There is something going on across America right now – Bruce Gagnon
Hello! This is John Robles, you are listening to an interview with Bruce Gagnon – the coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. This is part three of an interview in progress. You can find the previous parts on our website at voiceofrussia.com
Robles: How do you feel personally, as a human being, that your own Government would consider you an enemy because you oppose a war?
Gagnon: I am beyond being surprised. You know, my father was in the military and I grew up as sort of a young patriot. I joined the Air Force myself during the Vietnam War. I was a young republican for Nixon in 1968.
So, my whole adult life has been one lesson after the other in what my Government is capable of doing.
When I was young I wanted to be an FBI agent, so I could fight organized crime.
Today, I realize that what I do in fact is fighting organized crime. I’m fighting against the criminal… what I call the corporate criminal syndicate; the military industrial complex and its related banking, and media, and pharmaceutical, and subsidiaries.
So, nothing surprises me anymore at this point in my life.
Robles: You’ve just said something that I think more and more and more people are beginning to realize. I think once most of the population understands who exactly is in control, maybe something can be done to stop funding them and take away that power they have, but I don’t know.
Gagnon: Polls are showing that people are with us on these issues. They want to cut the military budget, they want to convert the weapons production system, they want to build rail systems rather than weapons for endless wars, they want to deal with the coming effects of climate change, that we are seeing more and more around us. But we have this very serious obstacle in the Congress where the corporations control the politicians. It is a money game.
And we’ve lost our democracy in this country. We go around the world talking about it, lecturing other countries about it – about freedom and democracy, and everything else – but our country is a huge hypocrite. We are not the only country in the world that is a phony-baloney, but I happen to be an American citizen, so I feel like it is my job to try to change my own country before I go around the world lecturing other people about what they should do.
Robles: How much news is there in the United States regarding Syria and the fact that the US is supporting terrorists there? How much of an outrage would there be, if people realize that 426 children were slaughtered to create a pretext for a war? I mean, if it is found that the US is somehow involved in that or the corporations or the Rothschilds or whoever you want to blame for that.
Gagnon: If it ever really came to light that that’s what happened, I think there would be a huge reaction. And that's why the Obama team and their allies in France and England, and Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are working so hard to keep a lid on all of that.
I don’t know exactly what happened over there, but I’m inclined to believe that this was a rigged deal. But I will say this, that, again, this recent effort in this country to stop the Congress from giving Obama permission to attack Syria was remarkable, because we could not have stopped this attack without the support of the Republican rank and file across the country.
Alan Grayson, the Liberal Democrat from Orlando, Florida, reported that in the House of Representatives Democrats were four to one opposed to the attack.
Robles: Four to one!?
Gagnon: Republicans were ten to one opposed to the attack in the House. So, the Republicans were stronger in opposition to the attack.
Some people say – well, that's just because they don’t like Obama, they wanted to see him defeated. But again, what we were hearing from the people across the country, from conservative states, was identical articulation and they were talking about this very question.
They were talking about that we are arming Al Qaeda. So, that word is now getting out across the country and we have to thank the Internet for that. We can’t thank the American corporate media for that, but it is the Internet that has helped get that information out to the people.
Robles: That’s the first time I’ve heard there were such wide margins. I mean, what we are hearing over here is that there was just a slightly higher number of people in opposition of approving this aggression.
Gagnon: Oh, no! It was huge on the part of the Republicans. I wrote a blog about it. I thanked (something that I don’t normally do) the Republicans for this victory, because we couldn’t have done it without them.
Obama has, to a large extent, neutralized the left in this country: the liberal base or you can call it anything you want.
The peace movement is a shell of itself, because when Obama came into power many people, many quote unquote, “liberals” who identified themselves with peace activists, quit working in the peace movement, they quit donating to the peace movement, organizations fell apart, they had to lay off staff that they previously had during the Bush administration.
So, when Bush was waging wars, many liberals were opposed to those wars. When Obama is waging the same wars, many liberals don’t want to oppose those wars because Obama is their president.
Robles: Sure! How can you go against a black guy with a Nobel Peace Prize? I mean, if you are even a little bit, even marginally liberal.
Gagnon: So, we couldn’t have done this because we didn’t have enough strength to stop this congressional decision on Syria attack. We couldn’t have done it without the Republicans.
Robles: This is not a Liberal or a Conservative, or Neo-Conservative, or whatever issue. This is criminals just pillaging the system for their own good. That’s the way I see it. It is not Republican, it is just criminal.
Gagnon: Well, it is what it is. You know, I feel grateful.
Robles: What we hear over here, it gets all sanitized coming out of the US. So, we don’t hear a lot of the staff that’s actually going on there. And the world audience doesn’t hear, like you were saying, about all this police brutality. We only hear when there is like massive demonstrations or something. I mean, if you ever watched CNN international, I’m sure you have, have you noticed the difference?
Gagnon: Yes, I know what you are talking about.
Robles: Bruce, I think I took up too much of your time already but I appreciate… Anything you want to finish up with? Maybe, give us some details on the Peace Walk?
Gagnon: Well, we are very excited about it. There is a group of Buddhist nuns and monks from an order called Nipponzan Myohoji. All they do is peace walks all over the world, that’s what their order is all about. The founder of their order was a friend of Gandhi and this is one of the most active Buddhist sects there. It just does peace work and they build peace pagodas around the world as well. We are very fortunate to have these wonderful people that are going to lead our walk. And then, we have members of Veterans for Peace organization that I belong to, as well as other activists from the state and from the region who will be coming. And others will join us for a day or more along the way, as we pass though their community.
So, it is really exciting and I think it is going to be a really great walk. We are going to end on October 19th here in Bath, Maine, where I live.
There is going to be christening that day, such a crazy use of Christ’s name, to bless a Zumwalt-Class Stealth Destroyer on October 19th. So, our walk will come to my community here in Bath where we’ll hold a protest at this so-called “christening” of this first navy stealth destroyer. We are very excited about this whole process.
Robles: A stealth destroyer, now? The next thing we’ll get drone stealth destroyer, right?
Gagnon: Right! The idea is that we’ll be able to sneak up on other countries and fire shells from the distance between New York City and Philadelphia and electro-magnetic rail guns, they call it, are on board this stealthy destroyer. And the price tag, the normal, usual destroyer was $1.5 billion and this new stealth destroyer is $4 billion. So, more than double in price. You can see why the corporations are very eager to keep this endless war cycle going. They are making big money.
Robles: While the American people are losing their schools, their health, their dignity, their respect and their lives.
Gagnon: And in my town, this Bath Iron Works is owned by the General Dynamics Corporation. My town has 9,000 people.
Our annual budget, city municipal budget is $ 15 million. And General Dynamics is coming asking our broke, practically bankrupt town for another tax break.
Last year the CEO of General Dynamics made $18 million in compensation. One guy made more money than our entire municipal budget and now they are begging and asking for money from us. In the past they’ve received $197 million worth of tax breaks over the years from the state and from our town.
I’m organizing a campaign right now with some other people to try to block this corporate welfare request. And we just heard from the city tax assessor that the city council is hearing from boatloads of people, overwhelmingly, the public is opposed to the tax break.
So, even in this company town, you don’t go up against Bath Iron Works, you don’t stand up against General Dynamics in this town but we are doing it and apparently the public is on our side. Why? Because they’ve had enough.
Robles: Sure! The people are supposed to pay their taxes and if someone doesn’t pay their taxes, they lose everything they own. Yet the huge corporations are supposed to not pay any taxes. They are privileged, they are exceptional, they are above it all, right?
Gagnon: Yes! And they threaten that if you don’t give us this, we’ll move somewhere else. People are just tired of it and they are figuring that out.
So, there is something going on across America right now. Some might call it a prairie fire. But it is interesting times we are living in, for sure.
Robles: I think this can’t go on too long, something is going to break soon.
Gagnon: Yes, it has to.
Robles: Alright! Thank you very much Bruce, I really appreciate it. Best of luck to you on the walk! Can you give our listeners your website address?
Gagnon: I’ll give the Maine Veterans for Peace address. It is
That was the end of an interview with Bruce Gagnon – the coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. You can find the previous parts on our website at voiceofrussia.com