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, March 31, 2019

Sunday song

Confined to 9 feet

Albert Woodfox is a former political prisoner who was held in solitary confinement for 43 years until he won his freedom just over three years ago.

Now he is traveling the world and joins Democracy Now in studio to discuss his new memoir, “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope.”

In it, he writes about his childhood and how his mother struggled to keep the family cared for, how as a teenager and young man he was in and out of jails and prisons, and how he became radicalized when he met members of the Black Panther Party and went on to establish the first chapter of the organization at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, to address horrific conditions at the former cotton plantation.

Not long after this, he and fellow prisoner Herman Wallace were accused in 1972 of stabbing prison guard Brent Miller. The two men always maintained their innocence, saying they were targeted because of their political activity.

Woodfox, Wallace and and a third man, Robert King, became collectively known as the Angola 3. For decades Amnesty International and other groups campaigned for their release. “Solitary confinement … is the most horrible and brutal nonphysical attack upon a human being,” Woodfox says.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

O's whup the Yanks

Baseball season has begun.  My life-long favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, had the worst record in baseball last year.  They have all new management now and got rid of most of their older, more expensive players.  They are going young with a bunch of unproven kids.

Yesterday in their season opened they lost to the damn evil empire - the New York Yankees.  Today they beat the Yanks 5-3 and gave their new rookie manager Brandon Hyde his first major league win.

After the game was over the team placed Hyde in a laundry basket and showered him with all kinds of liquid.

It's a great beginning to a new era in Baltimore.  I like Hyde already.  Go O's!


No to NATO march in DC

Lynda Williams (Global Network advisory board member from California and physics teacher) helped me carry our brand new banner today in Washington DC at the No to NATO march.

Will Griffin (GN board member and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran) made it for us and had it delivered to Maine - arriving on Thursday just in time for my train ride to DC yesterday.  I can tell you that lots of people from the march and tourists that we marched past took photos of the banner so it sure attracted attention.

I'd guess there were over 500 people in the event that kicked off what will be a week long series of protests, conferences, concerts and more as the NATO foreign ministers are coming to DC to plan more of their destabilizing, deadly and expensive regime change wars.

In the morning I go to nearby Silver Springs, Maryland to visit our dear friend Herschel Sternlieb from Brunswick, Maine who moved down here to be near his son after the recent passing of his wife Selma - one of our peace stalwarts in Maine.

In the afternoon (3:00-7:00 pm) I've been invited to speak at an anti-NATO conference being organized by the U.S. Peace Council at the All Souls Unitarian Church (1500 Harvard St NW) in DC.  Really looking forward to being a part of this event with some great speakers.

Early Monday morning I'll join my Catholic Worker friends for their weekly protest vigil at the doors of the Pentagon as the thousands of workers arrive.  It's always a remarkable experience.  I'll be bringing our Global Network banner there as well.

Following that event at noon on Monday I'll be interviewed live on RT TV here in DC about Trump's 'Space Force' proposal.

Then on Tuesday I'll be doing a workshop (Automated Warfare: robots, cyber & arming the heavens) at another No to NATO conference that will be held at St. Stephens Episcopal Church (1525 Newton St NW) from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Early Wednesday morning I hop back on the train and head back north to Maine.  It will be a busy time here in DC but already the trip is proving to be very rewarding. 

I'd say that today's march was one of the most diverse events I've attended in years.  Quite a good sign to see various movements coming together and making the deadly connections between our issues.  Now if we can just get the environmental community to discover the fact that the Pentagon has the largest carbon boot print on Earth we could really get rolling.


Coast Guard ship on Jeju Island - why?

Jeju Island, South Korea as a US Coast Guard ship recently arrived at the new Navy base in Gangjeong village.

This is a clear sign of US arrogance and how they view South Korea as 'Pentagon turf' by sending a Coast Guard ship that far from home to Jeju Island.

From Sung-Hee Choi in Gangjeong:

US Coast Guard ship, Bertholf, Out of Jeju!

Don't cut the trees in the Bijarim-ro!

United States should make an apology for the Jeju April 3rd!

It is the time, especially for the remembrance of April 3rd uprising and massacre (March 18 to April 7). And it is annoying that a USCG Bertholf came to Gangjeong while innumerable trees are cut for the expansion of a road named Bijarim-ro for the planned air force base (2nd Jeju airport) in Seonsan during this period. United States should first make an apology for the Jeju April 3rd massacre 71 years ago!

Gangjeong, Bijarim-ro, and April 3rd together.

Friday, March 29, 2019

"I broke from a collective delusion"

Journalist Chris Hedges interviews former combat veteran and US Army officer, Spenser Rapone about bravery and morality.

The second lieutenant was given an “other than honorable” discharge June 18 after an Army investigation determined that he “went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers” and thereby had engaged in “conduct unbecoming an officer.”

In other words, kicked out for having a mind of his own - not something the US military likes in any GI.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Heading to DC for anti-NATO protests

I leave early in the morning by train for Washington DC to join the several days of anti-NATO events.  I'll be staying at the Catholic Worker house in DC.

NATO is expanding like a cancer into a global military alliance on behalf of corporate interests.  Why is NATO moving into the Asia-Pacific region?  It was supposed to be only a European alliance?

The US uses NATO (which it controls) to justify its interventions that the United Nations does not support.  This is in part why NATO is expanding globally - the US wants to replace the U.N. with NATO as 'the global decision making body'.

