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, May 31, 2019

U.S. playing with fire in the Balkans

What do you know about the current situation in Kosovo-Serbia? Could be a trigger for war....

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the alarming raids by Kosovo police in a Serb majority region in Kosovo.

The Kremlin has described the actions of the Kosovo police as part of  "provocations" indulged by US.

The police special forces of the unrecognized, self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo put 23 people into custody in the north, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday while addressing the country’s parliament. "The [police special forces’] raid began at 05:55 (06:55 Moscow time), with 73 armored vehicles involved in it, 50 are lying in wait in Kosovska Mitrovica. The arrest of 23 Serbs and Bosniaks has been confirmed. The issue at hand is primarily Kosovo police officers."

Vucic stressed that Serbian troops have been put on full combat alert and that the Serbian people in Kosovo would be protected. "Should the situation escalate, Serbia will emerge victorious," Vucic concluded.

Among those detained is a Russian national who is an employee of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  Serbia's President noted, "Mikhail Krasnoshchenkov, a Russian citizen and an employee of the UNMIK mission, is among the detainees. We informed the relevant Russian agencies about that."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Memorial day parade - what is the message?

Video by Peter Woodruff

On Monday morning members of our local peace group (PeaceWorks) and Veterans For Peace (VFP) were in the Memorial Day parade that was about 2 miles long from Topsham to Brunswick.

They close the roads fairly early so Mary Beth and I walked to the starting point in Topsham and then characteristically we all had to wait around for a long time for our spot near the tail end of the parade.

The parade organizers long ago objected to peaceniks being a part of the Memorial Day parade.  It's a parade that essentially and mindlessly glorifies war so our peace message is not popular with the pro-war forces.  One of the leaders of PeaceWorks years ago arranged for her lawyer son to threaten a law suit against the parade that likely would have cost the sponsoring towns alot of money.  So they relented.

We moved to Maine in 2003 and have been in the parade most years since then.  In those days, during the height of the Iraq war, we got alot more people to join us.  Some of them have passed on or just can't walk that far any more.

Like in so many communities across the nation local peace groups are hanging on by a thread.  While once vibrant, things took a real down turn following the election of Barak Obama.  Many liberals, opposing the George W. Bush Iraq war, left the peace movement thinking that Obama would take care of things.  He did that for sure....

I will always remember a Washington Post poll during Obama's administration that asked self-identified liberal Democrats if they 'supported Obama's drone war' in the Middle East.  Over 70% of them said YES.

If that poll had been asked during the Bush years that same 70% of Dems would have 'opposed Bush's war'.  This is how it works.  With many people 'political party' comes first.  Loyalty to the peace movement is ephemeral. Here today and gone tomorrow.  Ride the movement to get back into power and then lock it in the barn and throw away the key.

The same thing is happening to the environmental movement today.  The Dems are riding it since polls show the public is alarmed about climate catastrophe.  But when the Dems in Congress had the chance to pass the 'Green New Deal' with some real teeth in it, the leadership of the party watered it down.  The corporate funders of the Dems don't want any serious action to change industrial America.

Photo by Nancy Randolph (click on photo for a better view)

To hell if our Mother Earth dies - the game is all about whoever has the most toys at the end - wins.  It's America's greatest sickness - consumerism, materialism, capitalism and the aggressive, unforgiving foreign policy that comes out of this destructive system.

So we did our bit in the parade - no signs are allowed - just the flags and banners of the group.  One woman quietly winked to me as we walked past her along the parade route.  Many in the crowds are too timid to show support for peaceniks.  The DNA of America is about war and many people's identities are wrapped around the flag.

We did see some other support - during one long parade stoppage an older woman congratulated VFP and told me she is ashamed of the country.  So in a small way our presence in the parade might give people like her more confidence to speak out.

While walking I thought about the recent 'Victory Day' march in St. Petersburg, Russia that our study tour group joined on May 9.  There it was 1.2 million people in the 'Immortal Regiment' march - no trucks, motorcycles, Baptist churches promoting their version of god, high school marching bands, and retired vets marching in uniforms that showed their aging bulges.

In Russia it was about memory of the 500,000 who died just in St. Petersburg alone during the Nazi invasion and occupation from 1941-1945.  All together across the Soviet Union it was 28 million who died from the war.  It's a public mourning, carrying the photos of their relatives who died or survived the war.  Never again they say.

One old vet and his wife turned their backs on us as we walked by on Monday in Topsham.  He'd likely say the American wars make it possible for us to be in the parade although if he had his way we'd be banned.  It is a parade to underscore America's exceptionalism and domination of the world on behalf of corporate capital.  They call it freedom.  Yes, free to rape, pillage and plunder.

Mary Beth thought the crowds along the parade route were thinner and more subdued than in the past.  Maybe people have grown weary of all the wars and military spending.  Maybe like the woman I met, they are increasingly ashamed.  Maybe they find the parade unimaginative and boring.  Maybe it has no emotional appeal at a time when our government squanders our future on Mother Earth.

Happy memorial day - as they say here in the USA.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Russia Study Tour Report

Friday, June 14

7:00 pm

Curtis Memorial Library

Brunswick, Maine

You are invited to join PeaceWorks for a presentation by Rev. Bill Bliss, Mary Beth Sullivan and Bruce Gagnon on their recent study tour trip to Russia.  From April 25-May 9 they visited Moscow, Crimea and St Petersburg with a group of 24 people that was organized by the Global Network.

The presentation will include many photos from the trip along with stories from the three of them. There will be plenty of time available for questions.

The purpose of the Russia study tour was to listen, learn, and stand against the constant demonization of Russia by the media across the west.  The idea was to build people-to-people bridges between our nations rather than an escalating arms race which could bring us WW III.

During the WW II Nazi invasion of the former Soviet Union 28 million citizens lost their lives from the fascist attacks and occupation of the Soviet Union.  

The memory of that war is deep in the consciousness of the Russian people to this day.

For more information please call 607-4255.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Climate crisis update

Monday, May 27, 2019

Hold your children, America

An Army nurse remembers what she saw in Vietnam on this Memorial Day. 

Letter to the editor
Portland Press Herald
May 27, 2019

Dear America,

Remember me? I was the girl next door.

Remember when I was 13, America, and rode on top of the fire engine in the Memorial Day parade? I’d won an essay contest on what it meant to be a proud American.

And, it was always me, America, the cheerleader, the Girl Scout, who marched in front of the high school band, carrying our flag, the tallest and the proudest.

And remember, America, you gave me the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award for patriotism, when I was only 16.

And then, you sent me to war, America, along with thousands of other men and women who loved you.

It’s Memorial Day, America. Do you hear the flags snapping in the wind? There’s a big sale at Macy’s, and there’s a big parade in Washington for the veterans.

But it’s not the American flag or the sound of drums I hear – I hear a helicopter coming in. I smell the burning of human flesh. It’s Thomas, America, the young black kid from Atlanta, my patient, burned by an exploding gas tank. I remember how his courage kept him alive that day, America, and I clung to his only finger and whispered over and over again how proud you were of him, America – and he died.

And Pham… He was only eight, America, and you sprayed him with napalm and his skin fell off in my hands and he screamed as I tried to comfort him.

And America, what did you do with Robbie, the young kid I sat next to on the plane to Viet Nam? His friends told me a piece of shrapnel ripped through his young heart – he was only 17 – it was his first time away from home. What did you tell his mother and father, America?

Hold us, America …

Hold all your children, America. Allen will never hold anyone again. He left both his arms and legs back there. He left them for you, America.

America, you never told me that I’d have to put so many of your sons, the boys next door, in body bags. You never told me …

Peggy Akers
Vietnam Army Nurse Corps (1970-’71)
Veterans For Peace
Portland, Maine

Making climate catastophe real....

In 2018, the Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific, hosted the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival, celebrating the country’s fortieth anniversary of independence. On neighboring island states, the struggle for freedom continues, as West Papua resists Indonesian occupation and the residents of New Caledonia still live under French rule.

In all Melanesian countries, residents face the common challenge of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to swallow both land and tradition. In this charged context, captivating performers are using their talents to celebrate local culture and draw international attention to their islands’ plight, with the hope of spurring international solidarity and prompting collective action against the perils of a warming world.

Featuring striking footage from the South Pacific islands, WANTOKS: Dance of Resilience in Melanesia, profiles the artists and activists who are fighting for self-determination while trying to defend their homes against the rising sea.

The film will premiere in Helsinki, Finland in May 2019.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

A great Russian anti-war film

The Cranes Are Flying (1957) - Ending from Clips do Zé on Vimeo.

"The Cranes Are Flying" (Russian: Летят журавли, translit. Letyat zhuravli) is a Soviet film about World War II. It depicts the cruelty of war and the damage suffered to the Soviet psyche as a result of World War II (known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War). 

It was directed at Mosfilm by the Georgian-born Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov in 1957 and stars Aleksey Batalov and Tatiana Samoilova. 

It won the Palme d'Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, the only Soviet film to win that award. 

This video only shows the dramatic ending of this excellent film but you will understand what it is all about - war is hell.

Sunday song

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Army: It's not just a job - it's an adventure.....

After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?”

As of this writing, the post has over 5,300 responses. Most of them are heartbreaking.

  • “My daughter was raped while in the army,” said one responder. “They took her to the hospital where an all male staff tried to convince her to give the guy a break because it would ruin his life. She persisted. Wouldn’t back down. Did a tour in Iraq. Now suffers from PTSD.”
  • “I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years,” said another.
  • “Someone I loved joined right out of high school even though I begged him not to. Few months after his deployment ended, we reconnected. One night, he told me he loved me and then shot himself in the head. If you’re gonna prey on kids for imperialism, at least treat their PTSD.”
  • “The dad of my best friend when I was in high school had served in the army. He struggled with untreated PTSD & severe depression for 30 years, never told his family. Christmas eve of 2010, he went to their shed to grab the presents & shot himself in the head. That was the first funeral I attended where I was actually told the cause of death & the reasons surrounding it. I went home from the service, did some asking around, & found that most of the funerals I’ve attended before have been caused by untreated health issues from serving.”
  • “Chronic pain with a 0% disability rating (despite medical discharge) so no benefits, and anger issues that I cope with by picking fistfights with strangers.”

  • “My parents both served in the US Army and what they got was PTSD for both of them along with anxiety issues. Whenever we go out in public and sit down somewhere my dad has to have his back up against the wall just to feel a measure of comfort that no one is going to sneak up on him and kill him and and walking up behind either of them without announcing that you’re there is most likely going to either get you punch in the face or choked out.”
  • “Left my talented and young brother a broken and disabled man who barely leaves the house. Left my mother hypervigilant & terrified due to the amount of sexual assault & rape covered up and looked over by COs. Friend joined right out if HS, bullet left him paralyzed neck down.”
  •  “My cousin went to war twice and came back with a drug addiction that killed him.”
  • “It’s given me a fractured spine, TBI, combat PTSD, burn pit exposure, and a broken body with no hope of getting better. Not even medically retired for a fractured spine. WTF.”
  •  “Y’all killed my father by failing to provide proper treatments after multiple tours.”
  • “Everyone I know got free PTSD and chemical exposure and a long engagement in their efforts to have the US pay up for college tuition. Several lives ruined. No one came out better. Thank god my recruiter got a DUI on his way to get me or I would be dead or worse right now.”
  • “I have ptsd and still wake up crying at night. Also have a messed up leg that I probably will have to deal with the rest of my life. Depression. Anger issues.”
  • “My grandfather came back from Vietnam with severe PTSD, tried to drown it in alcohol, beat my father so badly and so often he still flinches when touched 50 years later. And I grew up with an emotionally scarred father with PTSD issues of his own because of it. Good times.”
  • “Hmmm. Let’s see. I lost friends, have 38 inches of scars, PTSD and a janky arm and hand that don’t work.”
  • “my grandpa served in vietnam from when he was 18-25. he’s 70 now and every night he still has nightmares where he stands up tugging at the curtains or banging on the walls screaming at the top of his lungs for someone to help him. he refuses to talk about his time and when you mention anything about the war to him his face goes white and he has a panic attack. he cries almost every day and night and had to spend 10 years in a psychiatric facility for suicidal ideations from what he saw there.”

  • “My best friend joined the Army straight out of high school because his family was poor & he wanted a college education. He served his time & then some. Just as he was ready to retire he was sent to Iraq. You guys sent him back in a box. It destroyed his children.”
  • “Well, my father got deployed to Iraq and came back a completely different person. Couldn’t even work the same job he had been working 20 years before that because of his anxiety and PTSD. He had nightmares, got easily violent and has terrible depression. But the army just handed him pills, now he is 100% disabled and is on a shit ton of medication. He has nightmares every night, paces the house barely sleeping, checking every room just to make sure everyone’s safe. He’s had multiple friends commit suicide.”
  • “I was #USNavy, my husband was #USArmy, he served in Bosnia and Iraq and that nice, shy, funny guy was gone, replaced with a withdrawn, angry man…he committed suicide a few years later…when I’m thanked for my service, I just nod.”
  • “I’m permanently disabled because I trained through severe pain after being rejected from the clinic for ‘malingering.’ Turns out my pelvis was cracked and I ended up having to have hip surgery when I was 20 years old.”
  • “My brother went into the Army a fairly normal person, became a Ranger (Ft. Ord) & came out a sociopath. He spent the 1st 3 wks home in his room in the dark, only coming out at night when he thought we were asleep. He started doing crazy stuff. Haven’t seen him since 1993.”
  • “Recently attended the funeral for a west point grad with a 4yr old and a 7yr old daughter because he blew his face off to escape his ptsd but thats nothing new.”
  • “I don’t know anyone in my family who doesn’t suffer from ptsd due to serving. One is signed off sick due to it & thinks violence is ok. Another (navy) turned into a psycho & thought domestic violence was the answer to his wife disobeying his orders.”
  • “My dad served during vietnam, but after losing close friends and witnessing the killing of innocents by the U.S., he refused to redeploy. He has suffered from PTSD ever since. The bravest thing he did in the army was refuse to fight any longer, and I’m so proud of him for that.”
  • “My best friend from high school was denied his mental health treatment and forced to return to a third tour in Iraq, despite having such deep trauma that he could barely function. He took a handful of sleeping pills and shot himself in the head two weeks before deploying.”
  • “My son died 10 months ago. He did 3 overseas tours. He came back with severe mental illness."
  • “My dad served two tours in middle east and his personality changes have affected my family forever. VA ‘counseling’ has a session limit and doesn’t send you to actual psychologists. Military service creates a mental health epidemic it is then woefully unequipped to deal with.”
  • “My best childhood friend lost his mind after his time in the marines and now he lives in a closet in his mons house and can barely hold a conversation with anyone. He only smokes weed and drinks cough syrup that he steals since he can’t hold a job.”
  • “My cousin served and came back only to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and ptsd. There were nights that he would lock himself in the bathroom and stay in the corner because he saw bodies in the bathtub. While driving down the highway, he had another episode and drove himself into a cement barrier, engulfing his Jeep in flames and burning alive. My father served as well and would never once speak of what he witnessed and had to do. He said it’s not something that any one person should ever be proud of.”
  • “I was sexually assaulted by a service member at 17 when I visited my sister on her base, then again at 18. My friend got hooked on k2 and died after the va turned him away for mental health help. Another friend serving was exploited sexually by her co and she was blamed for it.”
  • “I spent ten years in the military. I worked 15 hour days to make sure my troops were taken care of. In return for my hard work I was rewarded with three military members raping me. I was never promoted to a rank that made a difference. And I have an attempt at suicide. Fuck you!”
  • “My father’s successful military career taught him that he’s allowed to use violence to make people do what he wants because America gave him that power.”
  • “While I was busy framing ‘soliders and families first’ (lol) propaganda posters, my best friend went to ‘Iraqistan’ but he didn’t come back. He returned alive, to be sure, but he was no longer the fun, carefree, upbeat person he’d previously been.”
  • “My husband is a paraplegic and can’t control 3/4 of his body now. Me, I’ve got PTSD, an anxiety disorder, two messed up knees, depression, a bad back, tinnitus, and chronic insomnia. I wish both had never served.”
  • “I am so sorry. The way we fail our service members hurts my heart. My grandfather served in the Korean War and had nightmares until his death at 91 years old. We must do better.”
  • “My Army story is that when I was in high school, recruiters were there ALL the time- at lunch, clubs, etc.- targeting the poor kids at school. I didn’t understand it until now. You chew people who have nothing at home up and spit them out.”
  • “I hope to god that the Army has enough guts to read these and realize how badly our servicepeople are being treated. Thank you and god bless you to all of you in this thread, and your loved ones who are suffering too.”

Poking Iran - looking for trouble....

"We need to get nasty...", one of the warmongers says.

Friday, May 24, 2019

What we are fighting for - all my relations

Trying to catch up

  • I wrongly thought that after I got home from Russia things would slow down for me.  NOT!  I'm feeling like a one-armed wallpaper hanger.  So many potential war hot spots that the U.S. is pursuing.  So much work to do.
  • There is the next issue of the GN's Space Alert newspaper deadline of June 10.  Also the Keep Space for Peace Week (October 5-12) poster with a No to NATO theme that awaits me.
  • I was doing some research this morning on behalf of friends in India who are organizing a Space Law conference at a university in Visakhapatnam during space week.  I'll be attending and offered to help find some space law experts who could possibly be invited to speak.  The corporate forces are lining up trying to dismantle United Nations space law to allow for privatization and corporate domination of space resource extraction.
  • Also this morning I sent out an email invitation to Mainers to attend a June 14 Russia Study Tour report by Rev. Bill Bliss, Mary Beth Sullivan and me.  The event will be held at the Brunswick public library at 7:00 pm.  
  • I've been invited to speak at the University of Florida on June 6 at an interesting conference called Disrupting the status quo: Reconstruction, recovery and resisting disaster risk creation.  Apparently there is an international network that is working on this at the academic level and they wanted some activist feedback so they invited me.  I will talk about conversion of the war machine to help deal with climate catastrophe and also the concept of turning the Pentagon into the 'Natural Guard' for work on rescue, recovery, etc.  Should be an interesting experience.
  • One other big event coming soon - another 'christening' of an Aegis destroyer at BIW on June 22.  I am part of a great team of Mainers working on that protest action as well as a news conference in Portland the day before.
  • So lots to do.  I'm not complaining - I'm lucky to be able to spend my life doing this important work.  Sometimes though, since we are underfunded and short handed (unlike the military industrial complex), it can feel like a tsunami is hitting.  I guess in a way it already has. We do the best we can and push on....thanks for checking in now and then. Best of luck your way.

Gabor Maté: 'Don't be so quick to believe them'

Physician, mental health expert, and best-selling author Dr. Gabor Maté sits down with The Grayzone's Aaron Maté (his son) to analyze how Russiagate was able to take hold of U.S. society following Donald Trump's election.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Excellent interview

Chris Hedges talks with reporter, Matt Taibbi, about the deep rot in American journalism.

Russian view of Trump's push for Iran war

The situation in Iran is like a powder keg with sparks raining on it. It's extremely dangerous for the entire world.

The United States started this conflict when last year it withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran for no reason. After that, President Trump imposed illegitimate sanctions against Iran and earlier in May, banned every country on our planet from purchasing oil, steel, copper, and aluminum from Iran.

In response, Iran threatened to cancel the restrictions on its nuclear industry that it voluntarily adopted before.

This Russian TV report on possible war between the U.S. and Iran is instructive.  You learn much more from it than one normally gets on corporate owned TV in the west.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BIW schedules another destroyer 'christening' - Convert the shipyard

Next BIW Civil Resistance List for June 22

  • Ashley Bahlkow North Yarmouth, Maine
  • Meredith Bruskin Swanville, Maine
  • Dan Ellis Brunswick, Maine
  • Jim Freeman Verona Island, Maine
  • Ridgeley Fuller Belfast, Maine
  • Bruce Gagnon Brunswick, Maine
  • Suzanne Hedrick Nobleboro, Maine
  • Dud Hendrick Deer Isle, Maine
  • Cynthia Howard Biddeford Pool, Maine
  • Connie Jenkins Orono, Maine
  • Ken Jones Asheville, NC
  • Tarak Kauff Woodstock, New York
  • Brown Lethem Brunswick, Maine
  • Natasha Mayers Whitefield, Maine
  • Jane Newton Georgetown, Maine
  • Rosie Paul Brunswick, Maine
  • Doug Rawlings Chesterville, Maine
  • Jason Rawn Hope, Maine
  • Mark Roman Solon, Maine
  • Lisa Savage Solon, Maine
  • Dixie Searway Vermont
  • Robert Shetterly Brooksville, Maine
  • Mary Beth Sullivan Brunswick, Maine
  • Russell Wray Hancock, Maine

Above is the current list of those seriously considering joining the next civil resistance action at Bath Iron Works in Maine during the Aegis destroyer ‘christening’ that is scheduled to happen on Saturday, June 22.

Just weeks ago 25 people from Maine and beyond were arrested at BIW during the ceremony to bless the third Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer at BIW – named the LBJ.  The recently elected District Attorney for the Midcoast, Natasha Irving, decided that prosecuting the LBJ 25 would be a waste of time.  The LBJ action drew extraordinary amounts of media coverage which repeatedly reported that the protest was all about converting BIW to deal with our real problem today – climate catastrophe.

In May 16 BDN article entitled Government report criticizes Bath Iron Works and Navy for ‘serious deficiencies’ in Zumwalt program (see it here) an amazing revelation was disclosed.  The Navy has decided to use the LBJ (costing $7 billion) for parts to keep the first two Zumwalt ships running.

So in the midst of growing climate disruption, with our government doing little to nothing to protect the future generations, the Navy has created a $7 billion ‘parts store’ for their boondoggle Zumwalt program.

Converting facilities like BIW would create more jobs, because producing sustainable technologies is a better driver of employment than building warships -- see Brown University's definitive study from 2017, “Job Opportunity Cost of War”

The destroyers at BIW cost billion$ each, are provocative as they are deployed to encircle China and Russia with first-strike cruise missiles, and contribute significantly to the massive US military carbon boot print.

Instead of building these warships we could be building commuter rail systems, tidal power systems, offshore wind turbines and disaster-relief ships to help us deal with climate change.

Please stay tuned and join us in Bath (on Washington Street across from the Post Office) on June 22 at 8:00 am for our next protest. 

Help us call for a conversion of our hearts and the military industrial complex.

For more information contact

A beautiful view of Crimea

Comprehensive TV news report from our visit to Artek in Crimea – including Bill Bliss reciting Pushkin in Russian & Will Griffin training for cosmonaut duty.

A taste of Crimea at the famous kids camp on the Black Sea where Maine resident Samantha Smith visited during the middle of the cold war on a peace mission.

Latest This Issue show

"This Issue" host Bruce Gagnon interviews Bill Clark and Wendy Flaschner from Maine AllCare about their campaign in our state to ensure that all Mainers are covered with health care.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Global Network Russia Study Tour Declaration

May 9, 2019
As an international delegation to the Russian Federation of 25 individuals, we have visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, and three cities in Crimea (April 25-May 9).

We came to learn, to listen, and to build a bridge of friendship through citizen diplomacy.  We have had daily important meetings with Russian journalists, activists, academics, ordinary citizens, and gained first hand information and historical perspective. The Russian people met us with warmth, openness, and generosity.

We came because we are alarmed by the U.S. demonization of Russia and the NATO provocations which have created a world of increasing military confrontation, with the U.S. even threatening the first-use of nuclear weapons.

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 US/NATO has encircled Russia with bases, so-called ‘missile defense’ systems, escalating “war games” right on its borders, and with warships increasing military operations in the Black Sea.

Numbers don’t lie.  Russia is a country of just 144 million people, with average income of $400 a month, or $13 a day. Their annual military budget is $60 billion and decreasing. The U.S. military budget is $800 billion and increasing. The U.S. has more than 800 bases encircling the world.

The Russian people love their country with a warmth and depth of love that is difficult for Americans to comprehend. It is a love born of centuries of history, culture and religious faith, and a love born of the suffering and sacrifice of the repeated defense of their Motherland.

On Victory Day, May 9 in St. Petersburg, we walked in solidarity with 1.2 million family members and survivors of the 1941 – 1945 defense of the former Soviet Union when Americans and Russians were friends and allies against the German fascist invasion and occupation. (It should be remembered that 28 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during the fight against the fascists.)

Our message is a call to end the demonization of Russia, remove US/NATO warships from the Black Sea, end the escalating war maneuvers on Russia’s borders, and build bridges of diplomacy and friendship.

Signed by:
  • Dave Webb, Convener, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Leeds, England
  • Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Brunswick, Maine
  • Subrata Ghoshroy, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Will Griffin, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and the Peace Report, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Mary Beth Sullivan, Board Member, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Brunswick, Maine
  • Rev. Bill Bliss, The Neighborhood United Church of Christ, Bath, Maine
  • Lincoln Bliss, New York City
  • Raymond Bliss, Freeport, Maine
  • Cathleen R. Deppe, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Veterans for Peace, El Segundo, California
  • Shreedhar Gautam, Secretary General, Nepal Council for World Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Leslie Harris, Veterans for Peace, Flower Mound, Texas
  • John Harris, Veterans for Peace, Flower Mound, Texas
  • Cindy Heil, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Veterans for Peace, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Leonid Ilderkin, Union of Political Emigrants and Political Prisoners of Ukraine, Moscow, Russia
  • Yosi McIntire Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, St. Augustine, Florida
  • Solidad Pagliuca, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and Cuba Friendship Association, St. Augustine, Florida
  • John Schuchardt Veterans for Peace and House of Peace, Ipswich Massachusetts 
  • Carrie Schuchardt, House of Peace, Ipswich Massachusetts
  • Alexander J. Walker, Veterans for Peace, El Segundo, California
  • Bill Warrick III MD, Veterans For Peace and Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Gainesville, Florida
  • Sally Warrick, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Gainesville, Florida
  • Prabhu Ray Yadav, Treasurer, Nepal Council for World Affairs, Kathmandu, Nepal

Maine conversion campaign

Click to get better view of the conversion flyer.

If you'd like to order copies of this flyer contact 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Never forget 'shock & awe'

George Galloway is a British politician, broadcaster and writer. Between 1987 and 2015, with a gap in 2010–12, he represented four constituencies as a Member of Parliament, elected as a candidate for the Labour Party and later the Respect Party.

Warning to all over Iran attack

Distance yourself from U.S. Iran policies or be responsible for the next catastrophe in the Middle East
Remember President Trump’s tweet and accompanying statements by the Trump administration officials concerning Iran – as reported here by CNN on May 19, 2019.
Trump’s statement amounts to a de facto declaration of war on Iran.
Objectively speaking, it is a lie that Iran threatens the US. It is a lie that the US sends aircraft carriers to the region in self-defence. It’s lies as blatant as the one about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.
You may think that this is just psychological warfare and positioning. It is not. Because: Over time, this type of statements develop its own dynamics and the US will not be able to back down from what it threatens to do without loosing face.
President Trump’s statement is a blatant violation of international law, the UN Charter’s Article 2.4 which states:
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
In this extremely worrying situation of years of step-by-step US build-up to war with Iran, every and each government that does not issue a formal public protest distancing itself from this type of rogue state behaviour that endangers world security must be considered co-responsible for a war on Iran if and when it breaks out.
Check out whether your government has the statesmanship and courage to do so, no matter where you live. Protest if it doesn’t.
This is not the way the world’s strongest military and a world leader should behave – against a state that has, according to every report including US assessments, adhered to every word in the JCPOA, the Nuclear Deal with Iran of 2015.
The only – gross and repeated – violator of that agreement is the United States of America, by its withdrawal from it and thereby also violating international law since that agreement is embedded in a UN Security Council resolution.
Additionally, the US continues and has stepped up sanctions that amount to (economic) war crimes and collective punishment of 85 million completely and indisputably innocent civilian Iranians.
NATO and the EU – as collective organisations – must now distance themselves from this policy and, in the field of US Iran policies, defy any pressure exerted by Washington, issue statements to the effect that this type of policies by a friend and ally is completely unacceptable morally and a crystal clear violation of international law as well as civilised behaviour among members of the global society.
Secondly, each member state must practice civil disobedience against the US in this field, step up all types of cooperation with Iran and – in actions and not just words, words and more words – isolate the US.
Any government that keeps silent in this extremely dangerous situation are philosophically as well politically complicit in every violent action that may be directed at Iran and its people at any point in the future.
To quote Albert Einstein: “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”
When it comes to its Iran policies, the United States must now be made clearly and unequivocally aware that it does not have and will not have any support – ethically, politically, militarily or economically – from allies and friends – neither when making such statements not if it is mad enough to start a war on Iran and destroy one more civilisation and sovereign state in the Middle East.
This is in the service of the US itself: One more war will make the US the most hated country on earth. It will devastate the US economy further. It will weaken and spell the end of the US Empire. It will – like all the other wars – be what I have repeatedly termed a predictable fiasco on its own terms.
If you love America, act now. If you want to see it crumble and fall, keep silent and let it fall into its own – tendentially fascist, militarism-addicted – trap.
~  Jan Oberg, director of TFF - Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research based in Lund, Sweden 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday song

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Maddow urges Bolton to make more war$

It just gets crazier.....

The abortion debate.....

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear the train coming.....

Despite the dramatic economic crisis and the constant political conflict in Venezuela, there still is a significant proportion of the population that consider themselves to be "Chavistas."

Ed Augustin examined some of the reasons for this in Caracas.

If the US would stop the sanctions and other economic disruptions of Venezuela then the 'crisis' would likely end.

The US creates the chaos and then says it has to go in and fix things - same story since Korea, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and more.

Imagine the $$$ wasted and the lost lives.  These were all crimes against international law.  The US is an outlaw nation.  The only countries outside our borders that appear to have any influence on Washington appear to be Israel and Saudi Arabia.  Our government is controlled by, and in bed with, ugly fascists here at home and abroad.

What the US oligarchs do to the rest of the world is well known.  The chickens are now coming home to roost.

Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming.


Assange visit in prison

Actress Pamela Anderson spoke of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's innocence and the need to 'save his life' while speaking alongside WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson in London on Tuesday, moments after they were Assange's first social visitors since he was detained in London's Belmarsh prison for skipping bail.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Arrested for defending Venezuela embassy in Washington

  Click on the photo to see the whole thing
Ann Wright
1 min · 
This picture of Margaret, David and Adrienne being up against the wall with being handcuffed as they were taken out of the Embassy was sent from Argentina.
So apparently somebody from Argentina was up in the neighboring building and got a picture of this!!

  • Col. Ann Wright is a retired Army colonel and retired State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. She's been a full-time peacenik since then and has been outside the Venezuela embassy with daily reports while the Embassy Protection Collective was inside.

No war with Iran

It's been my message for many years.

(In memory of my dear Iranian friend Saviz Shafie)

Jesse Jackson delivers food

Today marked a small victory for the "Embassy Protection Collective" in Washington DC as their allies - with the support of Rev Jesse Jackson - managed to deliver four bags of food, water, and batteries to the four remaining people inside the Venezuelan Embassy.

The coalition of activists including CODEPINK and ANSWER Coalition had previously been blocked by Juan Guaidó supporters and police in their efforts to make deliveries like this one.

It appears that Jackson's presence caused the police to stand down. One Guaidó supporter attempted to physically stop the delivery by trying to take the food and physically hold the rope, but activists including Ajamu Baraka managed to hold him back long enough to make the deliveries.

Filmed by Ford Fischer

Update:  This morning around 10:00 am the police raided the embassy and removed all those inside.  It is possible that the media attention brought by Jesse Jackson's appearance, and the coming large protest on Saturday at the embassy, made the government move now to remove the 'Embassy Protection Collective' problem. No doubt the 'Guaidó supporter' trying to grab the food bag in the video was working for the CIA,  a key part of the deep state. This is how the mob running the government does things.  The days of fun and games in America are over.  The corporate fascists are going for total control now.

