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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Peter Woodruff Presente!



Peter Woodruff passed away on June 27. He lived in Arrowsic, Maine - just on the other side of the Kennebec River from Bath. 

Peter worked at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for over 30 years. Like most shipbuilders he did different jobs while there. 

He was a longtime environmentalist in Maine and loved the ocean and all of its creatures. He was a gardener as well and enjoyed taking photos. He was also a strong union member who was active in past strikes at the shipyard.

Soon after the U.S. 'shock and awe' attack on Iraq in 2003, with the first cruise missiles fired from a BIW built Aegis cruiser (USS Cowpens), Peter began working with the peace movement.

In late 2008 Peter asked me to help him create a petition for workers at the shipyard saying they wanted to build offshore wind turbines. He and a couple fellow-workers gathered more than 800 signatures out of about 4,000 workers at the time. (BIW has at least four facilities spread out over 10 miles apart so it is real hard to reach all of the workers.) He was worried that he might be fired but it didn't happen.

Peter next wondered what he should do with the petition signatures and I suggested he request a meeting with the editor of the local paper. The meeting happened and the editor wrote a wonderful editorial congratulating Peter on his courage and vision. 

There was no way Peter was going to get fired at that point.

Peter then ordered bumperstickers that read: 'Save BIW, Build Wind Turbines'. He handed them out to fellow workers who put the stickers on their vehicles and on their lunch pails. 

In 2009 I interviewed Peter on my public access TV show called This Issue. You can watch it here. At that time he also wrote this Op-Ed for the local newspaper in our community.

For six years Peter and I did a weekly radio show at the Bowdoin College station in Brunswick. The show was an hour long and we played political music and talked about various issues - including conversion of BIW to sustainable technologies like commuter rail, offshore wind turbines, tidal power systems and more. Studies show that building these types of systems rather than weapons for war would actually create more jobs.

We had to eventually give up the radio show because Peter was losing his ability to speak. Because of his work at BIW, Peter was exposed to metallic dust which he inhaled. This dust entered his blood stream and began to impact him. 

Peter had his health insurance through the company-related HMO and he went to his doctor and asked to find out if his illness was work related. His doctor asked him, "Are you trying to hurt the company?" Peter said no, I just want to know what my problem is. Not long after, on a Sunday, the secretary of his doctor called Peter and told him the doctor no longer wished to treat him. Peter then went to talk with a labor lawyer to inquire if a class-action suit could be filed against the company. The lawyer told him that a 'financial settlement' could be extracted from BIW. Peter declined saying he was not interested in money, he instead wanted justice for all the workers at the shipyard.

Some years back Peter discovered that manganese mining in Africa was causing similar medical problems for workers. The cutting of steel at BIW, and inhalation of dust, was causing manganese poisoning for Peter. I once asked him if other workers at the shipyard had similar problems. He said yes, but no one ever talks about it.

In his last years at BIW he worked in the tool room where workers lined up every morning to check-out tools. There was a big bulletin board by the tool room so those waiting in line got a daily dose of political articles that Peter pinned to the board. Included there were so many copies of my blog posts that workers began to ask him if he was related to Bruce Gagnon. Peter again wondered if he would be fired for posting on the bulletin board but once again nothing came of it.

Due to this worsening condition Peter withdrew from meetings that he had always previously attended. But when there were protests he still came with his camera and took photos for us - many of which ended up on this blog.

Peter was like a brother to me and I will miss him terribly. We had many great times together.

In the end our community will miss this courageous man who dared to organize on behalf of peace and conversion of BIW while working inside the shipyard.



May we keep Peter's vision alive....

Peter Woodruff Presente!

May you rest in peace.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Upside-down world we live in


Who could ever have predicted that right-wing TV evangelist Pat Robertson would interview whistleblower William Binney? Binney worked as the Technical Director for the National Security Agency (NSA) as a code-breaker for more than 30 years.

Robertson ran for the Republican party nomination for president in 1988. He didn't win.

The fact he is interviewing Binney, and even asks about famed whistleblower Edward Snowden, is more than amazing.

You'd never hear Binney on MSNBC, CNN, or many other 'liberal' media outlets. Why not?

The world is surely upside-down these days. The political sands are shifting as the ruling corporate elites are playing the public off against itself. 

This (redirection, confusion) tactic, used in all US-sponsored 'Color Revolutions' around the globe, is intended to ensure continued corporate dominance of our nation.

It's wise to keep an independent mind and heart. Don't take the fake.

It is fascism - the wedding of corporations and government. Being done New York City style with a flair, a flurry, and a lie.

(I recognize that this interview is from 2020 but it is still mind-blowing.)


Monday, June 28, 2021

New U.S. regime-change boss



The US government’s funding arm of political subversion and regime change around the globe - the National Endowment for Democracy - has a new president - Damon Wilson.  He replaces Carl Gershman who headed the NED since its creation by the US government in the 1980s.

Who is Wilson and what implications does his troubling background and expertise have for the future of the NED? 

Will supposedly “pro-democracy” and “pro-human rights” groups continue justifying taking NED money with an openly pro-war president handing it out to them?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Taking it to the sports world


I love basketball and my favorite team has always been the Washington Wizards (formerly the Baltimore Bullets). I was born in Maryland.

The corporate takeover of pro sports has made it harder and harder to stay a fan but I've made a pact with myself to do what I can to bring my political work into my fandom.

I frequently visit a Wizards fan site called Bullets Forever and they regularly have a 'Fan mailbag' feature where you can send in questions and the guys that run the site answer them. I've taken to doing that and just this past week I had two of my questions featured.

One was about the logo and slogan the team used this past season: DC Above All. When I first saw it Hitler's Deutschland über alles came to mind so I wrote a comment (doubting they'd print it) but much to my surprise it appeared in their June mailbag. Here is my question along with the answer which actually impressed me.


  • Will the Wizards get rid of their ‘DC Above All’ slogan which is eerily similar to WWII Germany’s ‘Deutschland über alles’? Have the Wizards become a PR arm of the State Department? (Bruce Gagnon)

Albert: I reached out to the corresponding people at Monumental Sports & Entertainment [corporate owners of the Wizards] regarding your question specifically but have not received a response in time.

From past seasons when teams decide to change their slogans, they do so before the start of a new regular season. So I assume that is what the Wizards will do as well.

