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10—The Daily Collegian Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1981 i
Military communication towers raised despite protests
By DON WATERS
Associated Press Writer
WASIIINGTON, D.C. A network of
spindly. 299-foot towers intended to help
military communications survive atomic
attack is sprouting across the country,
dogged by attacks by anti-nuclear activists
and some local officials.
The target is the Ground Wave Emergen
cy Network, or GWEN, whose first 56 tow
ers the Air Force hopes to have in place and
ready for testing by the end of this year or
Opposition has centered on the argument
that a tower intended to help keep the
military command structure viable after a
nuclear strike would make an attractive
target for a Soviet ballistic missile and thus
imperil nearby residents.
Those battling the $BOO million, multi-year
program, also said it gives the illusion that
a protracted nuclear war can be fought,
The nearly two-year effort to thwart the
program has been especially strong in ac
tivist, academic communities on the East
and West coasts which the Air Force, with
the guidance of a computer model, chose as
hosts for the towers.
In Amherst, Mass., home of the Universi
ty of Massachusetts and Amherst College,
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GWEN does bring nuclear war into people's
backyardsand so they have a right to know.
volunteers created The GWEN Project and
are sharing information with opposition
groups in about 30 communities nationwide.
They are counting on public pressure to
force the Air Force to look elsewhere.
In Eugene, Ore., home of the University
of Oregon, the No-GWEN Alliance, joined
by the Lane County Board of Commission
ers and others, is battling in court to pre
vent erection of a tower four miles north of ,
U.S. District Judge James Burns on
Aug. 14 rejected arguments that the Air
Force should be required to submit an
environmental impact statement detailing
the effects a nuclear attack would have on
However, he stayed construction of the
Eugene tower, along with one in Butte
County, Calif., until Sept. 2 so the opponents
could appeal his ruling.
As officials explain it, GWEN is an el
ement of deterrence, the cornerstone of U.S.
nuclear strategy for most of the atomic age.
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—Lois Barber, co-director of The GWEN Project
The doctrine is based on the belief that the
price the Soviet Union would pay for launch
ing a first strike against this country would
be unacceptably high be6use of America's
GWEN "removes the option that an ene
my might consider attacking us by paralyz
ing our command and control systems" and
destroying the nation's ability to fight back,
said Richard C. McCluskey, a spokesman
for the Air Force's Electronic Systems
Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.
But Lois Barber, co-director of The
GWEN Project in Amherst, maintains that
the Pentagon changed its rationale as
knowledge about, and opposition to, the
In a telephone interview, Barber said that
in a 1982 nationwide environmental impact
study and in congressional testimony since,
defense officials have spoken of GWEN
network as surviving and enduring after a
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MONROEVILLE ARR. Pittsburgh 3:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m. (David Weis)
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officials in April 1985 "removed all refer
ences to nuclear war and the words 'surviv
ing and enduring a nuclear war,' " thus
masking the program's purpose, she said.
Barber, an art teacher who also has been
active in the freeze movement and other
anti-nuclear activities, said opponents also
have been upset by a lack of information
from the Air Force.
GWEN "does bring nuclear war into
people's backyards" and so they have a
right to know, she said, but the Air Force
"doesn't have a way of informing local
McCluskey said the Air. Force procedure
is to deal with a single "point of contact," or
agency per state and depend on it to make
sure that affected communities are kept
informed. But he said service representa
tives also address community meetings,
generally if local officials have their con
gressmen relay the request to the Pentagon.
Barber said members of Congress have
been taking a closer look at GWEN, pointing
to extensive questioning of the program at
congressional hearings. Rep. Silvio Conte,
R-Mass., got the House Appropriations
Committee to slash $45 million from the $9l
million earmarked for GWEN in the fiscal
yea'r starting Oct. 1.
The Air Force has had to scrap some of its
original sites, including one in Klamath
Falls, Ore., that was a nesting ground for
bald' eagles, a protected species. Sites in
Castine and Sherman Mills, Maine, also
were deemed unsuitable for environmental
reasons and new locations in the area are
being chosen with the aid of state officials,
Barber said no towers have been built in
Massachusetts, but the Air Force is consid
ering one on federally owned land in Barre,
35 miles to the east, as well as in the
Amherst area. '
GWEN is only one element of a $4O billion
plan developed by the Reagan administra
tion in 1981 to improve nuclear command,
control and communications.
Scientists say an airburst of a nuclear
warhead creates a
,phenomenon known as
electromagnetic pulse that. disrupts radio
communications channels in the upper at
GWEN is an intended remedy. It is to be a
chain of thin:299-foot towers, each with 100
330-foot-long copper wires radiating like
spokes one foot underground to relay mes
sages at low frequency (150 to 175 kilohertz)
and thus escape the pulse effects.
A radio receiver-transmitter and an
emergency diesel generator, housed in en
closures designed to protect against the
pulse, accompany each tower.
Call 238-7362 1
state news briefs
nation news briefs
world news :briefs
VIENNA, Austria (AP) A British atomic power expert said
yesterday the designers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant
failed to make allowances for operator mistakes such as those that
led to the April 26 disaster in which 31 people died.
Bryan Edmondson, director of the Nuclear Operations Support
Group of the British Central Electricity Generating Board, said
"The whole sequence of operator errors had not been foreseen and
appreciated by the designers."
He said the effect of the "actions which the operators took in
default of their instructions and regulations. . .was to a consider
able degree exacerbated by specific design features of the plant."
Also at the news briefing, Morris Rosen, the International Atomic
Energy Agency's director of nuclear safety, said that over the next
70 years up to 25,000 people in the eastern Soviet Union could die of
cancer because of the Chernobyl disaster.
However, he stressed that was a theoretical figure based on
Soviet calculations disclosed in private meetings here, and the
actual number could be much lower.
Rosen did not elaborate on how the figure was derived or make
clear what the conditions might be that would cause the 70-year
death count to vary from any predictions.
He said that of the 75 million people in the European part of the
Soviet Union, 9.5 million could be expected to die of cancer over the
next 70 years even had the accident not occurred.
Pgh. schools to promote chastity
PITTSBURGH (AP) Chastity and how to "say no" will be
cornerstones'of any new sex education curriculum in Pittsburgh's
public schools, says school Superintendent Richard C. Wallace.
Wallace said many sex education programs are aimed at
females, but a new program "would zero in on the role of the males
Wallace, in a news conference Monday, said the board of
education should take "an active and aggressive role" in sex
education by "telling kids how to say no, promoting chastity and
helping them develop a positive self-image."
He said recommendations to adopt a new curriculum in sex
education, possibly including school health clinics, will be proposed
to the board at its Sept. 24 meeting.
Wallace said the board is divided on the issue of clinics and he
said he didn't know'if clinics, if established, would dispense birth
control devices or advice.
Conservative Pa. reps rated
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) Republicans Robert Walker and
Don Ritter hold the most conservative records among Pennsylva
nia congressman on 19 votes last year, the American Conservative
Union said yesterday.
Ritter, R-Lehigh, and Walker, R-Lancaster, voted with the
conservative legislative interest group 86 percent of the time. They
were followed by Republican Bud Shuster of Bedford County with
81 percent and Republican Richard Schulze of Chester County with
The average in the Democratic-controlled House was 42.
The ACU based its tally on a wide range of issues it deemed
particularly important to conservatives. The issues included fund
ing of the MX missile, South African sanctions, the Gramm-
Rudman budget-balancing legislation and funding for the "Star
Wars" defense initiative.
Rated least conservative with scores of "0" were Reps. William
Coyne, D-Pittsburgh, and William Gray, D-Philadelphia.
Among senators, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter got a
36 and his GOP colleague John Heinz a 55. The Senate average was
49, with Republicans averaging 72.
Prime rate hits 9-year low
NEW YORK (AP) The nation's major banks cut their prime
lending rate to 7.5 percent yesterday, pushing the key interest rate
to its lowest level in nine years in response to last week's reduction
in the discount rate.
But some analysts question how much the economy will respond
to further declines in short-term interest rates, and note that an
improved balance of trade remains the key to any economic
The Federal Reserve Board on Aug. 20 cut the discount rate, the
interest it charges on loans to financial institutions, to 5.5 percent
from 6 percent. It was the fourth time this year the Fed reduced the
key lending rate, which the central bank uses to help signal its
intentions for a broad spectrum of credit costs.
In response to the discount rate cut, San Francisco-based Wells
Fargo Bank, the nation's 10th-largest, cut its prime rate to 7.5
percent from 8 percent late in the business day Monday.
The rest of the nation's biggest banks followed Wells Fargo's lead
yesterday, pushing the prime to its lowest level since October 1977.
Although the prime rate and discount rate do not directly affect
consumer loans such as mortgages and credit card rates, they
reflect general trends in overall rates.
Already this year, interest rates on mortgages and many other
types of credit have fallen to their lowest levels in nine years.
Many economists believe the Fed's latest rate cut, which was
followed by the banks, was aimed at sparking the domestic
economy by further depressing the foreign exchange value of the
dollar to increase overseas demand for U.S. products.
School sex feud heats up
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) Parents of four girls accused last year
of beating up boys during recess sued Penthouse for $7.5 million
yesterday, saying it libeled their children by publishing a photo of
them under a sexually suggestive headline.
A picture of the children published in the adult magazine's April
issue, with the headline "Little Amazons Attack Boys," also cast
the girls and their parents in false light, the suit alleges.
A Penthouse article in the same issue referred to Amazons as
"sexually aggressive and insatiable females." Although that
description did not refer directly to the photo of the Oakland Beach
Elementary School students, attorney Stephen Fortunato argued
the girls and their parents were defamed.
"Penthouse makes it appear that these children and their
parents somehow subscribe to Penthouse philosophies regarding
women, morals and sexual mores generally, which is untrue,"
David Myerson, Penthouse executive vice president and chief
executive officer, said the suit was "groundless and meritless."
Chinese girl begins life at 12
SHIJIAZHUANG, China (AP) A 12-year-old girl, unconscious
for more than a decade after doctors misdiagnosed her in infancy,
has been' revived after brain surgery, her doctors say.
Xie Xiaoli's condition has improved since brain surgery July 21.
She smiled for the first time a few days ago, but doctors say they do
not yet know if she will ever speak or if she can see.
During a visit this week to her room at the People's Liberation
Army Air Force Hospital in Shijiazhuang, 170 miles southwest of
Peking, Xiaoli appeared weak. But her bright eyes moved around
the room, she responded to music, yawned and smiled.
"They have given her a second life," her mother, Yang Xuqing,
38, said of the doctors.
Xiaoli's problems began 11 years ago when she fell from a bed
and landed on her head, said her father, Xie Jingchen, a 39-year-old
Expert faults Chernobyl
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