Global Network Space Newsletter 16
Pentagon transformation is well underway. The U.S. military is increasingly being converted into a global oil protection service. Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld has a "strategy guy" whose job is to teach this new way of warfare to high-level military officers from all branches of services and to top level CIA operatives. Thomas Barnett is a professor at the Navy War College in Rhode Island. He is author of the controversial book The Pentagon's New Map that identifies a "non-integrating gap" in the world that is resisting corporate globalization. Barnett defines the gap as parts of Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia all of which are key oil-producing regions of the world.
In what Barnett calls a "Grand March of History" he claims that the U.S. military must be transformed in order to preemptively take control of the gap, so the U.S. can "manage" the global distribution of resources, people, energy, and money. (It has long predicted that the gap between rich and poor around the world will continue to widen and that the Pentagon will be used to keep the boot on the necks of the people of the third world to the benefit of corporate globalization.)
Barnett predicts that U.S. unilateralism will lead to the "inevitability
Barnett argues that the days of arms talks and international treaties are over. "There is no secret where we are going," he says as he calls for a "new ordering principle" at the Department of Defense (DoD). Barnett maintains that as jobs move out of the U.S. the primary export product of the nation will be "security." Global energy demand will necessitate U.S. control of the oil producing regions. "We will be fighting in Central Africa in 20 years," Barnett predicts.
In order to implement this new military vision," Barnett maintains that the U.S. military must move away from its often-competing mix of Air Force-Navy-Army-Marines toward two basic military services. One he names Leviathan, which he defines as the kick ass, wage war, special ops, and not under the purview of the international criminal court. Give us your angry, video game-playing 18-19 year olds, for the Leviathan force, Barnett says. Once a country is conquered by Leviathan, Barnett says the U.S. will have to have a second military force that he calls Systems Administration. This force he describes as the "proconsul" of the empire, boots on the ground, the police force to control the local populations. This group, Barnett says, "will never come home."
Barnettıs plan is essentially underway today. New fast, flexible, and efficient projection forces with "lily pad" bases are now being developed for control of the gap. Over the next decade, the military will abandon 35% of the Cold War-era bases it uses abroad as it seeks to expand the network of bare-bones sites in the gap. The planned changes, once completed, will result in the most profound "reordering" of U.S. military forces overseas since the current global arrangements were set 50 years ago.
According to Michael Klare, professor of Peace Studies at Hampshire College, "American troops are now risking their lives on a daily basis to protect the flow of petroleum. In Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and the Republic of Georgia, U.S. personnel are spending their days and nights protecting pipelines and refineries, or supervising the local forces assigned to this mission."
Klare continues, "The DoD has stepped up its arms deliveries to military forces in Angola and Nigeria, and is helping to train their officers and enlisted personnel; meanwhile, Pentagon officials have begun to look for permanent bases in the area, focusing on Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Uganda and Kenya." The Wall Street Journal has reported that "a key mission for U.S. forces (in Africa) would be to ensure that Nigeriaıs oil fields, which in the future could account for as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports, are secure."
National Guard units across the U.S. are now being assigned the task of developing on-going basing relationships with each nation on the African continent.
Role of Space Technology
The Bush administration is also exploring the possibility of expanding the emerging missile defense system into Eastern Europe as an element in the strategic containment of Russia, China and the Middle East. The Pentagon has been negotiating with Hungary, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic about one or more of them hosting new missile defense bases. Oil-rich Iran is to be encircled by missile defense posts in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
In order to pull all of this together the Pentagon claims it will need "a God's-eye view" of the world. A new "internet in the sky" is now being built for the wars of the future. Costing well over $200 billion, the new web would give war machines and military forces a common language, instantly emitting an encyclopedia of lethal information about all enemies.
According to Art Cebrowski, director of the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation, "What we are really talking about is a new theory of war." The military wants to know "everything of interest to us, all the time," says one Pentagon insider. Military intelligence including secret satellite surveillance covering most of the Earth will be posted on the war net and shared with troops. "The essence of net-centric warfare is our ability to deploy a war-fighting force anywhere, anytime. Information technology is the key to that."
Thus U.S. military and economic control of the gap will be dependent on a system of networked computers. Fusing weapons, secret intelligence and soldiers in a global network what the military calls net-centric warfare will, they say, change the military in a way the Internet changed business and culture.
Bruce K. Gagnon
We have watched as the U.S. has become more dependent on military spending to fuel its economy. At the same time, it has become less secure, as military bases close, job layoffs continue, and a war rages in Iraq. Peace and justice groups are in a difficult position in our communities. When we advocate for cutbacks in military spending, we come in conflict with the workers who see declining opportunities for employment as scarce manufacturing jobs continue to be outsourced. We have come to recognize that until we address the fact that as long as our communities rely on military contracts for their basic livelihood, we will never bring an end to war. We see how converting military- based manufacturing to other industries, in particular to renewable energy resources, would allow us to broaden our support and make a larger impact.
Peace Action Maine and the Global Network are now undertaking a multi-year campaign around the conversion issue. We are working with artists and others to find ways to help raise the consciousness of people in our state around the conversion issue. Unless we convert, our country will continue to hop from one war to the next as we serve our addiction to military spending and violence.
We must begin looking at the issue of conversion with new eyes. We have begun to see conversion as part of a strategy that creates positive results directly affecting three communities: the peace community through reduced dependence on military contracting; organized labor through security of high wage, skilled jobs; the environmental community through development of clean energy. This is a win-win alliance that will engender further cooperation for positive material and political change in our state.
