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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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Friday, June 07, 2013

PENTAGON EYES IN NORWAY



As we prepare for the Global Network 21st annual space organizing conference in Kiruna, Sweden it is instructive to look at Norway's role in assisting the US Space Command by hosting various satellite downlink radars and stations.  In his book "The Satellite War", award winning Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal blows the cover off Norway's denials that their ground stations are linked to US military war fighting satellites.  Here are just a few bits from the book:

  • In the years between the Persian Gulf War [1991] until the invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein [2003] the time is utilized by the US Armed Forces to integrate satellites into the overall machinery of war....During the invasion of Iraq 70% of the 15,000 discharged missiles, bombs, and other types of weapons were [satellite] guided weaponry.
  • The Norwegian satellite station Svalsat, located on Svalbard, serves satellites employed for both military and civilian purposes.
  • Svalbard is the best location for a ground station serving Polar-orbiting satellites....Only Svalbard is situated close enough to the North Pole to enable a ground station to download data from all [satellite] flights overhead....The satellites can be controlled and data downloaded during the 15 minutes they are visible from Svalbard before they pass the North Pole and are visible to a station in Alaska for another 15 minutes....By setting a satellite on a fixed course around the North and South Poles it is then possible to gain images of all sections of the planet in the space of a full day.  That is why most earth observation satellites travel in a Polar orbit.
  • The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 established full Norwegian sovereignty over the archipelago....The preamble to the treaty stipulates that the Islands must only be used for peaceful purposes, and Article 9 states that Svalbard "may never be used for warlike purposes." 
  • In the year 2000 Norway and the US entered into a mutual formal agreement to develop space co-operation [at Svalbard]....Norway wants the US to pay for a fiber cable....The US Armed Forces inject $25 million, or one-third of the total cost.  It goes without saying the Pentagon wants something in return.
  • The US currently has at least 104 military satellites....With the new generation of weather and environmental satellites the focus is changing from "dealing with the weather" to utilizing data on the atmosphere and conditions in outer space directly in warfare.
  • Twenty years ago the Pentagon almost always only used their own satellites for communication.  Private corporations now supply 80-90% of all [military] satellite communication.
  • The Norwegian Polar Institute runs and operates the Troll research station in Antarctica....  According to the Antarctic Treaty there is a total ban on military activity in Antarctica.  According to the international agreement the continent shall "be used exclusively for peaceful purposes."
  • A Norwegian receiver station on Antarctica signed a contract with the US satellite company Orbimage on the downloading of data and control of the OrbView-5 satellite....The new satellites shall have the world's best resolution for commercial satellites - 41 centimeters - and the images with the highest resolution will be reserved for US military intelligence.  US intelligence injects $1 billion into the project.
  • The issue of the US Vardo radar [see video above] takes on political overtones at the highest level....In 2000 the Norwegian Minister denies the radar has any connection whatsoever with an American missile defense system....The British newspaper The Guardian sends its own people to Vardo.  Just before the visit a storm had blown away the cover that hides and protects the actual radar.  The reporter from The Guardian notices that the radar is pointing east towards Russia.  He thinks the story of this radar being used to monitor space debris does not tally at all.

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