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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


The local newspaper reported this morning that over 30,000 people lined up in downtown Portland yesterday afternoon to "welcome home" the Maine national guard units recently back from Iraq. Just to make sure they got a big turnout the power boys invited the Superbowl champs football team, New England Patriots, to be there as well.

Our Veterans for Peace (VfP) chapter lined up along the parade route with a large sign that had our name on it and the words "Join Us." We were dressed in our black VfP sweatshirts and got a good response from many in the parade. Some of the returning GI's waved to us and a few flashed peace signs. The biggest cheers of the day though were reserved for the football team and it had to have been noticed by the returning soldier "heroes." I am convinced most people came to see the football team.

The local media were the biggest promoters of the event. One of our senators, Olympia Snowe and our Congressman Tom Allen, marched in front of the parade and I yelled "Get out of Iraq" a couple times as they walked by our VfP delegation. The morning paper has a couple of good quotes from two VfP members in it so we did get a tiny bit of press.

Following the parade I attended the art show opening called War Flowers: Swords into Plowshares that was held at the University of Southern Maine art gallery. About 150 attended and they were not disappointed. The art work, depicting the idea of converting the military industrial complex into peaceful production, was extraordinary. One of the crowd favorites showed George W. Bush resigning from the presidency and moving to Bath, Maine where he became a swan boat driver as Bath Iron Works converted from building destroyers to swan boats. The art will be shown at the university gallery until August 19.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

After viewing your profile I wondered just what the heck a political organizer is and where the heck you get your money to live on. I figure you're living off the sweat of the taxpayer. A parasite, perhaps a leech, bloodsucker of another kind, or maybe just a dog that lives off its own vomit. Yep, that about covers it.

4/10/05, 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce, where are the Russians getting the idea that Obering has called for deploying weapons in space (article below). Did he, or did you or any of your associates just tell the Russians he had? Please help me clear this up, and email me care of my home page, thanks!

Russian Defense Minister Against US Initiative To Deploy Weapons in Space

KOSTROMA. April 13 (Interfax-AVN) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that he is against the U.S.'s initiative to deploy weapons in outer space.

"Russia's position is that we are categorically against the deployment of weapons in space," Ivanov told the press in Kostroma on Wednesday in comments on U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Henry A. Obering III's remark about the possible deployment of weapons in space by the U.S.

"I can't understand how weapons deployed in space can counteract new challenges and threats, in particular, terrorism," the minister said.

4/13/05, 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the quote, apparently:

Defense Daily


April 13,2005 Volume 226 Issue 9

MDA Considers Space Layer For Ballistic Missile Defense

By Ann Roosevelt

The changing nature of the threat and its global implications has led the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to once again consider adding space-based defenses to its developing multi-layer ballistic missile defense, the agency director said.

"Emerging threats and uncertainty would really have us take a hard look at developing a space-based layer that we could add to the system," Air Force Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, MDA director said at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 3rd Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference in Washington on Monday.

Such a layer could consist of advanced sensors and interceptors.

"We intend, beginning in '08, to establish a space-based test bed so we can explore options for space-based interceptors," he said.

However, considering a space-based BMD layer does not mean a return to the 1980s heyday of SDI. Then, space-based interceptors were known as "Brilliant Pebbles." This concept envisioned garage-sized objects packed with interceptors orbiting in space for missile defense. It became a lightening rod for controversy.

Key to this new effort, Obering said, is that, "we are not proposing that we put up thousands of interceptors."

Even if space-based interceptors would be part of future missile defense is unsure: "I don't know but I'm willing to experiment," he said, responding to a question from the audience. There's a lot of "attractiveness" to space-based interceptors, for their potential for swift reaction time, global coverage, and lack of damage on the ground, but there's "emotionalism" and "religious argument" about the concept.

Elsewhere, to expand surveillance and tracking capabilities, in 2007 MDA expects to launch two satellites as a test bed for a Space Tracking Surveillance System (STSS) satellite system. An STSS constellation would augment the Defense Support System satellites currently in place. Northrop Grumman [NOC] is building the satellites, which will carry a sensor payload from Raytheon [RTN] (Defense Daily, Apr. 2, 2004).

"I believe this is critical, by the way, to the future of the missile defense program," Obering said. "I believe we have to get to space as it relates to our sensing capability because we don't know where the threat is going to be emerging from so we have to be able to provide global coverage and this is the only way to do it really, is from space."

MDA also intends in FY '07 to start the Near Field InfraRed Experiment (NFIRE), a satellite that would collect data on ballistic missile plumes.

Additionally, MDA plans to expand the capabilities of its ground-based systems, he said. After internal risk assessments last winter, the agency believes that after completing the fielding of Block 8 and Block 10 "we should be moving to more mobile capabilities that have more flexibility" because of the uncertainty of the future.

The agency has also postponed moving ahead on a third interceptor site in Europe, in view of a potential future move away from a static defense to a mobile BMD solution.

Here, STSS would be vital: "We believe that the Space Based Tracking and Surveillance provides a significant effectiveness improvement" across the entire threat spectrum, Obering said.

4/14/05, 9:25 AM  

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