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. @BruceKGagnon

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Back in jail on Jeju Island

Brother Song

By Sung-Hee Choi and Kaia Curry

On April 3rd, the court for the review of legality of confinement maintained arrest warrant on Song Kang-Ho despite more than 2,500 domestic and overseas citizens' signatures for his release.

He was moved to Jeju Prison.

Song was arrested for going to witness what is left of sacred Gureombi Rock inside the Jeju navy base on the anniversary of its destruction.

Sacred Gureombi Rock before destruction for the Navy base on Jeju Island, South Korea. Prior to being blasted and covered with concrete Gureombi was full of life.

Please think that today is the 72nd remembrance year of April 3rd Uprising and massacre [by US directed forces] (March 1, 1947 to Sept. 21, 1954).

Jeju was defined as the Island of World Peace in 2005 to overcome the pain of April 3rd. How ironic it is that the state put a very citizen who works for the realization of true peace Island on the very day of April 3rd!

Further how sad it is that today is his birthday by lunar calendar! When he was arrested 8 years ago, it was his birthday, too, April 1 by lunar calendar.

We very thank all the international citizens who took signature time for is release.

[Destroyers built at Bath Iron Works in Maine are expected to port in the future at the navy base on Jeju.]

Life in Darmstadt

By Regina Hagen (Darmstadt, Germany)

I guess the situation is similar everywhere. In Germany, the political leadership has never denied that Corona is dangerous, but the responses came too late. Privatization of the health system has increased in the past. The German government was warned in a study a few year ago what a pandemic would look like. The forecast of the study is now occurring, but there is shortage of the most basic medical supplies for health staff and protective supplies for the population.

As elsewhere, it is unclear whether the worst is yet to come. The death rate (is that the correct word?), however, is increasing observably - it seems a number of people are very ill a long time before they die, and many of those who die are not old. Also worrying is the fact that not only can Corona be transferred by people without symptoms, but in a senior citizens home in Germany quite a number of old people who were infected died without ever showing symptoms.

Many aspects of this crisis are worrying. One of them is the prominent role the Germany military, the Bundeswehr plays. They are well equipped with hospitals, supplies, means of transportation, and (medical) staff, and do indeed provide a lot of support and supplies outside the Bundeswehr arena (it seems that 800 Bundeswehr members are reported as suspected cases, 200 as confirmed infected cases). However - why don't the civil protection and emergency services play a larger role? As often before (floods, forest fires, etc.) those services and their supplies are not sufficiently equipped and staffed to cope with large crises. In addition, Bundeswehr does good public relations and tells the story of the help they give.

We should demand that our country spend more on civil services rather than the military - who needs 2% spending for Bundeswehr when the real challenges lie elsewhere: in this pandemic, the climate change, the global militarization, the danger posed by nuclear weapons, the increase in surveillance connected to this crises etc. etc.

Additionally, there is now wider discussion on the work conditions and salaries of those people who are suddenly praised as "system relevant" - not only doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff, but also those working in supermarkets, garbage collection, delivery services, transportation etc. etc. I wonder whether this appreciations will continue once the crises subsides and whether working conditions and payment for these people will increase.

The situation is bad, here and elsewhere. They say 70-80% of the population must have had the virus before the pandemic will eventually come to a stop - that is still a long way and means many more will be ill or die. And we haven't seen the real brunt of the pandemic in countries in the Global South!

I am fine, and my mother - now 96! - does well - although she really misses us, since we can't currently travel and visit her.

~ Regina Hagen is a board member in the Global Network.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Sailors cheer sacked 'Captain Crozier' in Guam

The crew turned out to cheer the dismissed skipper of the virus-stricken Navy nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.

"The whole ship came out to say goodbye to Captain Crozier".

The captain showed great courage and sense of responsibility knowing that he was putting his career at risk. This is the kind of dedication to the people (not the institutions) that we should all have. 

Especially now.....

Having been in the US Air Force for 3.5 years during the Vietnam War I can easily put myself in the shoes of many of these sailors.  Far from home, missing and worrying about family, not certain about their own future.  You can see they are not practicing much 'social distancing' in the video.  Tears come to my eyes each time I re-watch these two videos. 

This virus is teaching us alot about America's misplaced priorities. 

Best wishes to all my readers.  Thank you for visiting.  Please send me your current stories from where you live that I could share here.


Hearing from Albuquerque

By Bob Anderson (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

We are locked in. Jeanne and I, like you and Mary Beth probably are ground zero for this virus so we are staying in.  We saw it coming and stocked up on food, enough for a while. Got a lot of toilet paper, 100 lbs dry pinto beans, big bags of rice, canned goods, etc.   Went to Harbor Freight and got the last of N95 masks and paper masks they had.  A long line was forming behind me.  Kroger is delivering food as we order.

