To Infinity and Beyond

Secret ‘Space Force’ conversation in the White House imagined

By J Brooks Spector 14 August 2018

US President Donald J. Trump holds up a Space policy directive he just signed during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House in Washington. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

So far, the secret recordings from the Trump White House have focused on Omarosa Manigault Newman’s unsuccessful struggles to hold on to her job in the White House. But there have been other conversations, such as the one on the president’s brand soaking new Space Force.

So far at least, the startling revelations of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s secret tape recordings of conversations in the White House have focused on the events around her being fired from her job as an aide in the president’s public liaison shop. But Daily Maverick has just learned that at least one of the remaining recordings – so far unreleased – concerned the president’s rollout of that brand new Space Force.

While we have been unable to gain access to the entire recording, we were able to hear key parts of the meeting concerning the public rollout of this newest military branch. The meeting was personally chaired by the president. Under the strictest possible conditions of secrecy, we were able to transcribe those parts of the recording. Accordingly, as a public service, we offer this transcription to our readers.

Begin Transcription

POTUS: Good, we’re all here and now that I’ve made that initial great, a really great, announcement about our new Space Force, and all the wonderful congratulatory calls are pouring in, we’ve got to think how to make this campaign really talk to our people. It will mean votes. I want this really great thing to really capture all the headlines, even in the Fake News media. This is so much more important than that stupid hoax of a fake witch hunt by all those rabid Democrats on that lowlife Robert Mueller’s team. Dogs. Dogs! Lowlifes. Lowlifes! [Sounds of table top being pounded]

Oh right. Space Force. I remember when I was younger, back when I was still making my first millions, all by myself, on my own, with nobody’s help, the space race to the Moon and then that space station made everybody sit up and pay attention. America built it and those other people tried to take it over. I certainly did, even though I had to deal with all those bloodsucking lawyers and bankers and unions and city inspectors, but I still built my buildings anyway. In spite of them all.

VPOTUS: Mr President, may I suggest we turn our attention to the questions on the agenda around the wonderful plan for a Space Force that you have embraced. As I understand it, the 2020 presidential campaign team is already asking your supporters to help pick the best possible emblem for this new initiative, on a special website. That is a wonderful way to get our people fired up over this, and maybe we could even announce the final decision in the midst of a jet flyover, over the White House, during the half-time show of the 2019 Superbowl. Now that the football team owners are all on your side over that unpatriotic “take a knee” campaign, I am sure it could easily be arranged. And boy oh boy, that would get us some really great television coverage.

POTUS: John, what do you think?

Chief of Staff Kelly: Mr President, I think all of this is excellent discussion, but I hope you will move quickly to a consideration of the budgetary implications and the effect on inter-service co-operation – and international cooperation….

POTUS: …. yes, yes, but we need that big splash to get back on the front page so that Mueller and the rest of his attack Democrats like that damned holier than thou Congressman Schiff and the crying [Senator] Chuck Schumer can’t keep embarrassing me with their leaks and smirks on television.

Kelly: May I return us to the budget and co-operation issues? James?

Secretary of Defence James Mattis: Sir, we have prepared some preliminary budget reallocations to cover the cost of this new Space Force. Sorry to say, but it will not come cheap. Some of the cost can be recovered by slowing down production of some of those great new naval ships, and from a stretching out of the schedule for joint military exercises with the South Koreans, or the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians….

POTUS: … and the Finns and Swedes?…

Mattis: …. er, uh, Mr President , these two countries don’t usually do joint training with Nato, since they are not alliance members…

[Silence on recording for 30 seconds but there is the sound of scraping chairs and shifting feet]

Mattis: … to continue, if I might, but regardless of costings, we will need to gain congressional agreement with the establishment of an entirely new defence service. That, sadly, is the law. And thereafter, there will be questions of co-ordination with our allies, and some thorough briefings with others like China and Russia….

POTUS :… Good, now here is a great topic for my next summit with my good friend Vladimir. Omarosa [Manigault Newman] – what about the public aspects of all this? Who could become the public face of our splendid new service that I alone could make happen? Say, what about that fellow who commands that spaceship, the Enterprise? Or my good friend Tim Allen? He was great in that wonderful film, Galaxy Quest. Did you all see it?

OMN: Mr President, that is a great idea. But maybe Patrick Stewart is a Democratic Party supporter, and he is a kind of foreigner. Scottish or something like that. But Tim Allen, that’s a great idea. I will contact him immediately for you and he needs some new exposure. And maybe the rest of his crew from the film can join us too. In costume?

Kelly: Now, if we can continue with the set agenda, in order to clarify some other issues, we’ve asked one of the senior international legal advisers at the State Department to brief us on the larger legal ramifications of establishing this force. Mr Smith, please begin, keep it short and sharp, please. People have other meetings after this.

Legal adviser: The Outer Space Treaty represents the basic legal framework of international space law. Among its core principles, it bars states that are party to the treaty, such as our own nation, from placing weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise stationing them in outer space.

It exclusively limits the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes, and it expressly prohibits the use of bodies in space for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military manoeuvres, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications.

However, the treaty does not prohibit putting conventional weapons in orbit. Accordingly, some highly destructive attack strategies such as kinetic bombardment are still potentially allowable. The treaty also states that the exploration of outer space shall be done to benefit all countries and that space shall be free for exploration and use by all the states.

The treaty explicitly forbids any government to claim a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet. Article II of the treaty states that “outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means”. However, the state that launches a space object retains jurisdiction and control over that object. That state is also liable for damages caused by their space object, such as a satellite crashing out of orbit.

And….

POTUS: ….Thanks, that’s great information. John, maybe this man can put the rest of his briefing in some sort of memo. With good charts. And, while he’s at it, maybe he can set out the steps for us getting out of this totally unfair, worst possible treaty, ever. You know how I hate these big international treaties that give everything to everybody else but us. America First, right?

Meanwhile, Jared, maybe you can see if you can get one of those fancy designers your wife, my really smart daughter, Ivanka, knows, to see if they can whip up some really great uniforms for our first space cadets, and the admirals and Starfleet commanders. That would be really exciting stuff. We could do an event at the White House for this. Would be a great special event for Fox News and a full two-page spread in some of the newspapers….

End Transcription

Unfortunately, the transcript ends at this point, and so we will all have to wait to see whether the new Space Force uniforms are midnight blue, trimmed in azure, or gold. And, whether or not there are British style tabs or epaulets on the shoulders. DM

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