When you add up the US and NATO military spending it comes to well over 50% of the global total. 

The United States continues to have the highest military expenditure in the world at $1 trillion per year. In 2017 the US spent more on its military than the next seven highest-spending countries combined. 

At $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998. Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by Putin's desire to invest more in development and fighting poverty.

China, the second largest spender globally, increased its military spending by 5.6 per cent to $228 billion in 2017.   


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

India's ASAT Test

India tests anti-satellite weapon

This is clearly motivated by the seemingly poor electoral prospects of a Prime Minister, who was once viewed by many in India as the one who could bring economic prosperity to the millions of people. Instead, he has brought religious bigotry and neoliberal economic policies that is playing havoc with the lives of uncounted farmers and working people.

Mr. Narebdra Modi and his Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are getting ready for paramilitary elections starting next month and he facing a difficult challenge. The timing of the anti-satellite test clearly indicates his political motive. He wasted no time before calling a press conference to announce the success of the test and to brag about how India now joined the exclusive club of nations that possess such capability.

In actuality, hitting a satellite with a rocket is much less difficult than intercepting a long-range missile. Satellites are highly vulnerable because their trajectories are precisely known, especially if it is one of your own. Favorable test conditions can also be created by using sunlit times. The satellites are also have a relatively large cross-section making it easier to see and hit. There are also no decoys to worry about like in an antimissile system.

Regardless, this is a reckless act that should be widely condemned. Creating more space debris in an orbit filled with space debris is extremely dangerous for all space missions. Unfortunately, India is following the footsteps of major space powers like the USA and China. There should be a renewed demand from the international piece community for an ASAT ban urgently.

My thoughts.

Subrata Ghoshroy
Visiting Professor Tokyo Institute of Technology

Research Affiliate Program in Science, Technology, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Trump says he beat ISIS......

According to WikiLeaks cables the US created the war on Syria in 2011.  Assad had refused to allow a pipeline through his country that western oil corporations wanted.  The rest is all background noise.

Syrian people's support for Assad, help from Russia, Iran and Hizbollah is what beat ISIS which was funded, armed, trained and directed by the CIA, Israel and Saudi Arabia on behalf of the resource extraction corporations. Even Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is talking about this fact during her current presidential campaign.

In the meantime Israel continues to illegally occupy the Syrian Golan Heights.  The Golan Heights is the area captured from Syria and occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War, territory which Israel effectively annexed in 1981. Trump just days ago 'recognized' Israel's theft of the Golan Heights. This is the region that has much of Syria's oil and water supplies.

This is all part of the 'Greater Israel' plan to take more land and expand its control of natural resources in the region - as well as serving as a growing military bastion in the region for corporate interests.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

There is no black or white - only shades of gray

We know the western corporate owned media lies to us all the time.

Why would we believe them when they tell us not to read or watch international media that conflicts with Washington's game plan?

We get intimidated to even listen to thoughts of others that our ruling oligarchy's paint as off-limits.

It makes me furious to hear the ruling elites.  Sadly many out in the hustings, knowing full well better, keep in line by closing their mind and hearts to the rest of the world.

The US is preparing for a war with Russia and China.  Shouldn't we be asking why?


Monday, March 25, 2019

U.S. blocks treaty to ban space weapons

Another excellent video by Global Network board member Will Griffin.

This one outlines the US efforts to block a United Nations treaty to ban all weapons in space.

Power to the people - give peace a chance

Former US Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) from 1969-1981.

As a Senator, Gravel became nationally known for his forceful but unsuccessful attempts to end the draft during the War in Vietnam and for putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 at some risk to himself.

It was all a distraction

Iran-Contra hearings, Watergate, and now Russiagate were all distractions.....nothing much came from any of them.

Russiagate has imploded after Robert Mueller's investigation found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. The Grayzone's Aaron Maté explains why the conspiracy theory was bogus from the beginning, and how corporate media outlets spent the past 2 years lying.

Bottom line remains - the Democrats lost an embarrassing election to Trump and didn't want to take responsibility for their own failures.  So they blamed it all on Russia.  It didn't stick.  Gee, I wonder why?

What will the Dems do next?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Windy day at Bath destroyer shipyard


There were 14 of us yesterday at Bath Iron Works shift change for the Lenten Vigil for disarmament and peace.  These vigils will continue every Saturday in April from 11:30 am for an hour.

Except on Saturday, April 27 BIW has announced the 'christening' of the third Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer.  Folks will gather for our protest at 8:30 am on the north end of Washington St. across from the post office.

People coming for the blasphemous event will come on bus (to the south end) and walkers will enter into the shipyard on the north end. (How could the Prince of Peace bless such a killing machine?)

This destroyer will be named the 'LBJ' after the Vietnam War-era Democrat who escalated the killing and was driven from office by the growing national outrage.  Naming the ship after LBJ is an attempt to rewrite history.

Protesters are coming from around Maine on April 27 to declare opposition to this warship.  The three Zumwalts built at BIW cost a total $21 billion.  The original plan was to build more than 30 Zumwalt's but the Navy objected saying it would eat up too much of their ship building budget.  The standard Aegis destroyers built in Bath cost about $1.5 billion each.