It is creepy on the streets.  Quiet.  Not many cars at all.  New Mexico is at this time relatively low in everything. Our governor was on it fast and called for social distancing early. The Veterans Administration (VA) cancelled all my appointments and they are taking in people for tests only it seems. 

It is a real challenge with the kids, a big change in their lives as well as us, keeping them occupied and not wanting to go out. I take them out on desert roads and teach them to drive in this time.  Checking in with old friends.   Most are taking this seriously.   We are bored too.   You all stay in and take care to be safe.

President Incredible is a real embarrassment to the country.  I am preparing to write a letter on it about how the VA was gutted and now they are using it to back up the private health care system, which they said was so prepared and better for veterans.

I would add to it the incredible scene here in Albuquerque and New Mexico with the Los Alamos and Sandia nuclear labs and the huge military complex of bases devoted to the mission of killing people when we have the need to put all this brain power to work on finding a solution to this virus that is taking us down.  It is like these lab and military contractors are far out in the wrong field, they are still going to work like normal while the city and state are being taken down by the Coronavirus.  It is a real clear point to many of us that the military complex is worthless for solving real life problems, right here on earth in real time.

It shows a simple point that none of us are safe until everyone has health care and a decent life free of war and threats of war… I could go on and on…. be safe.

~ Bob Anderson is a board member in the Global Network.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Navy virus-laden carrier scuttled in Guam - ship captain sacked

Having come to Guam from a 'flag waving visit' to Vietnam, the virus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear aircraft carrier, with 5,000 crew members on board, docked in Guam on March 27 after the number of positive cases onboard continued to grow.

(Two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers reported cases of coronavirus onboard in March 2020. A pair of cases were reported aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at a naval base in Japan and dozens were reported aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt by the end of the month.)

At the Pentagon on Wednesday, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters 114 of the warship’s sailors had tested positive. So far, over 600 of the sailor's nearly 5,000 crew members have tested negative, Modly said.  He couldn’t yet say how long the Roosevelt might stay in Guam, or the evacuation’s effect on the fleet’s readiness. But he stressed that the aircraft carrier was being maintained in 'fighting condition'.

Modly emphasized that the Navy will not remove every sailor from the warship.

"This ship has weapons on it. It has munitions on it. It has expensive aircraft, and it has a nuclear power plant. It requires a certain number of people on that ship to maintain safety and security," he said.

Sailors who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be restricted in isolation facilities on the Navy base, Adm. John Menoni, commander of Joint Region Marianas, told Guam government officials.

The Navy has convinced Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to allow sailors who test negative for the virus to be quarantined in certain Guam hotels for 14 days. The sailors will be forbidden from leaving the hotels which will be secured by military personnel.

The first of the COVID-19-free sailors are expected to be transported initially to two hotels – the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort and Dusit Thani Guam Resort.

“Once those sailors are quarantined, isolated and re-tested, when they are COVID-free, the plan will be to rotate them back onto the ship and finish the remainder on the ship,” a navy spokesperson said. “There’s never been an intent to take all the sailors off of that ship. If that ship needed to respond to a crisis today, we would respond.”

Tight quarters on-board an aircraft carrier are not conducive to 'social distancing'.  The aircraft carrier captain was 'relieved of his duty' days after writing a letter to the Pentagon asking for help due to the growing virus on his ship.  His firing sends a clear message to other commanders throughout the US military - keep quiet about the virus at your installation.  The Pentagon understands that they have a public relations 'situation' on their hands and wants full control of the narrative. 

Virus-related travel restrictions have put Guam’s visitor industry on hold, leaving the island’s resort hotels vacant. Some hotels already are being used for local quarantine efforts, however.

The military has said security will be posted on each floor of designated quarantine hotels and in the perimeter of the hotels. Sailors will not be allowed to go to beaches.

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday declined to rule out punishing the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter to Navy leadership asking for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak onboard.  The letter was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle which ran the story.

“I don’t know who leaked the letter to the media. That would be something that would violate the principles of good order and discipline, if he were responsible for that. But I don’t know that,” acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said when asked multiple times whether the captain faced discipline.

“The fact that he wrote the letter up to his chain of command to express his concerns would absolutely not result in any type of retaliation,” Modly said.

In the letter, the captain called for “decisive action”: removing over 4,000 sailors from the ship and isolating them. He said that unless the Navy acted immediately, it would be failing to properly safeguard “our most trusted asset - our sailors.”  

The Navy dismissed the captain from his post on Thursday, two days after the officer's unusually blunt letter .

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was relieved of command at the direction of acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly. The Navy removed him after becoming increasingly convinced that he was involved in leaking the letter to the media to force the service to address his concerns.

