Executive Intelligence Review
This transcript appears in the March 30, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

The SDI, Then and Now

The LaRouche Show, a weekly Internet radio program (larouchepub.com/radio), featured EIR's Paul Gallagher on March 24, interviewed by host Harley Schlanger, in a special edition on the 29th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

[PDF version of this transcript]

Harley Schlanger: As we begin our program today, we are still very much looking down a gun-barrel, with two certifiable lunatics—U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—who are both puppets of the British Empire, with their fingers on the trigger....

This danger would not exist if Lyndon LaRouche's design of the Strategic Defense Initiative from the late 1970s, had been activated.

It was on March 23, 1983, 29 years ago yesterday, that President Reagan announced he had adopted LaRouche's design, and was offering cooperation with the Soviet Union to jointly develop and share the anti-missile defense program based on new physical principles, that became known to Reagan as the Strategic Defense Initiative, but was derided by its opponents, such as Henry Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as "Star Wars."

Reagan's announcement caught most of the world by surprise, and was soon rejected, first by Yuri Andropov, who was a British agent in charge of Russia, and then, after his death, it was rejected again by his successor Mikhail Gorbachov, who is also a British agent to this very day.

The design for the SDI was the subject of numbers of years' mobilization by the LaRouche movement, beginning in 1977, that was conducted especially through its scientific organization, the Fusion Energy Foundation, or FEF. The morning after Reagan's announcement, in a primetime TV speech, the U.S. television news bureaus were scrambling to find someone who could explain to their viewers what exactly Reagan had proposed; what is the SDI? And the White House directed them to the Fusion Energy Foundation.

One of the FEF representatives who was brought on network TV the next morning, to explain what the SDI is, is Paul Gallagher, and Paul is my guest today, and we're going to discuss the real history of the SDI, and its implications today. So Paul, welcome to the program.

Paul Gallagher: Thanks. Glad to be on.

What Has Changed

Schlanger: It's quite interesting how things have changed in 29 years, interesting and ironic. In 1983, it was the U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, who, in this case, acted in the tradition of the American System as a patriot, with scientific and technological optimism, who made the offer for cooperation; and then it was the Soviets, under the direction of the British Empire, who rejected it.

Now today, the Russians are making the offer of cooperation, with the idea of the Strategic Defense of Earth, and it's the American President, who is under control of the British Empire, who is rejecting it, and instead, is pursuing a course of war.

So, as someone who was involved in that mobilization back in the '77 to '83 period, and has continued to be involved in this fight in the time between then and now, what are your thoughts about this, when you think about the danger of nuclear war that we face today?

Gallagher: Well, this is actually a very precise re-enactment, almost, from the Russian side now, of the offer which Reagan made to them, and the reason for that is very striking. It bears within it the tremendous influence that Lyndon LaRouche has in Russia today. And that is, that he was so violently attacked by the publications of the Soviet government, and Soviet Communist Party instruments, and so forth, in the middle 1980s, as a result of what Reagan did—LaRouche came under such tremendous attack that he, even while the Iron Curtain was there, gained a tremendous reputation in Russia, and also in the Eastern European countries which were then part of the Soviet Union. He was a dissident writ large, and one whose influence and the controversy around him was almost inexplicable to them, but they realized that he must be somebody whose ideas were of great importance.

Schlanger: One of the things that comes to mind was the speech given, I think it was in San Diego in 1975 or 1976, by an Academician named Leonid Rudakov, where he discussed this question of new physical principles. And at the time, the U.S. Administration, which then, I think, was Kissinger, classified the blackboard, even though it was a Russian who gave the idea. But at that point, it was clear to LaRouche that the Russians had been working for at least a decade, on the idea of bringing on line new physical principles, instead of just shooting missiles to hit missiles.

Gallagher: Right, this is crucial, the new physical principles. Only two days ago you have this statement of the Defense Minister of Russia, Anatoly Serdyukov, saying that Russia, within the next five years—between now and 2017, 2018—will develop weapons based on new physical principles, nuclear weapons and weapons of nuclear defense, anti-missile nuclear defense, based on new physical principles—an extraordinary statement, taking them back to the drawing boards of nuclear planners in the 1950s and 1960s. And it came to a head in the middle of the 1970s, and that's when we intervened in a major way.

It was actually James Schlesinger, the Energy Secretary at that time, who classified the blackboard on which Rudakov had, in effect, explained how thermonuclear explosions work, but in the process, he had explained that the principles of thermonuclear explosions could be used both to generate controlled fusion reactions, thermonuclear fusion for energy, for electricity, and also to develop weapons of a defensive nature, which would have much greater power, speed, and flexibility in combatting ICBMs, relative to the ICBMs themselves. He was talking specifically about what became known as an x-ray laser as a way of bringing down a missile before it can release its thermonuclear weapon.

