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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

My wedding vows

When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights

You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You've got a friend

Thank you Bill [Bliss, our minister friend].  When we spoke on the phone about two weeks ago you asked me if I was nervous.  I cavalierly said, “No, we’ve been together for 20 years.”  Well in the last 24 hours I’ve been frozen with anxiousness and got up at 4:00 am this morning to completely change what I am going to say.

MB Sullivan and I have been friends since the mid-1990’s when she came to Florida to be with her mom during her last days.

We became close during that time as she volunteered at the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice where I worked.

She organized a trip for about eight of us from the Florida Coalition to the state of Guerrero in Mexico where we learned much about poverty and injustice there.  She served as our translator.  I have a photo from that time which I cherish.  MB was surrounded by Mexican women and I was in the frame but off to the side where I was admiring how much the women took to her easy smile and wonderful laugh.

But I was a bit slow in those days and it took me awhile to come around to facing the music.  It wasn’t until 1998 when MB was injured in a car crash in Selma, Alabama, along with our Buddhist friends Utsumi and Denise.  She needed to return to Sarasota, Florida, where she was by then helping look after her dad, for an operation on her arm.  A car relay was organized with various folks leap-frogging her back home.  I did one section of the trip and while in my truck, nauseous from the pain killers she was taking, she threw up.  It was in that moment that I fully realized I was in love with her.

We began dating in the last year of my son Julian’s time in high school and she eventually moved in with us.

The first time MB took me to Sarasota to meet her dad Jimmy Sullivan was one that I’ll always remember.  We were invited for dinner and Jimmy never spoke a word to me.  He watched TV during dinner and had the clicker in his hand switching to various sporting events.  At the time I took it personally, figured he must not approve of me.  But this morning at 4am you could say I had a ‘divine revelation’.

I realized that Jimmy was just deeply sad, and in a way, mourning the loss of his close orbit to the sun – to MB.  In a way he must have felt that he had become like the planet Pluto – sent on a faraway dark orbit.  MB later told me though that he said to her, “I guess Bruce is alright because his dog Red is so well behaved”.

But he began making spaghetti and meat balls on the first night of our visits after that.  I grew to love Jimmy Sullivan very much – just like everyone else.

What a blessing it is, how lucky we all are, to be in MB’s orbit – benefiting from her light, her warm glow, her love, her joy.  She has a huge heart as you all know and that laugh – it’s as big as the whole universe.

I vow to remain faithful to my lucky orbit around MB’s sunny side.  I vow to continue learning what ‘unconditional love’ means from her.  I vow to continue learning to be a better person – god knows how far I’ve come in the last 20 years.

I grew up in a hard scrabble family – love was intermittent and often hard to find.  I didn’t really know what a real loving relationship looked like – how to do it.  It’s taken me some time to learn. MB is a great teacher.

I love you MB Sullivan.

Please join me, even though you all are on mute, in singing a bit of this song:

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Thank you all for being with us [on Zoom] today.


Monday, June 29, 2020

VFP member comments on the psyop 'Russia story'

For the past several days I've been following the back-and-forth debate on a Veterans For Peace (VFP) list serve about the New York Times 'fake news' story alleging that Russia is paying the Taliban to attack US troops in Afghanistan.  I left the names of the posters off in order to respect their privacy.


My own comment was:
The Russians don’t need to pay the Taliban to kill Americans.  After 20 years of utter failure in Afghanistan the US is trying to shift responsibility and blame – it’s likely a signal of the new anti-Russian policies that will be followed by a Biden administration. 

Here are some other comments:

  • NY TIMES reports to CNN tonight that US intelligence agencies reported to White House months ago that Russian intelligence agencies offered financial bounties to Afghan militants to kill US troops.  For months, White House has known about this and been "deliberating options" on this matter, but had "no comment" to TIMES reporters.  It is unknown whether these bounties were involved in the 20 American troops KIA last fall in Afghanistan. If VFP remains silent on this, we should close up shop.
  • No sources.  No evidence.  No fact-checking by American media. I'm not surprised Rachel Maddow fell for this. Suckers one and all.
  • Trump is a fucking traitor, a Ruski asset. No other president in my lifetime would have not done what he hasn't done. In fact I doubt if any other in history. All would have taken some action. Is America right for being in Afghanistan and Iraq, hell no but our troops are there and the president has a duty to protect.

  • I have no idea if Russia paid some of the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan and I am no fan of Donald Trump but I have some questions about how our media is presenting this new issue.  I say this because I saw similar actions myself while in Laos during the 1968 Battle of Tet.  It was our government paying tribesmen to kill North Vietnamese soldiers.  One has to wonder why this story of Russians paying Taliban to kill Americans in our current Afghanistan war is anything new or different than what appears to be part of larger war strategy. The question to me now is the politics of it.   Why is this being pushed now with an election so close?  The Democrats in the campaign of Joe Biden are using it as a way to revive the Cold War as we go to November.  But a larger question is why is the American media being so one-sided and blind to the historical context of these kind of stories.
  • One thing is certain, we have reached a consensus on the fact that this “Russian bounties for killing U.S. soldiers” story is baseless. We, as an organization, should say so.
  • The Russian DNC hacking story never had any evidence, but it was finally demolished a few months ago when Crowdstrike, the cyber security firm that allegedly "discovered" the hacking, admitted that it never had any evidence that the data was hacked by Russia.
  • Yup, here we go again. False news is not just Trump's game. Biden is definitely counterproductive. This imperial nation needs to go ahead and collapse!
  • Personally, I am not trying to nit-pick this issue. Ain't the hill I wanna die on; it fits perfectly ito the context of the Gulf of Tonkin "Incident" [circa] the 70s, and the WMD BS of the the little Bush era.
  • Silent Biden is speaking out on this phony story, criticizing Trump for not doing something to Russia for putting a bounty on US troops. He is not only useless but counterproductive. When Trump said he would consider talking to Maduro, Biden criticized him for cozying up to a dictator and Trump immediately backed down. Trump is terrible but Biden may be worse on foreign policy. When he becomes president, Biden will continue his 45 year-record of militarism, war and regime change.
  • The Times story seems to have instantly flushed out all those Putin lovers that used to fill this list with Russia love.

