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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Footage shows a brawl between opposition Ukrainian party members in parliament today. The fight was between members of the nationalist Svoboda [Freedom] party and the Party of Regions. The fighting broke out after parliamentary members voted to call up military reserves to 'protect Ukraine's border with Russia' and one parliamentary member told an opposition politician that his party "kills its citizens."

The Svoboda party is fascistic and anti-semitic. Earlier today Ukrainian parliament banned the Communist Party. Does this remind you anything? Communist Party was banned in Nazi Germany one day after Adolf Hitler emerged triumphant in the German elections in 1933.


BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa



Smart move to give the black boxes directly to Malaysian authorities.  Would not have been good if US-NATO got their hands on them.  Now maybe we'll get a clearer picture about what really happened.


We had a presence at the Israeli consulate yesterday in Washington DC. Col. Ann Wright read the letter (below) out loud (we had a speaker system). I read my own statement (below) and then Tighe from Code Pink who supplied the graves spoke spontaneously condemning Israel and supporting Palestinian's right to live, then Helen Jaccard also spoke very strongly and then I spoke again off the cuff and from my heart as a Jew. Channel 9 had someone there and I was interviewed by phone by some news service. It was all filmed by the great Pali Wieland and of course Ellen Davidson took pictures. We stand with Palestine - - we will not be silent. As you all know there have been major protests here in Washington DC and around the country condemning Israel and the US Congress for it's support of Israel. All the protests supported more than ever now the call for BDS. This latest horror perpetrated by Israel will backfire upon them. As I said in my spontaneous remarks at the embassy - Israel is sowing the seeds of it's own demise.

Free Palestine!

Tarak Kauff
Veterans for Peace


To: Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer

From: Veterans For Peace National Board of Directors

Dear Ambassador Dermer,

As veterans who have witnessed the horror of war, we are deeply outraged by the state of Israel's slaughter of many innocent civilians in Gaza. The military assault against children, women and men, by air, by sea and now by land, is a clear violation of international laws of war and of human rights.   More than 500 Palestinians have been murdered, almost all of them civilians, nearly a quarter of them children. Thousands are wounded, including nearly 1,000 children.

Veterans For Peace joins millions of people all around the globe who are shocked by this vicious, one-sided slaughter. We understand the huge injustice of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed from their homes and forced to live in the Occupied West Bank, or in the open-air prison that is Gaza.

Mr. Ambassador, please tell the government of Israel to stop the massacre now! There should be an immediate end to all bombing and an immediate withdrawal of all Israeli military from Gaza.

Mr. Ambassador, please remind Prime Minister Netanyahu that you can bomb the world into pieces, but you cannot bomb it into peace.

Veterans For Peace calls for an end to the 8-year blockade of Gaza, so that normal trade and travel can occur.

Mr. Ambassador, please remind the government of Israel of the billions of dollars in aid that is provided to Israel by the United States. Veterans For Peace will push for an end to all military aid to Israel until such time as the Israeli occupation gives way to real peace negotiations based on the human rights of all the people concerned.

Veterans For Peace recommits itself to participating in the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and Israeli products.

We encourage all parties to search for a nonviolent path to peace. We urge both Hamas and the government of Israel to refrain from targeting civilians. We especially call on the state of Israel to stop its massive violence now. It is time to recognize the human rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to return to the homes from which they were forced to flee in 1948.

Mr. Ambassador, the peoples of Palestine, Israel and the world deserve to live in peace and harmony.  The ultimate goal of Veterans For Peace is to abolish war. In the meantime, we stand ready to assist those Israelis and Palestinians who seek peace and reconciliation. 

Monday, July 21, 2014


Many years ago while attending the University of Florida I got a part-time job working for a disabled woman.  I'd do simple chores for her and go to the library to do research for her book on genocide that she was writing.  Her basic premise was that genocide takes many forms - it wasn't just Hitler's ovens that killed the Jews.

To help illustrate this point she needed a page from a particular book and I was to find and copy it for her.  This important document was called the "Caloric Reduction Intake Schedule" for the Jews inside the Warsaw ghetto in Poland.  I was stunned when I found it and to this day the imprint of this document is still in my mind and my soul.

The Nazi's were feeling the international pressure from their gas chambers where they were killing Jews.  So they needed other ways to wipe out Jewish people - more subtle ways.  They created a plan, a schedule to reduce the food intake of Jews inside Warsaw knowing that over a certain period of time the people would die from malnutrition.

