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

Saturday, August 16, 2008


For those of us living in Maine, the Navy's Aegis destroyer program is something we often think about. These ships are built at Bath Iron Works (BIW) and once or twice a year a new Aegis is "Christened". Each time Maine Veterans for Peace organizes a protest at the ceremony that usually draws several thousand workers, Navy personnel, and politicians from both the Republican and Democratic party who come to give their blessings to the new ship. BIW is the largest employer in Maine, outside of the state government, and the politicians pride themselves in securing as many of these ship construction contracts as possible - considering they cost over $1 billion each.

The most important thing to know about Aegis though is its military mission. These ships are outfitted with nuclear-capable cruise missiles and were the first weapons fired in the 2003 U.S. "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. Any U.S. full-scale attack on Iran will likely begin from an Aegis destroyer.

Aegis ships are also a key component in the Pentagon's new Star Wars program. They are now outfitted with "missile defense" systems and we are told their job is to hit "rogue state" nuclear missiles being sent toward the U.S. in the "midcourse" of their flight.

The Navy is doubling its deployments in the Asian-Pacific region and using the Aegis destroyers to help surround China who admittedly has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. The mission of Aegis would be to help "take out" any Chinese nuclear missiles that were fired after a U.S. first-strike attack. In fact the Pentagon's Space Command has been war gaming such an attack on China, set in the year 2016, for the past couple of years.

Missile defense, whether deployed under ground in Poland or on Aegis ships at sea, is all about "full spectrum dominance." The Pentagon has been given the job by the Congress to develop space technologies that will allow the U.S. to "prevail" in conflict at all levels - on the earth, at sea, in the air, and in space.

George W. Bush used a falling National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellite, with toxic hydrazine on-board, to justify a February 2008 U.S. anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon test. It was the Aegis "missile defense" system that was used to knock-out the wayward satellite and signal to Russia and China that the military had mastered the ability to destroy orbiting satellites from the earth. This was an important benchmark in the plan to move the arms race into space. You can watch the Missile Defense Agency's own promotional video of this test at Wired News.

The Aegis destroyer is not about protecting the U.S. from anyone. October 18 will be the next "Christening" of another Aegis in Bath, Maine and once again Veterans for Peace will organize a
protest march on that day.

Recent studies at UMASS-Amherst show that when you spend $1 billion on military production about 8,555 jobs are created. But when that same amount of taxpayer dollars are invested in home weatherization we get 12,804 jobs, or building mass transit systems 19,795 jobs are the result. Thus, on October 18, Maine Veterans for Peace will be calling for the conversion of BIW to sustainable technology development.

This October 18 event, coming on the heels of the Global Network's Keep Space for Peace Week, will feature a current BIW worker as a speaker. This worker will say what is on the mind of many workers at the Aegis production facility - we'd rather be building something that is good for the environment and good for the country rather than things whose only purpose is to destroy and create an arms race in space.


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