~  Many parts of this article came from several sources - most of which are linked in the story.

Expecting the worst?

Storefronts in downtown Vancouver BC, Canada boarded up like they did before the G20 riots started by government agent provocateurs.

Burglary and looting has been rampant there since businesses were ordered to shut down and now businesses have been told to take everything out of their shops or they'll lose it.

U.S. base expansion in Japan

By Makiko Sato (Japan)

Citizens in Iwakuni [in Yamagucki Prefecture] who are against US Marines Air Station Iwakuni have been watching and uploading the daily flights in and out of the various Marine aircraft deployed there. Marines Iwakuni Base has become the biggest US military (Marines) base in East Asia.

Since around 2005, the US had planed to consolidate its military bases and facilities in Japan as a part of the US Global Posture Review (GPR). Okinawa, Kanagawa and Iwakuni are main targets on this plan.

Iwakuni is just 800km away from North Korea, while Okinawa is 1500km away. Many Japanese think NK is the target and we think that is why NK is so desperate, launching missiles and rockets repeatedly.  US military base in Iwakuni to become massive military stronghold. Citizens' vigil opposing the military base began in 1996.

The US Aegis Ashore [missile launch] systems to be deployed in Japan with our tax money is to protect the US military assets on Hawaii and on Guam. 

5G technology currently being deployed in Japan will make the US missile system work much faster in its first-strike [role] and then the protective intercepting process.  Only if and when Japan is to change its constitution, which makes it possible for the US to legally bring in its nuclear warheads onto Japanese soil, including on Okinawa.

As depressing as the virus.  Come to think of it, US military bases are a kind of virus, indeed. I'll let people know about your recent interview. 

Thank you always for your dedication, and GN people.   

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Who are the most essential workers these days?

Treat and pay them fairly!

On thinking for ourselves....

Words from Washington DC

By Kathy Boylan (Washington DC)

Greetings from the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community.  Regarding Coronavirus, I encourage everyone to watch  Professor Francis Boyle's interview about the origin of the coronavirus. Using documents as evidence, he shows that the virus was developed at the germ-warfare facility at the University of  North Carolina with funding from the NIH (DR. Fauci) and with money from China and the assistance of a Chinese scientist. Now Dr. Fauci and Big Pharma are "searching" for a vaccine which will make them millions.

Or you might read "Covid-19: Further Evidence That the Virus Originated in the US" by Larry Romanoff. The article explains that the CDC shut down the germ warfare facility at Ft. Detrick, Maryland last summer following news of a number of deaths from a deadly pneumonia. News stories claimed that  the deaths were due to e-cigarettes, but if that were so, why the shut down?

Given my suspicion that this "attack" is an "inside job", a few of us continue the weekly protests at the Pentagon and White House along with our South Corean activist friends. So few people were touring the White House last Friday, that we moved to H Street where our signs would be visible to car and bus passengers. With the help of Pax Christi friends, our Feast for the Streets continues with a modified menu of sandwiches [for the homeless and hungry].

Please also watch the video on the Children's Health Defense site entitled "Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later". All the information on that site is very important.

The virus has shut down the world, will probably lead to the postponement of our elections, and perhaps to martial law.  Oligarchs and their banks and corporations are getting flooded with trillions of our tax dollars. Thousands die unnecessarily.

Yet, I want to be like CUBA, and reach out to help others, and continue to resist the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world" -- our government. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The cheese in the trap.....

More connecting the dots between virus & fading US military empire

Listen to "Saying NO to the militarization of space" on Spreaker.

Journalism Professor Karl Grossman and Bruce Gagnon on their weekly interview.

Hearing from a Ukrainian citizen

Shared from the Stalker Zone

Ukraine is really a unique but money-hungry country, which the post-Maiden years has proven. Remember how many “patriots” have taken to the streets during all this period to seek so-called justice when there’s no need. Now – when the situation heated up due to a crisis, and oligarchs felt something has gone wrong – the Ukrainian elite stopped financing patriotic organisations and the streets became quiet and clean, and corrupt nationalists stopped scaring civilians.

The situation with Ukrainian “patriots” terrorising Ukraine was described in more detail by the elderly Ukrainian man Vasily Mikhailovich, who lives in the Khmelnitsky region. He made a video about how Ukrainians actually perceive accession to the EU, about Euromaidan, about Russia, and so on. He asked the so-called “patriots”, nationalists, Nazis, and neo-Nazis of Ukraine: “Where did you go because of the coronavirus? Those with black flags and SS-shaped German crosses ran away and so on?”

