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Citizens Watch Newsletter June 2002

New Report Analyzes Bush Administration Nuclear Posture

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' June 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Tri-Valley CAREs is pleased to announce the release of a new report on the Bush Administration's nuclear posture. The report and its recommendations will prove useful to all who are interested in understanding and/or changing U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

Written by Dr. Robert Civiak, a physicist and former White House Budget official, "More Work for the Weapons Labs, Less Security for the Nation," covers such topics as the role of the weapons labs in U.S. nuclear policy and the "phantom reductions" in the recently-signed treaty.

The report shows that while President Bush has signed an arms "reduction" treaty with Russian President Putin, his administration's nuclear posture propels the U.S. away from controlling nuclear armaments. Instead, Bush Administration policies are leading the nation down the dangerous path of developing new and modified nuclear weapons for use in a wide range of circumstances.

"More Work for the Weapons Labs..." offers a comprehensive look at the changing role of nuclear weapons in the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and other key Bush Administration documents. Additionally, the report is the first independent analysis to focus on the newly-enhanced part played by the Dept. of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapon design labs and production plants in the NPR.

"President Bush claims he is de-emphasizing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security. However, by placing nuclear weapons at the center of U.S. war-fighting capabilities and expressly reducing the threshold for their use in combat, the President's new posture review does exactly the opposite," explained Dr. Civiak.

"More Work for the Weapons Labs..." documents how the Bush Administration is:

  • Developing new and modified nuclear weapons, including so-called bunker-busters;
  • Preparing for a return to full-scale nuclear testing;
  • Making phantom reductions in the nuclear weapons stockpile;
  • Assigning a larger role to nuclear weapons; and,
  • Expanding the infrastructure of the nuclear weapons complex.

New Weapons

According to the report, the pursuit of new nuclear weapons capabilities is a misguided attempt to use nuclear weapons against terrorists or to use them to achieve limited war fighting objectives. Moreover, the report outlines how the "driving force for developing these new weapons is not coming from military commanders. The Defense Dept. has not defined a requirement for any new nuclear weapons to perform its missions. Rather, scientists at the [DOE] weapons development laboratories are leading the call for new nuclear weapons. Those scientists are driven by a need to justify ever increasing funding for their work..."

As the report shows, the $5.9 billion nuclear weapons research and development (i.e., Stockpile Stewardship) budget that DOE has proposed for 2003 is more than twice that of 1995. A dangerous "smorgasbord" of new nuclear weapons programs are being implemented at the labs next year, according to the report. The Bush budget is where we can see the Nuclear Posture Review's "rubber meet the road."

Phantom Disarmament

While the Nuclear Posture Review discusses the administration's plan to reduce the number of 'operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads' to 2,200 by 2012 - the level to which President Bush committed the U.S. by signing the treaty with Putin on May 24 - a closer look reveals that the commitment is a hollow one.

The treaty does not require either nation to destroy a single warhead; they need only be removed from deployment. And, to comply with the treaty, the warheads only have to be removed from deployment for a single day, Dec. 30, 2012, the day before the treaty ends. "More Work for the Weapons Labs..." calls this situation phantom disarmament.

Further, the report documents how the Bush Administration's nuclear policy undercuts the U.S. and world security enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Nuclear Posture Review's call for new, earth-penetrating nuclear weapons and steps leading to resumption of full-scale nuclear testing could deliver a death blow to the Non-Proliferation Treaty - and may lead to new arms races.

Therefore, Tri-Valley CAREs believes that it is imperative to reject the Nuclear Posture Review, cut congressional funding for its objectives, and reorient U.S. nuclear weapons policy to serve the goals of global nuclear disarmament and the rule of law. These are the steps that will ensure U.S. security.

About the Author

Robert Civiak served for more than a decade, until July 1999, in the White House Office of Management and Budget as Program Examiner for DOE's national security programs. Prior to that time, he received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh, was a Section Head in the Science Policy Research Division of the Congressional Research Service and completed a stint as a Visiting Scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"More Work for the Weapons Labs..." documents the increasing budget for nuclear weapons research and production; contains chapters on new and modified weapons and their role in the Nuclear Posture Review; analyzes the expanded role the NPR assigns to nuclear weapons and the labs and factories that produce them; provides recommendations to Congress and the Bush Administration; includes document references and the complete text of the recently-signed Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, and more. It is available on our web site at www.trivalleycares.org/NukePostureReviewStudy.pdf


Energy Dept. Drops Plan to Ship Plutonium in Unsafe Cans:
Tri-Valley CAREs' Lawsuit Cited as Reason

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' June 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Tri-Valley CAREs has won a major victory in its efforts to keep plutonium in uncertified, unsafe DT-22 canisters off the U.S. highways.

