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: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

WRITE TO CONGRESS FOR PEACE IN SPACE


Below please find a letter to Congress that the Global Network and other concerned organizations are requesting that you send to your members of Congress during our current Keep Space for Peace Week.

This letter calls on them to urge the Obama administration to seriously negotiate a treaty at the UN to prevent an arms race in space.

If you are not sure about how to contact your member of Congress just go to this link for details.

Thanks for your help with this important effort.

Bruce


Dear Member of Congress,

With the United Nations about to resume discussions on preventing an arms race in outer space, we ask that you convey to the Obama Administration the need for the U.S. to actively pursue the negotiation of a new treaty to preserve space for peace.

Since the mid-1980s, the United Nations General Assembly has annually voted on a resolution for the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).

For nearly a quarter of a century, this resolution, calling merely for the "negotiation" of a new treaty to prevent the weaponization of outer space, has had the backing of virtually all the nations of the earth.

Except for the United States, which has essentially stood alone in refusing to support the PAROS resolution.

This obstructionist stance by the world's leading space-faring power has effectively undercut any meaningful efforts to halt the militarization of space. During George W. Bush's presidency, international discussions regarding space reached their lowest point ever, with the administration arguing in 2006 that "There is no, repeat, no, problem in outer space for arms control to solve" and that a proposed treaty submitted by Russia and China in February 2008 was "a diplomatic ploy by the two nations to gain a military advantage."

We believe this view is short-sighted and risky in the extreme.

From the Chinese shooting down their own weather satellite and creating a dangerous debris cloud, to North Korea and Iran test-firing missiles, to the recent showdown between Russia and the U.S. over "missile defense" bases in Eastern Europe, to the United States using that self-same "missile defense" system as an anti-satellite weapon to shoot down a falling satellite, space is daily becoming more militarized.

The political course the U.S. government has followed, in opposing any new treaties governing space, is guaranteed to foster a space arms race and to make both the earth and the heavens more unsafe.

Although American policy in the United Nations has long been the prerogative of the executive branch, we urge you, as a member of Congress, to publicly communicate to the Obama Administration the need for a new space treaty. With more and more nations seeking to become space powers (Iran is just the latest example), the need for a more comprehensive regime of space law has never been greater.

An international accord on PAROS could complement the 1967 "Outer Space Treaty" for the peaceful uses of space (the only significant space agreement left since the Bush/Cheney Administration abrogated the ABM Treaty). By establishing appropriate and effective verification mechanisms to prevent an arms race in outer space, and by prohibiting space weaponization and programs such as "missile defense," satellite-guided weapons launched from earth, and spy satellites collecting and using data for aggressive military purposes, a PAROS treaty could help us preserve this final frontier for the benefit of all life on earth.

With the annual PAROS discussions poised to resume in the United Nations, we are requesting that you send a message to the President urging the administration to actively negotiate a new treaty. Such a statement by members of Congress would alert the White House of your concern on this critical matter (as well as help set the stage for future legislative initiatives).

The Obama Administration has an unprecedented opportunity to break with the past and demonstrate to the world that it is again committed to participating in the community of nations. We urge you to make sure this opportunity is not lost.

Additional information about PAROS can be found at the Reaching Critical Will website.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

(Your Name and Address)


- Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
- Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
- Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Nebraskans for Peace

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