Organizing Notes

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

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

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

Saturday, April 01, 2023

China won't answer calls from Washington

 


 

Scott Ritter: 'Washington wants to double Pentagon budget'. That would cost US taxpayers about $2 trillion a year. But don't worry, it's all Confederate money.

US Admiral tells corporate media CBS '60 Minutes' that the 'Navy is ready for war with China to defend Taiwan'.   

What ever happened to the US official 'one China' policy?

US-NATO could not lick Afghanistan but now they are bragging they are ready for a two-front war with Russia and China. Talk about wishful thinking and big lies.

This interview is a hum-dingier......

Bruce

Standing up for real peace in Austria

 


 

All 30 members of the Freedom Party, which currently is the most popular party in Austria, walked out of the National Council Hall (lower house of Austria's Parliament) on Mar. 30 in protest of a telescreened speech by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Freedom Party leader Herbert Kickl said that Parliament's support for Ukraine was destroying Austria's "heritage of neutrality," reported The New York Times. The Austrian government supports Ukraine politically in the war but has not provided the nation with military aid.

Under law, Austria is not permitted to provide military aid to foreign countries.

In 1955 the Austrian Parliament declared that the country would be permanently neutral. The state law says, "In all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory."

When the 30 Freedom Party members walked out, they placed pink and blue signs at their seats that said, "A Place for Peace" and "A Place for Neutrality."

Kickl further said, "It is sad that the FPO [Freedom Party] is the only party in Parliament that takes our everlasting neutrality seriously, thereby also standing up for peace." 

The Freedom Party is a conservative/populist political party.

According to a poll published March 11 in the Austrian magazine Profil, the Freedom Party "is now comfortably the strongest party in the Alpine republic, with 31% of the vote, followed by the Socialists (spö) at 25% and the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (övp) with 22%," reported The Economist. "If Austrians could vote directly for their chancellor, the poll showed it would be a tie between Mr Kickl and the övp’s Karl Nehammer, the incumbent."

Friday, March 31, 2023

Why do U.S. taxpayers pay to train people to run coup d'etats in Africa?

 


 

 

Africa reacts to viral exchange between Congressman Matt Gaetz and the Commander of US Africa Command, General Michael Langley, during a Congressional hearing, has exposed the USA is training coup leaders in Africa.

Who do you trust?

 


 

At recent House Appropriations Committee hearing, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) questioned Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen about journalist Matt Taibbi's alleged home visit by IRS agents.

Think digital, think digital!

 
 

 
 
Ray Davies sings,
'push the button and see'.
 
One oligarch says 'merchandise and advertise',
another says we've got to 'minimize',
bankers claim we must 'digitalize',
the CIA says they need to 'neutralize'.
 
Get the people hooked
on digital,
tool for massive surveillance, 
control all banking,
rebellious types get their accounts
shut down,
no food, no rent, no meds.
 
Remember the truckers in Canada?
 
Sell them dirty food and water,
don't worry about the poison you feed them,
they are the unneeded,
the unwashed, 
the unwanted. 
 
Buried in an above ground 
hole.
It's still murder,
Neo-fascist style.
They intend to do us harm.

What runs the world
are the inexhaustible ambitions
of the mega-narcissists
who have largely taken over
most of our governments.
 
Macron, Biden, Trump, 
Clinton gang,
Boring Johnson,
Z-man in Kiev, two-faced Trudeau, 
Annalena in Berlin,
'Bibi' Netanyahu,
Musk, Gates, Bezos,  
Murdoch, Dr. Fauci,
Klaus Schwab,
King Charles,
and many more.

Notice I don't add to the list,
those who the west has labeled
the two new Hitlers,
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
 
Do you still trust
that Mr. Big's political
and media whores
are telling us
the truth?

This UK 'kind gesture',
to send depleted uranium shells
to Ukraine is bad news.
Poison for the
Russian-ethnics 
in the Donbass.
 
The US-UK pirates
are brandishing their swords.
They are defending
their 'interests',
their buried treasures.  
 
Freedom they call it.
Freedom to loot....
 
