FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Yes, Virginia, Santa Really Is American

The December 24 broadcast of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s national news included, expectably, some Christmas-related stories. One of these was an interview with two Canadian officers speaking from Peterson Air Force Base in Winnepeg. The soldiers were there to tell us that this was the 45th year that NORAD (the North American Air Defence Command) would be tracking Santa’s annual flight, and that this year Santa would be escorted by two jet fighter planes as he made his way across Canadian skies.

The screen opened up to a shot from the Santa Cam — a computer graphic simulation of Santa in red with his reindeer, soaring through the sky over Canada, sled full of gifts, flanked on either side by a jet fighter.

It was an odd sight, and I wondered why Santa would need a military escort. Was he in danger? Was Canada? Was Santa — with his outlandish clothing and long beard — a security threat in Canadian air space?

Curious, I went to the web site provided for the kids (http://www.noradsanta.org) to “track Santa’s progress” over Christmas Eve.

There I learned, as would curious children on Christmas Eve, that NORAD is a bi-national American and Canadian military organization which “provides warning of missile and air attack against both of its member nations, safeguards the air sovereignty of North America, and provides air defense forces for defense against an air attack.”

I also discovered that NORAD would monitor Santa using “four high-tech systems.”

The North Warning System, a network of 47 radar installations spread across Northern Canada and Alaska, would establish when Santa was off the ground.

Then a satellite system would go into effect. Using infrared technology, “the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America” would track the jolly crew from 22300 miles above the earth. This would be easy, I was told, because “Rudolph’s nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a missile launch.”

The data gathered by the satellites would be used to coordinate fighter jets, which would scramble to join the chase as Santa entered Canadian air space.

And finally, viewers at home could track the action using the Santa Cam.

I opened up the Santa Cam and watched Santa fly past the Capitol in Washington, through the metropolis of Philedelphia, over Canadian waters, and curl around the Eiffel tower and Taj Mahal. I even saw him make a trip up to the International Space Station.

But in his gift-giving journey around the world in 2002, Santa did not visit Afghanistan or Iraq or even the Middle East (although, according to another Christmas-related news story, many stayed away from Bethlehem this year).

The closest he got was the Persian Gulf, where from a satellite’s-eye view the Santa Cam swooped down to follow Santa cruising past aircraft carriers and military helicopters.

I suppose the children in those parts of the world had learned to expect a different type of gift delivered from a different type of vehicle this year.

But I wondered about North American kids, and the information they were receiving from the Santa Cam. Judging by the abundant military hardware shown, Santa was surely flying through a dangerous world. And judging by the numerous US sites he visited — compared to the single stops or none which he made in other parts of the world — Santa was surely partial to Americans.

As I dug deeper into the web site, though, it all became clear.

This year’s Santa tracking was brought to us by the team of: NORAD (the “military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada”); Analytical Graphics (“the producer of Satellite Tool Kit, the leading commercially available analysis and visualization software for the aerospace and defense communities”); Etheriel Web Marketing (an expert in “building complex Web applications, converting websites for wireless access, [and] full blown promotional and media campaigns”); Ampersand Creative (which deals with “brand development, printed collateral, catalog design, Web site design, HTML e-mail and direct mail”); Globelink (which “specializes in helping firms conduct business in the global arena”); America Online (“the world’s leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies, and e-commerce services”); and WorldCom (which “keeps the government running when unexpected events occur”).

Santa, and peace on earth, had been branded in the corporate War on Terror.

ASIF DEVJI lives in Montreal, Canada. Devji can be reached at: flexicon2@yahoo.ca

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail