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French Threat To ID Secret US Satellites

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-spy-with-my-little-radar dept.

Space 355

SkiifGeek brings to our attention a story that ran on space.com a few months back but didn't get much wider notice at the time. "The French have identified numerous objects in orbit that do not appear in the ephemeris data reported by the US Space Surveillance Network. Now, the US claims that if it doesn't appear in the ephemeris data, then it doesn't exist. The French insist that at least some of the objects they have found boast solar arrays. Therefore it seems that the French have found secret US satellites. While they don't plan to release the information publicly, they do intend to use it as leverage to get the US to suppress reporting of sensitive French satellites in their published ephemeris."

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Oh no the French are mad (0, Troll)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548109)

Not the French, with such a mighty army, I'm scared!

Re:Oh no the French are mad (2, Insightful)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548145)

Well, they do have nukes...

Re:Oh no the French are mad (5, Funny)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548231)

Wow, and the French though that your fat American fingers would never be able to crank out predictable trolls about their military with such speed :-P Clearly they underestimated you. Kudos.

Re:Oh no the French are mad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548295)

If you can't even win in Iraq,
You wouldn't win over France :-)

Re:Oh no the French are mad (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548955)

Don't fuck with the French: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:USS_Stark.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Tor like oatmeals! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548111)

Tor like oatmeals!

Re:Tor like oatmeals! (2, Insightful)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548349)

Eventually, this troll will be worthy of an Insightful moderation. That will be the day I leave slashdot.

Re:Tor like oatmeals! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548399)

See ya.

Re:Tor like oatmeals! (0)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548403)

Naah -- he'd at least have to be hip enough to tie in a current meme. EG:

I can haz oatmeals?

Re:Tor like oatmeals! (1)

Cattywampus (19657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548599)

Believe me, I've weathered far worse. (UID)

Re:Tor like oatmeals! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548951)

there, he's insightful now :P why on earth they gave me modpoints i have no idea :D

Headline (2, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548139)

Shouldn't that be "French Threaten to ID Secret US Satellites"?

Re:Headline (4, Funny)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548177)

It's a kdawson story... he just randomly clicks 'accept' without even looking at them.

Re:Headline (3, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548269)

Shouldn't they just offer them for sale on eBay?

Re:Headline (3, Informative)

tajmahall (997415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548645)

Shouldn't that be "French Threaten to ID Secret US Satellites"?
There was (apparently) a threat to ID secret US satellites. The threat was French.

Re:Headline (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548889)

It is still nonsense. "Threats" rarely identify anything. It defeats the purpose.

Re:Headline (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548649)

In Soviet Russia, Secret Spy Satellites identify French!

The French Aren't Threatening Anyone (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548717)

They are making a tour de force to show they aren't insignificant (we have skillz), and that they can be trusted with information as one of the good guys (let's work together for common security).

US? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548141)

They are hoping they are US satellites and not Chinese[insert evil empire name] satellites.

Re:US? (3, Insightful)

sepluv (641107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548197)

If they were Chinese why would the US be denying they existed?

a little distraction? (4, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548283)

Surely the wise course of action would be to deny the existence of all secret US satellites plus a smattering of somebody elses's satellites, too. Just to stir up the entropy pool a bit.

Spy vs Spy (5, Insightful)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548675)

Surely the wise course of action would be to deny the existence of all secret US satellites plus a smattering of somebody elses's satellites, too.
If the USA knew about a secret satellite of a hostile country, it would be a poor decision to let them know, that you know. It would be equally unlikey to expect the other country to then respond in kind and let the USA know, that they know, that the USA knows, that they themselves know, about the secret stealth satellite.

Re:US? (2)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548853)

I can't say much about it, but maybe they have visual confirmation of the satellites (US or not), possibly with US markings or corporate insignia on them?

This is easily winnable for the USA (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548149)

The US should just declare war on France, and they will surreder. Problem solved.

Re:This is easily winnable for the USA (4, Funny)

martijnd (148684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548233)

After spending the last 20 odd year's playing Metal of Honor ; and thus being suitably "trained"
the American infantry will drop into Normandy, make a big mess of the coast and head for Berlin at high speed; reaching the operational "goal" in less than 24 hours as they can just take the train instead of grunting it out by foot.

The French will barely notice ; but the Germans will wonder why Checkpoint Charlie was rebuild overnight.Berlin disco's will put on a "retro" 40's theme.

The European Union will then spend the next six months debating who will pay for the environmental damage done to the French coast and whether or not the shrimp industry qualifies for subsidies.

Re:This is easily winnable for the USA (1, Funny)

ghoul (157158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548377)

Or US Marines will refuse to get off the landing craft as they dont have enough Ipods to go around. So they will be airlifted by Ospreys half of which will crash killing half the invasion force. At this point the psychoanalysts will recommend a night out on the town (Paris preferably) to deal with their PTSD. At which point the marines would discover how worthless their dollars are that they cant even buy cigarettes. Around this point in time the marines would realize they are all Germans anyway (German is the largest ethnic group in the US) and ask for German/EU citizenship. And then they will go join the Shrimp Industry - Bubba Gump Shrimp anyone?

Re:This is easily winnable for the USA (4, Funny)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548531)

So they will be airlifted by Ospreys half of which will crash killing half the invasion force.

Wow. You really think half of the Ospreys won't crash?

Re:This is easily winnable for the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548365)

Easily winnable ? Just like Iraq I presume. Hehe.

Re:This is easily winnable for the USA (2, Funny)

dafragsta (577711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548469)

Very easily winnable. The Iraqis aren't wearing berets.

+1 funny (1)

zahl2 (821572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548489)

I'm sorry, but this and about half the comments above you should all be +1 funny. Disclaimer: comments at the time I posted this. My humor not transferable to others. Some are funnier than others.

Shhhhh (1)

memeplex (910698) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548159)

I trust that US and French intelligence services will bury this quickly. Lives are at stake.

Bury? (1)

tehSpork (1000190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548529)

You must be one of the refugees from Digg while they do yet more work on their site. This is slashdot, there is no bury.

Re:Shhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548867)

Why the hell would they bury it? I'm surprised that Leaky Leahe hasn't already given out this information in yet another attempt to make Bush look bad. Too bad if it gets people killed, but making George Bush look bad is much more important than American lives!

Secret US Satellites? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548161)

I personally know the CEO of a company who is in charge of the positioning and random stuff of several US satellites. They don't keep the existence of "secret satellites" a secret, they just don't tell anyone what the satellites do. They don't have to hide their very existence as long as no one knows what they are for... it would be pointless and a waste of secretiveness.

Re:Secret US Satellites? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548393)

I personally know the REAL head of the NSA. We lunch daily and discuss the latest sat feeds over fresh ground coffee and scones. No shit.

Re:Secret US Satellites? (1)

deltacephei (842219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548521)

waste of secretiveness.

Who knew? Secretiveness is now a commodity. I guess not telling anyone what they do doesn't count as keeping a secret. Presumably then they're out looking for Invader Zim!

I don't think so (5, Informative)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548553)

There's a number of useful things you can know about a satellite, just knowing it's orbit.

* If it's geostationary, it's designed to look at or communicate with whatever is right underneath it. It's also unlikely to be a photorecon satellite, because your km-per-pixel sucks from 36,000 km away.

* If it's in a polar orbit, it's probably designed to look at big swathes of the Earth as the latter rotates under it. Polar orbits are too expensive otherwise.

* If it's in a low orbit with just enough inclination to get up to your latitude -- why, that sounds like it might be a photorecon satellite designed with you in mind...

* In which case, if you know when it's over you, and when it's not, then you have a rough idea of when you're in the crosshairs. That can be handy.

I don't necessarily disagree that the main way you keep your capabilities secret is to keep what the satellites do secret. But it probably helps, at least a little bit, to keep the existence and orbit of the thing secret, too.

Re:Secret US Satellites? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548589)

waste of secretiveness

Just a random thing, and I know exactly what you meant, but that bit conjured up an image of a limited national resource of secretiveness that should be used sparingly lest it run out.

"What is the state of our secretiveness store?"

"Not good sir, only 23 units left in the warehouse, and we aren't expecting our next shipment until October!"

Re:Secret US Satellites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548697)

waste of secretiveness

Just a random thing, and I know exactly what you meant, but that bit conjured up an image of a limited national resource of secretiveness that should be used sparingly lest it run out.

"What is the state of our secretiveness store?"

"Not good sir, only 23 units left in the warehouse, and we aren't expecting our next shipment until October!"

George Bush depleted all our secretiveness as well, using them to keep Rove & Co. covered with Executive Privilege, hiding our energy policy making process from everyone except our energy companies, and hiding CIA prisons on foreign soil. Is there any resource this country has that man can't squander?

