Tag Archives: CPIS

Which would you find more insulting?

COLORADO SPRINGS- I’m not sure which is the more insulting, being accused of murder, or being likened to a hayseed Howdy Doody with nothing between his ears.
Ear to ear mental floss

However cold-blooded the death merchants may be, calling them murderers to their faces is plain rude. The recent Space-weapons Symposium was an opportunity we couldn’t resist to do just that, but I will never assert that our message was for everyone.

If some peace advocates are uncomfortable with a condemning tone, there are plenty of alternative approaches. But the sanctimonious rancor with which protesters chose sides on Monday, in favor of what they considered a more charitable theme, invites a counterpoint.

First let me say that an advantage to having two distinct messages at the scene meant that at first glance, one protest could be confused for being a counter-protest of the other. Which meant we were able to draw the attention, if only for the seconds it took to realize their curiosity was mistaken, of even the many trying to avert their eyes.

This year, the Citizens for Peace In Space group elected to chide the Space Symposium attendees, those warmongers in space-sheep’s clothing, to “Stop Truth Decay,” using handouts and a puppet to illustrate a complementary pun: “Mental Floss.”

Get it? Well, you probably needed to read the flier. There was also a giant toothbrush, and before and after teeth.

The mental-floss demonstration involved a large paper-mache smiling country bumpkin agitating a string, pulling it literally “in one ear and out the other,” to and fro. For some reason I associate that with some sort of international gesture for a person you think is empty headed. As twirling your finger in the vicinity of your ear expresses disrespect for another’s sanity.

If I were a space technology scientist, even if only accidentally murderous, I think I’d prefer being called a homicidal bastard, sooner than a grinning doofus.

Which is to say, I subscribe to both themes, and the spirit demonstrated by the Truth Decay team was convivial, but judging messages based which opens, rather than shuts down communication, which peace contingent then was being the more condescending?

CPIS Stop truth decay vs CFP silly murderers

Actually, a surprising number of attendees took pictures of our MURDERERS banner, many of them posing with us, sooner that stand next to the puppet, much less take a flier.

Of course, I’m not sure what that indicates about the efficacy of either message.

National Space [Weapons] Symposium

Unveiling latest military technology
REMINDER! The military-industrial complex converges this week on the Broadmoor Conference Center, in the guise of “Space Symposium 2009.” The biggest mercenaries, profiteers, mass-murderers and top brass will gather over cocktails in the late afternoon, after weapons exhibitors have set up their displays. Local news is already hyping the event, this year’s emphasis is, we kid you not, EDUCATION! Citizens for Peace In Space (CPIS) is reprising their STOP TRUTH DECAY street theater at 5pm on Monday, Coloradans 4 Peace has reserved a more pointed message, to begin at 4pm, before the death-merchant revelers retreat inside.

We will also be bannering the arrival of school buses, Tuesday through Thursday, between 8am-10am. Springs schools have organized field trips to the Space Symposium exhibits, without revealing the context of the massive malevolent industry behind it. In the past, the school children crane their necks to see us, but teachers have been able to dismiss the odd protesters as Peace Luddites, giving the children no clue as to why we might be opposed to the event. This year our message will be more succinct.

In the past, organizers have expressed not knowing where to stand, nor when, to be seen by the school buses. But not this year. The days of containing the protest message to only inoffensive slogans, or coordinating with police as to where it’s permissible to stand, ARE OVER!

Defense Industry belligerance mindset

Mark’s amusing Space Symposium Billy Bad-Ass video is getting traction.
As the CPIS delegation is enroute to Omaha, KRDO Channel 13 talked to Mark and I about Tuesday morning (and Wednesday morning 2006).

The man who blind-sided our costumed Darth Vader would not have known who was under the robe. By the look of the rest of the protesters, it most likely would have been someone of advanced age, who could not have handled an unexpected thrust in the back. The little bully pushed so hard he threw himself off quilter (and out of the frame), and had to be assisted by Broadmoor security. While officers stood by.

At least in my case, two years ago, officers intervened as an enraged army commander in running shorts jogged right up to me and with his hands gripping my collar tried to knock me down.

Protest of Space Profiteer Arms Sellers

Banner at Broadmoor
THE BROADMOOR- Photos of Monday evening’s protest. As usual the next morning’s bannering (never formally on the schedule) was the most interactive and broadly attended. Later today PETE FIELD, and back to the Broadmoor tomorrow morning, when the school buses arrive to treat elementary school kids to the glories of space exploration-exploitation.

banners opposite cocktail hour

Social hour for activists too

Across the street

Czech visitor Jan

Our media recording their media

Still photos on film

ITT bus decorated just for Symposium
Our Darth Vader volunteer was peaceably offering fliers, quite unsuccessfully probably owing to being Lord Vader. The gentleman in the yellow shirt pictured below decided that instead of walking past him like everyone else, he’d push the “goddamn asshole” out of his way and walk through him. As the Vader mask affords no peripheral vision, our volunteer was displaced quite by surprise.

Arms merchant who physically assaulted and cursed our Vader pamphleteer.
The aggressive little shit dragged his wife/escort by the hand through the scuffle. He had to catch his own footing from the equal and opposite reaction of thrusting young Vader, muttering loudly “fucking asshole,” and almost tripping himself before [almost] disappearing into the cocktail crowd. Five policemen made no move to interfere. By chance Mark Lewis caught the whole sorry scene on video!

Attention drawn to fracas

Layla makes a face

Press release from Damien Moran

Irish anti-war activist Damien Moran [at Left], acquitted in Dublin Circuit court 18 months ago by jury trial of doing €2 million disarmament to a U.S. military plane at Shannon airport as a protest against the Iraq war, was deported from the U.S.A. Sunday by Homeland Security agents at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
Damien Moran at left stands with his fellow Shannon Airport defendants and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Moran had been invited to attend and speak at a conference against the U.S. Government’s missile defence plans. The 27 year old Offaly native is a former seminarian with the Holy Ghost Fathers in Kimmage and is currently living and teaching in Poland. Prior to leaving for Poland he worked with the De Paul Trust at a homeless shelter
in Dublin’s city centre.

Regarding the deportation Moran stated: “I was immediately detained and questioned by Homeland Security officers about our nonviolent and legal action at Shannon in February 2003. The information the border authorities claimed to have was that I was arrested for damaging a U.S. fighter jet at Shannon. I let them know that their database was out of date and that it should also read acquitted as an Irish jury had decided unanimously we had a lawful excuse to help save life and property in Iraq.”

He continued: “My mobile phone was seized and I was interrogated about the purpose of my trip and why I had damaged U.S. military property. I had been invited to speak at a university in Colorado Springs and at a conference in Omaha on U.S. militarism in Poland and Ireland. I also had tickets to visit my brother and his family in Virginia. Homeland Security ‘s unjustified refusal to allow me enter the U.S. and meet family, speak with U.S. citizens is just another example of how quasi-fascist the U.S. State apparatus has become.”

Furthermore, Moran claims that modern-day America is summed up by “his deportation from to the U.S. to advocate for social investment and military divestment on the same weekend as the U.S. officially celebrates the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I was barred from entering due to my act of dissent at Shannon 5 years ago against their disastrous militaristic policies at home and abroad. Evidently there is no room for dissenters’ and foreign peace activists in America today ”

Furthermore the deportee claims “It is high time the omnipotent military -industrial complex in the U.S. is crushed by concerned citizens. When I informed them about our action and acquittal they were none too pleased. Unfortunately I’ve lost $350 dollars in flight expenses while the Global Network Against Weapons in Space organisation that invited me have been setback over $1,000. Albeit, it’s not much money compared to the $2 trillion plus bill that U.S. taxpayers have paid to help their government wage the Iraq war.”

CPIS guest Damien Moran denied entry!

Citizen for Peace In SpaceALERT: Citizens for Peace In Space visiting lecturer Damien Moran has been denied entry to the US at O’Hare Airport, because of his arrest in Ireland for the 2003 PIT-STOP PLOUGHSHARES action, for which he was ACQUITTED!
 
Here’s an update from Moran, via Loring Wirbel:

As well as a a ploughshares acquittal to my name I now have the privilege of being sent packing on a one-way flight from Chicago airport to Warsaw just 5 hours after I had landed.

I was immediately detained and questioned by Homeland Security officers about our Pitstop Ploughshares action at Shannon in February 2003 (www.warontrial.com), why I was arrested, why our group ‘sabotaged’ U.S. military property.

I informed them about our action and acquittal with pleasure. They were none too pleased.

When the gung-ho Officer Bock shouted out that deportation was the least of my problems I decided there was no point of pushing his buttons too far. I made my anti-war statement, explaining that I was en route to visit my brother in Virginia, then planned going to Colorado Springs and Nebraska to speak at anti-militarism conferences/panels and demonstrations.

I’ve been traveling and waiting in airports non-stop for the past 30 hours so now it’s time to hit the hay. I will write a more extensive report tomorrow.

Unfortunately I’ve lost $350 dollars in flight expenses while the Global Network Against Weapons in Space that invited me have been setback over $1,000. If anyone has spare change to donate and help with costs (will be dedicated to anti-militarist/missile defence/direct action purposes) please let me know.

NO PASARAN -New motto of U.S. Homeland Security dissenters.

Check out my latest Blogs: www.peacenikhurler.blogspot.com
Polish activist news: www.cia.bzzz.net/english_news
Campaign Against Militarism: www.m29.bzzz.net www.tarcza.org

CPIS against Space Weapons Symposium

Reminder: Citizens for Peace In Space will be protesting the Space Symposium held annually at the Broadmoor. As usual the event is 99% about space weaponry. Come see all the smarmy businessmen (suntans and loafers) and their military meal tickets (top brass). CPIS activities include a protest at the opening cocktail hour MONDAY 17:00-17:45; then at 19:00-20:30 a panel discussion at Penrose Library with CPIS guests JN Rao of India, Jan Tamas of the Czech Republic, Damian Moran of Poland and Mary Beth Sullivan of Maine; TUESDAY 15:00-16:00 bannering at Peterson AFB; WEDNESDAY 10:30-12:30 bannering at the Broadmoor while schoolchildren are bused in to see the pseudo- scientific displays which glorify US military superiority.

Police foreknowledge on St Patricks Day

Raining on our parade April 17 Saint Patricks Day 2007
We used to joke around the fire at Camp Casey about whether we were being surveilled or infiltrated by agents or disruptors even, as has been done with historic regularity to opposition political groups and their organizers. Even to discuss it today with CPIS or PPJPC feels self-aggrandizing. We know ourselves that we do not pose such a threat that law enforcement would need to monitor our actions.

