Organizing Notes

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

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. @BruceKGagnon

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Russian embassy in U.S. blames Washington for trying to manage epidemics

 

Info from the Russian embassy (Click for better view)

Under the guise of monitoring diseases, Washington is scattering its illegal laboratories across the world, brazenly and with impunity; establishing numerous facilities of this kind along Russia’s borders, the Russian Embassy in Washington said in a statement 

TASS

The US authorities are establishing laboratories across the world in order to be able to manage epidemics in their own interests, the Russian Embassy in Washington said in a statement [on August 17].

"Uncontrolled dual-use research run by the Pentagon continues to raise questions from the international community. Russia has repeatedly pointed to blatant violations by the US of the Biological Weapons Convention. Washington keeps ignoring grievances, citing a humanitarian aspect of its programs," the statement reads.

"We would like to point out that any good purposes of projects carried out by the US Department of Defense are out of the question. There is evidence proving that the US conducted research involving potential biological warfare agents, and the evidence is significant. There is also proof of attempts to deliberately enhance pathogenic properties of agents causing socially significant infections," the embassy noted.

"Under the guise of monitoring diseases, Washington is scattering its illegal laboratories across the world, brazenly and with impunity; establishing numerous facilities of this kind along Russia’s borders. The goal clearly is to be able to generate biological crises at a chosen time and create artificial sites of infection, that is, to manage epidemics," the statement added.

"The Pentagon’s activities in Ukraine cause particular concern. The US has dragged dozens of the country’s state institutes and private companies into its projects. Civilians and military servicemen in the country have become donors of bio-materials and mere test subjects," the embassy noted, adding: "There is no doubt that such actions require an appropriate legal assessment, particularly by the relevant international institutions."

"The facts about the United States’ illegal military and biological activities that were made public by the Russian Defense Ministry make one wonder once again as to what their real goals and objectives are. Common Americans also have mounting questions that require clarifications from the government about the programs that have been sponsored," the statement said. "It’s high time Washington admitted that while it is still able to ensure the support of its like-minded nations at multilateral platforms and silence those who have doubts, it won’t be able to get away from the claims of its own people," the Russian embassy noted. 

 


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Albatross around our necks

 


 
Just who is it
holding us back
from peace 
and financial stability,
real security and true justice?
 
Who is devouring
our labors
and our sacred
Mother Earth?
 
Whose fat appetite 
steals the wealth
from our 
collective nations
and the next
seven generations?

Who profit$
from endless war
and pushes
divide and conquer rule
everywhere
their big asses land?
 
But inspiration comes
from the long
colonized and 
oppressed people
of Africa, China, Russia
who now show great courage
and strength
as they ensure
the greedy and arrogant
western white colonizers
at long last
receive their just 
rejection.

How will Washington,
Paris, Berlin, Brussels,
and the
City of London
react
to their final
denouement?

Will they vainly
and mercilessly
strike the fatal blow
against the great unwashed
who cry for bread
and roses?
 
This is not the time 
for us to idle,
our life-giving agitation
must grow 
with determination
and love.

Always....

Bruce

A Voice Heard in the Land

 


 

By Diana Johnstone
Special to Consortium News

 

Planned obsolescence has been the dominant policy of the Western elite toward the working class since the neoliberal power seizure of the 1980s, a message that comes through in a new song suddenly sweeping the world.

The song “Rich Men North of Richmond” is a personal lament, a cry of pain and despair over the state of the “new world”.

The fact that Oliver Anthony’s powerful voice and frank lyrics immediately resonated with millions of listeners tells each of us something about the rest of us. On the simple but deep level of sensibility, millions of very different people found they shared something in common.

Exactly what this might be and where it might lead is a mystery, but there is potential political meaning in the subjective unity aroused by this song.

No, not unity but division! – promptly decreed liberal establishment opinion-makers. It’s the “right wing” that loves it, ruled The Guardian and the rest. Scrutinizing the lyrics for rightwing extremist stigmata, critics jumped on just these lines.

Lord, we got folks in the street  
 Ain’t got nothin’ to eat
And the obese milkin’ welfare

But God if you’re five foot three
And you’re three hundred pounds
Taxes ought not to pay
For your bags of fudge rounds

North of Richmond, where lobbyists and legislators play, this may seem to be all about welfare payments, good on the left, bad on the right. But in its way, this is a poem, and as such it calls for a more poetic interpretation.

[After 40 million views on YouTube, Edward Snowden tweets that Oliver likely already has an FBI file.]

Here the author is pointing to a paradox, the coexistence of having nothing to eat and suffering from obesity. This contrast is observed and experienced with growing frequency in the working class.

Anxiety, despair, substance abuse and binge eating, homelessness and bad nutrition, not to mention poor health and lowered life expectancy come together in these apparently opposing phenomena. All, including welfare itself, reflect the misery of the contemporary working class.

