The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 12, 1989 · 117
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 117

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 12, 1989
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Coo Angeles (Times R Sunday, March 12, 1989 Part I 3 Despite Funding Doubts, Collider Keeps Its Allure By LEE DYE, Times Science Writer Nobel laureate Leon Lederman looked over a crowd of several hundred scientists and industrialists attending a recent symposium in New Orleans and quipped: "We just want to understand how the universe works. After we have done that, we will go away." What Lederman and other high-energy physicists want is for the federal government to spend more than $6 billion on the largest scientific instrument ever built, a giant race track that they hope will smash subatomic particles into smaller particles than anyone has ever detected before. Why? Because physicists believe the machine, called the superconducting super collider, could simulate the beginning of time, opening a window on the moment the universe began. The machine will hurl two beams of protons atomic nuclei in opposite directions around a 53-mile race track. The violent collision of protons traveling at nearly the speed of light will create subatomic particles, many of which have not existed in nature since the beginning of time. Competition for Funds The proposal comes at a time of staggering federal deficits and increased concerns about housing for the poor, skyrocketing health costs and other everyday matters. Yet it enjoys widespread support in Congress among a broad spectrum of elected officials, many of whom are quick to admit they do not understand what the super collider is all about. "I've become a buff," said Rep. Jimmy Hayes (D-La.), who represents an impoverished district along the Gulf Coast. That kind of attitude reveals the political acumen of scientists and government officials who have managed to build a broad base of support for the super collider. Many elected officials came aboard initially because they thought the project might end up in their state, bringing with it thousands of jobs and the prestige that one of the world's premiere scientific research projects is bound to garner. In all, 35 sites were proposed. But since last January, when the U.S. Department of Energy picked a site near Dallas, many thought congressional support would decline quickly after officials realized they were not going to land the project for their areas. Unquestionably, some support has waned, but the project is still very much alive. More than $100 million has been spent on research and design of the instrument, and if the current budget request is approved, construction will begin sometime next year. It is scheduled for completion in 1995, but that depends on continued support by Congress. "I never thought Louisiana would be a finalist," Hayes said of his state's bid for the project. "Unless they want to put it under water," he added in reference to the swamplands that cover so much of Louisiana. Yet he remains committed because "the super collider is a symbol," he said in an interview. "This is the cutting edge of technology. If our country is not the symbol of scientific achievement, we will forfeit that to Europe or anyone else who is willing to make the investment." Particle physicists who tend to regard their role in life as virtually a religious calling tend to wax eloquent, minus the politics, when discussing their field. "High-energy physics is the ultimate extension of man's curiosity about what things are made of and how they work," said Harvard University Prof. Roy F. Schwitters, who is to serve as director of the super collider project. Please see COLLIDER, Page 40 JAIL: Foul-Ups Cost Department Nearly Half Hour IB j ? ! M I i f U Site , f ( A III q gfff" Q felSf , " to rf DAVID McNEW A forklift is employed to raise a bombed van in La Jolla so a team of federal investigators can carefully examine its undercarriage. VAN: Clues to Possible Terrorism Sought San Diego Iranian Community Fears Retribution From Associated Press SAN DIEGO-Members of San Diego's small Iranian community say they fear retribution for Friday's suspected terrorist bombing here. The fiery explosion destroyed a van driven by the wife of Capt. Will Rogers III, who directed the July, 1988, missile attack that mistakenly downed an Iranian jetliner in the Persian Gulf. Friday's bombing, which left Sharon Rogers uninjured, has stirred speculation that the attack was to avenge the deaths of the 290 people aboard the civilian jetliner. The attack is under investigation by federal authorities. "People blame us for everything the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran does, from book-burnings to hijackings," said Sara Ahamadianfard, who came to the United States in 1975 with her husband, a student at United States International University here. "So it won't surprise me if people assume Iranians had something to do with this," she said. Adeeb Nozar Ahmadi, who works at a San Diego grocery store, said he worries that someone angered by the van bombing might take out their frustration on him or his young son. "I can tell when some people come into the store that they don't