CHINA CLAIMS COASTAL BUILDUP DEFENSIVE
JAPAN SEEKS TO BUILD OWN TMD
BIG MOVES IN ASIA
IS WAR WITH NORTH KOREA NEXT?
From: "Global Network" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Global Network Against Weapons" <email@example.com>
GN SPACE ALERT NEWSLETTER
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 11:38:42 -0400
Newsletter # 14
IRAQ WAR: SPREADING U.S. VALUES & DEMOCRACY?
Now that George W. Bush and his cast of neoconservative operatives have successfully waged war on Iraq, the long occupation begins. Instead of finding weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Bush team is changing the rationale for the war, using Iraq as the key to transforming the region. In late July, Deputy Secretary of War Paul Wolfowitz said on national TV that "the battle to secure the peace in Iraq is now the central battle in the global war on terror." Administration sources outline a long-term strategy in which the U.S. will spread its values (chaos and plunder) throughout Iraq and the Middle East. Before the recent war began Bush was often heard to say that the U.S. would "remain in Iraq as long as necessary and not a day more." It has become necessary for the U.S. to permanently remain in Iraq because of oil. Documents turned over to the public interest group Judicial Watch, in their lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals dated March 2001. Also made public were two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects. It is obvious that in Cheney's controversial private meetings with oil industry representatives soon after taking office, the Bush-Cheney administration then began making plans for the hostile takeover of Iraq. Saddam has of course been a key friend of the U.S. for a long time. In 1959 Hussein was part of a CIA team that was given the job of assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Qasim.
In the early 80's the U.S. "relationship" with the brutal dictator culminated with the warm hand shaking visit of Donald Rumsfeld, then an agent of the U.S. government, sent to deliver satellite battlefield intelligence and chemical weapons for Hussein's war with Iran.
In order to justify the current war for oil, the Pentagon, under the direction of Donald Rumsfeld, brought relentless pressure to bear on the CIA to produce intelligence reports supportive of war with Iraq. Former CIA officials have recently begun to speak out about the systematic campaign of the Bush administration to create a false case for their preemptive war. Just prior to war, former senior CIA official Vincent Cannistraro said, "There is tremendous pressure on the CIA to come up with information to support policies that have already been adopted."
THE SECOND SPACE WAR
Another key reason for the war was to test out the new "integrated" war fighting capability that advances in space technology provide. "We talk about Desert Storm being the first 'space war,' but I'd call this the first real space war - where we have truly integrated 'space' throughout the battle space, in ways we've never been able to do before," says Brig. Gen Larry Jones, commander of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB. Colorado.
Never before had space systems been used so widely and continuously for combat support in a war. Hundreds of soldiers sat at computer monitors and giant screens showing every ship, tank and aircraft in the Iraqi theater. Over 50 satellites, controlled primarily out of Colorado Springs and Denver, orchestrated the entire battle.
The Air Force's Milstar satellite system was instrumental in controlling the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), directing the Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles to their targets, and coordinating clandestine communications for Special Forces on the ground. Overall, there were more than 1,000 inter-operable Milstar computer terminals being used, many of them in Iraq. "Fighting units.are starting to coalesce around these capabilities. As they exploit all the capacity we have in space systems, the incremental gain in combat effectiveness is huge," says one U.S. Iraq war commander.
Like the 1991 Persian Gulf war, this current Iraq war allowed for the real-time testing of new weapons systems. The super-secret Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in California built and tested a new UAV called DarkStar. The super stealthy pilot-less plane gave the U.S. the capability to "dwell" over a target area for several hours at a time.
Pentagon analysts are already digesting all available information about how their weapons systems performed in anticipation of the "next space war." As in the first Persian Gulf War, a controversy has erupted concerning the performance of the Patriot air defense system - part of Theatre Missile Defense (TMD). Patriot battery crews shot down two planes during the height of the war
- one American Navy F-18 and a British Air Force Tornado. The response of the House of Representatives in Washington was to give the Pentagon even more money for Patriot research and development!
MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN
In July the Senate voted 95-0 to approve a Pentagon budget of $368.6 billion for 2004. That does not include the $4 billion a month that Secretary of War Rumsfeld says the U.S. will spend in Iraq, doubling an earlier Pentagon estimate. Included in the overall Pentagon budget will be $9.1 billion for Star Wars research and development, matching the Bush administration request.
Star Wars funds were shifted from long term programs to more near term priorities. Patriot, THAAD, and Aegis naval Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) systems all received increases while some cuts were made in the ballistic missile defense interceptor and space based laser programs.
The Pentagon plans to ramp up military spending to over $430 billion by 2009.
