Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

My Photo
Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Monday, August 31, 2020

German direct action for peace

Hundreds of anti-war activists rallied in Kassel on Friday outside Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann and Rheinmetall arms factories. 

Demonstrators spoke out against Germany's exports of weapons and investments in the arms industry. 

"We need a lot more money, a lot more resources for comprehensive health care for everyone, the pandemic made that clear. Instead, more and more money is flowing into armaments, rearmament, the military," said Daniel Seifer from the Rheinmetall Disarming Alliance. 

Protesters attempted to block entrances of both factories, preventing employees from coming to work.

'Civilian' spaceport coming to Brunswick, Maine?

Legislation is brewing in Augusta, Maine (state capital) to allow such a thing - likely with state tax breaks as well. 
Similar deal was thrust on the residents of Kodiak Island, Alaska some years ago. Few civilian launches yet - just a series of Pentagon Star Wars tests.
The same launch corporation that built the Kodiak Island spaceport wanted to build one in Hawaii as well but public rejection of the idea has so far blocked it.
Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and others want to launch more than 5,000 5G satellites into space so that every human on Earth will always have a 5G connection over their heads. But they need more launch facilities and places to build rockets. 
So states and local governments are being hit up to give tax breaks to the aerospace industry. Big promises of jobs. They don't talk about the environmental destruction (especially ground water contamination from launch fuel)....and the major military connections.

Video by Will Griffin for the Global Network.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Remembering the forgotten people

As this economic collapse during the pandemic grows in scale more and more homeless will be on American streets.

They are unwanted by the rulers - superfluous populations as 'industry' turns to robots, computers, mechanization and outsourcing of jobs to cheaper locations.  Most people who have jobs are 1-2 pay checks away from being cast into the darkness themselves. 

Fortunately there are many out there who care about the homeless and give their life blood helping to bring them dignity, support and hopefully a good place to rest their weary bodies.


Sunday song

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Stand with the Palestinians!

Farming on
Palestinian land,
a crime
says Israel

Like America's
to rule the world,
a religious fanaticism.

In Washington
and Tel Aviv,
they think
they are
god's chosen

Israel plays the role
of U.S. agent,
military base,
in the Middle East
endless conflict,
regime change,
and weapons testing
on the caged people
in Gaza
and beyond.


Stealers of land
like pirates,
lacking conscience.

Tormentors of
the Palestinians.
Lives being
in a
neo-liberal version,
of genocide.

Israeli products,
call on Congress
to stop funding
Israel's military,
quit sending American
local police
to Israel
for training
in cruelty.

It's fascism
no matter
how you paint it.


Friday, August 28, 2020

White boy privilege

This is 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse-Lewis and his mom Wendy.  They live in Illinois where it is against the law for a 17 year old to have a gun. She drove him and his AR-15 rifle from Antioch, IL to Kenosha, WI where it is ALSO AGAINST THE LAW for a 17 year old to have a gun.

But because he was white, FOR HOURS, police watched Kyle Rittenhouse walk all over town with it, and just gave him a pass. ⁣ ⁣ Mommy's boy shot 3 people. 2 died and 1 lost his arm. Then walked right past police and drove himself to Illinois. ⁣

In the wake of the police pumping 7 bullets into the back of Jake Blake at close range in front of his children - Kyle Rittenhouse-Lewis and his Mommy were 'very concerned' about PROPERTY that they did not personally own and how people's grief and rage might impact private property in Kenosha. So, they broke the law to “defend” businesses that they do not own from riots.

Had this white boy been a black man carrying such a weapon, and gunning down three people, cops would have been all over him and shot him dead in the streets.

But because he is white - cops passed him by like nothing.

He was eventually arrested - once he returned home (safe and sound) to Illinois.

The kid and his mom both deserve long jail sentences.  Will that happen?

Welcome to Amerika.

Titanic battle: Taking on the MIC

Pushback with Aaron Maté 

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, discusses the connections between the global US empire and the record US death toll during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We're really not doing anything very well or right, and that's a consequence in part at least of our fascination with an attempt to maintain and even expand this empire that we've created since 1945," Wilkerson says. 

He also discusses the breakdown of US-Russia talks on expanding a key nuclear weapons treaty, and new revelations about the Bush administration's drive to invade Iraq.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The law of nature....

“The law prevails, what we call the Great Law, the common law, the natural law. The law says if you poison your water, you’ll die. The law says that if you poison the air, you’ll suffer. The law says if you degrade where you live, you’ll suffer. The law says all of this. If you don’t learn that then you can only suffer. There’s no discussion with this law. We always said that we have been told and understand that we’re relatives. Where our white brother will talk about water and trees and animals and fish as resources we talk about them as relatives. That’s a whole different perspective. If you think that they’re relatives and you understand that then you’re going to treat them differently.

~ Oren Lyonss is a Native American Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy in Upstate New York

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Save our post office!

'You look like your father'

Mother ~ Gatania (Ruth) Aurelia Tarantino DiCapua (she/her)
Father ~ Kenneth Edgar Gagnon (he/him/his)

Early 1950's,
they were
never happy together
a marriage of necessity,
of convenience,
not destined
for longevity

He a quiet, shy, bookish,
chicken & turkey farmer
in Maryland,
born along
New York's St. Lawrence River,
French-Canadian territory

She, pregnant, out of rebellion
in Connecticutt,
famiglia Italiano,
sent south
to hide the 'shame'
of carrying baby into
the harsh world
where judgement rules

staying with uncle
in DC,
aunt intros her
to him (brother of
her aunt)
soon baby
has daddy.

She wasn't enamored
with chickens
and eggs
and gobblers,
a cow,
rustic living,
talks him into

He becomes lost,
another daughter born,
a divorce,
then remarried,
give it another try,
and then a son
(the Great White Hope)
named after the
Robert the Bruce,
'If at first you don't succeed
try, try again'.
They tried,
but they failed again.

