The Air Force is pressing hard to develop defensive and offensive space weapons without adequately considering the potential adverse consequences. At this point, it is not clear whether Air Force aspirations for these weapons are mostly technological fantasy or have some real hope of success. It is certainly true that the Air Force wants to achieve and maintain military superiority in space. "We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," an Air Force official said last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."
Already, the Air Force has spent billions of dollars on its effort to develop space weapons, with little public discussion. Now, as an article by Tim Weiner of The Times revealed last Wednesday, the Air Force is seeking a presidential directive that could strengthen military uses of space.
Currently, space satellites serve important military roles but only in support of ground operations. American forces rely heavily on satellites for communications, global navigation, location and tracking of targets, and collection of intelligence. If an enemy managed to disrupt these in a time of conflict, American forces would lose one of their great advantages, so it is reasonable for the military to seek ways to protect its satellites from harm or else lessen reliance on them and compensate for their loss.
What the Air Force has in mind is shrouded in secrecy and euphemisms, but some sense can be gleaned from an array of programs described by Mr. Weiner. An experimental microsatellite launched last month has the technical ability to disrupt other nations' military satellites. A proposed global strike space plane would carry munitions halfway around the world in 45 minutes. The "Rods From God" program would hurl dense metal rods at targets on the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon. Other programs would use laser beams or radio waves to disable targets.
This all sounds similar to the technological hubris shown by missile defense planners, who started out with grandiose Star Wars designs two decades ago. Now, $100 billion later, they still can't reliably detect and destroy an incoming missile. Nobody knows how well the new weapons might work, and there is concern, even in military circles, that basing weapons in space might trigger an arms race that would leave the United States, with its undeniable advantage in conventional forces, worse off than it is now. Another problem is cost. With virtually all weapons systems busting their budgets, the Pentagon should think hard before putting hundreds of billions of dollars into new space technologies.
Congress and the administration need to assess whether a multilateral treaty to ban space weapons might not leave the nation far safer than a unilateral drive to put the first weapons in space.
In an airplane hangar north of Fort Worth, technicians are preparing to mount a fire-hydrant-shaped device onto the belly of an American Airlines Boeing 767. It is an effort that could soon turn into a more than $10 billion project to install a high-tech missile defense system on the nation's commercial planes.
The Boeing 767 - the same type of plane that terrorists flew into the World Trade Center - is one of three planes that, by the end of this year, will be used to test the infrared laser-based systems designed to find and disable shoulder-fired missiles. The missiles have long been popular among terrorists and rebel groups in war zones around the world; the concern now is that they could become a domestic threat.
The tests are being financed by the Department of Homeland Security, which has been directed by Congress to move rapidly to take technology designed for military aircraft and adapt it so it can protect the nation's 6,800 commercial jets. It has so far invested $120 million in the testing effort, which is expected to last through next year.
Yet even before the tests begin, some members of Congress, and several prominent aviation and terrorism experts, are questioning whether the rush to deploy this expensive new antiterrorism system makes sense.
Homeland Security officials have repeatedly cautioned that no credible evidence exists of a planned missile attack in the United States. But there is near unanimity among national security experts and lawmakers that because of the relatively low price and small size of the missiles, as well as the large number available on the black market, they represent a legitimate domestic threat.
The concern is not just for the lives that would be lost in the shoot-down of a single plane, proponents say. It is for the enormous economic consequences that would result if the public were to lose confidence in flying.
"We are long overdue for a passenger aircraft to be taken down by a shoulder-launched missile," said Representative John L. Mica, Republican of Florida, who is pushing for the systems to be installed. "We have been extremely, extremely lucky."
But a significant contingent of domestic security experts say the administration's focus on these missiles may be misdirected. They cite the broad range of ways that terrorists might strike next and point to studies showing that shoulder-fired missiles - the most popular of which are American-made Stingers and Soviet-made SA-7's - present less of a threat at airports than do truck bombs or luggage bombs.
"People have probably assumed that these kinds of weapons would work with much greater certainty," said K. Jack Riley, the director of the public safety and justice program at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization that has studied threats from shoulder-mounted missiles. "This is not as big a threat as people might think."
Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are competing to build the devices, which rely on plane-mounted sensors that detect heat-seeking missiles and then automatically fire infrared lasers to jam or confuse the missiles' guidance systems. The defense would be used for about a 50-mile area around airports, while planes land or take off.
The American Airlines Boeing 767 and two jets owned by Northwest Airlines and FedEx will be tested to determine whether they remain as airworthy with the new technology aboard and to figure out if, in simulated attacks, the defense system is reliable. For now, no passengers will be aboard..... (continued)
HARTSVILLE, TENN - Newly released documentary and eyewitness evidence now links an apparent July 6, 2001 electronic warfare attack on a radio station and weekly newspaper in Hartsville, Tennessee to a nearby unacknowledged secret access project (USAP). This secret project, eyewitnesses say, includes the U.S. Air Force as paymaster, U.S. government aircraft as transportation and security craft; military troops in black uniforms; and black unmarked triangular aircraft. The project may also include a secret electronic warfare unit capable of disabling nearby media outlets with destructive electromagnetic energy.
It has now known that an official U.S. Air Force cheque was used to pay for the clandestine installation of massive telephone switching equipment at a defunct Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear power plant about five miles from the target media outlets. The private contractor who installed the unusually large switching system at a former nuclear power plant that is still officially defunct reported this to the WJKM investigators on condition of anonymity.
Historically, the U.S Air Force has pioneered in the development and use of electronic warfare against civilian targets and populations, notably in the NATO war in Yugoslavia.
Speaking to a live radio audience on July 21, WJKM general manager Ted Randall for the first time publicly released the results on his station's official on-going investigation of the attack. Dan Fluehe and Matt Aaron of WJKM, host Clyde Lewis along with this reporter, Alfred Webre, participated in the radio program.
WJKM's investigation has eliminated other possible causes of the electromagnetic blast, such as power transformer malfunction caused by birds or internal mechanical problems. Centrexnews reporter Joel Skousen, who initially reported that birds caused the electronic attack, declined to participate in the radio program.
Although the nuclear facility has been officially closed for some time, eyewitnesses now testify to clandestine activities going on at the site. These include sightings of tractor-trailer trucks entering and leaving the former nuclear power plant at 2 or 3 AM; sightings of C-130 military aircraft flying over the facility as if to land; sightings of unmarked black helicopters monitoring the area; sightings of military troops in unmarked black uniforms; and - yes - multiple witness reports of black triangular craft hovering over the former power plant. Civilians venturing near the site have also reported being aggressively ejected by a private police force of about 30 plain-clothes men.
Randall presented live and audiotaped eyewitness testimony of the destructive effects of the electronic attack, including a tell-tale flashing blue pulse that accompanied the destruction, and usually accompanies the discharge of electromagnetic pulse weapons. He also presented audio recordings of the audible electronic hum that accompanied the alleged attack, a clear electronic signature of an electromagnetic weapon attack.
The accompanying surges during the event fit the pattern of an electronic attack. According to WJKM, " These surges are not just coming into the power lines. They are also entering the radio station through phone lines and the antenna system. This is evident in blown telephone equipment. Sometimes the equipment is not destroyed but the program settings are scrambled or wiped out."
On the air, Randall described photographs of dead, electronically-fried birds that littered a mile-square area around the radio station, now posted on the station's Internet website at www.1090wjkm.com/
Randall stated that local residents are experiencing adverse health effects. Randall said, "It is also interesting that according listeners have called in, there has apparently been an increase in what they are calling fibromyalgia. This is a disease name appointed to the unexplainable severe and disabling pain throughout the entire body over recent years, as well as, an increase in headaches mimicking migraines that are not actual migraines."
Randall documented the 2.4 Richter underground seismic earthquake that struck the area on July 7, the day after the electronic attack, from 10-10:30 PM.
Randall also posted the HAARP magnetometer readings on the WJKM website for the two days - July 6 and July 7. Both the electronic attack and the unusual earthquake were accompanied by massive, anomalous bursts of electromagnetic pulse energy from HAARP, the U.S. Navy's electromagnetic pulse military facility and possible environmental weapons system in Gakona, Alaska. Coincidentally (and perhaps causally) HAARP's magnetometer showed massive spikes of electromagnetic energy for both days.
According to Randall, " At about 10:45 AM Friday [July 6], radio station WJKM and CMR (Country Music Radio), with studios in Hartsville, Tennessee was knocked off the air by a very powerful strange energy blast! There was a crystal clear blue sky, no clouds or rain. It was not lightning"
According to WJKM, in the attack, "All the radio station's lines were knocked out. Several power transformers were blown several blocks away from the studios (smoke seen billowing out of one). All phone lines at the newspaper (The Hartsville Vidette), the local farm co-op and all other phones in this small radius were knocked out! Radio station transmitter lost all MOSFETS and the output - tuning network. All computers at WJKM lost motherboards, network cards etc. ISDN was knocked out. Most all the equipment Zephyr codec and EAS all knocked out."
These effects on radio transmission systems closely resemble the effects on urban radio, television, power transmission and generation facilities attacked by U.S. Air Force electronic bombing in electronic warfare missions in recent military operations worldwide, including Yugoslavia and Iraq.
How and why was electronic warfare carried out in rural Tennessee?
From the known profile of electronic weaponry, the electronic attack upon WJKM appears to have been caused by a tactical electromagnetic weapon, emitting a directed electromagnetic plasma, beam, pulse, etc. at the target. Electronic weapons with this capability are known, and can be land mounted in a facility like the former power plant, mounted in portable facilities like vans, trucks, helicopters or airplanes.
Electronic weapons may even be space-based, on satellite platforms. This reporter has personally met with an Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon who confirmed the existence of such secret space-based weapons as early as 1977.
An alternative electronic warfare delivery system may involve newly constructed relays for the HAARP installation in Alaska. The potential tactical electronic warfare applications of HAARP are under investigation. Serious public interest researchers maintain that HAARP's electromagnetic energy may cause effects such as earthquakes, such as occurred on July 7 in Hartsville. Electromagnetic weapons have been used in tectonic warfare, intentionally causing earthquakes. Electromagnetic pulse energy accompanies most earthquakes. Research shows that ultra low frequencies emitted by the HAARP installation may affect the human limbic system, and be used for mood management and mind control.
The close resemblance of the Hartsville attack to other U.S. Air Force electronic warfare led to speculation that radio station WJKM may have been chosen as a test target for a clandestine electronic warfare unit located within the power facility, or to which the power facility serves as electronic relay point. The likelihood that the electronic attack was accidental, rather than an intentional military test, is low, given that the targets were media outlets.
One purpose of such test could be to evaluate the physical impact of electronic warfare on U.S. domestic radio installations, a well as the impact of intimidating the local community, as well as the U.S. media reporting of such attacks. The U.S. military has a long history of secretly testing weapons on its unsuspecting civilian population, a practice that is illegal.
Another clue to the motive behind the disinformation attacks may lie in eyewitness accounts of military troops in black uniforms, wearing light blue patches, and military vehicles bearing license plates with the letters "UN" on them. This scenario would be consistent with a disinformation mission, in which United States government troops would be disguised with mock United Nations insignia in order to spread propaganda rumours regarding the actual source of this state terror. In fact, it would appear that U.S. paramilitary troops are carrying out military attacks on the U.S. civilian population. This modus operandi has been characteristic of Central Intelligence Agency sponsored warfare in developing countries, notably Guatemala.
Randall, Dan Fluehe, Clyde Lewis, and this reporter, Alfred Webre, all noted that the electronic attacks targeted two media offices directly - a radio station and a newspaper - both protected entities under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Randall indicated that station WJKM and its parent corporation are pursuing an official investigation of the electronic attack, including surveillance of activities at the former TVA power plant. The U.S. Congress has legislative oversight over the many federal agencies that may be involved in this secret project, including the U.S. Air Force, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and other defense "black budget" agencies.
Asked if his company intended to contact its members of Congress to seek a congressional investigation, Randall responded that WJKM is taking this attack and its investigation most seriously. WJKM's Congressperson is Bart Gordon, Dean of the Tennessee Delegation, and currently serving his ninth term in Congress, representing the Sixth District, which includes 15 Middle Tennessee counties.