If we want a robust 21st century economy, manufacturing jobs, and a high-quality environment, we need to invest in domestic renewable energy supplies and more efficient energy systems. We are taking the lead from other initiatives in the U.S. and examples from our European friends. Denmark and Germany, as the worldıs leaders in wind power production and solar photovoltaics have clear, long-term policies investing in renewable energy sources. The peace community in Maine will be looking at its current military contractors, and envisioning what a healthy economy, not dependent on war, might look like.
We realize that we canıt leave this job to government. With huge profits from war making, the Military Industrial Complex ensures through its control of Congress, that the status quo will prevail. The U.S. weapons industry is the second most heavily subsidized industry after agriculture. When weapons are the # 1 industrial export of the nation, what is the global marketing strategy?
If we are to end war, and if we are to help create a sustainable and better life for our citizens, then we must create a grassroots movement that understands this conversion issue and begins to make demands on the political system. Our Maine campaign will create education and debate about the benefits associated with conversion of the war industry. We hope to awaken the public to the fact that our tax dollars, now being wasted on an unwinnable war in Iraq, could be used in our state to build products that we can be proud of and would help give life and hope to future generations.
We urge peace groups in other communities to reintroduce the issue of economic conversion and help create a national campaign around the need to end our addiction to military spending.
The Global Network will be heavily involved in the big events planned in New York City this spring around the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). People will be coming in from all over the world in great numbers to call on the U.S. and all the nuclear powers to end their nuclear hypocrisy.
On April 29-30 the GN will hold its 13th anniversary international
Then on Saturday, April 30 we will hold our annual conference entitled Full Spectrum Resistance: An Intıl Space Organizing Forum which will feature key space activists from around the world. The keynote speaker at the event will be Dr. Michio Kaku (Henry Semat Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York. His most popular and best selling books include Hyperspace and Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century.) This event will be held at the Musicians Union Hall Local #802 (322 W. 48th St) in New York and will run from 1-9 pm. Advance registration will be necessary. The GN conference is being co-sponsored by Abolition 2000 Network.
On Sunday, May 1 the GN will participate in the massive international disarmament rally planned in the city calling for the rapid implementation of the promise of nuclear disarmament.
Contact us if youıd like more information about these timely and important events.
U.S. military control of space is one of the key missions spelled out
A new Air Force doctrine, called Counterspace Operations, recently made public, further implements the Clinton-era policy. The document declares that the military is duty-bound to knock down other countries' space efforts.
Military doctrine is important to understand because it is an official
Gen. John Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff opens the new doctrine with the statement that: "Counterspace operations are critical to success in modern warfare. Counterspace operations have defensive and offensive elements...These operations may be utilized throughout the spectrum of conflict and may achieve a variety of effects from temporary denial to complete destruction of the adversaryıs space capabilities."
The new doctrine states that not only would the U.S. destroy other
Through "persistent surveillance" the U.S. military says it will ensure freedom of action in space. Persistent surveillance means the national security space community envisions a capability to sense any "threatening" place on the globe and do something about it in seconds.
Replacing military space satellites with new and expensive technological versions is expected to happen during the next 10-12 years and Congress is under pressure to provide the enormous funding to make this happen.
Anti-satellite weapons like the space-based kinetic-energy kill vehicle are among the many offensive tools outlined in the new Counterspace Operations doctrine.
The Global Network (GN) held its annual Keep Space for Peace Week of local international actions from September 25October 4, 2004. This year, over 130 actions were held in 10 participating countries including Sweden, Austria, Japan, England, and Romania and throughout the U.S.
Canadian activists held over 30 local actions across their nation as they used the week to organize opposition to their country joining the U.S. Star Wars program.
This year, the week of actions was co-sponsored by the Womenıs
The purpose of the week of actions each year is to increase the visibility of the space issue and to expand the level of organizing around the issue worldwide. Each year we make inroads into new communities and increase the numbers of key space activists. We thank all of those who joined our week of actions in 2004.
(More information and reports here)
In recent months Global Network board members have been busy organizing space protests and speaking on behalf of the organization.
Tamara Lorincz from Nova Scotia, Canada made a speaking trip to Sydney, Nova Scotia where she promoted the work of the GN. Tamara also organized a fall tour throughout Nova Scotia in 2004 for GN coordinator Bruce Gagnon. New board member Steven Staples is a key leader in the Canadian peace movement's effort to keep their country from joining the U.S. "missile defense" program and has been traveling widely throughout his country and the U.S. during this crucial time.
Stacey Fritz in Fairbanks, Alaska traveled to the Whitehorse, Yukon Territory this past summer on a speaking trip to promote opposition to Bush's planned deployments of 'missile defense' at Ft. Greely in her state. She also organized a peace camp outside Ft. Greely during our Keep Space for Peace Week.
Lindis Percy, the recipient of the GN's 'Peace in Space Award' in 2004, spends a lot of time traveling and speaking in the United Kingdom where she organizes opposition to the U.S. spy satellite base at NSA/USAF Menwith Hill. Lindis also organized a protest at the base during Keep Space for Peace Week.
Also during Keep Space for Peace Week board member Aurel Duta, from Bucharest, Romania, traveled to events in his country, Croatia, and
Austria passing on word about our work to stop the nuclearization and weaponization of space. Japanese activist and board member Satomi Oba joined Aurel at the Austrian peace
conference where they both made presentations. Satomi
Board member Loring Wirbel made speaking trips to Tucson, AZ during Keep Space for Peace Week and to Miami in October. In November 2004 he spoke at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Loring is the author of the new book Star Wars: U.S. Tools of Space Supremacy.
GN board convener Dave Webb from Leeds, England travelled to China in October and met with representatives of the Chinese peace movement.
He briefed them on the work of the organization. Earlier in the year, Dave joined European GN board members Dave Knight and Regina Hagen at an international peace conference in
Spain where they held a workshop on the space issue. Dave and Regina also spoke at a "Missile Defence & Space
GN coordinator Bruce Gagnon made two trips to Canada in October and November of 2004. He supported Canadian efforts to resist U.S. attempts to drag Canada into the Star Wars program. Bruce also made an organizing trip to France and has been on the road throughout the U.S. in recent months.
Board member Dr. Michio Kaku continues to use his national radio show, Explorations, to promote the work of the GN. GN co-founder and board member Karl Grossman, long time journalist, recently had several space articles published in major national and international magazines and always gives the GN excellent coverage.
Board member Alice Slater, a key leader in Abolition 2000, reports that she was in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the 2004 Conference Against A & H Bombs and spoke on Star Wars in several forums at the event. She also attended a recent meeting of the Peace & Security Funders in Colorado and was able to talk about the work of the GN to a number of foundation representatives.
8) CANADIAN PEACE ACTIVISTS WORKING TO KEEP COUNTRY OUT OF STAR WARS
Yet, a vote is likely to happen despite the fact that the government has not informed Members of Parliament and the public about the true nature of BMD. We do not know what will be at stake for Canada in terms of funding or territory. The government has not revealed the details of the Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and the U.S. on the Star Wars talks.
Most disconcerting is the fact that the government is blatantly misleading Canadians. For example, in a response to a concern about BMD, Dr. Keith Martin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, stated "The BMD system does not include putting weapons in space... In addition, the US has no policy to weaponize space." Consequently, peace activists across the country are trying to inform Canadians about the realities of missile 'defence' through rallies, teach-ins, lectures, and film screenings. We are also calling on the government to delay a vote until public hearings across the country are held.
Here is a brief synopsis of recent local and national efforts to stop
9) LOCAL: The Halifax Peace Coalition (HPC)
On September 21, to commemorate the UN International Day of Peace, I was invited to give a lecture, Mobilizing Against Missile Madness at the University College of Cape Breton in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I distributed literature and encouraged the audience to join our anti-BMD campaign.
For Keep Space for Peace Week, HPC showed three films: Star Wars Dreams, Arsenal of Hypocrisy: America's Space Plans and Its
Military Industrial Complex, and Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire. We also gave out our 'No Star Wars' postcards and brochures and had people
sign our petitions against BMD. On October 2, at the vigil against Israel's illegal wall in Halifax, HPC read a statement saying that the wall
In mid-October, we organized a tour of Nova Scotia for Bruce Gagnon. He gave presentations about the U.S.'s plans to dominate space in Halifax, Wolfville, Annapolis Royal, Sydney, and Truro. We were able to get Bruce's message in our newspapers and on the radio as well.
Also in October, Alfred Webre, International Director of the Campaign for Cooperation in Space (www.peaceinspace.org), and I wrote an article that was published in the Chronicle Herald provincial newspaper called Clearing the Air on Missile Defence. In it we rebutted earlier erroneous claims made by other writers in the paper about BMD.
We also recently organized a public lecture for Mel Hurtig, former
Our latest event was a protest in Halifax. Over 5,000 people showed up when George W. Bush made a surprise visit to our city during his December Canadian tour. He refused to speak to our Parliament in Ottawa, fearing that he would be jeered, and instead, in a last-minute change of plans spoke here. He urged Canada to join BMD, which created a storm of outcry across the country.
10) NATIONAL: The Canadian Campaign to Oppose Missile Defence (CCOMD)
Next, in September, CCOMD organized a nation-wide email campaign to send messages of support to the female Liberal Members of Parliament who had boldly stood up to denounce their leader, Paul Martin, for his support of BMD. Thankfully, there is almost unanimity against Star Wars among female Liberal MPs.
Third, during the Keep Space for Peace Week, CCOMD held a press conference with Mel Hurtig, author of Rushing to Armageddon, American military physicist Dr. Theodore Postol, and Canadian physicist Prof. Louis Marchildon to demand that the Canadian government make a decision on whether to join BMD based on science and not on politics. In Ottawa, Dr. Postol said BMD had no scientific credibility and called it a "sham." Across Canada on Saturday, Oct. 2, CCOMD and the Canadian Peace Alliance helped mobilize 28 communities to hold rallies, vigils or demonstrations against BMD with good national coverage of these events.
In conclusion, we are all working very hard to do what we can to keep Canada out of BMD. The latest polls all show that the majority of Canadians are opposed to participating in Star Wars. So, we are finally making progress and the most recent press indicates that the Prime Minister's support for BMD is faltering.
The last few years have seen a burgeoning of interest and investment in 'nanotechnology' an umbrella term covering a diverse range of manufacturing and engineering techniques applied to the unimaginably small atomic 'nanoscale'. A 'nanometre' is one billionth of a metre, about one-thousandth of the width of a single human hair; as defined by the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, nanotechnology deals with "dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometres, esp. the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules".
Across this tiny tightrope, many argue, lies a bright new world of
Neither the benefits nor perils of nanotechnology can yet be proven or predicted with confidence. The highest expectations - bordering on visions of extreme human longevity and the abolition of disease, poverty and pollution - may prove, in the tasting, mere 'pie in the sky'. Equally, dire predictions that the sky may fall - the specter of rapid, irreparable damage to the atomic fabric of the globe - may prove wildly pessimistic. Even if neither of these extremes materialize, however, both its champions and detractors would agree that nanotechnology has the potential to reshape economies, societies, environments and militaries in far-reaching and powerful ways.
The major bone of technical contention in the field is over the prospects for 'self-replicating' molecular machinery: 'nanobots' programmed to assemble, reproduce, and even refine their own designs. Known as 'bottom-up' or 'wet' engineering, such a 'technorganic' process would theoretically allow for the exponential proliferation of artificial systems capable of radically altering the surrounding, natural atomic environment.