Katie bar the door!
It's a raid,
just like in Israel.
 
Think digital

Bruce

Thursday, March 30, 2023

TikTok and free speech

 

 

Widespread alarm is spreading across the U.S. public about the sweeping powers given to the authorities by the Restrict Act. Could get 20 years in jail for watching 'certain' alternative media outlets.

It puts China at the top of the list of  'foreign adversaries' with no evidence -- and specifies that Hong Kong and Macau are also targeted.

Wave bye-bye to 'free speech' if this ridiculous bill passes.  

This is what collapsing empires do on their way down and out....

UN official: 'No US armed forces inside of Syria'

 


 

US troops have illegally occupied Syria's oil-rich territory for years, but a top United Nations official, Farhan Haq, falsely claimed "there's no US armed forces inside of Syria". 

Chinese reporter Edward Xu called out the UN's hypocrisy on Ukraine.

Has the UN become an agent of the west? Does the UN stand for truth, justice and real freedom anymore? 

John Kiriakou: US Solitary Confinement

 


 

Most states have at least considered initiatives to do away with, or to reduce the use of, isolation in their prison systems, according to the latest major report on the subject. But there’s bad news too.

By John Kiriakou
Consortium News

In prisons and jails across America, between 41,000 and 48,000 people are currently being held in solitary confinement, or “isolation,” as it is called in a new study by the Correctional Leaders Association and the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale University Law School.

Those numbers are too high, especially when the United Nations’ special rapporteur for torture has called the U.S. practice of using solitary confinement as a punishment a form of torture.  Still, as high as the numbers are, they are far lower than they were in 2014.  And there is growing support across the country for solitary confinement reform.

Over the course of a decade the Correctional Leaders Association and the Liman Center have published six reports based on prison officials’ responses to surveys about their use of solitary confinement.  Together, these reports represent the only comprehensive look at the use of solitary across the country.

The most recent report, completed in 2022, but only just released, shows that the use of solitary confinement is decreasing, while a desire for reform of the system within prisons and state Departments of Corrections is increasing.  The report defines “isolation” as when a prisoner is held in solitary confinement for at least 22 hours a day and for at least 15 consecutive days.  The Correctional Leaders Association is a national professional group made up of the chief executive officers of every state prison system in America.

Good & Bad News

First the good news:  For the first time, three states — Delaware, North Dakota and Vermont — reported having no prisoners in solitary confinement.  Colorado reported having only four people, while Maine reported eight.  Ten states reported no women in solitary confinement.  All 50 states, as well as the federal Bureau of Prisons, reported declines in the population of prisoners being held in solitary since 2014, when the total number fluctuated between 80,000 and 100,000.

And now the bad news:  A majority of prisoners in solitary are there because they have “serious mental illness” and are consequently unable to live in a prison’s general population, having been deemed a threat to themselves or to others.  Furthermore, African-Americans make up 30 percent of those in solitary, while they are 20 percent of the overall population of incarcerated Americans and 13.6 percent of the U.S. population.

Still, the overall news is good.  Most states have at least considered initiatives to do away with, or to reduce the use of, solitary in their prison systems.  Between 2018 and 2020 legislators in 25 states introduced bills to limit the practice; 15 of those states enacted legislation.  Since 2020, legislators in 30 states have introduced bills to restrict the use of solitary, while several state courts have ruled that specific forms of solitary are unlawful.

Making Mental Illness Worse

A large body of medical evidence proves that solitary confinement causes adverse psychological effects and worsens existing mental health problems.  Humans require social interaction.  The stress of isolation, over time, leads to a wide range of mental health problems, including anxiety, stress, depression, anger, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis and even self-harm or suicide.

The New York Times Magazine in 2015 reported that solitary confinement is commonly used in lieu of mental health treatment, that prisoners who already suffer from depression, schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses are twice as likely to be sent to solitary as prisoners who do not have mental health problems, and that the average stay in solitary for those mentally ill prisoners was 647 days.

Many states don’t curb the length of time that prisoners can be sent to solitary.  In South Carolina, for example, Tyheem Henry received 37.5 years in solitary for posting on Facebook from prison in violation of state Department of Corrections rules.  That was in addition to the 15 years that he was already serving for aggravated assault.

In Illinois, Anthony Gay had a minor assault charge for punching a teenager, stealing a dollar from him, and taking his hat.  A parole violation on his seven-year suspended sentence eventually landed him in a state supermax prison, where his mental illness kicked into overdrive.  After throwing feces at a guard through the food slot in the door of his cell, a fairly common action by severely mentally ill prisoners, his sentence was extended to 97 years, all of which will be in solitary confinement.

Imagine being insane and spending the rest of your life in an 8-by-10 foot concrete box.  Nobody can survive that.

It’s great that state legislatures are slowly coming around on the evil that is solitary confinement.  Perhaps next they can address the equally pressing need for real and well-funded assistance for mental health.  Don’t hold your breath.

~ John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

London rally against NATO

 

 

No Cold War - No Hot War 

Fiona Edwards speaking on behalf of No Cold War Britain at the NO2NATO NO2WAR Rally in London on 25 February 2023. 

Other speakers at the rally included: George Galloway, Chris Williamson, Dan Kovalik, Nick Brana, Clare Daly (MEP), Mick Wallace (MEP), musician Lowkey, former diplomats Craig Murray and Peter Ford, ASLEF vice president Andy Hudd, academic David Miller, journalist Richard Medhurst, and campaigner Audrey White. 

The full rally can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHW05esW-SI&t=0s

Supporting new U.S. bases in the Philippines isn’t an option

 

 

By Bernadette Ellorin & Azadeh Shahshahani 

A recent agreement to expand the U.S. military's presence in the Philippines is concerning, given the United State's century-long record of human rights abuses there.

The Philippines remains the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the Indo-Pacific region, having received more than $1.14 billion in funding from 2015 to 2022. These bases were used in every major U.S. war in the twentieth century, as well as serving as “rest and recreation” sites for military personnel, in which an exploitative informal sex worker industry was made into an unofficial policy.

More than a century of systemic human rights violations—including gang rape, indiscriminate shootings and murder—have been committed by the U.S. military in the Philippines since the United States invaded and colonized the country in 1899. These crimes led in part to a nationwide social movement to close the Subic Bay Naval and Clark Air Force bases. By 1991, in an attempt to finally rollback U.S. colonial control, the Philippine Senate chose to not renew the U.S. military bases treaty.

Now, the United States is once again supporting an authoritarian leader by spending lavish sums of money on military aid.

The United States was key in propping up and emboldening martial law under the fascist dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. from 1965 to 1986. But last year, thirty-six years after the People Power uprising that ousted Marcos’s reign, the Marcos dynasty returned with the election of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Ferdinand Sr.’s son, as president.

Now, the United States is once again supporting an authoritarian leader by spending lavish sums of money on military aid. And with recent official visits by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, an agreement to build four new U.S. military locations in the Philippines was solidified. 

Filipino-Americans and allies in the United States played a role in the defeat of the Marcos Sr. dictatorship in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The assassination in 1981 of U.S. labor leaders Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes by Marcos-hired agents in Seattle proves this; both were active in persuading workers to support the Philippine trade union movement’s opposition to Marcos.

Today, Marcos Jr. has fulfilled his campaign promise to beef up the budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, a Philippine government agency established by his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte that conducts operations overseas to surveil and suppress Filipino activism, including in the United States, where Filipino critics of Duterte and Marcos are labeled as terrorists.

There is already a movement to pressure Congress to cut U.S. military aid to the Philippines via the Philippine Human Rights Act, which has widespread support from labor and faith groups. But there is still much to be done to end U.S. military support to another Marcos presidency that is continuing to embolden its fascist attacks.

Taxpayers should not be on the hook for these military deals in light of the resurging social movements to end U.S. military presence in the country. We should, instead, remember the United States’ brutal colonization of the Filipino people, whose demands for the withdrawal of U.S. military presence and military aid, as well as justice for survivors of crimes committed by U.S. troops, ring loudly and painfully to this day. 

~ Bernadette Ellorin is the national spokesperson for the U.S. Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or Bayan USA, an anti-imperialist alliance of thirty-three Filipino grassroots organizations across the United States. Azadeh Shahshahani is legal & advocacy director at Project South, and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Gagnon on KPFA about space & Ukraine

 

On the Show: Biden in Canada. What’s Haiti got to do with this? Also, Harvey Wasserman warns in a new Counterpunch Piece, the White House and congress may be decided in April in Wisconsin And the Democrats may be set to blow it. And fighting against dangerous weapons in space. We’ll speak to Bruce Gagnon, founder of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

US-NATO proxy war in Ukraine utilizes space technology

 


 

The Global Network monthly space video this time reviews how space satellites are used by the US-NATO to target Russian-ethnic regions of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine and Russian military forces.
 
Elon Musk's Space X company is deploying tens of thousands of Starlink satellites in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO). The parking lots in LEO are getting dangerously crowded. Scientists fear cascading collisions as a result.
 
The Pentagon is using Musk's Starlink satellites to provide surveillance and targeting information to the Ukrainian army.
 
Whichever nation(s) control LEO enables them to have considerable advantage on the battlefield.
 
China is responding by announcing it will launch 13,000 satellites into LEO in order to prevent the US-NATO from totally filling up the scarce orbital parking spaces.
 
Danger exists as major powers compete for access and/or domination in space.
 
A new United Nations space weapons ban treaty is needed now more than ever.
 
~ You can find links to all Global Network social media outlets here

Monday, March 27, 2023

Ukrainians receive depleted uranium training

 


 

RT

Kiev’s tankers were filmed handling controversial munitions in a British military documentary 

 

The UK announced on Monday that the Ukrainian soldiers trained on Challenger 2 tanks have finished the course and returned home. The British defense ministry released a documentary that showed Ukrainians handling the depleted uranium armor-piercing rounds, among other things.

British instructors – and at least one American officer, spotted in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) video – spent weeks training Ukrainians how to crew and fight the main battle tanks.

London pledged to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Kiev. Some of them have reportedly already reached Ukraine. The US has promised several of its M1 Abrams MBTs, while several continental NATO members have already delivered German-made Leopards. All Western tanks require a crew of four, including a manual loader, unlike the three-man crews of Ukraine’s original tank fleet of T-64 and T-72s.

Those loaders will have to handle the standard NATO armor-piercing rounds, which are made with depleted uranium rods. The ammunition has been linked to skyrocketing rates of cancer and birth defects in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq.

When DU penetrators strike a target, “they fragment and burn, generating chemically toxic and radioactive DU particulate that poses an inhalational risk to people,” Doug Weir, an expert with the Conflict and Environment Observatory, told Declassified UK. This will be another burden for Ukraine, in a conflict that has already generated “serious pollution problems,” he added.

Weir identified the ammunition in the MoD video as the inert display version of the CHARM3, the 120-millimeter DU ammunition in use by the British military.

The MoD told reporters last week that the “impact to personal health and the environment from the use of depleted uranium munitions is likely to be low.”

In an article published in the Spectator on Sunday, a researcher at the government-funded Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think-tank admitted that DU was “toxic.” Russian soldiers should not “go to sleep cradling a depleted uranium round, or lick the tip,” joked Jack Watling, adding that the projectile “traveling at around 1,800 meters per second and burning up as it flies will be more concerning to any target than its radioactivity.”

The UK announced last week it would send the DU ammunition to Ukraine along with the Challengers. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the move a sign of “absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity.”

The Russian military did not seem concerned about the potential effects of DU in combat. Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, who is in charge of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, pointed out that DU dust will contaminate the soil and wreck Ukraine’s agriculture for decades, while causing “irreparable harm” to the health of Ukrainians, civilian and military alike.

Calling out General Atomics



This video is a grassroots peace protest held on February 14, 2023 in La Jolla, California at the gates of General Atomics, the largest manufacturer of killer drones sold to the U.S. government.  

