00:33 GMT04 April 2020
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    The US government continues to invest in the militarization of space instead of fighting public health emergencies like COVID-19, Karl Grossman, a professor of journalism at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury and Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, told Sputnik.

    “It’s thoroughly outrageous,” Grossman commented, noting that the US doesn’t have enough respirators for the number of coronavirus sufferers who will require them. US hospitals don’t have enough intensive care unit beds, either, but social distancing measures have thus been put into place to prevent too many Americans from becoming hospitalized at the same time.

    “Meanwhile, the US Space Force just received its first new offensive weapon. Here in the midst of an epidemic, a plague, researchers are going to be needed to save lives. Huge amounts of money are going - $15 billion is what the [US President Donald] Trump budget for next year calls for, for the Space Force, just utterly wasted,” Grossman explained.

    Last week, the US Space Force started operating a new offensive weapon system: an upgraded version of the ground-based satellite communications jamming system used to block adversary satellite transmissions. The so-called Counter Communications System (CCS) was introduced in the US Air Force in 2004. The updated version, called CCS Block 10.2, reached initial operational capability on March 9 and is now operated by the Space Force.

    In addition to the satellite jamming system, the Pentagon has spent years working on laser weapons for space.

    “They’re been working at the Pentagon on developing a laser weapon for space ever since the 80s … they called it the Strategic Defense Initiative. But over the years, they’ve pumped a lot of money into the program. They’ve had a longtime dream of orbiting satellites powered with nuclear reactors that would provide the enormous power required to fire a laser through space that would destroy other countries’ satellites and that would hit targets on the Earth below. At the Pentagon, they called that particular program the Death Star. So, indeed they’re really been moving in this direction for a very long time,” Gagnon explained.

    “One thing we know because of space technology is that the astronauts who have gone up, whether they were Russian or American or any other country, and they look back on this Earth, they don’t see these boundaries and borders, languages and ethnicities. All they see is this one beautiful, small satellite called Earth flying through space. And everybody on it, we’re all related. We’re all in one family … but our country is so blinded by this greed, so blinded by this power-mongering,” Gagnon noted.

    A paper published Sunday by Dr. Lawrence Wittner, a professor of history emeritus at State University of New York at Albany, explains how US “military spending already surpasses the combined expenditures of the next seven military powers throughout the world,” and how the “Trump budget would add billions of dollars to annual US military appropriations, raising them to $741 billion.”

    “A lot of Americans might think that US military spending is equivalent to Russia, equivalent to China … US military spending already surpasses the combined expenditures of the next seven military powers throughout the world [China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, the UK, Germany and France]. And at this point, it is $648 billion. And under this Trump budget proposal, [he] reveals his values,” Grossman explained.

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

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