Archives for BIW

Maine Currents 3/20/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Studio Engineer: John Greenman

Opposition to Maine Taxpayers Funding “Corporate Welfare” for Military Contractor General Dynamics

In February we reported on a proposal to give a $60 million tax break to Bath Iron Works at the expense of Maine taxpayers. Those who support the measure say it protects jobs, but those who oppose it see it as corporate welfare for defense contractor General Dynamics, the company that owns BIW. Today we follow up with some of the activists involved in the issue, including Bruce Gagnon who was with us last month, as well as Bob Klotz and Lisa Savage. We’re also joined by Alex Nunes, an investigative reporter at He has exposed details about what is going on behind the scenes of this deal. Columnist Lawrence Reichard, joins us in the studio. He’s covered the issue in his weekly column “Bricks and Mortars” which runs in the Waldo County based Republican Journal and the Coastal Journal in Bath.

Later in the program we check in with Jessica Stewart, one of 3 women who were arrested at Senator Collin’s office last December where they were protesting her support of the tax bill. They are heading to federal court tomorrow.

Note: Activist Mark Roman was scheduled to be with us but was unable to join us due to technical difficulties. He sent the following comment:
“In the taxation committee testimony, BIW VP, John Fitzgerald was asked by a committee member if he would open BIW books to the committee to help determine the need for the tax break. Mr Fitzgerald said quite loudly and quite clearly NO! we will not do that. It seems that the state is not to question the subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation, the fifth largest weapons maker on the planet. The $45 million being requested would just cover the annual compensation of the top four officers of General Dynamics. I believe that the people of Maine need that money for education, infrastructure repairs and health care for our citizens. I would ask listeners to call their representatives and tell them to vote no on LD- 1781. I want to thank WERU for being the voice of the people”

Follow the proposed legislation at:
Contact info for your legislators is available at:

To receive Lawrence Reichard’s “Bricks and Mortars” column via email, contact him at [email protected]

From Alex Nunes of
Here are a few links that may be of interest to your audience.
This is the original General Dynamics stock buyback story for The Providence Journal:
This is an op-ed I wrote for The Day newspaper in New London, Conn., about General Dynamics seeking state subsidies in New England. I talk about Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine:
These are two stories from a multi-part series about economic development in Rhode Island and Connecticut centered around building the Navy’s next generation of nuclear-armed submarines. The first story addresses the corporate welfare/economic development aspects of it. The second looks at the reaction from the peace community:

Investigative reporting from The Bollard was also mentioned on the show and can be found here:

Bruce Gagnon blogs at
Lisa Savage blogs at

Maine Currents 2/20/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Maine legislature considers restrictions on the discredited practice of “conversion therapy”

On February 14th, the state legislature’s Labor, Commerce Research and Economic Development committee held a public hearing on LD 912, a bill that would prohibit licensed professionals from practicing “conversion therapy” on children. The practice– which claims to change sexual orientation– is widely considered to be unethical among mental health professionals but some defend it as being within their “biblical world view”. Today on Maine Currents we listen to the bill’s presentation to the committee, and some of the testimony on both sides.

Maine Currents 2/13/18

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributor/Engineer: John Greenman

Does General Dynamics Need $60 Million From the Pockets of Maine Taxpayers?

The Maine legislature is considering a proposal to give a huge tax break to a military contractor. At the request of BIW, Representative Jennifer DeChant, a Democrat from Bath is sponsoring LD1781, “An Act To Encourage New Major Investments in Shipbuilding Facilities and the Preservation of Jobs”. In introducing the bill she testified that it would provide tax incentives to keep BIW competitive in its marketplace and retain a large number of quality jobs in the state. The bill has several cosponsors from both parties, but it also has drawn harsh criticism from those who see it as corporate welfare that BIW’s parent company, General Dynamics, certainly doesn’t need from the pockets of Mainers. A public hearing for the bill was held before the legislature’s Committee on Taxation a few weeks ago. We’re going to start today listening to clips from that public hearing, recorded by documentary filmmaker Regis Tremblay, and then he and activist Bruce Gagnon will be joining us for an update on where things stand now.


Maine Currents 9/5/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded by Carolyn Coe

Bruce Gagnon on the “US Pivot to the Asia-Pacific” and ties with BIW here in Maine

Bruce Gagnon is well known in Maine as the co-founder of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, and as an active member of Veterans for Peace. He is also a senior fellow at the Nuclear Policy Research Institute and a member of the “Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific” and has traveled extensively in the area.
He spoke in Deer Isle on August 3rd at an event sponsored by Island Peace and Justice, Peninsula Peace and Justice and Americas Who Tell the Truth. The topic was the “Pivot to the Asia-Pacific”. Gagnon talked about the U.S. military presence in the region, U.S. relations with N. Korea, S. Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, and ties with Bath Iron Works here in Maine

Note: An excerpt from this talk aired on a previous edition of Maine Currents

Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture, every Tuesday at 4pm on WERU-FM and

Maine Currents 8/15/17

Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Contributing producers: Carolyn Coe, Denis Howard

Segment 1: Bruce Gagnon on Korea, BIW and the US “Pivot to the Asia-Pacific”

Maine-based peace activist Bruce Gagnon spoke in Deer Isle on August 3rd about what’s being called the US “Pivot to the Asia-Pacific”. Gagnon has traveled to South Korea and worked with peace activists there and elsewhere in the region who oppose US military bases in their countries. He has also made the connection with the destroyers being built here in Maine at Bath Iron Works and has been arrested for civil disobedience at BIW. Although he spoke before President Trump’s recent comments about “fire and fury” in North Korea, Gagnon’s views on the region provide insight not heard in the mainstream media. He is a senior fellow at the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, and is a member of the “Working Group for Peace and Demilitarization in Asia and the Pacific” a consortium of acclaimed scholars sharing a focus on the region. (Recorded by Carolyn Coe, edited by Amy Browne)

UPDATE: We contacted Bruce Gagnon this week for a comment following the escalation of tensions in the region after he spoke in Deer Isle. Here is his response:
“In a new report, published by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, missile experts (including Ted Postol from MIT) write that North Korea does not have the rocket capability that Washington and the corporate media are claiming. They state, “The Hwasong-14 does not currently constitute a nuclear threat to the lower 48 states of the United States. The flight tests on July 4 and 28 were a carefully choreographed deception by North Korea to create a false impression that the Hwasong-14 is a near-ICBM that poses a nuclear threat to the continental US. The Hwasong-14 tested on July 4 and 28 may not even be able to deliver a North Korean atomic bomb to Anchorage, Alaska.”

The US to this day refuses to sign a peace treaty with North Korea – thus the war legally continues. On July 27, 1953 the US signed an Armistice (ceasefire) with North Korea but that is it. Thus the continuous US-South Korean war games right along the North Korean border must make Pyongyang wonder – is this the real thing? Did the Pentagon decide to invade us for real this time like they have done in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Granada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen?

Embedded deep beneath North Korea’s mountainous zones are some 200 varieties of minerals, including gold, iron, copper, zinc, magnesite, limestone, tungsten, and graphite. Some of these stockpiles are among the largest in the world, and North Korea, a tiny and cash-strapped nation, frequently uses them to bring in additional revenue — no matter the laws against doing so.
The total value of these minerals lies somewhere between $6 trillion and $10 trillion. Could much of this war hype be a plan to grab their resources?

In the end I think it important to say that North Korea is really a foil – the US does not fear NK which only has 4 nuclear warheads while the US has 6,800 of them. Clearly the demonization and scare campaign around NK is intended to justify the US military ‘pivot’ of 60% of Pentagon forces into the Asia-Pacific to be aimed at China and Russia – the real prizes that Washington has on the regime change list.”

Segment 2: WERU’s Denis Howard talks with Peter Alexander about his new rock opera “One Way Trip To Mars”
— opening at the Waterville Opera House on August 24th. Tune in to hear what went into creating the project and get a sneak preview of the music!

Maine Currents- independent local news, views and culture, every Tuesday at 4pm on WERU-FM and

Special: Civil resistance at BIW 10/20/16

Producer/Host: Carolyn Coe

Why motivates individuals to engage in civil resistance?
Why was the christening of a Zumwalt destroyer at Bath Iron Works the location of a nonviolent direct action?
What is the distinction between civil disobedience and civil resistance?

Connie Jenkins, John Morris, George Ostensen, Joan Peck, Dud Hendrick, Russell Wray, Richard Brown Lethem and Bruce Gagnon