Cosmic Warfare

THE SPACE LAND GRAB: SPACE TREATIES IN NEED OF UPDATE

If youve been following all the space news, epecially the news about mining the Moon and asteroids, or establishing permanent human colonies on the Moon or Mars, this article, shared by Mr. V.T., will interest you, for it goes directly to the persisting problem now confronting international law and space treaties: they're simply obsolete, being outpaced by technology and events:

The US has space experts worried about an extra-terrestrial land grab

I want to point your attention to a length passage, and to the implications for a new kind of space colonialism contained in it:

This week the House of Representatives took a step forward, passing a commercial space bill designed to clear a path for these businesses. Among other things, it would delay any airline-style regulation of space tourism until at least 2025, provide liability protection for some launches, and streamline permitting processes.

If enacted, it also would create new commercial property rights in space that have some space lawyers—yep, they exist, in small quantities—worried about a major backlash.

The legislation recognizes two specific kinds of property rights, both arguably within the rules of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty: First, if you can obtain a resource, it’s yours—akin to the moon rocks brought back by astronauts or meteorites you can buy on E-Bay. Second, if you’re doing something in space, someone can’t just come and interfere with what you’re up to.

“What the bill tries to do is say that the US will recognize claims of property rights of US citizens who go out and mine asteroids,” space lawyer James Dunstan explains. “That’s the goal, to say, if you expend the resources and go do it, and bring that stuff back, we will agree—recognize it—as your property.”

But he and others fear that because the bill doesn’t contemplate a method to resolve competing claims from representatives of different nations, it could spur a new, ugly space race based on territory grabs—or set back efforts for property rights.

“If the US approaches this in a way that seems like cowboy imperialism, you could either revive interest in the Moon Treaty,”—which, reminder, bans private property in space—”or just spur a very narrow reading of the outer space treaty,” says Berin Szoka, head of the libertarian technology policy think tank TechFreedom. “Either case could end up setting the cause of private property rights back significantly.”

Both Szoka and Dunstan support property rights in space but say the bill needs modification before it goes forward.

They argue that the rushed process to write this bill—there wasn’t even a public hearing about it—could lead to unexpected and detrimental precedents. For instance, this bill is limited to asteroids, but that might not stop other countries from leveraging it with other celestial bodies, like the moon.

“China could apply that precedent. ‘We’ll pass our own law for all space resources,’ China might say, something like the 200-km [exclusive economic zone] that Bigelow has been asking for,” Szoka says. “If you took it to that extreme, China could land first on the pole of the moon and claim non-interference rights for the entire pole—all of the polar ice.”

In other words, the real problem shaping up is the very present possibility that each of the space-faring powers - the USA, Russia, China, Japan, India, Europe - will apply their own legal standards and traditions concerning property to their activities on celestial bodies. This is not so much a problem from the legal point of view if, say, one wants to coordinate the legal traditions of Europe or the USA(and by extension, Japan), which come from more or less a common wellspring of jurisprudence. But in the case of the rest it is not so simple. And the bottom line remains, that all space-faring nations are gearing up for a "planet grab" that will transform human society and culture during the next two centuries or so.

There is a high octane speculation implicit in these considerations, a scenario that might be lurking in this development, on that is perhaps both the result of what is occurring, and perhaps also a hidden agenda driving it. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Dr. Carol Rosin (who maintained that Dr. Wernher von Braun once indicated to her that there was a hidden agenda for the weaponization of space) has been working tirelessly to get an international treaty against the weaponization of space for some years. One cannot blame her, for the scenario that Dr. von Braun outlined to her was rather chilling. Space, he maintained, would be weaponized, but that the arguments for doing so, would follow a certain arc: first, it would be necessary to do so as a means of defense against "communism" and the threat of ICBMs and thermonuclear attack, a prophecy that was "fulfilled" by President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980s. Then, said von Braun, it would be necessary to do so as a means of defense against "terrorists" and "nations of concern." After this, came asteroids, again, a prophecy that seems to be in fulfillment with the increase of stories recently about the development of systems designe for planetary defense from asteroid collision. These, let it be noted, usually involve the deployment of some form of weapon of mass destruction either to blow them up, or nudge them on to different course. Finally, said Von Braun, there were extraterrestrials, and the implicit threat of invasion.

But as I mentioned, there's another high octane scenario implicit in the emerging legal battles over "space colonialism" and "planetary land grabs," and it is this: assume, for a moment, that a treaty was succesfully negotiated recognizing extra-terrestrial property rights, and a unitrary and unified standard of law under which those rights would be adjudicated. It would be, if I may borrow a phrase pregnant with significance for those familiar with certain legal developments and plans from a few decades ago, a kind of Weltraumkartel with its own Weltraumgesetz. The conventional thinking here is that if everyone could agree to such a provision, the weaponization of space could be avoided. Perhaps, but we'll get back to that in a moment. The point for consideration here is, that such a "legal coordination" for space issues would be a convenient way to leverage the introduction of an actual global government, which would, let it be noted, not come about by means of the usual means - asteroid threats, extraterrestrial invasions, and so on - but via the pressures of the need to have a unified "commercial code" for space.

And once one says this, of course, one has to supply that code with adequae enforcement provisions, and that, in its turn means, like it or not, the weaponization of space, if for no other reason than that of human nature, for if we're willing to contemplate the idea of space colonization and colonialism, of extraterrestrial planet-grabs, then one must entertain that, human nature being what it is, the eventuality of space piracy also arises. And to combat criminality, one needs adequate enforcement. This is throughout human history, the inevitable concomittant of commerce.

There's just one tiny problem, one that, if one has been paying attention to the esoteric tradition on the matter, might be very problematical, and that is, after the last round of human spacefaring and cosmic wars in high antiquity, a "quarantine zone", a kind of celestial "demilitarized zone" was established (its location varying upon the source one consults).  One can only hope that when we send the battalions in to re-occupy the celestial Rhineland, that the celestial French will either be long gone, or not paying attention.

See you on the flip side...

10 thoughts on “THE SPACE LAND GRAB: SPACE TREATIES IN NEED OF UPDATE”

  1. Well, I think most would agree that the most reasonable thing to do at this stage is to invoke the historical precedent of 1493 when Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull which became the basis for the division of the then New World, the Americas, between the Big Naval Powers of the time, Spain and Portugal.

    The Vatican may be a dishonest or honest broker but here is an excellent chance for them of at least another 10 minutes of historical fame. The only possible problem/drawback I can foresee with this scenario is that perhaps the residents/owners of other parts of our solar system may not be as technologically disadvantaged or undeveloped as were the Americans of the 15th Century. Yikes!!

  2. Neither Klingon nor Ferengi be; likewise Pakled and Borg.

    And if you were an equal opportunity employee yesterday, do not be one tomorrow.

  3. Robert Barricklow

    The countless blood. sweat and tears not to mention treasures that mankind put into researching the discoveries of science and building the infrastructures necessary to achieve these goals are being cashed in by the Space Privateers of the 21st Century. And these same leeches that have sucking-up those many centuries of sacrifices made by the common man/woman[Public], are now complaining that some future thieves might steal their stolen ill-gotten gains. I mean didn’t they steal them first, and so have first dibs?
    Where did this monopolized markets meme gain an “efficient” traction reputation? They are anything but efficient. IF the market were truly a free one, then it’s certainly hold traction. But it’s monopolized, controlled by transnational governance. There is no “free-market’. When the Wall Street privatized the savings market of Main Street Argentina, they were, I grant you efficiently fleeced. But savings that being wiped out hardly counts as a successful retirement fund performance. Water privatized/BAD. Power Privatized/ask that California grandma.
    Space privatized?
    Is the new Rockefeller Center going to be located on the Rockefeller Planet[formally Mars]?
    Is the Solar System going to be renamed? All the planets? How would “our” cousins react to the new Commercial Center Galaxy[formerly the Milky Way]?

    http://privatizationwatch.org/

  4. Once again this is all wind. If you want to stake your claim, you have first got it be “there”, so just how are you going to divvy up the blocks of waterfront land?
    Then you have to have your friendly neighbourhood real estate agent act on your behalf, but there’s a problem, just WHOM ARE YOU BUYING FROM??????

    1. From whom indeed? It is worth recalling here the difference between property and possession under Roman law. As well as the adage that “possession is nine-tenths of the law [of ownership]” which seems very pertinent for Space matters.
      According to the Britannica summary, “In Roman law (today as well as in Roman times), both land and movable property could be owned absolutely by individuals. This conception of absolute ownership (dominium) is characteristically Roman, as opposed to the relative idea of ownership as the better right to possession that underlies the Germanic systems and English law…”
      http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/507759/Roman-law/41327/The-law-of-property-and-possession

  5. A commercial code? Yes, it’s always about commerce. Why do we go to war on good old planet earth anyway if it isn’t to protect commercial interests, so extending that mentality into space ventures seems a logical extension.
    I know a lot of people here don’t like references to the book of Revelation in the Bible, but I think that the beast with 7 heads mentioned there is a commercial system, not a political one, that spans the millennia since at least the time of Sumer.

  6. marcos toledo

    This scenario has been dealt with in science fiction stories and novels going back to at least the fifties and sixties of the last century. The barbarians of the West intend to use their old methods of piracy and imperialism going back to bronze age times. That leaves the BRICAS and other non-western societies to come with plans to deal with these Space Vikings while they still have time. And that brings up the indigenous people of Earth if they can pool their meager resources to flee their oppressors in time to save what left of their communities.

  7. This is 3rd rail stuff. If, when the NE Navy makes it to the main stream, there will be literal hell to pay. My guess is, there have been working elements of this forces since the 60’s. Plus, let’s not forget how much space mining is happening and perhaps space manufacturing / processing is occurring now! The advantages of producing metal, etc in the vacuum of space are many. The PTB have a tiger by the tail with this one.

  8. One would think the odds that they would not be paying attention would be pretty low after having to bomb us back into the stone age once before and forced to place a quarantine zone around the planet.
    Face it, until we get a grip on our aggressive nature and evil ways, we’re not mature enough, as a species, to travel the cosmos.
    If Star Trek was reality, we would be the Klingons…
    The expansion into space will be driven by the global corporations and dictated by the bottom line and would be much like the original “Total Recall” or “Alien” type scenarios. The people under these corporations would be no better than slaves, dependent on the corporations for their lives and the food, housing and air they would require to survive.
    One would hope that in intergalactic and interplanetary affairs you would be forced to play nice or face similar treatment by the more advanced civilizations out there regardless of how much more advanced they might be. It would seem to be a matter of self preservation.
    If, by chance, there is a remnant of a high antiquity civilization which is still surviving on this planet, and they are hell bent on getting back out there for a little pay back, they failed to learn the lesson the first time around and will most likely suffer the same fate this time around; and that fate will once again be shared by all of us.

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