Report from North of UK

By: Bruce Gagnon

From: Bruce Gagnon's Blog

June 20-22 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Talking space in Scotland

Last night Global Network board convener Dave Webb (also serves as chair of the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) took Will Griffin, Mary Beth Sullivan, and me to Edinburgh, Scotland to speak to members of Scottish CND.

We spent a few hours walking around the beautiful city - admiring the architecture and visiting a fascinating museum called 'The People's Story'.

More than 25 people crammed into a tiny CND office space and we had a wonderful 90 minute discussion before we had to return to the rail station to take the train back to Leeds - arriving at 1:00 am.

During his opening remarks Will Griffin said, "I've never heard of a good empire."  A woman sitting in the front row responded to him, "Neither has Scotland."

At the end of the meeting one woman, with a very strong Scottish accent, stood up and said, "We know that Trump didn't get his nastiness from his Scottish mother, so he must have got it from his father."  The crowd roared.

Tonight we speak in Otley (next to Leeds up here in Yorkshire) to a group called the Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign that organizes around the U.S. NSA spy base called Menwith Hill also located in North Yorkshire.

On Friday we jump back on the train and head south to Oxford where the Global Network annual meeting will be held over the weekend.

RT reports today:

Washington’s plan to create a Space Force could lead to catastrophe, a Russian Senator has warned. Moscow’s ready to “strongly retaliate” if the US violates the outer space treaty by putting weapons of mass destruction into orbit.

“Militarization of space is a way to disaster,” Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee told RIA news agency just day after the US President Donald Trump ordered the creation of a new branch of the US military that would be tasked with operating in what he called “forbidden skies.”

The senator warned that Washington could potentially violate international agreements regulating the demilitarization of space and thus put the international security in a grave danger. “There is a major risk that the Americans would commit grave violations in this field … if one takes into account what they do in other spheres,” Bondarev said.

“If the US withdraws from the 1967 agreement that bans deployment of nuclear weapons in space, [such a move] will be followed by a tough response not only from our state but from other states as well, which would be aimed at preserving international security,” he added.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, to which the US is a party, prohibits deployment of nuclear weapons as well as any other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the Earth’s orbit. It also bans states from testing any weapons in outer space, or establishing military bases on the Moon and other celestial bodies.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Warning: Don't follow America over the cliff......

Last night Dave Webb took us to a Unitarian Church in downtown Leeds to conduct a taped interview that will be used at an upcoming conference that is being planned.  He wanted to get my thinking about weapons in space recorded for that event.  After interviewing me he put Will Griffin on the hot seat and had him talk about his experiences in the Army during the Iraq and Afghanistan war and also his reflections on why he got involved with the Global Network.

An invitation was extended to the community to come and listen to these interviews and a few people did show up.  One who came was Colin Archer, the recently retired Executive Director of the International Peace Bureau who has moved to Leeds after many years of leading that group from Switzerland.

After it was all over seven of us went 'round to a local pub for a pint' and some fun and stimulating discussions.  We resolved that we have to stay determined and keep our public non-violent resistance alive during times like these where fascism stares us in the face.

This morning we are packing up and preparing for the train ride to Oxford for this weekend's Global Network annual meeting.  Dave got an early call from four people from India who just got their entry Visa approved into England for the conference so we are in a bit of scramble mode to get housing lined up for them.  When you organize conferences there are always some last minute cancellations and last minute unexpected walk-ups.  No matter how well you plan there are usually these kind of late challenges.  Comes with the territory.  (A suggestion to the public:  register in advance for events like this and make life easier for the organizers.)

Our time here in Leeds, staying at the home of Dave and Leslie, has really been special.  Dave has arranged for a nightly talk each day we've been here (two different venues in Leeds, Otley, and Edinburgh).  But we've also had some lovely long walks and seen some really beautiful Yorkshire countryside and of course the trip to Scotland was very special.  And much to my liking the food part has been great - got my fish & chips with mushy peas yesterday.

We've witnessed the planning for a UK wide mobilization when Trump visits Prime Minister Theresa May here in the next month.  People of course are all talking about 'the Donald' and want to hear our take on him.  I keep saying that the only good thing about Trump is that he is escalating the decline and fall of the USA's military and economic empire as the world becomes clear that it is not wise to follow America over the cliff.  But the ultimate question is - as America collapses how hard will it fall?

The Global Network is really lucky to have Dave Webb's leadership as our board convener.  In addition he runs our web site and puts alot of effort into it.  He's a gentle soul and a loyal person who cares deeply about protecting space from the next arms race that the aerospace industry is determined to create.

In the last few days there have been several major articles published about Trump's 'space force' proposal. All of them kindly acknowledged the Global Network.  You can find them here, here, here, and here.

Home Page