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....

My Photo
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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, January 25, 2020

People of Iraq tell U.S. to go home


PressTV reports:

Iraqis rallied on January 24 in Baghdad in massive numbers to call for an end to US military presence in the country following high-profile assassinations and airstrikes targeting anti-terror forces.

Sayed Sadiq al-Hashemi, the director of the Iraqi Center for Studies, said more than 2.5 million took part in the demonstrations on Friday.

Since the early hours on Friday, huge crowds of men, women and children of all ages converged on the Jadriyah neighborhood near Baghdad University.

The protesters were seen carrying banners and chanting slogans calling for the expulsion of US forces.

"Get out, get out, occupier!" some shouted, while others chanted, "Yes to sovereignty!"

Iraq's al-Ahd news network reported that Iraqis from all of the country's provinces had gathered in the city.

On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign forces after the US assassination of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The massive rally came after influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqis to stage "a million-strong, peaceful, unified demonstration to condemn the American presence and its violations".

Sadr issued a statement on Friday calling for US bases to be shut down and Iraqi airspace closed to US warplanes and surveillance aircraft.

He warned that US presence in the country will be dealt with as an occupying force if Washington does not agree with Iraqi demands to withdraw for the country.

American troops kick open a door to a home in Iraq

In a message delivered through a representative at Friday prayer in the holy city of Karbala, top cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also urged Iraqi political groups to do what is needed to the safeguard the country's sovereignty.

He called on Iraqi groups to stand united, far from any foreign influence in countering the dangers which threaten the country.

On Thursday ahead of the planned rallies, Sadr called on Iraqis to mobilize and defend the country's independence and sovereignty.

"Oh women, men and youth of the country, the time is now upon us to defend the country, its sovereignty and dependence," Sadr said in a tweet.

"Spread the word of an independent future Iraq that will be ruled by the righteous; an Iraq which will not know of corruption nor aggression" he added, calling on Iraqis to expel the "tyrants".

Various Iraqi resistance groups affiliated with the country's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have also backed the anti-American rally.

‘Zero hour in face-off with US’

Speaking to the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel, Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the PMU-affiliated Kata'ib Hezbollah resistance group, said "other means" will be used against the Americans if they do not leave Iraq.

The American presence, he said, has led to corruption and instability in the country.

In an interview with Iran's Tasnim news agency, Firas al-Yasser, a member of the political bureau of Iraq's Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, said Friday's rallies marked "a new chapter" in the Arab country's relations with the US.

He said Iraqi resistance groups support the stance of the country's clerical leadership, which does not tolerate Washington's “theory of dependence and humiliation" of Iraq.

"We believe we have reached the zero hour in facing off with the US," he said.

Yasser added that Iran's missile attack on the Ain al-Assad base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar earlier this month was a "prelude" to the expulsion of US forces from the country.

Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of the PMU, described Friday's rallies as a "second revolution" a century after the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920 against British forces.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Slipping on ice and sore as hell

This is not actually a photo of me but is quite similar to the way I landed on Tuesday - except for the 10-gallon plastic bucket filled with sand that I descended on when I hit the ground.

On Tuesday I went out to knock on doors in Brunswick with Steve Carpenter who was driving/navigating our way through this cold and ice filled town.

We got two early signatures of Maine Green Independents on the petition to help put Lisa Savage on the ballot in November.  After that we hit a patch of 'not home' and addresses where people had moved.  We had four more houses to visit when I had an accident on the back side of a house along Park Row in downtown Brunswick.

In Brunswick there are many large old houses that over the years have been converted into apartments.  Along Park Row many of them have been converted into offices but one place had a couple apartments on the back side.  Steve dropped me off and I went looking for the proper door to knock on.  Once I found it I discovered the occupant was not home and I began to descend from the stairs I had climbed in order to knock on the door.

Just as I was ready to walk back down the steps (4-5 steps) a man asked if he could help me.  I told him who I was looking for and he said I was in the right place.  A bit distracted I took my first step on the ice clogged top stair and went flying like superman onto the brick landing below.  Unfortunately for me a 10-gallon bucket with sand in it was in the middle of the landing and I hit it square on - my left side rib cage taking the brunt of the impact.  The bucket remained standing the entire time.