“Those from central Ukraine and from the south-east, you deport them to Russia and insult them. And what right do you have to deport us there and insult us whereas it’s our grandparents and parents defended this land against fascists and struck down the Banderists who served the Germans? And it’s you, who live in western Ukraine, deport us somewhere and call us separatists? It’s you who are the most real separatists, you are just a small bunch which we’ll disappear as soon as we spit on you,” said Vasily Mikhailovich.

Vasily Mikhailovich believes that it is this “patriotic” bunch that should take their suitcases and go to the EU if they so want “to be in Europe”. He called the West a “bad place” because everyone there steals from each other. He cited the example of the Chinese aid destined for Italy being stolen by the Czech Republic and Germany.

“Europe lives at the expense of others. Ukraine has already had all the resources pumped out of it by these IMF, Europe, and Americans, telling us what to do and how to do it. You have already cut down the forests in Transcarpathia, as well as in the Rovno and Kiev regions. Soon you will sell our land to them, and our children and grandchildren will be slaves to them. Do you [want to drive] Ukrainians into slavery? You’re bandits, and you call us separatists? You’re fascists. Give us back our pensions, I don’t need your army, there’s no one to defend us against. I and Ukraine have no enemies, except the government and nationalists, who since 2014 have completely robbed me and the country,” said the retiree.

According to him, earlier he received a pension of $230, and now it is $50-60 depending on the exchange rate of the hryvnia. As the Ukrainian noted, Russia did the right thing by sending aircraft aid to Italy. He recalled that Ukraine and Poland did not let the airplanes fly through their air space, because of which they were forced to fly around the territory of those states in a semicircle. But Moscow still sent help and specialists. “Because it is Russia,” added the Ukrainian.

“These Russians are a stupid nation. If they see that someone is in bad condition, or that someone is cold, they will take off their clothes and give it to them in order to save them, because that is Russia, do you understand? It was always like this. We are also such a nation – our Soviet Ukraine. And you – western Ukrainians – are not like this, you only do everything for yourself. It’s not the South-east and South who are separatists, but you, Western Ukraine, although there are smart people there too,” said Vasily Mikhailovich.  

Monday, March 30, 2020

Can't get a mask in Maine

More reports from around the virus-laden globe

A photoshopped image of past Veterans For Peace vigil in Asheville, NC makes a timely point. (Photoshop work by Brandon Jones)

By Ken Jones (Asheville, North Carolina)

Here in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, things have gotten very quiet. The normal hustle and bustle of this tourist town is gone, the streets are all but empty, the shops are closed (except for carry out or curbside delivery from restaurants). Even though it means that many people are out of work and small businesses may go down for the count, there is certain air of comfortable calm that stands in contrast to the non-stop anxiety fostered by the media.

This is partly because the virus has not hit our somewhat remote area very hard, at least not yet. A friend of ours who is a nurse assigned to a dedicated COVID19 unit, says most people coming in for tests are still waiting for the results and that the hospital where she works is just now organizing to deal with what might be coming. She says the estimate is that the North Carolina peak is expected to come in May, which is (in coronavirus time), a long time away.

My daughter, on the other hand, is dealing with stress here and now. She is a Montessori teacher and her school decided not to close, but to stay “open” and continue charging parents tuition. Teachers are now expected to come up with online learning for their students which somehow approximates the in-person schooling. “It’s impossible,” she says. “I’m developing the curriculum, running the program, and teaching my own kid concurrently.” She and her husband, who is still trying to keep his house building company going, are run ragged.

One of the most visible local responses to the crisis has come from BeLoved Asheville, a local community that has a solid history of caring for those most at risk: elders, African American and Latinx communities, families living on low incomes, workers, and people living on the streets. They have raised extra funds from us allies and are putting in long hours every day to provide survival supplies like food, hygiene, and medicine. They have a team of street medics, most of home have been homeless themselves, who walk the streets, checking in with people, and treating both physical and emotional needs. Amy Cantrell, one of the three core team members of BeLoved told me, “We believe in humanity and the beauty of our Earth home and we will continue to be here to share a vision of what a transformed, just, and loving world looks like on the other side of this crisis.” 

Of course, many of us are trying to stay connected through social media. Our local chapter of Veterans for Peace made the sensible decision to suspend our weekly public vigil in favor of cultivating more of an online presence. As a starter, we posted the photoshopped image of ourselves above, dressed in solidarity with health workers. We do what we can from our homes.

By J. Narayana Rao (Nagpur, India)

The entire state of Maharashtra including Nagpur is under lockdown. No buses and trains are moving. Schools and Colleges are closed. Govt Offices are officially not closed but no staff is attending. Till now on one is affected with Carona virus in Nagpur. Vegetable markets are not getting opened. Normal public life is not functioning. There is no problem for food not only in Nagpur but in the entire state of Maharashtra.