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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why is there so much gun violence in the U.S.?




Nearly every week day I listen to the On Point radio program on National Public Radio (NPR) with host Tom Ashbrook.  Lately Ashbrook, to his credit, has been asking the question 'Why is there so much gun violence in the US?' - especially after the recent deplorable shootings in Las Vegas and Texas.   

Ashbrook has academics and news reporters as guests on the show to review various studies that show the escalating trends of gun violence and he wonders why the political class in Washington remains virtually silent about offering any real solutions.

But like most Americans, Ashbrook is only scratching the surface of the problem.  He never connects the dots to the US military empire that has more than 800 bases overseas in at least 100 countries.  He never looks at the militarization of life in America - the reality of violent TV and movies and our endless wars that portray our troops as 'heroes'.

I was watching a basketball game last night and one commercial that ran was a Marine recruitment video similar to the one above.  In it you'll see the evolution of a young American woman into a tough Marine firing her automatic weapon at some unseen enemy.  The video's bottom line is that she is defending those of us at home and is a hero.  See it here

Some years ago the Pentagon began touting our future in the US as one where 'security export' would be our top national job.  Under corporate globalization of the world economy every country would have a different role.  We won't make things like shoes, cars, refrigerators, clothes, or phones any more.  America will make weapons and send our kids overseas to fight in endless wars on behalf of resource extraction corporations.  But the  corporations, and the Pentagon, have to sell this new mission to an unsuspecting public - thus the massive military recruitment budget and TV commercials like these.

Unless and until we have a national discussion - particularly on media like Ashbrook's popular national radio talk show - nothing will change.  The signal and message to people across the nation is currently clear - guns and endless war are linked together in the glorification of violence and American power.

America needs a 12-step program to end our national addiction to killing.  Until we can come on the air and say, "Hello, my name is America and I am addicted to guns, war, domination and violence" - don't expect anything to really change.

Ashbrook will be doing shows about mass killings all over the land the rest of his radio career and he will never get to the real reasons for these senseless killings because America's DNA is fully loaded with hundreds of years of senseless killings that have never been accounted for in any meaningful way.  If you doubt me just ask the people in Iraq or at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

I am going to send the link of this post to Mr. Ashbrook but I doubt he will see it or that anything will come of it.  There are just some topics that are not allowed on NPR and this is surely one of them.

Bruce

Protect the Water Protectors



Watch the video and sign the petition asking North Dakota to drop all charges against the peaceful and prayerful water protectors of Standing Rock.

Dedicated to reversing the slow genocide of the Lakota People and destruction of their culture, Lakota People’s Law Project assists in the return of Lakota children to their families and communities, partners to protect sacred lands from threats such as the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), and much more.

Click here

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Gaslighting and Lies



Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief.

The Costs of U.S. Proxy War in Ukraine



The answer is no - Russia is in fact helping to care for the self-defense forces from eastern Ukraine who have protecting their communities from US-backed attacks since 2014.

Patrick Lancaster writes:

For the last 3.5 years the Ukraine war has been raging and soldiers, as well as civilians have been getting injured and killed everyday. People of Russia and [the government of] Russia itself have decided to help the victims of the Ukraine war. This is is part one in a series to show what happens to self-defense soldiers after they are injured fighting on the anti-Ukraine or "Rebel" ( DPR & LPR ) side of the war. For the first 5 parts of this series we will concentrate on the Moscow-based charity fund "Dobro mira". We will show you how they function, who they help, and how you can help them continue to do what they do.
Lancaster is an independent American video journalist who has been reporting since 2014 on the Ukraine war and he does much to help with humanitarian efforts in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

The US has been funding, training and directing the Ukrainian forces to attack the Russian-speaking population who live in eastern Ukraine.  The US proxy Army routinely attacks civilian homes, schools, day care centers, hospitals, train and bus stations, churches and more in the Donbass region.  Thousands of innocent people have been killed by the US war project being run by the fascist regime in Kiev.

The new US Pentagon spending bill proposes $350 million in security aid, including lethal defense weapons, for Ukraine in 2018. The bill was approved by both Senate and House Armed Services Committees on Wednesday.

Lethal aid could provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons and possibly anti-aircraft arms, according to published reports.

DNC Hack Done 'Locally'



NSA whistleblower William Binney spoke to RT about his recent meeting with CIA director Mike Pompeo, where they discussed accusations that Russia meddled in 2016 US presidential election by hacking the Democrats.

In an interview with RT America host Ed Schultz on Wednesday, Binney said tests have “clearly showed” the DNC was not hacked by Russia before the 2016 presidential election, but that the data was downloaded locally.

Binney met with CIA director Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to review analysis by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which challenged the notion that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked by Russia. In a letter to President Donald Trump, the group claims the “data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers.”

