The Global Network was created in 1992 to build a global consciousness and active constituency to protect space from escalating debris in orbit, militarization and weaponization, the extension of nuclear power into the heavens and concerns about ozone depletion due to mounting launches.
The arms race is moving into space. For years the U.S. Space Command, stated in its 1997 publication ‘Vison for 2020’, that it intends “to control space…dominate space…and deny other nations access to space.” It is crucial that the movement to stop this new round in the arms race moves quickly ahead.
In 2019 the Trump administration created the ‘Space Force’ to further operationalize this space control mission. When the vote came before Congress the only thing the Democrats demanded was to call it the ‘Space Corp’ and they eventually backed down even on that demand.
During the Persian Gulf War the U.S. became convinced that whoever controls space will be able to project force “in space, from space and into space”. The Pentagon believes that future military success will depend on space capabilities.
Through this “control” the U.S. intends to “dominate” the Earth and beyond. These same satellite capabilities also allow the U.S. to spy on private citizens and companies.
All over the globe the U.S. has installed ‘downlink stations’ to relay signals from space satellites thus making intercepting communications and targeting possible in ‘real time’ – split second time. In communities near many of these ground stations local peace groups have formed to express their opposition to U.S. domination of space. Many of these groups make up the core of the Global Network.
But there are obstacles to U.S. space “dominance”. Present international space law speaks against the notion of U.S. space control. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, signed by the U.S. and 90 other countries, affirms “the peaceful purposes” of outer space and forbids “weapons of mass destruction” from being deployed in space.
For many years Russia and China have annually gone to the United Nations and introduced a new treaty to ban all weapons in space (Prevention of an Arms Race in Space – PAROS) but the U.S. and Israel have been blocking serious development of any new treaties.
Space law also declares that all interplanetary bodies belong to the common good. As NASA lands on the moon and Mars and explores other planets they are finding gold, cobalt, magnesium, helium 3 and other rich resources. Plans are currently underway to place mining colonies on these planetary bodies. The U.S. is exploring ways to circumvent international space law in order to “exploit” these bodies so that corporate interests may secure the enormous financial benefits expected from this ‘Mining the Sky’ as is described by NASA scientist John Lewis in his book by the same title.
The Columbus mythology is often invoked to describe U.S. “manifest destiny” as it relates to space exploration and colonization. The noble explorer theme is used to cover the more practical notion of profits to be made in regard to space.
There is big money to be made building and launching rockets. There is also money to be made building and launching thousands of satellites.
Currently there are plans to launch tens of thousands of mini-satellites in orbit that will facilitate the 5G networks back on Earth. But the process of launching so many satellites creates multiple problems – like further ozone depletion from launch exhaust and crowded orbits which at some point could mean an avalanche of crashes creating more space debris thus making it virtually impossible to get a rocket off our planet into space. Astronomers are deeply worried as this new glut of satellites is making it harder for them to study the night sky.
In order to ensure that the Pentagon maintains its current space military superiority the U.S. Space Force is developing new war fighting technologies like the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Anti-satellite weapons (ASATS) as well as other offensive technologies. Star Wars is alive and well. The U.S. has in recent years been withdrawing from virtually all arms control treaties with Russia thus opening the door even further to dangerous escalations.
The Pentagon has long claimed that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in human history. By itself the U.S. cannot afford to pay for it. Thus in recent years Washington has been pressuring its NATO allies to pay more into the military ‘alliance’ to help cover the costs of such a space warfare program. All new space technologies that are purchased by the allies must be integrated into, be inter-operable with the U.S. led military space operation to ensure that tWashington remains in charge of the ‘tip of the spear’.
Nuclear power in space becomes a key ingredient in the plans for space colonization and domination. Nuclear power is seen by NASA and private aerospace corporations as an appropriate power source for interplanetary missions. Nuclear powered rockets are envisioned for trips to Mars and nuclear powered mining colonies are planned for the Moon and Mars.
At the same time the Pentagon has long envisioned nuclear power as the primary source for the enormous amounts of power generation that will be required for space weapons. The Department of Energy (DoE) laboratories throughout the U.S., casting about for a new role as the need for more nuclear weapons diminishes, views space as a great new ‘market’ for their on-going nuclear production work. Labs like Hanford (Washington State); Savannah River Plant (South Carolina); Los Alamos (New Mexico); Lawrence Livermore (California); and INEL (Idaho) are already heavily involved in space nuclear power production efforts.
The enormous expenditures of our tax revenues for space must be questioned. The morality and ethics of moving an arms race into space must be vigorously debated. The environmental consequences of U.S. space policy must be understood and resisted.
But most importantly, the question of the kind of seed we carry from Earth into the heavens must be considered by the people of our planet. Are we to allow the U.S., and other nations, to carry the bad seed of warfare, greed, exploitation and environmental contamination into space?
The Columbus mythology does indeed fit. Only it should remind us that the single mindedness that pursues profits and power in the “New World” will also carry grave implications for centuries to come.
Now is our brief chance in history to prevent a great wrong from occurring. Now is the time that we must organize a global call to resist the nuclearization and weaponization of space. We must keep space for peace.
Bruce K. Gagnon
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