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, November 21, 2015

Tour of U.S. Space Warfare Bases: From Fylingdales to Croughton

US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base called Fylingdales way up in the Yorkshire Moors by day
Fylingdales by cold windy night (thankfully no rain). Ronald McDonald (on the right with the torch) joined this vigil telling us "I've come over to the other side."

Yesterday three of us drove from Leeds 90 minutes northeast to Fylingdales where we were joined by 10 others for a mile or so walk at 5:00 pm along the dark highway through the beautiful Moors to the US early warning radar and missile defense targeting base.

The half-moon lit sky, and a rare view of the stars, was a welcome sight as the rain did not fall on us and thankfully so because it was bitter cold and windy.  Three of the military police from inside the installation came out to hassle us a bit not wanting us to stand inside the entry road to the radar facility but there were no cars passing in or out so we insisted and after some debate with one of the long-time Quaker activists in our group they gave up and left us alone.

I was asked to share some words and I reminded the brave-hearted folks that they are not alone in this effort to expose the global nature of the US space domination program that has set up these installations in many out-of-the-way places around our spinning planet.  We need one another to help shine a light on these bases that all put together enable the Pentagon to wage fierce endless war on people who have usually done nothing more than live on top of vital resources that the greedy corporations want to control.

Early this morning Dave and I drove three hours south to another US space communications base - this one called Croughton.  We met nine activists in a small pub called the Black Bird for lunch and folks shared what they knew about the expanding mission of the Croughton base.  The activists came from various towns and villages in the Oxforshire region and are the first group each year to register their annual Keep Space for Peace Week event (held in early October) with us at the Global Network.




After lunch we drove around the base stopping at several key spots for a better view of the golf ball looking satellite dishes that are covered up so that you can't tell which direction they are directing their signals.  At the third spot we paused at US Air Force military police came driving up to the gate and followed us to the next place we stopped.  While at the last stop I told the MP's that I had myself been in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and became a peacenik during those years.

In front of Croughton main gate showing solidarity with friends in Sicily - both places doing US space warfare communications operations

At one of the stops we made around Croughton I was taken to the place in 2008 where I had helped the Lord Mayor of Oxford plant two oak trees.  Much to my surprise there was a plaque honoring that occasion fixed to an old wooden fence.



Following our three-hour drive back to Leeds I treated Dave to a fish & chips dinner at a local restaurant.  He's been kindly feeding me right on schedule during the past week and I figured I owed him one.

Take Down Syria?


What gives the US and NATO the right to decide who the leader of Libya or Syria should be?

What gives Obama and John Kerry the right to say 'Assad must go'?  What if Assad said 'Obama and Kerry should go'?

What do most people really know about Syria except what they've had drummed into their heads by the corporate owned media?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Full Spectrum Resistance!



Dave Webb and I capped off our excellent visit to London last night with a nearly two-hour meeting with the largely Korean 'Save Jeju Island' student group at the University of London.  We had a wide ranging discussion that included the history of the Global Network's efforts to support the Gangjeong village eight year campaign to oppose construction of the Navy base for US warships on Jeju. We also went wider and did an overview (with the help of Dave putting up various photos from the Internet onto the classroom screen as illustrations) of the Pentagon strategy to encircle and attempt to provocatively control both Russia and China.

One of the Korean students had come to my earlier talk at noon inside Parliament and returned last night saying that because she is just learning English she had only understood 30% of what I said the first time around.  So in hopes that she would develop a better understanding she came the second time!  That is dedication and I'm sure the pictures on the wall helped quite a lot.

Today we are heading off for a vigil at the US space warfare radar base called Fylingdales which is north of us here in Yorkshire.  The weather is likely to be harsh (more rain and wind) but I've noticed that the people here have webbed toes so it should 'not be a bother' as they say in these parts.  I will wear my long underwear just in case.

On Saturday we head to Oxford for a visit to still yet another Pentagon space warfare communications base at Croughton - that makes three of them in England and we will have visited all of them on this trip.

