WASHINGTON, Jan 27--A disabled American spy satellite is rapidly descending and is likely to plunge to Earth by late February or early March, posing a potential danger from its debris, officials said Saturday.
Officials said that they had no control over the nonfunctioning satellite and that it was unknown where the debris might land.
''Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,'' Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said.
He said, "Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause."
Specialists who follow spy satellite operations suspect it is an experimental imagery satellite built by Lockheed Martin and launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in December 2006 aboard a Delta II rocket.
Shortly after the satellite reached orbit, ground controllers lost the ability to control it and were never able to regain communication.
"It's not necessarily dead, but deaf," said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an analyst for various government space programs.
It is fairly common for satellites to drop out of orbit and enter Earth's atmosphere, but most break up before they reach the surface, Mr. McDowell said.
Of particular concern in this case, however, is that the debris from the satellite may include hydrazine fuel, which is typically used for rocket maneuvers in space.
Much of the fuel on the experimental satellite may not have been used and, should the tank survive re-entry into the atmosphere, the remaining fuel would be hazardous to anyone on the ground.
John E. Pike, the director of Globalsecurity.org in Alexandria, Va., said that if the satellite in question was a spy satellite, it was unlikely to have any kind of nuclear fuel, but that it could contain toxins, including beryllium, which is often used as a rigid frame for optical components.
Since it was launched, the experimental satellite has been in a slowly decaying orbit. As of Jan. 22, it was moving in a circular orbit at about 275 kilometers above the Earth, Mr. McDowell said. In the last month, its orbit has declined by 15 to 20 kilometers.
The largest uncontrolled re-entry by a NASA spacecraft was that of Skylab, the 78-ton abandoned space station that fell from orbit in 1979.
Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told
Ian Traynor in Brussels
Tuesday January 22, 2008
The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.
Calling for root-and-branch reform of Nato and a new pact drawing the US, Nato and the European Union together in a "grand strategy" to tackle the challenges of an increasingly brutal world, the former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".
The manifesto has been written following discussions with active commanders and policymakers, many of whom are unable or unwilling to publicly air their views. It has been presented to the Pentagon in Washington and to Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, over the past 10 days. The proposals are likely to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest in April.
"The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible," the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."
The authors - General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff and Nato's ex-supreme commander in Europe, General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former top soldier and ex-chairman of Nato's military committee, General Henk van den Breemen, a former Dutch chief of staff, Admiral Jacques Lanxade, a former French chief of staff, and Lord Inge, field marshal and ex-chief of the general staff and the defence staff in the UK - paint an alarming picture of the threats and challenges confronting the west in the post-9/11 world and deliver a withering verdict on the ability to cope.
The five commanders argue that the west's values and way of life are under threat, but the west is struggling to summon the will to defend them. The key threats are:
∑ Political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism.
∑ The "dark side" of globalisation, meaning international terrorism, organised crime and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
∑ Climate change and energy security, entailing a contest for resources and potential "environmental" migration on a mass scale.
∑ The weakening of the nation state as well as of organisations such as the UN, Nato and the EU.
To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new "directorate" of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU "obstruction" of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:
∑ A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.
∑ The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.
∑ No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.
∑ The use of force without UN security council authorisation when "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings".
In the wake of the latest row over military performance in Afghanistan, touched off when the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said some allies could not conduct counter-insurgency, the five senior figures at the heart of the western military establishment also declare that Nato's future is on the line in Helmand province.
"Nato's credibility is at stake in Afghanistan," said Van den Breemen.
"Nato is at a juncture and runs the risk of failure," according to the blueprint.
Naumann delivered a blistering attack on his own country's performance in Afghanistan. "The time has come for Germany to decide if it wants to be a reliable partner." By insisting on "special rules" for its forces in Afghanistan, the Merkel government in Berlin was contributing to "the dissolution of Nato".
Ron Asmus, head of the German Marshall Fund thinktank in Brussels and a former senior US state department official, described the manifesto as "a wake-up call". "This report means that the core of the Nato establishment is saying we're in trouble, that the west is adrift and not facing up to the challenges."
Naumann conceded that the plan's retention of the nuclear first strike option was "controversial" even among the five authors. Inge argued that "to tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence".
Reserving the right to initiate nuclear attack was a central element of the west's cold war strategy in defeating the Soviet Union. Critics argue that what was a productive instrument to face down a nuclear superpower is no longer appropriate.
Robert Cooper, an influential shaper of European foreign and security policy in Brussels, said he was "puzzled".
"Maybe we are going to use nuclear weapons before anyone else, but I'd be wary of saying it out loud."
Another senior EU official said Nato needed to "rethink its nuclear posture because the nuclear non-proliferation regime is under enormous pressure".
Naumann suggested the threat of nuclear attack was a counsel of desperation. "Proliferation is spreading and we have not too many options to stop it. We don't know how to deal with this."
Nato needed to show "there is a big stick that we might have to use if there is no other option", he said.
The US's top soldier under Bill Clinton and former Nato commander in Europe, Shalikashvili was born in Warsaw of Georgian parents and emigrated to the US at the height of Stalinism in 1952. He became the first immigrant to the US to rise to become a four-star general. He commanded Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq at the end of the first Gulf war, then became Saceur, Nato's supreme allied commander in Europe, before Clinton appointed him chairman of the joint chiefs in 1993, a position he held until his retirement in 1997.
Viewed as one of Germany's and Nato's top military strategists in the 90s, Naumann served as his country's armed forces commander from 1991 to 1996 when he became chairman of Nato's military committee. On his watch, Germany overcame its post-WWII taboo about combat operations, with the Luftwaffe taking to the skies for the first time since 1945 in the Nato air campaign against Serbia.
Field Marshal Peter Inge is one of Britain's top officers, serving as chief of the general staff in 1992-94, then chief of the defence staff in 1994-97. He also served on the Butler inquiry into Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and British intelligence.
Henk van den Breemen
An accomplished organist who has played at Westminster Abbey, Van den Breemen is the former Dutch chief of staff.
A French admiral and former navy chief who was also chief of the French defence staff.
In a follow-up to a January 6 exclusive, the London Sunday Times exposes an attempt by the FBI to deny the existence of a key case file in whistleblower Sibel Edmondsí accusations that paid high-ranking American officials were privy to the stealing of nuclear weapons secrets by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The existence of a key document corroborating Sibel Edmonds
í accusations of a nuclear smuggling ring operating in the United States, is being denied by the FBI. Edmonds, meanwhile, maintains that the document does exist. "I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002. The file refers to the counterintelligence programme that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations," she said.
An American human rights watchdog group called the Liberty Coalition received an anonymous letter urging them to request audio tapes and documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Department of Justice and FBI. The anonymous letter revealed the name of one high-level government official who had been recorded speaking to an official at the Turkish embassy between August and December 2001. The letter claimed the government official warned a Turkish member of the network not to deal with Brewster Jenings, as that company was nothing but a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market.
As an aside, Sibel Edmonds has denied being the source of the anonymous letter. And it makes perfect sense that she is not. Presently she faces prosecution and jail time under the Department of Justiceís "States Secrets Privilege" threat if she says too much.
Under FOIA, the Liberty Coalition requested access specifically to document 203A-WF-210023, but the FBI claims that document 203A-WF-210023 does not exist. Edmonds believes it is a crucial file and contains details of very incriminating evidence and she accuses the agency of an "outright lie," in the matter, saying it is being covered up because its contents are so explosive. The Times, meanwhile, says it "has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file."
Edmonds, the subject of several gag orders, is prevented from speaking further about the investigation. "This gag was invoked not to protect sensitive diplomatic relations but criminal activities involving U.S. officials who were endangering U.S. national security," she said. Previously, she says she provided information via testimony before the U.S. Congress, the Inspector General of the Justice Department and the 9/11 Commission, all to no avail.
U.S. officials arenít the only ones ignoring the extremely vital information. The entire American mainstream media continues to remain conspicuously and culpably silent on the matter as well. Kudos are being thrown Rupert Murdochís way for breaking the whole story in the London Sunday Times by some, including Daniel Ellsberg of the leaked Pentagon Papers fame. But obviously, Murdoch could have had any of his U.S. news operations, from Fox News to the Wall Street Journal, carry the story ó and he didnít.
Brad Friedman asked Sibel Edmonds about the coverage of her story by the London Sunday Times. "Murdoch is not doing it," she replied. "It's the difference between the UK's reporters and the U.S. reporters and the way they go after stories. It shows that they have far more leeway. I think a lot of it is the self-censorship [of the U.S. media] and the reliance 100% on only government sources. I have had [American] reporters call me and tell me that I have 'stumbled on some big time national security, covert operation'," she continued, explaining that as the reason given by some for staying away from the story.
, the acknowledged expert on the entire incredible tale, again has to be credited with some keen and insightful commentary:
We are all familiar with the cliche that "the cover-up is worse than the crime," but that is often nonsense. Just as in the CIA tape destruction case, here we have rational people making "rational" decisions, not in the heat of the moment, to commit felonies by destroying evidence of treason amongst other crimes. The original crimes are much worse than the cover-up, and the guilty parties know it, that's why they decided to destroy and cover up all of the evidence. Will Congress finally hold hearings into the foreign criminal penetration of every branch of the U.S. government which has been repeatedly corroborated? We have the crimes, we have the cover-ups, where are the consequences?
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" is the famous quote
from the wizard in the movie classic, The Wizard Of Oz. However, when it
comes to national and international affairs, many, if not most,
Americans seem to have taken the mythical wizard's advice. They seem
oblivious to the man behind the curtain. And make no mistake about it:
there is a man (or group of men) behind the curtain.
The American people seem mesmerized by the smoke and mirrors of the
political and media elite. For the most part, the people of this country
seem totally unaware that while the global elite who run this country
passionately promote the "war on terrorism," those same elite are also
violently attacking the liberties of the heartland. While they create a
gargantuan Department of Homeland Security for our "protection," they
are using that very same department to eviscerate the constitutional
protections of our republic. While they insist that we are dependent
upon oil from Saudi Arabia, they are ignoring giant oil and natural gas
discoveries located under the frozen tundra of our 49th State (and other
places). The elite have brilliantly turned the drumbeats of war against
Islamofascism into a giant smokescreen to hide their insidious plans to
wage a different kind of war against the American people.
The war against the American people is waged on a hundred fronts and
with a hundred agendas. But one word seems to best describe the heart of
the strategy. And that word is FEAR. The problem is, the man behind the
curtain has misdirected people's fears.
The American people are continually besieged with the imminent threat of
what little, pipsqueak, piss-ant countries such as Iraq and Iran pose to
the safety and security of America. Hogwash! Iraq was never an imminent
threat to these United States and George W. Bush and rest of his
globalist neocons always knew it. Neither is Iran an imminent threat to
America. And the Bushkies know this too.
Iran does not even have the capability of inflicting serious damage upon
Israel, much less the United States. It has a ragtag army. No navy. No
air force. No nuclear weapons. No really sophisticated weapons of any
kind. Oh, they harbor several thousand fanatical sand people who live in
caves and who huddle together in antiquated forts. They carry AK-47's,
and some short-range shoulder-fired missile launchers. Yet, the Bush
propagandists have conservatives worked up into a frenzy, all prepared
to support a nuclear attack against Tehran. Believe me, if Israel
thought that Iran was a serious threat to its security, it has the
ability to take that country further back into the Stone Age than it
Beyond that, if Bush believes that we are truly fighting a war against
terrorists in Iraq, why does he give $20 billion worth of military
weaponry to Saudi Arabia? Have you ever seen or even heard of a Saudi
army? How about a Saudi navy? A Saudi air force? You haven't heard of
it? Neither has anyone else.
What we do hear from former CIA insiders is that much of any military
hardware shipped to Saudi Arabia often winds up in the hands of Muslim
terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. In addition, readers are aware
that many, if not most, of the al-Qaeda insurgents that are shooting and
killing our soldiers and Marines in Iraq do not come from Iraq--they
come from Saudi Arabia! So much for Bush's "war on terrorism."
What the globalists behind the curtain are doing is using the "war on
terrorism" to distract the American people from the war they are
How else can one explain the fact that, while the neocons are waving the
war flag against a schizophrenic but impotent Iran, they totally ignore
the very real threat posed by the People's Republic of China. If the
American people want an enemy to be concerned about, China, not Iran, is
the place to look.
But do not ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates whether we should be
concerned about Red China. He recently said, "I don't consider China an
enemy." Pray tell, is Gates entirely stupid or just unbelievably naive?
Or, is he trying to deliberately deceive us?
Besides the commonly reported foibles of Red China selling the United
States tainted food, poisoned toys, and crappy automobile tires, not to
mention all the junk Americans are forced to buy (produced with slave
labor, no less), the communist nation is also known to be sending hordes
of spies into our country. They are using a multi-billion dollar trade
surplus with the United States to build a modern army and navy. In fact,
they have developed a very sophisticated submarine fleet capable of
delivering nuclear missiles (including some with multiple warheads)
anywhere in the world. They routinely track our submarines and use
satellite technology to track our troop movements.
And speaking of satellites, when is the last time you heard any notable
media personality or government spokesman acknowledge the fact that Red
China is now even using advanced weaponry to shoot satellites out of the
sky? In fact, experts predict that by 2010 China will be able to knock
out most of our satellites in low-earth orbit. You mean the man behind
the curtain did not tell you that? I wonder why?
Plus, do not lose sight of the fact that China's growing military is
underwritten by American corporations along with the political
establishment within both major parties. It is American technology,
American materials, and American wealth that is enabling Red China to
create a very sophisticated and menacing global threat. But, again, the
man behind the curtain does not want you to know that.
Instead, the man behind the curtain--along with his water boys Giuliani,
Romney, Huckabee, McCain and members of the media--are facilitating Red
China's usage of the Panama Canal and the new NAFTA superhighway to
allow China to increase its foothold in the government and commercial
markets of the U.S. And don't overlook the fact that the communist
country is not only buying up vast amounts of the U.S. debt, it is
buying up vast amounts of private debt. And we hear nary a peep from the
man behind the curtain.
The other thing the man behind the curtain does not want us to see is
the impact that the forever war is having upon our economy. America is
being pushed to the brink of recession, maybe even depression. The chief
culprit of our economic woes is excessive federal spending. And the
biggest hole into which all this deficit spending is being dumped into
is none other than the forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly $1
trillion dollars has already been spent or is in the process of being
spent, and conservative estimates of an additional $1 trillion will be
spent to fight this forever war in the near future.
In addition, Bush's oil buddies have successfully manipulated the
economy to the point that Americans are paying over $3 a gallon for
regular gasoline. Diesel is running even higher than that. (Gas was
$1.25 a gallon when G.W. Bush became President.) And economists are
predicting that gasoline will rise to over $4 a gallon in the very near
At the same time, however, it is very likely that we discovered enough
oil and natural gas reserves beneath the surface of Alaska (and other
places) to supply all the oil and natural gas needs of the United States
for the next 200-300 years. But, guess what? Not only are we not
bothering to drill for these resources, our government and oil industry
moguls will not even acknowledge that such resources exist. Once again,
the old wizard creates his smoke and mirrors and implores us to ignore
that man behind the curtain.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have just scratched the surface. But the bottom
line is this: we have been had! Furthermore, the only Presidential
candidate who understands any of this is Congressman Ron Paul. But don't
expect any of our media or political elite to get behind Mr. Paul. Why?
The man behind the curtain doesn't like Ron Paul, and that is putting it
mildly. He knows that Ron Paul threatens the global elites'
Machiavellian plans more than any other single political figure today.
This disdain for Dr. Paul does not apply to other Republicans, of course.
The truth is, if the man behind the curtain has his way, he would much
prefer an establishment Republican to be elected this November. Oh,
don't get me wrong: neither Hillary nor Obama will provide much
resistance to the globalist goons that are hiding behind the curtain. It
is just that when a liberal Democrat is in the White House,
conservatives and Christians seem to come out of hibernation and
actually start resisting some things. But when a Republican is in the
White House, the little goblins behind the curtain are free to wage
their war of globalism and elitism against an unsuspecting and sleepy
Therefore, it does not matter to a tinker's dam whether it is Giuliani,
McCain, Huckabee, or Romney who wins the election this November. The man
behind the curtain will still produce his smoke and mirrors and create
more fear and panic over any and every convenient distraction in the
hopes that the Munchkins will not wake up in time to realize that the
one who needs to be feared (and fought) is none other than the man
behind the curtain.
.Sean Penn tells it like it is. Charlie Sheen
has also spoken out it is just to bad that there is not more in Hollywood that have a backbone.