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

Saturday, December 19, 2020

BIW update


During the last few days dredging barges have been removing sediment from the Kennebec River - the photo above was taken just a block from our house in Bath - just one day before our big snow storm..

The purpose of the dredging is to ensure the depth necessary for the Navy Aegis destroyers built at Bath Iron Works (BIW) to navigate the river on its way out to sea.

The local Times Record newspaper has reported that in 2019 the Navy sought a 10-year permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge portions of the Kennebec River from Bath to Phippsburg to allow the passage of destroyers built at BIW.

The Navy says that maintenance dredging will be needed every three years.

The last dredging of the Kennebec River in April 2017 drew criticism from environmentalists. Federally protected Atlantic salmon, short-nosed sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon live and spawn in the river, and dumping the dredged materials could harm seeding shellfish in Phippsburg, critics argued.

Normally dredging is done in the winter which reduces the impact on the river’s ecosystem because endangered species aren’t spawning.

About a dozen Aegis destroyers are under contract for delivery from BIW in the next 10 years. The destroyers are outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' interceptors which are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning. The interceptors serve as the 'shield' to pick off retaliatory strikes after a US preemptive attack.  These warships are currently being deployed in waters near Chinese and Russian borders.

Behind Schedule

BIW President Dirk Lesko told the Portland Press Herald in May that the shipyard already was at least six months behind schedule. The next month, Machinists Union Local S6, BIW’s largest union, representing 4,300 of its 6,800 workers, went on strike. Union members came back to work August 24 after approving a new contract with the company, but the damage caused by their nine-week absence was already done.

In three months, the shipyard fell at least six more months behind schedule.

BIW (owned by the General Dynamics Corporation) has been dealing with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak over the past several weeks at several of their ship building facilities. As of Wednesday, 96 BIW workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since March. Of those, 66 came from the main shipyard, according to the company’s website. 


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