I tried hard to get into the "Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental
Symposium of the Arctic Opening" conference held yesterday and today in Bangor, Maine and in the end was unsuccessful. The event was co-sponsored by University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine
Army National Guard.
My first try was to directly contact the organizers on May 1 to request a ticket for entry. I was told the event was sold out. I didn't believe it. I wrote a blog post
about the event and the bigger issues of melting ice in the arctic and the desire by Mr. Big to drill baby drill. I also sent the blog piece to our local paper which printed it as an Op-Ed.
One of our Global Network board members created a fake identity and tried to register for the conference and was successful - all the way from England. This was around May 14 - two weeks after I was told the joint was sold out.
My next step was to ask a professor friend at the University of Maine if he could intervene on my behalf to get me into the conference. He tried but nothing came of it. His contact at the university had to go begging to the military and the request was ignored.
A couple days ago I got a call from a local newspaper editor asking me if I still wanted to attend the event. Yes I said....the editor said they would try to get me in as their reporter. This did not work either.
For some reason (fairly obvious I guess) I was frozen out of this event. It makes me damn angry to think that a public institution like the University of Maine can be part of an event that goes out of their way to exclude citizens who have a real interest and concern about the subject at hand. It indicates to me that in this case the university was subservient to the Maine National Guard who obviously had final say on who got inside the conference and who did not.
Just in case you wondered, our Global Network board member got an email from the conference a couple days ago that said in part:
May-16-14 4:58 PM
To: T Lorincz
Subject: Arctic Symposium
I have you listed for the symposium as a guest of the
University of Maine's Strategic Policy and International Affairs
Here's the agenda.
will be held on Tuesday, May 20th and Wednesday, May 21st in Bangor, Maine at
the Regional Training Institute. The address is Building 700, 289 Hildreth
Street North, Bangor, ME 04401.
The purpose of
this unclassified symposium is "to explore the challenges and emerging
opportunities arising from the significant increases in Arctic activity due to
the diminishment of sea ice and the emergence of the new Arctic