November 07, 2006

Militarization of Space Session

  • Participants agreed #1 issue on every agenda should be education, education, EDUCATION. Most peace activists still largely unaware of peace-in-space and ballistic missile defense issues. Many who are aware identify it largely with effort to weaponize space, where more important issue is using existing military space networks in unilateral, aggressive ways. (Note: Publicity given to revised Presidential Space Policy can help realize this goal.)
  • Need for database for space contractors and programs is essential. This discussion was combined with one in the Resources working group. Opportunities exist for merging WILPF print and Web resources with the CorpWatch “Wiki-like” evolving encyclopedia of corporate contractors.
  • How can regional activists increase collaboration? Have certain forms of CD or bannering become obsolete? New collaborative efforts are under way among groups working on Strategic Command (Omaha), AF Space Command (Colorado), and Joint Space Operations Center (Vandenberg). Many participants say that residents near major military bases who participated in the thousands in late 1980s and early 1990s appear to stay away for reasons of fear. Education can highlight the intersection between “usable” nuclear weapons and precision conventional weapons; but only bold, public efforts to “give voice to the silent” can shake people out of their post-9/11 fear.
  • Some discussion was undertaken on “turning the Washington DC NGOs around” – getting Beltway groups to look beyond UN disarmament initiatives to discussing unilateralism openly. Union of Concerned Scientists is useful here, at a position almost akin to Global Network. Center for Defense Information, particularly since the publication of the Space Policy, is getting better, talking openly on the problems of unilateralism. Other groups like Henry Stimson Center have a long way to go. Should activists denounce arms-control centrists (shades of SALT-II!), or try to bring them along?
  • Numbers have seemed down and somewhat dispirited for the October 2006 Keep Space for Peace Week activities. Can new efforts to revitalize energy change things? Are new types of activities, new focus on corporate enablers necessary?


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