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"Missile Defense Will Protect You," Missile Builders Assure USA Today Readers


July 24, 2017
Jim Naureckas / Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting & "Jennifer Sinco Kelleher / Associated Press

"US Missile Defense Plans to Zap North Korean Threats" was the headline of a USA Today story on July 17, 2017. Strikingly, the piece contains no sources at all substantiating the chilling claim that "North Korea may be only a year or so away" from having missiles that "can hit anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead." The Aerospace Security Project, a pro-missile lobbying group, assures the public that spending $3 billion on their weapons will somehow provide security against a nuclear attack.

http://fair.org/home/missile-defense-will-protect-you-from-north-korea-say-usa-todays-missile-defense-funded-sources/

Missile Defense Will Protect You From North Korea,
Say USA Today's Missile Defense-Funded Sources

Jim Naureckas / Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

(July 17, 2017) -- "US Missile Defense Plans to Zap North Korean Threats" was the headline of a USA Today story (July 17, 2017) -- or "US Racing to Quash N. Korean Nuke Threat," in the print edition.

Strikingly, the piece contains no sources at all substantiating the "N. Korean nuke threat": "North Korea's rapid march to develop a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of striking the United States" is simply asserted in the lead, and later on the claim that "North Korea may be only a year or so away" from having missiles that "can hit anywhere in the world with a nuclear warhead" is backed up only by "according to US estimates."

On the "US missile defense plans," USA Today does have sources -- mostly sources with a direct financial connection to the US missile defense program.

There's Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS), who tells USA Today's Oren Dorell that "Missile defense buys you time and opens windows."

That's not all missile defense buys: Three of the biggest military contractors who shared in a $3 billion contract from the Department of Defense to develop missile defense systems (UPI, 2/10/17) are contributors to CSIS's national security program, which includes the Aerospace Security Project:
* Northrop Grumman, which has given more than $200,000 (according to CSIS's website);
* Raytheon, which has donated between $100,000 and $199,999; and
* BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace and Marconi), which chipped in $35,000–$64,999.

(As the New York Times has documented, with CSIS as a prime example, think tank scholars "often push donors' agendas, amplifying a culture of corporate influence in Washington.")

There's also "retired Lt. Gen. Henry 'Trey' Obering III, a former head of the Missile Defense Agency who is now executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton"; later it's clarified that Obering "heads the directed energy team at Booz Allen Hamilton" -- in other words, his business is to sell to the Pentagon the kind of "smaller, more powerful and lighter" laser-based weapons that he tells USA Today are necessary to protect the United States from the North Korean threat.

How quickly that protection will be in place is "based on how much money we're putting into that program," Obering says to the paper, sounding rather like a sports car dealer assuring a customer that you get what you pay for.

That's all the quoted sources that the article has, aside from five words from Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association, who says that building a missile interception system could create "increased risk of arms racing" with Russia and China.

It's the only note in the article that isn't completely gung ho about missile defense -- and it comes, uncoincidentally, from the only source in the article whose paycheck doesn't at least partially depend upon missile defense contractors.



Missile Threat Prompts Safety Drills in Hawaii
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher / Associated Press

The emergency instructions are simple: "Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned." "You will not have time to pick up your family and go to a shelter and all that kind of stuff."

HONOLULU (July 21, 2017) -- Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.

The state's Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.

Starting in November, Hawaii will begin monthly tests of an "attack warning" siren the state hasn't heard since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. The wailing siren will be tested on the first working day of each month, after a test of an "attention alert" steady tone siren with which residents are already familiar.

Informational brochures, along with TV, radio and Internet announcements will help educate the public about the new siren sound and provide preparedness guidance. "If they're not educated, they could actually be frightened by it," agency Executive Director Toby Clairmont said of needing several months to introduce the new siren.

Because it would take a missile up to 20 minutes to arrive, the instructions to the public are simple: "Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned," said Vern Miyagi, agency administrator. "You will not have time to pick up your family and go to a shelter and all that kind of stuff. . . . It has to be automatic."

He stressed that his agency is simply trying to stay ahead of a "very unlikely" scenario, but it's a possibility that Hawaii can't ignore.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority supports preparing for disasters, but it is concerned that misinformation about bracing for a North Korea attack could scare travelers from visiting the islands, spokeswoman Charlene Chan said.

Hawaii residents, who already face hazards including from tsunami and hurricanes, are familiar with disaster preparedness. Because it's currently hurricane season, residents should already have an emergency kit that includes 14 days of food and water.

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher is an Associated Press writer.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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