Further, it appears that our actions have caused the Department of Energy (DOE) to abandon its plan to ship any of the surplus plutonium from Rocky Flats, Colorado to Livermore - in any other type of container, too!

In a May 15, 2002 memo from DOE Headquarters, Assistant Secretary Jessie Roberson announced that the Energy Dept. would no longer seek to ship plutonium from the Rocky Flats, Colorado facility in the controversial DT-22 canisters.

The DT-22 is a 45-gallon can that cannot be certified for plutonium shipments because it fails the government's "crush test," and could rupture in a highway accident.

The DOE had given itself a "national security" exemption to allow it to ship surplus plutonium from Rocky Flats in uncertified DT-22s to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The Roberson memo halts that process.

Tri-Valley CAREs first uncovered the scheme to ship plutonium in the uncertified canisters in documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

On Feb. 13, 2002, the organization, represented by attorneys from Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in federal court in San Francisco.

In discussing the DOE's change of plans, Roberson specifically stated that her agency did not want to "engage in... costly litigation from environmental groups..."

"The DOE's reversal is good news and represents an important win for public health and the environment," declared Tri-Valley CAREs' Executive Director, Marylia Kelley.

"A major goal in filing the lawsuit was to prevent the Energy Department from hauling deadly plutonium across the country in unsafe, substandard containers. It looks like we have succeeded in that objective," she continued.

Some of DOE's own engineers had raised internal objections to the use of DT-22s, according to documents received under FOIA by Tri-Valley CAREs. If a truck carrying plutonium in the DT-22s "was hit by a train, the crush environment would occur," read one DOE document. Moreover, if the truck were to be "hit from behind by a large, heavy vehicle, the crush environment may occur," the DOE analysis concluded.

Documents obtained by Tri-Valley CAREs also revealed DOE plans to truck plutonium in DT-22s to Savannah River as well as to Livermore. Tri-Valley CAREs alerted attorneys for the state of South Carolina. On May 1, 2002, the governor of South Carolina filed a NEPA lawsuit, which included the DT-22 issue.

The Roberson memo means that DOE will not use the DT-22 for any shipments to Savannah River either.

"It appears that our lawsuit, coupled with that of South Carolina, led to the new DOE decision to forgo using the DT-22," said Trent Orr, an Earthjustice attorney handling the case.

The DOE now plans to cut the plutonium pieces at Rocky Flats so they can fit into smaller containers, which can be certified for shipment. However, when Tri-Valley Herald reporter Glenn Roberts asked the Energy Dept. whether it would try to send plutonium to Livermore in these smaller containers, Joe Davis, a DOE Headquarters spokesperson, responded that, "as for the 125 items that were the subject of the [Tri-Valley CAREs] lawsuit, those items will not be shipped [to Livermore]."

Tri-Valley CAREs is currently negotiating with DOE's attorneys to clarify and resolve the remaining issues in the lawsuit - in particular, to ensure that the Energy Dept.'s new plutonium decision is "iron clad" and will remain legally binding into the future. Stay tuned!

The complaint is available here on our website.

 

August 3rd in Livermore
Act to Stop the Bomb Where it Starts

by Tara Dorabji
from Tri-Valley CAREs' June 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

On August 6, 1945 the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, we used the atomic bomb a second time --- on the people of Nagasaki. The U.S. is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in war.

On August 3, 2002, join us in Livermore to remember the devastation caused by nuclear weapons and war, and to say "never again" in the face of the still-present threat of nuclear holocaust.

As India and Pakistan rattle nuclear sabers, we will come together to act for nonviolence and global nuclear disarmament.

As we look at the U.S., we see that an open-ended "War on Terrorism" gives the Bush Administration a blank check for military spending. How far will this administration go to enforce its global empire?