  • The point of the story is to insinuate that Russia is the problem rather than the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The Russians are supposed to be particularly evil with the insinuation that the U.S. military presence is somehow made more benign by comparison. Ridiculous. Our cluster bombs are precious and pure, I suppose. 
  • This is more narrative control promoting the new cold war, that the hoax of Russia-gate was about. How can one believe US intelligence, especially when it comes to Russia, our needed enemy to fuel our own military based economy.  No named sources, with different reporters confirming their own reports with each other. Assertions, anonymous sources, nothing really verified with evidence. Remember the bullshit the NYT and press said constantly about Iraq.  Lies, lies, lies.  US troops or their surrogates remain illegally in Afghanistan, and Syria, murdering and destroying.  That is the despicable issue that goes on and on. And US supports Jihadi killers against Russians in Syria. When will the US just quit its illegal and destructive interventions and sanctions anywhere and everywhere?
  • In fact the US has unseated duly elected leaders, and is attempting repeatedly to do the same in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
  • So, let me see if I've got this right. We've been bombing the shit out of Afghanistan for years with some of the greatest intensity and the greatest number of Afghani civilians killed in recent years and the Afghani fighters are trying to kill us - not because of that - but because the Russkies are paying them bounties? This not only sounds like CIA war propaganda, it sounds like really bad war propaganda. I hope no one in our membership would be naive or stupid enough to believe this for a minute. If you're a board member who even considers that this sounds credible, please resign ASAP. WE need sharper minds with better memories at the helm.

  • The U.S. intelligence agencies are producing false reports to fog over the minds of the American people day in and day out. VFP should be reminding people of this, I agree. If those in power gave a hoot about any American lives they would pull all U. S. Soldiers and mercenaries out of Afghanistan immediately. But, hey, there is no profit in that so they don’t.
  • If this information is proven to be true, this is another issue which VFP should bind with other Veterans organizations and declare the Trump Admin. to be treasonous.
  • I trust that Veterans For Peace will not fall into the trap of blaming the Russians for U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. That would be counterproductive for an organization that seeks to end wars and avert a nuclear holocaust.
  • This is pure fabrication. The military/corporate elite has a vested interest in keeping the war going in Afghanistan, and what better conduit for ginning up their pro-war agenda than the NYT. And what better fall guy than Trump. Our BS meters should be redlining. 
  • So since the Times reported something an anonymous source supposedly connected to US intelligence services and it appeared on CNN, we are supposed to believe it? Whatever happened to the dictum "consider the source?"  
  • It looks to me like a Democrat plan to complete softening us up to be ready for Biden's military attack on Russia to keep his Military Industrial Complex contributors happy.
  • Right on schedule they are with their endless propaganda. They used to say that in the former Soviet Union people had to learn to read Pravda ‘up-side down’.  Time to learn that skill here as well. 

Dem message to progressives: 'Piss off'

Krystal Ball explains what the Democratic party would look like under a potential Biden administration.

Make sure to watch the Sen. Joe Biden bit at 4:34 into the video - surprise, surprise!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

This Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

It's deja vu all over again

By Caitlin Johnstone

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim.

As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. The fact that western media outlets are now unanimously regurgitating these still 100 percent baseless assertions is nothing short of state propaganda.

The consensus-manufacturing, Overton window-shrinking western propaganda apparatus has been in full swing with mass media outlets claiming on literally no basis whatsoever that they have confirmed one another’s “great reporting” on this completely unsubstantiated story.

“The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have confirmed our reporting,” the NYT story’s co-author Charlie Savage tweeted hours ago.

“We have confirmed the New York Times’ scoop: A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan,” tweeted The Washington Post‘s John Hudson.

“We matched The New York Times’ great reporting on how US intel has assessed that Russians paid Taliban to target US, coalition forces in Afg which is a pretty stunning development,” tweeted Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Lubold.

All three of these men are lying.

John Hudson’s claim that the Washington Post article he co-authored “confirmed the New York Times’ scoop” twice uses the words “if confirmed” with regard to his central claim, saying “Russian involvement in operations targeting Americans, if confirmed,” and “The attempt to stoke violence against Americans, if confirmed“. This is of course an acknowledgement that these things have not, in fact, been confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal article co-authored by Gordon Lubold cites only anonymous “people”, who we have no reason to believe are different people than NYT’s sources, repeating the same unsubstantiated assertions about an intelligence report. The article cites no evidence that Lubold’s “stunning development” actually occurred beyond “people familiar with the report said” and “a person familiar with it said“.

The fact that both Hudson and Lubold were lying about having confirmed the New York Times‘ reporting means that Savage was also lying when he said they did. When they say the report has been “confirmed”, what they really mean is that it has been agreed upon. All the three of them actually did was use their profoundly influential outlets to uncritically parrot something nameless spooks want the public to believe, which is the same as just publishing a CIA press release free of charge. It is unprincipled stenography for opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies, and it is disgusting.

Read the rest of this important article here

Sunday song

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Beautiful gesture of solidarity

Artist cleans up the painting after someone put a big X over the beautiful painting of George Floyd.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Bob Dale Presente!

Bob Dale, in the black VFP vest, was loved by all across Maine

Earlier this week our dear friend, and mentor to many, Bob Dale calmly passed away at 95 years old after a long and fulfilling life.

