The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 19, 1986, Image 1

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    Vol. 82 Mo. 58 USPS 045360 12 pages
College Station, Texas
Wednesday, Movember 19,1986
ombodion killing fields refugee
elates horrors of Khmer Rouge
By Paula Janda
When Dith Pran left Cambodia
seven years ago after surviving
the Cambodian death camps, his
nights were filled with the night
mare of the “killing fields.” Now
he dreams of his homeland the
way it once was.
Pran’s relationship with New
York Times reporter Sydney
Schanberg and his escape from
I the death camps were the basis of
the film “The Killing Fields.” He
told an audience of about 400
Tuesday that he sometimes has to
drink to make sleep come easier
and keep the horrors of his war-
torn nation from coming back to
The movie “The Killing Fields”
is very mild compared to what he
went through, Pran said. Al
though the people who made the
movie were true to the story, he
said, the scope of killing two to
three million people wouldn’t fit
in a two-hour film.
What makes the killings more
horrifying, Pran said, is that the
people were being killed by their
own government. In 1970, the
Cambodian communists, the
Khmer Rouge, began fighting the
American-supported Lon Nol
government and soon gained
control of the country.
But during the rule of the
Khmer Rouge, Cambodia became
a mass grave for two million or
more of the nation’s seven million
people. The killing fields were
the places used for mass execu
“In order to survive, we had to
grab lizards, snakes, leaves and
scorpions,” Pran said. “I ate scor
pions like you eat shrimp.”
Pran said times were devastat
ing, with Cambodians dying from
starvation, disease, overwork and
dismaying conditions, he said.
People sometimes died because
they ate the wrong things, he
said, and children were hit espe
cially hard.
Other deaths were suicides, he
said, because many people
couldn’t handle the horror of the
Pran said he was shocked that
the Khmer Rouge forced even
the crippled and the blind to
work, making them chase birds
out of the rice fields by clapping
and yelling all day. And, he said,
the crippled and blind weren’t
the only ones forced to work.
“They used kids from eight
years old to work in the rice
fields,” Pran said.
The kids didn’t have on any
clothes and were barefooted, he
The movie comes to an end,
but this type of killing and torture
is going on every day, he said.
“I apologize for the sad story,
but I am very happy that the mes
sage goes out,” he said. “I would
feel guilty if I did not speak up
for those who died in my country,
for those who are still suffering
there. The killing fields go on,
around the clock and around the
world, in Afghanistan, in Nicara
gua, in Africa.”
GSU requests
$144 million
rate increase
Cambodian death camp survivor Dith Pran
AUSTIN (AP) — Gulf States Uti
lities Tuesday asked the Public Util
ity Commission for a $144.1 million
rate hike, part of which the company
claims it needs to avoid running out
of money next spring.
GSU President E. Linn Draper
said he knows the increase could be
hard on ratepayers in the economi
cally troubled Southeast Texas serv
ice area, but that bankruptcy for
GSU would be worse.
“GSU wants to continue playing
an active role in bringing in new in
dustries and new jobs, but bank
ruptcy would have a disastrous im
pact on those efforts,” Draper said.
Public Utility Counsel Jim Boyle,
the state lawyer who represents resi
dential and small business custom
ers, said he is concerned about the fi
nancial well-being of GSU
“If the alternative is to put cus
tomers into bankruptcy, that is not
acceptable,” Boyle said.
“Clearly the company has Finan
cial problems,” he said. “There is a
tendency for a company like this to
point the Finger at everyone but
Attorney General Jim Mattox an
nounced he would intervene to chal
lenge the GSU request. He estimated
the increase could cost state govern
ment an additional $2.4 million a
year for power it buys from GSU.
“We don’t want GSU in big trou
ble and we don’t want ratepayers to
pay more than is absolutely nec
essary,” Mattox said.
Company officials Tuesday
trucked its 20-volume filing package
to the PUC office in Austin. GSU
serves 275,500 Texas customers.
The Beaumont-based company
filed a two-part request that includes
an emergency $82 million increase
that would take effect late this year
and an additional $62.1 million in
crease for next year.
Under PUC calculations, which
differ from the method used by the
company, the total increase would be
$153.8 million, according to com
mission spokeswoman Maria Baker.
According to GSU, the $82 mil
lion emergency hike would raise the
price of 1,000 kilowatt-hours for res
idential use from the current $68.46
to $75.05, which the company said
would be about the same as custom
ers paid in 1983 before fuel prices
The additional $62.1 million in
crease would bring monthly bills for
1,000 kwh to $85.02.
This second increase would allow
the company to cover costs of the
River Bend Nuclear Plant in Loui
siana, which went into commercial
operation June 16 and supplies elec
tricity for GSU customers in Texas
and Louisiana.
See Rates, page 12
President Parking garage proposal put on hold by board
not firing’
dent Reagan wants his national secu
rity adviser to remain on his job and
is not annoyed at Secretary of State
Hleorge Shultz for speaking his mind
|bout U.S. arms shipments to Iran, a
dike House spokesman said Tues
John Poindexter, the president’s
assistant for national security affairs,
‘-has been widely reported to have
Coordinated the administration’s se-
cret diplomatic contacts with Iran,
which have brought sharp criticism
p from Capitol Hill and elsewhere.
i On Tuesday, former President
■perald R. Ford was asked whether
■ Poindexter should have to pay for
any errors that may have been com-
“Anybody who makes a mistake in
|his very complicated world has to
ike whatever the responsibilities
|}:’are, and that’s a judgment that the
■[president has to make,” he replied.
I In a joint appearance on NBC’s
■Today” program with former Presi-
f dent Jimmy Carter, Ford said that,
■Who initiated this (dealing with
Iran), who carried it out, I think, de
serves some condemnation by cer
tain people in the Congress, by peo
ple on the outside because it hasn’t
Been, in my opinion, run as well as it
ought to have been,”
At the White House, spokesman
,arry Speakes was asked whether
rReagan wants Poindexter to stay.
“Yes,” Speakes replied.
He gave the same one-word reply
dien asked whether Poindexter
vould remain at his post.
Shultz has made no secret of the
fact that he opposes sending arms to
Iran, but has acknowledged that he
•did not have authority to speak for
he administration on the subject.
Asked whether the president was
annoyed with Shultz for being out-
•spoken, Speakes said, “No, he’s not.”
When asked about one published
Recount saying that Reagan and his
senior staff were miffed at Shultz,
the spokesman replied:
“I don’t know. What does miffed
mean?” Speakes replied, adding
[hat, “All these questions are sort of
I Referring to another report sug
gesting that there would be a Cab
inet reshuffling, Speakes said, “I
jiaven’t heard anybody give him
fReagan) that advice and I haven’t
given it to him.”
Asked directly whether Shultz
muld remain in the Cabinet,
Speakes said, “As far as I’m con
cerned, as far as the president’s con
By Mike Sullivan
Staff Writer
Most students now at Texas A&M
won’t be here to reap the benefits of
the proposed six-level, 2,000-car
parking garage, but if the project is
approved by the Coordinating
Boat'd in January as expected, stu
dents who are now freshmen may be
parking in the lot as seniors.
The proposal for the new parking
facility, originally scheduled to be
considered by the Coordinating
Board Oct. 31, was deferred by the
board until January, said Wesley
Peel, A&M System vice chancellor
for facilities planning and construc
The board’s action was one of sev
eral taken at the meeting involving
the A&M System.
Peel said the Coordinating Board
was backlogged with proposals at its
last meeting, and because A&M isn’t
going to award the construction con
tract until March, he offered to put
million to expand utility plant
A&M gets $8.2
By Mike Sullivan
Staff Writer
The Coordinating Board has ap
proved $8.2 million in funding for
utility plant expansion at A&M, the
board’s assistant commissioner in
campus planning has said.
Gorden Flack said the utility plant
funding was approved at the board’s
last meeting.
Wesley Peel, A&M System vice
chancellor for facilities planning and
construction, said those funds will go
toward adding three chillers and
making room for additional boilers
at the utility plant on the west side of
The additions to the utility plant
are needed to support new buildings
and future construction in that area
of campus. Peel said.
More than half of the money ap
proved for the utility plant project
will pay for the underground piping
required for expansion projects on
the west campus, Peel said.
In other action, the Coordinating
• Deferred a proposal by the
Texas A&M Agricultural Research
Station to use $2.7 million in state
funds for renovations to the agricul
tural labs and residences and for im
provements of sites.
the parking lot proposal on hold un
til its next meeting.
Gordon Flack, assistant commis
sioner in campus planning for the
Coordinating Board, said the board
will consider two areas before ap
proving the parking lot proposal.
He said before the board ap
proves the use of state funds for the
project, it will examine whether
A&M’s projected $12.6 million cost
estimation of the project is as rea
sonable and efficient as possible.
“We had a horrendous amount of
projects to evaluate (at the last mee
ting),” Flack said, “and A&M agreed
to defer this project so we could eval
uate the cost data.”
Flack said the board also examines
whether proposed facilities are
really needed.
He said board members were con
vinced by Peel and his staff that the
parking lot is necessary.
“I think A&M has really done its
homework on this particular pro
ject,” Flack said. “Basically the only
thing we wanted a little more time
on was to see if the cost that the Uni
versity was paying is in line with
comparable projects.”
Paul Stevenson, manager of facili
ties planning, said that if the parking
lot proposal is approved by the
board in January, A&M will begin to
advertise for bids on the project at
the end of that month.
He said bids for the project will be
taken during the month of February
and the contract will be awarded in
“Roughly speaking, it should take
about 20 months to complete the
project (once it’s awarded),” Steven
son said.
Stevenson said the parking lot will
be built directly across the street
from the Blocker Building where
the Physical Plant offices are now lo
Judge: CS official
removed because
of poor job results
eral judge Tuesday dismissed an Ag
riculture Department official’s
charge that he was transferred from
College Station in retaliation for a
sexual harassment complaint that
led to his boss’ suspension.
U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt
ruled that James P. Jones was trans
ferred to Washington because of
poor performance in his role as the
second highest-ranking official in
the Texas division of the Agricultu
ral Stabilization and Conservation
Jones, 63, filed a discrimination
suit in 1984, alleging his move out of
College Station that year came be
cause he had filed sexual harassment
charges against his boss, Charles W.
Mayfield, on behalf of several
women in Texas ASCS offices.
Mayfield was suspended for 30
days by the U.S. Department of Ag
riculture after an internal investiga
tion validated Jones’ accusations and
found that Mayfield had sought sex
in return for promotions on several
Employees’ sworn statements also
said Mayfield allowed a woman to
drive a government car home and
that he carried alcoholic beverages
in a government vehicle.
But Pratt said evidence intro
duced by Justice Department attor
neys had convinced him Jones’
transfer was made because of a poor
work record and not in retaliation
for blowing the whistle on his boss.
“The record clearly shows that
Jones had a history of performance
inadequacies over a long period . . .
that he frequently challenged major
decisions of his superiors and was in
subordinate . . . that he was disrup
tive and disloyal and preoccupied
with seeking Mayfield’s removal and
that there was an irreconcilable per
sonality clash between the two men.”
“The facts do not support Jones’
claim of retaliation,” Pratt wrote in
his decision. “The decision to trans
fer Jones was made by Washington
officials confronted with an impossi
ble situation . . . which was adversely
affecting the office’s efficiency.”
Jones’ attorney, Andrew Lipps,
said that Pratt’s decision was disap
pointing and that he would decide
whether to appeal after a thorough
study of the ruling.
“In light of the very important is
sues under the civil rights laws, we
will be seriously considering an ap
peal,” Lipps said.
“The findings of sexual ha
rassment against Mayfield . . . would
never have come to light had it not
been for the actions of J.P. Jones,”
he said.
“Mayfield should take no pleasure
in a decision by the court that reaf-
See Ruling, page 12
Chernobyl may yet lack
nuclear safety upgrade
Soviet Union most likely has re
sumed operation of some nuclear
plants without making the safety
improvements promised in the
wake of the Chernobyl accident,
Energy Secretary John Herring
ton said Tuesday.
“Our best estimate is they
started Chernobyl up probably
too soon to do all the upgrades
they said they were going to do,”
Herrington said after testifying at
a Senate hearing. “We are rea
sonably sure they are operating
reactors today without the up
grades they promised.”
Asked if the safety im
provements eventually will be
made, Herrington replied,
“There’s no way of knowing. I
certainly hope so.”
Herrington also said the
United States is having trouble
getting information about two re
actors the Soviet Union is build
ing near Cienfuegos, Cuba, 180
miles from Key West. He said the
Soviets were reluctant to discuss
the plants in August at a meeting
in Vienna.
“The typical response was, you
will be reading about this in our
technical journals,” he said. “And
that is not good enough in this sit
The first plant was started in
1983 and scheduled to go on line
next year. Construction on the
second began in 1985 with star
tup planned for 1990. However,
Herrington said there have been
delays, and operation of the first
plant is “not imminent.”
The secretary said he suspects
the reactors will not be of the
same design as the graphite-mod
erated plant that caught fire at
Chernobyl. But he said the
United States has no details about
the construction of the Cuban
“Our best estimate is they
started Chernobyl up
probably too soon to do all
the upgrades they said
they were going to do. ”
— Energy secretary John
plants, their safety systems and
who will be operating them.
The energy secretary said un
certainties about the reactors in
• Containment building. The
first reactor under construction
does have one, but U.S. experts
lack information about the de
gree of steel reinforcement, the
concentration of concrete used
and other specifics.
• Fire safety system. Is there
one and if so, what kind?
• Instrumentation. Herring
ton said Finland has agreed to
put a sophisticated system in So
viet reactors, but it is unclear
whether the Cuban plants will
have the same one.
• Simulators. The Finns have
an outstanding system that opera
tors use to practice, but it is not
known whether Soviet reactors or
the Cuban ones will have any
thing comparable, Herrington
Ambassador-at-large Richard
Kennedy, a board member of the
International Atomic Energy
Agency, said he has urged Soviet
and Cuban authorities to provide
the type of information that is in
the public domain in this country.
“We have indicated to the gov
ernment of Cuba . . . we’re pre
pared to make further informa
tion available. We expect them to
do the same vis-a-vis the reactors
in Cuba,” he told Sen. Thad
Cochran, R-Miss., chairman of
the Governmental Affairs sub
committee on energy, nuclear
proliferation and governmental
Kennedy said the United States
has made it “absolutely clear” it
expects the highest safety stan
dards to be applied to the Cuban
reactors. He also said the United
States is urging the IAEA, a
United Nations agency, to be
come more involved by making
safety suggestions to Cuba.
Both Herrington and Kennedy
expressed doubts about the feasi
bility of international safety stan
dards and inspections.