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, April 01, 2017

Aegis 9 Arrested in Snowstorm at BIW Destroyer 'Christening'





The Aegis 9 were arrested at 10:00 am this morning in a snow storm at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine during a 'christening' of another destroyer outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' systems.

The group blocked the ceremony entry gate and were charged with Trespass on BIW property - which ironically is ultimately paid for by taxpayer $$$.  BIW is owned by General Dynamics.

These warships are currently being deployed by the Pentagon to help encircle Russia and China as the US moves to put in place global first-strike attack capability.

Amazingly BIW decided to still hold the event out-of-doors even though there was a wet driving snow coming down.  Reports from the inside of the shipyard were that many of the chairs at the ceremony were empty - except for the snow on them.

The protest called for the conversion of BIW to build commuter rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power systems.  This kind of sustainable technology development would employ many times more people than building warships does.  See the studies that reveal these facts here

Following processing all were released after paying $60 bail and have to appear in West Bath District Court on May 16 at 1:00 pm for arraignment.

The ‘Aegis 9’

1. Lisa Savage – Solon, 60 years, School teacher
2. Jason Rawn – Lincolnville, 45, War tax resister
3. Bruce Gagnon – Bath, 64, VFP (Veterans For Peace & Global Network)
4. Natasha Mayers – Whitefield, 70, Artist
5. Bob Dale – Brunswick, 92, VFP former Navy pilot
6. Mike Tork – Cape Cod, MA, 69, VFP former Navy Vietnam vet
7. Mark Roman – Solon, 69, Woodworker
8. Russell Wray – Hancock, 61, Artist
9. Jessica Stewart – Bass Harbor, 37, Catholic Worker activist

About 35 activists from around Maine braved the harsh weather this morning to come to the protest.  Thanks to all those who came - and to those who wanted to but couldn't make it.  We hope to see you next time.

Bruce

Friday, March 31, 2017

Misdirection in Washington



The Senate Intelligence Committee began hearings on Capitol Hill concerning the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. RT correspondent Gayane Chichakyan covers the story.

Things are becoming much clearer in Washington as we see that Congressional 'investigations' into Russian interference in US elections basically comes down to RT giving coverage to groups on the left such as Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, and Standing Rock.

Imagine for a moment all the years of the US funding the Voice of America that beamed propaganda into eastern Europe and Russia.  Consider all the years of US funding NGO's inside of Russia by USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, the George Soros run Open Society Foundations, Freedom House and alot more.

RT's crime is that they often interview people like me on the left who have virtually no other way to reach people across our nation and around the world.  Mainstream American media won't touch us - in my lifetime as an activist I've directly witnessed the corporate consolidation of media in our country.

Washington is pissed off that RT covers stories that the corporations don't want covered.  But to blame Hillary Clinton's loss on RT is utter nonsense.  Clinton lost the election because voters knew she was corrupt and a Wall Street lackey.  People wanted a change.  The Democrats lost because they don't fight for the people anymore.  You can't blame that on Russia or RT.

There is alot of misdirection going on in Washington these days.  It is all a show - a Hollywood production - slight of hand - a distraction to keep the American people confused and unable to see the corporate dismantling of our government.  Social progress, rights to privacy, ecological responsibility, true justice, Wall Street regulation, and other valuable programs that define a real democracy are all being drowned as the Democrats and Republicans play 'good cop - bad cop' using RT and Russia as a foil.

I hope the American people are smart enough to see through all the hype.  But I am constantly amazed at how many people on the 'left' have fallen for the recycled red-baiting coming out of Congress.  I try to remind people that our corporate media lied in 2003 about WMD in Iraq.  They lied about Libya and Syria.  They lied about Vietnam.  Why should we follow them off the cliff now?

Sadly the American people have been taught over the years to be lemmings and do as they are told by authority.  Despite all the talk about 'freedom' in this country many people's minds are caged.  Most people go along to get along.  Far too many people have lost the ability to think for themselves.  I am worried.  The corporate indoctrination is subtle and pervasive.