At each stop we are sharing the stories about how the entire global space warfare apparatus fits together to ensure US 'Full Spectrum Dominance".  Our message though is that there is growing awareness of the role these bases around the world play in directing Pentagon endless warfare on behalf of corporate capitalism - and we are calling for "Full Spectrum Resistance" to close down these expensive and dangerous space control bases.

You pick - total military space control (what the weapons industry says will be the largest industrial project in Earth history) or social progress for the people of the planet.  We all live in 'democratic' societies don't we - we supposedly get to choose how our tax money should be spent? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

From The Kinks to Parliament in London

Standing in the rain in front of Big Ben and the British Parliament

Last night just before entering the theatre for the wonderful musical about the early years of my favorite rock-and-roll band The Kinks


Last night Dave Webb took his son and I to the Harold Pinter Theatre in London to see the award winning musical called Sunny Afternoon about the early years of my favorite band called The Kinks.  The three-hour show frequently brought tears to my eyes as I watched actors playing band leader brothers Ray and Dave Davies go through their many struggles to make music their way - having run up against the power of the music industry.

As the hits began to mount up for The Kinks during the early-1960's 'British pop Invasion' songwriter Ray Davies wanted to write more meaningful music about the world around him - not just the money producing 'boy meets girl' tunes that make it to the Top of the Pops.  The show used the band's music to bring these issues to the audience with Ray's character even once declaring "We are a Socialist band," as they ran up against the greedy corporate forces in the music industry.  They were banned from playing in the US for a period of four years during the crucial mid-60's for refusing to play along with the pay-to-play game then rampant in the American music scene.  This ban helped put the Kinks into relative obscurity as they were largely kept out of the vast American market.  On the good side though it made it possible for Ray to create the kind of music that he wanted to make despite the demands of the industry.

I didn't want the show to end and as we made our way to the London home of longtime peace legend Bruce Kent, where we were to spend the night, the songs kept playing in my head for hours.

Earlier yesterday Dave took me to Leeds Beckett University (he formally taught Peace Studies there before recently retiring) and I spoke to more than 30 students in a talk organized by the current department teachers.  I got more questions from that assembled group of students than I'd ever had from any college audience which reflected well on the current Peace Studies staff at the school.

This morning we made our way from Bruce Kent's home on a bus and then the underground to the Parliament building in London where a room had been reserved for my talk by a member of the House of Commons.  Twenty folks turned up for the meeting which featured a discussion about the Pentagon's military space program and how it is today being used to project global dominance on behalf of the interests of corporate capitalism.

A big issue in the UK right now is Trident nuclear submarine/missile replacement (upgrading) that is estimated to cost more than 137 billion pounds.  New Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been against Trident and is trying to advance a national debate about the costly and dangerous nuclear program - especially during this time of austerity budgets.  My question to the group inside Parliament today was: "Does Britain have the satellites in space, and the ground stations around the world, to direct the UK's Trident missiles to their targets?"  The answer was a clear NO.  My next question was then, "Who does the UK rely on to direct Trident nukes to their target?"  The answer of course is the Pentagon.  So in my mind that means that the UK is essentially subsidizing at the rate of 137 billion pounds a new US weapon system.  During these days of severe human needs cut across the UK do the citizens really want to hand the US military the gift of four new nuclear subs that the British government does not really control?

Tonight I speak at the University of London School of Oriental and Asiatic Studies (SOAS) about the Navy base currently being built for US warships on Jeju Island, South Korea and the role that installation will play in the US military 'pivot' to provocatively control China.

Just for your listening pleasure here is one of my favorite Kinks songs - which was not part of the show last night.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the Wind and Rain at Menwith Hill U.S. NSA Spy Base




Menwith Hill by day


Dave and I at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, England tonight in the driving wind and rain holding No MUOS flag given to us in Sicily - we are united in the struggle against the more than 800 U.S. bases around the world!
Talking with Lindis who has supreme stick-to-it-ivness which is what every organizer needs


My host in England this week, Global Network board convener Dave Webb (also chair of CND), arranged for me to speak this morning at Bradford University before an event sponsored by the Peace Studies Department.  Students and local community people turned out for the hour-long discussion.

