Category Archives: Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

My interview with Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone 1

It was nerve wracking for a few tense minutes when Oliver Stone didn’t appear at 8 pm as expected. Our window for getting an interview was closing fast because Oliver was due to appear at a symposium at 9 pm in another building on the American University campus.

The lights were already set up and the cameras and audio recorder were on standby. Paul Michaud and Lucas Stewart, my young professionals were anxiously waiting with me and watching the minutes tick away.

We had filmed a wonderful interview with Oliver’s co-author, Peter Kuznick 45 minutes earlier, but Peter had gone to introduce a one hour clip of their magnum opus, The Untold History of the United States to an audience of over 100 people. I texted Peter that Oliver had not arrived and he replied, “he’ll be there.” A few minutes later, I again texted Peter asking if there might be an alternative if we didn’t get the interview in before the symposium. Peter texted back, “he’s usually late. Patience.”

At just about 8:30, Oliver walked in and I introduced myself. The rest was pure serendipity. Oliver had taken the time to view the rough-cut 38 minute version so he knew what the film was about. The first thing he asked was how I was going to distribute it. He took note that I had a rather limited network.

Paul and Lucas  attached  the lavalier microphone, and his next request was to see the monitor. I almost cracked up. The famous film director wanted to see what the shot looked like. Since we don’t have an expensive monitor, the boys quickly removed both cameras from the tripods and let him see how he looked. With a nod he said good and pulled out a comb and combed his hair.

He continued to question me about when I thought I’d be finished, did I have all of the archival material I needed, did I have the Korean interviews, etc. I told him the only thing keeping me from completing the film in one month’s time was money to pay Paul and Lucas to do the post-production editing. He was focused like a laser.

“Ok, let’s do it,” he said. “If I don’t get what you want, we’ll do it over.” The next twenty minutes were unbelievable. Oliver went out of his way to mention my name three times and how important this film was.

When we finished the interview, he asked if there was anything he could do to help. I asked if he would like to have my business card and he said “yes.” I thanked him and said I would contact him.

As Oliver was leaving, I asked if he would sign my copy of The Untold History of the United States. This is what he wrote, “To Regis – my best wishes for you and for Korea.”

Peter Kuznick wrote, “To Regis, a fellow crusader for truth and justice.”

From there, we broke down and packed up our equipment and headed for a place where we could wind down and ……………well, celebrate a little!

Short film clips to follow later in the week.

Gangjeong Village Video Documentarian Jailed

Dungree-1Park Sung-Soo has been documenting the daily struggle in Gangjeong Village since the summer of 2011. He was accused of trespassing when he entered the navy base complex to protest the harassment of two young women reporters with sexual remarks by the base security personnel.

The two young women reporters appealed the incident to the Korean Human Rights Committee, but their case was dismissed.


Park Sung-Soo, AKA Dungree, was not able to pay his fine amounting to $1500 U.S. dollars, so he decided to serve out his fine in jail for 28 days. Dungree is resolute in not wanting anyone to pay his fine. He is willing to bear the sufferings he will encounter for the month in prison.

Dungree is a victim of the new government’s strategy to oppress people with  fines and to put down the protest against the illegal construction of the base.

Since the beginning of the struggle in Gangjeong Village in 2007 to February 2013, there have been upwards of 700 arrests with 500 indictments. 22 activists have been imprisoned. All have been released with the exception of Prof. Yang Yoon-mo who has been sentenced to 18 months, this being the fourth time he has been jailed. Prof. Yang agreed to end his 52 day old hunger strike on March 24, the third since his protest began.

The average fine against the activists has been approximately $3,000 U.S. dollars, and some have had fines as high as $9,000 U.S. dollars bringing the total amount of fines to $450,000 U.S. dollars. But, that’s not all. The total compensation fee for “damages” is approximately $290,000 U.S. dollars.

All of the activists are willing to go to jail because they cannot afford the fines.

There is no way to sugar coat these gross violations of human rights and the total disregard and disdain for the civil rights of these people who are fighting for self-determination, a transparent and open democratic process, justice, peace, and the survival of their culture, not to mention their livelihoods.

To blame for this most recent displacement of indigenous people, the violation of human rights, the destruction of the environment, the beating of war drums, and the escalation of tensions around the world is the government of the U.S., the U.S. war department, and the military industrial complex.

Meanwhile, the Village is protesting the navy’s military residential housing project which will effectively obliterate this 400 year old village with accommodations for 8,000 military personnel.  This base will require maintenance facilities, an airport, radar, fuel tanks, bars, restaurants, shops, and brothels, and probably missile silos.

What is happening on Jeju Island, and in so many other places around the world, are crimes against humanity.

