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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Name:
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, May 13, 2017

Call for National Mobilization


I will be going to Washington DC to attend this important protest being organized by Veterans For Peace (VFP) - an organization that I am a member of.

Everyone is invited to participate and there are going to be some special guests present at the rally. (Soon to be announced.)

We need a peace mobilization like this badly right now as the US and its murderous allies are currently at war in about seven countries with even more on the 'To Do' list.

VFP made the important commitment to connect the dots - linking the war issue to most of the other social and environmental issues that are currently important in our country and around the world.

Please help spread word about the protest which will begin at the Lincoln Memorial with a rally and then will be followed by a march to the White House where a mass civil disobedience action will take place.

Bruce

Friday, May 12, 2017

Institutional Decay in Washington



Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the significance of the Comey affair, the prospect of the rise of VP Mike Pence as the real power in the White House, and the danger of war as a way out for a dysfunctional administration.

Our New Mantra


We Are Free....


The sheep
are being herded
into the corral
for shearing
and eventual
slaughter

The media
does its job
group think
is the imperative

any lambs
that slip
outside the
cage
are to be
shorn first
reminding
others
what happens
to those
that don't
stay in line

The liberals
demonize
Russia

Bernie
embraces
the 'resistance'
in Syria

Activists
defend the
FBI director
who heads
an agency
known
for infiltration
and destruction
of 'radical' groups

The CIA,
long linked
to drug running
arms sales
assassinations
coups d'etat,
claims
purity
much like
the Vatican Bank

Up
is down
War
is peace
In
is out
Freedom
ain't so free
Independence
is restricted

Free thought
and expression
are shunned,
like lepers
sent
to remote
islands

Fear
now reigns
like
the mad
kings and queens

We are
reluctant
to think
for ourselves
to speak
about
what we see

Don't stand out
keep your
mouths
shut tight
it might
just cost
you
something
or someone
you love

Back
into the pen
safe
and
sound

Everything
is normal
now.....

Bruce

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Destroyer 'Christening' Protest – A Veteran’s Perspective

Former Navy pilot and now peacenik Bob Dale from Brunswick, Maine

By Bob Dale
Times Record (Brunswick, Maine)
 
April Fool’s day this year, a snowy, icy one, found me soothed by the warmth of our wood stove, so it took something extreme to get me to leave its comfort. That something was the realization that the President’s recent budget request to Congress was for $54,000,000,000 MORE for the US military at a time when we outspend the next five major countries combined for our defense! Today, when over half of our tax dollars, yours and mine, go toward military expenditures, I’m learning that some social programs such as Meals On Wheels are in jeopardy. This has to be too much overkill. There’s something wrong here, and it’s personal. I’ve had friends who were dependent on Meals On Wheels. Even my own handicapped grandson’s assistance has been cut!

As members of Veteran’s for Peace and PeaceWorks my wife and I have marched and stood vigils for years. Each Friday she also distributes boxes of food for families who can’t afford decent meals and her daughter volunteers weekly at a homeless shelter. We donate to organizations trying to address some of the weaknesses in our social systems. Still there’s this feeling of impotence --- that “finger in the dike” feeling. What else can a couple of old fogies do?

These thoughts eased me up grudgingly from the couch to join about 35 others once again protesting the christening yet another killing machine, the USS Thomas Hudner, at BIW. I didn’t know LTJG Hudner personally but I knew of him. He was about three years behind my graduating class when we won our gold wings at Pensacola. As naval aviators flying the same carrier-based fighter aircraft, the Corsair, we were brothers in a rather small fraternity. Hudner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for making a forced landing to rescue a fellow pilot, alive but trapped in his burning plane. Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown, the US Navy’s first black aviator, had been shot down behind enemy lines near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea during the infamous retreat by US Forces from Chinese troops who had crossed the Yalu River to reinforce the North Koreans in the winter of ‘50-’51. Hudner was unsuccessful and was airlifted out by helicopter. This tale, “The Flight of Jesse Leroy Brown”, is on my bookshelf.

Two and a half years after this incident, a truce on the Korean Peninsula having just been signed, I was flying an AJ-1 Savage from various aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific. The Savage, a three-engine (single jet) heavy attack aircraft was being introduced as the U.S.Navy’s first capability to deliver an atomic bomb from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Years earlier, in December ‘45, I had seen and even smelled the ashes of Tokyo, the result of U.S.firebombing, and later, the rubble of Manila. From training films I had been thoroughly briefed on the devastation an atomic bomb could wreak and I learned how to deliver it.

President Eisenhower had hinted at the possibility of an atomic attack to bring China and North and South Korea to the negotiating table with the U.S. By the end of July ‘53 an armistice was signed and all parties agreed to observe a line separating North and South Korea. (It is still being respected but is in extreme jeopardy at this moment.)

In that same year I was a Savage aircraft commander assigned a target in China, should the Chinese or North Koreans breach the demilitarized zone across the peninsula at the 38th parallel. My assigned target was the airfield on the outskirts of Canton (now Guongzhou), the third most populous city in China, numbering in the millions even then. My offset-aim point was an island in the Pearl River, which flows through the city. My crew and I practiced simulated deliveries and drops as did other aircrews on other Chinese targets. Had it been ordered we would have delivered. I was 29 years old.

Years later, after I grew up, I began to question what I had been involved in. Even later, as a civilian, realizing the horror that could have happened, I made a pilgrimage to that very airport in Guongzhou to find peace. Then I came home and sought out Veterans for Peace and PeaceWorks.

This April 1st, as I stood across the street from BIW with other peaceful demonstrators I realized I had to do more while I was still able. Was I up to it? This was one of my better days. With eight others I crossed the street with my walking sticks to stand silently on the white line defining BIW property in protest of the latest addition to the strongest navy the world has ever known.

Time will tell if this simple, nonthreatening gesture will have a positive effect. We certainly hope to see BIW employees remain gainfully employed. They have the skills to create a more peaceful world, one in which we all can thrive.

Our purpose, or at least my purpose, is to call attention to the extreme cost to each of us to maintain this Military-Industrial Complex President Eisenhower warned us about 65 years ago. Shouldn’t we divert some of our war-fighting tax dollars to solving some of the social problems sapping our strength before we become weakened from within? We could even increase employment while at the same time lifting up some of those in need, by diverting some of our energy to peaceful purposes such as creating commuter rail right to BIW, thus easing highway congestion with its consequent pollution. Imagine, for example an electric (solar?) commuter line from Portland to Rockland, stopping right at BIW and there connecting to a spur to L/A. No more piling into buses! No more traffic! BIW employees could construct the trains. We could become less dependent on oil or coal while cleaning up our act.

Let’s hope we make the right choices when we send the government our dollars.

P.S. Bath can be proud of its police force. We protesters were treated with respect, except when my walking sticks were seized. I hope these ideas will help some of your officers understand why we had to interrupt their day.

Bob Dale is a member of PeaceWorks and Veterans For Peace. He lives in Brunswick and is 92 years old.

Veterans to Rally in Washington



All are invited to join Veterans For Peace at the May 30 Lincoln Memorial rally and civil disobedience at the White House.

Stop Endless War • Build for Peace!

1. Dismantle the U.S. Empire at Home and Abroad
2. Close U.S. Bases on Foreign Soil—Bring the Troops Home
3. Ban Nuclear Weapons—No New Nukes—No First Strike
4. Redirect the Pentagon Budget—Money for Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure and Sustainable Green Energy
5. Dismantle Corporate Control of Our Government
6. Dismantle the School to Prison/Military Pipeline
7. Stop Persecution of Migrants, Immigrants, and Refugees
8. End Sexism and Gender Discrimination in the Military
9. Respect and Honor First Nation Sovereignty and Treaties
10. End Racism and Racist Violence  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fascism in Israel


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

France: Banker Candidate Wins by Default


I've been following the French elections trying to break through all the corporate media hype behind the election of former investment banker Emmanuel Macron.  Bottom line is that the western bankers won in this election and Macron will continue and likely escalate the austerity measures that are neutering the French working class.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and writes:

Macron is going to wage an (economic) extremist war on the French public, and who can be excited about that?