My clipboard and petition papers went flying into the air and I sat on the ground moaning and groaning in pain for some time.  The man (who turned out to be in charge of keeping the ice covered with sand) quickly got some sand and covered the patch I had slipped on - better late than never as they say.

Finally I got up and the man strangely didn't offer a word of concern or a helping hand to me.  Instead he began to tell me that his boss had recently had a similar accident (and was severely injured) in this same spot because he had failed to put sand on top of the ice.  I'm surprised the guy still has a job.

In addition to severe pain in my mid-section I scuffed up both knees as well.  I limped back to the car where Steve was waiting and we went to four more houses on our list.  Steve went to the doors in my place but we continued with our hard luck not finding anyone home.

I told Steve I thought I should go to the emergency room.  I asked him to take me home where our car was parked - MB had taken the bus to Portland that morning instead of driving to work.  But after hearing my tale and seeing my condition Steve insisted on driving me to the VA hospital (Togus) one hour away in Augusta.

So I spent five hours at Togus, first getting an x-ray which found no broken ribs but the doctor felt I likely had cracked one or more of them.  Then after complaining of a growing stomach ache the doctor determined that I needed a CAT scan to check if I had injured my spleen.  First though I had to drink a lemonade flavored jug of dye over the course of an hour.  Then we had to wait another hour or more for the spleen condition results which happily came back negative.

By this time I had sent Steve home and MB, once returning to Brunswick on the bus from work, jumped into our car and arrived at Togus just as I was released.

The nurse who cleaned up my knees, took blood tests, and cheered me up, told me I'd likely be pretty sore for the next several days.  That turned out to be the truth.  I'm having to sleep on my back and getting up from bed or a chair, and any bending over, is quite difficult.  Deep breaths are also quite painful.

Steve and I were to go out again today to knock on more doors but last night I called him and told him I was just too sore to go.  So he told me he'd go on his own which impressed me but caused some real feelings of sadness on my part.  We've been a good team.

I am hoping that on Saturday I can go out with MB (I'll do the driving and she will do the jumping in and out of the car and knocking on doors).  We've got a long way to go to hit our goal of 2,000 signatures of Green Independents across Maine.  This accident put a real crimp in my style.

The two mainstream political parties in Maine really make it hard for 3rd parties to get on the ballot.  Collecting signatures in the middle of the winter is a tough task.  It's amazing though that determined people across the state keep going out anyway, trying to give the voters in our state the opportunity to vote for the alternative voice of Lisa Savage who won't be bought and sold by the corporate money that runs the political system in this country.

Wish us all luck and safe door-knocking.


PS Steve got 9 signatures on Friday on his own.  Good going buddy!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Jesse supporting Lisa

Former Minnesota independent governor Jesse Ventura is supporting Lisa Savage in her attempt to get on the ballot in Maine for the November US Senate race against Susan Collins.

Ventura has a TV show on RT and has been a long time anti-war activist.  He's also one of the leading experts in the nation on the JFK assassination.

Jesse is a former Navy Seal and turned against US wars during Vietnam.

He's a very outspoken man and sets a good example for all of us.

I've read several of his books and was impressed with his positions on the key issues of our time.

One of my favorite stories about Jesse was one I saw him tell on C-SPAN TV.  He had just been elected governor of Minnesota in 1999 and got a call from the CIA.  They asked him for a meeting and he said sure, where are you?  They replied, "We are in the basement of the Minnesota capital building."

He reported that when he went into the meeting they had one question - "How did you do it?"  Meaning, how did you escape our radar and get elected by beating the two corporate mainstream political parties?

Jesse came away thinking that the CIA (which is supposed to work outside the nation, not inside it) runs the country (the Deep State) and tries to control everything.  In the case of his win in Minnesota the CIA was not pleased that they were not on top of that one.

Just goes to show how things actually work in the US of A.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Our sacred home

Viewed from space our Mother Earth has no border lines - no boundaries between nations and the people.  From space the people are all Earthlings.

But down here on terra firma it's another story.  We are divided by nation-state borders, by language, by religion and ethnicity - even by corporate brands.  Some people think they are better than others.  We kill one another.  We are destroying our tiny satellite home.

