LET'S SMASH MIT!
This article from the Cambridge, Massachusetts, radical student publication, The Old Mole, was written at the height of protests against Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s role in military research in November 1969. (From I.Wallerstein, University Crisis Reader vol.2 p240-3.)
MIT isn’t a center for scientific and social research to serve humanity. It’s a part of the US war machine. Into MIT flow over $100 million a year in Pentagon research and development funds, making it the tenth largest Defense Department R&D contractor in the country. MIT’s purpose is to provide research, consulting services and trained personnel for the US government and the major corporations – research, services, and personnel which enable them to maintain their control over the people of the world.
NAC’s (November Action Coalition’s) campaign was directed against MIT as an institution, against its central purpose. It focused, however, on seven specific projects which are illustrative of the worst kinds of projects the Institution carries out for imperialism. Last week’s actions are part of a continuing campaign to end these seven projects:
MIRV and Helicopter
MIRV (Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles) and the Helicopter Stabilization Project: These projects are being done at the Instrumentation Laboratories, which are considered capable of the most sophisticated and reliable guidance work of any lab in the country. The MIRV is designed to give the US a first-strike capability: the capability of launching a nuclear attack without being destroyed in return. Each MIRV missile contains many warheads each of which can be aimed at a different target. While MIRV gives US imperialism fantastic world-wide power, the helicopter stabilization project is designed specifically for counter-insurgency projects like Vietnam. It’s goal is an all-weather guidance and stabilization system for helicopters, which would alleviate many of the present difficulties in establishing aim from rapid-fire machine-guns in helicopters in Vietnam, especially in bad weather.
ABM and MTI
ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) and MTI (Moving Target Indicator): these projects are being done at the Lincoln laboratories, established in 1951 ‘for the purpose of creating effective solutions to urgent national defense problems’ (MIT President’s Report 1968). ABM, like the MIRV, is intended to give the US a first-strike capability. And, as Senator Richard Russell has said, ‘The first country to deploy an effective ABM system . . . is going to control this world militarily.’ The MTI is a radar system that allows guerrillas moving through dense foliage to be detected three miles away by a helicopter travelling up to 200 miles per hour, in all weather, day or night. Test models are already in use in Vietnam.
Com-Com Project and International Communism Project: Both of these projects are being done at MIT’s Center for International Studies. The CIS was established in the early 1950s to deal with some of the ‘social science problems’ in the implementation of US foreign policy. It was funded by the CIA from its inception until 1966, when Director Max Millikan announced that ‘for practical and not moral reasons’ ties were officially cut. Millikan came to the center after a two–year stint as assistant director of the CIA.
The Com-Com Project is directed by Ithiel de Sola Pool. Pool is a political ‘scientist’ who has spent much time in Vietnam in the past few years as part of the DoD’s [Department of Defense’s] Chieu Hoi program (a program to induce Viet Cong defection). Com-Com is a program of technical and communications research in psychological warfare. Com-Com is a program of technical and communications research in psychological warfare.
The International Communism Project was originally funded by the CIA (now by the Ford Foundation) to provide analysis of intelligence information about radical and revolutionary movements throughout the world on the basis of public documents. (At least one of CIS’s two Old Mole subscriptions must go here.) The US intelligence apparatus would like an independent check and analysis of this information done outside the government, which the project has provided.
Project CAM (or, the Cambridge Project): This project, conceived by Pool, former ARPA (Advanced Projects Agency of the DoD) official J.C.R. Licklider, and ARPA official Bob Taylor, will receive $7.69 million from the DoD over the next five years. It is intended to develop general theory which will help solve those DoD and US Government problems which are considered ‘behavioral-science problems’. It will use existing data collections of such things as interviews with NLF [Vietnamese National Liberation Front] defectors and peasant attitudes. As Pool has stated, ‘[Some students] are under the impression that the Project will deal with counter-insurgency problems and peasant attitudes. These topics of research are nothing new. They have been going on all the time in various sectors of the community. These areas would be strengthened by the project . . . ’
In reaction to the demands that those seven projects be stopped and the planned November Actions around them, MIT President Howard Johnson and other members of the administration have attempted to make it seem as if the Lincoln and Instrumentation Labs are going to be ‘converted’. They replaced the I-Labs Director, C. Stark Draper (the guided missile expert) with Charles L. Miller, who is supposed to be interested ‘urban problems’. They announced a new research policy at the two Labs.
However, their ‘new’ research policy turns out to be very much like the old one. The labs will continue to do everything short of the final development of weapons systems. Thus, according to the ‘new’ criteria, the ABM, MTI, and the helicopter stabilization projects were all acceptable and even the initial research into MIRV would be permitted.
In either case, administrators have said that all projects will continue until completion. In addition, a memorandum from Miller to Johnson which was made public by the NAC on Oct. 28 showed that funds for any sort of ‘conversion’ are not forthcoming. Miller himself referred to ‘conversion’ (always in quotes in his memo) as a ‘misleading illusion’.