Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shoot that Satellite Wikiwiki!

You have probably heard that the costumed cowboy shot down the U.S. spy satellite. My unruly friend, the Station Agent, fears that the Bush government has not been honest and forthcoming about the exact nature and function of the satellite. This got me wondering, so I dug around and found a classified FEMA presentation detailing the planned interception of the Satellite US-193 in a State Leadership Briefing, DHS/FEMA Region IX, February 19, 2008 (I live in FEMA region IX). Here's how the document describes the situation:
  • An uncontrollable U.S. government satellite will reenter Earth's atmosphere between the end of February and early March.
  • The satellite consists of 5,000 pounds of equipment and material, including a fuel tank containing 1,000 pounds of propellant (hydrazine), classified as a hazardous material.
  • Hydrazine is a clear, colorless liquid with an ammonia like odor. Direct contact with skin or eyes, or ingestion or inhalations from hydrazine released from the tank upon impact could result in immediate danger, including convulsions, tremors, or seizures. Ingesting or drinking Hydrazine can cause nausea, vomiting, uncontrolled shaking, inflammation of the nerves, or coma. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry).
The document was obtained by Wikileaks, "one of the most important web sites in recent months ... created by several brave journalists committed to transparency", a site the U.S. government is seeking to shut down. According to FEMA, should the engagement be successful, the hydrazine tank will break apart, releasing hydrazine into space, with nearly all the debris (99%) expected to fall into Earth's atmosphere within one week. The debris footprint is expected to be 10 - 25 miles wide and 100 - 1,000 miles long. The document discusses government response at the federal, state, and local levels should a hazardous situation arise. FEMA is coordinating six Federal Interagency Support Task Forces including:
  • Hazardous material qualified FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces.
  • Health and Human Services (HHS) medical support personnel.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) hazardous material specialists.
According to the wikileaks summary:
Of particular note in the document, is the fact that along with FEMA and safety task forces, a Department of Defense "Payload Recovery Task Force" is expected to respond to the impact site approximately 3 to 6 hours after the impact. This suggests that there may be some validity to rumors that US-193 is being intercepted on national security grounds.
Now here's something to think about. The presentation indicates the likelihood of a presidential disaster declaration (example here), without a Gubernatorial request "likely only in affected region" (slide 15). Usually a Governor makes a request, to which the President responds by issuing a disaster declaration, or not (the declaration process is described here).

Why would the president declare a disaster without a request from the affected area's Governor? This causes me to wonder if the satellite might be involved in something the president is unwilling to disclose to America's Governors. I also can't help but wonder if this dangerous situation hasn't been staged to create an excuse for the president to declare Martial Law, a situation that broadcast media is beginning to openly discuss.

Note: Wikiwiki is Hawaiian for "quick."
Cross-Posted at Ice Station Tango

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