25 May 2000

More details from: Jordan Benjamin, 202-822-5200
or Stephen Kent, 914-424-8382

Critics Charge National Missile Defense Fanfare Conceals Massive Campaign Contributions from Defense Contractors, Falsified Test Results, Damage to US National Security, US Rejection of Disarmament Opportunity, & Hidden Agenda For Offensive Space-Based Weapons

As President Clinton prepares to depart for the Moscow summit next week, missile defense is at the top of the national agenda. While funding authorization for limited national missile defense (NMD) moves through Congress, George W. Bush this week made a proposal for reductions in nuclear arsenals coupled with an expanded missile defense program.

Proponents say missile defense is a way of applying American technological know-how to shield the US from a perceived threat of nuclear attack by "rogue states." But experts presented new evidence today of massive defense lobby spending to push it through Congress, falsified test results and fraudulent science, and underlying agendas pursued at the cost of spurning nuclear disarmament opportunities and directly compromising US national security. Missile defense, they warned, is a smokescreen obscuring and exacerbating growing nuclear danger, and concealing its ultimate agenda, which is to create space-based and other futuristic offensive weapons.

These points were made at a DC press conference today by spokespeople as diverse as Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), an outspoken critic of US nuclear policy, and actor Paul Newman, appearing by video (broadcast copies available), whose role in a 1966 Hitchcock film about an "anti-missile missile" system influenced President Reagan's conception of Star Wars. The conference was co-sponsored by the Global Resource Action Coalition for the Environment (GRACE), the Fourth Freedom Forum and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It laid out in detail the rapidly mounting case against deploying NMD, as Congress, the White House, and George W. Bush all seem prepared to do. It also made the case for the US to engage Russia's unprecedented offers of new nuclear treaties plus deep cuts in nuclear arsenals to 1000-1500 warheads when President Clinton meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.

Bush Proposal Fatally Flawed

Commenting on the Bush proposal for an expansive missile defense program, including space-based weapons, GRACE president Alice Slater said, " Bush talks about rejecting the Cold War mentality, but Star Wars is worse than the Cold War, because it means a whole new arms race. At least while the Cold War was on we signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and ruled out new weapons development. Now we're abandoning those commitments to pursue destabilizing space-based weaponry."

Strategic policy analyst Jack Mendelsohn says Bush’s linkage of missile defense with deep cuts in arsenals is contradictory. “It is impossible to mix steep nuclear force reductions with the deployment of a robust national missile defense, let alone the kind of space-based weapon Star Wars system Bush envisions," he said. "If the US deploys NMD, China must increase its arsenal to defeat it. Russia has to maintain a large arsenal on hair-trigger alert to defeat it, plus deal with Chinese escalation, as must India. To talk about building missile defense and cutting arsenals in the same breath is empty rhetoric. NMD will have a provocative effect on China and a chilling effect on Russia."

US Sends Contradictory Signals To Russia

The Clinton administration faces the same sort of contradiction going into the Moscow summit as it seeks cuts in nuclear arsenals with Russia while pushing for NMD deployment. According to Steven Schwartz, publisher of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, documents the Bulletin obtained show the US actually encouraged Russia to put an increased number nuclear warheads aimed at the US on hair-trigger alert so that it will be assured of defeating a US missile shield and acquiesce in NMD deployment, even at the price of lost opportunities for de-alerting and deep cuts. By the same logic of needing to justify the assertion that NMD would not affect Russia’s nuclear deterrent, at a May 23 Senate hearing the Joint Chiefs of Staff reiterated they would oppose cuts in Russia’s arsenal below 2000-2500 warheads, even though Russia wants to go lower.

Falsified NMD Test Results

If the hidden costs of missile defense to US security include more Russian warheads on heightened alert, they are not likely to be balanced by anytime soon by practical gains in US ability to stop an attack from even a single incoming missile, according to a new report by MIT scientist Ted Postol entitled “Scientific Fraud in the National Missile Defense Program.” Postol advises the US Chief of Naval Operations on ballistic missile technologies, and was the expert who discredited the myth propagated by the defense industry that Patriot missiles shot down Scuds accurately during Desert Storm. He charges, together with former TRW employee- turned-whistleblower Neera Schwartz, that even the limited successes reported in NMD tests were falsified. The story broke last week in The New York Times. The letter Postol wrote to the White House detailing the charges has since been classified by the Pentagon, although the details are explained in Postol’s new report. The New York Times says the charges, if true, "could cripple or kill the proposed weapons system."

New Figures on Massive Defense Contractor Contributions

“Test results may indicate national missile defense may have a low probability of successfully defending the country from long-range ballistic missiles,” said Bill Hartung of the World Policy Institute, “but it has a very high probability of defending the profit margin of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW.”According to a new report Hartung unveiled today, these four companies have split more than 2.2 billion in missile defense R& D in the last two years alone, which represents roughly 60% of all contracts let by the Pentagon during FY ‘98 and ‘99. The four gave over $2 million in campaign contributions in this election cycle to 25 pro-NMD Senators who signed an April letter to the White House demanding President Clinton not cut any deals with Moscow that would limit the missile defense program. The report is posted to the World Policy Institute website,

A Thinly Veiled Bid for Space-Based Weapons

Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, warns that the NMD program is a thinly veiled bid for the militarization of space. National weapons lab research under the Stockpile Stewardship program coupled with US nuclear weapons policy directives and speculation on space-based weapons such as Bush made this week, telegraph an intent to build on missile defense infrastructure to develop systems which are anything but defensive. The labs are at work on projects to achieve global military dominance from space with technolgies such as exotic fusion-powered direct energy weapons. In the US Space Command document “Vision for 2020” (available at the US Air Force openly portrays missile defense as a platform to create systems for “dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investments, integrating space forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.” In a significant move, the US Space Command has recently changed its name to the US Space and Missile Defense Command.

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