I take a bus this morning to Boston and then hop on my flight to Manchester in the UK. I will do nine talks in England, Wales, and Scotland over the course of 10 days. On Sept 1 I will speak at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
national conference in London called U.S. Missile Defense - towards a new Cold War?
This conference follows on from the 150-strong Prague Conference in May which saw delegates from 14 organisations spanning 9 European countries come together to formulate strategies and joint campaigns to oppose US plans for National Missile Defence, or so-called ‘Son of Star Wars’, bases in Europe.
With speakers and delegates expected from the U.S., France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the conference will discuss why we should oppose the latest aggressive project by the U.S. and how we can work together in building opposition.
Already the U.S. is upgrading Star Wars facilities at bases in the UK like Menwith
Hill (pictured above) and Fylingdales
. These bases use space technology to help direct surveillance, reconnaissance, and ultimately targeting of weapons. In addition, the U.S. has talked about putting missile defense interceptors in England and is now moving to put them in Poland and new Star Wars radars in the Czech Republic.
European activists rightly understand that these moves by the U.S. are really about the Pentagon developing a global "first-strike" military capability. And as these systems are used to surround Russia (as the ones in Poland and Czech Republic are) then we are in fact creating the conditions for a widening arms race between Russia and the U.S. For Europe that means danger as they end up being right back in the middle of the fight.
Besides speaking, one thing I will be doing is trying to bring home the stories and energy from this rapidly expanding European movement on space issues. Here in the U.S. activists are still not fully making the connections between U.S. empire building and the role that space technology plays in that military expansion.
My last talk is at Faslane
in Scotland. Faslane
is the Trident nuclear submarine base where a huge campaign has been going on this year called Faslane 365
. It has been the goal of UK activists to have civil disobedience at the Faslane
base every day - 365 days - this year. The purpose of Faslane
365 is twofold: to bring people to witness and impede the nuclear base where Britain's nuclear weapons are deployed, and enable them to demonstrate the range of serious concerns - from human rights to climate change - that people in the real world consider to be the vital challenges for the 21st century.
It will be an honor to hold Global Network banners at the front gate along with GN
chair Dave Webb (Leeds, England)
and others. (See my recent cable TV interview with Dave when he visited Maine by clicking on the link in his name.)
Will try to make a post to the blog while gone.