The baby Bruce and he
were close in the first
two years,
then the 2nd divorce
and daddy gone,
pushed away by her,
he was lost without
his chicks & eggs.

A cousin exists,
the son of dad's brother,
not really known
to us
due to the traumatic
family separation
that lasted a lifetime.

Late in life
the cousin
the Scottish-named son.
Always kind and generous
to the Bruce.

Reveals that family is eternal,
despite their different
political views,
one a Trump-ite,
the other a socialist-type,
but bound by their love
of him,
the chicken man.
(Let's all hope that civil war does not come to America and this bond is broken too.)

Both cousins,
having lost their
chance for youthful
discover they both
love The Kinks,
so hang outside
back door of
a Boston concert hall
waiting for Ray Davies
who never comes out,
but at last memories
are forged together.

Plus they both love
the Orioles
and venture
to Sarasota together
for spring training.

Cousin finds an old photo,
sends to the Scottish pretender
which triggers
feeling of loss, melancholy
and connection.
Two people say,
'You look alot
like your father'.

I know that dad
and I were close
during those early days

He came to me in a dream,
in the mid-80's,
a knock on my door,
a man hands me a book
and says,
'Your father just died'.

A week later
phone rings,
a woman (married to him
during his last seven years)
'Your father died
a week ago in Tucson,
please come and get his things'.

In Germany in the mid-60's
I felt his presence
while playing a lonely
game of basketball
on the school playground.
I stopped
looked around
felt him nearby,
but he was gone.

Cousin remembers
dad crying when mom left him,
taking the 3 kids away.
A note was left along with
his car keys,
'I'm going away,
Bobbie (his brother),
you take my car.'
Never to be seen
except in my dreams.

Bruce (impersonating a Scotsman, why not to be named Mario, Angelo, Rene or Marcel?) 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Opposition to RIMPAC war games

The Rim of the Pacific international military exercise, or RIMPAC as its known, is held every two years on land, in the air, and on the seas around the Hawaiian Islands. In the past, RIMPAC has included more than two-dozen participating countries.  It began on August 17.

This year will mark the 27th iteration of RIMPAC. Such military exercises are increasingly a show of force by the US and its so-called Pacific coalition aimed at China.

The training will be conducted exclusively at sea, with a minimal presence of personnel on land, where the virus could be spread to or from the local community. That is a significant change from past version of RIMPAC, which incorporated numerous social gatherings, shore leave for sailors, and large, land-based war games.

RIMPAC 2020 features 26 participating countries including Australia, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

Protests were held in Hawaii with supporting events also held on Jeju Island, South Korea outside the naval base built there in recent years despite intense opposition by the Korean people. The protests on Jeju Island continue on a daily basis - now for the 4,848th consecutive day.


Monday, August 24, 2020

You mean our 'leaders' actually lie to us?

It is told that things must be repeated 7 times before they stick in the public consciousness.  By now we've heard the 'enemy' demonization about 7 trillion times.

Rusia, Russia
China, China
Iran, Iran
North Korea, North Korea
Venezuela, Venezuela
Syria, Syria
Iraq, Iraq
Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Nicaragua, Nicaragua
Cuba, Cuba
terrorism, terrorism
on it goes

We need more bombs
and guns
and planes
and warships
and Space Force!

We need
more secrecy,
more spying,
and intel,
and expensive satellites
to watch the bad guys

They hate our freedoms!
The bad guys are coming
watch out
fear, fear, fear

They want
what we've got
here in the USA
(you mean they want our virus pandemic and collapsing economy?)

Look out for
the propaganda

Oh my you!


Sunday, August 23, 2020

'Remembering why I am doing this'.....

Sunday song

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Understanding the Biden-Harris team

OK.... so I have to admit I was wrong about the whole Democrat party deal.

I thought at the last minute they'd dump Biden and replace him with someone who does not struggle to put a couple sentences together.  But it appears they are going with him all the way.

I also never thought they'd pick Sen. Harris as their V-P candidate.  She comes from a state (California) that they will easily win and she doesn't really help in the rust belt states. During her short time in the Senate, Harris has voted for six out of eight military spending bills.

But in the end, when you look at her terrible record as a prosecutor and Attorney General in California, it does make sense.  She's proven for many years that she is willing to suspend her rhetoric about truth and justice and put the hammer down on the poor.  She accumulated this bad track record essentially to prove to the power structure (in California and beyond) that she will carry water for the oligarchic interests.

See a through background story on Harris by Politico Magazine here.

It does not feel like a serious campaign against Trump from where I sit.  Biden has always been a corporate agent - particularly for the credit card industry that shelters itself in his state of Delaware.

I'll always remember the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles.  (Back in the days when I would actually watch them on TV.)  I saw a speech Biden made to a side gathering of Jewish leaders happening during the convention.  He spoke for an hour about 'Missile defense' (MD).

During the first half of the speech he outlined all the reasons NOT to support MD.  I was actually impressed because he clearly showed that MD was expensive, provocative, destabilizing and would make us more insecure and create a new arms race.  But then he completely shifted gears and used the second-half of his speech to make a bad case for supporting MD.

It was an instructive experience for me because I learned from this that Biden knew the difference between 'right and wrong' but in the end he picked the WRONG choice because of political considerations. He supported MD because of expected corporate profits and most importantly of all because MD is a key element in the Pentagon's first-strike attack plan - the 'shield' to be used to pick-off Russian or Chinese retaliatory strikes.  That told me everything I needed to know about Joe Biden.

Some of my dearest friends are now internally struggling with how to vote in November's presidential election.  They want Trump defeated (and they know Biden sucks) but they think they must vote for the Dems and then immediately begin working to push the Biden administration to the left.  Good luck with that.

I heard this same idea (support them now and then organize to push them leftward after they are in office) during the Bill Clinton and Obama elections. In both cases most liberals went back to 'normal life' after the elections figuring that with the Dems in the White House things would get better.  (All kinds of local peace groups across the country shut down operations after Obama was elected.  Eight years of trying to stop the George W. Bush wars were enough for them.  The fact that Obama became the 'drone president' didn't bring many of them back to the streets.)

Wall Street and the military industrial complex remained in control but Clinton and Obama did a nice job of sounding like they were going to work for the people while doing the bidding of the powerful.

Just yesterday we learned that the Corrupt Democrat National Committee Secretly Cuts Ending Fossil Fuel Industry Subsidies from their platform!

Sometimes I feel like the Biden-Harris team will be on a Kamikaze mission.  Sort of like the John McCain-Sarah Palin 2008 slide in oblivion.  It was clear that in 2008 the corporate oligarchies that run America wanted Obama to stay in the White House so they picked the worst possible Republican team to take the fall against Obama.

This time around the corporate masters picked Biden (who has his age/early Alzheimer's issues, among others) and Harris who is another bright, articulate and ambitious politician who has demonstrated her loyalty to the ruling elites.  Harris proved during the primary season that she was not popular with party voters - thus a 'perfect choice' for the V-P candidate......

The rulers complain alot about Trump but let's be realistic.  He's given them virtually everything they want.  He helps divide the nation against itself keeping the public from turning their attention to the corporate rulers who are stealing us blind.  Wall Street is happy with Trump as is the military industrial complex which is grabbing over $1 trillion a year from taxpayers.  Space Force is even now in place.

So I see this national election as much like a professional wrestling match where the crowd is whipped up to a frenzy and taken to entertainment fantasy land.

Keep in mind Trump's statement in January 2016 when he famously said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.” It would almost appear that Trump never really thought he would win the 2016 election.

 The Washington Post reported in 2015:

Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.
Why would Clinton have encouraged Trump to run?  Maybe to blow the Republican party apart with his wrestle-mania tactics?  What if the plan was to have Trump get the Republican nomination, do a Kamikaze run, thus making it easier for Hillary Clinton to win in 2016?

In the end it's all a circus - a distraction - a production written by Madison Avenue and Hollywood.  The rulers can't take any chances by allowing any real fair elections in the US.  So we get the scripted version and surprisingly millions continue to swallow the pill.


Full disclosure:  I've not voted for a Democrat running for president since my pick of Walter Mondale in 1984.  I can't spend my life doing my peace & justice organizing and then turn around and support politicians that work against every thing I stand for.

Friday, August 21, 2020

History lesson: Gen. Smedley Butler tells all....

Born in 1881 to a family of patriotic Quakers, Smedley Butler quickly rose through the ranks of the military becoming the most decorated military figure of U.S. history- a record he holds to this day with multiple medals of honor, an Army distinguished service medal and Marine Corps Bruvet medal (to name just a few).

By the end of the British-orchestrated meat grinder known as WWI, the General had become an activist patriot giving speeches across America in denunciation of the private financiers steering America’s war-driven economy. Speaking to veterans in August 1933, the general said:

“I have spent 33 years being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism… I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped rape half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… In China, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested… I had a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, and promotions. I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents…”

In spite of his outspoken criticism of crony capitalism, Wall Street’s elite simply presumed all men had their price, and Butler was probably just indignant because he was never given a big enough piece of pie.

The Wall Street Putsch is Launched

These financiers needed someone like Butler to channel the rage of the striking veterans of WWI across America who had been fighting for the bonus pay promised them years earlier but which didn’t exist due to the 1929 collapse. A force of hundreds of thousands of disgruntled seasoned soldiers was exactly what was needed to overthrow Roosevelt, but leadership was sorely lacking, and General Butler was their man for the job. He was a war hero who was seen as honest and loved by the veterans. He was perfect.

Under the guiding hand of JP Morgan’s Grayson Prevost Murphy, two representatives of the American Legion (Commander Bill Doyle and bond salesman Gerald MacGuire) approached Butler in July 1933 for the job of rallying the Legion’s veterans and began dropping hints of a larger coup plot. Butler became suspicious, but continued playing along with the plan to see how far this went up the ladder of power (1).

Over the course of the next several months, Butler discovered that America’s financial elite centered around John Pierpont Morgan Jr., the Harrimans, the Melons, Warburgs, Rockefellers and Duponts were at the heart of the plot. These men used their agents such as Gerald MacGuire a Morgan-affiliated bond salesman, Democratic Party controllers John W. Davis and Thomas Lamont (both occupying directorships in the House of Morgan), Robert Sterling Clark (heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune), Grayson Prevost Murphy and Harriman Family investment banker Prescott Bush. All of these characters had become well known “investors” in European fascism, owned the biggest media platforms including Fortune and Time Magazine (both of which promoted Mussolini extensively for years), and controlled the levers of industry.

Luckily, the 1932-1934 Pecora Commission exposed these forces publicly as the architects of the great depression, making their ability to acquire popular support and sympathy more than a little difficult.

Outlining his Committee’s findings Pecora had written publicly: “Undoubtedly, this small group of highly placed financiers, controlling the very springs of economic activity, holds more real power than any similar group in the U.S.A.”

Butler Blows the Whistle

When the time was right, Butler blew the whistle by approaching the Special Committee on Un-American Activities (the McCormack-Dickstein Committee) which began an investigation on November 20, 1934. Unlike the Committee on Un-American Activities which made its reputation destroying patriotic lives under the communist witch hunt of McCarthyism, this earlier version was aligned to FDR and dedicated solely to identifying Nazi activity in America.

At first sceptical of the general’s claims, the committee soon  substantiated everything over the course of  a month long investigation and made their findings public to FDR and congress on December 29, 1934. An invaluable part of the hearings were the testimonies of journalist Paul Comly French whom Butler recruited to act as the general’s intermediary with the bankers.

Butler told the committee that MacGuire stated it “wouldn’t take any constitutional change to authorize another cabinet official, somebody to take over the details of the office—to take them off the President’s shoulders” and that “we’d do with him what Mussolini did to the King of Italy”.

When French asked MacGuire how the coup would help solve unemployment, MacGuire responded: “We need a fascist government to save the nation from the Communists… It was the plan that Hitler had used in putting all of the unemployed in labor camps or barracks—enforced labor. That would solve it overnight.”

Although the full transcripts were not made public, Butler did get the message to the population by giving his story to as many journalists as possible and recorded a message to the people in 1935.

See more here

Thursday, August 20, 2020

U.S. & Russia face off in Syria

For the first time in about a year, Syrian pro-government forces and the US-led coalition found itself engaged in what seems to be direct clashes near the village of Tal al-Dhahab in northeastern Syria. 

Syrian sources said that on August 17 an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter struck a checkpoint of the Syrian Army in the province of al-Hasakah after the Syrian Army and pro-government locals blocked a US military convoy in the area. According to state-run news agency SANA, the strike killed a soldier and injured two others.

And then the next day this development occurred:

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

U.S. prison problem - time to go bold

Norway's Prison System

‘The most important thing is how we treat people’ — Norway has developed a prison system that looks a lot different from that in the U.S., which has the world’s largest incarcerated population.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Should we 'Recapitalize' the military industrial complex?

I've been working on a speech I will be giving in late September to Nebraskans for Peace.  I will talk about STRATCOM (Strategic Command) which is headquartered at Offutt AFB in Omaha. 

I have been watching videos of speeches by the present and past commanders of STRATCOM.  STRATCOM's mission includes Dominant intelligence, space surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, nuclear command & control, 'Missile defense' and more.  They made the point that the biggest task today is to integrate all of these warfare systems into one big operational capability. They brag that STRATCOM is in charge of more than 150,000 personnel around the world.

You could call STRATCOM 'Wars R Us'.

The STRATCOM commanders talked alot about this being the 'era of great power competition' and they made certain to demonize Russia, China, North Korea and Iran as our latest enemies. 

These countries are indeed increasing their military capabilities as they see US-NATO bases expanding and encircling them.  When these four latest 'enemies' respond to US provocative military moves we hear Washington demanding that we 'counter their responses'.

It's an old game that has been run since the US Army wars against the Native Americans.  When Crazy Horse surrendered and was put on the reservation in South Dakota the then emerging military industrial complex had fake news stories published in the big newspapers across the country saying that the Lakota warrior was back on the war path killing white women and children.  It was a lie but Congress swung into action and appropriated more $$$ for the Indian wars that by the late 1870's were essentially over.

It's been the same story ever since.  Sound the alarm - frighten the public - claim that we (the biggest war spender on the planet) are in danger of being attacked.  The politicians are paid off with campaign donations and our economy becomes addicted to military production. It's quite a simple formula that most Americans repeatedly fall for.  Even most liberals in Washington.

The Pentagon is not satisfied with their current $1 trillion per year military budget  - $750 billion plus the other costs like nuclear weapons that are hidden in the Department of Energy budget, etc.

STRATCOM is claiming that they need even more money to 'recapitalize' the nuclear triad (nuclear forces deployed on bombers, submarines and underground missile silos).

It must be remembered that the Repubs and Dems get along just fine on the issue of funding the endless war budget. The Congress passed during Obama (and continued under Trump) the nuclear modernization program for the next 20 years at the cost of $1 trillion.

The Pentagon wants new submarines, and new nuclear missiles for them.  They want new aircraft carriers because most of the present ones are unreliable.  They want more 'Missile defense' systems (the shield that would be used after a US first-strike attack is launched on Russia and/or China) on the air, land and at sea.  They want new command & control centers to coordinate the nuclear triad. They want new military satellites that would help direct World War III.

The military industrial complex has a plan to pay for all of this as well.  They want to defund Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and what little is left of the 'social safety net'.  This is likely one key reason why both parties oppose Medicare4All.

You'd think that in an election year the ever expanding military budget would be an issue.  Especially during a virus pandemic and massive economic shutdown where millions are out of work and soon to be evicted for non-payment of rents or mortgages.

But it is not.  Why?


Monday, August 17, 2020


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Stop the sea-based war games!

Despite COVID-19 and people’s resistance, the world's biggest multinational maritime war exercise, Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) is being held off the shores of Hawaii from Aug. 17 to 31, 2020.

RIMPAC is an unnecessary and reckless biannual war exercise for the US domination of the Indo-Pacific region. It infringes on the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people, destroys the ecological systems (such as killing cetaceans), and threatens the peace in the Asia Pacific. This year, 23 ships and 5,300 military personnel from around 10 nations are joining RIMPAC.

Those of us who have gathered at Peace for the Sea camps since 2014 express our solidarity with people in Hawaii who call out “CANCEL RIMPAC!”.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States and New Zealand: all the countries participating in RIMPAC should immediately leave Hawaii alone!

Thanks to Hotpinkdolpins (Jeju), Gangjeong Human Chain (Pang Eunmi, Jeju), Gangjeong 100 Bows (Fr. Mun Jeong-hyeon, Jeju), Gangjeong Kayak Team (Jeju), World Without War & Peace Momo (Jjuya, Seoul), Toshio Takahashi (Okinawa) and EAPHET(Taiwan) for sending photos/videos.

