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

Sunday, May 13, 2007

U.S. SPACE FIRST STRIKE PROGRAM WELL UNDERWAY

In the House of Representatives last week Democratic Party Congress members lead the way to approve money for Star Wars research and development programs in the fiscal year 2008 budget.

Rejecting the recommendations from a sub-committee, Representatives Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) restored $150 million to Pentagon boost phase missile defense programs, $48 million for future missile defense systems, including space sensors, $12 million more for sea-based sensors and language to allow $160 million for a highly controversial European missile defense site.

Joyfully cheering these moves to ensure continuation of space weapons research and development programs, a pro-space warfare organization called Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) reported in an email that, "This shift of priorities from last week's initial Strategic Subcommittee's markup shows a bipartisan movement accepted by a Democratic Majority to put forward systems to address future threats and to continue to invest into our countries most advanced boost phase missile defense system, the Air Borne Laser. "

The MDAA is a very active proponent of space weapons technology development and is led by Riki Ellison, a former professional football player with the San Francisco 49ers. Ellison is particularly excited about the development of sea-based Aegis destroyers mounted with theatre missile defense systems that will be deployed in the Asian-Pacific region to surround China.

The Pentagon recently announced they would soon begin to build a missile defense base on Guam, a U.S. military colony now undergoing major expansion with new runways for advanced bombers, new deployments of cruise missiles, and 8,000 new troops relocated from Japan. Activists in Guam have been undertaking major organizing efforts to get the U.S. out of their nation - the U.S. military now controls more than 1/3 of the island.

Activists in Poland and the Czech Republic have also been very busy of late protesting the U.S. plan to put 10 missile defense interceptors in Poland and a new Star Wars radar facility in the Czech Republic. The Pentagon is saying these facilities would be used to protect Europe and the U.S. from a nuclear attack by Iran - which has no nuclear weapons today. But the truth is these bases, along with others planned in Georgia and Azerbaijan, will be used to tighten the military noose around Russia's neck as NATO and the U.S. military surround her.

Following an International Conference against the Militarization of Europe last week in Prague, a statement was released by the participants. It said, in part, that "We voice our protest against the plans of the Bush administration to install a 'national missile defense system' for the U.S. on the territory of the Czech Republic and Poland . Most people in the Czech Republic and Poland, as well as in the rest of Europe, reject plans to host this system. We reject the official reasons given for the NMD project as mere pretexts."

"The realisation of the U.S. plan will not lead to enhanced security. On the contrary - it will lead to new dangers and insecurities."

"Although it is described as 'defensive', in reality it will allow the United States to attack other countries without fear of retaliation. It will also put 'host' countries on the front line in future U.S. wars."

Disguised as "missile defense" the Pentagon's Star Wars program is all about offense and global control and domination. The planned deployments in Europe are just one more piece in the military space architecture that would give the U.S. "full spectrum dominance." Last October the Bush administration released its new National Space Policy that essentially gave the Pentagon a green light to move ahead with deployments of space war-fighting technologies.

The Air Force Space Command's Strategic Master Plan: FY06 and Beyond says, "Air Force Space Command will deploy a new generation of responsive space access, prompt global strike, and space superiority capabilities.....Our vision calls for prompt global strike space systems with the capability to directly apply force from or through space against terrestrial targets."

Russia and China understand that they are now viewed as the "enemy". A recent poll showed that 74% of the people in Russia have a "negative view of the U.S. missile defense system." On May 9 Russian President Vladimir Putin made a statement at a Victory Day parade on Red Square that left little doubt he was criticizing the United States for ''disrespect for human life, claims to global exclusiveness and dictate, just as it was in the time of the Third Reich.''

Following Putin's speech Sergei Markov, of the Moscow-based Institute for Political Research, expanded on the theme when he said, ''After the Cold War ended, the United States has initiated a new arms race,'' fueling nuclear ambitions of many nations worldwide.

''If a nation doesn't have nuclear weapons, it risks being bombed like Yugoslavia or Iraq,'' he said. ''And if it does have nuclear weapons like North Korea, it faces no such threat.''

Russia knows that U.S. deployments of missile defense systems are not intended to knock out Iranian nukes. Instead they are part of a U.S. first strike system now under development that is being supported by both Republican and Democrat party members of Congress.

In a recent article Conn Hallinan, an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, writes "Anti-ballistic missile systems (ABM) have a dark secret: They are not supposed to stop all-out missile attacks, just mop up the few retaliatory enemy missiles that manage to survive a first strike. First strikes - called 'counterpoint' attacks in bloodless vocabulary of nuclear war - are a central component in U.S. nuclear doctrine."

"If you are sitting in Moscow or Beijing and adding up the ABMs, the new warheads, and the growing ring of bases on your borders, you have little choice but to react. Imagine the U.S. response if the Russians and the Chinese were to deploy similar systems in Canada, Mexico and Cuba."

A new arms race is well underway with the U.S., once again, leading the pack. The aggressive first strike space domination program stands to benefit the weapons industry and global corporations who are now moving to extract diminishing supplies of oil and other precious resources around the world. The cost will be further expansion of a militarized society in the U.S., cutbacks in social spending worldwide, and more instability for the people of the world.

One key way to prevent this new arms race is to call upon the U.S. Congress to convert the growing military industrial complex to peaceful and environmentally sustainable production.

Republicans and Democrats now support the expansion of the U.S. military empire. Both parties must be challenged to give up dreams of American exceptionalism and global dominance. In order to make this happen the peace movement worldwide must challenge the growing corporate domination of our governments.

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