Some of the very persons involved in this effort may be ex-Nazi rocket scientists brought over from the Peenemunde V2 factory to work on our fledgling rocket program so we could beat the Soviets to the Moon.
While space has already been used for military purposes - mostly the use of reconnaissance satellites to gain information on the enemy and carry communications for military operations - there has never been deployment of actual weapons in orbit. Concern over the deployment of ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons led the UN to pass the treaty on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, forbidding such programs. Fortunately, the use of space has mostly been limited to exploration and cooperation, as with the Soyuz linkup of the 1970s, and the planned joint Mars mission of 1992.
But there are plans to change that.
While Reagan characterized such a defense as a 'shield,' most physicists see it as having so many problems in both the technological and strategic area that they call it a 'sieve.' At best, it might be able, according to some computer models, to take out 20 to 40% of incoming warheads. But, as with any system, there are countermeasures, and multiple warhead systems (MIRVs), decoy missiles, and enemy ASATs might reduce even that level of effectiveness.
Most scientists were afraid, especially
during the Cold War, of "Star Wars" destabilizing effect as a
concept. An enemy which even thought that a country was on the verge
of creating such a shield might feel they were prepared to launch a
'first strike,' and they might feel pressured to launch an
'anticipatory' strike to prevent it!
While there are UN treaties to restrain the nations of the world from taking what is in the seas or in Antarctica for their own, there is no real set of agreements that declares space to be the common heritage of mankind.
The militarization of space is a bad
trend, away from where mankind should be going - declaring space to
be the place where our lines on Earthly maps should not matter.
Robots represent the Pentagon's wet dream: a soldier that can deliver its 'payload' with no foul-ups and no guilt.
"Smart" bombs may be more accurate, since they are guided by complex terrain-mapping programs, but they do not distinguish between civilians and military targets. And they serve to further separate the act of killing from its completion, because the person who programs the guided missile can claim that he bore no malice toward the people that it hits.
They may make war more 'surgical,' in that certain targets and sites can be carefully and precisely excised, but if their programmers are in error, these "smart" systems can make very stupid errors, because they don't "know" the difference between a bunker and a milk factory, or between a jet fighter and a 747.
MILSTAR is supposed to be a system of satellites that are supposed to make nuclear war-fighting strategies once most of the existing C3I has been wiped out; in short the Pentagon is trying to develop the computer in 'War Games,' which will fight WW IV. With computers giving the orders, the chain of command in a complex situation like a 'limited' nuclear strike - which may require hundreds of decisions in a few minutes - is supposed to be 'simplified.'
But what happens when computers make
mistakes, as when the
NORAD radar confused a gaggle of
geese for incoming missiles?
Realizing that as the lethality and scale of warfare has grown exponentially in the 20th century, the Pentagon war-planners may also feel that soldiers have become less and less able to execute it. Better to have robots that do not question orders and can withstand much more damage than humans. It is very possible that one such project in the future may be to develop androids which are perfect human simulacra, for covert warfare purposes. In that sense, perhaps Terminator 2 may be very prescient.
Will we surrender our authority to some
omniscient 'Skynet' to fight all our wars, only to have it turn
Perhaps the next step for creating the
perfect soldier are cyborgs, who may be outfitted with electronic
implants for receiving and carrying out orders. Fantastic, but not
Saddam Hussein tried to destroy the ecological balance and natural resources of Kuwait by dumping crude petroleum into the ocean and setting the Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze. Wars have always had disastrous environmental consequences, with unexploded ammunition and minefields making many areas uninhabitable, and used armaments destroying the landscape and biota of others.
Wars consume vast amounts of fuel, energy, and resources; create massive amounts of air and water pollution; and pose massive hazards to other forms of life besides people, especially fragile 'key' species in precarious ecosystems - such as the bactrians of the sandy dunes of Iraq. What made Hussein unique was his decision to deliberately undertake actions which would destroy the environment of his enemy and render it unlivable.
The military has also explored the use of climate control in conflict - searching for ways to create drought, hurricanes, or tidal waves which might be directed toward the enemy so as to cause destruction. Subtle methods of decreasing rainfall, raising temperature, or changing soil composition might also damage agriculture and paralyze economic production.
The use of "weather
warfare" has obvious advantages: how can you prove that a
tornado which devastated your country was 'sent' by an enemy to
cause that destruction?
Or subtly allowing radiation to build up in the environment by spreading low-level radioactive waste over a battlefield. Such radiation would be invisible (except to a Geiger counter) and be very effective. I would not be surprised if the Pentagon is working on it right now. It is also now widely believed that underground nuclear detonations may be able to trigger earthquakes elsewhere on the planet.
Might this be the reason that
underground nuclear testing was continued up until very recently?
Two of those substances were the hallucinogen LSD and the mood-altering BZ. While the CIA has been interested in LSD as a 'spook drug' or truth serum, the Army saw it as a means for disorienting and confusing the enemy. It could be delivered through their water supply (which was tried) or through aerosol sprays (which didn't work very well since it dissipated very quickly.)
They found BZ interesting because they felt it could increase human aggressiveness; when tested on rats, it set them to fighting savagely against each other. It might, they thought, cause the enemy to get paranoid and turn against its own forces. Other psycho-chemicals were tested in the hope that they might cause enemy pacification reactions (reducing the will to fight or resist), increase allied performance (by stimulating adrenalin and alertness, etc.), or outright delusions (for distraction purposes.)
Many of the drugs that leaked into the hands of the counterculture were being tested by the military and the intelligence community long before, as early as the early 1950s. Drugs have always been an instrument of conquest; opium was the principal means that Britain extended its imperial ambitions into China and kept the populace from resisting.
The military was fascinated by the possibility of developing a Manchurian Candidate - an assassin from the enemy who could be 'brainwashed' into killing its enemies. To that end, the Army also explored hypnosis, the effect of ELF waves on human brain frequencies, and the use of sounds as signals to 'trigger' specific behavioral responses.
Other low-tech methods of exercising
power, such as entrapment, intimidation, and coercion, continue to
be explored. There was also a great deal of research into
"psychoacoustic" technology, involving the use of induced audible
hallucinations and disorientation created by infrasonic or microwave
technology. Such "directed-energy" weapons may well be
battlefield-tested someday for behavioral warfare ops.
Various techniques have been explored - the use of false rumors, doctored photographs and images, and "planted" news stories - fall into this category. The U.S. military in Nicaragua was accused of distributing a handbook which described vividly the arts of industrial sabotage.
In Panama, they used rock music to drive
Noriega out of a church where he had taken refuge, which may be the
ultimate form of psychological warfare.
Most efforts focused on developing 'binary' weapons which involved inert chemicals which became deadly upon mixing. Unfortunately, up until 1972 much of the chemical weapons in the country were 'unitary,' and we are stuck with stockpiles of nerve gas which we don't know what to do with.
In the recent Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein threatened to use Scud missiles with chemical warheads, but he did not make good on his threat. Unfortunately, many of the chemical agents used in this warfare are extremely lethal, and some do not even need to be breathed (they penetrate the skin) rendering the use of gas masks for protection worthless. Since such agents are often odorless and colorless, detection is a high priority.
One project in this vein may have been
the Tuskegee Experiment, during
which black men were exposed to a particularly potent strain of
syphilis, without their knowledge. The attempts may have been to
create a disease strain - such as a mutant form of anthrax - which
would not respond to the standard medical treatment because of its
genetic modification. The possibilities in this realm are truly
The idea would be to launch a nuclear
attack which would be rapid and undetected, would take out the
enemy's ability to respond, and create a unilateral victory. While
neither side claims they would initiate a first strike, during the
Cold War the U.S. tried to develop ways that it could, and so did
the Soviets. Perhaps neither side knew how dangerous that was, or
how likely it was to provoke the enemy toward more rapid and
irresponsible judgments because they would feel they had to respond
Particularly deadly were Fuel-Air Explosives which would create firestorms that would suck all the oxygen out of bunkers, and Cluster Bombs which would spread around 'incendiary' bomblets over large areas.
