Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Report From Iron Mountain
The Report From Iron Mountain was a hoax written by Leonard C. Lewin in 1967 and published by the Dial Press . The idea for the Report came from Victor Navasky. In 1966, Navasky read an article in the New York Times on a stock market downturn due to a "peace scare". This gave him an idea for a report that would get people thinking about a peacetime economy (the hoax came out during the Vietnam War) and the stupidity of the arms race. With these aims in mind, Lewin wrote the hoax.
Contents of the hoax
The hoax claimed that a panel, called the Special Study Group, was set up in 1963 to examine what problems would occur if the US entered a state of lasting peace. They met at an underground nuclear bunker called Iron Mountain and worked over the next two years. A member of the panel, one "John Doe", a professor at a college in the Midwest, decided to release the report to the public.
The report concluded that peace was not in the interest of a stable society. War was a part of the economy. Therefore, it was necessary to conceive a state of war for a stable economy. The government, the group theorized, would not exist without war. They recommended that bodies be created to emulate the economic functions of war. They also recommended that the government create alternative foes that would scare the people with reports of alien lifeforms and out of control pollution. They also suggested that "blood games" be done in the style of the Spanish Inquisition.
Reactions to the hoax
After the report's release, it was on the New York Times bestseller list and the hoax was translated into 15 different languages. Lyndon Johnson was not happy with the hoax. US embassies disclaimed the report, noting it was not official government policy. Three men were accused of writing the hoax. Among the accused were Leonard C. Lewin, because he had written the report's introduction, John Kenneth Galbraith, because he had written reviews of the hoax in the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune under an alias, and Kenneth Bounding. In 1972, Lewin confessed in the March 19 New York Times Book Review that he had written the entire report, fretting how the Pentagon Papers and other documents about the Vietnam War "read like parodies of Iron Mountain rather than the reverse."
Even though Lewin has admitted that he wrote the report, there are those who believe the hoax is real. One example is the far-right Liberty Lobby. This group, believing the report was a government publication, printed their own copies of the hoax. They were later sued by Lewin for copyright infringement. Lewin won the suit. In 1991, Oliver Stone used a quote from the hoax in his movie, JFK. One of Stone's consultants for the movie, former Air Force officer L. Fletcher Prouty, believed the hoax was real.
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