On Friday, October 1st, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. members of the Vancouver Stop War Coalition converged at the Lion’s Gate Bridge and hung a large banner from an over pass which read “MISSILE DEFENSE = WEAPONS IN SPACE: SAY NO!” The purpose of the action was to bring attention to the soon to be made decision on whether Canada will join the US in it’s “Ballistic Missile Defense” program.
See photos below…
Darth Vader was there and was voicing his opposition to weapons in space by exclaiming, “Keep Star Wars in the Movies!”
At the top of the bridge were US missiles floating among the stars and moon. Drivers were encouraged to “Honk for peace in space”. There was a great response from car drivers, public transit buses and school buses.
The Lion’s Gate Bridge allows commuters to drive from the North shore to Vancouver central. We were able to slow traffic down to a crawl for 45-60 minutes. It’s estimated that In 2 hours of rush hour 10,000 cars pass over this bridge.
Here are some photos I took.
Lion’s Gate Bridge from overpass
Vader says, “Keep Star Wars in the Movies!”
Vader, “Paul Martin, I am your father…”
School kids support Vader
The sign says it all…
Traffic slows for Vader
The big picture
Below is an article published Saturday, October 2, 2004 in the Vancouver Sun which outlines how the “Bush administration has been using subtle “threats” to force Canada to join the controversial ballistic missile shield program”. Aside from some of the language and repetition of conventional myths, it does provided some insight into the politicking that is currently happening, on this issue, between Canada and the US.
U.S. makes star wars ‘threats’
Canada being dragged into controversial program: expert
By Mike Blanchfield
Ottawa — A former Pentagon adviser and noted physicist says the Bush administration has been using subtle “threats” to force Canada to join the controversial ballistic missile shield program.
“They are a partner that is being pulled into this pretty much without being asked. Basically there have been subtle, if not direct, threats,” said Ted Postol, a physicist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former scientific adviser to the U.S. navy’s chief of operations.
Postol, in Ottawa Friday at the request of peace groups opposed to the missile defence plan, made his remarks one week after Defence Minister Bill Graham told the Ottawa Citizen in an interview that Canada would “regret” not joining the U.S. program and that opting out would compromise Canadian sovereignty.
“When I talk to Canadian officers and they are concerned, for example, that Canada will not have the same access to the North American Aerospace Defence Command [Norad] activities, there’s an implied threat on the part of the Americans toward the Canadians,” said Postol.
The U.S. will deploy a series of ground-based missiles that would be used to shoot down an incoming ballistic missile attack from a rogue nation such as North Korea.
Postol, the leading scientific critic of the system, has roundly criticized the bullet-to-bullet approach as unworkable.
“The system will have no military capability at all,” he said Friday.
Postol has a long history with ballistic missile systems, working with the U.S. navy 20 years ago on its Trident anti-ballistic sea-based system.
After the first Gulf War, he blew the whistle on the fact that the vast majority of U.S. Patriot missiles did not hit their targets.
Last week, Graham said he acknowledged the scientific criticism, but said Canada should sign on to the system.
“You can make the argument it isn’t working today. But we don’t know where it’s going to go 10 years from now,” Graham said.
Ken Ragan, director of academic affairs for the Canadian Association of Physicists, said the government is giving short shrift to scientific concerns.
“Most of us would claim it is irresponsible, in fact, to let the political side of the discussion to trump the science side,” said Ragan.
While Postol, Ragan and other scientists oppose the missile defence plan, they do not share the opinion of the federal New Democrats that it would lead to a mass proliferation of weapons in outer space.
The scientists effectively poured cold water over NDP concerns that the plan would lead to a doomsday Star Wars scenario.
Postol said the more likely scenario is that the ground-based system could be adapted to make it an offensive weapon that could shoot at satellites orbiting the Earth.
Postol said any country that is capable of mounting a space launch — namely China — could develop the capability to shoot down satellites, which could create a new modern version of the old Cold War arms race.
That’s because there is virtually nothing that can be done to protect an orbiting satellite from attack.
“All you can do in response is threaten retaliation.
“It’s sort of like the nuclear standoff. It creates kind of an existential situation where you have no ability to defend yourself, but you hope that you can deter an adversary by being able to do something in kind back at them.”
The Pentagon says it will deploy the new missile defence system this fall. The system will rely on clusters of interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California.
Canada has not decided whether it will sign on. However, it did approve an amendment to the Norad treaty this summer allowing the joint U.S.-Canada command to serve as the tracking system for the new missile defence system.
Earlier this summer, the Canadian who serves as deputy commander of Norad, Lt.-Gen. Rick Findley, said he favours Canada’s participation in the missile defence scheme.
Postol said he could understand why the Canadian military supports the country’s participation in missile defence.
“If I were a military person concerned with providing defence for Canada, I inevitably understand Canadian defence is intimately tied with American defence. And I want to be part of the American defence,” said Postol.