Early this evening we made the 45-minute drive through end of day traffic to the U.S. NSA space satellite spy base at Menwith Hill for the weekly protest organized by CAAB (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases).  We were joined by 10 other people in the wind driven hard rain as American workers came out of the base - a woman in the first car to come out flipped us the bird.  The presence of up-side-down American flags signaling distress rankled many of the Americans but it is important that they learn that all over the world people want U.S. war fighting bases shuttered.

Lindis Percy has been leading the weekly protests at Menwith Hill for many years through all kinds of bad weather.  In addition to the NSA role of spying on the people of Europe the base is also a key station for the 'missile defense' (MD) program. Menwith links up with the SBIRS satellite system to help direct the growing and provocative Pentagon MD system that is now being used to encircle Russia and China.

Lindis leaves tomorrow for Cuba where she will join fellow Global Network board member Dennis Apel from California at an international No Bases conference in Guantanamo.  They both were chosen by our Global Network leadership to represent the organization at that important conference.

In the morning I speak to another group of students in Leeds before Dave and I take the train to London where we will be for the next two days.  More on all that later.

War Criminals in Our Midst


From Pol Pot to ISIS: The blood never dried

By John Pilger

In transmitting President Richard Nixon's orders for a "massive" bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, "Anything that flies on everything that moves".  As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a "merciless" attack on the rubble of Syria, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger's murderous honesty.

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery - including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields - I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today's Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of "fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders". Once Nixon's and Kissinger's B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of "Operation Menu", the west's ultimate demon could not believe his luck. The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors "froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told... That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over." A Finnish Government Commission of Inquiry estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died in the ensuing civil war and described the bombing as the "first stage in a decade of genocide". What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.

ISIS has a similar past and present. By most scholarly measure, Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of at least 700,000 people - in a country that had no history of jihadism. The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common. Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear. On the way I met people proud, above all, to be Iraqis, the heirs of a civilization that seemed, for them, a presence.

Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda - like Pol Pot's "jihadists" - seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of 'Shock and Awe' and the civil war that followed. "Rebel" Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote, "The [Cameron] government seems to be following the example of Tony Blair, who ignored consistent advice from the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy - and in particular our Middle East wars - had been a principal driver in the recruitment of Muslims in Britain for terrorism here."

ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in "our" societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.

It is 23 years since a holocaust enveloped Iraq, immediately after the first Gulf War, when the US and Britain hijacked the United Nations Security Council and imposed punitive "sanctions" on the Iraqi population - ironically, reinforcing the domestic authority of Saddam Hussein. It was like a medieval siege. Almost everything that sustained a modern state was, in the jargon, "blocked" - from chlorine for making the water supply safe to school pencils, parts for X-ray machines, common painkillers and drugs to combat previously unknown cancers carried in the dust from the southern battlefields contaminated with Depleted Uranium. Just before Christmas 1999, the Department of Trade and Industry in London restricted the export of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Kim Howells, parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Blair government, explained why. "The children's vaccines", he said, "were capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction". The British Government could get away with such an outrage because media reporting of Iraq - much of it manipulated by the Foreign Office - blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.

Under a bogus "humanitarian" Oil for Food Programme, $100 was allotted for each Iraqi to live on for a year. This figure had to pay for the entire society's infrastructure and essential services, such as power and water. "Imagine," the UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck, told me, "setting that pittance against the lack of clean water, and the fact that the majority of sick people cannot afford treatment, and the sheer trauma of getting from day to day, and you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And make no mistake, this is deliberate. I have not in the past wanted to use the word genocide, but now it is unavoidable." Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. "I was instructed," Halliday said, "to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults."

A study by the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 "excess" deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, "Is the price worth it?" Albright replied, "We think the price is worth it."

In 2007, the senior British official responsible for the sanctions, Carne Ross, known as "Mr. Iraq", told a parliamentary selection committee, "[The US and UK governments] effectively denied the entire population a means to live."  When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was consumed by regret and contrition. "I feel ashamed," he said. He is today a rare truth-teller of how governments deceive and how a compliant media plays a critical role in disseminating and maintaining the deception. "We would feed [journalists] factoids of sanitised intelligence," he said, "or we'd freeze them out." Last year, a not untypical headline in the Guardian read: "Faced with the horror of Isis we must act." The "we must act" is a ghost risen, a warning of the suppression of informed memory, facts, lessons learned and regrets or shame. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 1998, when Denis Halliday revealed the extent of the suffering in Iraq for which the Blair Government shared primary responsibility, Hain abused him on the BBC's Newsnight as an "apologist for Saddam". In 2003, Hain backed Blair's invasion of stricken Iraq on the basis of transparent lies. At a subsequent Labour Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a "fringe issue".

Here was Hain demanding "air strikes, drones, military equipment and other support" for those "facing genocide" in Iraq and Syria. This will further "the imperative of a political solution". The day Hain's article appeared, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck happened to be in London and came to visit me. They were not shocked by the lethal hypocrisy of a politician, but lamented the enduring, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in negotiating a semblance of truce. Across the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those regarding each other as terrorists and heretics have faced each other across a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, there is a vapid, almost sociopathic verboseness from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their "coalition of the willing" as they prescribe more violence delivered from 30,000 feet on places where the blood of previous adventures never dried. They seem to relish their own violence and stupidityso much they want it to overthrow their one potentially valuable ally,  the government in Syria. 

This is nothing new, as the following leaked UK-US intelligence file illustrates:

"In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces... a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals... a necessary degree of fear... frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention... the CIA and SIS should use... capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension."

That was written in 1957, although it could have been written yesterday. In the imperial world, nothing essentially changes. In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that "two years before the Arab spring", he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. "I am going to tell you something," he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, "I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria... Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate... This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned."

The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west - Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia. The obstacle is Turkey, an "ally" and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian "rebels", including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.

A truce - however difficult to negotiate and achieve - is the only way out of this maze; otherwise, the atrocities in Paris and Beirut will be repeated. Together with a truce, the leading perpetrators and overseers of violence in the Middle East - the Americans and Europeans - must themselves "de-radicalise" and demonstrate a good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home. There should be an immediate cessation of all shipments of war materials to Israel and recognition of the State of Palestine. The issue of Palestine is the region's most festering open wound, and the oft-stated justification for the rise of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made that clear. Palestine also offers hope. Give justice to the Palestinians and you begin to change the world around them.

More than 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia unleashed a torrent of suffering from which that country has never recovered. The same is true of the Blair-Bush crime in Iraq, and the Nato and "coalition" crimes in Libya and Syria. With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger's latest self-serving tome has been released with its satirical title, "World Order". In one fawning review, Kissinger is described as a "key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter of a century". Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his "statecraft".  Only when "we" recognise the war criminals in our midst and stop denying ourselves the truth will the blood begin to dry.

Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger 

A View on French Policy


Good strong words on the real story inside France .....

The Money-Go-Round......


Click on graphic for a better view

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can Obama Level with the People?


By Robert Parry

The atrocities in Paris, killing more than 120 people, have brought forth the usual condemnations against terrorism and expressions of sympathy for the victims, but the larger question is whether this latest shock will finally force Western leaders to address the true root causes of the problem.

Will President Barack Obama and other leaders finally level with the American people and the world about what the underlying reasons for this madness are? Will Obama explain how U.S. “allies” in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, have been fueling this Sunni extremism for years? Will he dare recognize that Israeli repression of the Palestinians is a major contributing factor, too?