For those of you not familiar with what Bruce is referring to in regard to “Deutschland über alles,” it literally means “Germany above all else.” It is part of the stanza from their national anthem as originally written, and it was regularly sung during the Nazi era and is associated as such. Germans today often avoid singing that verse due to the perception it has with Nazism and don’t appreciate hearing it, even when sung by accident by foreigners. Wikipedia has a better way of explaining this than I can so I’ll refer you there. I did read some criticism on the “DC Above All” slogan for that reason specifically as well. 

Sunday song


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Countering the “China Threat” – At What Price?


The Pentagon is upgrading its full-spectrum dominance, 
with China as the primary target.


By Koohan Paik-Mander   

In early June 2021, in a classified directive to Pentagon officials, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin slammed the former Trump administration for talking big but never taking action to counter “the China threat.”

Austin made it clear that things would be different under President Biden. His “tough guy” rhetoric strikes just the right tone for a massive, costly, military-infrastructure overhaul that would render the conventional warfare of the twentieth century unrecognizable: more nukes, fewer troops, and an omnipotent 5G network.

The goal of this overhaul is to give the United States and its allies the ability to summon, at once, unmanned military forces to rain terror down on any spot in the world—a swarm of drones, hypersonic missiles, submarine torpedoes, and bombers—all with the ease of calling an Uber.

This game-changing metamorphosis of how wars are fought is already underway. It’s called the JADC2 (Joint All-Domain Command & Control), a globally networked, cloud-based command center, overseen by the recently anointed U.S. Space Force.

It was for this that the Space Force was created—not as a jokey Trump trifle.

However, targeting China with this new paradigm for mass destruction will not bring about global security. Even if it were to somehow not culminate in a nuclear conflict, the ecological and climate costs of commanding war from outer space would be devastating. And yet, ever-more-mammoth military preparations are being staged in ever-more-numerous locations on Earth.

President Biden is in lockstep with Austin’s anti-China mission. Much of Biden’s $715 billion Pentagon budget request for 2022 is for investment in hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, micro-electronics, 5G technology, space-based systems, shipbuilding and nuclear “modernization” (read: expansion). The request seeks $28 billion to “modernize” the nuclear triad (the ability to launch nukes from land, sea, and air). The budget also includes the largest research-and-development request—$112 billion—in the history of the Pentagon.

Imagine that kind of support for healthcare.

Each line item is a deadly weapon, which, discretely, already carries terrifying implications. But, taken together, as part of the JADC2—an integrated, multi-dimensional system with machines responsible for pulling the trigger—the whole is far more chilling than the sum of the parts.

Among the types of missiles on Biden’s wish-list are some whose range exceeds the limits in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. But the INF Treaty is no longer in effect, after President Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in August 2019, just four months before the creation of the Space Force. That means that Biden and Austin are now free to spend taxpayer money on these perilous weapons.

Policy analyst Michael Klare has observed that this year’s budget subordinates all perceived threats to a single bogeyman-du-jour: China. War with China, specifically, means more nukes, long-range missiles, and unmanned weapons. These weapons are not just to be used by the United States, but are also for export to allies as well—much to the financial gain of weapons industrialists like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

For example, a declassified U.S. Department of Defense report from 2018 provides a directive to sell more arms to India, to “enhance India’s status as a Major Defense Partner,” and to “support India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier’s Group.” The essence of the Pentagon’s massive global vision is to construct, from the ground up, a hard and soft infrastructure upon which the newly created Space Force can operate.


Just as the continent-spanning interstate highway system was laid during the 1950s to ensure a profitable future for the automobile industry, this new infrastructure—comprised of 5G, artificial intelligence, rocket launchpads, missile tracking stations, satellites, nukes, and internet-connected fleets of unmanned ships, jets, subs, hypersonic, and other craft—will ensure a reliably profitable assembly-line output of arms for the weapons industry.

In tandem with the military infrastructure will come a continued expansion of associated security infrastructure, such as increased surveillance and data collection of every individual on the planet. As a former board member at Raytheon, Lloyd Austin is perfectly positioned to pull this off. In fact, during his first three months as defense secretary, he awarded over $2.36 billion in contracts to the missile manufacturer he once faithfully served.


The Opium Wars were two wars waged between the Qing dynasty and Western powers in the mid-19th century. The First Opium War, fought in 1839–1842 between Qing China and Great Britain, was triggered by the dynasty's campaign against the British merchants who sold opium to Chinese merchants. The Second Opium War was fought between the Qing and Britain and France, 1856–1860. In each war, the European force's modern military technology led to easy victory over the Qing forces, with the consequence that the government was compelled to grant favorable tariffs, trade concessions, and territory to the Europeans. It was during this time that John Kerry's and FDR's fore-bearers made their fortunes in the Opium trade. The profits built Yale, Harvard and Columbia universities and funded the construction of the railroads to the west.

China Threat = Yellow Peril

The Pentagon has a billion dollars a year to spend on public relations, and vilifying China has become Lloyd Austin’s top priority. He paints a picture of urgency so dire that it seems the only way to meet the challenge is to fund his comprehensive Weapons New Deal.

Once the new military infrastructure is fully in place, the Space Force will be equipped to dominate the planet. Until now, the INF Treaty’s cap on missile range prevented the implementation of this vision, given the hemispheric distance between China and the United States. Now that the treaty is no longer in effect, however, the Indo-Pacific theater is the ideal geography to debut this new way of warfare that relies on satellites to deliver strikes clear to the opposite side of the planet.

Thousands of satellites are already in place; thousands more will follow, thanks to private efforts by the likes of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The United States is currently working through the UN to standardize 5G internationally. Algorithms are now being written to remove human decision-making from warfare. Pacific reefs have already been dredged, forests razed, and protestors arrested on islands encircling China to make way for destroyer berths and rocket launchpads—nodes of the global war infrastructure.

One of the those “nodes” is at Soseong-ri village, 200 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The melon farmers there have painful, first-hand experience of South Korea’s complicity with the Pentagon’s agenda. In mid-March, after five years of community protests against the deployment of a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system, Lloyd Austin strongly protested the poor conditions of the THAAD base, calling them “unacceptable.”

After Austin’s disparaging remark, the South Korean government sent around a thousand riot police to Soseong-ri to forcefully remove residents from blocking components of the THAAD base construction material from entering the military installation. This took place on four occasions immediately following Austin’s statement and has since accelerated to twice a week, according to peace activist Sung-Hee Choi.

