M.I.T. Physicist Says the Pentagon Is Trying to Silence Him and Intimidate M.I.T., for Hiswork That Is Critical of National Missile Defense

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56 years ago today, at 8:15am (Japan time), the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a four-ton uranium atomic bomb onHiroshima, Japan. It was codenamed Little Boy.

To mark the occasion, nuclear disarmament campaigners rallied in London today against the controversial U.S. “Son ofStar Wars” project, or national missile defense. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn described President Bush’s promotion of thescheme as a “monumental folly of the highest order.” He said that the “sinister development” would mean that therewas a real possibility that the horrors of Hiroshima could revisit the world at some point in the future:

“As Bush goes ahead with his crazy plans, Hiroshima stands out starkly as a warning to the world about theimplications of nuclear war.

“People should never forget that 60,000 people were killed immediately and probably as many more have died insubsequent years, not to mention the horrible injuries, deformities and cancer related illnesses caused as a resultof the fallout from the Hiroshima bomb, which is as nothing compared to the destructive power of just one of today’snuclear weapons.”

Today on Democracy Now!, we will speak with a survivor of Hiroshima, as well as to a Native American woman who’smother was killed by cancer induced by uranium mining in her community.

But first, we will discuss the latest weapons system of the United States.

The U.S. atom bomb attack ushered in the most deadly and protracted arms race the modern world has seen. Nationalmissile defense threatens to do the same. According to several Pentagon reports (and as the New York TimesMagazine yesterday reported in a 10-page expose), NMD is only one branch of a grand scheme for the total U.S.military domination of space.

A nuclear arms race; a race to militarize space; an estimated $95 billion already spent on NMD; all this for a systemthat, according to many critics, doesn’t even work.

We are joined right now by Theodore Postol, a Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT.He is accusing the Pentagon of trying to silence him and intimidate his employer, MIT, for his criticism of NMD.

At issue is correspondence between Postol and the General Accounting Office, an investigative branch of Congress, inwhich he accused the Pentagon of using doctored data to defend missile defense technology. Postol says hisconclusions were based on an unclassified report, which he disseminated over the Internet. But after he begandistributing the report last year, the Pentagon said that it contained secret information. Defense Department thenasked MIT officials to stop Postol from disseminating that information, and to confiscate the document from him.

For years, Postol has argued that the Pentagon’s NMD can’t distinguish between decoys and enemy warheads. In the1990s, Postol successfully challenged the effectiveness of Patriot missiles in the Persian Gulf War. While thePentagon initially claimed an effectiveness of over 95%, Postol demonstrated that it was in fact around 0%.


  • Theodore Postol, Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology.

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