More photos from Russia study tour

Red Square was closed most of the time we were in Moscow, being readied for the May 9 Victory Day parade. (Click on photos for a better view)

Man & woman hold hammer and sickle in Moscow park to show unity of peasants and industrial workers during the Soviet period.

Moscow metro station remembering those who suffered and died during Nazi invasion and occupation of the Soviet Union during WW II. Every metro station has incredible art of a different theme.

Karl Marx in Moscow offering rest spot for pigeons. Many people told us they miss the sense of national purpose and unity they had during the Soviet Union.   A vote of the Soviet people was held prior to its disintegration and the public was asked if they wanted to dissolve their country or not.  60% voted to remain as the Soviet Union - the politicians moved to dismantle the vast nation anyway. Former presidents Gorbachev and Yeltsin and not well liked today.

On May Day in Simferopol, Crimea we marched in a huge celebratory parade and then were invited to listen and speak at a round-table event with local leaders.  Here GN chair Dave Webb (right) has just signed a cooperation agreement between our organization and Yan Epshtein the Director of an NGO called the Black Sea Association for International Cooperation.

Our group in Simferopol outside our hotel (on the left) before heading to the May Day parade.

The Livadia Palace garden in Yalta, Crimea.  This was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family.  It was the historic meeting place in 1945 between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill.   Today the palace houses a museum, but it is sometimes used for international summits.

The famous portraits on the wall inside the Livadia Palace in Yalta.
Down inside the solid stone bowels of the 35th Battery just outside Sevastopol, Crimea was this small operating room.  Over 30,000 Soviet sailors and soldiers were killed here by the Nazis when they retreated to this place along the rocky coastline during the war.  The museum focuses on the humanity and spirits of those who died trying to defend their nation from the fascist attack.  All together about 28 million people died at the hands of the Nazis in the Soviet Union during WW II.
Underground Memorial at the 35 Battery Museum in Sevastopol.

Will Griffin (who took all these photos) over looking Artek outside of Yalta, Crimea.  Artek is an international kids camp (a former Young Pioneer camp) on the Black Sea. Thousands of kids attend the camp each summer.  In November of 1982 Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine, wrote to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to ask if he was going to wage a nuclear war against the U.S. The following July she toured the USSR and the Artek camp at his invitation and as a result, became known as America's youngest goodwill ambassador. Sadly, Samantha died on a rainy August night in 1985 while returning from London when the commercial plane she was in crashed killing all aboard.

Will Griffin standing at the Piskariovskoye Memorial Cemetery in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) where 500,000 victims of the Nazi two and one-half year siege of the city were buried.  Hundreds of thousands of people died in the city (mostly of cold and starvation) during the fascist attacks. About half a million of them, including 420,000 civilians, are buried in the cemetery's 186 mass graves. Not much of this history is known outside of Russia - especially in the west.  The fascists would rather we all just forget about it.

After the Russia study tour was over GN Board member Will Griffin went to Lapland in northern Finland to speak with a peace group that organizes against US-NATO war games along the Finland-Russia border.  They held this protest  while he was there.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Americans will pay....

Sign outside a restaurant in China informs the public that Americans must pay an extra 25 percent fee to dine. 
“If there is any inconvenience,” it says, “please consult the U.S. Embassy!” 

Good cop - bad cop

It's mostly a public relations show.  The fights between the Dems and Repubs are to a large extent orchestrated to distract the public as the corporate oligarchies (which control both parties) continue to destabilize this country and much of the world.  It's call chaos theory

They are fleecing the 99%.

In order to keep the public from noticing how corporate capitalism is robbing us all blind the two war parties take turns in power and attack each other mercilessly once the other party is in office.  The Democrats go from saying they want peace to pushing wars in Syria, Venezuela and Iran.  The Republicans say they want to fix the economy for working people and then give massive tax cuts to the rich.

At some point the public has to get off the roller coaster and realize that both parties are bought and sold by Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

Just this morning I learned that CNN is running a poll that says Joe Biden is leading Bernie Sanders by 18%.  But digging into the poll one finds that CNN only called people over 45 years old to ask their preferences.  So obviously CNN is just trying to shape public opinion in order to put another corporate hack into power.  This is how the system works.  But sadly far too many Democrats will take the bait and fall in line.

The justified anger of the public should instead be focused on overturning this run-a-way capitalist system that only cares about profit and power.  These corporate oligarchs don't care about country, the environment, the people or true democracy.  They talk a good line at election time but that is all you will get - big talk and no action.

The people must make clear demands that our resources be used to educate, offer safety and economic stability to all the people and protect our crumbling environment for the future generations.  This out-dated story of free markets and free enterprise are tricks.  It's only free for the 1% - the rest of us are paying for it and our children will get nothing in return except massive national debt and an unlivable world.


No more weapons for Saudi war in Yemen!

A Saudi Arabian ship sent to pick up weapons in Europe has been hounded by protests along its journey.

In France, activists succeeded in preventing it from collecting its cargo claiming the arms could be used against civilians in Yemen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In the Shadow of Warships & the Climate Emergency: On Getting Arrested at Bath Iron Works

By Robert Shetterly
Common Dreams

A couple of weeks ago I chose to get arrested at a demonstration at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine.  The day was cold, windy, and wet. A huge new battleship, the USS Lyndon Baines Johnson, was being launched. BIW is one of two shipyards in the US capable of building these mammoth, deadly ships. Maine’s Congresspeople and Senators were there along with the top executives of BIW and General Dynamics, the parent company of BIW—as well as hundreds of other guests—to extol our military might.

