Notes from online GN board meeting
Saturday, May 09, 2020
Due to the virus pandemic our annual Global Network meeting (scheduled
for Ottawa in May along with many other groups in a coalition
conference) was cancelled. Thus we have needed to bring together our
board members via Internet and did so last night.
Twenty of our
board members from India, U.S. (Maine, Massachusetts, New York,
California, Pennsylvania, Washington & Hawaii), England, Canada,
Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Russia were on the call.
We spent 2.5 hours listening to each other report on to what is
happening in our part of the globe during this pandemic as well as major
military operations currently underway by our own government and/or the
It was such a positive experience that we decided to get
together again next month for another round.
Here are a few
notes of highlights from the folks.
The hypocritical Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau declared that his country supports the global
ceasefire a day after it resumed weapon sales to the outlaw nation
Saudi Arabia. In
addition Canada is planning on purchasing a fleet of new fighter
jets with the bids due this June. The Canadian government wants to
buy 88 fighter jets for $19 billion in an "open and transparent"
competition. However, in May, the Canadian government made a $70
million payment to the U.S. military to remain in the F-35
development consortium bringing Canada's total payment of $540
million to date. Many peace activists expect that Canada will buy
the Lockheed Martin stealth fighter, a carbon-intensive combat
aircraft for first-strike operations that the country doesn't need.
Activists are calling on the federal government to invest in green
new deal, not buy a new weapons system.
- The Japanese government had
agreed to the deployment of US 'missile defense' (MD) systems called
Aegis Ashore in two communities inside the country. Aegis Ashore is
a launching system that replicates the Navy's Aegis destroyer MD
program. Aegis Ashore has been deployed on the land in Hawaii,
Romania and Poland. These launch platforms can fire SM-3 (Standard
missile interceptors) or first-strike attack nuclear capable cruise
missiles. Residents near the two Japanese cities have been
vigorously opposing these deployments and the government appears to
be wavering in one of the communities called Akita. The people fear
health impacts from the radar systems that are part of Aegis Ashore
as well as the reality of becoming a direct target in a war with
China or Russia.
- The Trump administration is
pressuring the South Korean government to increase its 'cost
sharing' of the expense of United States Forces of Korea (USFK). It
has insisted on increasing the cost of military operations there by
500% but very recently proposed 53%. Still, this outrageous demand is not going over well in South Korea
as could be expected.
- The South Korean government is
creating a Space Force, purchasing four Global Hawk drones and will
be launching a military satellite this year. The air force
gallery in the Jeju Aerospace Museum talks
about South Korea's vision of aerospace power.
- In Australia the usual
rotation of US Marines into a base in Darwin (in northern part of
the country) have been cancelled due to the virus. But the US
continues to send personnel to its big space spy base at Pine Gap
which is located in the middle of the country on indigenous lands.
- In Germany the government was
slow to respond to the virus. Borders have been closed and racism
has grown worse as the lock down appears to bring out the worst in
- The virus gives us all a
moment to pause (the Earth has been healing itself during the global
shut down) and we should use this opportunity to strongly project
our transformative visions for a more sustainable way of living. In
particular our call for massive cuts in military spending, ending
war, and converting the war machine to needed and useful production
that helps deal with our real problem - climate change.
- Been working with black and
brown people who experience the brunt of the virus and racism in the
US. If we are ever going to change anything then they must lead the
movements. In a strange way this is a hopeful time as we either do
this right now or humanity will be lost. It is time for everyone to
step forward to resist the ravages (human and environmental) of
- One of our board members from
Sweden couldn't be on the call due to illness but sent this message
along: I want to contribute here with what I know about the
enlarging of Esrange in the North of Sweden to be able to launch
mini-satellites. (Esrange is the worlds biggest downloading station
from satellites and a rocket station.) Angstrom laboratories in
Uppsala, Sweden, has developed the prototype of mini-satellites for
military use already in 2005. Mini-satellites will most probably be
used for damaging Russian and Chinese satellites. I am prepared to
write about these rather alarming developments at Esrange in the
next issue of Space Alert. Another thing is that Israel most
probably is training drones at North European Aerospace Test range.
- The US-NATO war games called
RIMPAC are held in the Pacific and peace groups have been working
hard to get them cancelled this year. The word is now that they
will only do the naval portion of the war exercises this year - the
practice land invasions that are usually done with the Army and
Marines are cancelled.
- A corporation that promotes
'spaceports' is pushing to have the state of Hawaii help fund one
there. This is happening in many places around the US and
throughout the world.
- As the aerospace industry
moves to launch tens of thousands of 'mini-satellites' for 5G and
other uses they are saying they need more launch facilities. Even
in Brunswick, Maine aerospace operatives are pushing for a spaceport
at the former navy base. It is important to remember that a
spaceport that got forced on the people of Kodiak Island, Alaska was
sold to the public as a 'civilian' launch facility but every launch
over the years since it was established as been a Star Wars
- News has emerged that the US
(since it orchestrated the 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine) has built 15
bio-warfare labs in that nation. Recent reports indicate that
cattle grazing near the labs have been dying. Little public
information is available. The US has also set up similar bio-war
labs in Georgia, also along Russia's border.
- Pentagon recruiting is
increasing during the pandemic as unemployment grows and young
people have few options.
- Migrant farm workers,
considered 'illegal' in California, are now being called 'essential
workers' as they harvest our food. But they are still treated
poorly - lacking good housing, health care, fair wages and more.
- Homelessness is growing in the
US during this pandemic. Here in Maine our state has taken good
steps to help treat those experiencing homelessness with dignity
which has not always been the case.
- India is spending three times
more on the military than on health care during this virus
pandemic. India has 300 million people living in poverty.
- We should explore space but
not exploit it.
- Many current US military bases
in the US (like Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg in
California) will be renamed as Space Force bases.
- The UK foreign secretary
Dominic Raab tweeted support for a global ceasefire but the UK (as a
permanent member of the Security Council) has troops involved in
several war zones, so it is not clear what this meant. In any case
the Minsitry of Defence announced on 25 April that it had dropped
bombs in Iraq on 10 April, one week after Raab's tweet. The UK has
also announced its own Space Force and will focus on building and
launching mini-satellites. Most of these satellites (as is the case
with most space technology) could be 'dual use' - meaning serving
two masters - both military and civilian purposes. During the
pandemic some arms manufacturers have been producing ventillators at
the request of the government - demonstrating that shifting from
military to social needs may not be as difficult as suggested in the
past. It was also recently uncovered that the UK drives its military
drones from Waddington which has a fibre optic link to Ramstein in
Germany from where commands are uploaded to satellites - via US
- We must do more to show the
'deadly connections' between nuclear weapons and space technology.
These are not separate issues.
- The corporate media is not
covering any of these space issues in a real way anymore. Thus the
work of the GN is needed now more than ever. It is really the only
international organization doing this kind of work to stop the
nuclearization and weaponization of space.
- Our next Space Alert
newsletter is now in design mode as all copy has been sent to our
lay out person. It should be in the mail pretty soon. The focus of
this coming issue will be the Space Force. The public relations
campaign around the Space Force keeps saying that it will be a
'lean' organization - meaning it won't be expensive. But the truth
is that for many years the aerospace industry has bragged that Star
Wars will be the largest industrial project in human history. Who
will pay for this?
board members are listed here.