Anti-radar activists from the Czech branch of Greenpeace brought Theodor Postol, a famous scientist from the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to Prague yesterday.
“Famous” means two things in his case: in the past he has once successfully disputed the functionality of American anti-missile defence, and he has gained his reputation mainly because of fighting American missiles with all his efforts.
“An anti-missile system, which is to protect people, has no chance of working. But the American administration says that it is OK. That is the same as if I sent you to the Charles Bridge saying that it is safe even if I knew that it is in decay. It is immoral,” Postol said in an interview with HN on Tuesday.
Greenpeace has timed the visit of this prominent sceptic very well.
The American President-elect Barack Obama has conditioned the construction of an anti-missile shield in central Europe by receiving proofs of its functionality.
Although Greenpeace spokeswoman Lenka Boráková said that Postol’s visit has been prepared for a long time, Postol himself told HN that he received the invitation three weeks ago. Now – at Greenpeace’s expense – he is sending a message from Prague maybe as far as the White House that neither radar nor missiles work.
However, his words have more weight than a pure “no” from the general public. The Pentagon has had to prove him right already once. This was at the time of the Gulf War, when he disputed the effectiveness of the anti-missile system Patriot. Since then, the American Pentagon, with which he worked between 1982 and 1984, does not want to hear about Postol, to say the least. “At that time the American army said that Patriots were very successful in shooting down Iraqi missiles. Postol’s analyses and his consequent testimony in front of Congress showed that Patriots in reality hit less than 10% of their targets and were therefore extremely inaccurate,” says the Greenpeace website. The same information about the scientist can be found also in other open internet sources.
Radar functions specifically
One of the Czech radar negotiators, Foreign Ministry security director Veronika Šmigolová-Kuchyňová, sees it differently.
“He was only partly right at that time. I think that the Americans knew that the functionality was not ideal. But the Patriot systems were also meant to evoke the psychological feeling of safety for Israel so that it did not enter the war. And that worked,” Šmigolová says.
She also rejects Postol’s arguments that the radar, which the Americans and the Czech government want to build in Brdy, is not sufficiently functional.
“The radar does have limited possibilities, but they correspond to a specific threat and on that level it is functional,” she said confidently.
Although Postol was to bring mainly “hard” technical and scientific arguments to the Czech Republic, already in his answer to the first question asked by HN Postol used political arguments – he is allegedly bothered mainly with the stormy relations between Russia and his country. On Wednesday, he was to meet deputies at a seminar organized by Greenpeace. And on Friday he will go directly to the “scene of the crime” – to Brdy.
Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor