Global Network Space Newsletter 19
Winter 2008

1) STRATCOM PROTESTS PRELUDE TO 2008 GN CONFERENCE

The Keep Space for Peace Week activities in Omaha, Nebraska last October 4-11 (see report) served as a warm-up act for the 2008 Global Network Space Organizing Conference and Protest that will take place here on April 11-13.

Global Network coordinator Bruce Gagnon and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, the internationally renowned disarmament activist from the Catholic Diocese of Detroit, headlined a weekend of public education events about the threat the Omaha-based U.S. Strategic Command (StratCom) poses to the world. Speaking to over 250 citizens, the pair convincingly stated the case for why StratCom—to borrow the theme for the 2008 Global Network Conference and Protest—is indeed “the most dangerous place on the face of the earth.”

Tapped in the aftermath of 9/11 to wage the Bush/Cheney Administration’s “War on Terror,” StratCom today has a mission array that stretches from directing a dreaded air- and sea-based attack on Iran to the outright domination of space by the Pentagon. StratCom is still performing its historic role as the command center of the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal. But under the White House’s new “Doctrine of Preemption,” the Omaha headquarters is now authorized to offensively attack any place on the planet within one hour—with either conventional or nuclear weapons— if a threat to America’s national interests is simply suspected.

Unilaterally attacking another nation, without provocation, is of course illegal under international law. But scoffl aw behavior has now become the order of the day at StratCom. In addition to its illegal ‘fi rst-strike’ powers (offi cially termed “full-spectrum global strike”), the Omaha command center is tapping our phones and reading our emails with its “warrantless wiretap” program conducted in collaboration with the NSA. It’s undermining what little treaty law on space we’ve got left with its deliberate efforts to militarize the heavens. It’s jeopardizing existing arms control agreements and igniting a new Cold War with Russia by seeking to base “Star Wars” missile defense installations in Eastern Europe. And rather than disarming its nuclear stockpile (as mandated by the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty), Strat- Com is instead actively pursuing a new generation of nuclear weapons— the “bunker buster mini-nuke” and the Reliable Replacement Warhead. This “New StratCom” is fast becoming a law unto to itself, to the point of even circumventing Congress’s authority as the sole agent constitutionally empowered to make war.

The world community, however, is largely unaware of the dizzying and destabilizing changes that have taken place at StratCom the past six years. Things have changed so dramatically and so fast, that even activists working on these issues are unaware that the next war the White House gets the U.S. into—be it against an alleged ‘terrorist state’ like Iran or geo-political rival like China—will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom. As the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq so hideously demonstrated, space has become the new high ground for waging war on earth. Seventy percent of the armaments fi red at Iraq during that initial aerial assault were directed from space—by StratCom’s Space Command.

And that very same plan of attack is now set to repeat itself in the current showdown with Iran. StratCom planners have been at the drawing board for two years now, devising attack scenarios, and just waiting for a phone call from the White House, to start raining down destruction on Iran’s infrastructure.

Omaha was specifically chosen as the site of the 2008 Global Network Annual Space Organizing Conference and Protest to start alerting the world about this threat from America’s heartland. From Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13, there will be plenary discussions, workshops, protests and keynote addresses featuring the best experts in the world on StratCom’s new role and mission (more details here).

On the campus of Creighton University near downtown Omaha, we’ll hear from Col. Ann Wright, who resigned her post in the State Department to protest the 2003 preemptive invasion of Iraq. Bishop Gumbleton, who back in the ’80s committed civil disobedience at StratCom, will return to Omaha to authoritatively spell out the Catholic Church’s doctrine about preemptive war on Creighton’s Jesuit university campus. And Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, Loring Wirbel of Citizens for Peace in Space, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation, Elizabeth McAlister from Jonah House, Leslie Cagan of United for Peace & Justice, Bal Pinguel from AFSC, Joanne Sheehan from WRL, our own Bruce Gagnon and a host of other key national and international activists (Czech Republic, England, Germany, Diego Garcia, India) will be on hand that weekend to brief us about the StratCom threat and what we can do about it. By the conference’s end, we guarantee you’ll not only know more than virtually anybody else about “the most dangerous place on the face of the earth,” you’ll be equipped to get the word out about this menace to your own network back home. And as knowledge is first step to power, getting the word out to the world community is critical if we’re to stop StratCom from pushing us to the brink.

Tim Rinne,
Nebraskans for Peace


 

2) NSA AND THE GLOBAL SIDE OF WARRENTLESS SURVEILLANCE

The U.S. Senate’s so-called “compromise” on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has led to unprecedented criticisms in the mainstream press, with The New York Times going so far in an Oct. 20 editorial as to call Democratic positions on intelligence issues indistinguishable from Republican positions.

The dispute is over a revamp to an embarrassingly bad bill passed by Congress Aug. 4 as a stopgap response to President Bush’s illegal bypass of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC. The dispute centers on how the National Security Agency (NSA), the nation’s second-largest intelligence agency, responsible for electronic snooping, can intercept phone calls and emails within the United States. NSA officials privately let it be known they could live with some changes in the law allowing the monitoring of traffic between two foreign nations, if that traffic temporarily went through routers or switches based in the U.S.

Instead, the Protect America Act passed on Aug. 4 gave George Bush a virtual “get out of jail free” card for every law he had broken in going around the FISC, a secret court that was set up in 1978 to approve the ways in which U.S. citizens can be monitored within the borders of their own country. The new act, meant to override the temporary Protect America Act, would go even further than the Aug. 4 travesty, providing blanket indemnity for telephone and Internet companies that helped the White House and the NSA intercept communications without going through the FISC.

Notice the nature of this whole debate: It stops at the U.S. borders. In the rest of the world, the NSA is not constrained from operating the gargantuan Echelon, or “Platform 215” program, which intercepts all communications globally. Many of the interception platforms used are based in space, highly secret multibillion-dollar interception satellites with names like Misty, Vortex, and Magnum. And despite complaints from the European Parliament and civil liberties groups based in Europe, there is very little the citizens of other nations can do to stop or control Echelon.

In addressing the problems raised in the CIA “rendition” programs of kidnapping people in other nations, the Supreme Court has made clear that U.S. agencies do not have to abide by any restrictions that might be constitutionally imposed within the United States itself. Basically, the court said, when federal agencies operate in other nations, they are only constrained through issues of power and diplomacy, not law.

Notice something else about the way NSA works: Echelon is a global, cover-the-Earth program operated largely from space. There is no magic bubble covering the U.S. landmass that prevents NSA antennas from picking up communications. Therefore, the FISA act and the newer Protect America Act only provide limits to what NSA can do domestically in an acknowledged sense. NSA picks up everything globally, including in this country, but does not acknowledge it does so. Raw intercepts from the agency are never used in court. NSA works with domestic law enforcement agencies to suggest certain traffic patterns that the FBI or police may want to study. NSA sometimes will go to the FISC court itself (no one knows for certain how often, since all court proceedings of FISC are classified), but more often than not, it has a law-enforcement agency like FBI serve as the organization requesting a national security intercept.

This is why it is a foolish and misleading characterization to say that the FISA debate is about “warrantless wiretap.” This is why Salon magazine has ruthlessly attacked Joe Klein at Time magazine, and virtually the entire editorial-page staff of The Washington Post, for using the word “wiretap” and saying things about the FISA law that show a shocking ignorance of interception technology. If you are trying to write about the Bush administration’s violation of national-security laws and you don’t understand the basic concepts, you can let the NSA (and the< White House) get away with murder.

Wiretaps are an ancient technology stemming from the day when all phone calls required a dedicated circuit-based connection between the caller and the person called. They usually required a physical “tap” being placed on the lines, either at the home or office of the person being monitored, or at a telephone company’s central switching offices. Since its creation in 1952, the NSA has only used wiretapping in rare occasions where it is bugging embassies in foreign nations. Wiretaps were widely used in law enforcement, but they are becoming antique and useless.

NSA’s main business has always been broadband interception of communications. In its first two decades of existence, this meant military communications of the Soviet Union and China largely sent over microwave towers. Beginning in the 1970s, NSA expanded its target to include commercial communications of adversaries and allies, and then civilian communications of virtually all-global citizens. It had to expand its technologies to be able to intercept traffic in fiber optic cables and traffic carried by commercial satellites like Intelsat.

NSA was ready for the arrival of the Internet, which is no surprise because the Internet’s predecessor, ARPANET, was funded by the Defense Department. Internet e-mail uses “packet switching,” in which messages are broken up in little packets, and each packet can take a different route to the receiver. Thus, if Joe in Dallas sends e-mail to Jill in Boston, part of the message could go through Atlanta, while another part goes through St. Louis. As packet technology got better and better, even voice calls could be broken up in packets and reassembled. This is how new services like Skype and Vonage can allow you to have free long-distance phone service—the voice calls are broken up into packets and sent over the Internet.

Law enforcement agencies were woefully unprepared for domestic telephone networks first going digital, and then shifting to packet-switching. They asked Congress to pass the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in 1994, which specified that phone companies could actually charge consumers a tax to make their phone lines capable of being intercepted! The FBI and police agencies now use advanced technologies with names like Carnivore, EtherPeek, and Global Velocity to study phone calls and email, though in principle they must go through the FISC court to do so.

NSA never needed this special assistance because its networks were Internet- ready. It expanded its work with the nation’s largest intelligence agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), to shift more antennas to space in the 1980s and 90s. It funded project like Monet in the 1990s to make fiber optic lines more suitable to intercept. And it worked with the Pentagon to make its intelligence more broadly available to small battle groups in foreign nations, the familiar trend described in Vision for 2020 as “serving the war fighter.” For battle management, NSA operates as a functional component of the Strategic Command (StratCom) out of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. This allows NSA to work directly alongside units responsible for space, global strike, missile defense, and nuclear weapons.

The current Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell (a former NSA director), thought that this worked so well, he wanted to get the NRO and NSA to send more spacebased intelligence to the Department of Homeland Security, for distribution to law-enforcement agencies in the U.S. and worldwide. Luckily, Congress was paying close attention to the formation of the new DHS National Applications Office, and has severely restricted funding for this. If NRO and NSA data could go straight to Interpol or local police, it would represent yet another bypass of FISA legislation.

But Congress has not been so adamant about FISA reform because members do not understand the technology. Many members of Congress think that phone companies are simply “being patriotic” when they allow intelligence agencies access to certain switches and databases without going through legal requirements.

And even those members of Congress who express shock when they find that the NSA was involved with high-level traffic analysis, data mining, and “deep packet inspection,” indicate that they do not understand the technology of global snooping. When space-based antennas are linked to ground-based keyword-search computers and intelligent storage devices, data mining is an automatic fringe benefit. When NSA through its global Echelon and law enforcement through programs like EtherPeek can look inside a packet and examine its content, detailed message analysis can take place before the law can catch up with its ramifications.

It’s important to stress that NSA will never have the budget, the personnel, or the storage capacity to truly analyze every e-mail and phone call taking place around the world. But the agency has the capability to grab it, and analyze what it wants. The August 2007 Protect America Act gives NSA a free hand in conducting this interception, and the extension of that act being debated in Congress this fall seems to be moving in a direction of being as loose as the August bill.

U.S. citizens can only attempt to place limits on NSA by understanding the way U.S. space-based intelligence systems work. And the citizens of every other nation are on their own. Since none of the three branches of the U.S. government are interested in restricting the behavior of federal agencies outside the U.S., citizens of other nations will have to attempt restrictions on the NSA through exposure, through lobbying their own local governments, and through direct action.

Loring Wirbel
Colorado Springs, CO

3) CONVERSION MEETING IN ST. LOUIS

Over the weekend of October 13, the Peace Economy Project (PEP) in St. Louis, Missouri gathered a couple dozen people for a weekend to strategize ways to make general issues of the cost of militarism part of the national debate during the election period— both on the presidential and congressional level.

I attended representing the Global Network. Other attendees included people from the Fellowship of Reconciliation; the Institute for Policy Studies; the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom; the War Resisters League; the National Priorities Project; and the Arms & Security Initiative at the New America Foundation.

The outcome of the meeting was that there would be effort put forth to generate questions that could and should be asked whenever there are opportunities to be present for Presidential and Congressional campaign stops or debates. A good model for these efforts exists with the American Friends Service Committee and its organizing for the New Hampshire and Iowa presidential primary season.

The group itself will work to identify specific questions that address the reality of the permanent war economy, and the need for conversion of our economy to rebuild the infrastructure and create alternative energy systems.

There was also a healthy discussion about where the “conversion” movement is these days. The St. Louis community has been working on this issue for 30 years. The Institute for Policy Studies is committed to this issue and will host the next meeting of this group next fall in Washington, D.C.

Andy Heaslet from PEP and I did an hour-long radio interview on the local National Public Radio station. I also spoke at a public meeting in the evening -- along with Frieda Berrigan from the Arms & Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. I was able to draw connections between Star Wars, the permanent war economy, the Pentagon’s plans for “full spectrum dominance,” and the need for conversion.

Mary Beth Sullivan
GN Outreach Coordinator, Bath, Maine

4) INDIA SPACE WEEK REPORT

J. Narayana Rao from Nagpur, India traveled throughout his country during space week speaking with students about the need to oppose the weaponization of space.

During Keep Space for Peace Week an intensive awareness campaign was undertaken in which I have traveled more than 7,000 kilometers addressing students, faculty members and public figures in four universities (Nagpur, Srinagar, Jalgaon and Andhra) and six colleges in the States of Maharashtra, Andhrapradesh and Jammu-Kashmir) and eight meetings in the colleges at Srinagar, Anantnag in J&K State, Jalgaon and Nagpur in Maharashtra, Parvtipuram, Srikakulam, Veeraghattam and Visakhapatnam in Andhrapradesh. In addition to these two meetings one each organized by the Intellectual Forum at Jammu and one by the Lions Club at Parvatipuram.

In the meetings in the Universities the presence of highly qualified professors and lecturers helped to take the issue of danger of weaponization of space and Missile Defense program into the academic circles. The meeting at the North Maharasshtra University at Jalgaon was presided over by the Vice Chancellor himself. In the Colleges in Andhrapradesh and Jammu-Kashmir the students and the staff members heard for the first time about the issue of weaponization of space and the Missile Defense program. At Parvatipuram, which happens to be my birth place which I left 50 years back, both in the college and in the public meeting organized by the Lions Club I had to speak in my mother tongue and the audience heard with an unbelievable sense of amazement.

In Sringar my meetings were in two Government Women’s Degree colleges at Srinagar and Anantnag. After the meetings students flocked around me and expressed their desire to work with me. I immediately formed two groups of students. The professors and the lecturers at all the places have expressed their desire to be in touch with me and involve in the campaign against weaponization of Space. Brochures and DVDs supplied by the Global Network (GN) office were given at all the places. I am now planning how to consolidate the opportunities this tour provided. I requested them to be in touch with Bruce Gagnon and use the website of the GN.

During this campaign, to involve the students in a large numbers, I have organized a nationwide letter writing campaign for the college students and the subject was a “Letter to U.S. President George W. Bush” urging him to initiate action for abolition of nuclear weapons and stop the weaponization of space. One hundred seventy-five students from different colleges of Goa, Meghalaya, Kashmir, Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhrapradesh, Karnatak, Manipur have responded and the letters were written in English, Hindi, Telugu, Urdu, Bengai, Kannada, Ashmiri and Marathi languages. I had sent the invitation to 300 institutions. Now I am trying to form student groups in some of the colleges.

To consolidate the opportunities I got I am trying to plan the following measurers:

  1. 1. Regularly to be in touch with colleges/ Universities which responded.
  2. 2. Organize a series of workshops for the students and academicians.
  3. 3. Create a band of activists.
  4. 4. Regularly publish the bi-monthly “Disarmament & Development” newsletter with material from GN and other international organizations.
  5. 5. To sustain the students curiosity and interest organize regular Nationwide Competitions

But there are some hurdles such as the lack of financial support, tedious train and bus traveling, lack of resource persons, and absence of reading material in local languages. Nevertheless seeds are thrown and I have deep convictions these seeds will sprout and grow.

J. Narayana Rao
, Nagpur, India


5) US SPY BASE IN NEW ZEALAND

 New Zealand’s most significant contribution to American wars, including the one in Iraq, is the Waihopai spy base. Waihopai is controlled by the US, with New Zealand (including Parliament and the Prime Minister) having little or no idea what goes on there (let alone any control).

First announced in 1987, it is operated by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau in the interests of the foreign powers grouped together in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement (which shares global electronic and signals intelligence among the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ). Its two satellite interception dishes (shielded from public view by giant domes) intercept a huge volume of telephone calls, telexes, faxes, email and computer data communications. It spies on our Asia/Pacific neighbours, and forwards the material on to the major partners in the UKUSA Agreement, specifically the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The codename for this—Echelon— has become notorious worldwide as the vast scope of its spying has become public. New Zealand is an integral, albeit junior, part of a global spying network, a network that is ultimately accountable only to its own constituent agencies, not governments, and certainly not to citizens.

On January 25-27, 2008 a weekend of anti-war protest will be held at the spy base.

Contact Anti-Bases Campaign at cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

6) ALASKA'S ROLE IN THE GLOBAL MI$$ILIZATION OF SPACE

While the world’s largest rogue weapons program’s expansion into Poland and the Czech Republic sparked a resurgence of the Cold War with Russia during the past year, it has spread to even more Alaskan locations and expanded on its bases here. It is particularly ironic that at the same time as this expansion, North Korea is shutting down its nuclear weapons program. The threat posed by North Korea was the main justification given for the Alaska-based ground-based mid-course missile defense system. Alaska now hosts:

  • 20 interceptor missiles installed of the 40 planned for Fort Greely, next to the town of Delta Junction in interior Alaska.
     
  • continued launching of mock target missiles from the Kodiak Launch Complex for missile defense tests ($85 million per test). The Kodiak Launch Complex is not an official military installation: it is a state-sponsored corporation that was sold to Alaskans as an avenue into the commercial space industry. The only “customers” this spaceport has had are the military, which wants to expand the launch complex and close off the area to locals. These activities threaten Kodiak’s fishing industry Alaska’s Role in the Global Mi$$ilization of Space and stellar sea lion population.
     
  • the enormous sea-based X-band radar that is home ported in Adak in the Aleutian Islands and which roams around to classified locations
     
  • an Upgraded Early Warning Radar at Clear, Alaska (sister radar to the ones in Thule, Greenland, and Fylingdales, UK).
     
  • an upgraded Cobra Dane radar on the remote and highly strategic Shemya Island in the Aleutians
     
  • smaller radars and sensors at several locations around the state, including a transportable x-band radar, previously unannounced and with no environmental impact studies/public comment done. This “temporary” radar is headed for Juneau, the state capital, and will be co-located with the new Senator Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute (surely a complete coincidence).

The military announced that the missile defense system was operational and could respond to potential intercontinental ballistics missiles (ICBMs), despite the fact that a quarter of the silos at Greely flooded during heavy rains around Delta last summer. This was a big boon for Boeing, who built the cement money pits and then got a huge contract to repair them. “Operational” apparently just means that they can turn the power on since there has never been a realistic test of the system, and even the highly scripted tests often fail. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that we wouldn’t know the exact time and trajectory of an enemy ICBM, or that an enemy missile would deploy decoys. Unfaltering optimism about the system isn’t surprising, however, when the Missile Defense Agency and its contractor cronies are getting $9 billion a year to deploy something that doesn’t have to work to secure its funding.

Debate over the technological infeasibility of the system detracts from the larger problem, which is that ICBMs are low on the U.S.’s list of realistic threats. Building a missile shield therefore provides a false sense of security while ignoring nuclear proliferation and more likely attack scenarios. Alaska is profiting financially from Uncle Ted’s space pork, but arms control agreements have been steadily destroyed by the deployment and expansion of missile defense. Total project costs have increased to $103.3 billion with hopes to complete the system by 2013.

A real threat facing Alaska is the loss of coastal villages due to climate change, but the government just can’t find the $180 million to save Shishmaref, for example. We could relocate 573 villages for the money we are dumping into missile defense.

Stacey Fritz
No Nukes North, Fairbanks
Alaska

7) GN'S 2008 SPACE CONFERENCE IN OMAHA, NEBASKA

8) STAR WARS IN EUROPE - A REPORT FROM THE UK

The Bush Administration’s plans to position missile defence bases in Europe has attracted a lot of media coverage but little discussion or debate in the parliaments of Europe. The news broadcasts concentrate on plans to install a radar system near Prague in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors at a site in northern Poland while the U.S. phased array radar at Fylingdales in the U.K. has just completed an upgrade that will enable it to be the first European component to be fully integrated into the system. Also, on the brink of the Parliamentary summer recess in July, with no opportunity for democratic debate, consultation or accountability, U.K. Defence Minister Des Browne announced that the U.S. spy base at Menwith Hill will also be used as part of the system. This was hardly a surprise; the relay station for the proposed space-based infrared early warning and tracking system is already in place. However it does highlight that government assurances to Parliament that this was being “dealt with entirely separately from missile defence” were part of the missile defence deception. So, with regard to missile defence, it seems that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is following in Blair’s footsteps—even to the point of suggesting the U.K. could host interceptor missiles if requested.


Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England

The lack of proper parliamentary debate is typical and widespread across Europe despite increasing public opposition to missile defence bases. Polls in the U.K., Poland and the Czech Republic indicate that 60% of people do not want them in their country. These countries are making their own decisions without consultation with their citizens or European partners, despite the fact that all European countries will be affected by any decision to participate in the scheme.

In fact, of course, the whole world is affected. Despite U.S. assurances that missile defence is not aimed at Russia, President Putin has expressed strong reservations. In July he notified NATO governments that Russia could withdraw from the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe unless Bush abandons its plans for missile bases in Europe. He has also threatened to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty—which eliminated a whole class of nuclear weapons from Europe—and to once again aim Russian missiles at European targets. Speaking in Lisbon in October the Russian president even compared the current situation with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

At its annual national conference this year the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) once again prioritised the Star Wars campaign and pledged to work to increase public and political awareness. We are working with Members of Parliament (MPs) to challenge the government and have launched new Early Day Motions (formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons). Twenty-seven MPs have signed a letter calling for “any UK support for the programme [to] be fully debated and agreed by Parliament, rather than by ministerial announcement.” They state “U.S. missile defence is provocative; allowing the U.S. to launch first-strike attacks without fear of retaliation, and increases the likelihood of a new nuclear arms race”.

In September CND hosted a major international conference in London which Bruce Gagnon attended along with activists from all over Europe (including Poland and the Czech Republic). Here we heard the Czech mayor of Brdy, where the Pentagon wants to deploy the Star Wars radar, report on the huge opposition to it in his community and on the newly formed and rapidly growing “league of mayors”. We are continuing to build on these links and well-attended meetings in Prague in May and October have helped build contacts and exchange ideas. We are also working with European colleagues to challenge the European expansion of U.S. and NATO Missile Defence through the European parliament.

Networks of non-violent activists are also developing to continue and escalate the protest. On October 10, GN Board member Helen John and Sylvia Boyes were found guilty of criminal trespass after a trial that took over a year to be completed. They had entered Menwith Hill spy base on April 1, 2006, the day that new anti-terrorist laws came into force which criminalised trespass at designated nuclear and intelligence sites across Britain. They became a ‘test case’ under this widely criticised law and received suspended sentences and nominal fines from the judge who claimed to support their right to protest but failed to agree that the role and function of the base is reason to challenge whether or not the law was made ‘in good faith’ i.e.; in the interests of the people rather than the U.S. administration. Helen is lodging an appeal.

While Bruce was here in September he engaged in a week long tour of the UK, speaking at meetings and demonstrations in England and Wales, meeting the base commander at Fylingdales and participating in a ‘Keep Space for Peace’ blockade at the Faslane naval base in Scotland, home to the British nuclear Trident submarine fleet (his report on this very successful visit is on the GN website). This helped to emphasise the link between Trident and missile defence—as components of a nuclear first strike nuclear system. He and Dave were arrested for blocking the base entrance and kept in jail overnight but released the next morning. The blockade was actually part of Faslane 365 www.faslane365.org — a fantastically imaginative campaigning initiative in Britain that has inspired hundreds of new activists. In Yorkshire alone, we now have campaigners who have been radicalised by the Trident replacement debate and actions at Faslane and are making the links between the U.S. global military agenda, Star Wars and the militarization of space and Britain’s support role.

Keep Space for Peace week in Yorkshire was marked with an early morning protest at the Fylingdales radar station on the north Yorkshire moors. Surprising the Ministry of Defence Police, we stood at the entrance to the base with banners and flags, greeting all the staff entering the base. Lindis Percy, active GN advisory board member, organised the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) demonstration at Menwith Hill, which was on the same day as CND annual conference in London. Keep Space for Peace week was not forgotten there as a well-attended workshop examined the current situation on Missile Defence in Europe with an inspiring young speaker from the Czech Republic.

Recent suggestions are that Gordon Brown may be distancing himself from the George W. Bush administration, while other European leaders may be ready to take Tony Blair’s place. There are mixed messages coming from the Brown camp and in reality not much has changed. Tensions over Iran are increasing, and while Bush can rely on increased support from Merkel (Germany) and Sarkozy (France), this does not appear to give Brown the space to withdraw from any proposed attack. In his first foreign policy speech given just recently, the Prime Minister said that “Iran should be in no doubt about the seriousness of our purpose” and supported further sanctions. However, the Draft Constitutional Reform Bill included in the Queen’s Speech (which outlines the Government’s legislative programme for the coming year) potentially gives Parliament (rather than the Prime Minister) the final say on going to war. But there are no signs that there will be any clear policy reversals on Trident replacement or the continued support for U.S. Missile Defence.

One thing is for sure though—we’ll be wherever we need to be to challenge and confront the dangerous new laws and strategies being implemented to build the empire with threats of war and murder. Missile defence and the militarization of space are among the tools of the empire builders and must be converted to ploughshares as soon as possible.

Dave Webb and Sarah Cartin
Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
England

9) KEEPING SPACE FOR PEACE IN AN ANNIVERSARY YEAR

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the space age, launched with Sputnik on October 4, 1957. It also marks the 40th anniversary of the UN Outer Space Treaty (October 10, 1967), which seeks to ensure the peaceful uses of space for the benefit of all humankind.

While large segments of humanity have enjoyed benefits from peaceful uses of space, millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Balkans have already experienced death and destruction from its military uses. Now increasingly aggressive U.S. space militarization threatens both the Outer Space treaty and the entire framework of disarmament treaties and international law: indeed the very foundation of the United Nations itself.

So this year hundreds of men and women determined to Keep Space for Peace held public forums, vigils, classroom discussions, rallies and video showings. From Australia to Syria, from the Czech Republic to England, from India to Norway, Kenya to Canada, Germany to Scotland and across the USA they gathered, organized, protested, and offered positive alternatives to war from, in and through space.

Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (GN) and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) are now collecting reports of these events for publication. We have been invited to share them with the United Nations Agencies that monitor international space laws for their anniversary publication. We also expect to distribute event reports to government officials and the concerned public everywhere. (Read the reports as they come in on the GN web site.)

Reports from WILPF and Global Security Institute at the United Nations

This year in Geneva on October 4, WILPF sent a statement to UN diplomats involved in disarmament negotiations. WILPF called for immediate progress in Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), deplored continued U.S. blockage of treaty negotiations, and suggested possible ways to end the stalemate.

In New York, October 8-26, the UN General Assembly First Committee considered ways to restart PAROS negotiations and also the Russian proposal for a treaty banning weapons in space. WILPF member Rhianna Tyson, now with the Global Security Institute (GSI), organized a forum for NGOs and diplomats on space law with Russian and Chinese delegates participating, as well as others from European and Middle Powers nations. On October 27 Rhianna delivered the first ever NGO report on space issues to the General Assembly. On behalf of GSI she urged Secretary-General Ban to convene, at the earliest possible date, a high-level expert panel to analyze the present uses, threats, risks and opportunities presented by humanity’s proliferating space capabilities, and to propose ways to prevent space militarization and keep space for peaceful uses.

Actions in Europe, Africa, India and around the world

In Europe the emphasis was on shutting down U.S. bases involved in space militarization, or preventing their spread to additional nations.


During Keep Space for Peace Week a demonstration was held in Warsaw, Poland to protest the planned Bush deployments of missile defense interceptors in their country. MIT professor Ted Postol recently stated that despite claims otherwise by the Pentagon, the missiles in Poland would be able to target Russian nuclear missiles.


An international conference was held in the Czech Republic to highlight their opposition to U.S. plans to base a Star Wars radar in their country.

In Darmstadt, Germany—site of the GN annual international conference in March 2007—demonstrators celebrated the dismantlement of the U.S. spy base there. A U.S. military policeman seized Regina Hagen’s camera. Regina and Darmstadt police were able to assert German sovereignty and regain the camera and photos for GN reports.


Military police at the U.S. spy satellite base in Darmstadt, Germany grabbed the camera from GN leader Regina Hagen as she took photos during space week protest. The camera was eventually returned after Regina called the German police and had them tell the Americans that German citizens have the right to assemble and protest in their country.

Last March in Darmstadt GN international conference participants were determined to contact those resisting new U.S. missile shield bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. In October Bruce Gagnon was able to attend the Czech protest event, and a Czech leader is expected to attend the GN conference next April in Omaha.

In Africa U.S. space militarization discussions were held at the People’s Parliament in Nairobi, Kenya as part of the opposition to the new U.S. AFRICOM command center.

Additional forums and video showings occurred in Australia, Syria and Canada. In Norway WILPF women led a demonstration at the U.S. embassy.

US citizens in the belly of the beast organize to ensure peace in space


People from throughout Southern California held a vigil at Vandenberg AFB during space week. Vandenberg is a key launch base for Star Wars technology.

Forty or more events occurred in the USA. In St. Louis, Missouri the emphasis was on stopping the trillion dollar space programs, ending U.S. addiction to war and developing a peace economy. In Arizona, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin educational public meetings with videos, power points, speakers and discussion took place in assorted venues. Vigilers and leafleters gathered on street corners with banners and signs in California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, and at Camp Casey in Texas. Radio and TV presentations aired across the country, and in New York a new Keep Space for Peace musical was performed. Catholic Workers organized protests at the White House and the Pentagon, and WILPF lobbied Congress for support of PAROS and the existing Outer Space Treaty.


Folks in Traverse City, Michigan were active during Keep Space for Peace Week 2007.

In five cities protests specifically targeted space war profiteers Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Demonstrators also protested at military bases including Shreiver in Colorado, Vandenberg in California, Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Offutt AFB in Nebraska.


Activists in Colorado Springs protested at several Air Force Space Command bases during space week.

Global Network focuses on the most dangerous place on earth

Indeed, major focus this year was Offutt AFB and the Strategic Command (StratCom) located near Omaha, Nebraska. StratCom now combines the U.S. nuclear command and control missions with added responsibility for space operations; global strike; Defense Department information operations; global missile defense and global surveillance and reconnaissance. Global Network, WILPF, Nebraskans for Peace and a host of other national organizations are now planning the return to Omaha, the most dangerous place on earth, for the GN international space organizing conference on April 11-13, 2008.

Concerned men and women from around the world will gather in Omaha to consider more ways to stop space militarization and wars from and in space. Together we are determined to stop the arming of the heavens, and ensure the peaceful uses of outer space for the benefit of all humankind.

Carol Reilley Urner
Portland, Oregon

10) MEET IN COLORADO BEFORE OMAHA, NEBRASKA

At the Global Network annual meeting in Germany last year, Citizens for Peace in Space in Colorado agreed to host some visitors to next years’ GN space conference in Omaha (April 11-13) in the days preceding the annual conference. The U.S. Space Foundation will be holding their 24th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 7 –10.

Our group has been there in protest mode every year since the event has been held. The opening ceremony and banquet will be on the evening of April 7. We’ll plan a demo that day. We have also decided to have a large presence on the day that they open the exhibit hall to local elementary and high school students. That should be on April 9.

Other activities will include possible visits to local military contractor sites, local Space Command bases, the Air Force Academy and other locations of interest. As we confirm who is coming we will try to arrange a forum on local issues, including a proposed expansion of the local Army base, and possibly get some classroom time at the local college. We will plan to make the all day drive to Omaha in time for the GN meeting. A stop on the way will allow for a brief demo at one of Colorado’s 49 Minuteman III nuclear-armed missiles. Home stays can be arranged on a first come, first serve basis.

A bit more background is in order. Retired personnel from the Air Force Space Command started the U.S. Space Foundation 24 years ago. Lockheed Martin has been a big player. The annual symposium features the military developments in U.S. Space activities but also emphasizes the “spin-offs” that benefit the commercial and scientific aspects of space endeavors. In the mid Meet in Colorado before Omaha, Nebraska 90s the symposium featured a number of bombshell revelations about U.S. Space policy. In successive years we got “Vision for 2020” and the “Long Range Plan” while there. Almost every year there is a memorable quote by someone about U.S. space domination plans. It amounts to a huge propaganda fest, and high tech arms bazaar, all in one. Things, which should be shocking, are presented as matter of fact. Those of us who have followed it through the years find ourselves suffering from a kind of “exposure fatigue”. No matter how belligerent or arrogant the rhetoric might be, the public and media reaction is muted.

Until about 5 years ago it was possible for the public to browse through the exhibit hall for a few hours on one of the days of the symposium. That is no longer possible even though the event is heavily subsidized with public money and the Space Foundation is a taxexempt organization. There is a major police presence and protest access has been made more difficult year by year. Picketing can be fun. Street theater is usually worked into our plan. Lots of recognizable dignitaries, generals, and politicians pass by on their way from the hotel to the convention center. It is a very unpredictable time for weather. We are close to beautiful mountain scenery if you need to get away for a time.

Our local community is a case study in the military industrial complex. One can get a look on the ground at all the working parts of the war machine. That complex spreads its tentacles into the religious, educational and political spheres as well. The military has also made major inroads into the local environmental movement. The Army and Air Force now compete in being “green.” Who knew war could be so environmentally friendly? It isn’t, of course, but the spin machine seems to be fooling many of our local “enviros”.

Another theme that gets emphasized is the idea that modern high tech war is surgical. Space assets supposedly make for more precise targeting. Cyber warfare is sold as neat and clean. There may be an announcement of the new location of the Air Force’s Cyber Command in the months before the symposium or the announcement might occur there.

In closing we want to repeat our offer of hospitality. Come before the GN meeting and go with us to Omaha. Maybe this will be the year we make a big breakthrough.

Contact us at (719) 389-0644 or bsulzman@juno.

Bill Sulzman
Colorado Springs, CO

11) ODDS AND ENDS

  • The AFRICOM CrestAFRICOM
    The strategic importance of Africa and its natural resources is on the rise, and the Defense Department recently created a new unified U.S. military command for the continent called Africom. Many wonder if it is meant to protect America’s competitive stake in African oil and other resources increasingly sought by rising powers like China and India. The continent has surpassed the Persian Gulf as the leading supplier of oil to the United States.
     

  • Canada
    Canada’s military exports have more than tripled, a CBC News investigation has learned. Over the past seven years, Canada has exported $3.6 billion in military goods. Canada now exports more arms and military goods than it imports.
     

  • Martial Law in Pakistan
    GN member J. Sri Raman from India reports that, “The Musharraf-declared martial law in Pakistan has created a situation full of agonizing uncertainties ahead. The subcontinent, of course, has never been free from nuclear insecurities ever since both India and Pakistan proclaimed themselves nuclear- weapon states in 1998. Reports in the media, reflecting official Western opinion, talk particularly of the opportunity offered by Pakistan’s current instability to al-Qaeda hordes keen to lay their hands on the nuclear weapons. At least some reports, however, now recognize the added threat of nuclearweapon thefts in view of faintly visible rifts in Pakistan’s army. Some see the threat enhanced by the armed ethnic conflicts raging in the country’s tribal areas, which supply about a quarter of Musharraf’s soldiers.”
     

  • Lost Nukes in U.S.
    Nukes aren’t much safer in the U.S. Several nuclear bombs were “lost” for 36 hours after taking off August 29–30, 2007 on a “cross-country journey” from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. According to official reports, the U.S. Air Force pilots did not know that they were carrying nuclear weapons on-board. The Pentagon has stringent nuclear weapons handling procedures. Unauthorized removal of nuclear weapons would be virtually impossible to accomplish unless the chain of command were bypassed, involving, in this case, the deliberate tampering of the paperwork and tracking procedures. Some wonder if the Bush administration was attempting to “remove” some nukes from the “system” to be used in an attack of Iran.  (More details)
     

  • WWIII Threatens
    During the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, George W. Bush threatened World War III if he did not get his way with Iran. The Bush administration’s intentions toward Iran have been the subject of very limited debate in Congress. In October the Senate approved a resolution urging the State Department to label Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said he feared the measure could be interpreted as authorizing a military strike in Iran, calling it Cheney’s “fondest pipe dream.”
     

  • SysAdmin
    Military futurist Thomas Barnett, often called Donald Rumsfeld’s “strategy guy,” argues “that our military will inevitably split into a Leviathan-like combat force and a ‘system administrator’ [sysadmin] force optimized for everything else: postwar stabilization and reconstruction, nation-building, crisis response, and counter-insurgency.” Barnett says, “That gets me to my [latest] sign of progress: the emergence of industry players associated with the sysadmin’s rising profile. Last year Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense corporation, acquired Pacific Architects & Engineers, a long-time contractor to the U.S. State Department. PA&E is essentially State’s version of Kellogg Brown & Root, the Pentagon’s premier contractor for overseas base construction and support services. Lockheed’s purchase was a shot across the bow of the entire defense industry, signaling its historic decision to focus more on serving the U.S. military’s ballooning postwar portfolio. Within a generation, I predict Lockheed will evolve from being primarily a U.S. defense firm to operating as a global security contractor— less Leviathan and far more sysadmin.”
     

  • Japan Seeks Superiority
    Japan has said it will not back down on building missile defenses with the Pentagon. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, paying a one-day visit to Tokyo in October, took aim at the missile defense system being built in Japan, saying its goal was “securing military superiority” for the U.S. and Japan in Asia. Japan’s 241,000-member military, though smaller than those of its neighbors, is considered Asia’s most sophisticated.
     

  • US gives Israel $155 Million
    The U.S. has given Israel $155 million to develop an advanced missile interception system called David’s Sling. Israel has already successfully tested and deployed its Arrow anti-missile program. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons.
     

  • Israeli Anti-Nuclear Foe Jailed Again
    An Israeli court recently gave a six-month jail sentence to Mordechai Vanunu who in 2004 completed an 18- year prison term for telling the world’s media that Israel indeed had nuclear weapons. This time Vanunu was jailed for violating a ban on speaking to foreigners. “All I want to be is to be free, to leave the country,” said Vanunu, who insists he only wants to pursue a peaceful anti-nuclear campaign. In 1986, Vanunu was jailed after telling Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper about his work as a technician at the Dimona nuclear reactor. Israel has restricted Vanunu’s movements and personal contacts since he finished his first jail term.
     

  • Navy Test Range in Hawaii
    On September 17, 2007 the Navy closed its public comment period for a major expansion of its test range complex in Hawaii that includes the sky, sea, land and undersea reaches. The military proposes to use more than 2.1 million square miles of sea completely surrounding the entire Hawaiian archipelago. Many of these activities relate to war games and missile defense. The Navy wants to use laser weapons and hypersonic vehicles, unmanned undersea and aerial craft, killer sonar, high energy radar and more. In early October hundreds turned out at public hearings to oppose a Stryker Brigade in Hawaii. Strykers are 20-ton armored “modern chariots” that the Army wants to station and train in Hawaii, which would result in a 25,000-acre land grab.
     

  • Pentagon Statistics
    The Pentagon is the world’s largest network, employer, consumer, polluter, and science division. 741 community colleges and universities in the U.S. have contracts with the Department of Defense….155 schools outside the U.S. have contracts with the Pentagon in 32 nations….400,000 to 500,000 companies inside the United States have DoD contracts….67 % of the projected discretionary budget for 2008 is directed to military-related programs (www.thebudgetgraph.com)
     

  • CEO Makes Big Bucks
    General Dynamics CEO Nicholas Chabraja tops the list of defense-contractor chiefs who have made the most money during the 2002–2006 military buildup. Between 2002 and 2006, he pocketed $97.9 million, or an average of $19.6 million a year. Sales at General Dynamics have increased 76% from 2002 to 2006.

  • Diego Garcia Upgrades
    The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Diego Garcia, part of Britain’s Indian Ocean Territory, has several current missions. U.S. Air Force bombers and surveillance planes operate from its runway and the USAF Space Command has built a satellite tracking station and communications facility there.
     

  • Pentagon Plans Iran Attack
    The Pentagon has drawn up contingency plans for a range of attacks on Iran. The likeliest is a five-day bombardment, aiming to disable nuclear facilities and all major airbases and radar facilities; the most devastating would involve air and cruise missile attacks on more than 1,000 targets, including headquarters and barracks of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps.
    (See the discussion paper by Plesch and Butcher: "Considering a war with Iran")
     

  • Australia
    Australia will join an advanced U.S. military communications satellite network and pay part of the bill for expanding it to further cement the military alliance between the two countries. The deal follows a landmark pact that George W. Bush and Prime Minister John Howard signed in September, 2007 giving Australia long sought access to secret U.S. military technology and intelligence. Russia and China have voiced concern over what they regard as tightening military ties among the U.S., Japan and Australia, including for defense against ballistic missiles.
     

  •  U.S.—Police State?
    In the midst of a six-year “war on terrorism”, widening income inequality and a growing fear of immigrants, America has become a police state, according to a new study called “Garrison America,” with as much as 25% of our entire labor force focused on protection rather than production.
     

  • High Transfers of Wealth
    High oil prices are fueling one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history. Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago, pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone.
     

  • Global Strike
    The 2008 Pentagon $459 billion spending appropriation provides $100 million for a new “prompt global strike” program that could deliver a conventional, precision-guided warhead anywhere in the world within one hour. The vehicle would be launched into space on a rocket, fly on its own to a target, deliver its payload and return to Earth. StratCom in Omaha, Nebraska is in charge of this first-strike program.
     

  • Russian Wants to Ban Weapons from Space
    Russia plans to present a draft resolution to the United Nations that bans the weaponization of space, the Russian UN delegation announced in September, 2007. The proposed resolution is tentatively titled “Transparency and Confidence Building Measures in Outer Space Activities.” It seeks to bar any objects capable of carrying weapons from orbiting Earth as well as the deployment and installation of such weapons. It further bans the threat or use of force against space objects and the assistance of any activity banned under the proposed agreement. The U. S. government maintains that there is no space weapons race.

    Russia’s military space commander recently vowed to retaliate with an arms race if any country started putting weapon systems into orbit. “We need to have strong rules about space, to avoid its militarization and if any country will place a weapon in space, then our response will be the same,” said Space Forces Commander Vladimir Popovkin. Stung by NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin has given notice that Russia intends to pull out of a treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe. Popovkin said no country had the right to declare itself the master of space, so strike forces shouldn’t be deployed there.

     Interceptor missiles deployed in Poland as part of a U.S. missile defense shield would be fast enough to target Russian intercontinental missiles, contrary to Pentagon assurances. Ted Postol, a professor at MIT and a long time critic of the U.S. missile defense system, said the Americans “were probably concerned the Europeans wouldn’t accept (the plan) so they came up with the false argument that the interceptors won’t be fast enough to engage Russian ICBMs.” Central European Social Democrat parties from Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia have rejected the U.S. plan to build part of its missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it threatened to bring about a new arms race. (See also "The Technological Basis of Russian Concerns")
     

  • Intelligence Spending Larger than Reported
    Classified budget numbers concealed in an unclassified PowerPoint document suggest that total U.S. intelligence spending is significantly larger than generally assumed, perhaps around $60 billion annually (see "The Spy Who Billed Me").
     

  • Helium-3 from Moon
    The Russian space agency has accused NASA of rejecting a proposal for joint lunar exploration. The claim comes amid suspicion in Moscow that the U.S. is seeking to deny Russia access to the industrial extraction of helium-3 on the Moon. Some scientists say helium-3 could be the answer to the world’s energy woes. Helium-3 is seen as a fuel for nuclear fusion—so potent that just six metric tons would supply Britain with enough energy for a year. Germany, India and China are all studying ways to mine the isotope. “Whoever conquers the moon first will be the first to benefit,” said the chief scientist of China’s lunar program.
     

  • DOD Wants New Look at Energy Needs
    Hampshire College Professor Michael Klare writes that the recent report called, “Transforming the Way the DoD Looks at Energy,” was a bombshell. Determining that the Pentagon’s favored strategy of global military engagement is incompatible with a world of declining oil output, the study concluded, “Current planning presents a situation in which the aggregate operational capability of the force may be unsustainable in the long term.” Implementation of the Bush Doctrine requires that “our forces must expand geographically and be more mobile and expeditionary so that they can be engaged in more theaters and prepared for expedient deployment anywhere in the world”; at the same time, they “must transition from a reactive to a proactive force posture to deter enemy forces from organizing for and conducting potentially catastrophic attacks.” It follows that, “to carry out these activities, the U.S. military will have to be even more energy intense…. Considering the trend in operational fuel consumption and future capability needs, this ‘new’ force employment construct will likely demand more energy/fuel in the deployed setting.” To ensure itself a “reliable” source of oil in perpetuity, the Pentagon will increase its efforts to maintain control over foreign sources of supply, especially in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
     

  • New Pentagon Energy Plan
    A recent Pentagon study lays out the roadmap for a multibillion-dollar push to the final frontier of energy: a satellite system that collects gigawatts’ worth of solar power and beams it down to Earth. The military itself could become the “anchor tenant” for such a power source, due to the current high cost of fueling combat operations abroad, the study says. In conjunction with the Pentagon report’s release, 13 space advocacy and research organizations announced the formation of the Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy, which pledged to push for implementation of the space power plan. “I think we have found the killer application that we have been looking for to tie everything together that we’re doing in space,” Air Force Col. Michael V. Smith, who initiated the study for the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office.

 12) CONFRONTING SPACE ISSUES IN NEW MEXICO

Greeting to all our good friends in the Global Network from us here in New Mexico (N.M.).

Some of you have visited our desert state and we want to bring you up to date on a few events we have done lately. Our state continues to play a key role in the militarization of space and a great resistance movement has grown up to oppose this.

Many of the waves of advanced weapons systems used by the empire in ground wars around the globe came from research at the Air Force Research Lab here in Albuquerque and other agencies around the state like the Department of Energy Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs. The Air Force just celebrated 60 years of bombarding people around the world with air power in service to empire building. A part of their celebration involved plans to take this terrorist activity into space as fast as they can.

The Air Force Research Lab here created the first unmanned aerial vehicles (Global Hawk and Predator) being used to assassinate people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our state is also a center for the basic research into directed energy weapons including the e-bomb, airborne and space-based laser weapons, anti-satellite ground based lasers, the new microwave ray guns, and other types of anti-satellite weapons. The Air Force center here has also sponsored many decades of research into nuclear power for space weapons platforms. Many of the satellites providing GPS targeting for the oil wars in the Middle East are controlled from our city.

The whole state of N.M. is a field rich in opportunities to protest war and the use of space for war. Most people know N.M. as the place where the first nuclear weapons were built and tested. We are also home to the largest arsenal of nuclear warheads at any one place (about 2,000), in storage at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque. The military tries to keep this a secret, which makes the war on Iraq (and possibly Iran and N. Korea) so hypocritical.


Albuquerque, New Mexico hosts Kirtland AFB and many Star Wars aerospace contractors like Northrup Grumman. Local activists continue to highlight Albuquerque’s role in the plans to move the arms race into space.

But even larger than the nuclear weapons program here is a new Manhattan Project to militarize and control space through a network of research labs, war bases and public universities. This state is a crown jewel, as we say, in the military-industrial complex’s weapons of terror development and it is a good place to create solidarity with people around the world trying to liberate themselves by stopping the war machine here.

Over the last decade a coalition of groups in N. M. have held demonstrations at state universities associated with research for weapons like the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) and many space programs. We regularly hold demonstrations at the gates of Kirtland AFB where many of the new weapons systems are created.

On September 15, 2007 we held a demonstration at the gate of Kirtland AFB that caused the base to shut down the entrance so people driving in and out would not see our protest. We considered this a victory in that we managed to close down a key component of the global war machine without anyone having to get arrested.

Another of our recent solidarity actions took place on Oct. 6, 2007 in front of the large headquarters building for space war contractor Northrop Grumman (NG). This super war-profiteering firm has its hands into almost every aspect of space militarizing for the past 50 years. They brag to investors of the billions of dollars they have stolen from the public treasury for war promotion and profit. NG is proud of its partnerships with other arms manufactures like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, all of which have major centers here.

The big blue glass Northrop Grumman building here faces a major freeway, I-25, that carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles each day. It just so happens that the Global Network’s Keep Space for Peace Week was the same week of the International Hot Air Balloon festival. This event draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to our city to participate in balloon races. The balloon festival park is just around the corner, so to speak, from the Northrop Grumman office building and I-25.

About 25 of us gathered in front of the building along the freeway carrying many visitors to the festival along with many working people going about their normal lives. We were really impressed that so many of the cars passing by at high speed saw our large banner we were holding in front of the building which read “No Weapons in Space”. Our initial thought had been that “Ah, people won’t be able to see us very well.”

But in fact we were very noticeable and the number of people driving by blowing their horns and giving us the thumbs up was beyond our expectations. We figure that the people who attend the balloon festival are probably also interested in peaceful uses of the planet and space so we have decided that this is a place and time we must visit more often.

Even more to our surprise was the nice article and photograph our local newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal carried the next day in the Sunday edition that goes out all over the state. The article title and theme were exactly what we had hoped would come out of the effort: Group Protests Use of Space for War.

Our next action is planned for Monday, Feb. 4, 2008 at a large gathering of war contractors. Each February the Institute for Space Nuclear Power housed at the University of New Mexico holds an event to plan for the colonization and militarization of space. The ISNP has been trying since the Reagan administration days to solve the problems associated with building a nuclear power supply for a space based laser weapon, the original Star Wars idea.

To solve these problems each year hundreds of military officials, war profiteers, contractors, and young high school students gather here to share ideas and visions for colonizing space. Almost every year as they gather we vigil to let them know what they are doing is wrong and that it must be stopped. We hold signs calling for the conversion of the war budget to human needs, for peace in space, for an end to weapons research and much more.

This would be a good year if you have a free moment to travel to Albuquerque to join with the Global Network in this demonstration at a key center of planning for space militarization.

You would not think a strong resistance to war and space militarization would exist in a town and state like New Mexico, but it does and is very large and growing.

If you would like to help with some of this exciting work visit our web site: www.stopthewarmachine.org or email bob@stopthewarmachine.org.

Bob Anderson
Albuquerque, N.M.

13) MEMBERSHIP & SUPPORT

The Global Network relies on the support of our individual members and group affiliates to fund our important work to build a global consciousness about space.

Our membership is based on a sliding scale between $10-$100 (pay what you can best afford within that range.)

Your dedicated local work and financial assistance will help us keep growing at this crucial time in history. Working together, all around the world, it is possible to turn our governments away from the insanity of a new arms race. The global peace movement we witnessed prior to the U.S. attacks and occupation of Iraq is the other superpower in the world today. U.S. ambitions for global control and domination in the end will fail because the people of the planet will not allow any one nation to be the master of us all.

Let us build for the sake of the future generations. Let us prevail in our quest to fund human needs rather than space war technologies. The waste of our precious resources, so needed by humanity today, is truly a sin.

Please use the coupon to the right to join, donate or purchase products which support this most necessary work.

We thank you for your support and solidarity.



Newsprint versions of Space Alert! can be ordered from:

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517
(352) 871-7554 (Cell phone)
globalnet@mindspring.com


The contents herein are Copyright 2007, Global Network/Bruce Gagnon, the article may be reproduced for non-profit purposes as long as the source is recognised, otherwise reproduction can be arranged through the Global Network.