And if we stand back and look for causes and effects, we can drop the minor matter of too many fudge rounds and get to the great big root causes of the whole picture behind Oliver Anthony’s rapid sketch.

The Planned Obsolescence of the Working Class

The plight of the contemporary Western ruling class goes back roughly forty years, to the political takeover of public policy by financial capital. Financial capital makes the investment decisions that shape society, and governments, to lure those precious investments, began to cede more and more freedom to those decision-makers. The social impact was enormous.

Capitalist rulers not only chose measures to increase the share of stockholder profits over remuneration to employees for their productive work, but began to plan the obsolescence of the Western working class altogether. Automation and outsourcing diminished the political influence of labor, further weakened by uncontrolled immigration of potential substitute job fillers.

 


The plain truth is that planned obsolescence has been the dominant policy of the Western elite toward the working class since the neoliberal power seizure of the 1980s.

And what about the political left in all this, the political thinkers and activists who under Marxist influence once championed the working class as both the agents and the beneficiaries of historic progress?

To a significant extent, the American intellectual left settled into the ivory tower of academia, where it thrived following a trajectory in harmony with the obsolescence of the working class. Ensconced in humanities departments, the intellectual left more or less forgot about class as they theorized society in terms of a new array of human categories, racial and sexual. As befits a left, it actively promotes progress, championing oppressed identity categories as it once championed theoretically oppressed wage earners.

Now, when a working class stiff, who suffered a bad accident working in a paper mill, comes along with his complaint, representatives of this contemporary left don’t get it. What is he complaining about? Is he racist?

It is not just the present that causes suffering. Somehow the Western working class can feel that at more than one level, its future has been taken away from it.

Today’s official left doesn’t capture this discontent because it has essentially abandoned the working class and is no longer interested in ownership of the means of production, or even production, which may be bad for the planet.

The academic left see the whole world as classrooms and conference halls. It asserts its values by championing diversity, equity and inclusion in math classes and corporate board rooms. It wants fair distribution within its own elite and other elites as well.

It doesn’t care about the identity distribution of workers in a paper mill, which probably should be shut down anyway, for the sake of the environment. Yes, society is bitterly divided, but it sure ain’t the fault of Oliver Anthony.  

   “I’ve been sellin’ my soul, workin’ all day / Overtime hours for bullshit pay / So I can sit out here and waste my life away / Drag back home and drown my troubles away.

    It’s a damn shame what the world’s gotten to / For people like me and people like you / Wish I could just wake up and it not be true / But it is, oh, it is.

    Livin’ in the new world / With an old soul / These rich men north of Richmond / Lord knows they all just wanna have total control / Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do / And they don’t think you know, but I know that you do / ‘Cause your dollar ain’t shit and it’s taxed to no end / ‘Cause of rich men north of Richmond.

    I wish politicians would look out for miners / And not just minors on an island somewhere / Lord, we got folks in the street, ain’t got nothin’ to eat / And the obese milkin’ welfare.

    Well, God, if you’re 5-foot-3 and you’re 300 pounds / Taxes ought not to pay for your bags of fudge rounds / Young men are puttin’ themselves six feet in the ground / ‘Cause all this damn country does is keep on kickin’ them down.”

~ Diana Johnstone was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996. In her latest book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press, 2020), she recounts key episodes in the transformation of the German Green Party from a peace to a war party. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Where will 12 new destroyers at BIW be sent?

 


In an article in the mid-coast Maine publication called the Forecaster (August 18) it was reported that Bath Iron Works (BIW) had just reached agreement with the Machinists Union Local S6 on a new contract. The union represents 4,250 of the shipyard's 6,500 workers.

The article concluded by reporting that BIW is currently building twelve Aegis destroyers at the Maine shipyard.

BIW is owned by the General Dynamics Corporation (GD) headquartered in Reston, Virginia. 

Phebe N. Novakovic is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and made $21,478,167 in 2022.


 

The Navy Aegis destroyers made at BIW (and Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi) are key elements in the Pentagon's first-strike attack program aimed at China and Russia.

The Aegis ballistic 'missile defense system' is a program developed to provide 'defense' against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The program is part of the U.S. national missile defense strategy and European NATO missile defence system.

Aegis BMD-equipped vessels can engage potential targets using the Standard Missile 3 mid-course interceptors and the Standard Missile 2 and Standard Missile 6 terminal-phase interceptors. Notable subcontractors and technical experts include Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Honeywell, Engility, Naval Surface Warfare Center, SPAWAR Systems Center, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (Lincoln Lab). 

To make it easy to understand, the Navy Aegis interceptors are the 'shield' to pick-off Chinese and Russian retaliatory strikes after the U.S. launches a first-strike attack. The word "Aegis" is a reference that dates back to Greek mythology, with connotations of a protective shield, as the Aegis was the buckler (shield) of Zeus, worn by Athena.