Courage is needed now more than ever. 

Bruce

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Destroyer Protest Still Scheduled Despite Expected Snow


Fools No More!
Protest BIW Destroyer ‘Christening’
Saturday, April 1
9:00 am to Noon
Washington Street
Bath, Maine

Activists from Maine and Massachusetts will be committing an act of non-violent civil disobedience (now also called civil resistance) at Bath Iron Works on Saturday, April 1.  (We checked with Bath Police Department this morning and they say the ‘christening’ is still on.  If that changes we will immediately send out word.)

The legal protest will take place starting at 9:00 am at the corner of Washington & Spring Streets in Bath.  Peace activists will line up along the sidewalk on both sides of Washington St.  At some point during the protest those intending to do their civil resistance action will do so.

(Parking could be challenging down along Washington Street so we suggest parking at the UCC Neighborhood Church (the former steak house) on the corner of Washington & Centre St in downtown Bath.)

The protest will focus on the dramatic need to immediately take positive steps to deal with climate change.  The assembled will demand the conversion of BIW to build commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines, solar and tidal power systems.

Please come and support those who are willing to risk arrest in order to further community reflection and discussion about our great need to address the coming harsh impacts of climate change while we still can make a difference.  Rather than waste our tax dollars on preparations for endless war we must turn the military industrial complex toward sustainable production.

The protest is being sponsored by:  Smilin' Trees Disarmament Farm; Maine Veterans For Peace; Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST); Maine Natural Guard; Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center; Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; PeaceWorks; Pax Christi Maine; Merrimack Valley People for Peace (North Andover, MA); Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

War is a $ham



This is the intro from the Hollywood movie, War Dogs, which is based on a true story. War is a business, a racket, a sham.

The rich get richer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

American Hypocrisy: CIA Ops from an Inside Source


With all the news these days about the CIA and their alleged 'exposes' about Russian interference in our recent national election I thought I'd reread this book called The Game Player: Confessions of the CIA's original political operative by Miles Copeland.

Copeland did not feel any qualms about his activities on behalf of the CIA and its corporate clients who wanted to control resources (oil and other valuable natural resources) - particularly in the Middle East.  Copeland speaks with pride and pleasure as he recounts his efforts to organize coups d'etat in Egypt, Iran and other vital places.

I want to share some of his words that expose the total hypocrisy of statements that I regularly hear or read from American media like New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, FOX, and MSNBC about US democracy, the rule of law, and other such claptrap.

Here is a very small sampling of Copeland's own words:

  • Naturally, we had some trouble in getting clearance for projects involving the use of Nazis and ex-Nazis, but our difficulties disappeared when our friends in Israel's Mossad admitted that they, too, were using ex-Nazis for a number of nefarious purposes, and for the same reasons that they were attractive to us.  

  • Dissuasion: in the CIA's early days we used the word 'terrorism' without embarrassment.  Terrorizing, instead of killing, was what we did when we wanted to discourage a group or a government from doing something we believed might endanger our legitimate interests.

  • The CIA used it [terrorism] only sparingly, but to good effect when we wanted to provoke some police state into clamping down on its civilian population in ways that would dramatize its oppressive character, thus facilitating our efforts to build resistance movements.

  • Last-resort capabilities: as I review my varied past in search of materials suitable for bedtime stories to tell my grandchildren, I find myself dwelling inordinately on coups d'etat, the rigging of elections, and the more violent forms of governmental replacement or destabilization we have employed at various times in the past.  

  • Our first act as the Political Action Staff was to list those countries of the world which had in them materials or locations that were absolutely essential to our survival and wellbeing - raw materials, possible sites for military or naval bases in the event of war, areas we would have to cross in order to be sure of speedy and economic access to essential raw materials or places of strategic military importance.  

  • I was to go to Iran [early 1953] and obtain answers to four or five questions which, for all practical purposes, could be boiled down to one: could we, and should we, take political action to shore up the Shah, discredit Mossadegh [the elected Prime Minister overthrown in August of 1953 by the US], and prevent his supporters from doing what the British Foreign Office and the US Department of State feared they would do?  [Which was to nationalize Iran's oil so their own citizens would benefit from the profits rather than US and British oil corporations.]

