Professor of Journalism, State University of New York/College at Old Westbury
Author, The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat To Our Planet
Writer and Narrator, TV Documentary: Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization
and Weaponization of the Heavens and Nukes In Space 2: Unacceptable Risks
Presentation at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany
and at Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, March 1999
The U.S. military is seeking to "control space" and the Earth below, to base weapons in space—and we must all join to stop this.
Here’s the plan: the United States Space Command’s Vision For 2020 report, issued last year. Look at the cover of the report: laser weapons shooting their beams down from space zapping targets below. And, the report goes on, in wording laid out like in the start of the Star Wars movies: "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." This was not written in Hollywood; it’s an official U.S. military publication.
Here’s the plan: General Joseph Ashy, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command—its motto "Master of Space"—speaking in Aviation Week and Space Technology in an article headlined: "USSC [U.S. Space Command] Prepares for Future Combat Missions in Space." General Ashy talks of "space control," the U.S. term for control of space, and "space force application," the U.S. military’s definition of control of Earth from space.
Says General Ashy: "We’ll expand into these two missions because they will become increasingly important. We will engage terrestial targets someday—ships, airplanes, land targets—from space. We will engage targets in space, from space."
"It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen," says the general. "Some people don’t want to hear this, and it sure isn’t in vogue, but—absolutely—we’re going to fight in space. We’re going to fight from space and we’re going to fight into space….That’s why the U.S. has development programs in directed energy and hit-to-kill mechanisms."
Here’s the plan: "Space-Based Laser Readiness Demonstrator" are the words on top on this poster of a laser weapon in space, with a U.S. flag waving in space above it. (I didn’t know U.S. flags were able to wave in space.) "Preparing Today To Protect Tomorrow," say the words below, next to a seal of the "team" involved in the project, a contract for which was signed last year: TRW, Boeing, the U.S. Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the new name for the U.S. Star Wars operation.
Here’s the plan: Guardians of the High Frontier, the publication of the Air Force Space Command, proclaiming: "Air Force Space Command Vision: Defending America through the control and exploitation of space."
Here’s the plan: Phillips Laboratory, the Air Force research and development facility, describing itself: "Phillips Laboratory supports the war fighter…Phillips Laboratory is helping control space for the United States."
Here’s the plan: Asst. Secretary of the Air Force for Space Keith Hall, who’s also director of the National Reconnaissance Office (which has a $6.8 billion annual budget, nearly three times the CIA’s), declaring: "With regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we’re going to keep it."
Here’s the plan: in Time magazine last month. The headline: "Star Wars: The Sequel, Hey, what ever happened to arms control? Well, here comes the new Bill Clinton, Star Warrior." The article began: "Disregard previous orders. It’s back to the future after Clinton this month sent Congress a military budget proposing to pump $6.6 billion into development of a national missile-defense shield by 2005."
Missile defense? Examining the new Clinton Son of Star Wars drive in context, it sure appears that what’s up the sleeves of the U.S. military is in large part not defense but offense.
"The U.S. government, particularly the new unified Space Command, has become more and more brazen in saying that it wants to achieve total dominance of the space around the planet, both in terms of weaponization and in control of all resources, imaging resources, communication resources, everything," magazine editor Loring Wirbel and specialist in the U.S. push to weaponize space says in the TV documentary I’ve just completed, Nukes In Space 2: Unacceptable Risks.
He cites this U.S. Space Command report, also issued last year, the Command’s Long Range Plan, which talks about—as Wirbel notes—projecting U.S. power from space over Earth below and taking "over everything between now and 2020 to achieve complete dominance for the United States alone—no other nations are invited to be involved."
Says Wirbel: "America needs to express its leadership through good works and good examples. The more we try to achieve dominance through wielding power and having our own way all the time, the more we lose the essence of our democracy that makes us an exceptional nation and the more we move towards this dominance regime, the more I have to say I’m embarassed to be an American." I, too, am embarassed.
Here’s the plan: "Seeking American Space Dominance" was the title of Thiokol Corp. Vice President Tidal W. McCoy in Space News last year. Asserted McCoy: "Phony arms control issues and over-sensitivity to calculated rhetoric should not continue to stand in our way"
Here’s the plan: The Future of War: Power, Technology & American World Dominance in the 2lst Century is the name of the book. It is written by U.S. "defense experts" and consultants, George and Meredith Friedman. The book’s thrust: "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," the Friedmans write.
"Just as Europe expanded war and its power to the global oceans, the United States is expanding war and its power into space and to the planets," they say. "Just as Europe shaped the world for a half a millennium"--by the Britain, France and Spain dominating the oceans with their fleets--"so too the United States will shape the world for at least that length of time."
The Future of War: Power, Technology & American World Dominance in the 2lst Century—as do various government reports—see as critical to the new weapons the U.S. seeks to deploy in space, nuclear power in space.
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, notes the report, "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," it goes on.
Weapons in space. Nukes in space.
Emphasizes Military Space Forces: The Next 50 Years, a book "commissioned by the U.S. Congress" and written by John M. Collins, senior defense specialist at the Library of Congress: "Nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power between about 10 kilowatts and multimegawatts. Cores no bigger than basketballs are able to produce about 100 kw, enough for `housekeeping’ aboard space stations and at lunar outposts. Larger versions could meet multimegawatt needs of space-based lasers, neutral particle beams, mass drivers, and railguns. Nuclear reactors could support major bases on the moon."
Collins ends this work by speaking of "strategic superiority" as "unilateral control of space, which overarches Planet Earth, all occupants, and its entire contents…Possessors of that vantage position could overpower every opponent."
What about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the "basic framework on international space law?"--as notes the United Nations in describing the landmark treaty now signed by 91 nations. The U.S., the United Kingdom and former Soviet Union were its initiators.
What about the declaration of the Outer Space Treaty that space shall be used "for peaceful purposes…The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries?"
What about the provision of the Outer Space Treaty that nations shall not "place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction?" Meanwhile, the U.S. is speaking about, "in the next two decades…the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness," as New World Vistas states.
Already the U.S. is in outright violation of the Outer Space Treaty’s provision that "states shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects."
In 1991, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy entered into a Space Nuclear Power Agreement to cover its nuclear space flights—including the current Cassini plutonium-fueled space probe mission--with the Price-Anderson Act.
This is a U.S. law which limits liability in the event of a nuclear to $8.9 billion for U.S. domestic damage and just $100 million for damage to all foreign nations.
Thus if the "inadverent reentry" of Cassini back into the Earth’s atmosphere which NASA is concerned could occur on Cassini’s planned August 1999 earth "flyby" does happen, and a part of Europe or Africa or Asia or Latin America is impacted, all the nations and all the people affected could collect in damages—despite the amount of land left contaminated, the number of people left with cancer—would be $100 million.
As Dan Berkovitz, a long-time counsel in the U.S. Congress involved in this issue, explained to me about this outrageous U.S. double-standard: "You have to understand that the rest of the world is not much of a constituency here in Washington."
And we’re speaking of potentially huge damage.
NASA intends to send the Cassini space probe and its 72.3 pounds of plutonium dioxide fuel hurtling at Earth at 42,300 miles per hour for a "gravity assist" or "slingshot" maneuver—to give it additional velocity so it can reach its final destination of Saturn. It’s supposed to buzz the Earth at 496 miles high this coming August 18.
But, says NASA its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission, if the probe does not come in at 496 miles high, if it dips down after hundreds of millions of miles in space into the Earth’s 75-mile high atmosphere—and makes an "inadverent reentry"--it will break up, the Final Environmental Impact Statement concedes. Plutonium will be released. And, says the Final Environmental Impact Statement, "approximately 5 billion of the estimated 7 to 8 billion world population at the time…could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure."
NASA in the statement says 2,300 fatal cancers could result. It also outlines its plan, if plutonium rains down on areas of natural vegetation, to "relocate animals," if it falls an agricultural land, to "ban future agricultural land uses" and, if it rains on urban areas, to "demolish some or all structures" and "relocate affected population permanently."
The U.S. government’s Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel Safety Evaluation Report on the Cassini Mission speaks of the possibility of "several tens of thousands" of cancer deaths. It also notes that in a Cassini Earth "flyby" accident, because the plutonium cannisters "have not been designed for the high speed reentry…much of the plutonium is vaporized" and provides "a collective dose to the world’s population."
Independent scientists say far more than "several tens of thousands" of people could die. Dr. John Gofman of the University of California projects 950,000 dying as a result of a Cassini "flyby" accident. Dr. Ernest Sternglass of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine estimates the death toll as high as 40 million.
And even if the Cassini Earth "flyby" is not scuttled and Cassini not redirected in coming months—as it can and should--to fly into the sun and be consumed, but goes ahead and works, NASA is planning eight more plutonium space probe shots in coming years, according to a report issued last year by the U.S. General Accounting Office. With a 12% failure rate already in the use by the U.S. (and also the Soviet Union and now Russia) of nuclear power in space, accidents—and disaster—are inevitable. And U.S. liability will be shielded under the Price Anderson Act, in violation of the Outer Space Treaty.
What the government of my country, the United States of America, is involved in in space is in violation of international law. It gravely endangers life on this planet. It pushes us toward nuclear catastrophe.
The military use of space being planned by the U.S. is in total contradiction of the principles of peaceful international cooperation that the U.S. likes to espouse. The aim is to develop a world in which it would literally be USA uber alles.
This flies in the face of the spirit, the ideals of the United States of America. It denigrates those courageous men and women who came to this continent and fought the horrific evil of fascism in World War II.
It pushes us—all of us—toward war in the heavens.
George Friedman, co-author of The Future of War: Power, Technology & American World Dominance in the 2lst Century, claims that the U.S. can dominate the Earth for centuries ahead because of its technological prowess. He says other nations—he names Russia, Japan and China—are just "passing blips…to compete with the U.S."
I’ve been to Russia; I’ve been to Japan; I’ve been to China. They are no passing technological "blips." And if the United States moves to arm the heavens, to utilize space as what one high U.S. military officer calls the "ultimate high ground," other nations will follow—leading to a new arms race—and ultimately war—in space.
This all must be stopped before it gets completely out of hand. Stopped…and now!
Karl Grossman Biography
Karl Grossman is full professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. He has specialized in investigative reporting for more than 30 years. Books he has authored include The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat To Our Planet published by Common Courage Press, Box 702, Monroe, Maine, 04951 USA. E-mail: email@example.com. Web Site: http://www.commoncouragepress.com
He is writer and narrator of the video documentaries Nukes In Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens and Nukes In Space 2: Unacceptable Risks both produced by EnviroVideo, Box 311, Fort Tilden, New York 1165 USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: http://home.earthlink.net/~envirovideo
Grossman has received many honors for his journalism including the George Polk, James Aronson and John Peter Zenger Awards. His journalism on the use of nuclear power in space has been repeatedly cited in the annual judging of Project Censored at Sonoma State University in California as among the issues most "censored" or "under-reported" by the U.S. news media. Grossman’s journalism on the issue has been recognized by Project Censored more times than any other specific subject in Project Censored’s history. The first citation Grossman received from Project Censored on the issue was in 1987 for his revelation in 1986 that the next scheduled mission of the ill-fated shuttle Challenger involved a plutonium-fueled space probe.
Since 1992 Grossman has been a member of the Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution and Peace of the International Association of University Presidents and the United Nations.
Address: Professor Karl Grossman, State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, Box 210, Old Westbury, New York 11568 USA. Residence: Karl Grossman, Box 1680, Sag Harbor, New York 11963 USA . Phone: 516.725.2858.
Fax: 516.725.9338. E-Mail: email@example.com