Unknown to most of the world, satellites can perform astonishing and often menacing feats. This should come as no surprise when one reflects on the massive effort poured into satellite technology since the Soviet satellite Sputnik, launched in 1957, caused panic in the U.S. A spy satellite can monitor a person's every movement, even when the "target" is indoors or deep in the interior of a building or traveling rapidly down the highway in a car, in any kind of weather (cloudy, rainy, stormy). There is no place to hide on the face of the earth.
It takes just three satellites to blanket the world with detection capacity. Besides tracking a person's every action and relaying the data to a computer screen on earth, amazing powers of satellites
As extraordinary as clandestine satellite powers are, nevertheless prosaic satellite technology is much evident in daily life. Satellite businesses reportedly earned $26 billion in 1998. We can watch transcontinental television broadcasts "via satellite," make long- distance phone calls relayed by satellite, be informed of cloud cover and weather conditions through satellite images shown on television, and find our geographical bearings with the aid of satellites in the GPS (
The government agency most heavily involved in satellite surveillance technology is the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), an arm of the Pentagon. NASA is concerned with civilian satellites, but there is no hard and fast line between civilian and military satellites. NASA launches all satellites, from either Cape Kennedy in Florida or Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, whether they are military- operated, CIA-operated, corporate-operated or NASA's own. Blasting satellites into orbit is a major expense. It is also difficult to make a quick distinction between government and private satellites; research by NASA is often applicable to all types of satellites. Neither the ARPA nor NASA makes satellites; instead, they underwrite the technology while various corporations produce the hardware.
Corporations involved in the satellite business include Lockheed, General Dynamics, RCA, General Electric, Westinghouse, Comsat, Boeing, Hughes Aircraft, Rockwell International, Grumman Corp., CAE Electronics, Trimble Navigation and TRW.
The World Satellite Directory, 14th edition (1992), lists about a thousand companies concerned with satellites in one way or another. Many are merely in the broadcasting business, but there are also product headings like "remote sensing imagery," which includes Earth Observation Satellite Co. of Lanham, Maryland, Downl Inc. of Denver, and Spot Image Corp. of Reston, Virginia. There are five product categories referring to transponders. Other product categories include earth stations (14 types), "military products and systems," "
Spy satellites were already functioning and
The typical American actually may have little to fear, since the chances of being subjected to satellite surveillance are rather remote. Why someone would want to subject someone else to satellite surveillance might seem unclear at first, but to answer the question you must realize that only
It is difficult to estimate just how many Americans are being watched by satellites, but if there are 200 working surveillance satellites (a common number in the literature), and if each satellite can monitor 20 human targets, then as many as 4000 Americans may be under satellite surveillance. However, the capability of a satellite for multiple-target monitoring is even harder to estimate than the number of satellites; it may be connected to the number of transponders on each satellite, the transponder being a key device for both receiving and transmitting information. A society in the grips of the National Security State is necessarily kept in the dark about such things. Obviously, though, if one satellite can monitor simultaneously 40 or 80 human targets, then the number of possible victims of satellite surveillance would be doubled or quadrupled.
A sampling of the literature provides insight into this fiendish space-age technology. One satellite firm reports that "one of the original concepts for the Brilliant Eyes surveillance satellite system involved a long-wavelength infrared detector focal plane that requires periodic operation near 10 Kelvin." A surveillance satellite exploits the fact that the human body emits infra-red radiation, or radiant heat; according to William E. Burrows, author of Deep Black, "the infrared imagery would pass through the scanner and register on the [charged-couple device] array to form a moving infrared picture, which would then be amplified, digitalized, encrypted and transmitted up to one of the [satellite data system] spacecraft...for downlink [to earth]." But opinion differs as to whether infrared radiation can be detected in cloudy conditions.
According to one investigator, there is a way around this potential obstacle: "Unlike sensors that passively observe visible-light and infra-red radiation, which are blocked by cloud cover and largely unavailable at night, radar sensors actively emit microwave pulses that can penetrate clouds and work at any hour." This same person reported in 1988 that "the practical limit on achievable resolution for a satellite-based sensor is a matter of some dispute, but is probably roughly ten to thirty centimeters. After that point, atmospheric irregularities become a problem." But even at the time she wrote that, satellite resolution, down to each subpixel, on the contrary, was much more precise, a matter of millimeters--a fact which is more comprehensible when we consider the enormous sophistication of satellites, as reflected in such tools as multi- spectral scanners, interferometers, visible infrared spin scan radiometers, cryocoolers and hydride sorption beds. Probably the most sinister aspect of satellite surveillance, certainly its most stunning, is mind-reading.
As early as 1981, G. Harry Stine (in his book Confrontation in Space), could write that Computers have "read" human minds by means of deciphering the outputs of electroencephalographs (EEGs). Early work in this area was reported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (
In 1992, Newsweek reported that "with powerful new devices that peer through the skull and see the brain at work, neuroscientists seek the wellsprings of thoughts and emotions, the genesis of intelligence and language. They hope, in short, to read your mind." In 1994, a scientist noted that "current imaging techniques can depict physiological events in the brain which accompany sensory perception and motor activity, as well as cognition and speech." In order to give a satellite mind-reading capability, it only remains to put some type of EEG-like-device on a satellite and link it with a computer that has a data bank of brain-mapping research. I believe that surveillance satellites began reading minds--or rather, began allowing the minds of targets to be read--sometime in the early 1990s. Some satellites in fact can read a person's mind from space.
Also part of satellite technology is the notorious, patented "
After converting sound into electrical impulses, the Neurophone transmits radio waves into the skin, where they proceed to the brain, bypassing the ears and the usual cranial auditory nerve and causing the brain to recognize a neurological pattern as though it were an audible communication, though often on a subconscious level. A person stimulated with this device "hears" by a very different route. The Neurophone can cause the deaf to "hear" again. Ominously, when its inventor applied for a second patent on an improved Neurophone, the National Security Agency tried unsuccessfully to appropriate the device.
A surveillance satellite, in addition, can detect human speech. Burrows observed that satellites can "even eavesdrop on conversations taking place deep within the walls of the Kremlin." Walls, ceilings, and floors are no barrier to the monitoring of conversation from space. Even if you were in a highrise building with ten stories above you and ten stories below, a satellite's audio surveillance of your speech would still be unhampered. Inside or outside, in any weather, anyplace on earth, at any time of day, a satellite "parked" in space in a geosynchronous orbit (whereby the satellite, because it moves in tandem with the rotation of the earth, seems to stand still) can detect the speech of a human target. Apparently, as with reconnaissance in general, only by taking cover deep within the bowels of a lead-shielding fortified building could you escape audio monitoring by a satellite.
There are various other satellite powers, such as manipulating electronic instruments and appliances like alarms, electronic watches and clocks, a television, radio, smoke detector and the electrical system of an automobile. For example, the digital alarm on a watch, tiny though it is, can be set off by a satellite from hundreds of miles up in space. And the light bulb of a lamp can be burned out with the burst of a laser from a satellite. In addition, street lights and porch lights can be turned on and off at will by someone at the controls of a satellite, the means being an electromagnetic beam which reverses the light's polarity. Or a lamp can be made to burn out in a burst of blue light when the switch is flicked. As with other satellite powers, it makes no difference if the light is under a roof or a ton of concrete--it can still be manipulated by a satellite laser. Types of satellite lasers include the free-electron laser, the x-ray laser, the neutral-particle-beam laser, the chemical- oxygen-iodine laser and the mid-infra-red advanced chemical laser.
There is yet another macabre power possessed by some satellites:
It should be noted here that although the "hypnotism" of a psychoanalyst is bogus, unconscious or subconscious manipulation of behavior is genuine. But the brevity of a subliminal spell effected by a satellite might be overcome by more research. "The psychiatric community," reported Newsweek in 1994, "generally agrees that subliminal perception exists; a smaller fringe group believes it can be used to change the psyche." A Russian doctor, Igor Smirnov, whom the magazine labeled a "subliminal Dr. Strangelove," is one scientist studying the possibilities: "Using electroencephalographs, he measures brain waves, then uses computers to create a map of the subconscious and various human impulses, such as anger or the sex drive. Then. through taped subliminal messages, he claims to physically alter that landscape with the power of suggestion." Combining this research with satellite technology--which has already been done in part--could give its masters the possibility for the perfect crime, since satellites operate with perfect discretion, perfect concealment. All these satellite powers can be abused with impunity. A satellite makes a "clean getaway," as it were. Even if a given victim became aware of how a crime was effected, noone would believe him, and he would be powerless to defend himself or fight back.
And this indeed is the overriding evil of satellite technology. It is not just that the technology is unrestrained by public agencies; it is not just that it is
It is not located in the mind of an eccentric scientist or futurologist.
How you could arrange to have someone subjected to satellite surveillance is secretive; it might even be a conspiracy. However, there seem to be two basic possibilities: surveillance by a government satellite or surveillance by a commercial satellite. According to an article in Time magazine from 1997, "commercial satellites are coming online that are eagle-eyed enough to spot you--
Yet no source of information on satellites indicate whether the abuse of satellite surveillance is mediated by the government or corporations or both. More telling is the following disclosure by the author of Satellite Surveillance (1991): "Release of information about spy satellites would reveal that they have been used against U.S. citizens. While most of the public supports their use against the enemies of the U.S., most voters would probably change their attitudes towards reconnaissance satellites if they knew how extensive the spying has been. It's better...that this explosive issue never surfaces." Few people are aware of the destruction of the rights of some Americans through satellite surveillance, and fewer still have any inclination to oppose it, but unless we do, 1984 looms ever closer. "With the development of television and the technical device to receive and transmit on the same instrument, private life came to an end."
The condition for using my article is to please mention my book at the end of it: It is called "The war of all against all." Sincerely, John Fleming St. Louis, MO, USA email: firstname.lastname@example.org re: "The shocking menace of satellite surveillance"