Some truth from official sources has begun leaking out: Ukraine is losing in the NATO proxy war against Russia. Two Polish officials said so, Condoleeza Rice in the Washington Post said so, and the mainstream/lamestream press began admitting it as well. The wrong conclusion is that more weapons will ensure Ukrainian victory, but that did not stop the U.S. and NATO from pledging more weapons.
Ukraine’s government has come a bit unraveled this week with key advisor Oleksiy Arestovych resigning and then being arrested and put on the Mirotvorets kill list for (accidentally?) admitting that Ukraine caused a Russian missile to go off course and fall on an apartment building killing 44 civilians in Dnipro.
Then there was the mysterious crash of a helicopter carrying all the top officials of the Ministry of the Interior, an accident which killed all aboard plus some children from the kindergarten it fell on.
Next, the president of Ukraine addressed the World Economic Forum at Davos looking pale and strained and claiming to be uncertain whether the president of Russia is actually alive. (Cue the Twitter cocaine addict jokes. Of course substance use disorder is no joke for its sufferers, nor do most of us have any way of knowing if Zelensky is among them.)
But some things remain unchanged. Western cheerleaders of the war effort are falling all over themselves to pledge their support for “democracy” in a country that banned opposition parties and “free speech” in a country that banned the use of Russian, the first language spoken by many of its citizens. Ajamu Baraka’s essay in Black Agenda Report, “The Ukrainian Solidarity Network: The Highest Stage of White Western Social Imperialism” is well worth a read for the context to understand why alleged leftists are siding with the fascists at this time.
My photo of our vigil in Portland, Maine January 19, 2022
So, as part of a week of anti-imperialist and anti-war actions organized by members of UNAC for Martin Luther King, Jr. week (see the full list here) a hardy band of the unconfused stood in Portland, Maine yesterday at the evening commute.
We were on the second shift after a mid-day vigil in nearby Brunswick that occurs weekly. At that event a surprising number of passersby had expressed agreement with our anti-NATO stance remarking “Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe” or “Ukraine is full of Nazis” before the light changed and they drove away. This felt like a shift in public opinion, barely discernible but distinct from our past experiences with the public around this issue.
My photo of our vigil in Portland, Maine January 19, 2022
A few positive reactions in Portland were offset by a woman who rolled down her window to claim unspecified atrocities were happening at the hands of the Russian military and then shouted, “You should be ashamed!” before zooming off in her Tesla. Note: we were not ashamed to speak up for the truth as we understand it, Western propaganda on Ukraine notwithstanding.
I’m not sure when we’ll be back in Portland, but the hour-long vigil at 11:30am in front of the Tontine Mall in Brunswick will continue weekly for now.
Rocket launch sites are popping up all over the planet. Here’s a website where a group of us have been collecting news of such and also the opposition on environmental grounds. Scroll down to read my recent article for Space Alert! about this growing problem.
Also, despite corporate press reports spotted here, here, and here,
I do not believe that the approval process for a rocket launch site in Steuben, Maine is a foregone conclusion.
(All three articles read like a rehash of the same press release without much actual reporting.) I say the proposed site is still up in the air because I found at least two people who live in Steuben or nearby who are opposed to the plan, and don’t believe any public hearings or votes on the subject have been held.
A comment on the Maine Biz article claimed that the town is a “Pinkham family controlled” town. I’m not sure what that entails, but if you can enlighten me I’d love to hear about it.
Space Alert spring/summer 2022 issue – 900 words
Rocket launch sites popping up all over
by Lisa Savage
When you hear the phrase “public-private partnerships” what do you think of – maybe corporate branding on public university research centers, or billionaires raking in taxpayer-funded subsidies? Both of these associations would be true of an increasingly evident manifestation of such partnerships: the construction of multiple rocket launch sites around the planet.
Promoters don’t like to call these rocket launch sites. They prefer the public relations value of calling the sites “spaceports” which sounds much more appealing and, not by coincidence, much less military.
In capitalist countries, new launch site construction is always sold as a good way to create jobs. Because sites are necessarily distant from population centers, they’re proposed in communities where jobs for wages are typically scarce. People in places that have already built launch sites, however, found the promised jobs never materialized. A crew of specialists arrive to handle the occasional launch while the only permanent jobs are a few for security guards and custodians.
Space Alert! has previously reported on sites in Indonesia, Guyana, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It should be noted that it is common for nations to use launch sites located in other nations, so enticements like a decade of free internet service are used to persuade economically depressed countries to host a site. What follows is an overview of what we know about proposed launch sites and local resistance to their toxic fallout.
SaxaVord in Unst, Shetland has seen some evidence of a planned launch site including reports of an environmental impact statement that is unavailable online. Shetlanders have shown themselves to be vigorous advocates for environmental conservation in the past, and it’s likely many would oppose a rocket launch site in the island northernmost in Scotland.
Last winter, the Welsh Government released a National Space Strategy for Wales citing job creation in high-skilled technology professions and monetary rewards for locales identified as Cardiff, Newport, Port Talbot, Broughton, Llanbedr (Gwynedd), Aberporth, and Radnorshire. The profiteers included numerous companies specializing in missile technology and military training: Raytheon, Qinetiq, Quioptiq, and Airbus Defence and Space.
Less than half of the 20 “spaceports” listed by the United States Federal Aviation Administration have seen rocket launches so far. These are scattered around the nation including sites in Florida, Texas, Kodiak (Alaska), and New Mexico but there are many more locations proposed.
Michigan is one of many states where groups are working to develop rocket launch sites. In August of 2021, the state hosted a North American Space Summit to bring together rocket profiteers and investors. Investors at the summit were told that building commercial rocket launch sites could be a “space gold rush” with the chance of creating next-gen Silicon Valley tech profits. But no such sites in the U.S. have been profitable yet. Pentagon watchers theorize that the reason the U.S. military is using grants to encourage the construction of many sites right now is to gain an advantage in bargaining down the price of launching from them.
Still, many Michigan residents are opposing a plan to put a rocket launch site at the edge of Lake Superior. And voters in the state of Georgia recently rejected a plan for Camden County to purchase land to launch commercial rockets. Opponents who forced the referendum expressed concerns about environmental harms and safety risks.
Where I live in the U.S. we recently organized to oppose the creation of a public-private partnership called the Maine Space Corporation. A bill was rushed through a public hearing without notice and passed by the lower house of the Maine legislature without a roll call vote. Why the urgency? To create a public structure that allowed private corporations and public universities to apply for grants from the federal government in order to develop sites. One of the aerospace companies involved already had extensive contracts with the U.S. military. Another claims to be operating in a purely educational realm with close ties to the state’s university system. Any profits derived from using future launch sites will, of course, be privately held. So far no launch site has been constructed, and commercial fishermen successfully imposed a moratorium in a proposed location at the municipal level. Needless to say, we will monitor future developments closely and spread the word via our website notoxicrockets4me.org.
The lands of indigenous people continue to be invaded and colonized by for-profit and/or military launch sites over community objections. In Texas, the Comecrudo Tribe has filed suit citing the American Indian Religious Freedom Act on the grounds that it is violated by the closure of public beaches during SpaceX rocket testing. Comecrudo ceremonies on sacred days must be conducted at the beach. Joined by environmental groups, their suit says such closures also violate the Texas Constitution and names the county and the Texas General Land Office as being in violation.
Kati Rocket Lab in New Zealand was sold to indigenous people whose land it is on as a purely civilian facility and launch site. Lockheed Martin Corporation now runs Rocket Lab and the peace community in NZ is protesting this betrayal as military technology is now hoisted from the launch site.
As launch sites proliferate, so do launches. The rapid growth of new satellites which join older objects already in orbit plus a lot of non-functioning junk has implications for climate, the ozone layer, wildlife exposure to disruptive sound pollution, and toxic fallout here on Earth.