As with nuclear weapons/energy, such a 'nanosword of Damocles' would inevitably be two-edged. As nanotech visionary Ray Kurzweil, recipient of the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton, wrote in 1999: "What happens if a little software problemSfails to halt the self-replication? We may have more nanobots than we want. They could eat up everything in sight. ... I believe that it will be possible to engineer self-replicating nanobots in such a way that an inadvertent, undesired population explosion would be unlikely.... But the bigger danger is the intentional hostile use of nanotechnology. Once the basic technology is available, it would not be difficult to adapt it as an instrument of war or terrorism."
Writing in Wired Magazine in April 2000, Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy warned that the creation of such self-replicating nanotechnology would inevitably lead to "the further perfection of extreme evil - well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation states."
Many scientists, however, believe that self-replication is physically
Top-down nanotechnology, however, does not remove the 'sword' or change its double-edged nature. The biotechnology revolution of recent decades has dramatically expanded the capacity of science to modify - 'manmake' - the genetic basis of life. In so doing, it also transformed the capacity for weapons scientists and terrorists to convert easily-available genetic material into new strains and types of 'deliverable' disease.
At present, biotechnology is rapidly merging with nanotechnology to push ever-deeper into the heartland of life, opening yet more 'territory' to human control and exploitation. Of course there are gains as well as losses, 'miracles' as well as 'monsters', but hasn't the nuclear age taught us that the old scales of cost-benefit analysis no longer suffice to weigh our decisions?
But whose decisions, in fact, are we talking about? A recent poll in Britain showed that fewer than three in ten people had even heard of nanotechnology - a terrifying level of public ignorance presumably common in all those states, including Canada, now busy pouring money and resources into the field.
The Bush administration, for example, is requesting $982 million for its National Nanotechnology Initiative in 2005, $276 million of which is earmarked for the Department of Defense (compared to $89 million for the National Institutes of Health, $5 million for agriculture, and $1 million for homeland security). And this is just the beginning: from new weapons to new armor, battlefield integration to prisoner interrogation, nanotech is being touted by the Pentagon as the royal road to military supremacy, the 'cutting edge' of future wars - and occupations.
The view of most political and military-industrial establishments
In 1999, surveying the horrendous military implications of recent
Dr. Sean Howard is a researcher on arms control and disarmament issues and adjunct professor of political science at the University College of
Cape Breton (UCCB). Dr. Lee-Anne Broadhead is professor of political Science at UCCB, in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The tax burden is now dramatically shifting onto the lower and middle classes. In 2003 alone, 46 corporations with combined profits of $42.6 billion paid no federal income taxes and instead received rebates totaling $5.4 billion.
According to economist and former Secretary of Labor under Clinton, Robert Reich, "The wealthy have shifted their Washington portfolios. A lot of the money they used to send to Washington in the form of tax payments they now send to Washington in the form of loans, through treasury bills and bonds. The big difference, of course, is that loans have to be paid back, with interest. In 2004, interest payments on the federal debt totaled over $290 billion. And who pays that interest?"
Keeping his earlier promise, George W. Bush has deployed "missile defense" interceptors at Ft. Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg AFB, California.
These deployments actually are illegal. The law being broken is the Missile Defense Act passed in 1999, which enables deployment of an "effective system as soon as technologically
feasible." As of this moment, Bush's missile
At the same time the list of rogue states intending to send weapons of mass destruction hurtling at the U.S. is vanishing. Iraq, as we all know, had no WMD. Iran has only short-range missiles, but no nuclear warheads. North Korea also has no nuclear missiles capable of reaching the continental U.S.
But the lack of a threat has never stopped the U.S. before. Owing largely to the exaggerated threat, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) budget has doubled in the past four years. The MDA appropriation for 2005 is more than $10 billion and enables the Pentagon to continue development of "offensive" technologies for space control - the real intent of the program that is now misnamed "missile defense."
The money has been very good for the "contracting" community. The Star Wars program has improved the fortunes of Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, VA that rode the falling star of the commercial space sector during the late 1990's. Star Wars work has played a key role in turning around Orbitalıs profitability. In 2004 Orbital won a $400 million contract to design and produce the booster rocket for the MDAıs Kinetic Energy Interceptor.
Some MDA subcontractors have been deeply involved in Star Wars for decades. Minneapolis-based Alliant Tech started working with the Pentagon 19 years ago when the program was first named Star Wars, during the Reagan administration. The company develops advanced propulsion systems for the program.
Radar upgrades for the Star Wars system are key to making the complex system work. The U.S. has received permission from Denmark to upgrade the Thule Greenland radar and from Tony Blair to carry out similar work on the Fylingdales radar in the UK.
Six foreign governments have asked the U.S. about the possibility of stationing their own military personnel at the Ft Greely and Vandenberg
interceptor sites. The Pentagon has declined to name the countries. The MDA is considering conducting two full-scale demonstrations of its "National Missile Defense" system in 2005.
It was left to former Sen. J. William Fulbright, later that same decade, to warn us about the militarization of academia, saying that "in lending itself too much to the purposes of government, a university fails its higher purposes." Historian Stuart Leslie has named the problem the "golden triangle" of "military agencies, the high tech industry, and research universities."
Today, over 350 educational institutions in the U.S. have financial ties to the Pentagon. As state and local governments reach financial crisis the dependence on the military for basic research and development funding is growing. With Department of Defense's (DoD) budget for research and development skyrocketing to $66 billion for 2004, it is clear that the Pentagon can now dictate the research that gets undertaken. While the military has long sought to exploit and exert influence over civilian cultural institutions, from academia to Hollywood, today's massive budgets make its power increasingly irresistible.
