On Saturday, July 20th, I spoke with Bill McKibben the founder of 350.0rg. Prior to a terrific talk he gave to the crowd of more than 100, he spoke with me on camera about global warming. He answered my second question in this very short clip with a blunt and somber answer. The question was: do you think we’ve passed the point of no return.
Watch this short clip for his answer.
From August 7-11, I’ll be attending the annual convention of the Veterans For Peace with my friend and fellow member Dan Ellis. I joined the VFP last year as an associate member since I am not a veteran, but because one of my sons is in the active military.
I am happy to report that my chapter of the VFP, Tom Sturtevant #001, was the first chapter in the entire country. After viewing the trailer of The Ghosts of Jeju, the members voted to send me to Madison where the film will be screened on Friday, August 9th.
There’s more good news to report. Bruce Gagnon, also a member of our Tom Sturtevant chapter, has been on a speaking tour that has taken him from Sweden near the North Pole to Hawaii, The Philippines, and all the way down to Australia. Along the way, Bruce has screened the film and given away many copies of the film.
This is what Bruce had to say after the screening in Sweden at the annual meeting of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space:
“It was a smashing hit….people were crying and they were clapping at the end…..I handed out the DVD’s strategically to key leaders in various Swedish cities, and from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Mexico…..people passed the hat to send money to the village but I insisted they keep the money towards sending a representative from Sweden to the village ASAP……they loved the music, the story, and the resistance…..many people sent congrats to you….it’s was a European opening night showing……5 stars. Add Russia to list of places I sent DVD home with….a man who works directly for Putin.”
People from around the world and the U.S. have been ordering the film. Meanwhile I have entered it into 13 film festivals, including Sundance, Boston, New Hampshire, San Diego Asian, Portland and Camden, Maine. I’ve also entered the film in the two big festivals in S. Korea, the Seoul and Busan International Film Festivals. Paying the application fee doesn’t guarantee the film will be accepted, so I’m waiting with fingers crossed hoping that one or two will screen the film.
Here in Maine, the film will be screened on Sunday, August 18th at the Grace Episcopal Church in Bath. It is sponsored by Addams-Melman House, The Global Network, EPF-ME, PeaceWorks, the Women’s Int’l League for Peace and Freedom, Peace Action ME, and the Campaign to Bring Our War Dollars Home.
Other screenings are being organized in the Boston area, Washington, D.C., Portland, OR, and Charlottesville, VA.
The indomitable spirit of the people of Gangjeong continues to inspire as they prepare for the 2013 Grand March for Life and Peace around Jeju Island. My film, The Ghosts of Jeju, declares, “the least we can do is to amplify their voices,” for with citizenship in America and the world, comes responsibility.
The people of Gangjeong are not alone in this struggle opposing the U.S. military expansion. All of the islands of the Pacific from Hawaii to Okinawa, to Guam, The Philippines and all the way down to Australia are rising up against American imperialism as the U.S. uses fear and power to coerce their leaders to either build or open up their ports and bases to the American military.
The myth of “national security,” is being foisted on the nations of the Pacific and Southeast Asia to instill fear that China and Russia have evil intentions to dominate the region. The U.S. military has made it perfectly clear their intentions are to encircle China and Russia, to impeded their growth by controlling access to the world’s resources, and to dominate the earth through a so-called Pax Americana. In other words, full-spectrum dominance through the use of unparalleled force on the earth, the seas, in the air and in space.
One must ask: is this really making the earth safer? Joint military exercises in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, encircling Russia and China with anti-ballistic missiles, the use of satellites to control the “battlefield” and for spying, remote controlled drones for indiscriminate killing, pivoting 60% of America’s naval might to Pacific and Southeast Asia can only be seen as provocative, threatening, and the raising of tensions in the region.
I recently did a search on the internet to find out how many times the U.S. had used military interventions in foreign lands. As an American with an undergraduate degree in U.S. History, I was shocked. Since 1798, barely 20 years after the founding of the country, the U.S. has intervened 188 times all over the globe, and that does not include World Wars I and II. The U.S. has even invaded China and Russia. And, in the process the U.S. has murdered millions and millions of innocent people to gain access and control over their resources.
America was not threatened by any of those sovereign nations nor by their indigenous peoples, nor was it America’s intention to spread freedom and democracy around the world. America sent troops to secure American “national interests,” which is manipulated language meaning the interests of the capitalist who needed fruit, rubber, rare earth minerals, and gas and oil to make money.
Since the very beginning of the U.S., white men imposed their beliefs upon a new nation under the myths of freedom and democracy, with liberty and justice for all…..meaning their own kind. The founders were mostly business men and slave owners. Women and slaves were considered property and could not vote. This group of elite, white capitalists believed not only in white supremacy and a patriarchal society, but believed that “their” America was exceptional and blessed by god. They got most of us believing it.
Imperialism is as old as civilization. Among the empires were the Greeks and Romans, the Ottoman Empire, and the empires of Europe and Asia. It was the Europeans who discovered the Americas in search of gold and riches which they found in abundance to replenish the depletion of resources in their own territories. Blessed by the Catholic Church and their kings and queens, these white explorers murdered millions and millions of indigenous peoples throughout North and South America believing that these peoples were savages, and something less than human beings. Entire cultures were destroyed
These white, European nations even fought wars among themselves in the Americas to stake their claims to the “New World” and its riches. Because they were more powerful and “civilized” they had no regard for those who had inhabited the Americas for thousands of years. Just like women and slaves, these indigenous peoples had no rights and no claim to the land.
Genocide and the extraction of resources has defined the history of the European empires. Their belief that the earth’s resources belong to the stronger, almost always blessed by the Church, are at the core of the American empire and the belief in American exceptionalism.
Resource extraction and control over those resources to fuel the American Way of Life have been the reasons for each an every military intervention of the United States. Like every previous empire, the American empire and the American Way of Life are in decline. The signs of this decline are everywhere. Governments are corrupt and beholding to the corporations. The labor movement, equal rights, and social uplift programs are being destroyed and weakened. Manufacturing jobs, except for military purposes, have gone where there is cheap labor and few restrictions on the corporations. Our roads, highways, and bridges, as well as the nation’s infrastructure are in disrepair. Education is no longer free, but being controlled by the wealthy and the military industrial complex. Income disparity has grown astronomically. The U.S. is #1 in the world in prison populations. Climate deniers and industry lobbyists have made the search for renewable energy and the creation of good, living-wage jobs impossible.
The elite, white capitalists have addicted the population to sports, entertainment, and the need for more stuff. People are more interested in sports, movie stars, celebrities, and reality TV shows than they are in what is happening to their freedoms. Inundated by advertising, deprived of an education that fosters critical thinking, duped into believing they need the latest technological gadget, and thirsting for more violence on TV, the movies, and ultimate cage fighting, Americans have been conveniently sedated and distracted.
Long gone is the independent, free media that was our protection against government overstepping its boundaries. Today, all of the mainstream media are owned by a handful of large, multinational corporations. What is fed to the American public as news, is highly refined propaganda that reinforces the lie of the great American Way of Life.
Fear and lies have always worked to control the masses, and the elite, white capitalists are using fear and lies to limit our freedoms and Constitutional rights. During the Cold War it was fear of Commies, Reds, and Russia. Today, in addition to fear of Russian and Chinese Communism, it is fear of terrorism. It works to perfection. Because of fear, most Americans have willingly given up their rights to privacy and their civil liberties.
Furthermore, the national security and surveillance state which includes the militarized local police, campus security guards, and even game wardens, have violently put down and suppressed peaceful protests. Anyone who opposes the state is a domestic terrorist and can be detained indefinitely without due process guaranteed by the Constitution.
So, why is it that so many Americans cannot penetrate the myths and the lies? It is precisely because the myths of freedom and democracy have been ingrained in the population, not by chance, but by design. American capitalism is the evil in the world today, subjugating the people of America and the world to their imperial designs. It is because the majority of Americans do not believe they have power to do anything about it. It is because the 1% has systematically divided the population over scores of issues. There are so many issues facing this country now, so many ominous warning signs that most cannot get their minds around them all. Most Americans are just trying to survive on a day to day basis and do not have the time or the energy to become informed, much less get involved in an active way.
U.S. History as it has been taught, patriotism, the flag, parades and patriotic march music, the stories of American heroes from George Washington, Davie Crocket, to Eisenhower and Patton have cemented the myth of American greatness while conveniently sanitizing the evil motives and the unrestrained and immoral violence and killing that have characterized U.S. intervention in the world.
This system, The American Way of Life is unsustainable because it recklessly depletes the planets resources. The system, based on consumption, itself is destroying the planet. In order to grow and maintain the economy and the American Way of Life, people need to consume more and more and that cannot happen without the suicidal dependance on oil, which in turn is threatening all life on the planet. Most Americans simply cannot conceive of any other way.
The people of Gangjeong know that LIFE and JUSTICE are at stake in the world. They know the struggle isn’t just against American militarism, war, and capitalism, but the struggle for survival. And that is why this year they march again for Life and Justice. For without Justice, there is no freedom, there is no peace, and life as we know it is not sustainable on this planet.
With citizenship on the planet comes the responsibility to join in this struggle for Life and Justice. The people of Gangjeong and Jeju Island cannot be left to fight this battle alone.
US Military and Clandestine Operations in Foreign Countries – 1798-Present
Global Policy Forum
Note: This list does not pretend to be definitive or absolutely complete. Nor does it seek to explain or interpret the interventions. Information and interpretation on selected interventions will be later included as links. Note that US operations in World Wars I and II have been excluded.
|1798-1800||France||Undeclared naval war against France, marines land in Puerto Plata.|
|1801-1805||Tripoli||War with Tripoli (Libya), called “First Barbary War”.|
|1806||Spanish Mexico||Military force enters Spanish territory in headwaters of the Rio Grande.|
|1806-1810||Spanish and French in Caribbean||US naval vessels attack French and Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.|
|1810||Spanish West Florida||Troops invade and seize Western Florida, a Spanish possession.|
|1812||Spanish East Florida||Troops seize Amelia Island and adjacent territories.|
|1812||Britain||War of 1812, includes naval and land operations.|
|1813||Marquesas Island||Forces seize Nukahiva and establish first US naval base in the Pacific.|
|1814||Spanish (East Florida)||Troops seize Pensacola in Spanish East Florida.|
|1814-1825||French, British and Spanish in Caribbean||US naval squadron engages French, British and Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.|
|1815||Algiers and Tripoli||US naval fleet under Captain Stephen Decatur wages “Second Barbary War” in North Africa.|
|1816-1819||Spanish East Florida||Troops attack and seize Nicholls’ Fort, Amelia Island and other strategic locations. Spain eventually cedes East Florida to the US.|
|1822-1825||Spanish Cuba and Puerto Rico||Marines land in numerous cities in the Spanish island of Cuba and also in Spanish Puerto Rico.|
|1827||Greece||Marines invade the Greek islands of Argentiere, Miconi and Andross.|
|1831||Falkland/Malvinas Islands||US naval squadrons aggress the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.|
|1832||Sumatra, Dutch East Indies||US naval squadrons attack Qallah Battoo.|
|1833||Argentina||Forces land in Buenos Aires and engage local combatants.|
|1835-1836||Peru||Troops dispatched twice for counter-insurgency operations.|
|1836||Mexico||Troops assist Texas war for independence.|
|1837||Canada||Naval incident on the Canadian border leads to mobilization of a large force to invade Canada. War is narrowly averted.|
|1838||Sumatra, Dutch East Indies||US naval forces sent to Sumatra for punitive expedition.|
|1840-1841||Fiji||Naval forces deployed, marines land.|
|1841||Samoa||Naval forces deployed, marines land.|
|1842||Mexico||Naval forces temporarily seize cities of Monterey and San Diego.|
|1843||China||Marines land in Canton.|
|1843||Ivory Coast||Marines land.|
|1846-1848||Mexico||Full-scale war. Mexico cedes half of its territory to the US by the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo.|
