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ABM Treaty Hanging * Nuclear Theft Confirmed * Kucinich on war economy

25 February 2002

1) The ABM Treaty: Dead or Alive?
2) US Certifies Theft Of Russian Nuclear Material Has Occurred
3) Kucinich: "Upon the threshold of a permanent war economy"


1) The ABM Treaty: Dead or Alive?

by Dr. Robert M. Bowman*

On December 13, 2001, President George W. Bush gave notice that the United States was going to withdraw from the ABM Treaty in six months.

There are several issues to be dealt with.
(1) Does a President of the United States have the Constitutional power to terminate a treaty without the advice and consent of the Senate or the approval of the Congress?

(2) Has the United States satisfied the necessary conditions for withdrawal from the ABM Treaty as specified in the Treaty itself?

(3) Is it necessary to withdraw from the ABM Treaty at this time to pursue the development of ballistic missile defenses?

(4) Are effective defenses against ballistic missiles accompanied by likely countermeasures and decoys technologically achievable in the foreseeable future?

(5) Is there a ballistic missile threat which justifies the development of ballistic missile defenses?

(6) Are the envisioned ballistic missile defenses survivable against preemptive attack by entities possessing the technology for both intercontinental ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction?
(7) Are ballistic missile defenses more effective and less costly than other means of dealing with the existing and forecast ballistic missile threats (such as buying them out)?

(8) Taking into account the likely responses of both our allies and our adversaries to our withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and development of ballistic missile defenses, is the net effect of such actions such as to enhance our national security?

(9) Considering the fact that ballistic missile defenses would be useless against aircraft, small boats, rental trucks, and all the other delivery means that the CIA and DOD say are far more likely to be used against us than missiles, and that withdrawal from the ABM Treaty will increase the fear and hatred which makes us the target of terrorists, is the potential utility of defenses against hypothetical rogue nation missiles sufficient to offset the increase in the terrorist threat they will cause?

(10) Is it in the interest of the people of the United States of America to withdraw from the ABM Treaty?

These ten questions are interrelated, of course, but each of them can be addressed independently of the others. For President George W. Bush's actions to be appropriate, the answer to all ten questions would have to be "Yes." For the members of Congress to be justified in continuing their inaction with respect to the President's planned withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the answer to all ten questions would have to be "Yes." If the answer to even one of the above ten questions is "No," then Congress has to challenge the President's actions, and (if necessary) take him to court.

Ironically, in my considered opinion, the answer to every single one of the ten questions is "NO."

The purpose of the following [linked] article is to address the first three questions

In previous articles, I have explained why "No" is the proper answer to each of the last seven questions. These questions are addressed in some detail on our web site and in past issues of Space & Security News as well as my 1984 book "Star Wars: Defense or Death Star." (And no, the answers haven't changed.)

*Lt. Col. Robert M. Bowman, Ph.D. (USAF, ret.), had directed all the "Star Wars" programs under Presidents Ford and Carter.

Post Script:

Stop Withdrawal From ABM Treaty -- Sign the petition at

Also, online-fax your representatives in support of the Bill introduced by Representative Dennis Kucinich


2) US Certifies Theft Of Russian Nuclear Material Has Occurred

US Certifies Theft Of Russian Nuclear Material Has Occurred
by Maxim Kniazkov
Washington (AFP) Feb 23, 2002

An undetermined amount of weapons-grade nuclear material has been stolen in post-Communist Russia, heightening concerns that some of it could have ended up in the wrong hands, the US intelligence community has concluded.

The announcement comes amid warnings by top US officials that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network have been making a concerted effort to obtain the know-how and materials to manufacture a crude nuclear or radiological device.

"We also believe that bin Laden was seeking to acquire or develop a nuclear device," Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet told Congress earlier this month. "Al-Qaeda may be pursuing a radioactive dispersal device -- what some call a 'dirty bomb.'"

In his testimony, the CIA director refrained from disclosing where al-Qaeda operatives could be shopping for such technology.

But the National Intelligence Council, in its annual report to Congress, made public late Friday, gave a strong warning that despite foreign assistance and its own efforts to heighten security, Russia still represents a serious nuclear proliferation risk.

"Weapons-grade and weapons-usable nuclear materials have been stolen from some Russian institutes," said the council, the collective analytical think tank for the 13 agencies that make up the US intelligence community.

"We assess that undetected smuggling has occurred, although we do not know the extent or magnitude of such thefts," the report said. "Nevertheless, we are concerned about the total amount of material that could have been diverted over the last 10 years."

A total of 23 attempts to steal fissile materials, which can be found in Russia in more than 300 buildings at over 40 locations across the country, were uncovered and thwarted by Russian authorities between 1991 and 1999, according to the document.

The problem remains how many smugglers made off with particles of plutonium or enriched uranium -- a hot commodity on the black market -- without being detected.

"Russian facilities housing nuclear materials typically receive low funding, lack trained security personnel, and do not have sufficient equipment for securely storing nuclear materials," the council said.

The documented cases of nuclear theft in Russia include the disappearance of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of 90-percent-enriched weapons-grade uranium from the Luch Production Association in 1992.

In 1994, according to the council, three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of weapons-grade uranium were stolen in Moscow.

Four years later, there was a hair-raising incident at an unnamed nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region, in the Ural Mountains, where according to Viktor Yerastov, a top official at the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry, the amount stolen was "quite sufficient ... to produce an atomic bomb."

While admitting that US intelligence could not independently confirm the theft, the National Intelligence Council said the Chelyabinsk case was "of concern." Four grams (0.14 ounces) of weapons-usable enriched uranium that "likely originated in Russia" was seized in Bulgaria.

Even sites storing nuclear weapons, which are surrounded by layers of security, cannot be seen as problem-free because of drug and discipline problems among the servicemen, and their low pay, the report said.

In May 2000, two students at a training center that prepares guards for nuclear weapons facilities were expelled because they had failed their drug tests.

That same month, the Russian Defense Ministry started using officers instead of enlisted men for guard duty while transporting nuclear warheads because of seven incidents in just one month when sentries had left their posts.

All rights reserved. 2002 Agence France-Presse.

For the originally posted article and related links, see:


3) Kucinich: "Upon the threshold of a permanent war economy"

How Can We Justify This?
By Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio)

Let us pray that our nation will remember that the unfolding of the promise of democracy in our nation paralleled the striving for civil rights. That is why we must challenge the rationale of the Patriot Act. We must ask why should America put aside guarantees of constitutional justice?

How can we justify in effect canceling the First Amendment and the right of free speech, the right to peaceably assemble?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Fourth Amendment, probable cause, the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure? How can we justify in effect canceling the Fifth Amendment, nullifying due process, and allowing for indefinite incarceration without a trial?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Sixth Amendment, the right to prompt and public trial?

How can we justify in effect canceling the Eighth Amendment which protects against cruel and unusual punishment?

We cannot justify widespread wiretaps and internet surveillance without judicial supervision, let alone with it. We cannot justify secret searches without a warrant. We cannot justify giving the Attorney General the ability to designate domestic terror groups. We cannot justify giving the FBI total access to any type of data which may exist in any system anywhere such as medical records and financial records.

We cannot justify giving the CIA the ability to target people in this country for intelligence surveillance. We cannot justify a government which takes from the people our right to privacy and then assumes for its own operations a right to total secrecy. The Attorney General recently covered up a statue of Lady Justice showing her bosom as if to underscore there is no danger of justice exposing herself at this time, before this administration.

Let us pray that our nation's leaders will not be overcome with fear. Because today there is great fear in our great Capitol. And this must be understood before we can ask about the shortcomings of Congress in the current environment. The great fear began when we had to evacuate the Capitol on September 11. It continued when we had to leave the Capitol again when a bomb scare occurred as members were pressing the CIA during a secret briefing. It continued when we abandoned Washington when anthrax, possibly from a government lab, arrived in the mail. It continued when the Attorney General declared a nationwide terror alert and then the Administration brought the destructive Patriot Bill to the floor of the House. It continued in the release of the Bin Laden tapes at the same time the President was announcing the withdrawal from the ABM treaty. It remains present in the cordoning off of the Capitol. It is present in the camouflaged armed national guardsmen who greet members of Congress each day we enter the Capitol campus. It is present in the labyrinth of concrete barriers through which we must pass each time we go to vote. The trappings of a state of siege trap us in a state of fear, ill equipped to deal with the Patriot Games, the Mind Games, the War Games of an unelected President and his unelected Vice President.

Let us pray that our country will stop this war. "To promote the common defense" is one of the formational principles of America. Our Congress gave the President the ability to respond to the tragedy of September the Eleventh. We licensed a response to those who helped bring the terror of September the Eleventh. But we the people and our elected representatives must reserve the right to measure the response, to proportion the response, to challenge the response, and to correct the response.

Because we did not authorize the invasion of Iraq.

We did not authorize the invasion of Iran.

We did not authorize the invasion of North Korea.

We did not authorize the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.

We did not authorize permanent detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

We did not authorize the withdrawal from the Geneva Convention.

We did not authorize military tribunals suspending due process and habeas corpus.

We did not authorize assassination squads.

We did not authorize the resurrection of COINTELPRO.

We did not authorize the repeal of the Bill of Rights.

We did not authorize the revocation of the Constitution.

We did not authorize national identity cards.

We did not authorize the eye of Big Brother to peer from cameras throughout our cities.

We did not authorize an eye for an eye.

Nor did we ask that the blood of innocent people, who perished on September 11, be avenged with the blood of innocent villagers in Afghanistan.

We did not authorize the administration to wage war anytime, anywhere, anyhow it pleases.

We did not authorize war without end.

We did not authorize a permanent war economy.

Yet we are upon the threshold of a permanent war economy. The President has requested a $45.6 billion increase in military spending. All defense-related programs will cost close to $400 billion. Consider that the Department of Defense has never passed an independent audit. Consider that the Inspector General has notified Congress that the Pentagon cannot properly account for $1.2 trillion in transactions. Consider that in recent years the Dept. of Defense could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items it purchased, wrote off, as lost, billions of dollars worth of in-transit inventory and stored nearly $30 billion worth of spare parts it did not need.

Yet the defense budget grows with more money for weapons systems to fight a cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies to create new wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror. This has everything to do with fueling a military industrial machine with the treasure of our nation, risking the future of our nation, risking democracy itself with the militarization of thought which follows the militarization of the budget.

United States Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio)
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