America! Now they are coming for us! Not only is the #1 U.S. export weapons and “security,” but now the corporations are fast at work to get us to pay for their lust for power and profits. They want (Congress will do their bidding) to pay for all of it on the backs of the middle class and the poor.

Every state in this country owes thousands of jobs to the corporations who produce the weapons and supplies of war. Because of this, there is hardly a person in Congress who will oppose their lust for more and more and more. They threaten to close down their factories and move if Congress doesn’t keep increasing the war budget that feeds the military industrial complex.

Just a cursory glance across this land reveals their ugly job-creating lies from coast to coast, and from border to border: tar-sands, Keystone pipeline, the East-West Highway in Maine, the proposed LNG tank in Searsport, Maine, hyrdo-fracking wherever they can find gas. They are stealing our own precious resources like water and selling them for profit.

Meanwhile our states are broke and can no longer maintain critical infrastructure; provide quality education; and protect the social safety net, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

There is only one answer to this suicidal march: more than 60% of the discretionary spending of the U.S. (our taxes) go to the military aka the war department. If one includes veteran’s benefits and NASA, the percentage is much higher. Bush’s wars will cost us more than $4 TRILLION. There are more than 800 U.S. military “bases” in every corner of the globe……supposedly for national security. Read: the interest of the corporations who extract resources and exploit other nations.

The Villagers of Gangjeong along with the Catholic Bishop of Jeju, Bishop Kang, have the answer: “Peace is the way. No Naval Base on the Island of Peace.” It is the moral obligation of every human being to oppose war and work for peace and justice in the world.

For those who are not able to travel to Jeju to support this struggle, you can send donations to to help pay the fines and to support the activists who represent us in this global struggle against the U.S. imperial march towards domination of the world by force.

Jesuit Activists Protest in Gangjeong Village

Many priests, nuns, ministers, and Buddhist monks regularly travel to Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island to protest the construction of the massive naval base that is destroying the village, the pristine ecosystem, and contributing to the military expansion of the United States, not to mention raising the already high tensions of the region.

Among the most regular protestors are three Jesuits who have made direct action their priestly ministry. All have been arrested and jailed for obstructing construction of the base. I spent many hours each day chatting with them and filming their encounters with the Korean police as many as ten times every day.

I taped an interview with the three one day during lunch in front of the gates. Their comments were inspirational, but the final couple of minutes are hilarious. Enjoy meeting my friends and brothers in this 5:50 clip.

Up Close and Personal with Sr. Stella in Gangjeong Village

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 topped 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 right to live peacefully there as they have done for over one thousand years.

Even today, some six months removed from my stay in Gangjeong Village, I am overcome with emotion as I pour through hours of interviews and video for my film, Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War.

I am sure you will enjoy meeting Sr. Stella and be moved by her message.

Bruce Cumings Questions Why a Base is Needed on Jeju Island

Bruce picturePaul Michaud, Jr. and I drove down to Charlottesville, Virginia on January 24th to interview Prof. Bruce Cumings for my film Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War…Again

Bruce is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Chicago, and specializes in modern Korean history and East Asian-American relations.

Bruce is arguably one of the leading experts on Korean History and the Korean War. Thanks to Fr. Pat Cunningham, a Columban Missionary living in Seoul, I learned about Bruce and purchased two of his books. The Korean War, A History is a must read for anyone interested in discovering the truth about Korea and the Korean War. He revealed the previously untold stories of the bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and exposes the appalling massacres and atrocities committed on all sides.

I am personally indebted to Bruce for granting an extensive interview and for his exceptional work as a historian that enabled me to understand why the people of Jeju and Gangjeong Village are opposing the construction of the naval base on their beautiful Island of Peace.

Enjoy this 2:56 clip explaining why he cannot understand the need for another military base in the region, much less on Jeju.

America’s Real Intent: Global Domination Through the Use of Military Might

It is truly ironic and coincidental that one day after I posted part of an interview with Jeju Bishop Peter Kang saying the only way to ensure peace is to “diminish arms,” the NY Times reports that the U.S. is allowing S. Korea to use drones and to expand the range of their ballistic missiles.

At issue here are two fundamental premises: 1) that the Korean government is clearly not a sovereign nation, but a puppet of the U.S., and 2) that peace and national security can be maintained by another escalation of the arms race and the provocation of  China, N. Korea, and Russia.

It is further proof of the real intent of the U.S. government, the U.S. military, and the military industrial complex to dominate and control the planet based on the doctrine of a Pax Americana whereby the sole superpower on the planet can ensure peace and prosperity through the military might.

First, here is a portion of my interview with Bishop Peter Kang of Jeju Island calling for an end to the arms race.

Now, the NY Times article which clearly proves the control of the Korean government by the U.S. and the intent to expand the arms race by “allowing” the Korean military the use of drones and to increase the range of its ballistic missiles to reach any point in N. Korea, but not China. That must be reassuring to both!