These munitions are so destructive that
they may obtain some of the secondary effects associated with the
use of nuclear weapons - the psychological demoralization of the
Of course, it is only radar-invisible, and even that is only partially true, since it only deflects some radar frequencies. However, there is some reason to believe that the Navy may have made attempts to render ships 'invisible' to radar or magnetic mines during WW II, and that this may have been the basis of the 'Philadelphia Experiment' of 1943 made famous by Moore and Berlitz.
"Stealth" technology facilitates covert operations because it allows the Pentagon to send in a fighter to strike undetected and escape unscathed.
Of course, any one with good eyes can spot the plane, and if it has American insignias, they will know who has bombed them... plus, it turns out, the effort to make the B2 stealthy has also made it very unstable (it requires six computer systems to fly) and very vulnerable to attack (there is no armor or armaments aboard) but who's counting?
Camouflage, radar jamming, chaff,
electronic countermeasures, and other techniques have long been used
by the military to hide its forces from the enemy. "Stealth"
technology is an attempt to take the quest for invisibility one step
further. As to whether the Army has developed a technique for visual
invisibility... they certainly aren't telling.
Such a hypersonic plane, even if not radar-invisible, would have little trouble penetrating most air defenses at such velocities, and probably could strike with complete anonymity - who would be able to identify the markings on the plane at that speed? Further, such a plane might have to be a "drone" piloted by computers, since a human pilot might have a tough time reacting quickly enough or surviving the inertial acceleration.
And it would once again put the act of
war out of the hands of human decision-making.
Hence the Pentagon's doctrine of 'low-intensity conflict,' (LIC) which generally involves the use of proxies or surrogates, such as the contras in Nicaragua.
Such proxies are often CIA-trained mercenaries, "counterterrorist" squads like the 'Delta Force,' and infiltrators or saboteurs. One important LIC effort during the Vietnam war was the CIA's Project Phoenix, which identified and assassinated over 60,000 members of the Vietcong cadres. LIC is yet another effort by the Pentagon to wage war without the government declaring it - because LIC can be maintained even while the pretense of nonintervention is used and blamed on paramilitary "death squads" which, of course, get no aid from us.
Some of the methods used in LIC include flooding the enemy country with bogus currency to create inflation, sabotage of factories and other production facilities, disruption of trade routes and transportation networks (such as railroads), resource depletion, and the use of 1980s-style "junk bonds" to create false debt in the economy.
This strategy can often paralyze the
opponent's economy, creating vast amounts of misery, but equally
vast challenges to his authority.
This, combined with some vote-rigging, electoral fraud, and outright poll-place coercion, can often produce the desired result. Amazingly, Americans bark at the role foreign lobbyists play in their deliberative process - but consider what a hue and cry there would be if it was found out that Mexico gave the Republicans thousands of dollars for their campaign and paid for anti-Democrat advertisements in the U.S.!
Yet we do this kind of thing in the
Third World all the time.
One almost starts to think of teams of Shaolin monks going out to disarm their opponents and send them home bruised but uninjured. But the Pentagon's interest in non-lethal warfare is once again simply PR. Tired of being told that they are in the killing industry, the Pentagon wants to brag that it can deter America's enemies without harming them.
Some of the things being explored in this field are:
Yet the Pentagon's praises of the potential for 'non-lethal' hi-tech warfare deserve several grains of salt.
There are many drawbacks to so-called "non-lethal" weapons. There are, after all, "fates worse than death." Is it truly preferable to be permanently blinded by lasers, deafened by infrasonic, or maimed or disabled by some other technology designed not to kill?
Further, the infrastructure that
maintains a nation's war machine also supports its people in
peacetime: "infrastructure targeting" can cause high additional
"collateral damage" from disease, hunger, and social breakdown, as
we can see from postwar Iraq. And weapons designed to disable can
accidentally kill - as when your paralyzed tank is slammed into by
the tank behind you. "Non-lethal" weapons might be quite lethal in
certain circumstances (which one might or might not categorize as
Distinguishing between lethal and non-lethal weapons on the battlefield might not be so easy to do. Such non-lethal technologies may backfire in numerous ways (such as when chemical agents dropped on 'their' side are carried by prevailing winds back over to 'ours') and exacerbate the problem of "friendly fire."
And non-lethal weapons are quite simply more likely to be used in a conflict situation, since their usage might not attract the same international criticism as conventional warfare. Possession of "non-lethal" weapons may encourage conflicts rather than forestall them, and one might consider that opponents may not be so generous as to retaliate to 'non-lethal' weapons with similarly non-lethal "attacks."
"Non-lethal" weapons may end up making
life on this planet much more lethal.
Who knows what we might see?
All I know to expect from the Pentagon is the unexpected.
I imagine they will continue their efforts to move postmodern warfare into the high-tech realm, moving it into a distant, abstract, electronic realm, where only images and icons are being killed, not people. As warfare becomes more and more lethal, they will try to sell it as a 'video game.'
That is what it was called by the fighter pilots in the war against Iraq, who also called it a 'turkey shoot.'
"Star Wars" is a highly frightening reality, very different from the movies. In space, there is almost no friction to slow down the momentum of objects.
If a satellite were to be blown apart, there would be a hail of fragments preceding outward at thousands of miles an hour. Some of those fragments would continue to orbit around the Earth at the same velocity as initial impact. If they slammed into a civilian rocket ship (such as our Shuttle) the cabin might depressurize and all the oxygen in the vessel would rush out in a wave of explosive decompression. It would be a highly deadly affair.
Our astronauts have enough to worry
about, with cosmic rays, micrometeorites, and tons of "space junk"
as existing space problems.
There will be more and more penetration of the military into the fields of aerospace, electronics, and materials research. As a result, more and more scientific research will become classified material hidden in the "black budget." Sadly, technology has been a handmaiden of war ever since Da Vinci.
Perhaps someday it can be the companion
These projects include:
HAARP is supposedly a multimillion dollar civilian project in the Arctic to study the Aurora Borealis, but close observers note many elements of the project which suggest it is actually a cover for military research into using the ionosphere for long-range communications, and perhaps even such things as weather manipulation, power transmission, or EM interference.
The HAARP project has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media, which is why Project Censored gave it one of its "Top Ten Most Censored Stories" awards... Tesla enthusiasts note that it seems to be based on many of the inventor's ideas regarding the use of the Earth's own electromagnetic field - but for some perhaps very sinister purposes.
They are going to try and develop viruses and worm programs which are designed to directly attack an enemy's C3I capability, knocking out critical systems. Further, they are going to develop a coordinated strategy for monitoring security threats on the Internet - mentioning several domestic groups, including UFO enthusiasts, which would require more extreme electronic surveillance.
Finally, part of their 'cyberwar'
program seems to involve the more stepped-up dissemination of
electronic disinformation - with the sinister purpose of destroying
the assets of enemy nations, through the reduction of trading
The mainstream media played up the
Stargate story for its laugh factor, but they simply bought the
military's story that the program was discontinued due to a lack of
results. In point of fact, the program was simply reshuffled
bureaucratically, and while Stargate was ended, military use
of psychics continue. If such human talents exist, nothing will be
gained by using them in such restrictive, paranoid ways.
'Cyberwar' techniques could very easily wind up in the hands of agencies determined to use them back against the U.S.; such is the nature of everything on the global net. And Stargate may have even involved some dangerous efforts to biochemically 'boost' psychic functioning, according to some reports.
The emperor marches on...