Co-ordinator Trip Report - CA & MA

25-30 March, 2004

From: Bruce Gagnon

This report covers the period of March 25-30.
On March 25 I flew to San Francisco in order to speak at the International Citizens Inquiry into 9-11 being organized by an old friend Carol Brouillet and others in the Bay Area.  The event began on Friday, March 26 and was held at the historic and beautiful Herbst Theatre just across the street from city hall.
The event drew speakers and audience from throughout the U.S. and Canada and was held at the same moment that the governments "official" 9-11 Commission  was holding hearings in Washington.
I was asked to speak about the big picture and my topic was called The Blueprint for World Domination.  I began the talk by telling the story of my own conversion while in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, and how Daniel Ellsberg's release of the now famous Pentagon Papers finished me off.  All my remaining illusions were shattered as I read our own governments secret history of how they fabricated the pretext to enter the Vietnam war and how they manipulated Congress, the media, and the public along the way.  I talked about the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).  This is an organization  which Cheney, Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Wolfowitz, Armitage, Bolton, Abrams, Woolsey, Libby, and William Kristol, among others, belong to and was planning even before the 2000 election to steer the U.S. toward greater empire creation. 
In a report called Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century PNAC asked “Does the U.S. have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?”   What are the principles and interests that PNAC refers to?  Could they be corporate “control and domination” of the world?  Could they  be the advancement of conditions that creates more of a market for the number one industrial export of the U.S. today – namely weapons?  Could it be control of the oil and natural gas fields not only in the Middle East but also throughout Central Asia, Africa, and Latin America?  The PNAC reported concluded that the military transformation was “likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” 
9-11 came and the transformation took off with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Today we pay the price.  Another speaker at the event, which was attended by about 500 people, was Ellen Mariani, whose husband was a passenger on the plane that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.  Ellen has refused the millions of dollars offered her by the government if she would just leave the case alone.  She is now suing the Bush administration for negligence and told the assembled that she does not trust the 9-11 commission to uncover the truth.  She, like many others, still do not get an answer to their basic question as to why military planes were not scrambled when the four airliners were clearly hijacked.  Federal Aviation Authority guidelines require that this be done and the case of Paine Stewart, the golfer, whose plane lost contact with the control tower years ago was much cited as one example of standard operating procedure.  In that case Stewart's private plane lost contact with the control tower and two military jets were immediatley sent up to investigate the situation.  I personally watched real-time coverage of the story on CNN from my office.
As I went to the airport early Saturday morning to head back to the east coast I picked up a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle to see their coverage of the event.  In the article the Chronicle reported that former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown had previously acknowledged that on September 10, 2001 he had been planning to fly to New York on 9-11 for a mayors' conference but had "received a call the day before from someone in security at San Francisco International Airport advising him that Americans should be careful about air travel" on 9-11.  Brown cancelled his plans to fly on that fateful day.  This is just one of many stories about high-level persons receiving warnings not to fly on 9-11.
After flying into Boston I was met at the airport by my partner Mary Beth and we spent the night with her brother in the city before heading west to Amherst on Sunday morning.  In Amherst I was to speak at the annual meeting of a local community group.  Before the talk though I was asked to speak to a large gathering of people who were involved in a statewide March to Abolish Poverty that was making its way through Amherst on that very day.  I asked the assembled what the number one industrial export of the U.S. was today.  Weapons they answered!  I told them that America was like an alcoholic, addicted to war, violence and military spending.  How could we afford social programs to uplift the poor when our priorities were instead focused on promoting war around the world?  What had become of our collective soul?
In my talk later inside the Unitarian Church to the community group I asked how we could ever stop war unless we became willing to take on the issue of military production right in our own communities.  A positive, non-violent program was needed to create healthy debate about the implications of military spending if we ever hope to make any progress to stop war.  It's one thing to travel across the country to demonstrate at some other military base but when we begin to regularly create debate and positive conflict in our own communities all across America, then we can begin to move the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens.
Following my talk at the church I was approached by 85 year old peace and justice legend Francis Crowe who lives and works in Western Massachusetts.  Francis was planning to come to the Global Network (GN) annual international conference in Portland on April 23-25.  She asked me if anyone was planning an expression of civil disobedience at Bath Ironworks during the GN protest there on Friday, April 23 to kick-off the conference.  She told me that she wanted to take such a step because she felt it necessary to help create such debate in the community. 
On Tuesday, March 30 I participated in an hour-long telephone debate with two NASA representatives (one astronaut and a public relations person) on the national radio show called Native America Calling that is beamed to Indian country all over America.  During the show I made our case against the nuclearization and weaponization of space and then I sat back and listened as callers from reservations in New Mexico, Idaho, Wisconsin, Wyoming and other states called in to blast NASA and their growing relationship with the Pentagon.  The callers talked about the need to heal the earth, to use our tax dollars for clean-up of this beautiful planet before we head off to "colonize" the dead and dusty planet of Mars.
It's moments like that where hope fills my heart.  It is in moments like that where I am reminded of the good sense of the people.  The people want peace, justice, cooperation, love and hope.   Clean air, clean water, and jobs they can be proud of.  Give the people what they want.

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