Peace on earth and we hope in space

Located in Florida one such group is seeking to stop the nuclear madness

Albuquerque, New Mexico 11 Feb 2001

Willard Griffin Interviews Bruce Gagnon


Within a few miles of Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico where nuclear weapons projects and biological warfare experiments are conducted, the 18th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power & Propulsion was being held at the Hyatt Hotel in Albuquerque. This meeting was being demonstrated against by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

The following interview explains the position of GNAW and its members and how they see the effects of the United States commitment to the NMD program that is being put in place.

1. Are you here from Gainesville, FL or is this a branch of GNAW?

Bruce: I am not originally from Gainesville but I am living there now and it is where my web site is located. We have 150 affiliate groups around the world. Of course I can't be at every demonstration around the world. Whenever there are armament meetings or meetings concerning star wars type aggression in space being held in communities we try to get our membership into the area in order to organize a demonstration there. I do personally travel two to three weeks every month to our demonstrations and have been doing this now for a year and a half teaching at work shops and organizing demonstrations and conferences.

2. Tell me about your post card campaign.

Bruce: If you went to our web site you saw an older woman holding a sign that said 'ban war in space.' That is the front of the post card. The back of the card has a message to President Bush generally saying 'Do not go forward with this, it is dangerous and will start a new arms race.' Currently we have distributed over nine thousand of them in the United States. These are actual post cards not electronic mailings. You can obtain these by contacting me at my web site or emailing me at and sending me your address.

Our friends in England also have post cards with their message on it for their countries government.

3. You also have a letter writing campaign, do you find it affective?

Bruce : Yes, we do find it affective.

4. Who do you write to?

Bruce : We actually have two campaigns. One is for the politicians and the other for newspapers and magazines. If you go to our web site you will find email address for your government and the media.

5. Do you see science fiction coming true as in the case of Darth Vador and Star Wars or Star Trek? Do you think that we will have propulsion systems like these to travel to other planets?

Bruce: It is said that art imitates reality. In this case some of the worst conceivable ideas are coming true. What we are talking about is something really historic. We are talking about moving this terrible arms race that we have created on this earth and putting it out in the heavens, placing military bases on the moon, this glorious moon that we all love. We think that this a very dangerous and bad thing. What we've got now are the scientists who want to move these things out into the heavens. It is our basic contention that the scientists have gotten out of control, they are trying to imitate God, to act as if they were God. At this time the nuclear power that they have developed can wipe out this entire earth in a moment with just the push of a button.

The time has come for the people of the world to intervene in order to save the precious, god given human life on this planet.

6. But wouldn't you agree that space exploration is valuable and has benefited mankind? We have many advances here on earth that we all take advantage of such as the transistor and other solid state advances that make our life easier. Your own web site wouldn't be possible if it hadn't been for the necessity for advances due to space exploration.

Bruce: There is no doubt that there are useful applications for space but what has happened up to this point is that space has been developed, if you will, without the intervention of a democratic global discussion about how it should be shaped, how it should be developed. As a result of that we are now seeing the very worst concepts move forward. This whole thing needs to be slowed down so that the public can catch up. This is like genetic engineering that is going to fast. The public has to catch up with these discussions because it has gone to fast and to far.

7. We have explored the earth from the bottom of the oceans to the tops of mountains and we still aren't finished. Now we are exploring the make up of our own bodies genetically. Wouldn't you agree that mankind has an insatiable need for knowledge and to explore?

Bruce: Yes. Absolutely, I think that it is good thing. And if we do it properly I think that we can make our lives better, the lives of our children better and the lives of the future generations better. But this is a double edge sword as this also has the ability to destroy life.

8. Nations who we perceive as our enemies are against our missile shield ideas however no matter which way we go they will continue to build up their military forces and weapons of mass destruction no matter what we do. So why shouldn't we defend ourselves the best we can and if possible dominate our enemy. GNAW members would also benefit from America's advanced technology whether on earth or in space, so why object?

Bruce: Well first of all we don't believe that domination and that is what the US Space Command is talking about, control and domination of both space and the earth below, we don't think that domination will do anything but create a new arms race. If you try to dominate then somebody else is going to try to dominate. Canada, Russia and China on two occasions in the last two years have brought resolutions to the floor of the United Nations asking for a global ban on weapons in space. The last vote was in November of 2000. The vote was 160 to 0 to 3. Almost everyone in the world saying yes lets all sign a global ban on weapons in space. The United States, Israel and Micronesia voted to abstain. The United States official position is ' we will not sign a global ban on weapons in space because there is no problem, there is no need to negotiate such a thing.' Our feeling is that we must have such a ban and if we can do it today, we can stop this new arms race from moving into space.

The aerospace industry is using space as a new market. The number one industrial export in America today is weapons and they know that they can maintain this big market if they can move this arms race into space. It is my understanding and contention that the Chinese barely have the ability to launch rockets right now and I believe that this is very likely a CIA planted story in order to justify the United States domination. I think that these are questionable stories being planted in the Reverend Sun Myung Moon owned newspaper called the Washington Times which is known for running a lot of CIA stories in order to plant these into the consciousness of the American people.

9. We are on the threshold of a new era in space travel. What does GNAW fear the most and what is GNAW's outlook for the future?

Bruce: What we fear the most is a new arms race in space, our outlook for the future is peaceful space exploration, that the whole world understands and recognizes that the launching of weapons into space have the capability of tumbling back to earth. These weapons would be powered by nuclear reactors that when they fall back to earth they would burn up upon reentry and spread their deadly toxins globally. They would spread radioactive contamination upon mankind through the atmosphere and would eventually be picked up by our food chain and ingested, passed on through your reproductive organs for generation to come.

If these weapons were actually used to destroy other nuclear weapons in space and this debris fell back to earth in the form of radioactive shrapnel, can you imagine how much worse it would be. This is a prescription for death.

10. Many forms of medicine that are now used to treat illnesses were developed initially by forward thinking men of science and these advances were made by various experiments that many people objected to and still object to. Disease could overwhelm us if we didn't go forward in our advances in science even over the objection of some groups. So don't you think that to benefit mankind that the leaders of this world should ignore your organizations objections?

Bruce: No. I think that it would be a tragic mistake. And I think that what you are going to find is that this issue is going to become one of the major global issues in the coming years. The idea is that we must protect space as a wilderness. In 1989 I organized one of many demonstrations at Cape Canaveral. On that day we had an astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, speak at our demonstration, the fifth man to walk on> the moon, and he said that we must oppose space weapons because if we allow them or even test space weapo> ns against old satellites that we will create so much more space junk in addition to what is already there that we will not be able to get a rocket off the planet earth. We will be entombed to the planet. Today there are one hundred and ten thousand pieces of space junk larger than half and inch circling the earth at eighteen thousand mile and hour. If you increase the amount of debris you are going to create a mine field so you won't be able to get any rocket through at all. So if you want to launch commercial satellites or for interplanetary exploration it is in the interest of the people who want to explore space for peaceful space purposes not to allow the military to move into space.

11. There are many people around the world protesting against the New World Order - A Global Government, and yet the politicians continue on their course moving ahead with their plans above the objections of the populace. They have their meetings away from the people and continue with their plans. What makes you believe that your organization will stand any better chance in changing the worlds directions when other organizations have tried and failed?

Bruce: I don't believe that these organization have tried and failed. I think that they have done an incredible job already of globalizing the globalism issue. They have done an excellent job of creating a new consciousness around the world about how the corporations are trying to take over the world, how they are trying to limit democracy. You don't win these fights over night. These same global corporate interests are the same ones saying that we have got to have a space control domination regime to protect global corporate interests. We are going to keep at it. There is no guarantee about anything in life. There is no guarantee that you and I are going to wake up breathing in the morning but we are going to keep fighting and keep educating and building global consciousness. What we are talking about here is creating a consciousness shift amongst the people of the world about our relationship to the heavens. This is a fundamental consciousness shift to protect space as a wilderness, if you will, not to contaminate it with weapons and space junk and everything else. It is a long term struggle.

12. Should your protests fail and we continue to move forward with missile shield and nuclear space exploration what will GNAW's next move be?

Bruce: Yesterday we heard a story about a woman working in a shop here. Someone went into the shop to buy something and came out and told us the story that she said that she was glad that we were out here, that there are people that don't have medical care, don't have jobs, food, that the water is contaminated. It is time to take care of this planet before we go rushing of into space. Saturn, Pluto and the rest of them aren't going anywhere, they are going to be there for a while so if we have to slow this juggernaut down a little bit in order to take care of business here on earth first then we should do it. This is a message we are hearing a lot of people give us all over the world. I think that the jury is going to be out on this issue for some time so don't write us off yet.

13. Yesterday I came upon your demonstration by chance. I didn't even know> about the 18th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power & Propulsion meeting being held here at the Hyatt. Last night I logged on to Alibi and saw a mention of your organization and purpose and they listed your web site which listed Albuquerque and other areas through out the world where protests would be held. So how do you explain the low turn out of people both yesterday and today?

Bruce: I am very pleased with this turn out. We had fifty people yesterday, we are here today and we will be here tomorrow. I am very pleased with he number of people who come out here. You can't judge everything by numbers. You have to judge things by how people react to them. What kind of response do we get from people going by? This is a new issue. Any new issue that comes along always has to start somewhere, you build up and that is where we are now at. We just started our web site three months ago with a hit counter and we are up to nineteen thousand hits in three months so I think that we are doing pretty good. I can't honestly say what that translates into as to how many people have written letters. I started this post card campaign three weeks ago. The South Dakota Peace and Justice Center ordered eight hundred and fifty of them. I sent it to them and they put them in their newsletter and sent them to their membership across the state of South Dakota. This is going on all over the country. We have distributed so many of them all over the country because good size groups have taken on this whole issue.

In England this post card campaign is being run by CND which is the largest peace group in all of Europe, it is the national peace group of England. We are reaching a lot of people.

14. Do you know the names of the people present at the Symposium and their positions with their respective companies?

Bruce: I don't know their individual names but I know who they represent. They represent the aerospace industry, Lockheed Martin, TRW, Boeing, Raytheon, they are from nuclear academy, the nuclear engineering departments of major universities like from where I live in Gainesville Florida, the University of Florida, here in New Mexico the University of New Mexico, they are working on nuclear rockets together, the Department of Energy Laboratories is heavily represented here, the Air Force has representation here. All the people that are trying to promote the new market of weapons and nuclear power in space are all here.

15. Do you have any statement that you would like to make for the record?

Bruce: It is the sign of the scientific age. Everything has to be quantified, qualified, numerated. What is your number, what is your success ratio? All that kind of thing. I like to tell my story.

I was in the Air Force. I came from a right wing Republican family. During the Viet Nam war I was stationed at a base in California that was an airlift base for the war. There were fifteen thousand G. I. personal stationed there, permanently working there.

Troops would come from all over the country to our base to get on the plains to go to Viet Nam. The Anti-Viet Nam war protesters would have regular demonstrations at the front gate of my base with ten or twelve people. Not a very big turnout. But what would happen is that for days on end there would be discussions in the > barracks, in the chow hall and at work about these protesters and th> e war. This started a reaction that changed my entire life. Now, today, look what I am doing.

So how can you quantify or qualify the effectiveness of those demonstrations with ten or twelve people out in the front of the gate. What impact did they have? Well we don't know. To this day you don't have this slightest idea. But if my life was changed as a result of their protest they may have created a chain reaction like nuclear physics. What impact do any of our efforts have? Democracy is a slow evolving evolutionary process and that is what it is all about.

What we are doing now is total democracy. It is education. I don't have any faith in my representatives. I am putting out a voice to get the American people to think. I don't know when we don't have access to main stream media. I don't know to many alternatives. We hope that there will be solid alternative media developed but in the mean time my experience in life is that we have to get out there were people are and share with them, strike them visually with colorful banners, hand our literature to them, talk to them. Like this guy that just walked by. He knew a lot of stuff and it was great. To me that is all democracy.

To me this demonstration verses a protest is the creation of an alternative voice. Like this lady that was walking by. Look, she is reading our sign She is thinking about it. If we were never here it would never had entered her consciousness. Maybe she will come over here and get one of our leaflets or go to our web site, take out a membership, who knows. But unless you are here you don't create that opportunity.

If you have a better idea I would love to hear it. This is not the only way that I reach people. I come at it from every angle possible. I work every angle because at every angle I meet somebody else with new ideas. Somebody just honked going by, he might write a letter now, who knows?

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