Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Radomes Face Deflationary Pressures from Plowshares

Not all of the "God's golf balls" radomes used by technical intelligence agencies are quite as solid as they appear. In one of the more unique Plowshares actions of the last couple decades, religious peace activists in New Zealand used scythes to puncture and deflate one of the radomes at the Waihopai intelligence base, run by the Government Communications Security Bureau on behalf of the U.S. National Security Agency.
Activists were in court May 5, and may face up to ten years in prison. It's a pity the puncture didn't cause the radome to fly around the New Zealand countryside backwards, making loud sputtering noises. And before neighbors of Menwith Hill in England or Buckley Field in Colorado get any ideas, most radomes have a buckminster-fulleresque frame structure that would not allow punctures. For more information on New Zealand's participation in the NSA's global Echelon intelligence program, see Nicky Hager's fantastic book, Secret Power.


Ruth said...

I wonder if that little ball in the Patrick McGoohan TV series "The Prisoner" was made out of the same stuff.

Loring Wirbel said...

Well, it also makes you wonder about Jungian subconscious archetypes, that the bouncy ball was some deep societal awareness that we'd better watch out for those giant white bubbles that would take over our lives. There's still a lot of scenes from "The Prisoner" that show up in my nightmares.

Gareth said...

It's not just radomes in NZ that are being covered up. Australia's secret involvement in the USAF's Falcon project also needs exposing. Here's my letter to our Byron Bay, Australia media giving the details.
ear Sir

Less than 3 hours drive from Byron Bay, cutting edge research funded by the US military is taking place at the University of Queensland where the world's first scramjet flight in 2002 achieved a speed of 8,000kph over the Woomera Testing Facility, making history for the University's Centre for Hypersonics. Scramjet engines capable of 16,000kph are planned so that the US can mount a pre-emptive, "prompt global strike", using FALCON (Force Application on Launch from CONtinental United States). Falcon is a revolutionary edge-of-space bomber capable of carrying 5,500 kg of ordnance and delivering this from 453 kg individual hypersonic gliders to target any point on the planet within minutes of order to do so. These glider bombs would hurtle with unerring accuracy towards their targets and release massive amounts of kinetic energy, in addition to their actual explosive charge ("Australia's role in arming the heavens", Byron Shire Echo, April 26, 2006).

There is no reference to the essential part played by this scramjet research to the Falcon programme in any of the University of Queensland's or the DSTO's (Defence Science Technology Organisation) media releases despite the acknowledgement that, "The most ambitious project in a $US459 billion defence spending bill is the Falcon....the cost of the vehicle has not been revealed but a spokesman for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency said the first test flight was scheduled for next year." ("America pumps billions into space-age weapons", Sydney Morning Herald, November 15, 2007). There is no acknowledgement either by the government for on September 26, 2006 I wrote to John Howard expressing my concerns about these issues but have never had a reply.

Australian scramjet research is being boosted by increased funding and by the appointment of Dr Russell Boyce of the University of New South Wales, at the Australian Defence Force Academy, to the DSTO Chair and Professorship in Hypersonics. "In November 2006 DSTO signed a $74 million HIFiRE Agreement with the United States Air Force that will comprise up to 10 hypersonic flight experiments planned for the Woomera Testing Facility over the next five years." (Minister for Defence Media Mail List, May 2, 2008).

This technology is being pursued without consideration of its profound military, societal, legal and international implications. The Australian Hypersonics Initiative will increase the already thoroughly discredited US policy, endorsed by the Howard government, of unilateral pre-emptive conventional or nuclear strike. The effects of these initiatives will be destabilising and lead to the development of counterforce strategies by countries feeling threatened, like China, leading to a world less governed by collective security and one more prone to unilateralism and chaos. Events of world shattering importance are happening on Byron's doorstep: it's time we raised our consciousness above parochial concerns of holiday letting, traffic hassles and drumming bans.

Loring Wirbel said...

Gareth! Good to hear from you! Stratcom mtg of GN was fantastic. Thanks for paying attention to the DARPA scramjet work. The latest version of Falcon being tested is called Blackswift - gotta love those code names.

Don said...

I am amazed at the military capabilities that we can see and know about. It makes me wonder what kinds of things "they" have that are way beyond blackswift and The Prisoner!