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Citizens Watch Newsletter March 2003

UC Management Probe

By Tara Dorabji

Three hundred fifty-five missing computers, company credit cards used to purchase a Ford Mustang and casino cash advances are all part of $4.9 million in questionable employee purchases, some of the more scandalous management deficiencies revealed at Livermore's sister Lab, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico.

Two auditors were fired by the University of California (they've since been reinstated) for their findings during an internal investigation of fraud at LANL. Once again, accusatory fingers are pointing at UC for managing the nation's two principal nuclear weapons labs with a "hands off" posture, leaving them open to criticism -- and perhaps replacement.

On Jan. 30, the Dept. of Energy (DOE) Inspector General (IG) released a report confirming both fraud and whistleblower retaliation at LANL. An IG investigation was begun at Livermore Lab. To date over $1 million in missing equipment has been identified at Livermore, including a laser and furnace.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and others want the government to delve more deeply into allegations of financial wrongdoing and whistleblower retaliation at Livermore.

Whistleblower retaliation has run rampant at Livermore Lab. Most recently, an arbitration judge ordered the Lab to reinstate a security official who blew the whistle on major safety and security concerns. Officer Mathew Zipoli was reinstated on Feb 3, 2002.

Zipoli cited grave "security deficiencies" at Livermore Lab. For example, when a theft from the plutonium facility was witnessed, he was told by senior management to let it go. Further, when illicit drugs were found packaged for sale within the Lab, the University of California did not want to investigate who those drugs would be sold to.

Zipoli described his reinstatement as a bittersweet victory. "UC has not fixed past practices. They continue to mislead investigators, turn a blind eye to theft and retaliate against whistleblowers," alleges Zipoli.

A closer look at Livermore Lab would reveal systemic management problems. So far, despite pressure from Congress and the IG's findings, there has not been an expanded review to include Livermore. The new Livermore Lab director Michael Anastasio has announced an internal review. It is not nearly enough. Stay tuned.

How Can I Stop a War?
Five Important Actions You Can Take for Peace

By Marylia Kelley

1. Send a Message to the United Nations. Inside, you will find a set of four postcards to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Please find three friends and use the cards today. Additionally, faxes and emails are needed to Members of the UN Security Council. Call our office for the phone and email addresses of key countries.

2. Ask Your Representative to Support H.J.Res.20 to Repeal the Iraq Use of Force Resolution. On Feb. 5, U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.J.Res.20 consisting of two simple paragraphs and a single intent -- to repeal the Iraq Use of Force Resolution passed by Congress in Oct. 2002. If the DeFazio-Paul resolution passes, it will repeal the overbroad authority Congress conferred on the President to use military action against Iraq, requiring Bush to return to Congress before launching a war. Check to see if your Rep. has co-sponsored yet. The capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

3. Ask Your Senators to Support S.Res.32 to Give UN Weapons Inspectors More Time. Introduced by Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV), this resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that UN "weapons inspectors be given sufficient time for a thorough assessment" of Iraqi compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1441. CA Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are co-sponsors. Phone calls thanking them and asking them to take additional steps for peace are needed.

4. Write a Letter to Your Favorite Newspaper. If you write a letter to the editor, there is no telling who you might inspire. Your letter tells other like-minded people that they are not alone. Call our office if you want a "how to" pamphlet on writing effective letters.

5. Participate in an Anti-War Event. Look inside and find the event that "speaks" to you -- and join it!

Nuclear Weapons, the Doctrine of Preemption and the Lab

By Marylia Kelley

George Bush is making the world an ever more dangerous place. In early 2002, his Nuclear Posture Review laid the groundwork - expanding the role of nuclear weapons, integrating nuclear war planning into conventional weapon scenarios and targeting specific countries by name.

In Sept. 2002, his National Security Strategy of the United States spun our military and nuclear policy into preemption, more properly called "preventive war," which is basically the notion that since we don't know who or what may threaten us in the future, we can attack anyone we want today - to prevent them from becoming a threat tomorrow.

Further, Bush is reported to have signed Presidential Decision Directive 17, confirming the doctrine of a possible preemptive use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. to counter a potential chemical or biological threat.

In Jan., analyst William Arkin reported that a Theater Nuclear Planning Document has been prepared for targets in Iraq. In Feb., the LA Times reported that the Pentagon has launched a fast-track program to develop computers that would help calculate when nuclear weapons might be used to destroy underground bunkers.

In sum, the Bush administration's Iraq war planning seriously considers (1) responding to a crude chemical or bio attack on U.S. forces with nuclear weapons, (2) responding to a similar attack on Kuwait or other allies with a nuclear attack, and (3) using nuclear bombs as weapons of first choice to attack deeply buried targets in Iraq.

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and its Livermore Lab are where crucial nuclear elements of Bush's "preventive war" strategy are being operationalized. This can be seen in the 2004 budget request, sent to Congress last month. The Bush budget pours additional monies into computer simulation and nuclear weapons development at Livermore Lab, raising its weapons related budget to $1.2 billion out of an annual operations budget of $1.5 billion.

Overall, the Bush budget contains $6.4 billion for nuclear weapons development, an increase of almost $500 million over the current year. The DOE budget boosts funding for new and modified nuclear weapons, including the so-called bunker-busters, and starts us on the path to a whole new plutonium pit (bomb core) manufacturing plant, among other things.

These are some key facts, and they reveal frightening truths about where the Bush administration is leading us. In the final analysis, however, it is important to remember that we have a choice: will we use these truths to motivate ourselves to undertake positive action on behalf of peace, disarmament and life or will we allow them to disempower us into silence and acquiescent complicity?

Inside this edition of Citizen's Watch, you will find numerous ways to make your voice heard -- on nuclear weapons policy and on the pending war on Iraq. Within these pages, you will also find multiple opportunities to join with your friends, neighbors and colleagues in Tri-Valley CAREs and allied organizations to take creative, collective action.

In the newsletter, around our office and on our website, you will find a full box of "tools" from which to choose -- petitions, postcards, fact sheets, policy reports, how-to guides, sign-making for demonstrations and more. We invite you to join us and make a difference in the world.

Contingency Plan: On the Day We Go to War

by Tara Dorabji

If the bombs begin to fall, raining horror and destruction on Iraq, join people in cities around the globe for an emergency vigil for peace. In Livermore, we will meet at 5:30 PM on that day at the corner of Livermore Ave. and First Street near the downtown flag, clock and fountain.

Bring candles, signs to hold or a song to share. Bring a friend or family member.

If war begins after 5:30 PM, we will meet at 5:30 PM on the day immediately following.

Future Tri-Valley vigils will be decided upon by the participants.

Emergency vigils will also be held in Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Stockton, San Francisco and numerous other Bay Area communities.

Call us for more information.

Print Bites: All the (Anti)War News That Fits to Print

By Marylia Kelley

Cities for peace. It's a growing movement. In recent days 120 cities, counties and other governmental bodies have passed resolutions protesting a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. 24 California cities have urged President Bush to give peace a chance, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland. Cities across the country are likewise passing resolutions calling on the federal government to repeal the ill-conceived "USA Patriot Act." Livermore, are you listening?

World for peace. Between Feb. 14 and 16, more than 10 million people gathered and marched for peace in more than 600 cities around the world. In Rome, Madrid, London and Barcelona, the crowds were counted into the millions. In New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Athens, Montreal, Melbourne, Lisbon, Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Seville, Brussels and others, crowd estimates were in the hundreds of thousands. In Cape Town, Cairo and Islamabad, the people gathered. In San Jose, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, we were there, united by our desire to prevent war. It was an historic event as people of all ages, races, faiths and walks of life came together to call the name of peace. The New York Times titled it, "A New Power in the Streets." And, yes, it was also a collective, global, resounding rejection of America as empire rather than neighbor. Bush, are you listening?

Bush bugging you, too? The U.S. is conducting a "dirty tricks" campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes for a war against Iraq according to a British newspaper, the Observer. Details of the surveillance operation, which included intercepting home and office telephone calls and emails of UN delegates, were disclosed in a high-level U.S. National Security Agency memo obtained by the newspaper. The memo describes orders to NSA staff to step up surveillance operations "particularly directed at UN Security Council Members" to provide up to the minute intelligence for the Bush administration on how they might vote on a second U.S. Iraq resolution. Dated Jan. 31, the leaked memo makes it clear that the so-called "middle six" on the UN Security Council are the principal targets: Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan. The memo goes on to advise that the NSA is "mounting a surge" aimed also at the nations' "policies, negotiating positions, alliances, dependencies" and "the whole gamut of information that could give U.S. policy makers an edge in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals or to head off surprises."

"Shock and Awe" planned for Iraqi people. The plan is this: shatter Iraq physically, emotionally and psychologically by raining down 800 cruise missiles in 48 hours. The strategy, called "shock and awe," seeks to destroy urban power and water supplies as well as troops. "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told CBS News about the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before." 800 cruise missiles in 2 days would be more than double the number of cruise missiles launched in the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War. Harlan Ullman, the plan's chief architect, likened it to the destruction of Hiroshima by a nuclear weapon. "... you have this simultaneous effect," he told reporters, "not taking days or weeks but minutes."

Bush tells religious leaders to "go away." A delegation of anti-war church leaders who had met with the Pope and the heads of Great Britain, France, Germany and other nations was denied a meeting with President Bush. The delegation, coordinated by the National Council of Churches, included U.S. Methodists, Catholic Bishops, German Protestant leaders, the Head of the Church of Scotland and others. The religious leaders have signed a joint statement saying war on Iraq would be, "immoral, unwise and the cause of untold suffering."

U.S. diplomat resigns. John Brady Kiesling, a career (20 years) U.S. State Dept. official, resigned in late Feb. in protest of Bush's policy in Iraq. His resignation letter to Colin Powell states, in part: "The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible with not only American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson... Our current course will bring danger and instability, not security... I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. administration."

Labor against war. More than 200 unions and 550 labor leaders from 53 countries (representing 130 million workers) have signed a joint statement opposing the war in Iraq. The statement cites the lack of a "convincing link between Iraq and Al Qaeda or the attacks of Sept. 11" as one reason to oppose the war. It goes on to support "labor, civil, immigrant and human rights in the U.S. and in other nations."

Making a statement. Recently, forty-one American Nobel Laureates released a statement opposing a "preventive war against Iraq without broad international support." More than 1,000 historians from more than forty colleges have formed a new national network, "Historians Against the War." Their statement reads: "We historians call for a halt to the march towards war against Iraq. We are deeply concerned about the needless destruction of human life, the undermining of constitutional government in the U.S., the egregious curtailment of civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad, and the obstruction of world peace for the indefinite future."

These statements complement similar calls from politicians, poets, religious leaders, an international group of scientists and engineers - just about every segment of society.

Citizen's Alerts

by Tara Dorabji

Please see our Calendar section of the website...

Announcing your 2003 Tri-Valley CAREs Board of Directors...

  • Martha Priebat - Pleasanton
  • Janis Kate Turner - Livermore
  • Will Easton - San Francisco
  • Don King - Livermore
  • Ena Aguirre - Tracy
  • Jonathan Hart - Livermore
  • Stephanie Ericson - Dublin
  • Francis Macy - Berkeley
  • Paul Carroll - Marin
  • Marylia Kelley - Livermore

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