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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


On May 5, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all members of Congress urging them to join her in an effort to defund Project Prometheus, the nuclear rocket. See her letters at this link:

In the letter, Rep. McKinney says, "I write to invite you to join me as a co-signer on the two attached letters. They are intended to protect our citizens from the potential of a catastrophic nuclear accident posed by the Prometheus Project, a NASA/DoE/Pentagon program to develop and deploy a nuclear propulsion rocket."

"The first letter is directed to the office that will prepare the Preliminary Environmental Impact Statement for the Prometheus Program. The second letter is to express the support of Members of Congress for shifting Federal funding from the development of nuclear propulsion systems to research and development for solar and other alternative energy systems that can support our space program."

This effort by Rep. McKinney is a crucial step in the effort to ensure that we stop the nuclearization of space. In addition, it is the nuclear rocket that could be used to power weapons in space like the space-based laser so it is also a vital step in ensuring that we cut-off the power source for the weaponization of space. (In a study Commissioned by Congress called Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, staffer John Collins reported that "Nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power.... Larger versions could meet multimegawatt needs of space-based lasers..... Nuclear reactors must support major bases on the moon until better options, yet unidentified, become available.")

We urge all our affiliate members and supporters to immediately call your Congressperson in Washington DC and request that they contact Rep. McKinney's office to become a cosigner of her letter calling for the defunding of the nuclear rocket. Please call the Congressional switchboard right away at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office of your Congressional representative.

Please help us by passing this e-mail on to your personal lists so that we can expand the numbers of people who see it. Call me if you have any questions.

It is not often that we get Congressional support to end the arms race in space. We don't want to let Rep. McKinney down! Please act today.

Thank you.


Blogger Eric Bagai said...

This was sent to the Prometheus Project public comments address:

Dear Scientists and workers on the Prometheus Project,

With the greatest respect and consideration for your knowledge and positions, may I ask if you have entirely lost your senses?

You surely know the risks that you are putting us all to? It cannot be a surprise to you that the fuel you are using has already endangered tens of thousands of people, from miners, to those affected by the mine tailings and contaminated water table, to those who must transport, handle, store, and process it?

What about those random, forever uncounted people who will sicken and die a few days or months or years earlier than they otherwise might, simply because of your gratuitous use of a particularly toxic material? Will you ever be sure that a loved one or even your very self might not be among them? Do you really need this job that badly? Is it that hard for you to find honest work?

If you have not yet put this down to the whine of a crank, please know that every day I deal with the results of the work of your predecessors, who participated in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I deal with the victims and the children of the victims of those who miscalculated or ignored the risks at the Nevada and Pacific test sites, the Los Alamos and Pentex processing sites, the Hanford storage facilities, and at TMI and Chernobyl. I do not speak for them, but in my work I must view their suffering every day, and it changes my life, too. How can the knowledge of it not change yours?

Your scientific predecessors were sure of their calculations, just as you are. Their certainty was no comfort to those upon whom their errors were so cruelly visited. Your certainty will be as little comfort to your victims, or even to yourself, years from now.

If you ease your conscience with the thought that somebody has to do this work, please know that, indeed, nobody has to do this work. It is not necessary. You fool no one by assuming a comparison to Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods. You bring us nothing--we already have death. This make-work project is a deadly and childish whim, and the scientific trappings of it are a thin disguise for the conscienceless play of a child with a magnifying glass and an ant hill on a sunny day. Your cover is blown.

By what authority do you have the right to so risk the lives and well-being of others? You have none. Do you have the permission of your children? Of their children? I think not.

Please reconsider, for yourself if not for others, and quit this work. Even if the closest you come to the Prometheus Project is simply to read this letter and file it, then you are weighted with the responsibility of acting on it, and being able in your own last days to say that at least this is not on your conscience.

Quit now. You really do have a choice.

Yours truly,

Eric Bagai,
The International Shadow Project,
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

5/20/05, 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Thomas H. (Wisconsin, the State of Ethanol Refineries' Wasteland and Corporate Welfare Snake Oil) said...

Thanks to you, Bruce, for forwarding the 5/20/05 article from the Baltimore Sun ("Space Junkyard").........

Important....... and very overlooked dangers...... you can't get boy or girlscout troops to go on roadside cleanup trips out yonder.... that is one pristine environment that can't be restored.....

We throw up and blow up our *^*#$% out there...... and forever after it will KEEP HITTING THE FAN...... it can only get worse. Onward we go., digging ourselves ever deeper into the quicksand of greed and power-lust......... we are enshrouding ourselves in a net of deadly shards, insuring our status as a "Devil's Island" in our sector of the galaxy...... unapproachable, surrounded by a vast barbed, shrapnel fence of disastrous proportions, and, of our own making.......

No safe rapture for Bush and the revelation folks. Sorry. Soon, if we don't stop this space race to self-extinction, no one will be able to enter or exit the space envelope around planet Earth without colliding with orbiting space trash. Just booby traps for the whole human race...including the boobs that planted "space-mines" en route to delusional, mythic star wars.

One Giant leap......... we come in PIECES for all mankind.

5/24/05, 2:51 PM  

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