The question of loyalty comes to mind.....who should we be loyal to?  Country (an artificial construct), a president or a region?  Should we be loyal to a religion or a pope?  Should we be loyal to a corporation that pays our salary?  Should we be loyal to a corporate dominated political party?

Maybe it's because my family moved when I was young - from Maryland to Germany (twice), England, South Dakota, California, and Florida (several times) - that I came to see the world differently.....and I came to see 'country' very differently.  I came to define loyalty quite differently as well.

What I learned was that people are basically the same everywhere you go....they love their children, they love to laugh, to share food, to marvel at the night sky, and to complain about the weather.  For me it didn't matter which country you came from....we are all the children of our Mother Earth.

Like all mothers our Earth Mother tries not to favor any of her children.  She loves all the colors, all the languages....our mother just wants us to treat each other fairly and not harm one another...nor should we do harm to our good mother ship.

So my loyalties are clear.  I've no time for those in any country who are messing up the human family or our planet home.  In my mind and heart I am fighting for the future me that is the #1 job of a human being.....make sure the future generations (human, animal, plant, water, air, soil) can live.

I am here today because of the focused determination of those who came before me and got my family line through thousands and thousands of years of famines, ice ages, droughts, wars, cataclysms and more.

I figure it would be totally arrogant and pretentious of me to forget those sacrifices and get lost in distractions like materialism, patriotism, power and religion.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Getting to the bottom of U.S. aggression

Pompeo Says Gangland-Style Hit on Soleimani Was "Restoration of Deterrence"

By Mike Whitney

America’s “shadow president”, Mike Pompeo, has acknowledged that the assassination of Iran’s highest-ranking military general, Qassem Soleimani, was part of a broader strategy to restore “real deterrence” by eliminating presumed enemies of the United States. Pompeo’s comments at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute on January 13, put to rest earlier claims that the Iranian general had been killed to prevent “imminent attacks on U.S. targets.” Those claims have since been discredited by independent journalists and mainstream publications that have shown that the assassination was prepared months in advance. In truth, Soleimani was killed to roll back Iran’s influence in Iraq and to reverse the effects Washington’s catastrophic counterinsurgency operation that removed the mainly Sunni-Baathist party from power creating a vacuum that was filled by Iranian-backed militias. The Solemani assassination was just the latest transgression in a conflict that dates back 17 years.

Pompeo’s hand in the assassination is not really in doubt. As the New York Times noted in an article two weeks ago: “Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general”. The Times also credits the blustery Pompeo as the “chief architect of the rising tensions between the United States and Iran”…”he is in the unusual role of shaping national security policy.”

Pompeo is the “chief architect” of the administration’s failed Iran policy. It was Pompeo who pushed Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and Pompeo who promoted the economic blockade that has strangled the Iranian economy. Pompeo has also been the biggest proponent of Trump’s extrajudicial assassination policy whose first notable trophy was Iran’s most decorated and revered general, Solemani. The incident has set the Middle East ablaze. Even so, Pompeo has never shown the slightest sign of remorse nor has he offered his condolences to the millions of people across the Middle East who poured out into the streets to mourn the passing of their beloved hero. Their anguish means nothing to Pompeo who believes he is carrying out “God’s work” by eliminating anyone who stands in the way US ambitions in the region.

At the Stanford confab, Pompeo announced that he intends to move ahead with his plan to reestablish “deterrence” to discourage Tehran’s “malign activity.” Regrettably, Pompeo’s grasp of deterrence bears no resemblance to the original political and military doctrine. Traditionally, deterrence is a strategy “under which one power uses the threat of reprisal effectively to preclude an attack from an adversary power.” In practice this means that Country A will build up its nuclear arsenal with the intention of “deterring” Country B from launching an attack. The strategy is aimed at preserving the peace and avoiding unnecessary bloodshed. Pompeo’s interpretation of deterrence is aimed at liquidating the enemy not deterring him. It is a form of aggression that bears no resemblance to the original military doctrine. Here’s more from Reuters:.

“President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said. “Your adversary must understand not only that you have the capacity to impose cost but that you’re in fact willing to do so,” Pompeo added.” (“Pompeo says Soleimani killing part of new strategy to deter U.S. foes”, Reuters) 

Once again, Pompeo is twisting words to confuse his audience. Sure, it’s true that “Your adversary must understand not only that you have the capacity to impose cost but that you’re in fact willing to do so.” But it’s also true that the goal of deterrence is to deter the enemy from engaging in hostilities to begin with. That is the polar-opposite of killing the enemy. Pompeo appears to be stuck on this point.