Thus we see today a similar strategy, remarkably and sickly, being used by Israel to help eliminate the Palestinian people.  Israel created their own version of the caloric schedule for the Palestinians.  Dated from 2008 and entitled, Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip - The Red Lines, it is a detailed study of how many calories Palestinians needed to eat to avoid malnutrition. In 2012 BBC reported this story and wrote:

In 2006, Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass was widely quoted as having said: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger."
When you see Gaza today, literally bombed back into the stone age, you know that it will now be virtually impossible for them to repair their open air prison nor be able to care for the many thousands of people who will be without homes, food, water, or medical care after two Gaza hospitals were blasted by the Israeli military.  The so-called tunnels that Israel wanted to shut down were primarily used to smuggle food and building supplies into Gaza so they could live.  Israel is now closing that door too.

Israel knows that thousands and thousands of Palestinians will die prematurely because they will have limited access to the essentials of life.

Sadly the Israeli's have become the new Nazi's.  You'd think they'd know better but their Zionist zeal has broken their link to humanity and sanity.

Much is made of Hamas trying to defend their people from constant and over whelming Israeli attacks but I can't help but think back to Jews who lived in European cities occupied by Hitler's rampaging armies.  People still often wonder aloud why more Jews did not join the resistance to fight for their lives against Hitler's forces. 

Israel, and their benefactors in the US, want the Palestinian people to submit, to surrender to their hopeless life of imprisonment.  When they dare stand up to defend themselves they are pulverized back into submission.  These are indeed war crimes and everyone who remains silent in these moments, to one degree or the other, is complicit in this genocide that we are now witnessing. 


Israeli snipers have been caught on camera firing upon a Palestinian civilian of Gaza while he searches for relatives among the rubble of his city.  He is surrounded by medics and international volunteers who are supporting the search, and bear witness to his shooting.

He is shot first in the hand.  While he writhes in shock and pain, and the others are frozen in fear, the sniper fires a second shot which appears to be near fatal – his hands flailing intermittently.  Finally, a third shot appears to kill him.

This is a war crime.
  •  There are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees living in UNWRA camps having been displaced from their lands by Israel
  • The UN has made 69 resolutions against Israel, declared its settlement program ‘deplorable’ and illegal and that its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank violates International Law
  • Before and since Israel ‘withdrew’ from Gaza in 2009, it has imprisoned Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants behind an apartheid wall, and blockaded the strip of land by air and sea too.  In 2006, Israeli government adviser Dov Weisglass said of the deliberate policy to cap food imports to imprisoned Gaza: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Nevertheless, the UN describe the blockade as making Gaza “uninhabitable”.
  • The United Nations under secretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes states that Gaza’s citizens are “living in a large open-air prison,”
  • Gaza is the 40th most densely populated place on earth.
It is into this stricken city that Israel has unleashed its third major military assault in the last seven years, with 512 Palestinians and counting killed so far, around 80% of them civilians, according to figures from the UN.

Israel has excused itself of responsibility for these deaths – instead blaming Hamas for using Palestinians as “human shields”.

It is clear from this video and the countless others like it streaming out of besieged Gaza, that Israel is deliberately killing civilians.

This massacre is being conducted with full diplomatic and financial backing from the US and UK governments – while worldwide protests express the outrage of ordinary citizens. 

Written by Kerry-Anne here


Germany, France and Britain have threatened Moscow with sanctions over the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine. Shortly after the tragedy headlines blaming Russia have appeared in scores of publications across Europe. For more analysis on this RT is joined by British labor politician and former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.


Sunday, July 20, 2014


Fascinating and troubling story emerging from eastern Ukraine.  The international crash investigation team appears to be huddled in Kiev and not being in any hurry to come to crash site to begin their investigation.

Local self-defense forces, already accused by Obama and the western media for the crime, appear to be stalling knowing that plane victims bodies are decomposing in the hot weather and making a serious investigation more difficult.

Why the delays in getting the international team to the crash site?

[For subtitles click the "captions" button next to the "settings" wheel on lower right corner of your screen]

Alexander Borodai, the PM of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, addresses reporters on the Malaysian flight #MH17 crash.



Barack Obama claims the US has firm evidence that the plane was shot down by a missile, fired from an area controlled by anti-Kiev fighters. He also accuses Russia of supporting them. Nevertheless US president agrees to Putin's calls to conduct transparent investigation and says it's too early to say who and why shot down the plane. Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern see the situation as isolation for President Poroshenko.


Professor of Russian Studies Stephen Cohen (Princeton & New York University) on what this incident could mean for the region. His most recent article for The Nation magazine is "The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities."


Saturday, July 19, 2014



The Ukranian (Ukie) Army shells civilian targets near Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

What crime did these targeted people commit?  They speak Russian and request to have their language honored and they be allowed to elect their own officials to represent them rather than have them appointed by Kiev and their US-EU sponsors.  Also, because they live so close to Russia and have traded with them for a long time they wish to continue a positive trade relationship with their fellow 'Moskols' as the Kiev-based oligarchs and neo-Nazi's seem to call anyone of Russian origin.

Then a plane gets shot out of the sky. Alot of questions yet to be answered such as:

1. Did the plane actually change course as it flew over eastern Ukraine? Why? Who? etc...
2. Is there any truth about the Spanish man working in the control tower of Kiev's airport who repeatedly tweeted that the Malaysian plane was shot down by two of Kiev's own warplanes?
3. Is it true that the so-called talking video, of alleged Russian officer and self-defense forces person 'confirming' the shooting of the plane, was posted on YouTube the day before the event actually happened?  I guess the date gets posted on YouTube when you upload a video.  Makes sense.
4. In a complicated moment like this how could the US be so sure that it was the fault of Russia?  The US declared as much very quickly after the incident happened.
5. Did the announcement of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) new economic development bank, that will be a global rival to IMF and World Bank, have any impact on the creation of this incident?
6. Why is Malaysian airlines being picked for these recent disasters?
7. Who stands to benefit if the US-NATO win the media war and pin this on Putin no matter what the evidence might eventually say? ....the headlines today are all that counts to the power mongers.


  • MB and I made the hour long drive to Hallowell, Maine today for their annual parade where we carried this banner.  There was a small peace delegation (about 10) that we joined in the parade that passes through the heart of the riverside community.  Like always there was a huge crowd of people lining both sides of the downtown portion of the parade route and we got a good reception.  Many people took photos of the banner.
  • Obama announced yesterday that he wants to privatize more of the public commons.  Due to the fact that Republicans and Democrats can't agree on how to fund road repair the president is proposing to turn America's highways over to private investors.
Here is some reporting on this story from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Speaking beside a project to repair a closed interstate highway bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, Obama called for making it easier for states and local governments to access private capital for roads, bridges and other infrastructure. 

“So far Congress has refused to act,” said Obama, who criticized lawmakers for failing to fully fund federal infrastructure projects through the Highway Trust Fund . “I’m going to do whatever I can to create jobs rebuilding American on my own.”

It seems fairly obvious to me what is going on here.  Both corporate dominated political parties play good cop - bad cop and the response is "We have no other choice.  We have to privatize in order to keep the roads and bridges open!"

Watch closely and see how public roads, bridges, sewer & water systems and even state and national parks will be increasingly put on the auction block.  What's next?  Disney takes over Jellystone Park?

Look at what happened to Detroit.... Michigan turned over the running of that depressed city to a private corporation and now they've decided to shut off poor people's access to water.

Solution:  Stop spending $1 trillion a year on endless war, space weapons technology, NSA surveillance, nuclear weapons, and the rest of the military madness and we could afford to fix our roads, sewer systems and a whole lot more.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Just discovered this video from a talk I gave in Cambridge, MA during a mid-April conference on US 'pivot' to Asia-Pacific.  My job was to talk about creating solidarity with those in the Pacific region who are working so hard to stop the expansion of US military bases on their lands.



On May 20, 2009, four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, were apprehended for an alleged terror plot. They had no history of violence or terrorist ties, but had been drawn by a Pakistani FBI informant into a carefully orchestrated scheme to bomb Jewish synagogues in Riverdale, a wealthy neighborhood in New York City and fire Stinger missiles at U.S. military supply planes. Their dramatic arrest, complete with armored cars, a SWAT team and FBI aircraft, played out under the gaze of major TV outlets, ultimately resulting in 25-year prison sentences for the “Newburgh Four.”

Amidst the media frenzy surrounding the case, political figures extolled the outcome as a victory in the “war on terror” and a “textbook example of how a major investigation should be conducted,” though others believed the four men were victims of FBI entrapment.

THE NEWBURGH STING, debuting MONDAY, JULY 21 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, features unsettling FBI hidden camera footage, never before publicly released, and insights from Muslim leaders and high-level Washington insiders, including former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes, Congressman Keith Ellison and former FBI undercover agent Mike German, as well as intimate interviews with the families of the Newburgh Four. Offering startling insights into the state of surveillance in a post-9/11 world, the film is directed and produced by the team of Kate Davis and David Heilbroner (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Jockey”).


 Sen. Angus King (I-Maine)

Our local Bath-based group called the Midcoast Citizens for Sustainable Economies met with Maine's Sen. Angus King this morning at a church in Brunswick for 45 minutes.  We went to talk about the need to diversify Maine's current dependence on military production.  Seven of us (including past and current Bath Iron Works employees) urged him to help bring to Maine some funds from the Pentagon's Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) that is available to communities to help plan for diversification and/or conversion of their local military installation or facility.

King commented that doing such a thing was a "Delicate issue psychologically.  Now things are going well for the Navy as we shift to the Pacific."  He said he had no inherent objection though.  "I just don't want to ask for money [OEA] that presupposes closure of the yard."

One of our group reminded Sen. King that we are trying to diversify the shipyard at this stage.  We can't assume that federal money for military production will be sustained at its current level and cutbacks are inevitable.  We should be prepared and not wait and have to back-peddle once cuts eventually come.

King said he would review the situation and think about it.  "The premise is good but on the other hand there are several ships now in line at Bath Iron Works (BIW).  But it's like being a lawyer with only one client," he concluded.

King went on to tell us that the US is "pitifully under shipped for the Arctic.  Someone needs to build a heavy icebreaker, something I am pushing, the Artic is a very important region for us."

One group member asked King to be more forceful in calling for an audit of the Pentagon and to work harder to cut waste, fraud, and abuse inside the military industrial complex.  King commented that an audit is now set for 2017 but ought to be done sooner.  "The Intelligence budget is $75 billion a year with alot of duplication," King remarked.  He said he wants to do more on finding Pentagon waste.

One person in our group currently works at BIW asked Sen. King if he would support legislation in Maine to create a statewide commission to plan for defense diversification.  King said that we needed to go to our governor and the legislature for that - "It's not the business I am in anymore."

King went to Washington as a former governor of Maine and is on the Armed Services, Intelligence  Budget, and Rules Committees.  These are four of the most important committees in the Senate and likely reflect his power as an Independent - meaning he has the freedom to work with either party in an already closely divided government.

The last part of the meeting turned into a broader discussion about America's role in the world.  King acknowledged that most of our wars are for oil and for years he has owned a corporation promoting off-shore wind power to help deal with climate change and growing energy needs.  "I am convinced that we are in an entirely different world where most of our enemies aren't governments.  What I keep raising is what is our strategy?  Killing terrorists one at a time does not work.  I'm looking for a modern day strategy of deterrence," King said.

One member of the group reminded King that our population in the US is only 5% of the world population yet we use 25% of global resources.  I was the note taker in the meeting but at this point I said to Sen. King that the mission of the Pentagon today is to be the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization.  If we dealt with our energy needs back here by building solar, wind and rail at places like BIW we wouldn't have to go to war for oil all the time.  I told him that my partner has to drive 45 minutes to Portland every day for work and we should be building light-rail commuter systems at BIW. I handed him a copy of the UMASS-Amherst study that shows we would get many more jobs if we moved away from military production.

At that point the BIW worker, who gathered more than 800 signatures at the shipyard a few years ago on a petition saying they wanted to build wind turbines, turned to Sen. King and said, "We don't have much time with climate change."

Our group will be requesting similar meetings with other elected officials in Maine during the coming months to discuss these same issues.  It would be helpful if other people in Maine would send messages to our elected officials saying that you want them to support diversification of the war economy.  Diversification/conversion could offer us the chance to move some tax dollars into sustainable and more peaceful endeavors in our state and across the nation.


Stop the Israeli war machine action in Seattle, Washington.  Notice at the end they walk through stores.


Tel Rumeida is a small Palestinian neighborhood deep in the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian families live directly next to these Israeli occupation settlers and are often virtual prisoners in their homes, subject to the settlers' violent attacks and destruction of property.

These are the people that US taxpayers are supporting with the $3 billion we give to Israel each year to build their separation wall and arm their military to push Palestinians off their lands.


Amid scenes of destruction and death caused by Ukrainian airstrike on residential buildings in the city of Snezhnoe in the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic, a 7-year-old child has been miraculously saved from beneath a multi-ton pile of debris.


Gaza has been described as the world's largest open air prison. Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has had catastrophic results for average Palestinians living there. We look at the the unforgiving realities they face everyday.