Tag Archives: Space Symposium

Pissing match with trickle-down theory

Banner demonstrating majority of government spending goes to military
Oh dear, is this really the best antiwar argument we’ve got? The share of federal spending which goes to war-making IS astounding, and should give the common citizen pause, but how does it speak to the average weapons industrialist attending the 2011 Space Symposium? They’re trickle-down folks! The more money going to science and skilled labor the better. High tech would be happier if 100% of government spending went through them. Plus the only thing worse than antiwar arguments lamenting OUR OWN casualties, IMO worse too than NIMBY, is making it all about how we can’t AFFORD it.

Colorado Springs is belly of space beast

X-37B unmanned spacecraft drone mini-space shuttleWhat’s that up in the sky? It’s a mini-me space shuttle with no windows, a former NASA project now entirely USAF. Amateur space object trackers have located the X-37B, the US military’s super secret unmanned space shuttle. What’s so secret about an unarmed, ostensibly inoffensive piece of space hardware? Good question. It depends on what military role you consider to be noncombatant.

Although I’d hope we could all agree by now that Predator Drone pilots wagging remote joysticks at stateside air force bases are plenty lethal if even illegal warfaring combatants. So what harm then, the little mini-me shuttle quietly going about its orbit?

During WWI, observers used to float above the trenches in balloons to direct artillery fire. The (unarmed!) bastards were despised more than the gunners themselves. The early airplane pilots earned the deference they’re shown to this day by the grunts on the ground because they would send the artillery spotters scrambling.

It’s thought that the X-37B is performing such reconnaissance tasks, perhaps with more flexibility and advanced technology than our standard satellites. But that wouldn’t entirely explain why this former NASA project is being kept out of the public eye.

Here’s obfuscating verbiage from a local war-in-space contractor, the Secure World Foundation based in Superior, Colorado.

“The program supports technology risk reduction, experimentation and operational concept development.”

The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office is more forthright about its function:

“development and fielding of select Defense Department combat support and weapons systems.”

“Mission Control” by the way is located at the Air Force Space Command’s Third Space Experimentation Squadron, based at Schriever Air Force Base, right here.

A worrisome aspect about the X-37B is the secrecy, in light of the fact that its path can be charted by amateurs, if obviously also adversaries. The trajectory of the rocket which launched the vehicle into orbit, its spent hull directed now into an orbit around the sun, is also considered top-secret.

When Peace in Space activists are protesting the Space Symposium at the Broadmoor every year, this is what we are angry about: doublespeak pretending to be about space exploration. What will putting arms in space mean but more arms in space, quickly, adversaries rushing to grab a beachhead before the US is in the position to prevent it?

The X-37B is nothing but an near-space preditor drone, armed not with guns but the means to deploy space mines equipped with guns. If serving as the eyes and ears for targeting weapons isn’t immoral enough.

How to get on the terrorist watch list

Impersonate an astronaut? Criticize defense contractors? I have no idea. But at the airport, welcome to the tertiary security check delay, where they dust your hands for potential explosive residue.

“Dust” in an antiquated term relating to the dust detectives used to sprinkle at crime scenes to make fingerprints more visible. These days they “wipe” objects with chemically treated cloths to register the presence of particular substances. The pH strip meets the Swiffer.

I have lost all sense of a control passenger to measure what security measures subjugate the average citizen, as most of my friends do qualify as “persons of interest” to the increasingly hostile corporate atmosphere.

I dropped Protester X off at the bus stop on Lake Circle, between the two roundabouts and went to park the car. I’d left her to don her spacesuit and walk the quarter block to the corner where we’d hold a banner at the Broadmoor’s main entrance. As I doubled back along the sidewalk, I could hear the convention center security radios squawking one after another. “We’ve spotted one by the parking structure” they rang out in alarm. From the next I heard: “She’s at the El Pomar Exit, moving south.” A security official sped by me on a three-wheeled Segway.

By the time I reached my colleague, her new wheeled escort was poised impassively behind her. Here she was, peace flag in hand, looking every bit like a moon walker coming toward me on the sidewalk, with Broadmoor’s grumpy head of security having no sense he was spoiling the imagery. He rolled quietly behind and past us as we assumed our stance on the lawn, and I explained to my fellow astronaut the walkie-talkie hullabalu which had announced her landing. The now usual, annual steps for man, hoping for peace in space, a not inconsiderate leap of faith for mankind.

I’ve had no trouble at airports, perhaps because my actions are an open book. Someone with fewer records or an indeterminate daily schedule, might perhaps rate a question mark on security agency lists.

It’s become more than an inconvenience. Whether your political opinions score the watch list, the no-fly list, or the permissible to assassinate while overseas list, your freedom of expression is abridged.

Broadmoor Space Symposium to show kids the marvel of death squad drones

Banner for Broadmoor Space SymposiumCOLORADO SPRINGS- America’s biggest war profiteers convene on the Broadmoor tonight through Thursday (April 12-15) to celebrate selling weapons in space. And seriously, they’re inviting your kids.

posterUnder the guise of the wonders of space explorations, bus loads of local schoolchildren will tour the weapons exhibits, marveling at everything from satellites to yes, unmanned drones, failing to ponder why astronauts and mission probes are in the clutches of our military. They’ll see the protests outside and wonder why someone has something against Manifest Destiny beachheads in space.

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.

Space Symposium grand finale not a dud

Interstate 25 rollover on Monument PassCOLORADO SPRINGS- According to local sources, this year’s grand finale of the Broadmoor Hotel’s fireworks display, marking the final evening of the National Space Symposium, was not a dud. It simply never came.

Observation was complicated by last year’s unusual 25 minute delay which preceded the final synchronized collision of explosives. Anticipating it was a precedent, we waited.

Twenty five minutes is time enough to speculate about a lot. What caused the different colors, for example, and whether other properties might be reflected in the different combustions, smell maybe, or debris? We speculated that maybe the grand finale was top secret, like the much of the space program, veiled behind the US Black Budget. Maybe what we couldn’t see was a subterranean explosion commemorating the participants’ nuclear testing. We didn’t feel anything. Maybe the big weapons specialists are unimpressed by mere fireworks anyway, like so many legal-sized firecrackers. What dessert celebrates a meal of watered soup?

Who can watch a fireworks display anymore without thinking of Shock and Awe over Baghdad, 2001, when America watched in great anticipation of that grandest of would be finales, our attempt at regime change via techno-regicide? [That was a dud.] I remember one of the networks had an Iraqi university professor on the phone in Baghdad. He was asked if he feared for his family’s lives. He was asked why they didn’t flee. In return he asked “WHY ARE YOU BOMBING US?” It was decided that wires had gotten crossed and this professor was an unintentional interviewee. The phone call was hastily dispatched with sincere wishes that the professor and his children would survive until morning.

Last night no finale came. I hope the average Space Symposium attendee was as disappointed as we. But we noted that tonight’s pyrotechnics, more than the usual, symbolized war of the unending kind. What the military industrial complex entrusts to Development.

Whether we’re talking artillery or naked Spartans, warfare amounts to the continued consumption of one inflammable projectile after the next. Expending one shell/bomb/human being means having to replace it with another. No industry wants a customer who doesn’t purchase its product for consumption, or no one would need return for more. How do you profit from weapons manufacture if there is not unending war?

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!

Silly warmongers, space is for kids

Broadmoor Space Symposium
Once again the Colorado Springs peace community has the unique opportunity to protest the annual Space Symposium hosted at the Broadmoor. First, the event provides unparalleled access to the upper echelons of the US military industrial for-profit killing machine. And this year, their war-in-space theme is not even disguised: “Space as a Contested Environment.” Think they’re talking about Sputnik?

Leave space to NASA, not to baby killers

You can banner in front of weapons industry office buildings, you can have your progress blocked at their parking lots, but at the opening ceremonies of the Broadmoor Space Symposium, you can put your message directly in the faces of the war criminal bosses themselves.

Details to follow.

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

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.