Interview with Denis Delestrac, director of Pax Americana
Q: The topic of your documentary has virtually never been explored before. How did you become interested in space weaponization ?
A: Space security is one of the great stakes of this century, a global issue that affects each one of us but – as you say – Pax Americana is the first thorough journalistic work to tackle this question. What are the reasons for such silence by the media ? Perhaps the difficulty in deciphering a complex space doctrine which conceals the military’s ambitions under the concept of « defense ». Maybe also the difficulty in getting access to the bases of the Air Force Space Command. But above all, I think that true investigation journalism is an endangered species. Too often, the media we trust to get informed are – purposefully or not – relaying institutional propaganda with the terrible consequences we’ve all seen in Iraq for example. One of the responsibilities of documentary filmmakers is to fill this gap, to shed some light on the important challenges of today’s society, and the weaponization of space is undoubtedly one of them.
Q: Where you interested in space before?
A: For most of us, space is limited to the NASA launches we can see on TV, the magnificent pictures taken by the Hubble space telescope or the probes sent to Mars. And to be honest I was no different until I started to ask myself a few space related questions. How do we use space technology ? Who is in space today? How much do we depend on it, for civilian and military purposes ? I wanted to go beyond the clichés and make a clear inventory of what’s really happening over our heads. And after three years of investigation, the conclusions were both surprising and alarming : the united States, who own more satellites than the rest of the world combined, are pursuing a space control policy which aims at denying access to space to other nations and controlling the Earth from the “high ground” of space.
Q: What are the dangers of such a policy ?
A: With the destruction of a only a few satellites we would assist– in a few hours only – to the biggest crisis in history, kind of 9-11 with effects increased tenfold and on a global scale. Financial markets would be paralyzed, TV and all other sources of information would be mute, telephone communications would be impossible, credits cards useless, aircrafts lost. On the geopolitical aspect, the consequences of such an aggressive policy are increasing the tensions between today’s major military powers. China and Russia have stated that if the US goes forward with its space control policy, they will have no choice than to use all their means of deterrence to protect their access to space. Including the use of anti-satellite technology and nuclear capability.
Q: What were the man challenges in the making of Pax Americana ?
A: No film crew had ever been allowed in the bases of the Air Force Space Command and I knew I couldn’t make this film without entering in the heart of the military space establishment. If I wanted to gain their trust I had no choice than to be honest about my intentions, so they knew that I was making a documentary about the military uses of outer space. After a few months, hundreds of mails and phone calls I established a confidence relationship with key people in the Department of Defense and I received an official letter granting me and my crew full access to several military bases and the authorization to interview some of the most influent military space strategist.