Friday, 23 June 2000
1. MISSILE-GATE? 53 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CALL FOR FBI PROBE.
members asked FBI Director Louis Freeh to investigate allegations
by MIT physicist Ted Postol that missile tests have been rigged
and failures have been covered up
(WN 9 Jun 00).
shoot-now-ask-questions-later response to Postol's letter was to
immediately classify both the letter and the previously
unclassified documents on which it was based. The APS Council
statement on NMD
realistic tests against plausible countermeasures. It was sent to
members of Congress by APS President Jim Langer, and highlighted
yesterday at a Capitol Hill press conference called by the
Congressional advocates of the FBI probe. On the Hill, Rep. Curt
Weldon (R-Pa) took advantage of yesterday's hearing on NMD
countermeasures to brand some NMD opponents as "un-American".
2. NMD TEST: EVERYBODY IS NOW PLAYING THE EXPECTATIONS GAME.
Previously portrayed as make-or-break, a Pentagon official now
says claims of feasibility could survive failure of the July 7
test. Larry Korb of the Council on Foreign Relations described
the system as a "shield of dreams", whose proponents believe that
"if you build it, it will work." Meanwhile, North Korea, whose
own test of a rickety missile started all this
(WN 11 Sep 98),
now promising a moratorium on further missile tests. In fact,
Madeleine Albright has downgraded North Korea, the world's newest
Coke importer, from "rogue state" to "state of concern", leaving
NMD proponents scrambling to support the 'need for speed'
argument for rapid deployment that has characterized this debate.
3. MIR: IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE ROOM SERVICE:
In fact, it doesn't
even have rooms. That detail isn't a concern for an intrepid
plutocrat in search of a unique experience. For an estimated $20
million, American businessman Dennis Tito hopes to become the
first paying guest on the Mir, thus transforming the cramped,
clunky, problem-plagued Russian space station into the most
exclusive and expensive tourist destination in the solar system.
4. ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: HERB-CANCER CONNECTION.
that use of Chinese herb Aristolochia fangchi led to kidney
failure and cancer among dozens of unwitting Belgian dieters is
cause for alarm. The 1994 Dietary Supplement Act prohibits FDA
from evaluating the efficacy of a "dietary supplement" before
harm has been demonstrated- is a "shut the gate after the cows
have escaped" strategy a viable approach to public health?
Next week: Bob goes to Los Alamos. Gulp.
(Maria Cranor contributed to this week's WN)