Obama was pushing the Zumwalt's as a reward for General Dynamics Corp. which owns BIW.  The majority stock owners of General Dynamics are the Crown family in Chicago who helped Obama become president.  They helped Obama raise more money from the military industrial complex than his rival Sen. John McCain from Arizona did.

All in all it is a theft from the public.  As Eisenhower said in 1953, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

These words resonate today - probably even more than in 1953.  These days we must see a complete industrial conversion to sustainable living if we hope to provide our children and grandchildren with a future on Mother Earth.

The non-violent protest at BIW on April 27 will address all of these concerns.

In the end the US must give up its violent addiction to endless militarism if we hope to live on this beautiful spinning planet.  It's really that simple and clear.


Sunday song

Saturday, March 23, 2019

U.S. Veterans jailed in Ireland after protesting Pentagon use of Shannon airport

U.S. War Machine out of Shannon Airport

Two US Veterans For Peace Refused Bail at Ennis District Court

Charged with Trespass and Causing Criminal Damage at Shannon airport in Ireland

A group of seven US Veterans for Peace took part in a protest against US Military Base at Shannon Airport on Sunday, March 17th.

WHY? Shannon used for refueling troop planes bound for Middle East wars in which up to one million [1,000,000] children have died since 1991.

Two US veterans were arrested at Shannon Airport on 17 March for entering the airfield to inspect and investigate an OMNI Air International plane on contract to the U.S. military.  The two, Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers, were refused bail at Ennis District Court.

The plane, tail number N351AX, arrived at Shannon Airport about 8.30 a.m. from Eielson US air force base in Faribanks Alaska, believed to be on its way to the Middle East with up to 300 armed US troops.

At about 10 am Mayers, a former Marine Corps Major and Kauff, a former Army paratrooper, both members of US Veterans For Peace, entered the airfield carrying a large banner that said:

U.S. Veterans say
Respect Irish Neutrality
U.S. War Machine out of Shannon Airport
Veterans For Peace

The two walked across the air field with the intent of inspecting the plane for weapons or munitions, but were apprehended by airport security and Gardai.  There were detained and interviewed at Shannon Garda station and held overnight for arraignment on charges of trespass and criminal damage.

At Ennis District Court this morning Mayers and Kauff were represented by solicitor Darragh Hassett. The prosecution outlined the charges against them and indicated that they were opposed to bail. Garda Sergeant Noel Carroll gave evidence of arrest on Taxiway 12 at Shannon airport. He also stated that there was a US military aircraft at the airport, most likely referring to OMNI Air N351AX. He also confirmed that the defendants were both veterans of the US military. The prosecutor, Inspector Thomas Kennedy, said there had been substantial damage to the airport perimeter fence.

When the bail issue was being discussed Solicitor Hassett initially stated that the defendants were prepared to agree to bail conditions that involved surrendering their passports, and remaining in Ireland for the duration of the legal processes. This was an unacceptable condition as it would mean that the defendants would have to remain in Ireland at their own expense for up to two years before the trial would occur, and this restriction amounts to punishment without trial.

The defendants then requested an adjournment to discuss matters with their solicitor.

After the court resumed, Hassett emphasized that the defendants needed to return home to the USA and would sign a sworn undertaking to return for trial. The prosecution opposed this and continued to oppose the granting of any bail.

Judge Maire Keane then ruled that she was denying bail to the accused and remanded them in custody to Limerick Prison, where they are to appear for a further court mention hearing by video from the prison on Wednesday 20 March.

Further discussions were then held with Solicitor Hassett. He raised the option of appealing the bail refusal to the High Court in Dublin and he was told to lodge such an appeal. He indicated that it would likely be Thursday 28 March before this High Court appeal would be heard.

Ed Horgan, coordinator of Irish Veterans For Peace, said, “This process is a clear attempt to punish the two VFP activists before any trial takes place. We are calling on all peace and human rights activists in Ireland and internationally to campaign not only on behalf of Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, but, more important, on behalf of all the innocent people being killed and injured by US illegal wars.”

Major Ken Mayers served 12 years in the US Marine Corps. He is a former National Board member of Veterans For Peace and participate in veterans peace team delegations to Palestine, Okinawa, Jeju Island, South Korea, and Standing Rock.

Tarak Kauff was a paratrooper in the US Army during the early sixties. He was a member of the VFP National Board of Directors for six years. He has organized veterans delegations to Palestine, Okinawa, South Korea and Standing Rock. He is currently the managing editor of Peace In Our Times, VFP’s quarterly 24-page newspaper.

Contact details:

Ellen Davidson Veterans For Peace USA, Phone +353863539911. USA: 845-297-8076

Edward Horgan, Veterans For Peace Ireland, Phone +353858519623

Take Action:  Contact the Embassy of Ireland in your country and demand their release.  The Irish Embassy in the US (Washington DC) can be reached at 202-462-3939.

No Air base on Jeju Island!

 "This is the forest we love. Don't cut the trees!"

A woman activist stopped a chainsaw and she and her friends cried together.

March 23rd, Tree-cut in the Bijarim-ro cedar forest, a road which would be connected to the planned area for the 2nd Jeju airport (air force base) in Seongsan, South Korea.

Video by Lee Ki-cheol

Now that the US successfully forced the construction of the Navy base in Gangjeong village on Jeju they next want an air base nearby.

The air base would allow the high ranking Navy brass to be able to fly in and out at a location near the Gangjeong base.  And the Navy will want fighter jets near the Navy base to fly 'close air support' to protect the base in a war with China and Russia.

Jeju's regular airport is located on the opposite side of the island - about an hour drive away from the Navy base in Gangjeong village.

Who are the liars?

Beale AFB near Wheatland, California.  I lived on Beale from 1969-71 and graduated from Wheatland High School.  I love the regular creative protests at Beale by a dedicated bunch of northern California activists.

The Dems lie
and the Repubs lie too
they are all infested
with fleas

The Dems have been bought
Wall Street and Hollywood money
paid to protect the status quo
and to keep the 'liberal' base
in check
which they do
very effectively

The whole nation
built on lies from the start
talked equality, freedom,
justice, liberty
while they massacred
the Native Americans
and enslaved Africans
women could not vote
only white male
property owners

America was never great

America always aspired
to be an empire

The 'founding fathers'
learned how to be brutal
from their former
English masters

the nut didn't fall
far from the tree

Washington now
is desperate
watching the empire
while everything back home
falls apart

We're told to wait
for the next prez election,
get excited about the many choices
like so many brands
of sausage at the grocery,
while Congress goes after
Social Security, Medicare,
and what little is left of
the 'social safety net'

The safety net
is like the nation itself
tattered, worn, full of
holes and contradictions

Yes indeed
Jefferson was right
when he suggested
“a little rebellion now and then is a good thing"

and warned, "I hope we shall crush in its birth
the aristocracy of our monied corporations...."

Jefferson's democratic dream is gone
and 'we the people'
lost as well

Now is the time
to reclaim life
and liberty
if we can


Friday, March 22, 2019

The Cold War Ides of March

US Cold Warriors escalate toward actual war with Russia.

By Stephen F. Cohen

Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, America’s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples:

  • In a March 8 Washington Post opinion article, two American professors, neither with any apparent substantive knowledge of Russia or Cold War history, warned that the Kremlin is trying “to undermine our trust in the institutions that sustain a strong nation and a strong democracy. The media, science, academia and the electoral process are all regular targets.” Decades ago, J. Edgar Hoover, the policeman of that Cold War, said the same, indeed made it an operational doctrine.

  • Nor is the purported threat to America only. According to (retired) Gen. David Petraeus and sitting Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, also in the Post on the following day, the “world is once again polarized between two competing visions for how to organize society.” For Putin’s Kremlin, “the existence of the United States’ rule-of-law world is intrinsically threatening.” This is an “intensifying worldwide struggle.” So much for those who dismissed post–Soviet Russia as merely a “regional” power, including former President Barack Obama, and for the myopic notion that a new Cold War was not possible.

  • But the preceding Cold War was driven by an intense ideological conflict between Soviet Communism and Western capitalism. Where is the ideological threat today, considering that post–Soviet Russia is also a capitalist country? In a perhaps unprecedented nearly 10,000-word manifesto from March 14 in the front news pages of (again) the Post, Robert Kagan provided the answer: “Today, authoritarianism has emerged as the great challenge facing the liberal democratic world—a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge.” That is, “authoritarianism” has replaced Soviet Communism in our times, with Russia again in the forefront.

The substance of Kagan’s “authoritarianism” as “an ideological force” is thin, barely enough for a short opinion article, often inconsistent and rarely empirical. It amounts to a batch of “strongman” leaders (prominently Putin, of course), despite their very different kinds of societies, political cultures, states, and histories, and despite their different nationalisms and ruling styles. Still, credit Kagan’s ambition to be the undisputed ideologist of the new American Cold War, though less the Post for taking the voluminous result so seriously.

The 40-year Cold War often flirted with hot war, and that, too, seems to be on the agenda. Words, as Russians say, are also deeds. They have consequences, especially when uttered by people of standing in influential outlets. Again, consider a few examples that might reasonably be considered warmongering:

  • The journal Foreign Policy found space for disgraced former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to declare: “It is not a question of whether [Putin] will attack, but where.” (Saakashvili may be the most discredited “democratic” leader of recent times, having brought the West close to war with Russia in 2008 and since having had to flee his own country and then decamp even from US-backed Ukraine.)

  • NBC News, a reliable source of Cold War frenzy, reported, based on Estonian “intelligence,” an equally persistent source of the same mania, that “Russia is most likely to attack the Baltic States first, but a conflict between Russia and NATO would involve attacks on Western Europe.”

  • Also in March, in The Economist, another retired general, Ben Hodges, onetime commander of the US army in Europe, echoes that apocalyptic perspective: “This is not just about NATO’s eastern front.” (Readers may wish to note that “eastern front” is the designation given by Nazi Germany to its 1941 invasion of Soviet Russia. Russians certainly remember.)

  • Plenty of influential American Cold War zealots seem eager to respond to the bugle charge, among them John E. Herbst, a stalwart at the Atlantic Council (NATO’s agitprop “think tank” in Washington), and the Post’s deputy editorial-page editor, Jackson Diehl. Both want amply armed US and NATO warships sent to what Russians sometimes call their bordering “lakes,” the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. To do so would likely mean the “war” NBC envisages.

Lest readers think all this is merely the “chattering” of opinion-makers, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once termed it, consider a summary of legislation being prepared by a bipartisan US Senate committee, pointedly titled and with a fearsome acronym, DASKA (the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019). Again, Russia is ritualistically accused of “malign influence” and “aggression” around the world, the quality of the committee’s thinking succinctly expressed by one of the Republican senators: “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” There is no evidence for these allegations—Russian policy-makers are constantly citing international law, and the US “liberal global order,” if it ever existed, has done a fine job of undoing itself—but with “an outlaw regime,” there can be no diplomacy, nor do the senators propose any, only war.

A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived. All of the above amply confirms that thesis, but there is more. Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today’s American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically “Putin’s Russia,” leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991. (See, for example, Nataliya Bugayova’s recent piece for the Institute for the Study of War.)

Still more, as I have also long pointed out, Moscow closely follows what is said and written in the United States about US-Russian relations. Here too words have consequences. On March 14, Russia’s National Security Council, headed by President Putin, officially raised its perception of American intentions toward Russia from “military dangers” (opasnosti) to direct “military threats” (ugrozy). In short, the Kremlin is preparing for war, however defensive its intention.

Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War. This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere.

A major factor is, of course, “Russiagate.” As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump’s pledge to find ways to “cooperate with Russia” and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of its old guard, needlessly initiated an address to Congress by NATO’s secretary general, in April, which will be viewed in Moscow as a provocation. She also decried as “appalling” Trump’s diplomacy with Russian President Putin, whom she dismissed as a “thug.” Such is the state of statesmanship today in the Democratic Party.

Its shining new pennies seem little different. Beto O’Rourke, now a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, promises to lead our “indispensable country,” an elite conceit that has inspired many US wars and cold wars. Another fledgling would-be Democratic leader, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seems to have bought into Russiagate’s iconic promotion of US intelligence agencies, tweeting on January 12, “The FBI had to open inquiry on whether the most powerful person in the United States is actually working for Russia.” Evidently, neither she nor O’Rourke understand that growing Cold War is incompatible with progressive policies at home, in America or in Russia.

Among Democrats, there is one exception, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is also a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Not surprisingly, for lamenting Russiagate’s contribution to the worsening new Cold War and calling for new approaches to Russia itself, Gabbard was shrilly and misleadingly slurred by NBC News. (For a defense of Gabbard, see Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.) Herself a veteran of the US military forces, Representative Gabbard soldiers on, the only would-be Democratic president calling for an end to this most dangerous new Cold War.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen’s most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show. Now in their fifth year, previous installments are at

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Troops for endle$$ war$

With the possible U.S. military withdrawal from Syria in the news on a daily basis, the mainstream media has been quick to parrot the DOD’s claim that 2,000 troops, mostly special operations forces, are to be withdrawn from the country. Although the total number of U.S. special operators deployed to Syria may have approached as many as 5,000, the current headlines have not mentioned that the United States has special operations units deployed not just in Syria, but in a majority of the nations of the world.

Over the past seventeen years, the forces at the disposal of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) have grown exponentially, more than doubling in size in numbers, with a budget that has also expanded four fold in that same period of time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Don't thank me for my service....

End the war on Yemen

What's happening in Yemen right now should make everyone in this world stop, notice and speak out.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More images from Lockheed Martin protest and the streets of San Francisco

Blocking the front gate on Monday morning of Lockheed Martin aerospace production facility in Sunnyvale, California where space tech weapons of war are being developed and produced.

Lockheed Martin sits on a very busy traffic intersection so many people saw the protest

The Musicians Action Group keep us dancing and singing throughout the protest playing famous union and organizing songs

Clancy (originally from Texas and now from the northwest) being arrested for holding the banner to block the entrance of Lock-Mart

Susan Crane played her saxophone while blocking the entrance and then got arrested
After the protest was over Global Network board member Lynda Williams took us to the mission district in San Francisco where we had a great lunch at a beautifully adorned Mexican restaurant.  I told everyone afterward how lucky we are to have the contributions in the US of the creative and loving Mexican culture.  We should remember that the US stole (annexed) most of California and the southwest from Mexico by war making.  Washington tried twice to do the same and take Canada but got beat and finally gave up.

These two murals above were among an entire street of artwork with walls on both sides painted with social and political content.  I asked the woman painting the BDS mural just above if anyone ever comes and trashes the art work.  She replied, "Yes, the Zionists come all the time and deface it and we have to repaint it."

  • It was a great weekend at the west coast Catholic Worker retreat.  About 50 people were there throughout the weekend and the sun was shining.  There was no ice everywhere like there was here in Maine.  MB and I had many wonderful moments with people who dedicate their lives to serving the poor and working hard to stop endless war - with a particular emphasis on nuclear disarmament.
  • After dinner at a local San Francisco Italian restaurant with my nephew, we took the red-eye flight back east at 10:00 pm on Monday night, getting home just after noon on Tuesday.  A nap was badly needed.  On the plane I watched two movies - the first about the life of Jane Fonda, actress and activist.  Then a film I'd seen before called '13 Years a Slave' which told the story of a free black man captured and sold into slavery in the south during the 1840's.  The brutality and mental sickness of the 'slave master class' has never really been resolved and healed in this country thus the terrorizing Washington does around the world in the name of God and democracy.  These days we are enslaved to a permanent war economy. It's evil.
  • I come back with a full plate.  Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine has announced that they will hold a 'christening' ceremony for the next Zumwalt 'stealth' destroyer on Saturday, April 27.  A coalition of peace groups across Maine are organizing a non-violent direct action at BIW to protest the ‘christening’ The warship will be named the Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) after the former Vietnam War president.  The ships today cost $7 billion each and will be ported in San Diego once commissioned.  (The problem is that the Navy can't afford to buy the expensive shells for the new high-tech guns onboard the Zumwalt.) Normally the public is invited to walk into the shipyard to attend such a ceremony but because the last two ‘'destroyers ‘christenings’ have drawn civil resistance actions, BIW is saying it will be a ‘closed event’ and is requiring that the public apply for tickets in advance.  Protesters will meet on Washington St. in Bath next to the post office at 8:30 am on April 27 to hold the protest.  
  • I will be in Russia during the BIW protest.  Our study tour to Moscow, Crimea and St. Petersburg will be from April 25 to May 10.  We've got 20 people going on the trip from the Global Network and Veterans For Peace.  Things are well in motion but there are still many details I must wrap up before we get there.

