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. @BruceKGagnon

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


By Loring Wirbel and Bill Sulzman, Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs/Global Network board members

Peace groups internationally are putting the pressure on President Obama this fall, as he ponders the request from Gen. McChrystal for a “surge” troop escalation in Afghanistan. Thankfully, leading Democrats and even former President Clinton are urging caution, though few are taking the wiser step of recommending a pullout. But there is an additional decision Obama must make, one which the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space sees as a fundamental issue in the upcoming Keep Space for Peace Week.

As soon as CIA Director Leon Panetta was appointed in an acting role to his post, he asked Obama for a significant escalation in armed “drone” flights, utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), over both Afghanistan and Pakistan. These robot planes are flown by ground-based pilots, either in-country or even in the United States, using space as the navigational medium. The UAVs can accurately send bombs to pinpoint locations, though this does not mean there is no “collateral damage” in terms of civilian human casualties.

The Global Network wants to remind people that standoff war using robotic technology is neither surgical, nor antiseptic, nor moral. It can be appealing to the White House and to the American public, because it is allows nearly infinite kill ratios – thousands of so-called adversaries can be killed with very little chance of U.S. casualties. With no American soldiers coming home in body bags, few U.S. citizens care about anything else.

Yet turning the Afghanistan-Pakistan war into a UAV turkey-shoot is little different from the assassination squads approved by former Vice President Dick Cheney. In fact, it is no accident that, on two successive days, the New York Times reported on Blackwater (now Xe) being assigned to Cheney’s death-squad team, and the same Blackwater group being used for outsourcing of armed UAV flights. One method of killing is being used to replace the other.

Not so long ago, UAV pilots used joysticks to control UAVs, emulating a video game. Now they use Google Earth on touch screens to point to a location they want a robot plane to bomb. Within a year, those Google Earth applications will be available for special iPhones and Blackberries made for U.S. troops. And all those means of delivering death use space. Many of the war-fighter tools that are employed from space also take advantage of the Pentagon’s new cyber-warrior tools, which have culminated in the establishment of a dedicated Cyber Command to control computer networks here and abroad.

Moral review of space policy is ruled out because the critic can never have access to the “secret information” needed for evaluation. Hiding the truth from the enemy means hiding it from the public. Real public discourse cannot happen, either, because the body politic cannot be trusted with all the facts.

The Global Network has had reason to see optimism in recent months: No true weapon in space has yet been fielded by any nation. Obama has canceled planned missile-defense ground-based components in Poland and the Czech Republic. The world’s leaders are pledging to work harder to banish nuclear weapons. And Obama has called for a review of the October 2006 National Space Policy that calls for virtual U.S. “ownership” of orbital space.

But like so many national-security realms where Obama has taken tentative half-steps, the struggle for peace in space is far from over. The U.S. military remains by far the largest user of orbital space. Its satellites for intelligence, communications, and navigation remain the key enabling components that allow the U.S. and its allies to conduct war. And Obama’s new sea-based missile-defense plans allow a more provocative stance in challenging the nations like Iran and North Korea that are trying to foil global management plans.

For Keep Space for Peace Week, we urge activists throughout the world to examine closely the claims for “sanitizing” warfare. We urge citizens to not be swayed into thinking that a war allowing more invisible means of killing others is somehow one that can be accepted better than bloody battles on the ground. Space is the ultimate commons, and no one has the right to dominate the planet through unilateral control.

October 3-10, 2009

Keep Space for Peace Week:
International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space

No Missile Defense
No Use of Space for Drone Wars
Stop Endless War
Convert the Military Industrial Complex
Fund Human Needs

