Center for Defense Information
The Center for Defense Information, Center for National Security Studies and Center for International Policy are three sister projects of the Fund for Peace which were originally initiated by the Institute for Policy Studies, the Washington-based, internationally active revolutionary think-tank. CDI director Gene LaRocque has worked closely with IPS cofounder Richard Barnet, and longtime IPS fellow Earl Ravenal remains as a CDI advisor.
CDI'S military members include former military officers, intelligence officers and academics who share attitudes of harsh antagonism toward the U.S. national defense, the U.S. military, the NATO alliance and American foreign policy. These are frequently quoted by the Soviet propaganda organs to legitimize their attacks on NATO and U.S. defense forces as trigger-happy dangers to peace.
Although CDI has stated it "supports a strong defense but opposes excessive expenditures or forces," it opposed every major new U.S. weapons system developed during between 1970 - 1980, from the B-1 bomber and Trident submarine to cruise missiles and neutron warheads- as upsetting the U.S.-Soviet strategic balance while at the same time minimizing the Soviet military build up. In 1979, in cooperation with the Members of Congress for Peace Through Law Education Fund, CDI financed a 27-minute film, "War Without Winners", to promote the disarmament lobby's claim that "there is no defense against nuclear war," on which basis they also oppose civil defense programs, anti-ballistic missile defenses and development of satellite-based beam weapons. The film was produced by Harold Wilens, chairman of the board of the Factory Equipment Corporation, CDI advisor, and a leader of Businessmen Move for New National Priorities; and its director was Haskell Wexler, the revolutionary film director who in 1975 produced a propaganda film for the terrorist Weather Underground Organization consisting of interviews with five fugitive leaders including Kathie Boudin.
The CDI film project director was its senior staff member Arthur L. Kanegis, who subsequently became CDI's media director. Late in March 1982, Kanegis, of the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies, was interviewed for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" news show dismissing evidence of Soviet use of nerve gas and biological toxins in Afghanistan and Cambodia.
CDI's newsletter, Defense Monitor publishes carefully selected data that consistently presents the Soviet Union as a weak opponent. For example, a recent issue (Vol. 11, No. 1, 1982) asserts "there is no evidence to support the notion of growing Soviet geopolitical momentum'" and points to setbacks in Egypt, Somalia, Guinea, Bangladesh and India without noting gains in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Grenada, Syria, Iraq, Libya, etc. And it ignores the implications of the unprecedented joint visit to India of Soviet Defense Minister Marshall Dimitri Ustinov (who had never before traveled outside the Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries) and Admiral Gorsakov, the chief of the Soviet fleet.
According to the Zill report (February 22, 1982), CDI's current plans include "hosting, along with the Washington Interreligious Staff Council, a two-day conference for 100 religious leaders" to be presented with CDI's view of the military balance by 1990; Soviet military capacity and limitation; and the future of arms control. The speakers were to include "a representative of Eugene Rostow, Senator Warner and Representatives Les Aspin and Ron Dellums."
Indications that CDI, in its consistent pattern of attacking the U.S. military while offering excuses for the Soviet build-up, may be serving as a "center for defense disinformation" include not only Gene LaRocque's 1975 claims of U.S. violations with nuclear weapons off-loading agreements with Japan and his stay at the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada in Moscow, but his more recent overt collaboration with the World Peace Council's "generals and admirals for peace" grouping including Nino Pasti and Gert Bastian. In this light, the Zill report stated:
- "On June 15 and 16, 1982, during the UN Special Session on Disarmament, CDI will host a conference of retired military officers from NATO and Warsaw Pact countries to discuss how a nuclear war would be fought/avoided, a first-time ever event. Hyman Rickover will be approached about participating."