The U.S. Space Force annually runs a computer war game where they practice this first-strike and the ensuing use of 'missile defense' to give the Pentagon a 'successful' decapitation attack.

In early 2008 an inactive school bus-size U.S. reconnaissance satellite was predicted to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere. Code named Operation Burnt Frost – a mission was created to knock the satellite out of the sky.

Three Aegis warships – the Lake Erie (CG 70), Russell (DDG 59) and Decatur (DDG 73) – were tasked to participate in the satellite shoot down, with Lake Erie designated as the principal firing ship. On Feb. 20, 2008, Lake Erie launched a single SM-3 missile, which intercepted the satellite at an altitude higher than 150 miles and a closing speed greater than 22,000 miles per hour.

This successful mission proved that the BMD interceptors on Aegis destroyers could also function as anti-satellite weapons (ASAT). 

 

 

 

Aegis destroyers also have other offensive capabilities. In the Space Force computer war games nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missiles are launched from the Aegis platforms during the US first-strike attack on China and Russia. Along with other Pentagon decapitation systems, this offensive Tomahawk 'sword' attempts to take out 'enemy' nuclear capabilities on land, at sea and in the air.

The Aegis warships carry both the 'sword and the shield' and their job is to get as close to Chinese and Russian shores as possible in order to be most effective. Thus the Pentagon is building them at an astonishing rate - costing more than $2 billion each.

Because the Aegis launch system on the warships has had one of the better interception testing rates of all the various Pentagon 'missile defense systems', the Pentagon decided to also put the launch platforms on the ground and named them 'Aegis Ashore'. Today these Pentagon launch facilities are located at Radzikowo, Poland and Deveselu, Romania giving the U.S. decapitation platforms aimed at Russia in what should be called a 'Cuban missile crisis in reverse'. The Tomahawk nuclear-capable missiles fired from these two locations could reach Moscow in a matter of minutes.

 


 

Currently Navy Aegis destroyers are operating in the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic, Barents, and Bering Seas surrounding Russia.

These same offensive Pentagon naval warships also are deployed in the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea in the Pacific.

In addition to the Pentagon's Navy Aegis program, U.S. allies in Japan, Spain, Norway, South Korea, Australia and soon Canada have similar Aegis warships. Put together they are a formidable first-strike attack weapon aimed at China and Russia.

How would Washington respond if China and Russia were surrounding the U.S. coastlines with similar warships with first-strike attack capabilities?

With the coming collapse of the U.S. imperial economy, how much longer can the taxpayers of this nation afford to pay for all these provocative war making programs?

Bruce

Monday, August 28, 2023

US senator cheers hurting Russia at cost of only Ukrainian lives

 



Ex-presidential candidate Mitt Romney has claimed that sending weapons to Kiev is Washington’s best defense investment in history


RT

US Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has touted Washington’s strategy of trying to weaken Russia by providing massive military aid to Kiev, allegedly degrading Moscow’s military forces while only Ukrainian troops are put in harm’s way.

Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama as the Republican Party’s nominee, made his comments during a visit to Utah-based defense contractor Strider Technologies. He argued that the best way for the US to mitigate the security threat posed by China is to ensure that Russia is defeated in Ukraine.

“Russia being weakened weakens their ally China,” Romney said. “And by the way, being able to take an amount that equals about 5% of our military budget . . . to help the Ukrainians is about the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done.”

    "We’re losing no lives in Ukraine. And the Ukrainians are fighting heroically against Russia, that has 1,500 nuclear weapons aimed at us. So, we are diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money.”

While American forces have been spared bloodshed – at least officially – Ukrainian troops haven’t been as fortunate. An estimated 43,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Kiev began a counteroffensive operation in early June, according to an August 4 estimate by the Russian Defense Ministry. Since the conflict began in February 2022, Ukraine has lost 400,000 troops, former Pentagon senior advisor Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army colonel, said last week in an interview with Tucker Carlson.

Nevertheless, Romney claimed that the US effort to hurt Moscow through a proxy combatant has been successful, sending a message to Chinese leaders and to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has previously argued that Russia is a “geopolitical adversary” and is the “only real ally” of China.

“A weakened Russia is a good thing,” Romney said. “It tells China to rethink their territorial ambition. It tells Russia, perhaps most importantly, that the Putin vision of re-establishing the Russian empire and grabbing the old former Soviet Republics that that’s not something that’s going to work.”

During his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2012, Romney called Russia “America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.” Obama responded by quipping that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Romney claimed to have been vindicated when Russia began its military offensive against Ukraine last year. During his visit to Strider, he said, “It is very much in America’s national interest, in our national interest, to help Ukraine, and the best thing we can do for America is to see people who have nuclear weapons aimed at us getting weaker.”