Choi points out that the THAAD system is made by Lockheed Martin and the associated radar is manufactured by Raytheon, where Austin previously served on the board. Choi adds that she is nervous about the intensifying military tension in her country and in northeast Asia: “I think recent anti-Asian hate is like a preparation for war against North Korea and China, just like when the Bush administration exploited anti-Muslim sentiments just before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.”


Elder woman manhandled in the melon farming village of Soseong-ri, South Korea as Washington enforces deployment of the controversial THAAD 'missile defense' base at a converted golf course next to the village. The government sends in thousands of police to pull the sitting villagers from the road so that the US Army can move hardware and supplies into the base. The villagers understand they are now a primary target in any war with China.

Pacific Pivot and the First Island Chain

Military planners have been nurturing this Rubicon moment with China for at least a decade, beginning when Obama announced his “Pacific Pivot” toward Asia. Since then, communities in the Asia-Pacific region have been confronted with elaborate, ecocidal preparations for full-scale war with China. Natural resources have been destroyed to construct a globe-sweeping, networked infrastructure of missile deployment and satellite tracking.

That was the first phase of laying the groundwork for 21st century warfare. Biden’s current request for funding will expand this strategic rebalance of military forces into its second phase.

Most of the Pentagon-ravaged spots have been concentrated so far on the string of archipelagos that fringe China’s coastline. These islands are politically controlled by Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines—nations themselves already heavily militarized.

War strategists call this the “First Island Chain.” The JADC2 system is being developed with this particular geography in mind. “Project Convergence,” a U.S. Department of Defense war exercise, takes place over a span stretching from Washington state to North Carolina, replicating the distance along the First Island Chain.

The First Island Chain is one of three chains of Pacific islands that ring China at varying distances. Further east, the Second Island Chain is comprised of Guam and the other Mariana Islands. The Third Island Chain, even further east in the mid-Pacific, is the Hawaiian archipelago.

In war strategy, these chains serve several functions: as a barrier to be breached by an attacker, as a protective wall to be strengthened by a defender, and as a springboard from which to mount an invasion. They also serve as geopolitical benchmarks for measuring regional influence, which is why control of Taiwan is so critical. If the United States loses Taiwan to mainland China, it would signal the unravelling of U.S. domination in the region.

The delicately beautiful islands of the First Island Chain have languished mostly unknown to the rest of the world. They are home to many endemic species such as the Yonaguni pony, the Ryukyu damselfly, the Amami rabbit, and a newly designated species of pufferfish that builds sand mandalas on the ocean floor to attract a mate. At the tiny airport on Ishigaki Island, local butterflies flutter in a terrarium behind the check-in counter. In town, decorative trees lining the road support sleeping bats hanging like furry ornaments.

Environmentalists fear these species are now doomed. A radar tracking station has been built, despite public protest, over the watering hole for the Yonaguni ponies. Its high-frequency radar will likely kill the bountiful insect-life found on the island, like the butterflies and the Ayamihabiru moth with its 10-inch wing span.

Amami-Oshima, an island that has remained virtually untouched since primeval times, has now been desecrated. Its old-growth forest, dense with unique flora and fauna, was razed in two areas for missile deployment, while associated development is disfiguring the coastline and other inland areas. On the islands of Ishigaki and Miyako, more missile deployment facilities have been erected against the will of locals.

Meanwhile, on Okinawa, tens of thousands of residents have been protesting the U.S. presence for decades. The latest barbarity: soil that contains an untold number of bones of Okinawan ancestors as well as U.S. soldiers—all killed in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II—is slated to be used as landfill for the bottom of Oura Bay. For four years, locals have ferociously objected to construction here of a new U.S. air base, intended to be a key JADC2 hub. The beloved bay has been home for millennia to the largest rare blue-coral colony in the world and 5,334 documented species of wildlife.

U.S. militarism continues to beleaguer Jeju Island off the coast of South Korea as well. There, villagers, fishers, and tangerine farmers have been ferociously protesting for over a decade the construction of a navy base to port Lockheed Aegis-missile bearing destroyers. The base was completed in 2015, but plans are in the works to construct a constellation of new facilities to complement the navy base, including a new airport, a missile tracking station, a weather radar station, and a satellite operations facility.

The famously drinkable streams of Jeju are now contaminated, its UNESCO-celebrated corals have been dredged, and wetlands have been smothered with concrete. Jeju Island is morphing, in real time, from one of Asia’s most cherished natural wonders to another key hub for JADC2 space-war operations.


Second Island Chain: the Marianas

The desire for “military readiness” compels the Pentagon to train troops for proficiency. But how will soldiers train for the paradigm-shifting JADC2, which is as different from current warfare as checkers is from 3-D chess?

First of all, with no soldiers—or a lot fewer of them—human-scale fighting will be replaced by warfare conducted over global distances and at hypersonic speeds. Military planners say that armed forces will be leaner and “strike harder, faster and farther.” For this reason, the training will take up more geography, by necessity, over endless expanses of open seas teaming with wildlife. For decades, naval practice has been taking place in marine areas surrounding Korea, Guam, Okinawa, Hawaii, and California. Needless to say, they have been a constant nuisance to residents, fishers, native practitioners, and sea creatures.

Now, to accommodate the JADC2, even more expansive swaths of the ocean are being set aside for year-round military exercises.

The most egregious example is the MITT (Mariana Islands Training and Testing), a plan to transform over a million square miles of biodiverse ecosystems into the largest-ever range complex for bombing and firing practice. The impacted area would be larger than the states of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, and New Mexico combined.

The largest multinational open-ocean military exercises in history will take place here, home to 26 species of cetaceans. The navy itself estimates that its activities will maim or kill over 81,000 whales and dolphins per year. And that doesn’t count the ecological casualties anticipated in other existing exercise ranges, such as those around Hawaii, California, Alaska, Australia, in the Sea of Japan, and in the Bay of Bengal.

Painting by Russell Wray (Hancock, Maine)

For their part, thousands of residents of the Marianas are protesting the plan to turn their ancestral archipelago into a year-round war zone. Large portions of Guam and Tinian would become dedicated firing ranges, placed right next door to towns and neighborhoods. Practice-bombing on the islet of Farallon de Medinilla, a migratory-bird hotspot, will increase from 2,150 strikes a year to 6,000 strikes a year. And most tragically, the whole of the astonishingly pristine island of Pagan is slated to undergo perpetual full-spectrum assaults from air, land, and sea. The island is expected to endure continuous bombing from mortars and missiles, its wildlife damaged by sonar, torpedoes, hand grenades, reef-crushing amphibious landing practice, and countless experimental detonations. Because of the colonial status of the Mariana islanders, they have not been able to legally demand transparency and accountability from the U.S. government.

This powerlessness was brought into stark relief when the military bulldozed 3,000 burials to make way for a live-fire training range. The remains were deposited, pell-mell, in cardboard boxes and stored in various undisclosed offices around the island. A barrage of questions from the islanders has gone unanswered. To add insult to injury, the shooting range is also to be sited atop the island’s most important aquifer.

In response to these human-rights transgressions, native CHamoru poet and attorney, Julian Aguon, filed a submission in 2020 with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on behalf of indigenous rights group Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian.  Three special rapporteurs then sent a letter in March to President Biden expressing concern for human rights, environmental impacts, and indigenous rights. The president has yet to respond.

The Perpetual Profits of War Games

An assortment of large-scale joint naval exercises takes place every year across the Pacific. The events are attended by patron-countries of the U.S. weapons industry in a fashion similar to soccer or football season. These nations include Japan, Korea, India, Australia, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, France, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Thailand.

The prototype has been the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises, held every two years in Hawaiian waters since 1971 and slated to run again in 2022. In 2018, RIMPAC drew 25,000 troops, 52 ships, and submarines from 26 countries. Weapons dealers from all over the world view RIMPAC as an opportunity to show off their wares, making the event part-Vegas trade show, part-World Cup. For marine life, it is four weeks of blitzkrieg.

This fits nicely with the policy cited in the 2019 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, which calls foreign military sales the “tool of first resort in strengthening alliances and attracting new partners.” In other words, for the United States, partnerships are not rooted in a shared philosophy of justice and diplomacy. Rather, they are anchored firmly in weapons sales.

Those partnerships, meanwhile, increasingly target a single adversary: China. Raytheon loyalist Lloyd Austin has been unequivocally clear that his raison d’etre is to bully China. And the president and Congress seem happy to accommodate.

They consistently ignore a far better method of responding to China’s growing influence, such as diplomacy. Hashing out differences at the same conference table would be a lot less expensive and have the added benefit of not risking all life on Earth.

~ Koohan Paik-Mander, who grew up in postwar Korea and on the U.S. colony of Guam, is a Hawaii-based journalist and media educator. She is a board member of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and formerly served as campaign director of the Asia-Pacific program at the International Forum on Globalization. A contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, she is the co-author of The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth, and has written on militarism in the Asia-Pacific for The Nation, Progressive, and other publications. An interview with her on this topic can be seen here. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Totem Pole journey



The road that leads to death is not an option.

At this point in history we are summoning all the forces of life that run through everything to come together in a common, collective fight.

From the ancestors to our grandchildren....we draw the line.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

'This is the most dangerous time in my life'



By Regis Tremblay

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space discusses the US role in S. Korea since 1945: total domination and colonization. 

We discussed full spectrum dominance, the Pivot to Asia, NATO expansion to Asia. 

We looked at all of this in the context of last weeks summit between Russia and the USA. 

Meeting Navy CO at BIW



Yesterday four of us peaceniks returned to the Navy compound gate at Bath Iron Works (BIW) for an hour as part of our bi-weekly vigils.

As we've come to expect we are now seeing more sailors (of all ranks) turn their eyes to the ground as they pass us by. More than a third of those passing me who refused a flyer made sure to say, 'We can't take one'. That means of course they have been ordered by their commander to 'stand down'! No interaction with those 'activists'. 

It's a big mistake because it causes the wheels to turn and many sailors (liked happened to me during my time in the Air Force during the Vietnam war) begin to question the definition of democracy. 'I thought we had this massive-offensive military in order to spread democracy! And I can't even take a flyer. But I can die in battle representing corporate interests. Where truly is this democracy?'

Most of us at these vigils wear our Veterans For Peace shirts and Peter Morgan always flies his VFP flag. I keep changing my sign. Yesterday I used a sandwich-board sign made by artist Natasha Mayers. Here she is wearing it at one of her recent arrests at a BIW 'christening'.


Artist and activist Natasha Mayers (left) with her sandwich-board sign at BIW.  Ridgeley Fuller (Belfast) on the right.


Early on one sailor took my flyer, paused, looked me in the eye, and while smiling said, 'Thank you for being here'. He then walked away and the next thing I knew this same sailor was talking to John Morris at another of our protest positions and they spoke for a long time.

We go to lunch afterwards to kick-around what happened at our vigils. John reported that the sailor took a 2nd flyer, saying it would be shared. Apparently the sailor has applied for conscientious objector status (CO). When asked why, John said the sailor didn't believe in the mission anymore and wanted out.

That takes guts and we wish this person the very best. The sailor had not heard about VFP so John gave a good explanation about the group.

We are told that another VFP member from Massachusetts wants to come join us next Wednesday. Normally we'd not go that particular week (only do the 2nd & 4th Wednesday) but since we have a guest coming we'll return to the Navy compound gate at 11:00 am.

One BIW worker I met during last year's labor strike - we met on the picket line - walked by again yesterday for the 2nd time this month. We always have a nice chat. He's a very loving man - very religious and credits Jesus with turning his life away from drugs, alcohol and the like. We exchanged thoughts about the nature of God - I told him I gravitate more toward Native American spirituality - the Great Spirit. I did ask him if he thought Jesus (the Prince of Peace) would call the destroyers made at BIW 'evil'?

We parted in peace. It was nice.

(I'd like to offer a sincere welcome to BIW and Navy 'investigators' who are reading this blog. I hope you all are learning something as you keep an eye on us dangerous rascals.)


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Black Ops in the Black Sea

HMS Defender. (Royal Navy)


The former British ambassador reacts to news that Russia fired warning shots at a British destroyer on Wednesday that entered the territorial waters of Crimea, still claimed by Ukraine.

Russia said Wednesday it had fired warning shots at a British warship [with BBC reporter conveniently onboard] that had entered its territorial waters. The British Ministry of Defense has denied the incident took place, saying, “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”


By Craig Murray

Sometimes it is worth stating the obvious. The United Kingdom does not have a coast in the Black Sea. British warships are not infesting the Black Sea out of a peaceful intent, and there is no cause for them to be entering disputed waters close to anybody’s coast. This is not a question of freedom of navigation under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. There is nowhere that a British warship can be heading from the UK under the right of innocent passage that would require it to pass through coastal waters by Crimea. The Black Sea is famously a cul-de-sac.