Let’s dismiss out of hand the idea that struggling activists in Colorado Springs would merit infiltration. So too wiretapping or bugging devices. Have we ever raised but a timid excuse-me to authority? Have we ever mobilized even more than a smattering of protesters ready to press our local leaders for accountability? We have not. We might grab the news on occasion, but in that respect we seem quite willing to telecast our intentions on the local news. To eavesdrop on us then would be redundant.

Alright then, how about email exchanges? Any need to monitor our email passing to and fro? Local ISPs handling the email could flag potential buildups of momentum. Is law enforcement in touch with them? Maybe, maybe not. Who wants to sort all that, or file the paperwork to get the analysis from Buckley.

At least an observer might want to watch our general mass mailings, for calls to arms. What about checking those weekly announcements at a minimum to see what we say we are doing?

And what about the websites? There are less than a handful of community websites which post and discuss upcoming actions. Would the police be looking at websites like this, or csaction.org, or ppjpc.org to try to sort out what’s up?

Police Chief Myers, in explaining the mishandling of St. Patrick’s Day, pointed the finger at the PPJPC and myself for duplicity in joining the parade. Myers explained that our websites made no mention of our intentions to march with the Bookmobile. Well, putting aside their erroneous conclusion, Myers’ statement confirms the answer to the last question: are the police checking in on us online? They say they do.

The police check the websites
If they had looked at our website, they would have seen what? Our calls for participation in the parade, our discussion of the parameters of the permit, our reservations, when we would be assembling, where we were parking, even the larger plans we had to conduct a peace rally in adjacent Pioneer Park. Those were plans we were still trying to juggle. I was hoping to gather onlookers from the parade route and have them join us afield for an impromptu peace rally. These plans were fully fleshed out and debated online, in multiple places. If the police studied our websites as they say they did, they would have seen our plans for that Saturday.

So even if the police weren’t infiltrating us, surveilling our meetings, wiretapping our phones, monitoring our communications, sifting our email, or reviewing our public announcements, they would have known from our websites that the PPJPC was marching with the Bookman, in green peace t-shirts, as we had done, announced and recruited for, online, the year before.

The police excuse of having been taken unawares on St Patrick’s Day, of being confronted with not knowing whether we had a permit, of stopping us in the parade route instead of earlier in the assembly area, begins to ring a little of falsehood.
Come to papa
The odds of us encountering a smiling Erwin Paladino of the CSPD, head head-cruncher of the 2003 anti-protestor police work, begin to look very improbable. The strategy then to throw us to the ground creating a scene, creating an obstruction themselves, making a lesson out of dealing with people stubbornly clinging to their rights, begins to look a little premeditated.

That is, if you believe the police are keeping their eye on us. We disrupt at the Broadmoor, we seek redress at our representatives’ offices, we banner the main streets, we interfere with military job fairs and recruitment strip malls. We show up at City Council and have them scrambling amok. We don’t plan any of this in secret. Probably somebody’s responsible for keeping themselves abreast.

So did Erwin Paladino draw the plum job of getting to apprehend us one block from the official parade start? Or was it a big coincidence? At the staging we could have rallied or prevailed from a dialog unhurried by the pressure of holding up the parade. At Tejon and St Vrain the police got to appear improvisational and exercise executive authority to take us down.

Uproot nuclear missiles in our backyard

Uproot not upgrade nuclear missiles in our backyard
Vigil to commemorate Trinity atomic test blast, July 16, 1945
Nuclear SILO N-8, Weld County, 1pm Saturday, July 14, 2007
(CITIZENS FOR PEACE IN SPACE carpool starts at PPJPC at 9:30am)

From Bill Sulzman of Citizens for Peace In Space:
UPROOT, DON’T UPGRADE MISSILES IN OUR BACKYARD

The nuclear non proliferation treaty (1970) and the International Court of Justice opinion (1996) both call for the dismantling of all nuclear arsenals and the prevention of new nuclear weapons anywhere.

U.S. policy ignores both principles. Nuclear silo N-8 in Weld County should be uprooted not upgraded. Ranchers and farmers know the scourge that weeds represent. For good things to grow bad ones have to be eliminated and replaced. The 49 Minuteman III missiles in our state and the other 451 spread across parts of Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana and North Dakota are illegal, immoral and noxious for the whole world. They need to be eliminated to restore the integrity of our state and our country.

Join us on July 14 at Nuclear silo N-8 in Weld County, the site of the 2002 Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares action. Help us express our gratitude to Sisters Ardeth, Carol and Jackie and to Fr Carl Kabat who remains imprisoned for a similar action in North Dakota last year. We will also remember the Trinity atomic blast which occurred July 16, 1945.

The vigil at the silo will start at 1:00. We will leave in a carpool from the Justice and Peace Office, 214 E. Vermijo Colorado Springs at 9:30 AM on Saturday July 14. For more details call 389 0644. We will have maps for those who are driving.

We lose they lose

On the forbidden sidewalkProtesting at the side of the street does seem futile at times, it certainly seems so just thinking about it. But out there catching each others eyes, you’re reminded of its mysterious power, particularly when you’re shown to what extent those against you are willing to go to keep you from being there.

When we first turned up Monday at the Broadmoor Space Symposium Arms Bazaar, we were quickly moved from a section sidewalk declared off limits to us. The police could not explain exactly what ordinance or why, except that they had orders to keep us off the Lake Circle sidewalk. We complied the way reasonable people do, because the area to which we were confined seemed at first glance perfectly suitable. We occupied the corner of Lake and Lake Circle, where we could hand fliers to symposium attendees crossing to the Convention Center. But this gave us contact with only a fraction of the participants in attendance. The majority of the weapons dealers stayed inside the center, whose windows faced the sidewalk area forbidden to us.

We decided to accept the “free speech zone” given us until we could research the new restriction, mindful of the recent Appeals Court verdict which upheld the Broadmoor’s discretion to cordon off its entire neighborhood as a security zone for the NATO conference some years back. Citizens for Peace In Space lost that appeal.

It took Bill Sulzman until 10pm Wednesday to get someone at the CSPD to speak to the issue of the exclusive use permit granted to the Broadmoor. That representative, a Commander Overton, agreed to meet Bill the next morning to negotiate where protesters would or would not be restricted.

Was this a victory of discourse and civility? It certainly was a victory for the Space Arms Symposium. They effectively kept us off their turf until the last day, then thwarted a legal challenge by deciding to give in. We got to stand on the contested sidewalk for a snowy hour of the last day of the conference.

This is where less confrontational pacifists hinder their protest efforts. It might be well to resolve your differences by arbitration, meanwhile the bad guys hold the real estate. In the end our message does not get out, the war rages on, we are entangled in bureaucratic battles until our rights are upheld. This was the tactic used at the DNC, RNC, FTAA, WTO, and indeed our own St Patrick’s Day: detain the dissidents until their opportunity to be heard has passed. It’s an abridgment of our civil liberties, and the government factors into its budget the liability of likely legal judgments.

But what price lost free speech? What cost for every day the war goes on? We know that number. What cost for each further contract for more WMDs? If protest could stop that, that’s the price the government owes us. Could street protest have that effect? Somebody thinks so.

Last year at the Broadmoor, the reaction to our protest was very telling. The first day we were nearly arrested for trying to walk along the edge of a cordoned area, the same contested sidewalk. The head of Broadmoor security was screaming for officers to arrest us. The next day I was assaulted by an overwrought Marines commander in jogging shorts. He circled right to me and flung his hands around my throat, pushing me back until policemen pulled him off. The next day we rode a bicycle up and down the bike path adjacent the blocked sidewalk, to relentless harassment and endangerment by the security vehicle. Somebody doesn’t like to have to gaze upon our message. We could see military brass last year watching from the windows with arms crossed.

Our banners, then and now, quote Henry Ford “Take the profit out of war and you’ll have peace tomorrow” and President Eisenhower “Beware the military industrial complex.” We also have this haunting question: “will your children survive your work?”

The arms manufacturers in attendance at the Broadmoor are normally well buffeted from the real world. They work in industrial complexes and high rises out of reach of humanist and spiritual voices of conscience. They certainly don’t have to see the results of their work, the suffering or the poverty. They ride high on the war gravy train.

The Broadmoor gathering for me is the rare chance to look these people in the eye, to examine the war profiteers in their insular habitat. They might be bellicose, or proud, or defensive, and they may deride us. If it seems their consciences are not keeping score, the symposium organizers seem to have more faith in them than we do.

On this occasion the military industrial complex beat us, they kept us out of sight for most of their event. But we won too. No we didn’t get to challenge their method in court, but we did get to stand in the forbidden zone of their periphery, if but for a morning, a cold snowy morning. Though I believe the increasing snow fall lent our message the credibility of determination. We got to aim this banner right at them: “Will your children survive your work?”

Get thee to the Broadmoor! ASAP!

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2006 9:00am
Contact: Bill Sulzman (719) 389 0644
Activists challenge the blocked sidewalk at the Broadmoor
Colorado Springs, April 12, 2006 —
At 11:30am, TODAY, April 12, members of Citizens for Peace in Space and supporters from Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission and Springs Action Alliance will challenge the suspension of 1st and 14th amendment right to peaceably assemble on the sidewalk in front of the Broadmoor Hotel on Lake Avenue. Citizens for Peace in Space and the ACLU have challenged the blocking of sidewalks for the Space Symposium in district court and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals before.

The annual Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel, through Friday, has arranged a special event permit with the city that says, in part, “This permit grants exclusive use of the sidewalks on the east side of Lake Circle, from the south of Lake Avenue, to the north at the edge of the parking garage during above listed dates/times.” Negotiations with the CSPD have been ongoing and may resolve the situation. If not, the legality of the special events permit, blocking the sidewalk will be challenged, as it was at the NATO conference, and that challenge may include civil disobedience arrests.

National political organizers from around the country including Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the “Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space”, Tim Rinne, director of “Nebraskans for Peace”, and Frances Mendenhall of “Speakout at Stratcom”, from Omaha, will not be attending this year as in other years, but Citizens for Peace in Space will be present as always.

Bill Sulzman of Citizens for Peace in Space said, “The special events permit refers to Chapter 3.2.209 of the City Code as its authority.” “It does not go into detail but says : ‘The event organizer will be billed for the cost of the police officers during the event at the appropriate rate.'”

“This is obviously a huge ‘cash cow’ for the CSPD, and that’s why they agreed to shut down the public sidewalk,” he continued.

As always, the organizers urge everyone in attendance to be lawful and peaceful in word and actions, even in the event of civil disobedient arrests.

Call to arms, Broadmoor, 11am Thursday

Click to see more banners over the Broadmoor
On Monday Citizens for Peace In Space greeted attendees of the week-long 23rd Annual Space Symposium held at the Broadmoor. It’s the annual gathering of the world’s leading war profiteers. The corporations who hold the contracts to put weapons in space are the same ones earning billions off the war in Iraq, with no end in sight. The air was so convivial even we were treated like regulars.
 
And there was also the regular escalation of counter-protest measures. This year they closed the sidewalk. We left to regroup.
 
UPDATE: The Broadmoor and CSPD police are enforcing a new permit ordinance whereby they can close the public sidewalk for the duration of the Space Arms Bazaar. Freedom from Speech by city permit? Come on Thursday to see if that’s constitutional!

Bill Sulzman got hold of the Special Event Permit, it reads: “This permit grants exclusive use of the sidewalks on the east side of Lake Circle, from the south of Lake Avenue, to the north at the edge of the parking garage during above listed dates/times.”

Department of Homeland Security Department

I attended a symposium at UCCS to address Defense Department funding of the University of Colorado school system. Throughout, the science professors generally disavowed understanding of direct military funding. In addition, they stressed that Near-Space research was being pursued for two civilian benefits: communications and imaging. Due to the nascent payload limitations, they explained, current military interests do not involve weaponry and focus instead on two congruent areas of research: communications and imaging. Marvelous synchronicity might describe their self-reflection on the matter.

I asked the panel to defend the school’s new PHD program in, would you believe it, Homeland Security. The government has just endowed the CU Denver campus with its very own DHS building, but most of the classes will be taught in Colorado Springs. Homeland Security is not a field of study, I offered, it’s a political phrase coined by the Germans the last time they were the center of attention.

There were no takers, so the dean gave it a try. In this new age of global community, we have to explore contemporary subjects with equanimity. Etc.

Really?

Must we endow each inquiry with a department? I’ll agree we should study state sponsored terror, but should it be a major? The School of the Americas is already one institution too many for that vocation.

But I took issue with the other part of the dean’s answer. Because it was a phrase that turned up later in every panelist’s rationale: this New Age.

What UCCS needed was a history professor on their panel. New age my foot! Every dawn is a new age, if you want to be literal. Otherwise, there is only the New Age utopia dreamed of in incense shops. Thinking there is a new age is really just an excuse to toss off the lessons of the past. Global Community? The globe has always been one earthbound community, since Alexander thought he’d conquered it all, to when Caesar and Genghis thought they could administrate it. Certainly transportation and communication have amplified the cohesion, but nothing’s changed under the sun. The thinking from the top is still imperial.

Do not tell me technology has changed everything. There’s always been technology. The wheel, the plow, technology’s role is unchanged. Whether Pong or Xbox, it’s still technology, still an agent of transformation, not change. Science, technology’s more noble companion, increases understanding, as understanding approaches -shall we say- infinity. If our self perception of human nature grows by such increments, how can we assert there is any net change? From the Cave of Lascaux to the MOMA, the artist is the same.

To define a Department of Homeland Security as a field of education, is to give credence to ignoble propaganda. Repeating the New World Order mantra as a justification is to give inanity credulity that academics must not countenance. I’m all for freedom of academic pursuit, but certainly there must be standards, be they rational or humanist. I’d even accept standards of IQ or hairstyle to keep this crew out.

Space Symposium protest 2006 part 3

Tennis courts in the shadow of golf balls
Day 3: Wednesday
Was it because I hadn’t had any non-violence training? Is that why everyone jumped in to enforce a stand down from my assailant?

Our protest was just getting started, I was holding half of a banner in one hand and passing out fliers with the other when a very angry man zeroed right in. Maybe it was the bright green peace sign. He was jogging along Lake Circle and he had not even passed us. He shouted “I know people who died for you” and before I could answer, though I must not have looked sufficiently repentent, he repeated himself while leaping to clutch my collar and push against me to I don’t know where. I had time only to ask him if he knew that he was committing assault before the Police officers peeled him off and led him away for a discussion.

I regret not having requested that he be allowed to state his piece, minus the physical aggression, but instead we simply instructed the officers that there would be no need to press charges. I didn’t see it but eventually he must have jogged off. Our banner read BEWARE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous warning.

I am a non-violent person, even a pacifist, though perhaps I am not much of a verbal pacifist. I had no intention of matching this guy’s blows, but I had every intention to stand up to being pushed.

I would have liked to call him on his much mistaken, sentimentalist, flag-hugging, bullying world view. Jogging in the Broadmoor area, this red-shorted, military-coifed assailant had probably commanded some soldiers who had been killed. I do mourn their loss. But it sounds like he should have thrown his life into the ring instead of beating his breast about the sacrifice made by others. Who knows how voluntarily their lives were offered? It always amazes me to hear military commanders brag about the casualty rate faced by their units. When ships sink, we expect captains to go down with the ship. Why? Because we expect them to save the men for which they were responsible or die trying.

Am I being harsh? I didn’t try to knock him down. That’s what we’re protesting: people who are knocking others down, and calling it “defending our freedom.”

Day 4: Thursday.
The Broadmoor had the police explain that we would not be permitted to walk in the bicycle path as we had tried two days before. So this time we brought bikes. I got to the protest late, at nine am instead of eight, just as several of our participants had to be shuttled to the airport. So I was left to peddle my bike up and down Lake Circle alone. If ever I have felt like a big dweeb, this was it. And it got on the news.

There was too much wind to trail a banner. I had selected WILL YOUR CHILDREN SURVIVE YOUR WORK? Instead I waved a large peace pirate flag. The peace sign with crossbones beneath it. A peace sign Jolly Roger. Or symbol for poison. Either way it’s a message the war makers do not want to hear. If there was a symbol for what sunshine represents to vampires, maybe that would be appropriate too.

Our protest of the SPACE SYMPOSIUM had everything to do with the fact that space is being militarized out of sight of the American public. How can there be oversight in a democracy if the citizens aren’t told what is going on?

Each day we would see schoolbus-loads of kids parading through the symposium. The event is billed as something much more benign. But did we see any scientists? I doubt it. We only saw men with military haircuts, in uniform and out. I should say that I did see the odd Brit, and they often gave us a closely held thumbs up!

The flag I waved today was to demonstrate that the message of peace has been relegated to renegades. What a perfect example at the Broadmoor! The hotel had closed its sidewalks to keep our protest from being seen from the Convention Center windows. We had to use the bike paths in order to give our message visibility.

So I pedaled up the designated bike lane on one side and down the bike lane on the other. I had to navigate past hotel employees and delegates who were sometimes skirting the security cordons themselves. I had to steer around the security chief’s pickup as he alternated between following me around, or parking and calling out to me each time I would pass. He was counting my laps, starting at zero arbitrarily. At one point, having reached to ten, he held both hands out the window as if to signal to someone that he’d counted ten. I looked but couldn’t see who was supposed to be watching him. Every so often policemen would appear to loiter near to where I would pass, but they would only nod in greeting.

I stayed until past the lunch hour surge out of the center. A friend has informed me that the bicycle act was on the local KKTV news. “Broadmoor protester nearly arrested,” but I didn’t see their camera. Perhaps they were filming through a window in the center. I was busy catching the eye of the conventiongoers on the street. There were smiles and thumbs up, but mostly the attendees rushed past. There was also a “enjoy your freedom there buddy.” As if these very-well-paid guys in suits want to be paid credit for our freedom too. “Freedom can be hard work, actually” I told them.

Space Symposium protest 2006 part 2

N-8 silo revisited
Day 1: Monday
On Monday we stood, nearly two dozen of us at the corner of Lake and Lake Circle, we sang our song to an Oscar Meyer melody, we held banners, we blew our whistles and we handed out our baloney sanwiches. And nearly got arrested.

The Broadmoor had cordoned off the majority of the sidewalk in front of their new Convention Center. Our protest was relegated to only the corner. True, it was a very visible corner, and we could offer flyers to nearly everyone walking to the Convention Center from the Broadmoor Hotel. But we thought we could accomplish a little more if we paraded our banners more visibly.

Dave Therault noted that all the Harris security personel were bunched up around us. Dave proposed a plan to excercise their legs a little. He suggested that he and I parade a banner along Lake Circle, walking in the marked bike lane adjacent to where the Broadmoor had blocked off our pedestrian sidewalk. Our banner would then be seen by the attendees inside the center, not just those milling about the entrance. Our banner read STAR WARS RESEARCH: A WELFARE SYSTEM FOR TECHNOLOGY.

Sure enough, as soon as we began we heard the security radios squalk. “Stop them” was the gist of the messages. A nearby guard told us to stop but we looked at him and asked why, while still moving forward. He responded with a smile. Each time we passed somebody with a radio, we could hear the supervisor ask why they were not containing us.

When we returned from our first pass, we added another person to our parade and another banner. It was a Henry Ford quote: TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF WAR & WE’LL HAVE PEACE TOMORROW. This time more security officers joined us. When we returned we noted that they were now quite spread out.

On our third pass, the head of security came down himself. He approached us from the street, simply to tell us, in no uncertain terms and not calmly or with civility, to get back to where they were permitting us to stand. We answered that we didn’t work for him, actually and would proceed how we pleased. He repeated his command and threatened to call the cops and have us taken away. Certainly everything accelerated from there.

Suddenly we were surrounded by a half dozen policemen. They listened and interjected in calm terms that we were on Broadmoor property and had to do what the man said. We argued public thoroughfare, pedestrian right-of-way, to no avail. Dave diffused the confrontation, I assumed my role as hothead.

I wonder, I know why we are so vociferous in our condemnation of the military complex. What is it that drives their enthousiasm to stop us? We’re holding banners. They are killing babies, ruining lives and subjugating unsuspecting masses. We’re holding banners. Who should be the more indignant?

2.
On the way out, walking into the Broadmoor neighborhood to retrieve one of our cars, I encountered a soldier walking the other way. He’d just parked his car perhaps and we crossed paths on this tree lined street. He wore a full dress uniform, lots of medals and a beret, and he carried himself with informal dignity. I was wearing a bright green t-shirt enblazoned with a large peace sign and my Camp Casey cap. I was carrying several rolled banners over my shoulder and walked like I was returning from the front line.

The soldier and I nodded to each other and smiled. I couldn’t help but feel we had communicated a solidarity. He has been doing his job, I have been doing mine, both on the periphery of those making the decisions. The war mongers aren’t the soldiers. The war mongers are the guys in suits, sporting golf tans. Our common adversaries. And boy are there a lot of them. Three more symposium days to go.

Day 2: Tuesday
In conjunction with the Space Symposium protest at the Broadmoor, CITIZENS FOR PEACE IN SPACE held a screening on Monday night in the WES room at Colorado College. We watched the new documentary CONVICTION, about the three Dominican sisters who served almost four years in Federal Prison for protesting at a Minuteman missile silo in 2002. It had screened the day before in Denver to an audience of 350. The director and producer were on hand to answer questions, as were sisters Ardeth, Carol and Jackie. On Tueday night CONVICTION was scheduled to screen again in Greeley, so CPIS decided to make a day trip out of the event and provide an entourage for the sisters.

On the way of course Bill scheduled protest actions at Lockeed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Buckley AFB and Minuteman silo N-8, the site of the sisters’ 2002 Plowshare action.

Noteworthy perhaps was the degree to which preparations were made in advance of our arrival. Even Aurora Community College, where we planned to park and disperse ourselves to three of the defense contractors in Aurora, was ready for us. Bill had mentioned receiving several telephone inquiries from the various police departments, they had been checking CSAction for details of our plans. When we arrived at each location, we found barriers had been installed at the entrance of every parking lot with a minimum of a half dozen security personel standing about. I cannot say they were there to greet us, because they were not. They stood off to the side, or backed up when we approached. They were keeping a healthy no-man zone between us. At Raytheon there were even people posted on the roof to watch us.

At Buckley Airforce Base we were read a letter of greeting from the security officer that sounded like our Miranda rights, although it was full of cautionary advisories should we consider trying to force our way past the security booth. Our only intentions had been to conduct a rally and listen to what several experts could tell us about the activities conducted at Buckley, particularly having to do with those huge golf balls. I wondered if the security detail which contained us had sufficient clearance to be hearing such information.

Here is perhaps why protesters have to expect NSA surveillance. Because we learn too damn much. If the military doesn’t trust its own officers with classified information, they certainly don’t trust us to keep it secret. And we’re willing to let anyone overhear us, maybe that could be a genuine national security risk. In this case, we spoke about NSA/Defense Department complicity in the presence of Buckley AFB part-time security guard contractors.

The highlight of the day was of course Minuteman silo N-8, where the sisters held a press conference to reporters from Denver and Greeley. It was an emotional event and hard to describe. Many of us had never stood so near to a weapon of mass destruction. In this case, mass-mass-destruction, many-many times more powerful than the bombs unleashed upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This missile carries payloads for thirty separate destinations. In light of the fall of the Soviet Union, the Minuteman missile’s purpose is obsolete. Strategically it can now serve only an offensive purpose. Technically its existence violates the non-proliferation treaties to which our nation is signatory. N-8 presents a very, very grave danger to humankind’s survival. It is not a toy.

We drove Northeast from Greely to reach N-8. We probably could have found a nearer missile if we wanted. There are 49 missile sites in Colorado, out of 500 sites nation-wide.

While we conducted our action, wrapping the gate with CRIME SCENE tape, marking the site with a poster designating it as a WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION, and an EVICTION NOTICE, a black helicopter circled. Apparently within just minutes of our leaving, several matte black SUVs arrived and removed our decorations.

Tennis courts in the shadow of golf balls
Day 3: Wednesday
Was it because I hadn’t had any non-violence training? Is that why everyone jumped in to enforce a stand down from my assailant?

Our protest was just getting started, I was holding half of a banner in one hand and passing out fliers with the other when a very angry man zeroed right in. Maybe it was the bright green peace sign. He was jogging along Lake Circle and he had not even passed us. He shouted “I know people who died for you” and before I could answer, though I must not have looked sufficiently repentent, he repeated himself while leaping to clutch my collar and push against me to I don’t know where. I had time only to ask him if he knew that he was committing assault before the Police officers peeled him off and led him away for a discussion.

I regret not having requested that he be allowed to state his piece, minus the physical aggression, but instead we simply instructed the officers that there would be no need to press charges. I didn’t see it but eventually he must have jogged off. Our banner read BEWARE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous warning.

I am a non-violent person, even a pacifist, though perhaps I am not much of a verbal pacifist. I had no intention of matching this guy’s blows, but I had every intention to stand up to being pushed.

I would have liked to call him on his much mistaken, sentimentalist, flag-hugging, bullying world view. Jogging in the Broadmoor area, this red-shorted, military-coifed assailant had probably commanded some soldiers who had been killed. I do mourn their loss. But it sounds like he should have thrown his life into the ring instead of beating his breast about the sacrifice made by others. Who knows how voluntarily their lives were offered? It always amazes me to hear military commanders brag about the casualty rate faced by their units. When ships sink, we expect captains to go down with the ship. Why? Because we expect them to save the men for which they were responsible or die trying.

Am I being harsh? I didn’t try to knock him down. That’s what we’re protesting: people who are knocking others down, and calling it “defending our freedom.”

Day 4: Thursday.
The Broadmoor had the police explain that we would not be permitted to walk in the bicycle path as we had tried two days before. So this time we brought bikes. I got to the protest late, at nine am instead of eight, just as several of our participants had to be shuttled to the airport. So I was left to peddle my bike up and down Lake Circle alone. If ever I have felt like a big dweeb, this was it. And it got on the news.

There was too much wind to trail a banner. I had selected WILL YOUR CHILDREN SURVIVE YOUR WORK? Instead I waved a large peace pirate flag. The peace sign with crossbones beneath it. A peace sign Jolly Roger. Or symbol for poison. Either way it’s a message the war makers do not want to hear. If there was a symbol for what sunshine represents to vampires, maybe that would be appropriate too.

Our protest of the SPACE SYMPOSIUM had everything to do with the fact that space is being militarized out of sight of the American public. How can there be oversight in a democracy if the citizens aren’t told what is going on?

Each day we would see schoolbus-loads of kids parading through the symposium. The event is billed as something much more benign. But did we see any scientists? I doubt it. We only saw men with military haircuts, in uniform and out. I should say that I did see the odd Brit, and they often gave us a closely held thumbs up!

The flag I waved today was to demonstrate that the message of peace has been relegated to renegades. What a perfect example at the Broadmoor! The hotel had closed its sidewalks to keep our protest from being seen from the Convention Center windows. We had to use the bike paths in order to give our message visibility.

So I pedaled up the designated bike lane on one side and down the bike lane on the other. I had to navigate past hotel employees and delegates who were sometimes skirting the security cordons themselves. I had to steer around the security chief’s pickup as he alternated between following me around, or parking and calling out to me each time I would pass. He was counting my laps, starting at zero arbitrarily. At one point, having reached to ten, he held both hands out the window as if to signal to someone that he’d counted ten. I looked but couldn’t see who was supposed to be watching him. Every so often policemen would appear to loiter near to where I would pass, but they would only nod in greeting.

I stayed until past the lunch hour surge out of the center. A friend has informed me that the bicycle act was on the local KKTV news. “Broadmoor protester nearly arrested,” but I didn’t see their camera. Perhaps they were filming through a window in the center. I was busy catching the eye of the conventiongoers on the street. There were smiles and thumbs up, but mostly the attendees rushed past. There was also a “enjoy your freedom there buddy.” As if these very-well-paid guys in suits want to be paid credit for our freedom too. “Freedom can be hard work, actually” I told them.

Stopping arms in space

Citizens for Peace in Space
It’s called the 2006 Space Symposium, and this year it is seeing a record number of attendees. But the participants are not space explorers, they’re arms manufacturers. Space exploration is for NASA I guess, the symposium is about coordinating the militarization of space. Near space. The space from which whoever owns the hardware can rain terror upon whoever is beneath.

Bill Sulzman has been running the Citizens for Peace In Space efforts for several years now. He has organized a splendid action this year in which we are calling for attendees to step out as whisleblowers. We are also admonishing the Defense Department for justifying the arms buildup in space as necessary for “defending freedom.” IT’S BALONEY we shout!

This is the summary of day one. Read about the ensuing days:
    day two, a visit to Minuteman missile silo N-8,
    day three, accosted by a rabid jogger at Broadmoor protest,
    day four, bike path hijinks.

Day 1: Monday
On Monday we stood, nearly two dozen of us at the corner of Lake and Lake Circle, we sang our song to an Oscar Meyer melody, we held banners, we blew our whistles and we handed out our baloney sanwiches. And nearly got arrested.

The Broadmoor had cordoned off the majority of the sidewalk in front of their new Convention Center. Our protest was relegated to only the corner. True, it was a very visible corner, and we could offer flyers to nearly everyone walking to the Convention Center from the Broadmoor Hotel. But we thought we could accomplish a little more if we paraded our banners more visibly.

Dave Therault noted that all the Harris security personel were bunched up around us. Dave proposed a plan to excercise their legs a little. He suggested that he and I parade a banner along Lake Circle, walking in the marked bike lane adjacent to where the Broadmoor had blocked off our pedestrian sidewalk. Our banner would then be seen by the attendees inside the center, not just those milling about the entrance. Our banner read STAR WARS RESEARCH: A WELFARE SYSTEM FOR TECHNOLOGY.

Sure enough, as soon as we began we heard the security radios squalk. “Stop them” was the gist of the messages. A nearby guard told us to stop but we looked at him and asked why, while still moving forward. He responded with a smile. Each time we passed somebody with a radio, we could hear the supervisor ask why they were not containing us.

When we returned from our first pass, we added another person to our parade and another banner. It was a Henry Ford quote: TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF WAR & WE’LL HAVE PEACE TOMORROW. This time more security officers joined us. When we returned we noted that they were now quite spread out.

On our third pass, the head of security came down himself. He approached us from the street, simply to tell us, in no uncertain terms and not calmly or with civility, to get back to where they were permitting us to stand. We answered that we didn’t work for him, actually and would proceed how we pleased. He repeated his command and threatened to call the cops and have us taken away. Certainly everything accelerated from there.

Suddenly we were surrounded by a half dozen policemen. They listened and interjected in calm terms that we were on Broadmoor property and had to do what the man said. We argued public thoroughfare, pedestrian right-of-way, to no avail. Dave diffused the confrontation, I assumed my role as hothead.

I wonder, I know why we are so vociferous in our condemnation of the military complex. What is it that drives their enthousiasm to stop us? We’re holding banners. They are killing babies, ruining lives and subjugating unsuspecting masses. We’re holding banners. Who should be the more indignant?

2.
On the way out, walking into the Broadmoor neighborhood to retrieve one of our cars, I encountered a soldier walking the other way. He’d just parked his car perhaps and we crossed paths on this tree lined street. He wore a full dress uniform, lots of medals and a beret, and he carried himself with informal dignity. I was wearing a bright green t-shirt enblazoned with a large peace sign and my Camp Casey cap. I was carrying several rolled banners over my shoulder and walked like I was returning from the front line.

The soldier and I nodded to each other and smiled. I couldn’t help but feel we had communicated a solidarity. He has been doing his job, I have been doing mine, both on the periphery of those making the decisions. The war mongers aren’t the soldiers. The war mongers are the guys in suits, sporting golf tans. Our common adversaries. And boy are there a lot of them. Three more symposium days to go.