After analyzing the data, VIPS concluded that the transfer simply does not support the claim the documents were hacked by Russian agents, as leaders of the US intelligence community claimed in a January report.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Rich Keep Getting Richer



Tax the hell out of the rich - they've had enough party time on working people's backs.....

Listen closely to this - the 'little people' are gonna get screwed - call it the new brand of feudalism - this time you get a smartphone so they can keep track of you at all times.....

My journey and my lifetime struggle


Decolonization of my mind is a daily task.  There are layers and layers of files in my brain, planted over a lifetime, which have to be sorted and many deleted.  I've internalized alot of BS over the years.  One of my ongoing tasks is to find good and trusted sources of information so I can replace the outdated, outmoded, and out-right lies that I've swallowed.

Joining the Air Force in 1971, during the Vietnam War, as a right-wing young-Republican meant that I had much to learn about the real world.  Once exposed to the anti-war movement in the barracks I began to devour everything I could find to learn anew.  In those days there was no Internet.  Music helped teach me quite a bit.  But there is never any substitute for reading and personal experience.

The Pentagon Papers (the government's own 'secret' history of the Vietnam War) blew my socks off.  The papers were published in book form and I read the whole thick compilation - often while sitting at my desk on the Air Force base and occasionally sharing important bits out loud with my fellow GIs.  That got me in some hot water.

My constant reading of Native American history was very important in my development.  I'll always remember the indigenous wisdom - 'Put your ear to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming'.  Perfect advise anytime.

I didn't learn much in college after the service - one of the few things I picked up was that one Political Science professor was a Henry Kissinger fan so if you wanted A's you touted the Kissinger line.  I got a C in the class and began to feel like I was back in the Air Force.

My mind decolonization took another major jump when I joined the United Farm Workers Union as a staffer in Florida organizing fruit pickers from 1978-1980.  There I read People's History of the US and Labor's Untold Story.

In 1983 I started working full time in the peace movement in Florida and early on began to specialize on space.  It was natural since at the time I lived in Orlando, only one-hour away from Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center where I organized many large protests over the years.  One publication that had huge impact on me was another of those government insider books that revealed the real plans for US space domination - Full Spectrum Dominance.  This one was entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years.

One small illustration from that book was a section about the 'Earth and Moon Gravity Well'.  Who ever militarily holds the top of the gravity well will control which country/corporation can get on and off the planet to successfully 'mine the sky' in the years ahead.  The author John Collins, a congressional staffer, wrote: "Armed forces might lie in wait at that location [at the top of the well] to hijack rival shipments on return."  He was obviously referring to the need for the US to control the gravity well with military bases on the Moon and armed space stations on either side of the lunar body. The primary obstacle to this plan is $$$$ which is why the aerospace industry wants to defund the 'Entitlement Programs' which are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and what remains of the welfare program.  I read about this 'strategy to create a dedicated space funding source' in an industry publication called Space News.

Just today I saw an important article that fits right into my agenda of mind decolonization.  The article is How America Spreads Global Chaos and is posted on Consortium News which has become one of my preferred sites for real news.  In the article Nicolas J.S. Davies writes:

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter’s prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.
Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

The CIA, or the Deep State, is the real power in America today.  Many books give you a good understanding of this reality but the one I'd highly recommend is The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot.  It reads like a mystery novel and is one of my top five favorite books ever.

I have always had a hunger and thirst for the truth - when I was a kid I wanted to be an FBI agent to fight organized crime.  After I joined the Air Force I began the long path to realization that our government is controlled by a corporate criminal syndicate.  So today I feel like my wish came true - in my own independent way I am fighting the mobsters.

In order to stay sane I've often returned to books about Native Americans who knew the 'Great White Father in Washington' facade better than most.  They've had much experience dealing with the White Man's 'forked tongue' while struggling to hold onto their sacred spiritual circle.  One book I'd offer here is Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas.

When one can control their own mind they can begin to live a centered life and not be the slave of anyone or any corporate media outlet.  This is my journey and my lifetime struggle.

Bruce

~ Thanks to Global Network board member Will Griffin for the graphic above which inspired writing this post.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

U.S. Base Expansion in Okinawa Destroys Nature



This video is about Takae, a forested area on the northern part of the island of Okinawa.  I've been there twice - once with Veterans For Peace (VFP) and a second time with a delegation of Buddhists. 

In December I am returning to Okinawa, and to Takae, with another VFP delegation - this time a larger one and our most diverse delegation of veterans yet.

We will stand with the local people as they non-violently resist the US military base expansions at Takae and Henoko.

Takae is a subtropical forest and mountain area that the US military has used since Vietnam for jungle training.  Sixty percent of Okinawa's drinking water comes from this region.  It was only in recent years that the small local village called Higashi (population 150) learned that the US had tested Agent Orange in the surrounding forest during the Vietnam years.  Dow Chemical (which manufactured Agent Orange) drums were uncovered in the area.  The locals tried to get the water tested but US forces interfered with that process.  Some animals in the area have been found with deformities.

