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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Who Actually Controls the Media?



Do you actually think the CIA, FBI and NSA can be trusted? Who do they work for? Put your ears to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming!!!

During the days of the former Soviet Union the story was that folks living there had to learn to read the newspaper up-side-down.  That meant they could not trust their media - it was state controlled.

Can we begin to imagine that the media in the US (and much of the world) is owned and run by the rich - corporate oligarchs?  By the CIA.

But having a media we can't trust is not a ticket out of the struggle.  I hear many say that, "Well, I don't know who to believe anymore.  I give up.  You can't beat city hall."

We can't just say we are beat and then quit.  Our children and grandchildren need us to put our asses in gear.  Our relatives in the plant and animal worlds need us to act now. We damn well know the problems - and we have a very good idea what many of the solutions are.

America has always been about fitting in - being accepted by the crowd - going along to get along.  That's all got to change now.  We are on the edge of the cliff and looking at a deep fall.  We've got to move hard and fast.  We've got to speak out more often - more publicly - and help push the real policies that are life giving.  The elite say that America has superfluous populations here now and the oligarchs are trying to thin the herd.  Some would call it genocide - they want to put most of us on the reservation.

Age is not a ticket out of the struggle either so everyone can do something.  Just last weekend 98-year-old activist Frances Crowe and seven others were arrested blockading construction of a Kinder Morgan gas pipeline in the Otis State Forest in western Massachusetts. Activists helped push Crowe to the construction site in her wheelchair, where they then held a mock funeral for fossil fuels. Crowe is a longtime peace and antinuclear activist. This is her third arrest since she turned 90 years old. When asked on Saturday how many times she’d been arrested throughout her lifetime, Francis Crowe answered, "Not Enough."  See the story here

Alot of people are using the word 'Resistance' these days but many groups are pushing an accommodationist strategy with those in power.  Many of these organizations are linked to the Democratic Party and thus their primary job is to herd newly active and enraged people into traditional safe corners where party operatives can control their anger.

For me though 'Resistance' is that which directly non-violently confronts the power elite - from both major political parties.  I always carry in my heart the words of abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass who proclaimed:


Let's cut the bullshit and get to work while we still can.

Bruce

BIW Aegis 9 in Maine Court Today



Our Aegis 9  destroyer 'christening' crew appeared in court today for a 'Disposition' hearing before Judge Billings.  Our protest event took place at Bath Iron Works (BIW) here in Maine on April 1.  The nine of us have been charged with criminal Trespass.  Three of us in the group were arrested last year during a similar protest when the new Zumwalt 'steath' destroyer was 'christened'.

Thing began today with the judge asking the state what they were offering the defendants in the way of sentencing if we settled the case without trial.  The prosecutor said that the state was offering a $250 fine for six of the folks who had not been previously arrested at BIW.  For the three of us (Jason Rawn, Russell Wray and myself) the state was asking for a three day jail sentence.

Attorney Logan Perkins was there to represent three of the people in our group and the rest of us are planning to represent ourselves (Pro Se).

Judge Billings said he would be inclined to have tighter restrictions on what he allowed during our upcoming trial testimonies because of the nature of our Trespass charge.  Our previous arrest in 2016 was for sitting down in the road in front of BIW and we were charged with Obstructing a Public Way.  That particular charge allowed us to argue during our trial the 'reasonableness' of our actions.  The Trespass charge does not allow the 'reasonableness' defense - thus the judge's statement that our testimony will have to be more restricted.  It will be interesting to see how all of this comes out in the wash.  Clearly we want to be able to convey to the 'jury of our 'peers' why we held our protest action on April 1.

An August 29 date was set for our next hearing at the West Bath District Court.  At that time the 'Docket Call' will move us one step closer toward jury selection and eventual trial that could happen either in September or November - depending on the court calendar.


The ‘Aegis 9’

1. Lisa Savage – Solon, 60 years, School teacher
2. Jason Rawn – Lincolnville, 45, War tax resister, house painter
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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Noting Relationships: Military Space Control & Energy Domination



There’s currently a push in the halls of Washington D.C., to establish a new branch of the military by 2019, one whose focus would be operations among the stars. Proposed legislation by House representatives would create a “Space Corps” that would serve “as a separate military service within the Department of the Air Force.” It would be the first branch added to the military since 1947 when the Air Force was officially established.

“There is bipartisan acknowledgement that the strategic advantages we derive from our national security space systems are eroding,” the bill's sponsors said in a joint statement. “We are convinced that the Department of Defense is unable to take the measures necessary to address these challenges effectively and decisively, or even recognize the nature and scale of its problems.”