As for Romney’s claim that the US is “devastating” the Russian military by arming Ukraine, the opposite may be true. Russia’s forces are far larger, better-armed and more battle-hardened than when the conflict began, and they have gained 18 months of experience in destroying NATO weaponry and countering NATO combat tactics.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

McGovern shares what he knows about Putin....

 


In-depth analysis of President Putin's character and understanding of the threats posed by the war of the USA against Russia. 

Also, a very somber analysis of what is happening in Washington, D.C. regarding the trouble the Biden's are in politically because they've lost the war in Ukraine, but also the criminal actions of Biden and his son that are now being exploited and coming to light. 

Ray McGovern (retired CIA analyst) worries that the "crazies" in the White House might just be desperate enough to avoid jail, to use "little nukes" to save their butts. 

Ray asks the same question I've been asking since 2016: "will the neocons in Washington, realizing they have lost this epic battle to control the planet, take the whole world down with them in a nuclear Armageddon?

Alfredo  

Sunday song

 


 


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Another rally at French base in Niger

 


 

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the French military base in Niger's capital Niamey on Friday (August 25), threatening to storm the facility if troops don't depart the West African nation within a week.

The protest came on the same day Niger's junta, which seized power in a coup on July 26, ordered the French ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, a sign of further deterioration in relations between coup leaders and the West.

The Nigerien Ministry of Foreign Affairs said French Ambassador Sylvain Itte was asked to leave Niger within 48 hours in a letter that accused him of ignoring an invitation for a meeting with the ministry.

On August 24 2023, the President of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Motherland, Brigadier General Brig. Gen. Abdrahmane Tchiani, of two orders, authorised the defence and security forces of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene in Nigerien territory in the event of aggression.

Any military intervention of their neighbor would be considered a “declaration of war” against their countries, the juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali have said.

Speaking at a press conference, Omar said ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) has neither declared war on the people of Niger nor is there a plan, as has been purported, to invade the country.

Instead, the ECOWAS is trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Niger, said ECOWAS President Omar Touray on Friday.

He said they only activated a full-scale application of sanctions against Niger's military rulers, including the possible use of force.

Editor: Zou 

CovertAction Magazine covers Global Network & space issues

 

 

Ukraine providing an important Testing Ground for Space-Based Weapons

 

By Jeremy Kuzmarov (Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine)
 
A webinar in mid-July hosted by the War Industry Resistance Network placed the U.S. strategy in Ukraine in the context of a broader attempt by the U.S. to militarize space and use it to destroy its leading geopolitical rivals—Russia and China.
 
The first speaker, Dave Webb, a retired engineering and peace studies professor from England, emphasized that the 1991 Operation Desert Storm set the groundwork for Ukraine as the first space war in which the U.S. showed off new satellite and precision guided missiles that wound up devastating Iraq. [Webb is convenor of the Global Network board.]
 
In 1997, the U.S. Space Command outlined its goal of obtaining full-spectrum military dominance over land, sea, air and space by the year 2020—which achieved partial fulfillment with the Trump administration’s creation in 2019 of a new Space Force as a branch of the U.S. military.

 

The patch of the 75th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron revealed at the unit’s activation ceremony on Aug. 11, 2023. It features the grim reaper with a delta shape for a nose. [Source: space.com]

The second speaker at the webinar, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, pointed out that, for the last quarter century, Russia has presented its demand for a new cooperative space treaty before the United Nations but has been blocked by the U.S., Israel and a few of their allies.

The Russians have stated unequivocally, as have the Chinese, that they do not want to devote their countries’ resources to a destructive and fruitless arms race in space, though the U.S. believes it can be master in space and has been taken over totally by the military-industrial complex.
 
When the creation of the new Space Force came up for a vote in 2019, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives supported it, though it had wanted to call it Space Corps.
 
Crowded orbits = growing danger

 


 

The Global Network is involved in a legal action against the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to pressure them to follow the law and do environmental impact studies before the launching of satellites into space.
 
Lower Earth orbit (LEO) is becoming dangerously crowded and NASA scientists fear growing space debris and likely cascading collisions in orbit. This, called the Kessler Syndrome, would turn the Earth dark as most technology today uses satellites to function.  

Read the entire article here 

Keep Space for Peace Week will be held October 7-14 in 2023. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

The expansion of BRICS serves to create a more just world order

 


 

By Hungarian Community for Peace

Budapest, Thursday, August 24, 2023 

The expansion of the BRICS community paves the way for the sovereign national development of the new member states and promotes the establishment of a fairer world order based on equality between states - the Hungarian Community for Peace expressed its opinion on Thursday.

The Community for Peace welcomes the accession of Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to the BRICS, based on the Brazil-South Africa-India-China-Russia axis, as a historic development. We congratulate the people and governments of the six countries for officially becoming BRICS members on January 1, 2024.

