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, August 05, 2017

Going Public - Now is the Time for Peaceniks to Raise Sand


I spent much of the day in Brunswick at the 13th annual Peace Fair put on by our local PeaceWorks group.  My table is the one on the other side of the red 'Bring Our War $$$ Home' banner in the photo.  Many different organizations in the community had tables in three different tents and there was wonderful music throughout much of the day.

The fair was held on the Brunswick town green along the main street through town so lots of cars and people walking by saw the two banners I hung by our table. I was joined at my table (which was right next to the Maine Veterans for Peace table) by friends Regis Tremblay and John Morris.

Our primary goal was to hand out flyers about the upcoming Navy Blue Angels airshow protest that I am organizing on Saturday, August 26 from 9:00 am to noon at the former Navy base in Brunswick.  I was also talking to people about our on-going campaign to convert Bath Iron Works (BIW) to appropriate sustainable technology development - commuter rail, offshore wind turbines, solar, and tidal power for example.  I kept telling people that our 'real problem' is climate change and that if we hope to give the future generations a real shot at a life then we have to convert the war machine (which has the largest carbon bootprint on the planet) immediately!

I also hung the yellow Jeju Island, South Korea 'No Navy Base' flag on the front side of our table and since it is in Korean lots of people would stare at it which opened up the conversation about where the warships built at BIW go when they leave Maine.

Additionally I led a discussion group about BIW conversion and met three women from nearby Harpswell that are very interested in the subject and want to come to the trial of the Aegis 9 that will likely be held in late September.  (We were arrested on April 1 at a destroyer 'christening' for trespassing on BIW property.  See the video here)

So it was a good day and always fun to see many old friends.  Being public at this dangerous moment with colorful peace banners and such helps remind the public that not everyone is going along with the pure insanity coming out of Washington and the Pentagon as they talk quite openly about launching a 'decapitation' strike on North Korea or trying to overthrow the government of Venezuela.

The arrogance of the US is just unacceptable and the American people - especially those who claim to be peaceniks - need to get off their collective arses before it is too late!

Friday, August 04, 2017

It's a No Brainer.....



The Yes Men are at it again doing their political spoof at a DNC sponsored event - where they bring the real issues forward and expose the DNC's subservience to corporate interests.......

Gotta love it!

Pilger: U.S. Pushes Toward the Final War



By John Pilger

The US submarine captain says, “We’ve all got to die one day, some sooner and some later. The trouble always has been that you’re never ready, because you don’t know when it’s coming. Well, now we do know and there’s nothing to be done about it.”

He says he will be dead by September. It will take about a week to die, though no one can be sure. Animals live the longest.

The war was over in a month. The United States, Russia and China were the protagonists. It is not clear if it was started by accident or mistake. There was no victor. The northern hemisphere is contaminated and lifeless now.

A curtain of radioactivity is moving south towards Australia and New Zealand, southern Africa and South America. By September, the last cities, towns and villages will succumb. As in the north, most buildings will remain untouched, some illuminated by the last flickers of electric light.
                            
                            This is the way the world ends
                            Not with a bang but a whimper   
                     
These lines from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears. The endorsements on the cover said the same.

Published in 1957 at the height of the Cold War when too many writers were silent or cowed, it is a masterpiece. At first the language suggests a genteel relic; yet nothing I have read on nuclear war is as unyielding in its warning. No book is more urgent.

Some readers will remember the black and white Hollywood film starring Gregory Peck as the US Navy commander who takes his submarine to Australia to await the silent, formless spectre descending on the last of the living world.

I read On the Beach for the first time the other day, finishing it as the US Congress passed a law to wage economic war on Russia, the world’s second most lethal nuclear power.  There was no justification for this insane vote, except the promise of plunder.

The “sanctions” are aimed at Europe, too, mainly Germany, which depends on Russian natural gas and on European companies that do legitimate business with Russia. In what passed for debate on Capitol Hill, the more garrulous senators left no doubt that the embargo was designed to force Europe to import expensive American gas.

Their main aim seems to be war – real war. No provocation as extreme can suggest anything else. They seem to crave it, even though Americans have little idea what war is. The Civil War of 1861-5 was the last on their mainland. War is what the United States does to others.

The only nation to have used nuclear weapons against human beings, they have since destroyed scores of governments, many of them democracies, and laid to waste whole societies – the million deaths in Iraq were a fraction of the carnage in Indo-China, which President Reagan called “a noble cause” and President Obama revised as the tragedy of an “exceptional people”He was not referring to the Vietnamese.

Filming last year at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, I overheard a National Parks Service guide lecturing a school party of young teenagers. “Listen up,” he said. “We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom.”

At a stroke, the truth was inverted. No freedom was defended. Freedom was destroyed. A peasant country was invaded and millions of its people were killed, maimed, dispossessed, poisoned; 60,000 of the invaders took their own lives. Listen up, indeed.

A lobotomy is performed on each generation. Facts are removed. History is excised and replaced by what Time magazine calls “an eternal present”. Harold Pinter described this as "manipulation of power worldwide, while masquerading as a force for universal good, a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis [which meant] that it never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."

Those who call themselves liberals or tendentiously “the left” are eager participants in this manipulation, and its brainwashing, which today revert to one name: Trump.

Trump is mad, a fascist, a dupe of Russia. He is also a gift for “liberal brains pickled in the formaldehyde of identity politics”, wrote Luciana Bohne memorably. The obsession with Trump the man -- not Trump as a symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us.

While they pursue their fossilized anti-Russia agendas, narcissistic media such as the Washington Post, the BBC and the Guardian suppress the essence of the most important political story of our time as they warmonger on a scale I cannot remember in my lifetime.

On 3 August, in contrast to the acreage the Guardian has given to drivel that the Russians conspired with Trump (reminiscent of the far-right smearing of John Kennedy as a “Soviet agent”), the paper buried, on page 16, news that the President of the United States was forced to sign a Congressional bill declaring economic war on Russia.

Unlike every other Trump signing, this was conducted in virtual secrecy and attached with a caveat from Trump himself that it was “clearly unconstitutional”.

A coup against the man in the White House is under way. This is not because he is an odious human being, but because he has consistently made clear he does not want war with Russia.

This glimpse of sanity, or simple pragmatism, is anathema to the “national security” managers who guard a system based on war, surveillance, armaments, threats and extreme capitalism. Martin Luther King called them “the greatest purveyors of violence in the world today”.

They have encircled Russia and China with missiles and a nuclear arsenal. They have used neo-Nazis to instal an unstable, aggressive regime on Russia’s “borderland” – the way through which Hitler invaded, causing the deaths of 27 million people.  Their goal is to dismember the modern Russian Federation.

In response, “partnership” is a word used incessantly by Vladimir Putin -- anything, it seems, that might halt an evangelical drive to war in the United States. Incredulity in Russia may have now turned to fear and perhaps a certain resolution. The Russians almost certainly have war-gamed nuclear counter strikes. Air-raid drills are not uncommon. Their history tells them to get ready.

The threat is simultaneous. Russia is first, China is next. The US has just completed a huge military exercise with Australia known as Talisman Sabre. They rehearsed a blockade of the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, through which pass China’s economic lifelines.

The admiral commanding the US Pacific fleet said that, “if required”, he would nuke China. That he would say such a thing publicly in the current perfidious atmosphere begins to make fact of Nevil Shute’s fiction.

None of this is considered news. No connection is made as the bloodfest of Passchendaele a century ago is remembered. Honest reporting is no longer welcome in much of the media. Windbags, known as pundits, dominate: editors are infotainment or party line managers. Where there was once sub-editing, there is the liberation of axe-grinding clichés. Those journalists who do not comply are defenestrated.

The urgency has plenty of precedents. In my film, The Coming War on China, John Bordne, a member of a US Air Force missile combat crew based in Okinawa, Japan, describes how in 1962 – during the Cuban missile crisis – he and his colleagues were “told to launch all the missiles” from their silos.

Nuclear armed, the missiles were aimed at both China and Russia. A junior officer questioned this, and the order was eventually rescinded – but only after they were issued with service revolvers and ordered to shoot at others in a missile crew if they did not “stand down”.

At the height of the Cold War, the anti-communist hysteria in the United States was such that US officials who were on official business in China were accused of treason and sacked. In 1957 – the year Shute wrote On the Beach – no official in the State Department could speak the language of the world’s most populous nation. Mandarin speakers were purged under strictures now echoed in the Congressional bill that has just passed, aimed at Russia.