|1849||Ottoman Empire (Turkey)||Naval force dispatched to Smyrna.|
|1852-1853||Argentina||Marines land in Buenos Aires.|
|1854||Nicaragua||Navy bombards and largely destroys city of San Juan del Norte. Marines land and set fire to the city.|
|1854||Japan||Commodore Perry and his fleet deploy at Yokohama.|
|1855||Uruguay||Marines land in Montevideo.|
|1856||Colombia (Panama Region)||Marines land for counter-insurgency campaign.|
|1856||China||Marines deployed in Canton.|
|1856||Hawaii||Naval forces seize small islands of Jarvis, Baker and Howland in the Hawaiian Islands.|
|1858||Uruguay||Marines land in Montevideo.|
|1859||Paraguay||Large naval force deployed.|
|1859||China||Troops enter Shanghai.|
|1859||Mexico||Military force enters northern area.|
|1860||Portuguese West Africa||Troops land at Kissembo.|
|1860||Colombia (Panama Region)||Troops and naval forces deployed.|
|1863||Japan||Troops land at Shimonoseki.|
|1864||Japan||Troops landed in Yedo.|
|1865||Colombia (Panama Region)||Marines landed.|
|1866||Colombia (Panama Region)||Troops invade and seize Matamoros, later withdraw.|
|1866||China||Marines land in Newchwang.|
|1867||Nicaragua||Marines land in Managua and Leon in Nicaragua.|
|1867||Formosa Island (Taiwan)||Marines land.|
|1867||Midway Island||Naval forces seize this island in the Hawaiian Archipelago for a naval base.|
|1868||Japan||Naval forces deployed at Osaka, Hiogo, Nagasaki, Yokohama and Negata.|
|1868||Uruguay||Marines land at Montevideo.|
|1873||Colombia (Panama Region)||Marines landed.|
|1874||Hawaii||Sailors and marines landed.|
|1876||Mexico||Army again occupies Matamoros.|
|1882||British Egypt||Troops land.|
|1885||Colombia (Panama Region)||Troops land in Colon and Panama City.|
|1885||Samoa||Naval force deployed.|
|1887||Hawaii||Navy gains right to build permanent naval base at Pearl Harbor.|
|1889||Samoa||Clash with German naval forces.|
|1890||Argentina||US sailors land in Buenos Aires.|
|1891||Chile||US sailors land in the major port city of Valparaiso.|
|1891||Haiti||Marines land on US-claimed Navassa Island.|
|1893||Hawaii||Marines and other naval forces land and overthrow the monarchy. Read More | President Cleveland’s Message|
|1894||Nicaragua||Marines land at Bluefields on the eastern coast.|
|1894-1895||China||Marines are stationed at Tientsin and Beijing. A naval ship takes up position at Newchwang.|
|1894-1896||Korea||Marines land and remain in Seoul.|
|1895||Colombia||Marines are sent to the town Bocas del Toro.|
|1896||Nicaragua||Marines land in the port of Corinto.|
|1898||Nicaragua||Marines land at the port city of San Juan del Sur.|
|1898||Guam||Naval forces seize Guam Island from Spain and the US holds the island permanently.|
|1898||Cuba||Naval and land forces seize Cuba from Spain.|
|1898||Puerto Rico||Naval and land forces seize Puerto Rico from Spain and the US holds the island permanently.|
|1898||Philippines||Naval forces defeat the Spanish fleet and the US takes control of the country.|
|1899||Philippines||Military units are reinforced for extensive counter-insurgency operations.|
|1899||Samoa||Naval forces land|
|1899||Nicaragua||Marines land at the port city of Bluefields.|
|1900||China||US forces intervene in several cities.|
|1902||Colombia/Panama||US forces land in Bocas de Toro|
|1903||Colombia/Panama||With US backing, a group in northern Colombia declares independence as the state of Panama|
|1903||Guam||Navy begins development in Apra Harbor of a permanent base installation.|
|1903||Honduras||Marines go ashore at Puerto Cortez.|
|1903||Dominican Republic||Marines land in Santo Domingo.|
|1904-1905||Korea||Marines land and stay in Seoul.|
|1906-1909||Cuba||Marines land. The US builds a major naval base at Guantanamo Bay.|
|1907||Nicaragua||Troops seize major centers.|
|1907||Honduras||Marines land and take up garrison in cities of Trujillo, Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, San Pedro, Laguna and Choloma.|
|1908||Panama||Marines land and carry out operations.|
|1910||Nicaragua||Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.|
|1911-1941||China||The US builds up its military presence in the country to a force of 5000 troops and a fleet of 44 vessels patrolling China’s coast and rivers.|
|1912||Cuba||US sends army troops into combat in Havana.|
|1912||Panama||Army troops intervene.|
|1912-1933||Nicaragua||Marines intervene. A 20-year occupation of the country follows.|
|1913||Mexico||Marines land at Ciaris Estero.|
|1914||Dominican Republic||Naval forces engage in battles in the city of Santo Domingo.|
|1914||Mexico||US forces seize and occupy Mexico’s major port city of Veracrus from April through November.|
|1915-1916||Mexico||An expeditionary force of the US Army under Gen. John J. Pershing crosses the Texas border and penetrates several hundred miles into Mexican territory. Eventually reinforced to over 11,000 officers and men.|
|1914-1934||Haiti||Troops land, aerial bombardment leading to a 19-year military occupation.|
|1916-1924||Dominican Republic||Military intervention leading to 8-year occupation.|
|1917-1933||Cuba||Landing of naval forces. Beginning of a 15-year occupation.|
|1918-1920||Panama||Troops intervene, remain on “police duty” for over 2 years.|
|1918-1922||Russia||Naval forces and army troops fight battles in several areas of the country during a five- year period.|
|1919||Yugoslavia||Marines intervene in Dalmatia.|
|1922||Turkey||Marines engaged in operations in Smyrna (Izmir).|
|1922-1927||China||Naval forces and troops deployed during 5-year period.|
|1924-1925||Honduras||Troops land twice in two-year period.|
|1925||Panama||Marines land and engage in operations.|
|1927-1934||China||Marines and naval forces stationed throughout the country.|
|1932||El Salvador||Naval forces intervene.|
|1933||Cuba||Naval forces deployed.|
|1934||China||Marines land in Foochow.|
|1946||Iran||Troops deployed in northern province.|
|1946-1949||China||Major US army presence of about 100,000 troops, fighting, training and advising local combatants.|
|1947-1949||Greece||US forces wage a 3-year counterinsurgency campaign.|
|1948||Italy||Heavy CIA involvement in national elections.|
|1948-1954||Philippines||Commando operations, “secret” CIA war.|
|1950-1953||Korea||Major forces engaged in war in Korean peninsula.|
|1953||Iran||CIA overthrows government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Read More|
|1954||Vietnam||Financial and materiel support for colonial French military operations, leads eventually to direct US military involvement.|
|1954||Guatemala||CIA overthrows the government of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.|
|1958||Lebanon||US marines and army units totaling 14,000 land.|
|1958||Panama||Clashes between US forces in Canal Zone and local citizens.|
|1960||Congo||CIA-backed overthrow and assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.|
|1960-1964||Vietnam||Gradual introduction of military advisors and special forces.|
|1961||Cuba||CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion.|
|1962||Cuba||Nuclear threat and naval blockade.|
|1962||Laos||CIA-backed military coup.|
|1963||Ecuador||CIA backs military overthrow of President Jose Maria Valesco Ibarra.|
|1964||Panama||Clashes between US forces in Canal Zone and local citizens.|
|1964||Brazil||CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government of Joao Goulart and Gen. Castello Branco takes power. Read More|
|1965-1975||Vietnam||Large commitment of military forces, including air, naval and ground units numbering up to 500,000+ troops. Full-scale war, lasting for ten years.|
|1965||Indonesia||CIA-backed army coup overthrows President Sukarno and brings Gen. Suharto to power.|
|1965||Congo||CIA backed military coup overthrows President Joseph Kasavubu and brings Joseph Mobutu to power.|
|1965||Dominican Republic||23,000 troops land.|
|1965-1973||Laos||Bombing campaign begin, lasting eight years.|
|1966||Ghana||CIA-backed military coup ousts President Kwame Nkrumah.|
|1966-1967||Guatemala||Extensive counter-insurgency operation.|
|1969-1975||Cambodia||CIA supports military coup against Prince Sihanouk, bringing Lon Nol to power. Intensive bombing for seven years along border with Vietnam.|
|1970||Oman||Counter-insurgency operation, including coordination with Iranian marine invasion.|
|1971-1973||Laos||Invasion by US and South Vietnames forces.|
|1973||Chile||CIA-backed military coup ousts government of President Salvador Allende. Gen. Augusto Pinochet comes to power.|
