) and it was easy to pay attention when Ronald Reagan announced Star Wars - SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative).  It's never been about defense.

The US space program was essentially created by the former Nazi rocket scientists brought over to the US after Hitler was defeated.  Much of the heavy lifting to defeat Hitler was done by the Soviet Union which lost 27 million people during the Nazi invasion.

Cut away to 1997 and the US Space Command document entitled 'Vision for 2020' maintained that America would 'control space, dominant space, and deny other nations the use of space'.  The US would be the 'Master of Space'.

Space Command headquarters at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs

The idea that the US must dominate space is arrogant, stupid, dangerous and highly destabilizing to world peace.  Admittedly it is a major opportunity for maximum profits for the aerospace industry and the Trump/Pence 'space force' proposal is largely being driven by that factor.  They've long said at the Pentagon that Star Wars would be the largest industrial project in human history.

So we've now reached this crisis moment where the expansion of warfare into space is being dramatically promoted and there must be an immediate  counter-reaction by the peace loving people around the world.

One opportunity we have is the October 6-13 Keep Space for Peace Week that the Global Network annually organizes as a way to increase education and action around this important issue.  We urge local groups and concerned citizens to help put together protests and educational meetings during that week.  Find our space week poster here.

We have a good selection of space videos and documentary films available on the Global Network web site which can be used during space week.  Find them here. 

The aerospace industry is targeting human needs programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for dramatic cutbacks in order to move those funds into the proposed space force.  We cannot let them get away with that.

Help us say - space force - NO!  Human needs and deal with climate change - YES!


Czech Senator: Ukrainian Fascists Took Control of Major Cities

The Czech senator Jaroslav Doubrava compared Ukraine to a black hole and said that he doesn’t want to visit the country until its government is replaced.

In an interview to the “Parlamentni Listy” publication the senator noted that Ukrainian oligarchs continue fight for financial flows, and all money sent to Kiev as financial aid literally “falls into a black hole”. At the same time, it will hardly be possible to return them.

    “In Ukraine there is a high level of poverty among the population. Oligarchs dominating in a mafia is a reality in Ukraine. And, unfortunately, this also concerns us, since many Ukrainians come here in order to earn money to support their family,” said the politician.

He also noted that nobody in the West cares about the fact that in 2014 a rigid coup d’etat took place in Ukraine, because of which thousands of people were killed, and now fascist trends are observed in the country. The senator is sure that western countries only pursue their own interests in Ukraine.

    “Fascist trends are obvious. The periphery there, probably, also doesn’t suspect what is happening, and fascists have already placed big cities under their control. I don’t want to visit Ukraine under the present government, I don’t want to walk the same streets where fascists, who shout out nasty things, stride,” added the Czech politician.

In addition, Doubrava noted that he has visited Crimea three times already, and every time Kiev protested and issued threats because of an allegedly “illegal visit to the territory of Ukraine”, he personally wrote to Ukrainian representatives and said that he visited the territory of the Russian Federation.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Why won't the U.S. leave Afghanistan?

Peace talks between the US and the Taliban have been taking place secretly since November. Former US Army Colonel Chris Kolenda and former US Ambassador Robin Raphel have been speaking with their Taliban counterparts in a series of meetings that have taken place in Doha, Qatar.

Former US Army paratrooper and Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran Will Griffin discusses the bigger picture.  Will also serves on the Global Network's board.

Stories from teaching peace.....

Doug Rawlings talks about Peace Studies and shares stories from teaching the subject at the University of Maine-Farmington (UMF).

Doug is a Vietnam war artillery veteran and was one of the original founders of Veterans For Peace that got started in Maine in 1985.

He was interviewed during last weekends Peace Fair organized by PeaceWorks in Brunswick, Maine.

What did they talk about?

Making sense of Russiagate

Watch Part 4 of Paul Jay and Aaron Mate’s interactive discussion with viewers about the controversy over Trump’s visit to Helsinki.

This is a very relevant and important discussion being led by Mate during recent weeks on the Real News.  Thanks to them for this courageous questioning of the corporate brainwashing process. Few are willing to challenge authority - while it is more necessary than ever.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

No U.S. bases in Okinawa - who will speak for nature?