From the decision made at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, we hope that the community, which will expand to 11 members, will become one of the poles of the new multi-polar world order, and with its cooperation based on new ethical foundations, it will also benefit those peoples who, like the Hungarian people, are still in the Western system of alliance who insist on maintaining the uni-polar world order.

Edited by Hungarian Community for Peace (Magyar Békekör)

Korean students protest Japan dumping Fukushima radioactive water into ocean

 


 

At 1 p.m. on August 24 a group of university students who oppose the dumping of contaminated water from Fukushima entered the building where the Japanese Embassy in Seoul is located and staged a surprise protest. 

They asked, "Who gave Japan the right to dump contaminated water? Stop dumping contaminated water immediately," they said at a press conference in front of the embassy building.

Is Biden's [who supports the plan] Indo-Pacific policy to contaminate the Pacific Ocean -- our sea "where we all came from" -- with cancerous contaminated water from Fukushima and poison our children?    

~ For other Korean peace news click here

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Under capitalism, the solution to poverty is starvation.

 


The death march begins....what are we going to do about this?

Germany's nostalgia for imperial power

 


A renowned writer and activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has charged European powers to banish the ghost of their infamous colonial past and return the arts (artifacts), especially spiritual objects, stolen from Africa, Asia, and Latin America still in their possession.

She sent the strong message to the European governments in a thought-provoking speech that has left social media vibrating, which was delivered at the opening of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Germany, last week. 

Her speech was not only met with enthusiastic applause by the audience in Berlin but is also resonating across the world as one of her 'best speeches, yet!'

The Humboldt Forum is a state-of-the-art museum complex that features collections of African, Asian, and other non-European art in a partial replica of a Prussian palace that was demolished by East Germany's communist government after the World War II.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Col. Macgregor is brilliant

 


 

Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is more anti-war than most liberal Democrats.

Funny how things have been turned upside-down these days.

Since Tucker Carlson got kicked off FOX TV he is taking on the deep state in ways hardly ever seen before. 

I give him credit for changing with the times.

Bruce 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Niger in jaws of US, France: War drums get louder

 

By Kimani Kahumbu (First posted at PressTV)

As the political crisis in Niger enters its fourth week, both opposing sides are refusing to budge from their respective positions, setting the ground for potential civil war and external military intervention.

The crisis erupted following a military coup at the end of July, when the country’s presidential guard removed and detained President Mohamed Bazoum, and guard commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the leader of the new ruling junta.

The political upheaval is the latest in the region that has seen a string of successful military coups in neighboring Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, along with several unsuccessful ones in other countries.

What they all have in common is that they were directed against the corrupt ruling establishments and against the destructive policies of France, their former colonizer, as well as the US.

Once part of colonial French West Africa, Niger gained independence in 1960 after a long-running struggle, but the demarcation of borders and a flag made it no more economically independent than before.

Its monetary policy continued to be closely linked to France and the West African bloc, where the Franc is used widely, as in the seven West African countries that were previously colonies of Paris.

 



France is still Niger’s largest trading partner, accounting for about a third of imports and exports. Niger’s most important export product is uranium, which meets a fifth of France’s total needs.

The French company Orano Cycle enjoys a monopoly over the uranium industry in the African country, and it is estimated that Niger receives only about 10 and 15 percent of the profits, most of which again ends up in French banks in French currency.

In the 21st century, Niger was the same as Albania, Kosovo and Ukraine in Europe, Haiti in North America, Afghanistan in Asia, and Kiribati in Oceania – the poorest country on the African continent, at the same time also a faithful partner of the USA and France.

The Human Development Index (HDI) rate in Niger has been the lowest in the world for years – only every sixth inhabitant lives in a city, less than a fifth have access to electricity, and only a third of the population is literate, including a quarter of women, which points to poor standards of life despite massive natural resources.

From French and American politicians as well as their media outlets, however, it is difficult to hear statements of concern about the situation in Niger, especially the grim economic situation.

In a neo-colonial possession like Niger, this is evidently normal for Washington and Paris, a kind of unquestioned state of nature. For them, it is controversial only when Nigeriens try to change the corrupt government, unequal contracts and difficult national situation.

The coup and change of the political status quo are strongly opposed by France and the United States because both have interests in existing political-economic agreements, as well as in keeping thousands of soldiers in military bases throughout Niger.

As of November 2019, the Americans operate Air Base 201, where about 1,100 soldiers are stationed and which is used for MQ-9 Reapers and manned aircraft. France maintains 1,500 soldiers at its base.

After the successful coup, the new authorities banned American drones from flying in Niger’s airspace and asked the French troops to leave the country until September, which Paris refused.

The official reason for the presence of the two Western powers is the alleged fight against extremist rebels, although many analysts argue that the main motive is to control the African country’s massive energy resources as well as use them for the strategic surveillance of West Africa.

Washington first sent Victoria Nuland, notorious for her inciting role in the Iraq War and the Ukrainian War, to Niger to convince the new government to back off their demands and not allow the presence of the Russian private militia force, Wanger.

 


Later, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken threatened the Niger junta for the unacceptable conditions of the country’s ousted Western-backed president and called for the restoration of the “constitutional order,” in other words the pre-coup state of affairs with the US and France dictating terms.

Paris called for the same, ignoring all the demands of the Niger junta, evacuating EU civilians and threatening Niger with military intervention.

Practical foreign pressures on Niger began with the introduction of a series of sanctions on commercial and financial transactions, the freezing of assets abroad and the blocking of electricity supplies from neighboring countries, thus worsening the already poor humanitarian situation in the country.

A key ally of France and the US in a potential conflict is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional bloc dominated by Nigeria that has experience with military interventions against “unfriendly” governments and political movements

On the other hand, political and military assistance to Niger is provided by Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea, also states with coup governments, all recently suspended from ECOWAS.

Despite foreign threats and the ECOWAS ultimatum that expired on August 7, the junta did not deviate from its demands and the three-year transition period for the transfer of military to civilian power.

The success of a possible ECOWAS operation is questionable because earlier interventions were limited to joining one conflicting side or against a handful of coup plotters.

This time, however, they would have tens of thousands of soldiers and volunteers against them.

 

For similar reasons, in the last two years, ECOWAS has not intervened in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, which today are willing to provide Niger with direct military support.

French and American pressure on ECOWAS to intervene has only fueled the discontent of the population in Niger, who are aware that foreigners are pushing them toward death and despondency.

Earlier this week, Nigeria’s prominent Islamic scholar Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky publicly warned that the US and France intend to stoke sedition in African countries.

The conflict is strongly opposed by North African countries such as Algeria, who know the war would be large-scale and long-lasting, and that it would pave the way for millions of new refugees.

Washington and Paris, although in principle advocating a peaceful solution, are preparing for all available options, including the military, just to secure their interests, regardless of the consequences.

In the eyes of neo-colonial powers, concessions to Niger would open the door for numerous other African and other countries to demand similar more equal contracts and relations.

In light of the recent commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Western-backed coup in Iran, it can be said that today’s West Africa is going through what Iran did when it tried to negotiate fairer agreements in the 1950s, thinking that the Western powers would treat it as an equal partner.

~  Kimani Kahumbu is a Kenya-based writer and political commentator on African affairs.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Two weekend protests in Ellsworth, Maine

 

Click on the photos for a better view

 




Passing the microphone at the closing circle

 

Seventeen folks from across Maine gathered at a busy intersection in Ellsworth on Saturday for our monthly peace protest. The intersection is located at the key highway for visitors heading to the famous Acadia National Park. During this time of year tourists are coming from all over the world to this spot so it is a good place to reach literally thousands of people with our messages.

Just before the protest Mary Beth and I visited some friends who live on Deer Isle. They suggested we take the short hike to the Settlement Quarry preserve which is home to a historic granite quarry. As you can see below the view is amazing.


Recent national polling in the US has revealed that more than 55% of the public now want the Biden regime to stop funding the proxy war on Russia utilizing Ukraine as the trigger. We can feel this trend during our vigils as the positive responses to us on the streets have been steadily increasing.

We've been doing these regular protests for many months now and have visited high-traffic intersections in Portland, Westbrook, Freeport, Topsham, Brunswick, Lewiston, Augusta, Bath, Belfast and now Ellsworth. 

On Saturday, September 23 we will do the same in the town of Unity during the Common Ground Country Fair which always has bumper-to-bumper traffic. We will meet at the intersection of Rt 139 and Hwy 220 at 1:30 pm. There is a pizza joint on that corner where we will have lunch afterwards for some always rewarding socializing time.

Mary Beth and I went to the home of friends Russell and Akemi in Hancock after Saturday's Ellsworth protest. Akemi has a pottery studio called Gull Rock Pottery there. The view from this enchanted place is breathtaking and we enjoyed staying the night with them. 


On Sunday morning Russell and I went for a hike in the woods and then at noon we both (along with Mary Beth and another person) held an hour-long vigil on the Ellsworth bridge. Once again this is another spot loaded with steady traffic.

I memorized the license plates where vehicles had come from. Here is my list from both days in Ellsworth.

Ontario and Nova Scotia in Canada. Washington, California, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada and of course Maine. I'm sure I missed some.
For those who say holding signs and banners on street corners is a waste of time and not effective - I beg to differ. We are reaching the American people of all types. Rich, poor, working class. Old and young. People of all colors. I love doing it. We are certainly not speaking to 'the choir' as many often complain about our efforts.

 See you down the road.

Bruce 

Photos by Mary Beth Sullivan

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Sunday song

 

  




True wisdom and leadership comes when we most need it - like now.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Africa doesn't have bases in Europe or the U.S.