The bill was bipartisan. There is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. The terms “left” and “right” are meaningless.  Most of America’s modern wars were started not by conservatives, but by liberal Democrats.

When Obama left office, he presided over a record seven wars, including America’s longest war and an unprecedented campaign of extrajudicial killings – murder – by drones.

In his last year, according to a Council on Foreign Relations study, Obama, the “reluctant liberal warrior”, dropped 26,171 bombs – three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.  Having pledged to help “rid the world” of nuclear weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate built more nuclear warheads than any president since the Cold War.

Trump is a wimp by comparison.  It was Obama – with his secretary of state Hillary Clinton at his side – who destroyed Libya as a modern state and launched the human stampede to Europe. At home, immigration groups knew him as the “deporter-in-chief”.

One of Obama’s last acts as president was to sign a bill that handed a record $618 billion to the Pentagon, reflecting the soaring ascendancy of fascist militarism in the governance of the United States. Trump has endorsed this.

Buried in the detail was the establishment of a “Center for Information Analysis and Response”. This is a ministry of truth. It is tasked with providing an “official narrative of facts” that will prepare us for the real possibility of nuclear war – if we allow it.

~ John Pilger is an Australian-British award winning journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Speaking in Deer Isle


Mary Beth and I drove three hours north today to Deer Isle, Maine where I was scheduled to speak at an event organized by several peace groups in the area.  Fellow Maine Veterans For Peace member Dud Hendrick (Naval Academy graduate, All-American Lacrosse player, and Vietnam veteran) organized the talk for me on the subject of the US 'pivot' into the Asia-Pacific.

Dud arranged for us to stay at a lovely place right on the ocean in Deer Isle and we had dinner before the talk at a very unique joint in the village.  We ate lobster cakes on soba noodles.  The restaurant was in a house and was packed with vacationers from all over.  We choose to eat upstairs on the porch.  Quite an interesting place and the food was exceptional.  For dessert I had a macaroon covered with chocolate.  Wow....

The talk was held at a local church and 50 people turned out which was a real testament on this beautiful summer island day of the local folks great respect for Dud.  He is a key leader in their local peace group which vigils every week - summer and winter.

I've recently been using PowerPoint to show pictures during my talks.  I shared stories about US  base expansion in Guam, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Okinawa.  One of our friends Carolyn Coe, who has gone to Jeju Island, taped my talk for replay on the WERU alternative radio station that covers this part of the state.

Dud has also been to Jeju Island and Okinawa as part of a delegation in 2015 organized by VFP.  Artist Russell Wray from nearby Hancock also went on that 2015 delegation to Jeju and came to the event tonight with his wife Akemi from Japan.  Russell is currently working on our logo design for our October 13-21 Maine Peace Walk that will be centered in Bath. 

My talk seemed to go over well - I urged people to form an affinity group to come to Bath Iron Works (BIW) the next time another destroyer is 'chrsitened' at the shipyard and risk arrest.  I suggested that we must bring the conversion of BIW issue to every corner of the state if the peace movement had any hope of moving our nation away from endless war and towards creating a sustainable future that might give our children and grand kids a chance to survive on our Mother Earth.  Nothing can be more important.

Tomorrow morning Dud and his wife Jean have invited all the members of their local peace group to have breakfast with us at their home before we leave Deer Isle.  It's been a short visit but the people here are quite special and MB and I always love visiting.

Saturday in Brunswick will be the 13th annual Peace Fair put on by our local Midcoast group PeaceWorks.  I'll be going early to help set things up and then will table on behalf of the Global Network. In addition they have several 'Conversation Cafe' topics during the fair and I will be doing the one called 'Where do the destroyers built a BIW go when they leave Bath?'.

Back at home we had a professional animal trapper come to our house today to set traps to catch a family of woodchucks that are eating the hell out of our garden.  They've gone after the beans, kale, squash, beets, carrots - and the last straw was this morning when I saw they took bites out of some of my tomatoes.  After they are caught the trapper will take them to a state preserve in western Maine and release them.  I just hope they don't hitchhike back to Bath since they obviously are loving our garden!

Summer in Maine......

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

No Environmental Danger?



Toxic coal ash, improper waste disposal and a stinky cheese plant. Welcome to Uniontown, Alabama.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Seymour Hersh Tells the Inside DNC WikiLeaks Story



I know the voice of Seymour Hersch very well - have been listening to him for years.  This is him in the audio telling the story behind the DNC files that were given to WikiLeaks by Seth Rich. Rich was sooner after killed in an alleged robbery, shot in the back, but none of his possessions were taken.

