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Classified Scientific Research

A recent Associated Press article by Paul Raebum recounted the withdrawal of 100 of 700 papers due to be presented at a meeting of photo-optical instrumentation engineers last summer in San Diego. This occurred because Pentagon officials were concerned about the leakage of information to the Soviet Union. The vulnerability of research grants to this sort of pressure (and the analogous threat to private support from competitive industries) strikes at the heart to free scientific enquiry and flow of information. This is an issue which has been raised before in this Bulletin, but it seems to be time again to open the discussion on how Canadian research is affected and what the deleterious effects might be. These pages are available to comments from the members of S4P.

Grad students John Bacher (McMaster) and Ahab Abel-Aziz (Waterloo) made a study of discrepancies in reported DND research at Canadian universities from 1977 – 1984. They found that the government reported much higher amounts spend on unviersity military research than the universities themselves. Access to Information Act printouts were their source of government data.

The students point to the possibility of a substantial program of classified DND research at universities, that the discrepancies represent the amount of secret, classified research being done.

For a copy of the report write to the Canadian Federation of Students — Ontario, 643 Yonge St., 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ont. M4Y 1H9.

Prof. Arthur Forer, of the Biology Department, York University, has made a survey of the literature to report on Canadian Military Research on Biological and Chemical warfare The research he cites has been reported from Canada’s principal military research establishments — he uses only published papers as his data base. Be is concerned with the amount of research directed not at defense against chemical and biological weapons but toward possible offensive weapons systems.

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