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, July 11, 2020

Bruce Gagnon: U.S. Lacks Credibility to Complain about Iran’s Space Program

TEHRAN (FNA) - Bruce Gagnon, American campaigner and peace activist, says Washington is not in a position to repeal international law which allows Iran, like other countries, to launch military and civilian satellites.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency, Gagnon blasted the US Secretary of State for his claim that Iran should be held accountable for the satellite launch, saying the US itself never cared about international law when it invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as well as when it deployed forces to Syria.

Bruce K. Gagnon is a long time peace campaigner and activist. He is currently the Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. The network brings together peace and environmental activists to contest the increasing weaponization of space.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: How is Iran’s military satellite launch viewed by the international law?

A: Many nations around the world launch satellites – for military and civilian purposes. When an ally of the US makes such a launch nothing is said about it (for example, Japan, India or a NATO member country.) When a nation that the US wants to target launches such a satellite Washington freaks out (for example North Korea or Iran.)

I will never forget some years ago when North Korea launched a rocket I read about it in a US aerospace industry publication. They quoted a US Airman who was tracking the trajectory of the launch. He laughed at it saying “we have so much space-directed surveillance capability that we can track the entire rocket path. North Korea does not have hardly any space satellite capability and cannot see the entire flight path. They are no threat to us.” This indicates to me that the US knows that Iran also has limited space surveillance capability and is no threat. But the Pentagon always exaggerates threats from those countries they seek to take down. The US has no credibility to complain about what any other nation does in space.

It is obvious that Iran wants to have a satellite so it can watch the moves by US & NATO as they continually encircle your nation with military bases. The US is a bully that wants to poke others in the nose but shouts out hysterically when someone tries to defend themselves.

Q: The US Secretary of State says Iran’s military satellite launch was in breach of the UN Resolution 2231 concerning Iran’s Nuclear Deal. How do you view Secretary Pompeo’s claim?

A: Since when does Washington really care about international law? How about the 2003 Iraq attack, Libya take-down or illegal US military deployments in Syria today? When will the US be held accountable for these real crimes against international law? The UN resolution 2231 is linked to the Iran nuclear deal that Washington withdrew from - again the US has no credibility to comment on this launch.

The US has nearly filled up the space ‘parking lots’ with its own military and civilian satellites. Washington claims the right to ‘control and dominate’ space on behalf of its own interests. This arrogance is provocative and destabilizing to world peace. The Pentagon understands that whoever controls space also militarily controls the Earth below. This is Washington’s clear agenda. It will not work as Russia, China and even now Iran challenge that arrogant notion.

The US Secretary of State Pompeo, former head of CIA, recently admitted that at the CIA, “we lie, we cheat, we steal”. No one should ever trust anything that comes out of that man’s mouth. Washington understands that its military and economic empire is collapsing. Thus they are getting desperate, like a crazed drug addict on the run trying to find one more shot in the arm. This desperation causes Washington to be very dangerous. The best thing that the world can do to save humanity at this time is to turn its back on Washington and reject Washington’s infantile ramblings.

Q: Following Iran’s satellite launch, we witnessed immediate implied and direct reactions by the US president, state secretary, and army officials. Why is the US concerned?

A: The US wants Iran to surrender to western control. Washington fears any nation that dares stand up and resist. I think it was no coincidence that virtually at the same time Iran launched its satellite, Trump lashed out and threatened to destroy Iranian speed boats that challenge US Navy warships bumping up against Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. The US has always used threats and fear-mongering to get its way around the world. But now it is not working anymore. The US military is overstretched and incapable of fighting on so many fronts around the world. After nearly 20 years of war, the US still cannot control things in Afghanistan. The American people cannot afford endless war anymore.  

Friday, July 10, 2020

History lesson: The hard truth....

By Griff O'Malley 

This I did not know - it's obscene.


Who knows about Sally Hemings?

She was Thomas Jefferson's slave. Called his "mistress," but how can you be a mistress when you were a slave, a child, and could not consent? Had absolutely no choice?

She bore him 6, perhaps as many as 8 children. He kept her locked in a basement room. The room was recently unearthed, and DNA evidence has proven the lineage of Sally's children.

She was between 12 and 14 years old when he started raping her, and Jefferson was in his forties. He freed the children that he had with her, but not Sally. Her daughter had to free her mother after Jefferson passed away.

This is not taught in schools. This side of history. We are supposed to consider the founding fathers as great men, fighting for justice and freedom, guided by God... when they are evil men. Selfish men who did nothing, save that it was for their own aggrandisement, personal benefit, and financial gain.

I would also like to add that Sally was Jefferson's dead wife's half sister. Sally's mother was raped by her owner, who was Martha (wife of Thomas) Jefferson's father.

These people left a legacy. A legacy of entitlement under the most criminal of circumstances, and White Supremacist beliefs which pervade U.S. Society and Culture, to this very day.

