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, October 31, 2015

Speeches at Bath Iron Works Protest Today






Friday, October 30, 2015

Nearly Blew it all from Okinawa

 
At the height of the Cold War between the US and Russia, and right in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, US Air Force Captain William Bassett averted crisis – and massive devastation – when an incorrect set of nuclear launch codes was sent to a US base located in Japan. Alexey Yaroshevsky has the story.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Climate Engineering

The US military has studied and worked on 'weather modification' programs for years.  One example can be seen here

Do you ever look up and see the sky filled with these long white chemtrails?  I've seen them where they cross each other back and forth across the horizon - a spider web of sorts.  Not at all natural.  The old days of short contrails from planes are now rare but still visible.  Why these long chemtrails?

What happens to the future generations when they can no longer drink the water or breathe the air?  What happens to our relations in the sea?  What about the bees or the birds?  The entire web of life is being threatened.

Is consumerism, climbing the corporate ladder, the success mythology more important than projecting our children's future?

The 'Deep State' Mask



My heart bursts
on fire
tears well up
but are
walled off
men don't cry

the bombs
are still exploding
Plans for more
on the way
the 'deep state'
digging us
deeper
into the hole
of oblivion

the public
largely distracted
Trump-Carson-Sanders
little talk
about the imperial
project
regime change everywhere
except back
in the 'deep state'
where things
roll on
like clockwork

Democracy
now just another
Hollywood production
non-stop entertainment
the illusion
slight of hand
our way of life
'modus operandi'
in Washington
and throughout
the land

It's Halloween time
masks of deception
'Trick or Treat'
give me what I want
or you will suffer
at the hands
of the dark heart

Stein Speaking in Bath on October 31



Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein will be speaking at BIW Aegis destroyer 'christening' protest on Saturday, October 31 in Bath.  The protest is from 9:00 am til noon and Stein will speak around 10:00 am.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Other Side of the Coin....

Expanding U.S. Military Operations in Asia-Pacific & Beyond

Professor Yang Yoon-Mo (right) alongside former Army Col. Ann Wright while she was visiting Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.  Yang did hunger strikes on each of his three long jail sentences for trying to block Navy base construction vehicles.  As the US 'pivots' into the Asia-Pacific region more ports-of-call are needed for Pentagon warships.  Jeju Island thus has been caught in the middle of this US-China confrontation.


  • The news release we sent out to media outlets across Maine about our Saturday Bath Iron Works (BIW) protest got picked up by the Bangor Daily News.  See their article here.  That story in turn was surprisingly picked up by the military Stars & Stripes newspaper.  Find it here.
  • We are excited that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will be at our Saturday protest in Bath during the 'Christening' ceremony for the next Aegis destroyer.  Jill is the only candidate for president that is connecting all the dots - calling for the conversion of the military industrial complex so that we have the funds to really deal with climate change by building rail, solar, wind, tidal power and expanded energy conservation programs.  
  • The Bath Police Department called again yesterday about our Saturday BIW protest.  They were concerned that they might have to arrest our delegation that will attempt to deliver letters to Maine's elected officials (US senators and representatives) who will be at the ceremony.  They said BIW will not let our folks enter the ceremony even though the public is invited to attend.  I told them we are not looking to get arrested but just want to hand the letters over to the politicians.  The police said they'd try to see if the letters could be officially received and handed over to our Maine Congressional delegation.  Have not heard back as of yet.  Either way we will still try to deliver the letters.
  • Doctors Without Borders is reporting that another of their hospitals, this time in Yemen, has been bombed. Airstrikes carried out on October 26 by Saudi Arabia in northern Yemen destroyed a hospital supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The small hospital, in the Haydan District in Saada Province, was hit by several airstrikes beginning at 10:30 p.m. Hospital staff and two patients managed to escape before subsequent airstrikes occurred over a two-hour period. One staff member was slightly injured while escaping. With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care. "This attack is another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine," said Hassan Boucenine, MSF head of mission in Yemen. Saudi Arabia's airstrikes are being coordinated by US military space satellites.  
  • An online petition has been created to Tell President Obama to Consent to Independent Investigation of Kunduz Hospital Bombing in Afghanistan.  Attacking a protected site such as a hospital is a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. The precise GPS coordinates of the four-year-old MSF hospital in Kunduz were provided to US and Afghan authorities in Washington and Kabul in the days prior to the bombing, and the hospital contained nearly 200 patients and staff at the time of the attack.   
  • The US, as part of Obama's 'pivot' of 60% of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific, is repeatedly poking China attempting to get a military response that would justify even further American military operations in the region.  The latest attempt by the US Navy to sail close to Chinese naval installations in the South China Sea is hailed as being about supporting free navigation of the oceans and the US trots out the Law of the Sea Treaty as justification for this position.  (This is of course more than hypocritical since the US has refused to sign onto the Law of the Sea Treaty.)  China imports 80% of its resources to run its economy through the South China Sea and has upped its military presence in the region largely as a result of the US 'pivot'.  So we are witnessing the classic case of which came first - the chicken or the egg?