This blows the whole mainstream story about a Russian hack to pieces.

The audio recording was provided to Big League Politics by a source that currently wishes to remain anonymous.  Award winning journalist Seymour Hersh confirms that Seth Rich had contacted WikiLeaks with sample emails from the leak. Hersh cites an FBI document as proof for his claim.

You can see more here

Also you can read a transcript of the video here

Here is just a teaser from the transcript:

It’s a Brennan operation. It was an American disinformation, and the fucking President, at one point when they even started telling the press — they were back[ground]-briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, the fucking cocksucker Rogers, telling the press that we [they] even know who in the Russian military intelligence service leaked it. All bullshit.

They were telling. I worked at the New York Times those fucking years, they’re smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on [to] sources. If the President or the head of the CIA tells them something, they actually believe it. I retired at the Times at the end of the Vietnam War 1972, because they were just locked-in. So that’s what the Times is, these guys run the fuckin’ Times, and Trump’s not wrong, I wish he would calm down, get a better press secretary, you know, not be so — Trump’s not wrong to think they all fucking lied about him.   (emphasis added)

The corporate media has been toeing the Democratic Party line on this DNC hack story because it fits with the deep state plan to force regime change in Russia.  They are not going to put this audio on mainstream media.  

We've got to share it widely.

Jeju Island Peace Walk



Will Griffin is now on Jeju Island, South Korea on the annual peace walk opposing the Navy base built for US warships in Gangjeong village.

He made the video and writes:

Jeju Walk for Peace and Life 2017!

Rain, snow, or sunshine, we march for PEACE & LIFE!
South Korea, Jeju Island, Gangjeong Village.
#NoBaseJeju #NoTHAAD

(Seriously though, how do people have energy for song and dance after 7 hours of walking?!) 


Two teams walk around the entire Jeju Island - one going east and this photo is the west team.  Hundreds participate each summer.  This year there is a strong NO THAAD presence as well.

U.S.-NATO Stirring Up Trouble Along Russian Borders


The New York Times, that helped sell George W. Bush's needless and illegal 'shock and awe' attack on Iraq in 2003, is now working to vilify Putin and create the pretext for war with Russia.

In a story headlined Russia’s Military Drills Near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression the NYT misleads with the title itself, even before you begin to read the article.  What is a NATO border?  Is NATO a country now with legally defined borders?  Does NATO suppose that where ever it decides to put a base or hold military drills that it has the right to declare itself a sovereign nation?

But most incredibly how can the NYT claim that Russia has 'done something wrong' when it holds military exercises inside its own country and in neighboring Belarus where they have been invited?  Since when is that illegal?

The Times reported:

Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer, one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.

Western military officials caution that the United States and Russia are not on the brink of war. But they expressed concern that the heightened Russian military activity could lead to unintended confrontations.

This article is drawing much interest and discussion on Fazebook today.  One prominent peace activist Kevin Zeese from Popular Resistance wrote in response:

This is a NY Times story that no one should believe. It is a classic example of pro-war propaganda seeking to escalate tensions. The author should have been fired for his role in the false WMD build-up to the Iraq War. Michael Gordon, along with Judith Miller, were the government propagandists for that war. Gordon continues his 'start a war' reporting now focused on the new target, Russia. This is one example of many why the Times cannot be trusted when it comes to national security issues.
In the end the numbers don't lie.  The chart below clearly reveals who is the real threat to world peace as we look at 2016 global military spending levels and see that the US leads the pack.  The Pentagon is way out front with 36% of the world total and when you add in the various NATO members and partners the figure reaches about 60%.  Russia is at 4.1% and even if you add China they come far below the US-NATO numbers.

What that means in the real world is that Russia has a military that is fundamentally about defending their borders.  Moscow does not have the capability to launch an offensive operation to retake eastern Europe as the NYT and Washington Post frequently imply.  In addition it must be known that Moscow cut their military budget last year and this year - largely due to the drop in world oil prices and the impact of western economic sanctions.


The bottom line is the US is trying to stir up trouble - is expanding its military operations up to the Russian borders - and like most bullies cries out in desperation when the recipient of their bullying stands up to them.