  • Yes, we did need extraordinary political action there to protect American, as well as British [oil] interests.  The objective of the action should be to remove Mossadegh from office, make a laughing-stock of him, jail his principal supporters, and give the Shah any assistance he might need in launching a public relations programme to show the Iranian people what a narrow escape they had had, and how extremely lucky they were to have had it. 

NATO Advances on Donbas & Russian Border



Last week in eastern Ukraine a fire broke out at a military munitions depot of the Ministry of Defense, which is located near the city of Balakleya, Kharkiv region, and led to the detonation of ammunition.

The weapons depot has been considered to be the largest in Europe where different types of ammunition are stored. This base is designed for 150 thousand tons of ammunition, currently 125 thousand tons were kept there.

Puppet President Poroshenko announced on his Twitter  that he ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and Emergency Department to invite NATO to deal with the aftermath of this disaster, or how he phrased it to do “humanitarian demining.”  

Surprisingly there have been no official statements about how this fire broke out.  Nor have there been any claims by the US-NATO puppet government in Kiev that Russia was responsible which is surprising because lately Moscow seems to be blamed for virtually everything bad that happens anywhere on the planet.

The Balakleya lost one civilian killed, two wounded. And according to Vice Premier Zubko:

“We identified five destroyed private houses. Damages of different degrees were identified for 243 building, including 117 apartment buildings, 87 private houses, 12 social facilities, 22 facilities and industry. Assessment of volume of damage and destruction of these buildings is still underway”

90 servicemen were on duty at this military facility at any given time. Not a word has been heard about them from the government of Ukraine.

The latest news from Balakleya is as follows:

NATO troops are moving into the area around Kharkiv.

NATO envoys arrive in Balaklia to assist in humanitarian demining NATO representatives are arriving in the town of Balaklia, Ukraine, to conduct demining operations in the area where a large-scale fire engulfed a military munitions depot on March 23, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration Yulia Svetlichna said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.
 “I can say that NATO envoys are already arriving to carry out demining the military munitions depot, at the request of the president,” Svetlichna said.


All one has to do is look at the map to see the 'strategic proximity' of Kharkiv to the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region (Luhansk and Donetsk) and to the Russian border.  It has been US-NATO's goal all along to establish military operations as close to the Russian border as possible. 

The self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine, currently holding their own against US-backed western Ukrainian Nazi death squads, would stand no chance if NATO forces either overtly or covertly began to also attack the Russian speaking populations in the Donbas region.  Would Russia then be forced to directly intervene to support them?  That could then be the trigger that US-NATO have long been seeking to justify a shooting match with Moscow.

Added to all of this is the simultaneous 'color revolution' that is being organized by the US-NATO inside of neighboring Belarus. Again a look at the map indicates the strategic location of Belarus.  This entire region is under intense pressure as Washington-Brussels-Berlin-London-Paris play their regime change cards attempting to topple everyone and anyone possible in order to destabilize (internally and externally) the Russian Federation.

If you thought the fires and blasts at the Balakleya ammo depot were 'explosive' just imagine what a real war between US-NATO and Russia would look like.  To say it would be dangerous is mildly laughable - these current provocations are the triggers for WW III that could quickly expand to engulf Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and ultimately the United States.

Don't play with fire.

Bruce

(Parts of the above were taken from various reports found on The Saker website)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire

Click on image to read the words

On Saturday Mary Beth and I drove north to Deer Isle, Maine to spend the weekend with Jean Hendrick - wife of fellow Veterans For Peace member Dud Hendrick.  The reason for the trip was that I was invited to speak at the Reversing Falls Sanctuary on Sunday by the artist Robert Shetterly who lives there and created the series of paintings called Americans Who Tell the Truth.

The Reversing Falls Sanctuary has been holding a Lenten series of talks by various people that Shetterly has painted over the years.

Dud was down in Florida, along the Gulf Coast in Apalachicola, getting some sun and a respite from the long winter.  But Jean took great care of us while we were at their place.  Early on Sunday morning Jean took us on a three mile walk along the ocean.  Deer Isle is a quite beautiful place - anytime of year.

I was asked to tell stories to those who came to my talk so I began with a few about how I joined the Air Force in 1971 having been a Young Republican for Nixon in 1968.  After failing my induction physical, because of a high school football injury, I had to get a waiver in order to join the military when most young men my age were trying to avoid the draft.

I shared stories about my first roommate at Travis AFB in California who was one of the organizers of the GI Resistance Movement in the barracks - those meetings that were held in my room, with me sitting in the corner at first, helped to turn me into a peacenik.

I talked about the Rev. Fred Eyster from the National Farmworker Ministry who knocked on my apartment door one evening while I was at the University of Florida and invited me to get involved with other students supporting the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) lettuce boycott on our campus.  I began skipping classes and eventually quit college when they offered me a job organizing fruit pickers in Florida.  I've been an organizer ever since.

I shared stories from 1983 when I was leading protests at the Pershing II nuclear missile factory in Orlando. The missile was deployed by Ronald Reagan that year in Mutlangen, Germany.  A year or two later I went to a peace conference in Mutlangen and met my first Russian peace activist (a nice man without horns on his head) and joined the Germans as they ran outside during the conference to block the narrow village street when a US Army convoy of mobile Pershing launchers left the base to do maneuvers in the countryside.

Many years later, after the end of the Cold War and the closing of the US base in Mutlangen, I went back to visit folks there and they showed me with great pride how the former nuclear weapons storage bunkers had been 'converted' by the community to a storage facility for sand to put on the roads during winter storms.  Much more practical than storing nukes!

I told the story of my trip to Odessa, Ukraine last May 2 on the 'anniversary' of the US sponsored coup d'etat that unleashed the chaos in that country that only appears to be worsening these days.  I talked about trips to Jeju Island, South Korea and Okinawa.

I spoke about our on-going campaign here in Bath, Maine to call for the conversion of Bath Iron Works and invited their community to step forward and send a team of non-violent resisters to a future 'christening' of a Navy destroyer that will be sent to bases in other lands where local people's lives have been disrupted in order to build bases for this seemingly endless string of US warships now clogging up the sea lanes on our Mother Earth.

As I was leaving an 86 year old woman came up to me and said that if she could get out of bed at 6:00 am on April 1 she intended to make the drive to Bath for our protest - but she warned me that getting out of bed that early for her these days was never easy.  People that know her well told me that I should not be surprised that she will likely show up.

This Saturday we will once again commit a non-violent act of civil resistance during the 'christening' ceremony of another $1.5 billion Navy Aegis destroyer.  Another story will be created to add to my many years of similar tales about this wonderful life I've led as a peace, justice and ecological activist.

Bruce

Excellent Report on THAAD Deployment



A well done news clip from Russia on the US deployment of THAAD - very interesting in that they cover the technical aspects of the 'missile defense' program as well as China's economic response to South Korea.

Well worth watching.  Quite accurate from what I saw.  We'd never see a news story like this here in the US.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Navy Keep Out!



The first U.S. Navy destroyer makes port call at Gangjeong village on Jeju Island, South Korea.

The Obama-Clinton (and now Trump) 'pivot' of 60% of U.S. forces into the Asia-Pacific requires more barracks for American troops, more ports-of-call for American warships and more airfields for Washington's warplanes.

The Pentagon does not care about the impact this 'pivot' has on the lives of people in the region.

Villagers and supporters in Gangjeong met the Navy destroyer with a protest and denounced its arrival.


We'll be talking about all of this on April 1 in Bath, Maine at the next 'christening' protest of another one of these provocative Aegis destroyers.

Will Americans ever be able to empathize with the people of the Asia-Pacific who want our military boot off their necks? Can we stand in solidarity with their non-violent acts of resistance?

Bruce

Sunday Song