I expect we will now be in for a mad frenzy of Russophobia, yet again. I shall comment further once I have more details of why and exactly where Russia was firing warning shots. But just remember this, it was not Russian warships near the British coast, it was British warships in an area where they had no business other than ludicrous, British nationalist, sabre-rattling. 

The UK needs to lose its imperial delusions. Sending gunboats to the Crimea is as mad as – well, sailing an aircraft carrier expressly to threaten the Chinese. There are those who see this activity as evidence of the UK’s continued great power status. I see it as evidence of lunacy.

~ Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. This article is from

'Exceptional nation' cracks down on press freedom



RT reports:

US authorities have apparently seized the web domains of Iran’s international media outlets Press TV and Al-Alam, along with the Yemeni TV channel Al Masirah, run by the Houthi faction, an Iraqi Shia satellite channel, and others.

Visitors to the and a number of other websites were greeted on Tuesday with a notice that they were seized under US laws that allow civil and criminal forfeiture of property involved in “trafficking in nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological weapons technology or material, or the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance.”

The seizure notice by the US Department of Justice also invokes a law governing presidential authority in dealing with “unusual and extraordinary threat; declaration of national emergency,” which includes the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 and the ironically named Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006.

Are we too competitive?


Are we too competitive, 
Toes on the line,
keep your nose clean,
don't rock the boat,
climb the corporate ladder.
Every person,
every organization
for themselves?
Some reject this system
but I wonder
how many of us
have internalized
the hyper-competition model
even as we resist capitalism?
Do our movements
compete with one another,
helping to keep us isolated
sadly ineffective,
and under corporate control?
Compete for money,
media coverage,
'Likes on Fazebook'?
Dreams of grandeur,
a spot near the top.
Our egos
take a ride
on the cloud of hope.
The system
is deeply embedded
in us.
Is it possible
to question,
and defeat
Madison Avenue-brand
three-piece suit
by another 
Are we 
too competitive
to come together?
Can I take the log
out of my own eye?

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Jimmy Carter on China and other things.....



I first saw Jimmy Carter (former Governor of Georgia) when he came to Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida in 1975 when I was attending school there after I got out of the Air Force the year before.

I was impressed with his speech and began paying attention to his presidential campaign. 

In 1976 I volunteered to help on his campaign. He was elected in November of that year. He was a one term president.

One of the key reasons I supported Carter was his statement: "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race." He used to say it often - as if to signal that America's long-running bout with militarism was misled. 

The public then had the 'Vietnam syndrome' and the corporate oligarchy wanted to get rid of that problem so they could return to full-blown empire building.

Once he became president, Carter built the Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia very near the Florida border. For more than 20 years I joined the annual peace witness at the base on New Years Eve. The building of the sub base helped to sour me on Jimmy Carter.

It wasn't until some years after Carter left office that I learned how he had been recruited by Zbignew Brzezinski to run for president on behalf of the Trilateral Commission. After the debacle of the Vietnam War the ruling elites decided they needed a fresh face - but one they would control. So they took a virtually unknown moderate southern politician, with no national base or experience in foreign affairs, and made him president.  They played the 'peanut farmer' card created by the best minds on Madison Avenue.

A book that really helped to put me over the top on Carter, and the Democrats, was Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management by Holly Sklar. 

Sklar wrote:

In 1973 the Trilateral Commission was founded by David Rockefeller, Chase Manhattan Bank chairman, Zbignew Brzezinski, [President Jimmy] Carter's national security advisor, and other like-minded "eminent private citizens." Some 300 members (up from about 200 members in 1973) are drawn from international business and banking, government, academia, media, and conservative labor. The Commission's purpose is to engineer an enduring partnership among the ruling classes of North America, Western Europe, and Japan-hence the term "trilateral" - in order to safeguard the interests of Western capitalism in an explosive world. The private Trilateral Commission is attempting to mold public policy and construct a framework for international stability in the coming decades. ..."trilateralism" refers to the doctrine of world order advanced by the Commission.

Shortly before Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, Richard Ullman wrote from inside the foreign policy establishment: "In the U.S. - among elites, at any rate-trilateralism has become almost the consensus position on foreign policy." But it was only at the time of Carter's election that the Trilateral Commission was given much media attention. "Sound the Alarm: the Trilateralists are Coming" teased William Greider in a post-inaugural article on the Carter Administration and the Trilateral Commission. Jimmy Carter has picked no less than twenty-five trilateralists to serve in the highest posts of his administration. Besides Brzezinski, founding director of the Trilateral Commission, we find: Vice-President Walter Mondale, (former) Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, (former) Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker.

I lost most of my hope for Carter during his ill-fated administration. In the years that followed I did regain a fraction of respect for him - largely based on his work with Habitat for Humanity, building homes with people who could not afford to purchase one on the open market.

But then when Ralph Nader (who I always supported) was running for president his last time, Carter came on TV and launched a mean-spirited tirade opposing Nader's presidential run. By that time I was no longer a Carter fan but was still shocked that this 'good Christian' could be so mean-spirited.

With that said, I do like his comments above on China - although note that they were directed at Donald Trump. I wonder if he'd lecture Joe Biden nearly as strongly about the same subject?  One can always hope I suppose.

In the end Carter was a very mixed bag. Emphasis on mixed and bag.


Monday, June 21, 2021

American Exceptionalism: The Divine Lie

By Regis Tremblay 

My friend S. Brian Willson returns with a shocking look in the mirror for all Americans. We were founded on The Big Lie of white, European, male supremacy. A veteran of the war in Vietnam that changed his life and turned him into a staunch anti-war, anti-US foreign policy activist that cost him his legs when he attempted to block the shipments of arms to Nicaragua in 1987 at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

He is the author of Blood on the Tracks (Amazon) and is featured in a film I made in 2016, Warriors for Peace, Veterans Speak. I spent three days with Brian filming his story.

Could snivel-ization go dark?


This video by the German Space Agency does a decent job laying out how dependent we've become on satellites orbiting the Earth, and the ground stations spread around the globe, that relay signals. This is an important illustration of what current life has come to.
The video makes a vague reference to 'international cooperation' and the 'preservation and protection of our space infrastructure'. Nothing more explicit than that. It almost sounds like aerospace industry talking points. Don't harm our money machine - we've got to protect our 'space investments'.
The real danger though to these space assets is the US's long-known Pentagon doctrine of 'control and domination of space'. The US claims that it will be the Master of Space. Read about it in the infamous 1997 Space Command document called Vision for 2020


If there is ever a war in space then a massive cascading of satellite crashes will further pollute the space environment and turn the Earth dark. The list is endless....GPS, cell phones, ATM machines, weather prediction and more would be lost. This is what the video does chillingly show.

