Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE, 0CTOBER 5 – 12, 2013: A WORLD-WIDE WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST SPACE WEAPONS

Posted by strattof on October 11, 2013

Over 50 years ago, with the launch of Alouette I, Canada became only the third nation in the world to design and build an orbiting satellite. In 1967, Canada and a host of other nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to restrict placing 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, Canada has 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 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 Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere, western-led forces increasingly use satellite-guided drones to monitor and target insurgents, often dropping bombs on villages.
  • Since 2004, the USA’s drone campaign has killed as many as 400 civilians in Pakistan alone, 94 of them children, according to London’s Bureau for Investigative Journalism.
  • During the 2012 war in Libya, NATO forces used satellite-guided JDAM (Joint-Direct Attack Munition) bombs. Over 70 civilians died in that war, according to Human Rights Watch.
  • An Ottawa Citizen report from August of 2012 reported Canadian interest in satellite-guide 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.”

Since then, a new head of Canada’s Space Agency has been named: General Walter Natynczyk, a former Chief of Defence Staff who was Canada’s top participant in the illegal invasion of Iraq.

These developments represent 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:

Ray Boughen: ray.boughen@parl.gc.ca  

Ralph Goodale: ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca

Tom Lukiwski: tom.lukiwski@parl.gc.ca

Andrew Scheer: andrew.scheer@parl.gc.ca

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