14:45 GMT20 February 2020
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    Doomsday Clock officials have warned that Earth is the closest it's ever been to a possible man-made catastrophe due to “existential danger” posed by two major threats: climate change and nuclear war. At the same time, the formation of a new US military branch and the subsequent militarization of space may speed up the clock.

    Prof. Karl Grossman, a professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Thursday to discuss the Doomsday Clock’s new reading and provide thoughts on why he believes Trump’s Space Force must be stopped.

    “To bring the Doomsday Clock to a hundred seconds to midnight is ominous,” Grossman told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. He highlighted that officials with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the non-profit group which manages the Doomsday Clock, blamed world leaders for allowing the “international political infrastructure for managing these problems, both climate change and issues of nuclear war … to erode.”

    Established in 1947, the lowest point previously reached by the clock was in 1953, when the US tested its first thermonuclear device: two minutes to midnight, or 120 seconds. Its furthest point from considering nuclear apocalypse to be imminent was in 1991 at the close of the Cold War, when it was moved to 17 minutes before midnight.

    US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this week and expressed fear of space exploration turning into a “Wild West situation,” saying the US and its allies should “establish best practices and standards” for existing and new space capabilities.

    “Who owns space? Who owns whatever we find? If you are the first one to the asteroid, does that mean you have a claim on all of the minerals in that asteroid?” the 82-year-old secretary said during the forum on Wednesday, as reported by CNBC. “How does it work? Are we getting into kind of a Wild West situation of claim jumpers, or will there be some methodology?”

    The basis of international space law was originally drawn up with the signing of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which today includes over 100 countries. Trump’s creation of the US Space Force, the country’s sixth military branch, has been cited as a violation of the agreement, which seeks to prevent the militarization of space.

    “The major purpose of the Space Force is really global dominance,” Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, told the hosts of Loud and Clear late last month. “From space, a military force will be able to control everything from cell phones to ATMs to military communications.”

    “There’s no turning back if the space becomes weaponized,” Grossman warned. He went on to reference a January 15 Foreign Policy in Focus article by John Feffer that slammed Trump’s Space Force as “worse than the Reagan-era missile defense system dubbed Star Wars” and argued it “will increase the risk of conflict in space” and wreak havoc on the already burgeoning defense budget of the US.

    “This reincarnation of [US President Ronald] Reagan’s Star Wars, the breaking of treaty after treaty by the Trump administration - what they’re doing here, frankly, is looking to dissolve the … Outer Space Treaty,” Grossman said.

    He emphasized that it's up to the American people to elect new representatives to office following Congress’ decision to pass the latest National Defense Authorization Act, which gave life to the Space Force.

    “I recommend folks connect with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and get active,” Grossman asserted. “We’ve got to stop this.”

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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