Jul 1 1987

SDI Test Site Story Gains Ground

Extra! (6/87) cited as an important overlooked news story freelancer Norman Solomon’s Baltimore Sun op-ed (4/9/87), which revealed that the Star Wars test site at Ranier Mesa, Nevada, was cracking and dangerous. UPI Washington staffer John Hanrahan subsequently expanded upon Solomon’s report that the Nevada test site’s top official lied in a letter to Rep. Mike Lowry (D.-Wash.)–falsely claiming that there had been an independent geological inspection of Ranier Mesa. UPI quoted a leading geological expert, Jack Evernden, who warned that current nuclear explosions inside the mesa are dangerously fracturing rock formations. Acknowledging these problems could upset the Reagan administration’s SDI timeline.

The Las Vegas Sun bannered the UPI story front page (5/21/87), and later editorialized for “a General Accounting Office investigation into Ranier Mesa’s performance” and “a hard, objective look at further nuclear detonations there.” The Washington Post and the New York Times still ignore the story.