My take on this sordid story.  When we consider the current sex trafficking scandals involving Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton and legions of other big shots one must begin to wonder if the seeds of today's behavior among ruling elites is indeed linked to the 'founding fathers'.

Did Jefferson and all the other abusive slave masters (and early 'leaders' of  America) lock in a culture of abuse, rape, trafficking that became part of the wall paper of this nation?  Seems rather obvious.

So the questions being raised about taking down the statues (and reassessing the original stories) is an absolutely legitimate discussion to be had across this country (and many others).

If there is ever to be a true healing - and the creation of a nation that believes in real 'justice for all' - then we'd better start looking at what hides behind the facade from 1776 to the present.


Thursday, July 09, 2020

2020 Election - buyer beware

“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20 percent of the population that holds 93 percent of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”

~ Journalist Lewis Lapham

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Very important info and discussion

Saagar Enjeti blasts Biden's potential administration after reports from The American Prospect detail how strategic consultants will define Biden’s cabinet.

In other words the Biden team is loaded with operatives from the military industrial complex - thus the reasons we see the Dems voting in the Senate along with Repubs to block any troop withdrawal from the Afghanistan war that is already 20 years on.

For all the talk about 'real change' coming from Biden if he is elected the truth is that it will just be more of the same - corporate oligarchic control from Wall Street to endless war.

Folks need to see thru this charade and speak out more about it.

Time for following lock step behind this imaginary democracy BS has to be over if we have any hope for survival.

Sadly many Dem party faithful will do as they did with Clinton and Obama - vote for them and lay back and wait for promised change to come - which won't happen due to the corporate domination of Washington - irregardless of which party is running the scripted show.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Social landscape needs change

Lisa Savage, candidate for the US Senate seat of Susan Collins under ranked choice voting, hears from Brandon Marx about his pandemic experiences and why he cares enough about climate to volunteer on the campaign.

In times like these: Young and old together?

The Koreans
are the best
I've ever seen.
They bring young
and old

They know how
to put on a rally,
they have fun,
they are fierce,
and know how
to eat & drink

In times like these
we need everyone
rowing together,
in the same direction,
toward survival

I wish
in America
we did so well
the generations

Young folks here
tend to isolate
from the oldsters.
Some think they
have nothing to learn
from each other.

Some old folks
like to hand the
'hot potato'
over to the
next generation.

The elders
do it without
much self-criticism,
it might be
uncomfortable to many
who'd rather not
face their own
complicity with the
life of consumption.

Let the young folks
deal with it,
they seem to say.

From collapsing economy,
to climate crisis,
and endless war$,
many old timers
keep clinging
to the sinking
capitalist project.

Our children
and grans
gonna have a
rough ride
from here on out.

At the same time
young folks
have alot to learn
from some of the
great wise
and seasoned
who've sat
around many circles
and council fires
and heard it all
many times before.

Message to all of us....
Bring unity,
a generous
and thoughtful
to the work
that is about
taking care
of the next
seven generations.


Monday, July 06, 2020

The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left

Circle in the Darkness recounts veteran journalist Diana Johnstone's lifelong effort to understand what is going on in the world, seeking the truth about our troubled times beyond the veils of government propaganda and media deception. For Johnstone, the political is personal. From her experience of Cold War hostilities as a student in Yugoslavia, in the movement against the U.S. war against Vietnam, in May ’68, in professional and alternative journalism, in the historic peace movement of the 1980s that led to the reunification of Germany, in the transformation of the German Greens from peace to war party and the European Union’s sacrifice of democracy to “globalization”, her critical viewpoint dissects events and identifies trends.

 By James W. Carden

In her recently published memoir, Circle in the Darkness, the author and journalist Diana Johnstone recalls that only “a few decades ago, “the Left” was considered the center of opposition to imperialism, and champion of the right of peoples to self-determination.”

Johnstone is part of a distinguished line of American expatriate writers, who, perhaps because of an objectivity conferred by distance, saw their country more clearly than many of their stateside contemporaries. Members of the club include William Pfaff who for many years wrote from Paris and the longtime Asia correspondent Patrick Lawrence. The Paris based Johnstone brings a moral clarity to matters of war and peace that is, alas, too often absent from most contemporary foreign affairs writing. Its near total absence on the Left during the Trump years should be cause for reflection, and concern.

As Johnstone recounts, after the Cold War liberals became bewitched by the prospect of waging wars for humanitarian ends. A generation of journalists and foreign policy experts including Samantha Power, Christiane Amanpour, Jamie Rubin, and Christopher Hitchens, would make the Balkans a proving ground for their liberal theories of preventative war, in the process throwing the ancient and venerable tradition of St. Augustine’s Just War theory on the trash heap and paving the way for what was to follow in the coming decades, including Iraq II, Libya, Syria and a global drone war and a “targeted” assassination program.