A newly released study prepared by arms control groups puts the total life-cycle cost for a layered Star Wars system at nearly $1.2 trillion by 2035. Currently Department of Defense (DoD) programs account for the majority of federal spending in nearly every state of the union. The U.S. now accounts for 43% of worldwide military spending.
BLACK BUDGET PROGRAMS
In a new book called The Hunt for Zero Point, respected military journalist Nick Cook talks much about the "black" (the Pentagon's secret) budget. For 15 years Cook has been a defense and aerospace writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, which some consider the bible of the international weapons community. Cook spent the last 10 years researching secret military programs in the U.S. and believes that over $20 billion a year is spent on these programs outside the purview of Congress. Cook states, "It (black programs) has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billions of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But is has not stopped since then. In fact, under the Bush administration it is having something of a resurgence."
"Stealth technology is a primary example.research into anti-gravity technology.has been going on for quite some time."
Cook traced the roots of the U.S.'s secret programs back to the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after WW II in Operation Paperclip. He states, "We know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret weapons programs.it is highly compartmentalized.and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop it? What model did they base it on? It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans - specifically the SS - for their top-secret weapons programs."
"What I do mean is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America (1,500 were smuggled into the U.S. by the military) at the end of the second world war, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on - unwittingly - some of the ideology.What do you lose along the way?"
Building empire is meant to serve the interests of a ruling elite much more than the people of a particular nation. It has nothing to do with supporting democracy. In September, 2000 the Project for the New American Century, headed by the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, and Jeb Bush, issued a controversial report called Rebuilding America's Defenses. The report declared that "at present the U.S. faces no global rival. America's grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible." To achieve this, the report concludes, it will be necessary for "the American security perimeter" to be expanded by establishing new "overseas bases" and forward operations throughout the world.
The Bush administration, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, ordered the implementation of a new military doctrine - preemptive military strike. The idea of full spectrum dominance, that the U.S. will dominate every level of conflict (land, sea, air, and space) is a construct for applying force with the overriding objective of controlling the will and perception of a potential adversary. In this regard the U.S. is developing global strike capabilities that will include new hypersonic cruise vehicles capable of taking off from a conventional runway and striking targets 9,000 miles away in less than two hours. Flight testing of these new weapons is expected in 2008.
Bush has also instructed the Pentagon to begin planning a shift of U.S. troops from traditional bases like Germany (where today the U.S. has 60,000 soldiers
deployed) to smaller bases in the "Gap," places like Central Asia, Africa, Balkans, Eastern Europe, South America or the Asian Pacific region, where corporate globalization is weak or non-existent. "We are re-analyzing our footprint," says Gen. James Jones, commander of U.S. troops in Europe. Wars for scarce resources like oil and water are the plan for the future. But as we are seeing today on the ground in Iraq, it is difficult to put a U.S. soldier on every street corner of the world in order to control territory for corporate interests. Thus the "new American way of war," says Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Meyers. Clearly, advanced technology will be the cornerstone of this new way of "modern warfare."
The only way to achieve this end of course is to spend, spend, spend so that no other competitor can match the U.S. war machine. Thus we find in Congress, with more millionaires elected than ever before, a near consensus on this U.S. role of global empire.
Just one illustration is the Bush administration review of national defense policy on "space control." There will not be big changes from his predecessor's plan. That's because Bill Clinton quietly crafted a much more aggressive stance than previously thought on space issues. Publicly Clinton acted as if the Pentagon's space force options were limited. But the national policy, established in secret some time during 1996 gives the Pentagon wide latitude. Says one Air Force officer familiar with the secret policy, "There's not much they can't do."
According to James Roche, the U.S.A.F. Secretary, America's allies would have "no veto power" over projects designed to achieve American military control of space. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the super secret spy agency that is responsible for U.S. military satellites, has been given the job to develop a strategy that ensures America's allies, as well as its enemies, never gain access to space without U.S. permission.
And to carry out the mission of "negation" the Pentagon is also now creating the replacement for the unstable space shuttle fleet. A $4.8 billion development program is now focusing on the "military space plane," with the Air Force crowding NASA out of the picture. A fleet of space planes will be designed to attack and destroy future satellites of enemies and rivals. A prototype is expected by 2005 with deployment envisioned around
In a computer war game, held at the Air Force's Space Warfare Center at Schriever AFB in Colorado this past spring, the U.S. practiced such space "negation." The war game, set in the year 2017, pitted the blue team (U.S.) against the red team (China). Its scenario was fairly complex, incorporating several "opportunities for conflict in southwest and southern Asia." Unlike the last such game in 2001, this year's version urged participants not to get "bogged down in discussions about space law and policies, which disrupted the game's military operations," reported Aviation Week & Space Technology. This time around the ABM Treaty with Russia was no longer in existence.