Impacts of sound on marine life

Democratic congressman Joe Cunningham (D-SC) interrupted a House committee hearing with a 120-decibel airhorn after a Trump administration official insisted air-gun testing to locate oil underwater would have no impact on whales, who rely on echolocation to hunt and communicate.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Protest at Lockheed Martin in California today

Mary Beth and I joined the Pacific Life Community protest this morning at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California (near San Francisco) after the weekend Catholic Worker west coast retreat where I spoke on Saturday morning and evening.

Lockheed Martin is one of the top space militarization/weaponization contractors in the world and their front gate sign reads 'Gateway to Space'.

We blocked the front entrance of the weapons production facility and ultimately about a dozen folks were arrested.  Even though I participated in the gate blockade with the huge banner, once the arrests began I had to withdraw in order not to miss our flight back to Maine this evening.

I'll write more about the great weekend retreat once I get home - but for now suffice to say it was a wonderful weekend with super fine folks.

Video by Veterans For Peace member Monisha Rios who I met on the VFP delegation trip to Okinawa I co-organized about two years ago.

The band you hear playing in the background is called the 'Musicians Action Group'.  Really added a wonderful touch to the protest.


'Change your course!': Pompeo threatens ICC over US war crimes probe

In an effort to threaten everyone into not investigating US or Israeli war crimes in the International Criminal Court, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says anyone involved in such probes will lose their visa and may be sanctioned.
The Washington war hawk said that action had to be taken because any investigation into alleged war crimes and torture committed by the United States would be a threat to US rule of law. Visas will be pulled or denied for anyone who has been involved in or even requested an ICC investigation of “any US personnel.

The arrogance of these war criminals is outrageous.  The passivity of corporate mainstream media is predictable but infuriating.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Message from Lapland

Dear friends!

We are standing by the most peaceful border [Sweden & Finland] in the world. Here people have lived everyday life in peace more than two hundred years. Finland has lived in peace with Russia almost 75 years.

Peace is achieved and preserved as a result of  determined cooperation and wise diplomacy. Today there are 10,000 soldiers at this border. Why?

They don't make the border more peaceful, they are bringing the war here. Parts of these soldiers come far away from USA and Great Britain.

To the US and British soldiers we want to say: We don't want Your wars. Go home to Your leaders and tell them that in Finland and Sweden the people want to go on living in peace. Peace is built by friendship between peoples, by cooperation and by finding solutions to conflicts by negotiation in a spirit of mutual respect.

You may be our friends, but if You bring war to us, You become our enemies. Take away Your tanks and Your projectiles from our territories! We don't want Your wars, we want our peace. We don't want Your noise, we want silence. We don't want Your pollution which Your tanks and fighters spit into our nature – we want to keep the nature clean and fresh. The war industry and the war exercises pollute massively, but Pentagon has demanded it is not taken into account in the climate agreements.

If we really want to stop the global warming, we must stop making wars and instead cooperate for the conditions of human life.

Today three of us from the Peace Committee in Lapland were in Haparanda, Sweden - because there is starting a war exercise (Northern Wind March 18th - March 27) with 10,000 soldiers on the ground plus a very large fighter exercise over both half of Sweden and a part of Finnish Lapland which will last until March 27th. I send you the text we both talked through megaphone and gave as flyers to people - in three languages - Swedish, Finnish and English. I send you the English one so you have some idea of what is happening here. All the time. More and more. Step by step.
Kerstin Tuomala

Sunday song

Saturday, March 16, 2019

We need a new foreign policy

“This new Cold War [is] more dangerous than the preceding Cold War,” professor Stephen Cohen tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.”

Cohen, a professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, has a new book out that addresses the possibility of a U.S.-Russia armed conflict in the near future. Part of the current rejection of the Kremlin that has brought the two nations to this dangerous brink, according to Cohen, is rooted in the U.S. political elites’ desire to maintain their ability to determine the world order. When Vladimir Putin was first elected, the professor explains, it became immediately obvious that he wanted Russia to take part in shaping “how the world is structured.”

Joining the two is Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, to discuss the neo-McCarthyism that has been unleashed by Russiagate and what the journalist calls “Trump derangement syndrome” that leads liberals to buy into hysteria surrounding Russia so long as it serves an anti-Trump agenda.

While Vanden Heuvel argues that the American left is making significant progress on domestic issues, even progressive leaders such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “have to some extent bought into this new Cold War.”

