War in the Heavens


War in the Heavens

Appearing on the podcast Beyond the Grassy Knoll always provided this writer with a great opportunity to kick around the hypothetical peanut. The March 8, 2009 show was certainly no exception. During the course of the program, the topic of the specter of global war raised its ugly head. The possible, almost inevitable, endgame scenario is a gloomy subject to say the least. Still, the fact that the final competition between the world's power elite may be manifested as a worldwide conflict is something that show host Vyzygoth felt needed to be addressed. Cutting directly to the chase, Vyz asked when we believed the first blows in the title fight should be expected. In response, this writer told Vyz and the Knoll audience that a world war would not be possible until nations could produce troop surges that would put a million boots on the ground. Demographic bleed and a considerable drop in replacement births, courtesy of the power elite's depopulation efforts, limits present war-making capabilities and guarantees that such a conflict will be delayed for several years. Vyz accepted this assessment of the situation and moved on to the next part of the show.

There is, however, other war preparations that may have to be made that only came to this writer's mind after the show was over. Those preparations would not take place on the earth, but above it. For enthusiasts of space travel and man's attempts to conquer gravity, space is considered the final frontier. But for the military establishments of the world's most powerful nations, space has become the final battleground.
The concept of space weapons may have found its beginning in the most unlikely of places: late 19th century science fiction stories. These early literary fantasies imagined a super weapon with destructive force that beggared description. The super weapon came in many shapes and sizes and quickly shed its terrestrial chains within the pages of science fiction novels.
In 1889, Frank Stockton introduced the concept of the super weapon in his novel The Great War Syndicate. In this science fiction novel, which first appeared as a serial in the popular Collier’s Weekly, a war between America and Britain prompts 23 extremely wealthy super-capitalists to form a syndicate committed to defeating the British foes and reaping tremendous profits in the process (Franklin 152). Once assembled, the Great War Syndicate builds the “Motor Bomb,” a weapon that almost mirrors the atomic bomb (152).
A mere demonstration of the Motor Bomb convinces the British to cease all hostilities and an alliance between England and America follows (152). This alliance leads to the transformation of the story’s elite cabal into the “Anglo-American Syndicate of War” (152). Under the benevolent rule of the Syndicate, the world goes on to bear eerie resemblance to the imperialist vision of John Ruskin and his disciple, consummate elitist Cecil Rhodes. English becomes the universal language and the rest of the world is civilized by the Anglo-American alliance (152).
Apparently, Stockton’s concept of a great war syndicate gained imaginative momentum with the power elite. The syndicate gradually migrated from the pages of fiction to reality as an intricate relationship formed between elites, government, and the technocrats of the military-industrial complex. According H. Bruce Franklin, super weapons that were “conceived in American science fiction” went on to be “delivered by what has come to be known as the American military-industrial complex” (151). As science fiction began presenting the super weapon as a space-based death machine, the military-industrial complex turned its gaze towards the stars.
In 1898, the super weapon conquered gravity in Edison’s Conquest of Mars, a sequel to H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds written by Garrett P. Serviss. In the novel, Thomas Alva Edison is presented as a technocratic messiah who must devise a way to defeat the Martian villains introduced in Wells’ classic. Recovering from the defeat that they suffered at the end of War of the World, the Martians are preparing for a second invasion of Earth (154). In a move that would bring a grin to the neoconservative’s face, Edison creates a space super weapon in preparation for a preemptive strike. Serviss elaborates:
Edison now discovers an electrical force that can overcome gravity, and uses it to design and build a space ship. Faster and more maneuverable than the Martian space vehicles, Edison’s ship in one quick jump leapfrogs the aeons of Martian science and technology. Not content with this single-handed feat, Edison also invents (again all by himself) a weapon more potent than the deadly heat beam used by the Martians – a disintegrator beam capable at vast distances of reducing any substance into its constituent atoms. (154)
What ensues is a campaign of genocide against an alien race as an interplanetary war fleet armed with destructive super weapons devastates Mars (156). Serviss’ story is “an effervescent advertisement for imperial aspirations, superweapons, and warfare of extermination” (153). Edison’s Conquest of Mars contributed to the historical tide of imperialism was gripping America at the time of its release (156). Two months after the final installment of Serviss’ science fiction novel, the imperial competition between the United States and Spain for territory in the Caribbean and Pacific began (156). Serviss’ tale and subsequent science fiction works inspired attempts to develop modern space super weapons.
The militarization of space did not stay confined to the realm of literature for very long. For Richard C. Cook, former lead Resource Analyst for NASA's Comptroller's Office, the transformation of the heavens into a warzone is a reality. It was experience, not the imagination of fiction writers, that taught Cook this lesson and motivated this writer to interview him on March 6, 2009.
Cook arrived in Washington shortly after his college graduation in 1970 under a special program for highly qualified recruits (Cook, no pagination). He went to work for the U.S. Civil Service Commission and then went on to work for the Food and Drug Administration (ibid). From there, Cook moved on to the Jimmy Carter White House, working for the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs, Esther Peterson (ibid). Cook left government for a short time and then returned in July of 1985 when he arrived at NASA's Comptroller's Office (ibid). In order to fully understanding the costing and pricing of all things pertaining to the Shuttle, Cook set to work learning about the hardware (ibid). It was this job and Cook’s experience with the Challenger disaster that would lead to the Research Analyst’s discovery concerning the ugly truth about the militarization of space.
When reports started to come into the Comptroller's Office concerning problems with the O-Rings, Cook was sent over to the Office of Space Flight, the branch responsible for launching the Shuttle, to determine what was wrong (ibid). It was at this time that engineers began painting a disturbing and potentially disastrous picture.
"As soon as I got there I began to be briefed by the engineers in the Office of Space Flight who were very concerned that the problems they were having with the O-Rings and the Solid Rocket Boosters were dangerous and could lead to a catastrophe with the Space Shuttle," recalled Cook (ibid).
The reports deeply concerned Cook, and he quickly learned that he was not alone in his fears. His memos, which were revealed to the public after the Challenger disaster, "gave a pretty graphic illustration of the fact that people in the system were aware of this" (ibid). The Resource Analyst joined a growing number of voices at NASA warning about flaws in the Shuttle hardware (ibid).
"There were a lot of people in the NASA bureaucracy," explained Cook. "including engineers at headquarters, engineers at Commercial Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the engineers with the Solid Rocket Booster contractor, "Morton Thiokol, out in Utah, who all knew that the O-Rings were extremely hazardous and that they had a potential for causing a catastrophe." (ibid)
Cook extensively documented the problems with the O-Rings and passed his reports up the chain at the Comptroller's Office, hoping that his warnings would be heeded and tragedy would be averted (ibid). But his reports were ignored (ibid). NASA’s inaction proved to be fatal on January 28, 1986 when the Challenger exploded shortly after launch. According to Cook, NASA pressed forward despite the warnings because the Shuttle program embodied the lofty ambitions of power and influential people in the government, the military, and the private sector.
“NASA had a tremendous investment of prestige, of money, of national security in the Space Shuttle program,” explained Cook, “because it was being portrayed as the exclusive launch system for all requirements that the United States had for space flight. Everything was going to be put on the Shuttle, from national security missions to satellite launches to commercial launches to economic-related experiments to getting ready to put up a space station. I mean, they put everything they had into the Space Shuttle, and so there was tremendous pressure to keep the schedule going and to keep the Space Shuttle flying. NASA had never disclosed to anyone outside, including Congress, the White House, the press, and in some cases even the military and in other cases even their own astronauts, how many there were with the Space Shuttle at that time. So there was a big cover-up going on.” (ibid)
Of course, the Reagan Administration had been applying pressure on NASA to meet deadlines in spite of the extreme risk. Cook says that the launching of the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe, was to serve as a political backdrop for Reagan’s State of the Union speech (ibid). The Roger’s Commission, according to Cook, was designed to protect the Reagan Administration by keeping the investigation into the Challenger disaster away from the White House (ibid).
“They did a good job of looking at the physical cause,” said Cook. “But it’s quite clear, when you go through all of the transcripts and the whole history of the Commission, that they were very careful to keep anything coming out that would point to the White House as having been part of the launch decision or of having pressured NASA in any way to launch. And I had found plenty of indications that they had been part of the launch decision and that there was pressure from the White House to launch.” (ibid)
There was, however, an even more sinister reason for the cover-up. That reason unveiled the agenda to militarize space. According to Cook, the O-Ring flaws were also ignored because of a desire to use the Shuttle to carry U.S. Air Force military payload (ibid). Replacing the O-Rings may have delayed that plan (ibid).
“The militarization had a lot to do with it,” said Cook. “In fact, the Thiokol engineers who were concerned about cold temperatures had raised that issue a year before the Challenger disaster. And they were told, essentially, that they were to keep that information to themselves because NASA did not want to interfere with military flights.” (ibid)
So the saber-rattlers won the day and the Shuttle launched without delay, resulting in the tragic consequences of January 26, 1986. Little was mentioned in the mainstream press about how the Challenger crew had been sacrificed, in part, to satisfy a military agenda. Cook feels that NASA’s original mission was placed on the war-mongers’ altar as well. Anyone who cared to investigate the issue would have found that the Challenger disaster was the tip of the iceberg. The Space Shuttle was to become the testing platform for Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as the Star Wars program (ibid). Cook sees the use of the Shuttle for the Star Wars program as contradictory to the legislation establishing a civilian space program for peaceful purposes (ibid).
“I felt that it was a perversion of NASA’s mission,” said Cook, “and probably illegal if anyone really wanted to give a hard look to the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.” (ibid)
Cook’s own observations since leaving NASA have led him to conclude that the space militarization agenda has continued on to the present day. The agenda saw a temporary setback during the Clinton Administration when use of the Shuttle for military missions was discontinued (ibid). But the George W. Administration saw the return of militarization efforts. This time, according to Cook, the effort is being carried out under the pretext of colonizing the moon (ibid).
“They say it’s to prepare for a Mars mission,” said Cook. “But I have spoken to someone who has worked in NASA and who is very cognizant of what’s really going on. The real, underlying purposes of the current program to colonize the moon is a military mission. Essentially, it’s to provide a base, a military base on the moon to control access to space. And there’s now a space race among nations of the world to get their own colonies established on the moon. Russia, China, the European Space Agency, and India are all participating now in this new race to the moon that I think has very strong militaristic overtones.” (ibid)
Control of the moon would certainly help reestablish the American Empire’s waning dominance. The moon possesses as a subsoil asset an isotope known as helium-3 (Blomfield). The non-radioactive isotope is, according to journalist Adrian Blomfield, a “proven and potent fuel for nuclear fusion” (ibid). Britain’s energy requirements for an entire year could be met with just six metric tons of helium-3 (ibid).
In 2006, NASA announced its intentions to construct and staff an international base camp on one of the moon’s poles by 2024 (ibid). Strangely, the United States declined an offer to take Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos on as a partner in the moon base project (ibid). The move prompted Russian suspicions that Washington was using lunar exploration as a pretext for monopolizing helium-3 mining (ibid).
If America were able to corner the energy market by monopolizing helium-3 mining, then the Western power elite would become the dominant force in the emerging new world order. The Russian elite cannot and will not allow that to happen. As this writer has pointed out before, there is no award for second place in the race for world domination. For this reason, Russia is now hard at work on a program to reach the moon nine years before America, establishing a permanent lunar base by 2015 (ibid).
There was a time when space exploration was a testament to the spirit of innovation. Unfortunately, that time seems to have passed. Now, reaching the stars is about the acquisition of power and, ultimately, power is the key to winning the unfolding war in the heavens.

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