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 24, 2016

Gonna Go Absolutely Ape


Holiday Bonus Song


Arresting Mary, Joseph & Baby Jesus



Four activists dressed as Mary, Joseph and two Shepherds were arrested at the front gate of the Drone Warfare Center at Hancock AFB in Syracuse, NY.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

U.S. Taxpayers Subsidizing Vile Treatment of Palestinians



Israeli Occupiers spraying disgusting waste water at Palestinian homes and civilians in Kafr Qaddum Town in the Occupied West Bank.

In the next 10 years US taxpayers will hand $38 billion in military aid to the corrupt and brutal Israeli government.  This is a moral and ethical crime because most of the money will be used to continue stealing land from the Palestinian people and to keep them caged inside refugee camps and behind walls.

Wake up America.  Our soul is rotting.

Bruce

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Global Network History in Pictures

During most of our 25 years of operation artist Will Park from Florida has provided us with art work to illustrate our concerns. 

These photos below are from past Global Network (GN) annual conferences. They are not in any particular order (was just too hard to put them that way on this blog). Each year we try to meet in a different country and place where the US has a space weapons base or a weapons production facility.

We thank all of our members and friends over these last 25 years for helping spread the message of Keep Space for Peace!

(Click on any of the photos for a better view.)

Bruce

GN members joined Gangjeong village leaders in 2012 on Jeju Island for a news conference to denounce the construction of the Navy base in their village.

At the conclusion of our 2011 annual conference in Andover, Massachusetts we posed outside of Merrimack College for a group shot.

GN founding member journalism professor Karl Grossman spoke at our 2005 event in New York City inside the Musician's Union Hall.

Founding member Bill Sulzman from Colorado speaking during our 2006 annual event in Vancouver, Canada held in conjunction with the World Peace Forum.

In 2003 we joined Australian activists for a protest against their president the day before our annual GN conference in Melbourne.

In 2002 we held our annual conference in Berkeley, California and kicked things off with a protest outside of Lockheed-Martin space production center in Sunnyvale.

Our 2001 annual confab was held in Leeds, England and was hosted by Yorkshire CND.

When we met in Leeds in 2001 one of the speakers was Jeremy Corbin who today serves as leader of the Labour Party in the UK.  He has long been an active peacenik.

Lindis Percy from England spoke during our rally in front of the US Treasury Department during a protest the day before our 2000 conference was held at American University.

In 1998 we held our annual conference in Colorado Springs and went to Falcon AFB ('Space Warfare Center') for a protest the day before the conference began.  As we stood along the desolate country road outside the base snow began to fall.

GN board member Agneta Norberg (left) stands alongside Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal during our 2013 conference in Kiruna, Sweden - up in the high north where the US-NATO have created a major space operations center.

In 2009 we met in Seoul, South Korea and during the conference made a side trip to Kadena AFB to protest the US deployment of PAC-3 'missile defense' (MD) system that is aimed at China.

In 2004 the GN met in Maine.  We gathered for a protest in Bath and then held our conference at a church in Portland.

Korean-war veteran Tom Sturtevant joined our protest in Bath, Maine in 2004.  His sign showed that he understood the provocative nature of US deployments of 'missile defense' in the Asia-Pacific long before it became a well-known issue.

During the 2004 protest in Bath, Maine we marched to the Bath Iron Works shipyard where Navy Aegis destroyers are being built and outfitted with MD systems.  We called for the conversion of the shipyard to sustainable production.

Some of the participants enjoying the warm Santa Barbara, California weather during our 2014 conference held at a beautiful Catholic retreat center..

GN board convener (and webmaster) Dave Webb from the UK spoke during our protest outside Vandenberg AFB, California prior to our 2014 conference.  The base is a major space operations center.

Our protest in front of the White House in 2000 the day before our conference began.

In 2007 we met for the 3rd time in our history in Darmstadt, Germany.  Board member Regina Hagen suggested we wear eye patches and hold white cranes as we stood outside the European Space Agency headquarters as workers arrived in the morning.  We were suggesting they were not clearly seeing the dangers of the growing militarization of European space programs.

Mary Beth Sullivan spoke at our 2007 conference in Darmstadt, Germany.  She served as our outreach coordinator for a couple years before returning to her career as a social worker.  MB still often speaks about the need to convert the military industrial complex to peaceful purposes.

GN founding member Dr. Michio Kaku delivered the keynote address at our 2005 meeting in New York City.

A crowd shot of the participants during the 2005 GN confab in New York City.

Protesting outside Raytheon in Andover, Massachusetts prior to our 2011 annual conference.  Raytheon is a big Star Wars contractor.