 


 

 
 

 
 

Friday, August 18, 2023

History lesson: Post WW 2 Nazi's to Britain & Canada

 


 

The largely unknown story of the first Ukrainian refugees in Britain - an entire SS division composed largely of Ukrainians who arrived in 1947, with many later emigrating to Canada - the 14th SS Galizien. 

Why did the British Government permit them to settle, and why are they today considered national heroes in Ukraine?

Dr. Mark Felton FRHistS, FRSA, is a well-known British historian, the author of 22 non-fiction books, including bestsellers 'Zero Night' and 'Castle of the Eagles', both currently being developed into movies in Hollywood. In addition to writing, Mark also appears regularly in television documentaries around the world, including on The History Channel, Netflix, National Geographic, Quest, American Heroes Channel and RMC Decouverte. His books have formed the background to several TV and radio documentaries. 

More information about Mark can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Fe... 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Agent Zelensky - Ukraine for Sale

 


By Grandangolo on ByoBlu TV (Italy)

“Zelensky relaunches the war on corruption. Zero tolerance against corrupts and against those who get rich with war": this is the title of the daily newspaper L'Avvenire giving the image of a simple and honest President who renounces any privilege and fights corruption

This image, conveyed by the entire political mainstream media coverage, is demolished by Scott Ritter's investigation “Agent Zelensky". Scott Ritter, a career soldier in the US Marines who specialized in intelligence, gave proof of intellectual honesty and courage when he was placed in charge of UN inspectors in Iraq in 1991-1998, and concluded that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction and publicly opposed the 2003 war.

His investigative documentary film shows the offshore companies set up by Zelensky and associates in tax havens, through which “his puppeteers have provided a financial buffer" with an initial payment of 41 million dollars. The documentary shows the luxurious villas that Zelenski owns in Miami (this villa is worth 34 million dollars), in Israel, in Forte dei Marmi (Italy), in London, in Georgia, in Greece, and also in Crimea (this is the only wrong investment because now Zelensky no longer owns it).

Scott Ritter's investigation at the same time demolishes the false story that Russia destroys Ukrainian grain and thus starves Africa. The reality is that Cargill [DuPont, Monsanto] and other agribusiness multinationals are grabbing the best lands in Ukraine and using the grain produced there for their own strategies. The US plan to reduce food security in Europe to better control the allied countries falls within this framework.

The investigation shows Ukraine not only being robbed of its land, sold off by Zelensky and his associates to multinationals, but is increasingly indebted. The huge military supplies it receives from the United States and major European powers are not gifts but given on credit. 

Thus, Ukraine has already accumulated such a foreign debt that it would take centuries to pay it off. This debt will grow further with the "reconstruction" that Zelensky has placed in the hands of the US BlackRock, the largest investment company in the world. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

'Hawaii? Hell no, we got Ukraine on the hook!'

 


 

Social commentary and comedy.

Best to the people in Hawaii. Stay strong, we need you.

The undiplomatic diplomat

 


 

A good review of a leading Neo-con warmonger.

Nuland is married to Robert Kagan - one of the founders of PNAC (Project for New American Century). PNAC pushed the entry into the 'shock and awe' Iraq war.

Isn't it interesting how Nuland flowed from the Bush administration into the Obama and now Biden administrations? She is currently second in command at the State Department and continues to oversee the proxy war on Russia using Ukraine as the hammer.

What does that tell us about Neo-con domination of Washington's foreign policy process?

The Neo-cons are using NATO as a replacement for the United Nations. The un-democratic NATO (an instrument of the west) is 'free' to initiate war$ and regime changes when ever they wish rather than going to the UN Security Council and have China and Russia veto their war making operations.

Call NATO a pirate terrorist outfit.

Greenwald does a good job exposing this crime family.

Bruce

 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Brave New World

 


 

 

The ever-more intrusive restrictions on citizens' liberty by the corporate-government nexus is always sold to us as conveniences that will make our lives easier. 

The latest case in point: scanners at Whole Foods that allow you to pay for groceries with the palm of your chip-implanted hand. 

Jimmy Dore and Comedian Kurt Metzger discuss the gleeful response of a recent Whole Foods shopper after paying for her purchases with a wave of the hand. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

History lesson: Stones at Albright

 


 

(21 Mar 1996) 


An angry and embittered group of Croatian Serb refugees shouted abuse and stoned the motorcade of Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the UN, during her tour of the war-shattered town of Vukovar in Eastern Slavonia on Thursday afternoon (21/March).

The US envoy flew in on Thursday morning into Erdut, accompanied by the US Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith, and the UNTAES administrator Jacques Paul Klein. 

But as Ambassador Albright visited the local marketplace in Vukovar, she was forced to cut short her round as she was mobbed by a crowd of Croatian Serb refugees shouting "bitch" and "fascist".