As I lay on my bed with my knee iced (just over three weeks since my surgery) my heart is with the people in Okinawa as they maintain their steady vigil in the water and at the gates of Camp Schwab Marine base at Henoko.

Their daily protest at the construction gate and in the bay is a level of commitment that few peaceniks in the west can imagine.  Up to 13 years this has been going on each day to say NO to the construction of twin-runways over the bay for US warplanes that are increasingly being sent into the Asia-Pacific.

The endangered dugong sea mammals, the 3,000 year old coral in Oura Bay and the people's sacred connection to the water all speak loudly to me even when Okinawa is so far away.

The US maintains that these protests are financed and led by China which is pure nonsense.  These protests are led by the people of Okinawa who completely understand that if another war happens then their island (occupied by dozens of US military bases) is a prime target.  The people are fighting to keep the peace - to introduce some sanity - into the insane Pentagon build up for war on their peaceful island home.

Who will speak for nature?  Who will speak for the coral and the fish?  Who will speak for the dugong?  Who will stand with the Okinawan people?

Just as I was finishing this post I saw an update that Okinawa's Gov. Onaga died today from cancer.  He had been fighting to oppose the runway construction on Henoko for many years.  He gave his life for the people and the island.  This will be a huge loss for the movement.  My heart goes out to all there.  You can read more about him here


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Talking about Deep State agenda....

Jimmy Dore is one of my favorite news analysts and cultural critics. He is well studied and is growing as he learns more about the deep connections between the ruling oligarchs in America and their use of the Congress and the media to promote a earth destroying pirate version of capitalism.

In this interview Jimmy's guest is a good man who served hard time in the empire's jails for standing against the US torture program.

John Kiriakou is a columnist with Reader Supported News. He co-hosts "Loud and Clear" on Sputnik Radio.

He was a CIA analyst and case officer, senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, and author. He was the first U.S. government official to confirm in December 2007 that waterboarding was used to interrogate al-Qaeda prisoners, which he described as torture.

On October 22, 2012, Kiriakou pleaded guilty to disclosing the identity of a fellow CIA officer. He was the first CIA officer to be convicted for passing classified information to a reporter, although the reporter did not publish the name of the operative. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison on January 25, 2013, and served his term from February 28, 2013, until February 3, 2015, at the low-security Federal correctional facility near Loretto, Pennsylvania, in general population, not in the neighboring minimum security work camp that has been reported.

Monday, August 06, 2018

You are invited.....

Tom Neilson and Lynn Waldron are long-time friends and excellent performers.  Tom is an outstanding songwriter who uses irony and satire as well as anyone I've ever seen to tell stories about the political times we live in.

His songwriting comes out of our people's movements.  He grew up on a dairy farm and his heart remains close to the land.

Over the years Tom has sung at quite a few Global Network annual meetings.  He lives these days in western Massachusetts.

You will enjoy this show - come along for some fun and 'take a knee' with me (the concert and the title for the event were Tom's idea which I immediately loved).

I'm excited.  Hope to see you there.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Israel illegally & brutally disrupts another Gaza Freedom Flotilla

In July Dr. Swee Chai Ang was sailing with the Freedom Flotilla ship al-Awda in an effort to break the 12 year old siege of Gaza.  She is a consultant orthopedic surgeon at St. Bartholomew’s and the Royal London hospitals and co-founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians. Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, she came to the U.K. as a refugee.

She was eyewitness to the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut which she wrote about in From Beirut to Jerusalem: A Woman Surgeon With the Palestinians.  Here is her account about what happened after the Israelis boarded the al-Awda in international waters on July 29, 2018.

Events from 29 July when the Israeli Navy stormed the Freedom Flotilla al-Awda hijacked and diverted it from its intended course to Gaza to Israel.

