Standing Vigil Among the Space Warriors

 8 April 2008

From: Bruce Gagnon

(More pictures and information -

We had two vigils in Colorado Springs today. The first held at noon on a busy downtown street. The second at 5:00 pm at the entrance of the Broadmoor Hotel where the Space Foundation launched its annual space symposium.  Both vigils were organized by Citizens for Peace in Space, a co-founding affiliate of the Global Network.

The local newspaper reported this morning that 7,500 people would be attending the space foundation conference this year. The cost of putting on this event will be more than $25 million - mostly taxpayer money that is handed over to the aerospace industry to build space technology to "protect" us from our "enemies." The question remains, who will protect us from the waste, fraud, and corruption that is endemic within the military industrial complex?

This evening a community forum was held at the public library where we heard from three speakers who have come to this city to join the protests. Jan Tamas, a leader of the movement to oppose the U.S. Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic, reported that 70% of their citizens oppose the radar base. J. Narayana Rao from Nagpur, India talked about his organizing efforts to bring the space weaponization issue to the Indian peace movement and the public at large in his country. Mary Beth Sullivan, the Global Network's Outreach Coordinator, explored what an alternative sustainable technology future of windmills, solar, public railways, and more would look like instead of building weapons for control and domination of space.

We go back out to the entrance of the Broadmoor first thing in the morning. Once again we will hold signs and banners and hand out leaflets to those entering the space warfare confab.

Today Brendan O'Connor, who took a Greyhound bus from upstate New York to join us, dressed up in my old Darth Vadar costume and stood by the entrance. One man became angry at us being there and walked up to Brendan and shoved him with all his might and the mask flew off Vadar's face exposing a surprised 27-year old who handled it all very well. It was the perfect example of one of the "space warriors" thinking that these "peaceniks" had no right to be there holding our signs and banners.

The idea of replacing violence with non-violence is too much for some folks who make a good living preparing for the destruction of the world.

It is so important for us to be here in Colorado Springs to remind the space weapons industry that growing numbers of people around the world are catching onto their dangerous and expensive game and are standing against the madness.

Citizens for Peace in Space

(see also: Damien Moran deported from U.S.)

 will be hosting several out of town visitors during our annual nonviolent protest of the giant space arms bazaar sponsored by the US Space Foundation at the Broadmoor Convention Center, April 7-9.  Join us if you can.

  • Monday April 7,    5 - 5:45 PM - Bannering and leafletting before the opening banquet at the Convention Center at the Broadmoor.   We will carpool from the Justice and Peace Office at 214 E. Vermijo at 4:30.  Meet us there or at the Broadmoor.
  • Monday April 7,   7 - 8:30 PM - Forum at the Carnegie Room, Penrose Public Library (downtown, Cascade and Kiowa)  titled, "War or Peace in Space?  a Global Perspective" -  Panelists include JN Rao of India, Jan Tamas of the Czech Republic, Damian Moran from Poland and Mary Beth Sullivan from Bath, Maine.      
  • Tuesday April 8,  3 - 4 PM - Bannering outside the north gate of Peterson AFB.  Carpooling from the J&P office at 2:30 PM.
  • Wednesday April 9  10:30 - 12:30 - Bannering at the Broadmoor during the visits of hundreds of local school children to the "Lockheed Martin" Arms Bazaar Exhibit Hall.   Carpooling from the J& P at 10 AM.
Here are some bios of  our visitors who will also be meeting with local activists, union leaders  and student groups at various times during the 3 days:

Bruce Gagnon (Maine) Bruce serves as Secretary/Coordinator of the GN. He has been working on space issues for the past 25 years and co-founded the GN in 1992.  For 15 years he coordinated the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. He was trained as an organizer by the United Farm Workers Union.  Bruce’s book Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire was republished in 2008.  Bruce is a Vietnam-era veteran and is a member of Veterans for Peace -

Mary Beth Sullivan (Maine) is the part-time Outreach Coordinator for the Global Network.  MB is a social worker who has worked with low-income women, children with developmental delays, and as a community organizer with homeless people.  She is now a member of the Addams-Melman House, an intentional community committed to providing service, working for social change, and building support for the conversion of the military industrial complex in order to move the U.S. away from a permanent war economy to a peace economy –

Jan Tamas (27) has been active in the nonviolent Humanist movement since 1997.  Since 2000, he has traveled frequently to Kenya and has helped launch several disarmament projects there.  In 2005 he was elected as a chairman of the Humanist Party.  In 2006 he helped form and is the spokesperson for "No to bases Initiative" which unites more than sixty organizations and actively opposes the U.S. plan to establish a US Star Wars base in the Czech Republic.  He has a PHD in technical cybernetics and works as a freelance IT consultant.  He lives in Prague, is married and has no children.

