Objection to the U.S. Star Wars Program Continues To Grow World Wide

* Countries around the world are concerned that the Bush administration's campaign to build a National Missile Defense system or Star Wars, will lead China, Russia, and the U.S. European allies to build up their own weapons systems, creating another incredibly dangerous and expensive arms race.

On January 31st, Moscow tried to get support from Germany to block U.S. plans for the missile system.

German defense experts believe it is a bad strategy for the U.S. because it will start an arms race among many nations. While the U.S. says the missile plan is intended to defend the United States against nuclear attacks, Germany says it increases the probability of the use of nuclear weapons.

The Russians feel the same. Russia's First Deputy Chief of General Staff, said that the US system was "liable to destroy the balance of strategic, defensive and offensive weapons and lead to a new arms race". Russia proposes instead to involve NATO and the European Union, leaving the military balance intact. Britain is the only country leaning towards the United States policy. The U.S. plans to use their military base in Britain in the missile program. All other leading European powers are expressing concerns as well as doubts about the technology. China has said that if the U.S. goes ahead, they will "multiply their land-based Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile force from 20 to 200 warheads."

In Australia, where the U.S. wants to put one of the bases, several environmental groups state that participation in the National Missile Defense or Star Wars plan is an aggressive act. The groups feel the National Missile Defense plan is not a defensive system, as the U.S. calls it, but one that allows the U.S. to consider a first -strike nuclear attack.

About 400 organizations and parliamentarians worldwide have signed a letter calling for the U.S. missile plan to be stopped. The letter was sent to former President Clinton and this week to President Bush. The organizations state that, the problem with the National Missile Defense or Star Wars plan is that it "derails the progress that should be taking place under START-II and START-III treaties." If the START treaties are signed and ratified, it would result in a reduction of warhead numbers. Ratification by Russia of START-II was dependent on the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty being maintained, and the National Missile Defense plan would destroy that treaty. In START-II nuclear arms negotiations, Russia said they would cut their nuclear warheads down to 1,500, but not if the National Missile Defense plan proceeds.

Estimates of the current Star Wars plan are $60 billion. But the more robust land, sea, and space-based scheme which is backed by many Republicans would start at around $240 billion. The U.S. plans to have missile bases in England, Australia and in Alaska. In England, voicing opposition to Star Wars is, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases in England. The group is, "working hard in the UK to stop this."

A Pentagon official was quoted as saying that he did not think that the UK would be a problem with the use of these bases. The peace organization responded that, "Well,we are going to be a huge problem,we are convinced we can certainly hold it up and the prize in the end is to stop it - together we can stop it."

In the U.S., the Florida-based organization, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, said the missile plan would be used to knock out other countries' satellites giving the U.S. Space Command "control and domination" of space. They are calling for the U.S. to join Russia, China and the rest of the world in negotiating a global ban on weapons in space. Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is organizing protests in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the "18th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power & Propulsion." Those attending the conference include the Air Force, Department of Energy, NASA, the aerospace industry, and nuclear academia who promote the expanded use of nuclear power in space.

The corporate-industries with major financial interests in the missile system becoming a reality are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, TRW, and Raytheon. To learn more about these corporations, read "The Real Rogues" in the September issue of Z magazine.

The protests during the Symposium will be held in the early afternoons of February 10th to the 12th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 330 Tijeras, NW.

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