Friday, May 17, 2002
1. SECRECY: SWIFT ACTION TAKEN TO DEAL WITH MISSILE FAILURES.
Tuesday, Defense Daily revealed that a Lockheed-Martin Patriot
Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile did not destroy its target
as the Missile Defense Agency had stated. A second PAC-3 failed
to launch. The Pentagon lost no time in taking firm corrective
action: on Wednesday, Defense Daily reported that in the future
all specifics of the targets and countermeasures used in tests
will be classified. Officials denied that the secrecy order was
intended to prevent any independent review of the missile-test
program. And I'm an alien from the planet Mongo.
2. ARMS REDUCTION: THREE-PAGE TREATY CUTS ARSENALS BY TWO-THIRDS.
This is far more practical than destroying nuclear missiles with
interceptors. It's also much more than a hand-shake. The cuts
are similar to those in Start III, negotiated by Clinton at the
1997 Helsinki summit, which the Senate declined to ratify. One
difference is that this treaty will be signed by a Republican
President. This treaty is also full of loopholes insisted on by
the U.S. Over strong Russian objections, the count doesn't
include warheads that are not "operationally deployed." Nor is
there a timetable for the destruction of weapons, as long as it's
done within the 10-year life of the treaty.
3. NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW: SENATE HEARING TAKES UP THE DEBATE.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations convened on Thursday to consider
implications of The Nuclear Posture Review, a Pentagon report leaked to
the media (WN 15 Mar 02). With no imminent
threat from the former Soviet Union, the report calls for a new class
of smaller nuclear weapons more suited to our post 9/11 conflicts, including
earth-penetrating nukes. Development would violate the Non-Proliferation
Treaty, the test moratorium, and common sense. Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg
explained why earth-penetrating nukes would not work against deeply-buried
targets, and could end up "killing our own troops and the local population."
Developing new weapons sends the wrong message.
4. "LIFTERS": ALIEN TECHNOLOGISTS SEEK
WN got a call this week from a network television reporter asking about
"lifter" technology. Since NASA's Podkletnov gravity shield flopped (WN
12 Oct 01), the only anti-gravity claim around is the "lifter." Developers
refused to deny rumors that the idea came from wreckage taken from the
Roswell UFO crash. Could this be? According to the official Air Force
report, the wreckage consisted of balsa wood sticks, metal foil, plastic
tape and neoprene. So we went to web site of American Antigravity, which
lists materials needed to construct a lifter. Same stuff!
(Christy Fernandez contributed to this week's What's New.)