By Dr Swee Ang, medical doctor on board the al-Awda, 4 August 2018


The last leg of the journey of al-Awda (the boat of return) was scheduled to reach Gaza on 29 July 2018. We were on target to reach Gaza that evening. There are 22 on board including crew with USD $15,000 of antibiotics and bandages for Gaza. At 12.31 pm we received a missed call from a number beginning with +81... Mikkel was steering the boat at that time. The phone rang again with the message that we were trespassing into Israeli waters. Mikkel replied that we were in International waters and had right of innocent passage according to maritime laws. The accusation of trespassing was repeated again and again with Mikkel repeating the message that we were sailing in international waters. This carried on for about half an hour, while Awda was 42 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Prior to the beginning of this last leg, we had spent 2 days learning non-violent actions and had prepared ourselves in anticipation of Israeli invasion of our boat. Vulnerable individuals especially those with medical conditions were to sit at the rear of the top deck with their hands on the deck table. The leader of this group was Gerd, a 75 year old elite Norwegian athlete and she had the help of Lucia a Spanish nurse in her group.

The people who were to provide non-violent barrier to the Israelis coming on deck and taking over the boat formed 3 rows – two rows of threes and the third row of 2 persons blocking the wheel house door to protect the wheel house for as long as possible. There were runners between the wheel house and the rear of the deck. The leader of the boat Zohar and I were at the two ends of the toilets corridor where we looked out at the horizon and inform all of any sightings of armed boats. I laughed at Zohar and said we are the Toilet Brigade, but I think Zohar did not find it very funny. It was probably bad taste under the circumstances. I also would be able to help as a runner and will have accessibility to all parts of the deck in view of being the doctor on board.

Soon we saw at least three large Israeli warships on the horizon with 5 or more speed boats (zodiacs) zooming towards us. As the Zodiacs approached I saw that they carried soldiers with machine guns and there was on board the boats large machine guns mounted on a stand pointing at our boat. From my lookout point the first Israeli soldier climbed on board to the cabin level and climbed up the boat ladder to the top deck. His face was masked with a white cloth and following him were many others, all masked. They were all armed with machine guns and small cameras on their chests.

They immediately made to the wheel house overcoming the first row by twisting the arms of the participants, lifting Sarah up and throwing her away.  Joergen the chef was large to be manhandled so he was tasered before being lifted up. They attacked the second row by picking on Emelia the Spanish nurse and removed her thus breaking the line. They then approach the door of the wheel house and tasered Charlie the first mate and Mike Treen who were obstructing their entry to the wheel house. Charlie was beaten up as well. Mike did not give way with being tasered in his lower limbs so he was tasered in his neck and face. Later on I saw bleeding on the left side of Mike’s face. He was semi-conscious when I examined him.

They broke into the wheel house by cutting the lock, forced the engine to be switched off and took down the Palestine flag before taking down the Norwegian flag and trampling on it.

They then cleared all people from the front half of the boat around the wheel house and moved them by force and coercion, throwing them to the rear of the deck. All were forced to sit on the floor at the back, except Gerd, Lucy and the vulnerable people who were seated around the table on wooden benches around her. Israeli soldiers then formed a line sealing off people from the back and preventing them from coming to the front of the boat again.

As we entered the back of the deck we were all body searched and ordered to surrender our mobile phones or else they will take it by force. This part of search and confiscation was under the command of a woman soldier. Apart from mobile phones - medicines and wallets were also removed. No one as of today (4 August 2018) got our mobile phones back.

I went to examine Mike and Charlie. Charlie had recovered consciousness and his wrists were tied together with plastic cable ties. Mike was bleeding from the side of his face, still not fully conscious. His hands were very tightly tied together with cable ties and the circulation to his fingers was cut off and his fingers and palm were beginning to swell. At this stage the entire people seated on the floor shouted demanding that the cable ties be cut. It was about half an hour later before the ties were finally cut off from both of them.

Around this time Charlie the first mate received the Norwegian flag. He was visibly upset telling all of us that the Norwegian flag had been trampled on. Charlie reacted more to the trampling of the Norwegian flag than to his own being beaten and tasered.

The soldiers then started asking for the captain of the boat. The boys then started to reply that they were all the captain. Eventually the Israelis figured out that Herman was the captain and demanded to take him to the wheel house. Herman asked for someone to come with him, and I offered to do so. But as we approached the wheel house, I was pushed away and Herman forced into the wheel house on his own. Divina, the well known Swedish singer, had meanwhile broken free from the back and went to the front to look through the window of the wheel house. She started to shout and cry “Stop –stop they are beating Herman, they are hurting him”.  We could not see what Divina saw, but knew that it was something very disturbing. Later on, when Divina and I were sharing a prison cell, she told me they were throwing Herman against the wall of the wheel house and punching his chest. Divina was forcibly removed and her neck was twisted by the soldiers who took her back to the rear of the deck.