Bob was known in Maine as a dedicated member of Veterans For Peace and the Maine Green party.  For many years he lived on a small island in the Midcoast along with his wife Jean.  They had to haul their food in on foot - they had no electric - only solar and wood fired heat and cooking.

Earlier in his life Bob was a Navy pilot just after WW II and often told the story how he was assigned to fly a nuclear bomber over China on a regular basis.  He was given one Chinese city as his target and each mission was to fly over the city and wait for the order to release his atomic payload.  Fortunately the order never came.

Bob went on to became known for flying Navy and exploratory personnel in and out of Antarctica and he became an expert on the region.

Bob and his wife Jean traveled the word several times visiting places like Africa, Russia and beyond.  In each place they went they were true ambassadors for peace.

Bob was arrested with us at Bath Iron Works just a couple years ago - helping to call for the conversion of the shipyard to help deal with our real problem today - climate crisis.

Some years ago Bob and Jean moved off the island where they were living into downtown Brunswick.  They became known for walking virtually everywhere - only using their car in the later years when walking became a problem.  They've inspired Mary Beth and me to walk as much in town as possible and we always say we are carrying on the tradition of Bob and Jean.

I am sad about his passing.  Fortunately a month or so ago I went for a walk to his house and spent some time with him on his back porch talking.  He always made everyone feel so welcome and loved - in the days before the virus Bob would always greet us with a big hug and a smile.

His passing was on his own terms - he was administered a drug that put him to sleep.  In bed next to him was his devoted wife Jean and his daughter.



Thursday, June 25, 2020

Zoom meeting with Maine Poor People's Campaign

Last night I was invited to join the Maine Poor People's Campaign meeting about connecting the dots between US foreign militarization, domestic militarization and poverty.

They were very clear that they needed to branch out and work more directly with the peace movement (as well as other movements) if any of us hoped to be successful in dealing with police violence, growing poverty and climate crisis.
I look forward to further connection with the PPC.

Masters of Space: Deep Space Strategy in the Age of Trump

By Karl Grossman

The United States “must be capable of winning wars that extend into space,” asserts a just-released “Defense Space Strategy” report. It is the first space strategy document issued by the U.S. since President Donald Trump, after declaring that the U.S. must achieve “dominance in space,” signed a measure this past December authorizing establishment of a Space Force.

The U.S. space strategy is highly aggressive.

“The Department of Defense is embarking on the most significant transformation in the history of the U.S. national security space program,” the report says. “Space is now a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprise-wide-changes to polices, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for a new strategic environment.”

“The Department,” it continues, “is taking innovative and bold actions to ensure space superiority and to secure the Nation’s vital interests in space now and in the future. Establishing the U.S. Space Force as the newest branch of our Armed force and the U.S. Space Command as a unified combatant command, as well as undertaking significant space acquisition reform across the DoD, has set a strategic path to expand space power for the Nation. It is a path that embraces space as a unique domain of national military power that, together with the other domains, underpins multi-domain joint and combined military operations to advance national security.”

A rationale for the strategy is the claim in the report that “China and Russia each have weaponized space as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.”

However, China and Russia, for decades now, have sought to expand the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, put together by the U.S., the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union and now signed on to by most nations on Earth, declaring space a global commons to be used for “peaceful purposes” and outlawing weapons of mass destruction in space. China and Russia along with U.S. neighbor Canada have been seeking to widen that to ban all weapons in space under a Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS) treaty. But the U.S. has voted no to the proposed PAROS treaty, affectively vetoing its enactment at the United Nations.

The new U.S. Defense Space Strategy is “aggressive,” said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement following the report’s release on June 17th. “This document confirms the aggressive course by Washington in the space sphere,” it said.

“Space is seen by the U.S. side as an arena of war,” it continued, calling this a “destructive” approach which “provokes an arms race in space.”

“Russia holds the diametrically opposing position, giving priority to using and study space only for peaceful purposes,” said the Russian foreign ministry statement.

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space  commented that “this ‘new’ Pentagon Space Strategy is really nothing new. At least since the 1997 U.S. Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’ report, Washington has been declaring that it will ‘control and dominate space’ and ‘deny other nations access to space.’ The big difference is that in 1997 there were actually no real competitors to U.S. in space as the former Soviet Union had recently collapsed and China had not fully grown into the economic and military rival it is today.”

As for the PAROS treaty, “the idea” has been “to close the door to the barn before the horse gets out.” But the U.S. during “both Republican and Democrat administrations” have taken the position: “There are no weapons in space—we don’t need a new treaty.”

“Of course, this is disingenuous and this blocking posture is largely motivated by the aerospace industry which views space as a vast new market for profit,” said Gagnon. “The nuclear industry similarly views space as we see the current drive to ‘privatize’ space so wealthy resource extraction corporations can ‘mine the sky.’ They are planning nuclear-powered mining colonies on celestial bodies and nuclear-powered rocket engines providing heavy lift capability to get to Mars and beyond.”

He said, “The aerospace industry has long maintained that an arms race in space, ‘Star Wars,’ would be the largest industrial project in human history. Some years back the aerospace publication, ‘Space News,’ ran an editorial stating that the industry needed to come up with a ‘dedicated funding source’ to pay for all its desired projects in space.” It said, Gagnon related, that the aerospace corporations were “sending their vast team of lobbyists to Washington to defund the ‘entitlement programs’ that officially are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what is left of the social safety net.  The industry is like a pirate—grabbing the national treasure chest so they can be the ‘Masters of Space.’”