In any event, a gangland-style hit –that is illegal under US statutes and international law– is not an example of deterrence. It’s barbarism masquerading as foreign policy doctrine. Pompeo knows that, just like he knows that targeted assassinations are powerful provocations that lead to over-reaction, tit-for-tat retaliation, and eventually a full-blown regionwide conflagration. Which seems to be the point. Pompeo wants to confront Iran in the one area in which the US excels, war. Why else would he kill Iran’s most admired leader?

Here’s more from Pompeo’s speech:

“We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia’s 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.
China’s island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.” (“The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example”, US Embassy and Consulates) 

Now we’re getting down to brass tacks. This isn’t about Soleimani at all. It’s about the long list of foreign policy challenges the US now faces as new centers of power emerge (primarily Russia and China) putting more pressure on the post-WW2 “liberal” world order and hastening the decline of an aging hegemon who is fast losing its grip on global power. That is why Pompeo is invoking a new and more vicious foreign policy. Washington powerbrokers seem to believe that they need to take more reckless and violent measures to reverse present trends that are steadily eroding US power clearing the way for an emerging multi-polar world order. Taking these things into account, the Soleimani assassination can be seen for what it really is, a desperate attempt to turn back the clock to the early 1990’s following the dissolution of the Soviet Union when America ruled supreme and think-tank pundits proudly boasted of the “end of history” and the beginning of a glorious “American Century”, none of which has worked out according to plan.

“The importance of deterrence isn’t confined to Iran,” Pompeo said. “In all cases, we must deter foes to defend freedom. That’s the whole point of President Trump’s work to make our military the strongest it’s ever been.” (Reuters)

Pompeo wants a stronger and most costly military. He wants to use all the tools at his disposal to maintain Washington’s dominant position in the world, especially the instruments of coercion that can used to force rivals to comply with Washington’s diktats. And, he has invoked a new doctrine, The Pompeo Doctrine, to provide ideological cover for the anticipated bloody assault on foreign leaders and dignitaries. So far, no one has challenged Pompeo’s alarming policy-shift. There appears to be consensus among elites that the only way to arrest America’s relentless decline is by escalating the hostilities, intensifying the violence and widening the wars.

Pompeo’s announcement puts the country on a path to bigger and bloodier confrontations but, as yet, no one has lifted their voice in opposition.

Monday, January 20, 2020

MLK: The assassination and the real story

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., took a public and unpopular stance against the Vietnam War, declaring it an enemy of the poor in the United States.

In his 1967 speech, Beyond Vietnam, King argued that young African American men were sent “to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia or East Harlem”.

MLK was killed exactly one year after making his controversial speech opposing the war.

I highly recommend this book 'The Plot to Kill King: The Truth Behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.' by King-family lawyer William Pepper.

William Pepper was James Earl Ray’s lawyer in the trial for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., and even after Ray’s conviction and death, Pepper continues to adamantly argue Ray’s innocence. This myth-shattering exposé is a revised, updated, and heavily expanded volume of Pepper’s original bestselling and critically acclaimed book Orders to Kill, with twenty-six years of additional research included. The result reveals dramatic new details of the night of the murder, the trial, and why Ray was chosen to take the fall for an evil conspiracy—a government-sanctioned assassination of our nation’s greatest leader. The plan, according to Pepper, was for a team of United States Army Special Forces snipers to kill King, but just as they were taking aim, a backup civilian assassin pulled the trigger.

In The Plot to Kill King, Pepper shares the evidence and testimonies that prove that Ray was a fall guy chosen by those who viewed King as a dangerous revolutionary. His findings make the book one of the most important of our time—the uncensored story of the murder of an American hero that contains disturbing revelations about the obscure inner-workings of our government and how it continues, even today, to obscure the truth.

Pepper would later represent the King-family in a 1999 civil trial in Memphis where a jury found MLK was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin, and said it is the duty of the Justice Department to look at the information presented in the Memphis case.  The Justice Department of course never acted since they were deeply involved in the cover-up. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday song