The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

Commercial Satellites and DIY Whistleblowing on Hostile Countries Building Nuclear Weapons

Did you know that anyone with a few hundred dollars can purchase a commercial satellite imagery subscription and help uncover nuclear arms buildups in hostile countries? In this article, we'll discuss the rise of commercial satellites and how DIY intelligence investigators are using them to blow the whistle on hostile nuclear arms buildups. We'll also take a look at the dangers of commercial satellites versus governmental satellites, and explore the history of nuclear arms buildups in China, North Korea, India, and Russia.

So, what exactly are commercial satellites? They are privately owned satellites operated for profit, as opposed to governmental satellites which are usually operated by militaries or space agencies. Commercial satellite imagery providers like DigitalGlobe and Planet Labs sell image subscriptions to anyone who is willing to pay.

This development has been a game-changer for intelligence gathering. In the past, only governments had access to high-resolution satellite imagery. This meant that DIY intelligence investigators were at a disadvantage when trying to uncover nuclear arms buildups and other secrets in hostile countries. But now, with commercial satellites, anyone can purchase an image subscription and conduct their own investigation.

One of the most famous examples of this is the case of Iran's nuclear program. In 2005, a group of DIY intelligence investigators discovered that Iran was secretly building a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. They did this by analyzing commercial satellite imagery and comparing it to publicly available Google Earth images. When they saw that the Iranians had bulldozed a large area of land and built a series of large buildings, they knew something was up.

This discovery ultimately led to the exposure of Iran's nuclear program and the imposition of international sanctions. It also showed the world that commercial satellites can be used for more than just taking pretty pictures - they can be used as a force for good.

However, there are also some risks associated with commercial satellites. First of all, they are not as reliable as governmental satellites. This is because they are usually built by private companies that must abide by US laws that limit the resolution of images. Because commercial satellite imagery is often low resolution, it is more difficult to spot nuclear arms buildups and other secrets using them.

Furthermore, commercial satellite imagery providers often sell their images to the highest bidder. This means that hostile governments can potentially purchase images of sensitive locations in other countries. In the wrong hands, commercial satellite imagery can be used for nefarious purposes.

Countries hostile to the US, like Iran and North Korea, have been ramping up their production of nuclear capabilities in the 21st century. While Iran's nuclear program has been kept at bay for now, Russia's recent, unprovoked and genocidal invasion of Ukraine has created a much more dangerous world, where a deal involving preventing Iran from developing functional nuclear weapons is less likely and more likely to be violated if one is ever entered into in the first place.

This is a very real and present danger to the United States, as well as our allies in Europe and Asia. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent these countries from obtaining or further developing nuclear weapons, and be ready to take military action if necessary. The stakes are simply too high to allow them to have these weapons.

DIY whistleblowers can use commercial satellites to help detect if and where hostile countries like Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear weapons. If you see something, say something. You could be the difference between a peaceful world and a nuclear one.

Despite these risks, commercial satellites are still a valuable tool for intelligence gathering. They provide DIY intelligence investigators with a way to blow the whistle on hostile nuclear arms buildups and other secrets. In the right hands, they can be used as a force for good.