In 1989 Apollo 14 astronaut (and moon walker) Edgar Mitchell was a speaker at a protest I organized for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice at the space center in Florida.

During his speech Mitchell described to us that any war in space would be the 'one and only' due to the 'piranha laced-river of debris' that would orbit the Earth forever, 'entombing us on the planet'.

So the dreams of moving snivel-ization to Mars would be shot. Those scientists (many that work for the military) who talk about 'discovering the origins of life' would be out of a job.

In spite of the fact the future of humanity is riding on the imperative to ensure 'No war in space' ever happens, it appears that the Pentagon continues to rush headlong over the cliff. No one in Washington is listening to any of the serious questions and concerns about Space Force and US domination of the heavens. 

It's as if they are blind, deaf, and beyond dumb.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday song


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Militarisation of Space Threatens Security in New Zealand


The recent Rocket Lab launch of US Military 'Gunsmoke-J' was for 'warfare combat targeting' and is among many satellite launches preparing for warfare in Space and on Earth. In the light of New Zealand's higher 'national interest' and values, it is disturbing, but not surprising, that the NZ government gives permission for the US Space Missile Defence Command (SMDC) payloads because they provide lucrative contracts to Rocket Lab and the NZ Space industry.

The New Zealand Space Industry seeks opportunities for NZ economic development in commercial services, environmental and scientific studies, as well as security purposes. However, the US military and warfare industry corporations, like Lockheed Martin, invest in and reward those who serve their warfare agendas, on the assumption that it is purely for Defence purposes.

This is misleading and NZ should not contribute to the military Space warfare industry, according to Laurie Ross, NZ Nuclear Free Peacemaking veteran campaigner. 

Thus, it is recommended that the NZ government refuse approval of future Rocket Lab launches for the Space Missile Defence Command and other branches of the US Military or corporations involved in expanding the warfare industry.

For more info: Laurie Ross    

Friday, June 18, 2021

The Putin you didn't hear in western media



Western media largely ignored Putin's press conference in Geneva.  Here is one exception and watch the BBC reporter get a red face.

Russian President Vladimir Putin answered a question from BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg after the end of talks with President of the United States of America Joseph Biden.

Libya story


SyrianGirl takes us thru the Libya story.

Obama, Clinton and NATO tore the hell out of Libya

Soft-power they call it in Washington

I think 'soft power' really means that Washington only likes to take on people that appear to be too weak to fight back.

Reality is an entirely different matter.

Destroying the night sky


By the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh, Scotland

They express deep objection to the tens of thousands of mini-satellites now being launched for 5G that are fouling the night sky.

Our sacred bond to the heavens is being destroyed.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Letter to San Quentin


My letter below to death row administrator Captain Patao at San Quentin State Prison in California. It is a letter in solidarity with an inmate on death row by the name of James P. Anderson who many believe is innocent. Anderson works hard from jail to link various movement activists and also makes art (including beautiful pendants) that he shares with various organizations working for justice. One of his pieces recently sold for $1,000 in an auction to benefit one of the groups. Anderson has been using a metal prong from an electric cord for years to carve his pendants. It's never been used as a weapon and the jailers long knew he had it. Recently he was charged for 'having a weapon' and was put in the hole for 90 days. The real reason for the punishment by the jail administration was because Anderson is a royal pain-in-the-ass who uses the legal system to hold the prison accountable for their many misdeeds. This is the story of one such case. (I will soon write more about James Anderson and his 42 years behind bars.)

Captain Patao,

I am writing about James Anderson who I assume is under your control.

I've been a phone friend of Mr. Anderson for over two years. We talk frequently about his life and the larger world.

I was distressed when I heard he had been put into more severe detention for the past 90 days. He is now waiting to be moved back to his previous cell.

I was also distressed when I first heard that Mr. Anderson had been found 'guilty' for using a metal bit from an electric plug to do his art work. Something I understand your administration has been aware of for many years and the 'item' had never been used in any threatening way.

It appears to me to be a case of 'creating an excuse' to justify more punishment.

Mr. Anderson has been in jail long enough that he has the crazy idea that he should be treated with respect and dignity.

He's had repeated incidents happen where your staff has stolen his property. In the real word those who steal are supposed to be prosecuted - not the other way around!

He was found guilty for holding the institution to its own professed rules and ideals.

You should know that out here in the land of the free, people are increasingly re-evaluating the entire 'criminal justice system' - from the cops to the courts and to the jails'. We don't like much of what we see.

Your administration is pledged to serve the public and those on the inside.

I call upon you to honor your professed code.

I intend to write about this on my blog.

You've inspired me to speak out.

In peace,

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 389-4606

'Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.'
                ~ Henry David Thoreau

Reorganizing money


It's call 'capital accumulation' by the rich.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

In a sharing in Geneva



Joe Biden brought flashcards to his photo shoot with Putin.

I had the need to run some errands today and was able to listen to the NPR (Nat'l Public Radio) coverage of the Putin-Biden meeting. NPR is a bastion of 'liberal politics'. They hated Trump and worked him over the coals. 

I see what is happening in the US as an oligarchic war

Let's say that one side of the US 'deep state' is the east-coast (Washington, New York and Boston) mafia. They are in competition with their criminal associates from places like Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, Seattle and others. 

These regional oligarchs have favorites when it comes to electing representatives in Washington. Sometimes they play hardball with each other. They even kill one another when 'necessary'. Like the Texas/New Orleans/Miami mobsters that had JFK killed in 1963. Many of the Wall Street ruling elites were in on it as well. In fact the assassination was organized by Allen Dulles. (JFK had earlier fired him as head of the CIA.) LBJ then appointed the same Mr. Dulles as the director of the Warren Commission whose mandate was to solve the crime of JFK's murder. As we know, no real truth or justice has ever come from that cover-up operation.

But the dog-eat-dog regional power centers do now and then come together to wave the flag. And it is around the issue of continued US (glorious) control and domination of the world that these mobsters usually stand united. At some level they all profit from empire.

I continued following the Putin-Biden meeting on radio once home from my tasks. I was making my lunch while listening to the interviews with John Bolton and Michael McFaul (former US Ambassador to Russia from 2012-2014) as lead experts on Russia. Their take? 'Russia is a one-man state - he's an authoritarian - a czar wannbe. We need to be tougher with Moscow and help get Putin ousted'. 