A New Era

Schlanger: Some of this goes back to debates really in the late '50s, during the Eisenhower Administration, the Atoms for Peace, the idea that you have both tremendous destructive power but also civilian scientific uses for these capabilities. Under President Kennedy, there was a push to develop anti-missile missile systems, I think it was the Nike missile and others. There were people in both the United States and the Soviet Union in the early '60s, who took up this question, the particle beams, laser beams, and so on.

Gallagher: Sure. They were direct products of the beginning of the atomic age, the research of the beginning of the atomic age, and already, in the textbooks for military officers in the late '50s and '60s, on both sides—the United States and the Soviet Union—the principles of using new physical principles to defend effectively against nuclear attack, were already being discussed.

At that time, roughly, the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty was negotiated between the two, and it's an interesting treaty in that it says essentially that neither side can put up a defense consisting of anti-missile missiles, except in one limited locality in each country. But it says that if, and when, new physical principles for defending against ICBM attacks are developed, then the treaty has got to be completely renegotiated, because then we're in a new era.

And this was the point that LaRouche intervened in the middle 1970s for the first time, beginning with his late Election Eve 1976 broadcast, as a Presidential candidate, when he effectively warned that Jimmy Carter, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, his National Security Advisor to be, were pushing confrontation and potentially thermonuclear war, with the Soviet Union.

Schlanger: That ad was very striking, because it started with someone going into a voting booth, pulling a lever for Jimmy Carter, and then a nuclear explosion appears, out of which morphed the face of Jimmy Carter.

Gallagher: And just to understand it, in each case—the Cuban Missile Crisis, the crisis of the late '70s and early '80s, which LaRouche described as so dangerous that it moved him to this development of a new defensive doctrine for "new physical principle" beam weapons, and also the current thermonuclear war immediate threat—they come from relations with third countries, even non-nuclear countries, because the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), which came out of certain misdirected scientists after the Second World War, that idea clearly implied that wars would take place, so to speak, under the nuclear umbrellas of the great powers.

Schlanger: In other words, limited wars like Vietnam, like we've seen in the Middle East over the last two decades.

Gallagher: And the idea that once you had nuclear weapons, you could fight these kinds of wars with impunity. They would not escalate to any existential threat to you, to the country which had the nuclear weapons. This repeatedly proved wrong. The crisis over Cuba; the crisis which led LaRouche into action in the mid-'70s, was over Europe, where both the Soviets and the United States were competing to place missiles, nuclear-armed missiles, closer and closer to the countries that they were ostensibly protecting with their nuclear umbrella, so as to be able to spread into those countries under the umbrella, with nuclear weapons. And it came to the point where these strikes would take just a few minutes, a matter of 3, 4, 5, 6 minutes, from launch to total destruction.

Global Showdown

Schlanger: And then you'd have to decide if you were going to do an all-out launch of the total intercontinental ballistic missiles. This was our mobilization in '76 and '77, around Hilex, MC 14/4, the deployment of so-called tactical or limited nuclear missiles into Germany, which I believe even was a violation of the agreements made at the end of World War II.

I think a lot of our listeners don't know how close we actually were, at times in that period '77 to '84, to actually having nuclear attacks, atomic, biological, and chemical, but maybe you could just review a little bit for people what we later found out—we did a report called Global Showdown, about what was called the Ogarkov Doctrine.

Gallagher: This was essentially a doctrine for following nuclear attack by a very rapid occupation of all of Europe by Soviet military regiments, in the wake of nuclear war-fighting. And this doctrine was very live—you had the deployment of the Russian SS-20 intermediate-range missiles, which brought the time down for most of Western Europe to a few minutes to destruction—the tripwire.

And then you had on the other side, the policy begun by Brzezinski and continued by Carter, which was known as the double-track policy, of negotiating for arms limitation treaties on the one side—negotiate and deploy were the two tracks—while deploying intermediate-range nuclear weapons in European countries, with the intention of first or second strike: All-out attack on Eastern Europe, and on the western regions of Russia, from Europe, at the same time as escalation, would then lead to full strikes by submarine-launched missiles from both powers.

After 1989, many military officials and planners on both sides revealed that they were aware of being extremely close, and some defectors even in that period, said that they were aware of being extremely close to all-out thermonuclear war between Russia and the United States, because of these closer and closer tripwire nuclear deployments in Europe.