SPACE WEAPONS BAN
Russia and China are renewing their call for a global ban on weapons in space.
On July 31, 2003 the two powers delivered their pleas at a session of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Both countries worry that Bush's call for early deployment of National Missile Defense (NMD) will create a new and costly arms race in space that will be difficult to call back. So far the U.S. refuses to discuss a moratorium or ban on weapons in space - saying there is no problem and thus no need to begin negotiations.
ELECTION TIME DEPLOYMENTS
Bush is calling for deployment of six NMD missile interceptors in Alaska, and four in California, by September 30, 2004. Ten more are due in Fort Greely, Alaska by 2005. The $500 million Alaska silo construction project is run by Boeing and Bechtel corporations. The big problem for Bush's deployment plan, to be carried out just prior to the 2004 national elections, is that the testing program of the interceptor missiles is not going well. In addition to the fact that the hit-to-kill mechanisms are proving unreliable (trying to have a bullet hit a bullet in deep space), the booster rockets that are supposed to launch the "kill vehicle" into space are months behind schedule in development. The Bush solution to the problem has been to suggest that future testing should be done in secrecy.
Each of these Missile Defense Agency (MDA) tests cost over $100 million. Boeing was recently promised a $45 million bonus if it could carry out a successful test, but failed to do so.
In fact Boeing has other troubles. Last January, two Boeing managers stationed at Cape Canaveral, Florida were charged with conspiring to steal Lockheed Martin trade secrets involving another Air Force rocket program.
Despite such fraud, delays, cost overruns and technology problems the U.S. House and Senate continue to grant the Pentagon virtually every penny they request for Star Wars. In 2004, $9.1 billion will be awarded to the MDA for space weapons research and development.
Protests continue at Fort Greely, organized by the Fairbanks-based peace group called No Nukes North. In June folks gathered for the second annual peace camp near Fort Greely.
A congressional report in June warned that the Bush administration drive to erect a nationwide antimissile system by next year is hampered by immature technology and limited testing, raising the risk of failure. The General Accounting Office (GAO) report also criticized the Bush team for refraining from making long-term cost estimates for many elements of the planned system, clouding decisions about what technology to pursue.
NASA SHUTTLE DEBRIS: WHAT WAS ON BOARD?
Headlines in the media like NASA's Eroding Safety; Echoes of Challenger; and Slamming Shuttle Safety were seen for several months after the February 1 Columbia shuttle reentry accident. Over $200 million was spent on the debris recovery mission that lasted until April 1. NASA announced that more than 50% of the prime crash site had been thoroughly searched. The federal government has pledged nearly $2.4 million to 54 Texas counties and $396,000 to the state of Louisiana to cover their costs in support of the search operations.
Just what was NASA looking so intently for? According to Reuters news service, searchers were given a picture of a faceplate from a mystery object which said "Secret Government Property." The corporate controlled media told the public that the Columbia mission was studying bugs and moss. We've since learned that the Israeli and Indian astronauts were doing military experiments on-board - remembering that their two nations are key allies in the U.S. Star Wars program.
Immediately after the doomed shuttle flight accident that rained debris over at least four states, NASA instructed local authorities to keep people away from the scene because radioactive "contamination" was likely in the area. Special radiological teams wearing haz-mat suits and using Geiger counters were seen on national TV taking readings of children and elderly people who had come in contact with the debris. Several local sheriffs were heard on national news saying they were told there were radioactive sources on-board. Amazingly no major mainstream media ever explored the story. A few small media outlet reporters contacted the Global Network about the issue but they all reported that NASA only gave them the run-a-round when they tried to pursue the issue.
Might the Columbia Accident Investigation Board get to the bottom of it? In a story reported in the Orlando Sentinel on May 11 we learned that the civilian members of the investigation board, outsiders who were added to reassure Congress and the public that the board would be truly independent, were paid by NASA. The space agency put the five civilians on the NASA payroll, at pay rates of $134,000 a year, in order to take advantage of provisions that allow boards composed exclusively of "federal employees" to meet in secret. If the civilians had not been hired by NASA, a federal law would have required the board to meet in public.
In the end the entire debate around the shuttle mission was about the heat shield tiles. No questions about the real mission of the shuttle - were they doing Star Wars testing and was there some kind of nuclear device on-board? We might not ever know the answer to the question.
The public has been told over the years to trust NASA. We've been told to believe NASA when they say that launching nuclear power into space is safe. In public testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, retired Adm. Harold Gehman said that NASA's safety organization looks good on paper but delve into how it actually works, and "you find there's no there there.The safety organization sits right behind the person making the decisions.But behind the safety organization, there's nothing back there.
There's no people, no money, engineering expertise, analysis."
This is the same story we heard in 1997 when NASA launched the Cassini mission with 72 pounds of plutonium-238 into space. A retired NASA official, who had been in charge of the safety program for previous nuclear launches, told the New York Times that the safety plan was a fake. It was all on paper. If a nuclear accident ever happened NASA had no real plan of action to contain the toxic mess.
NASA & THE NUCLEAR ROCKET
Remembering that NASA Chief and former Navy Secretary Sean O'Keefe told the nation that every NASA mission from now on will be "dual use," (meaning having both military and civilian purposes at the same time), it should come as no surprise to hear the recent announcement of Project Prometheus, the nuclear rocket. "Propulsion power generation advances that are so critical to the purpose of (achieving) our exploration and discovery objectives are the same technologies that national security seeks to utilize," says O'Keefe.
The Air Force has long said they would need a nuclear reactor to power weapons in space. Very recently Global Network member Robert Anderson, who teaches at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, got a hold of copies of contracts between the university and the Air Force Weapons Lab at Kirtland AFB dated August, 1993. The contract funded the Nuclear Engineering Department at the university to develop a "space reactor simulator" and "laser power" for anti-satellite weapons.
The Air Force is also examining the feasibility of a nuclear powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The military hopes that such an aircraft would be able to "loiter" in the air for months without refueling, striking at will any target that comes into its sights.
The A.F. Research Lab has funded at least two studies on nuclear-powered versions of the Northrup-Grumman Global Hawk UAV. In the 1950's the U.S. tried to develop nuclear powered airplanes but eventually gave up because of the cost and major technical obstacles.
NASA successfully launched two Mars probes in June that were powered by radioactive sources. At the time of launch the two missions were $100 million over budget. Under NASA's new nuclear systems initiative we will see a dramatic escalation of the number of radioactive payloads launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Missions already targeted to use nuclear power systems are the Mars Science Lab in 2009; an Outer Planets probe set for launch in 2011; and the Mars Sample Return mission in 2013.
The Mars Society, one of the organizations heavily funded by the aerospace industry to lobby for "everything space," announced strong support for the expanded nuclear space program. The Mars Society currently is pressuring Congress to fund a series of Mars missions that will ultimately lead to a nuclear powered human colony on Mars. The organization seeks to have the red planet "terraformed" so that we can move our civilization off the "decaying and dying planet Earth."
Due to NASA and Department of Energy (DoE) plans for expanded nuclear missions in space, the government has indicated that plutonium-238 production capability must be established right away. Since 1992 the U.S. has relied on Russia to supply its space plutonium needs. Now the plan is to invest nearly $100 million to upgrade the plutonium processing capability at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee. At the same time, the federal government is slashing 77% of the money it planned to spend cleaning up the east Tennessee complex, a key center of the U.S.'s nuclear arsenal for more than 50 years. State officials fear they will be left with the task of cleaning the huge lab to prevent radioactive poisons from harming people and the environment. Tennesseans can expect even more toxic contamination as they join the space age production line.
SPACE BEATS EARTH
In a vote on the House floor in Washington on July 29, the Republican led Congress (with help from many Democrats) voted 309-114 against an amendment to cut funding for the nuclear Project Prometheus. Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA., introduced an amendment to divert $115 million from the nuclear rocket and apply it to Superfund programs that clean up hazardous waste sites across America. The move came as the Superfund program is being undermined for lack of funding.
Taking $115 million out of the space nuclear program and allocating it to the Superfund, Markey said, would still give Project Prometheus a 31% increase and afford Superfund a 9% increase over 2003 levels. But even that was not to be.
"The moons of Jupiter are going nowhere, but the people who live around these Superfund sites are people that are affected.by the issue every day," said Rep. Charles Bass R-NH, one of the few Republicans to support the amendment.
In the late 1990's the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleaned up an average of 86 Superfund sites a year, but it only cleaned up 42 sites in 2002.
Don't worry though, once Mars is terraformed we can all move there and leave behind the contaminated Superfund communities in which many of us now live.
Seventy million people live within four miles of the nation's more than 1,230 Superfund sites. Children are the most vulnerable to the arsenic, DDT and brain damaging toxins like lead and mercury that are found in the water and soil at these locations.
ROCKET TOXIC LETTUCE
Perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, has contaminated more than 300 wells in California, including drinking water supplies serving Redlands, Rialto and Riverside. Perchlorate also tainted the Colorado River, which 20 million people rely on for drinking and irrigation in California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Eating lettuce or other vegetables (even if organically grown) in fields irrigated by the Colorado River may expose consumers to a larger dose of toxic fuel than is considered safe by the EPA.
Sworn depositions and other courtroom documents show how Lockheed Martin, a major user of perchlorate responsible for widespread contamination of Southern California water supplies, knew as early as 1997 that vegetables stored high concentrations of the chemical but said nothing to the EPA.
Investigators have found levels of perchlorate as high as 58,000 parts per billion in the groundwater in Santa Clarita beneath a defunct munitions factory that made missiles. Perchlorate has been shown to interfere with thyroid function and pose a danger to the development of infants in concentrations as low as one part per billion.
Lawsuits against the aerospace industry are now making their way through the court system in California.
SPYING FROM SPACE
The Pentagon has been directed to design future satellites in such a way that they could be used for "domestic security." One program under development that could assist in the "homeland defense mission" is the Future Imagery Architecture, a new series of spy satellites slated for deployment later this decade.
We must all do what we can to preserve our civil liberties as technology erases the line between privacy and the "war on terrorism."
In coming years the Air Force plans to field ground based weapons systems designed to neutralize communications and imaging satellites that could be used by "adversaries during battle."
The Counter Comm and Counter Surveillance Reconnaissance Systems, slated for deployment in 2005 and 2008, have emerged as key elements of the Pentagon's space control effort. The systems could target both commercial and military satellites and the Pentagon maintains they would not cause "permanent damage."
(This apparent sensitivity on the part of the Pentagon has come as a result of their real fears that growing amounts of space junk would destroy U.S. space
In 1997 the Pentagon fired a ground-based laser at one of its own satellites.
Experts say a laser might flood or dazzle an adversary's satellite's sensitive optics, effectively blinding it. Air Force efforts to deploy these offensive systems will lead other countries to do the same over time.
EUROPE MOVES TOWARD MILITARY SPACE
Under pressure from European space scientists, European government and industry officials appear to have reached a consensus that a Europe-wide military space program is essential to ensure the growth of their fledgling space program.
Estimates suggest that Europe could have an autonomous military space program for about 880 million euros per year.
According to European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, the recent Iraq war showed how important space-based observation, telecommunications, navigation and positioning have become. Europe's military space spending is about 1/20th of the U.S. military space budget, and will increase. "Our continent's sovereignty is at stake," he says.
Lt. Col. Alexandros Kolovos, head of the Greek Defense Ministry's National Center for Space Applications, said Europe's future security policy should "ensure the (EU's) ability to exploit space for military purposes - but also, as required, to deny an adversary's ability to do so."
Sound familiar? This is how new arms races begin!
In a related development, a senior Lockheed Martin official said in June that the U.S. and Europe should create a common defense industry market to develop capabilities to support NATO's new role in providing global security.
Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems of London have signed an agreement to explore opportunities to work together on "missile defense" programs throughout the world.
The U.S. fears an independent European space program and has done much to discourage its development. At the same time the U.S. encourages the rapid growth of a military space sector in Europe but wants it under NATO, and thus U.S. control. Europe sees the preemptive, anti-Europe, go it alone strategy of the Bush administration and feels they must strike off on their own space path.
But many members of the EU Parliament oppose any move toward more military space investment "without distinguishing between security programs and more aggressive programs," says Guido Bodrator who is coordinator of the EU Parliament input for the new space policy now under development.
In Europe, Global Network members are actively working to organize grassroots pressure to ensure that the eventual policy will not support weapons in space.
Dave Knight (UK) and Regina Hagen (Germany) are among many who have been key leaders in pressuring the EU to follow a policy of non-weaponization of space.
They are also urging individual countries within the EU to declare a moratorium on the development and deployment of space weapons.
ISRAELI SPACE SYSTEMS GROWING
The elimination of Iraq as a military power is not slowing down Israeli efforts to expand its military space operations. Under a program called Seventh Heaven, the Israeli military will build and deploy an extensive satellite communications system.
One Israeli military official said Israel hopes that significant U.S. hardware in the planned satellite system would allow Israel to justify funding the bulk of the program with U.S. military aid. Israel receives more than $2 billion each year in military grants from the U.S.
Israel also is planning to establish a centralized command and control center to manage the various elements of its multi-layered missile defense system.
The planned center would operate all radars and launchers associated with their Arrow missile defense program as well as the U.S. built Patriot. The center will be able to process early warning data from U.S. military satellites and ship-based Aegis radars off their coast.
Israel is now vigorously exploring the use of armed UAV's. The unmanned aircraft, outfitted with weapons, would "relieve" the round-the-clock operations by the Israeli Air Force. "Manned operations require lots of logistical support that we don't have. A mission to western Iran would take five hours.You will see armed UAV's in the Israeli Air Force," says Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, Chief of the IAF Air Division.
CHINA CLAIMS COASTAL BUILDUP DEFENSIVE
Despite its growing economic power, China is at least two decades behind the U.S. in military technology and ability says a report by the mainstream Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The report says China is far from becoming a global military power and does not pose a threat to the U.S. The CFR report also suggests that it is unlikely that China would attack Taiwan. The Chinese buildup was more likely a way to coerce Taiwan, just 90 miles off the coast of mainland China.
Right wing critics claim China is positioning itself to dominate the South China Sea. Prior to 9-11 the U.S. military had all but singled out China as a likely next major enemy.
Today China has about 450 short-range ballistic missiles but hopes to add about 50 per year in the near future. (They also have 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental U.S., while America has 7,500 nuclear weapons.)
China annually spends between $20-$60 billion on their military. China maintains that recent missile advances are defensive moves to counter forthcoming U.S. Theatre Missile Defense and National Missile Defense deployments aimed at their country. U.S. deployments in Central Asia, along China's inland border also serve to give China the strong impression that the U.S. intends to surround the communist nation. China's leaders have asserted that the U.S. seeks to maintain a dominant geo-strategic position by containing the growth of Chinese power, ultimately "dividing and westernizing" China.
Of interest is that two of the largest aerospace corporations in the U.S., Hughes and Boeing, have been charged by the U.S. government with illegally transferring sensitive space technology to China. The companies could be fined up to $60 million and barred for three years from selling controlled technology overseas. The Justice Department has spent years investigating those corporations and a third, Loral, also involved in similar sales activity with China. A year ago Loral agreed to pay a $14 million fine. Administrative charges were dropped against Loral.
U.S. weapons corporations stand to make enormous profit if a full scale arms race can be created with China. As we have seen in the Middle East, U.S. weapons corporations often sell weapons to all sides in such conflicts.
JAPAN SEEKS TO BUILD OWN TMD
On March 28 Japan launched its first two military reconnaissance satellites from the Tanegashima launch center. Members of the opposition parties said the military space program violates the resolution the Japanese parliament passed in 1969 to limit the country's space program to peaceful purposes.
Japan intends to deploy the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) TMD system as early as 2006 in response to rising tensions with North Korea. Japan would also upgrade its four Aegis destroyers with a U.S. made missile defense system.
According to Japanese military estimates, the minimum cost for the two new systems is likely to be around $4.2 billion.
Japanese peace activist Hiro Umebayashi analyzes the current conflict between Japan and North Korea this way: "The fair description of the situation is that it is North Korea and China that have long been exposed to an overwhelming threat of offensive theater (intermediate range) missiles posed by the U.S.-Japan military alliance. In Yokosuka, Japan, as many as
500 vertical launchers of Tomahawk cruise missiles are aboard six U.S. naval warships home ported at the U.S. base.Adding the TMD system to such a situation could never be viewed as a defensive step. It appears to be an action for ultimate offensive dominance."
BIG MOVES IN ASIA
For some time the Pentagon has been seeking agreements to increase its military presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and India. Each of these new basing options are intended as part of a broader anti-China strategy in which Washington attempts to build up military ties with countries situated along China's periphery. This effort was given a major boost after 9-11, when the U.S. set up bases in Central Asia along Beijing's western frontiers and began major military maneuvers in the Philippines after a 10-year hiatus.
Donald Rumsfeld has extended a formal invitation to his Vietnamese counterpart to visit Washington DC in the near future. It is the latest step in the courtship that the Bush team hopes will draw Vietnam into U.S. strategic designs in the region. U.S. military planners long to return to Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay naval base.
India lies at the "center of Asia" and recent Pentagon reports indicate that it would be logical to deploy some U.S. troops there too.
NATO took over the leadership of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in August and is actively urging Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to build closer long term ties with the formerly Euro-centric military alliance controlled by the U.S.
"Central Asia is now going to be very much part of NATO's agenda," said NATO Secretary General George Robertson on a July trip to the region. Russia still stands in the way of total NATO east-ward expansion as it fights to hang onto support of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. Control of oil and natural gas, and the pipelines to move these resources to ports hang in the balance.
IS WAR WITH NORTH KOREA NEXT?
