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, June 08, 2013

A PRIMER ON GLOBAL LISTENING

US NSA spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England

By Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs)

When the UK Guardian published direct orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to Verizon on June 5, many readers did not have the slightest idea what they were looking at.  The methodology used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct domestic surveillance is not new - what was new in the story was the direct proof that presidents from Reagan to Obama have consistently lied about what the NSA does, domestically and internationally.  Authors such as James Bamford, Duncan Campbell, Desmond Ball, Nicky Hager, and Matthew Aid have been disclosing the details about this global system for years.  It seems as though it's time for another refresher tutorial so that people understand what their government does on a daily basis, so they don't use ridiculous terms like "warrantless wiretap."

The United States exited World War 2 with plenty of new global bases, acquired in some cases from the UK, or established as U.S. forces drove the Japanese west across the Pacific.  British authorities were worried about having signals intelligence (SIGINT) fall out of the hands of Anglo-Saxon nations, so they talked the U.S. into signing the UKUSA Treaty in 1946, which apportions signals intelligence duties across U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand -- and no one else.  UKUSA remains highly classified today, 67 years later.

The miserable status of signals intelligence collection during the Korean War spurred Harry Truman into creating the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD in 1952.  The mere existence of NSA was not disclosed until 1956.  It has since become the second biggest intelligence agency by budget, spending roughly $12 billion annually.

Buckley AFB near Denver, Colorado is a key installation in the US global listening program


When the U.S. was going through its base-building frenzy in the 1950s to establish a nuclear weapons infrastructure, it also built secret bases around the world to gather critical military intelligence everywhere on the planet.  Many bases were in global hotspots like Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.  The most common form of ground-based SIGINT base at the time was a massive series of concentric dipole antenna rings, variously referred to as Elephant Cages, Flare-9's, Classic Bullseye, or Wullenweber arrays.  Although the main focus was offshore, plenty of SIGINT bases were opened on domestic U.S. soil, in locations such as Winter Harbor, ME; Fort Gordon, GA; Medina Annex, TX; Two Rock Ranch, CA; and Skaggs Island, CA.

In 1960, the Air Force established the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to manage spy satellite programs.  NRO subsequently became a DoD intelligence agency in its own right, and the largest intelligence agency by budget, currently spending around $16 billion annually.  Throughout the 1960s, NRO concentrated on primitive imaging satellites aimed at missile fields in the Soviet Union, though that was to change as electronic integration improved.

NSA got caught up in the mid-1970s probes of intelligence agencies, and was forced to reveal domestically-aimed programs like SHAMROCK, though few in Congress asked if its international programs really aimed at the Cold War targets that were supposed to be NSA's bread and butter.  The so-called reforms Congress put in place created a new top-secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  All the judicial members of FISC and all its rulings are top secret.  The court is supposed to monitor the activity of the NSA.  The public learned for the first time in 2005 that there is also a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Appeals Court, but it did not convene until the 21st century, because the FISC never rejected an NSA request until the post-9/11 period.

When FISC began rejecting some Bush administration requests, forcing the convening of FISAC, George Bush issued executive orders that allowed NSA to bypass FISA requirements and conduct domestic surveillance as it saw fit.  Congress codified this procedure in its 2008 FISA "reforms."

Bobby Ray Inman, director of the NSA in the Carter years, believed in faster deployment of advanced integrated circuits into spy satellites.  As a result, new satellites were fielded in the 1980s that allowed real-time digital delivery of images and electronic intelligence from phone calls and computer messages, directly from geosynchronous orbit to ground stations.  NSA and NRO worked together to define new satellites such as Jumpseat, Ranger, and Advanced Orion, some of which sported unfurlable antennas as large as two football fields!  As a result, NSA shut down many of its ground stations in the 1980s, and opened new satellite downlink stations in Menwith Hill, UK; Buckley Field, CO; Bad Aibling, Germany; and other locations.  NSA also opened special ground stations at Yakima, WA and Sugar Grove, VA that intercepted communications from commercial satellites in orbit.


Two policy changes took place during this time without input from the public or Congress: Because satellites in geosynchronous orbit cover the planet in an RF footprint by their very nature, interception within the domestic U.S. became the rule, not the exception.  FISA rules or no, NSA was collecting everything globally - it simply could never acknowledge doing so.  Also, the agency established to intercept military communications of adversaries slowly was tasked with intercepting all commercial and consumer/civilian communications on the planet.  This was a massive expansion, requiring many more employees and facilities in the U.S. and abroad.


