Support proposed treaties on The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space
Background Information: Russian “Meteor-Fireball” Manufacturing Consent for the Wepaonization of Space
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on Saturday backed calls to establish a new system to identify and neutralize threats in space.
“Humankind must create a system to identify and neutralize objects that pose a danger to the Earth” he wrote on Twitter the day after a meteorite slammed into central Russia, injuring over 1,000 people and causing an estimated $ 33 million-worth of damage.
Speaking shortly after the meteorite hit, Rogozin said that on Monday he would present Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with proposals on how similar incidents should be dealt with in future.
Former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart also called for the Chelyabinsk incident to prompt the relevant authorities to track asteroid activity in the Earth’s vicinity more closely.
This latest incident has pushed the issue of space defense up the political agenda, but it has long had its proponents, particularly among those working in related areas. Speaking last year at a St. Petersburg conference on Russia’s national interests and global security, Vitaly Davydov, the deputy head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said strategic planetary defense should be a priority and called for a special federal program on neutralizing space threats.
Today the Military Industrial Complex is marching towards world dominance through Space technology on behalf of global corporate interest. To understand how and why the space program will be used to fight all future wars on earth from space, it’s important to understand how the public has been misled about the origins and true purpose of the Space Program.
Annie Jacobsen’s new book is called Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America. It isn’t terribly secret anymore, of course, and it was never very intelligent. Jacobsen has added some details, and the U.S. government is still hiding many more. But the basic facts have been available; they’re just left out of most U.S. history books, movies, and television programs.
After World War II, the U.S. military hired sixteen hundred former Nazi scientists and doctors, including some of Adolf Hitler’s closest collaborators, including men responsible for murder, slavery, and human experimentation, including men convicted of war crimes, men acquitted of war crimes, and men who never stood trial. Some of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had already been working for the U.S. in either Germany or the U.S. prior to the trials. Some were protected from their past by the U.S. government for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Harbor, Long Island, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and elsewhere, or were flown by the U.S. government to Argentina to protect them from prosecution. Some trial transcripts were classified in their entirety to avoid exposing the pasts of important U.S. scientists. Some of the Nazis brought over were frauds who had passed themselves off as scientists, some of whom subsequently learned their fields while working for the U.S. military.
The U.S. occupiers of Germany after World War II declared that all military research in Germany was to cease, as part of the process of denazification. Yet that research went on and expanded in secret, under U.S. authority, both in Germany and in the United States, as part of a process that it’s possible to view as nazification. Not only scientists were hired. Former Nazi spies, most of them former S.S., were hired by the U.S. in post-war Germany to spy on — and torture — Soviets.
The U.S. military shifted in numerous ways when former Nazis were put into prominent positions. It was Nazi rocket scientists who proposed placing nuclear bombs on rockets and began developing the intercontinental ballistic missile. It was Nazi engineers who had designed Hitler’s bunker beneath Berlin, who now designed underground fortresses for the U.S. government in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains. Known Nazi liars were employed by the U.S. military to draft classified intelligence briefs falsely hyping the Soviet menace. Nazi scientists developed U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs, bringing over their knowledge of tabun and sarin, not to mention thalidomide — and their eagerness for human experimentation, which the U.S. military and the newly created CIA readily engaged in on a major scale. Every bizarre and gruesome notion of how a person might be assassinated or an army immobilized was of interest to their research. New weapons were developed, including VX and Agent Orange. A new drive to visit and weaponize outerspace was created, and former Nazis were put in charge of a new agency called NASA.
Permanent war thinking, limitless war thinking, and creative war thinking in which science and technology overshadowed death and suffering, all went mainstream. When a former Nazi spoke to a women’s luncheon at the Rochester Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1953, the event’s headline was “Buzz Bomb Mastermind to Address Jaycees Today.” That doesn’t sound terribly odd to us, but might have shocked anyone living in the United States anytime prior to World War II. Watch this Walt Disney television program featuring a former Nazi who worked slaves to death in a cave building rockets.
Before long, President Dwight Eisenhower would be lamenting that “the total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.” Eisenhower was not referring to Nazism but to the power of the military-industrial complex. Yet, when asked whom he had in mind in remarking in the same speech that “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite,” Eisenhower named two scientists, one of them the former Nazi in the Disney video above.
