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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Song




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Why Does Seoul Ban Another Korean-American Trying to Come Home


ACTION ALERT: Email South Korean President Moon Jae-in to lift the ban on Korean-American peace activist Juyeon Rhee from entering the country

Juyeon Rhee, a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea’s (STIK) peace delegation to South Korea was blocked from boarding a Delta Airlines flight today on her way to South Korea.

At approximately 9:00 AM at the LaGuardia Airport in New York City, Rhee, the STIK peace delegation coordinator, was told by Delta Airlines that she could not board the plane. Last year, Rhee was blocked from entering South Korea by the previous right-wing administration of recently impeached and jailed Park Geun-hye. With the newly elected Moon Jae-in in office, Rhee and members of the peace delegation expected her ban to have been lifted.

Rhee said in response to being blocked from boarding the plane to South Korea:

This is how Korea's division impacts overseas Koreans. I was wrongly labeled as a 'threat to national security' by the previous Park Geun-hye administration with no explanation. The burden is now on me to prove that I pose no harm to South Korean society. I refuse to accept that as a democratic and fair process. The ban was wrongly imposed on me without any warning or explanation.

The STIK task force is calling for a rapid response by way of sending an email to current President Moon Jae-in to demand the ban on Korean American peace activist Juyeon Rhee be lifted immediately. 

Below is a sample email to the South Korean President and the Blue House composed by STIK. Feel free to modify according to your own views.

Send to:
president@president.go.kr
webmaster@president.go.kr
bcc: limwolsan@gmail.com
bcc: liem@bc.edu

In Subject Line put – Lift the Entry Ban on Juyeon Rhee Immediately

Sample Text

President Moon Jae-in
Blue House
Seoul, ROK

Re: Lift the Entry Ban on Juyeon Rhee Immediately

Dear President Moon Jae-in:

I am writing to strongly protest the ban imposed this morning on Ms Juyeon Rhee today at LaGuardia Airport, New York, preventing her from boarding her Delta flight to Incheon. The ban was imposed by South Korean officials. Juyeon Rhee is the coordinator for the Stop THAAD in Korea (STIK) peace delegation visiting your country and hosted by the National People’s Action to Stop the Deployment of THAAD in South Korea (NPA). The STIK delegation includes prominent peace activists Jill Stein, 2016 U.S. presidential candidate for the Green Party, USA, Medea Benjamin, founder of CODEPINK, Reece Chenault, National Coordinator for U.S. Labor Against the War, and Will Griffin, Veterans for Peace and STIK.

The delegation arrives with the endorsement of more than 80 U.S. and international organizations and 270 individuals including such widely respected peace advocates as Professor Noam Chomsky, author and social critic, Daniel Ellsberg, Women for Genuine Security member, Gwyn Kirk, Academy Award-winning director, Oliver Stone, religious scholar and public intellectual, Cornel West, and former U.S. State Department official and Army colonel, Ann Wright.

I am deeply troubled by the actions of your authorities to prevent Juyeon Rhee from entering your country especially in view of the welcome promise of your administration to seek peaceful and negotiated settlements to longstanding conflicts and to recommit the nation to open dialogue and respect for democratic processes. Ms Rhee has demonstrated a life-long commitment to the desire of all Koreans for a peaceful resolution to decades of conflict and to U.S. policies that respect the sovereignty of the Korean people and value equally the human needs of all Americans.

In the spirit of the candlelight revolution I urge you to fulfill your pledge to eradicate problems left over from the previous administration, champion democratic rights including freedom of expression without fear of reprisal, and immediately lift the travel ban imposed on Juyeon Rhee by the previous administration.

Sincerely,

Please be sure to include your affiliation with your signature and your email address, if possible.

Afghans Don't Know Why U.S. is at War with Them



And neither do most of the American GI's deployed in Afghanistan.....

Friday, July 21, 2017

Guest on My Own Show



The latest edition of This Issue features Maine high school teacher and activist Lisa Savage who turns the table and interviews me about US foreign policy.

Lisa is the founder and coordinator of the Maine Natural Guard and lives in Solon with her husband Mark Roman.  Lisa and Mark were arrested last April 1 while doing civil disobedience at Bath Iron Works during a ‘christening’ ceremony of another Navy Aegis destroyer.

This Issue has been on public access TV in Maine since December 2003 and is produced by Eric Herter.  Camera work for this edition of This Issue was done by Peter Woodruff while Dan Ellis worked in the control booth.

This Issue runs on Brunswick, Bath, Harpswell, Portland, Phippsburg, Freeport, Madison, Skowhegan, Anson, North Anson, Solon, Belfast, South Portland, New Castle, and Biddeford public access cable TV at random times.  Check local listings. 

Space Alert! Newsletter Now Available Online


We've got our Space Alert! newsletter up on our web site now for public viewing.  You can find it here

If you’d like to help us distribute printed copies please let us know how many you want and we will mail them to you – all we ask is that your reimburse us for postage once they arrive at your door.  Just call us at 207-443-9502 or drop us a line at globalnet@mindspring.com

Bruce 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Village versus Empire


I had an email this morning from a South African filmmaker by the name of Mark Kaplan who has created a masterpiece called 'Village versus Empire'.  The film is just recently out and Kaplan is working hard to increase international viewership of his important story about Jeju Island, South Korea. He's happy to hear that anyone in Bath, Maine is interested since the ships built here are being ported in the place that inspired him to create this film.

Jeju Island born shaman, artist, and performer Dohee Lee now lives in the San Francisco-Bay area.  Kaplan has Lee take us deeply into the undercurrents, suffering, history, culture, and determination of the people as they face the results of Washington's demand that South Korea build a Navy base in Gangjeong village.

We are going to show this artistic documentary on Friday, October 20 here in the Midcoast as part of our annual Maine Peace Walk.  I'm now exploring where it can be shown - ideally it should be viewed on a big screen.  We'll see what comes up.

Anyone that watches this film will have a very different picture of the Korean people and the US arrogant destruction of a village for its own aggressive Naval outpost.

The people of Gangjeong village have been struggling for over 10 years to stop the base and now that it is built, and receiving Pentagon warships, they remain determined to fight against any war with China or Russia and to resolutely defend their culture in the presence of this manifestation of the war machine.

Dohee Lee's sharing of the story of Jeju is both sorrowful and liberating.  She cuts to the bone and then helps us find our souls by looking at the past, the present and the future.

The struggle in the village won't die - anyone coming to the Navy base will be touched by the power of the peaceful and joyful people who defend nature and their independence.  Their ceremony is living and protecting life.

Bruce

Remember the Afghanistan War?



On this episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges takes an in-depth look at the 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan with Matthew Hoh, a Marine Corps veteran and diplomat who resigned his State Department post in Afghanistan in protest over the war.

Hoh is also today an active member of Veterans For Peace.

RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the decades of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

The Ugly Alliance


With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons


 By Glenn Greenwald

One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country’s most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president.

A newly formed and, by all appearances, well-funded national security advocacy group, devoted to more hawkish U.S. policies toward Russia and other adversaries, provides the most vivid evidence yet of this alliance. Calling itself the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the group describes itself as “a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative” that “will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions,” and also “will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.”

It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world’s most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.

The Democrat, Laura Rosenberger, served as a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and chief of staff to two Obama national security officials. The Republican is Jamie Fly, who spent the last four years as counselor for foreign and national security affairs to one of the Senate’s most hawkish members, Marco Rubio; prior to that, he served in various capacities in the Bush Pentagon and National Security Council.

Fly’s neocon pedigree is impressive indeed. During the Obama years, he wrote dozens of articles for the Weekly Standard — some co-authored with Bill Kristol himself — attacking Obama for insufficient belligerence toward Iran and terrorists generally, pronouncing Obama “increasingly ill suited to the world he faces as president” by virtue of his supposed refusal to use military force frequently enough (Obama bombed seven predominantly Muslim countries during his time in office, including an average of 72 bombs dropped per day in 2016 alone).

The Democrats’ new partner Jamie Fly spent 2010 working in tandem with Bill Kristol urging military action — i.e., aggressive war — against Iran. In a 2010 Weekly Standard article co-written with Kristol, Fly argued that “the key to changing [Iran’s thinking about its nuclear program] is a serious debate about the military option,” adding: “It’s time for Congress to seriously explore an Authorization of Military Force to halt Iran’s nuclear program.”

Fly then went around the D.C. think tank circuit, under the guise of advocating “debate,” espousing the need to use military force against Iran, spouting standing neocon innuendo such as “we need to be wary of the Obama administration’s intentions” toward Iran. He mocked Obama officials, and Bush officials before them, for their “obsession with diplomatic options” to resolve tensions with Iran short of war. The Kristol/Fly duo returned in 2012 to more explicitly argue: “Isn’t it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran’s nuclear program?”

Read the rest of this article here

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Catching Up & Next Steps


I am getting caught up today.  Our newspaper Space Alert has been sent to the printer and the mailing should go out on August 1.  I am grateful that Mary Beth did an edit of Space Alert while I was gone to Minnesota.  Also grateful to Nancy Randolph who does an excellent job of layout of the newspaper and our annual Keep Space for Peace week poster.

During my trip I was repeatedly asked where I go next to speak.  I was surprised that folks were interested in that.  So I told them that fellow VFP member Dud Hendrick is having me come speak in Deer Isle, Maine on August 3.  Then on August 5 I will speak at the Peace Fair in Brunswick organized annually by our local group called PeaceWorks.

On Saturday, August 26 we will hold a three-hour protest at the Blue Angels Air Show at the former Naval air station in Brunswick - from 9:00 am to noon.   This event is being sponsored by the Global Network, Maine Veterans For Peace and PeaceWorks.

Our April 1 civil disobedience at Bath Iron Works during the 'christening' of another Aegis destroyer has set in motion a series of court appearances for our group which we are calling the Aegis 9.  So our next court appearance will be on August 29 at the West Bath District Court at 11:30 am.

In between all these events during August Mary Bath and I will take a couple day trip to California to visit with my son and his new wife who are in the US for awhile before returning to their home in Taiwan.  My son Julian is a debate coach in Taiwan and during the summer he works at high school debate camps in the US.  MB and I went to their wedding in Taiwan last January so it will be a treat to see them both again.

The other thing I was eager to do since returning home late last night was to check out our garden - especially the tomato plants.  So under our car headlights I took a quick peek but couldn't see much in the dark.  This morning I went outside to have a look and much to my delight all the plants are flourishing and many little tomatoes are sprouting.

The only problem is that our local wildlife (probably woodchucks) have been nipping off the tops of many carrot, beet, and kale plants.  I've called a professional animal trapper who will catch it (them) live and move the critters out to a western Maine state wildlife reserve.  I just hope they don't try to hitchhike back to our place.

Bruce