Recent disclosures have made public an order from Secretary of War Rumsfeld for the Pentagon to devise a new war plan for North Korea. In a July 21 story in U.S. News, the plan called Operations Plan 5030, was revealed as so aggressive that it could provoke a war. One scenario in the plan calls for U.S. surveillance flights to bump up alongside North Korean airspace, possibly creating a spark that could ignite conflict.
North Korea maintains that it still intends to join the U.S. in China in September for nuclear weapons talks.
In recent days North and South Korea formally relinked their cross border railroads in ceremonies closed to foreign reporters, fearing that the U.S. would be "irritated" by this inter-Korean peace process.
North Korea's withdrawal from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) on January, 2003 hurt its chances to win favorable world opinion. North Korea's admission in 2002 that it had undertaken a nuclear weapons development program gave the U.S. the public relations victory in the escalating war of tensions in the region.
North Korea has long claimed its willingness to address U.S. security concerns, proposing three conditions for a peaceful settlement. (1) U.S. recognition of North Korea's sovereignty (2) U.S. assurance of non-aggression (3) A stop to U.S. interference in North Korean economic development. Bush turned down the proposal, insisting instead that North Korea give up its nuclear bargaining chip.
In 1994 North Korea signed an agreement with Bill Clinton in which it committed to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear facilities in trade for fuel oil and a proliferation-resistant nuclear reactor. The U.S. never met its end of the bargain. North Korea backed out of the agreement after Bush named it an "axis of evil" soon after taking office.
Is it safe to conclude that the Bush administration has worked in North Korea, just as it did in Iraq, to take every possible step to create conflict rather than avoid it? The answer appears to be yes.
SOME SMALL VICTORIES ALONG THE WAY
a.. The Pentagon has had to cancel plans to flight test the Space Based Laser
(SBL) by 2012, due to lack of technological break-through and tightening budgets (largely due to the Iraq war.)
b.. The missile warning and tracking satellite programs called SBIRS (high and
low) have had to be restructured and face major delays in deployment.
c.. The Pentagon put brakes on plans to launch a cluster of small space-based missile interceptors originally set for deployment by 2005. Now the plan is to continue basic research on the weapons until at least 2008. The weight and miniaturization of the weapons proved severely limiting.
d.. An Aegis destroyer sea-based missile test failed to intercept its target over the Pacific Ocean on June 18. The test took place off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
e.. The Airborne Laser, a converted Boeing 747 with a laser on its nose, was to undergo its first shoot-down test off the California coast in 2004, but due to technical problems the test has slipped to 2005. The Pentagon was forced to pump an extra $242 million from another part of the Missile Defense Agency
(MDA) budget into this program to keep it going.
f.. Dr. Richard Albanese, a senior U.S. military scientist, stated he would not buy a house near Britain's biggest missile defense radar base in Fylingdales for fear of serious health risks. The doctor said that the phased array radiation from the radar may have carcinogenic properties that science has yet to understand. A similar radar on Cape Cod, MA. raised these fears after unusual levels of breast and lung cancers were found in the local residents.
g.. The 2004 Defense Authorization Act includes an out right prohibition on the funding of any nuclear-tipped interceptor missiles as part of NMD. Thus, if the Pentagon fails to make hit-to-kill mechanisms work in deep space, it is still prevented from sending up a nuclear weapon to hit an incoming nuke.
BOOST PHASE PROBLEMS
An extensive study by the American Physical Society, the largest U.S. association of professional physicists, has raised serious questions about the likely effectiveness of boost phase missile defense, whose job it would be to hit missiles immediately after they are launched.
The study concluded that boost phase weapons would probably prove ineffective against fast, solid-fueled missiles (with short burn times) that potential adversaries - like North Korea or Iran - are projected to possess within the next 10-15 years.
Even against the longer burning liquid-propellant ICBM's that North Korea and Iran might initially deploy, an effective boost phase defense would have limited use due to the need for the interceptor missiles to be based close to the potential missile flight paths.
GIANT FLOATING RADAR
The Pentagon is investing heavily in X-Band radar systems that will help track and engage ICBM's aimed at the U.S.
The crown jewel of the new system is the Sea Based X-Band being built by Boeing. The $748 million project will put an enormous radar on top of a 25-story converted oil-drilling platform. The MDA has decided on Alaska as the homeport for the huge device that would be towed to various sites during the missile testing process. Civilian authorities in Snohomish County, WA., have raised concerns about potential adverse effects of electromagnetic radiation on local citizens' health.
Under the plan, 20 interceptor missiles would be placed on three Navy Aegis destroyers. This sea-based system was outlawed by the 1972 ABM Treaty with Russia, but Bush withdrew the U.S. from the treaty last summer, calling it ancient history.
Denmark's parliament voted in May to allow the U.S. to modernize the existing radar at the U.S. base at Thule, Greenland. Greenland, a vast island in the artic under Danish control since 1721, is home to 57,000 inhabitants who generally fear the U.S. Star Wars program will make them a prime target.
A former prime minister of Greenland and a member of the Siumut party, Lars Emil Johansen, has accused the Danish government of bowing to U.S. threats and demands.
Other key Star Wars radars at Beale AFB, CA. and Fylingdales in England are also slated for major upgrades.
KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE WEEK: LOCAL ACTIONS
On October 4-11 the Global Network will hold its annual Keep Space for Peace
Week: International Days of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.
Groups around the world will hold local events ranging from protests at U.S. bases and weapons corporation facilities, to educational events at schools and churches. The purpose of the annual week of local activity is to bring the space issue to as many people as possible all around the world - to symbolically hold hands in acknowledgement that the movement to keep war out of the heavens is indeed growing.
One key action this year will be held on October 11 at the U.S. military space spy base called Menwith Hill in the United Kingdom. Weekly demonstrations are held at the base that is currently undergoing a major transformation to prepare for Star Wars. The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) is the principal organizer of the weekly actions and Lindis Percy from CAAB is often arrested for entering the base while carrying her upside down American flag with the words "Independence from America" or "Stop Star Wars" written on it.
Tony Blair's government has signed secret agreements with the Bush administration to allow Star Wars upgrades at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Britain has made the UK's participation in Star Wars one of their top issues around which to organize. Because of recent reports that Britain might house missile silos and host Airborne laser aircraft in its country, the peace movement led by CND has been very active.
We hope all friends and affiliates of the Global Network will join us October 4-11 to bring the space issue home to our local communities. Check our web site for a list of available speakers. Keep Space for Peace posters are now also available for $3 each, or five for $10. We also have newly updated brochures for distribution during the week.
AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MEETING
Our 11th annual Global Network meeting was held in Melbourne, Australia on May 16-18. Thanks to a generous response to our travel fund appeal, we were able to help bring several of the people from 11 countries who came to the event.
The weekend began with a downtown protest in front of the Optus Corporation headquarters. Optus will launch Australia's first ever military satellite, reported to cost over $500 million, while the Australian government cuts back on the national health service due to "lack of funds."
Shortly before the Global Network meeting, Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced that the country strongly backed the U.S. Star Wars program, which created discord within his own party. Sen. Lyn Allison (Australian
Democrats) gave a keynote speech at the conference saying that the Optus military satellite would give Australia the ability to spy on nations as far away as India. She predicted that the future would bring more military spending and more government secrecy to Australia.
Many thanks go to our host organizer Jacob Grech of Ozpeace who made us all welcome inside the famous Trades Hall, built by union workers in 1874. The stately labor hall housed the 1917 anti-conscription campaign that opposed WW I.
Global Network founding member Dr. Michio Kaku, Professor of Physics at CUNY, was the other keynote speaker. Michio's stirring words began the conference with the message about the need to talk about the right-wing foreign policy architecture that he called "New Rome." He said the containment strategy in place for the last 50 years is now obsolete because of the U.S. move toward a policy of preemption, which will bridge New Rome and space. Michio reminded the assembled that "now is the time to educate the peace movement about the new strategy and it's use of space technology."
At the annual Global Network business meeting on the last day of the event it was decided that the 2004 annual meeting and conference would be held in Maine. The presence of Bath Ironworks, builder of Aegis destroyers with the new TMD interceptors on-board, made Maine the perfect choice. The tentative date for the Maine conference will be April 23-25.
MEMBERSHIPS & SUPPORT
The Global Network relies on the support of our individual members and group affiliates to fund our important work to build a global consciousness about space.
Our membership is based on a sliding scale between $10-$100 (pay what you can best afford within that range.)
Your dedicated local work and financial assistance will help us keep growing at this crucial time in history. Working together, all around the world, it is possible to turn our governments away from the insanity of a new arms race.
The global peace movement we witnessed prior to the recent U.S. attacks and occupation of Iraq is the other superpower in the world today. U.S. ambitions for global control and domination in the end will fail because the people of the planet will not allow any one nation to be the master of us all.
Let us build for the sake of the future generations. Let us prevail in our quest to fund human needs rather than space war technologies. The waste of our precious resources, so needed by humanity today, is truly a sin. We thank you for your support and solidarity.
Newsprint versions of Space Alert! can be ordered from:
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(352) 871-7554 (Cell phone)