In Henoko two US Marine V-shaped runways are being built to extend out onto pristine Oura Bay covering a total area of 205 hectares.  Of this total area, 160 hectares is to be in-fill, dredged from the sea.  Already large concrete blocks weighing as much as 45 tons were dropped on 75 seabed sites destroying 94 colonies of coral. Okinawans regularly protest at base gates and try to block sea construction operations in their kayaks.  Like on Jeju Island, South Korea they are manhandled and arrested by the Japanese government.
 
You can see some of my past blog posts about Takae and Henoko (including many photos and videos) here

The US is aiming all of this base expansion in Okinawa (and South Korea) at China and Russia.  The US wants regime change in Beijing and Moscow and is trying to get it done with a loaded gun pointed at those two sovereign nations.  This could only lead to war - nothing good can come from this US arrogance.

Bruce

Monday, November 06, 2017

Puerto Rico is a Colony


No Trump War Zone


Sunday, November 05, 2017

Protests all over South Korea



No Trump No War actions, rallies and protests took place Saturday afternoon in Seoul, Chuncheon, Daejeon, Daegu, Jeonju, Gwangju, Ulsan, Busan and Changwon in South Korea.

$elling War and Pentagon Expansion in Asia-Pacific


Trump touched down in Hawaii on his way to Asia.  He was met with protests there and huge marches are happening across South Korea in anticipation of his meeting with the newly elected President Moon in Seoul.

Moon is turning out to be a disappointment to peaceniks across Korea as he carries water for the US imperial project.  It's a clear sign that those supposedly in charge in South Korea are not.  They are at the mercy of Washington and the military industrial complex.

China during the last couple of days sent nuclear bombers bumping up with the coast of Guam in a certain statement before Trump visits Beijing.  Just weeks ago, while speaking at the UN, Trump blasted socialism as a failed system - many taking it as a shot across China's bow before his trip there.  China has fired back showing the Donald that two can play the nuclear 'fire and fury' ball game.

Beijing has repeatedly warned the US that if Washington decides to 'decapitate' North Korea then China will be forced to come into the war to stop the US invasion of the north.

North Korea borders both China and Russia and neither of those nations can afford to allow an aggressive US military outpost in the northern region of the Korean peninsula.  It's a deal breaker to use Trumpian lingo.

Trump's Asia-Pacific sales trip will take him to Japan (to meet with the fascist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, grandson of an imperial Japanese war criminal), South Korea, China, Vietnam (where the US is trying to cut a deal get to permission to use the Cam Ranh Bay Navy base), and the Philippines (where the US is once again porting its warships at Subic Bay after being kicked out in 1992).

Trump's primary job is to hold the line as anti-American fervor sweeps the Asia-Pacific.  US base expansions in Okinawa and South Korea has fueled popular resistance to the Obama-Clinton era 'pivot' of 60% of American military forces into the region which requires more ports-of-call, more airfields and more barracks for US troops.  With these base expansions comes environmental degradation, dramatically increased noise pollution, GI disrespect and mistreatment of local citizens, stealing of lands from farm and fishing communities, Pentagon arrogance about its control over host governments and many other local grievances.  Washington is not interested in hearing about, or seriously negotiating, these deep concerns thus the official Pentagon response is more bluster and domination which only fuels the fires of domestic rage.

The US military is the loaded gun placed at the head of all Asia-Pacific nations - you either comply with Washington's economic demands or this instrument of destruction will be used.  The cancerous US military occupation of the region has nothing to do with defending the American people. The Pentagon defends corporate 'interests' which require a submissive region. 

The US is in a bind as its imperil project collapses overseas and at home.  Trump's 'Make American Great Again' mantra are code words to restore the empire's prestige and domination.  But there is no going back - like white supremacy at home, those days are long gone.

The US's only option is to close its more than 800 military bases around the world and bring its occupation troops home.  Learn to get along with others and bury the idea that America is the master race - the 'exceptional' nation.

The other option is World War III which would go nuclear in a cold hard flash. No one wins that one.

The American people ought to wise up and see the writing on the wall.  But they'd need a real media to share with them the true feelings of the occupied people around the world and we don't have that - ours is a subservient media that promotes only corporate interests to US citizens.

Plus the American people would need to care about other people around the world - human solidarity has largely been beaten out of the hearts of our citizenry. Even most liberals currently babble the anti-Russian recycled red-baiting being fomented by elected Democrats in the hardened halls of Washington.

There is no escaping the sad fact that it will be a brutal collapse for America and it is surely coming.

Bruce

Art by W. B. Park

Sunday Song