“So what are Russia and China to do? We know that whomever controls space will control the planet below and also be able to control the pathway on and off the planet. Moscow and Beijing have requested new treaties, asked for stability, and warned that they cannot allow the US to ‘control and dominate’ space,” said Gagnon. “So today we hear the Pentagon screaming that Russia and China are now trying to dominate space and that the Pentagon needs even more of our tax dollars to ‘defend’ the heavens from these ‘existential enemies.’ The plan is in motion, the U.S. is leading the pack to weaponize space, and ever so ‘innocently’ accuses its primary competitors of doing what Washington itself is doing. Thus, we are on the edge of a cliff and the aerospace industry is pushing the whole planet into a chaotic abyss.”

To challenge this, “to beat this insane and provocative plan,” said Gagnon, “we must starve the beast. We can do that by fighting for social progress—programs like health care for all and funding to deal with our real problem today called climate crisis.”

The “Defense Space Strategy” report also declares: “Great power competition defines the strategic environment. Space is both a source of and conduit for national power, prosperity, and prestige. As a result, space is a domain that has reemerged as a central arena of great power competition, primarily with China and Russia. More than any other nation, the United States relies on space-based capabilities to project and employ power on a global scale. Today, U.S. reliance on space has increased to the point where space capabilities not only enhance, but enable our way of life and war of war.”

It says: “The creation of new space-focused organizations in DoD offers an historic opportunity to reform every aspect of our defense space enterprise. The USSF [U.S. Space Force], the newest branch of the Armed Forces, will bring unity, focus, and advocacy to organizing, training, and equipping space forces.”

Under a heading “Strategic Approach,” the report says the Pentagon will “pursue the following prioritized lines of effort….1) Build a comprehensive military advantage in space. 2) Integrate military spacepower into national, joint, and combined operations. 3) Shape the strategic environment. 4) Cooperate with allies, partners, industry, and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.”

“Specific objectives,” the report continues, “include: Build out the U.S. Space Force. Develop and document doctrinal foundations of military spacepower. Develop and expand warfighting expertise and culture.”

In its “Conclusion,” the report says: “Successful implementation of this strategy requires embracing space activities as a unique source of national and military power and incorporating the principles of joint warfare into space operations.”

~ Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bannering Downeast Maine

Rob Shetterly and Dud Hendrick on the Union River bridge in Ellsworth on Sunday. We got a pretty good response considering most folks still are just learning about Lisa Savage's campaign.

Akemi Wray, Connie Jenkins and I on the other side of the bridge in Ellsworth. 

Russell Wray, Adam Thiesen, me, and Dud in downtown Bangor

Me, Meredith Bruskin and Dud in downtown Belfast reaching out to voters

On Sunday I joined other volunteers from the Lisa for Maine campaign bannering on the bridge over the Union River in Ellsworth, Maine.  We were there for an hour at noon and then moved to the busy highway intersection that leads to Bar Harbor.  We were introducing the public to Lisa Savage.

The next day a couple of us did the same thing in Blue Hill for an hour in the morning and then moved to two spots in Bangor during mid-day.

Then yesterday three of us did 90 minutes in downtown Belfast.

We found that people were open to Lisa as November's election will be a Ranked Choice Voting contest so folks can vote their real favorites without fear of 'spoiling' the election.  It's a very liberating deal.

Volunteers will keep doing this across Maine in the coming months.  I'm certain the process will help the voters begin to learn more about Lisa Savage.

One Lisa supporter in Biddeford has hung one of these banners on her barn which faces a primary road in that town.  It was her initiative that got this banner effort going.

While the leading Republican and Democrat candidates for the US Senate seat in Maine have each raised tens of millions of dollars (largely from corporate sources) so far Lisa has raised about $75,000.  The presumptive Republican and Democrat are each trading attacks ads on TV and on social media and the public is already getting tired of hearing it.

So Lisa must find another way to reach the public.  This bannering process is just one way - using volunteers in order to reach the people.

Lisa is running on the ballot as an Independent - and there are more registered Independents in Maine than Republicans or Democrats.

See the coverage in the local paper we got in Belfast here

On it goes......


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Who writes the stories we read?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Solidarity with striking BIW workers!

Independent candidate for US Senate in Maine (Ranked Choice Voting election) Lisa Savage wrote early this  morning:

I was at Bath Iron Works this morning to show solidarity with workers from BIW's biggest union, S6, who voted 87 percent to strike for a fair contract. BIW is owned by General Dynamics whose CEO made $17,828,591 in 2019. Think they can afford to take care of the workers, too?

As a former teachers union negotiator, I say give BIW workers a fair contract now!

Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!

See Lisa's media statement on the strike here.

Standing up to racism in conservative western Maine

When Travis Verrill and Jason Gordon saw signs in a resident's window in Norway, Maine that were racist, they talked to the man and asked him to take them down. He did, and their video afterward caught the attention of two million people online. 
See news article here

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Wedding day photos

Our two legal witnesses - Rosie Paul (left) and Marian Stanton (right).  All the photos except this one are by Marian, MB's life long friend from Boston-area

Cheering the wedding watchers on Zoom - Rev. Bill Bliss on the right did the service.  He is a long-time friend and co-pastor of the church MB attends

Some of the folks on the call

After being together for the past 20 years Mary Beth Sullivan (MB) and I decided it was time to get married. Due to the virus pandemic we had to do the wedding yesterday on Zoom.

My son Julian and his wife Emily were on (at 2:00 am their time) from Taipei, Taiwan.  Friends from England, Crimea and Malaysia were also on the call in addition to many family and friends from all over the country.

There were a few technical issues as you can imagine with more than 65 different callers trying to get onto Zoom but we muddled our way through it all.

We are grateful to our dear friend, Rev. Bill Bliss who is co-pastor of the Neighborhood UCC church in Bath.  He did a great job.  And we thank MB's lifelong friend Marian for the great photos.

It was a wonderful time for us as we loved seeing so many dear ones again after such a long time of  'social distancing'.