These launchings are a big deal. Such ships take years to build and are high tech marvels of stealth, surveillance, and... destruction. This one cost around $7 billion. Bath is a modest coastal Maine community dominated by the enormous shipyard, Maine’s biggest employer.

The 75 of us who chose to protest the launching lined up along the sidewalks of Washington St. at one of the entrances to the yard. We wore hats and gloves and raincoats. We carried signs that said "Convert!" The casual passerby, seeing signs like those, might have been taken us for a religious cult calling on the warmongers to get right with God before the endtimes. The conversion we demanded, however, was secular—more about economics, war-making, and militarism’s connection with climate change. The impending doom in the acceleration of climate change, however,  did lend our demand an aspect of threat: Act now on climate change,  or else! And any passerby would also notice that most of us were, as we say, of an age—a cheerful, motley assortment of activists who cut their yellowing teeth protesting the Vietnam War and marching for Civil Rights in the1960s.

The US military—with its nearly 1000 bases worldwide and insatiable reliance on fossil fuel to  keep all of its ships, planes, tanks, trucks, and jeeps running—is the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions (the gases causing climate change) in the world. The Pentagon’s carbon footprint is 70% of total US emissions. Our military uses more oil than 175 smaller countries combined. The US Navy’s firepower outmatches the next 20 countries combined. We spend more on our military than the next 7 countries—that includes China and Russia.

Those statistics are meant to identify a problem. The problem is that if we are serious about reversing the climate course we are on, we are not going to succeed by changing light bulbs. Nor will electric cars and local organic farms do it. Even legions of solar panels and wind turbines won’t cut it. We’ve got to cut the military, too. That’s why 25 people chose to get arrested protesting the launch of this incredibly expensive and militarily redundant ship on April 27th.

A person doesn’t oppose the US military in this country to win a popularity contest. The Pentagon has spent billions over the years successfully propagandizing about the greatest country in the world defended by the greatest army in the world, that our "way of life" is secured by our vast and far flung weaponry. Even politicians, who lament that we can’t seem to find enough money for education, health care, repairing infrastructure, fighting poverty, and protecting the environment, are afraid to mention that nearly 60% of our discretionary funds go to the military. And they are certainly afraid to point out the obvious: US militarism is more about business, about profit for the defense contractors, than defense. And a large portion of that profit  is recycled into donations to politicians to keep the game going.

The continuation of ongoing insecurity creates vast fortunes.  It has been said that for the $6 trillion the US has spent on war making since 2001, the entire planet could have been converted to clean energy. That $6 trillion didn’t explode in the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan. It rained like gold dust into the pockets of General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Halliburton, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, etc. A taxpayer subsidy for the contractors. Can anyone tell me what good has come of all that war and suffering unless you happen to share in the war profits?

Since it would be very hard  for anyone to claim any good results for the US after nearly 30 years (dating from the first Gulf War in 1990) of criminal war making, one might assume that the people making decisions about our wars are very, very stupid—that is unless you were a defense contractor and now very, very rich. And then you might wonder if the people making decision to  go to war didn’t turn out to be the same people reaping the profits.

But I wasn’t there to be arrested because I have a gripe with the humongous size of the US military. I was there because the humongous size of the US military is endangering the survival of all plant and animal species on this planet. I wasn’t there to dispute whether maintaining this immense military was an acceptable risk considering how dangerous the world is no matter what the scientists say about climate change. I can’t imagine a more absurd—and why not say it, insane—proposition: that the imminent extinction of much of the earth’s life, including us, is secondary to US military domination. Hello?

I also wasn't there to shut down Bath Iron Works. Those signs we carried that said "Covert!" were demanding that BIW start making green infrastructure—wind turbines, solar panels, high speed rail cars, electric cars, fossil free cargo ships, all those things that create sustainable jobs—in fact, better paying jobs—than weapons.  Someone will point out that I said a few paragraphs earlier that all that green stuff isn't enough to stop climate change. That's right, except it does work if we stop making warships and shrink the bloated military. That's what conversion is.

We had hoped to block the limousines carrying the corporate and political dignitaries into the LBJ's "christening." But those privileged folks used a secret entrance to the yard. Instead we blocked a bus and a few cars carrying guests. We peacefully lay down on the wet road.

No one likes to get arrested. Handcuffs can be  uncomfortable and the hours of processing are tedious. The Bath police, though, were respectful and courteous to us. They didn't want to give us something else to complain about.  Our goal was not to get arrested. Our goal was to use the arrest to get a soapbox in the media to talk about the link between militarism and climate change. The real risk most often in getting arrested is not the danger or ignominy of arrest. The real risk is if you will get a chance to tell the world why.

Everywhere I go now I hear people—old people, young people, all people—despairing over what’s happening with the climate, with animal and plant extinctions, with powerful people at the top of our government ignoring this crisis. What are the powerful thinking? And very few people are connecting the dots between our gigantic military and climate. If we love our children, if we love the miracle of life and all our fellow species, shouldn't we say, as Mario Savio did in the 1960s: 

    "There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you  can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop."

As kids we laughed at the notion that early mariners feared the world was flat and that they might sail over the edge into the black abyss of a cold cosmos. The politicians, the fossil fuel execs,  and the war profiteers have indeed made the world flat and sailed us to the brink. The kids aren't laughing.

~ Robert Shetterly is a writer and artist who lives in Brooksville, Maine and the author of the book, "Americans Who Tell the Truth." Please visit the Americans Who Tell the Truth project's website, where posters of Howard Zinn, Rachel Carson, Edward Snowden, and scores of others are now available.