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, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I was proud of our Maine Veterans for Peace memorial day parade effort. The public is in denial on the war.

The tail end of our Veterans for Peace memorial day parade entry

Monday, May 30, 2005


Our Maine Veterans for Peace chapter was in the Brunswick memorial day parade this morning. It is said the parade was the largest in the state. Some of our group of thirty pushed a float with 800 crosses, the number of GI's killed in Iraq at this time last year. On the front of the float was a large sign saying the number was now over 1,600 GI's killed in Iraq. Behind the float was a large banner listing the number of GI's killed in Korea (Korean war was the theme for the parade today). The banner also listed the number of innocent civilians killed during the Korean war. Then behind that was a banner that took up both lanes of the road as we marched through the neighboring town of Topsham, over the bridge, into Brunswick. This banner listed all the military and civilian war dead from WW I until 2004. And then finishing up our group I helped carry a large banner that said "Abolish War" on it.

The response was interesting. A bit of applause now and then as we walked along, but many who clapped were timid as they did it, almost like it was an illegal act to do so. Then there were others who didn't clap but who would flash us a look with their eyes to say they agreed. Still others made a slow easy nod of the head, very discreet. I saw two men turn their backs on us as we went by and I heard one man yell out something about the Taliban while another called us "hippies".

Mostly the crowd was in stunned silence by our Veterans for Peace display. I at times felt like I was marching through the Confederate south during the early 1860's with a banner that said "Abolish Slavery." The concept is just far from people's comprehension, they have been well trained to see war as a noble endeavor. Obviously, that is what this parade is for.

Behind us in the parade were a small group of young girls doing cheerleading exercises with blaring music coming from their lead car. And behind them were the lovely young women contestants in the Miss Maine pageant -- all dressed in sexy clothes with fancy spring hats while sitting on the back seat of convertible cars. They waved to the crowds on the street and you could see people's relief when they came along. Here was something that many folks could understand on this memorial day. Cheerleading and beauty queens. Now that is more like America than these veterans reminding people about the atrocities of war.

I felt such pride in our Veterans for Peace chapter. Time after time here in Maine we keep finding a way to place ourselves in these parades and other settings that promote war. World War II, Korean war, Vietnam vets, and our new member who served in Afghanistan. It is truly a great bunch of men and women.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I went to see the new Star Wars movie tonight. My review:

* Acting bad

* Story line - boring and predictable

* Action scenes - boring and predictable (Have not changed much since I was a kid watching pirate movies and sword fights. In Star Wars they just have more technology.)

* Morality play - overused and predictable. Evil forces, dark side stuff - same story line as the rest of the movies.

* Redeeming moments? One when Darth Vader says "You are either with me or against me" Reminds folks of George W. Bush.

Even though Lucas says it is his last Star Wars film, the ending was a set up for another one for sure. The dark side wins but two babies are born and the Jedi's will raise them to fight the dark side. They are the children of Darth Vader so here we go again.

Worst part of the night - popcorn was $6. Outrageous.


Last night our local PeaceWorks group showed a BBC documentary about the Korean war called "Kill Them All." It is a story about No Gun Ri, the place during the Korean war where the U.S. military ordered the killing of civilians by U.S. troops. The film showed this was official U.S. policy (many different military documents were uncovered that issued the orders to kill civilians) during that war and how civilians were slaughtered many different times by U.S. troops. Once Korean civilians were along a beach and were shelled by Navy ships. Other times U.S. war planes straffed innocent and unarmed refugees, other times U.S. troops mowed civilians down with machine guns.

We showed the film because the theme of our town's (Brunswick) memorial day parade this year is the Korean War. We had about 8 Korean war veterans show up, along with other interested people, for the film last night and had a great discussion afterwards. We asked people if they saw any similarities between the story in Korea and what is happening in Iraq today.

Our Veterans for Peace chapter will march in the Brunswick parade on memorial day as we did last year. We will be dressed in black and pull a float with crosses representing the dead in Iraq. Our banner will read "Abolish all war." The local PeaceWorks group will also join the parade dressed in black.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


The Governor of Maine, John Baldacci (Democrat), was the guest on a one-hour call-in show today on Maine Public Radio (MPR). He was talking about how he is fighting the base closing process. The Pentagon is recommending the closure of the Portsmouth Naval shipyard (borders Maine & N.H.)and dramatically down-sizing the Brunswick Naval Air Station. About 6,000 jobs would head to the south.

I was the first caller to come on line and stated that local communities have become overly dependent on military spending. I said it would be good to see the governor spending as much time educating the public about the need for conversion of the military industrial complex. I went on to say that we need the governor to be more vocal and proactive about creating sustainable technologies development. Why can't we build windmills, solar systems, and rail systems for public transit, I asked? With gas prices rising the way they are we need to be looking toward public mass transit. Years ago Maine had a statewide passenger rail system. Why can't we be building one again?

I concluded the call by saying that creating new jobs in the sustainable technology field would make Maine more independent -- less reliant on the boom-and-bust cycles of military spending.

The second caller and the last caller raised these same points. Only one caller mourned the loss of military production in Maine. It reminds me of the story a friend recently told me. She is a business woman in southern Maine who was interviewed by MPR the day it was announced that the Portsmouth naval yard would close. The reporter went into her business and asked for reaction to the closing. My friend told her that she was glad it was closing and the state needed to get on with the task of developing jobs other than military production. The reporter told my friend that "Nearly everyone I interview is telling me that. Lots of people who call the radio station are saying the same thing."

Is it not possible that growing numbers of people are tired of the war economy? Is it possible that people are longing for the day when they can make a living doing something other than preparing for the destruction of the world? The time has come to move from a war economy to a peace economy. It is our tax dollars. What kind of a country and economy do we want?

Monday, May 23, 2005


The Democrats lost their effort in the Senate to block several of the worst judges that the Bush administration was pushing. William Pryor, Priscilla Owens, and Janice Rogers Brown will go before the Senate for an up or down vote. They will likely be approved. The filibuster won't be used against them. The Republicans lost in that they are not able to totally kill the filibuster but they will be getting the vast majority of the right-wing fundamentalist judges they wanted.

In the end the courts become more right-wing in America. I recently heard that Republicans control 12 out of 13 federal district courts. This "deal" will not change that.

This whole episode, to me, shows the dramatic weakness of the Democratic party. They could not keep seven of their most conservative senators from cutting the legs out from under their effort to hold the line on the courts.

The Republican controlled federal courts will continue to eat away at civil liberties, abortion rights, the separation between church and state, and environmental protection from corporate pollution. This "deal" by so-called moderates in the Senate came after it was clear the Democrats were going to lose on the filibuster issue. Maine's two Republican senators were under intense pressure not to support the "nuclear option" to kill the filibuster. They were happy to cut this deal because they could still support most of Bush's right-wing judges and not anger folks in our state who would have been furious if they had voted to kill the filibuster.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and the Minority leader, said on C-SPAN tonight that this is a victory because now the Senate can get on with its important business of funding our troops who are at war around the world protecting America. The Democrats are a party without backbone. They run from fights because in the end they are part of the oligarchy that controls this country. The Democrats are thrilled that they didn't have to have a real fight with Republicans over the filibuster.

The people once again get a glimpse at how the Democrats fire up the troops and then at the last minute pull the rug out from under us. If Pryor, Owens, and Brown were as bad as the Democrats have been saying for so many months then why could they not stand on principle and fight against them to the end? The reason is because the Democrats will always pull away as they come to the wall. They will always cave in and betray their constituents.

I recently spent a lot of time talking with a journalist in Ohio who wrote extensively about Bush's controversial election "victory" in that state in 2004. The journalist told me the story about massive vote rigging and cheating by the Bush team in Ohio and stated that there was ample evidence that John Kerry had won Ohio, and thus the election. Kerry was personally made aware of the facts and chose not to fight for the voters who had stood for hours in line and were never given the chance to vote. Why did Kerry and the Democrats not fight for democracy?

The answer is simple. The Democrats will always choose to remain loyal to the system. Their loyalty to the corporate dominated power structure comes before loyalty to the public.

This whole episode kept the media focused for months. Debate about the war in Iraq is virtually dead in the national media. Now that this deal is done, will the Democratic party work to end the war and bring the troops home? Will they filibuster the next $80 billion request Bush makes to fund the war?

We can only count on the grassroots people. The time has come for people to pop their heads out of the sand and speak up. We can't wait for politicians to save us. We have to start fighting now to protect our children's future. We can't give up.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Today Mary Beth Sullivan, Karen Wainberg and I drove north to Bangor for a meeting with a dozen activists from that part of the state to review our effort to turn the Maine Congressional delegation around on Iraq. For the past several months we have been working to put pressure on our two senators and our two congressmen to hold a town hall meeting so citizens in the state can have a public forum to address the war issue. They have been slow to respond and we've stepped up the pressure by increasing the numbers of calls and visits to their offices.

Today's meeting was a good one and we made some plans that we will move forward with in the coming months that will increase even further our visitations to their offices here in Maine.

It is really frustrating for us because it is clear that the politicians do not want to hear from the citizens of the state. Polls are showing that growing majorities of the people do not support the war and folks are growing restive about the enormous amount of our hard-earned tax dollars being wasted on the war. Thus the politicians don't want to talk about it.

Many people in our country who agree with us have given up. They feel powerless and are waiting for someone else to do something. They want someone else to move first. So we decided in our meeting today that we have to keep advancing, we have to keep moving, to keep trying to break through the doors of numbness. We've got to try to help folks come alive. This is supposed to be a democracy, and democracy only works when people get engaged.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I have just returned from a two-day trip to northern Virginia where I attended, along with Global Network board member Loring Wirbel from Colorado Springs, an event organized by Dr. Helen Caldicott called Full Spectrum Dominance.

Helen's Nuclear Policy Research Institute gathered key media representatives from news outlets like CNN, NBC, Space News, Reuters, Financial Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Defense Daily, Washington Post, Cape Cod Times, Toronto Globe & Mail, UPI and others, to hear the two-day briefing from scientists, policy makers, space strategists and activists. The event took place at a conference center in a beautiful rural setting where 25 briefers sat down with the 45 members of the media to discuss the latest developments in military space issues.

The event began with Gen. Charles Horner, retired former commander of the U.S. Space Command. He described his career as one of "destroying things and killing people" and told the assembled that the Pentagon does not "want to talk about space control because they are afraid of groups like you that will be protesting in the streets." He went on to defend plans for missile defense by saying that "ones [nukes] that we shoot down are going to fall on Canada" rather than the U.S.

Since World War II over $130 billion has been wasted on research and development (R & D) for the Star Wars program. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is now spending about $10 billion a year on space weapons R & D. The Bush administration is expected to announce its new national space policy sometime in June and the New York Times reported on May 18 that the new directive will likely include language giving the Pentagon the green light to move forward with offensive technologies for military space control and domination.

Dr. Richard Garwin, Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations, talked about the benefits of U.S. military control of space and said "It would be a disaster for U.S. military capability to lose our current military space resources." It was commonly agreed that the U.S. today has sole military control of space and that current Pentagon military satellites give the U.S. military the ability to wage war onto the Earth with unrivaled power. Peter Hayes, former Air Force officer, reported that nearly 70% of the weapons used in the recent U.S. "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq were guided to their targets by space satellites. Thus, he maintained, the U.S. must control the space medium.

As the public becomes more aware of U.S. plans for space dominance, the military seeks to water down some of its previously provocative language. One example is replacing the word "deployment" with the phrase "test-bedding" when describing new space weapons technologies. This will make it harder for Congress to vote against a particular program because it is sold as a benign R & D effort.

Even some people that you would consider "peace activists" support the notion of U.S. space control. Mike Moore, former Editor of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, stated he was "in favor of full spectrum dominance," but urged the U.S. not to reject the notion of treaties that could bring stability to space. Moore, and others from traditional "arms control" organizations, argued that using weapons in space would create larger space debris problems for the Pentagon, thus putting existing U.S. military space assets in jeopardy. One representative of an arms control group seemed to imply that using "reversible" anti-satellite weapons (that only temporarily blind an opponent's satellite) might be more acceptable as they leave an attacked satellite intact but inoperable, thus eliminating the debris problem.

Much time was spent debating the merits of missile defense. Will it work or not? Can a bullet hit a bullet in space or is the technology incapable of ever working? Ted Postol, Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security at MIT offered strong evidence that the missile defense "kill vehicle" could never discriminate effectively between actual warheads and dummies thus enabling any attacking nation the ability to overwhelm the system. During one back-and-forth debate on this issue (what I call "inside baseball") several arms control advocates responded to a question from missile defense proponents saying they would support the program if indeed it would work.

One program offered by many as an alternative to an unworkable national missile defense system (whose job would be to protect the continental U.S. from attack) is to build a Theatre Missile Defense (TMD), or boost-phase defense system that would have a "better chance" of performing the desired result of destroying a launched "enemy" missile. This could be done by deploying TMD systems near North Korea (who today has zero nuclear weapons capable of hitting the North American continent) and "taking out" their missiles soon after launch. Dr. Hui Zhang, a Chinese scientist now studying at Harvard University, reminded the audience that China views TMD systems as highly destabilizing and believes they are intended to negate China's current deterrent stock of 20 nuclear missiles. TMD deployments by the U.S., on Aegis destroyers, are planned in Japan, South Korea and possibly Taiwan. China has responded that TMD deployments, as well as other U.S. moves to "deny" space access to potential enemies, could force them to build more nuclear missiles.

Dr. Everrett Dolman, Professor of Military Studies at the Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell AFB in Alabama, emphatically stated that the U.S. "will not give up its right to use force as long as it is the hegemon." Formerly on active duty in the Air Force, Dolman began his career as an intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency, and later moved to the U.S. Space Command. At one point, during a discussion about the need for a new international space treaty to prevent an arms race in space, Dolman responded derisively, "Mice always vote to bell the cat."

One of the "mice" in the meeting was Vladimir Yermakov, Senior Councellor at the Russian Embassy in Washington. (He was closely watched by an FBI agent who monitored every move he made while he was at the event.) Yermakov stated that Russia has sworn off first-deployment of weapons in space. In reference to Russia's strong support for a new, expansive space weapons treaty he said, "We fail to understand the position of the U.S. in this matter. We ask what is wrong with our approach and get no answer." He refers to the U.S. refusal to negotiate a new space treaty. The official position of the U.S., during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, has been that there is no problem and thus no need for a new treaty banning weapons in space.

On the second day of the event Loring Wirbel and I had a chance to make presentations to the assembly. Loring went first and did a fabulous job of describing how space technology today is used to coordinate virtually all warfare on Earth. He began by challenging the tendency of some "arms control groups" to offer compromises on the space weapons issue, stating they needed to strengthen themselves by developing some "outside the beltway thinking." (Loring is a long-time member of the Colorado Springs-based group Citizens for Peace in Space that was a founding member of the Global Network. He makes his living as an editorial director of a high-tech magazine and is an effective spokesman for the peace movement position that allowing a "little bit" of space weaponization will lead to more and more of it over time, thus creating the eventual spark for a dangerous new arms race.) Loring estimated that about $70 billion a year is spent on "military space" development once you factor in the combined space budgets of the MDA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Administration, NASA, and the Department of Energy (now developing the nuclear rocket).

I began my presentation by referring to the heated debate over the question whether missile defense will work or not. I proposed to widen the discussion and suggested we look at Christopher Columbus and Spain. I reminded everyone how Queen Isabella began the 100-year process of building the Spanish Armada after Columbus' "successful" return voyage from the Americas. Spain's naval armada helped create the global war system that we suffer from today, as soon thereafter all the European powers were building navies to "compete" for control and domination of the sea lanes and new territories for resources and markets. I suggested we were now debating the size of the cannon balls on Spanish armada ships rather than discussing the long-term implications of creating a new arms race in the heavens. I talked about the long-range plan of the space command to build a military highway from the Earth out to the planetary bodies and showed the cover of the congressional study called Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years. I suggested that "missile defense" was a Trojan horse that really didn't have to work -- it had already allowed the Pentagon and the aerospace industry to move tens of billions of dollars into research and development programs for space offensive warfare -- all the while hyping up North Korea's "puny" missile capability. I talked about the mission of the Global Network to create an international citizens constituency to stop an arms race in space, and detailed the efforts of our affiliated groups across the U.S. and around the world. I shared how TMD deeply concerns our members in Japan and South Korea because they understand how this program will be a provocation to China and destabilize the Asian-Pacific region. Could it be, I asked, this is what the weapons industry really wants? A new arms race partner in China? I concluded with several solutions. I suggested that America is addicted to war and violence and local economies in the U.S. are addicted to military spending. I suggested that people want jobs, and that both Democrats and Republicans are not addressing the issue because both parties are committed to massive military spending. I called for the defunding of all space weapons R & D (something that many of the "arms control groups" will not say), and suggested our hard-earned tax dollars should be used to develop alternative sustainable technological development in a much needed conversion of the military-industrial complex. I urged religious leaders to raise the moral and ethical questions about war in the heavens and I called for more public debate about the legal question on the ownership of space as aerospace corporations make a move to grab planetary bodies for eventual "resource extraction."

I ended my presentation by quoting NASA's new director, Mike Griffin, who appeared before a Senate committee on May 12. Griffin, who worked on Ronald Reagan's SDI program in the 1980's, told Congress, "For America to continue to be preeminent among nations, it is necessary for us to be the preeminent spacefaring nation." I told the assembled room of journalists and space enthusiasts that just as nuclear weapons are today unacceptable, so too is the philosophy outlined by Mike Griffin.

Helen Caldicott took the floor after I finished and reminded us all, as she so powerfully does in these moments, that our planet is in the intensive care unit and that we must change our way of thinking if we are to save life for the future generations. She underscored that we cannot continue to play the little boys game of tit-for-tat that was so evident among many at this unique gathering.

It was an honor to have been invited to attend this event and I came away convinced that our work to keep space for peace is more important now than ever. We must step up our efforts and ensure that when Bush releases his new space policy directive in June, that it is met with a resounding global chorus that says we will not allow this plan for space warfare to go forward. We must raise our voices now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Just finished the two-day space weapons press briefing that Helen Caldicott organized in Virginia. Had quite a good number of mainstream media in attendance over the two days. Will do a more complete report once I get home. I was one of about 25 people who made presentations to the media.

Interestingly there was a woman in civilian clothes who was sitting in front of me and was feverishly taking notes of every speaker. She didn't seem to be connecting with anyone so I asked who she was with. She sheepishly acknowledged that she was a military officer for the Space Command. So we were being scouted.

There were 5 speakers at the event representing those who support weapons in space. So we had some interesting discussions at times during the event. It is pretty amazing though to listen to people argue that U.S. global hegemony (their word) is a positive thing. The resulting instability and conflict does not seem to move their hearts and this is something I do not understand.

I described the work of the Global Network, talked about the concerns of our affiliate groups in the U.S., in the Asian-Pacific, and in Europe. I also talked about how the space command is the military arm of corporate globalization.

