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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Oliver Stone Produced Film on Ukraine



This film is very thorough and tells the full story about the US sponsored coup in Ukraine in 2014.

Watching this will give you a much better understanding of the current US bi-partisan demonization of Russia and Putin.

English subtitles are included.

U.S. Going Over the Cliff



Viareggio is a city in northern Tuscany, Italy, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

You can see what they think of the US today - and they've pretty much got us pegged about right.  The Native American in the cage and the rotating ethnic shooting gallery says it all.

This should be a warning to the world - don't follow the US over the cliff.  Whether Bush, Obama, Clinton or Trump - the world should avoid hanging onto Washington's bloody coattails.

Banga! Banga!

The Snow Culture is Changing


Since returning home from the recent Nordic trip I've been working to get caught up with office details and shoveling snow.

Even before I returned Maine was hit with a massive snow dump - about two feet of snow.  Mary Beth did alot of the cleaning up and we have a big house and driveway that require much care after a big snow.  The buildup on the roof had to wait for me to come home and try to rake some of it off.  It's amazing the weight that snow can put onto a roof.

Instead of going to the local YMCA I get alot of good aerobic exercise shoveling and I love doing it.  Likely all those years of sweating so much in hot, humid Florida left me itching to grab a shovel.  We complain now and then about it but there is nothing more peaceful, and beautiful, than right after a big snowfall.  I love being in it.

While in Gothenburg, Sweden (where we only saw a light dusting of snow) one young man told me he grew up in the winter snow culture.  His younger brother though has not had those experiences due to changes in global weather patterns.  He longs for snow but it has not been coming in recent years.

Our winter began being unusually mild - very little of the traditional hard Maine cold - in fact many of the regions lakes and rivers have not frozen solid.  We had very little snow until this recent big dump.  So the patterns are thrown off and fluctuating wildly.  Our Mother Earth's body is in toxic shock as she tries to shake the fleas (us) off her back.

We broke three plastic snow shovels during this recent dump - so even the shovels had a limit to what they could handle.  Housemate Brown Lethem went to the local hardware store to get a couple new shovels and few were to be found for sale.

Some of my Florida friends keep an eye on my snow escapades so I am sure they will enjoy this latest story.  One of them once said that I'd be back down to the Sunshine State after one year in Maine (and then amended her prediction to two years acknowledging I am very stubborn) but I can report I'm pretty well set here now.

I'll keep shoveling as best I can and hope the American people will rise up and demand we stop building war machines and instead do a quick reversal away from our fossil fuel economy.  We could create more jobs if we went fully to sustainable living.

Sadly most folks are just hustling to make a buck and many have given up paying attention.  Fortunately there are legions around the world still in the fight.

Hoka hey!

Bruce

Friday, February 17, 2017

Progressive Jews Stand Against Friedman



AlterNet reports:  Protesters repeatedly disrupted the confirmation hearing on Thursday for Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Many of the activists were members of Jewish peace groups. One man even blew a shofar, a traditional Jewish horn, inside the hearing in protest.

The progressive Jewish group IfNotNow organized the action. Three of its members were arrested.

Friedman is notorious for his extreme pro-Israel, anti-Muslim views. He supports Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are built in flagrant contravention of international law. Friedman has demonized liberal Jews, calling them worse than Nazi collaborators, and has spread Islamophobic conspiracies. He has pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in violation of international law.

  • These photos below from Ellen Davidson who is now in Palestine with a Veterans For Peace delegation.  They joined today the 12th anniversary of the nonviolent demonstrations against the apartheid wall in Bil'in.

Imagine...



Imagine the jobs created at Bath Iron Works building these for the Gulf of Maine.

Imagine the clean power produced by these wind turbines verses the dirty power from fossil fuel or nuclear plants.

If this can be done in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England and Scotland why can't it be done here in Maine?

Frederick Douglass famously said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." 

You Are Invited


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Assange Calls Out 'Intel Community'


That comment by Assange says it all - you don't have to be an apologist for Trump to acknowledge what is really going on here.  The deep state lost the election - Hillary was their chosen candidate and now they are working hard to 'Putinize' Trump because he was not eager to push war with Russia.

In a real democracy if you lose you deal with it and rebuild for the next election.  In this case the deep state is working to enact a coup d'état.

The CIA runs this country now - they create the US foreign policy and now they have shown that they intend to run domestic policy as well.  That is a serious problem - no matter who the president is.

In 1968 presidential candidate Richard Nixon told the South Vietnamese to prolong negotiations with North Vietnam. He would get them a better deal when he became president. In  1980 Ronald Reagan told the Iranians to hold the American hostages until he became president, which they did. Neither one was prosecuted. 

Sadly many on the 'left' are eager to see Trump gone no matter how it is done.  They are missing the clear danger of this historic moment.  Far too many people follow blindly what ever the Democrats, and their front groups, tell them to think.....

We need more independent thinkers - badly.

Bruce

Deep State: Ginning Up a War with Russia



Former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley says there’s a difference between leaking and whistleblowing, and it’s likely that former took place in the ongoing power struggle between the deep state and the executive branch of government.

She claims that the deep state is "ginning up a war with Russia".  Washington DC right now is a struggle for power between the deep state and the White House, she says.

Crowley gives an excellent overview for those who are wanting more than the usual anti-Russia propaganda coming from the media and the Democratic Party - which is turning out to be the big-time 'red baiter' of our time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Deep State: War Within American Ruling Elites



Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Gen. Michael Flynn resigning as President Trump's National Security Advisor and the divide between the intelligence community and Trump.

During an interview on the FOX Business Network, former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said the intelligence community was responsible for leaking information that Trump’s national security advisor, Mike Flynn, had secretly discussed sanctions with Russian officials before the inauguration and argued their goal was to spoil the relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

“What’s at the core of this is an effort by some in the intelligence community to upend any positive relationship between the U.S. and Russia,” Kucinich said.

And in his opinion, there is a big money motive behind it.

“And I tell you there's a marching band and Chowder Society out there. There's gold in them there hills,” he said. “There are people trying to separate the U.S. and Russia so that this military industrial intel axis can cash in.”

Kucinich added the intelligence community could start a war to succeed.

“There’s a game going on inside the intelligence community where there are those who want to separate the U.S. from Russia in a way that would reignite the Cold War,” he said. 

If You Really Want to Understand - the Inside Scoop

Trump Caves on Flynn’s Resignation

By Robert Parry

The neocon-dominated U.S. foreign policy establishment won an important victory in forcing the resignation of President Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn over a flimsy complaint that he had talked to the Russian ambassador during the transition.

The Washington Post, the neoconservatives’ media flagship, led the assault on Flynn, an unorthodox thinker who shared the neocons’ hostility toward Iran but broke with them in seeing no strategic reason to transform Russia into an implacable enemy.

After Flynn’s resignation on Monday evening, the Post gloated over its success in achieving the first major crack in Trump’s resistance to Official Washington’s establishment. The Post cited Flynn’s “potentially illegal contacts” with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a reference to the Logan Act, a 1799 never-enforced law that forbids private citizens from negotiating with a country in dispute with the U.S. government.

Though no one has ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act, it has been cited in recent decades as an excuse to attack American citizens who disagree with U.S. government policies while traveling abroad and having contacts with foreign leaders.

Often those accusations are aimed at Americans seeking to peacefully resolve disputes when a U.S. president is eager to escalate a conflict, such as President Ronald Reagan’s denunciations of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson for visiting Cuba and House Speaker Jim Wright for exploring ways to end the Contra war in Nicaragua.

In other words, the Logan Act is usually exploited in a McCarthyistic fashion to bait or discredit peace advocates, similarly to how it has now been used to destroy Flynn for daring to look for ways to reduce the dangerous tensions between Washington and Moscow.

But the media-driven attacks on Flynn are particularly curious since he was the National Security Advisor-designate of an incoming administration at the time of the calls and – as such – he would be expected to make contacts with important foreign officials to begin laying the groundwork for relations with the new president.

Whether U.S. sanctions against Russia were mentioned or not, the notion that an elected president or his designees – during a transition – can have no meaningful contact with diplomats whom they may need to deal with in a matter of weeks represents a particularly contentious interpretation of a law that has never been tested in a court of law and may well represent an unconstitutional infringement on free speech and dissent.

An Expanding Hysteria

Indeed, referencing the Logan Act appears to be an excuse to continue – and expand – Official Washington’s hysteria over Russia, which has become the useful villain to blame for every U.S. foreign policy debacle  and even Hillary Clinton’s disastrous presidential run.
 
Flynn’s more egregious offense in this case may have been to mislead Vice President Mike Pence on exactly what was discussed, but Trump’s White House has not seemed previously overly concerned with the precise accuracy of its statements.

Indeed, Trump and his team have tangled themselves up for weeks by promoting “alternative facts” — that Donald Trump’s inaugural crowd was bigger than Barack Obama’s and that Trump would have won the popular vote if not for three million to five million illegal votes. Though these absurd claims pertain more to Trump’s ego than to anything important, he and his representatives have continued fighting these fights on Twitter and TV appearances and show no signs of stopping.

So, the ouster of Flynn for failing to provide a complete readout on some telephone conversations in December stands out as even more significant in the context of the deluge of falsehoods that have poured forth from Trump’s White House.

Flynn’s real “offense” appears to be that he favors détente with Russia rather than escalation of a new and dangerous Cold War. Trump’s idea of a rapprochement with Moscow – and a search for areas of cooperation and compromise – has been driving Official Washington’s foreign policy establishment crazy for months and the neocons, in particular, have been determined to block it.

Though Flynn has pandered to elements of the neocon movement with his own hysterical denunciations of Iran and Islam in general, he emerged as a key architect for Trump’s plans to seek a constructive relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Meanwhile, the neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks have invested heavily in making Putin the all-purpose bête noire to justify a major investment in new military hardware and in pricy propaganda operations.

The neocons and liberal hawks also hated Flynn because – as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency – he oversaw a prescient 2012 analysis that foresaw that their support for the Syrian insurgency would give rise to “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria.”

The DIA report, which was partially declassified in a lawsuit over the 2012 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, embarrassed the advocates for an escalation of the war in Syria and the ouster of secular President Bashar al-Assad.

Flynn even went further in a 2015 interview when he said the intelligence was “very clear” that the Obama administration made a “willful decision” to back these jihadists in league with Middle East allies, a choice that looked particularly stupid when Islamic State militants started beheading American hostages and capturing cities in Iraq.

A Beloved ‘Regime Change’

But “regime change” in Syria was dear to the neocons’ hearts. After all, Israeli leaders had declared Assad’s removal central to smashing the so-called “Shiite crescent” reaching from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut.

The neocons and liberal hawks had come very close to getting the direct U.S. military intervention that they so wanted to destroy Assad’s army after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. The Obama administration quickly pinned the atrocity on Assad even though a number of U.S. intelligence analysts suspected a “false flag” attack carried out by jihadists.

Still, despite those doubts, it appeared a bombing campaign against Assad was in the offing, except that Obama delayed its implementation and Putin then proposed an alternative in which Assad would surrender all his chemical weapons.

Putin’s interference in the neocon/liberal-hawk war plans made him the new prime target – and Ukraine became ground zero for the effort to explode the cooperative relationship between Obama and Putin.

On Sept. 26, 2013, only weeks after the aborted U.S. bombing campaign against Syria, Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the Post’s op-ed page to declare “Ukraine the biggest prize” and suggest that winning it could ultimately lead to toppling Putin inside Russia.

Key U.S. government neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain, then began pushing for the violent right-wing coup that – in February 2014 – ousted Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych and touched off the new Cold War with Russia.

Amid these heightened tensions, the mainstream media in the United States and Europe joined in the full-scale Russia/Putin-bashing. All rational perspective on the underlying reality was lost, except for a handful of independent Internet journalists and foreign-policy outsiders who rejected the over-the-top propaganda.

A Few Dissenters Too Many 

But even a few dissenters were a few dissenters too many. So, to enforce the new groupthink – holding Russia at fault for pretty much everything – a new McCarthyism emerged, deeming anyone who dared disagree a “Moscow stooge” or a “Russian propagandist.”

The ugliness penetrated into the U.S. presidential campaign because Democrat Hillary Clinton took a belligerent line toward Russia while Trump broke with the Republican establishment and called for improved ties between Washington and Moscow. Clinton called Trump Putin’s “puppet” and – after Clinton’s stunning loss – the Obama administration floated unproven allegations that Putin had intervened in the election to put Trump in the White House.

This hysteria over Russia gained added strength because Democrats were so angry over Trump’s election that liberal and progressive operatives saw a chance to build a movement and raise lots of money by pushing the Trump-Putin accusations.

This opportunism has turned much of the liberal/progressive community into a pro-New Cold War constituency willing to engage in a new breed of McCarthyism by demanding intensive investigations into alleged connections between Americans and Russians.

From the neocon side, The Washington Post has gone so far as to promote baseless accusations from an anonymous group called PropOrNot that 200 Internet sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other important independent news sources, are guilty of spreading Russian propaganda. Congress approved a new $160 million bureaucracy to combat such “propaganda.”

However, since Trump’s inauguration, the focus has shifted to Flynn, as the personification of the effort to cool off the New Cold War, because he had phone conversations with the Russian ambassador that presumably were intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

Because Flynn supposedly misrepresented some details of the calls to Vice President Mike Pence, senior Justice Department holdovers from the Obama administration concocted an argument that Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

The argument is dubious because the Russians would know that the U.S. government knew exactly what the conversations entailed, so how would the blackmail work? But this “blackmail” argument is another throwback to the earlier McCarthy days when gays were barred from sensitive government jobs because of their alleged susceptibility to blackmail.

But the gambit to get Flynn worked. Amid frenzied coverage on CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media, Flynn and the Russia détente that he stood for were not expected to be long for this world of Official Washington.

Flynn’s resignation and its acceptance by Trump also prove that these tactics work and that “tough-guy” Trump is not immune to them. While the President may battle to the end over pointless questions about the size of his inaugural crowd and his belief that he should have won the popular vote, he will cave when the pressure builds on a matter of genuine substance and real importance to the future of the world.

The so-called permanent government of Washington and its complicit mainstream media – what some call the Deep State – have taught Trump a lesson and have learned a lesson, too. They now can be expected to redouble their march toward war and more war, ironically with progressives and leftists in tow.
 
~ Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No THAAD to be Featured at Global Network Confab



The Huntsville, Alabama based Redstone Arsenal (Pentagon of the South) is the directorate for the US 'missile defense' (MD) program that is being deployed encircling China and Russia.

THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) is just one of several MD programs now being used in these US deployments.  In this case it is causing great controversy in South Korea and China.


The Global Network's 25th annual space organizing conference and protest on April 7-9 will be held in Huntsville and will feature the MD issue as well as other space weapons development issues.

The public is invited to attend. See the conference brochure here