At the time, Johnstone was one of the few who saw through the ruse, but, as she recalled, she couldn’t get her articles published in the liberal press. According to Johnstone, Hitchens and Company saw to that. The wisdom of bombing Serbian civilians for 78 days in order to carve out a Muslim enclave in the middle of Europe (which in short order would be overrun by the Saudis, Albanian organized crime and human organ traffickers) was rarely questioned.

Indeed, among the bien-pensants, it was impermissible.

Today, skepticism of the mainstream narrative regarding both Russia and the war in Syria is likewise deemed out of bounds by the Left. It is fair to say that a 3 year non-scandal, Russiagate, ignited a cold war fever among liberals and self-styled progressives. Indeed, liberals who once took principled stands against the Iraq war, such as Tom Dispatch and Nation regular Bob Dreyfuss, transmogrified, after Trump’s election, into frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorists.

By my count, during the course of the three year Russiagate ordeal, Dreyfuss wrote at least 30 articles promoting the most ludicrous of the Russiagate conspiracies, among them that Russia was “hiding in your Facebook,” and that, variously, Paul Manafort, Felix Slater and/or General Michael Flynn would, somehow, bring down Trump. That Dreyfuss would prove so credulous in the face of what was so clearly an absurd distraction is perhaps not surprising given his past ties to Lyndon Larouche.
Others, even less discerning than Dreyfuss, but far, far hungrier for attention, have claimed that skeptics of the now discredited collusion conspiracy theory were themselves guilty of indulging in, you guessed it, conspiracy theories of their own.

And so, if in the writings of Dreyfuss, The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg, Mother Jones’ David Corn, The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, New York magazine’s resident dolt Jonathan Chait, and many more besides, we can see the emergence of the anti-anti-Cold War Left, there has also reemerged alongside it the very vocal and ravenously unscrupulous anti-antiwar Left. And it is on the issue of the Syrian war on which the anti-antiwar Left has coalesced, inexplicably arguing for the wholesale takeover of a secular police state by the very same Islamist radicals who, if given the chance, would turn around and immediately kill them on the grounds of apostasy.

In Syria, the protests that began in 2011 were quickly overtaken by armed jihadists whose motto was “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.” Before he was murdered by Syrian rebels, the Jesuit missionary Father Frans vans der Lugt observed that “From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

But many prominent voices in mainstream liberal media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and VICE turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Islamist opposition in their hunger for a US-led regime change operation against Bashar al-Assad. And the war fever extended from the mainstream to the progressive Left.

On the pages and website of the New York Review of Books one searches for genuine antiwar voices in vain. Instead what you most likely will come across are screeds such as the one issued by Janine di Giovanni. In her rage for another US-led war in the Middle East, di Giovanni channelled the ghost of Joseph McCarthy and baselessly accused the antiwar journalist Max Blumenthal of, you guessed it, being in league with (who else?) the Russian government.

And then there is The Intercept, funded by a shadowy billionaire with ties to the US Agency for International Development, Pierre Omyidar. Under the editorship of former Nation managing editor Betsy Reed, The Intercept has given space to some of the most strident anti-antiwar voices including those of James Risen, Robert McKay and the British-born Mehdi Hasan. Hasan’s enthusiasm for a jihadi victory over the socialist, multi-confessional Syrian state is perhaps not surprising given his past views in which he compared non-believers to “animals.”

In an April 2018 column for The Intercept, Hasan penned a hysterical open letter to those he deemed “al-Assad apologists” for the crime of expressing skepticism regarding the latest round of accusations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime. “To those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?,” cried Hasan. What followed was a lengthy iteration of Assad’s crimes and then, oddly, reassurances from Hasan that he too stands against no fly zones, arming the rebels and regime change wars.
So what, we might be forgiven to ask, was the point? It was simply a tedious exercise in moral preening. A speciality of the anti-antiwar Left.

Hasan’s, example is instructive because, in his obvious opportunism and sly fanaticism, he exemplifies everything that a writer like Diana Johnstone is not and, by extension, much that is seriously wrong with the anti-antiwar Left.

Worryingly, the anti-antiwar Left is not going away. Indeed, it has some powerful allies-in-waiting should Joseph R. Biden win in November. In a recent interview with CBS, Biden protege and former deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken bemoaned the fact that the Obama administration’s regime change efforts in Syria didn’t go nearly far enough.

Indeed, Biden’s foreign policy team is stacked from one end to the other with regime change and new cold war enthusiasts who, alas, will find plenty of support from the growing ranks of the anti-antiwar Left. Those who find this development more than mildly depressing might do worse than to take refuge in the work of genuine antiwar voices such as Diana Johnstone’s.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

History lesson: Who are the real patriots?

Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment.

Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker.

In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked.

Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit.

In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Rep. Gordon H. Scherer (R-OH)  and Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-PA) about African-American history and civil rights.

In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned. 

Sunday song