Like with China, the Modus Operandi of Washington is essentially this:  'Do everything dirty and nasty that you must - act like a terrorist if need be - but get this so-called leader out of that country now. By hook or by crook. The US must be in control. They either submit to us or we will grind them into the dust.'

NPR didn't cover the news conference of Vladimir Putin - with the slight exception of 4-5 words in his own voice and the 'news analyst' filling in all the blanks. Lots of talk about Navalny. Lies about Russian invasions of Georgia, Ukraine and they even seemed to infer that Moscow had taken over Belarus. As usual the US media mouthpieces are always creating fear of Russia being an expansionist power while Washington plays the role of the paragon of democracy. The world loves us!

NPR covered the entire Biden news confab. He stumbled around a bit but all in all held it together better than I had expected. Likely he got a good Vitamin-C jab right before it all began.

So Biden 'pressed Putin' on human rights. They are going to each let their ambassadors return to their respective posts. Some talk about talking about cyber. Lots of 'rules of the road' mumbo-jumbo from Biden. Russia won't follow the rules, Biden said. 

No one tells you that as the US has pulled out of one arms control treaty after the other, they've concocted their own set of 'rules' that everyone should now follow. Globally. I've yet to see a copy of the rules. The US has very devious intentions. 

Washington wishes to rid the corporate oligarchs of the pesky-mosquito called the United Nations where Russia and China have veto power as members of the Security Council. Thus the need these days for a steroidal expansion of NATO into a 'global military alliance'. And even into space. The army of corporate capitalism. 

The plan to replace the UN with NATO is being resisted more everyday.


So Biden went and did his big talk for public consumption back home. He got nothing because Russia, China, Iran and others are demanding an end to 'king of the hill'. A new day has arrived. The US either joins the rest of the world in honest and true partnership or has to go to war against most of the world.

It's now that stark. The war mongers know that much money could be made with a global fight for ultimate power - many of the fundamentalist Christians would embrace the resulting Armageddon.

It will all come down to just how far the US ruling mobsters are willing to push. The unknown factor is the American people, if willing to stop swallowing shit and rise from their long sleep, we could move in a unified direction demanding an end to corporate corruption and control. 

But the liberals would first have to divorce the Democrats. I have my doubts.

This is our real struggle ahead.


Bozo in space....



Jeff Bezos takes a ride into the heavens.

How much did it cost?

How many small local shops had to close due to Amazon's 'glorious rise' to power and domination?

I am tired of these uber-rich fat cats playing Mr. Spaceman and helping to trash the orbits around the Earth with their toys. And punching a bigger hole in the ozone.

And ruining the dark skies with their greed and desire for extra-terrestrial glory.

They see themselves as god-like. 

Actually more like the devil.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Man without a country


This is the world
where I live.
USA born and fed 
(lots of BS)
like any good hog

Grateful for the times 
having lived
in Germany, England, 
South Dakota, Florida, Connecticut, California, Hawaii and now Maine.
Each of those places have a hold on my heart. 
I found it easy to love the people in all these worlds.
I call my back yard an English garden ranch. 
All the influences in our lives
woven into our soul. 

So it was never possible for me to want anything but peace, 
but it has to be ushered in by real honesty, solidarity, and justice.
Otherwise it's a phony ride.
Do the Palestinians have a right to rise up against Tel Aviv and Washington? 
Fundamental question. 
They've been doing it for so long primarily using non-violence. 
But with US dollars the IDF has forever been kicking the hell out of the Palestinian people. 
Did Crazy Horse have the right to defend his people against the US Army? 
Who was the aggressor anyway?
Do Cubans have the right to defend themselves as Washington relentlessly continues the Cold (hot) war against Havana, 
mostly led by the Miami Mafia?
How about Russia, China, Iran, others?
I'm a man without a country. 
In the end I'm happy it turned out this way.


PS confession: It was mostly the United States Air Force (via the taxpayer of course) that paid my step-father to move from one base to the other. I grew up with a large-framed flightline photo hanging on my bedroom wall of military aircraft, right alongside my Crucifix. Yes, bombers and Jesus.

My step-dad from Rumford, Maine - straight out of the papermill - was a photo reconnaissance tech who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War and I grew up looking at his photos of bombing damage over North Korea. The US destroyed virtually every building in North Korea, the people had to live in caves and come out at night to work their food gardens. 

I joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam war. It was there I did 'a 180' and turned into a peacenik. 

Must thank the GI resistance movement at my base in California for the sacred influence.

Monday, June 14, 2021

The mouthpieces of hell....a local angle


I'm not at all shocked that Wall Street and the London financial district, called the City of London, own the mainstream media.

So add BBC to that list above, and all the rest of the corporate media across the west.  Who owns Le Monde? Last I heard it was a weapons dealer.

One man in Maine owns all the papers (daily, weekly) except one (Bangor Daily News). Our local group, called Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks, for five years had a twice-a-month column in the local paper. But we lost it due to our activism.

Our supposed sin? We organized against a $60 million tax break for General Dynamics Corporation which owns Bath Iron Workers.  (At the shipyard the Navy builds destroyers loaded with 'missile defense' systems.) Our campaign forced $15 million to be cut from the final bill that was approved at our state capital in Augusta. Democrats in the Maine House and Senate led the bill thru the legislature. They are the 'liberals'.

The liberals tell us that they care so much about the poor, those whose minds have gone around the twist and are wandering the streets, and those stashed away in prisons. Sadly they say there is not enough money to help the truly in need. Our so-called liberal elected officials are consumed with begging for military production bucks while on their bended knees.

The real corporate goal is to thin the population of black, hispanic, native and poor white people. They are not needed anymore.  It's a war on the lower class ....neo-feudalism.  Don't believe it?  Just ask a robot or AI entrepreneur. The curtain is about to fall.


The newspapers here did just announce that the Navy flight team, the Blue Angels, will be coming to nearby Brunswick on September 4-5 for another airshow. (A protest will be held on the first day.) The only airshow in New England they declare. The cost of the event will be between $600,000-$700,000 and will be a serious contributor to climate crisis. The Pentagon has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet of any one entity. The news article made no mention of the airshow's link to this reality. 

Most environmental groups in Maine won't mention it either.  We reach out to them and they remain mum. Lips locked. Why?

