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AUDIO: The U.S. is violating the Treaty of Svalbard – Bruce Gagnon
Kiruna Sweden will be hosting the 21st International Space Conference from the 27th to the 29th of June 2013, during which U.S. and NATO violations of the Treaty of Svalbard will be one of the hottest topics of discussion. Bruce Gagnon, one of the key organizers of the event spoke to the Voice of Russia about the event and the U.S.-NATO militarization of the far north.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE:
Concerned activists and writers from around the world will gather in Kiruna, Sweden on June 27-29 to discuss how the ‘High North’ of Sweden has become one of the largest training places (called NEAT) for NATO war exercises and advanced weapons testing.
Continue After The Break..
The High North also hosts ground stations for military satellites and tests drones that are increasingly being used in the US-NATO war in Afghanistan.
Indigenous Samic people will be present at the conference to talk about the impact of these military operations on their lives.
Swedish Peace Council Vice-Chair Agneta Norberg stated: “US-NATO wants to control Russia and eventually get a hold of the enormous resources under the Arctic ice cap that is now melting due to climate change. To make Russia obedient the US-NATO is surrounding Russia with missile defense interceptors – key elements in their first strike system. For this purpose huge radars are installed in Vardö, Norway, close to Russian border, and on Thule base in Greenland. Norway and the US have established satellite stations on the Island of Svalbard which violate the Treaty of Svalbard that forbids the deployment of any war making technology.”
Global Network board convener Dave Webb (Chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK) said: “Not many people know that the satellite receiving stations in Sweden and Norway fulfill an important role for NATO and the US military. Space technology is vital to the military’s global reach and we really need to support and stand with those campaigning for alternatives to war in their protest against these installations spread around the world.”
The three days of events are being sponsored by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (GN), Women for Peace, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. People will be coming to the conference from Japan, Germany, England, Russia, France, United States, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
2013 marks the 21st annual meeting of the Global Network. Each year the organization holds a space organizing conference in a different country. In 2012 the group met on Jeju Island, South Korea where villagers are protesting the construction of a Navy base for US warships.
Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Mr. Bruce Gagnon. He is the coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
Robles:Hello Bruce! How are you? Nice to be speaking with you again.
Gagnon: Good to talk to you.
Robles:The upcoming conference in Sweden, what is that all about?
Gagnon: This is the Global Network’s 21st anniversary and each year we hold an international conference, a space conference, in a different country in order to illustrate the growing militarization of space, particularly by the United States.
We were invited to come to Sweden, to northern Sweden, to Kiruna, because it is a region that is being highly militarized by the U.S. and NATO and turned into a major space downlink receiving area. It is hosting ground stations for military satellites. This part of Sweden is also becoming a major drone test area for both the U.S. and NATO. And so, people there are increasingly concerned about how they see NATO taking over a significant part of Sweden.
Sweden is not presently a NATO member, although they are being pushed into this new role where they are calling various countries partners “NATO Partners”. And so, there is an effort underway to bring Sweden in, particularly because of this large land mass that they have available for high-tech weapons testing.
Then, in addition, obviously their proximity to Russia is very important to NATO and the United States, particularly as they develop these ground stations that are talking to military satellites and are used by the US and NATO for war fighting.
So, in addition, Norway which controls an island called Svalbard, there is a Treaty of Svalbard that forbids the deployment of any war-making technology on that island. Norway and the United States have established satellite stations on the island over the recent years, and we will also be talking about that.
There is a Norwegian journalist that has just come out with a book on this subject called Satellite War. He is going to be speaking at the conference and we are very excited about hearing from him. He has really blown the cover on this U.S. and Norwegian program to essentially militarize the Island of Svalbard. It is in a prime location to send signals from satellites to ground stations and it is playing a key role in the US war-making operations. Anyway, these are the kinds of things that we are going to be talking about.
Robles:The Treaty of Svalbard, can you give our listeners a few details about it? And what does this mean that the U.S. is violating it?
Gagnon: The Norwegian journalist by the name of Bard Wormdal, he is the author of the book and he really dug very deeply to prove that in fact the United States has been funding some of the major technological improvements there on Svalbard as they increasingly are doing the work of the United States military by downloading information from satellites and feeding it to the Pentagon. The US has put major money into this operation.
And so, he has really blown the cover on it and the Norwegian Government has been very reluctant to acknowledge that they were doing military operations through those satellite downlink stations there on Svalbard. But through his digging he was able to prove it.
The Norwegian Government and various agencies kept denying that they were really doing anything, that they were in fact violating the treaty, they were denying it over and over again. But through a series of research and interviews and everything else, he has been able to really prove that that island is dramatically involved in the US war fighting operations.
In addition, in his book he also talks about the missile defense radar in Vardo, in Norway, that is very close to the Russian border. That is a key radar in the U.S. missile defense system, missile defense being the shield that the U.S. would use after they launch a first strike attack on Russia or China, something that they are war-gaming now annually. And these missile defense radars are very important in that operation.
Again, the Norwegian Government is trying to downplay the role of the radar saying that its role is only to listen to or to look for space debris and to track space debris. But in fact, the experts and scientists at MIT, in the United States, for example, and others have acknowledged that in fact this radar is a key player in the whole U.S. missile defense program that is being used today to surround Russia.
So, these issues are very important. We will have a person from Russia speaking about the U.S. missile defense system and Russia’s position on it. Vladimir Kozin will be speaking about that.
We will have activists from Germany, the leaders of the campaign for nuclear disarmament in the U.K. will be there as well. People from throughout the Nordic countries and several other countries as well. It is an important conference for us and we really think it’s going to blow the cover in a big way on the whole Norwegian and Swedish collaboration with the Pentagon in their whole space military program.
In addition, one key topic is the melting of the Arctic ice. As the result of that the U.S. and the NATO countries are scrambling to militarize the Arctic region and to be able to control it for extraction of oil as the Arctic ice melts. And of course this is going to put U.S. and NATO in direct conflict with Russia.
Right now the United States has got Canada to appropriate the largest military appropriation in Canadian history in order to build warships to patrol the Arctic zone. And so, Canada who really doesn’t have enemies in the world, is embarking on this massive military expenditure, cutting back on their social programs in order to build these ships. Lockheed Martin, the big American weapons contractor is heavily involved in this as are some others as well.
So, this kind of militarization of the Arctic is also going to be an important topic for us. And we will end the conference by agreeing to a declaration.