The US wants regime change in Moscow and Beijing and is willing to create global chaos in order to fulfill the world dominance dreams of the neo-cons that now run the US corporate government.  The NYT is nothing more than a mouth piece for that corporate agenda.  People would be wise to steer clear of these corrupt media outlets whose stories are likely being written by agents from the CIA.

Bruce

Monday, July 31, 2017

Report from U.S. Peace Delegation to South Korea


As Tensions Explode on Korean Peninsula, US Peace Delegation Calls for Immediate Response to North Korea’s Offer to Freeze Its Nuclear Program 

 Contact: Ramsay Liem, 617-777-5672 no-thaad@mail.com 

The Solidarity Peace Delegation, concluding their July 23-28 visit to South Korea, calls for immediate US-South Korean action to deescalate growing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The delegation was composed of Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, Reece Chenault of US Labor Against the War, Will Griffin of Veterans for Peace, and recent Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. It was sponsored by The Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation and the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia (STIK).

The delegation issued the following statement: The Korean Peninsula is rapidly approaching the boiling point. On the last day of our visit, July 28, North Korea conducted a missile test, and the US-South Korean governments launched another set of warning missiles. South Korean President Moon announced he would allow the United States to deploy  four additional launchers to complete the controversial THAAD anti-missile system unit, reversing his previous position. In light of these escalations and the likelihood of more aggressive measures, urgent actions are needed in order to deescalate tensions.

North Korea has repeatedly offered to suspend its nuclear weapons development in exchange for a freeze in US-South Korean joint war exercises. It’s time for the US and South Korea to respond to this offer as a jumping off point for definitive negotiations towards a peaceful, sovereign, nuclear-free Korean peninsula, free from the conflicts of competing global powers that have been so harmful to the region.

North and South Korea have lived in a perpetual wartime mobilization for decades, with the presence in the South of 83 US bases and nearly 30,000 US troops. Provocations are being made with increasing frequency by both North Korea and the United States. Each time North Korea conducts an additional nuclear or missile test, the potential severity of hostilities escalates, and the more difficult it becomes to defuse tensions and avert the outbreak of conflict on the Peninsula.

Given the proximity of North Korea to Seoul, a metropolitan area of 25 million people, any outbreak of hostilities would be devastating. In a North Korean attack with conventional weapons, it’s estimated that 64,000 South Koreans would be killed in the first day alone. Even a limited exchange using nuclear weapons risks causing “nuclear winter”, a disruption of the climate due to the reduction of sunlight from airborne dust and debris. This, in turn, could drastically reduce global agricultural production, leading to worldwide famine and hundreds of millions of deaths. Since Seoul would be caught in the crossfire of any hostilities, it is essential that the conflict be handled through diplomacy. The sooner diplomatic action is launched, the more likely it will succeed.

Therefore, we call for immediate diplomatic action to reduce threats that push North Korea towards the development of nuclear weapons. Foremost among these threats are the US-South Korean joint war exercises against North Korea, which include dropping mock nuclear bombs on North Korea. In addition, the United States has long held a “ nuclear first strike” policy towards North Korea. This frightening threat of a pre-emptive US nuclear attack gives North Korea good reason to want a nuclear arsenal as the sole means for deterring such an attack.   Fortunately, tensions can be defused through actions that are diplomatic, strategic, just and long overdue.

Specifically, the Peace Delegation calls for the following actions:  

• Declare an end to the unethical and hyper-aggressive, nuclear first strike position held by the US towards North Korea.
• Declare an immediate moratorium on US-South Korean war games, including the dropping of mock nuclear bombs on North Korea. This would be a first step towards a formal agreement ending US-South Korean war games in exchange for North Korea freezing its weapons and nuclear program. The US government should respond to North Korea’s long-standing offer by inviting North Korea to begin serious negotiations for such an agreement now.
• Withdraw THAAD, the misnamed missile “defense” system recently installed by the US in Seongju,South Korea despite vigorous and ongoing protests by local residents. THAAD is not actually capable of defending against incoming missiles under real world conditions with multiple missiles and decoys. Its powerful radar system is widely believed to have been deployed for the purpose of spying on China, provoking dangerous tensions in the region.
• Begin negotiating a peace treaty to finally bring closure to the Korean War. The Korean War, in which nearly 20% of North Korea’s population was killed, has never been formally ended with a peace treaty.
• The South Korean government should lift travel bans on peace activists, like the ban that prevented our Korean-American trip leader Juyeon Rhee from accompanying our tour.