The protest supports the national Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal (https://www.merchantsofdeath.org) a campaign convened by World Beyond War to hold U.S. weapons manufacturers accountable for myriad human rights violations. The campaign has issued subpoenas to acquire evidence of crimes against humanity for a November War Crimes Tribunal.  Because General Atomics has not yet responded to the subpoenas, protestors came to deliver a citation of contempt.

Acknowledgement: “Killer Drones” was produced with funding from the redirected war taxes of Southern California War Tax Resisters.

Fragmented Yugoslavia - now the goal is same for Russia

 


 

Michael Parenti is an American political scientist, academic historian and cultural critic who writes on scholarly and popular subjects. He has taught at universities as well as run for political office.

Michael Parenti was raised by an Italian-American working-class family in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He received a BA from the City College of New York, an MA from Brown University and a PhD in political science from Yale University. 

Parenti is the father of Christian Parenti, an academic, author and journalist. 

(Don't know the date of this speech but it was some time ago but still quite important.)

Sunday, March 26, 2023

A space launch story

 


 
Comedy....

Met Julian Assange's father & brother last night



Last night MB and I went to Waterville, Maine to see this film about the campaign to free Julian Assange.

Along with us were several friends Luke, Cynthia, Eric, Mark, and Ryan. It felt good to have our crew of good folks together in a theatre that only had a total of 20 people in it.

Julian's dad John Shipton and his brother Gabriel were there as part of a 59-city tour they are currently on.

The film was fantastic and moving beyond imagination. Julian's wife Stella and their two small kids made his persecution by the pirate American government all the more real.

Before the film began John was in the lobby greeting people. I handed him my card and told him the story about our 1989 campaign to stop NASA's launch of the Galileo deep space mission that carried deadly plutonium-238 onboard.

For about one week the launch was delayed for 'unknown reasons' so I kept organizing daily protests and news conferences at the Kennedy Space Center for the international media outlets who were stuck there with nothing else to do.

Years later my son (also named Julian who is a debate coach) was doing some research and came upon a book written by Assange and a co-worker. They told the story about his first ever computer hacking experience where he shut down NASA's launch ability for that week using what they called a 'WANK worm'.

The authors wrote in the book:

For weeks, the protesters had been out in force, demonstrating and seizing media attention. Things had become very heated. On Saturday, 7 October, sign-wielding activists fitted themselves out with gas masks and walked around on street corners in nearby Cape Canaveral in protest. At 8 a.m. on Monday, 9 October, NASA started the countdown for the Thursday blast-off. But as Atlantis's clock began ticking toward take-off, activists from the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice demonstrated at the centre's tourist complex.

That these protests had already taken some of the shine off NASA's bold space mission was the least of the agency's worries. The real headache was that the Florida Coalition told the media it would `put people on the launchpad in a non-violent protest'. The coalition's director, Bruce Gagnon, put the threat in folksy terms, portraying the protesters as the little people rebelling against a big bad government agency. President Jeremy Rivkin of the Foundation on Economic Trends, another protest group, also drove a wedge between `the people' and `NASA's people'. He told UPI, `The astronauts volunteered for this mission. Those around the world who may be the victims of radiation contamination have not volunteered.'

It just goes to show that you never know who is paying attention to your efforts. Who could have known that Julian Assange, who has become a global hero due to his courageous work with Wiki Leaks, would be moved enough by our campaign to feature it in the first chapter of his book? Maybe it was because it was a classic story about out-of-control technology and the "little peoples" reaction. Any way you cut it one has to acknowledge that it has a nice twist.

One side story should be told here as well. My son Julian was nine years old in 1989 and one day I came home from the space center and he had my gas mask on. In his most serious voice he told me, "Don't worry Dad, if Galileo blows up I could wear this gas mask for the rest of my life." He was trying to make me feel better. His words cut right to my heart and my soul and virtually every day since that time I have stayed true to the cause because I believe that no child, my own or anyone else's, should ever have to think of living in a radioactive wasteland wearing a gas mask for their whole life.

Thank you Julian Assange. 

Free Julian Assange now!

Bruce 

Sunday song