Video made by Inter-Island Solidarity for Peace of the Sea Jeju Committee. 

Sunday song

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Cops Ran Us Over

Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie (photographer) in Portland, Oregon in recent days after cops knocked him to the ground.

By Mike Hastie

I was involved in another demonstration downtown Portland, when the police declared it a riot, which it was not. But, out they came in full force. At first they walk us backward down the street, and then they ran at us, and then they slowed down and then they ran at us again. Some people were knocked down. I was taking pictures in the middle of the street, because the cops slowed down to a fast walk, which gave me time to take the pictures I wanted.

Then, all of a sudden, a group of cops charged us and I couldn't get out of the way, so they knocked me down to the street, and stepped over me. When I hit the street my face did also, cutting me on the right cheek. As in any facial cut, the blood covered my face, making it look worse than it was. I was treated immediately by a woman medic, who was so incredibly kind to me. I had no other injuries, except for a scrapped elbow.

I wanted to get this out to let people know I am fine, because a video of what happened may go viral, as it was put out immediately after it happened. The [photo above] has two pictures. The top picture was the last picture I took just before the cops ran me over. The bottom picture was taken minutes later of the blood on my face. I have other pictures I took that I may put out, because they are more story telling of what happens when the cops inflict more punishment when it does not fit the crime.

It is hard to tell where this is all going, as Portland is constantly forcing the issue of police violence across America. There was great African-American leadership at this demonstration. Their stories continue to educate every white person who I believe is honestly supporting Black Lives Matter.

The greatest protection we have is the camera, and that is why all photographers are there. Pictures record the personality and nature of Empire.

Mike Hastie
Portland, Oregon
August 13, 2020
Resident for 44 years
Vietnam war medic

In a related story from Austin, Texas:

"The Austin City Council has voted to make one of the most substantial cuts to a major city’s police budget since George Floyd’s death, which sparked calls across the country to defund police. In a unanimous vote, the council passed a joint proposal to shrink the police department’s budget by nearly $150 million and reinvest a portion of those funds in services for the community."

“Today’s budget vote is unprecedented in Texas. We’ve begun a transformational change away from mass incarceration and toward real community safety,” said Councilmember Gregorio Casar in a statement shared with The Appeal. “Today, we chose to create a safer city. We’re opening a new family violence shelter; we’re hiring mental health crisis teams; we voted to get hundreds more people out of homelessness; we funded gun violence prevention programs.”

See the whole story here

Friday, August 14, 2020

What is this deal?

The Middle East is on the brink of the new tectonic shift in the regional balance of power. The previous years were marked by the growth of the Iranian and Hezbollah influence and the decrease of the US grip on the region.  January 2020 started with the new Iranian-US confrontation that had all chances to turn into an open war. August 2020 appeared to mark the first peace agreement between an Arab state and Israel in more than 25 years. 

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a historical peace agreement. US President Donald Trump announced the breakthrough agreement on August 13, calling Israel and the UAE “great friends” of his country. In a joint statement, Israel, the UAE and the U.S. said the agreement will advance peace in the Middle East. The statement praised the “bold diplomacy” and “vision” of the three country’s leaders. 

Delegations from Israel and the UAE are expected to meet within a few weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.

Back on the radio

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

I've missed my weekly interview this past month on Loud & Clear.  Because of our move to Bath I had to leave it to Karl Grossman to carry the load on this show that airs across the nation and beyond.

Karl and I are interviewed by John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.  Two real pros who know their stuff.  It's an honor for the Global Network to be given this excellent way to reach people on a regular basis for the past year or so.

This week Karl and I mostly talk about the new Space Force's official 'doctrine' that lays out their mission to control space, dominate space, and deny other nations access to space if Washington declares the need.  You can check out the new doctrine here.

It's arrogant, dangerous, provocative and expensive.  This 'Master of Space' BS was declared by the US Space Command in 1997 in a similar document called Vision for 2020.  Now that we are in 2020 the space pirates are updating their ideological bible for the next period.

This idea of US domination of the heavens indicates a deep sickness - a spiritual sickness - a cancer of the heart and soul of the nation.

I cannot let it pass without my life's resistance to this insanity.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

History lesson: Clinton was a terrible president for black people

Pushback with Aaron Maté

At the funeral for John Lewis, former president Bill Clinton disparaged Stokely Carmichael's (later Kwame Ture) leadership role in the black freedom struggle of the 1960s. "There were two or three years there where the movement went a little bit too far towards Stokely," Clinton said, "But in the end, John Lewis prevailed."

Dr. Peniel Joseph, professor at University of Texas at Austin and author of "Stokely: A Life", responds to Clinton's comments and discusses Carmichael/Ture's legacy as a black power revolutionary.

"Bill Clinton was a terrible president for black people," Dr. Jospeh says. "So the disparaging of Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael is really just another example of this kind of racism and patronizing attitude coming from the forces of political reaction that people like Bill Clinton represent." Carmichael meanwhile "exposed the depths of state-sanctioned violence against black bodies in the context of the 1960s, and exposed the moral and political hypocrisy of American democracy and fantasies of  American exceptionalism."

Guest: Dr. Peniel Joseph, Barbara Jordan chair in ethics and political values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Author of "Stokely: A Life" and his latest, "The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr."

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Welcome to America - out on the street!

Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti react to new numbers revealing an estimated 27% of adults in the U.S. missed their rent or mortgage payment for July and the eviction of an elderly woman with Coronavirus who was recently released from the hospital.

There will be much more of this in the months ahead.  This is what dog-eat-dog capitalist culture gives us.

No humanity left in this country.  No sharing hearts.   No concern for the sick and the elderly.  No concern for the poor.

This makes me furious and heart sick. 

Thanks to Krystal and Saagar for speaking out. 


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

U.S. War Department Secretary: "Deter Russia & avoid peace in Europe"

EU SITREP: U.S. Defense Sec’y. Tells EU: “Deter Peace,” Confront Russia & China

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Europeans, in statements on July 29th and August 9th,

“I’ve said that very publicly, I’ve said that very privately to my counterparts as well, about the importance of NATO, any alliance, sharing the burden so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe.’”

“We are moving many troops further east, closer to Russia’s border, to deter them.”

The U.S. Department of Defense’s website, when it issued the transcript of Esper’s statement “so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe,” added in brackets, “[editor’s note. Secretary Esper intended to say ‘avoid conflict in Europe’]”; however, that does not appear to reflect Esper’s statement, for the following reasons:

1. The assertion “so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe” was so inflammatory as to demand a ‘correction’ regardless of whether that statement was consistent with everything else that he has been saying, and it is consistent with everything else that he has been saying.

2. Esper’s 4,800-word speech on that occasion did not use the word “conflict” even once. It is not a word that he typically uses. By contrast, against that zero frequency for “conflict,” he used there “deter” 21 times. He used “peace” three times. Each of those was in a hostile context: First, “One of our primary missions is to prevent another great power war, and to maintain great power peace. The National Defense Strategy, the NDS, guides our efforts to adapt the force, and the EUCOM plan optimizes our force posture in Europe as we seek to deter malign actors there.” Second, “These efforts all increase our opportunity to generate greater peace in Europe and enhance the U.S.’s effectiveness in great power competition.” Third, “And I’ve said that very publicly, I’ve said that very privately to my counterparts as well, about the importance of NATO, any alliance, sharing the burden so that we can all deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe.”

He used the phrase “great power competition” five times: First, “Today, we want to update you on the status of our U.S. European Command review, which was accelerated with the president’s decision in early June to reduce our footprint in Germany, and our plans to reposition our forces in Europe to be better-situated for great power competition.” Second, “As we’ve entered a new era of great power competition, we are now at another one of those inflection points in NATO’s history.” Third, “One of our primary missions is to prevent another great power war, and to maintain great power peace.” (“Great power peace” did not mean “peace” in any broader sense but only that the U.S. does not want to become a battlefield in World War III — that’s for Europe, etc., not for the U.S., to serve as the war-fields; it would be like happened during WW II. This was a very careful usage of words.)  Fourth, “We focus on actions inside and outside our area of responsibility, and vigilance with respect to great power competition is an absolute imperative.” (That reaffirms Esper’s focus on “great power competition.” Europe’s nations are vassal-states. They are expendable. The way that Barack Obama said this was “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Every other nation is “dispensable.” How much clearer can it be? Furthermore: Esper explicitly asserts there that “We focus on actions inside and outside our area of responsibility,” which means that the U.S. military imposes its will “outside our area of responsibility” — anywhere in the world — meaning against any real or imagined “great power competitor,” which refers specifically to both Russia and China. Consequently, the U.S. regime demands that Europe get in line with the U.S. Government’s objective to defeat both Russia and China. He says that this is “an absolute imperative.”) Fifth, “These efforts all increase our opportunity to generate greater peace in Europe and enhance the U.S.’s effectiveness in great power competition.” (“Greater peace in Europe” implies that European nations are at war. It’s a lie. Esper has made clear that “great power competition” is the U.S. regime’s obsessive focus.)

The other assertion, that “We are moving many troops further east, closer to Russia’s border, to deter them,” is a clear affirmation of the U.S. regime’s lie to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 when he was ending the Cold War on Russia’s side — ending its communism, ending its Warsaw Pact military alliance, ending the Soviet Union — and George Herbert Walker Bush deceived him into believing that NATO would not move “one inch to the east.” The sheer evilness of that man and of all subsequent U.S. Presidents, for their ceaseless efforts ultimately to conquer Russia, and now with Trump also to conquer China, is perhaps unsurpassed in human history, competing even with Adolf Hitler. It’s what happens when a country — in this instance the United States — gets taken over by its aristocracy, its billionaires.

Europe is to serve, along with the Middle East and elsewhere, as America’s battlefields to conquer Russia and China. That’s the plan.

~ Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Defending the sacred place

The indigenous Hawaiian people probably do 'protesting' as well as anyone I've seen.

They connect the issues to the spirit world and use traditional dance and song as a key part of their expression.  It helps unify and inspire one another in a good way.

I lived in Hawaii for 18 months while in the Air Force and got a tiny bit of exposure to the traditional people so when I watch videos like this one it touches me to my core.


Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday song

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Masked men at BIW

Peter Morgan and I from Veterans For Peace were among a dozen other peaceniks at Bath Iron Works on Hiroshima day (August 6).

The strike there of the Machinists Union Local S6 (4,300 workers) is still underway and I wondered how we'd be received.  Not a bad reception at all which was nice.  I talked with two workers for quite awhile and told them the story about Peter Woodruff who worked at the shipyard for over 30 years.  He was the one who made the sign I am holding in the photo.  Right after I told them about Peter I noticed he was taking pictures (including this one) so was able to introduce them to each other.

It was Peter Woodruff who started a petition campaign at BIW calling on the shipyard to build offshore wind turbines.  He was able to collect over 800 worker signatures which was a great feat considering they have at least four different job locations scattered between Bath and Brunswick.  After that he asked what could be done next and I suggested he meet with the editor of the local paper.  The editor at the time was a decent and honest man who wrote an incredible editorial congratulating Peter for his wisdom and courage.  The editor said, "Maybe it's time for the diversification of BIW."

