Star Wars: Protecting Globalization From Above
The United States is moving full-speed ahead on a missile defense program with events of September11th giving a big boost to the scheme. Missile defense, or “Star Wars,” advocates maintain the terrorist attack demonstrated the kind of future assault — the next time around with missiles — that the U.S. must seek to offset. They also point to the need to protect “US interests and investments” around the globe. Opponents argue the most likely threat to the U.S. continues to be relatively low-tech terrorist attacks, not sophisticated missiles. Star Wars supporters are now riding high. Meanwhile the troubled aerospace industry is hoping to be shored up by big-ticket defense contracts.
Some $95 billion has been spent on missile defense since Ronald Reagan first advanced the program in 1983, according to the Center for Defense Information (CDI) in Washington. Despite the billions the program has never produced a successful missile system. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW have been the “Big Four” among aerospace corporations receiving program monies. Many billions more will be spent in coming years. All four companies aggressively lobby Capitol Hill on defense spending.
These companies have close ties to the Bush administration, as they did to the Democratic administration that proceeded it. The military machine is alive and well more than a decade after the end of the cold war. This time globalization is the rationale for arms build up — and some of the same corporations that promoted and profited from the cold war are behind it.
The Star Wars Debate Revived
President George W. Bush cleared a legal path for a renewed missile defense program in December when he advised Russia that the U.S. is withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. September 11th was part of his message as he warned that the threat to both countries came from terrorists and “rogue states”.
“We know that the terrorists, and some of those who support them, seek the ability to deliver death and destruction to our doorstep via missile. And we must have the freedom and the flexibility to develop effective defenses against those attacks,” Bush said.
On the other side of the debate, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space, held that “September 11th ultimately is irrelevant” because missile defense is a Trojan horse for the “real objectives” of the U.S. space military program. “It’s never been about defense. It’s always been about controlling space, dominating space, denying other countries access to space and the U.S. being the master of space,” said Gagnon. “And that isn’t a defensive posture.”
But others reached a different conclusion. By September 17th , O’Dwyer’s PR Daily was reporting that President George Bush’s full $8.3 billion request for missile defense in 2002 “has now gotten new life in the aftermath of the terror attacks.”
In the days following the attacks Senate Democrats backed away from a pre-September 11th pledge to cut the amount by $1.3 million and agreed to remove a provision requiring the administration to seek Congressional approval to spend money on activities that would violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Media commentators widely interpreted the move as an effort to avoid a partisan debate in the middle of a national crisis. And the White House made it clear that opposition to its legislative agenda, on a variety of fronts, would be branded unpatriotic.
Militarizing the Heavens to Enforce Globalization
While the push for a Star Wars program was buoyed by the September 11th attacks, plans for the administration’s space military program were well underway when Bush took office.
Prior to being appointed U.S. defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld chaired the Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization — known as the “Space Commission.” Just days before Rumsfeld was named Pentagon chief, the Space Commission issued a report championing Star Wars.
Before there was a director of “homeland defense,” this report spoke about “homeland defense” — against missiles — urging an array of military hardware, including space-based weapons systems, to “destroy a missile shortly after launch, before either warhead or countermeasures are released.”
The 13-member Space Commission advocated elevating the U.S. Space Command, established by the Pentagon in 1985 to “coordinate” U.S. space military operations, to a “Space Corps” like the Marine Corps, to then possibly to become a “Space Department” at the same level as the Departments of Army, Navy and Air Force. General Richard B. Myers, current chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed up Space Command before being tapped by the Bush Administration for his current post a year ago.
The January 2001 Space Commission report was proceeded by the Space Command’s Long Range Plan, which framed the space missile program in terms of furthering corporate-led globalization and maintaining US economic and political dominance. “The United States will remain a global power and exert global leadership,” stated the 1998 plan.
“Widespread communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality of life — contributing to unrest in developing countries. The global economy will continue to become more interdependent. Economic alliances, as well as the growth and influence of multinational corporations, will blur security agreements. The gap between ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ nations will widen, creating regional unrest” the Long Range Plan continued. This worldwide gap between rich and poor, the Space Command reasoned, would lead to conflicts threatening US dominance.
The Long Range Plan opens by declaring that it has “U.S. Space Command’s #1 priority investing nearly 20 man-years to make it a reality. The development and production process, by design, involved hundreds of people including about 75 corporations.” And it subsequently lists these 75 corporations-beginning with Aerojet, Aerospace Corp., BD Systems and Boeing, to Lockheed Martin, Rand Corp., Raytheon, Spaceport Systems International, Sparta Corp., Stella Solutions, TRW Space and Vista Technologies.
Bush Administration Ties to the Aerospace Industry
The Bush administration is intimately linked with the corporate interests behind the missile defense program. Vice President Cheney is a former member of the board of TRW. His wife, Lynn Cheney, was a longtime member of the Lockheed Martin board stepping down only as her husband prepared to take office.
“I wrote the Republican Party’s foreign policy platform,” Bruce Jackson, vice president of corporate strategy and development of Lockheed Martin, flatly told this reporter in an interview last year, referring to his role as chair of the Foreign Policy Platform Committee at the Republican National Convention where he was a delegate.
Bush’s appointee as deputy director of the National Security Council — whom he has also assigned to travel the world to promote the U.S. missile defense program — is Stephen J. Hadley, previously a partner in Shea & Gardner, the Washington law firm of Lockheed Martin. “Space is going to be important. It has a great feature in the military,” Hadley, speaking as “an advisor” to Bush, told the Air Force Association in a speech during the Bush campaign.
Other Bush administration officials drawn from the aerospace industry include Albert Smith, a Lockheed Martin vice president, appointed undersecretary of the Air Force; Gordon England, vice president of General Dynamics, named Navy secretary; and James G. Roche, retired president of a Northrop-Grumman division, appointed as Air Force secretary.
Then there are political contributions. William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca of the Arms Trade Resource Center have tracked these contributions focusing on what they term the “Big Four” of missile defense — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW. These four corporations, which have been receiving 60 percent of government missile defense contracts, have been “making a major political investment,” they say.
Their report, Tangled Web: The Marketing of Missile Defense, lists millions of dollars in “soft money donations” and “PAC contributions” to members of Congress in the last several years. The preference has been for money to Republicans, they say. But “the bottom line” is that “both major parties have been bought off.” As a result, “under the leadership of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and the Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic Party [was] almost as pro-military as the Republicansthrowing billions at missile defense.The answer is to get special interest money out of politics by supporting full public financing of presidential and congressional races.”
Other Star Wars critics see the space missile program as a government bail out for the ailing aerospace industry. Missile defense is especially important to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon “as a medium-to-long term source of revenue and profits to help them recover from recent management and technical problems that have slashed their stock prices in half and reduced their profit margins,” according to the Arms Trade Resource Center.
“Our government is being bribed by these corporations pushing for Star Wars,” charges Alice Slater, president of the New York-based Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE). “They have absolutely no regard for the safety and well-being of the world. This is almost a clich about corporate greed-at a grand scale.”
On the other side, aerospace corporations say that they are working to protect the U.S. — more necessary now than ever after September 11th, they stress.
“This notion that space is going to remain a peaceful area in the future is absolutely putting our heads in the sand. It is just a fact of life,” emphasized retired U.S. Space Command commander-in-chief, General Howell Estes, to the Colorado Springs Independent in December. “The fact of the matter is man is a warlike being.That’s the nature of the beast, and we just can’t be naive about it.”
Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space sees the Bush Administration’s massive military build up in direct competition with funding for social programs.
“Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on Star Wars will take money away from education, programs for women and children, and health care,” said Gagnon. “There is a direct link between promoting weapons for space and the destabilization of our communities. People must connect these struggles.”
Karl Grossman is professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. He is the author of Weapons in Space from Seven Stories Press and narrator of the TV documentary Star Wars Returns, from EnviroVideo .
Vision 2020: Destructo Swarmboats
document created by the us space command. seriously.
long range plan
here’s a book on SPACE POWER THEORY by some guy
Global Gridlock: How the US Military-Industrial Complex Seeks to Contain and Control the Earth and Its Eco-System
By Dr. Kingsley Dennis
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8499
Global Research, March 31, 2008
The Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges once famously wrote of a great Empire that created a map that was so detailed it was as large as the Empire itself. The actual map itself grew and decayed as the Empire itself conquered or lost territory. When the Empire finally crumbled, all that remained was the map. In some sense we can say that it is the map in which we live; we occupy a location within a simulation of reality. Although semanticists say that ‘the map is not the territory’, within this digitised age the territory is increasingly becoming the map and the separation between the physical and the digitised rendition is blurring. In this context, to ‘know the map’ gives priority to intervene upon the physical. In recent years many of us have been scrambling to get ‘on the Net’ and thus be ‘mapped’; within a few years we may find that living ‘off the Net’ will no longer be an option.
It is my argument that the future direction of present technological emergence is one that seeks to go beyond networks; rather it is towards ubiquitous technologies that offer a complete immersive (or rather ‘sub-mersive’) experience of a digitised environment. With networks there is always the possibility of moving into the grey and illusive areas in-between. These are the areas where the networks do not, or cannot, cover; neglected zones of poverty and risk, and insecure zones of warlord regions, and smuggling zones. With immersive technological mapping there may one day be no ‘spaces in-between’; the distinction between ‘in’ and ‘out’ dissolved; boundaries melted away under the digital gaze. In this article I argue that the US military-industrial complex is attempting to gain full dominance over the complete information spectrum, including dominating the electro-magnetic spectrum and the Internet, in order to gain full total coverage for purposes of containment and control.
Moving Towards Full Spectrum Dominance
As is now well-known, in 2002 the US Pentagon’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) responded to the alleged lack of intelligence data after the September 11th attacks by establishing the ‘Total Information Awareness’ office, commandeered by John Poindexter1. According to Poindexter’s own words,
“We must be able to detect, classify, identify, and track…This is a high level, visionary, functional view of the world-wide system…The mission here is to take the competing hypotheses from the analytical environment and estimate a range of plausible futures. The objective is to identify common nodes, representing situations that could occur, and to explore the probable impact of various actions or interventions that authorities might make in response to these situations.” (Poindexter, 2002)
The latest program in this surveillance project is the Space Based Infrared System (called SBIRS High) that aims to track all global infra-red signatures as well as, what is termed, ‘counterspace situational awareness’ (Dinerman, 2004). The 80s ‘Star Wars’ missile defence project of Reaganite US security policy has been craftily converted into intercepting today’s ‘enemy’: not necessarily rogue missiles, but information and domestic ‘earth-bound’ security. The US military also has in operation the IKONOS remote sensing satellite, which travels at 17, 000 mph 423 miles into space, circumnavigating the globe every 98 minutes, with a 3-foot resolution capacity. Such satellites belong to the private company Space Imaging Inc, who work for the military due to US law that restricts the US government operating upon their own soil (Brzezinski, 2004). Also, the US military RADARSAT satellite uses radar to see through clouds, smoke and dust. The US National Security Agency (NSA) utilizes top of the range KEYHOLE-11 satellites that have a 10-inch resolution, which means headlines can be read from someone sitting on a bench in Iran, although this resolution remains officially unacknowledged (Brzezinski, 2004).
As an example of more distributed and networked ‘industrial/civil surveillance’, many bridges within North America have acoustic sensors and underwater sonar devices anchored to the base of the bridges to check for the presence of divers, to prevent anyone from placing explosives on the riverbed. These devices are then linked to a central hub for monitoring information feedback. Such post 9-11 fears have led to the setting up of USHomeGuard, a private company established by Jay Walker (founder of Priceline.com), which utilises over a million webcams to watch over 47,000 pieces of critical infrastructure across the US, eg; pipelines, chemical plants, bridges, dams. These webcams are monitored continuously by observers working from home (Brzezinski, 2004). Crandall sees this as a part of the emerging ‘contemporary regime of spectacle…machine-aided process of disciplinary attentiveness, embodied in practice, that is bound up within the demands of a new production and security regime’ (Crandall, 2005). This operational practice, as Crandall sees it, confirms a ‘codification of movement’ and ‘manoeuvres of strategic possibility’, and leading to a ‘resurgence in temporal and locational specificity’ (Crandall, 2005). This is directly related with the US military construction towards an agenda of complete coverage: in their terms, ‘full spectrum dominance’2. In 1997 the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force predicted that within three years ‘we shall be capable of finding, tracking, and targeting virtually in real time any significant element moving on the face of the earth’ (cited in Crandall, 2005).
Perhaps a little premature yet it appears that the US military-industrial machine is attempting to enclose the global open system; to transform it and enmesh it within a closed system of total information awareness; to cover, track, and gaze omnisciently over all flows, mobilities, and transactions. It is a move towards a total system, an attempt to gain some degree of mastery over the unpredictability of global flows through the core component of dominating informational flows. As part of this project the US military are currently establishing a linkage of satellites into what has been dubbed the military ‘Internet in the sky’, which will form part of their secure informational network named as the Global Information Grid, or GIG (Weiner, 2004). First conceived in 1998, and now in construction, $200 billion has already been estimated as a cost for both the hardware and software (Weiner, 2004). This war-net, as the military also term it, forms the core of the US military’s move towards appropriating network-centric warfare (Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 2001a; Arquilla and Ronfeldt, 2001b; Dickey, 2004; Weiner, 2004). The chief information officer at the US Defense Department was noted for saying that ‘net-centric principles were becoming “the centre of gravity” for war planners’ (Weiner, 2004). Some of the names of the military contractors involved in this project include Boeing; Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard; IBM; Lockheed Martin; Microsoft; Raytheon; and Sun Microsystems (Weiner, 2004). As part of this complete coverage – or ‘full spectrum dominance’ – the US military hopes to be able to communicate and control an increasing arsenal of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), integrated into what they are calling the ‘Multimedia Intelligent Network of Unattended Mobile Agents’ (Minuteman). This in turn is part of a larger military project on Intelligent Autonomous Agent Systems (Science-Daily, 2002).
Recently, a document entitled Information Operation Roadmap was declassified by the Pentagon and made public by the National Security Archive on January 26, 2006. According to this document the term ‘information operations’ includes
The integrated employment of the core capabilities of Electronic Warfare, Computer Network Operations, Psychological Operations, Military Deception and Operations Security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decisions-making while protecting our own. (DoD, 2003: 22)
The document continues by outlining how the US military needs to secure a future electromagnetic capability ‘sufficient to provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum, denying, degrading, disrupting, or destroying the full spectrum of globally emerging communication systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependant on the electromagnetic spectrum’ (DoD, 2003: 61). Clearly, the recommendation here is for developing, and extending, current capabilities in order to have full and complete dominance over all globally emerging telecommunications and their hardware.
This shift in military affairs involves re-strategizing informational systems toward what the military see as a ‘transformational communications architecture’ to ‘help create a nimbler, more lethal military force to which information is as vital as water and ammunition’ (Dickey, 2004). Brig. Gen. Robert Lennox, deputy chief of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, describes the military vision as ‘one seamless battlefield, which is linked without the bounds of time or space, to knowledge centres, and deployment bases throughout the world’ (Dickey, 2004). Beginning in 2008 the US Navy plans to replace its Ultra High Frequency Follow-On satellite network with a Mobile User Objective System which will provide voice and data communications through wireless hand-held receivers as part of the Global Information Grid (GIG). The ‘Internet in the Sky’ that will form part of the GIG will consist of both AEHF and TSAT satellite programs (Dickey, 2004). Each AEHF satellite has the capacity to serve as many as 4,000 networks and 6,000 users at once; and the proposed TSAT satellites are claimed to be ten times more powerful than the AEHF. These proposals are currently underway as part of the US’s ‘revolution in military affairs’ to develop not only a superior battlefield information network but also to ‘extend the information grid to deploy mobile users around the globe, creating a new capability for combat communications on the move’ (Dickey, 2004). As for the new generation of surveillance satellites launched since 2005, when these systems are fully operational the elite military complex will be able to gain precise information not only upon alleged ‘enemies’ but also upon the movements of almost any individual upon the planet, at almost any time, anywhere. The complexity of security communications and sensitive information is being targeted within military strategy in an effort to enclose all; to survey the full spectrum of an open system in a bid to collect and contain. In short, to transform the unknown into a known closed system: the containment of the complex global system. This also can be seen within the security of complexity, circulation, and contingency.
Dillon considers that this ‘global security problematic’ is concerned with the circulation of everything as in ‘a systemically interdependent world everything is connected or, in principle, is able to be connected, to everything else’ (Dillon, 2005). For Dillon, circulation shifts the new global security problematic ‘from a “geo-strategic” into an “ecological” problem characterised by the escalatory dynamics of complex interdependencies’ (Dillon, 2005). The challenge of global security in this context lies in the contingency between calculability and doubt. Dillon further sees this as being behind the trend in US military affairs towards the complexity sciences: ‘the fascination of military-strategic science in the United States especially with complexity, chaos, nonlinearity and the new science of life introduced by the digital and molecular revolutions has proclaimed as much since the early 1990s’ (Dillon, 2003).
Security and power relations now clearly transcend traditional geo-political boundaries. Security is both socio-technical and biometric, with the security problematic becoming increasingly virtual and codified, ordered with attempted control of disorder (Dillon, 2003). The militarization of complex global open systems has serious implications for issues of civil liberty, and notions of the surveillance state.
Such domains of complex interdependencies are radicalising, in a militaristic sense, information, communication, command, control, and surveillance. The internal/external circulation and flows characteristic of open systems (whether informational or physical) are under interrogation from Western hegemonic, specifically US, military strategies in an attempt to close them down, plug-up the pores of flows and to blanket-coverage all potential contingencies. These are the operations of clandestine strategies that seek to contain the unpredictable and to map all physical-digital movements and traces.
Emerging technologies that ‘locate’ and ‘trace’ present a world where ‘every object and human is tagged with information specifications including history and position – a world of information overlays that is no longer virtual but wedded to objects, places, and positions’ (Crandall, 2005). Such meshing of the physical and the digital through the medium of sentient communicators is what is foreseen here as steering towards a digitally-rendered global system vulnerable to control via a technical-military elite. This scenario is exactly that as envisioned by ex-US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski, in his ‘Between Two Ages : America’s Role in the Technetronic Era’ (1970), put forward the concept of a future ‘technotronic era’ whereby a more controlled society would gradually emerge, dominated by an elite unrestrained by traditional values. Brzezinski wrote that ‘Power will gravitate into the hands of those who control information’ (Brzezinski, 1970: 1), adding that surveillance and data mining will encourage ‘tendencies through the next several decades toward a technocratic era, a dictatorship leaving even less room for political procedures as we know them’ (Brzezinski, 1970: 12). By gaining control over informational technological communications Brzezinski outlined how this could help achieve control and order over the public:
“Unhindered by the restraints of traditional liberal values, this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by the latest modern techniques for influencing public behavior and keeping society under close surveillance and control.” (Brzezinski, 1970: 252)
Also important to consider is that many military technologies become appropriated and absorbed into civil technologies. For example, by 2003 a quarter of all rental vehicles at US agencies used some form of GPS tracking: not only for driver-location but also for the rental agency to know where the car has travelled, and its speed. Also, cars with speakerphones can be enabled from remote devices in order to listen in and eavesdrop on occupants in a car under surveillance, as has been utilized by police forces in the US (Brzezinski, 2004). This type of digitalised surveillance at-a-distance can have serious implications upon increasingly surveyed, tracked, and mapped social practices. It also suggests that technically-based northern ‘societies’ are being manoeuvred towards a surveyed and sensored, or synchronic society
Sensoring the Ecosphere: The Coming of a Synchronic Society?
The development of increasingly sentient ‘smart’ environments will go some way towards creating a more systemic relationship of interconnections and interdependencies between humans, objects/machines, and locality. This possibility has led some commentators to speak of an emerging cybernomadic landscape (Saveri, 2004). Here, the emphasis is on an embedded sensory world that will influence and fundamentally alter social practices. Such a cybernomadic landscape has been defined, in a recent IFTF report, by three primary forces of physical-digital fusion; the augmented self; and digitally catalysed masses (Saveri, 2004: 2). Similarly, De Rosnay sees this future as a form of symbiotic humanity: ‘each person functions as a node in this hypernetwork. Symbiotic humanity is both the totality of the network and one of its elements; it exists through the network and the network exists only through it’ (de Rosnay, 2000: 143). In all cases it involves networking with, utilizing, and interacting with objects, something which futurist and author Bruce Sterling refers to as a ‘synchronic society’:
A synchronic society generates trillions of catalogable, searchable, trackable trajectories…Embedded in a monitored space and time and wrapped in a haze of process, no object stands alone; it is not a static thing, but a shaping-thing. (Sterling, 2005: 50)
And a ‘shaped-thing’ may in the future rely upon more efficient and ubiquitous radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, now often euphemistically termed as arphids. These RFID tags can be networked into a global system of positioning and identification:
Your arphid monitors are hooked into the satellite based Global Positioning System. Then your network becomes a mobile system of interlinked objects that are traceable across the planet’s surface, from outer space, with one-meter accuracy, around the clock, from pole to pole. (Sterling, 2005: 92)
A physical-digital augmented environment interlinked with objects is, as Sterling states, based upon identification. Objects, as well as individuals, need to be identified, both in their object-self identity as well as in their positions. And yet this shift is not limited towards individuals or objects; it also extends into Nature and the ecosystem.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced that it considered today’s computer maps of the Earth to be inaccurate. Investment has been put into producing better computer generated terrain maps of the Earth using both radar and laser scanning (Piquepaille, 2005), with a future view for placing radio-towers on the moon or Mars3. These updated moves towards securing a military full spectrum dominance incorporate the latest known developments in smart sensors whereby complex computerised devices at the miniature, or even nano level, will be able to 24/7 monitor ecological, social, and/or biological environments and people:
These new computers would take the form of networks of sensors with data-processing and transmission facilities built in. Millions or billions of tiny computers — called ‘motes’, ‘nodes’ or ‘pods’ — would be embedded into the fabric of the real world. They would act in concert, sharing the data that each of them gathers so as to process them into meaningful digital representations of the world. Researchers could tap into these ‘sensor webs’ to ask new questions or test hypotheses. Even when the scientists were busy elsewhere, the webs would go on analysing events autonomously, modifying their behaviour to suit their changing experience of the world. (Butler, 2006a)
Such a scenario, if realised, would drastically alter the material and social fabric of the living world.
Deborah Estrin, director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing in Los Angeles, California, sees ‘the sensor-web revolution as an important thread in a grander tapestry of global monitoring, which involves billions of dollars being poured into projects to monitor the continents and oceans’ (Butler, 2006a). For example, upcoming projects include:
The $200 million EarthScope project from the NSF: 3,000 stations are to be erected that will ‘track faint tremors, measure crustal deformation and make three-dimensional maps of the earth’s interior from crust to core. Some 2,000 more instruments are to be mobile – wireless and sun- or wind-powered – and 400 devices are to move east in a wave from California across the nation over the course of a decade’ (Broad, 2005)
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is to be established at an estimated cost of $500 million. The plan is for a coast-to-coast NEON to ‘involve perhaps 15 circular areas 250 miles in diameter, each including urban, suburban, agricultural, managed and wild lands. Each observatory would have radar for tracking birds and weather as well as many layers of motes and robots and sensors, including some on cranes in forest canopies’ (Broad, 2005)
The ‘Interagency Working Group on Earth Observations’, backed by the National Science & Technology Council within the Executive Office of the President, US, has recently published their Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System (IWGEO, 2005). Their vision is to discover, access, collect, manage, archive, process, and model earth geological data in order to better forecast such flows as weather, energy resources, natural resources, pre and post-disasters, as well as a host of other integrated processes. In their words: ‘The Earth is an integrated system. Therefore, all the processes that influence conditions on the Earth are linked and impact one another. A subtle change in one process can produce an important effect in another. A full understanding of these processes and the linkages between them require an integrated approach, including observation systems and their data streams’ (IWGEO, 2005: 47)
The report Strategic Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System (IWGEO, 2005) discusses a vast range of geological integrated monitoring systems. However, a caveat here is necessary, for the above projects towards environmental mapping contain shades of a western geographical imagination.
Cartography, as a pioneering navigational science and art, has long been used for validating colonial expansion, Imperial incursions, and for designating western territorial trophies. The geographical imagination is continually formed as residues of knowledge build one upon the other as images become re-appropriated for geo-political agendas. The western global imagination has participated in the de-centring of global geographies in past centuries, and may again be party to later digital formations of knowledge gathering and geo-strategies of dominance and power. As with the Plan for the U.S. Integrated Earth Observation System which aims to monitor, track, catalogue, and forecast global processes and movements, geographical spaces will be subjected to a US-centric digital gaze. Denis Cosgrove views such a gaze as ‘implicitly imperial, encompassing a geometric surface to be explored and mapped, inscribed with content, knowledge and authority’ (2001: 15).
Emerging technologies in information-sensoring indicate an authoritarian, predominantly military, strategy for Earth monitoring. Increasingly, relationships between humans/devices/environments are being merged, or steered, towards a new construction of social life – one that embeds the individual, as a digitally-rendered identity, within a global informational ‘grid-lock’.
If such an irreversible shift is made towards digitally-rendered societies this would arguably ‘lock-in’ a form of monitored control society. With such predictions of an increasingly sensored and enmeshed global system it is difficult to see how living ‘off the Net’ will be a choice in the near future.
As this article has argued there are both overt and covert strategies within the US military-industrial complex towards securing full spectrum dominance over global information flows, which include dominating the electro-magnetic spectrum and the Internet. Increasingly western technological societies are moving towards developing sensored environments whereby information is processed on individuals as well as securing geographical data. This suggests a future whereby in order to move legitimately an individual will be subjected to a complex network of informational tracking and verification. This will undoubtedly see an increased militarisation of the civil sphere. Such a re-configuration of the social, through increased dependency upon physical-digital systems, will inevitably involve various structural relations of power. For example, individuals not deemed ‘worthy’ will be denied the right of movement through digitally-controlled spaces. This is not to imply that all acts of social passage will necessarily be uncomfortably noticed by the general legitimised user. It is likely that in-built strategies of marginalisation will be increasingly ‘normalised’ as part of shifting social practices: a regular state of affairs within a twenty-first century beset by manipulated terror in-securities.
Further, there are indications that these entwined and embedded information flows will seek to incorporate not only the physical and digital, but also the biological. In other words, each unit of information will be sought to be coded and therefore ‘secured’ under a full spectrum dominance agenda. Goonatilake (1999) sees this as moving towards a meta-communications environment that will merge human/genetic, cultural, machine as information codes and which will serve as information carriers:
The future will thus result in intense communications not only between machines and humans, but also with genetic systems so that information in the three realms of genes, culture and machines will result in one interacting whole. The three for all purposes would be interacting as one communicating system. (Goonatilake, 1999: 197)
We may soon be moving towards a momentous shift, perhaps the most important paradigmatic shift our current civilization has ever witnessed: a transformation into a digitally contained and controlled global environment.
This leaves the future vulnerable to extreme possibilities. Already there has been much Internet ‘chatter’ about the potential this offers for ‘exotic’ containment and control practices, including the possibility that a space-based, armed communications network is capable of beaming electromagnetic pulse technology upon virtually any chosen spot on the Earth. The potential here for mass mind control strategies is severely worrying and unnerving.
As we move towards the second decade of the twenty-first century we come increasingly close to a crossroads. One path indicates a move towards a deep and entrenched militarisation of the civil sphere where control and containment are the order of the day; the other path leads towards increased civil participation, engagement, and empowerment. It is perhaps a choice between global emancipation or complete global grid-lock.
Dr. Kingsley Dennis is a Research Associate in the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) based at the Sociology Department at Lancaster University, U.K. His research involves examining physical–digital convergences and how these might impact upon social processes. He is concerned with the digital rendition of identity and the implications of surveillance technologies.
E–mail: Kingsley [at] kingsleydennis [dot] co [dot] uk
Star Wars – The Next Generation: The Space Based Laser
(from SGR Newsletter 23, July 2001)
Dave Webb on this key military technology and the background to its development
On Tuesday April 24 at 7pm Global Network (GN, Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space) members and supporters gathered at the Continuing Education Building of the University of New Mexico to protest. Just a few days previously the campus paper had announced the award of a ‘defence’ grant to its Electrical and Computer Engineering department for work on a super laser weapon project. Also, just a few blocks away at UNM’s Institute for Space and Nuclear Studies, work is being carried out on nuclear power supplies for space vehicles and platforms. What have these two projects in common? The answer lies in the Space-Based Laser Integrated Flight Experiment, which forms what George Bush calls the “next generation weaponry” and is at the heart of our campaign against “weapons and nuclear power in space”. Part of the ‘experiment’ is to build a Space-Based Laser Readiness Demonstrator – this is a scaled down version (at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion) of the proposed weapon system which would eventually be deployed for theater ballistic missile defense and as an anti-satellite weapon.
If the SBL IFX is successful, the US Department of Defense will decide whether to deploy a fully operational network of 20-30 laser battle stations giving global coverage. The first launch of an operational system could occur in 2020 and it could take several years to launch the full constellation of spacecraft around Earth. The Pentagon estimates that the total SBL program will cost $30 billion.
Why the nuclear connection? Any pace-based laser will require tremendous amounts of power and, as a study commissioned by the US Congress notes “nuclear reactors thus remain the only known long-lived, compact source able to supply military space forces with electric power” … nuclear reactors “could meet multimegawatt needs of space-based lasers, neutral particle beams, mass drivers, and railguns.”
Also – New World Vistas: Air And Space Power For The 2lst Century, states: “In the next two decades, new technologies will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness … These advances will enable lasers with reasonable mass and cost to effect very many kills.” But “power limitations … currently make large space-based radars and space-based weapons relatively unfeasible … A natural technology to enable high power is nuclear power in space.” This is the reason why nuclear power is being developed for use in outer space.
So – the development of a SBL is already well underway – and forms a major part of the US Space Command plans to “dominate” and “master” space. As international weapons expert John Pike has said:
“Whoever controls space has control of Earth … the United States is unable to resist it. If the U.S. is in a position to control Earth from outer space, there’s nothing to stop us. Of course we’re going to do it.”
In January this year US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of a “space Pearl Harbor” and a commission he formerly headed unveiled a report calling for tighter security for American space systems. “The US … needs to take seriously the possibility of an attack on US space systems,” said the report “… The US is more dependent on space than any other nation” and the report called for a ‘technological push’ to foil threats from foreign nations or terrorists.
However, as reported in the Spring 2001 GN Newsletter, the environmental assessment for the SBL refers to the possibility of a catastrophic explosion that could result in a sudden release of a large quantity of toxic materials and/or destruction of surrounding structures with additional environmental consequences – although no reason for such an assessment of risk is given. Just another reason why the SBL is nicknamed “Death Star”. It is a frighteningly ambitious component of Star Wars to be used as a boost-phase missile interceptor and satellite destroyer
Boost-Phase Missile Interception
Lasers are very attractive to the military because they travel so fast – at the speed of light. Therefore they are being seriously considered for intercepting missiles during their boost-phase. Apart from the SBL, two other methods of achieving this with lasers are currently being funded – airborne and ground based High Energy Laser systems.
Of course, one major difficulty with this approach (apart from the fact that it might be technically difficult – if not impossible – and extremely expensive) is that boost-phase defences would break the ABM Treaty (if it still exists at the time of this presentation!). However – as we know – a number of influential US generals and politicians believe that the laser weapon provides such a valuable defense that it is worth abrogating the treaty.
The stated advantages of a boost-phase system for Ballistic Missile Defence Systems are that it would:
- provide another tier of missile defence;
- remove the problem of debris falling over the target area (as occurs with “terminal intercept”);
- prevent the deployment of multiple warheads;
- does not require the ability to differentiate between war-heads and decoys;
- would deter the use of payloads through threat of “country of origin impact of debris”.
It also, of course, enhances the US first strike capability and its ability to knock out other nation’s space hardware. The SBL can also be used for NMD as well as TMD – in fact strategic missiles would be more vulnerable to laser attack in boost phase than theatre missiles because of their longer boost times. They also have higher burn-out altitudes which reduces the atmospheric effects that would interfere with laser beam propagation from space.
An alternative space based system would incorporate fewer SBL platforms (perhaps 3) with a number of orbiting relay mirrors (perhaps 24) to direct the beams. A number of configurations are possible  and this type of configuration is favoured by many military.
The Air Force, Army and Navy all started working on lasers in the mid-1960s, and the idea of a SBL has been around since 1977. Initial tests involve a megawatt-class chemical laser with a large, multi-segmented mirror that unfurls and locks into place to create a 13-foot (4-meter) diameter reflecting surface. The entire spacecraft would weigh between 45,000 and 50,000 pounds (20,455 and 22,700 kilograms). The competing lasers are hydrogen fluoride (HF), deuterium fluoride (DF), and chemical oxygen iodine (COIL).
The HF laser uses atomic fluorine and molecular hydrogen to produce excited hydrogen fluorine molecules producing several simultaneous wavelengths in the range of 2.7 – 2.9 microns. At these wavelengths the beam is mostly absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and can only be used above the earth’s atmosphere e.g. for the SBL. A HF laser has been test fired at the TRW San Juan Capistrano test facility in California.
The DF laser uses deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) and atomic fluorine. Longer wavelength laser light than for HF lasers is produced (3.5 – 4 microns), giving better transmission through the atmosphere but requiring larger optical surfaces to shape and focus the beam.
The Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) was developed at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Albuquerque in 1977. It is the basis of the $1.2 billion Air Force Airborne Laser Attack Aircraft – scheduled for anti-missile tests in 2003.
n October 1997 the Pentagon conducted a “laser dazzler” test against one of its satellites using the Army’s MIRACL DF laser (Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser) based at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. In 1996 a MIRACL laser shot down a rocket at the same site.
A new, lightweight, “all gas” Iodine Laser, or AGIL has also been developed by the Air Force Research Lab. This laser uses nitrogen chloride and iodine which are mixed in a vacuum chamber. AGIL has a better atmospheric transmission, which is important for a laser weapon required to reach targets in the atmosphere or even near the surface of the Earth. A basic weapon-size AGIL laser will take at least until 2003 to develop, demonstrate and test.
The Army’s Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) system is designed by a team led by TRW Corp. After the war in Lebanon in April 1996, Israel was promised by the Clinton administration that the U.S. would help develop a laser-based anti-missile system capable of destroying incoming Katyusha rockets. The US Army and the Israeli Ministry of Defense paid weapons contractor TRW $200 million to build a HF laser to generate a powerful infrared beam that can pass through the atmosphere.
On 6 June 2000 the THEL intercepted and destroyed an armed Russian made Katyusha rocket at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. and on Aug. 28 and Sept 14 the demonstrator shot down two rockets launched in succession. The system detected the 10 foot long, 5 inch diameter rocket with its radar before shooting it down. THEL has a range of about 12 miles and costs about $3,000 per destroyed rocket to use.
The U.S. military’s first high energy weapon is likely to be the Airborne Laser mounted on a Boeing 747, it is being designed to acquire, track, and destroy theatre ballistic missiles. The system is expected to be deployed in 10 years. The Air Force has proposed spending $11 billion to develop a fleet of seven airborne lasers that could be used for battlefield anti-missile defense at a cost of about $10,000 per shot, based on the price of the laser fuel.
Last month Raytheon Electronic Systems, a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin Space Systems, carried out a ‘first light’ test of the Track Illuminator Laser (TILL) at the High Energy Laser Centre in El Segundo in California. The TILL is part of the Beam Control/Fire Control system for the US Air Force’s Airborne Laser (ABL) programme, which will aim and fire a high-energy laser at a target missile in its boost phase.
However, also last month Nathan Kopeika of Ben-Gurion University told a conference in Florida that he believes engineers working on the Airborne Laser (ABL) project have overlooked the effect of tiny dust particles in the atmosphere, called aerosols. These could scatter and weaken the laser beam, making it incapable of destroying incoming missiles. “We found that, after a propagation of 100 kilometres, aerosols can widen a laser beam up to a cross section one kilometre wide–several orders of magnitude worse than optical turbulence,” he said.
The Space Based Laser represents the ultimate in current military thinking about space weaponry and demonstrates the extent to which the US Space Command is prepared to go to realize their vision of domination. We must continue to bring these issues to the attention of the citizens of the world – this is no way to spend our limited resources, no way to increase global security, no way to take our first steps outside our own planet. We must strive to keep space for peace.
On 21 December, 2000, the Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, was selected as the site of the SBL performance test facility. Local people will be holding a vigil at the site on 12 May and on 13 October there will be an action at Stennis as part of the GN International Day of Action.
More information and links on the SBL can be obtained from the Federation of American Scientists’ web-site – http://www.fas.org
More details about the continuing campaign against weapons in space from the Global Network web-site – http://space4peace.org
SPACE BASED LASER INTEGRATED FLIGHT EXPERIMENT (SBL IFX) In February 1999, a joint $4 billion venture between the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin (Sunnyvale, California), Boeing (Canoga Park, California) and TRW (El Segundo, California) formed the SBL IFX. The program is funded by the U.S. Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and managed by the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles California.The program’s objective is to conduct a research effort to advance and assess the feasibility of the Space Based Laser (SBL) concept and its technologies, culminating in an SBL ballistic missile defense (BMD) demonstration in space, as well as an assessment of non-BMD mission utility. – SBL IFX Fact Sheet(emphasis added) It is supposed to intercept enemy ballistic missiles and kill hostile satellites from space. It is due to go into orbit in 2012 and carry out tests for about three years However, if Congress votes to accelerate funding it could be space-based and ready to test by 2010.SBL IFX has included programs such as Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), High Energy Laser System Test Facility (HELSTF), Alpha, Large Optics Demonstration Experiment (LODE), Large Advanced Mirror Program (LAMP), Alpha-LAMP Integration (ALI), Talon Gold, Zenith Star and Airborne Laser (ABL).
The Contractors Boeing – leader of the Team Airborne Laser (ABL) (with Lockheed and TRW). Responsible for the weapon system integration and supplying the 747-400F aircraft and battle management, command, control, communications, computers and intelligence. Lockheed Martin – supply the Beam Control/Fire Control system that points and fires the weapon with sufficient energy to destroy the target. Provides the acquisition, tracking and beam control expertise, as well as significant spacecraft integration skills for the Space-Based Laser (SBL) program. TRW – design and development of the system’s COIL laser and providing ground support. (Lynne Cheney recently resigned from the board of Lockheed Martin, Dick Cheney has been a member of the board of TRW.)
Terrifying Fantasy Of The Pentagon
TO maintain space superiority, we must have the ability to control the ‘high ground’ of space. To do so, we must be able to operate freely in space, deny the use of space to our adversaries, protect ourselves from attack in and through space and develop and deploy a NMD capability.
This is the stated goal of the United States Air Force (USAF) in its 2000 Strategic Master Plan for space. The goal for the USAF is “Full Spectrum Domination,” a phrase that is far more blunt than its earlier incarnation — “Global Battlespace Dominance.” Space is no longer principally (and perhaps only) the Final Frontier, the place of exploration by humans for other forms of life and for techniques to further develop our lives on earth. It is now the latest terrain for US imperial designs. But it is not space itself that the US military planners wish to colonise. They do not foresee combat in space, mainly because no rival is even close on the horizon to entangle their forces with the US in a gravity-less environment.
FOR US MILITARY SUPERIORITY ON EARTH
The space weaponry designed and put into operation by the USAF is geared toward an effective military hegemony over those of us feeble earthlings who may never launch a missile into space. Weapons designers have not made space armaments to conduct dogfights in space; they have produced very sophisticated devices whose goal is to knock out rival satellites in space as well as to conduct surveillance of civilians and of military targets on earth.
The names of the high-tech arsenal stagger the imagination: oxygen suckers, kinetic energy rods, microwave guns, destructo swarmboats, microsatellites, microwave guns, space-based lasers, pyrotechnic electromagnetic pulses, robo-bugs, holographic decoys, suppression clouds, cluster satellites and, finally, hyperspectral imaging devices such as Warfighter I which will be launched in early September by the Pentagon. Each of these devices will enhance US military superiority for engagements on the earth, provide military intelligence to the CIA and the Pentagon, and offer a decisive edge to US-based corporations. (The latter, along with defence contractors, will dominate the technology, as well as engage in high-tech industrial espionage. Since 1998, commercial space launches overtook military ones, and only eight of the satellites in orbit belong to the US military, the rest to other powers and, crucially, to US-based corporations. In December 2000, the US defence department authorised money for two laser weapon projects, one by TRW, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and a second by TRW to build the “Alpha High-Energy Laser.”) Full-spectrum domination lives up to its name.
Reality is far more bizarre than Hollywood. Science fiction, since its birth in the late nineteenth century, has been a very popular genre both on paper and on the screen. The modern imagination, fired by technological advances, stretched the boundaries of human possibility, both for our betterment and downfall. The English novelist H G Wells sent us to the moon much before the NASA did, and the US television shows like “Buck Rogers” and “Star Trek” offered us a vision of space domination decades before the Pentagon.
But science fiction also has its good side. For example, the early twentieth century Bengali writer Rokeya Hussein’s feminist paradise combated drought through the canalisation of clouds — one way to dream of technology aiding human suffering. There is, however, nothing recoupable in the Pentagon’s fantasy, since it is entirely wed to domination of the world. How can ‘oxygen suckers’ or ‘suppression clouds’ relieve the hunger and oppression of those who live under their cover? Some scientific development does not come with a silver lining.
TOWARDS THE END OF DÉTENTE
Furthermore, the turn to “Full Spectrum Domination” inaugurates for us the end of the era of détente. The US and the USSR, as well as the three other nuclear powers, adopted the theory of détente as a means to keep the nuclear stalemate in check, to prevent an actual nuclear exchange by the acknowledgement of their mutual power. With the collapse of the USSR and the enfeeblement of the Russian military, the US can now disregard the canons of détente and fashion its current theory of international relations: domination. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972 is, as US president George W Bush put it, without meaning. And perhaps this is one of those few moments when he is right when he least expects to be so: the US Pentagon’s activities on the “Full Spectrum Domination” front have already rendered the ABM moot, and it seems that the other nuclear powers have begun to bargain for favours within the new domination regime. (These include the BJP-led Indian government, eager as always to back the US on the missile defence issue.)
On August 13, Russian president Vladimir Putin and US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld met in Moscow. While Putin used the language of ‘negotiations,’ Rumsfeld treated the conversation as ‘consultations.’ The US right-wing, which controls the branches of government, sees the world as an object that must accede to its will and not as subjects with whom one must negotiate. This is a crucial difference in the international relations logic and it is reflected in the strategic shifts in arms deployment. With “Full Spectrum Domination,” who will dare to challenge the US Pentagon (and its allies)?
The US Air Force’s 2000 Strategic Master Plan for space informs us that the National Missile Defence (NMD) concept is but one part of a triad: the other two parts are improved space surveillance and anti-satellite offensive weaponry. NMD, then, should not only be seen in light of the ABM, and certainly not in terms of the language of defence. Words like ‘defence’ have long since lost their meaning: the NMD is part of a war strategy, one of three legs for what the Air Force calls ‘space control.’ NMD is now part of the international conversation, whereas the other two legs have been relegated to the internal reports of the US Military. Journalist Jack Hitt calls these reports “an encyclopaedia of our war planners’ dreams.” Indeed, the titles of the reports themselves reveal the terrifying fantasy of the Pentagon: New World Vistas, Long Range Plan, Guardians of the High Frontier, Spacecast 2020, and Counterair: the Cutting Edge.
A reading of the reports indicates, further, that the deployment of space weapons is not in the distant future. On May 8, 2001, Rumsfeld announced that the secretary of the Air Force will “realign headquarters and field commands to more effectively organise, train, and equip for prompt and sustained space operations.” Rumsfeld, who held the same post under the Ford administration, and was the chair of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organisation (report produced in 1998), is a key player in the space weapons game. The Rumsfeld report of 1998 urges the US president to “have the option to deploy weapons in space” and it warns against a “space Pearl Harbour.” The Pentagon has both secured funds for bits and pieces of their plans and they have created the bureaucratic infrastructure for space warfare.
In 1993, the US Air Force established the Space Warfare Centre in Shriever Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Colorado (home to the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD). The centre has three sections — the Space Battle Lab, the Space Warfare School and the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron. Secretary Rumsfeld feted the newly appointed head of the US Space Command, four-star general Ralph E Eberhardt, in May of 2001, and Eberhardt is already being considered to head the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the apex of the military structure. The first full-scale war game was held at SpaceCom in January 2001, and the 527th fought an imaginary ‘near-peer competitor’ nation called Red — perhaps the People’s Republic of China, or since the simulation was set in 2017, any number of nations who may elect the socialist path and be a threat to US “Full Spectrum Domination.”
Pentagon’s SpaceCom’s Long Range Plan notes that “now it is time to begin developing space capabilities, innovative concepts of operations for war-fighting and organisations that can meet the challenge of the 21st century.” At his briefing on May 8, Rumsfeld was asked if the US wants to put weapons in space. His reply was hesitant, but then he said that the US would continue to follow its National Space Policy (adopted on September 19, 1996). He read a part of the text: “The department of defence shall maintain the capability to execute the mission, areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application. Consistent with treaty obligations, the United States will develop, operate and maintain space control capabilities to ensure freedom of action in space, and if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries. These capabilities may also be enhanced by diplomatic, legal and military measures to preclude an adversary’s hostile use of space systems and services.”
Peace-loving states in the United Nations put forward the Outer Space Treaty that would ban weapons in space. But the United States has refused to vote for the treaty. In 1999, the US and Israel abstained from voting, and in 2000 the two states found an ally in Micronesia, a group of islands deeply dependent on US aid. Isolated, but for its opportunistic allies, the US seems unconcerned as it surrounds itself with a fantasy arsenal. The sound of war drums deafens.
and another perspective….fresh air.
|The WTO and the
Global War System
November 28, 1999
Hildebrand Hall, Plymouth Congregational Church
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Forum proceedings edited by Estelle Taylor
Northwest Disarmament Coalition
The WTO and the Global War System was organized by American and Canadian peace groups as part of civil society activities surrounding the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in November, 1999.The forum examined the links between economic globalization, the WTO and militarism. It looked at how the WTO’s promotion of economic globalization undermines security, creates conflict and promotes militarism.
There were four speakers at the forum. Susan George opened the forum by discussing how the current economic system is creating economic and social strife around the world. Mark Ritchie then discussed the history of the Bretton Woods institutions and their original purpose to promote peace. Alice Slater discussed how nuclear weapons are defending American corporate interests, and how the U.S. Space Command envisions the militarization of space to defend American “interests and investments.” And Steven Staples closed the afternoon by discussing how the WTO promotes war economies by protecting military spending and the arms industry. He also offered case studies showing how corporations have been able to use WTO rules and dispute panels to block peace-building economic strategies of peace activists.
The organizers wish to thank GRACE (working on behalf of Abolition 2000) for its financial support, which helped to make this forum a success.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the instruments of globalization and globalization is clearly led by corporations. Transnational corporations are gaining enormous power in the world today, but they can’t make the rules by themselves: they need to have instruments to make those rules for them. One of the instruments they use is the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF has pried open the markets of the indebted countries in the South and in the East and has forced those countries to “liberate” their capital accounts so that capital can flow in and out at will, has forced them to concentrate on export crops, has forced them to privatize everything in sight and leave everything open to international investment.Now the biggest rule-writer the corporations have is the WTO. The WTO is really writing a constitution to facilitate the affairs of transnational corporations and allow them to globalize as they see fit, in a world that will be organized of, by, and for corporations. It’s the corporations’ utopian dream.
Globalization itself does three things. One, it pushes money from the bottom to the top. Wealth moves upwards, towards those who already have wealth. All over the place inequalities are growing and wealth is moving towards the top. Two, globalization moves power from the bottom to the top, and concentrates it in the hands of very few people. In particular, it concentrates it at the international level where there’s no democracy and no way for citizens to get a handle on what is happening. Three, globalization is creating a myriad of losers. It is creating a slice of people who are not useful to the global economy either as producers or consumers. We’re creating through globalization a three-track society in which there will be the exploiters, the exploited and the outcasts, the people who are not even worth exploiting. This is clearly a scenario for tremendous instability.
Between 1990 and the end of 1996 there were ninety-eight major wars — over-whelmingly civil wars, not inter-country ones — and the Peace Research Institute in Oslo has found that these conflicts share the following characteristics. One, they take place chiefly in poor countries where agriculture is still the main contributor to the GDP. Two, the environmental factors most frequently associated with civil conflict are land degradation, low fresh water availability per capita and high population density, in that order. Three, a particularly strong correlation exists between high external debt and the incidence of civil war. Four, falling export income from primary commodities is closely associated with the outbreak of civil war. Five, a history of vigorous IMF intervention is also positively linked with all forms of political and armed conflict.
Characteristics of War
It’s easy to see how globalization and global institutions such as the IMF and the WTO reinforce virtually every single one of those factors. Let’s look at just a couple of those factors. One, wars take place in poor countries chiefly dependent on agriculture. If the WTO gets its way with the proposed international agricultural agreement, it will result in cheap grain flooding poor countries, destroying what is left of food security. That will mean the ruin of hundreds of thousands of small farmers and their expulsion from the system — more losers and more outcasts. Two, land degradation and low fresh water availability are associated with war. Well, the wars of the future and the wars of today are already wars about water. They are wars between countries and inside societies where the control of this scarce resource is absolutely vital. Just think of it: a wonderful resource, indispensable, can’t do without it, and one that you can control if you are a major transnational. People have got to have it and if you’ve got a monopoly on it, then isn’t that a pretty picture for profit?
Globalization is creating a three-track society in which there will be the exploiters, the exploited and the outcasts, the people who are not even worth exploiting.
Upheavals and Protests
In this three-track society that globalization is creating, of course there are going to be protests. People are not going to take their marginalization and their status as outcasts lying down. It is clear that there are going to be more and more upheavals. The rich in the U.S. have shown that they have a consciousness of this. Wealthy Americans have already moved into 30,000 gated and guarded enclaves and demand for more is high. As well, government arms purchases also reveal an understanding of this threat of upheaval. Countries are not buying as much heavy equipment as they used to; what they’re buying are light arms. They’ve switched from heavy external combat equipment like tanks and planes to less expensive infantry weapons, helicopters and riot control gear because it’s those types of equipment that are important now to use against increasingly restive peoples. As well, the WTO is trying to organize what it calls trade facilitation and harmonization. Translated, that means there will be fewer controls at the border, which means that it will be easier to ship arms and poison.
The following is a quotation from the man who used to be charged with thinking about future warfare for the Pentagon. The quotation shows the similar objectives of the military and the WTO. He says: “The de facto role of the U.S. armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.” ‘Keeping the world safe for our economy’ sounds a lot like the WTO’s talk of facilitating things, and ‘open to our cultural assault’ sounds rather like the WTO’s intellectual property agreement, allowing companies to copyright things identically all over the world. But, there’s another sentence in the quotation. He says, “The de facto role of the U.S. armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing.”
Susan George is the Associate Director of the Transnational Institute. Her latest book is The Lugano Report: on Preserving Capitalism in the 21st Century. Her website is www.tni.org/george/.
It’s a mistake to think globalization is new or economic globalization recent. If you really want to study the broad issue of globalization and militarism, by far the best example is the one closest to home: the colonization of this continent as part of the global economic system 500 years ago. The colonization of this continent was to be a lynch pin in a global economic system that had existed for a long time. This chunk of the global economic system was built on warfare, violence and death connected to the state. Yet today at this forum we are focusing on more recent instruments of globalization and militarism, like the World Trade Organization (WTO).History of the Bretton Woods Institutions
It’s quite ironic: the WTO is an institution that is part of a long history of post-Second World War institutions that were created in an attempt to prevent another world war. The First World War was a commercial war between the trading powers. It was a war over trade without rules, an attempt to secure markets, raw materials and labour. John Maynard Keynes, when he quit the negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the First World War, spoke about this question of how to prevent war. He said the treaty, which would lead to continued impoverishment in Europe, would simply be the root of poverty, of crisis and then of another world war.
Coming out of the experience of both wars, Keynes and other great thinkers and leaders of this century knew that they had to find a way to prevent another world war, since we were beginning to unleash weaponry that could in fact eliminate life on the planet. They knew that economic crisis was the seedbed of fascism, intolerance, bigotry and also belligerency in the international arena and was the fundamental cause of war. It has been clear for a long time to many people that if you want peace you have to struggle for justice — justice in the economic arena as well as in the political and social arenas.
So these thinkers gathered about 50 years ago in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to talk about how to avoid a collapse in the economic system that would lead to conditions of war. At Bretton Woods, there were people who were peace oriented, globally oriented and cooperation oriented. They were trying to find out how to find rules for the international economy that could avoid the kind of crisis that created the world wars. But there were also people at Bretton Woods who wanted to see how the U.S. could turn its post-war industrial stability to its advantage by creating rules that put the United States in control of a global economic crisis.
The institutions were created to be instruments of peace. But they didn’t stay that way.
The Bretton Woods system had three components. One was called the bank for reconstruction, what we now call the World Bank. It was created to reconstruct Europe and also to some extent to reconstruct the Third World. The second component was the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF was originally set up to prevent currency devaluation, though today its main business is forcing currency devaluation. In setting up the IMF, people knew they needed to have a mechanism to keep countries from devaluing their currencies and undercutting other countries. The third Bretton Woods component, to be created a couple of years later, was the International Trade Organization. People knew they needed rules of trade to stop the unregulated global trade that helps create war. In the original drafting of those rules of trade, there were rules against dumping, rules to stop global monopolies and ways to attack anti-competitive global business practices of corporations. There were many good rules, actually, but the United States Senate refused to support the International Trade Organization. All that passed through the Senate was one little component of the trade rules: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which became the WTO in 1995.
Instruments of Injustice
Those post-war global institutions were created to be instruments of peace and to bring the rule of law to global commerce. But they didn’t stay that way. At about the same time these institutions were created, we were faced with the McCarthy Era, or “the Red Scare.” The progressive, internationally minded people within the Bretton Woods institutions were driven out by red-baiting or were fired. The end result was that these institutions became only shells of what they were intended to be by their founders. Over the years things have gone from bad to worse, with many believing today that these institutions are the main instruments of injustice on the planet. The protestors on the streets here in Seattle represent a very broad consensus in this country and around the world that these institutions have to be eliminated or radically reformed.
There are many arguments for having global institutions. If people are impoverished, governments come under pressure and war is the outcome. This tendency can be seen again and again in human history. Look at Iraq. Iraq depends on oil prices for its income. In the early ’90s, the oil-producing countries were over-producing oil and driving its price down. Iraq was getting desperate, but had no international body to which it could appeal. Iraq’s desperation and strain eventually led to actions that led to war.
It stands to reason that if you don’t have something like an international organization with some rules and mechanisms for handling global problems, you’re going to face increasing situations of war and disaster. However, the global institutions that were created to help sort out and handle these problems have in fact become institutions creating the conditions for war.
So, what do we do? It is not enough to just say that these institutions are bad so they should be closed down. Activists must really study what’s going on in the global arena in order to know how to deal with the problems of these institutions. This kind of study will lead activists to the single most important international movement: the peace movement. Nobody else has ever written a treaty like the land mine treaty and then had it adopted. What an incredible accomplishment! We can study this accomplishment and look at the various tools this movement used to put together the global effort to make the treaty happen, and apply those tools to the globalization movement.
The need for global governance is a necessary topic for us in confronting globalization.
Making Linkages Between Movements
There are linkages between the movements for human rights and for justice against slavery and genocide. The anti-slavery movement was one of the earliest kinds of global social movements and it led to the movement to stop the genocide in the region we today call Congo. That movement also gave birth to the 50-year struggle to put international human rights into a declaration of the UN. We need to promote these linkages between these movements as a basis for beginning to understand how we go forward in this economic arena. If we don’t, we’re going to have more wars about raw materials. You cannot increase the human population in a world of finite resources and not have more wars, unless you find the social and political basis for handling the allocation of resources and dealing with the problem that the allocation creates.
Learning from the Peace Movement
If you study the peace movement’s ability to work globally, one of the things you find is that the peace movement was always clearly in opposition to the governmental pursuit of war. The peace movement built a global movement around saying that what the governments were pursuing was wrong and had to be stopped. The peace movement helps us to realize that national governments are not the only legitimate actor in the question of global governance. If we want peace on this planet, we mustn’t ask the governments to give us peace, we must make peace. If we’re going to have global governance, it’s going to have to be the civil society of the planet that provides the legitimization of that process. National governments are not a legitimate basis for constructing a global governance that’s going to solve the economic problems creating threats of war. We now have come to understand that the need for global governance is a necessary topic for us in confronting globalization.
The peace movement says that we have to have global governance. We have to stop these wars. We have to stop this exploitation. We have to stop this destruction of the environment. We have to stop thinking that national governments are the only, or the single, or even the most important building block of that global governance. Global governance must start with the will of the people brought out in public movements in coordination, in cooperation and in collaboration on a global basis. The peace movement needs to bring its wisdom and experience of global organizing into the globalization movement so that the globalization movement can move from being a force of opposition to being a force for creating the real conditions for peace.
Mark Ritchie is the president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org) and a board member of the International Forum on Globalization (www.ifg.org). He serves as the co-chair of the International Forum on Food and Agriculture and Sustainable America.
Despite the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War ten years ago, there are still more than 36,000 nuclear weapons on our planet — 12,000 in the U.S., 23,000 in Russia (with about 5,000 bombs in those countries poised at hair-trigger alert, ready to fire in minutes), hundreds of bombs in the U.K., France, China and Israel, and something less than that number in India and Pakistan.
In 1970 the countries of the world negotiated the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in which the then-five nuclear weapons states — the U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China — would give up their nuclear weapons in return for a promise from the remaining 181 nations not to acquire them. India refused to agree to this arrangement, arguing that it was discriminatory and that the better course would be to negotiate for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Pakistan and Israel, following India’s lead, also refused to sign. The NPT required that there be a review and extension conference 25 years later, so in 1995 the countries convened. To the dismay of NGOs gathered there, five nuclear powers and their allies coerced the rest of the world to get the NPT extended indefinitely and unconditionally.
At this point, the Abolition 2000 network was born. Appalled at the lack of commitment to nuclear disarmament, more than sixty-five citizens’ organizations from around the globe drafted the Abolition Statement, which called for immediate negotiations on a treaty to ban the bomb (just as the world has done for chemical and biological weapons), to be completed by 2000.
Abolition 2000 also recognized the inextricable link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power and called in its statement for the creation of an International Sustainable Energy Agency, just as there is now an International Atomic Energy Agency enshrined in Article IV of the NPT which recognizes an “inalienable right” to the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty recognizes this inextricable link, which is why it requires the 44 countries that have nuclear reactors to ratify the treaty before it can enter into force. The drafters of this treaty understood that every nuclear power plant is a bomb factory.
Abolition 2000 has worked on several other global peace issues. The group participated in a global action through its e-mail network to support a boycott of French wine and cheese when France resumed what was to be a series of eight nuclear tests under the fragile coral atoll of Mururowa in the South Pacific. France aborted its test series after enormous grassroots pressure at the sixth test. Abolition 2000 went to Tahiti for its annual meeting in 1997 and adopted the Moorea Declaration recognizing the enormous suffering of indigenous peoples from the colonialism of the nuclear age. Every nuclear test site is on indigenous land and the costs to life and health to those downwind of the sites have been grossly unacceptable.
Lockheed Martin has played a key role in the tragic deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations that is empowering the rusty Cold Warriors in Congress to increase the military budget.
Along with indigenous peoples, we are all “downwinders.” The fallout from atmospheric testing, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the mining, milling and manufacture of nuclear weapons and nuclear power have created more than 4,500 contaminated sites in the U.S. alone, which may take seventy-five years and cost as much as $1 trillion to clean up. For toxic plutonium, which remains lethal for over 250,000 years, “clean up” is the wrong expression. At best, we can only attempt to manage and contain the poisons from seeping into the air and groundwater, contributing to a rising cancer epidemic, increased mutations, genetic damage and other plagues of the nuclear age.
Incredible as it seems, we continue with our nuclear programs. In return for a promise from the U.S. weapons labs to support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, a promise they reneged on, the Clinton administration promised the “Dr. Strangeloves” a $4.6-billion program over the next ten years called Stockpile Stewardship, which is enabling the labs to design new nuclear weapons in computer-simulated virtual reality with the help of so-called “sub-critical” tests. Americans have conducted eight tests since President Clinton signed the test ban in 1996. In these tests, plutonium is shattered in tunnels 1,000 feet below the desert floor without causing a chain reaction, which Clinton says don’t count as nuclear tests.
Nuclear Programs Driven by Corporations
These programs feeding the global war machines are driven by corporations like Lockheed Martin — which manages Sandia National Lab, the engineering adjunct to Los Alamos — and General Electric, a leading developer of nuclear technology.
Lockheed Martin has played a key role in the tragic deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations, which has empowered the rusty Cold Warriors in Congress to increase this year’s military budget by $17 billion more than the Pentagon requested. The Bush administration promised Gorbachev that if Russia did not oppose the admission of a reunified Germany into NATO when the Berlin Wall crumbled ten years ago, the U.S. would not expand NATO. Yet the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO lobbied furiously on the Hill to disregard our pledge to Russia. The committee was chaired by the vice-president of Lockheed Martin, working successfully to expand its lethal market to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. NATO’s 50th Anniversary Summit last April was hosted by corporate sponsors, including Boeing and Raytheon, who paid up to $250,000 each to mingle and peddle their deadly wares to the nineteen Foreign Ministers in attendance.
At a meeting with U.S. arms control negotiators in August, Russia proposed that each country agree to cut its supply of long-range nuclear bombs from 5,000 to 1,500. The Russian offer could give us the opportunity to make a full accounting of all warheads and provide for early dealerting of bombs poised at hair-trigger readiness, which would considerably ratchet down the nuclear danger to our planet. Were the U.S. to follow through on this generous Russian proposal, we would have an extraordinary opportunity to bring all the nuclear weapons states to the negotiating table for a treaty to ban the bomb. However, the U.S. hasn’t taken Russia up on its offer. Its response has been appalling. Seeking to squeeze the final bitter cup of humiliation from Russia — which is still smarting from the expansion of NATO up to the Russian border, the continued unilateral bombing of Iraq without United Nations’ approval, and the unauthorized NATO bombing of Yugoslavia without Security Council sanction — the Clinton administration persists in demanding that Russia yield to the U.S.’s corporate-driven scheme to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and move full speed ahead with “Son of Star Wars.”
The Star Wars lobby drives American plans to dominate space and “protect U.S. interests and investments.”
Son of Star Wars
The same merchants of death who drove through the provocative expansion of NATO are driving the Star Wars revival, which is unashamedly proclaimed as the ultimate protector of U.S. corporate interests. The U.S. Space Command‘s report, Vision for 2020, trumpets, “U.S. Space Command dominating the space dimensions of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investments. Integrating Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.” Vision For 2020 compares the U.S. effort to control space with the effort centuries ago when nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests by ruling the oceans.
General Joseph Ashy, former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command, has said: “It’s politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen. 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. We will engage terrestrial targets someday — ships, airplanes, land targets — from space … That’s why the U.S. has development programs in directed energy and hit-to-kill mechanisms.”
The Star Wars lobby has been led by companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing and TRW who are dividing up billions of dollars in contracts, connected in no small part to the $23 million US they spent lobbying and $4 million US in campaign contributions in 1997 and 1998. The executive summary of the Space Command’s long-range plan has a long list of acknowledgements to commercial industry, including forty-eight companies that are helping it to “dominate the military uses of space to protect U.S. interests and investments.”
The nuclear sword of Damocles and the plans afoot to dominate space are the seldom-mentioned enforcers of globalization. Help us rid the world of the big guns which are the ultimate enforcers of WTO decisions, and remember Dwight Eisenhower’s message: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
Alice Slater is a director of the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) and an anti-nuclear activist with Abolition 2000. You can join Abolition 2000 at www.abolition2000.org
I want to talk about the emergence of what I call the military-corporate complex. To begin, I’d like to revisit Dwight Eisenhower’s famous warning to the people of the United States in his last speech as President in 1961. Eisenhower told citizens to beware of the growing influence and power of the “the military-industrial complex,” the collusion between the military and defence contractors to subvert the democratic process. This term has become a part of the lexicon of the peace movement in the second half of the 20th century. However, today we need to reconsider our understanding of the military-industrial complex. The end of the Cold War and the advent of globalization have transformed Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex into a new beast — the military-corporate complex.
In Eisenhower’s world, the nation-state ruled over its economy, and defence companies were largely bound within national borders. But globalization has created a new relationship between governments and corporations. The movement toward a single global economy has given rise to huge corporations whose wealth and power now exceed those of nation-states, and whose interests transcend national borders.
Weapons Corporations Go Global
Former nationally oriented weapons corporations such as Boeing, General Motors and British Aerospace are now transnational corporations that roam the world in search of higher government subsidies, favourable tax incentives, lower wages, weak labour standards and merger opportunities in order to create even more powerful transnational corporations. In the last five years, there has been an unprecedented round of mergers in the weapons industry. Boeing swallowed up McDonnell Douglas to create the world’s largest manufacturer of military aircraft. British Aerospace swallowed Marconi. Other European weapons corporations merged to create the world’s largest maker of missiles, Mantra BAe Dynamics, whose revenue is expected to reach $3 billion a year, surpassing even that of U.S. powerhouse Raytheon.
The Pentagon has been watching these mergers with nervousness, as it sees its influence slipping away with each merger. Finally admitting it can no longer resist transatlantic mergers of its client corporations, the Pentagon recently announced that British Aerospace, Europe’s largest weapons corporation, will be accorded national treatment — treated just like an American company — and integrated into Fortress North America.
The evolving power imbalance between governments and corporations, not just in the weapons industry but in all industries, is becoming well understood by many progressive economists and social activists. International free trade agreements such as those in the World Trade Organization (WTO) play a key role in what has become popularly known as “corporate rule,” which works to usurp democracy. Maude Barlow, National Chair of the Council of Canadians, says corporations have spent the last fifty years fighting communism. Now they are fighting democracy itself. The World Trade Organization has become the architect of the new global economy and corporate rule. It is striking down government laws and programs around the world that conflict with corporate interests but are vital for peace. Environmental protection, cultural and social programs, health and safety standards, and other programs which create just and peaceful societies are all under attack.
If governments want to play a role in the economy — creating jobs, high-tech research or regional development — the safe way to do that is through the military.
While all of these government programs are being sacrificed on the altar of the new economy, one sacred cow remains: the military-corporate complex.
The WTO is based on the premise that the only legitimate role for governments is to provide for a military to protect the interests of the nation and a police force to ensure order within. And so while social and environmental policies are constantly under attack, the war industry is protected through the “security exception” in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Article XXI of the GATT, the principal agreement of the WTO, allows governments free reign for actions taken for national security interests. It states that a country can’t be stopped from taking any action “it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests … relating to the traffic in arms, ammunition and implements of war and such traffic in other goods and materials as is carried on directly for the purpose of supplying a military establishment (or) taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations.” This clause is the most powerful exception in the WTO. It actually allows a government to define its own “essential security interests,” a definition that can’t be questioned by WTO dispute panels.
Globalization Spurs Military Spending
Because the security exception shields the war industry from challenges by the WTO, it actually spurs government military spending since only military spending is free from challenges. Governments must use the military to promote jobs, new emerging industries, or high-tech manufacturing.
Let’s take a recent example. In 1999, a WTO dispute panel ruled against Canada and its Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program — a program which subsidizes the aerospace and defence industry. The program was being used by Bombardier Aerospace to build and export regional passenger jets. The WTO ruled the non-military subsidies were unfair, and struck them down earlier this year.
To appreciate what this decision means, you need to understand that TPC used to be the Defence Industry Productivity Program. The program was Canada’s flag-ship industrial program and handed out billions of dollars to Canadian arms manufacturers for years. In 1995 it was renamed TPC, and several non-military categories were added to the fund. It’s those non-military programs that are vulnerable to challenges by the WTO.
In this new global economy that favours the military, peace activists are losing their ability to work for peace and human rights.
The lesson from this is that if governments want to play a role in the economy — creating jobs, regional development or high-tech research — the safe way to do it is through the military. This lesson has not been lost on some of the so-called emerging economies, such as South Africa. South Africa is currently undergoing a huge arms-buying spree. It is buying billions of dollars worth of helicopters, aircraft, ships and even submarines from European weapons corporations. The government has negotiated an agreement that the corporations will move some of their production for these contracts to South Africa, creating short-term jobs and investment.
South Africa is about to make the same mistake North America did: it is creating new military projects that will become dependent on constant government spending, drawing money away from essential social programs. When the current weapons orders have been filled and the government funding dries up, jobs at the weapons corporations will then depend on corporations finding new customers for their weapons, driving the arms trade and potentially causing a whole new arms race in the region.
To a certain degree, I can understand what the South African government is trying to do. It needs jobs and the transfer of technology and knowledge. As a member of the WTO, the only safe way to do this is through military programs. If these were not military programs, the deals would never be allowed, given WTO laws on performance requirements and government procurement.
Globalization Hinders Peace Work
In this new global economy that favours the military, peace activists are losing their ability to work for peace and human rights. A recent law concerning Burma illustrates how peace activists are losing the ability to work for peace and human rights. Amnesty International has consistently criticized Burma’s military government for its terrible human rights record. Burma is ruled by a military junta that refuses to relinquish power to Burma’s legitimately elected leader, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest. Trade unions have listed Burma as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a union organizer.
In 1996, peace activists succeeded in having Massachusetts and 20 other U.S. municipalities and counties pass laws preventing government contracts from being issued to companies doing business with Burma, in order to put pressure on the military rulers. This legislation was similar to the laws many governments passed in the 1980s to support the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
But, thanks to the WTO, the law was challenged. Both the European Union and Japan challenged Massachusetts’ law as a violation of the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement, on the grounds that Burma and companies that did business with Burma were being unfairly discriminated against. Before the WTO could convene a dispute panel to review the arguments, a U.S. corporate lobby group — supported by the E.U. and Japan — stepped in and sued Massachusetts in domestic courts, under the pretext that the state had exceeded its authority. The corporate lobby group won its case and the court overturned the law and all similar laws in the U.S.. Massachusetts is appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for corporations is the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines.
The lesson here is clear. If activists are actually able to secure laws that can challenge the military-corporate complex, they will face the entire weight of transnational corporations and the WTO.
Clearly, as citizens who support peace and social justice, we have to confront the corporate agenda of the WTO. The stakes are enormous. If the WTO is allowed to continue, military spending will rise worldwide, as it already has in the U.S., Canada, and other industrialized countries. There will be greater nuclear proliferation as countries try to bomb their way into the world’s power elite, as India has done. There will be greater economic strife, as there has been in Asia. And we will lose even the limited ability that we have now as citizens to promote peace.
Transnational corporations need the power of the military behind them to enforce their domination. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman put it well when he said that behind the hidden hand of the market is a hidden fist. McDonalds needs McDonnell Douglas, the maker of the F-15 warplane. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for corporations is the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines.
While I’m a pessimist about tomorrow, I am an optimist about the day after. There are three things that we need to do, beginning right now. Firstly, the peace movement must educate itself and others about the relationship between militarism and globalization. We need to encourage our writers and researchers to investigate the military-corporate complex, and to provide activists with the information they need. Secondly, we cannot treat the arms industry and military spending as separate issues. We have to deal with globalization as a whole, recognizing that the international corporate agenda is itself a form of warfare against peace, human rights and democracy. Thirdly, we need to develop our own positive alternatives to economic globalization and the WTO.
Steven Staples is Chair of the International Network on Disarmament and Globalization (www.indg.org).
creepy military conference held in secret sponsored by military contractors: NATIONAL FIRE CONTROL SYMPOSIUM. last year’s theme: full spectrum dominance of the joint battlespace!!!!!!!
Lead Corporate Sponsor
General Dynamics Information Technology
Additional Support Provided By:
The US Army Space & Missile Defense Command
The Air Force Research Laboratory
Additional Sponsorship Provided By:
Boeing, Lockheed Martin , ITT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Labs , Northrop Grumman, Raytheon
this year is much of the same shit, but i wont be attending because i dont have the security clearance. this topic is a bit of an aside, but it is important to note that there is an entire industry based off of holding these swanky conferences where govt big boys and mic goons hang out together and think about how to more efficiently kill brown people, for example in workshops entitled: “accelerating the kill chain.” also, lets expand our understanding of who is profiting off of the war industry to include the companies that organize and cater these events! gross.
as a segue from that topic, here are a few articles on the Boeing Integration Center. this center operates basically as a super hi-tech advertisement that military shoppers can visit in order to, as the company says, “more quickly connect distributed sites and more realistically emulate the warfighting environment.” think of it also like a giant video game crossed with another popular anaheim attraction, space mountain.
Boeing targets Pentagon with ”network centric” sales plan.
Publication Date: 18-AUG-03
Publication Title: Los Angeles Business Journal
The U.S. military can send a missile to an exact target in downtown Baghdad–even changing the weapon’s course midway–with little damage to people and buildings around it.
Figuring out whether the target is friend or foe is another matter.
A lack of key battlefield data and the inability of some battalions to talk to each other have riled Donald Rumsfeld. The defense secretary is pushing contractors to make their communications and control systems work together by unifying on a common standard, much like the Internet.
In technology jargon, it’s dubbed a “network centric” approach to war.
The effort is pitting the big defense contractors against each other in a bid to create the standard on which future electronic systems will be based.
Boeing Co.’s bid: a $16 million, 13,000-square-foot facility in Anaheim dubbed the Boeing Integration Center. The flashy room of giant screens and computers is designed to show off electronics and software in a theater setting.
The goal is to shock and awe military planners by showing how computers on aircraft, ships, tanks and handheld devices can share live data on a common network.
Heading up Boeing’s war technology effort is Carl G. O’Berry, a retired general who used to oversee the Air Force’s command, control, communications and computer operations. After a stint at Motorola Inc.’s space and systems technology group, O’Berry now works out of Boeing’s Anaheim facility.
side note on motorola and what theyre doing for the us government (their words, not mine):
Tactical & Field Mobility—our 75 years experience in providing wireless voice & data capabilities has expanded to include location, video sharing, emerging WiMAX 802.16e technologies and other broadband mobility solutions.
- Deployable C4ISR provides an initial communications access package
- Individual Soldier Radio meets the demanding needs of marines in a combat environment.
- Point-to-Point (PTP) Wireless Ethernet bridges deliver the high-performance connectivity and fast, easy set-up
Force Protection—using private network radio solutions with user-developed Project 25 standards to achieve situational awareness
Perimeter Security—Our intelligence and surveillance
Information Assurance—Motorola’s information assurance program secures IP infrastructure and protects radio network assets ensuring operational continuity. Motorola’s IA policy meets
- Strategic federal enterprise goals and mandates
- Applicable security regulations (FISMA, DIACAP, HIPAA, NIST etc)
Identity Management—immediate and accurate identification and verification for both physical and logical access are paramount to national defense. Motorola’s biometric capabilities range from
- SOA built matching & storage systems,
- Multi-modal biometric enrollment & verification (e.g. 10 fingerprint, face, iris, signature) kiosk and workstations,
- And SDK DLL for backend AFIS system, front-end workstations, and mobile handheld devices.
Plus our RFID
Some prominent C4ISR examples include:
- DoD’s Next Generation Enterprise Network
- Navy Nationwide Radio System
- DoD mobile biometric solutions
- DoD Integrated Intra Squad Radios
- DoD Covert Radios
- US Coast Guard Rescue 21 Distress, Search and Rescue system
also: check out what motorola is doing for the PRISON INDUSTRY!
Corrections professionals require effective solutions to help manage vast amounts of offender information on a daily basis. Offendertrak™
Whether you are processing new arrestees, detaining offenders for trial or holding those already sentenced, Offendertrak offers a centralized repository for offender information with configurable workflows and a full complement of features for efficient and accurate inmate management.
Easy to use
- Agencies can use a workflow engine to implement processes designed to guide personnel through daily tasks.
- Users are able to easily create tailored reports for immediate use with the Report Wizard.
- Advisory messages and pop-up notifications are displayed via an instant message alert module.
Cost Effective/Easy to Integrate
- New technology is applied as it emerges with version-controlled software upgrades.
- An integrated training module reduces training time.
- Seamlessly integrates with other public safety and criminal justice systems.
- Streamlines needed information from inmate intake through release.
- Flexible and easily configured to match your business processes.
- Links to critical data such as mug shots, property and photos to an inmate’s record.
Boeing wants to sell the military on its way of standardizing warfare communications. That could bring the company a big portion of Defense Department spending under what’s known as Joint Vision 2020, a long-range modernization plan outlined in 2000. One of the plan’s tenets is “information superiority.”
Along the way, the company is looking to sell individual military branches on its system. Since the integration center’s 2000 opening, more than 15,000 visitors, including high-ranking military officials, have toured the facility.
Last year, Boeing won the prime contract on the Anny’s Joint Tactical Radio System to come up with new radios to boost communications for land, sea and air forces. The initial contract value is $2 billion and could triple.
But Chicago-based Boeing has challengers among the other major defense contractors, including Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp.
Lockheed has its own version of the integration center dubbed the Global Vision Network. In June, Lockheed combined three businesses to form a new division, Integrated Systems and Solutions, based in Maryland, which pulls together its efforts to develop a war network.
“This is what the 21st century is all about,” said Ted Campbell, Lockheed’s vice president of advanced concepts. “Lockheed has been gearing up for this for several years.”
At Boeing’s Anaheim operation, software engineers and researchers make up Boeing Strategic Architecture, the group formed last year that’s spearheading development of a networking standard.
The integration center is the flagship of the effort. To show military planners how the system would work, the integration center links with Boeing facilities in Seattle; Colorado Springs. Colo.: St. Louis: Huntsville. Ala.: Philadelphia and the nation’s capital
In the parking lot outside the integration center is a traveling truck with a fighter-jet simulator that links with computers inside. As the simulated jet takes off, goes on a bombing run and then lands, its every move is tracked by the integration center. It’s also identified as friend or foe.
During war, aircraft, satellites and intelligence units collect information. But the military doesn’t have a way to share it among everyone, said John Harms, director of business development for Strategic Architecture, which is part of Boeing’s St. Louis-based Integrated Defense Systems’ division.
The objective of a war network is “to make decisions faster than the other guy,” Harms said.
Inside the integration center, two computers project a baffle scene on three large screens at the front of the room. It’s what a military commander might see. Click on a symbol and a box pops up that says what the symbol is and if it’s friendly or hostile.
Boeing is in the early stages of trying to rally an industry consortium around a networking standard. The group could be similar to what the Underwriters Laboratory is to the appliance industry, according to Ball.
That could be a tough sell. Lockheed’s Campbell called Boeing’s consortium approach “exclusive.”
Even if the integration center doesn’t yield a standard, it still could be valuable for Boeing. It offers military planners an idea of what they might want to include in defense spending proposals.
“We’re chasing new business,” Ball said. “It’s really there to show how the technology would work.”
Orange County Business Journal
KRIEGER SPECIALTY PRODUCTS WEBSITE: Boeing Integration Center: Safe Against Electronic Eavesdropping
A case in point is the story of General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Connecticut who in recent years has suffered from a rash of industrial spying cases at its Schenectady plant. The damage cost the company millions of dollars and was one of the factors leading to the layoff of thousands of employees.
Corporate and international espionage is a real threat to government agencies, weapons manufacturers, and any company dealing with highly sensitive and potentially dangerous information. Boeing Strategic Architecture recognized this threat and planned for it.
What is Electronic Eavesdropping?
Electronic eavesdropping is the term applied to monitoring electronic radiation from computer equipment and reconstituting it into discernible information. Although this sounds like a highly technical process, sometimes it can be undertaken easily with inexpensive equipment. The method can be applied to most computer equipment, but it is particularly effective with conventional, CRT-based computers, situated in solitary locations close to the outer walls of a building.
Boeing Strategic Architecture operates the Boeing Integration Center and is also responsible for developing a company-wide strategic communication and information architecture, deploying this architecture in all Boeing systems, and certifying that all the systems interoperate. The initial Boeing Integration Center, or BIC as it is commonly referred to, is based in Anaheim, California and averages more than 5,000 visitors per year.
Embedded worldwide communications links enable the Integration Center to connect to Boeing facilities such as the Virtual Warfare Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the Integrated Technology Development Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, as well as other designated government and commercial simulation centers.
Boeing Strategic Architecture decided to add “BIC East” in order to meet the demand for large demonstrations and to provide a more convenient presentation location for those customers located on the East Coast.
BIC East is a high-tech facility that offers a secure presentation space for Boeing and its clients, namely the Pentagon. A primary concern was ensuring that BIC East be secured against electronic eavesdropping.
Radio Frequency Doors
Because of the sensitive nature of these presentations, the facility needed to be protected against electronic eavesdropping and spying that might be perpetrated by competitors, terrorists or other outside threats.
After researching the best building materials to meet this requirement, Gensler, the architect contracted for BIC East, called on Krieger Specialty Products, a door and window manufacturer specializing in sound and radio frequency shielding doors. Paul Green, Krieger’ chief engineer, said that Gensler requested “radio frequency shielded doors that would look like high-tech office doors, rather than an ominous industrial looking vault door.” Green was responsible for consulting with Gensler’s project architects, and for providing specifications, and Auto CAD details for the radio frequency / acoustical doors. He was also tasked with providing guidance on the selection of hardware and compatibility with security hardware.
Krieger furnished BIC East with nine single 60 dB RF, STC-53 rated doors, eight single acoustical doors and a pair of stainless steel acoustical doors. These doors were strategically placed to deter electronic eavesdropping for a presentation space of approximately 10,600 square feet.
What the future holds
As physical and network based security becomes harder and harder to breach, culprits are going to turn more and more to the opportunities available via electronic eavesdropping. Security officers who recognize and accept the reality and severity of this threat, will be at the forefront of their industry.
Fortunately manufacturers are ready to meet their needs with products that offer radio frequency barrier technology. Companies such as Krieger Specialty Products have been developing doors and offering consulting on eavesdropping security, since the late 1980s. And companies like Boeing are leading the way for others to follow in its example of taking the threat seriously.
With the rise of global terrorism, identity theft and corporate espionage, the stakes are undeniably high. One security breach can cost millions of dollars of damage, or in extreme cases, the loss of human lives – a cost that no one can put a price tag on.
Boeing Opens Two New Portals to its Integration Center Network
ST. LOUIS, May 24, 2005 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] today opened the first two of a planned network of new facilities designed to bring the company’s networked modeling and simulation capabilities closer to its military customers.
The two Boeing Integration Center-Distributed Environments (BIC-DEs) in Hampton and Norfolk, Va., will serve as viewing portals for distributed network-centric demonstrations involving multiple Boeing sites, including the two primary Boeing Integration Center (BIC) sites in Anaheim, Calif., and Crystal City, Va.
“The BIC Distributed Environment nodes provide our customers with an easy and convenient option to view Boeing’s networked activities without having to travel,” AMS Vice President Guy Higgins said. “This is the initial step in more closely involving customers in future interactive experiments at both BIC-DEs and at their own facilities.”
The next two BIC-DE installations will open in Boston and Colorado Springs, Co., later this year. The capability of the BIC-DE sites will be expanded to include the ability to actively participate in multi-site demonstrations as interactive nodes in the Boeing network. The main BICs and the BIC-DE network are operated by Boeing’s Analysis, Modeling and Simulation (AMS) organization.
The Boeing network is evolving into one that can more quickly connect distributed sites and more realistically emulate the warfighting environment. The company, its customers and industry partners are able to bring multiple nodes into the network, each with a unique capability making the network more powerful and adaptable.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world’s largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world’s largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA’s largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.
the following serves as an articulation of how full spectrum dominance is being played out today, on real battlefields, not just in flashy terrordromes.
The photo above is a make shift hospital in a school basement in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia after Georgia’s military attack that killed around 2,000 people on August 7.
The media in the U.S. are now using the Russian response to Georgia’s attack to justify the deployment of “missile defense” systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Like many corporate media outlets across the country the Portland Press Herald today editorializes, “Where once displeasing Moscow would seem a strong argument against deployment, now there’s reason to create a negative consequence for Russia’s behavior…..for now, missile defense has a purpose — if not strategically, then at least diplomatically.”
So as we search for the reasons why [see video below] Washington and Georgia would launch such an attack, knowing just how Russia would have to respond, we find another piece of the puzzle.
The Reuters news agency reported on August 20 that the cost of these deployments should be over “$4 billion though cost overruns typical in nearly every U.S. defense program could easily drive the price higher.”
Indeed virtually every space technology program under development today is 100-200-300% over budget. The aerospace industry stands to turn some great profit as a result of this U.S.-Georgia provocation and Russian response.
Reuters also reported that “Chicago-based Boeing Corporation, prime contractor for the U.S. ground-based missile defense system, will supply the rockets to be placed in Poland, but the Army Corps of Engineers will manage construction of the site.
“Boeing had no immediate comment on the potential value of the deal, but said in a statement that it would work closely with the U.S. military and its industry partners to extend missile defense capability to Europe.
“Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Corporation built the powerful X-band radar now based in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which will be moved to the Czech Republic.
“Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin said its system to integrate separate missile defense elements and provide a common view of the ‘battlespace’, known as Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC), would play a key role in the European missile defense site.”
So the truth is that all the big boys will get into the game. It’s a win-win for the corporations. The oil boys protect their pipeline through Georgia. The weapons boys get a new and expanding Eastern and Central European market. The politicians get a new Cold War to foment about. The media gets a new whipping boy (Russia) to punish that will help keep the American public’s eye off the real prize – the complete dissolution of the economy and our constitutional democracy.
Not a bad return for a couple days work you must admit. The ruling class really knows how to spin the yarn.
A friend wrote me this morning that “I’m thinking of organizing a conference on planning life in Maine in a post-peak-oil, post-constitutional U.S. society.”
So that’s what it’s coming down to? Would you call that resignation or just good planning?