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

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

NSA Abuse of Spy Power



On Christmas Eve, the National Security Agency released a trove of documents detailing 12 years’ worth of illegal activity by the spy agency. Included in the files are stories of employees using electronic surveillance tools to snoop on spouses, the collection of American citizens’ communications and other widespread abuses. RT’s Lindsay France breaks down the documents.

Friday, December 26, 2014

North Korea Didn't Do It

Seeing Behind the Corporate Spin


  • There have been some rumblings from officials in Russia in recent days.  I caught something like "the US needs to take another look at the real story behind the shooting down of Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine last July."  The US-NATO were quick to blame Russia after the plane was shot down - the same kind of campaign we now see with North Korea over the Sony 'comedy' that I believe is truly aimed at creating more antipathy towards that nation.  Today I stumbled upon this fascinating story about an eye witness who claims that it was a Ukrainian military jet that accidentally took down the Malaysian airliner.  The witness alleges that he saw the Ukrainian pilot step from the fighter and heard him say: 

The phrase he said after he was taken out of the jet: “The aircraft, it was not the one”. And in the evening there was a phrase, a question from a pilot for him, to the same Voloshin: “What about the aircraft?”. And he answered: “The aircraft got on a wrong time to a wrong place”.

The witness also claims that this Ukranian plane was armed with air-to-air missiles and had been used.  Maybe there is something to this..... you can see the whole story here

  • Over the years I've learned to question all the big announcements - our government has a particular MO (Method of Operation) and after awhile its not so hard to read between the lines.  Many people share this view of our government and are often called conspiracy theorists as a result.  (I am OK with being tagged as a conspiracy buff. Who can argue that the corporate oligarchy doesn't make plans quietly behind the curtains to increase their wealth and power and to keep down the working class and poor?  Who can argue that they are not playing the grand chessboard for global control. Mr. Big likely calls it all 'good planning'.)
  • The alleged Sony hack job, blamed on North Korea, is one such instance where I instantly paused.  You can smell false flag all over it.  But I'm no computer expert and am just operating on instinct and previous experience (which is nothing to sneeze at).  What would the experts say?  I ran across an article called "No, North Korea Didn't Hack Sony" written by Marc Rogers (principal security researcher for CloudFlare, the website optimization and security company that’s looking to save the Internet. He has worked in the security industry for almost 20 years, including a decade managing security in the U.K. operator Vodafone plc and five years as CSO for a real estate and asset management conglomerate in South Korea. Marc sees himself as a security evangelist who has a positive outlook on how security should be implemented in today’s global organizations. It’s this outlook that Marc used when he helped put together the award winning BBC series The Real Hustle. He is also the head of security at DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference.)  So Rogers wrote in part:

All the evidence leads me to believe that the great Sony Pictures hack of 2014 is far more likely to be the work of one disgruntled employee facing a pink slip.

I may be biased, but, as the director of security operations for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, and the principal security researcher for the world's leading mobile security company, Cloudflare, I think I am worth hearing out.

The evidence used to attribute a nation state in such a case should be solid enough that it would be both admissible and effective in a court of law. As it stands, I do not believe we are anywhere close to meeting that standard.
  • Looking at the map above please note Vladvostic, Russia just north of the Korean border.  I am reminded that during the Korean War the US sent bombers to Vladvostic and hit Russian airfields trying to draw Moscow into that war.  It is clear that significant operators in the US government were itching then, and still are, for a military confrontation with the Russian bear.  Yes it is crazy but I've never claimed that the oligarchy was sane.  
  • Just think about this.  The US-NATO are coming at Russia from at least three strategic points at this time.  One via Europe through military operations in Ukraine, the Baltics and Scandinavia.  The second point is the Caspian Region (Georgia) and Central Asia (one key reason why the US-NATO don't want to leave Afghanistan).  The third is to destabilize North Korea and expand US military operations particularly in South Korea and Japan.  The introduction of so-called 'missile defense' in all these areas is a serious provocation by the US and its cancerous NATO 'partners' against Russia and China. 
  • The success of all of this is incumbent on the global public buying the public relations spin that Russia is the new 'Hitler.  Quickly blaming the Russians for the Malaysian jet take down (what ever happened to the voice recorders that were sent to England after they were recovered at the crash site?) and the North Koreans for the Sony hacking are essentially major public relations campaigns.  The sooner we see the writing on the wall the better chance for world peace.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

We Can Stop War



100 years ago - Amid the darkness of World War I came an isolated but beautiful moment where peace, faith, hope and humanity overcame the bonds of war, and, even if for a night and a day, peace became possible.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Song

Holiday Prayer



'Can do whatever
I want
whenever I want to'
prevailing consciousness
of the USA
mad hatters
that we are

The corporatists
that run this
show
don't feel
like they
have to pay
any consequences
arrogance
of power
'we are the dominant
ones
and we can dictate'

The logic of domination
and empire
is absurd
a bad poker player
with a bad hand

How do we
counter this
dark empire?