Under the proposed legislation, the Space Corps would serve under the direction of the Air Force much like the Marine Corps serves under the direction of the Navy. Additionally, the Space Corps head would have a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson responded to the idea while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill:

“The Pentagon is complicated enough. This will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money. And if I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy…I don’t need another chief of staff and another six deputy chiefs of staff.”

The entire House Armed Services Committee will have to approve the subcommittee’s additions to the NDAA before they can go any further. If that happens, the debate will move to the House floor, where the NDAA is expected to be voted on sometime after the Fourth of July. 


The new anti-Russian sanctions are outlined in an amendment to a bill imposing sanctions against Iran. It was overwhelmingly approved by the US Senate on Thursday by a majority of 98 to 2, but still needs to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Trump to become law.

In a joint statement, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austria's Chancellor Christian Kern said that Wednesday’s decision by the US Senate to slap new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged meddling in US presidential election and the Ukrainian conflict would make the European energy industry less competitive and would put thousands of jobs on the line.

Germany and Austria suspect that Senate's anti-Russian bill is an attempt to "occupy" the European energy market on the part of US corporations.

"Germany and Austria went one step further, too — accusing the US of looking to promote the role of US LNG in Europe at the expense of Russian gas," the S&P Global Platts writer [Ivan Danilov, a Russian economist] underscored, adding that the US apparently wants to kill two birds with one stone by exerting sanctions on Nord Stream 2: to "punish" Moscow and promote US LNG supplies in Europe, "which would have the knock-on effect of supporting domestic US gas industry."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Listen to Your Heart


Space Mine Field



Voice: Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network. Listen to Bruce's entire talk: https://youtu.be/oerbJKbjpRs

Animation by Stuart Grey: https://youtu.be/O64KM4GuRPk

Thanks to Will Griffin for this important video.

Get Up Off Your Knees



We are talking
serfs
vassals
slaves
here

the return
of feudalism
21st century
corporate style
 
Mental slaves
all around us
go any place
where people meet
the joint
is crawling
with them

Whining about Trump
dreaming
of the good old days
when Obama
'respected'
the rule of law
ran a 'clean' government
only got us into
7 wars
Drone executions
Expanding NATO
Health care
was a corporate subsidy
but allowed
for pre-existing
conditions
yeah the glory days

Saw an invite
from a liberal group
'Join the resistance'
was the headline
the fine print
told the real story
come learn how to lobby

Resistance redefined
as accommodation
and horse trading
from a position
of weakness
and servitude

Putin
is on the west's
shit list
because he won't
submit
won't get on his knees
like vassals

resists being
another Yeltsin
won't bow
to the banksters
dares talk of
sovereignty

The fightback
is half-stepping
reading the
Post and Times
falling for the lies
another 'shock and awe'
Syria
Iran is next

Folks know better
but running scared
don't want
to get
outside their
comfort zones

Liberals
demonizing
Russia
trying
to change
the script
off their
big loss
to the 'Donald'
gotta blame
the evil bear

There's
no fight
in the bones

Speak out
get accused
of being violent
or too radical
blacklisted

Liberals
run and hide
wait for next election

Been determined
by some
that
on your knees
is the safest
position
to face
coming
high tide

Bruce

Sunday, June 25, 2017

South Koreans Encircle U.S. Embassy



Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain around the American embassy in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to register their disapproval of the US-built THAAD missile defense system in their country.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Trump are due to meet for the first time in Washington next week, with THAAD expected to dominate the agenda.

Moon, a center-left politician, who was sworn in last month after a corruption scandal brought down the previous right-wing administration, has been a critic of the way in which the sophisticated defense system has been deployed and has ordered a full investigation.

"We got a fuckin‘ problem"



From Seymour Hersch
Printed by WELT (Germany)

Intelligence officials doubted the alleged Sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun. WELT AM SONNTAG presents a chat protocol of a security advisor and an active American soldier on duty at a key base in the region.

This conversation was provided to [award winning journalist] Seymour Hersh. It is between a security adviser and an active US American soldier on duty on a key operational base about the events in Khan Sheikhoun. We have made abbreviations: American soldier (AS) and Security Advisor (SA). WELT AM SONNTAG is aware of the location of the deployment. For security reasons, certain details of military operations have been omitted.

April 6, 2017

American Soldier: We got a fuckin‘ problem

Security-Adviser: What happened? Is it the Trump ignoring the Intel and going to try to hit the Syrians? And that we’re pissing on the Russians?

AS: This is bad...Things are spooling up.

SA: You may not have seen trumps press conference yesterday. He's bought into the media story without asking to see the Intel.  We are likely to get our asses kicked by the Russians.  Fucking dangerous.  Where are the goddamn adults? The failure of the chain of command to tell the President the truth, whether he wants to hear it or not, will go down in history as one of our worst moments.

AS: I don't know. None of this makes any sense. We KNOW that there was no chemical attack. The Syrians struck a weapons cache (a legitimate military target) and there was collateral damage. That's it. They did not conduct any sort of a chemical attack.