On a practical level, will Obama finally release those 28 pages from the congressional 9/11 report that addressed evidence of Saudi support for the hijackers who attacked New York and Washington in 2001?

Does he have the courage to explain how this scourge of Sunni terrorism can be traced back even further to the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter started a small-scale covert operation in Afghanistan to destabilize a Moscow-backed secular regime in Kabul and that President Ronald Reagan then vastly expanded the program with the help of the Saudis, pouring in a total of $1 billion a year and giving rise to Saudi militant Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda?

Can Obama be convinced that telling hard truths to the American people is not only vital to a democratic Republic in a philosophical way but can have the practical effect of creating crucial public support for rational policies? Will he realize that propaganda schemes or “strategic communications” may be clever short-term tricks to manipulate the American people but they are ultimately counterproductive and dangerous?

Will Obama finally take on Official Washington’s well-entrenched neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” junior varsity by challenging their innumerable false narratives? Will he pointedly blame the neocons and the liberal hawks, including those who run the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times, for the disastrous Iraq War? Will he take on the “deep state” dug in at the big-name think tanks, not just at neocon havens like the American Enterprise Institute but at the center-left Brookings Institution?

Can the President muster the courage to ally himself with the American people, arming them with real information, so they can act like true citizens in a Republic rather than cattle being herded toward the slaughterhouse? Can he shake his own elitism or his fear of social ostracism to somehow become a true leader in his last year in office, rather than a timid follower of the prevailing “group think”?

Just because the “important people” have fancy credentials and went to the “right” schools, doesn’t mean that they have any monopoly on wisdom. Indeed, in my nearly four decades covering Official Washington, these “smart” folks have been wrong a lot more than they have been right. A leader of historic dimensions recognizes that reality and takes on the know-it-alls. In this case, a leader who enlists the American public by giving them reliable information could change this depressing dynamic.

If Obama could muster such courage and show trust in the people, he could bend the prevailing false narratives in the direction of truth and reality. On a practical level, he could help make the current Syrian peace talks succeed by stopping his endless repeating of the neocon/liberal-hawk mantra blaming President Bashar al-Assad for the entire mess and insisting that “Assad must go.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.”]

Twist Some Arms

Instead, Obama could twist the arms of his Saudi, Qatari and Turkish “friends” to get them to halt their financing and military support for Sunni jihadists associated with Al Qaeda and its various spin-offs, like the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. And he could work cooperatively with Russian President Vladimir Putin to squeeze concessions out of both the Assad regime and the U.S.-financed “moderate” opposition so a unity government can begin to restore order in Syria and isolate the extremists.

Once some security is achieved, the Syrian people could hold elections to decide their own future and pick their own leaders. That should not be the business of either Obama or Putin.

As part of this effort, Obama could finally release the U.S. intelligence analyses on both jihadist funding and the circumstances surrounding the lethal sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, which the Obama administration hastily blamed on Assad’s regime although later evidence pointed toward a likely a provocation by Sunni extremists. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria Sarin Case.”]

To create crucial space for cooperating with Putin, Obama also could let the American people in on the reality about the Ukraine crisis in 2014, which was used by the neocons and liberal hawks to drive a wedge between Obama and Putin. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis.”]

U.S. intelligence analysts know a lot about key turning points in that conflict, including the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper attacks, which set the stage for ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych two days later, and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was used to build an anti-Putin hysteria. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “MH-17: The Dog Still Not Barking.”]

I’m told that these tragedies became propaganda weapons to deploy against Assad, Yanukovych and Putin rather than horrific crimes that deserved serious investigation and accountability. But whatever the ultimate conclusion about who is to blame for these crimes, why has Obama withheld from the American people what U.S. intelligence analysts know about those three incidents?

It was Obama, after all, who talked so much about “transparency” and trusting the American people as a candidate and during his first days in office. But since then, he has conformed to the elitist Orwellian approach of managing our perceptions rather than giving us the facts.

Yet, if Obama could get his cooperation with Putin back on track – recognizing how useful it was in 2013 when Putin helped Obama get Assad to surrender all his chemical weapons and assisted in wresting important concessions from Iran about its nuclear program – then the two powers could also weigh in on securing a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, another major irritant to peace in the region.

Indeed, it appears that the possibility of Obama and Putin working together to force the Israelis to make meaningful concessions for peace was a factor in the neocon determination to turn an eminently manageable political dispute in Ukraine – over the pace of its integration into Europe without rending its ties to Russia – into the dangerous frontlines of a new Cold War.

The neocons and liberal hawks outmaneuvered Obama who fell in line with the Putin-bashing, all the better to fit within Official Washington’s in-crowd.

Thus, the Syrian crisis was left to fester with Obama acquiescing to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for arming and training “moderate” rebels although the President recognized that the idea was a “fantasy.” He also resisted some of the more extreme ideas, like an outright U.S. military invasion of Syria framed as a humanitarian “safe zone.”

But the Paris tragedy is another reminder that it is well past time for Obama to resurrect his helpful relationship with Putin and restore the teamwork that held such promise toward settling conflicts through negotiations, along the lines of the Iran nuclear deal.

If Obama were to choose that route – which could be implemented through a combination of truth-telling to the American people and pragmatic big-power diplomacy with Russia – he could at least start addressing the underlying causes of the violence tearing apart the Middle East and now spreading into Europe.

Or will Obama’s reaction to the Paris attacks be just more of the same – more tough-guy talk about “resolve,” more “targeted” killings that slaughter many innocents as “collateral damage,” more tolerance of Saudi-Turkish-Qatari support for Sunni militants in Syria and elsewhere, more acceptance of hard-line Israeli repression of the Palestinians, more giving in to neocon/liberal-hawk demands for “regime change” in the neocons’ preferred list of countries?

If the history of the past seven years is any guide, there’s little doubt which direction President Obama will choose. He will go with Official Washington’s flow; he’ll worry about what the editorialists at the Post and Times might think of him; he’ll accommodate the neocons and liberal hawks who remain influential inside his own administration. In short, he’ll continue down the road toward destruction.

~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. 

No MUOS Documentary


Above is the short trailer for the No MUOS documentary with English subtitles.

The whole documentary (Italian only) can be viewed here

Even though you might not understand Italian you can still get a great feel for the Sicilian culture and countryside and come away with a much greater understanding about their campaign to oppose the US space warfare communication base.

Labor's Battle in South Korea

Above are three short videos from the recent protests in Seoul, South Korea against the President Park Geun-hye (daughter of former brutal South Korean dictator) government that is cracking down on labor unions, small farmers, social justice and peace movements.  The right-wing government wants to break the unions which are fighting attempts by the corporate dominated government to get rid of permanent jobs and vastly increase the number of 'irregular' (part-time) workers.  Currently 33% of all Korean workers are irregular.  See more on this here

In recent days the government has raided union offices in attempts to arrest labor leaders in advance of the massive protests held during this past weekend.  Workers tried to block the police from entering union buildings.

More than 20,000 riot police forces overwhelmed 100,000 peaceful and unarmed citizens during protest marches through Seoul.
Global corporate capitalism is now on a binge to destroy labor rights and bring on further austerity (neo-feudalism) measures.  The fight back by progressive movements in South Korea is more advanced than in many other countries.  In South Korea the unions are working in harmony with farmers, peace and social justice movements understanding that only a united front against corrupt corporate run governments can hope to have any impact on these coming anti-democratic policies.
The fact that the U.S. essentially controls the South Korean government should be a signal to everyone that these kind of policies, if successful, will be increasingly brought to western nations.  Already austerity policies are being instituted around the world but the next steps are to completely destroy full time work, pensions, health care, public education and more.  
What is needed now is a unified global campaign of resistance against all these corporate plans to destroy social progress.  The old ways of each movement working in relative isolation will not have any impact on these corporate plans.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Song