Her motorcade was stoned as it zoomed away.

Note in the early part of the video during news conference Albright saying, "The US wants...".

It never mattered what the people in the broken apart Communist Yugoslavia wanted, it was always about what Washington wanted. 

That is the definition of an empire - and in this case a collapsing one. 

Bruce  

Statewide peace protest Ellsworth, Maine

 


 

No more $$$ for Ukraine war - $180 billion so far - Bring Our War $$$ home

Latest in a series of monthly statewide peace protests. No war with Russia or China. Bring Our War $$$$ Home. 

Massive waste of our tax dollars while legions of homeless grow in our communities. Inflation eating away at most Americans. We need Medicare4All not more war. We need healthy people not a toxic planet.
 
Biden blows up Nordstream pipeline and Zelensky & his cronies rake off $400 million. Corporate media reports virtually nonstop lies. Public is being dumbed down while our civil rights increasingly dry up.
 
Now is time to speak up before WW3 erupts in a red hot flash.

Current sponsors are:

PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick; Maine Natural Guard; Communist Party of Maine; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Maine Green Independent Party; People's Party of Maine; Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST), Veterans For Peace National, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine and United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
 
Here is our upcoming schedule:
 
* Saturday, August 19, 1:30 pm at Ellsworth (Intersection High St/Rt 1 & Main St)
* Saturday, September 23, 1:30 pm in Unity (during Common Ground Fair) (Rt 139 & Hwy 202 by Pizza shop)
* October in Waterville (Date TBA) 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday song

 


 


Peace Missive from Freiburg, Germany

 


By Luke Brooks-Shesler

 

Today [August 12] I participated in a Freiburg peace protest, organized by “Frei Sein Freiburg,” or “Be Free Freiburg.” Instead of a peace march, today’s protest was a “peace ride” on bicycles. (See video links at the bottom!)

 

Approximately twenty people gathered in front of Freiburg’s city concert hall at 2pm. Shortly before we met up, a thunder and lightning storm blew over. A protester named Antonio told me that fewer people than usual had turned out because of the storm.


Two protesters, whose names I did not catch, led the peace ride. One of them hauled a speaker on a bicycle trailer, which pumped out German-language peace songs while we were on the go. When we stopped, the lead protester used the speaker and a microphone to give brief speeches that encouraged people to demand peace between Ukraine and Russia before it was too late.

 

Toward the beginning of our route, a man with a shaved head and long beard said that he had heard that I was American. I said yes and we spoke for a few minutes. He had a microphone and a cellphone and I assume that he recorded me. About half-way through our route, he unfurled a banner that said “Antiverschwurbelte Aktion,” which I think means “Anti-conspiracy Campaign.” He had given the impression of being a peace protester but it turned out that he was not.

 

Our route wound through the Freiburg Altstadt, the “old city center,” which was packed with people. Two police officers on motorcycles escorted us. The protesters told me that they were grateful for the police officers. Indeed, at one point when we were stopped at a red light, a middle-aged man accosted the two lead protesters. He physically blocked a protester from proceeding through the intersection when the light turned green. He got in the protester's face and chest-bumped him repeatedly. Another protester signaled to a police officer, who resolved the situation so that the protest could proceed. After the peace ride, a protester named Johannes told me that physical altercations, like the one at the traffic light, were rare. 

 

 

 

When we stopped at the main intersection in the center of Freiburg’s pedestrian zone, a woman spoke to a protester aggressively. I could not understand her, but I pulled out my phone to record her. When she saw me recording, she approached me, told me to stop filming and called me an idiot. She followed us for a couple more stops.

 

Our peace ride lasted approximately one and a half hours. We must have passed hundreds of people, many of whom were seated outdoors at restaurants located on cobblestone pedestrian squares. Most people looked at us impassively, perhaps annoyed by the lead protester’s speech that reverberated off the buildings. Maybe ten or fifteen percent of people waved to us in support.

 

Among the Freiburg protestors, I sensed despair and disbelief that so many people in their personal lives and in society at large support the war in Ukraine. A protester told me that she simply cannot understand how her children and so many of her friends support the war. She said that she feels like there are taboo topics, such as this war, that we are not allowed to discuss.

 

I asked a protester if he believed that the USA blew up the Nord Stream pipelines, and he told me that of course the USA did that.

 

That was a summary of my first peace protest in Freiburg. On Sunday, August 13, 2023, I’ll be attending a “peace picnic” in a park in Freiburg.

 

Footage of riding through Freiburg: https://youtu.be/rAjK9yNuh7k (The video is wobbly because I was filming while riding my bike over cobblestone streets!)

Footage of the peace speech at one of the stops: https://youtu.be/8yewNAZcZMo (The red sign on her bike says “Peace is the way!”)

~ Luke lives in Waterville, Maine and is with his family in Freiburg for the next year.