Our next step is a return to Bath, Maine after we sign the papers to purchase a house in that nearby city on June 30.  There are some things that need to be done to the house before we can move in though - it's a 100 year old house that needs a new furnace and changes to some wiring and a bit of paint - move in date for us is July 17.

Thanks to all for the love and warm wishes.


Sunday song

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Val Demings rising to top of Biden's V-P list

Former Orlando police chief, and current Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), is being considered as Joe Biden's V-P running mate

The Biden Vice-President sweepstakes is getting more interesting all the time.  Just yesterday once highly probable candidate for the post, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), withdrew from consideration.  It's likely that her former role as chief prosecutor in Minnesota, where she had a bad record with black-white relations, nixed her from the job.

Moving to the front of the pack is Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).  It kind of makes sense from Biden's perspective.  Florida is a key electoral state that must be won in order to secure the presidency.  He's already said he would 'prefer' to pick a woman or a person of color.  One leading candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) comes from a state that Biden is likely to win anyway.  Plus during the presidental debates she was exposed for having a bad record of treatment of black prisoners when she was her state's Attorney General as well.  What is it with these Democrat women prosecutors anyway?

I lived in Orlando, Florida for 20 years so am following this story with additional interest.  I can tell you that Orlando is about as racist as any city in America.  There is no way that Val Demings would have been selected as chief of police in that city unless she was someone who the local white power structure was certain would not rock the boat.

Demings grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and was one of seven children born to a poor family; her father worked in orange groves, while her mother was a housekeeper.

She attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminology in 1979.

In 1983, Demings applied for a job with the Orlando Police Department (OPD); her first assignment was to patrol Orlando's west-side black community. Demings was appointed Chief of the Orlando Police Department in 2007, becoming the first woman to lead the department.

Demings was the Democratic nominee to represent Florida's 10th congressional district in the US House of Representatives in both 2012 and 2016. She lost the general election in 2012 but won in 2016.

A 2015 article in The Atlantic reports:

The [Orlando police] department has a long record of excessive-force allegations, and a lack of transparency on the subject, dating back at least as far as Demings’s time as chief. From 2010 to 2014, the department paid out more than $3.3 million in damages following at least 47 lawsuits alleging false arrest, excessive force, and other complaints against the department’s officers. (Records about these cases and other allegations of police misconduct in Orlando are not centrally housed or publicized, and some lawsuits are still outstanding.)

"This has been a problem for a while, through her administration and others. The problem is the leadership of the department,” said Lawanna Gelzer, president of the National Action Network’s Central Florida chapter. “… She’s not going to get my vote.”

In 2010, an Orlando police officer flipped 84-year-old Daniel Daley over his shoulder after the man became belligerent, throwing him to the ground and breaking a vertebra in his neck. Daley alleged excessive force and filed a lawsuit. The police department cleared the officer as "justified" in using a "hard take down" to arrest Daley, concluding he used the technique correctly even though he and the other officer made conflicting statements. Demings said "the officer performed the technique within department guidelines" but also said that her department had "begun the process of reviewing the use of force policy and will make appropriate modifications." A federal jury ruled in Daley's favor and awarded him $880,000 in damages.

“Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket. People are already on the fence about him,” Hawk Newsome, chairman of Black Lives Matter, Greater New York chapter, told media. “When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue. And I have been told this by numerous officers.”

 Florida's 10th congressional district now represented by Val Demings (click on link to enlarge)

While in Congress Rep. Demings has served on these committees in the House of Representatives:

  • Committee on Homeland Security (Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security)
  • Committee on the Judiciary (Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations - Vice Chair) and (Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law)
  • Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support) and (Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness)

On December 18, 2019, Demings voted for both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. She was selected as one of seven impeachment managers who presented the impeachment case against Trump during his trial before the United States Senate.

Demings supports and has vowed to defend Obama's 'Affordable Care Act' which likely means she does not support Medicare4All which Joe Biden has also said he opposes.  This position would be quite acceptable to the mega-insurance corporations on Wall Street.

It appears to me that Rep. Demings is just the kind of black woman that the Democrats would choose as a V-P candidate along with Biden.  Her record as chief of police in Orlando and her committee assignments in Congress indicate that the military industrial complex, which is quite strong in Central Florida and of course is dominant in Washington, would be pleased with this choice.

I still wonder if the Dems will dump Biden at the convention and bring in a new candidate.

Hold onto your hat. We shall see how it goes.


Friday, June 19, 2020

The Military Must be De-Funded Along with the Police

The desperate and collapsing U.S. military empire, with more than 800 bases worldwide, is bound to treat its own citizens the same way the Pentagon treats people around the planet when push comes to shove. 

By Dan Kovalik

As Vijay Prashad explains in his book, Red Star Over The Third World, domestic fascism in the West has reflected the West’s pre-existing colonial practices abroad. Citing Martinique communist Aimé Césaire, Prashad explains: “What had come to define fascism inside Europe through the experience of the Nazis – the jackboots and the gas chambers – were familiar already in the colonies. . . . [F]ascism was a political form of bourgeois rule in times when democracy threatened capitalism; colonialism, on the other hand, was naked power justified by racism to seize resources from people who were not willing to hand them over. Their form was different but their manners were identical.”

As Prashad and Césaire teach us, the fascist tactics used by our Western governments in the Global South will inevitably be brought home to be used against us. In the case of the US, these tactics have surely been introduced here, and we are now seeing this clearly as our police, sometimes backed by the military itself, are battling protestors in the streets in the same manner that a military force does as a foreign occupying power. Indeed, as a number of commentators have pointed out, the very tactic which killed George Floyd – the knee on the neck – was imported by the Israeli Defense Forces (themselves bankrolled by the US) who use this tactic against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories and who are now training US police units, including the Minneapolis police force, to use it as well.

