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March 22, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-22

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Page 4-Thursday, March 22, 1979-The Michigan Daily

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MIl 48109
Eiglht v-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom.

Prior restraint suppresses
public's right to know

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 136

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan.

Students in t(
N ITS PEACEFUL meeting last
week, the Regents approved Vice
President for Academic Affairs Harold
Shapiro's recommendation that next
year's estimated range of tuition in-
creases fall somewhere between 8.4
and 10 per cent. But while the costs of
being a student continue to escalate
annually, the returns continue to stay
minimal. And as an economic invest-
ment into their future, students have
not been receiving adequate dividen-
ds; the lack of student input in the
tenure case is a perfect example.
Since the tenured faculty. of the
Political Science Department rejected
Associate Professor Joel Samoff's bid
for tenure last year, a group" of
protesters mobilized to demand a more
active role for students in the tenure
process. This group rallied on the Diag
Tuesday to again show its dissatisfac-
tion with various aspects of the
process. Their main complaints are
that the process is biased in favor of
professors who are good researchers,
while not being adequate instructors.
They also argue that those professors
who are granted tenure often become
complacent, losing their incentive to
keep developing innovative techniques
in teaching, and that tenure decisions
are often influenced by racism,
sexism, and often involve political
repression. 1
The Samoff case has already proven
the validity of many of these argumen-
ts, but these matters must be ap-
proached in a complete renovation of
the tenure system. One initial step to
change the system should be to give

enure process
students more input. After all, it is the
students who must suffer or benefit the
most from the ability of their
professors - not the other faculty
members. It is the students whose
career prospects often depend on the
quality of various professors. But it is
the students who have no say in the
process.
LSA Dean Billy Frye argues that
"only the most carefully selected
committees should make these
decisions and they should not be
diluted by inexperience." But it is okay
for them to be diluted by prejudice (as
likely is the case in the Samoff dispute)
or other personal factors?
If students could be given the same
resources, such as publications,
student evaluations, and interviewing
rights, as the tenured professors who
decide tenure for .other candidates,
they would then be able to make a fair
appraisal of a candidate's ability.
As LSA President Bob Stechuk said
Tuesday, the University is an in-
stitution to learn skills and ideas for
the future. While the classroom ex-
perience gives students one of the most
comprehensive educations among.
major universities in the country, the
out-of-classroom education needs
some refining.
The protest over the results of the
Samoff case has already shown an in-
cident in which a talented but unor-
thodox teacher has been unfairly
denied tenure in the University. A
more active role for students in other
tenure decisions is one step toward
avoiding that tragic scenario in the
future.

(The U. S. Justice Department is
seeking a permanent injunction to prevent
the Progressive magazine from publishing
San article on the design and manufacture
of the hydrogen bomb. The case will be
heard on Friday, March 16, in Madison,
Wisc. and seems destined to go to the
U. S. Supreme Court for the first test of
the atomic secrecy laws. In this article,
Progressive managing editor Samual Day,
who is a former editor of The Bulletin of

By Sam Day

I

Atomic Scientists, presents the
magazine's arguments for publishing the
article.)
A well-known maxim of Albert Einstein
prodded the Progressive magazine to crack
what the U.S. government has called its
deepest atomic secret.
"There is no secret," said Einstein 22 years
ago, "and there is no defense."
THE "SECRET" alchemy of atomic power,
he maintained, was available to anyone with
the curiosity and sophistication to figure it
out. As for defense against the proliferation
and destructive power of the atom, Einstein
found hope only in "the aroused understan-
ding and insistence of the people."
The Progressive set out to demonstrate that
principle by showing that atomic secrets are
not secret at all, and that the secrecy laws
tend only to thwart the public's sole defense
against the ultimate weapon, "aroused un-
derstanding."
We asked a reporter, who had little special
knowledge of atomic physics and chemistry,
to investigate the general principles of
producing a hydrogen weapon. He talked to
professors and scientists in and out of gover-
nment. He wentsto the public library and read
books and periodicals. He talked to professors
and scientists in and out of government. He
visited the installations where the Depar-
tment of Energy manufactures the nuclear
arsenaltand took the standard cook's tour set
up by the public relptions staff. He asked
questions, read more, then asked more
questions.
AT NO TIME did he look at any classified
information, or secret documents. He did only,
what any good investigative reporter with a
few background courses in chemistry and
physics would have done: He educated him-
self from the public sources available. And af-
ter about three months he was able to deduce
the principles which the government lateer
acknowledged were the correct steps in
designing a hydrogen bomb, the world's most
destructive weapon and the government's
most highly guarded "secret."
In the process, the reporter discovered the
key to another "secret" that we at the
Progressive had suspected for many years:
that the real purpose of secrecy laws is to
shield the weapcs program not from those
who might seek to injure America, but from
Americans who seek to protect America from
itself.
The secrecy laws, he found, are effectively
used to prevent people outside the weapons
program from investigating the complex and
profound issues of public health, safety and
environmental concern arising from the
manufacture of nuclear weapons.
WITHOUT A BASIC knowledge of the
manufacturing principles involved, there can
be no viable assessment or conclusive finding
on these public issues. The public must sim-
ply swallow what the government chooses to
tell it. #
For instance, on the issue of calling a halt to
nuclear testing, the reporter found that the
way the weapons are constructed and the type
of materials used provide valuable insights in-
to determining if and why testing should con-

PROGRESSIVE
MWZINE
DRIRANGAE
WfOR

come up with the meager resources of the
Progressive to hire a reporter who can figure
them out.
But the point is that those principles, alone,
are worthless as far as actually building a
bomb is concerned. Manufacturing a
hydrogen bomb requires an enormous in-
dustrial capability and technical base. It
takes billions of dollars, not to mention a
couple of atomic bombs, which are needed to
trigger a hydrogen bomb. In short, it's not
the sort of thing a brilliant amateur, or even a
government, can construct in the back-
yard.
The experts acknowledge this, but raise the
possibility that the principles we have un-
covered could be useful to countries which
have the resources, and the will, to build a
hydrogen bomb, such as Israel or South
Africa. Our answer: If Israel and South
Africa want to build a hydrogen bomb, they
have surely done the work that our reporter did
on a shoestring budget.
IN FACT, the Progressive intends to
publish its article precisely because it seeks
to prevent the proliferation and use of nuclear
weapons. We intend to show that our secrecy

,
i' +
//: t

2'

d

secret'

---....w' '

Peanutgate probe:

Another whitewash?

T HE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S
appointment of a special counsel
to investigate the Peanutgate scandal
was intended to assauge a disenchan-
ted public clamoring for a Watergate-
style special prosecutor. Presidential
Press Secretary Jody Powell hailed
the appointment of Paul Curran as the
President's major effort to reassure
the public-and the GOP critics-that
the inquiry into the Carter family
peanut business will be conducted
fairly and impartially.
But at the same time the attorney
general selected Curran to head the
peanut probe, the administration was
shackling their new special in-
vestigator, severely limiting his
autonomy, and, in effect, restricting
Curran's ability to act independently
and with special statutory authority.
In the first place, naming a special
counsel-instead of a special
prosecutor-is the difference between
a full-fledged investigation and an
administration-controlled whitewash.
Curran will have access to "existing"
Justice Department files, he will be
able to request subpoenas, and he can
call for a grand jury. But he has no
prosecutive powers, he has no
authority to grant immunity to poten-
tial witnesses, and he can be overruled
at any time by the head of the Justice
Department's Criminal Division.

In short, Mr. Curran is nothing more
than a glorified Washtenaw County
prosecutor, and with Griffin Bell
holding the leash during the entire
inquiry, a Washtenaw County
prosecutor probably has just as much
chance of uncovering any real
illegalities as this administration-ap-
pointed "special counsel." And with an
investigation that touches the
president's inner circle, the
president's brother Billy Carter, and
the President himself, Mr. Curran in
his peanut probe has been asked to go
out hunting elephants, and they .have
'given him nothing more than a
slingshot.
A special prosecutor would have the
power to fight arbitrary dismissal, the
power to grant immunity, and the power
to press indictments no matter how
high the office.
Lastly, there is a problem of public
perception. While there is no evidence
that Jimmy Carter himself knew of the
irregularities that were going on under
his nose, the stalling action in naming
this special investigation, and now
they appointment of a counsel as op-
posed to a prosecutor, may give the
impression of a cover-up. And in the
era after Vietnam and Watergate, in
which the public was consistently lied
to, the perception of scandal may be
just as damaging to the public con-
fidence as the real thing.

tinue. The designers contend that weapons
must be periodically tested after they've been
in the inventory for several years in order to
be sure they will work if they are needed. Why
should they fail? Because they might corrode.
Why should they corrode? Well, they say, that
gets into the matter of secret design and
detail. Thus, this critically important
question remains unanswered.
Another instance: An environmental group
in Hawall has taken the Navy to court
demanding an environmental impact
statement on the proposed building of a
nuclear weapons storage facility near the
Honolulu airport. They wantAo know if it's
safe. The Navy has responded by citing the
AtomichEnergy Act's security laws, which
prevent them from divulging weapons design
details. And an environmental impact report
they say, would require divulging such
details. Thus, there will be no report.
THE ATOMIC Energy Act, which contains
these secrecy laws, is broad and sweeping.
Anything pertaining to nuclear power, for
peace or war, can be classified secret, with
severe penalties for violation. The infor-
mation doesn't even have to be the "proper-
ty" of the government to be classified. The
Progressive has not been charged with
stealing any secrets. If our reporter had sat
alone in a room and thought up the principles
of the hydrogen bomb with no help from
anyone, he would still be prevented from
communicating that information to others.
The law is as all-inclusive as any ever enacted
by a democratic government.
And it has never been tested in a court of
law! In every prior case involving some
physics student "discovering" the principles
of the bomb, the person has voluntarily
abided to the classification of the studies as
secret.
Many people, including the judge in the
case, have asked why the Progressive, a con-
scientious, liberal publication that supports
arms control, would want to help
someone-like Idi Amin-build a hydrogen
bomb. The answer is: We don't, and we
aren't.
THERE IS NOT a single mathematical
equation in the article. There are no precise
engineering details. It simply presents the
general principles of the design and manufac-
ture of the bomb. Any group or government
that wants to know these principles can surely

power of the atom,
Einstein found hope

alchemy
power,
tained,

only in

'the aroused'

understanding

and
the

of
he

atomic
main-
was,

available to anyone
with the curiosity
and sophistication
to figure it out. As
for defense against
the proliferation

insistence
people.

Of

and

destructive

laws do not prevent proliferation; they only
serve to lull the public into believing that
proliferation can be prevented and to
discourage the public from gaining an
"aroused understanding" of nuclear
weapons. In the meantime, little or nothing is
being done by the government to stop
proliferation or to resolve the dangers of
manufacturing and storing these weapons.
What the Progressive seeks to do by
publishing its article is to draw public atten-
tion to the fact that something concrete must
be done to curtail the spread of nuclear
weapons. Only an informed public, waging an
informed public debate, can create the
pressure required to force a cutback or halt to
the production of these weapons.
It is our view that there, will never be a suc-
cessdul impact on the arms race until infor-
med public opinion and pressure is brought to
bear. A small band of arms control people in
the goverment cannot succeed alone against
the awesome power of the Pentagon. We must
tap the wisdom of the people.

Letters

Students were reasonable

t . {tr
i
x-'11 _VV--
TO HIDE !
J
i 6
O
0
ve co
as
.p
1

To the Daily:
Re: Brian Blanchard's "After
Class" concerning the demon-
strations at the Regents meetings
last week: I was present at the
demonstrations and I assure Mr.
Blanchard that many of his 'fac-
ts' are wrong, and I would like to
correct them for him at this time.
First, he writes that "The
protestors didn't come to speak
with the Regents during the
public . comments
session. . . they came to lecture
and chant while the Regents tried
to carry on University
management." We did, however,
attempt to speak with the Regen-
ts at the public comments
session, as well as before Thur-
sday's meeting, when the agenda
was being discussed, as well as
three weeks ago, when the agen-
da was first being written up. We
tried to talk with them, present
them with Anne Fullerton's
report and ask them to comment
__-ir..---+-.11+..,...f....

yet the Regents did not answer
our questions. At all times, we
were ready to speak with the
Regents, but they were obviously
not ready to speak with us.
MR. BLANCHARD next writes,
"They didn't concentrate on
trying to convince the Regents
that the issue deserves time on
the agenda next month." Even if
this was true, this was not our
job. The Regents had 'promised'
the University body in March of
'78 that they would take action on
the issue again in a year. We did
not have to convince them of their
promise; we only had to remind
them of their obligation. But this
is beside the point. We did try to
convince the Regents that the
issue should be put on the agenda.
When Regent Roach asked for
new information, we had a 22
page report to present to him,
among other things. We did not
object to a SACFA report, if it
was ready for the April meeting.

broad based support on campus
(for divestment)" as in the Union
for the students or food con-
solidation issues. But through the
petition campaign, we have at-
tempted to spread the issue on
campus, and to win broad based
support for divestment. Every
dorm on Central campus was
canvassed along with movie and
speaker lines. The result is that
we have 9-10,000 signatures,
which the Regents have refused
to recognize, supporting divest-
ment. What other issue has had
this much support? I personally
hadn't even heard about the
Union issue until a few days
before the vote. As for food con-
solidation, the issue only affected
maybe 2500 students. And of this
number, only a few hundred were
mobilized. Nine to ten thousand
signatures seems to be at least
the foundation of broad based
support on campus.
Finally, the article concludes,

terest in the divestment issue,
and has begun to broaden the
support needed to 'advance the
cause." I personally have talked
to many people who have ap-
proached me, on their own,
asking about the protest. I have
received assurances from
students that they will be out in
full force at the next Rey:nts'
meeting.
And I have heard more than a
few people discussing the issue
around campus this morning.
Therefore, Mr. Blanchard, we
tried to speak with and to convin-
ce the Regents to hear us on our
stand on divestment. But the
Regents refused to listen. Despite
almost 10,000 signatures, a varied
and broad based support around
the Ann Arbor and University
communities, the Regents still
refused to listen. We feel that
through our demonstration we
did not lose the chance to educate
students on the issue. but rather
we showed them that there are

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