In the latter years of the Clinton administration, a significant furor was raised over the code name Echelon, which referred to a specific Compaq Computer client-server architecture for tracking communications through the use of key words.  Echelon was not the global network - this had been built over the previous four decades as a basic infrastructure of NSA and NRO missions.

Following Sept. 11 and passage of the Patriot Act, George Bush used the FISA Bypass as a cover for allowing the NSA to implement Stellar Wind, a program to put packet-sniffing equipment inside telephone switching centers inside the U.S.  This equipment, manufactured by Narus, Cisco, Blue Coat, and other companies, allows IP packets used in Internet communications to be probed deeply for both traffic analysis and content analysis.  Meanwhile, NSA was trying to shift from the circuit-switched telephony world of the past to the IP-based world of the future by implementing global programs that also allowed automated filtering and data mining of massive amounts of traffic.  Programs such as Trailblazer and ThinThread did not always work so well, though they cost a bundle.

U.S. wireline phone companies were not too crazy about being lured into this, but agreed to have interception equipment placed in the heart of their networks.  When Joe Nacchio was ousted from Qwest Communications, he claimed in a court hearing that NSA had forced him out when he refused to have such equipment added to packet switching networks.

The latest kerfuffle involving NSA, FISC, and Verizon illustrates the fact that NSA needs to work a lot harder with wireless cellular networks.  Some communications can be picked up using wireless methods, some phone calls and texts transferred to the wireline network at base stations can be intercepted at central switching centers, but NSA also needs the call records maintained by wireless operators to perform detailed traffic analysis.

Of course, there is far too much traffic collected for the NSA to be able to analyze using human agents.  That's why automated data mining and filtering tools like ThinThread are so important.  And this is why the NSA was running out of storage space in the Baltimore-Washington corridor to store all that global communication it had intercepted.  NSA asked Congress for the money four years ago to create a new Storage Station Freedom in Bluffdale, Utah to store the massive amount of voice and IP traffic it collects abroad, and here at home.  The Bluffdale facility is slated to open in late July of 2013.  But of course, you're unlikely to hear about its grand opening, as it's merely one more element of NSA's daily business you are not allowed to know. 

UPDATE ON NORTH CAROLINA MOVEMENT



A growing group of protesters converged on the North Carolina state legislature Monday, in what some are calling "Mega Moral Monday," to protest the agenda of the Republican-led General Assembly.

It was the fifth and largest demonstration planned by the state chapter of the NAACP and other groups to protest GOP policies on social programs, education, criminal justice and taxes.

About 1,600 people attended a rally late Monday afternoon behind the Legislative Building on Halifax Mall. Hundreds then entered the building. Upwards of 150 people were arrested outside the doors to the state Senate chambers, where demonstrators chanted, sang and delivered speeches decrying what they called a regressive agenda that neglects the poor.

The NAACP has been holding weekly protests in Raleigh since mid-April, and what started with 17 arrests and tens of supporters back then has grown every week, bringing the total number of arrests to nearly 300 after five weeks of protests.

IT TAKES STICK-TO-IT-IVNESS



What are we willing to risk to save our civil liberties, protect social progress, and our Mother Earth?

Friday, June 07, 2013

CORPORATE CRIMINAL SYNDICATE IN WASHINGTON SAYS TRUST US



PENTAGON EYES IN NORWAY



As we prepare for the Global Network 21st annual space organizing conference in Kiruna, Sweden it is instructive to look at Norway's role in assisting the US Space Command by hosting various satellite downlink radars and stations.  In his book "The Satellite War", award winning Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal blows the cover off Norway's denials that their ground stations are linked to US military war fighting satellites.  Here are just a few bits from the book:

  • In the years between the Persian Gulf War [1991] until the invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein [2003] the time is utilized by the US Armed Forces to integrate satellites into the overall machinery of war....During the invasion of Iraq 70% of the 15,000 discharged missiles, bombs, and other types of weapons were [satellite] guided weaponry.
  • The Norwegian satellite station Svalsat, located on Svalbard, serves satellites employed for both military and civilian purposes.
  • Svalbard is the best location for a ground station serving Polar-orbiting satellites....Only Svalbard is situated close enough to the North Pole to enable a ground station to download data from all [satellite] flights overhead....The satellites can be controlled and data downloaded during the 15 minutes they are visible from Svalbard before they pass the North Pole and are visible to a station in Alaska for another 15 minutes....By setting a satellite on a fixed course around the North and South Poles it is then possible to gain images of all sections of the planet in the space of a full day.  That is why most earth observation satellites travel in a Polar orbit.
  • The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 established full Norwegian sovereignty over the archipelago....The preamble to the treaty stipulates that the Islands must only be used for peaceful purposes, and Article 9 states that Svalbard "may never be used for warlike purposes." 
  • In the year 2000 Norway and the US entered into a mutual formal agreement to develop space co-operation [at Svalbard]....Norway wants the US to pay for a fiber cable....The US Armed Forces inject $25 million, or one-third of the total cost.  It goes without saying the Pentagon wants something in return.
  • The US currently has at least 104 military satellites....With the new generation of weather and environmental satellites the focus is changing from "dealing with the weather" to utilizing data on the atmosphere and conditions in outer space directly in warfare.
  • Twenty years ago the Pentagon almost always only used their own satellites for communication.  Private corporations now supply 80-90% of all [military] satellite communication.
  • The Norwegian Polar Institute runs and operates the Troll research station in Antarctica....  According to the Antarctic Treaty there is a total ban on military activity in Antarctica.  According to the international agreement the continent shall "be used exclusively for peaceful purposes."
  • A Norwegian receiver station on Antarctica signed a contract with the US satellite company Orbimage on the downloading of data and control of the OrbView-5 satellite....The new satellites shall have the world's best resolution for commercial satellites - 41 centimeters - and the images with the highest resolution will be reserved for US military intelligence.  US intelligence injects $1 billion into the project.
  • The issue of the US Vardo radar [see video above] takes on political overtones at the highest level....In 2000 the Norwegian Minister denies the radar has any connection whatsoever with an American missile defense system....The British newspaper The Guardian sends its own people to Vardo.  Just before the visit a storm had blown away the cover that hides and protects the actual radar.  The reporter from The Guardian notices that the radar is pointing east towards Russia.  He thinks the story of this radar being used to monitor space debris does not tally at all.

NSA - TOTALITARIAN SECRECY & SURVEILLANCE



A leaked court order has revealed the Obama administration is conducting a massive domestic surveillance program by collecting telephone records of millions of Verizon customers. The Guardian newspaper published a classified order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court directing Verizon’s Business Network Services to give the National Security Agency electronic data, including all calling records on an "ongoing, daily basis." The order covers each phone number dialed by all customers, along with location and routing data, and with the duration and frequency of the calls, but not the contents of the communications.

Democracy Now has three guests: Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, and two former National Security Agency employees turned whistleblowers: Thomas Drake and William Binney. In 2010, the Obama administration charged Drake with violating the Espionage Act after he was accused of leaking classified information to the press about waste and mismanagement at the agency. The charges were later dropped. "Where has the mainstream media been? These are routine orders, nothing new," Drake says. "What’s new is we’re seeing an actual order. And people are somehow surprised by it. The fact remains that this program has been in place for quite some time. It was actually started shortly after 9/11. The PATRIOT Act was the enabling mechanism that allowed the United States government in secret to acquire subscriber records from any company."

Binney, who worked at nearly 40 years at the NSA and resigned shortly after the 9/11 attacks, says: "NSA has been doing all this stuff all along, and it’s been all the companies, not just one. And I basically looked at that and said: If Verizon got one, so did everybody else. Which means that they’re just continuing the collection of this kind of information of all U.S. citizens."

When George W. Bush pulled this crap Democrats and their liberal base howled.  When Obama the magician pulls this shit the liberals cower and hide.  Party politics is dead folks.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I LOST THAT RESPECT FOR LIFE

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Former drone operator Brandon Bryant tells NBC's Richard Engel that he felt like he became a "heartless" "sociopath" under the drone program.

“People say that drone strikes are like mortar attacks,” Bryant said. “Well, artillery doesn't see this. Artillery doesn't see the results of their actions. It's really more intimate for us, because we see everything.”

CHOMSKY ON IMPORTANCE OF TURKISH REVOLT


MILITARIZING SWEDEN



Each year the Global Network holds our international space organizing conference in a different country.  We try to go to places where military space technology development is underway and under reported.

