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

Friday, March 02, 2007

EUROPE SPACE CONFERENCE COMES AT IMPORTANT TIME

The Global Network's annual space organizing conference for 2007 will be held in Darmstadt, Germany. It is being coordinated by GN board member Regina Hagen (pictured above) who lives in Darmstadt. Regina has been one of our most loyal and active leaders on the space issue for many years now and was able to find full-time work as the director of the International Network of Engineers & Scientists Against Proliferation.

Having our meeting this year in Europe could not have been better timed as the U.S. moves to encircle Russia with so-called missile defense systems by establishing new bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. (Tony Blair has joined the club by requesting that the U.S. also consider putting these son of Star Wars systems in the UK as well.)

We've always maintained that "missile defense" is a Trojan horse. These systems have never been intended to serve as a defensive shield because any honest review of them indicates that they could easily be overwhelmed or tricked in a real world situation. But they would have value in two other significant ways.

One, by claiming to be defensive shields, they help bring massive amounts of research and development dollars into a program that is really about creating offensive space weapons technologies. Thus, the Trojan horse claim.

Secondly, if used as part of a first-strike attack scenario, then these systems would not have to worry about picking off every missile that comes toward it because their job at that point would be to offer the threat of only having to take out a couple lone missiles that might get launched in retaliation after a U.S. attack.

Now some might find it hard to believe that the U.S. would launch such a first-strike attack on another sovereign nation. That would be against international law you say. But international law does not seem to stop the U.S. militarists and recent history shows the U.S. quite willing to invade Panama, Grenada, and Iraq without provocation. The Pentagon now annually wargames a U.S. first-strike attack on China - set in the year 2016.

One goal of our March 23-24 conference in Germany is to help make contact and offer support to those in Poland and the Czech Republic who are organizing opposition to the U.S. plan for Star Wars bases in their country. In that regard we've just heard from Dave Webb, the convener of the GN's board of directors, that he has made contact with a Green Party leader in the Czech Republic and has invited him to come to Darmstadt for the conference. Dave, who lives and teaches in Leeds, England, has been doing extensive work like this throughout Europe in hopes of expanding outreach to those not yet connected to our growing international network of communities that are resisting Star Wars.

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