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: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

COWBOY & INDIAN ALLIANCE



Ranchers, farmers and tribal communities gathered in Washington to protest against the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

HOW DRONES USE SATELLITES



Distributed Ground Control System feed map for drone warfare all linked together with very expensive military satellites.

Might have to watch it a couple times, it's very short but full of information.

Chris Cole (UK Drone Campaign Network) reports:

The Distributed Common Ground System is the US military’s key tool for collecting, analysing and distributing information and intelligence collected from U-2, Global Hawk, Predator, Reaper, MC-12 and what the USAF discreetly calls “other ISR platforms” (i.e. the Sentinel).   Other, more traditional manned aircraft also feed intelligence from various electronic sensors into the DCGS.

There are five military DCGS core sites which receive, analyze and disseminate information from “multiple ISR platforms in multiple theaters of operation simultaneously.”   The core sites, which are in turn networked with more than 20 other specialist information processing sites, are located at Langley Air Force base in Virginia, Beale Air Force base in California, Hickam Air Force base in Hawaii; Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea.

A sixth DCGS, developed and operated by the US ‘intelligence community’ is not marked on the map no doubt for national security reasons. 

ON SACRED LANDS



Clean Up The Mines
cleanupthemines@gmail.com
www.cleanupthemines.org

Defenders of Black Hills
Charmaine White Face
bhdefenders@msn.com
www.defendblackhills.org

National Campaign Launched to Clean Up ‘America’s Secret Fukushima’
Earth Day Actions at Mt. Rushmore & Cheyenne River Expose Toxic Threats

Red Shirt Village, Oglala Lakota Nation (SOUTH DAKOTA) –

Organizations from throughout the United States held an Earth Day ceremony to launch a nation-wide campaign to clean up hazardous abandoned uranium mines (AUMs). Clean Up The Mines! calls for effective and complete eradication of the contamination caused by the estimated 10,000 abandoned uranium mines that are silently poisoning extensive areas of the U.S.

Clean Up The Mines! volunteers from across the country toured abandoned mines this week. They donned hazardous materials suits at Mount Rushmore and carried a large banner to raise awareness of the 169 AUMs in the Southwestern Black Hills near Edgemont. There are another 103 AUMS in the Northwest corner near Buffalo. The Northern Great Plains Region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota contains more than 3,000 AUMs.

In Riley Pass, one of the largest AUMs in South Dakota, the deadly effect of the mine was apparent. As the group approached the bluff, the tree line ended abruptly at the edge of the mine. At Ludlow, the group measured radioactivity with a Geiger counter at an elementary school playground that was 44 microrems/hour. This is the equivalent of more than 150 Counts Per Minute (CPM), over the 100 CPM threshold, which means it cannot be attributed to background radiation. During the tour, people from every community spoke of health problems related to uranium exposure and their high level of concern over the lack of information about the AUMs and action to remediate them.

Today, dozens from the community joined with members of organizations including Defenders of Black Hills, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, Peace Pagoda, Veterans for Peace, and Popular Resistance at the Cheyenne River Bridge. They posted signs stating “Warning, Radioactive River” to raise awareness of the radioactive contamination of the Cheyenne River caused by AUMs.
Afterwards, a rally was held in the nearby community of Red Shirt Village where residents cannot drink local water due to uranium and arsenic contamination. Robert Two Bulls, a local spiritual leader, initiated the campaign launch in prayer.

Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, facilitated the event. “For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable,” stated White Face. “Shame on the American federal and state governments for allowing their citizens to be placed in such danger for more than 50 years and not stopping the source of the danger. It is a national travesty.” She noted that thyroid cancer rates are ten times higher than the national average in Western South Dakota. Uranium exposure also causes birth defects, kidney disease and numerous other serious health conditions.

“The mines are a silent health threat. Millions of people are at risk of breathing or ingesting radioactive particles that travel through the air and water and settle in soil where they enter our food system.” Margaret Flowers M.D., an organizer with Popular Resistance. “From speaking to community members and taking our own measurements, we find enough evidence to say there should be more investigation and serious efforts to protect the people. That’s why this campaign to clean up the mines is so important.”

Sandra Cuny Buffington, from the Red Shirt community, a rancher with cattle in the Bad Lands, lived at the river until it wasn’t possible anymore because of contamination. She spoke of high rates of cancer in the area. “We know we are contaminated but where are we going to go? I don’t know of any other life than the one that I have lived. As crazy as it sounds, you learn how to live with it.”

“Abandoned uranium mines are devastating to the health of local populations,” explained Dr.  Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential candidate, “The mines threaten not only our health but our economies and ecosystems as well. We’re here to insist on cleaning up the mines and transitioning to a clean renewable energy system. This transition can put American back to work while vastly improving our health. The health savings alone will pay for the costs of this transition.”

“Desecration of the land, the water, the very air we breathe. We see lack of concern for living beings, placing profit before people, before the living earth,” said Tarak Kauff, Board of Directors, Veterans for Peace. “The radiation affects more than just the first nation people living in close proximity. The wind and water carry cancer-causing substances much further. It up to us, an awakened public, ordinary black, brown, white and red people working together to demand, to insure that these toxic highly radioactive abandoned mines be cleaned up – for us and for future generations.”

“From mining, in-situ leaching (similar to fracking), milling, processing, nuclear bomb and energy, depleted uranium weapons to the waste products that have no grave, the only safe place for uranium is in the ground. Uranium and other radioactive materials have been poisoning our environment in increasing amounts since the 1940s,” said Helen Jaccard, volunteer with Clean Up The Mines. “Exploitative corporations and negligent government agencies walked away from their responsibilities.”

“If we don’t defend our sacred water it will be the end of us all,” added Dennis Yellow Thunder, Natural Resources Technician for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resources Regulatory Resources Agency. “We must support this campaign to clean up the mines. We need to protect this land, our water and the sacred Black Hills. We need to do it from our heart.”

White Face concluded, “Currently no laws require clean up of these dangerous abandoned Uranium mines. We are letting Congress know: It is time to clean up the mines! We value persistence. We will employ a variety of tactics including legislative and judicial avenues to hold the government and corporations accountable for their negligence and community-based actions to raise awareness and clean up the mines.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MILITARIZING CANADA




THE SMOKING POP-GUN


UKRAINE: "Obama Endorses a Forgery"

By Diana Johnstone, 20 April 2014

On Friday, April 18, President Obama voiced his righteous indignation over anti-Semitic fliers pasted on synagogue walls in the pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.  The fliers, calling on all Jews to register or face expulsion, had appeared the day before and were instantly denounced by Donetsk leaders as a gross provocation and a forgery.

The next day, however, Obama “expressed his disgust quite bluntly”.  At least, that is what his hawkish national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the public. “I think we all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century,” she declared. This presidential reaction occurred 24 hours after the pamphlet in question had been thoroughly denounced as a fake, not only by the Donetsk leader, Denis Pushilin, who said his signature on the document had been forged, but by local Jewish community leaders and even by The New Republic, which cannot be accused of indifference to anti-Semitism.

Scarcely had the fake document been glued to a wall than Secretary of State John Kerry mounted his habitual high horse to declare resoundingly that: “In the year 2014, after all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable.” (It is an essential part of the Imperial rhetoric to assert on every such occasion what is or is not acceptable in “the second American century”.)

Now let’s be logical. When John Kerry denounces this document before the ink is dry, when President Obama and Susan Rice publicly endorse this forgery after it has been amply exposed in world media as disinformation, we must logically conclude that this propaganda morsel was a deliberate part of the US strategy to destabilize Ukraine by slandering pro-Russian anti-fascists as anti-Semitic. The purpose is clearly to drown out news of the pro-Nazi sympathies of the Svoboda party and the Right Sector that the US has chosen as anti-Russian allies. How can top US leaders be perfectly aware of what is written in Ukrainian on a piece of paper glued to a synagogue in Donetsk, and not know what was written in Haaretz and The New Republic?  These endorsements are strong evidence of complicity in the forgery, since it is not credible that Kerry, Rice and Obama were too innocent to suspect a forgery.

I call this the smoking pop-gun.


And meanwhile, while the US neocons try to smear the Eastern Ukrainian anti-fascists as anti-Semites, Benyamin Netanyahu is trying to cozy up to Putin.  The Israeli leader is clever enough to bow out of a losing game. All those US leaders who constantly pledge their allegiance to Israel are outraged at such disloyalty.

Never before have U.S. leaders been quite so reckless in asserting falsehoods as in this Ukrainian operation. They have a scenario and they are carrying it out, despite revelations that Victoria Nuland personally selected the new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk, that the Kiev snipers who facilitated the putsch that put Yats in office were hired by the pro-Western rebels, that their “freedom fighters” this time are Hitler fans and that about half the population of Ukraine identifies with Russia.

Never mind, the show must go on.  They are counting on the vast, bottomless ignorance of the American masses concerning the rest of the world to allow them to get away with anything. The public doesn’t need to know anything about Ukraine, all they need is to be persuaded that it is Goldylocks being threatened by a big bad bear.

But the whole world is not that ignorant. Notably not the Germans.

 All Is Not Quiet on the Eastern Front


German media, who, like other NATO satellites, have been largely following the anti-Putin Russophobe line laid down by Washington, are being besieged by complaints from readers and television spectators.  The German public seems to know where Ukraine is located and what is happening.

Just as John Kerry was reminding the world of US moral leadership in the 21st century, three hundred German intellectuals addressed a respectful and supportive letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Directly answering Putin’s request for understanding from the German people, the letter recalled that “the Soviet Union had made the decisive contribution to freeing Europe from National Socialism, at an incomparable loss of life,” and was ready in 1990 “to support German reunification, to dissolve the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and to accept united Germany’s membership in NATO”. But the West had failed to honor its agreement, and had rewarded Gorbachev’s generosity by aggressively expanding NATO right up to Russia’s doorstep.

It is fully documented, the letter notes, that “the United States has taken advantage of the justified protests of the Ukrainian population for its own aims”, along the model of other countries such as Serbia, Libya, etc.

Under these circumstances, with some thousand US military bases worldwide and US control of straits and the resulting danger to the Russian Black Sea fleet, the German signatories see the secession of Crimea as “a defensive measure with a clear message: up to here and no farther! The decisive difference with the declaration of independence of Kosovo is that for the latter the precondition was an illegal bombing campaign by NATO – unfortunately with German participation.”

            The U.S. Purpose


The German letter recalls that Putin has called for economic cooperation in a “Common European House” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, in which Ukraine could act as an “ideal bridge” for future cooperation between the European Union and a Eurasian Union.

“We are convinced that the purpose of the United States’ massive seizure of influence is to make this bridge function impossible.”

Observing that recent polls show that a majority of Germans understand the Russian reaction to Ukraine events and reject any confrontation with the Russian Federation, the signatories promise, despite the foreseeable difficulties, to do what they can to prevent the splitting of Europe.  They close with personal wishes to Putin for strength, perseverance, wisdom and good luck.

We are certainly not there yet, but it would be some sort of poetic justice if the final historic outcome of the land-grabbing caper by Victoria Nuland, John Kerry, Susan Rice and Samantha Power were to gain control of a divided, quarrelsome and bankrupt Ukraine… and lose control of Germany.

ALL THINGS MUST PASS


  • MB is off work today and I took the car to Brunswick to do some needed errands.  Along the way I listened to right-wing talk radio (there is no middle-of-the-road or left-wing talk radio here) and Glenn Beck was mocking Earth Day.  I felt sad that he is so disconnected from our spinning orb we call home.  Some get it and some don't..... how could it be?
  • While listening I heard a political radio advertisement speaking to women.  The ad was saying that raising the minimum wage in Maine would badly hurt women - thus avoid at all costs!  This ad was paid for by......

  • Glenn Beck was also interviewing a religious leader about how to successfully raise children.  The man was saying that we have to teach our kids to work (which I am not opposed to doing) and then went on to say that we have to teach them that with their money they are in fact "managing $$$ for the lord".... and what would the lord have us do with our money?  Buy guns and warships or feed the poor?
  • My horoscope today suggests that I not deal with money matters nor try to do anything that takes much thought.  Instead it suggests I should do something physical such as picking up fallen branches in the yard.  They make good kindling in the winter. 

JUST WHERE IS UKRAINE?



Kiev has rolled out the red carpet for US vice-president Joe Biden, the latest high-ranking American official to greet Ukraine's new leadership. Washington's standing squarely behind the interim government in Kiev, although the American people don't seem so well informed about who their leaders are backing. RT's Gayane Chichakyan reports.

Monday, April 21, 2014

MOYERS ON OIL-I-GARCHY



The median pay for the top 100 highest-paid CEOs at America’s publicly traded companies was a handsome $13.9 million in 2013. That’s a 9 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new Equilar pay study for The New York Times.

These types of jumps in executive compensation may have more of an effect on our widening income inequality than previously thought. A new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.

US-NATO PUSHING WAR WITH RUSSIA... AND SOME HISTORY



NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove continues to play up the idea of an imminent Russian invasion of eastern Europe, saying the alliance is preparing “countermoves” in the region that likely will include US ground troops along the Russian border.

Gen. Breedlove said the plan right now is for a buildup of land, air, and naval assets in the region to “build assurance for our easternmost allies."

It never fails to astound me how hypocritical these cats are - I remember every damn US military attack and occupation of a sovereign nation during my lifetime....makes my blood boil.

Why should I get upset?  It's just the way it has always been some say.  But I was a Young Republican Air Force GI, who bought the patriotic line.  Huge framed pictures of Air Force war planes on the flight line hung on my bedroom wall, along with my crucifix, most of my first 17 years.  I feel betrayed by the system and give thanks to the great spirit that I discovered Native American history and spirituality as a young boy to counterbalance my right-wing brainwashing.  I indeed did eventually see the light.

I have a special ear for the bullshit now.  I grew up around it and understand how the whole thing works.

Studies show that a high-level of the current US military officer corps are right-wing evangelical 'Christens' who are excitedly anticipating the 'coming rapture".  By forcing the confrontation with the 'bad bear' they will help bring on the second coming of Christ.  They are doing gods work.  They are the American version of the Taliban and they are out to bring the world to its knees.

Behind them are the power boys who really run the show.  They make the big money and control the land and resources around the world.  The corporate Mr. Big.  They use the American Taliban as their shock (and awe) troops. Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler was right when he called it a racket.  It's a corporate criminal syndicate.  I wish the cops would chase them down instead of spying on, infiltrating, and disrupting citizens movements back at home that are trying to deal with the problems and really help the people.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

REPRESSIVE NEW WORLD



They try to sell all of this new surveillance technology as a way to make our lives more secure and easier.  But there can be little doubt that these technologies are all about tracking every move we make.

The next step will be getting rid of money and just having all your financial dealings computerized.  Then if you move into opposition against the corporate oil-i-garchy they could just have your computer file turned off and you would have no way to travel, buy food, or the like.

Think I am being paranoid? Think again.  We are being sold a pig in a poke here that will make it easier to control all of us.

Agree to a microchip implanted in my body?  Not while I am still living and breathing.

MERCHANTS OF DOUBT



Worldwide 'Biblical' disasters predicted by new UN study; successive global catastrophes served by a small sinister network of 'institutes'; and corporate-funded gangs trained to troll web users. Seek truth from facts with Merchants of Doubt co-author Professor Naomi Oreskes; As You Sow chief executive Andrew Behar; and science writer John Gibbons.

SUNDAY SONG




Saturday, April 19, 2014

CAMBRIDGE CONFERENCE


I took the bus early this morning from Portland to Boston in order to get to the Asia-Pacific peace conference being held in Cambridge at the Friends Meeting House.  I will speak on a panel after lunch.

I got here about 30 minutes after the event began and caught the end of speech by Hideki Yoshikawa from Okinawa who was sharing stories about their struggle against expanding US military bases.  Other activists from Korea and China will also be talking. 

Hyun Lee, the Korean activist from New York City, who came to Maine last week to our rally at Bath Iron Works is here.  She, along with Joseph Gerson from the AFSC who organized today's event, also spoke in Orono and Brunswick last week when they came to Maine.

These events in Maine and here are being held in response to the call by the National Working Group for Peace & Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific for nationwide actions this spring to bring this important issue to the public's attention.

The Obama 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific to encircle China will be an expensive and provocative undertaking.

I take the bus back to Portland tonight.