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Space domination protects corporate globalisation

   
   

Bruce Gagnon

   

I recently traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado to join protests outside the 21st National Space Symposium sponsored by the aerospace industry. Over 6,500 military personnel and weapons industry representatives were in attendance.

In Colorado Springs there are five military installations, including the headquarters of the Air Force Space Command. Over 40,000 active duty military personnel are assigned to those five bases. I was told that 47% of those living in the city, with a population of 357,000, now work for the military industrial complex.

How is it possible that we will ever end the global addiction to war and violence as long as our communities increasingly are dependent on military spending for jobs? For many communities, like Colorado Springs, military activity is their top employment option.

The weapons industry views space as the next market for

warfare. Plans are now underway to put weapons in the heavens that would allow the U.S. to “control and dominate” space and to “deny” other countries access to space. Imagine 5% of the world’s population, in the U.S., becoming the “Master of Space,” as the logo reads at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The role of Schriever A.F.B. is to fly and maneuver the U.S. constellation of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) that now coordinate nuclear weapons and other “smart” weapons to their targets. During the 2003 U.S. “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq the entire war was directed by 50 U.S. military satellites. The Pentagon understands that whomever controls space militarily will control the planet Earth.

The Pentagon has long said that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth. The aerospace industry knows that the cost of this program could also be its Achilles heel. The weapons

industry says “social programs” will be the critical source of funding for their space domination program. The weapons industry intends to defund social progress in America to pay for Star Wars..

The space issue is still a relatively new issue for most people, even those in the peace movement. People might have heard about “missile defense” and that the testing program is not having much success as the Pentagon tries to have a bullet hit a bullet in space. But few know that missile defense is a Trojan horse. This program has nothing to do with “defense;” that language is just the public relations framing. The program is actually about warfare in space and the ability to control and dominate the Earth to the benefit of corporate globalization.

Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld’s new military transformation program talks about the need to be smaller, faster, more lethal. In order to launch “preemptive and proactive” attacks on parts of the world that are resisting corporate globalization, Rumsfeld is moving in the direction of creating new “lily

pad” bases throughout the “non-integrating gap.” This gap is defined as parts of Latin America, Central Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia where oil is in abundance. The plan is for the U.S. military to strike these regions when any resistance to U.S. authority is evidenced. In order to do this the Pentagon says that its war-fighting “eyes and ears” in the sky must have unimpeded access to the heavens.

In order to power weapons in space, like the anticipated space-based laser (nicknamed the “Death Star” by the Pentagon), the military has said that nuclear reactors will be required. Two years ago, the Bush administration announced Project Prometheus, to develop a nuclear rocket with reactors for engines for so-called “civilian” space missions. Meanwhile, NASA says every space mission they fly from now on will be “dual use,” meaning that every mission will be both civilian and military at the same time.

Imagine a constellation of 25-40 of these nuclear powered orbiting battle stations participating in war in space - knocking other countries’ satellites out of the sky. Then imagine one of them tumbling back to Earth and burning

up on reentry. Consider the consequences of deadly radioactive materials being released into our atmosphere and then spread by the winds across the planet.

In a secret Pentagon report, made public by the Wall Street Journal in early 2005, a key U.S. military strategy was disclosed that would make the process of developing advanced weapons systems “so expensive,” that no other nation in the world will be able to compete with or challenge the U.S., without harming its civilian economy.

Canadian political analyst Michael Chossudovsky maintains that the European Union has made the decision to begin “a massive redirection of State financial resources towards military ex

penditures.” He predicts that, “Under the European constitution, there will be a unified European foreign policy position which will include a common defense component. It is understood, although never seriously debated in public, that the proposed European Defense force is intended to challenge America’s supremacy in military affairs.”

In this regard the European Space Agency launched its Galileo global navigation system on December 29, 2005. Galileo, will have civilian and military uses, and will spur the European aerospace industry to seek more investment in military space development.

The corporate finance group, Price Waterhouse Coopers, has predicted that U.S. military spending will equal that of the rest of the world by early 2006, thus making it “increasingly pressing” for European military corporations to develop a “closer relationship” with the U.S. With a closer relationship European aerospace would theoretically not get left behind the military technological curve and would share in the gravy of expanding U.S. militarism.

A key avenue for European participation is with the U.S. missile defense system. Already the Netherlands has purchased the U.S. Patriot PAC-3 Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) system. Germany and Italy will partner with the U.S. by securing the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) around 2012. The MEADS system would have a range of 1,000 kilometers, although neither country has any real

Counting the cost of Trident

Tony Blair says Britain needs nuclear weapons. More than that, he now seems to be committing us to spending billions of pounds on a new generation of nuclear weapons. This is to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons system when it passes its sell-by date in about twenty years time.
Debates about whether Britain actually needs nuclear weapons have been raging for decades. But with the Cold War over, more and more people are coming to the view that there is no conceivable purpose in having them. We do not face a nuclear super-power rival, and even Mr Blair agrees that they are no use against the threat of terrorism. Neither those attacking New York on September 11th, nor those bombing London on July 7th, were deterred by US and UK nukes.

So if they don’t meet our most urgent security purposes, what is their point? Defence Secretary

Kate Hudson

playing a role in promoting disarmament, as required by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which we and the other nuclear weapons states are signatories. Abolition of nuclear weapons is the only way to ensure that they aren’t used. The idea of knowingly and willingly entering into decades of nuclear arms race and the massive waste of resources that entails – combined with potential destruction of the planet – seems irresponsible in the extreme.

So how much money have we, the British taxpayers, spent on this weapons system that cannot actually defend us against the threats we really face? It appears that the original procurement costs for the existing system were around £12 billion, and that each year, taking into account associated costs, the Trident nuclear weapons system costs us around £1.5 billion. The rebuilding of the Dockyards at Plymouth to allow for the periodic refitting of the submarines that carry the nuclear weapons cost around £1 billion. Additional billions have recently been given to the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment for the development of new buildings and facilities, we assume for the development of the planned Trident replacement. The full cost of developing a replacement,

Aeriel View of Faslane Naval Base

poses it, as do a number of senior figures in the military who feel that money for British security should be spent on the conventional forces, which otherwise face cuts. But this opposition also extends into wider society. A recent public opinion poll showed that a majority (54%) of those polled were against Trident replacement when they realised how expensive it would be.

Getting a real debate, and making sure that the option NOT to replace Trident is on the agenda, is absolutely crucial. CND is currently encouraging support for EDM 1197 in the Westminster parliament, put down by Michael Meacher MP, which not only demands a Green Paper putting forward all the options including non-replacement, but also insists that the eventual decision must be taken by parliament itself. Taking forward that demand in the labour and trade union movement, as well as raising the issue in our faith communities, pensioners groups, with students – indeed people from every walk of life – is central to the success of this campaign.

Kate Hudson
Chair CND

own European Defense Force,” says Chossudovsky.

“The backlash on employment and social programs is the inevitable byproduct of both the American and European military projects, which channel vast amounts of state financial resources towards the war economy, at the expense of the civilian sectors.”

We are now poised on the edge of a new and very costly arms race in space. I am certain that the world cannot afford it – financially, ecologically, morally, or spiritually. The time has come for the peace movements around the world to speak with one voice. We must keep space for peace and stop the war machine from destroying social progress in our countries.

 

Bruce K. Gagnon is Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and has been working on space issues for over 20 years.
www.space4peace.org

 

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