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

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Public Relations War

It didn’t take long, after Russia began its anti-terrorist bombing campaign, for social media to be flooded with ‘evidence’ of civilian casualties. The claims were readily repeated by Western mainstream media - and even some peaceniks.

It turns out the reports were false and fabricated.

Space Week Events Underway

We are starting to get some feedback from folks around the world who are organizing Keep Space for Peace Week events during October 3-10. 
The video above is from the protest at the US space surveillance and communications base at Croughton in Northamptonshire, England.

This photo is from the first of several events planned in Nagpur, India during space week.  Other events are also scheduled in several other cities throughout India as well.

Following our October 3 event at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine we gathered in front of the shipyard administration building for a photo.  We'll be back here for another vigil again on Thursday, Oct 15 as the Maine Peace Walk passes through Bath at the time of the 3:30 pm shift change.

Then we also plan to return on Saturday, October 31 at the time of the next 'christening' of another Aegis destroyer from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Thousands of people come for the ceremony so there will be a huge crowd for us to communicate with on that day.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Latest Show

Len Yannielli, a retired biology teacher, is interviewed by Bruce Gagnon on "This Issue" about his new book "The Shares -- A Story of Revolutionary War History in a Connecticut Community," where Len in more recent times organized a campaign to preserve a sensitive tract of land. In addition, they discuss climate change and other sensitive issues.

Sunday Song


Saturday, October 03, 2015

U.S. Chief Middle East Buddy Saudi Arabia: Executioners Wanted

Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people's history of resistance to it.

With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

This is How WW III Could Start

This is Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) who is a leading fascist in Washington - one of many.  His harsh words in this Senate speech indicates the kind of dangerous and provocative talk coming out of Congress these days.

(It's not just Republicans talking like this. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for establishing a no-fly zone in Syria "to stop the carnage on the ground and strikes from the sky, to somehow clarify the situation, to try to stop the flow of refugees". Clinton also noted that "Putin is playing a very dangerous and cynical game. He definitely does everything in his power to support Assad and to consolidate the Russian presence in Syria and the Middle East".)

The feeling of US exceptionalism and entitlement is clearly evident in Cotton's  hostile words.  He assumes that the US can go make war anywhere on the planet that it wishes to.  Despite the fact that Syria invited Russia, and not the US, into their country Cotton still arrogantly declares the right of the US to control the world.  He rejects regional powers like Iran, Iraq, or Russia having the right to be concerned about what a mess the US has made in the Middle East.

This kind of talk could get a war going real quick with Russia.  Cotton calls on the US to shoot down Russian planes over Syria.  If his warmongering demands are followed the US just might find itself in the middle of World War III.

Sadly there are many of these fascists in Washington who do want the 'final solution' with Russia and China before those nations successfully create the multi-polar world that would put the US in its rightful place as just one nation among many.  The thought of the US bully having to get along with others on the 'global playground' is just too much for these arrogant cats to consider.

In the end I hope their words are just bluster and will be ignored.  If the public remains silent the power of fascists like Cotton will surely grow.  If the public speaks out and rejects these dangerous and provocative words then, like Dracula, Cotton will shrink under the light of truth.  Let's hope the American people wake up from their own slumbers in time.

Sorrows of Empire

Coleen Rowley interviewed at a Des Moines, Iowa Air Guard Drone piloting base protest.

When Coleen Rowley was an FBI agent in Minneapolis, her office got a lead just three weeks before 9-11: A known Islamic extremist named Zacarias Moussaoui had paid $8000 in cash for lessons to fly a Boeing 747. Rowley's team arrested him and wanted a warrant to search his laptop computer but Rowley's superiors at FBI headquarters said "no."

After 9/11, when it became clear that more could have been done, Rowley wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller a letter pointing out that "no one will ever know" the impact the computer search would have had calling his defense of the agency a "rush to judgment to protect the FBI at all costs." She testified in a Senate hearing a few weeks later. She was chosen by TIME magazine as one of their Persons of the Year in 2002. 

Getting Ready for the Peace Walk

Maine artist Russell Wray made this banner for our upcoming peace walk down the coast of our state.  He will hang it on the side of the bus we will use as the 'blister vehicle' as we head south on US Hwy 1 from Ellsworth to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Russell really captured the theme of our walk perfectly in this incredible work of art.

He's also made a fiberglass dolphin that will sit on top of the bus.  Actually he made it years ago for a walk across America and he pulled the dolphin, that he calls Maka, on a cart the whole way.  He's redesigned Maka to sit on top of the bus and even called the state to make sure it would fit under all bridges along the coast.

Russell has carried on the often lonely struggle here in Maine for years as the chief advocate for sea mammals that are impacted by Navy sonar.  So it was an easy decision for him to take on the art work for the walk.  We've been repeatedly moved by his gentle nature and deep affection for our relations under the seas.

I had a call early this morning from Starr Gilmartin who has been in charge of organizing the first couple of days of the walk in the Ellsworth area.  She's coordinated food, housing, media, public outreach and more.  When she called she asked if she woke me up and I said yes.  'Well this is training for the walk', she told me, 'you've got to start practicing getting up earlier'.  I told her I hoped to begin that training next week......

I've got a long list of Odds & Ends that need to get done before we start walking in Ellsworth on October 9.  I'm still waiting for the call from the local health food store about our order of 10 pounds of chunky peanut butter.  I've got to make a batch of hummus and cut carrots from the garden for our lunches the first few days.  I've got ice in used milk jugs in the freezer to keep our coolers cold.  I've yet to get signs made on sturdy poster board for the walkers to carry. We got a Subaru wagon donated to carry our gear but I discovered the front brakes were shot so yesterday spent two hours in the repair shop getting them fixed.  Gotta have brakes on US 1!

You can follow our walk updates on the Facebook page set up by Lisa Savage.  Find it here

I just learned yesterday that the next 'christening' of a Navy Aegis destroyer at Bath Iron Works here in Maine will happen on Saturday, October 31.   So we will be asking folks to come to Bath for a protest that day (from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm) as we walk.  Timing could not have been better.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Carving Up the Middle East

In this first episode of a two-part series for his TeleSUR show “Days of Revolt,” Chris Hedges and Sabah Alnasseri, Associate Professor of Middle East Politics at York University, trace the roots of Islamic State to their origins and explore comparisons to the 20th-century genesis of Israel.

Hedges begins by pointing out how the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, responsible for “carving up the Middle East and turning countries into protectorates,” has only been changed twice—once with the Israeli independence and now with Islamic State.

As Hedges put it, the tactics used to redraw the map in the Middle East are both effective and familiar, including the “use of foreign money, use of foreign fighters, tactics of ethnic cleansing and terrorism and this mythical vision—in the case of Israel, the recreation of Judea and Sumeria from the Bible, and in the case of ISIS, the recreation of the seventh-century caliphate.”

Alnasseri agrees, opening his response with the observation that, “to understand the pheonomenon of ISIS we need to contextualize it within the setbacks and counterrevolution against the Arab revolutions.“

Interesting Interview on Syria

Srđa Trifković is a Serbian-American writer on international affairs and foreign affairs editor for the magazine Chronicles.

I know this is all very confusing to most people - especially when the media in the west is so full of lies and distortion.  It's hard to figure out what is true and what is not about Syria.

I highly recommend reading this timely article on the Syria situation by journalist Robert Parry here

Endless War $pending

  • Obama      FY2010-15      $663.4 billion per year
  • Bush Jr      FY2002-09*   $634.9    "
  • Clinton       FY1994-2001  $418.0    "    (This was the period after the Soviet Union fell apart thus the lower Pentagon budgets)
  • Bush Sr      FY1990-93     $513.4    "     
  • Reagan      FY1982-89     $565.0    "      
  • Carter         FY1978-81    $428.1     "      
  • Ford            FY1976-77    $406.7     "    
  • Nixon          FY1970-75    $441.7     "     
  • Johnson      FY1965-69    $527.3     "    
  • Kennedy     FY1962-64    $457.2     "     
  • Eisenhower FY1954-61    $416.3     "
  • Truman       FY1948-53    $375.7     "    

*Excludes $80 billion supplemental added to FY2009 under Obama.

 The U.S. military receives more generous funding than the rest of the 10 largest militaries in the world combined (China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, U.K., France, Japan, India, Germany & South Korea). 

Can we not see that both Republican and Democrat presidents have kept the $$$ pipeline into the Pentagon flowing on a steady basis?  All the current talk in Washington about the military budget being in bad shape is pure baloney.