After spending nearly a month in S. Korea and three weeks in Gangjeong Village, the site of a massive naval base being constructed to accommodate Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” I can tell you this: Koreans, and I’m sure the rest of the world, categorically HATE America for engaging in a century of warfare, the killing of millions and millions of innocent people, and the arrogance of U.S. imperialism.

It was impossible to disagree with them and to find a plausible defense for my homeland. It is ironic – but maybe not – that the Korean and European people I met believe there has been a military coup in the U.S. since the assassination of JFK. They all believe that everything from Kennedy’s assassination right on up through 9/11 has been the work of the U.S. military and the military industrial complex. No one I met believes that 9/11 was the work of Muslim terrorists! They all believe it was a false flag event justifying the invasion of Iraq in order to gain control over the Middle East.

After the hope President Obama offered in his campaign four years ago, Koreans and the rest of the world know without a shade of doubt that it matters little who the president and Congress are. America’s actions to dominate land, sea, air and space through the use of military superiority are clear to everyone except most Americans.

I encourage you to watch Pax America, a film by Denis Delestrac, in which America’s generals and senior officers unabashedly state the intent to ensure peace through the use of overwhelming military power. This film, packed with startling facts, has been shown in theaters throughout the world, yet not here in the U.S. If you haven’t seen this film, please take the time to view it.

Many people here in America and around the world feel helpless and unable to “get their minds around it all,” but I believe there is still hope. Millions and millions of people on every continent understand what is going on and are rising up against the violation of human rights, the violation of civil rights, the destruction of the environment, and the killing of innocent people.

If, as some economists predict, the world is on the verge of economic collapse, I believe it will bring about the end to the evils of unrestrained capitalism and an end to the ever-expanding military budgets of nations around the world. They just will not be able to afford spending the majority of their resources on a never-ending arms race and war.

Just as Rome, the Soviet Union, and every other imperial nation collapsed because they could not afford enormous standing armies, so will America.

Therefore, it is imperative that Americans become informed and join with people around the world in demanding an end to war and an end to the evils of capitalism. To continue as we have been focusing on a myriad of single issues is to remain divided and therefore conquered. What is needed is a massive, people-powered, grassroots coalition of peace groups, environmental groups, Bradley Manning support groups, food activists, groups demanding an end to Citizens United, and, yes Occupy.

The root cause underlying all of these issues is the doctrine of Pax Americana and unrestrained capitalism, both of which are inherently evil and will not go without a massive, universal uprising and the collapse of the global economy.

To quote Leonard Cohen, “I love the country but I can’t stand the scene,” and Michael Moore, “I refuse to live in a country like this, and I’m not leaving.”

On The Road Again – Day 1

Paula drove me down to Boston this afternoon and we checked into a motel. With an early flight out of Boston at 9:10 am tomorrow, it made things a whole lot easier. Mexican dinner because On The Border is just across the parking lot!

My special “camera equipment” backpack weighs 35 lbs…..feels heavier than that. My one checked bag came in at 42 lbs – 8 lbs to spare on the 50 lb limit. And then there’s the tripod bag which will also be a carry-on. I will not say “I’m getting too old for this,” but I’m not getting any younger either!

Am I excited?


I will try to keep everyone posted, hopefully daily with a brief account of the day and a short video clip from the days filming.

Meet Bruce Gagnon – One of a Kind

I met Bruce Gagnon a few months ago but only after hearing about him from other people. Seemed like everybody knew Bruce. Turns out, just about everybody who’s an activist of one sort or other knows Bruce. And Bruce knows everybody!

Bruce and I finally met at a state-wide Occupy meeting in Augusta. Wasn’t at all what I expected from the advance billing. He struck me as a quiet, even shy, non-assuming person. Can’t remember him speaking publicly. We connected because we both had expressed frustration at the lack of cooperation among the many advocacy groups which resulted in a losing battle at the legislature.

We chatted briefly during a break and I said I’d like to get together soon since he lives in Bath, Maine and I  live just across the river in Woolwich. It was a couple of months later when we finally did meet. An internet citizen journalist based in Iran (yes, Iran) wanted someone to interview Bruce about the Occupy movement.

When I suggested we meet, Bruce asked if I could tape the interview, which I did. But, after taping the 4-5 minute interview for this Iranian show, I started asking Bruce about his background and how he became involved in the Global Network Against Weapons and Arms in Space. As soon as he started talking, I turned the camera on and came to know the man.

I believe Bruce is one of a very few people who sees the big picture and can speak to all that is wrong with our country. Everyone talks about connecting the dots. Bruce does it with amazing clarity and conviction. He travels constantly and is in great demand all over the planet.

Take the time to watch this video and get to know Bruce Gagnon and his mission in life. Then check out his website: and his blog: