Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Peace in Space Conference

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space will be holding its 15th annual space organizing conference in Darmstadt, Germany on March 23-24. The group is made up of over 140 peace groups around the world who are working to oppose the introduction of weapons and nuclear power into space. The theme for the annual meeting will be The Role of the European Union in the Militarization of Space.

The Darmstädter Friedensforum, the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP), and the Pressehütte Mutlangen will cosponsor the annual space conference.

Activists will come to Germany from as far away as the U.S., India, Australia, England, Romania, Hungary, Sweden, and other European countries. Of particular interest this year will be discussions about Bush administration attempts to put “missile defense” systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in spite of massive public opposition in those countries to the deployments. Russia is particularly alarmed as they see the U.S. continually expanding military outposts eastward and has promised to respond in kind to U.S. military moves.

According to conference organizer Regina Hagen of INESAP, "Militarization of space is a vicious circle. The more one country depends on military use of satellites, the more others do the same as can currently be seen with the European Union’s development of the Galileo reconnaissance system. And when the military depends on space systems, the next logical step is to protect these systems with weapons. This brings war to space. This must be stopped."

Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon stated, “One key obstacle to international disarmament is U.S. determination to move the arms race into space. With U.S. efforts to create full spectrum dominance other nations are saying that they must maintain their existing nuclear forces, or develop new nuclear arsenals and military space systems, as a deterrent to U.S. plans for control and domination via space technology.”

The Global Network contends that the administration of George W. Bush has taken international cooperation off its foreign policy agenda. “Current U.S. nuclear forces have essentially become an arsenal of hypocrisy as Bush lectures the rest of the world about the evils of weapons of mass destruction while the Pentagon builds more nukes, space weapons programs, and plans for preemptive attack on Iran,” Gagnon said.

Full conference details are available at the Global Network’s website www.space4peace.org

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