I was pushed back to the rear of the boat again. After a while the boat engine started. I was told later by Gerd who was able to hear Herman tell the story to the Norwegian Consul in prison that the Israelis wanted Herman to start the engine, and threatened to kill him if he would not do so. But what they did not understand was that with this boat, once the engine stopped it can only be restarted manually in the engine room in the cabin level below. Arne the engineer refused to restart the engine, so the Israelis brought Herman down and hit him in front of Arne making it clear that they will continue to hit Herman if Arne would not start the engine. Arne is 70 years old, and when he saw Herman’s face went ash colour, he gave in and started the engine manually. Gerd broke into tears when she was narrating this part of the story. The Israelis then took charge of the boat and drove it to Ashdod.

Once the boat was on course, the Israeli soldiers brought Herman to the medical desk. I looked at Herman and saw that he was in great pain, silent but conscious, breathing spontaneously but shallow breathing. The Israeli Army doctor was trying to persuade Herman to take some medicine for pain. Herman was refusing the medicine. The Israeli doctor explained to me that what he was offering Herman was not army medicine but his personal medicine. He gave me the medicine from his hand so that I could check it. It was a small brown glass bottle and I figured that it was some kind of liquid morphine preparation probably the equivalent of oromorph or fentanyl. I asked Herman to take it and the doctor asked him to take 12 drops after which Herman was carried off and slumped on a mattress at the back of the deck. He was watched over by people around him and fell asleep. From my station I saw he was breathing better.

With Herman settled I concentrated on Larry Commodore, the Native American leader and an environmental activist. He had been voted Chief of his tribe twice. Larry has labile asthma and with the stress all around my fear was that he might get a nasty attack, and needed adrenaline injection. I was taking Larry through deep breathing exercises. However Larry was not heading for an asthmatic attack, but was engaging an Israeli who covered his face with a black cloth in conversation. This man was obviously in charge.

I asked for the Israeli man with black mask his name and he called himself Field Marshall Ro.....Larry misheard him and jumped to conclusion that he called himself Field Marshall Rommel and shouted how can he an Israeli take a Nazi name. Field Marshall objected and introduced himself as Field Marshall ? Ronan. As I spelt out Ronan he quickly corrected me that his name is Ronen, and he Field Marshall Ronen was in charge.

The Israeli soldiers all wore body cameras and were filming us all the time. A box of sandwiches and pears were brought on deck for us. None of us took any of their food as we had decided we do not accept Israeli hypocrisy and charity. Our chef Joergen had already prepared high calorie high protein delicious brownie with nuts and chocolate, wrapped up in tin foil to be consume when captured, as we know it was going to be a long day and night. Joergen called it food for the journey. Unfortunately when I needed it most, the Israelis took away my food and threw it away. They just told me ”It is forbidden” I had nothing to eat for 24 hours, refusing Israeli Army food and had no food of my own.

As we sailed towards Israel we could see the coast of Gaza in total darkness. There were 3 oil /gas rigs in the northern sea of Gaza. The brightly burning oil flames contrasted with the total darkness the owners of the fuel were forced to live in. Just off the shore of Gaza are the largest deposit of natural gas ever discovered and the natural gas belonging to the Palestinians were already being siphoned off by Israel.

As we approached Israel, Zohar our boat leader suggested that we should start saying goodbye to each other. We were probably 2-3 hours from Ashdod. We thanked our boat leader, our Captain, the crew, our dear chef, and encouraged each other that we will continue to do all we can to free Gaza and also bring justice to Palestine. Herman our Captain, who managed to sit up now, gave a most moving talk and some of us were in tears.

We knew that in Ashdod there will be the Israeli media and film crews. We will not enter Ashdod as a people who had lost hope as we were taken captive. So we came off the boat chanting “Free Free Palestine” all the way as we came off. Mike Treen the union man had by then recovered from his heavy tasering and led the chanting with his mega-voice and we filled the night sky of Israel with Free Free Palestine as we approached. We did this the whole way down the boat into Ashdod.

We came directly into a closed military zone in Ashdod. It was a sealed off area with many stations. It was specially prepared for the 22 of us. It began with a security x-ray area. I did not realize they retained my money belt as I came out of the x-ray station. The next station was strip search, and it was when I was gathering up my belongings after being stripped when I realized my money belt was no longer with me. I knew I had about a couple hundred Euros and they were trying to steal it. I demanded its return and refused to leave the station until it was produced. I was shouting for the first time. I was glad I did that as some other people were parted from their cash. The journalist from Al Jazeera Abdul had all his credit cards and USD 1,800 taken from him, as well as his watch, satellite phone, his personal mobile, his ID. He thought his possessions were kept with his passport but when he was released for deportation he learnt bitterly that he only got his passport back. All cash and valuables were never found. They simply vanished.

We were passed from station to station in this closed military zone, stripped searched several times, possessions taken away until in the end all we had was the clothes we were wearing with nothing else except a wrist band with a number on it.  All shoe laces were removed as well. Some of us were given receipts for items taken away, but I had no receipts for anything. We were photographed several times and saw two doctors. At this point I learnt that Larry was pushed down the gangway and injured his foot and sent off to Israeli hospital for check-up. His blood was on the floor.

I was cold and hungry, wearing only one tee shirt and pants by the time they were through with me. My food was taken away; water was taken away, all belongings including reading glasses taken away. My bladder was about to explode but I am not allowed to go to the toilet. In this state I was brought out to two vehicles – Black Maria painted gray. On the ground next to it were a great heap of rucksacks and suit cases. I found mine and was horrified that they had broken into my baggage and took almost everything from it – all clothes clean and dirty, my camera, my second mobile, my books, my Bible, all the medicines I brought for the participants and myself, my toiletries. The suitcase was partially broken. My rucksack was completely empty too. I got back two empty cases except for two dirty large man size tee shirts which obviously belonged to someone else. They also left my Freedom Flotilla tee shirt. I figured out that they did not steal the Flotilla tee shirt as they thought no Israeli would want to wear that tee shirt in Israel. They had not met Zohar and Yonatan who were proudly wearing theirs. That was a shock as I was not expecting the Israeli Army to be petty thieves as well. So what had become the glorious Israeli Army of the Six Day War which the world so admired?

I was still not allowed to go to the toilet, but was pushed into the Maria van, joined by Lucia the Spanish nurse and after some wait taken to Givon Prison. I could feel myself shivering uncontrollably on the journey.

The first thing our guards did in Givon Prison was to order me to go to the toilet to relieve myself. It was interesting to see that they knew I needed to go desperately but had prevented me for hours to! By the time we were re-x-rayed and searched again it must be about 5 – 6 am. Lucia and I were then put in a cell where Gerd, Divina, Sarah and Emelia were already asleep. There were three double decker bunk beds – all rusty and dusty.

Divina did not get the proper dose of her medicines; Lucia was refused her own medicine and given an Israeli substitute which she refused to take. Divina and Emelia went straight on to hunger strike. The jailers were very hostile using simple things like refusal of toilet paper and constant slamming of the prison iron door, keeping the light of the cell permanently on, and forcing us to drink rusty water from the tap, screaming and shouting at us constantly to vent their anger at us.

The guards addressed me as “China” and treated me with utter contempt. On the morning of 30 July 2018, the British Vice Consul visited me. Some kind person had called them about my whereabouts. That was a blessing as after that I was called “England” and there was a massive improvement in the way England was treated compared to the way China was treated. It crossed my mind that “Palestine” would be trampled over, and probably killed.

At 6:30 am 31 July 2018, we heard Larry yelling from the men’s cell across the corridor that he needed a doctor. He was obviously in great pain and crying. We women responded by asking the wardens to allow me to go across to see Larry as I might be able to help. We shouted “We have a doctor” and used our metal spoons to hit the iron cell gate get their attention. They lied and said their doctor will be over in an hour. We did not believe them and started again. The doctor actually turned up at 4 pm, about 10 hours later and Larry was sent straight to hospital.

Meanwhile to punish the women for supporting Larry’s demand, they brought hand cuffs for Sarah and took Divina and me to another cell to separate us from the rest. We were told we were not going to be allowed out for our 30 minutes fresh air break and a drink of clean water in the yard. I heard Gerd saying “Big deal”.

Suddenly Divina was taken out with me to the courtyard and Divina given 4 cigarettes at which point she broke down and cried. Divina had worked long hours at the wheel house steering the boat. She had seen what happened to Herman. The prison had refused to give her one of her medicines and given her only half the dose of the other. She was still on hunger strike to protest our kidnapping in international waters. It was heart-breaking to see Divina cry. One of the wardens who called himself Michael started talking to us about how he will have to protect his family against those who want to drive the Israelis out. And how the Palestinians did not want to live in peace...and it was not Israel’s fault. But things suddenly changed with the arrival of an Israeli Judge and we were all treated with some decency even though he only saw a few of us personally. His job was to tell us that a Tribunal will be convened the following day and each prisoner had been allocated a time to appear, and we must have our lawyer with us when we appear.

Divina by the end of the day became very giddy and very unwell so I persuaded her to come out of hunger strike, and also she agreed to sign a deportation order. Shortly after that possibly at 6 pm since we had no watches and mobile phones, we were told Lucia, Joergen, Herman, Arne, Abdul from Al Jazeera and I would be deported within 24 hours and we would be taken to be imprisoned in the deportation prison in Ramle near Ben Gurion airport immediately to wait there. It was going to be the same Ramle Prison from which I was deported in 2014. I saw the same five strong old palm trees still standing up proud and tall. They are the only survivors of the Palestinian village destroyed in 1948.

When we arrived at Ramle prison Abdul found to his horror that his money, his credit cards, his watch, his satellite phone, his own mobile phone, his  ID card were all missing – he was entirely destitute. We had a whip round and raised around a hundred Euros as a contribution towards his taxi fare from the airport to home. How can the Israeli Army be so corrupt and heartless to rob someone of everything?


We, the six women on board al-Awda had learnt that they tried to completely humiliate and dehumanise us in every way possible. We were also shocked at the behaviour of the Israeli Army especially petty theft and their treatment of international women prisoners. Men jailers regularly entered the women’s cell without giving us decent notice to put our clothes on.

They also tried to remind us of our vulnerability at every stage. We know they would have preferred to kill us but of course the publicity incurred in so doing might be unfavourable to the international image of Israel.

If we were Palestinians it would be much worse with physical assaults and probably loss of lives. The situation is therefore dire for the Palestinians.

As to international waters, it looks as though there is no such thing for the Israeli Navy. They can hijack and abduct boats and persons in international water and get away with it. They acted as though they own the Mediterranean Sea. They can abduct any boat and kidnap any passengers, put them in prison and criminalise them.

We cannot accept this. We have to speak up, stand up against this lawlessness, oppression and brutality. We were completely unarmed. Our only crime according to them is we are friends of the Palestinians and wanted to bring medical aid to them. We wanted to brave the military blockade to do this. This is not a crime. In the week we were sailing to Gaza, they had shot dead 7 Palestinians and wounded more than 90 with live bullets in Gaza. They had further shut down fuel and food to Gaza. Two million Palestinians in Gaza live without clean water, with only 2-4 hours of electricity, in homes destroyed by Israeli bombs, in a prison blockaded by land, air and sea for 12 years. The hospitals of Gaza since the 30 March had treated more than 9,071 wounded persons, 4,348 shot by machine guns from a hundred Israeli snipers while they were mounting peaceful demonstrations inside the borders of Gaza on their own land. Most of the gun-shot wounds were to the lower limbs and with depleted treatment facilities the limbs will suffer amputation. In this period more than 165 Palestinians had been shot dead by the same snipers, including medics and journalists, children and women. The chronic military blockade of Gaza has depleted the hospitals of all surgical and medical supplies. This massive attack on an unarmed Freedom Flotilla bringing friends and some medical relief is an attempt to crush all hope for Gaza.

As I write I learnt that our sister Flotilla, Freedom, has also been kidnapped by the Israeli Navy while in international waters.

BUT we will not stop, we must continue to be strong to bring hope and justice to the Palestinians and be prepared to pay the price, and to be worthy of the Palestinians. As long as I survive I will exist to resist.  To do less will be a crime.       

Sunday song