Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Space Week: Norway Conference on US MD Radar


Media coverage in Norway of national conference in Vadso called ‘Military Intelligence as a democratic blind zone’.  The space week event will discuss US NSA-cooperation with Norway from 1952-2016 and the presence in nearby Vardo of a huge US space Communications-Intelligence radar station close to Russia.

The 'missile defense' capable radar at Vardo sits 40 miles from the Russian border. The radar location in Vardo is ideal for collecting detailed intelligence data on Russia's long-range ballistic missiles that could be used in Pentagon planning for a first-strike attack.

Norwegian journalist Bård Wormdal published a book in 2011 claiming the Globus II radar in Norway’s north easternmost corner is essential for a U.S. missile defense system in Europe.

The book quotes MIT Professor Theodor Postol saying “It is very difficult to understand how the Vardø radar will not be used as part of the U.S. missile defence. The reason for this is because it is the only radar that has the capability to tell the difference between a real warhead and a dummy."


Postol wrote in 2000:

The HAVE STARE radar was developed in the early 1990s by Raytheon, under the direction of the Electronic Systems Center, the US Air Force's lead organization for the development and acquisition of command-and-control systems.

According to the Defense Department, HAVE STARE is "a high-resolution X-band tracking and imaging radar with a 27-meter mechanical dish antenna." It became operational at Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's coast in 1995, where it was used in early developmental tests of the national missile defense program.

In late 1998, HAVE STARE was quietly dismantled and sent to Norway, where it was jointly reassembled by the US and Norway under the Norwegian project name "Globus II."

It is located at a Norwegian military intelligence facility and its mission, according to the U.S. and Norwegian governments, is to track and catalog space junk in high earth orbit.

Now, space junk is no trivial matter. There are many thousands of manmade objects orbiting Earth, ranging in size from paint flecks and nuts and bolts to booster rockets.

But the new location of HAVE STARE, publicly revealed in April 1998 by Inge Sellevag, a Norwegian newspaper reporter, is nearly the last place on earth one would choose for a radar with the purpose of tracking space debris.

Because such objects can never be seen from a far north location, a space tracking installation is in fact best placed much closer to the equator. But the location of the radar is ideal for collecting very precise data on Russian missile tests.

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