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November 14, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-14

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Page 4

Tuesday, November 14, 1989

The MichiganDaily'I

By Mike Massy
This Wednesday and Friday, recruiters
from the two major nuclear weapons labo-
ratories in the U.S. will be visiting the
University. They are offering bright young
physicists and engineers wads of money to
join in their mission. Why are they here?
Before you interview with them, you
should know the facts.
Lawrence Livermore National Lab
(LLNL) and Los Alamos National
Lab(LANL) have designed every nuclear
warhead in this country's entire nuclear
arsenal. LANL was the home of the Man-
hattan Project, where the atomic bombs
dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were
designed, tested, and built. Many of the
physicists who worked on the Manhattan
project left their jobs with the anguish and
guilt over what they had created. Some
proposed an international ban on the fur-
ther development of atomic weapons, with
the forethought of their potential for
global genocide. But many of them stayed
at their posts, designing newer and ever
more lethal applications of the technolo-
gies they sired. In the 1950s, Edward
Teller, known as the father of the Hydro-
gen bomb (thousands of times more pow-
erful than an atomic bomb), vigorously
sought (and won) the establishment of
LLNL to complement LANL. Since then,
these labs have designed nuclear weapons
-that include: nuclear artillery that fit into a
Howitzer shell, nuclear anti-submarine
weapons, MIRVed warheads (with 10 in-
dependent warheads on a single missile),
submarine-launched missles, the neutron
bomb and cruise missles.
They are currently developing so called

"third generation" weapons (including
"Star Wars" weaponry), which are intended
to direct the energy of nuclear explosions,
thus increasing the possibility of destroy-
ing enemy targets in a first strike, without
obliterating the surrounding area. These
new weapons are the cornerstone of current
U.S. strategic policy - a policy avowing
the first use of nuclear weapons in order to
cripple Soviet nuclear retaliatory forces,
provided there will be an "acceptable"
number of casualties on both sides (100
Million Soviet and 30 Million U.S.).
These third generation weapons include
"Star Wars" weapons, likely to be de-
ployed in space.
The x-ray laser is one of these weapons.
At its core is a hydrogen bomb, which
produces copious amounts of x-rays. The
x-ray energy is amplified and directed by
metal rods, which can be pointed at on-
coming missiles in space. Teller, who's
word is treated as that of God ai Liver-
more, was instrumental in Ronald Rea-
gan's infamous "Star Wars" proclamation
in 1983. In the years following, Teller,
along with another LLNL scientist, falsi-
fied results of the x-ray laser, thus project-
ing more hope on the U.S. people that his
fanciful idea could protect us from an im-
pending nuclear holocaust.
On another front, LLNL and LANL
have adamantly opposed any attempts to-
ward achieving a nuclear test ban treaty. In
1978, then President Jimmy Carter was on
the verge of signing a Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty with the Soviets. After
meeting with the directors of LLNL and
LANL, Carter reneged. LANL director
Agnew said, "There's no question in my
mind that we turned Carter around because
we incurred so many enemies from the

other side! It was obvious we had an im-
pact." (Los Alamos Science, Summer-Fall
1981, pg. 154). Publicly, they assert that
testing is necessary to maintain confidence
in our nuclear stockpiles. Reports from
their own scientists refute these claims.
Only 6 out of 300 nuclear tests have tested
the reliability of existing warheads.

on cai
weapons projects or seek employment
elsewhere. At the same time that LLNL
landed a multimillion dollar "Star Wars"
grant, the Tandom Mirror Magnetic Con-
finement Fusion project was canned, forc-
ing fusion workers to quit or join the
"Star Wars" project. (Science for the Peo-
ple, vol. 20 #1,Jan-Feb 1988,p7). Peter


ality. Join the demonstration. to protest
Livermore and Los Alamos on campus,
this Wednesday at 8 am behind the Randall
Laboratory (East of the Diag). Our de-*
To the Federal Government
(Lawrence Livermore and Los
- Ban all testing of nuclear-pumped
X-ray lasers.
- Stop testing and development of
"3rd Generation" nuclear weapons.

'Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) and Los Alamos
National Lab(LANL) have designed every nuclear warhead
in this country's entire nuclear arsenal.'

The reason why LLNL and LANL op-
pose test ban treaties is because they are
absolutely essential in developing the new
"third generation" weapons. Any of these
new devices requires from 100 to 200 nu-
clear test explosions. ( At $10 to $30 Mil-
lion for each test, that's billions of dollars
for testing alone). The only chance they
would have for producing exotic new
weapons within a test ban treaty is
through laser fusion research. LLNL and
LANL boast a vigorous research effort in
"civilian" laser fusion. In effect, controlled
laser fusion would allow scientists to
study hydrogen bombs on a microscopic
Thus, many of the non-classified civil-
ian projects at LLNL and LANL are cru-
cial to the present and future designing of
nuclear weapons. About 50 percent of
their research is classified, however some
estimate that 85 percent is geared toward
designing nuclear weapons.
Many scientists are lured by
LLNL to work on civilian projects, only
to find that their superiors wanted them to
work on classified weapons projects. In
some cases, their research was cancelled
and their only options were to work on

Hagelstein, who went to LLNL to work
on a non-nuclear x-ray laser, was prodded
by his superiors to perform calculations
necessary for designing a nuclear-pumped
x-ray laser. (NYT Aug.11,VI,32:1). He
later "told colleagues at MIT he was
'trapped' into working on the antimissile
program and did not want to be remem-
bered for his weapons work"(NYT Jan
We believe the work of LLNL
and LANL can only bring the world closer
to nuclear war. The development of newer,
more accurate weapons will certainly make
nuclear warfighting more palpable. The
billions of dollars spent each year on the
research, development, and testing of new
nuclear weapons systems is at best a waste
of resources better used for providing af-
fordable housing, quality education, and
social services for the millions of Ameri-
cans who need it, and at worst a down-
payment for nuclear war.
As scientists, we can make a
change. We must speak up and let our
voices be heard. We urge our colleagues to
boycott the weapons labs. Don't allow
yourself to be sucked into a system which
seeks to make the nuclear nightmare a re-

. Convert weapons research to
ian projects (alternative energy,
transportation, environmental).


- Build homes, not bombs: money
spent for R&D of nuclear weapons
($500 Million per year at Livermore),
should be diverted to social programs
and housing.
- No more classified research.
- Funds for basic research out of th
hands of the Military.
" Immediate cleanup of toxic wastes
indiscriminately dumped by national
To the University of Michigan:
- Bring socially acceptable compa-
nies to recruit.
" Ban organizations that do classi-
fRed research from recruiting on cam-
pus because they exclude foreign na-
tionals outright from employment op-
portunities and are therefore discrimi-
Mike Massy is a doctoral student in physics.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. C, No. 50 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
What's so intelligent about the CIA?
Covert action, style
"Their military coups, torture chambers, and terrorism cause untold pain, and
their backing of multinational corporations and local elites helps push millions to
the edge of starvation, and often beyond. They are the Gestapo and SS of our
time, and as in the Nuremberg Trials and the war in Vietnam, they cannot shed
their individual responsibility simply because they were following a superior's

Was the AIDS virus genetically engineered?




possible origin

orders," Phillip Agee, former CIA agent.
IN ITS forty-two year history the Cen-
tral Intelligence Agency has violated its
charter under the National Security Act
and both domestic and international
law. It has gone beyond its ostensible
function as an intelligence gathering
and evaluating organization to one
which initiates covert actions all over
the world. These actions have led, in a
conservative estimate, to over six mil-
lion deaths.
The CIA exists to support those
groups and governments which will
actively implement U.S. foreign pol-
icy. Though the CIA and its backers
would argue "security" is what moti-
vates U.S. foreign policy there is little
evidence to support this abstract idea.
What is, however, historically evident
is that U.S. foreign policy is directly
motivated by U.S. economic interests
and the CIA is the watchdog of those
interests. As such, the CIA has been
responsible for the destruction of many
groups and governments that oppose
U.S. interests.
These principles are abundantly doc-
umented in CIA supported military
coups in countries including Brazil,
Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, where
democratically elected governments

were destroyed when they attempted
some kind of redistribution of wealth
from western multinational corpora-
tions to the local populace.
The CIA's coup in Guatemala in
1954 is the most well-documented CIA
action and is typical in many respects
of the agency's operations. The United
States was vehemently opposed to the
government in Guatemala because it
had proposed a land reform program
that threatened the huge banana estates
of the United Fruit Company. The
United States, threatened by a govern-
ment that actually attempted to end
U.S. economic hegemony, became in-
volved through its principle player, the
The agency trained a small number of
Guatemalan exiles, armed them,
brought international pressure to bear
on the Guatemalan government and
when the opportunity arose, the agency
sent its mercenaries in. Since 1954,
Guatemala has been ruled, both openly
and through civilian fronts, by the mili-
tary. It has stayed in power only
through massive repression - over
one hundred fifty thousand people have
been killed by the army and govern-
ment death squads.

By Mike Sobel
This is the first of a four part series.
AIDS is now being called the most
lethal epidemic viral disease known to
medical history.
My uncle, an oncologist, mentioned to
me in a conversation about the unknown
origin of AIDS that a Soviet letter pub-
lished in an English medical journal pro-
posed the AIDS virus (HIV-1) was geneti-
cally engineered in a United States biolog-
ical warfare lab. He scoffed at the possibil-
ity and I was unable to get hold of the let-
ter. Apparently, the Soviet's claim has
been heralded by a variety of supermarket
tabloids across the country. The lack of
literature to support or refute the Soviet's
accusation clearly indicates that, if this
claim has proliferated within the scientific
community, it has not been taken seri-
In this series, I will analyze the nature
of the AIDS virus, particularly with re-
spect to similar animal viruses, and the
history of biological warfare researchrin
this country. It is my intent to add cre-
dence to these claims by raising reasonable
doubt that AIDS is the result of a natural
The first cases of AIDS were positively
identified in the United states in 1981.
Shortly thereafter, cases of the disease
were identified among Africans residing in
Europe. This discovery prompted a series
of retrospective serological studies, the re-
sults of which seemed to indicate that
AIDS originated in central Africa in the
late 70s.
There has been some consensus that
AIDS might have been present in small,
central African population as early as 1959
and on through the 60s and early 70s. Yet
as Quinn points out in a 1986 article,
published in Science, "Serological studies
of HIV in Africa have been inconsistent

because of problems in interpretation of
the results from ELISA (enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assays) and Western blot
tests of banked specimens, particularly
from malaria endemic areas, and the valid-
ity of these data have been questioned."
In his 1987 article published in the
Journal of Molecular Evolution,
Yokoyama indicated that by sequencing
the amino acids of the gag protein of the
virus, it becomes clear that HIV-1 did not
diverge from its prototype until after
1977. I will try to provide evidence in the
second part of this series that HIV-1 is a
prototype itself and not part of any viral
evolutionary tree. In any event, I maintain
that the only reliable studies to date indi-
cate that AIDS is an extremely recent phe-
nomenon and that it appeared in the mid to
late 70s. As I will discuss in the third part
of this series, this occurred after the dis-
covery of recombinant DNA (rDNA) tech-
Therefore, I believe that, to date, it is
unfair to dismiss the possibility that the
AIDS virus was genetically engineered on

flow in one direction: DNA to RNA to
protein. It was discovered that retroviruses,
however, have RNA as their genetic"com-
plement. They also contain an enzyme,
reverse transcriptase, that uses the RNA as
a template for making DNA. The DN
then integrates itself into the host cell and
there serves as the basis for viral replica-
Retroviruses have also attracted signifi-
cant interest in the field of genetic engi-
neering. In his 1983 book, Replication of
the Viral and Cellular Genomes, Becker
claims that retroviruses are "Fast becom-
ing the choice vectors to deliver foreign
genes into eukaryotic cells."
Retroviruses are traditionally divided*"
into three categories: spuma viruses cause
little or no disease in vivo (in the body),
oncoviruses can cause tumors in animals
and lentiviruses cause chronic progressive
disease in vitro (in the lab). HIV-1 is
classed as a lentivirus.
The HIV-1 particle, or virion, is covered
by a lipid membrane derived from the host
cell. Embedded in the membrane is a gly-

'Therefore, I believe that, to date, it is unfair to dismiss the 1
possibility that the AIDS' virus was genetically engineered on
the grounds that it was present in the human population be-
fore the technology to engineer such a virus could have pos-

sibly existed.'

the grounds that it was present in the hu-
man population before the technology to
engineer such a virus could have possibly
HIV-1 is a retrovirus. The first retro-
virus was isolated in 1910 by Peyton
Rous at the Rockefeller Institute for Medi-
cal Research. Since the discovery of their
mechanism, retroviruses have attracted se-
rious interest from the scientific commu-
nity because they subverted the central
dogma of molecular biology.
After the discovery of DNA, it was be-
lieved that genetic information could only

coprotein (GP41) which stems the surface
glycoprotein (GP120). The core of the par-
ticle, made up of two proteins (P18 and
P24), carries the viral RNA along with
several copies of reverse transcriptase.
In the next part of the series, I will fur-
ther analyze the nature of the AIDS virus
to show its unique and diabolic ability to
completely deceive the human immune
system, its mysterious genetic make-up,
and its dissimilarity with other viruses of
its kind.

Mike Sobel is a senior in LSA and a
Daily news staff member.

Letters to t he Ed ito y:..\:.~~~:\~;.....................................

To the Daily:
"[John] was brought up in a

"extreme militant racist," the
study of Ezekiel's study of
racism. We are also told, "they
are very, very ignorant about
the lives of other people."
I find it quite fascinating,
rather revealing and more than
a little offensive that the study
of ronkmhVa rn ..nnr..l nn..nL

fraternity house in our very
midst on this campus. Does
Ezekiel really believe that
some skinhead actually both-
ered to make the trip into Ann
Arbor in order to perform such
a &d?
What I fear I see surfacing

about choosing for study some
nice, clean-cut, well-dressed 17-
25 year olds from upper mid-
dle-class families (either frag-
mented or intact), who might,
in fact, even "be very, very ig-
norant about the lives of other
people," for a study of racism.O

y, :, : .:. . ,d c... f. &d.. uT:: "r8. . . . .R~ ' °' $ :.'

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