One example is the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) that has developed "university relationships" to provide it with "an excellent recruitment resource" for high-caliber students. SPAWAR has cooperative agreements with Clemson University, University of South Carolina, The Citadel, North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, University of Central Florida, and North Carolina A & T State University - all, by the way, located in the Bush country red states.
Not to be outdone, the Air Force Space Command in October 2004 signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with a consortium of universities that will support the space commandıs educational and research needs.
The MOU establishes the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as the lead university in the Space Education Consortium to develop a "future space cadre for the Air Force." The Air Force intends to develop over 10,000 cadre members - scientists, engineers, program managers, and space system operators to implement the U.S. vision of space control and domination in coming years.
The consortium includes the University of Colorado-Boulder, George Washington University, University of Central Florida, Johns Hopkins University, the Aerospace Corporation and the Space Foundation. Plans are underway also to bring more "aerospace corporations" into the consortium.
Northrop Grumman recently signed a five-year agreement with Penn State University for research and development of advanced military electronic systems. The university has been working with the weapons corporation for more than a decade.
Brazil has Latin Americaıs first space program; it is centered at the
The program was dealt a huge blow in August 2003 when a rocket exploded in a fiery ball on the launch platform three days before its scheduled lift-off. The rocket was to carry two research satellites into space. The accident killed 21 space agency workers and seriously damaged the reputation of the countryıs space program.
The Alcantara base is considered an excellent launch site because of its location just 2.3 degrees south of the equator. The equator is the line at which the Earth moves the fastest, helping propel rockets into space while using 13% less fuel. This allows the rockets to carry heavier payloads.
Not surprisingly a Brazilian government-appointed legislative committee released a report in September 2004 citing lack of funding as the fundamental cause of the programıs problems.
A Brazilian military government in the 1970's established the space program but recent questions have arisen in Brazilian civil society about the relevance of the program. The space agency is currently undertaking a public relations campaign in the country to promote the benefits of the program, and intends to enlist the help of Brazilıs astronaut who is viewed as a celebrity.
In November 2004 Brazil and China signed two space cooperation agreements. One of the deals involves Brazil assembling and testing a satellite that China would launch in 2006.
During the recent U.S. presidential campaign a space debate was held. The surrogate speaker representing George W. Bush was Frank Sietzen, a former space journalist with UPI. In the debate Sietzen stated that the Bush "administration is reviewing whether or not we want to be signatory" to the 1967 U.N. Treaty on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Sietzen said the administration has a "number of concerns" about provisions on property rights and the militarization of space.
The Bush administration has already walked away from the 1972 ABM Treaty between Russia and the U.S. that outlawed the testing and deployment of "missile defense" systems.
The issue of private property rights in space is closely connected to Bush's plan to put permanent bases on the moon and develop mining colonies on Mars. Both planetary bodies have precious minerals on which U.S. aerospace corporations are eager to make claim. They feel that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty "could strangle a nascent space industry in its cradle."
Last year an International Lunar Conference was held in Hawaii that drew leading representatives from the aerospace corporations as they attempted to begin the process of re-writing international space law to allow individuals and corporations to make land claims in space.
On October 19, 2004 the U.N. Committee on Disarmament & International Security held a special session devoted to the Prevention of an Arms Race in Space (PAROS). Egypt and Sri Lanka introduced their traditional PAROS resolution. Russia used the occasion to announce a new policy of no first deployment of weapons in outer space and called on other space-capable nations to join them. China warned against space weapons research and development and cautioned about space weaponization leading to global instability. Canada stated that it remained "profoundly opposed to the weaponization of space." France reiterated that space access should remain free for all to explore peacefully.
The non-binding PAROS resolution passed by a vote of 167-0-2. The U.S. and Israel abstained, but neither country gave any explanation. In the
past, the U.S. has stated that there is no "problem" in space and thus no need for a new treaty. Because the 1967 treaty does not include new technological advancements, advocates say a new
treaty is needed to update definitions of
At the heart of the sea-based "missile defense" component is the Aegis destroyer weapon system. The Aegis is built at Bath Ironworks in Maine.
Outfitted with high-tech radars, the Aegis destroyers are also being enhanced with Standard Missile (SM-3) interceptors, a four-stage rocket with a kinetic warhead. Plans call for 18 Aegis ships - 15 destroyers and three cruisers - in a "missile defense" role by 2007.
Since 2002, the Aegis system has intercepted targets in space four times. Raytheon Corporation in Tucson, Arizona is leading the SM-3 development team, supported by Aerojet, Boeing and Alliant Tech.
In October 2004 the Pentagon announced plans to accelerate deployment of Aegis warships off the coast of North Korea. The Aegis destroyers will operate in the Sea of Japan and, according to Japanese peace activists, will increase tensions in northeastern Asia, inviting a new arms race with China and North Korea.
George W. Bush cleared the way to build the Aegis "missile defense" system two years ago by withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty, which banned ship-based missile defenses.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) at Port Hueneme, California plays a key role in research, development and testing of the SM-3 program. The NSWC motto of "build a little, test a little, learn a lot" underscores the controversy surrounding the system that some scientists say can't work as designed. However, whether it works or not, North Korea and China will certainly respond militarily as Aegis warships are parked off their coasts.
Citizens of Kauai, Hawaii are also outraged that the Pacific Missile Range facility at Barking Sands, Kauai is used to launch dummy warheads on which the Aegis ships practice.
The Kauai range is expanding and is expected to receive $27 million for improvements as the Aegis testing program grows. Native islanders report that the government recently gave 5,000 acres to the Navy to expand the launch range. They also report growing rates of thyroid disease they fear is related to close contact with toxic rocket exhaust pollution.
In a worst-case scenario, debris from rockets fired from Kauai could hit Polihale State Park and the northwestern Hawaiian islands.
There will be demonstrations against the militarization of space and the deployment of "Star Wars" missile defense at Vandenberg AFB, California on May 21.
Come to the main gate at the intersection of Highway 1 and Casamila/Lompoc Rd from 1-3 pm. A West Coast Organizing meeting will be held the next day, May 22, (location near Vandenberg to be announced.)
Global Network and WILPF-DISARM committee are co-sponsoring the May 21 demonstration and the organizing meeting. Both lodging and camping area will be available. There will be music, social events and special guest speakers, to be announced.
For details check www.vpeaceldf.org or call MacGregor Eddy at (831) 754-5554, or email
A profound world economic rearrangement is under way, with China and its expanding economy leading the charge, in some instances, to the exclusion of the U.S.
Central banks in China and Japan are holding $1.3 trillion of U.S.
No longer will Asia be a disparate group of countries that the U.S. can dominate, says Morton Abramowitz, a former U.S. ambassador to Thailand and Turkey. "The fact is American clout in Asia is decreasing as China leads the way in building an Asian version of the European Union (EU)."
If left alone by American militarists, many believe that China will almost surely, over time, become a democracy on the same pattern as that of South Korea and Taiwan. U.S. neo-conservative ideologues know this and appear to be trying to precipitate a confrontation with China.
In the summer of 2004 the U.S. Navy held Operation Summer Pulse in waters off the Chinese coast. A huge task force of multiple aircraft carrier strike groups was deployed for "military exercises" in a show of force to attract Chinaıs attention. Taiwan, now being outfitted with new generations of U.S. weapons, joined the U.S.-led war "exercise."
China also sees recent U.S. bases, being set up along its inland border in Central Asia, not as part of a war on terror, but as a way to contain China. New U.S. bases in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan clearly signal this new strategy.
In addition, the U.S. is dramatically expanding military operations on the Pacific Ocean island of Guam to serve as a "power projection hub" on the edge of Asia. In recent years cruise missiles have been prepositioned on Guam, and runways have been made larger to handle B-1 and B-2 bombers.
"We are openly talking about putting a fighter wing there, a tanker
China knows what is happening and it is now increasing its military
Recognizing that space technology now coordinates all war on Earth, China recently signed a deal with the EU to become a financial partner in the EU's Galileo navigation-satellite project.
The French, the Chinese and the Russians are all pushing for the emergence of a multi-polar world to counter U.S. military supremacy. Currently, with the Global Positioning System (GPS), the U.S. controls global access to military satellite reconnaissance information. The U.S. has selectively blocked access to GPS when it felt its military supremacy might be challenged.
China is busily cooperating with a number of countries including Ukraine, Russia, and Brazil, to improve its space capabilities. The recent EU deal for joint cooperation in the development of Galileo is easily the most important. Galileo would have a military dimension as well as civilian use.
French President Jacques Chirac has previously stated that Europe's failure to develop an independent space capability would make Europe a "vassal" of the U.S. China's leadership feels likewise and thus the cooperation on the EU Galileo system.
The U.S. has responded to news of China's participation in Galileo by threatening to blow up the EU's system if China is given use of it in times of hostilities. This threat by the U.S. is forcing EU countries to take sides: pro-American (GPS) or anti-American (Galileo).
Once again showing support for the U.S., Britain's Tony Blair in November 2004 stated that his country would veto any move by the EU to use
Galileo for military purposes. Any military use of Galileo would need to be approved unanimously by all 25 EU governments, thus giving Blair the power to block consensus. Obviously, Blair,
no pacifist, as he has shown by his unwavering
This move by Blair should further drive a wedge through Europe as the EU was counting on paying for at least 20% of the expensive Galileo satellite program by selling military usage.
For peace-in-space activists, it is a good thing to see Galileo restricted to civilian uses. At the same time, we see the dangerous partnership of Bush-Blair at work to create international havoc and bad feelings in Europe and with China.
NASA and the nuclear Navy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will lead to the development, design, delivery, and operational support of space nuclear reactors.
NASA is now working on two major plutonium space missions. The New Horizons plutonium probe is set for a 2006 launch, and will carry a plutonoium-238 powered radioisotope thermal generator (RTG) on board.
The second mission is the 2011 Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) that has become a centerpiece of George W. Bushıs new space nuclear reactor initiative called Project Prometheus < named after the god of fire.
NASA chief Sean OıKeefe, former secretary of the nuclear Navy, is pushing the expanded use of space nuclear power.
Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California, was recently selected by NASA as the prime contractor for designing the JIMO mission. The initial contract award is for about $400 million.
JIMO would be the first ever NASA mission using nuclear reactors for propulsion and will surely become highly controversial as groups worldwide campaign to stop the introduction of nuclear reactors in space.
A government team has been created to develop the JIMO mission. The team includes Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA.; NASA Ames Center, Moffett Field, CA.; Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.; Marshall Space Center, Huntsville, AL.; Knolls Atomic Lab, Schenectady, NY.; Bettis Lab, Pittsburgh; and Princeton University, N.J.
Fearing global opposition to Project Prometheus, NASA has engaged public relations firms and universities to gather information on critics and their plans. A year ago, the Global Network (GN) was approached by the Colorado-based Keystone Center seeking information on our plans to challenge Project Prometheus. The GN refused to meet with them. In October 2004, the GN was again approached, this time by representatives at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs who are working with NASA to determine "the strategy you have chosen to adopt, and any other groups that youıve worked with in your concern over nuclear materials in space."
When questioned by the GN about their connection to NASA, representatives from Syracuse University admitted that, "We received a grant from NASA to conduct research on space nuclear propulsion....The intention is to draw lessons learned from the Cassini case to facilitate public participation in the decision-making process."
The GN declined to participate in the "fact finding" adventure, and suggested that NASA was not the least bit interested in increasing public participation in their nuclear space program, but was in fact interested in learning as much as possible about opposition organizing plans so they could develop a public relations strategy to counter growing opposition to nuclear power in space.
Once again we see how academia, desperate for funding, is used by the military industrial complex to undercut grassroots democracy.
At the very least we should view this as a supreme compliment. NASA is worried about the work of the GN and our friends around the world. It fears the public response to Bush's plan to dramatically expand the launching of nuclear devices into space.
It just goes to show that the government is closely monitoring our collective efforts. They know what we are doing, and as much as they like to make us think they ignore us, they donıt. Please help us to keep the pressure on NASA and the Department of Energy to keep nukes out of space!
A European Space Policy White Paper has recently recommended that Europe "needs an extended space policy...able to exploit the special benefits
space technology can deliver in support of the EU's policies and objectives: faster economic growth, job creation and industrial competitiveness, enlargement and cohesion, sustainable
development and security and defense." The policy will require an "increase in overall expenditure" to support research and development. If Europe does not adopt the proposed approach to
There are essentially two primary forces at work in Europe along the space front. The first is the desire to have an independent European space capability that can rival current U.S. "space supremacy." At this time the European Union (EU) is developing the Galileo systems, a constellation of 30 stationary satellites, as a counterweight to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). Planned to be operational by 2008 at a cost of 3.3 billion euros ($3.85 billion), Galileo would counter the U.S. monopoly on military and civilian space navigation.
On the other hand, the European aerospace industry fears it will get left behind the technological curve if it does not become partners with the U.S. in the Star Wars program. The U.S. is interested in sharing the massive cost for Star Wars development with some European allies and is offering sub-contracts to them. The U.S. hopes to draw European space industry into a NATO space framework that it could control. Many European governments would rather have independent control of space technology, but canıt afford to go it alone.
A recent editorial in the industry publication, Space News, entitled
NATO governments are evaluating a November 2002 proposal from George W. Bush to extend the developing U.S. "missile defense" shield to Europe. Doing so would entail the installation and maintenance of radar tracking station and interceptor launch sites on European soil.
For the Europeans, the opportunity to cooperate with the U.S. aerospace industry would be a big step in getting a foothold on the American weapons market. Thus the real pressure on European governments to enter into Star Wars is coming from the European weapons industry. Cuts in social spending, it says, can provide the funds for European space participation.
Continuing his role as junior aide to George W. Bush, Englandıs Tony Blair has secretly agreed to allow the U.S. to deploy "missile defense" interceptors on British soil.
Even without a serious missile threat to the UK, Blair is now risking his political career by signing the agreement to station "missile defense" interceptors at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire. Fylingdales, already a controversial facility, is actually a U.S. radar facility that recently began to implement technology upgrades for participation in Star Wars. The Fylingdales facility sits in the middle of a British national park.
The Blair government is confident it can win public support for the
The deployment of the interceptors in Britain would represent the most controversial new U.S. military presence in the country since the 1983 deployments of cruise missiles at Greenham Common. Those deployments set in motion a massive organizing campaign nationwide, led by the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp, which helped force the U.S. to withdraw them years later.
Upon learning of the secret deal, the UKıs Campaign for Nuclear
The Russian government angrily denounced the secret deployment deal calling it a "disturbing new step" in international relations.
It has also been reported that the UKıs Ministry of Defence (MOD) is "investigating" whether shooting down nuclear-armed, biological or chemical weapons over the UK could contaminate Britain or other parts of northern Europe with fallout.
The Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2006 is $417 billion, 12% higher than the average budget during the Cold War. The Bush administration intends to seek about $70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in early 2006, pushing total war costs close to $225 billion since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
A civilian contractor force of about 20,000 personnel has supplemented the current force of 150,000 military personnel in Iraq.
New high-tech weapons systems have brought record sales to the U.S. aerospace industry. Today in the United States, the industry product line is 50% military and 50% civilian. This is quite different from aerospace corporations around the world which generally have 80-90% commercial business and only 10-20% military accounts.
The Pentagon thus has no incentive or pressure to be cost conscious. According to one industry analyst, "There is not a single (military) program out there that isnıt behind schedule and over budget."
It's only going to get worse. The Pentagonıs space czar and director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) recently told Congress that, "We need more flexibility to be able to move funds from one program into another program" without Congressional oversight.
As the Pentagon increasingly privatizes military operations through the use of contractors, the government lacks the expertise and experience to control the contractor workforce. What we get is essentially a privatized foreign and military policy, removed from the purview of the public and Congress.
In fact, the Pentagon can't provide the most basic information on its contractor workforce. Poor data goes hand in hand with inadequate management.
In 2002, the last year for which such data are available, the top six U.S. weapons corporations donated more than $8.5 million to candidates and political parties. Armies of lobbyists and public relations people swarm Washington promoting weapons systems that donıt work and are not needed.
During the last six years 41 military contractors have collectively won $266 billion in contracts from the Pentagon. Well over one-half of these contracts were awarded without "full and open" competition.
NASA has failed to account for billions of dollars spent on the space shuttle and the International Space Station. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has found that NASA has yet to comply with a 2000 law that requires the agency to verify how much it spends each year. The GAO report said the space agency's accounting systems are so convoluted that they could not tell what money was spent where. Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC), a member of a NASA oversight committee recently said, "In my mind, this raises questions about NASA's ability to manage programs of the scale the president wants to undertake in the future."
The U.S. plans to sell Israel $319 million worth of air-launched bombs, including 500 "bunker busters" able to penetrate Iran's underground facilities. Many fear that Israel, with U.S. space satellite support, will soon preemptively attack Iran, setting off a chain reaction of further instability in the region.