Just do the math: 25% [of potential voters] abstained and 12% submitted blank ballots (LOL, a record), meaning only 67% of the total electorate issued an acceptable vote. That drops Macron’s alleged final score of 66% down to 42% of the total electorate. Now subtract the 43% of Macron’s voters who say they voted to block Le Pen. That means only 24% of the total electorate voted for Macron’s personality or his policies.

Only 24% of France truly voted for Macron. So forget what the financial/foreign press says: there is no joy in Mudville, French democracy has struck out.

But the beat goes on. And for the next five years I’m covering the exact same news beat – Hollande (Jr.) and austerity.

The bankers are having their way in most countries around the globe.  They are extracting wealth from the workers, selling off national assets to 'investors', essentially plundering national economies like pirates.  Those who try to defend social progress are demonized by the banker-owned media that defend and promote the corporate elite candidates like Macron.

Historically France had a tradition and reputation as a place where the class struggle was in full swing.  The Socialist party got side tracked and betrayed by their last couple of leaders, including the recent Hollande, to the point that the public deserted them.  But the corporate oligarchies found a way to bring in a 'fresh face' named Macron.

The one-sided media ensures that enough of the public gets worn down and herded into the 'acceptable' camp - in this case Macron wins by default.  That is no way to run a true democracy.

The contradictions in France (and throughout much of the world) remain and social movements will have to work hard to recover momentum.  Even when the Socialist Hollande was in power he just ignored (or beat down) the protests against austerity.  Macron will continue that same strategy as the greedy bankers want total control.

The only bright spot I see is in South Korea where the people's movement has toppled the corrupt right-wing US puppet President Park and now Moon Jae-in appears to have won the presidential election in a landslide.

The progressive Moon says he wants the US to withdraw the THAAD 'missile defense' system just recently deployed by the Pentagon.  This will be an interesting test of South Korea's ability to demand and secure the right to have an independent foreign policy - reducing Washington's long-held power on the Korean peninsula.

But have no doubt, the US will be reluctant to give up its stronghold in South Korea considering the fact that Korea borders China and Russia which are both today prime targets for 'regime change' by the US and an ever cancerous NATO. So push back from the US on new President Moon will be intense.

Only the growth of a global people's movement, dedicated to reversing austerity budgets, protection of Mother Earth, and ensuring true peace will reverse the evil domination by the banking elite who now rule the world.

Bruce

Monday, May 08, 2017

Military Space Plane Returns from Two-Year Secret Mission


CBS News reports:

An unpiloted military space plane, launched by an Atlas 5 rocket in May 2015, glided to an unannounced landing on the long shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, closing out a 718-day mission.

It was the fourth clandestine flight of the X-37B, the longest in the program and the first to end in Florida, where Boeing has taken over two former shuttle processing hangars that have been modified to handle the secret spycraft. The first three missions ended with landings at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

The program's fifth launch is expected later this year. Two X-37Bs, also known as OTVs, or orbital test vehicles, are known to exist.

The spacecraft are believed to fly as orbital test beds for advanced technology sensors and other systems but the program is classified, and the Air Force provides almost no details on the nature of the space plane's missions, what might have been accomplished or when the reusable craft might fly again.

The X-37 has nothing to do with peaceful space exploration or NASA.  It's being developed for surveillance, to interfere with competitors satellites and to give the US first-strike capability.  One could call it a super-drone.

Analysts contend the military space plane is part of the Pentagon's effort to develop the ability to strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour - known as Prompt Global Strike.

In the annual US Space Command computer simulation attacks on Russia and China the military space plane is one of the first weapons used - it flies down from orbit and drops an attack on the targeted nation.

The actual expense of the X-37 is hidden in the Pentagon's 'black,' or classified, budget but is likely to cost more than $1 billion. The launch vehicle alone - an Atlas rocket - costs as much as $200 million.

A a key tool in the growing US first-strike program, the unmanned military space plane becomes even more effective if the US can get its potential rivals to reduce their nuclear retaliatory capability giving the Pentagon an ever greater chance of pulling off a successful decapitating attack.

Thus as the US moves forward with these kinds of global strike systems it will be likely that target nations of the Pentagon will be forced to respond by refusing to reduce their nuclear weapons and by developing new technologies to counter the US program.

(Please note how they just happened to have a spare American flag on the runway when the X-37 landed.)

Bruce

Resisting the Militarization of Space



On the opening day of the 25th annual conference of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space -- held in Huntsville, Alabama, April 7-9, home of the Pentagon's 'missile defense' directorate and many other space weapons systems -- activists Bruce Gagnon, Dave Webb, Ken Jones, Hyun Lee and Yasuo Ogata addressed a news conference, telling of the costs and dangers of missile defense and of weaponizing space.

Then the GN conference attendees hold a protest vigil outside the gates of Redstone Arsenal at closing time.

Video by Eric Herter.

Occupying Palestine



History of Palestine

Zionism arrived in Palestine in the late 19th as a colonialist movement motivated by national impulses.

The colonization of Palestine fitted well the interests and policies of the British Empire on the eve of the First World War.

With the backing of Britain, the colonization project expanded, and became a solid presence on the land after the war and with the establishment of the British mandate in Palestine (which lasted between 1918 and 1948).

While this consolidation took place, the indigenous society underwent, like other societies in the rest of the Arab world, a steady process of establishing a national identity.

But with one difference. While the rest of the Arab world was shaping its political identity through the struggle against European colonialism, in Palestine nationalism meant asserting your collective identity against both an exploitative British colonialism and expansionist Zionism.

Thus, the conflict with Zionism was an additional burden. The pro-Zionist policy of the British mandate there naturally strained the relationship between Britain and the local Palestinian society.

This climaxed in a revolt in 1936 against both London and the expanding Zionist colonization project.

The revolt, which lasted for three years, failed to sway the British mandate from a policy it had already decided upon in 1917. The British foreign secretary, Lord Balfour, had promised the Zionist leaders that Britain would help the movement to build a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.

The number of Jews coming into the country increased by the day - although even at that point, during the 1930s, the Jews were just a quarter of the population, possessing 4 percent of the land.

As resistance to colonialism strengthened, the Zionist leadership became convinced that only through a total expulsion of the Palestinians would they be able to create a state of their own.

From its early inception and up to the 1930s, Zionist thinkers propagated the need to ethnically cleanse the indigenous population of Palestine if the dream of a Jewish state were to come true.

The preparation for implementing these two goals of statehood and ethnic supremacy accelerated after the Second World War.

The Zionist leadership defined 80 percent of Palestine (Israel today without the West Bank) as the space for the future state.

This was an area in which one million Palestinians lived next to 600,000 Jews.

The idea was to uproot as many Palestinians as possible. From March 1948 until the end of that year the plan was implemented despite the attempt by some Arab states to oppose it, which failed. Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled, 531 villages were destroyed and 11 urban neighborhoods demolished.

Half of Palestine's population was uprooted and half of its villages destroyed. The state of Israel was established in over 80 percent of Palestine, turning Palestinian villages into Jewish settlements and recreation parks, but allowing a small number of Palestinian to remain citizens in it.

The June 1967 war allowed Israel to take the remaining 20 percent of Palestine.

This seizure defeated in a way the ethnic ideology of the Zionist movement. Israel encompassed 100 percent of Palestine, but the state incorporated a large number of Palestinians, the people who Zionists made such an effort to expel in 1948.

The fact that Israel was let off easily in 1948, and not condemned for the ethnic cleansing it committed, encouraged it to ethnically cleanse a further 300,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Yankees Come Home



No THAAD in South Korea!

Bonus Track


Sunday Song