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Peltier Parole * Missile Defense Decision Delayed * Pentagon Rigging Antimissile Tests

1) Parole for Peltier - A Call for Justice
2) Clinton all but certain to punt on missile defense decision
3) Pentagon Has Been Rigging Antimissile Tests, Critics Maintain
4) A Message from Standing Deer

1) Parole for Peltier - A Call for Justice - 202-305-1400

Please contact Janet Reno today in support of parole for Leonard Peltier, who's Hearing is scheduled for 12 June 2000.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) reported that the Attorney General's comment line voice mailbox was full last Friday after requesting their supporters to call the Attorney General for Leonard. Today is another good day to let Ms. Reno know the widespread support and commitment for justice and the freedom of Leonard Peltier.

If this following voice mailbox is full when you dial the number 202-305-1400, press 0 and the operator will direct you to another mailbox for Janet Reno.

You can also call the main switchboard of the Department of Justice at 202-514-2000 and a tell the operator that you want to leave a message for Janet Reno. You can also send her a fax at 202-514-4371.
For more information contact:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
PO Box 583, Lawrence, KS 66044


2) Clinton all but certain to punt on missile defense decision

Scripps Howard News Service
June 08, 2000

WASHINGTON - President Clinton is all but certain to punt to his successor the politically charged decision on building a $21 billion national missile defense system. National security officials say the choice of whether to commit to building such a costly and controversial system ranks as one of the most important military decisions facing a commander in chief in recent years. An appreciation that the next president should bear that burden plus a winding down of Clinton's tenure make it a "virtual done deal" that he will take a pass on the question of committing the nation to such a course, according to a ranking official. Specifically, the choice facing Clinton is whether to commit to start constructing a 100-interceptor missile system, with the first interceptor to be built in Alaska and the first 20 missiles operable by 2005. Estimates are that it would cost another $36 billion to operate the continent-wide system through 2026. Initial plans had Clinton reviewing results of several tests of the still-unproven technology along with recommendations of Defense Secretary William Cohen in the spring and making his decision by this month.

But failure of a test in January blew up that schedule. A repeat test - which involves a maneuver as technologically difficult as hitting a fast-moving bullet with another bullet - is slated for early July. The new timetable would push Clinton's decision into the fall - and perhaps close enough to the Nov. 7 presidential election to influence the campaigns. That is another reason for the White House to take a pass, officials said.

Already, GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush and his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore, are trading barbs about the need for the complex missile defense and what it should encompass. Texas Gov. George Bush advocates erecting two missile defense systems to protect America and GIs overseas from attacks by so-called "rogue" nations, such as Iraq and North Korea. He also contends the systems should be developed and deployed as soon as possible. One would shield the entire United States and the other would protect troops abroad. Gore, like Clinton, is more cautious. He says the lack of an immediate, credible threat buys America time to make sure the technology works before shelling out billions of dollars to build it. He also says more time may be needed to convince the Russians - along with U.S. allies in Europe - that such a shield would not violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between the two superpowers or trigger a new arms race.

(Contact Lisa Hoffman at or
1090 Vermont Ave. N.W. Suite 1000 Washington, D.C. USA 20005
GENERAL LINE: 1.202.408.1484 FAX: 1.202.408.5950
(c) 1999 Scripps Howard News Service.
All Rights Reserved.


3) Pentagon Has Been Rigging Antimissile Tests, Critics Maintain

June 9, 2000
Pentagon Has Been Rigging Antimissile Tests, Critics Maintain

Citing the Pentagon's own plan, critics of the proposed antimissile defense and even some military experts say all flight tests of the $60 billion weapon have been rigged to hide a fundamental flaw: The system cannot distinguish between enemy warheads and decoys.

In interviews, they said that after the system failed to achieve this crucial discrimination goal against mock targets in its first two flight tests, the Pentagon substituted simpler and fewer decoys that would be easier for the antimissile weapon to recognize.

The Pentagon's plan was obtained by Theodore A. Postol, an arms expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who opposes the weapon. It covers the four tests that have taken place as well as future tests up
to the system's projected deployment in 2005. Other technical experts who have seen it, including both antimissile and decoy designers, concurred with his criticism, as did a senior government official who has examined the Pentagon's testing plan.

"It is clear to me," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, "that none of the tests address the reasonable range of countermeasures," or decoys that an enemy would use to try to outwit an antimissile weapon.

While acknowledging the plan Dr. Postal obtained as authentic, Pentagon officials strongly defended the testing program. Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish of the Air Force, director of the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, denied that his program had engaged in any deception or dumbing down. General Kadish said the testing program would be extremely useful and the resulting weapon would defeat crude warheads launched by inexperienced nuclear powers that might emerge in the future, like Iran, Iraq or North Korea.

Though unclassified, the plan is considered sensitive. Dr. Postol said he obtained it from a Pentagon source he would not identify. Dr. Postol, who is preparing a report for the White House on what he sees as the plan's flaws, made his argument on Monday at a meeting of the State Department's advisory board on arms control, along with another antimissile critic, Nira Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz, a former senior engineer at the military contractor TRW, lost her job after after challenging the claims the company made about the weapon's ability to
distinguish warheads from decoys.

Dr. Postol, who worked in the Reagan Administration on such issues as antimissile defense, says that the Pentagon has ignored earlier criticism like Dr. Schwartz's and instead put flawed testing methods at the heart of all its plans to develop and build a weapon. The upshot, he says, is that any real attacker -- no matter how inexperienced -- would be able to easily outwit the weapon.

Pentagon officials "are systematically lying about the performance of a weapon system that is supposed to defend the people of the United States from nuclear attack," Dr. Postol said in an interview. General Kadish conceded that "this technology is difficult." As a result, he said, his organization's approach "is to walk before we run, with increasingly stressful decoys to match what we expect" by way of enemy threats. "When we get to that end point," he said, "we'll have the confidence to put this on alert."

But far from increasing the complexity of future tests, the Pentagon has made them easier, military experts who examined the testing plan agreed. Two rigorous experiments, in 1997 and 1998, to have the weapon simply observe the targets, they said, have been followed by interception tests designed to make discriminating between decoys and mock warheads as easy as possible.

"They did a good fox trot for the first couple of tests and then slowed down to a crawl," said Bob Dietz, a retired former designer of warhead decoys for American missiles. "You have to ask why they don't build better decoys. They've always said they'd get better with time." Michael W. Munn, a retired scientist for the military contractor Lockheed and a pioneer in designing and testing antimissile weapons, said: "The only way to make it work is to dumb it down. There's no other way to do it. Discrimination has always been the No. 1 problem, and it will always remain that way." He said manipulation of antimissile flight tests was nothing new. "It's always been a wicked game," Mr. Munn said.

The Pentagon itself is sharply divided on the testing issue. In February, Philip E. Coyle III, the Defense Department's director of testing and evaluation, faulted the antimissile tests as insufficiently realistic to make decisions about moving from research to building the weapon.

The 16 interception test flights called for in the development program would cost at least $1.6 billion, Pentagon experts say. So far, the two observation tests have been followed by two interception attempts, the first successful, the second a failure. Another test is scheduled in July. The Clinton administration plans to make a decision later this year on whether to start building the antimissile system, which is to shield the United States from limited missile attacks by so-called rogue states.

Dr. Postol, a professor of science and national security studies at M.I.T. and the author of many private and federal weapon reports, was a top Navy science adviser in the Reagan Administration and for decades has studied enemy countermeasures to antimissile weapons. After the 1991 Persian Gulf war, he challenged the Army's claims of success for its Patriot antimissile system, saying it had, in fact, destroyed no Iraqi missiles at all. Though the Pentagon at first denied his assertion, it later conceded that initial reports of the Patriot success had been exaggerated.

The current scientific fray centers on the interceptor's 120-pound homing device, known as a kill vehicle. Fired on a rocket, it is designed to use a telescopic sensor, a computer and jet thrusters to steer itself through space toward a warhead, destroying it by force of impact.

Dr. Postol's critique involves its hardest job, distinguishing between actual enemy warheads and the cloud of decoys considered sure to be launched to disguise them. If unable to tell decoys from warheads, a defender would be forced to fire interceptors at every threatening object, quickly exhausting a defensive force. Dr. Postol began digging into the first antimissile flight test, in June 1997, after reviewing Pentagon data gathered by Dr. Schwartz.

The sensors at issue are cooled to more than 300 degrees below zero and work in the icy void of space to track faint heat emissions from warm targets, just as ordinary telescopes track light. They see warheads and decoys as twinkling points of light, like stars. The June 1997 flight test, Dr. Postol asserted, showed that the infrared twinkles were random and insufficiently different from one another to let the interceptor distinguish among them, and that the Pentagon had conspired to hide this surprising discovery.

The Pentagon, he said, has altered future tests to artificially heighten any differences that could be detected between warheads and decoys. His accusation is based mainly on a detailed chart from the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization that gives an overview of its program for Integrated Flight Tests of

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