Lynda Williams (left) and Lindis Percy (right) outside the US's NSA spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England prior to the start of our 2001 conference.

In 2015 the GN met in Kyoto, Japan for our conference.


We timed our 2005 GN conference to coincide with a large disarmament march directed at the UN's NPT Review conference in New York City.   

Some of our GN gang as we joined the 2005 disarmament march through the streets of New York the day after our annual conference.

Our 2015 conference in Kyoto, Japan included a bus ride to the coast where we had a meeting with Ukawa villagers who continue to protest against the recent deployment of a Pentagon MD radar that would help direct missiles toward China.

In 2010 the GN was invited to co-sponsor a space conference in Nagpur, India that drew students from all over the country.

Sung-Hee Choi briefed us before we crawled under the razor wire on sacred Gureombi rock along the Jeju Island coast in 2012.  Minutes later 16 people, including many from the GN, were arrested for trying to non-violently interfere with Navy base construction operations.

A group of our international GN delegation in Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea during the 2012 conference.

Standing in the freezing cold in 2008 we kicked-off our annual GN conference with a protest outside the gates of Offutt AFB where Strategic Command (StratCom) is based.  StratCom is now in charge of nuclear missiles, bombers, space operations, missile defense, and cyber warfare.  Activists in Nebraska say that StratCom's new mission is 'Offensive'.

Board member Regina Hagen (Germany) speaks during our 2008 conference in Omaha, Nebraska.


Tim Rinne (left) from Nebraska and I in Darmstadt, Germany during our 2007 conference.

In 2015 prior to our GN meeting in Kyoto a delegation from our organization went to Okinawa for a solidarity visit with people fighting against US military bases on their island.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Challenging the 'Democracy Now' Narrative



Good on you Professor Stephen Cohen!

Russian Ambassador Killed in Turkey



A few initial short thoughts on the murder of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara

By The Saker

Okay, so tonight we have the name of the assassin, it is Mevlut Mert Aydintas, a 22 year old policeman who had been recently fired following the anti-Gulenist crackdown of Erdogan against the forces which had attempted to overthrow him recently. We also have a very useful video of the murder.

That video of the attack also shows something very important: the only shots fired are those fired by the assassin.

What this means is one of two things:

Version 1: there was nobody in charge of security at this exhibition

Version 2: the room where this murder happened was considered ‘safe/sterile’ because it was inside an outer security perimeter which we don’t see in this video.

I find version 2 far more likely.  That would also explain why and how Mevlut Mert Aydintas so easily got it: he simply flashed his police ID and was let through.

When such an event occurs it is also important to ask cui bono – whom does it benefit?

Erdogan? No.

I see absolutely no imaginable reason why Erdogan would want the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara, but I can easily imagine a long list of reasons why he would not want that to happen at all.  Some will correctly say that the fall of Aleppo is a humiliating defeat for Turkey and Erdogan, and I agree.  But I would remind everybody that Erdogan clearly had a deal going with the Russians and the Iranians when he moved his forces across the border and occupied northern Syria.  There is *no way* he would have risked such a move against the will of Moscow and Tehran.  So what was this deal?  We will probably never know, but it clearly included a provision which limited Turkey’s actions to a narrow strip in the north.  If that hypothesis is correct, then Aleppo would have to be considered outside the “Turkish sphere of interest” in Syria, at least by the tripartite Turkish-Iranian-Russian understanding.  Did Erdogan know that Aleppo would fall and would fall so fast?  Probably not.  It appears that Erdogan got outmaneuvered by the Russians and the Iranians.  But he most definitely had better options to retaliate against the liberation of Aleppo than to have the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara.  The fact is that the Turks did precious little when Aleppo was liberated, at most they helped the Russian evacuate part of the “good terrorists”.

Even if Erdogan is a lunatic, he is smart enough to understand that if he has the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara NATO will do nothing to protect him and that the Russians can fire a cruise missile right into his bedroom window.  Erdogan might be crazy, but he is clearly not *that* crazy.

Finally, let’s remember the disastrous consequences for Turkey following the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 and the fact that, by numerous corroborated accounts, the Russian intelligences services saved Erdogan, probably literally, by warning him of the coup against him.

So, for all these reasons, Erdogan is not on my current list of suspects.  Never say never, new facts might come to light, especially with a maniac like Erdogan, but right now I will assume that he has nothing to do with what happened.

Daesh & Co?  Maybe.