Local Events

· Albuquerque, New Mexico (Oct 3) Protest at Kirtland Air Force Base (Truman Gate), 11:00 am
· Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 10) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street, 11:30 am Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm & Maine Veterans for Peace (207) 763-4062
· Brunswick, Maine (Oct 4) Public talk and video about use of space technology for directing UAV (drone) attacks in Afghanistan/Pakistan war, Curtis Memorial Library, 7:00 pm
· Burlington, Vermont (Oct 6) Drones protest at Democracy statue, 199 Main Street, 3:00 pm WILPF
· Burlington, Vermont (Oct 6) Educational program 4-6 pm at Fletcher Free Library, 235 College St., Keep Space for Peace film and talk about US use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan WILPF
· Busan, South Korea (Oct 9) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at YMCA, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 7) Public talk by Fr. Louis Vitale on morality of UAVs and standoff warfare
· Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 8) Bannering at Schriever AFB
· Creech AFB, Nevada (Sept 25-30) Peace encampment to ground the drones at key UAV base Code Pink
· RAF Croughton, England (Oct 3) March to, and demonstration at, main gate of U.S. Space Communications Base, 12-3pm Speakers: Bruce Kent, Susan Clarkson & Chris Cole
· Damascus, Syria (Oct 4) Issue news release in Arabic and web postings Dr.Ghassan Shahrour
· Fort Meade, Maryland (Oct 10) Protest at National Security Agency (NSA), Pledge of Eesistance-Baltimore
· Groton, Connecticut (Oct 5) Vigil at Groton Electric Boat shipyard, Atlantic Life Community
· Halifax, Nova Scotia (Oct 6) Film Screening and Discussion of Arsenal of Hyopocrisy, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Just Us! Café, 5896 Spring Garden Rd., Halifax Peace Coalition
· Incheon, South Korea (Oct 15) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Christian Solidarity for Life and Peace, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Jalgaon, India (Oct 9) Talk on space issues at North Maharashtra University
· Jalgaon, India (Oct 10) Talk on space issues at Nutan Marathi College
· Kimhae, South Korea (Oct 13) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at YMCA, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Leeds, England (Oct 8) Talk by Professor Noel Sharkey (robot and artificial intelligence expert) on "Robot Wars, drones and teaching machines to kill, the ethical issues" at 7pm in LTB 3 at Civic Campus, Leeds Metropolitan University Sponsored by Yorkshire CND and The Praxis Centre
· Mahrashtra, India (Oct 5) Talk on space issues at University and MGM College of Computer Science
· Menwith Hill, England (Oct 3)Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire, Sponsored by CAAB & Yorkshire CND or 07766558833
· Mumbai, India (Oct 2) New book called “World Without Wars” to be released. Book will include chapters on space organizing issues.
· Mumbai, India (Oct 7) Talk on space issues at Mumbai University Department of Eurasian Studies
· Mumbai, India (Oct 8) Talk on space issues at S.E.S. College, New Mumbai
· Olympia, Washington (Oct 3 & 4) Tabling to preserve space for peace at Traditions Cafe 12-4 pm
· Oslo, Norway (Oct 14) Keep Space for Peace seminar featuring Karl Grossman & Roman Dolgov at Litteraturhuset, 6:00 pm
· Sacramento, California (Oct 8) Leafleting for International Week of Protest of Militarization of Space, 1:00-1:00 pm, Cathedral Square, 11th and K St., Co-sponsored by Sacramento Area Peace Action, Sacramento Valley chapter of WILPF, and Grandmothers for Peace International. Call 916-448-7157
· San Francisco, California (Oct 11) CodePink peace walk on the Golden Gate Bridge to Ground the Drones
· Seoul, South Korea (Oct 11) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Saegil Institute for Christianity and Culture, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Seoul, South Korea (Oct 16) Bruce Gagnon speaks about space issues at Lifepeace Fellowship, Korea Committee for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence
· Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 17) Sweden in NATO and the use of Space Conference with Claudia Haydt, Jan Tamas, Dave Webb, Kirsti Kolthoff, and Ingela Maertensson. Sponsored by Women for Peace, WILPF, No to EU, PAND Sweden, Swedish Peace Committe. Swedish Peace Council, World Peace March and Swedish Womens Left Association
· Sydney, Australia (Oct 8) Space video showing at University of Sydney Seminar Rm 365 Education Facility) 6:30 pm WILPF and AABCC For more info, ring Stefania 9960 2952; Denis 0418 290 663
· Sydney, Australia (Oct 9) Space for Peace stall at Town Hall, 12:30-2:00 pm WILPF and AABCC For more info, ring Stefania 9960 2952; Denis 0418 290 663
· Tacoma, Washington (Oct 7) Vigil & leafleting outside U.S. District Courthouse focusing on Keeping Space for Peace (12 - 1 PM) before the Federal Trial of Nicole Scott, who has twice been arrested for trespassing on Federal property during nonviolent actions at Trident submarine base Bangor. Sponsored by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action ( Courthouse information at: Contact for more info.
· Tokyo, Japan (Sept 26) Talk on space issues and new National Defense Program guidelines
· Tucson, Arizona (Oct 3) Tucson WILPF Branch event "Ground the Drones!" 2 pm at Himmel Park Library, 1035 N. Treat. Speaker & video to promote awareness of two local businesses involved in Drone warfare: Raytheon Missiles (which makes drones) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base that trains pilots.
· Tucson, Arizona (Oct 8) Peace Vigil at Raytheon Missile Factory from 6:30-7:30 a.m. at Herman's Road entrance, on Nogales Highway (3rd traffic light south of Valencia on Nogales Highway, extension of 6th Ave. south), Jack or Felice at 323-8697 or
· Valley Forge/King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Oct 10) Peace in Space/Peace on Earth! Vigil at Lockheed Martin, Mall & Goddard Boulevards, Noon Brandywine Peace Community
· Vandenberg AFB, California (Oct 3) Vigil at front gate of Star Wars missile launch base, 1:00 pm Dennis Apel (805) 343-6322
· Washington DC (Oct 5) No good war, No good drones protest at White House, gather at McPherson Square (15th and I Streets NW) at 10 a.m.
· Washington DC (Oct. 9) Noon-1:00 pm Vigil at White House, sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Contact Art Laffin, 202-360-6416


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