Source: NTSC DVDR
Arsenal of Hypocrisy: The Space Program and the Military Industrial Complex
Arsenal of Hypocrisy features Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space Coordinator Bruce Gagnon, Noam Chomsky and Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell talking about the dangers of moving the arms race into space. The one-hour production features archival footage, Pentagon documents, and clearly outlines the U.S. plan to "control and dominate" space and the Earth below. The video spells out the dangers of the Bush "Nuclear Systems Initiative" that will expand the use of nuclear power in space by building Project Prometheus -- the nuclear rocket.
Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, warns that a war in space would create massive bits of space junk that would create a mine field surrounding the Earth making it virtually impossible to launch anything into the heavens. Mitchell calls space a fragile environment that must be protected.
Noam Chomsky talks about how the U.S. intends to use space technology to control the Earth and reminds the viewer that the U.S. refuses to negotiate a global ban on weapons in space. He also speaks about the role of the media in suppressing this important issue.
The video contains archival sound of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 warning the American people about the power of the military industrial complex.
Arsenal of Hypocrisy has been accepted into the New York Independent International Film Festival and will be screened in April.
* The glory days of NASA are over! Today the Military Industrial Complex is marching towards world dominance through Space technology on behalf of global corporate interest. To understand how and why the space program will be used to fight all future wars on earth from space, it's important to understand how the public has been misled about the origins and true purpose of the Space Program.
* "The militarization of space is a real threat to survival, a serious threat to survival... maybe the end of the species." -- Noam Chomsky, professor at MIT and author
* "If we have a war in space, in the vicinity of the earth, it will be the one and only. There will never be a second war in space and let me tell you why..." -- Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut
REVIEW ΓΓé¼┼ôARSENAL OF HYPOCRISYΓΓé¼┬¥, A Film By Randy Atkins, 2003
Peace Researcher 37 ΓΓé¼ΓÇ£ November 2008
- Jeremy Agar
The title of this disturbing documentary is a play on the USΓΓé¼Γäós role, during World War 2, as the ΓΓé¼┼ôarsenal of democracyΓΓé¼┬¥. The phrase was intended as a compliment as it was American industrial capacity that armed Britain when it was fighting alone against Nazi Germany. And of course the good guys went on to win. By converting ΓΓé¼┼ôdemocracyΓΓé¼┬¥ to ΓΓé¼┼ôhypocrisyΓΓé¼┬¥ the filmmakers, themselves Americans with an intense knowledge of their countryΓΓé¼Γäós Government, are crediting their audiences with a historical perspective they might not always have. As the reference assumes (though George Bush did all he could to discredit it) American power is still regarded by many as essentially a benevolent influence. This is in large part a residue of the War and the years immediately after.
The wordplay is a neat, succinct jibe, one that his film more than justifies, and itΓΓé¼Γäós not the fault of Bruce Gagnon (the filmΓΓé¼Γäós presenter and spokesperson for the US-based Global Network Against Weapons And Nuclear Power In Space) that the allusion might pass some by. The content he is presenting might be similarly challenging to audiences with but a cursory understanding of American state policy. The immediate charge of hypocrisy is levelled at any and all US Administrations since 1945. Gagnon is looking at space policy, making the point that all post-war American administrations have assumed the need to control space and, thereby, Earth.
Put baldly like that, the accusation will strike some viewers as overwrought. If so, the ΓΓé¼┼ôStar WarsΓΓé¼┬¥ imagery we see will reinforce an assumption that Gagnon is exaggerating, that he can present his contempt for his countryΓΓé¼Γäós leaders only by a selective use of the evidence. This would be a pity. Although the American drive to rule space has received less attention from the worldΓΓé¼Γäós media than it merits, there are more than a few other reliable observers who have been making the same point for decades.
The DVD came out several years ago, but it is not in any way dated. In a sense, itΓΓé¼Γäós better to look at it now than it would have been in 2003 in that during the intervening period we havenΓΓé¼Γäót been able to see past Iraq and Afghanistan. It was around the time that Gagnon produced ΓΓé¼┼ôArsenal Of HypocrisyΓΓé¼┬¥ that Bush was launching his arsenal of deceit. Bush was no hypocrite: he lied to justify his wars. Meanwhile the militarisation of space has continued, with no essential change from the decades before Bush came into office. Had the doco been released now, audiences might have found it hard to think past the specifics to do with Dubya, whose follies could have been a diversion. Bush was demonised as an individual, but unlike some uniquely Bushian aspects of American ΓΓé¼┼ôdefenceΓΓé¼┬¥ policy, space policy has not essentially changed.
The specific hypocrisies underlying space policy are that the US says it wants nuclear disarmament, when in fact it wants nothing less than to give up its own nukes. It suggests it has to keep its nukes in the meantime to police the world, when their real purpose is to threaten the world. The drive to dominate space is motivated in part by the need to use space as a launching platform. ReaganΓΓé¼Γäós Star Wars programme of the 1980s, so named because it seemed more sci-fi than science, was not the fantasy that our wishful thinking supposed. It is more accurately seen as a stage in an enduring policy. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the stated need for all the space shields and weapons has gone, but the programme hasnΓΓé¼Γäót. It just took another form under a new name. ThatΓΓé¼Γäós been another hypocrisy.
Gagnon starts his story with Werner von Braun, the man who used concentration camp labour to build HitlerΓΓé¼Γäós rockets. In 1945, American and British troops entered Germany from the west, while Soviet troops entered from the east. As strategists wondered where the eventual boundary would lie between the two emerging big power blocs, the US and Soviet Union raced to recruit German scientists, who enjoyed a mystique in both Washington and Moscow. The Cold War had begun even before the hot war had ended. It did not matter that many of the scientists were Nazis. To some cold warriors in the West this was in fact a good thing as it proved their anti-communist credentials. 1,500 Nazis were smuggled into the US. Von Braun ran the US space programme, but he was only one of several top men with dubious backgrounds.
US Wants To Be ΓΓé¼┼ôMaster Of SpaceΓΓé¼┬¥
From the start the idea was to ΓΓé¼┼ôconquer, occupy, keep and utilise spaceΓΓé¼┬¥ so that the US would win ΓΓé¼┼ôthe third world warΓΓé¼┬¥. The motto ΓΓé¼┼ôMaster Of SpaceΓΓé¼┬¥ was chosen to inspire what would now be called a mission statement. America must at all costs have ΓΓé¼┼ôthe ability to deny others the use of spaceΓΓé¼┬¥. Gagnon discusses the seminal Vision For 2020, which set out the strategic context. Because of its dominant military and economic position at the WarΓΓé¼Γäós end, the US did not need to fear a potential rival - not if it consolidated its advantage by taking over space. Neither the Russians nor anyone else could pose a threat. But sometimes, because the threat of an external enemy is a great fundraiser, it had to be pretended that they did.
The justification for first going into space, and then, militarising it, was rationalised in terms which foreshadow the more recent analyses of outfits like the American-dominated World Bank and the International Monetary Fund: ΓΓé¼┼ôThe globalisation of the world economy will also continue, with a widening between ΓΓé¼╦£havesΓΓé¼Γäó and ΓΓé¼╦£have-notsΓΓé¼ΓäóΓΓé¼┬¥. The Vision For 2020 anticipated that ΓΓé¼┼ôaccelerating rates of technological development will be increasingly driven by the commercial sectorΓΓé¼┬¥. Military policy was an extension of economic policy, and economic policy was to establish neo-liberalism around the globe.
Despite the hypocrisy that bangs on about how the rising tide of American power lifted all boats (a remark of KennedyΓΓé¼Γäós), policy makers have always known what has become so obvious in our new century: that the touted ΓΓé¼┼ôfree marketΓΓé¼┬¥ economies would lead to increased inequality, and, with it, increased regional instability. That, Gagnon explains, is why, whether or not there is a Soviet Union, space remains important as a place from which to spy. Every country being either a potential rival or a potential trouble spot, itΓΓé¼Γäós safe to assume that weΓΓé¼Γäóre all being watched.
How Reagan would love being still around now that his Star Wars has become technologically possible: the purely military aspect of wars, the destruction of the enemyΓΓé¼Γäós ability to retaliate, can be achieved almost entirely from space. The trick, which Gagnon thinks is now in place, is to destroy any potentially hostile missile while itΓΓé¼Γäós still on the ground or, at worst, as it takes off. He dubs Gulf War 1 as Space War 1. The second space war was Kosovo; the third, Afghanistan. Since then of course weΓΓé¼Γäóve had Gulf War 2 (Space War 4). Reagan could hope only to erect a barrier in the skies.
To buttress his case, Gagnon could have looked at lots of White House and Pentagon think tankers. His choice of Zbigniew Brzezinski is apt. Brzezinski advised Jimmy Carter, the 1970sΓΓé¼Γäó President whom Republicans like to pretend was wimpy. From way back in the 1960sΓΓé¼Γäó Kennedy era and since, Brzezinski had been one of the main Cold War strategists. He operated at a time when the notion of detente (the hope that the nuclear warriors could have a cuppa) made occasional appearances. Whenever it did, Brzezinski would panic. Ever eager to arouse tension, he crafted Presidential Directive 59, which committed the US to a nuclear war-fighting stance. This was quite an achievement in that there remains doubt as to whether he consulted either the President or the Central Intelligence Agency. It was Brzezinski who insisted that the US needed to blur the boundary between nuclear and so-called conventional weaponry, thus making extreme violence more thinkable. It was Brzezinski who insisted that the US had to push for a military advantage whenever and wherever opportunity arose. In characteristic vein he once told an interviewer that ΓΓé¼┼ôitΓΓé¼Γäós inaccurate thinking to say that the use of nuclear weapons would be the end of the human race. ThatΓΓé¼Γäós egocentric thoughtΓΓé¼┬¥ (quoted by Fred Halliday, ΓΓé¼┼ôThe Second Cold WarΓΓé¼┬¥, Verso, London, 1983. See also ΓΓé¼┼ôWith Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear WarΓΓé¼┬¥, by Robert Scheer, Random House, New York, 1982).
Post-Gorbachev (i.e. after the collapse of the Soviet Union), the world is supposed to be a different place, yet BrzezinskiΓΓé¼Γäós pronouncements have moved neither ideologically nor geographically. Gagnon mentions a book called ΓΓé¼┼ôThe Grand ChessboardΓΓé¼┬¥ in which Brzezinski detects two global ΓΓé¼┼ôcollision pointsΓΓé¼┬¥. One collision point is central Asia and the ΓΓé¼┼ôStansΓΓé¼┬¥, next to the oil pipelines running through Afghanistan. The other hotspot is the coast of China. Developments since the book came out in 1997 indicate that Zbiggy is still influential. GagnonΓΓé¼Γäós other point is also as relevant as the latest news. The US wants to control space as it is a potential source of minerals. A NASA scientist is seen predicting that there will be mines on Mars by 2025. When, in July 2008, TV pictures showed the probe on Mars, the reporter repeated exactly that. According to Gagnon, Congress had before it a bill to make space profits tax exempt. If so, then America wants to privatise the universe in its own interests.
ThatΓΓé¼Γäós why this film might seem too Darth Vader, too bad to be true. Because it has so much to say, and so much background information to provide, ΓΓé¼┼ôArsenal Of HypocrisyΓΓé¼┬¥ is intense in both tone and content. ItΓΓé¼Γäós essentially a lecture with the odd shot of a rocket or the Moon, interspersed with GagnonΓΓé¼Γäós talking head mate, Noam Chomsky, himself an uncompromising critic. As an unremittingly harsh dissection of US policy, ΓΓé¼┼ôArsenal Of HypocrisyΓΓé¼┬¥ has the potential to dismay the popcorn brigade. As an analysis of global insecurity, itΓΓé¼Γäós essential viewing.
Global Network Against Weapons And Nuclear Power In Space, Box 652, Brunswick ME O4011, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.space4peace.org Anti-Bases Campaign has been receiving information from them for years and we exchange publications. We can thoroughly recommend them. Ed.