From: Bruce Gagnon's Blog: Organizing Notes
November 17 - 21 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
In the Wind and Rain at Menwith Hill U.S. NSA Spy Base
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.
In the early 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.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
This morning 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 teacher Dr Rachel Julian as part of a Politics and Applied Global Ethics Festival of talks and events. 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.
After lunch at the university we caught a train to London. The stormy weather had brought trees down on the train line and the train was diverted, causing us to arrive over an hour later than scheduled, so we went directly to our next appointment - the theatre!
We met with Dave's son Sam and Dave took us all to the Harold Pinter Theatre to see the award winning musical 'Sunny Afternoon' about the early years of my favourite 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.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
From The Kinks to Parliament in London
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.
After a visit to a nearby cafe/bar for a refuel and wifi break, we moved on to the University of London School of Oriental and Asiatic Studies (SOAS) where I am biled to speak 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.
We capped off our excellent visit to London 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.
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.
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.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
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.
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.