Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE

Posted by strattof on October 11, 2012

OCTOBER 6th – 13th 2012

A WORLD-WIDE WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST SPACE WEAPONS

50 years ago this fall, with the launch of Alouette I, Canada became only the third nation in the world to design and build an orbiting satellite. Five years later, in 1967, Canada and a host of other nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to restrict the placement of weapons in space, recognizing the common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.”

Since Alouette I, we have benefitted from some of those peaceful uses: satellites have helped us communicate, navigate, forecast the weather, and monitor the environment.

OUTER SPACE IS BECOMING EVER MORE HEAVILY MILITARIZED

Today many nations, including Canada, rely on satellites to carry out their military operations: communications, coordination, reconnaissance, surveillance, and weapons targeting all depend on space-based networks.

The US military refers to the 1991 Gulf War as “the first space war” because it marked the first major use of satellite-guided (GPS) bombs and other space-based military systems.

  • In the 1991 Gulf War, 7% of all aerial bombs were GPS-guided; by the time of the 2003 war in Iraq, it was over 90%.
  • In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, western-led forces continue to drop satellite-guided bombs and use satellite-guided drones to monitor and target insurgents.
  • Civilians, however, are often the victims: since 2004, the USA’s drone campaign has killed as many as 880 civilians, according to London’s Bureau for Investigative Journalism.
  • In August, the Ottawa Citizen reported that “senior Canadian defence leaders pitched the idea of spending up to $600 million for armed drones to take part in the Libyan war.”
  • The same report indicated that Canada’s defence department was interested in drones “that can be outfitted with missiles and other bombs. According to Department of National Defence documents the military intends to spend around $1 billion on the project.”

Spending a billion dollars on satellite-guided weapons is a far cry from “the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.”

SATELLITES: THE EYES, EARS, & BRAINS OF MODERN WARFARE

  • Satellites capture the images of targets (including individuals) that war makers wish to destroy.
  • Satellites pick up conversations and sounds that further identify targets, while GPS systems provide the gunsight that directs weapons to their destination.
  • Drones and other new age weapons bring us closer to removing humans from the decision making loop.

Canadians must oppose space militarization and a costly and dangerous new arms race in the heavens.

TAKE ACTION

  • Sign the petition to ban weaponized drones: http://bit.ly/OGIQ3T
  • Email your MP to say you want Canada to oppose the militarization of space:

   Ralph Goodale: goodale@sasktel.net

   Andrew Scheer: Scheer.A@parl.gc.ca

   Ray Boughen: ray.boughen@parl.gc.ca

   Tom Lukiwski: Lukiwski.T@parl.gc.ca

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