Re:Secret US Satellites? (1)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549019)

Whether your specific story is true or not (hey, it's the interweb, just sayin) it makes sense.

It wouldn't be very hard or expensive to find sats. They are easily seen by backyard astronomers.

So even hard to see ones would, I'd imagine, would be well within the abilities of nearly every nation on the planet should they want.

let 'em (3, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548175)

If they're really there, it's an empty threat. If the French can see them then so can anyone else with a telescope. It's likely everyone else of consequence already knows about them.

Re:let 'em (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548205)

If they're really there, it's an empty threat. If the French can see them then so can anyone else with a telescope. It's likely everyone else of consequence already knows about them.
Wish I had mod points. +1 insightful for you, +1 DUH for the French.

Re:let 'em (5, Insightful)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548405)

Go ahead. I dare you to find and track a surveilance satellite with a telescope. It isn't impossible, but think for a minute what it requires.

Re:let 'em (3, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548481)

An amateur will have a difficult time. It's hard enough to track the ISS, which is a pretty damn big and well known target. However, we're not talking about amateur's here... We're talking about military resources of larger governments which, for the most part, already have space launch capability, or are allied with someone for access to space launch capability. They'll already have hardware to track their own equipment. They'll already have radar to monitor their own airspace. It's not a stretch.

Re:let 'em (3, Informative)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548247)

Read the damn article - its detected them using a new radar system not with backyard telescopes.

Fine for a State... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548263)

But what about smaller organizations? Satellites tasked for pictures of, for example, terrorist training camps or drug-running? It's a bit easier to look up satellite coverage on a website than it is to scan the sky for a...

Oh.

It's a French website, isn't it?

Okay, here's a new idea: nobody teach French to terrorists.

Re:let 'em (-1, Redundant)

sepluv (641107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548309)

Don't spoil their fun. It is very simple...it is about France making the US think that France are successfully been made to think by the US that the US think that France think that the US think that France hasn't got the technology to find satellites. Or something like that.

Look the Pentagon have a budget of half a trillion dollars and not many wars on ATM. They're bored and want to play mind games with the French by pretending they think they can hide their satellites by not putting them in some database and the French want the US to think they've fallen for the mind games.

Re:let 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548943)

-1. Not funny, and kind of annoying.

But you don't get it, they "don't" exist! (5, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548359)

Now, the US claims that if it doesn't appear in the ephemeris data, then it doesn't exist


So shooting a laser beam to blind something non-existent shouldn't be a problem. If you can knock this non-existent "thing" from the sky even better, now it would "doubly" not exist!

The actual situation is rather more complicated. (4, Interesting)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548475)

I believe it's a bit more involved than that.

First consideration: It is a fairly involved and expensive process to catalogue these objects. Maybe some crazy EE guy could mess with them with a ground based laser for an affordable $20k or whatever (I honestly don't know the feasibility of that) but having to go back and classify near-earth space objects on top of that would probably push it being the range of feasability for any small scale endeavor.

And, another *big part* of defense/offense is simply making it more expensive to engage youl. This is the definition of why defense is always more difficult than offense--the defender has to defend every avenue of attack, the aggressor need only choose the most favorable to themselves. Sure, it might be possible for any modern nation to invest a few billion to making the identifications, and that might nullify the advantage you would have otherwise, but getting them to spend the money is itself an advantage. Even countries that starve their citizens to pay for missiles (ala, north korea) only have limited budgets. The thinner you can spread them, the better off *you* are.

Second consideration: In as much as identifying satellites is a statistical process, i.e., "We've looked at 70% of the objects in the sky, and have identified +/- 20% of those which are satellites " then sharing data is always beneficient in giving you more certain results. This is relevant not only because it means you get more satellites, but especially because the satellites you do get are more defintie to be representative of the whole. If you were going to organize some strategic strike against America's defense satellites, you'd want to get all of them. Otherwise you might waste a bunch of money to get the tactical advantage of taking out the satellites and America will just be like "Whoops, they got some of our satellites, time to change to the backups. Cool, our network is fully functional again. Let's go nuke whoever did that."

Third consideration: I don't think the location of all the 'public' satellites are disclosed. The French are able to identify which are secret satellites because we told them the ones that weren't. Anyone who didn't know that could certainly identify satellite objects in the sky, but they would be unable to distinguish between commercial GPS satellites and secret military missile-commanding GPS satellites.