The decision to inject 1,600 of Hitler’s scientific-technological elite into the U.S. military was driven by fears of the USSR, both reasonable and the result of fraudulent fear mongering. The decision evolved over time and was the product of many misguided minds. But the buck stopped with President Harry S Truman. Henry Wallace, Truman’s predecessor as vice-president who we like to imagine would have guided the world in a better direction than Truman did as president, actually pushed Truman to hire the Nazis as a jobs program. It would be good for American industry, said our progressive hero. Truman’s subordinates debated, but Truman decided. As bits of Operation Paperclip became known, the American Federation of Scientists, Albert Einstein, and others urged Truman to end it. Nuclear physicist Hans Bethe and his colleague Henri Sack asked Truman:
“Did the fact that the Germans might save the nation millions of dollars imply that permanent residence and citizenship could be bought? Could the United States count on [the German scientists] to work for peace when their indoctrinated hatred against the Russians might contribute to increase the divergence between the great powers? Had the war been fought to allow Nazi ideology to creep into our educational and scientific institutions by the back door? Do we want science at any price?”
In 1947 Operation Paperclip, still rather small, was in danger of being terminated. Instead, Truman transformed the U.S. military with the National Security Act, and created the best ally that Operation Paperclip could want: the CIA. Now the program took off, intentionally and willfully, with the full knowledge and understanding of the same U.S. President who had declared as a senator that if the Russians were winning the U.S. should help the Germans, and vice versa, to ensure that the most people possible died, the same president who viciously and pointlessly dropped two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities, the same president who brought us the war on Korea, the war without declaration, the secret wars, the permanent expanded empire of bases, the military secrecy in all matters, the imperial presidency, and the military-industrial complex. The U.S. Chemical Warfare Service took up the study of German chemical weapons at the end of the war as a means to continue in existence. George Merck both diagnosed biological weapons threats for the military and sold the military vaccines to handle them. War was business and business was going to be good for a long time to come.
But how big a change did the United States go through after World War II, and how much of it can be credited to Operation Paperclip? Isn’t a government that would give immunity to both Nazi and Japanese war criminals in order to learn their criminal ways already in a bad place? As one of the defendants argued in trial at Nuremberg, the U.S. had already engaged in its own experiments on humans using almost identical justifications to those offered by the Nazis. If that defendant had been aware, he could have pointed out that the U.S. was in that very moment engaged in such experiments in Guatemala. The Nazis had learned some of their eugenics and other nasty inclinations from Americans. Some of the Paperclip scientists had worked in the U.S. before the war, as many Americans had worked in Germany. These were not isolated worlds.
Looking beyond the secondary, scandalous, and sadistic crimes of war, what about the crime of war itself? We picture the United States as less guilty because it maneuvered the Japanese into the first attack, and because it did prosecute some of the war’s losers. But an impartial trial would have prosecuted Americans too. Bombs dropped on civilians killed and injured and destroyed more than any concentration camps — camps that in Germany had been modeled in part after U.S. camps for native Americans. Is it possible that Nazi scientists blended into the U.S. military so well because an institution that had already done what it had done to the Philippines was not in all that much need of nazification?
Yet, somehow, we think of the firebombing of Japanese cities and the complete leveling of German cities as less offensive that the hiring of Nazi scientists. But what is it that offends us about Nazi scientists? I don’t think it should be that they engaged in mass-murder for the wrong side, an error balanced out in some minds but their later work for mass-murder by the right side. And I don’t think it should be entirely that they engaged in sick human experimentation and forced labor. I do think those actions should offend us. But so should the construction of rockets that take thousands of lives. And it should offend us whomever it’s done for.
It’s curious to imagine a civilized society somewhere on earth some years from now. Would an immigrant with a past in the U.S. military be able to find a job? Would a review be needed? Had they tortured prisoners? Had they drone-struck children? Had they leveled houses or shot up civilians in any number of countries? Had they used cluster bombs? Depleted uranium? White phosphorous? Had they ever worked in the U.S. prison system? Immigrant detention system? Death row? How thorough a review would be needed? Would there be some level of just-following-orders behavior that would be deemed acceptable? Would it matter, not just what the person had done, but how they thought about the world?
