Dr. Joseph P. Farrell
November 20, 2016
Just a couple of weeks ago I blogged about the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s attempts to position itself as a leader in space-mining finance. As I argued then, Luxembourg has long been an international banking hub, and hence its decision to move into this area is not surprising. As I averred in that previous blog, space is a perfect way to mask all sorts of financial chicanery, and a convenient way to launder money or profits by overstating, or understating, certain numbers on one’s ledger books. After all, to catch such dubious dealings, one has to literally go out there and put boots on the asteroids, so to speak, and “see for oneself”. It’s a perfect way, in short, to extend that hidden system of finance I’ve been talking about so much over the past few years. Not only was space perhaps “secretly collateralized,” but it provides virtually limitless opportunities for cooking the books: say “Space Mining and Widgets” claims to have found vast resources on an asteroid in X quadrillions of dollars. One really wouldn’t know if that was the case unless one went there and independently verified it, beyond the usual means of spectrographic analysis and so on. Such analysis, or space probes collecting soil samples and so on, would provide margins of error, of course, but within those margins it could be a veritable playground for clever “bookkeeping.” Physicists and chemists become “interplanetary assayers for hire”, so to speak.
Well, here’s another intriguing story that was shared by Ms. C, and you’ll note the dateline – Nov 13, 2016 – puts this story once again into that weird context of the American election and its aftermath, a temporal frame in which we’ve seen a variety of other space-related stories coming out, including those which I blogged about yesterday. This one, however, is another “whopper doozie”:
You’ll note that the Grand Duchy is, in effect, attempting to follow what has already essentially been decided in the US, and to become the first European country – notably an international banking hub to boot – to grant ownership of resources extracted from near Earth objects like asteroids:
“The legal framework we put in place is perfectly in line with the Outer Space Treaty. Our law does not suggest to either establish or imply in any way sovereignty over a territory or over a celestial body. Only the appropriation of space resources is addressed in the legal framework,” Etienne Schneider, deputy prime minister and minister of the economy, said in an official announcement of the draft law.
According to Article 1 of the draft law, space resources are capable of being appropriated in accordance with international law. This makes Luxembourg the first European country to provide legal ownership of external space resources.
Of course, one can quibble about the niceties of international law and what does or does not constitute “sovereignty,” but the bottom line remains that is one is extracting resources from a piece of land on Earth or elsewhere, one is in essence asserting sovereignty. And this is a pattern, like I argued last week, that could equally be applied to the “East Indies” companies of yesteryear, which effectively extended British and Dutch sovereignty via corporate cut-outs to encompass empires that engulfed lands far from The Hague or London.
What I suspect this law does is to…
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