Update from the Space Front: Things we've learned today

From Bruce Gagnon

February 4 2003

During this hectic day of non-stop media calls from around the world, all the while holding a three-hour demonstration in Albuquerque, we've learned some new things about what has happened during the past couple of days.

We've learned from a Taos, New Mexico newspaper reporter that there were at least three military projects on-board the Columbia shuttle mission.  He told me that NASA very, very reluctantly gave him the information after he made a complete pest out of himself.  This matches what we've been saying for years --that virtually all NASA missions are now "dual use", the Pentagon is riding the NASA horse, pretending that the space missions are all about science and space exploration.

The information about the use of nuclear power on-board Columbia has been harder to come by.  NASA is not giving out much information on this.  We do have this below that we found from the Associated Press this morning:

Investigators Track Down Shuttle Debris
AP National Writer

Though local officials had too few bodies to protect every piece discovered, they said NASA had provided a list of priorities: anything that could contain data or resembles computer circuitry, or potentially radioactive materials.

One woman who lives in Austin, Texas called me today and reported that she was driving through the debris field at the time of the accident and wonders what she has been exposed to.  She reports that  the local authorities in the area are still saying at local news conferences that radioactive contamination did occur.  She reported that one woman, who owns a large ranch in the affected area, had been told to leave the ranch by NASA after lots of debris was found there.

We also know that the shuttle is maintained by a 6,400 person work force at Cape Canaveral and that many of them have been warning NASA and the federal authorities for some time that maintenance funding was being cut.  The United Space Alliance, a consortium that includes Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have a private contract with NASA to run the entire shuttle operation and the contract allows them to keep any "profits" that they can by reducing costs.  So the word is that they have reduced costs by cutting maintenance corners.

At our demonstration in Albuquerque, protesting the 20th Annual Symposium on Space Nuclear Power & Propulsion, we've learned more about the connection between "civilian" space nuclear power and Pentagon plans for use of nuclear power for weapons in space.  Thanks largely to Dr. Bob Anderson, professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM), and longtime Global Network (GN) member, he has exploded the long maintained myth that NASA's space nukes aren't for the military.  UNM professor and Institute for Nuclear Space Power Studies founder Mohamed El-Genk is hosting the space symposium.  In an article in the UNM Daily Lobo, student newspaper, last Friday El-Genk for the first time ever acknowledged the relationship between their research and plans for space weapons.  "There is a trick I don't know if you're aware of," said El-Genk in regard to a contract he had had with the Air Force.  "The Air Force might come and say, 'We're interested in this technology,' but of course development technologies can't come from their budget.  So the Department of Energy (DoE) or another agency will say 'Ok, the nuclear part, we'll develop it .....'   They want some other agency to develop the technology then they can go and use it."   "The Air Force never came out and said, 'We need this technology and we'll pay for it." 

"I think the ethical part really falls on those who use the technology for something in particular," El-Genk said.

Thanks to Bob Anderson's work to secure copies of contracts showing that El-Genk was developing nuclear technologies for space weapons systems Mr. El-Genk was finally exposed as a liar who has no ethical concern about what his "technology" will be used for.

Today many high school kids who are being indoctrinated inside the symposium, being told that there is no alternative to using nuclear power in space, came out to visit our protest.  Their teacher wanted us to tell them about the solar alternatives that the European Space Agency has developed for deep space missions.  Their eyes were wide open.

It was also particularly rewarding to get e-mails today from our GN members in France, Japan, and Germany who translated  our recent news releases and sent them out to their national media.  Others in England did the same thing.  It's exciting to see our network moving together like this.  It shows that we do have a power that we often underestimate -- the power of unified action.


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