Last December, the National Defense Authorization Act that was renewed with bipartisan support in Congress authorized the creation of a new branch of the military, a space force. In January, President Trump appointed the head of that new force, General John Jay Raymond. The US military plans to move 16,ooo military and civilian personnel into that space force. We speak with Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space about what this space force means. He describes how space technology is already being used in warfare, how this area is a new profit center for the aerospace industry and how it is draining critical resources from necessary programs. He also explains that a war in space will create so many problems that everyone on the planet will be impacted in a negative way.
Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He was a co-founder of the Global Network when it was created in 1992.
Between 1983–1998 Bruce was the State Coordinator of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and has worked on space issues for 31 years. In 1987 he organized the largest peace protest in Florida history when over 5,000 people marched on Cape Canaveral in opposition to the first flight test of the Trident II nuclear missile.
He was the organizer of the Cancel Cassini Campaign (launched 72 pounds of plutonium into space in 1997) that drew enormous support and media coverage around the world and was featured on the TV program 60 Minutes.
Bruce has traveled to and spoken in England, Germany, Mexico, Canada, France, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Japan, Australia, Scotland, Wales, Greece, India, Brazil, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, South Korea, and throughout the U.S. Bio continued here.
Margaret Flowers (MF): You’re listening to Clearing the FOG, speaking truth to expose the Forces Of Greed with Margaret Flowers
Kevin Zeese (KZ): And Kevin Zeese.
MF: Clearing the fog is a project of PopularResistance.org. You can subscribe to us on iTunes, SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Stitcher and Google Play. You can also find us at popular resistance dot-org, and while you’re there check out the Popular Resistance store where you’ll find Clearing the FOR gear like t-shirts, bumper stickers, tote bags and water bottles.
So today we interviewed Bruce Gagnon of the Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
KZ: Bruce has an incredible activist from Maine. He’s a veteran and a longtime advocate for keeping weapons out of space, and he brings incredible information and detail to this issue, which is now exploding because both the Democrats and Republicans have put forward a real funding for such a space force.
MF: That’s right. The new National Defense Authorization Act allowed a space force to actually be created for the first time by the United States, and the general in charge of that space force has already been named. So we go into that in real depth with Bruce and the dangers of creating a space force… what that means for all of us. But before we get to that interview, let’s talk about some things that are in the news. Is this the end of Juan Guadio’s career as the so-called president of Venezuela.
KZ: Well, he had a disastrous Foreign Tour, trying as a last-ditch effort to save his fake presidency. He already has been rejected by opponents of the Maduro Administration and National Assembly. He is no longer present in the assembly. He went on tour in Columbia and Europe and United States and got nothing out of it as far as any new support from foreign countries. And the worst of it for him… Donald Trump did not even meet with him. Not even a photo op with Donald Trump, despite three opportunities for such a meeting.
MF: That’s right. And when Juan Guaido was traveling through Europe, he was protested. In Brussels a woman through a cake at him at Davos. He was mostly grilled … Davos is where the World Economic Forum was meeting. All the world’s oligarchs get together there and they were asking Guido, you know, like why should we bother to support you? You haven’t been able to deliver. You haven’t been able to take over the government. You don’t have any authority.
KZ: Yeah, he’s constantly asking, “why have you failed? Why have you failed?” And I suspect that’s why Trump didn’t meet with him. I mean Trump could have met with him in Davos, but Trump left a day early. Trump could have met with him in Miami where Guido had a big… well not a big rally, a moderate-sized rally. And instead Trump was playing golf and then Trump didn’t invite him Mar-a-Lago even though Guido made it clear he was waiting for an invitation. So Trump and for some reason unlike in Venezuela Guido didn’t decide to try to climb the wall at Mar-A-Lago. He’s just stayed put in Miami and now he’s flying back to Venezuela has nothing to show for his trip.
MF: It’ll be interesting to see how things go in Venezuela because his support there has really been waning. He never had very much support when he’d proclaimed himself president of Venezuela in January of 2019. Eighty percent of people in the country had no idea who he was, you know with the u.s. monetary support he was able to mount some early rallies of opposition members. Of course the u.s. through the National Endowment for democracy had been pumping millions of dollars and to Venezuela, but over time as people saw kind of what a clown he was, how corrupt he was, how corrupt his people were… stealing the humanitarian aid money, making promises and not coming through… even the opposition in Venezuela abandoned him and that’s why he lost the election as the president of the National Assembly this January. And so now he’s really nothing. He really has no power. He’s only propped up by the United States if it weren’t for the United States, he wouldn’t have anything
KZ: We cover this in depth in our weekly newsletter at PopularResistance.org because it really could be the final show before this this failed reality TV series. The most common words used in Guido’s trip were clown, puppet and failure. President Trump has already mocked behind his back by world leaders. We’ve seen that on more than one occasion. He does not want to be pictured with a clown who has failed and who everyone knows is his puppet in the 2012 election cycle. It’s not going to help him being associated with a failed clown
MF: So we can chalk this off as another failed attempt by the United States to overthrow the Bolivarian process in Venezuela, something the United States has been trying to do for the 20 years since the Bolivarian process was put in place. For those who are not familiar with that … with the election of Hugo Chava’s in 1998, Venezuela started using its resources to support the population instead of just allowing foreign corporations to exploit them. And so they’ve reduced poverty significantly, improved education and literacy, provided healthcare, built, you know, millions of units of social housing, provided food support. And this is an example that the United States doesn’t want people to be aware of because we don’t have those same kind of social supports here in the United States. Plus Venezuela has been able to resist U.S. imperialist attacks because they have such a deeply educated population, a strong military that’s allied with the constitutional government of the democratically-elected Nicolas Maduro.
KZ: Yeah, it’s really an unusual time because president Maduro has been getting stronger. He’s making incredibly long-term profitable trade agreements with China. Russia has been very supportive both economically, militarily and with intelligence information. Iran, he’s made a long-term agreement with Iran. Economists are predicting the economy is going to grow this year. This is kind of remarkable because the US economic war is getting more intense. And so all the these positive developments in Venezuela are happening despite the US economic war. People say that Maduro should have been the TIME Man of the Year because he has so successfully combated Trump and the puppet Guido. So it’s really amazing. What’s really amazing for us is we’re going into a federal prosecutionfor our effort to defend the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC. And in that courtroom the bizarre thing is [that] because of us court decisions, the court cannot say Guido is not President. And so that jury will be either not told or misled, but in that courtroom Guido is President as bizarre as that sounds.
MF: This is a legal precedent that says that the courts don’t question what the President [Trump] says. So if President Trump says Juan Guido is President of Venezuela–even though he has never been President–he has no power in that courtroom. The judge will accept what President Trump says.
KZ: The courts have said that foreign policy decisions are political decisions not justicable by the courts and therefore if the president finds Mickey Mouse is the leader of a country than Mickey Mouse is leader of the country. And if Mickey Mouse appoints Donald Duck and Goofy as his ambassadors, they are the ambassadors. And that’s important to our case because Carlos Vecchio, who is the Goofy to the puppet Guido–he was the fake ambassador, he’s the one who ordered our eviction, but he’s not really an ambassador. Will the jury be told that? I don’t know how we get a fair trial without being able to tell the whole truth… We’re waiting for a important decision from the judge on what the jury will be allowed to hear. The case was argued last Wednesday and still no decision. It’s was a for hour argument. The judge came into the argument saying she was going to rule against us very clearly. She sent that message. But by the time the argument was over she decided not not to decide, and she took the argument under advisement and is still considering it. We expected decision any day now. We’ll be updating that on popularresistance.org and the Defense Committee at DefendEmbassyProtectors.org will also be updating the status of our case. The trial starts on February 11th.
MF: Yes, and for folks who want to support us for that trial check out the DefendEmbassyProtectors.org. People are organizing to attend that trial which begins on February 11th in Washington DC, and the information that you need to know is on the defense Committee website, DefendEmbassyProtectors.org. Let’s talk about a new report that came out showing that the United States dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan last year. This is more than any year since they began counting in 2006.
KZ: That’s right President Trump’s Administration dropped 7,4233 bombs breaking President Trump’s record the year before when the u.s. dropped 7,263 bombs. So two years in a row President Trump who promised to end these never-ending wars, who said that these words were waste of trillions of dollars. He’s been spending recklessly and bombing recklessly. The u.s. is losing ground in Afghanistan. This long war that the u.s. seems unable to get out of is as a quagmire now and the US needs to face reality and leave Afghanistan. More bombs are not going to work. Trump has proven that record bombings make no difference.
MF: Well the Taliban has taken over a large majority control of Afghanistan and the United States is back in negotiations with the Taliban. But the reasoning for dropping all these bombs is that they thought it would actually help them in their negotiations with the Taliban.
KZ: It’s had the opposite effect instead. The Taliban has gotten stronger. People have gotten more angry at the United States. Bombing is not working. Afghanistan has been so heavily bombed already. It reminds you the North Korean War where the u.s. bombed incredible territory in North Korea. There was nothing left to bomb, as the Air Force Commander said. The same is true in Afghanistan. There are really no viable targets any longer. It’s time the United States admit it has been defeated and leave Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a history of being the graveyard of Empires. If the United States stays it could be the graveyard for the u.s. empire.
MF: And we can’t go without mentioning that those bombs are killing civilians. Just recently 15 people were killed, including three children. So this bombing needs to stop. Let’s talk about Iraq where the Iraqi Parliament voted for the United States to leave the country. But instead the United States has announced it wants to build three new bases close to the border with Iran.
KZ: The people of Iraq are angry with the United States. They are using Iraq as a Battleground against Iran. They don’t want to have their country used as that Battleground. The people have been protesting to force the u.s. out. There been attacks on the massive Green Zone, which is a city within the city of Baghdad of 20,000 people. And of course those people are not all diplomats. There are CIA agents. There are military. It’s a gigantic Skyline and there have been three attacks in the last month on the green zone. Those attacks are going to get more violent and when the prime minister of Iraq talked to Secretary of State Pompeo about the u.s. leaving Pompeo refused. And now the u.s. is doubling down and adding three new bases. And coincidentally, all three of those bases are near Iran. So the US continues to want to use Iraq as a base of operations for military efforts against Iran. The Iraqis are tired of it. If the u.s. does not leave Iraq, they’re going to start to see body bags of US soldiers. They’re going to start to see the green zone hit regularly. US so-called diplomats will be at great risk. It’s time for the u.s. to stop occupying Iraq. We’ve done incredible destruction in Iraq through the bombing and war and occupation and now the ongoing occupation. Again, the US has lost. The people of Iraq do not want the US there. It’s time for the US to get out, and when we get out of Iraq… and it’s also time to get a Syria. Donald Trump saying we’re going to take Syria’s oil (i.e., he said, “protect Syria’s oil,” which really means “take Syria’s oil,” is so overt and gangster like, that it’s time for you to get out of Syria as well. US out of the Middle East.
MF: And the story that’s not being told in the corporate media about this is, you know, the way this kind of whole thing unfolded is the United States had initially promised to rebuild Iraq after the destruction that we caused there, and the Trump Administration said to the Iraqi government, “we’ll rebuild your country if you give us 50 percent of your oil profits.” The Prime Minister said that was not acceptable, turned to assistance from China to help rebuild infrastructure. And that’s when the US government started threatening Iraq with protest, with deaths in the streets, and it started to cause this chaos. In Iraq, the US retaliated against the Iraqi militia who the US said killed a US contractor. And this escalated the situation, which culminated with the US assassination of general Soleimani and Commander Mohandas. And so now Iraq has asked the US to leave. The US is refusing to leave, and it’s doubling down, stopping the delivery of arms to Iraq and threatening more severe sanctions that have been imposed on Iran if Iraq continues to resist us occupation.
KZ: This is once again, the United States not living up to the requirements of international law. There is an agreement between Iraq and the United States that allows US troops to be in their country. Under that agreement the US cannot be launching attacks against Iran. Under that agreement the United States can be told to leave by the government. The US is ignoring that. And then the economic sanctions that the US is threatening will be unilateral coercive measures that are illegal under the UN Charter and under international law. So the US is violating agreements, violating international law, and continuing to go on with the occupation of Iraq. The murder of general Soleimani and six other people was an illegal act. There’s no war between the US and Iran, so targeting military leaders or other government officials is an illegal act. It’s an act of war. Luckily for the world, Iran was very careful in its response, proportionate in his response, against the Murder of General Soleimani. They targeted the base where the attack on Soleimani came from. They let the United States know three hours in advance that they were going to do so. The base was attacked by ballistic missiles. No US soldier or any Iraqi personnel were killed. In fact, even though the US hhadave been warned the attack was coming, the US was unable to stop the attack. This let Iran send a message to United States that showed that they cannot defend themselves against the Iranian military. This was also seen when the Iranian government shot down a drone that was in international waters near Iran. And so now twice Iran has shown the US that it can defeat its military shooting down a drone as well as hitting a base where US military personnel are present. So Iran has sent a message, but did it proportionally and that prevented the u.s. from escalating this to an all-out war which would have been a disaster. Iran is six times the size of Iraq. Its military is Is prepared. The country has deep understanding of us imperialism and wants to remain independent United States. A war with Iran would be another US defeat but it would b e very disastrous for Iran and expensive for the United States, both in treasure and in Personnel. So hopefully that war can be averted. Once again the US needs to get out of the Middle East and stop creating more chaos. They cause mass chao,s mass killings, mass migrations that are affecting not just the Middle East but also affecting Europe and surrounding countries. It’s essential for the US to end this quagmire in the Middle East and get the US military out.
MF: Sadly instead of ending this Quagmire, the US is doubling down in Palestine where President Trump announced his deal of the century. This is supported by Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders of the illegitimate state of Israel. Under this deal of the century Palestinians would be left with 15% of the geographic land of historic Palestine. This would be separated into four cantons, three in the West Bank and one in Gaza where Palestinians would have no control over their resources, their water and other things that they need to survive. The Trump Administration is threatening Palestinians, saying that if they don’t accept this deal–and it also requires them to recognize Israel as a Jewish stat–if they don’t accept it that they’ll allow more settlements in that even fifteen percent of land that’s being offered to the Palestinians.
KZ: This proposal by the Trump Administration was essentially the Israeli proposal. This essentially legitimised all of the illegal actions Israel has taken, as far as taking over land in occupied territories. It’s important to remember that this unfair division of the land comes at a time when there are more Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories as well as Israel, than there are Israelis. And so to give them less land is absurd on its face. This is really showing that a two-state solution is just not a possibility. All the Palestinian people and the people of the world need to start to demand a real solution, which is the one-state solution. One state where all religions are respected, where minority rights are protected, where every person in the area has a vote. So it’s a democratic state and a state that protects rights. This kind of a secular country is the only solution, and this is finally getting some attention in Israel from both Palestinians and Israeli Jews. We saw this when we were in Palestine last year. There’s a growing movement for one Democratic State. Our job in the United States is to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and demand one Democratic state for Israel. This is what the Palestinian people are moving towards. The polls now show, both among Jews and Palestinians, people do not think a two-state solutions is possible anymore. So we need to come to a real solution. The campaign for one Democratic state is going to be that solution.
MF: And Palestinians made it very clear that they This quote-unquote deal of the century. There have been protests throughout Palestine as well as by Palestinians and solidarity activists around the world. 41 protesters were injured by the Israeli police in that, and we have a newsletter on popular resistance that we wrote last fall after we returned from Palestine, that has more information about what that one Democratic state is. It’s called occupied Palestine from BDS to ODS, and it is important that we be in solidarity with the Palestinians and reject what the Trump Administration is offering. And as you said this would in fact push a majority population in historic Palestine onto a tiny area of land that separate. These areas of land are not even connected. They don’t have borders with Arab countries. So it would really be creating more kind of Prisons for Palestinians, like Gaza has become, where they would have no control over their access to water, to passage, to the things that they need. This is genocide. It’s been going on for too long. The United States is the primary supporter of it. It would not be going on if the United States was not providing support to the Israeli State, and so we can no longer be complicit with this genocide.
KZ: That’s right. The time has come now that we’ve seen Trump’s “Deal of the century” really as the “fraud of the century.” The time has come to recognize the two-state solution is no longer an option. One democratic state that protects Christians, Jews, Muslims and Palestinians. All groups need to be protected and that’s what a one Democratic state with civil rights for all, and one person one vote process, would create. And that’s what we need to focus on and work toward
MF: And in fact Palestinians and Israeli citizens have already come together and defined what they want that one Democratic state to look like. There’s some differences in terms of the exact appearance of it. But there’s Unity around the fact that they want a constitution that guarantees one Democratic stat. So a lot is happening in the peace movement as a response to all of these things that are going on. We want to mention that the United National Anti-war Coalition Conference is coming up in New York City from February 21st to the 23rd. People can go to the UNAC website That’s UNACpeace.org to register or learn more about that conference. This year the focus is really on connecting several movements against militarism, racism and the climate crisis, understanding the deep connections between those and and how we can unify and organize together more effectively. There’s also days of action coming up in March. March 13th to 15th is the stop sanctions actions around the world. You can go to Sanctionskill.org to learn more about that. And then the anniversary of the war on Iraq is coming up March 19th. And so there are protests being organized to protest that as well.
KZ: The UNAC conference will be held in New York City from February 21st to 23rd at the People’s Forum. We’ll be there. Please join us help us build a movement that is united not just within itself, but also with other movements on racism and climate and militarism.
MF: That’s right, and great speakers will be there including a Frank Chapman from the National Alliance against racist and political repression. And we’ll be showing the documentary by Abby Martin and Mike ___, Gaza fights for Freedom, that will include a discussion with Abby and Mike. So check that out. There’s also great entertainment on Friday night. I do want to say that one area of the world that I have great respect for is what’s happening in France. The protests there have not been getting much attention in the corporate media. They’ve been going on now for over a year, weekly protests. And starting late last fall they began a general strike in the country that continues until today and has escalated with various sectors of the population getting involved. And what recently happened, and we’ll have to see how this plays out, is the firefighters who have been a big part of these strikes as well had clashes. They were attacked by the police as a force that they typically had worked with now has come out against them.
KZ: Yes, the violence against these peaceful protests has been remarkable, and it’s remarkable that the US media does not cover it. Instead they cover fake violence and countries the US doesn’t like. I mean, for example, Hong Kong, where the police have been restrained, they’re accused of violence against violent protesters. And in France nonviolent protesters being severely beaten shot at abused… and now the French the French firefighters being attacked by the police. This shows a failed policy by President Macron. It’s time for him to end his neoliberal, pro-banker policies–of course, he is a former Banker so it’s not surprising–and really start to stand with the people or he should expect to leave office very quickly
MF: Speaking of banks, the Bank for International Settlements, which is 60 central banks including the United States Federal Reserve, issued an ominous report saying that the world is at risk for something they call a green swan event, similar to what’s referred to as a Black Swan event. And this basically means that there is the possibility of, because of the climate crisis, a financial crisis that would be something that they would not have control over and that could be devastating. The banks are not prepared for a climate crisis and this could take several kinds of manifestations that are interrelated and can worsen each other. One of them is the physical risk of things like coastlines being destroyed, major climate events. Another is the transition risk of fossil fuel energy is no longer being viable and that whole sector crashing down. And these sectors are too big for the central bank’s to bail out.
KZ: This 100-page report from the Bank of International Settlements, which is known as the “central bank of central banks”–so pretty important authority on financing–should be one that wakes people up. We’re already seeing the United States, for example, the fracking industry, having serious financial problems. Lots of money being invested by all the Big Wall Street Banks in fracking. It’s not paying off. This was predicted by people who are experts on the availability of gas United States. They were predicting that fracking would not be economically viable. And now it’s coming true. More and more analysts are saying that they should no longer invest in fossil fuels because these will become stranded assets in the climate change era. And we’re seeing insurance companies pulling out of areas at risk for for climate catastrophe. Whether it’s flooding or fires the insurance companies realize they can’t afford to handle this. These warning signals are blinking loudly and yet we still have a government that doesn’t even recognize climate change and a government that when it does recognize climate change, it actually encourages more fossil fuel development. President Obama is an incredible climate criminal and bragging about it to oil oil executives that he is the one who made the u.s. number one in oil and gas production. Trump is continuing that, in fact escalating it. Just like we have a gangster foreign policy, we have a climate crime domestic policy.
MF: Of course this is a major topic of discussion in Davos, Switzerland at the world economic Forum that just happened, but the sad thing is is that the oligarchs who were there, the best they could come up with was, “well, we need better public relations so we can attract investors”… even though we know that what we’re investing in like fossil fuels are going to be devastating for the climate and for all of humanity.
KZ: And these we faced up to. Even countries like Australia where the fires have been incredibly devastating, the goernment still refuses to do anything in response, and a serious climate a crisis way. We need to see an aggressive Green New Deal. A Green New Deal that impacts multiple sectors of our economy, not just energy, but transportation, housing, construction, banking, agriculture. So many sectors are impacted by this and we are behind. Our government is behind in even putting forth any series of policies to confront this crisis that is a threat to the global economy, global population and the Earth itself.
MF: That’s why we think it’s so important for people working in different areas to come together and work together because we really need united vision of the world that we want to see and instead of working in our silos on this or that we need to really be making these connections and working together. Now, there are various ways that people can be working to change things. Of course one is resistance, you know, pressuring people in the government or shutting things down that are causing harm to us. But another is building up positive alternatives and it’s exciting to see a new project that’s going on in Atlanta, Georgia where they’re actually… the city is buying land and turning it into food forests in areas where there are food deserts.
KZ: That’s right. This will be the largest Food Forest in the country. Seven Acres of food, and it’ll provide free organic fruits and and nuts and vegetables mushrooms and herbs. It’s a great idea and you look at cities like Detroit that have tremendous numbers of vacant lots or Baltimore, where we have 40,000 abandoned homes and lots of vacant lots. Cities across the country should be looking at this option to deal with the food desert problem. It’s often those vacant areas, those vacant lots and and empty homes, where there are also food deserts. And so this would be a way to bring more trees, to take carbon out of the atmosphere, and also provide food to people who are living areas don’t have adequate food supplies.
MF: And also bees. Bees are really important because the pesticides that are being used around the world are significantly reducing the bee population. And bees are vital to pollination of food plants. And so if the bees collapse our food system is going to collapse. So part of these food forests is also having beehives and places where the bees can flourish. So check that out. We have an article about that on PopularResistance.org.
KZ: I just want to say one more thing. This is just one example of many, of how if we face up to the climate crisis, we can actually make our lives better. I mean, can you imagine cities like this one that wants to have a mushroom walk, an apiary. They are talking about walnut trees and pecan trees, hundreds of fruit trees have already been planted. Imagine the people walking through those Parks rather than walking through deserted parking lots, former of housing areas. Just a major advantage. Same with creating mass transit and biking lanes. We can greatly make walkable communities that make much more sense for us health-wise and economically. And we can also democratize energy supplies by allowing the placement of solar on homes or in yards, making that supported by the government so it’s easier to do. These will all be changed to create a environment that’s healthier, less air pollution, less water pollution… more exercise opportunities and a more viable sustainable communities for the future. So confronting climate change will be a challenge. It’ll be difficult, but we need to start to face up to it and look for ways to turn this very big negative into as much of a positive as we can on many fronts.
MF: And that’s our philosophy. Often it’s looking at things and trying to turn them into positives. There is a great vision out there of what we could have if we organize and face up to this climate crisis. Well, let’s stop here, and we’ll take a short musical break and then come back with our interview with Bruce Gagnon.
MF: You’re listening to Clearing The FOG, speaking truth to expose the forces of greed, with Margaret flowers and Kevin Zeese. And now we turn to our guest, Bruce Gagnon. He’s the coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Thank you for taking time to join us Bruce.
Bruce Gagnon (BG): Great to be with you. Thank you.
MF: On December 20th congress voted for the new National Defense Authorization Act which created a new branch of the military called the Space Force, and on January 14th President Trump confirmed General John J Raymond as the official head of that space force.
KZ: Bruce, you’ve been working on the issues of the militarization of space and nuclear weapons for a long time. How you get started? What do you see that’s different now.
BG: I started in 1982. Actually I should tell the story. I was watching C-SPAN that day, June 12th 1982. They had almost a million people protesting in New York City against nuclear weapons as part of the special session on disarmament at the UN. And after the rally in the March was covered on C-Span they cut away to a right-wing conference and Ronald Reagan’s head of SBI, Lieutenant General Daniel Graham, was a speaker and in the Q&A afterwards, someone asked him, “General Graham, aren’t you worried about that protest in New York today? They say there’s almost a million people protesting against nuclear weapons.” And his response was, “no I think it’s fantastic because they’re talking about nuclear weapons and we’re moving into space. They don’t have a clue. Let them keep doing what they’re doing.” So it was in that moment… I was living in Orlando Florida, an hour away from the space center, and I began learning everything I could. And the next year I went to work for the Florida Coalition for peace and Justice where I was constantly taking people to the Space Center to protest various military and plutonium launches by NASA. So I’ve been working on it for a long time and I think the big difference today is that technology is matured. The money has been consistent over all these Years through both Republican and Democrat administrations. So that they could really have a stable funding source to develop these Technologies. So they’re getting to the point today where now they really do have the capability to start talking about moving the arms race, literally moving warfare into the heavens. So I think that’s the big difference.
MF: Right and 1982 was also the year that the Air Force created something called the AFSPC, and the military has actually been kind of using satellites and things in space, you know in the wars that we’ve waged, the Gulf War the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you talk about what that AFSPC is, and is that what’s going to kind of morph into this space force?
BG: Yeah, I think it’s the Air Force Space Command. It was around for a long time. And now they’ve essentially closed that down, and they’re now going to call what was the space command, they’re going to call it the space force, but clearly it has been around for a long time and you’re right. And this is a very important point, particularly the Gulf War and afterwards. I was reading about it in the various Aerospace industry publications. They said it was the first space war where they essentially field-tested the technology that they had up to that point. You might remember that that war lasted several weeks but in the industry publications, they said it was essentially over within the first two days because they pre-identified with satellite technology all of Saddam Hussein’s military targets and they bombed them, 95% of them, in the first two to three days of the war. Everything was really finished at that point, but they used the remaining weeks to test out the technologies, to use a hundred cruise missiles in a million dollars a piece, where they were working three shifts a day at Donald Douglas Corporation at Cape Canaveral to resupply the cruise missile stock. So it became a profitable Endeavor, but fundamentally, it was a field test. And then the second space they said was the war on Yugoslavia during the Bill Clinton administration, and what they did was they field tested for the first time the idea of cyber warfare. They essentially crawled inside of Yugoslavia’s air defense system computers so that when US and NATO planes were bombing Belgrade, taking out you might remember the Chinese Embassy saying, oh, I’m sorry. That was a mistake. We used an old map, but the Yugoslavians were not able to defend against these attacks, these aerial attacks by the US and NATO, because their air defense system had been completely shut down by a Cyber attack. So that was the first time the US ever used that technology and warfare. So it’s clear to me that they continually fabricate pretexts to do wars, so that they can continually test the new generations of these space technologies.
KZ: Wow. It’s so interesting to hear about Clinton using space warfare. And you mentioned it has been bipartisan. Of course, the NDAA was passed in the house, which is controlled by democrats. Talk a little bit about this… It seems to me this is one more example of how US foreign policy, especially military policy, is not really determine whose President, but, you know, as President Putin says no matter who’s President u.s. Foreign policy stays the same. Is that how this has been developing as well? Is this a bipartisan effort? And how what role the Democrats play.
BG: Well, I think you’re absolutely right. And just one glaring example is this recent NDAA where they approve 738 billion dollars. We saw the Republicans and Demcorats joining together in both the house and the Senate to move that forward. The space force being a part of that NDAA. And the only criticism the Democratic party had of that whole notion of the Space Force was they wanted to call it the Space Corps instead of the Space Force. Sounds a little more benign, I guess right? So that was really the it. So clearly the Republicans and the Democrats are lockstep when it comes to moving the arms race into space. Now, why would that be? Well, of course, it’s two things. One is the u.s. being the quote-unquote exceptional nation, that we should control and dominate the earth on behalf of corporate capitalism. And secondarily, we should control and dominate space because in the future the game is going to be going out in mining the sky for precious resources. Now the UN has two treaties, the outer space treaty and the moon treaty, that say no country, no individual, no corporation can make land claims, private land claims of any of the planetary bodies. It is the province of all humankind, but when Obama was President, he signed a law allowing US corporations and wealthy individuals to make land claims on celestial bodies. So clearly again, we see one more example of the Republicans and the Democrats marching together, moving this all forward. And one other example that I think is probably the most important of all is a treaty, a new treaty called PAROS, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. For the last 25 years Russia and China and sometimes with Canada on their side as well have been going to the UN General Assembly bringing a resolution saying let’s create a new treaty. The old UN treaties are outdated. The outer space treaty, the moon treaty. They don’t include the new technologies that have been developed since the late 60s when those treaties were brought forward. And so we need a new treaty to bring in all these new technologies so that we ban all weapons in space. So nobody can move an arms race into space. Nobody can have an advantage of controlling the earth because they control the heavens above. And so the US and Israel have been blocking that treaty. Usually it passes as a resolution overwhelmingly at the general assembly. The US and Israel vote No. Then it goes to the Geneva UN conference on disarmament for actual negotiations, and it is there that the US and Israel block it. So it’s gone nowhere in all these years. So during the Republican and Democrat administrations in these last 25 years both parties have been lockstep in saying, “no new treaty.” And why? Well, they say because there’s no problem. We don’t need a new treaty. There are no weapons in space. But we know the real reason is because the US wants to control and dominate space and the earth below.
MF: Wow, so many implications of this. So the government is claiming that the space force is necessary because Russia and China are developing new technology, and this will be a purely defensive force. Is there any validity or is that at all a reasonable position?
BG: Not at all. Because if you go back to the 90s, the early 90s at the time that the Soviet Union dissolved, Russia, their space program essentially stopped dead, stop cold because they ran out of money. Their satellites at that time were not able to see incoming missile attacks because they were old and outdated. China was way way way way behind. And so it was a perfect time for the u.s. to agree to a new treaty that would ban these new technologies, but they didn’t want to. And then we saw the during the George W Bush Administration, one of the first things he did when he became president was walk away from the ABM Treaty, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, that banned either side, the US or Russia, from having so-called missile defense systems that are the shield that would be used after a u.s. first strike attack rain down on either country. And so clearly the US and the former Soviet Union and then Russia recognized that if anybody had the shield, so-called missile defense, they would have an advantage to launch a first strike attack because they would be able to theoretically pick off any retaliatory capability. And so us wanted now this first-strike capability and it wanted the shield and that’s why the u.s. walked away from the ABM treaty. And especially during the Obama Administration, missile defense systems we’re on steroids in terms of research, development, funding and deployment. And so today we now reach a situation where missile defense systems, The Shield, are being deployed all around Russia and China, encircling both countries on land, and on US Navy warships, destroyers that are actually made here in midcoast of Maine where I live. And so the response of Russia and China to that have been, “Hey look, we can’t afford to reduce our nuclear retaliatory stock because of your Shield. So this means that future negotiations for disarmament really are frozen because of your rejection of the ABM Treaty and your deployment of missile defense systems.” At the US space command for many years they have an annual war game they call the red team versus the blue team, a computer war game where they practice a u.s. first strike attack on Russia and China. Both those countries have renounced for strike attack. The United States refuses to do so.
KZ: What a nightmare. You mentioned a space arms race a few times? Can you describe what a space arms race would look like and what kind of money and resources would be put into that kind of an effort.
BG: Well, they’ve already… Since the Reagan years when he first came out with Star Wars or SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative. They’ve spent several hundred billion dollars on this program. That’s money that we’re aware of, but of course, there’s also the Pentagon black budget, the secret budget, which some people say is a hundred or more million a year. Even the Congress is not allowed to know how much… how it’s spent. But most of that money in the black budget goes for secret development of secret space technology, military systems. So you can imagine that it’s been three four five hundred billion dollars since the inception of this Star Wars program, and now with the Space Force being declared, you can see that there will be massive expenditure in the future. This whole operation is so expensive that the u.s. can’t afford to pay for it by itself. Some years ago in the industry publication called space news they ran an editorial saying, “we the industry, the Aerospace industry, have to come up with a dedicated funding source to pay for all this.” And we have, they said, and we are now sending our lobbyists to Washington to secure it. And they said it’s the entitlement programs, that officially are social security, Medicare, Medicaid and what’s left of the social safety net, which is in tatters today. So these are the programs that the industry has identified for defunding in order to pay for it. But still that’s not enough. So they’re going around the world to the Allies telling them to join in. That’s why we’ve seen the last several presidents really pressuring NATO to increase their annual allotment to the NATO war machine, which means they would have to buy more space related technology that fits into the u.s. system, because everything they say has to be intero-perable with the u.s. program. So that means, interoperability means, that it all has to tie into the system, the u.s. system, which means they have to buy their technology from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc. etc. And the US would be in charge of the tip of the spear. So this way the u.s. builds this world-class offensive space technology system and farms out the cost to the allies around the world. So today you have this massive satellite constellation that is able to see everything on the planet, intercept all phone fax email communications on the planet, target any place on the planet. When George W Bush launched Shock and Awe in 2003 on Iraq in the initial attack, 70% of the weapons that were used were directed to their targets by military satellites, which I call today triggers for war. Whether it’s drones or whether it’s anything else nothing could really happen without these military satellites. So they themselves have become weapons in a sense because they’re the initial trigger that makes these other technologies function. But beyond that, besides missile defense, which I talked about a few minutes ago, they’re working on anti-satellite weapons because they’re now saying that well heck if we can do this, so could somebody else. So could Russia, China, India or others? And so we have to be able to take out their satellites in times of hostilities. So that we would control and dominate. So they’re working on various kinds of anti-satellite weapons. Initially the idea was just go blow them up. But then the problem of space debris or space junk, which is an escalating problem, becomes worse, right when you blow up other people’s satellites. So now they’re looking at other technologies… ground-based lasers that could fire into space and blind Russian or Chinese satellites, for example, or other kinds of technologies… some satellites that would actually go up and gently disabled a Russian or Chinese satellite. So they’re working on many many many kinds of technologies all at one time. In addition there’s something they call Rods from God, Rods from God, tungsten steel weapons, that would be fired from orbiting satellites that would accelerate as they fell to the earth and would be used to take out underground missile silos of the Russians or Chinese, just by their the sheer speed and mass as they re-entered earth’s atmosphere. So again many different technologies being worked on. You’ve probably heard of this new super drone, the X37, the military space plane that’s proven that it can stay in orbit for more than a year at a time. It also is being viewed as a weapons technology system that could go up and grab another country’s satellite because it has an arm. It looks like the shuttle, a smaller version of the shuttle with an opening bay door, with an arm they could reach out and capture somebody’s satellite. It could be used for military reconnaissance. It could also, as it flies down from orbit, drop an attack on a particular country. So again many different technologies being worked on all costing a hell of a lot of money. And so as these satellites orbit the earth, they send their signal and real-time, split second time, to ground stations that the US has established all over the planet and various countries, that relay the signal, then back to another satellite which then relays it all to space command headquarters in the United States. All of this done and split second time. So each of these applications… ground stations, satellites, rocket launches to put satellites in orbit… All these things become highly highly expensive, and I call it payramids to the heavens. Today the Aerospace corporations are the Pharaohs of our age, building these pyramids to the heavens. And we the taxpayers will be like the slaves in Egypt land who will turn over our social security, our Medicare, our Medicaid, what’s left of the welfare program, environmental programs, education funding, all of this. They’re draining everything in order to pay for this monumental, colossally and sane program to dominate the Earth and beyond.
MF: And of course, we’re not hearing any of this in our corporate media. So there’s a… the u.s. announced a project, a Manhattan Project-sized project to basically we build this communications Network in order to… if we were to go to a war with China to be able to shoot our bombs into China and know where they were going. It is my understanding of it–you probably have a deeper understanding–is this connected to that whole kind of network that the u.s. is creating?
BG: Yeah, they’re working on so many things… satellite reconnaissance, satellite observation, satellite command control applications, to be able to piece this whole thing… You can imagine the enormity of it all, especially when you start getting the allies involved and, you know, other countries involved. And so it’s just enormously complex and enormously expensive. But you know, everything has an Achilles heel and I think the two things that are the biggest Achilles heal are… number one is space debris, space junk, In 1989 organized a protest when I was working for the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the speaker that day was Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell. I think he was the fifth man to walk on the moon. And he came and spoke out against the militarization the weaponization of space and he said if we ever have a war in space it will be the one and only, because it will create so much space junk, space debris, by blowing things up that we would not be able to get a rocket off the earth. We would be entombed to the planet forever because there would be like a minefield of debris orbiting the planet at 17,000 miles an hour. And we wouldn’t be able to get through it. But what we now know is that if there ever was such a war and they went through this chaotic cascading effect of things bouncing off each other… the International Space Station, as big as it is, imagine if it was destroyed, and the debris that it would create that would then be orbiting the Earth. That means that cell phones, cable TV, GPS, everything that we do down on this planet… weather prediction. traffic signals, ATM machines, everything would go dark immediately, because all these satellites that control those so-called civilian applications would be destroyed as well. So it’s foolhardy to think that we could have a war in space and that there could be a winner when in fact everybody would lose. And this is I think one of the biggest messages that needs to get out to the people of the world. How crazy this this is. And the other part of the Achilles heel is the sheer cost. Again, and so I always tell people, you know, I’m not asking you to stop what important work you’re doing now. Please continue. But begin to talk about the connection between, you know, your work to fund human needs and environmental cleanup. Talk about how the space technology warfare system is going to steal that money. So we literally have two trains heading for a collision. One is social progress and environmental progress on this planet, dealing with climate catastrophe, having the Funds to do that. That’s one train. And the other train is this notion of US control and domination of space and the earth below with space technology. One of these two trains is going to survive and the other is not. And so let’s fight for social progress and in doing so help defeat this insane program to move the arms race into space.
KZ: There are multiple trains of various sorts on going, you know. One of the arms races that we’re concerned about is the nuclear arms race. Obama’s trillion dollar ten year plan to upgrade nuclear weapons. Trump continuing expanding that. And now we hear in this outer space force that nuclear power may be used to power the military capabilities in outer space. How does the nuclear issue relate to outer space?
BG: Well, you know, after World War II the u.s. smuggled into the United States 1,500 of top Nazi operatives, scientists. And included in that group where hundred of the Hitler’s V1 and V2 rocket scientist, Verner Von Braun and his team. They were brought to Huntsville Alabama to create the u.s. space program. One of the guys was Major General Walter Dornberger who was Hitler’s liaison, between him and Wernher von Braun. And he became vice president of Bell Aerospace, and he had a vision of orbiting battle stations that would be powered with weapons that could hit targets on the earth and knock out other countries satellites. And the original vision was that these things would be powered with nuclear reactors. So it’s long long been in the planning of the United States military that they would have nuclear reactors in space powering these weapon systems because it takes enormous power capability to fire a laser through space, etc. Etc. So this is certainly in their planning and it remains in their planning. They’re now also talking about nuclear powered mining colonies on the moon and Mars and asteroids and comets. They’re talking about nuclear rockets going to Mars, because it takes a year to get the Mars with conventional rocket technology and the astronauts’ bodies would turn to jello, so they want to cut in half the amount of time it takes to get there. So the idea is to have nuclear reactors, but in doing so you create this whole host of problems on earth at the nuclear laboratories that have years and years of bad history of contaminating workers and local communities. I’ll never forget in 1997 when Cassini was launched from Cape Canaveral we had a thousand people out there protesting it right before the launch at Cape Canaveral. And it carried onboard plutonium, and we learned that the generators on that Cassini mission… When they were fabricating those generators in New Mexico at Los Alamos labs, they had two hundred and forty four cases of worker contamination. So even before anything is launched its already problematic. The nuclear problem, but then when you start putting rockets and nuclear devices on rockets that blow up 10% of the time on launch, you’re really asking for trouble. And in that same Cassini mission in ’97, the environmental impact statement that NASA did said that if there was a explosion of the rocket on launch and a release of the plutonium as dust, it would be carried by the winds for a 60-mile radius from the Space Center west to Disney World, south to Vero Beach, north to Daytona Beach. A 60-mile radius and that all the people would have to be removed. All the buildings would have to be removed. All the vegetation would have to be removed. All the animals. Can you imagine? The snakes, the alligators, the birds, the fish, the caterpillars… All the animals would have to be removed and the top half inch of soil would have to be removed because everything would be radioactive for thousands of years. Well, this is just pure insanity. I mean, how could they do it? How could they? It could never be done? But this is the kind of nuclear Russian roulette that the United States, NASA and the department of energy and the military are playing with today.
KZ: I Imagine nuclear space debris would be a whole other story of problems.
MF: Yeah, so it really sounds like… to kind of just summarize… that in a we’re using all of our resources on earth up. So now the u.s. is pushing to open up these planets and space to mine these materials. And of course, we know that in order to exploit these places as we do here on earth, you have to have the US military to provide coverage of these corporations. And this also just sounds like the u.s. is losing its dominance in the world, now seeking to dominate outer space to maintain that control. It’s kind of a scary picture that’s emerging. Can you talk about where people can get information and what we should be doing to push back against this?
BG: I urge people to go to our website of the global Network at spaceforpeace.org, and also look for our page on Facebook and like it. And you can follow our work there.. the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. I also would challenge us all to think more about the need to call for the conversion of the military-industrial complex into what I call the natural guard as we face this real problem today that we have, climate catastrophe. The Pentagon is the biggest polluter on the planet. So biggest user fossil fuels on the planet. We need to convert this war machine today into something that will help the people. As we have increasingly very tragic and large massive climate events, we need a process to help people, to help save them, deal with refugees, deal with floods and famines and everything else that’s going to come with climate catastrophe. So we should be spending our money on those things rather than making climate problems even worse by our endless wars and our military madness that we’re doing today. So I think we have to put out this vision of a different kind of future for us all.
MF: Yeah such important work that you’re doing, and educating. I know you also hold International conferences about the space war and nuclear weapons as well.
BG: That’s right. Every year we hold a conference in a different country that is a part of this whole process. This coming May ee’re going to be in Ottawa Canada in conjunction with World Beyond War and some bunch of Canadian groups as well. So our conference will be part of that larger Coalition event, which is really a good thing. Most of our groups work in these silos. And so it’s nice to get out and work with other people and share our information together. That’s the only way we’re really going to succeed in the future
MF: Great and folks can find that information about that conference on popularresistance.org on the events calendar. Thank you Bruce for taking time out to talk to us today.
KZ: Very appreciated. Thank you so much.
BG:Thank you both very much. You guys are doing really great work and I really admire everything you’re doing.