And that was the subject of our first intervention, which was a pamphlet in 1977—not the beginning of the intervention, but the first intervention which explicitly named nuclear anti-missile defenses based on laser beam and directed particle beam principles. That this was the way to bring this crisis to an end, and it was the only way to bring this crisis to an end.

And it was out of the initial circulation of that pamphlet, in the late 1970s, that there was a tremendous increase of growth of the Fusion Energy Foundation....

Schlanger: That was the pamphlet with the title "Sputnik of the '70s"?

Gallagher: Yes. And it was the first of a series of pamphlets, which were published in the late 1970s, which specifically targetted Kissinger and the tactic of deploying nuclear weapons up close, while negotiating, and which, more and more in-depth, explained what laser-beam and particle-beam weapons could potentially do to nuclear missiles, essentially explaining that they had a greater flexibility and speed in response than the nuclear missiles themselves did, and that if powered up, through technological development, in a short period of time, these technologies would defeat a nuclear attack, even an all-out nuclear attack, on either country.

Schlanger: I want to make sure our listeners understand that it's not the existence of nuclear weapons themselves which creates the danger of war, but in fact, the manipulation by the British Empire, and the financial elites in control, at that time, of the Soviet Politburo, and now in control of the United States, who are committed to—if they can't sustain the Empire—they're willing to launch war.

At the time, in the late '70s, early '80s, we were seeing the continuation of the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, the beginning of the bubbles of the post-industrial speculative growth, the collapse of physical economy—and by the time Reagan came in, we were looking at the possibility that there would be a "debt bomb" ignited; that is, that the growth of debt could lead to the complete blowout of the financial system, and that's the backdrop, then, for both LaRouche's sense of urgency on getting the SDI through, but also the British desire to stop it.

Fusion, the Moon, and Mars

Gallagher: We should come to the actual inauguration of the Reagan Administration; but just to note, because it's an irreplaceable step in that direction: that in the late 1970s, and by 1981, because LaRouche, through the Fusion Energy Foundation, which was something he had created by interventions among scientists, because he had brought them together at the real frontiers of science and technology—that is, the combined frontier of achieving thermonuclear fusion for electricity, achieving a re-landing on the Moon, development of the Moon, and exploration of the Solar System, beginning with Mars, a real space exploration initiative, and the use of beam weapons in order to end Mutually Assured Destruction—those three things together propelled Fusion magazine, for example, which was our means of publishing a lot of this, to a paid circulation of almost 160,000 per month.

Other than Scientific American, it was the most widely read scientific magazine in the United States, and was circulating also in many countries of Europe, in South America; it was beginning to be published in European languages—Spanish—it had spinoff publications. It was something through which LaRouche reached the military and scientific elite of many countries, simultaneously.

Schlanger: There also was a different mood in the country; or, I should say, commitment in the country to science at that time. The full effects of the assassinations of the two Kennedys, and Martin Luther King, and the Nixon Administration, had not completely beaten things down. And I remember, because I was working with you at that time at the Fusion Energy Foundation—we had launched a membership drive, in part around the call for government increased funding for fusion, the McCormack bill[1], and there was very supportive response from the population.

Gallagher: Yes, so much so, that the McCormack bill was passed. Many Americans today may not know that, because the funding was very rapidly trimmed away, and then really just butchered away; but in 1978, Congress passed a law calling for the commercialization of fusion energy for electricity within 20 years, that is, by 15 years ago. And, calling for the appropriate levels of funding of all of the various tracks of promising, and also really intriguing thermonuclear fusion research.

And this was associated with LaRouche, with the Fusion Energy Foundation, both by its sponsors and by everybody else, that we had been able to get that legislation through, and that we were publishing truly extraordinary books and publications, explaining these fundamental principles to a more general public.

So, it was in that context, particularly the context of our having really staked out a position among military circles—because remember, the circles of Edward Teller and other leading scientists from the original Manhattan Project were still very active in the national laboratories of the United States, and had their contacts in the laboratories of other countries—and these scientists, who were all reading Fusion—also had their plans, the best of them, for anti-missile defense, based on these new physical principles, and they in turn were talking to military officers. And so it was very much alive at the point that Ronald Reagan took office.

Fundamental Principles

Schlanger: There were two interesting fights going on around this. One was on the more fundamental principles, because even at that time, LaRouche was fighting for a Kepler-Leibniz approach, up against the academically accepted Newton and so on. But then you also had, when it became clear that there were scientists who were orienting toward LaRouche, you had Gen. Danny Graham, and people around him, who were the fiscal conservatives, who were saying we couldn't afford to bring on line new physical principles. We have to use off-the-shelf technologies, kinetic technologies. What was that fight about?

Gallagher: Well, it was a fundamental scientific confrontation. I well remember, in 1981, doing a series of campus forums in various parts of the country, over an extended period of time, which were on two subjects, the first of which was LaRouche's general orientation to combining fusion and space exploration with beam weapons defense. And the second was, the superiority of Kepler over Newton.

I can well remember the rockets which I set off, generally in the form of graduate students and assistant professors who attended some of those lectures, and were just driven to the corners by this attack on Newton. It was something that LaRouche was doing at the same time in seminars that he was holding in this area, the Washington area....

Schlanger: With top scientists—

Gallagher: —with leading scientists, in which he was polemicizing with some of the most creative scientists that we had, some older men who had been in the Manhattan Project, and others who were engaged in more recent fusion research, such as Dr. Daniel Wells from the University of Miami, who was particularly won over by LaRouche, to really extraordinary work, in the course of these polemics. He was already doing extraordinary work, but he was won over to making it much more extraordinary by these polemics.

So that, while this was going on, the real subject of what constituted actual science, and what constituted real progress, was beginning to spread out.

We also insisted that these technologies, which could stop nuclear missiles, could also start worldwide economic development.

Schlanger: If I remember correctly, the brief time I was in New York City working with the Fusion Energy Foundation on this, one of the things we initiated, and then you continued, was an outreach to what in German they call the Mittelstand, these small factories and machine shops, the people who were part of the pro-technology grouping in the United States, to get these ideas out into the general public.

Gallagher: Yes. I mentioned that Fusion attained a readership, near its conclusion, of 160,000 paid subscriptions a month. In terms of numbers, the largest number of them were small businessmen, engineers, people we had met at an airport, skilled workers who also had some engineering skills, and many of them had put those skills to work in corporations that they had started, and so forth. It was really very, very widespread.

On the other hand, you had, as you were referencing, coming into the field of this growing debate over anti-missile defense again—we could get back to why this was becoming so intense—but coming back into this field, you had the backward elements, like General Graham, who simply wanted to say, let's take what we've got; let's take what's already on the shelf; we already know how to do it—meaning anti-missile missiles, where you fire a bullet at a bullet—and let's upgrade this as much as we can, and call that anti-missile defense. And that became the so-called High Frontier program for anti-missile defense.

The LaRouche-Russia Back Channel

Schlanger: But the President—and this is important, because you mentioned that Lyn had access to top military people—I remember the December 1982 event in Washington, D.C., where most of us at that time were not aware that Lyn was conducting official back-channel negotiations with the Soviets, on behalf of the National Security Council, on behalf of President Reagan. But I remember coming into a meeting, and seeing a group of Russian generals sitting in the back of the room, and being somewhat startled by that sight. But at that time, through the national labs and through the National Security Agency, there was an intense discussion of LaRouche's design for this.

Gallagher: Yes. And there was obviously also, among at least some on the Soviet side, because that back channel resulted from a walk-in at one of those conferences, like the one that you describe, and actually, I believe it was that conference, at which we were approached by Russians from the embassy, who said that they wanted to begin this kind of dialogue directly with LaRouche, and that that dialogue would go back to Moscow, and would result in answers coming back and forth.

Schlanger: And in his speech at that conference, Mr. LaRouche said the time is short, and we need, within 100 days or so, a commitment to move away from Mutual and Assured Destruction, into this direction that he was talking about—and ironically, March 23 was a little more than 100 days—but it was in that general time frame in which the President, as I said at the beginning, shocked most of the nation by ending a speech—it was one of his stupid economic speeches—but it was totally transformed by his call to make our nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete," with these new anti-missile systems.

Gallagher: Yes. As I was describing earlier, the crisis had really gotten extremely intense, because the face-to-face, nose-to-nose deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, both sides, had led to something called the Nuclear Freeze movement, which was, in both Europe and the United States, essentially calling for a stop to nuclear research entirely, and a freezing in place of everything that was going on with regard to any kind of military deployment.

Since the Russian missiles, at that time, had been deployed—the Peacemaker missiles on the U.S. side had largely not, or at least not yet, they were just beginning—it would have had extraordinarily strange results in terms of the balance of power in Europe. But, nonetheless, there were many, many thousands of well-intentioned people who were simply seeing, from their own standpoint, and from what groups like ours put out, that the world was coming very close to thermonuclear war. And this was, from their own standpoint, many of them thought this was the only way to stop it.

And again, this was another part of the debate between the Fusion Energy Foundation and many nuclear physicists and other physicists in the United States, other scientists in the United States, who were drawn into this Nuclear Freeze campaign. We went directly at that movement. I remember, at a certain point, we took literally every back issue of Fusion—we had hundreds of thousands of copies of back issues, which were overruns previously—we took them all out onto the campuses in a brief period, and distributed something like 370,000 issues of Fusion on the nation's campuses, right into the teeth of these Nuclear Freeze demonstrations, polemicizing against that direction.

And it just had an extraordinary impact. The Nuclear Freeze gradually shrank, and the support for actually going in the direction of anti-missile defense with new principles began to become very, very strong, especially because we were explaining that when you do this in the military field—in an economy like the United States or Germany—it spins off into fundamentally new uses of laser and particle-beam technologies.

Schlanger: I want to get to the specifics of that in a second, but I think it's also worth noting that there were a number of leading military people in France, Germany, and Italy, who also rallied behind Mr. LaRouche's proposal, because that was the battleground. If there would have been limited nuclear war, it would have been in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and so we had a very significant response from the military.

How Did the Original SDI Work?

You mentioned earlier that the anti-missile defense system using particle beams was different from using a bullet to shoot a bullet; I remember the diagrams we had out, of the mirrors in space, and the satellites doing the targeting. How did the original design of the SDI from LaRouche work?

Gallagher: Well, it was to be a combination of systems, but essentially, the principle of it was that a missile is travelling at a relatively limited speed, on the order of roughly 1,000 miles an hour; a particle beam or a laser beam is travelling, as is well known, at the speed of light. And therefore, the speed and flexibility of the response, if you have a relatively powerful and controlled beam of either light or particles, a laser or a particle beam, or an electron beam, for that matter—if you have any of those things, it doesn't even have to be that great a power density—and can direct it onto the path of a missile, then you can minimally completely mess up the guidance, and controls, and the ability of the missile to get rid of its nuclear warheads.

Schlanger: Also, because you can have repeated bursts, as opposed to just one missile that is hit or miss.

Gallagher: Right. And you have only have to break the skin, or otherwise, with microwaves, for example, disrupt the internal communications of the missile, which are complicated, and has various things to do as it goes through its trajectory. So, these potentials, which by that time were in the laboratory stage—they were being researched in the national labs—

Schlanger: But weren't these also some of the areas in fusion, the use of these kinds of bursts of high powered beams, against the pellet?

Gallagher: Absolutely. This was, in fact, one of the things which got developed. I mentioned before the x-ray laser. This, in fusion research, consisted of using a certain kind of implosion of very thin metal, metallic foils, being caused to crush a pellet of deuterium fusion fuel in the middle. It used that in order to generate a very strong flux of x-rays, which, in turn, could be directed, and which could lead to a sustained thermonuclear reaction—that is, a fusion electricity reaction—but also provide an extraordinary diagnostic capability, because of the very, very short wavelengths of these x-rays; and in addition, with even low power, it is able to damage things, and could do damage to incoming missiles, even with relatively low power, and over a long distance, with tremendous speed—and would not have to be particularly accurate in terms of exactly where it hit a missile, and this sort of thing.

Schlanger: Just to summarize the point, then. If you're stuck in Mutual and Assured Destruction, once you go to war, you're going to wipe out each side, as opposed to the proposal with the anti-missile lasers or electron beams or particle beams, that you eliminate the effectiveness of incoming missiles, but you're also developing the technology that can provide almost unlimited energy and many other spinoffs. And this was LaRouche's idea of how you win the peace.

Gallagher: That's right. And the x-ray laser is in fact one spinoff which was fully developed, as a result of the SDI program, and is in diagnostic use worldwide as a result, and it is really an extraordinary thing.

The Reaction

Schlanger: And Paul, just before we bring up this to date, I think it's very important to realize that once this was adopted by the President, it unleashed a storm of violent activity against both President Reagan, but especially against LaRouche, against the Fusion Energy Foundation, against yourself. I'd like you to just discuss the almost instantaneous reaction to try and shut this down.

Gallagher: Yes. Interesting, you referred to this before. The day after Reagan made the announcement, there was of course general astonishment—I'll give you one illustration: Several days before he made that announcement, [EIR Counterintelligence Editor] Jeff Steinberg and I had a meeting with a pretty large number of naval officers, of various ranks. The chief of the Navy at that time, Adm. James Watkins, was perhaps the strongest advocate of this anti-missile defense program among the military in Reagan's Administration. And these people loved, absolutely loved, the idea, and absolutely loved what we were presenting. And this was late March, already, 1983. They insisted to us, as the meeting was ending, that there was simply no chance this could possibly be adopted.

It was literally the case that it was in the process of being adopted all around them. They were totally for it, and yet, they were dumbfounded when Reagan actually made the announcement. On the day that he made the announcement, his Chief of Staff, James Baker, had tried to take it out of his speech, after it had been put in there. Reagan had to have it put back in there late in the afternoon—he made that speech in the evening. And the media, as you referenced, then went looking for, who knows about this? They called it "Star Wars," and they contacted think-tanks that were very close to the Reagan Administration, and those think-tanks had to confess to them their ignorance. They didn't know what Reagan was talking about, and one of them said, you should contact the Fusion Energy Foundation—this is their thing. Which led to two televion interviews of us the next day, television news.

But these think-tanks then—the Heritage Foundation, from which the High Frontier program came—the justification documents came out of there—they rapidly, along with Henry Kissinger, scrambled into control mode to stop this, trying to put in place of it the idea of shooting bullets at bullets, kinetic kill, and so forth.

Schlanger: "Brilliant Pebbles."

Gallagher: All of which were variants of what people had talked about for decades as anti-missile missiles.

Schlanger: But not new physical principles.

Gallagher: Yes. They were developments of missile technology going back from its development in the 1920s. And they tried to put this in place of everything else that the SDI was intended to develop, through the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA), which was created for the SDI, in order to develop these things. And they tried, at the same time, to cut the funding; and Kissinger, in particular, who intensely worked on cutting the funding, told LaRouche at one point he was doing that, at a diplomatic reception, and he was successful, unfortunately.

At the same time, the Soviet government went completely nuts against LaRouche. In the middle 1980s, they portrayed him repeatedly as the Svengali of Reagan's SDI.

Schlanger: Remember their attacks on Mrs. [Helga-Zepp] LaRouche—

Gallagher: —as the Teutonic goddess of war, and so forth. Troglodytes and so forth. But the intention of this was quite deadly. It led to a very strange situation, and what looked very strange—at one point in 1984, there were simultaneous major attacks on LaRouche, on the SDI, in the major newspapers—like Pravda and Izvestia, by the Soviet government; in the flagship paper in Washington, the Washington Post; and in a press conference that day by the chairman of the Democratic Party, Charles Manatt, who had a press conference in Chicago, to demand that Reagan cut his ties with LaRouche, and that all meetings between us, and people in the Reagan Administration, which, by that time, were going on throughout the Administration at all levels—that those meetings must be ended, and that all these contacts be ended.

This battle went on throughout 1984, 1985, and then you had the prosecutions.

Schlanger: And then, of course, you had the famous demand of Gorbachov, that he would not meet with Reagan at Reykjavik [in 1986], unless something was done with LaRouche. He wanted LaRouche's head, and that led to what we called the "Great Leesburg Panty Raid,"[2] but this was the prelude for not only a number of members of the LaRouche organization to be framed up and thrown in prison, including LaRouche himself, but also, the involuntary bankruptcy, the shutdown, of the Fusion Energy Foundation.

Gallagher: Right. That was the point at which, as I was saying before, the second-most widely circulated magazine in the United States, which had a global circulation, was shut down by the government, and, along with its publisher, forced into bankruptcy; and LaRouche and other leaders of his movement—the prosecutions then began.

But, it brings us back then to the germination of the current situation, because it was precisely that crescendo of attacks from all directions on LaRouche, over his having guided this new technological era, or scientific era, to the brink of real unfolding—we had conferences during 1984, '85, in Rome, in Paris, in London, in Tokyo, in Bonn, in Berlin, all over the world, including some that were held in South America at the same time, with military leaders.

Schlanger: I spoke at a conference in 1984, in July, I think, in Paris, with the founder of the French neutron bomb, Col. Marc Geneste; and Gen. Jeannou Lacaze, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat in on the press conference.

Gallagher: Yes, in the same way that the Russians, throughout 1982, had negotiated with LaRouche through the back channel, with the Reagan Administration, and had then utterly rejected the SDI—in fact, they told LaRouche that they had unimpeachable sources in the Democratic Party in the United States who assured them that nothing like this would ever happen. Which was part of the reason for their fury when Reagan did announce it.

The 1986 Illinois Surprise

Schlanger: I might also point out—this is becoming a bit of a history lesson for people—but in 1986, two members of the LaRouche organization, LaRouche Democrats, [Mark Fairchild and Janice Hart,] won a statewide primary in Illinois, for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, and that there was a real fear in the Democratic Party that this return to the ideas of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy—the high technology, the development of programs based on science and real physical economy—was going to sweep away, at that time, what replaced the Nuclear Freeze movement, the environmentalist greenie movement, funded heavily by Wall Street with the formation of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Gallagher: Right. And in that same period, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Olaf Palme, was assassinated, and what later was confessed to be the East German secret police, on orders from Moscow, started a propaganda campaign to blame LaRouche for this assassination. This gives you an idea of the intensity of the opposition from that side. But at the same time, in the period after the announcement, the same kind of intense dialogue with LaRouche was taking place now with all the allied military, or potentially allied military forces of the allies of the United States, and led to these extraordinary conferences with hundreds of people, hundreds of military and scientific figures, in each case, all over the world, and the involvement of very senior military—the colonel that you mentioned, Col. Marc Geneste, then came to the United States, and he and I did a speaking tour all over the United States, on the SDI.

It was very far advanced, as the attacks then hit from Kissinger and the right wing of the Republican Party, the High Frontier types, the austerity freaks who fought against the budget, and also, simultaneously, from the Russian side.

This then gave birth to what we're seeing now, because the unbelievable range of these attacks made a deep impression on dissidents in Russia, and the Eastern European countries, particularly Ukraine, to such an extent that as soon as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, they gravitated directly to LaRouche, and invited him to come to Eastern Europe. He had been in prison at that time.[4]

Schlanger: When he was in prison, I believe he was made an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Gallagher: That's right. I don't know if that's ever happened before, that someone in an American prison was made an honorary Russian Academician. And other honors as well.

In that period, Helga Zepp-LaRouche took the lead in the opening of collaboration with Russian and Ukrainian and Hungarian and Polish Resistance layers and scientists, because her husband, Lyndon LaRouche, was in prison for those 5 years, until early 1994.

Schlanger: Paul, and also so that the listeners know this: I believe you and your wife Anita were given simultaneous 45-year and 44-year jail sentences.

Gallagher: Well, yes, 40 plus. We each served roughly 7 years in state prison in Virginia, as a result of these very widespread attempts to prosecute all of the leaders of LaRouche's movement.

Russia's Defense of the Earth

Schlanger: I mean, an attempt to destroy an idea.

And I think, since we're down to 10 minutes now, I'd like to just bring this up to date, because there was an effort to destroy this idea. It wasn't just the SDI as a military technology, but the approach to science that Lyndon LaRouche has always represented. And at this point, we see this irony that I pointed out at the beginning, that the Russians are openly now offering this cooperation.

You have the space program in China. You see whole sections of Asia going toward nuclear power and these new technologies; and we see the collapse of the trans-Atlantic system, the collapse of the financial system in the West. And the British reaction today is to threaten to use nuclear warfare to put an end to Russia and China, and anyone else who would like to move out of the collapse of the British Empire.

Gallagher: Yes, and now you have Russia proposing to the United States, from the government level, what they call the SDE, or Strategic Defense of the Earth, quite obviously crafted, on the part of the Russian government and associated military circles, to echo and recall the SDI, with the SDE, including applying these technologies to the detection of earthquake precursors, in order to forecast earthquakes; applying them to the ability to detect potential threats to collisions with the Earth by other heavenly bodies; and, as time goes on, hopefully, to be able to deflect and stop such a collision.

And also, the studies necessary to the opening up of the Arctic and other indications of real change in the climate of the Earth, and the determination of that from the Solar System, and from the galaxy.

These very fundamental frontiers of science for the general welfare, or the common aims of mankind, which Edward Teller called them, these are a frontier which goes directly back to the SDI and the work that we did to bring it about. And now we see it as an urgent proposal from Russia.

There are simultaneously, now, from Dmitri Medvedev, from the President and the Defense Minister, very clear statements that Russia is now retargeting its missiles against various sites in Europe. And this should really give pause when you remember where this came from.

Schlanger: These new anti-missile systems that are being put in place in, I believe, Poland and Romania, these are not the kind that LaRouche was talking about, but these are kinetic or anti-missile missile systems, right?

Gallagher: Yes, these are ground-based anti-missile missiles, whose purpose is to make a second strike against an offensive first strike ineffective. To do that, much less is necessary in the capability of the anti-missile missile system. Once you've already launched a general thermonuclear strike, to then prevent the strike that comes back from being as effective as it could, is not the same thing at all, as defending against a nuclear first strike, and therefore, preventing it from being launched in the first place.

Schlanger: And we should also note that the Russian view of this is that the deployment of these missile bases by the United States is aimed at Russia, and that's why Russia is fast-tracking these new developments. But it's also that the Russians have said to the United States, if in fact your worry is Iran, then let's work together to build a shield that would prevent Iran, or any other potential rogue nation, from having these weapons, and this has been rejected by the United States, which claims to be so concerned about Iranian nuclear potential.

Gallagher: True, but just to be clear, that is not the same thing—how shall I put it, the Russian idea, their proposal of a Strategic Defense of the Earth, goes far beyond the issue of whether Iran is ever going to launch a nuclear missile at anyone. So, they are simultaneously proposing that, and, at the same time, retargeting their missiles against these anti-missile missile systems, which are to be built, and the radars have already been built in many cases, to guide them, in Western Europe.

And so, we're again seeing this tripwire of terror being directed back at the European theater, while at the same time, the Russians are proposing: Let's go above this. They're essentially saying what Reagan said, on the evening of March 23, 29 years ago. Let us rise above this; I appeal to the scientists, he said, let's rise above this balance of terror, and use these means which could stop the balance of terror, also for the common aims of mankind on a solar and galactic scale, and to protect life on Earth, and to protect human life on Earth out into the Solar System.

So that you have a kind of Grand Strategic Defense Initiative now being proposed, with even larger aims, more general aims of mankind, being proposed from the Russian side, which we can take up.

Back to the Same Fight

Schlanger: And this gets to the question that was posed back in the '70s, which is, the difference between the idea of limited resources, and having to cut population—which is the British Empire's policy, genocide—versus Lyn's view, and the view of the leading scientists, that we have the capacity to increase the potential for man to continue to produce and increase productivity. So we really have come back to the same fight, and I think it's very important—we can debate this, but we won't have the potential for this debate if we don't remove Obama from the White House. Because he is, today, committed to this British policy, of essentially, "Après moi, le déluge"; if we can't maintain our power, we will blow the world up.

Gallagher: Yes. I mean, you have the kind of thing that we faced on the other side with Gorbachov, and before that, with Andropov—those British agents who are rightly regarded by Russians today, even anti-communist Russians, as traitors to their country. You have this kind of thing with Obama, and his view of the British Royal Family, and his tightness with Tony Blair and the British Privy Council elite, on issues of bailouts—continuously since April 2009, in the meeting of the G-20, on the British line of bailing out every banking system in the world.

Schlanger: We're also destroying science, and shutting down satellites and NASA, and instead going with so-called green technologies.

Paul, we're almost out of time. I was trying to think before this program if there's some recent article or story we've done—I know we have a lot from the [LaRouchePAC] Basement up on the website [www.larouchepac.com] on these general issues—but is there something we published in the EIR that's a retrospective on the fight around the SDI?

Gallagher: I don't think so, not in the recent period. There is Reagan's speech itself, but also LaRouche's greeting to it, which was given the next day, which was called "At Last, Hope" (see boxes). LaRouche said, no one can foresee what the exact consequences will be, but most of the world will soon know, and will never forget that policy announcement. With those words, the President changed the course of modern history, and he went on to say, that he was prouder to be an American than he had been since the first man landed on the Moon.

And that was a challenge that LaRouche kept taking to the Soviet Union side, and when it was clear they had rejected Reagan's proposal, he then said that this meant that the Soviet Union had five years, and was going to collapse. And within less than six, it did.

Schlanger: Paul, thank you very much for joining us today. It's a part of history that most people never hear or see, but this is what we're doing with LaRouchePAC, to make sure these stories get out, and with EIR and EIR Online.


[1] Rep. Mike McCormack (D-Wash.) led a fight on Capitol Hill for development of fusion power, against Carter Administration efforts to slash funding for the program. See "Mike McCormack: Battling Carter for fusion power," EIR, Jan. 29, 1980.

[2] On Oct. 6, 1986, within days after Gorbachov's public attack on LaRouche, some 400 FBI, state police, and other law-enforcement agents carried out a KGB-style raid on the town of Leesburg, Va., the headquarters of the LaRouche movement. See "Gorbachov attack on LaRouche triggers Leesburg 'panty-raid,' " EIR, Oct. 17, 1986.

[3] See "Colonel Marc Geneste: 'France and United States must cooperate on beam defense,' " EIR, Nov. 9, 1983.

[4] LaRouche served 5 years of a 15-year sentence in federal prison, beginning 1989. He was released in 1994 following the intervention of President Bill Clinton.

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