10 October 2006
"Strategic Space and Defense 2006"
Why do we need to protest this conference?
By Tim Rinne,
Nebraskans for Peace -  State Coordinator


Nebraskans for Peace will be demonstrating outside the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha Ne Tuesday evening October 10 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. before the  "Opening Ceremony and Reception" begins, and the following morning, October 11 from 7:30-8:30 a.m., by the new Qwest Center in Omaha when Strategic Space and Defense 2006 conferees really get down to 'business.'

Ever wonder how the Pentagon actually spends all the money Congress dishes out to it?

For Fiscal Year 2007, spending for the Department of Defense will average over $1.5 billion a day.  And not all of it, you can be assured, is earmarked for wages and benefits for our service people…

Or even to wage war in the Muslim world.

No, if you really want to see where a goodly share of your tax dollar is going, you need to check out the "Strategic Space and Defense 2006" conference in downtown Omaha this month.  It's the Military-Industrial Complex at its most obscene--an arms bazaar and spending spree all rolled into one.

Hosted by the "non-profit" Colorado Springs-based "Space Foundation," the October 10-12 conference will the fourth such annual event in Omaha since 2003.  (This year though, as part of their public relations strategy, they've added the word "Defense" to the title--in a shameless bid to capitalize on Americans' national security fears.)

The touted purpose of the conference is expressed in the foundation's mission statement:

"Conducted in support of America's strategic forces, Strategic Space and Defense 2006 will address both the space-related and strategic missions of the Command, expanding the dialogue between the senior leadership of U.S. Strategic Command, appropriate component and supported commands, the aerospace contractor community, federal officials and other leaders. The primary objective will remain the same: fostering relationships and understanding among the Command and its constituencies in support of America's strategic forces."

But when you cut through all the reverential rhetoric and tech-speak, it's really a 'trade show' for StratCom, where the 'suits' from the arms and aerospace industry show up to hawk their latest wares, and the 'uniforms' shop till they drop and compile their 'wish lists' for next time.

Think this is too cynical of an assessment?

Take a look at the list of aerospace and defense contractors who are sponsoring this "non-profit" feeding frenzy:

Lockheed Martin Corporation is hosting the "Opening Ceremony and Reception."

CSP Associates, Inc.--which provides "marketing, management, and mergers/acquisitions support to businesses, equity investors, and senior lenders in the aerospace and defense industries"--is springing for a continental breakfast.

Northrop Grumman and Boeing are doing the luncheons.

"Cocktail Hour" is courtesy of Booz/Allen/Hamilton--the global strategy and technology consulting firm.

And Honeywell, Raytheon, AirLaunch, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), ATK, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Sterling Computers--a Sun iForce partner, are all chipping in for the perks and do-dads.

The conference, though, is not open to the public, and no one in our circle has been invited.

But Nebraskans for Peace will be there nevertheless.  We've already made arrangements to hold demonstrations outside the Holland Performing Arts Center Tuesday evening October 10 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. before the  "Opening Ceremony and Reception" begins, and the following morning, October 11 from 7:30-8:30 a.m., by the Qwest Center when Strategic Space and Defense 2006 conferees really get down to 'business.'

NFP will be there, not just because we're protesting this prodigal use of our tax money, when there are so other crying needs out there that are being short-changed and unmet.  We'll be there because StratCom is where the Bush/Cheney Administration's next war is being planned. It's where the attack on Iran's or North Korea's nuclear facilities will originate.  It's where the war will be conducted from.  It's the nerve center in fact for now waging preemptive war anywhere on the face of the globe.  And U.S. Strategic Command, right here in Omaha, in our own backyard, is where the administration is even now plotting the domination of outer space.  "Because whoever controls space, controls the earth."

"Strategic Space and Defense" is slated to be an annual fixture in Omaha during October from now on.  And for our part, Nebraskans for Peace has every intention of making a public protest at this hideous event every bit as annual, and eventually bringing the international community to Omaha to stand with us.  This year only marks the beginning.

For more info contact the NFP State Office
Phone 402-475-4620
Email nfpstate@nebraskansforpeace.org


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