On August 3, we will stand together and petition our government to pursue true security in our name -- through a commitment to peace and justice.

We will act to stop the bomb where it starts; at the government's nuclear weapons labs. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's nuclear weapons budget is rising. As you read this, weapons designers at Livermore are busy creating "more usable," bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The recently leaked Nuclear Posture Review reveals U.S. contingency plans to use these nuclear weapons against seven nations: Russia, China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

On August 3, join us at 11 AM for a rally in Carnegie Park (at 3rd and "J" Streets in downtown Livermore). Multiple speakers, art displays and music will expose the reality of nuclear war and demonstrate that a peaceful alternative is possible. At around 2 PM, we will march from Carnegie Park to the Livermore Lab. Those who choose can use their bodies to bear nonviolent witness and risk arrest to end the development of nuclear weapons. Others can provide needed, legal witness at the laboratory gates.

Livermore Lab is an historic site of resistance. Twenty years ago, on June 21, 1982, thousands of nonviolent protesters converged on the Lab to demonstrate opposition to the nuclear arms race. More than 1,300 people were arrested.

The large rallies in the 80's reflected people's aspiration for a world free of the threat of nuclear war. Those big demonstrations succeeded admirably in focusing media and public attention on the Livermore Lab and its secret, lethal work to design and develop new nuclear weapons.

Today -- as the deadly nuclear enterprise escalates with even more money and deeper secrecy -- it is time for thousands of people to return to demonstrating at Livermore.

Father Bill O'Donnell, a local Livermore lad and current priest at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Berkeley, has been arrested many times over the last two decades at the Lab. He says: "One intangible spin-off from the protest has been a friendliness with UC security personnel, deputy sheriffs, state police as well as local police. Our nonthreatening nonviolence eventually won them over. Since then they have come to respect us as citizens committed to nonviolence."

Join us. Volunteer to help table literature at Carnegie Park or to get involved in any aspect of planning this important protest action.

Getting Active: A Few More Ideas...

  1. Reach out to the community. Volunteer with Tri-Valley CAREs to table at events. Or, march in our peace entry in the Livermore Rodeo Parade.
  2. Come to a monthly meeting. We meet at 7:15 PM on the third Thursday of each month in the Livermore main library community room. Call us for details.
  3. Invite Tri-Valley CAREs to speak at an event you plan.
  4. Join us for a "mailing party." Enjoy good food and help us get our newsletter, Citizen's Watch, ready to mail.
  5. Donate money. Or time. Or services. Call us, or visit our office at 2582 Old First Street, Livermore, CA 94550.

"Coffee & Conversation:"
A Get-Together for Sick Nuclear Workers and Their Families

by Inga Olson
from Tri-Valley CAREs' June 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

You are invited to attend "Coffee & Conversation - Two" our 2nd get-together for Lab, Energy Dept. and other nuclear employees, retirees, and family members of those who have become ill as a result of work at a nuclear facility.

Some atomic workers and families have applied for the Energy Employees Occupational Injury Compensation Program. We at Tri-Valley CAREs, along with workers we know, can be a resource if you would like help -- in making your decision whether or not to apply for compensation, in obtaining your records, in completing the application and/or in troubleshooting any obstacles along the way.

We are hosting informal get-togethers because, as a community-based organization that includes current and former Lab employees, we have found that sharing our experiences with a group of atomic workers who understand them is important; sometimes our stories are difficult to express. Too, a supportive group helps because, generally, the public is not well educated about the dilemma of sick nuclear workers and some people have difficulty hearing about our experiences.

A new issue that is surfacing is the impact on children of a parent working in a nuclear facility. In some cases, children have had to shoulder more responsibility than normal because of having a sick parent and financial constraints. Even more alarming is the fact that we are seeing a series of sometimes hard-to-diagnose health problems in the children of atomic workers.

Right now, though, one of our biggest challenges is getting the word out about the compensation program to as many DOE employees and former employees as we can. Many of our ideas for informing others have been conveyed to the DOE's Department of Worker Advocacy in Washington, D.C. For example, we are asking that notices about the compensation program be put in the pay envelopes of current Livermore Lab employees and retirees.

It is amazing how many times Tri-Valley CAREs members or staff will be speaking to someone and, when we mention our efforts to publicize the compensation program, we find that the person has a sister or friend who worked for the DOE or one of its contractors and is ill.

Most had not heard that the U.S. Congress passed a Compensation Act for atomic workers. Others, we find, have heard about the program but were so discouraged from past attempts to get their medical care covered or to obtain state "workman's comp" that they had decided not to apply -- until they heard from us.

This is not to say that the Energy Employees Compensation Act does not contain serious flaws and inadequacies. It does. For example, it will not cover atomic workers made ill by chemical exposures other than beryllium and silica. Moreover, it does not cover workers exposed to radiation on the job who developed illnesses other than cancer. Much work remains to be done before we can declare that justice has been obtained for atomic workers. Advocacy to enlarge and improve the compensation program is a big part of Tri-Valley CAREs' efforts. We invite you to become involved.

We will meet Wednesday, July 10 at NOON for coffee and sandwiches, and we will conclude the roundtable discussion by 3:00 PM. Give Inga Olson a call at Tri-Valley CAREs for details and to RSVP.


Under the Nuclear Shadow

Arundhati Roy, prize-winning author, looks at the conflict over Kashmir from her home in New Delhi

originally published in The Observer, reprinted in Tri-Valley CAREs' June newsletter, Citizen's Watch

This week as diplomats' families and tourists quickly disappeared, journalists from Europe and America arrived in droves. Most of them stay at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi. Many of them call me. Why are you still here, they ask, why haven't you left the city? Isn't nuclear war a real possibility? It is, but where shall I go? If I go away and everything and every one, every friend, every tree, every home, every dog, squirrel and bird that I have known and loved is incinerated, how shall I live on? Who shall I love, and who will love me back? Which society will welcome me and allow me to be the hooligan I am, here, at home?

We've decided we're all staying. We've huddled together, we realise how much we love each other and we think what a shame it would be to die now. Life's normal, only because the macabre has become normal. While we wait for rain, for football, for justice, on TV the old generals and the eager boy anchors talk of first strike and second strike capability, as though they're discussing a family board game. My friends and I discuss Prophecy, the film of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the dead bodies choking the river, the living stripped of their skin and hair, we remember especially the man who just melted into the steps of the building and we imagine ourselves like that, as stains on staircases.

My husband's writing a book about trees. He has a section on how figs are pollinated, each fig by its own specialised fig wasp. There are nearly 1,000 different species of fig wasps. All the fig wasps will be nuked, and my husband and his book.

A dear friend, who is an activist in the anti-dam movement in the Narmanda Valley, is on indefinite hunger strike. Today is the twelfth day of her fast. She and the others fasting with her are weakening quickly. They are protesting because the government is bulldozing schools, felling forests, uprooting handpumps, forcing people from their villages. What an act of faith and hope. But to a government comfortable with the notion of a wasted world, what's a wasted value?

Terrorists have the power to trigger a nuclear war. Nonviolence is treated with contempt. Displacement, dispossession, starvation, poverty, disease, these are all just funny comic strip items now. Meanwhile, emissaries of the coalition against terror come and go preaching restraint. Tony Blair arrives to preach peace - and on the side, to sell weapons to both India and Pakistan. The last question every visiting journalist always asks me: 'Are you writing another book?'

That question mocks me. Another book? Right now when it looks as though all the music, the art, the architecture, the literature, the whole of human civilisation means nothing to the monsters who run the world. What kind of book should I write? For now, just for now, for just a while pointlessness is my biggest enemy. That's what nuclear bombs do, whether they're used or not. They violate everything that is humane, they alter the meaning of life.

Why do we tolerate them? Why do we tolerate the men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race?

-- from The Observer, London, Sunday, June 2, 2002. ? Guardian Newspapers


Action Tools:
Send a Message to the Leaders of India and Pakistan

The conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir is edging ever closer to a nuclear war. Recently, Pakistan tested its third missile in as many days, emphasizing its ability to deliver nukes to the Indian capital city New Delhi in under three minutes. Prime Minister Vajpayee told the 700,000 troops stationed along the border of Pakistan that he was preparing for "a decisive victory."

A nuclear exchange between these rival nations could kill 12 million people and spread radioactive fallout around the globe. Please join us in calling on President Musharraf of Pakistan and Prime Minister Vajpayee of India to step back from the brink of holocaust.

  1. MoveOn.org has put this web site together. Sign a message from concerned citizens of the world to the two leaders at: http://www.moveon.org/nonukesoverkashmir/
  2. This site was set up as a joint effort between Indian and Pakastani citizens petitioning their governments. Go to http://www.PetitionOnline.com/bawabeg/petition.html
  3. Or, communicate by letter to:
    • The Hon. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister
      South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110011, India
    • General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan
      Islamabad, Pakistan

Citizen's Alerts Calendar Section

from Tri-Valley CAREs' June 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Tuesday, June 18
National Call-in day
Protest Yucca Mountain dump
(202) 224-3121, ask for CA Senators
Barbara Boxer & Dianne Feinstein

The U.S. Senate will soon vote on Bush's decision to store 77,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The site is technically unsuited and is located on Western Shoshone lands. Nevada's governor has vetoed the President's selection of Yucca Mountain. The House has voted to override Nevada's veto, but the vote is expected to be very, very close in the Senate. Nevadans and millions of people who live along the U.S. highways that will carry the estimated 100,000 shipments of waste are counting on the Senate to uphold Nevada's veto. Our CA Senators have said they will vote to uphold the veto. Call and tell them "thanks."

Thursday, June 20
Tri-Valley CAREs meets
7:15 PM, Livermore Library
1000 So. Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Concerned about Peace & Justice? Care about the Environment? Seeking a way to make a positive difference in the world? Come to our June meeting and learn what you can do. Agenda items will include the July 10 round table for sick workers, the Aug. 3 protest action, how we won a MAJOR VICTORY in stopping plutonium shipments to Livermore-and more. Long-time members and newcomers alike are welcome to attend.

Saturday, June 22
Abolition 2000 No. CA gathering
10 AM - 3 PM, Mt. Diablo Peace Center
55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
(925) 284-7689 for details

All are welcome to participate in the quarterly gathering of Abolition 2000 Northern California, a regional affiliate of the U.S. Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Abolition 2000 global movement. We will share information and support as we continue the work of achieving world-wide elimination of nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, July 10
"Coffee & Conversation - Two"
Noon - 3 PM, Tri-Valley CAREs' office
2582 Old First St., Livermore
(925) 443-7148 for details

DOE and other atomic workers made ill by on the job exposures are invited to share their stories and discuss the Energy Employees Compensation Act and other topics of mutual interest. Family members of atomic workers are welcome to participate too. We will supply the coffee and sandwiches, join us and contribute your "2?" to the group's efforts to obtain justice for sick workers. (See article above for more information.)

Thursday, July 11
Tri-Valley CAREs' study group
7 PM, Tri-Valley CAREs' office
2582 Old First St., Livermore
(925) 443-7148

About 6 times each year, we choose a topic of interest and spend an evening together learning about it. On July 11, we will welcome Yoga instructor and friend, Patricia Moore, who will explain the ancient philosophy behind Yoga and its connection to our work for nonviolent solutions in today's world. And, then, she will lead us through several simple Yoga postures for beginners.

Saturday, August 10
Tri-Valley CAREs' strategic planning
10 AM - 4 PM, Holy Redeemer Center
8945 Golf Links Rd., in the Oakland hills
(925) 443-7148. RSVP required.

Once each year, our members, volunteers, staff and board get together at a beautiful retreat center to plan our winning strategies. Circle your calendar today. RSVP to the Tri-Valley CAREs office or to our Board President, Martha Priebat, at (925) 846-3728.

Be visionary. Be strategic. Be creative. Be there!


A Note From the Board...

"As the Bush Administration beats the drums of war, those of us advocating for peace and environmental justice may feel that we represent a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. Fortunately, Tri-Valley CAREs is there to unify all of our voices in a clarion call, speaking truth to power, respectfully but forcefully.

Your support will help us raise that voice just a little bit higher - won't you please consider sending us a generous donation today?"

-- Will Easton
Secretary, Tri-Valley CAREs Board of Directors

Tri-Valley CAREs asks its members and friends to contribute financially twice a year. Please respond to the best of your ability. Your donation is tax-deductible -- and will be put to excellent use!

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