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....

My Photo
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, December 13, 2014

U.S. Sending Heavy Weapons to Latvia



Just 300 km from the Russian border.  Ain't no doubt that Washington continues to stir the war pot in the region. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Selling Space



Today is my space day for sure.  I began the morning by having a one hour meeting with a Danish woman via Skype who is writing her academic dissertation on the moral/ethical consequences of private space flight and planetary colonization.  She was refreshingly aware of most of the nuances of corporate driven space technology issues today. I can't wait to see her final paper.

Following that I began work on the Global Network's next newsletter called Space Alert!  As I was sorting through various documents I came across the video above.  This is a promo piece for the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

Colorado boasts the nation's third-largest aerospace economy and is home to more than 400 companies and bases (including Air Force Space Command HQ at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs) that create nearly 170,000 Colorado jobs.

Each spring, the Colorado-based Space Foundation hosts the annual Space Symposium — the world's largest gathering of 11,000 space decision-makers from across the globe for a week long orgy on the future of aerospace policy.  The local peace group called Citizens for Peace in Space organizes protests each year during the space confab.  The next symposium will be held on April 13-16, 2015.

Begin to imagine the costs and profit potential of military and civilian space technology.  Where do you think the $$$ comes from to pay for these programs?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Undercover Cops Busted by Crowd in Oakland


An undercover cop last night in a Berkeley, California protest was caught flashing his gun at protesters after he and another undercover operative were outed when someone pulled his mask off his face.  Some witnesses claimed the two cops were previously seen banging on bank windows and trying to incite protesters to commit violence.  The two cops were eventually identified as California Highway Patrol sent into Oakland supposedly unknown to the Oakland Police Department.

This makes total sense.  If police are going to put agent provocateurs inside of protests then it would be wise to use guys from other departments so they are unknown to local cops or at least there is deniability for local cops if they get caught.

I have no doubt that much of the so-called violent protests across this country are to some degree or another initiated by such undercover cops.  Local activists often make such reports.

I've had personal experience with such an undercover cop trying to take over a protest I organized.  On March 8, 1983 Ronald Reagan came to Orlando, Florida to deliver his famous "evil people" speech before the National Association of Evangelicals. He called the then Soviet Union the root of all that was wrong in the world.  Referring to the Soviets, Reagan said, "Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all those who live in that totalitarian darkness - pray they will discover the joy of knowing God.  But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare the omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world."

For several weeks before the event I worked hard to build a protest at the Sheraton Twin Towers where Reagen was to speak.  We got the unions, women's groups and the growing numbers of people moving into the peace movement involved.

Just as the Reagan caravan was pulling into the vast hotel parking lot a young guy rushed up to me and urged me to help him get people to block the caravan's path to the hotel entrance.  I had never seen this guy before (Orlando then had a fairly small and predictable activist community) and I had made a fatal organizing error by earlier giving him my only megaphone when he had approached me and asked if he could use it to help lead chants.  He now was using the megaphone to try to whip up the crowd to descend on the Reagan caravan.  In a moment of clarity I took back the megaphone and next thing I knew the guy had vanished into thin air.  I looked for him throughout the remaining time of the protest but never saw him again.  It was evident to me that he was part of an attempt to create an escalating situation that would be met by a fierce police response and would have then been shown on the national news since all the Washington media was there covering the Reagan speech.

It would have been the perfect story - Reagan caravan attacked by crowd of leftists as the president was going to talk to 'religious leaders' about how evil the left was.  

Laser Wars



Time reports:

The Navy announced that it had deployed and fired a laser weapon this fall aboard a warship in the Persian Gulf. During a series of test shots, the laser hit and destroyed targets mounted atop a small boat, blasted a six-foot drone from the sky, and destroyed other moving targets.

“This is the first time in recorded history that a directed energy weapons system has ever deployed on anything,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, told reporters at the Pentagon. “A lot of people talk about it—we decided to go do it.”

The Navy’s laser weapon system—LaWS, in sea-service jargon—was fired from the USS Ponce, a one-time amphibious ship that was converted to an “afloat forward staging base” in 2012 and assigned to the 5th Fleet in Bahrain. Firing a laser from the surface of the Persian Gulf is challenging because heat, humidity, dust and salt water can reduce its power.

The Navy spent about $40 million over the past seven years developing LaWS, which actually consists of six commercial welding lasers lashed together and aimed at the same point. It has proven effective at ranges of up to about a mile.

Bush To The Hague


International Criminal Court Complaint Filed Against
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Rice and Gonzales


INTERNATIONAL ARREST WARRANTS REQUESTED

Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.

The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless the Accused have ordered and been responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C.C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.

The Complaint requests (1) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor open an investigation of the Accused on his own accord under Rome Statute article 15(1); and (2) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor also formally “submit to the [I.C.C.] Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3).

For similar reasons, the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration risk the filing of a follow-up Complaint with the I.C.C. if they do not immediately terminate the Accused’s criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition,” which the Obama administration has continued to implement.

The Complaint concludes with a request that the I.C.C. Prosecutor obtain International Arrest Warrants for the Accused from the I.C.C. in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), 58(1)(b)(i), 58(1)(b)(ii), and 58(1)(b)(iii).

In order to demonstrate your support for this Complaint you can contact the I.C.C. Prosecutor by letter, fax, or email as indicated below.

The Honorable Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Office of the Prosecutor
International Criminal Court
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
The Netherlands
Fax No.: 31-70-515-8555
Email: OTP.InformationDesk@icc-cpi.int  


~ Francis A. Boyle is a leading American expert in international law. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the World Court. He served as legal adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993. In 2007, he delivered the Bertrand Russell Peace Lectures. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Destroying World Order,  Biowarfare & Terrorism. He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kiev is a U.S. Colony


Vineyard of the Saker reports:

Well, we all knew that the last floor of the SBU (the Ukrainian terror police) building in Kiev was fully occupied by US CIA agents and that no Ukrainians have access to it.  But this is even better.  Apparently, the US decided to fly its flag on the building's main entrance, just next to the Ukrainian one. 

CIA is Lying



Sen. Mark Udall accused the CIA of "lying" about the effectiveness of torture, called for the resignation of its director and blasted President Barack Obama's handling of the spy agency on the Senate floor Wednesday.
 
In a 48-minute speech, the Colorado Democrat called on Obama to "purge his administration" of CIA officials, including Director John Brennan, involved in the interrogation techniques detailed in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report.

Seeking a Unified Movement in Maine


Not the 'Exceptional Nation' After All



The just released CIA torture report drives the final deadly stake through the dark heart of American exceptionalism.  The US is a corrupt, brutal, depraved, mob-run, bankrupt, greedy, warlike corporate entity.  Any claims that "USA is #1" or "We are the greatest country in the history of the planet" have now been forever put to rest.  It just ain't so.

The report indicates that these were just some of the 'techniques' used to interrogate prisoners:

  • Rectal feeding and rehydration - a ‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed and rectally infused’ into a prisoner
  • Confinement in a box - The use of insects inside the box was also approved
  • The use of cold water -  One prisoner died of hypothermia inside a CIA black site north of Kabul known as the Salt Pit.  He had been left in a cold cell, stripped from the waist down and had been doused in water
  • Waterboarding - One prisoner underwent the process 83 times, while another of the CIA’s highest-value detainees was subjected to waterboarding 183 times
  • Beatings and threats - Even threatened harm to prisoner's families...including their children
  • Stress positions
  • Sleep deprivation - Including forced standing for 66 hours
  • Forced nudity and restricted diets
  • Life in solitary - One prisoner threatened with being incommunicado for the rest of his life 
  • CIA tortured innocent people - Of the 119 known detainees that were in CIA custody during the life of the program, at least 26 were wrongfully held. Detainees often remained in custody for months after the CIA determined they should not have been detained
  • Contract pscyhologists devised the techniques - The report shows that contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the detention and interrogation program. In 2006, the value of the CIA’s base contract with the company formed by the psychologists with all options exercised was in excess of $180 million; the contractors received $81 million prior to the contract’s termination in 2009.
  • Lies to justify torture - Bush Justice Department official Jay Bybee, who is now a federal judge, told Congress the torture of Al Qaeda detainees led to the US capture of Jose Padilla. That wasn't true
  • CIA lies to rest of government - The secretary of state wasn't informed when the CIA made secret deals to open detention facilities abroad
The fundamental question now is what will Congress do to reign in the enormous power of the CIA to make foreign policy and war on its own without any real oversight?  The answer is virtually nothing.  In fact this public disclosure is only 7% of the documents the Senate received -  93% has not been disclosed to the media or the public. What else was in there?  The public has a right to see all of it.  After all we are paying for it whether we like it or not.

In an article that largely justifies continued CIA freedom to operate as it wishes the Washington Post reports:

Indeed, the CIA is in many ways at a position of unmatched power. Its budgets have been swollen by billions of dollars in counterterrorism expenditures. Its workforce has surged. Its overseas presence has expanded. And its arsenal now includes systems, including a fleet of armed drones, that would have made prior generations of CIA leaders gasp.

Many of these CIA or US military intelligence agents who carried out these torture programs end up going into domestic 'law enforcement' when they return to the civilian world.  I remember Orange County, Florida Sheriff Lawson Lamar (the guy who ordered surveillance of our peace work in Orlando back in the early 1980's) used to brag that he was a prisoner interrogator in Vietnam.  I once heard a first-hand report that he had been drunk at a party in the Orlando-area and was describing to fellow partiers that he used to string up Vietnamese prisoners on a wall and peel their skin off with knives in order to get them to talk.  These guys get arrogant as hell working in military 'intelligence' and then think they can do anything when they return home. So these unrestrained CIA operations do indeed bleed into our increasingly militarized society.

This report, as little as we are shown anyway, is further glaring evidence that the US has turned into a fascist state where the CIA and the Pentagon are storm-trooper agents of the corporations that run this government.  The days of "by the people and for the people" are sadly nostalgia and long gone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Manufacturing the “Russian Threat”

 

The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

By Prof. James Petras

The principle Nazi ideological prop that secured massive financial and political support from Germany’s leading industrialists was the Communist and Soviet threat.  The main Nazi military drive, absorbing two-thirds of its best troops, was directed eastward at conquering and destroying Russia.  The ‘Russian Threat’ justified Nazi Germany’s conquest and occupation of the Ukraine, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with the aid of a substantial proportion of local Nazi collaborators.

After Germany’s defeat, division and disarmament, and with the extension of Soviet power,  the US reinstated the Nazi industrial and banking giants, officials and intelligence operatives. At first they were engaged in rebuilding their domestic economy and consolidating political power, in collaboration with the US military occupation forces.

By the late 1960’s Germany regained economic primacy in Europe and was at the forefront of European ‘integration’, in association with France and England. It soon came to dominate the principle decision – making institutions of the European Union (EU). The EU served as Germany’s instrument for conquest by stealth. Year by year, through ‘aid’ and low interest loans,the EU  facilitated German capitalist’s  market penetration and financial expansion, throughout south and central Europe. Germany set the agenda for Western Europe, gaining economic dominance while benefiting from US subversion and encirclement of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic and Balkan states....

See the rest of this important article here

We Are In Lockdown - Can We See It?



A domestic Gladio fear-terror operation is underway throughout the nation intended to make the public turn to the authority structure for protection.  The mob called it the 'protection racket' ... now- a-days its called the Department of Homeland Security.

Can we see the links between militarized local cops and the armed neo-fascist para-military forces heavily funded by corporate right-wing cats?   Can we see El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua all over again right here at home?

We are in lockdown now here in the USA.  Can we even see it?  Can we understand how Mr. Big wants to control all of us?  Can we get over our addiction to "success" mythology which keeps us in line?

This is a powerful video to me because I crawled under my desk in the early 1960's 'hiding' from the possible explosion of a nuclear bomb over our heads at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota where we lived.  Then the 'enemy' was commies and today the 'enemy' is terrorism - even harder to define and contain.  We've been manipulated all of our lives.  

Cancerous US Militarization of the Asia-Pacific


  • Irish TV reports on local opposition to the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island off South Korea, and examines the effects of the arms race on the world in general. US Navy warships including aircraft carriers, nuclear subs, and Aegis destroyers (outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems) would be ported at this base. I highly recommend watching this excellent 25 minute documentary - find it here.  Please share with others. 