Well, it is rather obvious that the Daesh & Co. had an extremely long list of reasons to want to kill a high profile Russian official.  So yes, they sure had the motive.  Considering how successful radical Islamist extremists have been at penetrating the Turkish deep (and not so deep) state, Daesh and Co. also had the means.  As for the opportunity, the video above clearly shows that not only did Mevlut Mert Aydintas have the time to shoot the Russian Ambassador many times (I counted 9 shots), but after that he still had the time to just stand there and scream all sorts of slogans about Syria, Aleppo and God.  While we don’t know all the details yet, this is already very strong evidence that security at this event was dismal.

Gulen, the CIA, Obama & Co?  Maybe.

Yes, they are also on my list of suspects.  The Gulenists have nothing to lose, the CIA has gone crazy with anger and fear at the election of Trump, and the Obama Administration is full of angry, offended, deeply vindicative and otherwise plain nasty characters who would love to trigger a new crisis between Russia and Turkey or make the Russian pay in some way for humiliating the AngloZionist Empire in Aleppo.  Keep in mind that this is exactly how the CIA always kills foreign dignitaries: by subcontracting the murder to a local fanatic so as to preserve what they call “plausible deniability”.

During the Cold War the Soviets and the Americans had an unwritten understanding that “we don’t kill each other”.  It was never formally mentioned or otherwise acknowledged, but I assure you that it was real: neither side wanted an open ended escalation of assassinations and counter-assassinations.  But today’s CIA is a pathetic joke compared to the CIA of the Cold War, and with hodge-podge of mediocre dimwits now in the Executive branch I would not put it past some idiot in Langley to approve of the murder of a Russian Ambassador.  Besides, if the Americans were crazy and reckless enough to attempt to overthrow Erdogan, why would they not try to murder a Russian Ambassador?

What about the lone gunman hypothesis?

Well, it is impossible to prove a negative. Mevlut Mert Aydintas did lose his job in a recent purge, he did have police credentials and his actions on the video seem to be a textbook example of the kind of fanatical behavior a lone nutcase would display.  So yes, it is possible that Mevlut Mert Aydintas acted alone.  After all, all he needed was a gun and a police ID.  Let’s see what the Turks, and the Russians, find out about him.  Still, I doubt it.  That kind of personality is usually identified by state sponsoring terrorism and then activated when needed.  My gut tells me that he did not just act alone.  Somebody probably used Mevlut Mert Aydintas.

Painful questions

Here I really hope that I am wrong, but if I want to be honest I have to admit that I am completely unable to find an excuse of the lax security around Ambassador Andrey Karlov.  And I am not referring to the Turks here, I am referring to the Russian security services.  Here is why.

Even if we assume that the Turks had told the Russians that they had established a ‘safe/sterile’ perimeter around the exhibit and that the general public would not be let in, the footage shows what appears to be only a few guests, there is no excuse for the Russian not to have at least one bodyguard in the immediate proximity to the Ambassador.  Turkey is not only a country at war, but Russia is a party to that war, the Takfiris have made a very long list of threats against Russia and, finally, Turkey is a country which has suffered from terrorism for years and which has just suffered a bloody attempted coup.  In a country like that a top official like an Ambassador should have been protected by an entire group of bodyguards, but in this case there was clearly nobody.  Oh sure, the Russian can blame the Turks for having set up a crappy perimeter, but as professionals they should know that the Turks are already having extreme difficulties in dealing with their own terrorists and that following the massive purges the security services are in a state of chaos.  Would one bodyguard have made a difference?

Yes, possibly.  Probably in fact.

From the video it appears that Mevlut Mert Aydintas was standing about 5 meter behind Ambassador Karlov when he opened fire.  Apparently, not a single of the shots hit the Ambassador’s head.  If Ambassador Karlov had been wearing a flack jacket or any other type of body armor he would have probably survived that first volley of bullets (unless one hit the cervicals).  One single bodyguard could then have easily killed Mevlut Mert Aydintas and evacuated the ambassador to safety.  Evidently Karlov was not wearing any kind of body armor that day.  Why?  He did not have a single bodyguard next to him.  Why?  No Russian voices are heard on the video, so there appears to have been no Russian security anywhere near the ambassador.  Why?

Normally, ambassadors are a very easy target.  Everybody knows them, their routine is public and, contrary to what many seem to think, most of them have no security detail.  I am absolutely amazed that more ambassadors are not killed regularly.  In high risk countries, however, ambassadors are normally protected, especially ambassadors representing countries involved in a war or who are likely targets of terrorist attacks.  True, as a rule, the Russians, including diplomats, tend to be more brave/reckless (pick the term) than their western counterparts: they don’t scare easy and they like to show that they are not afraid.  But that kind of attitude needs to be kept in check by professionals.

Frankly, it makes me angry to see how many Russians have been killed by that lax attitude towards personal risk and security.  Yes, it is very noble to be courageous, but to die killed by a manic is also plain dumb.  I would feel much better if Russian officials and politicians would be a little less courageous and a little more careful.  Because what happened today begs the question: who will it be the next time?

Conclusions

What happened today is a tragedy made twice as painful by the fact that it could probably have been avoided.  The Turkish security services will probably arrest overnight pretty much anybody and everybody Mevlut Mert Aydintas has ever met, and they will get lots of confessions.  I am pretty sure that they will share a lot of that data with the Russians, if only to show how sorry they are.  Alas, both the Turks and the Russians have an long tradition of secrecy and we might never find out who, if anybody, really was behind Mevlut Mert Aydintas.

The only thing I am sure of is that Putin will do nothing harsh regardless of who is behind this murder.  If it is the Takfiris, then the people involved will die in the next couple of years.  If the CIA is involved, however, the Russians will be much more careful and might chose to act in a very different way, possibly through the next Administration.  The murder of Ambassador Karlov will not succeed in derailing the Russian and Iranian efforts at getting some kind of a regional solution to the war in Syria, nor will it change the Russian determination to prevent the AngloZionst Empire of turning Syrian into yet another Takfiristan.

As for Russia and Turkey, as long as Erdogan remains in power they will continue to try to collaborate against the odds and in spite of deep and fundamental differences.  Neither Russia nor Turkey, which have fought each other in twelve wars, have any other option.

The Saker

Monday, December 19, 2016

Peace in Space Conference Building Support


I am back home now after my weekend trip to Huntsville, Alabama to do advance work for our Global Network 25th annual space organizing conference and protest.  The event will be held on April 7-9, 2017.

I was in the 'rocket city' to look for a conference meeting site and think we've found a good one.  Details still to be worked out.  I also needed to find a suitable hotel and to begin working on leads to get home hospitality for folks who can't afford a hotel or would rather spend quality time with local Huntsville activists.  So all that is heading in the right direction.

While in Huntsville Donald Trump came to Alabama for one of his victory lap appearances.  He has already appointed ultra-conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the next Attorney General of the nation.  Sessions is also serving as a major adviser to Trump on space issues - so Alabama will be central to the new administration in Washington.

This morning I felt great energy to work on the program for the conference - it will be a day long event on Saturday, April 8.  We are starting to hear from some of our Global Network board members who are signing up for various speaking slots.  It's exciting to think about them passing on their years of wisdom when it comes to peace in space issues.  Plus over these 25 years we have become family - and each time we hold a conference in a new place our family grows.  All good - especially at a time like this where we see our own government in the US coming apart at the seams - it helps to be part of a positive and loving movement.

Veterans For Peace (VFP) members from around the country are going to be heavily involved in the conference.  In fact our keynote speaker at the event will be Col. Ann Wright - retired Army and diplomat who now is a leader in VFP.  She resigned from the government after George W. Bush's 'shock and awe' attack on Iraq in 2003.

At the same time I am working with folks in Sweden, Finland and Denmark to plan a speaking tour for Dave Webb (GN board convener and Chair of CND in the UK) and I in February.

GN board member Agneta Norberg in Stockholm is organizing a one-day space conference on February 4 in her community.  Three GN board members will be attending (Dave Webb, Regina Hagen from Germany and myself).  The conference will highlight the dangerous security situation in Sweden. Sweden´s military installations are currently being adapted to NATO´s needs. NATO will be able to attack Russia from Swedish territory. US-NATO Air Force planes and Navy warships will have permanent access to bases and ports in Sweden.  

There is growing resistance and action groups have formed all over Sweden to oppose these dangerous and provocative US-NATO operations. One problem though is that the movement doesn’t know much about how space technology is directing all warfare today and Sweden’s growing role in the space warfare technology program.  So Agneta is taking the bull by the horns and holding an educational event for the public.

Then following the conference Dave Webb and I will do the 10-day speaking tour.  

Bruce

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Love You Father Mun!



[Dec. 16] 'Love you, Father Mun' People sending messages to Fr. Mun in celebration of the 50 yr for Fr. Mun to be ordained as a Catholic priest in South Korea.

Fr. Mun has been one of the leaders of the resistance against the construction of a Navy base on Jeju Island that will be used to port US warships that are part of the Pentagon's 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific.

Video editing by Grace Kim

Sunday Song