November 07, 2006

Peace in Space Part 1

Most of Part 1 of the Peace in Space workshop was informational, to give participants grounding in the basic issues. The format was very interactive, with participants regularly diving deeper for clarification on certain issues of technical capabilities or government and corporate doctrine. MacGregor provided a tutorial on missile-defense and on waging more effective war from space, and emphasized the locations such as Kwajalein and Diego Garcia, where indigenous struggles have a direct bearing on the status of U.S. space bases. Loring provided an overview of the new "virtual" (outsourced) corporation, and how the corporate infrastructure of the 21st century affects both the traditional military-contractor "metal-benders" as well as the new breed of engineering think-tank. Loring provided lists of key contractors involved in larger space intelligence and first-strike warfare projects.

We identified two types of goals: those the peace-in-space movement should maintain internally for better organization, and those to set as national policy goals which peace activists can seek to influence. In the former category, short-term goals involved contining decentralization and regionalized autonomy along the lines of the Global Network model, since the Washington-directed peace group model does not work well with peace-in-space issues. Over the longer term, Carol Urner is very anxious to see many in the movement participate in building up a database of corporations and the major programs they are involved with, a process that is growing more difficult as simple lists of prime contractors and subcontractors are replaced with long chains of outsourced military contracts.

For national policy, we encouraged a short-term goal of seeking a ban on weapons in space, and the Sunday meeting will discuss various ways in which we can work on UN programs in this field. In the mid-term, peace activists can push for a more honest and explicit discussion of the role of U.S. unilateralism, a subject some of those interested in space issues have tried at times to avoid. Over the long term, this type of discussion could lead to international "rules of the road" for how nations may use near-Earth orbital space -- provided, of course, that the U.S. would actually be willing to comply with the rules it demands other nations follow.

Loring Wirbel
reporting for peace in space group


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