It's all about cash in hand. If you want money for your 'progressive work' then you have to play with the Dems because that party controls the 'entry' to most unions, local foundations, and corporate donors. The Dems don't like it when environmental groups talk about the military.

All the while Rome is burning....where are the Dems? Out in a canoe with the media on Earth Day. 


Sunday, June 13, 2021

All the evidence you need



We should start a contest to see who can guess when V-P Harris assumes the role as lead actor in the White House.

Not that things will be any different.

Now that she is back from Guatemala - her first field test complete - she has reassured the corporate oligarchs that installed her that she will carry out the scripted plan.

All on course.

Biden is soon to retire. 


Sold their souls for a dolla



TYT are working for the US regime change operation, likely being funded by CIA-linked foundation and corporate funds. Their job? Confuse and divide the 'left' - particularly the liberals. They are paid to support Mr. Big's murderous foreign policies.

Mr. Big don't need us much anymore so they are corralling and colonizing the superfluous populations virtually everywhere. 

Fascism in the 'land of the free'.

Call it friendly fascism of the three-piece suit variety.

Why would anyone ever watch the TYT show?

....pure garbage

These two on this show have sold their souls to the devil.

For a buck.


Sunday song


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Encircling China


Even though the US spends 40 percent of the combined military budgets of the world, more than the next 7 biggest spenders combined, Pentagon officials are indicating to Congress that they need to increase the US military budget by $7 billion and send US troops to the Pacific to be in “close quarters” with China. 

China replied by decrying Washington’s “Cold War and zero-sum mentality” that leads to obsessive military superiority. 

RT America’s Alex Mihalovich has the details. Then former UK MP George Galloway joins Rick Sanchez to discuss.

Why the meeting?



Who gets what out of this meeting?
Russia knows the US is treaty averse,
just ask the Native people in North America.
You can't trust Washington,
they turn the mirror around
and blame others for what they are doing.
Normal behavior for an addict.
Addicted to power,
money, control & domination,
addicted to addiction.
A tough knot to unravel,
it is....
Maybe Putin is just going to Geneva
to see how much sense Biden makes.
Is he coherent?  

What does Biden get out of it?
He gets to stand over Putin,
since he is taller,
but in the real world Biden
is a very small man when
stacked up against Vladimir Putin.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Will Ukraine Benefit From Playing War Games With NATO?

Putin's growing empire???? REALLY? NATO keeps expanding to Russia's borders since 1991! There was no threat from Russia back then. Now, it wants Georgia and Ukraine? And didn't it promise to not expand eastward??? 
- Агент Кристина


In 2021, Ukraine is hosting a series of NATO military exercises. Some perceive the drills as pouring gasoline over fire, since the host country still has an unresolved military conflict in Donbass.

It’s the grand opening of a war games season for Kiev. 11,000 NATO troops are being deployed to Ukraine to hold joint manoeuvres alongside some 21,000 local soldiers – all at the invitation of the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Largest NATO Drills in a Quarter of a Century

The war games, which are partially under way at the moment, will cover land, sea, and air. The maritime part features “Sea Breeze” – a simulation which will bring together 30 ships, 30 warplanes and 1,400 troops representing 27 nations. Prior to 2014, NATO staged “Sea Breeze” in Crimea, but even after the region re-joined Russia following a referendum, the scenarios haven't changed much and still revolve around the peninsula.

Ukrainian military personnel are also taking part in other manoeuvres - the “Defender Europe-2021”. The largest exercise of the kind in the past 25 years is being carried out simultaneously in 16 European countries, with the main locations being close to the Balkans and the Black Sea region.

During the first stage of “Defender Europe”, which is called “Swift Response”, 7,000 troops from 11 countries took part in missions across Eastern Europe – from Bulgaria to Romania, as well as in Estonia. The second stage of the drills is called “Immediate Response”. It includes shooting exercise for 5,000 soldiers from eight countries. Two more stages focus on anti-aircraft and anti-missile defence, as well as on setting up coordination between multinational forces.

In April this year, Aleksey Arestovich, the speaker of the Ukrainian representation in the so-called Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbass, said that “Defender Europe” is a “simulation of a war, an armed conflict with Russia”. He added that “The main focus is on the Balkans and Crimea, and, naturally – everything to the North of Crimea”.

The West’s Sanctimony

When it comes to the possibilities of Ukraine joining NATO, the rhetoric of the alliance’s top brass remains oblique and cautious, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying that Kiev will have to “modernise and reform its security and defence institutions” first. But in reality, NATO is already in Ukraine and is pumping the country up with more and more weapons.

Indubitably, NATO’s expansionist policies are nothing new for Moscow. The alliance has been doing the opposite of what its leaders proclaimed regarding NATO’s eastward encroachment for decades, gradually increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe since 1991, and later accepting former Communist bloc nations as members.



But the full weight of criticism and the accusations of any global military-related wrongdoing were always twisted around by the Western mainstream media and politicians, and placed on Moscow. For instance, in April 2021, Russia was pressured by the US and Germany earlier this year for organising army drills on its own soil, dozens of tightly intertwined and significantly larger military manoeuvres involving Kiev were being organised by the West itself in the vicinity of Russia’s borders.

​Both warring sides in Donbass continue to accuse each other of ceasefire violations. But it’s likely that after NATO’s manoeuvres, more Western-made ammunition will appear in the shelling reports from the frontline.

According to the Russian MoD, advanced armaments and munitions delivered by NATO for holding the drills will eventually be supplied to Ukrainian nationalist formations in Donbass, adding more tension to the situation in the region.

Who Really Undermines Ukraine’s Sovereignty?

While Ukrainian officials prefer to stick to their usual anti-Russian rhetoric while beefing up the military in the vicinity of Russia's borders under the guise of army drills, it appears that Kiev is slowly locking itself up within new political and military boundaries. These new boundaries are being set in Brussels and in Washington, while Moscow is still habitually portrayed by Ukrainian and Western media as the key villain and the main threat to Ukraine's sovereignty.

NATO leaders will be holding a summit in Brussels next week. But despite President Zelensky’s eagerness to integrate his country into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as soon as possible, it doesn’t seem that he will be getting any closer to achieving this goal anytime soon.

By now, it looks like Washington is not prepared to sanction such moves openly, possibly preferring to keep Ukraine as a bargaining chip, and an instrument for Biden’s administration to keep irritating Russia. But whether the Ukrainian people, who appear to have no say in this whole situation, really want such a role for their country remains to be seen.