Next Peter made a bumpersticker that read: 'Save BIW, build wind turbines'.  Workers put them on their cars and lunch pails.  Soon BIW sent one of their representatives on a tour of Nordic nations offshore wind farms that was organized by then Gov. Baldacci in Maine.  When the delegation returned BIW asked the City of Bath for a zoning exemption so they could build a tower in order to make wind turbines.

But a new governor was elected in Maine, a right-wing Republican named Paul LePage, who killed a deal between the state and a Norwegian company that wanted to create an offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Maine that happens to have the most wind capacity in the entire continental US.  Instead of wind power Gov. LePage (an agent of the fossil fuel industries) tore up roads throughout the state in order to put in underground pipes to move fracked gas to Maine.

VFP recently donated $300 to the union strike fund.  Peter Morgan has been getting me and a couple of others (including Lisa Savage) to hold strike signs the past three weeks as we stood on the picket line.  We'll be back on Monday once again and I will deliver another $300 check from the local group called PeaceWorks for the strike fund.

Even though we call for the conversion of the shipyard, to building sustainable technologies that would help us deal with the climate crisis, we fully support the striking workers.  I began my career as an organizer with the United Farm Workers Union - organizing fruit pickers in Florida and for many years belonged to the National Writers Union.  So it is a pleasure to be able to support the current strike.

Solidarity forever!


Friday, August 07, 2020

New neighbors in Bath

Part of my office near the front door

Kitchen which we had to repaint as we did most of the rest of the inside of the house.  Took us about two weeks (with some great help from Sean, Christina and Tarak).

Friends and neighbors have been giving me lots of flowers to plant.  Here are some that I have put in the ground since moving in.  I've been doing some gardening every day for the past month and I love doing it.  I'm not the smartest gardener around but learning as I go. 

Two raised beds were fortunately here when we moved in and we planted pole beans on our first day.  Since then tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and various herbs have gone into the ground.  Garlic was left by the previous owners which was nice.  I got a late start for Maine's short summer but only planted cherry tomatoes knowing they'd be facing a limited season.

Click on the photos for a better view

We are mostly moved into our new place in Bath.  Things began on July 1 in earnest.  We had to first have an electrian come for a week and replace all the outdated 'Knob & Tube' wiring which is considered a fire hazard.  He had to tear up lots of floor boards to get at it all.  It was loud and a mess but he worked very hard and did a great job.

Next we had to replace the old 1965 GE oil burning furnace which the insurance company insisted on before they would write a policy to cover the house.  Considered a hazard to breakdown in the middle of winter with pipes freezing and releasing water throughout the house.  So we got a new efficient propane furnace and that took another week.

In between we were cleaning and painting (with some help from a few friends, all with masks on).  And I was outside each day playing in the garden.

In between things we sat on our lovely porch hoping for a nice breeze from the Kennebec River which is just two blocks from the house.  While sitting on the porch we began to meet very friendly neighbors - some who were walking their dog down to the park along the river.

Just yesterday a woman and her husband rang our door bell (from two houses away, we'd previously waved to each other but not met).  In their hands they had cookies (which were glorious) and a basket full of blackberries from the bush in their back yard.  They've been in the neighborhood for 27 years.  We've repeatedly heard that many folks in the neighborhood have lived here for many years. 

We lived in another part of Bath for 12 years at the Addams-Melman House (with our dear friend Karen Wainberg and others).  But never have we seen anything like the friendliness that we are witnessing on our new street.

Quite a number of people around here now work at, or are retired from, Bath Iron Works which is just three short blocks from our house.  In spite of our political bumper stickers and yard sign it does not seem to matter as folks are still friendly to us which really is a pleasure to experience.

Needless to say we are quite happy here and I am so much enjoying being able to get outside again and play around in the dirt.


Chasing the Light

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to one of the greatest film directors in the world, Oliver Stone.

He discusses his new book ‘Chasing the Light’ which details his life directing and involvement in iconic films such as Salvador, Scarface and Midnight Express, the alleged interference of the military-industrial complex and Henry Kissinger with his film ‘Salvador’ which covers the civil war in El Salvador between the FMLN and the US-backed right wing military, the impact of going to fight in the Vietnam war on his life, continuing US imperialism in Latin America in places such as Honduras.

He reviews his personal struggles with his parents’ divorce and drug use, how Hollywood’s obsession with cop shows ultimately led to the Crime Bill, the War on Drugs and the Clinton White House, the revival of the Cold War in the 1980s against the Soviet Union and the birth of Ronald Reagan’s neoliberalism, the intelligence agencies’ grip on the US government, his opinions on Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and why it was hopeless for Donald Trump to change a system ran by the military-industrial complex and much more! 

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Nukes or social progress?

Another Hiroshima is coming -- unless we stop it now

By John Pilger

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city, "a bluish light, something like an electrical short", after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. "I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead."

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukemia.  

"No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin" said The New York Times front page on 13 September, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. "General Farrell," reported William H. Lawrence, "denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity."

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the "press pack".

"I write this as a warning to the world," reported Burchett in the London Daily Express  of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called "an atomic plague".

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven. 

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America's war propaganda in the 21st century, casting a new enemy, and target - China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

"Even without the atomic bombing attacks," concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, "air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. "Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that ... Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on May 5, 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the US made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including "capitulation even if the terms were hard". Nothing was done.

The US Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Truman he was "fearful" that the US Air Force would have Japan so "bombed out" that the new weapon would not be able "to show its strength". Stimson later admitted that "no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the [atomic] bomb".

Stimson's foreign policy colleagues -- looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping "in our image", as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it -- made clear they were eager "to browbeat the Russians with the [atomic] bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip". General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified: "There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis."

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Harry Truman voiced his satisfaction with the "overwhelming success" of "the experiment".

The "experiment" continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall's. It was here that the United States exploded the world's first Hydrogen Bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered "unsafe" on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6.45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle: a deathly void in a place of beauty.