Moreover, the police are using not only the cruel military tactics used to oppress people abroad, they are also using the military’s very equipment to do so.

Democratic President Bill Clinton opened the door wide for this police militarization in the 1990s with the National Defense Authorization Act which created a program, the 1033 program, through which police departments are given surplus military equipment. As recently explained by Michael Shank in an article in The New York Review of Books, entitled “How Police Became Paramilitaries,” pursuant to this program, “local law enforcement began to adopt the type of military equipment more frequently used in a war zone: everything from armored personnel carriers and tanks, with 360-degree rotating machine gun turrets, to grenade launchers, drones, assault weapons, and more. Today, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment—most used, some new—has been transferred to civilian police departments.”

And, once the police receive this equipment, they must use it. As Shank explains, the 1033 program “requires that law enforcement agencies make use of such equipment within a year of acquisition, effectively mandating that police put it into practice in the public space.”  In other words, the police are actually required to turn the military’s high-tech guns against their own people.

The militarization of the police, moreover, can be seen as a by-product of the US’s over-reliance on the use of military force and war to solve all of its problems, to the near exclusion of all other alternatives. Indeed, the US has given up on trying to lead the world through economic and technological prowess, or through moral suasion. Instead, our leaders have decided that brute military force alone will allow the US to dominate the planet, and our nation’s coffers are being looted to the tune of over $1 trillion a year to do so. The result is the starving of our educational system, our social safety net and our nation’s vital infrastructure. This, of course, then leads to mass deprivation and despair which then leads to mass unrest. And, just as it deals with the rest of the world, our rulers have decided to deal with the unrest at home, not by solving the social ills plaguing this nation, or by fixing a few bridges or dams, but by beating us down with military-style violence.

Military force, indeed, has become the only instrument in our government’s toolbox, as quite starkly illustrated recently by the White House’s decision to give our valuable medical workers military flyovers costing $60,000 an hour instead of providing these workers with the protective equipment they have been desperately demanding. As with all things, our government has money and resources for instruments of violence, but none for human needs. This is literally killing us, just as surely as it is killing hundreds of thousands of people – nearly all people of color, not coincidentally – in foreign lands. The fight against police brutality and racism must therefore be linked to the fight to de-fund our military and to the broader fight to de-militarize our very society and culture.

~ Dan Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  His latest book is No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Poor People's Assembly

On June 20th, 2020, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, will host the Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering.

Rise With Us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

History lesson: Burned to the ground in Tulsa

In the early 1900s, Greenwood, Oklahoma was home to a thriving, independent "Black Wall Street" until the violence of the Tulsa Race Riots changed the community's legacy forever. 

Trump was scheduled to hold a political rally in Tulsa on 'Juneteenth' (June 19) where as many as 300 black people were killed by white mobs.  This announcement drew a strong push back so he changed the date to June 20.  The message is still clear. 

"It's almost blasphemous to the people of Tulsa and insulting to the notion of freedom for our people, which is what Juneteenth symbolizes," said CeLillianne Green, a historian, poet, lawyer and author of the book, "A Bridge, The Poetic Primer on African and African American Experiences."

"I'm speechless. That day is the day those people in Texas found out they were free. The juxtaposition of the massacre of black people and Juneteenth, the delayed notice you are free, is outrageous. Juneteenth symbolized our freedom."

Juneteenth is one of the oldest official celebrations commemorating the final end of slavery in the United States. Celebrations of Juneteenth - which combines the word June with Nineteenth -- began in 1866, a year after Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed on Galveston Island with more than 2,000 Union troops. Texas slave owners had refused to acknowledge the end of the Civil War and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

U.S. global surveillance system

Video by Global Network board member Will Griffin.  Will is an Army Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who lives in Pennsylvania.

One way that Washington is trying to 'control and dominate' the world is by global surveillance.

Through these military satellites and fiber optic cables (that run under the seas) they can hear everything, see everything and target every place on the planet.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Got my 'Savage for Senate' shirt

Our Lisa Savage for US Senate in Maine T-shirts have begun to arrive from the printing house.  I bought two - red and baby blue.

Some of the funds from each shirt goes toward Lisa's campaign.

You can order one here if you'd like.  They come in five different colors.

Lisa did a great interview in recent days on The Humanist Report and already has over 7,500 views.  Watch it here.

Support is growing, Bernie Sanders-style Democrats in Maine are increasingly telling Lisa they want to put her as their #1 choice in the November Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election.

A campaign manager has just been hired - a young man from rural Maine who worked on the RCV referendum in Maine and who also was a field office coordinator for Bernie in a couple New England states.

So things are moving along.  I am helping out as a volunteer when I have time.  Very exciting.


Five Eyes membership threatens New Zealand’s foreign policy independence

In 2008 peace activists in New Zealand deflated a large inflatable globe housing a satellite dish at a top secret spy base in protest of US military actions. The group, ANZAC Ploughshares, cut through fences and razor wire and avoided electronic sensors before using a sickle to slash one of two 30-metre white globes at the Waihopai base near Blenheim at the top of the South Island.

By Bob Rigg

As World War II drew to a close, the anti-Nazi alliance which had won the war was already imploding.

The United States and Great Britain, the two major western members of this alliance, began to cooperate closely on anti-Soviet intelligence gathering at an early stage. What we today know as the Five Eyes began life as the two eyes. In the meantime both Canada and Australia were invited to join, making up a total of four members. While Canada was already a military middle power of some significance, Australia then played second fiddle to a weakening Great Britain.

