Sunday, October 13, 2019
Space Law must be respected,
upheld and strengthened
My Speech at
Speech By Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear
Power in Space
This is a very important and timely conference
and the Global Network is happy to be part of this historic event.
I say historic because this is the first, that I am aware of,
space law conference that has a purpose to promote the idea, as Dr.
Aruna Kammila says, “Explore but don’t exploit”.
In the 1997
US Space Command document entitled ‘Vision for 2020’ they wrote,
“Historically military forces have evolved to protect national
interests and investments – both military and economic. During the
rise of sea commerce, nations built navies to protect and enhance
their commercial interests…..Likewise, space forces will emerge to
protect military and commercial national interests and investment in
the space medium due to their increasing importance.”
quote from the US Space Command is quite instructive. We know that
during the 15th century and beyond the European powers created the
global war system in order to control resources and markets in what
they called ‘the New World’. This was essentially the seed of the
competitive, dog-eat-dog system that the world suffers from today.
India has a very close understanding of that history.
two organizations called United Societies in Space and The World Bar
Association published a book called Space Governance. They created
these organizations in order to re-write space law – particularly
the two United Nations treaties – the Moon Treaty and the Outer
Space Treaty that declared that the celestial bodies were the
province of all humankind. The treaties stated that no individual,
no corporation, no country could lay claim to the heavenly bodies.
These treaties were smartly attempting to prevent the global
war system from carrying the bad seed of war, greed and
environmental degradation into space.
International space law is a subject presently thoroughly
dominated by leaders of the aerospace industry who are more than
eager to privatize space to the benefit of corporate sponsors and
The aerospace industry has established
space law departments at various universities around the world and
are busy trying to rewrite United Nations space law that was
established by the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Treaty.
Both of those treaties also state that celestial bodies and their
resources are “the common heritage of mankind and that an
international regime should be established to govern” their
Currently no such international agreements
exist. In fact, during the Obama administration a bill passed the
Congress and was signed into law giving US corporations and
individuals the legal authority to make land claims on the moon and
asteroids. This violates existing UN space law and will surely
cause conflict in the future.
What is sorely needed at this
time is a body of legal experts who wish to explore this celestial
privatization issue from the point of view and interests of all
Next weekend in Montreal, Canada a conference is
being held called ‘Strategic Space Law’ where representatives from
the aerospace industry, the US military and others are gathering.
They will be discussing topics such as space governance, development
of a space-industry strategy, space situational awareness, space
traffic management, space weapons, cybersecurity law, law of space
commercialization, insurance programs for space investors,
governmental affairs strategy and more.
Today there are
over 2,000 active satellites in orbit and the number of nations
directly involved in launching or operating satellites has grown
substantially in recent years. The parking spaces in orbits above
the Earth are getting full and conflict will be increasing around
the issue of who has the right to fill these orbital parking spots.
Currently the US military occupies many of these orbital parking
The private launch company called SpaceX was recently
given permission by the US government to launch 11,943
mini-satellites to form the expansive Starlink broadband network,
designed to provide worldwide high speed internet access by ensuring
that at least one satellite is always above the horizon for anyone
Alice Gorman, an internationally recognized leader in the field
of space archaeology and senior lecturer at Flinders University in
Australia, said earlier this year, "One of the issues that we have
with the space junk problem is that we don't know precisely where a
lot of objects are. When you try to model these millions of bits of
stuff circling around the Earth in order to make space safer for
functioning satellites, it's just so complex; it's a really
So obviously when you launch nearly 12,000
new mini-satellites into this unregulated mess in Earth orbit the
problem only gets worse.
Amateur sky watchers have started
sharing images of those mounting numbers of satellites in night
skies, igniting an uproar among astronomers who fear that the
planned orbiting clusters will wreak havoc on scientific research
and trash our view of the cosmos. “This has the potential to change
what a natural sky looks like,” said Tyler Nordgren, an astronomer
who is now working full-time to promote night skies. And SpaceX is
not alone in filling the skies. Other companies, such as Amazon,
Telesat and OneWeb, want to get into the space internet business.
While private companies see major business opportunities in
low-Earth orbit and beyond, many sky lovers fear that space will no
longer be “the province of all mankind,” as stated in the Outer
Even nations that have no direct involvement in
launching or operating satellites rely heavily on space
infrastructure: for television, cell phone, radio, banking,
communications, transport, agriculture, and especially for modern
Yet, those satellites are under
increasing threat from hundreds of thousands of pieces of space
debris. Furthermore, some countries (US, Russia and China) already
possess the ability to destroy or disrupt satellites and other
nations (like India) have plans to develop those same anti-satellite
Outer space is becoming more contested,
congested and competitive. In addition the global security situation
generally is less certain. Ballistic missiles, as the means of
delivery of nuclear weapons, involve space flight and ballistic
‘missile defense’ also relies on space-based infrastructure. Thus,
space is a key element in global security, yet it is also
increasingly being militarized and weaponized.
There is a
real danger that outer space will become the next war zone. A
conflict in space could have devastating implications for the space
systems of all nations and for modern society on Earth.
Therefore, in order to avoid potentially devastating conflicts,
there is a dire need for a global discussion about of enforcement of
existing space treaties like the Moon and Outer Space Treaty. We
also need new treaties that would allow for the banning of new
emerging space weapons technologies.
For more than 25 years Russia and China have annually introduced
a new treaty to ban all weapons in space at the United Nations. It
is called PAROS – Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. Each
year a resolution calling for the new treaty overwhelmingly passes
the General Assembly in New York City – with the US and Israel
voting against. Then the treaty resolution is sent to the UN’s
Conference on Disarmament at Geneva but the US and Israel block its
development. All through both Republican and Democrat
administrations in Washington the US says, “There is no problem in
space, thus there is no need for a new treaty.” It is obvious that
the aerospace industry views space as a new market for maximum
profits and thus are the force behind blocking the treaty.
the same time the nuclear industry also views space as a profitable
new market. The nuclear industry dreams of nuclear-powered mining
colonies on the moon, Mars, asteroids and the like. The little
rover driving around Mars today is powered with a plutonium
generator. Nuclear reactors on rockets are envisioned for travel to
Mars. Those same nuclear reactors could be used to power orbiting
battle stations just above Earth. There is currently no true legal
regulation on any of this and the aerospace industry wishes to keep
it that way.
In 1989 the US Congress published a study called
Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years. The study begins with
this quote: ‘Who rules circumterrestrial space commands Planet
Earth; Who rules the moon commands circumterrestrial space; Who
rules L4 and L5 (lunar libration points) commands the Earth-Moon
Later in the study the author underscores the vital
character of the L4 and L5 positions on either side of the moon and
writes: “Nature reserves decisive advantage for L4 and L5, two
allegedly stable libration points that theoretically could dominate
Earth and moon, because they look down both gravity wells. No other
location is equally commanding……Armed forces might lie in wait at
that location to hijack rival shipments on return.”
find that even in 1989 the US was conceptualizing its plan for ‘full
spectrum dominance’ by some day placing orbiting battle stations in
space that would enable the Pentagon to deny other nations access on
and off the Earth as they saw fit.
One can easily infer that
Trumps new proposal to create a separate ‘Space Force’ is intended
to give the Pentagon two distinct capabilities: first to control the
Earth on behalf of corporate interests and secondly to be the Master
of Space by being the gate keeper to the heavens.
dragging the western allies behind them, is preparing for war with
Russia and China. Washington wants India ‘onside’ for obvious
reasons of geography, history, and growing economic power. The US
also needs allies with money to help pay for the Pentagon endless
war machine that is heavily dependent on very expensive space
Washington wishes to bring India under its ‘Space
Command’ so that your military forces will be run through the
Pentagon space warfighting satellite program. A term
‘interoperability’ has been coined to describe the process where all
allies must have warfighting systems that can be technically run
thru the US Space Command system. In the end this means the US is
controlling the deadly ‘tip of the spear’ because no other nation
has all the satellites and ground stations around the globe that
give Washington the ability to see everything on Earth, hear
everything, and ultimately target every place on the planet.
All the NATO members (and ‘partners’ like Japan, South Korea,
Australia, New Zealand) are being brought into the global military
alliance to control and dominate the planet on behalf of western
corporate capitalism. That means
London-Washington-Brussels-Paris-Berlin running the world.
Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and a few
other nations are on the Pentagon’s wish list for ‘regime change’.
They still stand outside full control by the western bankers and
The recent formation of the BRICS (Brazil,
Russia, India, China, and South Africa) alternative economic
institution would loan money to developing countries and not exploit
them the way western bankers do using the IMF and World Bank as
their tools of domination. The west is not happy about BRICS and
thus we saw the past progressive leader of Brazil was dethroned in a
coup essentially orchestrated by Washington. He was replaced by the
fascist President Balsonaro who is allowing the destruction of the
Amazon in order to enable expansion of cattle grazing areas for
Brazil’s beef industry and other development. Thus the ‘lungs of the
Earth’ are being destroyed for corporate profits.
alliance is not happy to see any nation stand up against this long
run of western imperialism. Many nations are calling for a
multi-polar world and the US demands to remain as the unipolar
leader of the planet. Washington appears willing to create a global
war to defend its collapsing empire.
The US is like a cowboy
gambler with a black hat on a Mississippi riverboat playing cards.
The cowboy looks around and sees himself surrounded by those he has
exploited for years. He thinks his only way out is to start
shooting – the law of the west. That, I think, is essentially still
the foreign and military policy of the US. Its part arrogance and
part fear that the world has woken up at last and is rejecting the
cowboy mentality of ‘full spectrum dominance’.
Growing global poverty and the reality of climate change though
are banging on Washington’s front door. The corporations love for
the dollar bill is so great that they cannot see beyond their lust
for power and greed. I call them pirates.
The pirates have
buried a chest in the US – it is our national treasury created from
the taxes from the people’s hard work. More than 55% of every
federal tax dollar under the discretion of Congress goes to the
Pentagon. America has become a war culture. Our economy is
addicted to military production. People are increasingly being
indoctrinated that the ‘Russians and Chinese’ are trying to take
over the world so we must spend more on weapons for war and we must
have the very best space technology system in place to protect
ourselves. We are a paranoid nation – massive guilt and fear comes
from our long legacy of genocide and endless war.
We have a
wedding in America of the government and corporate power – they are
one in the same. Democracy has essentially been drowned in the
Thus no one anywhere on our Mother Earth
should ever listen to the moralistic preaching that comes from
Washington about democracy, freedom, peace, or the rule of law.
It’s all Hollywood talk – a scripted propaganda machine that
attempts to sell an image to the world. Fortunately the initial
shine has worn off the Stars & Stripes and most people around the
globe clearly understand what is really going on.
is the time to build an international consciousness and campaign to
protect the heavens from this insane global war system. India is
becoming a leading space power and thus your voices and good hearts
are needed to prevent moving this bad seed into space.
Global Network thanks you for organizing this very important
conference and we look forward to further collaboration with each of