On June 27-29 we will meet in Kiruna, Sweden in what is called the "High North".  This part of the world, very close to the Russian border, is being heavily turned into a space warfare testing and satellite downlink receiving area.

The politicians in Sweden and Norway are down playing their growing involvement in US-NATO space warfare preparations that are particularly aimed at Russia.  We intend to help shine a large spotlight on these relatively hidden and ignored operations.

You can learn more about the Global Network's 21st annual space conference here.

NEVER FORGET FUKUSHIMA-CHERNOBYL-THREE MILE ISLAND


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

TURKISH PROTESTS SPREAD TO 67 CITIES



  • The unrest in Turkey has claimed a second life. Police, already facing widespread criticism for using excessive force, are being accused of being behind the killing of a 22-year-old man. Human rights groups have also called out the security forces in Turkey for their brutal response to the protests.You may find some of the images in the video disturbing. 
  • 38 youngsters are taken into custody because they have tweeted. A lawyer from the Izmir Bar Association and the deputy Muharrem İnce (the Republican People’s Party) confirmed the arrests. Muharrem İnce wrote the following: "The father of one young man who was arrested reported that the police entered his house, they searched the house, then they brought him to the bureau. The reason behind is the twitter of the guy. The police seized his mobile phone. Now I understand why the Prime Minister Edogan accuses twitter!”
  • The last message of 22-year-old Abdullah Cömert, killed by the police yesterday in Armutlu, was so impressive: "We will die in the streets for the revolution."

Here’s the message:

I only got five hours of sleep in three days. I was exposed to gas bombs so many times. Three times I had a close brush with death. And do you know what people say: ‘Is it you to save the country?’ Yes. Even if we can’t save it, we will die for it. I am so much tired. For three days, I am standing with seven energy drinks and nine pain pills. I have got a hoarse voice but I am still on the streets since six o’clock in the morning. Just for the revolution!

LOOSE ENDS FROM BERKELEY CONFERENCE


  • Japanese right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently climbed into a military airplane marked with the number 731 and sparked considerable controversy across the Asia-Pacific.  The number 731 evokes the name of Imperial Japan's notorious biological and chemical warfare research unit in China between 1932 and 1945.  During the Japanese occupation of China Unit 731 held captive and infected thousands of men, women and children with virulent strains of anthrax, plague, cholera, and other epidemic and viral diseases.  Soon entire Chinese villagers were being hit with biological bombs.  In all more than 250,000 were infected and the vast majority died. (You can read more on this story in my previous blog posts here.)
  • Seeing the right-wing Japanese allies of the US "pivot" into the Asia-Pacific unearth and celebrate Unit 731 is an ugly and dangerous signal to China that "we are coming after you again".  Prime Minister Abe is also currently asking the Japanese government to give him the authority to undertake a new doctrine of preemptive attacks which would clearly be aimed at China and North Korea.
  • One thing I learned during the Moana Nui conference in Berkeley was that various Korean studies programs at colleges and universities in the US and around the world are most often funded by the South Korean (ROK) government.  This of course means that the Korean studies programs are expected to toe the line of the right-wing ROK government and if they don't they are put under severe pressure.
  • As Chinese workers increasingly organize and demand fair wages and working conditions in their sweatshop environments, corporations are moving their operations to Vietnam where workers make one-third of what their Chinese counterparts are paid.
  • Under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership - TPP - (which is all about pushing forward the international program of deregulation and expanding US economic control in the Asia-Pacific) extensive plans are developing to make it possible for corporations to sue governments for "anticipated profits" when national regulations stand in the way of economic exploitation.  Some investors are putting their money into "catastrophe bonds" where they help fund law suits against "renegade" governments and then reap benefits when "trade tribunals" reward corporations massive royalties. Governments will thus be deterred from trying to protect their environment, workers, and independence.
  • Several speakers at Moana Nui talked about braiding our often-times isolated and fragile struggles into a powerful cord.  We all know this, talk about it, and then often return to our own corners and hold onto our "issues" like a person adrift at sea clinging to a life vest.  Only when we get serious and open ourselves to real learning and true solidarity will we able to actually bind ourselves together.  Without being bound together we will continue to falter.

Monday, June 03, 2013

WHAT'S GOING ON IN TURKEY?


Taken from Insanlik Hali blog

To my friends who live outside of Turkey:

I am writing to let you know what is going on in Istanbul for the last five days. I personally have to write this because most of the media sources are shut down by the government and the word of mouth and the internet are the only ways left for us to explain ourselves and call for help and support.