More later. For now back to watching my baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, as I am in their media market here in Virginia and get them on TV in my room. Unfortunately they are losing badly at this moment.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


* Tomorrow I go to Virginia to attend a two-day press briefing on space issues that Helen Caldicott's Nuclear Policy Research Institute is putting on. She has 45 journalists coming to the event and then another 40 or so people who will be presenting to the media. The event is called Full Spectrum Dominance and will feature retired Gen. Charles Horner, former commander of the U.S. Space Command during the Persian Gulf War. It was that war that the military says was the "first space war." I am to talk about the Global Network, who we are and what we do. GN board member Loring Wirbel will be there as well talking about how space technology coordinates all warfare today, thus making satellites space weapons.

* The Brevard County (space coast) ACLU has sent me a sampler of some of the documents they have obtained concerning the NASA infiltration and surveillance of the Global Network. For me the most telling item in the documents I've seen was the May 5, 2003 reference to the Kennedy Space Center as the "victim" and the Global Network as the "suspect." What does that tell you about the state of civil liberties in America?

* Today I am organizing a meeting here in Brunswick on behalf of Maine Veterans for Peace, of which I am a member, to plan a September 10 protest against the Navy's "Blue Angels" flight team that will come here that weekend to "perform." We will hold a protest march from our downtown out to the Naval Air Station gates. They expect about 40,000 people to come see the air show so we should have a good audience. I am calling the air show the "Gods of Metal." Notice how they time this military recruiting show on the 9-11 anniversary.

* Been getting a good response from around the country from folks who are passing around the appeal for support of Cynthia McKinney's effort to defund the nuclear rocket. Really appreciate the help folks, thanks.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I spent the entire day yesterday sending e-mails out to peace groups all over the U.S. about Rep. Cynthia McKinney's plan to lead the fight against funding the nuclear rocket. (See yesterday's entry below for details.)

I found two sources that listed the address for virtually every peace group in the country and copied and pasted, one by one, an e-mail to them. The nuclear rocket issue is not known to many people, even in the peace movement, so I figured it was worth my time to bring some awareness to folks.

This is the way I was able to make the Cancel Cassini Campaign, back in 1997, such a big issue. For three years before the launch of the space mission, that carried 72 pounds of plutonium-238 on-board, I day in and day out tried to do something to make people aware of Cassini. So now I am doing the same thing on Project Prometheus - the nuclear rocket.

Some months ago I was contacted by the Keystone Center in Colorado. They are a PR firm hired by NASA to determine what critics of the nuclear rocket intend to do to stop it. The Keystone Center intends to help NASA draft public relations strategies to blunt our efforts. They wrote, and then called, wanting a meeting so they could find out about our plans. Imagine that, they wanted me to sit down and tell them what we plan to do to stop Project Prometheus so they could then turn around and help NASA! Of course, I declined the meeting. Let them read the blog like everyone else who is spying on us from NASA and the military-industrial complex. Let them earn their $$$$ the hard way! Work for it!

I will say this. We do intend to run a global campaign to Park Project Prometheus. We want to park it in the annals of history alongside past nuclear rocket schemes like Orion, Rover, NERVA, and Timberwind. All previous generations of the nuclear rocket were cancelled because of enormous cost and fear of the environmental consequences of an accident. What makes anyone think that the reaction to Prometheus will be any different?

There is one difference. Today the media are under control of a handful of multi-national corporations that are owned by or connected to the military-industrial complex. It will be harder to get decent stories written about the dangers of the nuclear rocket. At the same time we have a Congress under the thumb of the aerospace industry's big money. The fight will be hard this time around but no less important.

It will be our strategy to bring attention to Project Prometheus in any way possible. It will take extraordinary effort to reach beyond the barriers erected by corporate money and power. That is why I spent the entire day yesterday e-mailing groups, one by one, around the nation. A spider spins its web one strand at a time.


On May 5, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all members of Congress urging them to join her in an effort to defund Project Prometheus, the nuclear rocket. See her letters at this link:

In the letter, Rep. McKinney says, "I write to invite you to join me as a co-signer on the two attached letters. They are intended to protect our citizens from the potential of a catastrophic nuclear accident posed by the Prometheus Project, a NASA/DoE/Pentagon program to develop and deploy a nuclear propulsion rocket."

"The first letter is directed to the office that will prepare the Preliminary Environmental Impact Statement for the Prometheus Program. The second letter is to express the support of Members of Congress for shifting Federal funding from the development of nuclear propulsion systems to research and development for solar and other alternative energy systems that can support our space program."

This effort by Rep. McKinney is a crucial step in the effort to ensure that we stop the nuclearization of space. In addition, it is the nuclear rocket that could be used to power weapons in space like the space-based laser so it is also a vital step in ensuring that we cut-off the power source for the weaponization of space. (In a study Commissioned by Congress called Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, staffer John Collins reported that "Nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power.... Larger versions could meet multimegawatt needs of space-based lasers..... Nuclear reactors must support major bases on the moon until better options, yet unidentified, become available.")

We urge all our affiliate members and supporters to immediately call your Congressperson in Washington DC and request that they contact Rep. McKinney's office to become a cosigner of her letter calling for the defunding of the nuclear rocket. Please call the Congressional switchboard right away at (202) 224-3121 and ask for the office of your Congressional representative.

Please help us by passing this e-mail on to your personal lists so that we can expand the numbers of people who see it. Call me if you have any questions.

It is not often that we get Congressional support to end the arms race in space. We don't want to let Rep. McKinney down! Please act today.

Thank you.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I've been taking it kind of easy for the last week since returning from our Global Network space organizing conference in New York City. Our conference was exciting and well attended. Several people came up to me after the event and remarked that they felt welcomed and appreciated and that they were impressed with the spirit of the people at the conference. That is just what I want to hear. It has always been my belief that as hard as this work is, and it is hard taking on the world's leading military power, it is important that when we get together we should enjoy ourselves. Even if we have to talk about the war in Iraq and the reality of an expanding arms race into space, we should not lose our humanity in the middle of all the madness.

My strategy as an organizer has been to surround myself with good hearted people who have a spark of light in their eyes. An old friend described it as "snap." When you bring folks with snap together sparks fly and people are attracted to the positive and creative energy.

We all have our moments where we are dour and a bit depressed. Fill a room with that energy and look out! But find people who can work hard, have fierce determination, treat each other with respect, work cooperatively, and still find a reason to laugh and smile and you are on your way to creating an organization that can make it through the tough times. And there is no doubt we are in for some tough times ahead.

Global Network members getting ready to march in New York City on May 1.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The 13th annual Global Network (GN) space organizing conference was held in New York City on April 29-30. Over 200 people attended the weekend GN event that concluded with participation in the No Nukes! No War! march by the United Nations and rally in Central Park. Crowd estimates for the demonstration ranged from 30,000-40,000 and was organized by Abolition Now and United for Peace & Justice.

The GN business meeting was held on April 29. Following a series of reports, Dave Knight, the GN United Nations Representative, led a strategy discussion. Here are some of the ideas people came up with:

* Hold public debates with those who say they oppose space weaponization but who support the use of space technology to direct warfare on earth. (The GN is opposed to this "militarization" of space that uses space satellites to implement "shock and awe" war like the invasion of Iraq).
* Keep making the moral and ethical arguments against the nuclearization and weaponization of space.
* Expand outreach to student groups.
* Make more effort to reach teacher organizations.
* Continue making the connections between budget cuts for human needs programs and an expanding Star Wars program.
* Keep publicly identifying the aerospace corporations involved in Star Wars.
* Talk more about how the U.S. is addicted to war and how military spending creates fewer jobs than if our tax dollars were invested in alternative job creation.
* Find ways to reach out to popular culture.
* Produce a guide for home study groups on this issue.
* Expand outreach to churches.
* Utilize art more often to express our concerns. (Peace Action Maine recently held an art opening called "War Flowers: Swords into Plowshares" to introduce the economic conversion issue in the state. The art show will travel around the state throughout 2005-2006).
* Learn more about framing of issues.
* Send word about the GN's speakers bureau out more often.
* Make connections with those who talk to people in their jobs (bartenders, taxi drivers, hair dressers...)
* Connect with the movement called "De-cap," the global call against poverty.
During this meeting the GN also committed to hosting a program at the World Peace Forum 2006 in Vancouver, Canada. (The director of the forum attended our April 30 conference as well).

The meeting concluded with discussion about where the GN's 2006 annual space organizing conference would be held. No decisions were made and it was agreed that we would put out a call to our affiliates for proposals. Some locations were suggested such as Vancouver, Japan, Eastern Europe, and the United Kingdom. It was agreed that our next meeting should be held outside of the United States.

On April 30 a standing room only crowd of 200 packed into the Musicians Union hall for the day long GN space organizing conference called Full Spectrum Resistance. GN board convener Dave Webb, from Yorkshire CND in England, welcomed people who had come from all over the U.S. and from around the world. Mixing music by Holly Gwinn Graham and Tom Neilson throughout the day, the conference heard local reports from key activists around the world and then listened to a panel discuss strategy.

Karl Grossman reported that Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) had called the GN office to say she intends to lead a fight to defund Project Prometheus, the nuclear rocket that is being funded at over $400 million in 2005. Rep. McKinney is sending a "Dear Colleague" letter to Congress inviting them to join her in the effort. (We urge all of our supporters to contact their congressperson urging them to join her.)

The Sisters of Loretto brought a group of high school students from a rural Missouri community and one of them read a beautiful essay he had written about the impact of nuclear war on nature. A second group of students, organized by GN board member Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck in Germany, made a fine presentation outlining a more positive vision for 2020 than the current Space Command vision of control and domination of the heavens.

During one session it was reported that 12 of our friends in Australia had organized a solidarity action at an Australian space facility on April 29. A second announcement was given about students at the University of Hawaii occupying the office of the university president in protest of the military industrial complex takeover of the institution.

A wonderful buffet dinner was catered and a fine group of kitchen volunteers, led by Carole Abrahams from New York City, kept the crowd eating and drinking all day long.

Dr. Michio Kaku, a GN founding member, was the first of two keynote speakers. As usual, Michio received a rousing reception. He was followed by Jenny Jones, the former deputy mayor of London who had come to New York as part of the Mayors for Peace delegation.

Each year the GN gives out a "Peace in Space" award to a person who has made extraordinary effort on behalf of the movement. This year we gave two awards, both to Canadian activists, for their tireless and successful efforts to keep Canada from joining the U.S. Star Wars program. The award went to Tamara Lorincz (Halifax Peace Coalition) and Steven Staples (Polaris Institute in Ottawa). They each also made outstanding presentations during the conference.

Dave Webb presented a moving photo memorial of GN board member Satomi Oba who recently unexpectedly died. Satomi, a past recipient of our Peace in Space award, lived in Hiroshima, Japan and we have created our 2005 Keep Space for Peace Week poster in her honor.

On Sunday, May 1 many of us from the conference gathered to march from the United Nations to Central Park. We carried several GN space banners and were quite moved at the beautiful and creative line of march. When we arrived at Central Park for the rally a huge peace sign was being created with the bodies of the marchers. I had the honor of being invited to speak to the crowd and made good use of my time explaining how space satellites were used to coordinate the invasion of Iraq. I also mentioned Bush's plans for deployment of anti-satellite weapons and the nuclear rocket.

The GN conference was truly a wonderful gathering of our global family of space for peace activists. Once again we heard many people remarking about the loving and generous spirit that filled the conference. We are grateful for all the work each of you do and look forward to many more gatherings in the years ahead.