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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SUNDAY SONG A BIT EARLY






AWAY TO THE FAIR


I'm leaving early in the morning for Unity, Maine to work at the Common Ground Fair all weekend. 

Our chapter of Maine Veterans for Peace will have a booth at the fair so I will be helping to staff that throughout the weekend.  In particular we'll be promoting our coming Maine Walk for Peace & a Sustainable Future.  Tens of thousands of people come from all over Maine and New England to the event so it is a great place to do outreach.

While there I've got to buy some garlic to plant in our garden as that crop goes in during the fall for an early spring surprise - the first crop that pokes its head out of the cold wet spring ground.

I'll put the back seat down and camp in my car - handy and dry if just a bit cramped.

The food is great at the fair, though a bit expensive, so I went shopping today for a few things to bring along to eat during the weekend.

They don't have Wifi at the fair so I won't be doing any posting on the blog til late Sunday night.  I think I'll post my Sunday songs tonight.  Later.

WHO SHOT IT DOWN?



  • The Russian Union of Engineer's report on MH17. Why is it taking so long for western investigators (Holland and England) to make a report?   

US may give Ukraine $350 mln worth of military assistance in 2015 – bill


The United States may give Ukraine $350 million worth of military and technical assistance in 2015, including anti-tank weapons, counter-artillery radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and communications equipment.

This is stated in a bill posted on the Web site of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which was filed on September 17 by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker.

The document also contains a requirement for the United States to impose new sanctions on Russia. In particular, the legislation requires the president to apply sanctions against Rosoboronexport and other Russian defense firms that contribute to instability in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Syria; companies worldwide that make significant investments in particular unconventional Russian crude oil energy projects; and Gazprom, if the president determines that Gazprom is withholding significant natural gas supplies from member countries of NATO or further withholds such supplies from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova.

The document will be tanled by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday just hours after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addresses a joint meeting of Congress

Poroshenko is on an official visit to Canada and the United States on September 17-18. On Thursday, he will meet with President Barack Obama and speak in the U.S. Congress.

STUCK IN THE BIG MUDDY


Yesterday the House of (Un)Representatives voted by a margin of 273-156 to arm the Syrian "rebels".  This means of course arming the kind of out-of-control ISIS type of radical Islamic forces that are trying to take down the Syrian government.  (You know, the kind of terrorists that are supposed to be our enemies.) Our two members of Congress in Maine (Pingree and Michaud) voted against the proposal but it passed with the help of 114 Democrats.

Next it goes to the Senate where it will surely pass and then Obama will have the Pentagon ship more weapons to the madmen in the Middle East.  The weapons corporations are quite pleased with the whole deal.

Yesterday I was interviewed on Iranian PressTV about this very situation.  I said in part, “It’s really no surprise to see the US weapons corporations very excitedly saying that they expect to get a lot more weapons orders as a result of the growing instability around the world.”  You can see their coverage here.

For the American people who are paying for this endless war it is indeed like being in quicksand.  But for the war machine, who obviously runs the circus in Washington, it is an investment in continued and growing profits.

For the people living in the Middle East it is a tragedy beyond imagination.

Only when we face and heal America's growing economic addiction to military production will be ever be able to truly have peace in the world.

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE VOTE TODAY






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DON'T LIKE ANY BRUTALITY



Comedian Russell Brand's brilliant demolition of the US-UK strategy to wage more war to defeat ISIS, when it was endless US-UK wars that created ISIS in the first place. A must-watch.

INDUSTRY PROMOTION OF 'MISSILE DEFENSE'



Here is a video giving a broad overview of the entire 'missile defense' program.  The music will drive you nuts but you can get a sense for what the program is and how it is being promoted.  Bottom line is the video says the weapons industry needs more funding - surprise, surprise!

NEED HEALTH WORKERS BUT U.S. SENDS MILITARY



President Barack Obama is deploying nearly 3,000 military personnel to West Africa to combat the spread of the Ebola virus. The potentially deadly disease has so far claimed the lives of over 2,400 people, prompting world leaders to pledge material support for the countries most affected. Some are not pleased with the US’ response, however, saying that Africa needs more doctors and not more soldiers. RT’s Ameera David discusses this with Kambale Musavuli, a consultant with Thoughtworks.

USING BIO-TERROR TO PROMOTE OCCUPATION


The US is competing with China in Africa.  The Pentagon created Africa Command (AFRICOM) and they are doing their best to militarize the continent.  China comes in and makes deals and apparantly asks the host country what they want built in return.  Schools, roads, etc...

Ebola makes me think of Fort Detrick, Maryland which is the home of the US Army's biological weapons program.  Can there be any wonder that Ebola just might be a creation of the mad scientists at Fort Detrick?  Find one of my previous blog posts below to see what our government has done already in this regard:

I first wrote this blog entry in 2006 after reading an amazing book called “A Plague Upon Humanity” by Daniel Barenblatt. It tells the story of the hidden history of Japan’s biological warfare program before and during WW II.  Since we are remembering the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this week I thought we also should remember the origins of another weapon of mass destruction - biological weapons.

Barenblatt begins by revealing how Japan created a phony pretext in order to start the Manchurian war. In September 1931 Japanese army engineers secretly blew up the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railway near Shenyang. The Japanese government then immediately blamed the explosion upon Chinese soldiers garrisoned nearby. Japan then attacked the Chinese troops, sleeping in their barracks at the time. A war was underway.

Early on Japan set up a biological warfare (BW) unit led by Shiro Ishii. BW units were established throughout Manchuria and China in Japanese army occupied territory. At these locations Chinese freedom fighters and civilians were used as lab rats and were given lethal doses of bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, typhus and typhoid. Bodies of infected prisoners were cut open, often while people still lived, to study the effects of the biological contamination. Japan’s BW program used infected rats and fleas, dropped from airplanes, to spread the deadly diseases killing entire Chinese villages. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Chinese civilians were killed by Japan.

As WW II widened throughout the Pacific, Japan took their BW campaign to Japanese occupied islands. Japan also sent disease laden animals into Russia in hopes of spreading disease into that country. American prisoners of war were experimented on in Japanese labs as well.

Following Japanese surrender at the end of WW II one would have thought that these crimes against humanity would have been exposed and punished, similar to Nazi war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. But this was not the case. General Douglas MacArthur made a deal with Japan’s chief BW expert, Shiro Ishii, protecting him from prosecution by literally covering up the entire BW story. Ishii and his BW team gave their expertise to the U.S. According to Barenblatt, “Not only did they escape war crimes proceedings and public scrutiny by virtue of their cooperation with the U.S. occupation authorities, they also became prominent public health officials and respected academic figures in Japanese university and government circles. A few became quite wealthy as executives of pharmaceutical companies.”

The Soviet Union knew about Japan’s BW program and in late 1949 called for Ishii to be apprehended and tried by the U.S. occupation forces in Japan as the ringleader of the secret Japanese program. In response, Gen. MacArthur’s office in Tokyo denounced the Soviet charges of Japanese biological warfare and a U.S. cover-up as evidence of communist propaganda.

In fact on March 13, 1948 the U.S. War Department cabled instructions to Gen. MacArthur in Japan to give “immunity” to Japanese BW operatives. “Information retained from Ishii and associates may be retained in intelligence channels,” the instructions concluded.

There were war crimes trials in Japan after WW II. B.V.A. Roling, the last surviving judge from the Tokyo trials, who represented the Netherlands on the international tribunal, learned of this American deception many years later. “As one of the judges in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, it is a bitter experience for me to be informed now that centrally ordered Japanese war criminality of the most disgusting kind was kept secret from the Court by the U.S. government,” Roling wrote. The U.S. should be “ashamed because of the fact they withheld information from the Court with respect to the biological experiments of the Japanese in Manchuria on Chinese and American prisoners of war,” he said.

In the 1950’s Ishii was secretly taken to the U.S. to lecture at Fort Detrick, MD on how to best conduct germ warfare. And as the Korean War heated up, Ishii was used by the U.S. to advise on how to spread deadly disease in that war against North Korean and Chinese forces. North Korea, China and the Soviet Union all claimed in 1951-52 that the U.S. Pentagon was using germ warfare on a large scale in the Korean War.
The Chinese showed footage and photographs of metallic U.S. shells that snapped open upon hitting the ground, releasing a swarming cargo of insects that unleashed bubonic plague, smallpox, and anthrax. This method of delivery had been a favorite of Japan’s BW program.
Barenblatt notes that an international scientific investigating team, headed by a highly noted British biochemist from Cambridge University, did research in Korea and issued a report saying that sudden appearances of insects and spiders, of species not normally known in the region, in winter, and in association with the dropping of strange containers and objects by U.S. military planes were evidence of bio-warfare. Lab tests performed on fleas discovered in such unusual circumstances, positively showed the presence of bubonic plague bacteria.

In some cases, U.S. military jets, usually F-86 fighters, had flown over Korea dropping masses of fowl feathers tainted with anthrax.

In 1956 American journalist John Powell was charged with 13 counts of sedition for trying to expose the U.S. BW campaign in Korea. In 1953 former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover brought Powell before congressional committees charging him with “un-American activities.” Years later, in the 1980’s, Powell’s story was finally aired in an article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

So as we today hear China warning about the re-arming of Japan, with full support and encouragement of the U.S., can we not see some historical precedent for their worry? Both Japan and the U.S. have shown, since WW II, that they will use extreme measures to subdue Korea and China in the quest for control and domination of the Asia-Pacific. As the U.S. today doubles its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, can there be any doubt that China and Korea have not forgotten the stories of the past? Stories that to most Americans are unknown and long covered up.

ORIOLES DIVISION CHAMPS


Last night the Baltimore Orioles baseball team clinched the American League east division championship.  Just three years ago, the Orioles were a divisional doormat with a 14-year losing streak and a frustrated fan base. The once mighty O's of my youth had fallen deep into baseball obscurity.  Now all that has changed.

MB and I have been together for 15 years and during most of our time she has known the O's to be losers.  Night after night I'd watch a game on my computer and she would ask, "How did the boys do?"  Night after night they'd find a way to lose.  I developed a severe case of baseball PTSD from seeing my team constantly being the dregs of the league.  One memory stands out - the now famous 2007 Mother’s Day Massacre in Boston when the O’s managed to blow a 5-1 lead that day in the last of the ninth inning.  You just always knew they were going to collapse.

The ownership of the O's for a long time did little to improve the team - one general manager some years back used to talk about only having "Confederate money" to attract good players.  A few years ago, using a fan chat site, I was part of an organizing campaign to purchase a billboard urging the owner to sell the team. It was unveiled on opening day and a photo of the billboard made the front page of the Baltimore Sun newspaper.  Organizing and baseball linked - I was in heaven.

But now things are different... ownership, with the big cable TV money, has finally opened up the purse and new management of the team and front office have turned the O's back into a winning club.  I have to admit it is very hard for me to follow pro sports now - the corporate domination is fierce and the growing militarization of sports is a clear threat to the integrity of the game.

I was born near Baltimore but didn't live there long.  Growing up in a military family I never had a home town to speak of so the O's became my home plate.  They were my one constant, each morning I could touch base with the Orioles like checking in with grandma and grandpa back home.  It's all about sentimentality, loyalty, la familia and home.

Over the years friends would suggest I switch teams - pick a winner - why do you want to suffer so much they'd ask? But they didn't fully understand me or my connection to the Orioles.

There are still a dozen games left in the regular season before the playoffs begin.  The O's still have a long way to go to reach the World Series.  I'll be watching when I can and hoping there will be no need for my baseball PTSD to kick in again. In the meantime I'll savor this moment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DISRUPTING THE WAR TEAM


Mr. Chairman Levin
the 'good' Democrat
that he is
seen many wars
come and go
and supported them all

he calls Col. Ann Wright
warlike
for saying no more war
he's got it all mixed up
Mr. Chairman Levin does

everything to him
is war these days
even being faced
with peaceniks
he sees war

HANCOCK DRONE BASE PROTESTER NOT GUILTY



The Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars

Eve Tetaz, 83, found NOT GUILTY last night in De Witt town court for opposing Reaper Drone War Crime at 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY

Immediately after Onondaga County prosecutor Jordan McNamara rested his case against DC peace and justice activist Eve Tetaz, DeWitt town judge David Gideon granted Ms Tetaz’ motion to dismiss. Ms Tetaz represented herself pro se with the support of DC attorney Mark Goldstone.

Ms. Tetaz had been arrested on April 28, 2013, along with 30 others as she stood reading aloud Preamble to the UN Charter and the First Amendment of the Constitution on the edge of the driveway leading into the Hancock Reaper drone base on East Molloy Rd., Town of De Witt. The prosecution’s video of Ms Tetaz’ arrest showed the arresting officer grabbing those documents from her hands and tossing them aside.

When police ordered her to stop, Ms Tetaz continued her reading aloud, facing the base, thereby expressing her First Amendment right to peacefully “petition my government for redress of grievances” – i.e. the war crimes being committed by the weaponized Reaper drone robots piloted over Afghanistan by the Hancock Attack Wing.

Ms. Tetaz’ trial is one of the ongoing series of trials of those arrested on April 28, 2013 scheduled through spring of 2015. Many will be jury trials due to the misdemeanor charge of obstruction of government administration. The next jury trial -- that of Bronx Catholic Worker Mark Colville -- will begin at 8:30 a.m. this Thursday, Sept 18.

DEMOCRATS NEED SOME COJONES


I emailed my Congresswoman Chellie Pingree last night opposing the latest US warmongering - this time against Syria under the cover of the ISIS boogieman.  I don't have any faith in either political party anymore but figure I must do something.

So now we have the Democrat "liberal" Obama attacking Iraq (the 4th president in a row to do that).  We should remember Obama once called the Iraq war the "dumb war" but that was when he was first running for the White House.  He told lots of lies back then as he was doing his public relations campaign of image creation.  The only thing that really counts is his actions which have been bombing, drones, supporting Israel's genocide of Gaza, civil liberties violations to the max, unlimited spending for the war machine and much, much more.

Last time Obama tried to bomb Syria the people inside the US rose up (including huge numbers of Republicans) and stopped the nonsense.  So the strategy of tension was changed to play the ISIS card which seems to have confused, distracted and neutralized the public.  Nothing like a couple of beheadings to put the warmongers back in control of the agenda.

It's hard not be feel utter despair over all this... I think those feelings must be respected because it means we still are human.  But especially for those of us who live in US-NATO countries we have to push through the despair and resignation and get back into action to stop our out-of-control governments from doing their evil deeds in order to control oil in the Middle East.

We can't ever forget that oil (and natural gas and water) is what all this shooting is really about.  Our "governments" are no more than resource extraction corporations posing as legitimate institutions.  They steal our national treasuries and use our youth to fight and die so they can control resources.  Simple as that.... and the weak-kneed politicians (especially the liberals who know better) remain in power to help keep the public docile.

I got a campaign advertisement today from a local Democratic party politician running for reelection.  'Welfare cheating' is the big side show in our state that is used to distract and divide the public.  The liberal's campaign literature was all about "I voted to make it harder for welfare cheats to get away with that."

The real pot of gold is the endless war budget at the Pentagon, CIA and NSA.  If the Democrats truly want to save social progress they should get off their knees and go after the real criminals.   

Monday, September 15, 2014

VOICES FROM THE PEACE FAIR



Peace fair voices from Brunswick, Maine held on August 2.  Every community should have one.

LIFE IN HEART OF THE EMPIRE


Was working on the peace walk route some more again today.  Still have two nights with no place for walkers to lay their heads.  One church turned us down because the pastor was reluctant to take our request to her congregation due to the political nature of the event.  Peace is so political.  While on the call with the pastor I could not help but think of things like:

  • Thou shalt not kill
  • They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
  • But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
  • But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
Those who worship the 'Prince of Peace' in these days of endless war sometimes have a difficult time  staying true to the very vision they kneel to every Sunday.  Hard to understand really but that's life in the heart of the empire.

Also had a meeting with two others today to make plans for a great event that will be held in Bath on Friday, November 21.  Amos Libby will play his Oud, sing Arabic music, and tell stories from his recent trip to Palestine. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"THREAT TO AMERICA!"

WE CAN LOVE



SUNDAY SONG