"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Friday, March 30, 2012

Global Network Coordinator Embarks on West Coast Speaking Tour

Recognized by artist Robert Shetterly in his series Americans Who Tell the Truth, Bruce Gagnon, an international peace organizer and activist, will embark on a 30-day west coast speaking tour that will take him from San Diego, California to Bellingham, Washington. The 24-city trip will run from April 1-30.

Gagnon, who coordinates the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space from Bath, Maine, will help local communities explore and confront the reality of the Pentagon’s drive for “full spectrum dominance.” He will discuss the impact that our expanding militarism has on our natural ecosystems and our economic crisis at home. From Maine to Jeju Island, South Korea his indefatigable studying, traveling, and organizing has shown how the Pentagon’s intent to control the planet on behalf of corporate globalization has moved from land to sea to air to space pouring our natural and fiscal resources into escalating war-making and violence.

Gagnon’s assessment is: “The Pentagon will send our kids off to foreign lands to suppress opposition to corporate globalization. How will we ever end America’s addiction to war and violence as long as our communities are dependent on military spending for jobs? We must vigorously work to convert the military industrial complex to decentralized sustainable technologies like wind-power, solar, and mass transit.”

His talks will challenge communities to discuss the strategies behind President Obama’s “pivot” and expanding U.S. militarism in the Asia-Pacific region; current U.S. space technology strategy; the need to promote the conversion of the military industrial complex to sustainable production to mitigate climate change; the 2012 elections, and what Americans can do about corporate domination of Congress.

Gagnon concludes, “U.S. foreign and military policy today is all about control of declining natural resources around the world. The Pentagon is restarting the Cold War by surrounding Russia and China with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems that are actually key elements in U.S. first-strike planning. We do have a real problem today and it is called climate change. We can’t afford the pay for endless war that only benefits the mega-corporations and further pollutes our planet. During this speaking tour I intend to share a spirit of determination and non-violent resistance with people throughout the west coast. We need to make a collective demand across this nation and around the world. We are tired of war, tired of corporate domination, and determined to take back our governments. The future generations depend on our courage and our success.”

Gagnon intends to use Amtrak trains and buses for most of the west-coast travel during this tour.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Help Save Jeju Island and Stop U.S. Global Military Expansion!

The struggle continues against the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea that would service US Navy Aegis destroyers that hold Raytheon’s missile “defence” systems. South Korean peace activists argue that the base will build-up offensive military systems in North East Asia, undermining security and prompting military responses from China and North Korea. Villagers also oppose the base because of the loss of farm land, where they have grown rice, garlic, tangerines, and more on the fertile land. The base will destroy the local environment, including coral reefs named by UNESCO as key environmental treasures. The Navy intends to pour concrete over the rocks and marine life to make wharfs for the Aegis destroyers.

International attention to the plight of the villagers is increasing every day. The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space held its annual meeting on Jeju Island in February. Foreign activists are teaming up with local ones to protest the base in the United States and in Korea. For some updates, please see Bruce Gagnon’s blog, for example, People keep coming to Gangjeong.Also see a recent article by Robert Redford, The Battle for Jeju Island: How the Arms Race is Threatening a Korean Paradise.

Action: The Global Network notes that South Korean corporation Samsung is the lead contractor building the Navy base on Jeju, and calls on activists to boycott Samsung.

In addition, please view this appeal from the international team in Gangjeong Village:

Dear friends and supporters of the struggle against the Jeju naval base project,

On March 7, the first blasting the coastal rock, known as “Gureombi” has begun in while the government and the navy exercised its power in Gangjeong village and villagers and peace activists were hauled by the police. There was expected to carry the explosives by land but the navy handled sea freight, not to take the road that were blockaded by the villagers and activists. People who were determined to defend the Gureombi were immensely shocked. The navy announced that 43 tons of explosives will be used for blasting the Gureombi and it will takes from 3 to 5 months according to the weather. There have been daily nonviolent direct actions and other forms of struggles for saving Gureombi every day since the first blasting progressed. More than 60 people were already arrested and the numbers of arrests continue to occur as well. There has been an increase in cases of police misconduct and human rights frequently violated. Professor Yoon-mo Yang who was arrested for obstructing police in carrying out their duties is now on his 35th day of hunger strike as of March 13 while inside the prison. The Jeju government demanded on temporal reservation on construction but the Ministry of the National Defense didn’t have an attitude accepting this demand at all.

We ask you to support to our efforts to save the Gureombi and resist the naval base on Jeju Island. Take some time to write letters of complaint to the government and the navy planners and please distribute this appeal among your friends or in your local group.

1. Call the Korean Embassy or organize demonstrations in front of the Korean Embassy in your country and let them know that Jeju does not want a naval base!

2. Write and mail to the President Lee Myung-Bak, Kim Kwan-Jin, South Korean Defense Minister and Woo Keun-Min, Island governor. Please refer to the mail address at:

3.Sign the petitions on Avaaz ( http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_jeju/?vl), Care2 (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/Save-Jeju-Island/) or other online sites urging South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to stop construction of the military base! After signing please share the petition with your social network.

4. Contact the media in your country about this resistance to raise their awareness about the struggle.

5. Stay updated on the resistance by joining the "Save Jeju Island” and the “No Naval Base on Jeju!” Facebook pages. Follow the most recent developments on Twitter at #savejejuisland and #gangjung - then re-post.

6. Consider making a donation to support the international campaign to Save Jeju Island. 100% of your financial contribution will go directly to villagers on the ground waging peace against this dangerous militarization project.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Urgent request from Jeju Island

Please read and respond to this urgent plea from the people of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island!

Dear friends,

Starting today, Gangjeong is in an emergency situation. Nearly 700 police have arrived from the mainland in Gangjeong village to monitor the blasting of Gureombi, the volcanic rock coastline, and the dredging of the seafloor. Not only will the marine life, including endangered crabs and coral reefs, be swept away, the blast has already impacted the fresh water springs that the majority of the island is dependent upon.

Though our numbers are small in the village, we will do our best to fight to stop the blast of Gureombi. It is still uncertain whether the Seogwipo Police will allow the Navy to blast Gureombi on Monday, when the Governor of Jeju Island is supposed to make his decision.

Please send an email to the Governor NOW asking him to please stop the blast of Gureombi.

Thank you for one minute of your time. We urgently need international solidarity NOW.

In peace and justice,

Gangjeong Village

Mr. Woo Keun-Min
The government of Jeju-do
312-1, Yeon-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Fax: +82 64 710 3009
E-mail: jejumaster@jeju.go.kr