Listen to Cohen, Vanden Heuvel and Scheer discuss in depth both the dangerous as well as hopeful paths the U.S. is headed down as it grapples with its domestic and foreign policy under the shadow of a new Cold War, and “new [progressive] insurgencies” continue to make headway despite the American establishment’s firm grip on power and a wave of neo-McCarthyism that threatens to censor dissent.

You can also read a transcript of the interview here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Next BIW 'christening' on April 27 - protest planned

Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?

Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002) 'Stealth' destroyer Christening

Saturday, April 27, 2019
Starting at 10:00 AM
Gates Open at 9:00 AM

Bath Iron Works
700 Washington St, Bath, ME 04530

BIW will be celebrating the Christening of our third Zumwalt Class Guided Missile Destroyer, named after the 36th president of The United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. We would be honored if you would join us at our shipyard to take part in this historic occasion.

(Please note that this is a closed event and we may not be able to accommodate all requests) 

Request Tickets:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Photography allowed? – Outside pictures, yes.
  • Where can I park? – Regular parking lots and Taste of Maine park and ride will be available. Entry will be at the North End Railroad lot. All guests will be bused to the Ceremony area. No walking in the shipyard on the day of the event.
  • Will there be handicap access? – There will be handicap parking available, as well as buses and golf carts. 

Anti-NATO events in DC

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hedges: "That's America"

One of the best speeches by Chris Hedges that I've seen yet.  He shares his heart and soul more than in the past and it is heart breaking and deeply honest.  He tell stories about teaching revolution in prison and the hard core results.

Hedges lays it all out for us and calls on us to find our 'spark of life' to push forward against oligarchy, no matter the results - hope comes from action he often says.

This man has such a good conscience....he is a real human. A real honest preacher.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Climate change update

They are calling it the 'Bomb Cyclone' today in the midwest.

In a few years, as climate change gets worse, the winds will become so powerful that those electric power lines on the left side of this short video will be blown away.

The smart thing would be to bury the power lines now but there is no $$$ to do it.  Why?  Because Washington has decided that the #1 priority of the nation is 'security export' - meaning endless war and all tax money must go for military production.

It's a losing strategy and the American people, already paying dearly, are going to pay way more in days to come.

America is heading for an intense collapse.  Mother Earth is going through toxic shock.


U.S. cyber attack on Venezuela?

Who else would have, or could have, done this besides Washington?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A budget for a collapsing America

Trump’s budget more than doubles the war-fighting slush fund and proposes cutting social safety net by 9% at a time when White House rhetoric against Iran is heating up and Netanyahu, Mohammed bin Salman, and Trump all face corruption charges and challenges at home.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson interviewed by Paul Jay.

The ugly numbers: 

  • Trump's budget calls for $750 billion in military spending for FY2020, a nearly 5% increase, which exceeds even what the Pentagon requested
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare (health care for the elderly)
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $1.5 trillion from Medicaid (health care for the poor)
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $25 billion from the Social Security retirement program
  • Trump’s budget calls for cutting $1.7 billion from child nutrition and eliminate food assistance for millions
  • Trump's budget calls for cutting $1 billion from the National Science Foundation (The NSF provides about one-quarter of all federal research grants and covers fields such as engineering, mathematics, computer science and social sciences. It also funds the purchase of large-scale scientific equipment.)
  •  And many more social & environmental programs would be cut and destroyed by the Trump budget
It's not just Trump's budget,
it was Obama's budget,
it was Bush's budget,
it was Clinton's budget,
it was Bush's budget,
it was Reagan's budget,
it was Carter's budget.

It is the budget of corporations and politicians who continue to exploit the working class.

Now is the time for the American people to rattle their chains and demand that Congress CUT THE BLOATED AND WASTEFUL PENTAGON BUDGET!


Lenten Vigil at BIW

We had our first Lenten Vigil at BIW last Saturday - sixteen attended.  The vigils will continue each week until Easter.

We meet in front of the BIW administration building at 11:30 am and then just before noon we walk down the street to a gate where workers pour out.

These regular protests have been going on at the shipyard where destroyers are built for many years.  Some dedicated folks keep showing up demanding disarmament and conversion of the place to build technologies that would help us deal with our real problem - climate change.

Why can't we build offshore wind turbines, commuter rail systems, tidal power systems and more?  It's public tax dollars that build fossil fuel guzzling war ships.  Why shouldn't we demand that Washington stop making endless war and instead help provide a real future for the coming generations?

Studies show that making such a sustainable transition actually creates more jobs than we presently get from military production.

Photos by retired BIW worker Peter Woodruff (He also made the sign I was holding)

Monday, March 11, 2019

See for yourself...

Tulsi Gabbard - CNN Presidential Town Hall in 2019

I know it is early yet to be focusing on the 2020 presidential election.  But for many reasons it is right in front of us.

I just watched this CNN town hall from Texas.  Tulsi comes across quite impressively.  I found nothing I could argue with.  I recall that she went to Standing Rock in North Dakota when that pipeline fight was going strong.  But I've also heard friends who live in Hawaii call out Tulsi for not being active in similar fights in her own state.  That is an important observation.

On the island of Kaui in Hawaii there is a 'missile defense' base with recently deployed Aegis-Ashore interceptors that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.  If I had the chance I'd ask Tulsi why she supports this base.  And how can we ever cut the military budget, as she so rightly suggests, until we deal with our local communities addiction to military production.? It's often the only job in town.

