Star Wars

1 February 2019Review

WW Norton & Company, 2018; 576pp; £19.99

Curiosity blows things up. Or at least, it vaporises interesting rocks using a laser designed by the US nuclear bomb laboratory at Los Alamos.

I am here referring not to the intellectual motivation behind much of ‘pure’ science, but rather to Curiosity, NASA’s robotic vehicle that is analysing the chemistry of Mars. This particular sharing of technology between ‘warfighting’ and the frontiers of science is one of the many diverse and disparate facts that you might glean…

30 May 2012Feature

Looking back over the history of an important peace campaign.

The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) is a bit of a mouthful! Having ‘for’ in the title instead of ‘against’ was important and the word ‘accountability’ was being bandied about. Add ‘American bases’ and, in 1992, CAAB was born.

CAAB is a small group of committed people. None of us are paid and we rely entirely on donations to fund our work. We evolved out of the long campaign of protest at NSA Menwith Hill near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. (NSA stands for the…

13 August 2011Feature

Where will the future arms trade profits be found? And who will be making a killing (again)? Bruce Gagnon looks at the development of space-based weapons.

Military victory in the Iraq war has emboldened the Pentagon in their claims that space technology gives the US total advantage in time of war. According to Peter Teets, under secretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), American capability in space, “must remain ahead of our adversaries' capabilities, and our doctrine and capabilities must keep pace to meet that challenge”.

“I think the recent military conflict has shown us, without a doubt,…

3 July 2008News

Young Czech activists Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, who started a hunger strike on 13 May in protest against a US-Czech agreement siting a “Star Wars” base in their country, suspended their action on 2 June after three weeks on strike and in deteriorating health.

They opened up the protest into a “chain hunger strike,” with people in the Czech Republic and around the world fasting for 24 hours at a time. An international day of solidarity was called on 22 June, for which the CND organised…

1 December 2007Feature

In 2005, US Space Command published Strategic Master Plan: FY06 and Beyond, which boldly stated: “Air Force doctrine views air, space, and information as key ingredients for dominating the battle space and ensuring superiority. While our ultimate goals are truly to `exploit' space, we cannot fully `exploit' that medium until we first `control' it.” [Full document at www.space4peace.org ]

Space satellites were vital in the invasion of Iraq.…

1 November 2007News

Up at Menwith Hill the US spy base, Yorkshire Police tried to use the Public Order Act (1986) to forbid demonstrators at the annual “Keep Space for Peace” demo from walking round the base (as usual) because it was “too dangerous and would cause serious disruption to the local community”.

On 8 October, about 100 people assembled in the presence of police on horses, cycles and motorcycles, but were prevented from walking by a police cordon.

Organisers, the Campaign for the…

3 April 2007Comment

The Home Office's spin doctors must be feeling pleased with themselves, given the way so much of the media fell for a lot of absolute nonsense just recently.

The government announced how many fraudulent passport applications had been found last year, and went on to say how many more-allegedly 10,000-hadn't been spotted. But there's no way at all for anyone to know how many false applications got through: by definition, they are unknown.

So what's going on? Well, this “…

1 October 2006News in Brief

Peace campaigners are gearing up for the annual international “Keep Space for Peace” week events - calling for an end to the US Missile Defence or “Star Wars” programmes.

This year's themes include “Stop Star Wars Research and Development”, “Convert the Military Industrial Complex” and “Fund Human Needs”. Actions are due to take place worldwide between 1 and 8 October and, here in Britain events are planned for USAF Croughton in Oxforshire, RAF Fylingdales and NSA Menwith Hill, both…

1 April 2005News

There will be an international action camp against the US surveillance base in Fauske in Norway between 17 and 21 June.

The base collects information from satellites for the benefit of the US military. The militarisation of space is dependent on an international network of radar and communication bases and Fauske plays an important role. By using nonviolent direct action we can stop the Fauske base and stand in the way of US military domination!

3 March 2001Comment

The US and its allies plan to dominate space militarily and ensure the primacy of western economic and social values. Bruce Gagnon urges us to work to prevent a new arms race now, before it is too late.

What is our vision for the heavens? On a beautiful starry night do you look up to the moon and the stars and feel the connection to the ages? Can you imagine military bases on the moon and constellations of space-based lasers orbiting our planet? Can you envision the new military space plane, the successor to the shuttle, dropping off new space-based weapons systems and then returning to earth?

We are at a defining moment in history as the US leads the rest of the world into this…