Report from GN Conference in Huntsville, Alabama

From: Dave Webb

April 7 - 9 2017

Pivot Toward War:
US Missile Defense and the Weaponization of Space
25th Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest
(Thanks to Will Griffin and Tom Moss for most of the pictures
and to Eric Herter, Will and David Swanson for the videos))

Promotional video by Will Griffin

See also: Call for conference;
See also: Pre-visit to Rocket City to Plan the Conference
and Conference Brochure

Arrival - Friday April 7

You are reminded of what goes on in Huntsville as soon as you get to the airport. The display boards are full of aerospace corporations sales and propaganda material:


Huntsville is very proud of its nickname as "Rocket City" - there are reminders everywhere ...


... and
even the
look like
rockets ... 

However, for some there was no rocket available and it turned out to be a long hard trip to get to Huntsville. Bruce tells the story in his blog of how three of them (Bruce, Eric Herter and Mary Beth Sullivan) were affected by the severe storms in Washington DC and Atlanta on April 6. Their flights were cancelled and, in order to make it to Huntsville in time for the conference, they rented a car and drove all through the night to arrive in just in time for the press conference planned for 2pm on April 7. They were in remarkably good spirits after the 20 hour journey! It soon became clear that others were not going to make it at all - three speakers (from Guam, Norway and New York City) suffered from cancelled flights.

Press Conference - Friday April 7

Two local TV stations attended the press conference:


Press Conference speakers were Bruce Gagnon, who gave an introduction to the Global Network and the aims of the Annual Conferences; Dave Webb, who spoke on US military space bases in the UK; Ken Jones from Veterans for Peace in Asheville, NC, who spoke


Video of Yasuo Ogata's remarks at the Press Conference

of the VfP campaign (delegations to the conference arrived from Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee); Hyun Lee from New York, who spoke about the imposition of THAAD on the people of South Korea; and Yasuo Ogata from Tokyo, who spoke about the US missile defense systems in Japan. Each spoke for a few minutes each and at the end Bruce briefly introduced Ann Wright who had arrived just too late to participate fully.

Peace Demonstration: a Call for Conversion - Friday April 7

Following the press conference everyone headed out to Gate 9 of the Army's Redstone Arsenal for a peace demonstration. About 50 or so of us stood with banners and signs to catch people leaving work from the Army and NASA building. A stream of cars flashed past over that time, some even waved and honked in support - I presume!



The was a significant media presence and we had good photo coverage from the Huntsville Times newspaper. Bruce reported that a local space centre employee had said that NASA had sent an email to all those working inside Redstone Arsenal informing them that we would be protesting. So, NASA had helped by informing the workers which will have created discussion about the protest even before it had started.

After the traffic had died down we all climbed into the bus and the cars we came in and set off for some dinner.

That evening - just to round things off - there was a showing of Regis Tremblay's film "Thirty Seconds to Midnight"

See also:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3


Home Page