Four days ago a group of people who did not belong to any specific organization or ideology got together in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Among them there were many of my friends and students.  Their reason was simple: To prevent and protest the upcoming demolishing of the park for the sake of building yet another shopping mall at very center of the city. There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least one in every neighborhood!

The tearing down of the trees was supposed to begin early Thursday morning. People went to the park with their blankets, books and children. They put their tents down and spent the night under the trees.  Early in the morning when the bulldozers started to pull the hundred-year-old trees out of the ground, they stood up against them to stop the operation.

They did nothing other than standing in front of the machines.

No newspaper, no television channel was there to report the protest. It was a complete media black out.
But the police arrived with water cannon vehicles and pepper spray.  They chased the crowds out of the park.

In the evening the number of protesters multiplied. So did the number of police forces around the park. Meanwhile local government of Istanbul shut down all the ways leading up to Taksim square where the Gezi Park is located. The metro was shut down, ferries were cancelled, roads were blocked.

Yet more and more people made their way up to the center of the city by walking.

They came from all around Istanbul. They came from all different backgrounds, different ideologies, different religions. They all gathered to prevent the demolition of something bigger than the park: The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.

They gathered and marched. Police chased them with pepper spray and tear gas and drove their tanks over people who offered the police food in return. Two young people were run over by the tanks and were killed. Another young woman, a friend of mine, was hit in the head by one of the incoming tear gas canisters. The police were shooting them straight into the crowd.  After a three hour operation she is still in Intensive Care Unit and in  very critical condition. As I write this we don’t know if she is going to make it. This blog is dedicated to her.

These people are my friends. They are my students, my relatives. They have no "hidden agenda" as the state likes to say. Their agenda is out there. It is very clear. The whole country is being sold to corporations by the government, for the construction of malls, luxury condominiums, freeways, dams and nuclear plants. The government is looking for (and creating when necessary) any excuse to attack Syria against its people’s will.

On top of all that, the government control over its people’s personal lives has become unbearable as of late. The state, under its conservative agenda passed many laws and regulations concerning abortion, cesarean birth, sale and use of alcohol and even the color of lipstick worn by the airline stewardesses.

People who are marching to the center of Istanbul are demanding their right to live freely and receive justice, protection and respect from the State. They demand to be involved in the decision-making processes about the city they live in.

What they have received instead is excessive force and enormous amounts of tear gas shot straight into their faces. Three people lost their eyes.

Yet they still march. Hundred of thousands join them. Couple of more thousand passed the Bosporus Bridge on foot to support the people of Taksim.

No newspaper or TV channel was there to report the events. They were busy with broadcasting news about Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.

Police kept chasing people and spraying them with pepper spray to an extent that stray dogs and cats were poisoned and died by it.

Schools, hospitals and even 5 star hotels around Taksim Square opened their doors to the injured. Doctors filled the classrooms and hotel rooms to provide first aid. Some police officers refused to spray innocent people with tear gas and quit their jobs. Around the square they placed jammers to prevent internet connection and 3g networks were blocked. Residents and businesses in the area provided free wireless network for the people on the streets. Restaurants offered food and water for free.

People in Ankara and İzmir gathered on the streets to support the resistance in Istanbul.

Mainstream media kept showing Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.

***
I am writing this letter so that you know what is going on in Istanbul. Mass media will not tell you any of this. Not in my country at least. Please post as many as articles as you see on the Internet and spread the word.
As I was posting articles that explained what is happening in Istanbul on my Facebook page last night someone asked me the following question:  "What are you hoping to gain by complaining about our country to foreigners?"

This blog is my answer to her.

By so called "complaining" about my country I am hoping to gain:
Freedom of expression and speech,
Respect for human rights,
Control over the decisions I make concerning my on my body,
The right to legally congregate in any part of the city without being considered a terrorist.
But most of all by spreading the word to you, my friends who live in other parts of the world, I am hoping to get your awareness, support and help!

Please spread the word and share this blog.
Thank you!

US OUT OF NORTH AMERICA!


