Friday, 14 May 1999 Washington, DC
1. SPY HYSTERIA I: AUTOMATIC DECLASSIFICATION IS DELAYED.
Executive Order 12958 classified documents over 25 years old were
to be automatically declassified in April 2000
(WN 20 Jan 95).
At Energy Secretary Richardson's request, however, President
Clinton will extend the deadline by 18 months. DOE will use the
period to search the documents for nuclear design information.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited release of the Cox report is still
awaited. The New York Times now reports that intelligence
officials expect China to deploy a missile with a nuclear warhead
based on stolen American secrets within three or four years.
2. SPY HYSTERIA II: EVERY MAN SHOULD TRY TO CHECK HIS FACTS.
Historians have puzzled for years over the identity of a
Manhattan Project spy code-named Perseus. In his memoirs, "Every
Man Should Try," Jeremy Stone, President of the Federation of
American Scientists, claimed to have located Perseus, whom he
calls X. Based on a few lines in a Russian article that Perseus
is quoted as having uttered to his Soviet recruiter, lines that
had been translated into Russian and then back into English and
then edited, Stone decided Perseus sounded like Philip Morrison,
a distinguished MIT physicist and revered statesman of science.
Although he does not identify Morrison by name, Stone included
details that made it clear who he thought X was. Morrison was
astounded; he had denied any identification with Perseus when
Stone told him of his concerns in 1994 and assumed his denial was
accepted. He points out that the Russian article gives details of
the background of Perseus that do not in any way match his.
Stone was quoted in the NY Times this morning as saying he now
"accepts" the denial. Damn nice of him. Morrison repeated this
morning that, "I remain loyal to the letter and spirit of my
commitment to atomic secrecy, and I have never breached the trust
that my colleagues, my employers and my country placed in me."
3. THE CHALLENGE: HOMEOPATHY VIA THE INTERNET.
As revealed by
Time Magazine this week, I have been in discussions with Brian
Josephson (1973 Nobel Prize in Physics) over a protocol for a
proposed double-blind trial of the claims of French homeopathist
Jacques Benveniste. It was Benveniste who reported in a 1988
Nature article that a solution of a particular antibody retains
its biological activity even after it is so diluted that not a
single molecule of antibody remains(30X). The solution is said to
"remember." Benveniste now reports that he can detect the
electromagnetic "signature" of this memory and transfer it via
the Internet to another container of water anywhere in the world.
In the proposed test, Benveniste would identify which of a group
of water samples have been remotely activated. We had hoped the
test could carried out quickly. Alas, Dr. Benveniste now says
there are a number of improvements that need to be made in the
interests of reliability. Nevertheless, we remain hopeful.