SPACE COMMERCIALIZATION AND WEAPONIZATION: THAT "LITTLE" LEGAL LOOPHOLE IN THE OUTER SPACE TREATY

SPACE COMMERCIALIZATION AND WEAPONIZATION: THAT “LITTLE” ...

July 21, 2016 By Joseph P. Farrell

The past three days I've been watching and blogging about space stories and especially about that strange Russian "transmutation" annoncement and its possible relationship to recent space agreements between Russia and China over the details of controlling "sensitive space technologies,"  and about its possible relationships to the sudden geopolitical about-faces we've seen emerge in the past month. As I noted yesterday, the Chinese-Russian annoucement for cooperation on Moon and Mars-related space missions comes in the same approximate time-frame as that Russian announcement about transmutation, which itself was couched by the Russians themselves in at least partially space-related terms.

There is, however, something else to consider in this brewing cauldron, and that is the legal loophole of current space treaties, as outlined in this article shared by Ms. M.W., Mr. P.J., and others:

Eternal light, up for grabs Astrophysicist warns of treaty loophole

At issue are the "Eternal Peaks of Light" the ridges and peaks around the Moon's polar regions that are bathed in endless sunlight, and which would therefore constitute viable places for the first permanent human outposts on the Moon, bases which could function to establish that presence, and then, from there, to build the infrastructure needed on the rest of the Lunar surface - the power plants and so on - needed to sustain a permanent human presence elsewhere. As Marvcin Elvis, Harvard astrophysicist, notes in the article, these peaks are thus the most precious current Lunar real estate that there is. As Elvis points out, the current treaty was hastily composed and agreed upon during the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States to land humans on the Moon and return them to Earth, and a "compromise" was reached that was neither "socialist" nor "capitalist":

ELVIS: It was agreed upon in 1967, during the Russian-U.S. rivalry over getting to the moon. It was concluded very quickly and it was a fight between socialist principles of the Russians — keeping space common property — and the U.S. capitalist approach saying we should be able to exploit space for its resources. And they sort of sit uncomfortably together in the treaty.

So you can’t own any celestial body as it’s defined, including the moon, but you can make use of its resources. That leads to a sort of tension, but it has never mattered because it’s never actually come up as a practical issue.

So what's the legal loophole?

Nothing prevents anyone from claiming a permanent base for "research":

That’s a perfectly valid experiment for solar physics. You would study the low-frequency part of the radio spectrum that cannot be studied from Earth because those waves don’t get through our atmosphere. It would be permanently exposed to the sun and you can claim — because you want to do clever Fourier analysis techniques — that you need continuous coverage [by sunlight]. That’s crucial, because then you say, “This is wonderful. I’ve just set up a research station, as anyone is allowed to under the Outer Space Treaty. And I’m happy for you to come and inspect it, as is required under the Outer Space Treaty. Except you mustn’t interrupt my operations, as is required under the Outer Space Treaty, and I’ve got a bare copper wire here, so don’t bring a radio, don’t bring any electrical equipment whatsoever, because it will pick up on my wire and ruin my solar physics experiments.”

And that means you can’t visit because there is no way to get around on the moon without any electrical equipment at all. So I basically, totally legally, have effectively taken possession. In effect, I own it, because how are you going to get me out of there if you want to put up photovoltaic cells? You’re going to have to make it worth my while to roll up my copper wire. You could complain, but who are you going to complain to? There is nobody to oversee these disputes. And that’s what we’re really pointing out, that it’s time to realize that because of the highly non-uniform distribution of resources on the moon and the imminent arrival of several players, we’d better start thinking about what those mechanisms should be.

Note that what Elvis is implying is that, under the guise of doing "research" on the Moon, one might in fact be establishing de facto ownership over it, and thence be able to conduct permanent commercial enterprises.

But there's also, to my mind, another loophole here, for one might also be able to conduct "defense research" at these sites, and thus effectively be able to establish a military presence on the Moon. Again, where commerce occurs and has to be protected, militarization and weaponization are not far behind.

However, all this said, there is something else implied here, and in my high octane speculation, I think it may be taken as the "new methodology" that appears to be emerging for that faction of the globalists who view centralization as the be-all and end-all of their goals. It's this:

GAZETTE: Should this be handled by international treaty or is it something for the U.N.?

ELVIS: We talk about different ways of doing it. They’re very hypothetical because you’re going to have to have international negotiations to decide what the mechanism should be. It’s very hard to do treaties anymore, but you could interpret the treaty we already have. It’s very uninterpreted at this point — there isn’t a lot of decided law flowing from it. We might do as we did with the Space Resource Exploration and Utilization Act last year. We might have an act which decides what the rights would be for U.S. people, and derive from the original treaty what we think that means for U.S. citizens or corporations. I think it deserves discussion by people skilled at this kind of thing. It’s not just these Peaks of Eternal Light; all space resources are very unevenly distributed. We have to think about it.

In other words, there are two ways forward here, the first is to use these emerging space issues to impose, literally top down, a new international mechanism, in effect a global governmental institution, to arbitrate disputes, and impose either regulation or law on space and celestial bodies, or two, a decentralzing solution, also suggested by Elvis, for each signatory to the current treaty to impose their own construction or interpretation to its provisions.

This, of course, is a short term solution, and eventually will require some wider mechanism.

And that brings us back to that recent Chinese-Russian agreement about each side's "rights" and control over "sensitive space technologies," for lunar "research bases" would certainly qualiify as "sensitive lunar technologies.: Thus, we may be looking at yet a third solution to the problem: the negotiation of dual-party agreements between countries, or corporations, or both. If so, then we can expect certain things will happen and we can watch for them to appear: (1) Western centralizing globalists will increasingly call for a top-down centralizing solution in the form of the creation by treaty of some institution to arbitrate all potential space conflicts and affairs and will use the emergence of Chinese-Russian cooperation, or any other non-Western cooperation, as a foil and potential threat to advocate for it, (2) non-centralizing globalists will counter this movement by backing precisely such multiparty agreements, and (3) Russia and China will seek to expand the basis of this type of agreement to other space players, especially non-Western ones, such as Japan, India, and possibly nations like Argentina and Brazil.

To put it country simple: the game's afoot folks.

See you on the flip side...