Now, I don't really know how much any of those come into effect on their own, but my point is that just because it is possible for someone else to gain knowledge without your disclosing it does not mean that it doesn't make a difference whether you simply disclose it or make them work to figure it out.

Re:The actual situation is rather more complicated (2, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548617)

I think you miss the point of my extremely short and to the point post... If they want to publish "We have found satellites in orbits x, y, and z..." then, so what. It's not affecting our tactics (much). We can continue to deny they exist, if that's our plan. They can continue to expend money and effort trying to identify them.

I'm not concerned about amateur efforts to identify the satellites, they're irrelevant.

Any country of consequence, who would be capable of affecting our satellites in orbit, is likely to be doing mapping of their sky; and, as a result will have some statistics on what's there. The French publishing the additional data doesn't matter in that it remains true that no one knows to whom the satellites belong and what their capabilities are. Granted, the extra data points might be useful to another country; but, as I've said, I'm certain they are already mapping what's in their sky anyway.

Re:The actual situation is rather more complicated (2, Insightful)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549001)

I think you are missing the point entirely. No one is interested in this information so they can 'affect' the hardware. The crux of the issue is that if the French start publishing live orbital telemetry on spy satellites then it will be damn easy for any interested party to 'hide' as the satellite passes over.

Moreover, changes in the telemetry will tell the 'bad guys' when the US is interested in something and hence they will have a better sense if their activities have aroused US suspicion.

I'd wager that even the Taliban could muster the internet access and math skills to figure this out given up to date telemetry.

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Re:let 'em (2, Funny)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548541)

If they're really there, it's an empty threat.

But if they're not there, it's...serious?

Re:let 'em (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548745)

No no, it's just Sirius.

Re:let 'em (2, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548813)

"If the French can see them then so can anyone else with a telescope."

Those are very small satellites in a very, very big sky (it's not called "space" for no reason). If you're lucky, you might see it with the naked eye go by near sunrise or sunset, so that it catches sunlight against the dark sky, but otherwise you'd have to use magnification, which means limiting your field of view dramatically to look for an object that is in your stretch of sky for less than a minute while it passes through your field of view (which happens maybe once or twice a day as the earth rotates under the satellite's polar orbit, and not always at night).

Or you'd need a sophisticated radar system capable of bouncing signals off of objects in low orbit, the kind of system only a first-world national government could afford.

It's easier to find earth-threatening asteroids than it is to catch a satellite you don't already know about.

oh god... (4, Funny)

doubtless (267357) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548193)

freedom fries all over again?

Re:oh god... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548303)

That's freedom flies

Re:oh god... (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548781)

You Plick?

ground control to major tom (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548217)

Therefore it seems that the French have found secret US satellites.

If they're referring to the moon, that's been ours for a while (finders keepers), and it's not exactly a secret. unless you're referring to man-made satellites only?

i've got a bad feeling about this (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548241)

unless you're referring to man-made satellites only?

If you're referring to man-made satellites only, then, the U.S. will probably be forced to admit, that's no moon.

Re:i've got a bad feeling about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548343)

And you all thought Bush was spending $200 billion/yr in Iraq, that the Big Dig actually cost $15 billion, and that the Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska were actually going to be built!

Re:i've got a bad feeling about this (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548939)

Damn. They've found our fully operational space station.

Nothing left but for a demonstration of its capacity . . .

Hey, what's that coast with the guy with bad glasses?

'Lost' satellites (2, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548221)

Numerous communications satellites have been lost over the years. Others may be a secret alien monitoring network...

Re:'Lost' satellites (2, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548861)

"Numerous communications satellites have been lost over the years."

They tend to fall out of orbit and burn up in re-entry and/or are placed in geosynchronous orbit, not the globe-spanning polar LEO's favored by the spook community.

Also, for the kind of money involved in launching, using and maintaining one, you do not lose one casually.

"Others may be a secret alien monitoring network..."

"What, haven't the hairless apes wiped themselves out yet?" Alien monitoring requires that we actually be, y'know, interesting and worth monitoring. Feels too much like a descendant of the ol' Ptolemaic geocentricism.

How dare they? Time for a regime change. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548253)

Start your war drums. How dare the french threaten us? How dare they expose our secret spy satellites? They are evil. They have nukular weapons. They are fundamentalists being led by an evil dictator (oh wait, was that Iran yesterday?) If you leave them be, we'll have a holocaust obliterating everything dear to the American way. It's time for a regime change.

unlisted (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548259)

looks like US has been taking lessons from New Zealand police...

Who cares - their french (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548319)

The french are still bitter the british ended up dominating the world and they didn't.

suck it you cheese eating surrender monkeys

lol wat? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548333)

Is it a secret we both have unmarked satellites, or are their locations the secret?

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys (0, Troll)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548335)

French = Cheese-eating, blackmailing, surrender monkeys

Nutty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548345)

I'd keep the French satellite info under wraps as long as they promise to stop idolizing Jerry Lewis.

Dupe? (2, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548361)

First, this was from June, and second, I recall seeing this out here earlier.

Re:Dupe? (1)

sepluv (641107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548455)

That's good because I thought it must have been deja vu as /. Search turned up nothing.

For Sale -- Cheap! (-1, Troll)

eutychus_awakes (607787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548373)

One (1) French military rifle. Never fired. Dropped once.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (4, Insightful)

ghoul (157158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548397)

One New republic. Twice invaded and saved by France. For sale to the highest bidding oil company

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (-1, Troll)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548417)

Twice invaded and saved by France.

Yeah, but what have you done for us lately? Say, in the past 100 years? Oh, that's right, you were too busy surrendering to the Germans. Sorry!

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548439)

Well, considering that the French lost about 50% of their able-bodied fighting men in WWI and WWII, I dont think that it was really surrendering. I love how my fellow countrymen keep babbling about French surrendering. If lets say an equivalent number of Americans died - maybe 3 million or so, don't you think it would have an impact on this country's fighting ability?

People, stop already with the French surrender dumbness. We haven't fought a 'fair' war since the Civil War, and that we fought against ourselves. Even in WWi and WWII we waited until others had worn out the enemy...

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548651)

People, stop already with the French surrender dumbness. We haven't fought a 'fair' war since the Civil War, and that we fought against ourselves. Even in WWi and WWII we waited until others had worn out the enemy...
That's quite inaccurate, Between Japan's fleet being damn near the biggest on Earth, a willingness to sacrifice millions for victory and the Germans crushing nearly everything that opposed them I don't think we did too bad. we destroyed a lot of Japan's fleet in midway and held out quite outnumbered on several pacific islands as well as saving France's ass AGAIN although I'll give France this: they didn't completely surrender, there was a resistance and they did try to prevent the invasion with the maginot line [forgot about Belgium though] but aside from that france's history is full of other defeats that we need not even mention the world wars

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548687)

If lets say an equivalent number of Americans died - maybe 3 million or so, don't you think it would have an impact on this country's fighting ability?
You're off by nearly an order of magnitude. More than 2 million French died in WW I and WW II, in a country of 40 million people. That's better than 1 in 20, which would work out to over 15 million Americans.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (4, Insightful)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548449)

Jesus Christ - no wonder people hate Americans. Thanks for that, people - I'm embarrassed to say where I'm from these days. Bunch of jingoist jerks.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (0, Troll)

dazzz67 (1110967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548507)

> Jesus Christ - no wonder people hate Americans. Thanks for that, people - I'm embarrassed to say where I'm from these days. Bunch of jingoist jerks. Actually you're the kind of American people hate. The gung-ho type we don't mind, they are consistent and wear their beliefs on their sleeve. They are honest and straightforward. It's this new, smug, "I'm ashamed of my country" kind of American that I cannot stand (I am Australian). Your country dominates the world (just as italy, england, greece, persia, france etc etc etc all did in their day) and you are ashamed? I'd hate to know how you'd feel if you were French and actually had to live with the knowledge that not only did your country surrender to Germany without a fight, they also aided and assisted the round-up of their own Jewish population. How would you feel then? BTW, if your country was invaded, you would be cowering behind those "jingoist jerks", you hypocrite.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548683)

I'm neither American nor French, although I have visited both countries. Both have much to be proud of and much to be ashamed of. It is a bit unfair to say the French surrendered without a fight. It is true they were outclassed but they did try. How many Aussies surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore anyway?

But anyway, you would be able to find people to load the trains and man the guard towers in any country.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (4, Interesting)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548689)

I'd hate to know how you'd feel if you were French and actually had to live with the knowledge that not only did your country surrender to Germany without a fight...

At least I could seek comfort in the knowledge that the US, in all its world-dominating glory, wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for my country. (plus, can you really expect France to take care of the Germans every time?)

BTW, if your country was invaded, you would be cowering behind those "jingoist jerks", you hypocrite.

Somehow I reeally doubt it, for some crazy reason the "jingoist jerks" are never the first ones to line up to grab a rifle and defend the country. Go figure.

Point is, constantly bragging about something that other people did 50 years ago gets tiresome pretty quickly (besides, I'm Russian, so let's not get into the whole "Who won WWII" thing :) ).

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548907)

The gung-ho type we don't mind, they are consistent and wear their beliefs on their sleeve. They are honest and straightforward.

HAHAHAHAHA!

The current crop of jingoists are a bunch of cowards who think war is fine and dandy, as long as it's other people doing the dying. Damn near every top pro-war politician and commentator who was of age to serve during Vietnam found some way to stay out of uniform, and their kids aren't in any hurry to sign up for Iraq either. Oh, how "honest and straightforward" of them!

It's this new, smug, "I'm ashamed of my country" kind of American that I cannot stand

When your country does something wrong -- and when your country is a democracy, in which the leaders are theoretically responsible to the people -- it is good and right to be ashamed. Being ashamed isn't enough, of course; you should also do something to change it. Which, in the civilized world, includes bitching loudly and publicly. The idea that we should keep our mouths shut except to parrot platitudes of support for our Glorious Leaders is repulsive.

I'd hate to know how you'd feel if you were French and actually had to live with the knowledge that not only did your country surrender to Germany without a fight

If you really think France surrendered "without a fight" I'd recommend reading some more history. They were beaten, on the battlefield, by an army which could easily have done the same thing to any other country -- yes, including both the US and Australia -- that had the misfortune to be right next door to Germany at the time. And, in fact, did. The Wehrmacht in its heyday was unstoppable, and it took the Allies years (and a whole hell of a lot of lives) to swamp it in a war of attrition.

BTW, if your country was invaded, you would be cowering behind those "jingoist jerks", you hypocrite.

I served for ten years (two years reserve, eight years active duty, including Desert Storm) and I'm pretty sure that even as a fat old guy with a bum leg, I could still step up and defend US soil if I had to. The "rah rah USA" crowd would be screaming, crying, and pissing their pants.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (1)

nagglerdamus (1131755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548857)

dont be such a negative nancy.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548519)

I realize it's a joke but sadly, too many people use these lines as arguments in otherwise meaningful discussions...
And I know it doesn't seem that bad; after all the French have been making fun of us for a lot longer than most realize but it'll strike home the first time you hear it face to face and force yourself to laugh off the embarrassment of being from the US.

In short, please don't do that, it sucks.

Re:For Sale -- Cheap! (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548701)

Oh, that's right, you were too busy surrendering to the Germans. Sorry!
So, I take it you've never heard of World War I?

Tweenies (1)

ghoul (157158) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548409)

I'll show you mine if you show me yours or is that I wont show yours if you dont show mine to the world. Sounds like a bunch of preteens. Okay America is just 200 years old so its like a kid as far as nations go but what is France's excuse?

Now they just have to duplicate GEODSS (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548461)

The US has had the Ground Based-Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance [fas.org] system since the early 1980s. GEODSS is an automated sky search telescope system. Multiple sites with multiple 40-inch telescopes search the sky automatically every night, looking for anything that isn't in the catalogues. GEODSS will even detect dark objects that occult stars. Everybody has automated astronomy now, but it started with GEODSS, around 1980.

GEODSS has an unusual feature for a telescope - illumination. The system can use one of the telescopes at a site to aim a laser light source, while the other telescope looks at the target with the imager. This allows a good look at low-orbit satellites.

The original test installation for GEODSS, at White Sands, NM, is now used by MIT to look for near-Earth objects. They've found 1622 so far. It wouldn't hurt to have more systems working on that problem. A French version of GEODSS would be a win for everyone.

Re:Now they just have to duplicate GEODSS (2, Interesting)

Craig Milo Rogers (6076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548919)

The difference is... the French (and Germans, see the SPACE.com article referenced in the original Slashdot posting) used a radar system, not an optical one, to detect the publicly uncatalogued satellites. Presumably it can detect satellites that aren't visible (except for occultations) to the average optical system ("black ops", in a very literal sense).

The French are serious about space operations, both commercially and militarily. Arianespace, a French company (in essence) launching from French territory in South America, is the world's leading provider of geostationary transfer orbit launch services. Presumably, they feel as concerned as any other major space operator about the space junk problem, as exacerbated by the Chinese anti-satellite demonstration last January, and are investing in a program to ensure that they can track space junk independently of the USA.
Or, they may simply be interested in keeping track of all in-orbit assets as part of their defense posture.

Russia also operates optical and radar-based satellite-tracking systems. One can speculate that they already know about secret U.S. satellites, but are unlikely to reveal such knowledge in a public forum. China is also believed to have optical and radar satellite tracking systems in place (per a recent US Defense Dept. report).

Easy to replicate (4, Informative)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548495)

If I recall correctly, the US didn't know where or when Pakistan (or was it India?) was about to detonate its first test nuke because the satellites didn't see the materials being moved in or out of the expected sites. They didn't see it because the Pakistanis (or Indians) were keeping track of satellites and not moving anything when there were unknown ones overhead. It's quite easy to do; it just requires a lot of manpower (which there is plenty of in the subcontinent)

vik

Re:Easy to replicate (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548985)

They didn't see it because the Pakistanis (or Indians) were keeping track of satellites and not moving anything when there were unknown ones overhead.

That's been a function of military maneuvers, both operational and training, for a long, long time. "Don't move sensitive stuff when other peoples sats are overhead".

Re:Easy to replicate (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549049)

"They didn't see it because the Pakistanis (or Indians) were keeping track of satellites and not moving anything when there were unknown ones overhead."

It's not about knowing where the satellites are so much as understanding that, altogether, all the spy satellites will only be able to photograph your little corner of the world for a total of maybe 1 minute out of 1440. Make sure that the trucks from Habib's Fissionable Material Shipping Service are always parked in the same place, in the same position after you're done with them and the odds are in your favor that Langley won't see any difference between two consecutive satellite passes. The rest is basic camouflage techniques that had been used to counter reconnaissance aircraft long before Sputnik.

Realistically, the odds are in your favor if you want to do something small that you don't want satellites to catch and you think a little about what you're doing. They satellites are mostly there to catch gross, macro changes in another country's borders ("Gee, they just moved this tank brigade to their border and a surface fleet has left port!"), but the hopes of catching a single, solitary nuclear device on the move is a crapshot at best. Of course, it may not be an acceptable risk when the stakes involved are you clandestinely testing your first nuclear device, and Langley surely hopes that the fear of "We might see you do it!" gives them second thoughts, but unless they have the Hubble parked at geostationary above your sorry ass, "we have teh sattelitez!" is a bogeyman at best

if it's not in the databases, it doesn't exist (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548677)

Now, the US claims that if it doesn't appear in the ephemeris data, then it doesn't exist.
It's sure a good thing Obi-Wan Kenobi didn't trust the American Jedi librarians, or he would have never found Kamino's clone army..I mean..the satellites. Yeah. More evidence that George Bush is the Sith lord we've been looking for.

uh hem... (5, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20548681)

"Pardon Moi, but does your secret satellite fire lasers?"

"No, it certainly does not."

"Oh...good. Then I'll just be orbiting this small camera platform over here next to it and...."ZZZzzzZZzzZzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzaaaaaaappppppppppppPPPPPPPP!!!!!!

"I thought you said your secret satellite doesn't fire lasers!!??"

"That's not my secret satellite..."

Re:uh hem... (1)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549121)

Hah! Very much so... thanks for that one :D will you be here all week?

Gotta love the French touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20548695)

I love the French language, fantastic language, specially for blackmail.

"Zey told us, 'If we have not püblished it in our catalogue, zen it does not exist.' So I guess we have been trrrracking objects zat do not exist. I can tell you zat some of zese non-existant objects have solarrrr arrrrrrays."

It's like wiping your ... with silk.

When will the World War Propaganda End? (1, Insightful)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549045)

Every story you read about these days is about France, Israel, or the USA (or the three trying to destroy/enrich each other).

Please help stop it. Humans could put persons on Mars, yet we still quibble about dumb things.

Brittan created America because they were bitchy.
France helped America become independent.
Americans came to be tired.
Americans think we should all work out our differences. Americans think we should just work it out. Americans think we should not fight unless necessary.

America does not agree with leader.

Re:When will the World War Propaganda End? (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549051)

Sorry for the typo - I meant the UK!

In their defense.... (5, Funny)

Darth (29071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20549079)

Considering recent history, they probably suspect the worst case scenario for exposing a U.S. spy satellite is a pardon.

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