Speech to Int'l Peace Pilgrimage in Australia
(Walking from Roxby Downs uranium mine in Southern Australia to Hiroshima)
November 23 2003
I want to start by recognising the Wurrundjerri, the original people of this patch of ground and thank them for giving us their blessing to be here today.
I also want to acknowledge the presence here of indigenous people from all over the planet. It is too seldom that we are able to share our stories. In this age of instant communications and dependency on satellite communications, travelling slowly to speak together is almost a subversive act in itself and there should be more of it.
Having at this conference such combined old knowledge gives me hope, and for those here that know me, that's unusual. But it also brings on a sense of loss, because I do not know my background, what nationality my parents were or exactly what day I was born on. I'm acutely aware of this disconnection and am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you.
In particular I'd like to honour the presence of the Hiroshima survivors here today and all the other Japanese delegates. Because I received an interesting email last night from space.com.
Apparently Japan's ill fated Nozomi Mars orbiting probe looks like crashing into the red planet real soon. Nozomi, pardon my pronunciation, means 'hope'. Is that right? Now some folks may say 'so what? - we've put things on Mars before". But Nozomi is different; you see it was never meant to land on another heavenly body, so it was never decontaminated, never sterilised. Apparently a big chunk of the cost of putting something on another planet is the decontamination.
The cockiness and arrogance of these people led them to believe that nothing could go wrong. Now Earth based microbes will contaminate Mars - with what repercussions? Who knows?
I don't know if there's life on Mars, I thought about briefly as a teenager listening to David Bowie, but can't really say I've given it too much thought since then. What I do know is that the conventional wisdom two hundred and something years ago, was that Australia was Terra Nullius - indigenous Australians were said to not have existed: just like the Palestinians 60 years ago "A land without people for a people without land".
What do we mean by 'life' anyway? Do we restrict it to carbon based life? Some of the traditions represented here today have stories of the very rocks themselves being alive. Who knows? The people who build these things do not know and more importantly, they do not care.
This is the same old story of colonialisation. Whether it be smallpox in North America or the 'common' (to westerners) cold in Australia. In their headlong rush to claim the heavens by force, its not so much that they meant to land earth based microbes on Mars, its just that they just don't care.
I said earlier that I had no cultural background, but I obviously have: that of a white western male. And in looking for some cultural heritage as a young man, I studied a bit of Greek mythology along with the Juseo Christian stories.
Mars played an important role in the Greek myths. As the God of War he travelled with his sister Eris (aka Strife) and his sons Terror, Fear and Panic. Eris would go ahead and stir up trouble so that Mars could come along and assist both sides in a war he rejoiced in.
Now this family of troublemakers, as you could imagine, weren't real popular amongst the Gods of ancient Greece, so when Peleus of Crete and Thetis the water nymph, were to be married, every one was invited except them. Slighted at this, Eris thew a beautiful gift into the middle of the wedding party inscribed "to the fairest" and immediately Hera, Athena and Aphrodite fought over the bauble and asked Zeus to decide. To cut a long story short, Zeus refused to judge between his wife & 2 daughters and handballed the decision to a guy called Paris who was famous as an excellent judge of cattle Paris decided in Aphrodite's favour after she bribed him with the most beautiful mortal woman on Earth: Helen. It was this judgement and the claiming of the gift that led to the Trojan War, the biggest and longest war to that time. Mars and his mob had a great time for about a dozen years and the rest as they say, is history. Its important to note that even back then the war was won by a lie, by pretending to be something that they were not. The Trojan Horse.
Today new Gods of War are in the sky. The latest constellation is known as Milstars, with the fifth Milstar satellite launched into orbit earlier this year.
Just what do these Milstars do?
They don't drop bombs, they don't have lasers, they don't really do anything overt. But they do provide the command control and communication infrastructure for a whole host of proposed next generation military hardware based in space. Because Space is the new commercial frontier.
Just as in the early colonisers' days. The world's militaries were primarily concerned with defending trade routes: the Romans controlled roads in the same way that the British later had the seas. In today's globalised society, the trade routes are binary based satellite communications. It is no longer necessary for a corporation's decision makers to travel to a mine or a factory to effect change. Currency speculation, changes in weather patterns detected by satellite, news gained by spy satellites of impending union trouble or news of a new popular people's push in Burkina Faso or anywhere and with a couple of buttons on a keyboard, shares will be sold, currencies divested, factories closed, debts called in. And we don't even have to be carried around third world rat holes on people's backs to do it.
Communication is one of the most important weapons of war.
A garment factory closes in Dominica and an IMF debt restructure program introduced and hey presto, no more insurrection there and nobody really gives a damn that the $80 shirt that was being made in Dominica for 45 cents is now being made in Indonesia for 44. Same pattern, same fabric, made from identical chemistry farming to GATT standards. And it still costs $80.
And don't doubt for a second that when for instance a satellite picks up weather information of a hurricane gathering and heading for the Caribbean that the decision makers at Chiquita Bananas or United Fruit or Exxon don't know about it well before the people who actually pick the bloody bananas.
This is a new architecture of power and command and its called the New Rome.
All roads lead to Rome and the satellite communications system is the nervous system of the New Rome.
The military industrial complex has killed and maimed and dislocated many more peoples. It has destroyed that much more land. Co-opted and distorted cultures. It has contaminated this planet and this solar system, so much more without weapons, than it has with them.
But as Tom Friedman put it, McDonalds needs MacDonnell Douglas.
Military hardware could be said to be only the crudest weapon of war. The blunt end of the stick.
But man, are they crude and blunt.
I'm here to talk about weapons in space. Though I look at the speech I prepared for today, and see numbers and descriptions of systems and international treaties and initiatives and, well its not really what I want to say to you and Lyn Allison has already covered much of that ground better than I could have anyway.
I want to talk about what's behind this weapons push.
The military industrial communications complex isn't entirely stupid. It has a little learning, which it's said, is a dangerous thing. It knows it's weakest point. Like it was prophesied to Thetius (whose wedding was slighted) that she would have a son who was stronger than Zeus. His name was Achilles and he had weak point.
The New Rome's Achilles Heel is its nervous system, and it knows it.
If you really wanted to hurt it you could go a number of ways: you could attack the World Trade Centre, or you could take out its communications and military satellites. It knows that without its communications system its hegemonic control is gone. The beast will still have its guts, but it would've lost its nerve.
And without its nerves, its gut won't function.
The US (and Australia and others) could not now invade Iraq without the satellite communication system. Every US soldier in Iraq has a GPS unit on him or her letting someone in a bunker back home know where they are and what they're doing. Every missile fired is controlled by satellite information. Every piece of targeting knowledge is transmitted by satellite.
You're all going to Roxby next month, just up the road from there is Pine Gap: one of the land bases that at the moment, but maybe not for much longer, controls all this. You'll pass through Woomera, an old rocket base still controlled by satellite companies. Do a tour and I'm sure you'll find the same company names you have in your sacred places. Raytheon, Lockheed, BaE, TRW.
Because the communications and the military industry are two heads of the same Hydra.
The military's own documents are already referring to potential terrorist satellites and anti-satellite threats.
They're concerned that soon perhaps North Korea would have the ballistic capability to reach a satellite. I believe that this is what they're really afraid of with North Korea. They're shit scared that China's space programme is progressing as it is because that not only makes it satellites vulnerable but means it may have to share.
Sure the US already shares with Europe, but I'm not talking about nation states here, I'm talking about the Western Military Industrial Complex: the same companies I mentioned earlier.
The first rule of warfare is not only to have access to resources and markets but to deny your competitor, your enemy, access. And this underpins the space based weapons program.
General Dornberger, who oversaw the development of the Nazis V1and V2 buzz bomb program in the thirties and forties (under the financial stewardship of the current emperor's grandfather and great grandfather - but that's a different story) and was later repatriated to the US where he became a leader of the US space race told the US government in the fifties that the future of military control lay in controlling the space between Earth and the Moon: and that's what they set out to do.
As a friend of mine in the US told me, "when they say Masters of Space- I hear Deutschland Uber Alles"
(break in recording)
We heard stories about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs earlier that the US dropped.
Well I need to remind you that the US military couldn't build those bombs: they had to ask the corporate world. Chrysler, Allis, Eastman etc. During the Second World War the US military began its reliance on the corporate world to design and build its weapons of mass destruction. Militarys were generally moribund, led by old men who sought to recreate their past glories. Companies on the other hand were dynamic and looking for future markets, future products, industrialisation and technologisation.
So the military corporatised their Research & Development wings and formed the RAND (r & d) Corporation to look into the future of war and they concurred with Dornberger and suggested that the future lay in space.
A guy by the name of Simon Ramo, who became the 'R' in TRW was tasked with designing a system to control military satellites around the world. What he came up with was a system of three bases one in North America, one in England and one in Central Australia: Pine Gap. Is it just coincidence that all three are on land held sacred by their indigenous populations? I really don't know.
At that stage satellites were put up to control other weapons and land based resources. The next space based weapons will be put up in order to defend other satellites.
Space is now not only 'the high ground' as it was just ten or so years ago, but it is the commodity itself.
