U.S. Military Moves to "Control Space" and be "Enforcement Arm for the Global Economy"

Presentation at Technology and Globalization Teach-In,
New York City

February 24, 2001

By Karl Grossman

The United States is seeking to "control space" and from space "dominate" the Earth below-and "control" and "dominate" are words used repeatedly in U.S. military documents. The U.S. military, further, would like to base weapons in space.

The new Bush administration is gung-ho for U.S. projection of space military power. As last month's report of the "Space Commission" chaired by incoming Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld puts it: "In the coming period, the U.S. will conduct operations to, from, in and through space in support of its national interests both on the Earth and in space."

Star Wars is back.

But there's a difference since Star Wars first emerged under Ronald Reagan in 1983. Then it was purportedly needed to fend off what Reagan called the "evil empire," the Soviet Union.

There is no Soviet Union any longer. And a key rationale for Star Wars now, U.S. military documents acknowledge, is the global economy-of which the U.S. is the engine. The U.S. would, from the "ultimate high ground" of space, "dominate" the planet below in part to keep the global economy on track.

Says the U.S. Space Command's "Vision for 2020" report , its cover depicting a laser weapon shooting a beam down from space zapping a target below: "The globalization of the world economy will also continue- with a widening between 'haves' and 'have-nots.'" From space, the U.S. would keep those "have-nots" in line.

The U.S. Space Command, set up by the Pentagon in 1985, describes itself in "Vision for 2020" this way: "US Space Command-dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict."

"Vision for 2020" compares the U.S. effort to "control space" and Earth below to how centuries ago "nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests," referring to the great empires of Europe that ruled the waves and thus the Earth to maintain their imperial economies.

Consider the "Long Range Plan" of the U.S. Space Command. "The United States will remain a global power and exert global leadership," it says. "The United States won't always be able to forward base its forces… Widespread communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality of life-contributing to unrest in developing countries…The global economy will continue to become more interdependent. Economic alliances, as well as the growth and influence of multi-national corporations, will blur security agreements…The gap between 'have' and 'have-not' nations will widen-creating regional unrest…One of the long acknowledged and commonly understood advantages of space-based platforms is no restriction or country clearances to overfly a nation from space."

U.S. Space Command seeks to become "the enforcement arm for the global economy," as Bill Sulzman, director of Citizens for Peace In Space put it at the international conference last year of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space.

U.S. citizens are not aware of the broad military plans of the U.S. for space because of the PR spin of the new Star Wars pitch (it's about protecting against a "Space Pearl Harbor," as the Rumsfeld Commission puts it, "just" about "missile defense") and due to communications media that are lazy and worse.

But other nations of the world do understand. That's why, at the United Nations last November 20, a resolution was introduced-on which 163 nations voted yes-for "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space." It reaffirmed the basic international law on space, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and specifically its provision that space be set aside for "peaceful purposes."

The United States abstained.

A country leading in the international effort to stop the U.S. plans by strengthening the Outer Space Treaty and barring all weapons from space is Canada-no potential rival.

As Marc Vidricaire, representing Canada, said at the UN last year: "It has been suggested that our proposal is not relevant because the assessment on which it rests is either premature or alarmist. In our view, it is neither. One need only look at what is happening right now…"

Moreover, stressed the Canadian statement, "There is no question that the technology can be developed to place weapons in outer space. There is also no question that no state can expect to maintain a monopoly on such knowledge -- or such capabilities -- for all time. If one state actively pursues the weaponization of space, we can be sure others will follow."

But the rogue state called the United States is blocking the Canadian initiative. For the U.S. thinks it can be-as the motto of the Air Force Space Command terms it-"Master of Space."

"Master of Space." It appears as a Space Command uniform patch and is in three-foot high letters over the entrance of the Air Force's 50th Space Wing. It pretty well sums up the attitude toward space of the U.S. power structure.

Working closely with the U.S. military in achieving this goal are major aerospace corporations. Indeed, the "Long Range Plan starts out by explaining how it has been U.S. Space Command's "#1 priority…investing nearly 20 man-years to make it a reality" and: "The development and production process, by design, involved hundreds of people including about 75 corporations."

The "Long Range Plan" goes on to list those 75 corporations-beginning with Aerojet and going through Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Sparta Corp. to TRW and Vista Technologies.

President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his "farewell address" in 1959 of the influence of a "military-industrial complex." Now, the U.S. military boasts about how giant corporations are helping set U.S. military doctrine.

Star Wars, with its powerful backers, never, in fact, went away. Funding at $6 billion-a-year plus monies in the "black" or secret for U.S. space military activities continued through the Clinton administration. Last December, Clinton's Department of Defense cleared the way for development of the "Space Based Laser Readiness Demonstrator"-a project of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and TRW-with a "lifecycle budget" of $20 to $30 billion. A second space-based laser weapon on which development continued through the Clinton years is the "Alpha High-Energy Laser," now test-fired more than 20 times.

It was Clinton's Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for Space Keith Hall who said: "With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we're going to keep it."

And things are far worse now with Bush and Cheney, their administration intimately linked to the aerospace companies-Cheney himself a former member of the TRW board, his wife Lynn a member of the Lockheed Martin board-and tied to the ultra right-wing "think tanks" that, with the U.S. military, have been promoting Star Wars.

The new administration is pushing hard and fast to make space a new arena of war.

Last month's report by the Rumsfeld "Space Commission" calls for U.S. "power projection in, from and through space." It seeks U.S. "superior space capabilities." It says the U.S. president should "have the option to deploy weapons in space." It emphasizes that it is "possible to project power through and from space in response to events anywhere in the world. Unlike weapons from aircraft, land forces or ships, space missions initiated from earth or space could be carried out with little transit, information or weather delay. Having this capability would give the U.S. a much stronger deterrent and, in a conflict, an extraordinary military advantage." It proposes the U.S. Space Command become the nucleus of a U.S. Space Corps, to be like the Marine Corps and possibly "transition" to a fully separate Space Force or "Space Department" -on par with the Army, Navy and Air Force-several years hence.

As the man whose legislation got the Rumsfeld "Space Commission" established, Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, said in an interview just taped with him to be part of my forthcoming "Star Wars Returns" video documentary, involved is the new "manifest destiny" of the U.S.

"It is our manifest destiny," said Senator Smith. "You know we went from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States of America settling the continent and they call that manifest destiny and the next continent if you will, the next frontier, is space and it goes on forever." Now it's U.S. cosmic "manifest destiny."

The book, "The Future of War: Power, Technology and American World Dominance in the 2lst Century," by think-tankers George and Meredith Friedman, concludes: "Just as by the year 1500 it was apparent that the European experience of power would be its domination of the global seas, it does not take much to see that the American experience of power will rest on the domination of space...Just as Europe expanded war and its power to the global oceans, the United States is expanding war and its power into space…Just as Europe shaped the world for half a millennium, so too the United States will shape the world for at least that length of time…For better or worse, America has seized hold of the future of war, and with it-for a time-the future of humanity."

The rest of the world will not sit back and accept U.S. "world dominance" from space. If the U.S. moves ahead on its program of astro-imperialism, deploys weapons in space, other nations-China and Russia right off-will meet the U.S. in kind. There will be an arms race and inevitably war in space.

As First Secretary of China's UN delegation, Wang Xiaoyu, has declared: "Outer space is the common heritage of human beings. It should be used entirely for peaceful purposes and for the economic, scientific, and cultural development of all countries as well as the well-being of mankind. It must not be weaponized and become another arena of the arms race."

"Space domination," he stated, "is a hegemonic concept. Its essence is monopoly of space and denial of others access to it." If the U.S. pushes ahead, "other countries would in response launch their own" space military programs, China vowed. However, China is, for now, holding off and, paralleling Canada's initiative, also seeking an international ban on weapons in space.

But the U.S. has rebuffed the Chinese initiative, too.

Incidentally, the weapons the U.S. military wants to deploy in space-especially lasers-will need large amounts of power. And nuclear energy is seen by the U.S. military as the "natural" power source for them.

As "New World Vistas: Air And Space Power For The 2lst Century," a U.S. Air Force board report, states: "In the next two decades, new technologies will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness to be used to deliver energy and mass as force projection in tactical and strategic conflict…These advances will enable lasers with reasonable mass and cost to effect very many kills." But "power limitations impose restrictions" on such-based weapons systems making them "relatively unfeasible….A natural technology to enable high power," it goes on, "is nuclear power in space."

"Setting the emotional issues of nuclear power aside, this technology offers a viable alternative for large amounts of power in space," asserts "New World Vistas."

The Outer Space Treaty is a visionary document. It is a pact to keep war out of space. The U.S., incidentally, was a leader in getting it enacted. It is now signed now by most nations of the world. Based on the Antarctic Treaty, it calls for the "exploration and use of outer space [to] the benefit and in the interests of all countries" and prohibits the "placement in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction." For nearly four decades, it has kept space war-free.

What a legacy to be left for our children and their children at the dawn of this new century, this new millenium, if the U.S. succeeds in trashing the Outer Space Treaty and makes space a new place for war. No one will profit but Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and TRW, and so on.

We have a narrow window to keep space for peace, to strengthen the Outer Space Treaty and ban all weapons in space. We must join with peoples from around the world and stop this move by the United States to turn the heavens into a war zone.

Getting and spreading the information about what is going on is critical. And then: action, action, action. I urge you to join with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space and move against what is happening. We must challenge the anti-environmental, anti-democratic global economy and we must challenge its would-be "enforcement arm"-the new U.S. space military establishment.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, has specialized in investigative reporting for more than 30 years.

His books include "The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program's Nuclear Threat To Our Planet" (Common Courage Press) and his video documentaries include "Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens " (EnviroVideo).

His new video documentary, "Star Wars Returns," is forthcoming from EnviroVideo (1-800-ECO-TV46 or http://www.envirovideo.com) and new book, "Weapons In Space," soon to be published by Seven Stories Press (http://www.info@sevenstories.com or 212-226-8760).

Grossman is a charter member of the Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution and Peace of the International Association of University Presidents and the United Nations.

He is convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space.

Grossman's home address: Box 1680, Sag Harbor, New York 11963. Telephone: 631-725-2858. Fax: 631-725-9338. E-mail: kgrossman@hamptons.com

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