October 20 2000

By William O'Connell []

A small but enthusiastic group were in Huntsville for their part of the "Keep Space for Peace" demonstrations. The weather felt like mid-winter in Alabama rather than early autumn, but that did not deter the enthusiasm and commitment of the Huntsville crowd. They were determined to make their voices heard, no matter the weather.

Participants stationed themselves outside of the Redstone Arsenal's Gate number 9, and had several signs and greetings to share with passersby. One large sign read, "No Nuclear Rocket," and their were others that voiced similar objections to the use and development of nuclear weapons.

The demonstration got free publicity when the police came to take pictures; the protesters returned the favor, and got their picture, too.

Interested parties who want to help keep space for peace, and get involved in events centered around Huntsville, Alabama may make contact through this website, or email to: William O'Connell at

Protest at Red Stone Arsenal
October 10 2000
From David Waters

We managed to pull together a very small presence at Gate 9 entrance to Red Stone Arsenal on October 7. Three of us from Vets for Peace, my 15 year old son Oliver, and Bill O'Connell. There was an article in the Huntsville Times. Another reporter showed up on Saturday. If he writes a piece, I'll send it to you.

Gate 9 is probably an OK place during the week; there was very light traffic on this Saturday. There was one bonus: a shuttle bus from the nearby manned space craft center and museum made runs by us carrying tourists of all ages to points unknown on Redstone Arsenal.

Base security had a presence in the form of an SUV with two officers. They first stopped by and asked if we were having car trouble. Then later drove by snapping pictures. Later still, they parked opposite and up a little way and snapped more camera shots -- we could see them and the flash from the camera. I got my Polaroid from the van and when they saw my camera, they immediately fled the area. I mean a hasty retreat, with the woman riding in passenger position making a point of turning away from us and covering her face. Go figure. They spent the rest of our time there way up on the side of the road well inside the gates.

Protest targets Redstone for role in U.S. plans for weapons in space
Demonstrations set today in 65 locations around the world
October 10 2000
By BRIAN LAWSON, Huntsville Times Business Writer

Protesters are gathering in 65 locations around the world today, from Azerbaijan to Huntsville, to express their opposition to a U.S. military presence in outer space.

The protests are being coordinated by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. There will be demonstrations and actions in Europe and Asia and at a number of U.S. military facilities, including Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

Demonstrators plan to gather outside Gate 9 at Redstone, off of Rideout Road, beginning at noon.

David Waters, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Birmingham, plans to take part in the demonstration here.

''Huntsville is one of the sites they are considering to build a space-based laser,'' Waters said. ''With nuclear weapons, you think about how much destruction can be done with them, even inadvertently, it makes you wonder about our leaders. They don't need to start building weapons in space.''

Waters said he doesn't expect a large turnout for the Huntsville protest, but regards the event as a first step toward kindling public awareness about the consequences of the military's plans.

The date for the protest was set several months ago, in anticipation of President Clinton's decision concerning deployment of a National Missile Defense system. It was timed to occur prior to the elections in November.

Clinton deferred the decision in September, opting to let the next president make the choice.

The NMD program has a significant economic impact on Huntsville. More than 1,300 people, spread among 13 defense contractors, work on the project, which is budgeted at $1.7 billion over the next three years.

Calls to officials at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville were not returned Friday.

There are a number of programs being considered for missile defense. The National Missile Defense system relies on nonnuclear, ground-based weapons to shoot down enemy missiles. The system's detectors are designed to be based in space.

''Star Wars'' is the popular description for a space-based missile defense system, which would use lasers or other weapons to shoot down ballistic missiles launched at the United States.

The Global Network protesters are deeply distrustful of plans for a ballistic missile defense system.

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