Tags: China | Attacks | U.S. | Satellites

China Attacks U.S. Satellites

Friday, 29 September 2006 12:00 AM

China has fired a new and powerful land-based laser at U.S. spacecraft in an attempt to blind American space reconnaissance.

The report that China is firing lasers at U.S. satellites first appeared in the military affairs publication Defense News and on the Web site Strategypage.com.

The Chinese laser attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration because of concerns that the news could damage relations with Beijing. The Bush administration has long held hope that China could help diplomatic efforts with Iran and North Korea.

The attacks reportedly have been ongoing for nearly three years.

The damage done by the Chinese against U.S. spacecraft has not been released.

According to the reports, senior officials stated that American satellites have come under attack "several times" in recent years. The laser attacks are a violation of space treaties signed by China and can be considered an act of war according to international law.

The laser attacks have raised alarms inside the U.S. military and intelligence community who depend on space based reconnaissance satellites. U.S. satellites are considered critical for U.S. defense and global military/intelligence operations.

"Flagrant communist abuse plus Washington going Ostrich equals tragedy for the American people. If history has taught us anything, it's that every time we show an enemy our tail feathers, they oblige us with both boots," stated Rick Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

"So far the press coverage has missed an important dimension. The tortured language in the DoD PLA report about Chinese use of ground-based lasers dates back to the very first such report in 1998. This indicates to me that Chinese lasing of critical U.S. satellites may preceed that date. But by how much, clearly, our Ostrich-inclinded bureaucracy is loathe to admit," noted Fisher.

"But is it possible that for a decade now, the PLA has had the ability to launch a 'Pearl Harbor' attack against U.S. assets in space? And during the very same period, China has been the global champion of an outer space treaty that would limit U.S. military activities in space, all the while they have been developing their own," stated Fisher. "But one can legitimately ask: Why has the Bush administration continued in a practice of self-censorship clearly started by the Clinton Administration?

"What advantage has been gained by denying the American people critical information that hyper-expensive space technology fundemental to their security has been vulnerable to attack, potentially, since before this decade? Has China in any way stopped its development of space weapons, its proliferation of missiles, its diplomatic protection of Iran and North Korea because we decided not to tell the truth about this attack on America in space?" asked Fisher.

The news of the Chinese laser attacks comes at the same time the Bush administration announced that it intends to extend a waiver allowing Beijing access to U.S. space technology. The waiver published in the Federal Register by the State Department allows China continued access to U.S. space technology despite violations of nuclear and missile proliferation.

"Ultimately, the pass on the China nuclear waiver coincides with the visit of the U.S. Treasury secretary to Beijing and Ju Jintao's minuet on promises for economic reforms while doing little more than cosmetic adjustments on currency and the trade deficit," stated Al Santoli, director of the Asia-America Initiative, a Washington based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting democratic ideals, strengthening international security, and mediating in conflict-plagued areas throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

"It should be clear to all American policy-makers and the public that there is no single significant national security threat to the United States greater than China's nuclear ballistic missile expansion. This is especially pertinent with China's submarine-based MIRVs that are the developing the range and mobility to hit almost any area of the United States," noted Santoli.

"The waiver also gives Beijing a lack of respect for the Bush administration in holding to its promises to cease proliferation of strategic weapons technologies and materials to rogue states," stated Santoli.

"A third factor, is that it will radicalize Japan to develop nuclear weapons in its own defense, which will alienate other American allies in the Asia Pacific region, including South Korea, who see emerging Japanese nationalism and remember Japanese occupation of their homelands with great fear and sadness," noted Santoli.

The Chinese attacks on U.S. satellites come as no surprise to NewsMax readers. In fact, I reported in 2004 that U.S. military satellites had suffered a number of attacks by a ground based laser system. At that time Pentagon officials refused to identify the sources of the laser attacks.

I first published reports and diagrams of a Chinese anti-satellite laser which surfaced in a 1998 Pentagon report. "The table shows a requirement for a 4 meter diameter beam director mirror for an anti-satellite mission," noted the report describing Chinese military efforts.

The report noted that comments from the director of the Beijing Institute of Remote Sensing and a report issued by the Chinese 1028th Research Institute of the Ministry of Information Industry showed that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was actively developing lasers for space warfare.

"This scandal is so sadly similar to the revelations in 1976 that the Soviet Union had been beaming microwaves against our embassy in Moscow for 15 years.

"Back then it was reported that Henry Kissinger did not want to make a fuss because of larger diplomatic stakes with the Soviets. So as a result it is possible we helped some Americans get cancer and die early," stated Rick Fisher from the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

"Today the stakes now affect us all: If China succeeded in blinding our imaging satellites or putting our communication satellites out of commission, we would very likely lose a rapid-punch Chinese-style war over Taiwan or in Central Asia.

"With that, the global balance of power would shift against America until we won the next war, which you can bet would entail a horrific price," concluded Fisher.

There should be no mistake, these are direct attacks on U.S. assets operating in international space according to law. The blatant violations and the attacks will continue until something is done.

The Chinese attacks in space, the proliferation of advanced Chinese missiles to Hezbollah, Beijing's growing nuclear arsenal, and the lack of response by Washington all adds up to appeasement.

It is said that a coward's way out of war is to cut and run. However, a coward's way into war is appeasement.

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China has fired a new and powerful land-based laser at U.S. spacecraft in an attempt to blind American space reconnaissance. The report that China is firing lasers at U.S. satellites first appeared in the military affairs publication Defense News and on the Web site...
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