What can
one person
actually do?

We each
are an interdependent
living creature
with tremendous beauty
and diversity

must take
greater strides
on the path toward
resistance to global corporate empire
resistance to arrogance

full spectrum nonviolent resistance
becomes
part of our lives
like breathing
and heartbeat
every cell
focused on
survival
peace
and
justice

Community,
global
this time,
rushes
to build
the fires of light
to reverse
the darkness

best wishes to all
I can see
your fire in the
night

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Trouble Loading the Blog?


I've been hearing from a few people that my blog has lately been difficult to pull up.  When we did some testing from various locations we found that in fact Internet Explorer was extremely slow to load this blog - to the point that a few folks gave up entirely, thinking it was not working at all.

People who used Firefox had no loading problems nor did those using Google Chrome.

I appreciate your visits to this blog and hope you can get the full view of it without troubles.  I did reduce the numbers of posts on the homepage so that it might not take so long to load. 

Christmas in Post-War Germany

US occupation forces inside Germany on Christmas, 1945

We got a nice holiday card today from our local PeaceWorks activist Christine DeTroy.  I was struck by the enclosed letter that I'd like to share below:

Christmas Memories

Return with me to the past - to December, 1945, the first post-war Christmas in Germany.

Picture yourself in a large room, part of the downstairs of a former spacious art gallery that had been converted into several apartments, one of which was my family's for a number of years.  American officers had occupied the downstairs and upstairs of the large house -- part of the post-war occupation forces -- since May of 1945.

It is mid-morning, probably the third Sunday in the Advent Season, when a few girls and I - some of us were teenagers, others were younger - went to the officers' quarters to present them with a gift of singing Christmas carols.  We wanted to bring a bit of cheer to them and music and singing was what we could offer.

I knew that the large front door of the gallery would be open.  I also knew of the grand piano in the room, which could accompany our singing.  I recall that we walked in very quietly and gathered around the piano.  My friend Kathe accompanied our small singing group of perhaps five or six girls.

Can you hear us singing?  I believe we started off timidly, but our volume grew as our spirit increased - we wanted to bring joy.  Except for our singing there was no sound in the large house.

Although no one came downstairs to listen to us we continued singing for half an hour or so - we had learned a number of carols and wanted to sing all of them.

Suddenly we heard the sound of feet coming downstairs and one by one the group of soldiers stood by the door facing us.  They were silent.  They did not look happy.  The looked sad.  It was a shock to us.  We ended singing and quietly exited, embarrassed by our intrusion into their lives.

We walked home singly, thinking about what had transpired.

I realized then that what we had considered a gift of cheer was most likely a reminder to the men of what they were missing being so far from home and their families.  Perhaps they had been away from home for several years?  Had they been in battle and seen and experienced the death of a comrade amid the killing and wounding of war? Perhaps they had witnessed the horror of the concentration camps as they entered Germany?

How could we have been so naive to think that our few carols would bring the joy of Christmas into their lives?

So many years have passed since that day in December of 1945 - so many wars, so much killing and maiming has continued across the whole world.  I try to think of today's children in the warring countries.  Perhaps some of them are gathering to sing carols or folks songs to cheer each other and strangers up?

I'm no longer naive - yet I live with hope and love for peace among all the children and their families throughout the world.

Please join me in working for such a peace - for the sake of the world's children - for all of us.

Christine A. DeTroy
Brunswick, Maine

A Light in the Middle of Darkness



About 200 people on Monday night marched along Preble Street to Monument Square, where they lit candles in memory of the 35 homeless persons who died this year in Portland, Maine.

Abnormal Prosecution



The St. Louis county prosecutor will not file charges against any witnesses who lied to the the grand jury that was deciding whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. With several individuals who took the stand now being scrutinized for having potentially perjured themselves, outrage is once again beginning to grow over the fairness of the proceedings. Andrew Goldberg, managing editor of The Smoking Gun, details the situation to RT’s Ben Swann.

Monday, December 22, 2014

We Will Not Be Silenced


DECEMBER 22, 2014

ACTIVISTS BLAST NYPD ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE

New York, NY — Activists issued a scathing statement this afternoon in response to recent attempts by the NYPD to silence the efforts of citizens seeking justice for victims of police violence.  The letter, drafted by Ferguson Action, and cosigned by over a dozen grassroots organizations takes aim at PBA president Patrick Lynch and Commissioner Bratton for their reckless attempts to conflate constitutionally protected protest activities with the tragic murders of officers Ramos and Liu:

“The events of this weekend are tragic.

“We renew our condolences to the families and friends of those injured and killed this weekend. As those who stand with the victims of police violence, we know all too well the deep sense of loss that a community feels when they lose a loved one. They are in our thoughts and prayers as we continue our movement for justice.

“This is not a time for political grandstanding and punditry. Unfortunately, we continue to see elected officials and police leadership twist this tragedy into an opportunity for them to silence the cries for justice from families who have lost their loved ones to police violence. Our families matter, too.

“Those exercising their First Amendment rights to secure a justice system that works for ALL are being thrown under the bus by police departments and their union leaders who want to skirt their responsibility to our communities.

“This weekend, Patrick Lynch used his role as the President of the largest police union in New York to essentially declare war on Black communities. This is unacceptable and should be condemned. Under his leadership, the police union has resisted nearly every positive criminal justice reform— including the end of discriminatory stop and frisk practices, protecting the Miranda rights of those arrested, and inviting community input in the creation of policies that govern the police.

“Commissioner Bratton must also immediately end his shameful attempts to use the deaths of these officers to attack democracy by advancing unfounded claims to connect this tragedy to protests. A troubled young man who began his day by attempting to kill his ex-partner, shot two officers and then killed himself has nothing to do with a broad non-violent movement for change. The NYPD is conveniently ignoring the facts surrounding this tragedy in order to score cheap political points.

“Commissioner Bratton and Patrick Lynch must immediately apologize to New Yorkers who desperately want change in the city. Mayor DeBlasio and other elected officials should condemn these opportunistic distractions that attempt to avoid meaningful reform.

“A concerted attempt to defame the millions who have acted on behalf of those lost to police violence proves that the NYPD leadership has no intention of creating any trust between this department and the communities they purport to serve.

“Our communities are in crisis. We’ve responded by meeting in our homes, offices, and schools— and walking out of them, with our hands up. Thousands of others have organized small actions that when woven together have tremendous impact. The problem isn’t the diverse voices that participate in dissent, a cornerstone of our democracy.

“The problem is a discriminatory pattern of police violence that continues unabated and that police brass don’t care to stop it.

“This movement was sparked by the grief that millions across the country have felt. Joining Eric Garner, Mike Brown and Tamir Rice are the thousands of lives lost in the last decade to police shootings. We are in the streets because we are fighting for the right to live our lives fully and with dignity, without the threat of unconstitutional police violence and repression.

“Our work continues and we invite those who stand on the side of justice to join us.”

  • Ferguson Action
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Brooklyn Movement Center
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  • ColorofChange.org
  • Hands Up United
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Dignity & Power Now
  • Dream Defenders
  • Organization for Black Struggle
  • Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
  • Concerned Citizens for Justice
  • PICO Network
  • Southerners on New Ground
  • TransAfrica
  • Project South
  • Audrey Lorde Project
  • Hello Racism
  • Youth United for Change
  • Baltimore Algebra Project

Managing Our Collapse


There is
no doubt
US
in decline
massive debt
infrastructure
collapse
violent driven
culture
coming apart
at seams

BRICS
Brazil
Russia
India
China
South Africa
ascending
formed
economic
coalition
rival to
IMF
and
World Bank

US solution?
Stick a gun
into face
of
Russia
and
China

Dodge City
the OK corral
Gunsmoke
Rifleman
Boot Hill
it's what
we know
and how
we solve
problems
here in
the Wild
West

The question
remains
does
the US
take
the world
into
WW III?

Or does
the
American
'miracle'
just pass
into
the night
in
a quiet
collapse?

The world
holds
breath

Israel Helping to Attack Syria



Syrian military officials claim they've managed to take down an Israeli drone in its airspace. It was downed while flying over the Druze village of Hadar, which is one of the Assad-forces stronghold.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Question & Answer: You Decide......


Russian President Putin had a three-hour news conference the other day where he took alot of questions from what I'd call unfriendly (unscripted) sources.  Here is one from the BBC and Putin's response:


JOHN SIMPSON, BBC: Western countries almost universally now believe that there’s a new Cold War and that you, frankly, have decided to create that. We see, almost daily, Russian aircraft taking sometimes quite dangerous manoeuvres towards western airspace. That must be done on your orders; you’re the Commander-in-Chief. It must have been your orders that sent Russian troops into the territory of a sovereign country – Crimea first, and then whatever it is that’s going on in Eastern Ukraine. Now you’ve got a big problem with the currency of Russia, and you’re going to need help and support and understanding from outside countries, particularly from the West. So can I say to you, can I ask you now, would you care to take this opportunity to say to people from the West that you have no desire to carry on with the new Cold War, and that you will do whatever you can to sort out the problems in Ukraine? Thank you!

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much for your question. About our exercises, manoeuvres and the development of our armed forces. You said that Russia, to a certain extent, contributed to the tension that we are now seeing in the world. Russia did contribute but only insofar as it is more and more firmly protecting its national interests. We are not attacking in the political sense of the word. We are not attacking anyone. We are only protecting our interests. Our Western partners – and especially our US partners – are displeased with us for doing exactly that, not because we are allowing security-related activity that provokes tension.

    Let me explain. You are talking about our aircraft, including strategic aviation operations. Do you know that in the early 1990s, Russia completely stopped strategic aviation flights in remote surveillance areas as the Soviet Union previously did? We completely stopped, while flights of US strategic aircraft carrying nuclear weapons continued. Why? Against whom? Who was threatened?

    So we didn’t make flights for many years and only a couple of years ago we resumed them. So are we really the ones doing the provoking?

    So, in fact, we only have two bases outside Russia, and both are in areas where terrorist activity is high. One is in Kyrgyzstan, and was deployed there upon request of the Kyrgyz authorities, President Akayev, after it was raided by Afghan militants. The other is in Tajikistan, which also borders on Afghanistan. I would guess you are interested in peace and stability there too. Our presence is justified and clearly understandable.

    Now, US bases are scattered around the globe – and you’re telling me Russia is behaving aggressively? [The US has well over 800 military bases around the world and is increasingly forcing local governments in places like South Korea, Australia and Philippines to allow Pentagon forces to use those nation's bases.] Do you have any common sense at all? What are US armed forces doing in Europe, also with tactical nuclear weapons? What are they doing there?

    Listen, Russia has increased its military spending for 2015, if I am not mistaken, it is around 50 billion in dollar equivalent. The Pentagon’s budget is ten times that amount, $575 billion, I think, recently approved by the Congress. [Actually the Pentagon budget is about $1 trillion per year when you add up all the various pots of gold where the military budget is hidden such as Department of Energy, NASA, NSA, NRO, Homeland Security, CIA, etc] And you’re telling me we are pursuing an aggressive policy? Is there any common sense in this?

    Are we moving our forces to the borders of the United States or other countries? Who is moving NATO bases and other military infrastructure towards us? We aren’t. Is anyone listening to us? Is anyone engaging in some dialogue with us about it? No. No dialogue at all. All we hear is “that’s none of your business. Every country has the right to choose its way to ensure its own security.” All right, but we have the right to do so too. Why can’t we?

    Finally, the ABM system – something I mentioned in my Address to the Federal Assembly. Who was it that withdrew unilaterally from the ABM Treaty, one of the cornerstones of the global security system? Was it Russia? No, it wasn’t. The United States did this, unilaterally. [George W. Bush pulled the US out of this treaty in 2001 that banned 'missile defense' systems.] They are creating threats for us, they are deploying their strategic missile defence components not just in Alaska, but in Europe as well – in Romania and Poland, very close to us. And you’re telling me we are pursuing an aggressive policy?

    If the question is whether we want law-based relations, the answer is yes, but only if our national economic and security interests are absolutely respected.

    We negotiated WTO accession for 19 years or so, and consented to compromise on many issues, assuming that we are concluding cast-iron agreements. And then… I will not discuss who’s right and who’s wrong (I already said on many occasions that I believe Russia behaved the right way in the Ukrainian crisis, and the West was wrong, but let us put this aside for now). Still, we joined the WTO. That organisation has rules. And yet, sanctions were imposed on Russia in violation of the WTO rules, the international law and the UN Charter – again unilaterally and illegitimately. Are we in the wrong again?

    We want to develop normal relations in the security sphere, in fighting terrorism. We will work together on nuclear non-proliferation. We will work together on other threats, including drugs, organised crime and grave infections, such as Ebola. We will do all this jointly, and we will cooperate in the economic sphere, if our partners want this.

Navy Liars & Thieves Want Entire Village


Protest banners are hung inside the village . This banner reads, “Navy! you are the outside power that destroys our hometown, Gangjeong!

An urgent cry from Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea: We should not allow the navy swallow our village.

The below is the rough translation of a banner by the anti-naval base committee of the Gangjeong village, hung inside the village.

The navy plans to station about 7,000 people in the Jeju naval base that is currently being built. You may remember that the whole population of the Gangjeong villagers is less than 2,000. The banner explains the urgency of the struggle to stop the navy’s current project to build 72 households of military residence outside of the base but inside the village.
The other photo is on one of the many banners that villagers and peace activists have currently hung in and outside of the village. The banner in this photo reads, ‘How we can live with thieves? The Gangjeong villagers can never get along with the navy

    - The anti-naval base committee of the Gangjeong village.

Gureombi, The Wind is Blowing - 구럼비 바람이 분다 (영어자막 )러프컷 from cho sung bong on Vimeo.

A Look Back: Truth to Power


Sunday Song