The Guardian • Issue #2050

No weapons in space

Space and technology

Photo: NASA –

As the US war preparations escalate, its plans for domination here on earth also extend to the weaponising of space.

At the UN Conference on Disarmament in 2005, China raised the critical significance of space in modern military strategy. Because of “its unique commanding position of height, outer space has been attached with an ever more important military and strategic value,” said China’s representative. “The rapid development of science and technology has provided material conditions for outer space to become platforms for warfare.”

The speech noted that “currently the relevant warfare theories and concepts such as ‘control of outer space’ and ‘space forces projection’ are being codified. There is added urgency to the issue of prevention of an arms race in outer space.”

At the 2005 meeting the representative of the Russian Federation proposed that one way to avoid the weaponisation of space, was to close the loopholes in current international space law by evolving a new and comprehensive international legal agreement to block opportunities to deploy any type of weapon in space or use force or the threat of force with respect to spacecraft.

In 2002, China, the Russian Federation, Vietnam, Indonesia, Belarus, Zimbabwe, and Syria jointly drafted and circulated a Working Paper at the UN titled “Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention and Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space.” It set out the case for a treaty based on the prohibition of weapons in outer space. All attempts to develop a treaty have been opposed by the US.

The preamble to the draft said:

“Outer space is the common heritage of humankind and plays an ever-increasing role in its future development. There exists a potential danger or an armed confrontation with combatant activities being extended to outer space. The prevention of the deployment of weapons and an arms race in outer space become a pressing task facing the international community.”

Under the space policy authorised by the administration of George W Bush, the United States asserted a completely bogus right to “freedom of action in space,” stating it will “deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so.”

The US spy satellites looking into other countries, and their communication satellites that eavesdrop on phone and other communications are part of the “freedom of action in space.”

The US military is increasingly dependent on sophisticated satellites for communication, gathering intelligence and guiding missiles. The possibility that these space-based systems could come under attack has clearly created great consternation to US strategic planners as their space monopoly is being broken, particularly by China’s technological advancement.

The US claims monopoly and unilateral “rights” to militarise and exploit outer space, while it refuses to consider an international outer space peace treaty. The US is the only nation to oppose discussion of a space treaty which aims to prevent the stationing of weapons in space by any nation.

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