  • This Jeju Navy base, and other manifestations of Obama's "pivot" of 60% of US forces into the region, is forcing China to respond with their own military counter-moves.  China did not go looking for this fight but does not appear willing to let the US develop the ability to be the Master of Space or the Earth below.


Igor Korotchenko, Director of the Center for the Analysis of the World Arms Trade told Sputnik on Friday that China's successful testing of a Hypersonic Strike Vehicle (the HGV) demonstrates the country's potential to affect US national security in a serious way.

"US anxiety is centered on the fact that China is actively experimenting with weaponry that is based on hypersonic speed, which is nearly impossible to intercept using currently-available US missile defense systems," Korotchenko told Sputnik.

It had been reported earlier that China had conducted another test of the HGV, dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, an ultra-high speed vehicle capable of travelling up to eight times the speed of sound. Earlier tests of the vehicle had shown it capable of carrying nuclear warheads at a speed of over Mach 10, or 12,359 kilometers per hour. 

  • In the meantime a new arms race is underway as the US-NATO encircle Russia and China.  The environment suffers, human rights in places like Jeju Island, Okinawa, and Guam are put in jeopardy, and back here in the US our economy and society become increasingly militarized as weapons of war becomes the prevailing job creation enterprise of cancerous corporate capitalism. 
  • Can anyone deny that the CIA is an out-of-control brutal monster doing the bidding of the corporations that control this nation and seek world domination? The New York Times reports:
A scathing report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found that the Central Intelligence Agency routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained from the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, and that its methods were more brutal than the C.I.A. acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.

Monday, December 08, 2014

'Deep State' in Charge

Here are some interesting words from an activist I recently made contact with after seeing him interviewed on RT:

These people [US ruling corporate oligarchy] are always looking to get their mitts on resources (oil and gas in the Middle East, for instance) – even less to use them ourselves than to control (or deny) others’ access.  (Likewise, as you point out, the militarization of everything from space, to the Antarctic, to IT.)  For example, Washington worries far less about the canard “our dependence on Middle Eastern energy” (on which, relatively we don’t much depend, getting most of our imports from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, etc., though our allies satellites in Europe, Japan, etc. get a lot) than we do on Europe’s dependence on Russia, which we want to block for “strategic” reasons.

I tend to put the emphasis on ideology.  Bottom line, the people who rule this country want to rule the world.  Full stop.  Why? To get rich.  Well, there’s that.  But it’s more than that.  Especially the GOP neocons but also the Dems’ “liberal interventionists” are genuine convinced they are (to use the old Soviet phrase) the vanguard of all progressive humanity.  Whereas the Soviet Union’s trilogy of values was the global march of “peace, progress, and socialism,” ours is “democracy, human rights, and free markets.”  Of course, all of this sloganeering is shamelessly manipulated to fit the aggressive agenda of the moment.

So why target Russian and China? Because they are obstacles to global domination.   Worse, they are bigger and more powerful than our other targets (Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria), even Iran. 

I also think there’s the symbiosis of corporations and government.  The populist Left thinks Big Business is the culprit – and they’re right.  The populist Right thinks Big Government is the problem – and they’re right too.   Why?  Because the government and the corporate world are two overlapping components of an integrated Deep State in which the nominal rulers, of whichever party are factional figureheads.  Plus, since the two parties have a lock, the only way people can show their disdain for one party, is to vote for the other in these repeated “referendum elections” that solve nothing.

~ James George Jatras
Washington DC

'Greater Israel' in Motion



Israel, with full US backing, wants to expand their control in the region.  A take down of Syria would give Israel a new base of operations as they work with the Pentagon to make long-range plans for 'regime change' in Iran.  Watch this one as it develops.  Very provocative program.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

History Lesson: American Guinea Pigs




Kiev Are The Terrorists



Ukrainian Major and military expert Oleksandr Taran who's been on the "enemy" territory and drove about 300 km in current conflict zones says that he did see Cossacks and volunteers that came from Russia fighting on the militia's side but didn't see any regular Russian military units. He also says that the Kiev government and security services act like terrorists.

You Are Invited


Both Parties Support War



The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution denouncing Russia's foreign policies.

See who voted in House of Reps for picking a fight with Russia.....  click here

Sunday Song