Delegates also call for more peace delegations so that the US peace movement can build stronger solidarity with their counterparts in the South, and learn firsthand about the negative consequences of U.S. military bases on Korean soil.

In the coming weeks, the coalition will help launch a campaign to mobilize citizen pressure for a peaceful resolution of the volatile conflict on the Korean peninsula.

 Delegation contact information:

-Jill Stein, Green Party 2016 presidential candidate, 323-447-2702, press@jill2016.com
-Reece Chenault, US Labor Against War, 504-383-4746, reece.chenault@uslaboragainstwar.org
-Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK, 415-235-6517, medea@codepink.org 
-Will Griffin, Veterans for Peace, 912-441-8665, williambgriffin@gmail.com

Dark Side of Mr. Moon



Activists in South Korea were excited and fairly optimistic that the election of liberal President Moon Jae-in might help deescalate tensions on the peninsula.  They hoped that he would block further deployments of the provocative THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system and even demand that the US pull back the two THAAD launch units that were rushed into Seongju (186 miles south of Seoul) during the middle of the night just prior to his recent election.

But it did not take long for the US to establish who is boss on the Korean peninsula as Moon last week ordered his aides to start discussions with their U.S. counterparts on deploying four additional mobile launchers for the THAAD, going back on his decision that the Korean government would delay additional deployment plans by 10 to 15 months.

Moon said South Korea and the US will engage in a “much stronger show of military force”.  On Moon’s decision to deploy four additional mobile launchers, his aides said it would be a “temporary deployment.”

Sure.....

It's rather difficult to see much difference between Moon's current collusion with the US and that of the previous right-wing President Park who was impeached just months ago.  The candlelight revolution in South Korea, which was the force that pushed Park out of the Blue House, has to be terribly disappointed in these recent pronouncements by Moon.

One person who is not disappointed about Moon's turn toward the dark side is Japanese Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe (the grandson of a former WW II fascist leader in the imperial Japanese war cabinet who China considered a “Class A war criminal.”) The Japanese peace movement today considers Abe a fascist.

Abe has reported that in a conversation with Donald Trump the US warmonger vowed to take “all necessary measures” to protect Japan and other US allies after last week's North Korean missile test.  The US and Japan are describing that missile as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) while Russia has said it was a mid-range missile that could not reach the US.

The test was reason enough for the US to send two nuclear B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula. The commander of the Pacific air forces, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, warned his units were ready to hit North Korea with “rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force”.

In other words the US is ready to initiate nuclear war.

It's heart breaking to see Mr. Moon turn away so quickly from his earlier promises to reconsider THAAD and to so eagerly embrace the US incessant prodding of North Korea.  The US-South Korea war games right along the border of North Korea must always make Pyongyang wonder if this is the one - is this the time the US and South Korea will launch their often threatened 'decapitation' strike?

I can only hope that the activist community in South Korea and in the west will forget about giving Mr. Moon a honeymoon.  It's rather clear already that he intends to follow orders from Washington and continue the role of Seoul as a junior partner to the US imperial war project in the Asia-Pacific.

China, Russia and North Korea be warned and watch out....

Bruce

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trying to Kill Solar




Sunday Song




New Coalition: Close U.S. Foreign Military Bases






The Coalition Against Foreign Military Bases is a new campaign focused on closing all US military bases abroad. This campaign strikes at the foundation of US empire, confronting its militarism, corporatism and imperialism. We urge you to endorse this campaign.

On the occasion of its announcement, the coalition issued a unity statement, which describes its intent as “raising public awareness and organizing non-violent mass resistance against U.S. foreign military bases.” It further explains that US foreign military bases are “the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable world.”

While the US sought to be an imperial force beginning just after the US Civil War and then escalated those efforts at the turn of the 20th Century, it became the dominant empire globally after World War II. This was during the time of de-colonization, when many traditional empires were forced to let their colonies become independent nations. So, while the US is the largest empire in world history, it is not a traditional empire in which nations are described as colonies of the US empire. Nations remain independent, at least in name, while allowing US bases on their soil and serving as a client state of the United States. They are controlled through the economic power of the US, World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The US has used regime change tactics, including assassination and military force, to keep its empire intact.