think I deserve to be here, that I am somehow a terrorist because of the actions of people I don't even know," he said. Continued from Page 1 went out to all 350 members of the Vincennes crew after the Navy was notified of the call. At the scene of the bombing Saturday, "teams of investigators are running out just hundreds and hundreds of leads," said Tom A. Hughes, special agent in charge of the FBI office in San Diego. "There are fragments that would lead one to believe this is a pipe bomb," he added. But, he said, "we're not in a position to confirm what kind of device it was." Navy sources in Washington and San Diego said Saturday that they were hesitating to label the attack a clear-cut case of political terrorism because other motives had not been ruled out. "We're really not sure it's a terrorist. It could be a disgruntled sailor or something else altogether," one source said. "The FBI has assigned the very highest priority to this case, but hasn't made the call on whether it's a terrorist act or not, although it sure looks that way," said one high law enforcement official in the nation's capital. Another Navy source pointed to the attempted bombing of a car belonging to Capt. Kenneth R. Barry, commanding officer of the Pelelieu, an amphibious helicopter landing ship based in Long Beach. That incident was blamed on a disgruntled sailor, the source said. Barry escaped injury in March, 1987, when a pipe bomb rigged to his car failed to go off. Meanwhile, FBI Director William Sessions said in a press conference in Des Moines Saturday that Friday's bombing does not signal a "trend" in international terrorism. "I don't think we're seeing a trend at all," Sessions said. But, he added, "We are deeply concerned about that kind of activitywhether it is in fact a terrorist act. You just can't tell at this stage." As a result of the bombing in San Diego on Friday, security was tightened at all Navy and Marine Corps installations in the area, and some rank-and-file sailors outside the 32nd Street Naval Station the main naval yard here said their superiors had cautioned them to be watchful. Rodney Vardoman, a 20-year-old sailor from St. Louis who is based in San Diego, said, "They tell us how to watch our backs," referring to the increased security. "They told us to be more careful and take precautions." In Washington, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Baumann, a Navy spokesman, said Saturday that no order has gone out to increase security at Navy installations worldwide as a result of the incident in San Diego. However, he said that some bases decided to tighten security on their own and were taking such measures as stopping cars and checking for identification instead of waving cars with decals through the gates. At Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state, United Press International reported that the base commander had ordered heightened security inasmuch as Whidbey-based naval ships had engaged in exchanges of fire with Iran vessels. The pipe bomb explosion Friday ripped through the Toyota van as Sharon Rogers was en route to her job at a La Jolla private elementary school. Hearing what sounded like two loud noises from underneath the vehicle, she initially thought a motorist had struck her from behind. Moments after she stepped out to inspect any possible damage, the van exploded into a fireball. In his account of the phone threat received by Sharon Rogers, Navy spokesman Cmdr. David Dillon said the call came at the Rogers' San Diego home two or three days after the Iranian plane was shot down last July 3. Dillon, a spokesman for the Pacific Surface Fleet, gave this ac count of the conversation: Caller: "Is this Mrs. Rogers?" Sharon Rogers: "Who's this?" Caller: "Is this Mrs. Rogers?" Sharon Rogers: Who is this?" Caller: "Are you the wife of the murderer?" Sharon Rogers then hung up the phone and nothing further was heard from the man, Dillon said. He said the incident was reported to the Naval Investigative Service and added that he knows of no other incidents approaching a threat to Rogers, his wife, or other Vincennes crew members. Rogers and his wife were trying to maintain a low profile Saturday and have decided not to speak to reporters, Dillon said. "We have them in a safe place," Dillon said. "Suddenly, it got very personal." Hoisted Into Air At the scene of the bombing, the 30 investigators, including experts from the FBI bomb laboratory in Los Angeles and the agency's explosives unit in Washington, delicately marked, examined and removed almost every shred of debris along the normally busy intersection. "This is the cleanest street in San Diego," said San Diego Police Officer Thomas Mason, who was guarding the perimeter from crowds of motorists, bicyclists and other spectators. Most of the federal agents, clad in Windbreakers, blue jumpsuits or suits and ties, worked throughout the day Saturday. By early afternoon, they were clustered around the vehicle as a Navy forklift hoisted the burned-out van five feet into the air. Please see VAN, Page 42 Continued from Page 1 open a chain -link fence and rap-peled from the top of the four -story building. Gates said the deputies were watching television and reading magazines against department rules when the escape occurred. He also said they failed to conduct a required search of the prisoners and miscounted the inmates as they left the roof. One deputy, who denied most of the charges but acknowledged miscounting the inmates, was fired. Sheriffs officials said the second deputy was suspended, but they would not say for how long. In the officers' defense, the deputies union countercharged that the blame was the sheriff's administrationnot the deputies because it failed to take steps that could have thwarted the escape. As proof, the union revealed several damaging internal memos and offered to let reporters review more than 500 pages of documents and 24 hours of taped interviews from the Sheriff's Department's internal investigation. Union Received Report The union received the internal report because of its role in defending the deputies. The records show that the second notice of the escape was at 7:35 p.m., when a man stopped a deputy who was outside the jail on his way to dinner. The man reported that someone had just run from the jail in inmate clothing. But the deputy later told investigators the man was known as somebody "not playing with a full deck" and so he didn't believe the story. The deputy checked the parking lot and then continued on to dinner after telling a clerk to take the man's statement. The deputy, who was suspended for 10 days, told investigators the only reason he checked the parking lot was "because the one thing you always do in law enforcement is cover your ass: CYA." CALL TRANSCRIPT Caller: There's a guy right here that's . . . he's, I guess he's out here undressing or something. He's on, between 6th and Shelton. He's out there dressing. Dispatcher: He's what? C: He escaped from some, from someplace. D: I'm not understanding what you're saying. What's he doing? C: He escaped from someplace, from the jail or something. He's changing clothes or something. D: Oh, he's undressing in the street or something? C: Yeah. D: Where is he at? C: 6th . . . it's over here on 6th and Shelton. D: 6th and Shelton? C: Around the corner from the jail. D: What exactly is he doing? C: I don't know. D: Well, what's he doing that you want to report to the police? C: Well, I heard he escaped from the jail. D: Well, what about it? Oh, he escaped from the jail? C: That's what we heard. I don't know. Somebody called, I guess. D: He's in jail clothing and he's C: He's, he's changing clothes. He's at 6th and, 6th and, 6th and ah, 6th and ah, Shelton. D: OK, hold on a second there. C: He probably left. D: OK, and you're, what's your name? C: Ah, just come over. D: No, just tell me your name. C: Just come and pick him up. D: I have your address, sir. . . . C: Yeah, right down the street. p Los Angeles Times Sheriff Brad Gates He has blamed the entire escape on the two deputies assigned to the rooftop recreation area. In a third report about 7:40 p.m., two women told sheriff's deputies they saw four men running from the jail, two wearing orange clothing and two in shorts. Deputies concluded that the orange clothing was jail-issued jumpsuits. The women said the fourth man to run past them even stopped to ask which direction the others had gone. Their report was delayed, however, because deputies had to find a Spanish-speaking clerk to translate their story. Sheriff's personnel first realized the escape might be genuine when an officer taking the other man's statement overheard the womens' report being translated. The officer then notified a sergeant, who relayed the message to Lt. Kreitz. "It looks like it's legit," the records quote the sergeant as telling Kreitz. "We got too many Please see JAIL, Page 34 D: OK, so you're seeing a man ... is the male white, black or Hispanic? C: Mexican. D: Male Hispanic or . . . C: Yeah. D: Male Hispanic? C: Yeah. D: Changing, appears to be taking off jail clothing? . . .OK, is he inside or outside or where? C: Outside. D: On the street? C: Yeah. D: Is, do you see the marks on there that say the jail? C: Let me . . . hold on. D: OK. C: He left already. D: Do you know what way he left? C: Well, he went down Shelton, down Shelton. D: He went down on, he went on Shelton? C: Yeah, south. D: South on Shelton? C: Yeah, right next to the Orange County Jail. D: OK, I understand where you're at, sir. I just wanted to know what, can you tell me anything about him? What he looks like? What he put on? C: He's a Mexican, but he changed clothes. D: OK, did he leave the clothing there? C: Yeah, right next door to my house. D.: OK, so he left it in front of your house. C: Next door. D: Next door. OK, can you contact the officers when they come out? C: (inaudible). ,D: OK, thank you. !' DAVID McNEW' Federal agents make thorough search of pavement at scene of bombing of a van driven by Sharon Rogers, wife of Navy captain. The following is a transcript of a 911 emergency call Santa Ana police received on the night four men escaped from the Orange County Jail. The call at 7:32 p.m.. on Nov. 20 is the first notice to authorities of the breakout. The Sheriff's Department discovered men were missing 29 minutes later. The caller below describes escapee Elanzor Gonzalez, an accused killer, removing his jail clothes just after the escape.

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