Damian Moran (29) is an Irish national who has lived  in Poland with his wife since 2005.  An ex-seminarian he is a co-organizer of the Polish Campaign against Militarism and one of the coordinators of the first demonstrations due to take place at the proposed site of the U.S. missile base in Slupsk, Poland.  In Ireland he was part of a Plowshares group which was acquitted in a case involving  resistance to U.S.  military flights landing there on the way to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has also spent time with the International Solidarity Movement in Lebanon and Palestine. 

J Narayana Rao (Nagpur, India): belongs to a village near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.  In 1958 he went to work for the Indian Railways and joined the Railway Trade Union Movement.  He was arrested in 1973 and 1974 for Trade Union activities. While in Railway Service and in the Railway Trade Union movement he was attracted to the peace movement and joined the All
India Peace & Solidarity Organization (AIPSO) in 1982.  AIPSO is an Indian affiliate of the World Peace Council.  At present he is the General Secretary of AIPSO of the Maharashtra State Council. Rao's zeal to work against nuclear weapons, war, and to support the struggles of the developing countries against imperialist domination led him to believe that unless women and youth are brought into the peace movement there will not be a real movement in India. With this idea he has taken the initiative in establish the National Association of Indian Women for Peace and Development and Indian Youth for Peace and Development. Both these organizations are slowly gaining ground.

Holly Gwinn Graham (Washington) Holly got a better perspective on America and its policies in the world during the six years she spent living and singing in England from 1968 to the end of 1973. Since that time, she has devoted her life to working on pressing issues of these times on planet earth, to higher consciousness, and to using the arts to educate about these issues with humor, wit, and intelligence. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest, thanks the Global Network for getting her around the country to events, and is proud to be among the stellar group of advisors for the organization -

About 7,500 to be at Broadmoor event as aerospace continues to thrive

The National Space Symposium kicks off at The Broadmoor this week, pumping $25 million into the economy as military brass, NASA officials and executives from the aerospace industry gather for the biggest slide-rule party on the planet.

The symposium, which is in its 24th year, is expected to draw 7,500 participants, about 500 more than last year. The business deals for the commercial satellite industry are expected to be just as big, too, organizers said.

“That’s one of the interesting things about the show — even though the economy is down, we’re still seeing full participation across the board,” said Kendra Horn, spokeswoman for the Space Foundation, which organizes the annual gathering.

The private festivities start at 9 p.m. today with a fireworks show and music by the boomerfriendly band “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.” The symposium runs through Thursday with a series of speeches and panel discussions representing the top minds in space fields.

Hot topics will include global warming and NASA’s efforts to return to the moon and send astronauts to Mars.

NASA will get a big spotlight at the symposium as the industry marks 50 years of American space flight. The satellite Explorer 1 hit orbit on Feb. 1, 1958. While the high-minded discussions pull in crowds, the real work of the symposium is an exhibit hall crowded with about 150 vendors showing the latest in space technology. Defense contractors, colleges and government agencies set up command posts in the hall and in the hotel, where top executives meet with clients over the fourday trade show.

No one can pin an exact number on how many deals get done at the symposium.

“That’s one of the hardest things for us to get a handle on is how many dollars change hands,” Horn said.

Horn said the symposium is a big boost for the Colorado Springs economy, though, with The Broadmoor and several other hotels packed to capacity.

Many of the symposiumgoers also tack on a couple of extra days to travel around Colorado for sightseeing or skiing, Horn said.

Although the event is closed to the public, hundreds of area schoolchildren will get to see the exhibition hall and even ask questions of an astronaut during tours Wednesday.

Another item of emphasis this year is reaching out to teachers to enlist their help in aiming children toward aerospace careers.

Home Page