[amsat-bb] Re: Understanding ITAR

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Mon Oct 5 05:00:00 PDT 2009

The absurdity of it all, is that a large percentage of science, math, technical and engineering students in all USA colleges and Universities are foreign nationals.  So we are already doing more than just talking to them, we are teaching it to them,

And another absurdity is the popular opinion that Iran or North Korea or any other developing country doesn't have the smarts or techincal know-how to make the bomb.  See paragraph #1.

And then crown it all with the fact that the USA is something like 30th? down in the quality of education for its k-12 schools.  If we want to think about a country that doesn't have the smarts to accomplish great things, then it is us. See para #2.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 05 Oct 2009 07:14:42 -0400
>From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org (on behalf of Bob McGwier <rwmcgwier at gmail.com>)
>Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Understanding ITAR  
>To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
>I want everyone seeing this to read a book.   Little Brother by Cory 
>Doctorow is a book aimed at late teens to young adults.  This is 
>irrelevant. It is a must read for anyone who doesn't understand the 
>nature of the problems.  It is a DEVASTATING treatment of several 
>current event topics, including anti-terrorism approaches,  internet 
>privacy, and more. 
>I find one of the best sections of the book to be its treatment of 
>"false positives".   The exact same mathematics applies to this ITAR 
>export prevention problem.   The cost of dealing with ITAR is so high in 
>comparison to catching the real events that it should be the poster 
>child for stupidity of the entire approach to security.  It has, in my 
>opinion, NOT been worth the cost and I believe in safeguarding those 
>things which are in the interests of U.S. security.  I am not a believer 
>in stupidity.  I do not subscribe to civil disobedience on this topic 
>because of the cost to my family and friends and it has cost me the 
>ability to talk to my friends for YEARS.   U.S. "enemies"  have 
>developed on their own or done effective espionage to get all of the 
>technology they need.  This has been a truly tragic episode for U.S. 
>space corporations and a great boon to those nations who aspire to be 
>space faring nations rather than be trapped by we and our "friends" to 
>the earth's surface.
>A spacecraft,  or anything associated with the launch of spacecraft, 
>including ground systems (including amateur radio equipment) is DEFINED 
>to be an ITAR covered item. No one says it is a munition as in a gun.  
>It is DEFINED to be an ITAR covered item.  Discussion of it with foreign 
>nationals by U.S. citizens is a "deemed export" and requires an export 
>license AND THEN, the most insidious of all, a technology assistance 
>agreement.  The technology assistance agreement in most cases must 
>contain language that the foreign entity (person, group, etc.) must 
>agree to be bound by U.S. law even if they are NEVER enter U.S.  I 
>believe now that AMSAT-NA is going to be allowed to talk to our 
>friends.  I believe in the end it will not be an onerous set of 
>restrictions.  But I am SO glad I am not attempting to sell a satellite 
>or ground equipment as a U.S. person (individual, corporation, green 
>card holder) to a foreign national.  The pucker factor is so high 
>because the cost of a mistake is punitive, that you simply cannot afford 
>casual conversations much less technical discussions without an army of 
>lawyers and minders present.
>I wish I could find the words to impart the depth of my despair on what 
>this has meant to everyone involved in space in the U.S. from lowly 
>amateur radio operators trying to build satellites to major U.S. 
>corporations. It has done NOTHING effective in my opinion but make lots 
>of lawyers wealthier and insure the long term survival of bureaucrats.
>(Co)Author: DttSP, Quiktrak, PowerSDR, GnuRadio 
>Member: ARRL, AMSAT, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
>"You don't need to see the whole staircase, just
> take the first step.", MLK.
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