Commentators have described the United States as an “empire of bases.” Chalmers Johnson wrote in 2004:

As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize — or do not want to recognize — that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire — an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can’t begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.

Our military deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations. To dominate the oceans and seas of the world, we are creating some thirteen naval task forces built around aircraft carriers whose names sum up our martial heritage — Kitty Hawk, Constellation, Enterprise, John F. Kennedy, Nimitz, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Carl Vinson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John C. Stennis, Harry S. Truman, and Ronald Reagan. We operate numerous secret bases outside our territory to monitor what the people of the world, including our own citizens, are saying, faxing, or e-mailing to one another.

We do not know the exact number of US military bases and outposts throughout the world. The Unity Statement says “the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1,000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the world). . . . In addition, the United States has 19 Naval air carriers (and 15 more planned), each as part of a Carrier Strike Group, composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft — each of which can be considered a floating military base.”

The annual Department of Defense (DoD) Base Structure Report says the DoD manages a massive “global real property portfolio that consists of nearly 562,000 facilities (buildings, structures, and linear structures), located on over 4,800 sites worldwide and covering over 24.9 million acres.” They value DoD property located in 42 nations at over $585 billion. It is difficult to tell from this report the number of bases and military outposts, which has led analysts like Tom Engelhardt to describe US empire as an “invisible” empire of bases. He points out the US military bases are rarely discussed in the media. It usually takes an incident, like US soldiers being attacked or a US aircraft being shot down, for them to get any mention in the media.

Many of the bases remain from previous wars, especially World War II and the Korean War:

According to official information provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) and its Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) there are still about 40,000 US troops, and 179 US bases in Germany, over 50,000 troops in Japan (and 109 bases), and tens of thousands of troops, with hundreds of bases, all over Europe. Over 28,000 US troops are present in 85 bases in South Korea, and have been since 1957.

The number of bases is always changing as the US seeks to continuously expand its empire of bases. Just this week the US is opening a military base in South Korea, which is described as a city of 25,000 people. The Washington Post reports:

“We built an entire city from scratch,” said Col. Scott W. Mueller, garrison commander of Camp Humphreys, one of the U.S. military’s largest overseas construction projects. If it were laid across Washington, the 3,454-acre base would stretch from Key Bridge to Nationals Park, from Arlington National Cemetery to the Capitol.

Now, the $11 billion base is beginning to look like the garrison that military planners envisaged decades ago.

The Eighth Army moved its headquarters here this month and there are about 25,000 people based here, including family members and contractors.

There are apartment buildings, sports fields, playgrounds and a water park, and an 18-hole golf course with the generals’ houses overlooking the greens. There is a “warrior zone” with Xboxes and Playstations, pool tables and dart boards, and a tavern for those old enough to drink.
Starting this August, there will be two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. A new, 68-bed military hospital to replace the one at Yongsan is close to completion.

Also this week, it was reported that the United States has created ten new military bases in Syria. This was done without permission of the Syrian government and was exposed by Turkey in protest against the United States.

There is a cost to these bases, not only the $156 billion in annual funds spent on them, but also the conflicts they create between the United States and people around the world. There have been protests against the presence or development of US bases in Okinawa, Italy, Jeju Island Korea, Diego Garcia, Cyprus, Greece, and Germany. Some of the bases are illegal, as the unity statement points out, “The base that the U.S. has illegally occupied the longest, for over a century, is Guantánamo Bay, whose existence constitutes an imposition of the empire and a violation of International Law.”  Cuba has called for the return of Guantánamo since 1959. David Vine, the author of Base Nation, describes how these bases, which seek to project US power around the globe, create political tensions, are a source for military attacks and create alliances with dictators. They breed sexual violence, displace indigenous peoples, and destroy the environment.

The unity statement of the Coalition Against Foreign Military Bases concludes by urging all of us to unite to close US bases around the world because:

U.S. foreign military bases are NOT in defense of U.S. national, or global security. They are the military expression of U.S. intrusion in the lives of sovereign countries on behalf of the dominant financial, political, and military interests of the ruling elite. Whether invited in or not by domestic interests that have agreed to be junior partners, no country, no peoples, no government, can claim to be able to make decisions totally in the interest of their people, with foreign troops on their soil representing interests antagonistic to the national purpose.

Please endorse the statement and join the campaign to remove US military bases from foreign soil.