More Navy Danger to Sea Mammals



The US Navy continues to cover the oceans with tens of thousands of sonobuoys to monitor and detect submarine movement around the world. The DoD has allocated $178.5 million to buy an additional 136,000 sonobuoys. 
 
About a meter-long, a typical sonobuoy device can be passive or active. The first type ‘listens’ to the noises produced by propellers of various kinds of vessels and pick out those made by a submarine. Active sonobuoys, sited in strategic points such as straits and harbors, can also sonar the water space around them to detect submarines.

The sonobuoys are usually positioned in designated areas from the air, typically by using SH-60F Seahawk helicopters.

“The United States Navy maintains a superior global Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability with the ability to detect, localize, identify, and track potential hostile submarines,” Global Security outlet said in 2011.

According to CNN, US sonobuoys are first and foremost aimed at tracking Russian submarines, over concerns they are “taking up positions near critical communication lines.”

Scientists say these sonar "intrusions" are proving deadly to marine wildlife, in particular whales. Sonar devices disrupt them and other sea mammals when nursing and feeding, which leads to injury or death of the animals who rely on sound to communicate and navigate, Elisa Allen, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told RT.   

Sonars can confuse and disorient them, terrify these animals,” Allen said. “Animals exposed to sonars have been known to rapidly change their depth in an attempt to escape the noise. This causes them to bleed from their ears and eyes,” she said, adding that whales and dolphins often beach themselves in their attempts to escape sonar.

The lucrative $178,565,050 contract has been granted to ERAPSCO, a defense contractor in Columbia City, Indiana. Five types of sonobuoys are set to be delivered by October 2017.

ERAPSCO, a joint venture between the Sparton corporation and Ultra Electronics, has been producing military grade sonobuoys capable of detecting and classifying manmade objects traveling underwater since 1987. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BIW Protest News Release

The new Navy base on Jeju Island, South Korea that will host US warships including the Aegis destroyers made in Bath, Maine


Peace Delegation to Attempt to Enter BIW 'Christening' Ceremony to Deliver Letter to Elected Officials

October 31 in Bath


For Immediate Release

Representatives from various peace groups will attempt to enter the scheduled BIW ‘Christening’ ceremony of a new Aegis destroyer on Saturday, October 31 with a letter addressed to Maine’s elected officials who will be present at the event to give their ‘blessings’ to another expensive and destabilizing warship.

The groups will hold a legal rally on the corner of Washington and Hinckley Streets in Bath from 9:00 am to noon with speakers and music.  Near the end of the event they will send a delegation from the rally to attempt to enter the shipyard in order to deliver an “Open Letter to Maine Elected Officials” who will be speaking at the event.

The letter will include the following:

    On this day another Navy Aegis destroyer is being ‘christened’ at Bath Iron Works and many of Maine’s elected officials will be present to give their official blessings.  These very expensive warships are outfitted with offensive cruise missiles and so-called ‘missile defense’ interceptors that in fact are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.  The Aegis warship program is not about defending our nation but in fact these ships are being used to provocatively encircle the coasts of China and Russia.

    Under the former Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia these ‘missile defense’ interceptors were outlawed because they were highly destabilizing to world peace – they gave one side a clear advantage and an incentive to attack first.  In 2002 Washington unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty which has only resulted in a new arms race.

    Today many of our elected officials will talk about the jobs that come from building warships at BIW.  What they won’t say is that the Navy ship building budget is unsustainable and that very soon the nation will hit the economic wall as aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and destroyers are all over budget.  In fact studies done by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Economics Department have long shown that military spending is the worst way to create jobs – military production is capital intensive.  That means we get fewer jobs building weapons for endless war than any other job creation program.  The studies also reveal that if commuter rail systems were built at BIW we’d nearly double the jobs – something every politician should be demanding.

    We do have a serious problem today and that is to immediately deal with climate change and the growing acidification of the Gulf of Maine.  Increasingly, due to warming oceans, the lobsters and other fish are moving further north to colder temperatures.  That means Maine’s fishing industry will be hit hard.  If Maine is to survive economically we need a crash program to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet.  Building rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power systems would create more jobs and help us deal with the coming reality of climate change.

