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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Meeting: Friday June 29, Stop Star Wars non-violent direct action (Ottawa)

Meeting this Friday evening (June 29) 
Re: non-violent direct action to Stop Sapce Weapons research being carried
out in Ottawa

The action is planned for friday november 9th here in ottawa (i've attached
details below).  it will provide an opportunity to link globalization,
militarism and poverty (specifically homelessness).  it will also provide
an opportunity to continue building a network of non-violent direct action
activists who want to experiment with confrontational but non-violent
organizing strategies and tactics.
the meeting will begin at 6:00 pm this Friday June 29 with an opportunity
to have some food and informal discussion.  we'll move into more of a
meeting mode between 6:30 and 7:00.
the meeting will be at 20 James St. (the other CUPE building) in the large
peace and solidarity,
brian edgecombe      
For more info., call Brian---->  237-0730  or email -----> <briane@tao.ca>

"Current plans for missile defense and militarization of space are
threatening and ominous, and are so understood throughout much of the
world.  It is a serious responsibility of people concerned with human
welfare, even survival, to find ways to stop them before they cause too
much harm."
Noam Chomsky, endorsing the Nov. 9 Ottawa action


Homes not Bombs - "Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up"
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; tasc@web.ca
Kitchener-Waterloo: (519) 584-7556, Guelph: (519) 836-2409
Hamilton: (905) 528-5925, 627-2696, hasc@tao.ca, Windsor: (519) 258-1555;
Ottawa (613) 237-0730; briane@tao.ca London: (519) 675-9600, Peterborough:
(705) 742-7621

JUNE 5, 2001

Dear Friends

As the WTO prepares to meet in the relatively isolated and secure spot of
Qatar Nov. 9-13, many are no doubt wondering about an appropriate symbol
around which we as Canadians and Quebecois can demonstrate our opposition
to the violence of global capitalism. We apologize at the outset for the
length of this letter, but feel it is necessary to lay out the political
framework for this proposal, as well as the philosophical and tactical
basis of the action, so that anyone wishing to join is clear about exactly
what we propose.


It is in the spirit of trying to bridge the gaps between various social
movements that Homes not Bombs would like to extend an invitation to those
active in the anti-globalization movement (which includes many of us to
begin with) to consider placing a focus on an action around which we have
already been building since last January. On Friday, November 9, 2001, we
plan to resist the fist of globalization with a major nonviolent direct
action focusing on the Ottawa-based federal government research facility
where space warfare and star wars research is carried out on a daily basis.

The November 9 action-already endorsed by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Philip
Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister, Voice of Women, Nevada Desert Experience,
National Union of Public and General Employees, Global Network Against
Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Country Music Fans Against the Cuts,
Toronto Action for Social Change and many others- is as much about peace as
it is about stopping the most powerful capitalistic nations on the planet
from pursuing global domination through control of outer space. It is also
about Canada's unique vision of creating the ultimate in cost-effective
Armageddon. "Will technology allow us to fit 70 tons of lethality into a 20
ton package?" asks a document produced by Defence Research and Development
Canada, whose Ottawa facility DREO provides the focus for this direct action.


The US Space Command document Vision 2020 is very clear that war in space
is about protecting U.S. capital from those who want to share the world's
resources. Indeed, the document identifies as one of the primary reasons
for developing a space-based war fighting capacity the fact that "The gap
between 'have' and 'have not' nations will widen-creating regional unrest."
The report, which forms the basis for the Bush administration's policy in
space, continues: "Space commerce is increasingly integral to the global
economy. Military and commercial uses of space will become vital national
interests for the United States. Achieving space superiority during
conflicts will be critical to the US success on the battlefield." Because
of the explosion in commercial space technology, the U.S. is increasingly
wary about who controls the upper atmosphere. "Future potential adversaries
will challenge the US ability to maintain a comparative advantage.
Increasing access to space capabilities will contribute greatly to the
leveling of the playing field between the United States and its
enemies...Given the huge economic and military importance of space,
USSPACECOM must shape the region of space and be prepared to protect and
defend the US national interests and investments in space."

Star Wars is about the ability to "negate [i.e., obliterate] hostile space
systems that place US and allied interests at risk...As a recent report
states, 'Commercial use of space is rapidly expanding on a global scale. In
the next ten years, more than 1,000 satellites are projected to be
launched. This represents a total investment of more than one-half trillion
dollars.' At the same time, the Tofflers have observed that the 'way a
nation makes wealth is the means by which it will choose to wage warfare.'
(Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War) As the US economy evolves from
an industrially-focused nation to an information-based one, the US military
is following the same pattern. The tools of warfare in the Information Age
may differ from the tools of 20th Century warfare. Our nation's increasing
military and economic dependence on space power makes it likely for space
to become a vital national interest. This same dependence also implies
vulnerability. US interests and investments in space must be fully
protected to ensure our nation's freedom of action in space."

The concurrent Canadian Technology Investment Strategy is no less clear.
Written in 2000, it states clearly "Space soon will be the fourth medium of
warfare, it will not only bind all war fighting forces together but will
also become strategically critical to the survival of warfighters...For
future coalition warfare, space superiority will be fundamental." The
connections between the policies of those who wish to continually expand
the punishing policies of global capitalism and the need for a deadly
enforcement mechanism (the military) are myriad. Whether it's Thomas
Friedman writing in The New York Times that "the hidden hand of the market
will never work without a hidden fist [the military]" or Bill Clinton
remarking on the day before bombing the Balkans, "If we're going to have a
strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the
world, Europe has got to be a guy...That's what this Kosovo thing is all
about," it is all too clear that anyone who gets in the way of the
corporate bottom line gets megatonnage dropped from above. According to The
World Trade Organization and War: Making the Connection, a fact sheet
produced by International Network on Disarmament and Globalization, "The
WTO is based on the premise that the only legitimate role for governments
is to provide for a military to protect the country, and a police force to
ensure order within it. And so while the WTO attacks social and
environmental policies, it protects the war industry through a "security
exception" in the GATT (Article XXI). "The security exception allows
governments free reign for actions taken in the name of national security.
It states that a country can not be stopped from taking any action it
considers necessary to protect its essential security interests; actions
"relating to the traffic in arms, ammunition and implements of war and such
traffic in other goods and materials as is carried on directly for the
purpose of supplying a military establishment (or) taken in time of war or
other emergency in international relations."

Article XXI is the most powerful exception in the WTO because governments
define for themselves their "essential security interests" and protect what
they want by couching it in these terms.


The development of space warfare technology can be seen to be a direct
response to the strength of people's movements against war and "western"
nations' concerns about discontent over body bags coming back home in the
event of armed conflict.  Hence, the ability to wage war from space-zapping
guerrillas in a Colombian jungle or shooting laser beams at an African
pharmaceutical company which wants to provide cheap generic drugs-means
fear over losing our boys in battle will no longer be an impediment to
quick use of deadly force against any opponent of the free market.

DREO, the Ottawa facility where the direct action sill take place November
9,  is about developing the high-tech tools-especially the sensor
technology-needed for attacking ground targets from space. Their mandate is
very clear. According to their own website, DREO boasts it is a centre of
expertise to "exploit the electromagnetic spectrum" for military purposes,
in addition to "Major Thrusts in the areas of Maritime Integrated Above
Water Warfare, Aircraft Combat Survivability, Land Force Command and
Control Information Systems and Electronic Warfare, National Level Command
and Surveillance, Information Warfare, Military Information Technology
Infrastructure, Space Systems and Technologies for Defence Applications,
Detection and Identification of NBC [nuclear, biological, chemical] Agents."


On Friday, November 9, the proposal is to occupy the grounds of the federal
government-funded Defence Research Establishment Ottawa (DREO) on Carling
Avenue, the site of Star Wars and space warfare research. We will attempt
to transform the site into a Civil Society Research Institute, and will
also have groups enter the grounds in an attempt to offer a Pledge of
Conscience to the researchers within, calling on them to not work on
military projects. We also propose conducting an inspection of the
facilities to check for violations of international and Canadian law, while
a Festival of Life offering alternatives to war research will be organized
on the grounds as well. Some have discussed the construction of a house on
the grounds to point out that the federal government's funding of space
warfare is completely off the wall, and should be directed to solving
social ills such as poverty and homelessness.  Others would like to dress
as space "aliens" with a message of peace from outer space. DREO's grounds
are extensive, and offer a range of actions, from banner drops to
"back-country"-style actions. There are nowhere near enough police in
Ottawa to watch every link of the six-foot high barbed wire fence, which is
easily enough overcome with a stepladder and some thick carpeting.


Homes not Bombs actions are built on three equally weighted components:
they are confrontational, they are nonviolent, and they are transformative.
While we welcome an incredibly broad range of creative actions within our
framework, all we ask is that a specific basis of unity is respected by all
participants. That basis of unity can be summed us thusly: we pledge not to
do violence-verbal, physical or psychological-to our opponents, whether
they be police, war researchers, or bystanders who disagree with us. We
pledge this both in reference to pro-active acts of violence and in the
sense of "self-defence." We pledge not to have alcohol or drugs either on
site or at the gathering points for the action, nor do we carry any weapons
or objects would could be perceived as weapons; we do not engage in
property damage unless it is clearly defined and consensed to by all of the
affinity groups taking part in the action; we attempt to establish an
atmosphere of calm and self-discipline at our actions through the use of
song and theatre, and generally discourage chanting and long boring
speeches. In terms of structure, we propose building this action on an
affinity-group model with the use of a spokescouncil for decision-making.
Our actions are built in the spirit of honesty and openness which forms the
core of most direct action; hence, everyone participating in the action
knows what to expect from one another before engaging in the confrontation,
heightening the sense of solidarity which can be broken when something
unexpected occurs and some folks feel uncomfortable showing support for
something they did not consense to at spokescouncil the night before the


We hold this as a basis of unity not in judgment of others who may wish to
go beyond these parameters in other situations, but rather as a point of
accountability and respect for one another participating in a specific
action. We find that if everyone can agree upon specific points of unity
within an action, then those who are first-timers will feel just as
comfortable as those who have engaged in such actions again and again.  In
the interests of building in a sense of respect and comfort with one
another and a sense that we will be accountable to one another, having this
basis of unity has helped us create a certain style of action which we find
very effective on the streets and in the courts, where our actions have
resulted in acquittals despite the best efforts of the state to criminalize


With all of this in mind, it is our hope that folks who have been focusing
largely on the resistance actions and marches at the global summits of
capital will consider joining us to protest both the WTO and its military
enforcement mechanism on November 9 at the DREO facility in Ottawa. We
wiould also propose that those unable to come to Ottawa focus on a military
facility in their area November 9, if they wish, to show the links to
globalization in their area. For more information, contact our members in
the cities listed above. If you would like to endorse this action, send an
endorsement to tasc@web.ca Because this is an all-volunteer effort, any
contributions toward our out-of-pocket costs are greatly appreciated, and
donations can be forwarded to Hmes not Bombs at the address listed above.
But most importantly, in the meantime, let's talk, let's build, let's keep

Peace and Justice

Homes not Bombs

For more information, contact:
Brian Edgecomb  in Ottawa 237-0730 briane@tao.ca 

Homes not Bombs
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; tasc@web.ca
Kitchener-Waterloo: (519) 584-7556, Guelph: (519) 836-2409
Hamilton: (905) 528-5925, 627-2696, hasc@tao.ca, Windsor: (519) 258-1555;
London: (519) 675-9600, Peterborough: (705) 742-7621

This message was forwarded by:

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
                         Richard Sanders
        Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
               A national, peace network supported by 
            individuals and organizations across Canada
           541 McLeod St., Ottawa Ontario K1R 5R2  Canada
              Tel.:  613-231-3076    Fax: 613-231-2614
      Email: <ad207@ncf.ca>    Web site: <http://www.ncf.ca/coat>

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