The Pentagon now employs soldiers to create fake Facebook, and other social media, identities to spread military industrial propaganda across the land


My talk on June 1 at the Moana Nui 2013 Teach-In held in Berkeley, California

The Militarization of North American Life

I live in Bath, Maine where Navy Aegis destroyers are built. These ships are outfitted with so-called “missile defense” systems that the Pentagon is today using to help surround Russia and China. Few people in my community, including some activists, are interested in where these ships go (places like Jeju Island in South Korea.) It’s not popular to raise these questions – especially when Bath Iron Works is the largest industrial employer in our state.

In fact today weapons are the number one industrial export product of the US. And when weapons are your number one industrial export product, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? What does it say about the soul of our nation when we have to keep selling weapons and killing people in order to provide jobs?

The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the public a window into the stunning militarization of our nation. During that incident the entire domestic surveillance/military response system was field-tested and culminated in the dramatic closing down of an entire urban center. 

We have become an occupied nation. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the US have benefited from the government’s largess in the form of military weaponry and training.

Obama has announced that 30,000 drones will be flying around the US in the coming years. Thirty-seven states have applied to host one of six military drone test sites planned across the country. Much debate has begun in local communities about whether police should be required to have warrants before they can snoop on us with drones. Should domestic drones be allowed to carry weapons?

More than 500 aerospace companies are eager to develop this new drone market across the US. The drone industry lawyers say we have nothing to fear – that all we have to do is ask local police and they will be transparent about their drone use.

Infrared and radio-band sensors used by the military can peer through clouds and foliage and can even detect and hear people inside their homes. During the last few years of the US military occupation of Iraq, drones monitored Baghdad 24/7, turning the entire city into the equivalent of a convenience store crammed full of security cameras. This technology is being brought home to control us.

There is a $2 billion, 1-million-square-foot facility being built by the National Security Agency outside Salt Lake City. It’s a phone, fax, email, data storage and analysis warehouse called Utah Data Station - everything about the facility is secret. It is scheduled to open this summer.

Today drones buzzing over Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Mali are “flown” by pilots back in the US at places like Creech AFB, Nevada or Hancock Air Field, New York. This is possible because the military satellites in orbit link the pilot to the drone in “real time” - split-second time. Space Command downlink ground stations spread around the globe help relay those signals. The Pentagon brags that this high-tech warfare increases “the kill chain”.

In a way, you could call the military satellites the “triggers” that make the drones work. These satellites allow the military to see everything, hear everything, and to target virtually every place on the planet.

In June 2012 the second flight of the new military space plane (X-37) touched down at Vandenberg AFB after 469 days in orbit. This unmanned super drone is a first-strike attack system, part of the Global Strike doctrine now underway at the Strategic Command. In annual computer war games at the Space Command, set in the year 2016, the Pentagon launches a first-strike attack on China’s nuclear forces and this new military space plane is the first weapon used. It’s called the “successor” to the recently retired space shuttle, which was paraded through streets of Los Angeles in late 2012…. 400 trees were cut down to prepare its red carpeted path to a waiting museum. It is the perfect symbol of our worship of the gods of metal. Technology trumps nature.

A friend in Maine has a son who recently spent a year in Afghanistan; my friend worried every day. His son was then sent to Germany and he could breathe a sigh of relief. The son thought about getting out of the military but there are no jobs. The Army offered him a sizeable reenlistment bonus and he took it.

In the US today 57% of every federal discretionary tax dollar goes (to the Pentagon) to fund the cancerous war machine. Our communities have become addicted to military spending. There is virtually no money for anything else these days as we witness austerity cuts in social programs like so many other nations around the globe.

Colorado Springs, Colorado (headquarters of the Air Force Space Command) has 357,000 people living there, and 47% of the population work for the military industrial complex. 

The aerospace and military production industry in Alabama is a major job provider as well. Huntsville, Alabama now calls itself the “Pentagon of the South”.

In 1950, the U.S. Army moved former Nazi Wernher von Braun, and his team of 100 German rocket scientists, to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville to create the US space program. Von Braun and his team also took over NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and helped ensure that the “civilian” space program came under military control. The Nazi rocket team brought “culture” to Huntsville by creating the local symphony and ballet and lived on a hill overlooking the town. 

Was there an ideological contamination that came with these Nazi scientists? One can easily note the similarity between the Nazi slogan “Deutschland uber alles” and the Space Command logo that reads “Master of Space”. 

By the way, California is currently the #2 recipient of Pentagon spending in the nation. The Republicans and Democrats now work together to ensure an endless flow of war money into their states. They understand that it’s the only game in town anymore for creating jobs. Both parties get nicely rewarded with campaign donations from the weapons industry.

