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US imperialist war drive in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions

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The United States recently launched another satellite over the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. It was not unnoticed and significant for three reasons. 

The launching of the NROL 37/US 268 model highlighted the continued high-level diplomacy between the US and Australia for 'joint use' of defence and security facilities.

Australia is a regional hub for 'US interests' in both regions, a vast area patrolled for combat by US naval fleets.

Secondly, the satellite launch formed part of a massive wave of US-led militarism across the wider regions.

Thirdly, despite intelligence classification, the satellite was quickly identified. The US is openly flouting its instruments of war.

At 1.51 pm, 12 June, the US National Reconnaissance Office launched NROL 37/US 268 as part of national defence. The satellite formed part of the Orion series and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).

Within a few days amateur space enthusiasts located the satellite over the Straits of Malacca. (1) They found it drifting west over the northern Indian Ocean. The positions of the satellite, at 104E, were explained as a result of US-Australian “defence and security” facilities at Pine Gap, central Australia, being used for initial testing requirements.

The location of the satellite has therefore revealed the continued importance of Pine Gap, operating in conjunction with US facilities located on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The sensitive facilities remain central for US defence and security planning and operations.

Similar facilities at Silvermine, South Africa, operate in tandem with Diego Garcia. They, in turn, provide coverage of the South Atlantic, across Africa and the Indian Ocean. (2)

The US has been developing increased intelligence operations across Africa in recent years. It has been illustrated with Australian diplomatic media releases now regularly using the term Indo-Pacific in place of the former Asia-Pacific region. While their networks of smaller surveillance facilities are ostensibly concerned with Islamic terrorism, the real concern is the defence and security of 'US interests' in the resource-rich continent. The linking of defence and security matters with corporate sector considerations has resulted in Australia hosting hundreds of mining companies registered as business outlets solely in Africa. (3) 

The rapid increase of Chinese financial interests across Africa including mineral exploration and mining and elsewhere, likewise, has resulted in a tilting of the balance of forces away from traditional western positions. (4) China is regarded as a hegemonic threat to 'US interests'.

Combined western intelligence facilities central for war planning and operations with the US 3rd, 5th and 7th fleets in the Indian Ocean and Pacific are therefore preoccupied with containment and encirclement of China, wherever thought possible.

In this light it is significant to note the initial position of the NROL 37/US 268 over the Straits of Malacca. It is one of the most congested and sensitive shipping-lanes in the world, proving China with access and egress, to and from, the Indian Ocean with the South China Seas.

There is also a 'softer-sell' to US-led foreign policy toward China. It is significant to note many of the Australian-based mining organisations operating in Africa use 'third-country' banking and financial institutions based in Singapore. (5) The country has a long history of involvement with western defence and security provision together with a highly sophisticated maritime industry and ready access to regional shipping-lances and navigation.

Secondly, it is significant to note the satellite is intended for implementation into defence and security systems with the swing of an arc from Diego Garcia, from Sri Lanka to Africa: an area patrolled by the US 5th and 7th fleets.

The satellite launch formed part of a massive wave of US-led militarism across the regions. As one war-game and manoeuvre reaches completion, another begins. Some of the military exercises are very large with extensive multinational commitments.

Annual Operations, Foal Eagle and Key Resolve off the Korean peninsula last March, for example, were the largest ever. A total of 290,000 ROK troops joined US counterparts and others to test various scenarios and increase 'our continued readiness'. 

The annual US-led Operation Cobra Gold staged with Thailand in 2015, was the largest military exercise of its type in thirty years. Military officers from a total of 29 countries participated in the planning and manoeuvres. Diplomatic media releases later described the operation along lines Thailand was 'a strategic asset in the region'. (6)  

The US-led military operations have been conducted with swashbuckling bravado. They have not created stability and greater security within the wider region. To the contrary, US-led strategies of tension have created problems for Australia as greater responsibilities have been foisted upon Canberra. The recent Australian White Paper regarded the region as experiencing a 'generally deteriorating situation' with 'points of fruition' with the Russian Federation and China in the South China Seas.  

The launching of the NROL 37/US 268 has provided a classic example of US-led attitudes toward the region and elsewhere. It was supposed to be subject to classification. Intelligence considerations are usually conducted in that manner. In this instance, however, media releases were accompanied by the findings of a group of amateur space enthusiasts.

Progressive-minded people in Australia and elsewhere should remain on their guard. The US is not pursuing diplomacy to safeguard world peace. It appears to be not only preparing for war, but also provoking a reaction from adversaries.


1.     Website: Skygazers have already found the U.S. Government's new spy satellite,
        Took just a few days, Joshua Kopstein, 26 June 2016.

2.     The Star, International Airmail Weekly, South Africa, 10 March 1973 and 17 March 1973.

3.     Website –

4.     US expands covert operations in Africa, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 22 June 2012,        

Pentagon looks to Africa to join fight, Weekend Australian, 29-30 June 2013,        
New drone bases open in east Africa to target al-Qaida, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 30 September 2011,        
China doubles loans to Africa, The Guardian Weekly (U.K.), 27 July 2012.

5.     Investing in Africa via Oz miners,  Weekend Australian, 9-10 November 2013.

6.     Cobra Gold Exercises, Washington Times, 9 February 2015.


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