    It is morally wrong for the US to think it can control the world.  The idea that the US is an ‘exceptional’ nation, better than the rest of the world, must give way to a humility where we see our place in the world as one nation amongst many.  We don’t have a right to control and dominate the world on behalf of corporate interests.

    We call on all of Maine’s elected officials to find the courage to stand up and represent the future generation’s desire for life on our Mother Earth.  Our children and grandchildren cannot survive by us building more destroyers for endless war.  We need a future that is sustainable, practical and peaceful.  We don’t believe that Christ, the Prince of Peace, would come here and give his blessing to more war and violence.

This October 31 peace rally at BIW comes just one week after the conclusion of the 16-day Maine Walk for Peace: Pentagon’s Impact on the Oceans that began in Ellsworth, Maine and followed US Hwy 1 South to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Along the way suppers were held each night in a different community and people were invited to come to BIW to protest the ‘Christening’ of another Navy destroyer on October 31.  Along the journey thousands of people directly witnessed the walking protest that called for an end to the militarization of the oceans.  The public was overwhelmingly supportive of the walk that also demanded the conversion of the weapons industry to sustainable production so that we can deal with our real problem – climate change.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will be one of the speakers at the BIW protest rally.

The October 31 rally is being sponsored by: Midcoast PeaceWorks; Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm; CodePink Maine; and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Monday, October 26, 2015

Congresswoman Hits it Out of the Park


Tulsi Gabbard - a Democrat from Hawaii and member of the Armed Services Committee - demonstrates great knowledge and courage to go against the grain in the US as she explains the Syria situation.  She points the finger at the US who is arming ISIS.  Nice to finally see some politician in Washington telling the truth for once.

Final Days of Peace Walk Video

Video by Regis Tremblay on the final days of peace walk along Maine's coastline.....

From Peace Walk to Next Protest: The Work Continues

Japanese peace activists protesting the US deployment of Aegis destroyers (outfitted with provocative 'missile defense' systems onboard) aimed at confronting China. A similar destroyer will be 'Christened' in Bath next Saturday.
Kittery police outside the gates of the Navy shipyard last Saturday spent most of their time taking photos.  The military security team was on the phone during the entire rally likely reporting every move we made back to HQ. One seacoast local newspaper alarmingly reported that the police had to be called when we arrived at the Kittery shipyard but then acknowledged that we remained on the other side of the road and all went well.



I spent today with one foot working in the past (wrapping up our recent 16-day peace walk) and one foot in the future as I began pulling together the protest at Bath Iron Works (BIW) this Saturday, October 31 where another Navy Aegis destroyer will be 'christened'.

I sent out a news release to Maine media letting them know about the scheduled protest.  I drafted an "Open letter to Maine elected officials" that we will try to deliver to them during the 'blessing of Christ' ceremony at BIW. I shared the letter with Maureen Kehoe-Ostensen who is preparing the flyer for the event.  I went up to the attic and sorted through all of our signs and banners choosing the appropriate ones for the protest on Saturday.  Our double theme on that day will be continuing the timely and important message about the Navy's impact on ocean life and the call for the conversion of BIW to sustainable production so that we might have a chance to impact the coming ravages of climate change before it is too late.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am sad that the peace walk is over.  Sixteen days is a long time to stay on task and walk an average of 11-12 miles per day.  So that part of the walk I can easily let go.  Despite sleeping late the last two days I am still a bit groggy and I of course miss the community of walkers.

I went to the chiropractor to get an adjustment today and was only 1/8 inch off between my legs.  One knee was out of whack as was an ankle.  Not too bad for having walked about 150 miles or so.  (I did not walk each and every mile due to having to now and then shuttle the gear car ahead in the morning.  Fortunately Katie Greenman helped me with that task later in the walk.)

I feel really good about what we did on the walk.  Via numerous radio spots, newspaper articles, social media, handing out 1,500 flyers, many spontaneous conversations, and thousands of car drivers reading our messages and seeing the art work on our van we were able to reach a huge audience with our messages.  Because most of the mainstream media is 'off-limits' to our peace and environmental efforts we have to go around that obstacle to find ways to reach the public in a close and direct way.  I think the walk helped us do that.

I spoke to one of the women who hosted us at one church along the journey.  She told me that despite the church priest trying to cancel their pot luck supper for the walk due to its political nature, the women of the church committee hosting us remained strong and refused to cancel the event.  They had such a positive feeling about the event that since our visit there has been discussion at the church about becoming more active in political issues.  That is a good outcome for sure.

Artist Russell Wray who designed the dolphin and incredible banner on our van kept saying toward the end of the walk that he didn't want it to end.  He dedicated himself each day to carrying a whale windsock and his sign that read 'Navy Sonar Kills!' along with a drawing of a beached whale.  I often walked behind Russell and can attest to the fact that many cars honked at his sign along the way.  Images are important.

We've got to repeatedly ask some serious questions about US Navy policy.  Some of them include the following:

  • Where do these Aegis destroyers go when they leave BIW?
  • What kind of environmental impacts result from the deployment of US Navy ships at ports around the world?
  • What is the military mission of these Aegis destroyers that are being sent to encircle the coasts of China and Russia?
  • How much do these ships cost?  Could we use those funds more effectively dealing with climate change?
  • Would we create more jobs building rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power at Bath Iron Works or the Portsmouth Navy shipyard in Kittery?
  • Would the workers, if given the option, prefer to build something other than destroyers?
  • Can we have a successfull conversion of war production effort without the larger community getting engaged?  How can we get the public to think and talk about what we should be doing with their tax dollars - should we continue building for endless war or should we be dealing with climate change?
  • What happens when the US economy finally hits the wall and Congress has to dramatically cut the Pentagon budget?  Shouldn't we begin now trying to convert these war industries before it is too late and then they just close their doors and everyone loses?
  • What kind of future are we leaving for our children by our silence?

The Gaza Slaughter

 
In this episode of Days of Revolt, host Chris Hedges discusses Israeli military policy in the Gaza Strip with author and journalist Max Blumenthal. Together they recount Palestinian testimonies about Israeli military aggression during Operation Protective Edge as described in Blumenthal’s latest book, and detail the brutal tactics used by the Israeli state in attempt to suppress Palestinian resistance.

Saturday in Bath




Please note: Due to changes to the BIW Aegis destroyer ‘christening’ schedule on Saturday, Oct 31 we have changed the times of our planned protest.
We will now gather at 9:00 am and finish by noon.
We learned today that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein will be one of the speakers at the BIW protest rally on Saturday.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Study War No More

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.savage.77/videos/10205310632549723/
">ebook.com/lisa.savage.77/videos/10205310632549723/">Down By The Riverside Leftist Marching Band & June-sanLast day of the Maine Peace Walk: Militarization of the Seas - Pentagon's Impact On The Oceans
Posted by Lisa Savage on Sunday, October 25, 2015

Democracy & Elections?

 
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., Abby Martin interviews world-renowned philosopher and linguist Professor Noam Chomsky.

More Walk Photos

Our walk sweatshirt front side logo

Nipponzan Myohoji Monk and Nuns in Market Square as we conclude with closing circle
Lisa Savage from CodePink Maine speaks at shipyard gate rally. She is a teacher and couldn't come on the walk until the last day but was ever present on Facebook and Twitter daily promoting the walk.
At the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard gate

At the shipyard gate

Walking along the ocean in York Beach - just like a herd of Elk

Peter Woodruff filming Eric Wasileski at shipyard gate.  Peter came the last couple days with Regis Tremblay to work on a finale walk short video.
Jason Rawn at shipyard gate - he helped with walk organizing from the start and sang at some evening events.

Eric and Jun-san playing stretching games

Our last lunch on the road - by then we'd collected lots of leftovers from pot luck suppers
 
Mary Beth Sullivan speaking at shipyard gate on Saturday.  She drove to Grafton, New York to bring Jun-san to the walk a week ago.

Amy, holding sign, came every morning for six days during the walk and spent hours running flyers to local businesses and people watching us from the sidelines as we walked.  She was a great help.

At Market Square in downtown Portsmouth before heading to shipyard on Saturday morning

Students from the New School in Kennebunk who cooked for us and walked with us
 
Boston-area VFP member Al Johnson and Mainer Dixie Searway at York Beach.  Al was on the walk organizing committee and helped raise funds for the walk.

Leftist Marching Band - "Our music is better than it sounds"

On last leg of the walk - back over the bridge on Saturday to the Navy shipyard for the final rally

Assorted photos from the last few days of the Maine Peace Walk: Pentagon's Impact on the Oceans.  They are in no particular order.  They were taken by Lisa Savage, Regis Tremblay, Bob Klotz, Nancy Larson and others.  They give a sense of the life of the walk.

I'm likely to get more photos in coming days.....I might post more later.

Sunday Song