|1975||Cambodia||Marines land, engage in combat with government forces.|
|1976-1992||Angola||Military and CIA operations.|
|1980||Iran||Special operations units land in Iranian desert. Helicopter malfunction leads to aborting of planned raid.|
|1981||Libya||Naval jets shoot down two Libyan jets in maneuvers over the Mediterranean.|
|1981-1992||El Salvador||CIA and special forces begin a long counterinsurgency campaign.|
|1981-1990||Nicaragua||CIA directs exile “Contra” operations. US air units drop sea mines in harbors.|
|1982-1984||Lebanon||Marines land and naval forces fire on local combatants.|
|1983||Grenada||Military forces invade Grenada.|
|1983-1989||Honduras||Large program of military assistance aimed at conflict in Nicaragua.|
|1984||Iran||Two Iranian jets shot down over the Persian Gulf.|
|1986||Libya||US aircraft bomb the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, including direct strikes at the official residence of President Muamar al Qadaffi.|
|1986||Bolivia||Special Forces units engage in counter-insurgency.|
|1987-1988||Iran||Naval forces block Iranian shipping. Civilian airliner shot down by missile cruiser.|
|1989||Libya||Naval aircraft shoot down two Libyan jets over Gulf of Sidra.|
|1989||Philippines||CIA and Special Forces involved in counterinsurgency.|
|1989-1990||Panama||27,000 troops as well as naval and air power used to overthrow government of President Noriega.|
|1990-1991||Iraq||Major military operation, including naval blockade, air strikes; large number of troops attack Iraqi forces in occupied Kuwait.|
|1991-2003||Iraq||Control of Iraqi airspace in north and south of the country with periodic attacks on air and ground targets.|
|1991||Haiti||CIA-backed military coup ousts President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.|
|1992-1994||Somalia||Special operations forces intervene.|
|1992-1994||Yugoslavia||Major role in NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.|
|1993-1995||Bosnia||Active military involvement with air and ground forces.|
|1994-1996||Haiti||Troops depose military rulers and restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to office.|
|1995||Croatia||Krajina Serb airfields attacked.|
|1996-1997||Zaire (Congo)||Marines involved in operations in eastern region of the country.|
|1998||Sudan||Air strikes destroy country’s major pharmaceutical plant.|
|1998||Afghanistan||Attack on targets in the country.|
|1998||Iraq||Four days of intensive air and missile strikes.|
|1999||Yugoslavia||Major involvement in NATO air strikes.|
|2001||Macedonia||NATO troops shift and partially disarm Albanian rebels.|
|2001||Afghanistan||Air attacks and ground operations oust Taliban government and install a new regime.|
|2003||Iraq||Invasion with large ground, air and naval forces ousts government of Saddam Hussein and establishes new government.|
|2003-present||Iraq||Occupation force of 150,000 troops in protracted counter-insurgency war|
|2004||Haiti||Marines land. CIA-backed forces overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.|
One evening at dinner, I sat next to Sr. Stella, a Korean missionary sister with a great sense of humor and a good command of the English language. After dinner and a delightful conversation, Sr. Stella asked, “so why not interview me. I want to tell Obama and the American people something.”
How could I refuse? Sitting next to the 20 ft barbed wire fence of the base, with the light fading fast and a fire burning to keep warm on that cool evening, Sr. Stella with all the confidence in the world and the passion of her convictions, let it rip.
She is one of hundreds of Catholic nuns from Korea and Jeju Island who visit Gangjeong Village frequently to stand in solidarity with the villagers and activists in their struggle against the construction of the naval base that is destroying the environment and their village, not to mention the denial of their human rights to live peacefully there as they have done for over one thousand years.
Even today, some 10 months removed from my stay in Gangjeong Village, I am overcome with tears and emotion as I watch the final feature-length version of The Ghosts of Jeju.
I am sure you will enjoy meeting Sr. Stella and be moved by her message.