As efforts are made in Washington to trim the federal government, one group is pointing to an area of the government that, it says, “must be cut back”—the string of national nuclear laboratories. These facilities, it charges, are “spending billions upon billions in taxpayer money annually while developing deadly nuclear technology.”
The organization is the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space based in Maine and for 25 years active in challenging nuclear technology.
In a statement it issued last week in connection with the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Global Network declared that the U.S. national nuclear laboratories have been “breeding grounds for developing lethal atomic energy.” The laboratories are Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, Oak Ridge in Tennessee, Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley in California, Brookhaven in New York, Argonne in Illinois, Pacific Northwest in Washington, Savannah River in South Carolina and Idaho National Laboratory.
The U.S. national nuclear laboratory system grew out of the Manhattan Project, the World War II crash program to build atomic bombs. Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Argonne were original Manhattan Project laboratories. Later other laboratories were set up, all owned by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, with the mission of developing nuclear technology.
The laboratories have worked on a wide range of projects—from more powerful nuclear weapons, notably the hydrogen bomb, to nuclear-powered airplanes and rockets, food irradiation, the use of nuclear devices as a substitute for TNT to excavate the earth, and development of commercial nuclear power.
They’ve served as a taxpayer-supported research-and-development base for the nuclear industry. Further, their directors and many of their personnel have been deeply engaged in the promotion of nuclear technology.
With their products and focus nuclear, the laboratories have minimized the dangers of radioactivity. This has resulted in many of the laboratories being designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as high-pollution due to radioactive contamination at them.
Ownership of the national nuclear laboratory system was transferred to a new Department of Energy after the Atomic Energy Commission was disbanded by Congress in 1974 because its dual roles of promoting and regulating nuclear technology were deemed a conflict of interest.
The current secretary of Department of Energy is Steven Chu, formerly director of one of the laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley, and a major booster of nuclear power. Indeed, before becoming secretary he joined with the other national nuclear laboratory directors in signing a statement titled:“The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy.” He and the others directors declared: “We believe that nuclear energy must play a significant role in our nation’s—and the world’s electricity portfolio for the next 100+ years.”
Chu has been a major influence on Barack Obama as Obama as president has come to embrace nuclear power, and even after the nuclear disaster in Japan insisting on the construction of more U.S. nuclear power plants. As a candidate, Obama had been critical of nuclear power.
The Global Network in its statement called for “the closure of all national nuclear laboratories” as enablers of nuclear technology, and it also called for ending the use of nuclear power on earth and in space devices.
“The issue of switching to safe, clean energy is not technological—it’s political,” said the Global Network. “The problem involves vested interests: the government agencies which push nuclear power, notably in the United States the national nuclear laboratories and the entity that owns them, the Department of Energy headed currently by a former national nuclear laboratory director, and the nuclear industry as it seeks to profit from selling nuclear technology despite the cost in people’s lives.”
The Global Network was established after the disclosure that the next mission of the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle in 1986 was to loft a plutonium-fueled space probe. The national laboratories at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos developed the plutonium device then manufactured by General Electric (also the manufacturer of the Fukushima nuclear plants).
The Global Network noted that through the years it “has emphasized that there are safe alternatives to energize space devices. In recent times, NASA, at long last, has begun substituting solar energy for nuclear power in space. Indeed, in coming months NASA’ssolar-powered Juno spacecraft will be launched on a five-year mission to Jupiter. It was not long ago that NASA emphatically insisted that solar power could not substitute for nuclear beyond the orbit of Mars. Suddenly, it now can be done.”
“Likewise,” said the statement, as “numerous studies have documented, safe, clean, renewable energy technologies now here can provide all the power we need on earth. Nuclear power and its deadly dangers are unnecessary” It cited a Scientific American 2009 cover story, “A Plan for A Sustainable future,” which concluded: “Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy needs.”
The Global Network charged that “a disgrace in demanding nuclear power on earth and space has been President Barack Obama. As president, he has reversed the critical position he espoused as a candidate and now, even in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, is seeking to ‘revive’ the nuclear industry with the building of new nuclear plants using billions of taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, his administration has been pushing to also ‘revive’ the use of nuclear power in space by restarting U.S. production of Plutonium-238 for use on space devices.”
As to ending nuclear power on earth, the statement said “although the nuclear establishment claims this is impractical, it is not. In the U.S. where nuclear power provides 20% of the electricity, there’s a 20% reserve capacity in the electrical system. All 104 U.S. nuclear plants could—and must—be immediately shut down. The reserve capacity can deal with their absence.” Meanwhile, it said “a concentrated effort could—and must—be made to swiftly bring the safe, clean energy technologies on line.”
As to eliminating nuclear power on space devices, it said that “accidents such as the 1964 SNAP-9A disaster in which a plutonium-powered satellite fell from orbit, disintegrating and spreading the plutonium widely—a plutonium release long seen as causing an increase in lung cancer on earth—have demonstrated the folly of using nuclear power overhead.”
The Fukushima nuclear disaster “tragically demonstrates, again, the dangers of nuclear power, an energy source that must be abandoned–as a clear and present threat to life. Instead there must be full implementation of safe, clean energy technologies — which are here today.”
“Sadly,” said the Global Network, “Japan is now the victim of three gargantuan nuclear disasters: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima,” said the Global Network. “Unless the nuclear juggernaut is stopped, we all live in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima.”
There has been virtually no Congressional oversight of the national nuclear laboratories. Members of the House of Representatives with a laboratory in their district consider their role as being an advocate for it and seek to get as much federal money for the laboratory as possible. U.S. senators have also been great advocates of the laboratories in their states. In recent years, this Congressional support has included sending hundreds of millions of dollars of federal “stimulus” funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the national nuclear laboratories.
When, on rare occasions, a member of Congress challenges a national nuclear laboratory, it can be perilous. For instance, after Representative Michael Forbes took on Brookhaven National Laboratory over the radioactive tritium its two nuclear reactors were leaking into Long Island’s groundwater, the wife of a former laboratory scientist challenged him in a primary and by 35 votes deprived him of the Democratic Party nomination. In that 2000 contest, laboratory scientists manned telephone banks in support of their candidate. She lost, but Forbes was out of Congress.
Similarly, scrutiny by media of a national nuclear laboratory has met with intense attacks. After the Santa Fe New Mexican for example, ran an investigative series on Los Alamos National Laboratory and the radioactive contamination it caused and the increased risk of cancer to area residents as a result, the laboratory complained and the paper’s editor was fired and the two reporters who wrote the 1991 series—“Fouling the Nest”—were transferred to other beats. Also, following discussions between the newspaper’s publisher and Los Alamos Director Siegfried Hecker, the New Mexican provided a 27-page supplement prepared by the laboratory that began: “Los Alamos National Laboratory pursues its environmental, safety, health and security responsibilities with the same spirit it applies to its scientific work.”
The laboratories routinely try to cloak their activities with the assertion they are environmentally concerned—indeed sometimes they claim environmental leadership. This week, Brookhaven National Laboratory, a Superfund site, its reactors forced to close because of the radioactivity they were discharging into Long Island’s aquifer, the sole source of potable water for the island, is holding an “Environmental Education Summit.” It has invited “teachers and environmental educators from various Long Island and New York State agencies” to “discuss issues, trends, and ideas about environmental education.”
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, has focused on investigative reporting on energy and environmental issues for more than 40 years. He is the host of the nationally-aired TV program Enviro Close-Up (www.envirovideo.com) and the author of numerous books.
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. ~Henry David Thoreau
The Global Network mourns for the people of Japan following the recent disastrous chain of events that began with the earthquake, tsunami and then the nuclear power plant. Sadly Japan is now the victim of three gargantuan nuclear disasters: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan tragically demonstrates, again, the dangers of nuclear power, an energy source that must be abandoned–as a clear and present threat to life. Instead there must be full implementation of safe, clean energy technologies — which are here today.
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has long challenged the use of atomic energy in space. The network has emphasized that there are safe alternatives to energize space devices. In recent times, NASA, at long last, has begun substituting solar energy for nuclear power in space. Indeed, in coming months NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft will be launched on a five-year mission to Jupiter. It was not long ago that NASA emphatically insisted that solar power could not substitute for nuclear beyond the orbit of Mars. Suddenly, it now can be done.
Likewise, as numerous studies have documented, safe, clean, renewable energy technologies now here can provide all the power we need on earth. Nuclear power and its deadly dangers are unnecessary. As the conservative scientific magazine, Scientific American, in its October 26, 2009 cover story, “A Plan for A Sustainable Future,” declared, “Wind, water, solar technologies, [and conservation] can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy needs.”
The issue of switching to safe, clean energy is not technological — it’s political.
The problem involves vested interests: the government agencies which push nuclear power, notably in the United States the national nuclear laboratories and the entity that owns them, the Department of Energy (headed currently by a former national nuclear laboratory director), and the nuclear industry as it seeks to profit from selling nuclear technology despite the cost in people’s lives.
These same entities are pushing nuclear power world-wide as evidenced by GE’s involvement in the construction of Japanese reactors and the recent U.S.-India Nuclear deal. China and other emerging nations are also expanding plans for nuclear power despite the horrific memories of Chernobyl and now Fukushima.
A disgrace in demanding nuclear power on earth and space has been President Barack Obama. As president, he has reversed the critical position he espoused as a candidate and now, even in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, is seeking to “revive” the nuclear industry with the building of new nuclear plants using billions of taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, his administration has been pushing to also “revive” the use of nuclear power in space by restarting U.S. production of Plutonium-238 for use on space devices.
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space calls for:
* The end of nuclear power on earth. Although the nuclear establishment claims this is impractical, it is not. In the U.S. where nuclear power provides 20% of the electricity, there’s a 20% reserve capacity in the electrical system. All 104 U.S. nuclear plants could — and must — be immediately shut down. The reserve capacity can deal with their absence.
And, meanwhile, a concentrated effort could — and must — be made to swiftly bring the safe, clean energy technologies on line. Instead of promoting nuclear power expansion globally the nuclear power industry should be dismantled or converted to a green technology industry.
* The end of nuclear power in space. Accidents such as the 1964 SNAP-9A disaster in which a plutonium-powered satellite fell from orbit, disintegrating and spreading the plutonium widely — a plutonium release long seen as causing an increase in lung cancer on earth — have demonstrated the folly of using nuclear power overhead.
* The closure of all national nuclear laboratories. They have been breeding grounds for developing lethal atomic energy — on earth and in space. There’s an effort now underway in Washington to cut back on the federal government spending. Here is a federal government activity that must be cut back — a string of national nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore, Idaho, Sandia, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, spending billions upon billions in taxpayer money annually while developing deadly nuclear technology.
Unless the nuclear juggernaut is stopped, we all live in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima.
Global Network Board of Directors & Advisors:
Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine, New Mexico)
Dr. Helen Caldicott (Pediatrician/Anti-nuclear activist, Australia)
Sung-Hee Choi (Artist/teacher/activist, South Korea)
MacGregor Eddy (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, California)
Stacey Fritz (No Nukes North, Alaska)
Atsushi Fujioka (Professor of Economics Ritsumeikan University, Japan)
Bruce Gagnon (Global Network Coordinator, Maine)
Holly Gwinn Graham (Singer/songwriter/activist, Washington)
Karl Grossman (Professor of Journalism SUNY/College of Old Westbury, New York)
Regina Hagen (Darmstadter Friedensform, Germany)
Matthew Hoey (Military Space Transparency Project, Massachusetts)
Filip Ilkowski (Lecturer Political Science/History Warsaw University, Poland)
Helen John (Peace activist, England)
Dr. Michio Kaku (Professor Theoretical Physics CUNY, New York)
Tamara Lorincz (Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada)
Dr. Hannah Middleton (Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Australia)
Agneta Norberg (Swedish Peace Council, Sweden)
Lindis Percy (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, England)
J. Sri Raman (Movement Against Nuclear Weapons, India)
J. Narayana Rao (All India Peace & Solidarity Organization, India)
Tim Rinne (Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska)
Makiko Sato (Anti-nuclear activist, Japan)
Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck (Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen, Germany)
Alice Slater (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York)
Koji Sugihara (No to Nukes & Missile Defense Campaign, Japan)
Bill Sulzman (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Jan Tamas (Humanist Party, Czech Republic)
Dr. Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, United Kingdom)
Carol Urner (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Oregon)
Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Lynda Williams (Physics teacher/activist, California)
Wooksik Cheong (Peace Network, South Korea)
Hibiki Yamaguchi (People’s Plan Study Group, Japan)
Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. ~Henry David Thoreau