In terms of military and intelligence-gathering capacity it is not immediately apparent why New Zealand was invited to join, in 1956. We were not a military power by any stretch of the imagination. Nothing is officially known about the rationale for New Zealand’s inclusion in this exclusive white post-colonial club. A former head of New Zealand’s intelligence services valued the fact that he was welcomed into the homes of his counterparts in the Five Eyes club, and frequently enjoyed golf with them and dinner with their families. In the 1950s, especially where the British were concerned, spycraft was still a gentlemen’s occupation.

But as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the nature of intelligence‑gathering was being completely transformed, initially from US spy stations in Australia and New Zealand, and later by the US National Security Agency (NSA), which was secretly developing its capacity to hoover up all communications of any kind, and to analyse this rich material with extraordinarily powerful computers, in a programme called ECHELON.

When Edward Snowden leaked this information, backed up by hundreds of thousands of previously highly classified documents, the US political and intelligence establishment was shaken to its foundations. However, instead of rewarding Snowden for his public-spirited initiative the establishment declared him to be a rogue, a rascal and a traitor. He had to seek asylum in Putin’s Russia, where he still languishes in exile.

All Five Eyes intelligence agencies have continued to be supported and generously funded by their governments, seemingly without restriction, although Snowden’s damaging revelations are internationally known.

In the meantime the NSA continues to hoover up prodigious volumes of data. We also know that one way in which Five Eyes partners show and share mutual respect and trust is by spying on each other, although they have formally undertaken not to do so. For example, the US embassy in Wellington plays a key role in collecting and intercepting sensitive data about leading political and other figures in New Zealand.

The Five Eyes sully themselves with their relentless and all-enveloping violations of the privacy and the legal rights of their citizens. Just how much do Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little know of all this? At the very least they must know of Edward Snowden.

By virtue of New Zealand’s membership of the Five Eyes they, and with them all New Zealanders, are trapped in a moral maze. According to Edward Snowden, Australia’s ASD, the UK’s GCHQ, and Canada’s CSEC have all collaborated actively with the US in the mass hoovering up of their own citizens’ most personal data. Apparently this has not yet been true of New Zealand. If it were true, would Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little even know of it?

A national debate is needed about New Zealand’s continuing participation in the Five Eyes. Helen Clark recently sought to draw attention to this by declaring that New Zealand has “lost some of its independence within the Five Eyes intelligence alliance”. She also said that “sources in officialdom” had told her that “New Zealand had got a lot closer back in”, something which could even threaten our independent foreign policy. The comatose New Zealand media were not interested.

Such debate is all the more necessary as the global constellation that applied after WWII, pitting the west against the Soviet Union in a Cold War, has been replaced by an increasingly hot conflict in which the US is now huffing and puffing at China. A bilateral build-up of angry and intemperate rhetoric is being accompanied by increasing expenditure on deadly and technologically advanced weaponry in our region, which the US has renamed the Indo-Pacific, reflecting its desire to surround China with its bases, air force, vessels and submarines, backed up by Australia’s rapidly escalating  investments in  its own air force, surveillance facilities and submarines.

The risk of a military confrontation is growing as the drums of war are beating in Washington, Beijing and Canberra.  As was the case during the Cold War, the US military-industrial establishment is publicly and falsely lamenting its failure to keep up with its adversary of the moment, the Chinese military machine, although its own [annual] one trillion dollar expenditure on defence is at least three times as much as China’s.

If, as is unlikely for the moment, a regional war broke out, would a New Zealand government follow the other Five Eyes nations into a war against China? Because of our membership of the Five Eyes, our ability to act independently would be seriously restricted.

Sadly enough, there are tentative indications that, even if Trump loses the forthcoming presidential election, Biden’s Democrats may also continue to pursue an aggressive foreign policy against China.

~ Bob Rigg is former senior editor with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a former chair of the New Zealand National Consultative Committee on Disarmament. He is a freelance researcher and writer specialising in nuclear issues, the Middle East, Central Asia, and US foreign policy.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Comedian Dave Chappellle on speaking out

From Dave: "Normally I wouldn't show you something so unrefined, I hope you understand."

Sunday song

Feel the grief & get back to making the world a better place

Lisa Savage, candidate for the US Senate seat of Susan Collins in Maine under ranked choice voting, talks about grieving: for victims of police violence and for white people's loss of belief that we live under a system of justice for all.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Better than beautiful

NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard reports about the emerging area in Seattle, dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. 

The area, spanning several city blocks, is being held by protesters after police vacated the area earlier this week.

We must connect the issues

Listen to "Saying NO to the Militarization of Space" on Spreaker.

Connecting the dots between black liberation protests and Space Force.....

Karl Grossman and Bruce Gagnon interviewed by Brian Becker and John Kiriakou on their weekly radio show.

Friday, June 12, 2020

BS Alert! Phony Mea culpa

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he regretted participating in a photo opportunity with President Trump at a historic church that was damaged during protests last week.

The arrogant bully boys got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  The fascists want to extend the Pentagon's 'control and domination' army and ethic onto the home front.  They got hard push back from the public.  Good going folks.  Keep it up.  It's only our survival that is at stake.

Because of computerization, mechanization, robotics and out-sourcing of corporate manufacturing jobs overseas (so the fat cats can maximize profits without environment regulations) growing legions of the American people are superfluous.  Not wanted or needed anymore.  Lock em up and throw away the key. Better they be dead than turn socialist.

The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

As of July 2019, the United States had the highest number of incarcerated individuals worldwide.

Where will the $$$$ come from to really change the life of poor people in America - of any color?  Which federal agency has a literal stranglehold on the national pot of gold?  Who are the real pirates here?  

The current protests against the racist 'criminal injustice system' at some point will have to additionally call for the defunding of the Pentagon if people want real change.  

It is great that the current movement is concentrating on the demilitarization of local police departments that have been turned into Army forts on the reservations.  We are all a target of the endless war machine now.