The Democrat National Committee (DNC) requires candidates for president in 2020 to have 65,000 unique donors to qualify for the debate stage on corporate-controlled TV. This means that the Dems are trying to put a numerical and economic hurdle in front of candidates who wish to reach the public's ears.  I don't like that.  It's undemocratic and of course a total corporate strategic to stifle real debate.

I haven't voted for a Democrat for president since Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984.  I've been voting independent or Green Party ever since then.  But I will acknowledge I am at this point impressed with Tulsi.  I like her combination of excellent political analysis and spiritual (not religious) articulation.

I think more people should listen to Tulsi - she has something to say.

Whether she becomes president is not so important to me.  We need her voice (and many, many others) going around the country helping the people see a path out of this current neo-feudal darkness.


Seeing the humanity in one another....

"Come Together" is a documentary about the American Soviet Peace Walk from Leningrad to Moscow in the summer of 1987.

The aim of the Walk was to help end the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., by "ending the arms race nobody wants." 

About 250 American and 250 Soviet citizens took part, walking over 450 kilometers from the city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to Russia's capital of Moscow.

The documentary also includes footage from the first-ever joint U.S.-Soviet rock concert on July 4, 1987, which marked the culmination of the Peace Walk.

"Come Together" was jointly produced by the American and Soviet filmmakers.  The film has been digitized and made available online by the International Peace Walk (IPW) Inc. and the Our Move Archive.

This material is intended for non-commercial, educational purposes only, with the goal of promoting learning, research, and activism in the area of nuclear nonproliferation, peace, and citizen diplomacy.

Co-producer, Co-director, Cameraperson: Cathy Zheutlin
Cameraperson: Edis Jurcys
Co-director: Dmitri Devyatkin
and others..

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Hospital bed in Iran....


David Hartsough, renowned activist, experienced deep chest pains during the recent CODEPINK delegation to Iran. A procedure to restore blood flow to his heart was needed immediately, but US Economic Sanctions on Iran blocked his health provider from sending money. That life-threatening experience has deepened David’s resolve to stop US economic sanctions, which are acts of war against the people of Iran.


I went to Iran with a peace delegation of 28 Americans organized by CODEPINK, women-led peace activist group.

The first day in Iran we had a very fruitful hour-and-half conversation with Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran. He listened to our thoughts and concerns and then shared his perspectives about what is needed to help move our countries to a more peaceful and mutually respectful relationship.

Unfortunately, during that day I got increasingly severe chest pains. Friends encouraged me to go a hospital to have my heart checked. We went to the Shahram Hospital where they quickly did tests and discovered that there was major blockage in the arteries of my heart. The doctor in charge encouraged me to undergo surgery immediately (angioplasty) to avoid having a heart attack.

My heart was heavy in more ways than one. I had been working on and looking forward to this trip to Iran for many months. I hoped that our delegation could contribute to moving our government from extreme economic sanctions and threats of war toward building peace and mutual understanding.

The hospital was ready to do the medical procedure the next morning. My health insurance in the US is with Kaiser Permanente, and Kaiser tells all their members that they are covered for any medical problems while traveling outside of the US. However, when we checked with Kaiser, I was told that they could not send the money to cover the procedure because of the US economic sanctions against Iran.

We appealed that decision but were told the decision was final. No money could be sent to Iran for medical care, even of an emergency nature for US citizens. The doctors also told me that if I were to fly back to the US without surgery, I could very possibly have a heart attack – which could be fatal.

For each of three days they prepared me for the surgery, but for three days the answer came back “NO. No money could be sent to Iran for this procedure. It was not permitted by US government.”

Fortunately for me, two wonderful women at the US interest section of the embassy of Switzerland in Iran, heard about my situation and were able to convince the US Embassy in Switzerland to loan the money to me to be used for my medical procedure. Within hours I was moved to The Pars hospital, which specializes in heart work and the procedure was done by Dr. Tiznobeyk, a very skilled heart surgeon.

I spent another night in the hospital and then went back to the hotel to recuperate. I am, of course, very grateful to be alive but am acutely aware that people in Iran can’t turn to the Swiss embassy for help.

While in hospitals in Iran I talked with doctors and nurses, and heard many stories about people who could not get needed medicines for their illnesses, and died as a result. For example, one person had cancer and the medicines were available in Europe, but they could not do the financial transactions to buy them and she died. The economic sanctions have also caused extreme inflation and the cost of food, medicine and other necessities grows almost daily.

I have come to understand that economic sanctions are indeed acts of war. And the people who are suffering are not the government or religious leaders of Iran, but the ordinary people. I hope my personal story may be helpful to assist Americans to realize the violence of economic sanctions in which millions of people of Iran continue to suffer and die because of our government’s policies. I fully agree with what the Iranian Foreign Minister told us: You cannot get security for one country at the expense of security for other countries. We badly need to learn that real security can only be found when we have security for all nations.

I come back home with a heart which is much stronger and also with a much greater commitment to stop US policies of economic sanctions which I believe are acts of war. I will continue the work of getting the US to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement and get on the track of peace-building rather than threatening acts of war. I hope you will join me.

~ David Hartsough is a Quaker from San Francisco, author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist, Director of Peaceworkers and Co-founder of World beyond War and the Nonviolent Peaceforce.

For more info on the trip see:
For more info on the effect of US sanctions on Iran see: