US and Germany in joint spy satellite project: cable
The project, named HiROS, envisions the construction of an undetermined number of high-resolution observation satellites capable of spotting any object on the planet down to a size of just 50 centimetres (about 1.5 feet), according to classified cables from US embassy in Berlin leaked to WikiLeaks and obtained by Norwegian daily Aftenposten.
The satellites will have the capacity to take infrared images at night and to send images much quicker back to earth than the satellites currently in service, the cables showed.
Due to the controversial nature of the programme, US and German officials have decided it should be presented as a civilian project with environmental aims, run by commercial entities.
But in reality it is “under the total control” of German intelligence service BND and the German aerospace centre DLR, the cables showed.
They also show that some countries, “especially France,” have tried to stop the project with every means possible.
The opposition from Paris however appears to have been brushed aside by German officials, who according to the cables, said they were sick of being “outmaneuvered by France.”
“Absolutely no cooperation is planned with France or any other EU country when it comes to the HiROS project,” DLR executive Andreas Eckart was quoted as saying.
According to Aftenposten, the satellites would cost an estimated 1.6 billion kroner (205 million euros, 274 million dollars) and were scheduled to enter service between 2012 and 2013.
The German embassy also refused to comment.
Norwegian daily of reference Aftenposten however said last month it had obtained all the diplomatic documents and would publish stories based on them independently of WikiLeaks’ own releases.
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Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 19 years and almost every form of news media. He attended Montclair State University's School of Broadcasting and also obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Luis speaks English, Spanish Portuguese and Italian.