Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Speech on space colonization in Oxford

For many years the Global Network has been saying that the nuclear industry views space as a new market.  They've long envisioned nuclear-powered mining colonies on the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

The recent announcement by NASA of a new nuclear reactor power system that could enable long-duration space colonies only confirms our worst fears.  Accidents at, or soon after, launch with nuclear payloads would endanger our fragile Earth environment.  But even more troubling is the history of Department of Energy laboratory accidents as they fabricate these nuclear generators for space missions.  Worker contamination and release of radioactive contamination into the air and local water supplies has been a problem revealing that space nuclear-power is killing people even before a launch might occur.

In Jack Manno’s book called Arming the Heavens: The Hidden Military Agenda for Space 1945-1995 he tells the story of Major General Walter Dornberger, Hitler’s military liaison who worked with Werner Von Braun to build the V-1 and V-2 rockets for the Nazi war effort that were used to terrorize London and other European cities near the end of WW II. Like Von Braun, Dornberger came to the US at the end of WW II as part of the secret program called Operation Paperclip.  Dornberger became a top executive in Bell Aviation Corporation in New York.  Speaking before a congressional hearing in Washington in 1958, Dornberger insisted that America’s top space priority out to be to “conquer, occupy, keep, and utilize space between the Earth and the moon.”  In an address to a National Missile Industry Conference, he dismissed NASA’s early space-flight program as “space stunts” and urged that more attention be given to space weaponry.  “Gentlemen,” he told the missile men, “I didn’t come to this country to lose the Third World War – I lost two.”

In a Congressional study published in 1989, entitled Military Space Forces: The Next 50 years, the author explains the value of having the US control the ‘Earth-Moon gravity well’.  He writes: ”Nature reserves decisive advantage for L4 and L5, two allegedly stable libration points (on either side of the moon) that theoretically could dominate Earth and moon, because they look down both gravity wells.  No other location is equally commanding.  Armed forces might lie in wait at that location to hijack rival shipments on return [to Earth].”

He continues, “Military space forces at the bottom of Earth’s so-called gravity well are poorly positioned to accomplish offensive/defense/deterrent missions, because great energy is needed to overcome gravity during launch.  Forces at the top, on a space counterpart of ‘high ground,’ could initiate action and detect, identify, track, intercept, or otherwise respond more rapidly to attacks.  Put simply, it takes less energy to drop objects down a well then to cast them out.”

It seems rather obvious to me that the Pentagon’s space weapons technology program has two distinct goals.  One is to control Earth on behalf of corporate interests and the other is to develop the necessary technologies to control the path way – or front gate – on and off of our planet.

Trump's declared support for the creation of a separate branch of the military - the Space Force - is an indication that the aerospace industry has taken firm control of his administration.  The industry stands to make massive profit if such a separate 'space warrior force' can be created which would necessitate huge infusions of money into a program that the industry has long maintained would be the largest industrial project in human history - Star Wars.  (I like to refer to it as ‘Pyramids to the Heavens’.) The Air Force is opposed to the idea - they want to control the seamless web between the Earth and deep space.  The bill to create the Space Force has passed in the US House of Representatives but did not get approval in the Senate.  This bill will likely come back again for another try.

As technology begins to enable resource extraction on planetary bodies the legal  question of ‘who can mine the sky and who can’t’ will become a greater source of conflict between nations.  Pentagon documents have long maintained that an important role for US military space forces would be to control who is allowed to leave the earth to mine the sky and return with the enormous profits imagined from such an undertaking.  This would ensure that war in the heavens would no longer be a theoretical consideration - it would become a reality as the US enforced its mission of 'Master of Space' on behalf of selected corporate interests.

The use of nuclear power for military space operations - to power weapons in space - has long been on the Pentagon's drawing board.  The mix of nuclear power and space warfare is a deadly connection that must be avoided at all cost.  We must continue to build international opposition to these frightening plans.

In 2015  Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law. This law recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own asteroid resources they obtain and encourages the commercial exploration and utilization of resources from asteroids.

“This is the single greatest recognition of property rights in history,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Chairman, Planetary Resources, Inc. “This legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”

Peter Diamandis,  the other Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc., said, “A hundred years from now, humanity will look at this period in time as the point in which we were able to establish a permanent foothold in space. In history, there has never been a more rapid rate of progress than right now.”

During the late 1990’s a group called United Societies in Space along with the World Bar Association published a series of publications called ‘Space Governance’.  Their goal was to rewrite international space law as the UN’s Outer Space and Moon treaties had declared that the planetary bodies are the province of all humankind.  The UN said there could be no private claims made on any solar system body. The UN correctly was trying to preempt the eventual global conflict that would arise if private property claims were to be allowed in space.

Declan O’Donnell, one of the leaders of the group at the time wrote, “We are the Fifth Force in nature.  Our society turned loose in the universe, armed with energy, cut free from the bounds of gravity, driven by a consensus destiny, and now organized under the idea of self-governance, will represent a new natural force.  Our abilities can be focused under this protective umbrella.  Our mansions can be built with a new source of financing.  Joining arms with our national efforts and priming the pump for private enterprise.  Metanation, the new space governance vessel under construction by USIS, Inc., intends to bring synergy to space.”