We have no economic future, nor the ability to deal with climate crisis, unless we wake up the nation by consistently demanding a massive cut in military spending. 

Currently the Pentagon's share of the national discretionary budget (the part of the budget that Congress votes on) is between 54-60% of every dollar, depending on how you add things up.  For example, nuclear weapons are not in the Pentagon budget, nukes are in the Energy Department budget.  Homeland Security and many other intel and military agencies are hidden in other departmental budgets.

So both parties in Congress pay a shell game in order to keep the public ignorant about just how much corporate looting there is going on in Washington.  They are the big looters and they will grab from anyone around the world - thus the need for a big military bootprint on people's necks in the seven or more war zones the US is operating in at this moment.

Shut this shit down now!  All of it!  Keep connecting the dots!  No half-steppin acceptable!


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Wow - can you hear this truth?

On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives.

On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

We ain't cheering

has gone nuts

Are the cops
Hell yes

Do we need to defund
local police departments?
Hell yes

They were supposed
to protect & serve
the people....

But instead
they are
the heavily armed
goon squads
for the rich
and corporate elites

Why do they need
battle armor
flashbang grenades
Night-vision goggles
Armored vehicles
Tear gas
and a shit load

Why are the cops
at war
with the public?

Could it be
corporate America
don't need
us anymore?
Too many
people around

Lock em up
throw away the key

We are not
We don't have
real rights to gather
and protest
as long as we face
a litteral army
on the streets

This is how
the military boot
has been on the necks
of poor people
around the globe
for many years

The chickens
have come home
to roost,
and we ain't cheering...


Dangerous US military presence in Poland & Eastern Europe

More US troops arrive in Poland - they are told that their mission is to stop Russia's takeover of Eastern Europe

Washington is upping the ante on Moscow.  The message appears to be ‘surrender to western capital or we will continue to militarily encircle your nation’.  A new and deadly arms race that could easily lead to a shooting war is underway with the US leading the pack.

The US has chosen Poland as the perfect location to sharpen the tip of the Pentagon’s spear.  

The US already has roughly 4,000 troops in Poland. Warsaw has signed an agreement with Washington that provides for setting up storage of Pentagon heavy military equipment in its territory.  The Polish side provides the land and the US-NATO are supplying the military hardware that is being deposited at an air base in Laska, the ground troops training center in Drawsko Pomorskie, as well as military complexes in Skwierzyna, Ciechanów and Choszczno.

U.S. officials have also announced plans to place heavy military equipment in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and possibly Hungary, Ukraine and Georgia.

A recent report indicates the US intends to remove 9,500 troops from Germany in the months ahead, with at least 1,000 of the personnel going to Poland.  The right-wing Polish government signed an agreement last year with Washington for a modest troop boost and has offered to pay for more infrastructure to host American troops – once offering $2 billion to help pay for a big permanent US base inside their nation.

American F-16 war planes land at Krzesiny air base in Poland

Some NATO members see these actions as unnecessarily provocative. Moscow has repeatedly objected to this escalation in Eastern Europe saying that NATO is an aggressor and threatens Russian sovereignty.

US-NATO respond that increasing the logistics and transportation capabilities in Eastern Europe allows the alliance (always looking for enemies in order to justify its existence) to increase the speed of movement of NATO forces toward Russia. 

The National Guard has partnership programs with virtually all Eastern European nations. The National Guard rotates their US-based troops in and out of these countries allowing the Pentagon to claim that ‘permanent’ troop levels in the region are small.

The US agenda already includes a rotational Army armored brigade, a US-led multinational NATO battle group positioned near the Russian territory of Kaliningrad and an Air Force detachment at Lask. The American Navy also has a contingent of sailors in the northern Polish town of Redzikowo, where work continues on a missile ‘defense’ site that integrates with systems in Romania and at sea on Aegis destroyers.

Outside Powidz, one of the largest airfields in Europe, a swath of forest has been cleared to make way for a NATO-funded $260 million storage site for tanks and other US combat vehicles.

A munitions bunker and rail-head improvements are also in the works, said Maj. Ian Hepburn, executive officer for the Maine National Guard’s 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, part of the task force at Powidz.

The US anti-missile site close to Poland’s northern Baltic Sea coast, when complete this year, will be part of a system that stretches from Greenland to the Azores. The Missile Defense Agency, a unit of the Pentagon, is overseeing installation of the Lockheed Martin built ground-based ‘Aegis Ashore’ ballistic missile system. Included in this 'Aegis Ashore' program, the US switched on a similar $800 million site in Romania in May 2016. 

From the Romanian and Polish ‘Aegis Ashore’ missile launch facilities the US could either launch Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors (to pick off Russia’s retaliatory response after a Pentagon first-strike attack) or nuclear-capable cruise missiles that could hit Moscow in 10 minutes time.

Mateusz Piskorski, head of the Polish party Zmiana claims that the US-Poland intergovernmental agreement on placement of US bases for heavy military equipment in Poland is a part of the US provocative strategy in the region. 

"It is a part of the new aggressive confrontational policy of the United States in Central and Eastern Europe, the policy which is aimed at containing theoretical ‘Russian threat’ for these countries and which responds to the requests of the political elites of these countries which ask US authorities to place new military bases and infrastructure in the region," Piskorski said.

"The agreement between the United States and Poland is one of several similar agreements which have been signed lately between the US and different Central and Eastern European countries, for instance, the same goes for the Baltic countries which will have the US military bases there," Piskorski added.

"One must remember about the agreements between Russia and NATO made in 1997….which guarantee that no permanent military presence of US will be allowed on the territory of new member states of NATO, which means on the territory of the Eastern European countries. So this is a direct violation of international law, of the agreement of 1997," Piskorski said.

Parts reprinted from Stars & Stripes and Sputnik