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Citizens Watch Newsletter May 2002

Rule of Power or Rule of Law?

by Nicole Deller, with text added by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' May 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

"Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties," a report released in April by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, assesses nine multilateral treaties and concludes that each has been violated, compromised, or undermined by the United States.

This includes treaties that the United States currently rejects, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Treaty Banning Antipersonnel Mines, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, a protocol to create a compliance regime for the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It also includes several other treaties for which the United States is a member but is not complying with significant obligations, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the BWC, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is crucial to global security because it bars the spread of nuclear weapons. However, the NPT nonproliferation requirement is at risk because the United States as well as other nuclear weapon states are not complying with the accompanying NPT requirement of nuclear disarmament, as demonstrated most recently by the January 2002 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review.

Moreover, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) under construction at Livermore Lab may violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the U.S. signed in 1996 but has not ratified. The CTBT bans nuclear explosions, and its language does not contain any "exceptions allowing laboratory thermonuclear explosions," as the report points out. The NIF megalaser is designed to generate thermonuclear explosions with yields equaling up to 10 pounds of TNT.

The United States is also eroding the CWC and the BWC, two other invaluable instruments for the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Chemical Weapons Convention bans the development, acquisition, and transfer or use of chemical weapons; requires the destruction of all stockpiles; and obligates states parties to declare facilities and chemicals that could be used in a prohibited manner.

In legislation implementing the CWC, the U.S. restricted inspections in ways that violate treaty requirements, including by conferring on the president the right to refuse inspections based on a determination of whether they conflict with national security and by limiting extensive sampling. The CWC does not permit these limitations, and already contains safeguards for the protection of confidential information. These provisions may prevent accurate inspection results and have encouraged other nations, including India and Russia, to impose similar restrictions.

The Biological Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, and stockpiling of biological agents, except in quantities needed for protective or defensive measures. But the treaty lacks compliance measures, such as declarations of facilities and programs using these agents, needed to deter and detect violations. For the past 7 years, BWC members have negotiated a protocol to establish a declaration and verification regime for monitoring states' use of biological agents. The U.S. rejected the resulting draft protocol, and then sought to end efforts to create any internationally binding agreement. Rather, it seeks voluntary measures for each state to report and share information.

Meanwhile, arms control experts began questioning whether U.S. biodefense programs comply with the terms of the BWC. In particular, the United States constructed a model bio-bomb and weaponized anthrax. These activities may be seen as violating the BWC, because it does not permit the production of weapons. These and other biodefense activities have been carried out in secret, and so treaty partners have not been able to assess U.S. compliance. The United States would certainly oppose other states' secret construction of biological weapons in the name of defense, but it has not applied that principle to its own conduct.

U.S. actions in relation to the NPT, CWC, BWC, and other treaties signal a trend of opposition to multilateral treaties as a means to address issues of global security, from non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to climate control, in favor of unilateral measures, often in reliance on military capabilities.

Implicit in this preference for politics over law is the assumption that the U.S. will not suffer consequences from opting out of the international legal system. But even though the United States is uniquely positioned as the sole economic and military superpower, unilateral actions are insufficient as an alternative to the international legal system for protecting the U.S. public as well as people around the world.

Multilateral treaties build national and global security by articulating norms, creating monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, and providing benchmarks for progress and a foundation for further action. Together with other means of coordinated local, national, regional and global action and cooperation, they are essential to our future. Especially important is that the United States requires cooperation from other countries to prevent and detect proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

International legal instruments may not ensure peace, but without a framework of multilateral agreements, the alternative is for states to decide for themselves when action is warranted, and to proceed to act unilaterally against others when they feel aggrieved. This is a recipe for the powerful to be police, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one. It is a perilous direction for the United States, which was founded on the concept of the rule of law and has been its most influential advocate. If the United States sets itself up above the law, and bases itself on the rule of power instead, what is to stop other countries from doing the same?

Tri-Valley CAREs at the United Nations

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

Tri-Valley CAREs' mission statement includes working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons world-wide. With this in mind, Inga Olson, our group's Program Associate attended the first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) of the 2005 Review Conference of states parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The PrepCom opened this April 8 at the United Nations in New York.

At the heart of the NPT is a "deal" whereby the nuclear weapons states agreed to an "unequivocal undertaking" to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. The non-nuclear countries, in turn, agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons. The NPT was opened for signature in 1968 and entered into force (became law) in 1970. A total of 187 parties have joined the Treaty, more than any other arms control and disarmament agreement, a testament to the NPT's significance. The four states that are not parties to the Treaty are Israel, India, Pakistan, and Cuba.

On April 19, the PrepCom ended after adopting a procedural document outlining plans for two future PrepComs -- leading up to the Treaty's formal Review Conference in 2005. The PrepCom Chair, Henrik Salander of Sweden, produced a summary of the meeting that identified issues raised, including contentious ones such as the implementation (or lack thereof) by the U.S. and other nuclear powers of their nuclear disarmament commitments, the nuclear programs of Israel, India, and Pakistan, and lack of compliance by Iraq and North Korea.

Tri-Valley CAREs' role at the PrepCom focused on educating the permanent representatives and delegates from nations around the world about the current nuclear weapons research and development activities at the U.S. nuclear laboratories. A key topic Inga discussed with delegates is the need for the upcoming NPT Review Conference to include an analysis of the U.S. (and other nuclear-armed states') laboratory-based nuclear weapons development capabilities, and to highlight their incompatibility with the Treaty's Article VI obligation to disarm.

Inga also shared excerpts from the Bush Nuclear Posture Review and the Dept. of Energy and Dept. of Defense's Report to Congress on the Defeat of Hard and Deeply Buried Targets with the delegates, contrasting the two reports' advocacy of new, earth-penetrating nukes with our country's legal obligation to the NPT. Each of the delegates to the PrepCom also received key technical reports produced by Tri-Valley CAREs, including an analysis of the budget request for nuclear weapons and a study outlining alternatives to the Stockpile Stewardship program.

Further, we will continue to integrate information about the NPT into our public education program, as the Treaty provides a sustainable, nonviolent, global approach to our nation's security.

Forming a Rainbow of Resistance

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

On April 20, an estimated 100,000 people marched on the Nation's capital to protest the Bush Administration's nuclear policy, corporate globalization and US-led wars at home and abroad. In San Francisco, a simultaneous rally protesting the real "axis of evil": war, racism and poverty reportedly drew 35,000.

The DC mobilization was comprised of several rallies encompassing the following major themes: obtain justice for Palestine, stop the open-ended "War on Terrorism," rid the world of nuclear weapons, and end corporate globalization. All of the marches united -- overflowing the capitol mall from the White House to the Washington Monument with giant puppets, hand-painted signs, organizational banners, drummers, and people of all ages, races and ethnicities with their harmonious, powerful, chanting voices.

Three Tri-Valley CAREs members were in DC to participate in the historic march, and to launch an international petition drive (see enclosed petition) to reverse the Bush Administration's nuclear posture and end the development of new, earth-penetrating nuclear bombs and other weapons. Erek Dyskant, Marylia Kelley and Tara Dorabji distributed more than a thousand petitions and collected many hundreds of signatures on the spot. Other group members and friends participated in the San Francisco rally.

"By signing the petition, people send a clear message that all nuclear weapons development must stop. We cannot stomp out terrorism by designing, and threatening to use, the ultimate weapons of terror ourselves," Tara explained as she handed out copies to the crowd in DC. She noted in particular that, "people from all backgrounds, carrying a common vision of nonviolence, signed onto the petition."

The whole DC march was truly diverse, spanning all ages from babies in strollers to the singing, "raging grannies." Reports from the SF event are similar. It was a day of social change-in-progress as people of many backgrounds, engaged in a variety of struggles, found solidarity seeking basic human rights in the face of a common oppression by an elite minority. The sea of signs told our stories, "No Nukes," and "Free Mumia Abu Jamal and all Political Prisoners" and "No Plan Columbia" and "Repeal the U.S. Patriot Act" and "No Blood for Oil" and "Not in My Name" and "Jews for Justice in Palestine." The common thread was a broad-based people's movement united in nonviolence and striving for peace, justice and dignity for all.

The mobilization allowed the movement to see itself; our true power is in our diversity of causes and roots. Moreover, it showed the whole country that there is no consensus for Bush's policies. The entire DC event was very peaceful and the police presence was minimal. There were very few police dressed in full riot gear.

It had been a week of unseasonable heat and humidity in Washington, DC. But, on the day of April 20, a light, misty rain descended to provide cooling relief for marchers as we enveloped the capital in the light from our rainbow of resistance.

More Plutonium in Unsafe Containers

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

Tri-Valley CAREs filed a lawsuit this February to prevent the Dept. of Energy (DOE) from trucking plutonium to Livermore Lab from its Rocky Flats, Colo. plant in unsafe, uncertified containers.

New documents obtained in the lawsuit and from other sources show that DOE intends to truck additional plutonium parts in uncertified, DT-22 containers from Rocky Flats to the Savannah River Site (SRS) in So. Carolina. The 45-gal. DT-22 canister cannot pass the government-mandated "crush test," according to DOE records obtained by Tri-Valley CAREs.

On April 15, DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham notified the U.S. Senate that plutonium would soon be shipped from Rocky Flats in safety-certified "3013 containers" on 76 Safe Secure Transport (SST) trailers. But a presentation to DOE's Rocky Flats Citizens Advisory Board by site contractor Kaiser-Hill eleven days earlier admitted that the SSTs will also carry 432 DT-22 containers filled with plutonium parts. The two destinations listed to receive plutonium in the DT-22s -- Livermore Lab and Savannah River.

The latest documents also confirm the risk DOE poses to communities. A July 2000 DOE memo concludes: "If an SST [carrying the DT-22s] was hit by a train the crush environment would occur. If an SST was hit from behind by a large, heavy vehicle, the crush environment may occur."

In plain English, DOE is admitting that the DT-22 containers holding plutonium could get crushed in any highway accident and would definitely be crushed in a collision with a train. That could disperse deadly plutonium particles across the highway and into the atmosphere.

Tri-Valley CAREs filed its lawsuit in federal court to block the shipments to Livermore because DOE failed to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement on the plan as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. The group is represented by attorneys from Earthjustice.

On May 1, the state of So. Carolina filed its own lawsuit to block shipments of plutonium to SRS. So. Carolina's suit also demands a thorough environmental review before the plutonium is shipped. It further seeks assurances from DOE that any plutonium taken to SRS will not remain there forever.

Copies of the press release and complaint in Tri-Valley CAREs' lawsuit are available here on our website.

And the Director is...

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

Livermore Lab director Bruce Tarter announced that he would step down. Under the terms of its management contract, the University of Calif. would choose the new director with the concurrence of the Dept. of Energy. Pretty straightforward, right?

First, UC put together two committees, swore them to secrecy and proceeded to give short shrift to any advice from its own rank and file employees and the public. At 3 minutes per speaker, UC took public comment at a poorly-publicized meeting on a work day morning . (We focused on the need to choose a director with credentials and willingness to lead the Lab into civilian science initiatives.)

Then, UC got down to the brass tacks of making its selection. Not surprisingly, when news of the "short list" leaked, the finalists were: Michael Anastasio, manager in the weapons program at Livermore; Jeffrey Wadsworth, deputy director for science and technology at Livermore; Steve Koonin, Cal-Tech provost, some time Lab contractor and head of a NIF panel we successfully sued for conflict of interest; and, Raymond Juzaitis, manager in the core weapons program at Los Alamos Lab.

UC set up multiple teleconference sites. The presentation of the new Lab director was to take place in 30 minutes. Our Tara Dorabji was on her way there when the call came in. It was unraveling for UC. Yes, management had managed to mismanage the announcement of the new manager.

This is the scenario: UC chose Juzaitis, went to DC and returned, they thought, with DOE concurrence. Meanwhile, at least one Livermore Lab staffer was making phone calls, and it was he who pointed out that Juzaitis had been Wen Ho Lee's supervisor at Los Alamos. (No impropriety is alleged, only proximity.)

DOE got cold feet and pulled its approval. Then, hinting that he was laid low by Livermore, Juzaitis withdrew his candidacy.

Will UC install its number two choice? Will there be a sham process? Or, will UC embark on a search for a new kind of leader for Livermore? Stay tuned for the next installment of "As the Laboratory Turns."

Citizen's Alerts -- Calendar Section

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

Monday, May 13

Tri-Valley CAREs' board meeting
7:30 PM, Tri-Valley CAREs' offices
2582 Old First St., Livermore
(925) 846-3728 for details

Our Board of Directors meets quarterly and guides the group's organizational development and financial health.

Thursday, May 16
Tri-Valley CAREs meets
7:15 PM, Livermore Library
1000 So. Livermore Ave.
(925) 443-7148 for details

Inga will present on her work at the UN and Tara will update us on plans for a major rally in Livermore on Saturday, August 3 (to commemorate Hiroshima and protest the development of new nuclear weapons). Other agenda items include our entry in the upcoming Livermore Rodeo Parade, a discussion of what's going on at Livermore Lab - and more. Your participation is important. Join us!

Saturday, June 8
Join the Tri-Valley CAREs contingent
in the Livermore Rodeo Parade 10 AM, Downtown Livermore
(925) 443-7148 for details

We need volunteers of all ages to participate in our parade entry. We will dress up as social programs or needs (hospitals, schools, eldercare, family farmers, etc.) and hand out literature along the parade route showing how much of our tax money -- so very needed for social programs -- is going for new nuclear bombs and Star Wars schemes instead. Note: participating in the parade is a kid friendly event.

If you have an extra nurse's uniform, graduation cap & gown, cane or walker, baby carriage, park ranger's outfit or any other "uniform" or "prop" we can use in the parade, please call.

Phone our office before June 8 to get our entry number and line up spot. (As we go to press, the Parade officials had not yet decided the lineup order.)

Action Alert: The Yucca Mountain Online Petition

from Tri-Valley CAREs' May 2002 newsletter, Citizen's Watch
(Originally obtained from multiple organizations' web sites)

Tell Congress not to let the nuclear industry dictate dangerous radioactive waste policy!

Go to and sign an online petition opposing the Yucca Mountain nuclear dump.

Background: The nuclear industry and its friends in government want to transport 77,000 tons of deadly high-level radioactive waste through communities in 44 states to a dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Yucca Mountain is in an earthquake zone and directly above the only source of drinking water for local residents. The land is claimed by the Western Shoshone Nation under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley.

In Feb., the Bush administration officially recommended that the Yucca Mountain dump be built. The Governor of Nevada vetoed this recommendation, but resolutions have been introduced in Congress to override Nevada's veto. A vote is expected later this spring.

Many organizations are working together to stop the Yucca Mountain dump. In Nevada, call Citizen Alert at (702) 796-5662. In DC, contact the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability at (202) 833-4668.

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