The radioactive fall-out spread quickly and "unexpectedly". The official history claims "the wind changed suddenly". It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.

Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said, "They knew where the radioactive fall-out was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do."

Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on "human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon". 

The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 -- like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and 70s -- suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.

Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap atoll had not been evacuated during the H-Bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap's skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes.  Food and water were contaminated; and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.

I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap. She had terrible facial burns and much of her was hair missing. "We were bathing at the well on the day the bomb exploded," she said. "White dust started falling from the sky. I reached to catch the powder. We used it as soap to wash our hair. A few days later, my hair started falling out."

Lemoyo Abon said, "Some of us were in agony. Others had diarrhea. We were terrified. We thought it must be the end of the world."

US official archive film I included in my film refers to the islanders as "amenable savages". In the wake of the explosion, a US Atomic Energy Agency official is seen boasting that Rongelap "is by far the most contaminated place on earth", adding, "it will be interesting to get a measure of human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment."

American scientists, including medical doctors, built distinguished careers studying the "human uptake'. There they are in flickering film, in their white coats, attentive with their clipboards. When an islander died in his teens, his family received a sympathy card from the scientist who studied him.

I have reported from five nuclear "ground zeros" throughout the world -- in Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada, Polynesia and Maralinga in Australia. Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity.

This struck me forcibly when I filmed at Taranaki Ground Zero at Maralinga in the Australian desert. In a dish-like crater was an obelisk on which was inscribed: "A British atomic weapon was test exploded here on 9 October 1957". On the rim of the crater was this sign:


                  Radiation levels for a few hundred metres

               around this point may be above those considered

                        safe for permanent occupation.

For as far as the eye could see, and beyond, the ground was irradiated. Raw plutonium lay about, scattered like talcum powder: plutonium is so dangerous to humans that a third of a milligram gives a 50 per cent chance of cancer.

The only people who might have seen the sign were Indigenous Australians, for whom there was no warning. According to an official account, if they were lucky "they were shooed off like rabbits".

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan .... Huawei. How confusing it is when "our" most reviled leader says so.

The current phase of this campaign began not with Trump but with Barack Obama, who in 2011 flew to Australia to declare the greatest build-up of US naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since World War Two. Suddenly, China was a "threat". This was nonsense, of course. What was threatened was America's unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most "indispensable" nation.

What was never in dispute was its prowess as a bully -- with more than 30 members of the United Nations suffering American sanctions of some kind and a trail of the blood running through defenceless countries bombed, their governments overthrown, their  elections interfered with, their resources plundered.

Obama's declaration became known as the "pivot to Asia". One of its principal advocates was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who, as WikiLeaks revealed, wanted to rename the Pacific Ocean "the American Sea".

Whereas Clinton never concealed her warmongering, Obama was a maestro of marketing."I state clearly and with conviction," said the new president in 2009, "that America’s commitment is to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

Obama increased spending on nuclear warheads faster than any president since the end of the Cold War. A "usable" nuclear weapon was developed. Known as the B61 Model 12, it means, according to General James Cartwright, former vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "going smaller [makes its use] more thinkable".

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one US strategist told me, "the perfect noose".

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the infamous catch cry of its chief Cold War strategist, Herman Kahn – "thinking the unthinkable". Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a "winnable" nuclear war.

Kahn's apocalyptic view is shared by Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical fanatic who believes in the "rapture of the End". He is perhaps the most dangerous man alive. "I was CIA director," he boasted, "We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses."  Pompeo's obsession is China.

The endgame of Pompeo's extremism is rarely if ever discussed in the Anglo-American media, where the myths and fabrications about China are standard fare, as were the lies about Iraq. A virulent racism is the sub-text of this propaganda. Classified "yellow" even though they were white, the Chinese are the only ethnic group to have been banned by an "exclusion act" from entering the United States, because they were Chinese. Popular culture declared them sinister, untrustworthy, "sneaky", depraved, diseased, immoral.

An Australian magazine, The Bulletin, was devoted to promoting fear of the "yellow peril" as if all of Asia was about to fall down on the whites-only colony by the force of gravity.

As the historian Martin Powers writes, acknowledging China's  modernism, its secular morality and "contributions to liberal thought threatened European face, so it became necessary to suppress China's role in the Enlightenment debate .... For centuries, China's threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting."

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as "rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows". Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the "dreams" of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the "Mandate of Heaven" of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this "mandate", the Australian government of Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

The trickle-down is already evident. In a country historically scarred by violent racism towards Asians, Australians of Chinese descent have formed a vigilante group to protect delivery riders. Phone videos show a delivery rider punched in the face and a Chinese couple racially abused in a supermarket. Between April and June, there were almost 400 racist attacks on Asian-Australians. 

"We are not your enemy," a high-ranking strategist in China told me, "but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay." China’s arsenal is small compared with America’s, but it is growing fast, especially the development of maritime missiles designed to destroy fleets of ships.

"For the first time," wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, "China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy…"

In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a "blinding attack on China" was planned, "with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war."

In 2019, the US staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an "Air-Sea Battle Concept for China" – ASB – blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.

In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has traveled and lived in the US and Europe. "Many Americans imagine," she said, "that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty, and some would say it’s 600 million."

Modern China's epic achievements, its defeat of mass poverty, and the pride and contentment of its people (measured forensically by American pollsters such as Pew) are wilfully unknown or misunderstood in the West. This alone is a commentary on the lamentable state of Western journalism and the abandonment of honest reporting.

China's repressive dark side and what we like to call its "authoritarianism" are the facade we are allowed to see almost exclusively. It is as if we are fed unending tales of the evil super-villain Dr. Fu Manchu. And it is time we asked why: before it is too late to stop the next Hiroshima.