An activist friend in Halifax, Nova Scotia is now organizing weekly protests outside a shipyard in her community that has begun building expensive new warships for the Canadian Navy. The funding for warship building has necessitated cuts in human needs programs. “Progressive” political parties are going along with this largest military appropriation in Canada’s history because of the jobs issue. (The ships will be used by NATO to control the melting Arctic Region on behalf of big oil.)

The Pentagon says that our role in the US under corporate globalization of the world economy will be “Security export” – thus we won’t have conventional jobs making products useful to our communities. Instead we will build weapons for endless war and send our kids overseas to die for the oil corporations.

A couple years ago I heard that the Sears department store had a new kids clothing line so I went to see it in a nearby town. Military uniforms for young boys were on the racks – the message “this is all you can ever be” – it’s youth mind colonization.

The military industrial complex has become the primary resource extraction service for corporate globalization and is preparing the future generations for their dead end street.

In the US, approximately 40% of all scientists, engineers and technical professionals currently work in the military sector. This is a colossal waste of talent and intellectual resources as we face the coming reality of climate change.

Due to the fiscal crisis across the nation engineering, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry departments in colleges and universities have become increasingly dependent on Pentagon funding.

At the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque there are “top secret” areas on campus these days.

The Defense Alliance in St. Paul, Minnesota seeks to expand the weapons industry’s presence in higher education, and among its members are military contractors like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

The Navy granted the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies $150,000 to look into improving tracking, surveillance and intelligence communications systems.

In 2011 the University of Minnesota reported the Pentagon was trying to “restrict” the open publishing of research resulting from a military-funded project. This indicates quite clearly that the Pentagon is not really trying to further the state of education but instead views the students and faculty as nothing more than military production workers doing classified work.

The militarization of everything around us is a spiritual sickness. Lakota holy man Lame Deer talked about the green frog skin – the dollar bill – and how the white man was blinded by his love for the paper money. His spiritual connection to the Mother Earth was broken.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglas reminded us that power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will. When it comes to our current dark evil economic system, called militarism, we should be talking about its conversion and the jobs that would result from that transformation.

Good jobs can be created by home weatherization, building rail systems, creating a solar society, and hiring unemployed workers to plant town and city organic gardens. As we transform our industrial base we lessen the impact of the military machine on our lives and help deal with our major environmental crisis.

There is no other way to pay for such a redirection without massive cuts in the war machine budget now.

Join me in saying …… US out of North America!

RALLY FOR BRADLEY MANNING


Sunday, June 02, 2013

SUNDAY SONG




LEARNING TO LOVE JEJU ISLAND


It was a long day.  The Moana Nui Teach-In ran from 10:00 am til almost 11:00 pm.  Amazingly many people stayed until the end.  Those that did were glad they stayed as they got to hear Mayor Kang speak after a moving introduction by Koohan Paik (on right in photo).

Koohan lives in Hawaii and has become an avid supporter of the village.  She showed a series of photos to the audience about the beauty and tragedy of Gangjeong village.  Included were several showing the mayor being beaten up and arrested for defending nature and their sacred way of life.

The mayor made a moving speech and by the end of the evening many in the crowd lined up to get their photo taken with him.

I've known the mayor for a couple of years but never have had the chance to spend this much time with him.  Let me tell you, this man gets it.  He is like a philosopher.  He understands what this struggle is all about and he really understands his role as leader of his people.  He understands how this tiny little village fits into the grand scheme of super-power dynamics that are happening between the US and China.  He will not waver.

We didn't get to eat dinner until about 11:00 pm and were taken to a local Thai place for food and a well deserved beer by a wonderful man named Jiwon Chung who teaches at the Graduate Theological Union here in Berkeley.  Jiwon is originally from South Korea and was in the military there as a young man.  He now belongs to Veterans for Peace in the US and spent many hours yesterday talking with the mayor and translating our conversations.

Just after midnight we finally got back to the hotel and in the lobby a multi-cultural Pacific Island sing-a-long was underway.  The word was already out that Mayor Kang is a great singer so they immediately got him to join in.  The mayor grabbed something from one of the tables and used it as a microphone and proceeded to sing a Korean song.  After finishing he raised one finger into the air - one more song he said.  He then sang a song in Japanese.  The folks loved him and they are quickly learning to love Jeju Island.