Also in this book was a piece written by Marshall Savage (author of Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in 8 Easy Steps).  He stated, “The proper place for atomic power can be seen if we look at it through the focal plane of lunar development.  On the Moon, the distinction between ecology and wasteland will be starkly defined….We really can’t mess up the Moon, either by mining it or building nuclear power plants.  We can ruthlessly strip mine the surface of the Moon for centuries and it will be hard to tell we’ve even been there.  The same is true of atomic power.  We could wage unlimited nuclear warfare on the surface of the Moon, and be hard pressed after the dust had settled to tell anything had happened.  There is no reason why we cannot build nuclear power plants on the Moon’s surface with impunity.”

In his 1996 book Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets and Planets, former NASA official John Lewis says, “Indeed, the global expansion of European technology and civilization brought about by the terrestrial age of exploration is but a pale foreshadowing of the opportunities before us as humans move out into space.”

The US Space Command, in their well-known 1997 document Vision for 2020, made clear how they saw their role in the future as space colonization became possible due to taxpayer funded space technology research and development. “Historically, military forces have evolved to protect national interests and investments – both military and economic.  During the rise of sea commerce, nations build navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests….Likewise, space forces will emerge to protect military and commercial national interests and investment in the space medium due to their increasing importance.”

This was essentially a declaration of war.  It was a declaration of intent to fulfill the dream of Walter Dornberger who wanted more than ‘space stunts’ from the new US national space program that he helped bring into existence.  Remember his words: America’s top space priority out to be to “conquer, occupy, keep, and utilize space between the Earth and the moon.”  The freight train is right on schedule.

The Global Network was created 26 years ago to sound the alarm – to wake up the sleeping masses who are thrilled by images of Elon Musk sending ‘hot rods’ into space.  Our goal has always been to steadily build an international constituency who understand the plans for space control and domination and can then help us build a new consciousness on Earth about what kind of seed we should carry with us as we inevitably journey into space.

Will we carry the bad seed of greed, private property, control and domination, and ultimately war into the heavens?  Or shall we carry the good seed of inquiry, cooperation, imagination and peace as rockets lift off from our tiny space satellite Earth? Who remembers the ‘Prime Directive’ from the Star Trek TV series – ‘Do no harm’?

This is why we meet here in Oxford this weekend.  We wish to continue to raise these fundamental questions and move together around our planet to ensure that we Keep Space for Peace.      

Thank you.

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Sunday Song

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Why is the U.S. supporting Saudia Arabia's war on Yemen?

At the United Nations in New York City......

How about the kids in Palestine?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Warning: Don't follow America over the cliff.....

Last night Dave Webb took us to a Unitarian Church in downtown Leeds to conduct a taped interview that will be used at an upcoming conference that is being planned.  He wanted to get my thinking about weapons in space recorded for that event.  After interviewing me he put Will Griffin on the hot seat and had him talk about his experiences in the Army during the Iraq and Afghanistan war and also his reflections on why he got involved with the Global Network.

An invitation was extended to the community to come and listen to these interviews and a few people did show up.  One who came was Colin Archer, the recently retired Executive Director of the International Peace Bureau who has moved to Leeds after many years of leading that group from Switzerland.

After it was all over seven of us went 'round to a local pub for a pint' and some fun and stimulating discussions.  We resolved that we have to stay determined and keep our public non-violent resistance alive during times like these where fascism stares us in the face.

This morning we are packing up and preparing for the train ride to Oxford for this weekend's Global Network annual meeting.  Dave got an early call from four people from India who just got their entry Visa approved into England for the conference so we are in a bit of scramble mode to get housing lined up for them.  When you organize conferences there are always some last minute cancellations and last minute unexpected walk-ups.  No matter how well you plan there are usually these kind of late challenges.  Comes with the territory.  (A suggestion to the public:  register in advance for events like this and make life easier for the organizers.)

Our time here in Leeds, staying at the home of Dave and Leslie, has really been special.  Dave has arranged for a nightly talk each day we've been here (two different venues in Leeds, Otley, and Edinburgh).  But we've also had some lovely long walks and seen some really beautiful Yorkshire countryside and of course the trip to Scotland was very special.  And much to my liking the food part has been great - got my fish & chips with mushy peas yesterday.

We've witnessed the planning for a UK wide mobilization when Trump visits Prime Minister Theresa May here in the next month.  People of course are all talking about 'the Donald' and want to hear our take on him.  I keep saying that the only good thing about Trump is that he is escalating the decline and fall of the USA's military and economic empire as the world becomes clear that it is not wise to follow America over the cliff.  But the ultimate question is - as America collapses how hard will it fall?

The Global Network is really lucky to have Dave Webb's leadership as our board convener.  In addition he runs our web site and puts alot of effort into it.  He's a gentle soul and a loyal person who cares deeply about protecting space from the next arms race that the aerospace industry is determined to create.

In the last few days there have been several major articles published about Trump's 'space force' proposal. All of them kindly acknowledged the Global Network.  You can find them here, here, here, and here.



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Flying into Leeds