According to one Israeli security source, "This is not the sort of
Shortly before George Tenet retired as director of the CIA, he alleged, "Israel was spying on the U.S." The scandal over a suspected Israeli mole in the Pentagon who could have been passing highly classified documents on Iran to Israel has reignited suspicions of espionage long held by the FBI.
It has long been known that Israelıs intelligence organizations have been spying on the U.S. and running clandestine operations since Israel was established as a nation. These operations range from stealing an estimated 200 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from the U.S. for its secret nuclear weapons program in the 1960's to widespread industrial espionage.
Mordechai Vanunu was a technician at Israel's secret Dimona nuclear facility from 1976-1985. He discovered nuclear weapons being secretly produced, and, in 1986, leaked the information to the media, showing that Israel had stockpiled about 200 nuclear warheads, with no authorization from its parliament or citizenry. Vanunu was kidnapped by Israeli security forces while in Italy and spent 18 years in prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement. He was released in April 2004 and ordered not to speak to the media or to foreigners, or to leave the country. Then, in November 2004, Vanunu was rearrested by the Israeli military under gunpoint and held for several days before again being released.
On August 27, 2004 a member of the Global Network was visiting the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Vanunu agreed to speak with the member, defying his court order, and gave permission to distribute his interview on the Internet.
In the interview Vanunu spoke out against plans for weapons in space and also criticized Israelıs joint "missile defense" program with the U.S. called the Arrow system. Vanunu also criticized Israeli military spending saying it stole needed funds from human needs programs. He stated that, "Israel is not the democracy that is presented to the U.S. media.... The people behind the very large defense budgets are the new modern secret power. We should fight it by reducing the defense budget in every country....The human race has learned that they do not want to kill each other. They want to compete, develop."
Vanunu is now trying to get permission to leave Israel and settle in another country where he would be free to publicly campaign against the nuclear arms race.
Japan is on the horns of a dilemma. China was expected to displace the U.S. in 2004 as Japan's top trading partner. A growing Asian economic union is under development with China providing much of the leadership. Japan must be careful not to be an obstacle in the process. At the same time the U.S. is encouraging Japan to get rid of its post-WW II constitutional provision that forbids Japan from using its military forces for purposes other than self-defense.
The U.S. is pushing Japan to take a more destabilizing role in the
Japan's Defense Agency has asked the Finance Ministry for $45.3 billion in fiscal year 2005. At the urging of the U.S., Japan is expected to spend $725 million for Aegis "missile defense" systems in a major first installment.
Japan's navy is expected to form two new fleets - one for missile defense and the other for quick reaction. Japan's Minister of Science & Technology recently said it was time to re-evaluate the country's 35-year determination to only engage in "peaceful" space activities.
The Chagos Islands, a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, was home to 1,200-3,000 islanders since the late 18th century. In 1966, the
British Government made a deal with the United States. The UK would give Diego Garcia, the largest island, to the U.S. to site a naval communication and support facility and airbase in
exchange for purchasing the Polaris nuclear weapons system from the U.S. at a reduced cost. The U.S. government was clear about what to do with the inhabitants. A British document reads "The
For 30 years, this deed remained a secret. But in 2000, Olivier Bancoult, one of the exiled Chagos islanders (also referred to as the Ilois people) and an organizer of his community, came to London to take the British government to court. Secret documents, recently declassified, which described the agreement between governments, had been discovered. Britain's highest court ruled that deporting Diego Garciaıs native population was illegal. On June 2, 2004 an "Order in Council" by Tony Blair's administration effectively eliminated the right of the people of Diego Garcia to seek reparations or to return to their land. These were the same powers used to expel them years ago and to authorize Blair's attack on Iraq.
However, in a surprise judgment by the London High Court, the Chagos Islanders have been given the opportunity to contest the "Orders in Council." British activists continue to pressure their government.
Today, Diego Garcia continues as one of the largest bases located outside the U.S. with significant strategic military advantages. It is seen as
an indispensable platform for policing the world. While 2,000 troops are stationed there, there is no civilian population or activity on Diego Garcia, and a permit is required for any travel
there. Diego Garcia was used heavily during the wars in Iraq in 1991 and 2003 and in Afghanistan. It houses a space satellite tracking station, anchorage for 30 warships, and is one of three
bases designed for the long-range B-2 "stealth" nuclear-capable
Is this the kind of "justice" we can expect from the American government? "To deport or forcibly transfer a population...by expulsion or other coercive acts" is a crime against humanity as described by the International Criminal Court. What are the other untold stories as we see the government establishing numerous new military bases, "footprints" upon other lands? The Chagos Islanders' experience presents a harrowing example of the way the American Empire is being built.
The news these days is not so good. George W. Bush gets "reelected," with the considerable help of Republican dirty tricks on voting day, and now says he has a mandate for perpetual war on the planet. What is an activist group to do?
The Global Network will continue to build our international effort to keep space for peace. We will continue working hard to expand organizing to stop the Pentagon plan for corporate ³control and domination² of space and the Earth. But we will need some help.
While we do a lot on a meager budget, it won't hurt to hear from our readers how you think we are doing. And if you like the efforts we are making, then please consider participating by becoming a new member of the GN or renewing your lapsed membership.
We try to make it easy for everyone. Our annual dues for individuals and affiliated grassroots organizations is on a sliding scale between $10 -$100 (pay what you can best afford within that range). And help us by ordering our videos, books, packets, stickers and sharing these resources with others so that our numbers can grow. You can use the coupon in this issue or go to our web site (www.space4peace.org) and use the secure red Donate Now! button at the bottom of our homepage.
It is going to take all of us, acting in concert, to stop this dangerous and destabilizing Bush administration. We hope each of you will find something you can do to help. Best wishes to you all.
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