AS: And now we’re shoving a shit load of TLAMs (tomahawks) up their ass.

SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.

AS:  I don't know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don't know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible.  The Russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs.  this is a big fucking deal...we are still all systems go...

SA:  You are so right. Russia is not going to take this lying down

SA: Who is pushing this? Is it coming from Votel (General Joseph L. Votel, Commander of United States Central Command, editor‘s note) ?                 

AS: I don't know. It's from someone big though. . . . This is a big fucking deal.                      

AS: It has to be POTUS.      

AS:  They [the Russians] are weighing their options.  Indications are they are going to be passive supporters of Syria and not engage their systems unless their own assets are threatened..in other words, the sky is fucking blue.'         
        
April 7, 2017

SA: What are the Russians doing or saying  Am I correct that we did little real damage to Russia or Syria?                       

AS: We didn't hit a damn thing, thankfully. They retrograded all their aircraft and personnel. We basically gave them a very expensive fireworks display.                      

AS: They knew where ships were and watched the entire strike from launch to end game.                      

AS: The Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real Intel and know the truth about the weapons depot strike.                      

AS: They are correct.                      

AS: I guess it really didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump. Fuck.                      

AS: No one is talking about the entire reason we're in Iraq and Syria in the first place. That mission is fucked now.

SA: Are any of your colleagues pissed or is everyone going along with it and saying this is OK                      

AS: It's a mad house. . . .Hell we even told the Russians an hour before impact                      

SA: But they clearly knew it was coming                      

AS: Oh of course                      

AS: Now Fox is saying we chose to hit the Syrian airfield because it is where the chemical attacks were launched from. Wow. Can't make this shit up.                      

SA: They are. I mean, making it up                      

AS: It's so fuckin evil                      

SA: Amen!!!      

April 8, 2017

AS: Russians are being extremely reasonable.  Despite what the news is reporting they are still trying to deconflict and coordinate the air campaign.

SA: I don't think the Russia yet understands how crazy Trump is over this.  And i don't think we appreciate how much damage the Russians can do to us.

AS: They're showing amazing restraint and been unbelievably calm.  They seem mostly interested in de-escalating everything.  They don't want to lose our support in the help with destroying Isis.

SA: But I get the get the feeling are simply trying this approach for as long as they feel it might work.  If we keep pushing this current aggressive stance they're going to hit back.'

Sunday Song




Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day in Portland: Trains and Film



MB and I went to Portland today to see the tall sailing ships and a movie.  As we were walking toward the port district we passed by the narrow gauge train museum and went inside to have a look.  I've always loved trains and still have my train set that I got for Christmas in 1959.  In fact I still have the turkey box from our holiday turkey that year that I have kept the train in ever since.  In later years I gave the train to my son Julian but it is still stored in our attic with his baseball cards and other such things.

In 1980 I worked with friend John Hedrick in Orlando, Florida to create the People's Transit Organization that worked to get the city and Orange County to upgrade their public transit.  (Our campaign was successful in getting the community to double its funding for public transit.) I am not fond of cars, nor of super highways, but love the idea of public transportation.  It's better for the environment and better for the public - its a common carrier.

Maybe it was living in Wiesbaden, Germany in the mid 1960's - our apartment in the center of the city was just blocks from the rail station and I used to spend alot of time there - and that experience of seeing what a real national rail system was like must have had a big influence on me.

Needless to say I was fascinated by the museum and I remain a huge advocate for building commuter rail systems as one small way to deal with our addiction to the automobile which is a major contributor to the pollution that has helped bring about climate change.

At one time Maine was connected by passenger rail lines that covered most of the state.  Many small towns still have their train stations standing but sadly the coming of the car destroyed that system.

Following our visit to the museum we continued our walk to the port area, had a late breakfast, and then sat in a park while waiting to go the the movie theater.  We went to see "All Eyez On Me" which tells the true story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world's most recognized and influential voices before his assassination at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur's raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary spirit propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow.

Tupac's mother was a member of the Black Panthers and during her pregnancy she represented herself in a trial and was found not guilty of the charges.  She brought Tupac up to be a revolutionary. His fame brought him much suffering as he was targeted as an enemy of the state at an early age.  I highly recommend the film.

Bruce

Must Watch Talk on Congo



Maurice Carney from Friends of the Congo speaking about US Foreign Policy in Congo, the heart of Africa. #UNAC2017

Maurice is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the Congo. He has traveled widely, leading workshops and teach-ins at universities, community colleges, businesses, faith groups, labor unions, and think tanks. He has provided analysis for media outlets including Pacifica News, Al Jazeera, ABC News, Democracy Now, Real New Network, and Pambazuka News.