Next generation weapons include anti-satellite satellites; so called small nuclear bombs that you can tune - like a harp for the type of nuclear blast you want - dial a bomb. Lasers so powerful that they need to carry their own nuclear powers plants to power themselves in space. And for land based targets they're talking about so called 'Rods from God', like the bolts Vulcan produced for Zeus: 20 feet long cylinders of titanium, floating on satellite platforms in space ready to be dropped at supersonic speeds.
Now before white people even thought of this land, the indigenous people here had a weapon that, when you threw it, it either hit something and knocked it out and if you missed, it came back and gave you another shot! We Euros have such a poor understanding of aerodynamics that we're still dreaming about sitting up in the sky and dropping big hunks of hard rock on peoples' heads.
Why? How could a race of people smart enough to develop peanut butter still consider such things? How could they be so stupid?
How could they risk a contaminated satellite crashing into Mars? How can they want to take uranium out of the ground and stick it in a low orbiting satellite to power a laser to shoot down another satellite that doesn't even exist and explain it all away by asking us to trust them?
Because they consider themselves as Gods and they are vying for the heavens.
They fancy themselves as Gods, believing that they are above and beyond their connection with the Earth and others like themselves. Like those who fancied themselves as Gods before them, they sought redemption and control through gathering new lands, spreading their dominion.
And they give their projects Godlike names: Prometheus, who brought fire to mankind is the name they're giving to their next generation of nuke powered space ships.
They copy, or rather parody, a God's omnipresence by building unmanned spy aircraft and call them Global Hawks and Predators.
They parody the Gods omnipotence by creating weapons of such destructive power that nothing will be able to withstand their wrath.
They parody the dispassionate nature of the old Gods of Greece, treating the land and its people as nothing more than playthings for their amusement and pawns in their battles with each other.
The land which stands at the root of all our ancient sacred stories is no longer important to these people, it is a commodity, if it gets too dirty here, we'll just move somewhere else and explain it as Manifest Destiny.
Its not that they don't know what they're doing its just that they just don't care. They believe in their own bullshit. They have come to believe even that the Horse at the gates of Sparta is a horse.
They have stolen our land and our cultures and to make it even worse, they've treated them like shit. Just like they treated their own land. Now they are stealing the night skies. The skies from which all indigenous people drew inspiration and hope. Not the Nozomi spacecraft type of hope, but our stories. Any wise man seeing a new star above Bethlehem this Christmas would shudder at the thought of the uses the information gleaned from that Israeli military satellite will soon be put to. They are desecrating our stories of hope and trying to replace them with despair.
How many of you look up at the stars at night and notice them?
One day, we may see a flash in the sky, with no less impact than some saw in Hiroshima 58 years ago as one satellite shoots a laser beam at another and it explodes in the sky.
This is their plan. To control access to space and to deny access to others. To invade the heavens, once the domain of Gods, claim it for their own and like some old English lord, assume its title and peerage as their own.
As the first satellite explodes in space, it will disintegrate into thousands of fragments joining the thousands of fragments of space junk already floating around. There are already concerns that space junk is creating a barrier that manned spacecraft would not be able to penetrate. Even as they dream of escape, they are creating their own cage.
They consider themselves Gods but they are not, they must learn from the indigenous people of this planet that, like the Dryads, their fate is tied to their tree, to their planet and to each other. To us. As ours is to them.
The weapons in space story, like all of our stories, are tied together with a thread. A thread that recognises that at the heart of every just cause is the case of justice. The story threads that through lands and time tell of the consequences of considering yourself as Gods and losing touch with your humanity.
This story has reached into space. It is up to us, the keepers of the stories, the indigenous, the outcast, the activists, to ensure that the story does not have a pear shaped ending.
We need to convince these people that dreaming about dropping rocks on people from the skies is wrong and that it will only hurt them.
We need to remind them that the Ceasers once called themselves Gods and now Ceaser is name we give to our dogs.
We need to tell them that they can not hide. They can only run and slowly at that because they're carrying too many weapons with them.
We should remind them of the words of one of their own prophets, Obadiah that "though they exalt themselves as the eagle and set their nest amongst the stars, still will I bring them down".
Until such time as we can convince them, we need to do what we can to stop them - whatever it takes - but just as importantly we need to do what we can to keep an alternative vision alive. To show that there are other ways of interacting with each other than dropping rocks. To be on guard that in joining ourselves to battle with them we don't end up battling like them.
Too often, and I'm as guilty as anyone else, we rely on the tactics and the equipment that they provide. Through necessity we use phones, internets, television & radio: their technologies. We campaign around reactions to their excesses.
That the exciting thing about the Peace Pilgrimage. It speaks to me of of doing things our way. To walk the land to talk the lands stories. To walk the land's stories.
I thank you all and in particular, the pilgrims for your passion in undertaking this quest.