Reading Room

Citizens Watch Newsletter October 2003

Let Us Count the Reasons to Celebrate

by Ann Seitz
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

The skies were clear and the sun shone mildly on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2003 for Tri-Valley CAREs' 20th Anniversary celebration at Carnegie Park in downtown Livermore.

The park was jumping to the tunes of Irish music ensemble, "Gabriel Duffin and Friends." Kyrie Hart fiddled, Jon Hart plucked and strummed the bass guitar and Gabriel played the electric piano. Toes were tapping, and Board members Don King and Janis Kate locked arms and began us dancing around an evergreen tree.

New and old friends ate BBQ together and participated in a "Rainbow of Stories" game designed to give each person a chance to offer a story and hear one in return. The prize for collecting all of the stories (and their associated ribbons) was a Tri-Valley CAREs anniversary emblem mug. Oscar Reyes, 8 years old, was the most dedicated player and grand prize winner of several mugs.

Marylia Kelley related some of Tri-Valley CAREs' greatest successes over the years. Then she introduced Natalia Mironova -- who brought us birthday greetings, news from Russia and t-shirts that proclaimed in Cyrillic, "No More Dirty Business," a reference to the health and environmental effects of nuclear activities in the Chelyabinsk region.

We cut the birthday cake, raised our glasses, toasted our successes and added our wishes for the future.

Please also see the enclosed flier with Tri-Valley CAREs' "top 20" successes over our 20 years.


Hands of Peace and Protest

by Tara Dorabji
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

More than a thousand people rallied and marched in Livermore on Sunday, August 10 to demand an end to the development of earth penetrating and mini-nuclear weapons. Research on these and other new and modified bombs is being conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

"Hands Around the Lab" was part of a national series of actions marking the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. In Livermore, participants marched to all four corners of the weapons facility sending a clear message to the Lab, Congress and the world: disarmament begins at home.

"People in this country are waking up to the fact we have not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," said Tara Dorabji, Tri-Valley CAREs' Outreach Coordinator. "Meanwhile, nuclear weapons of mass destruction are being designed right here in the Bay Area, by University of California scientists at Livermore Lab."

Event participants included toddlers, students, elders, clerics, long-time activists and nearly 100 U.S. military veterans. The rally and march was endorsed by over 80 groups and organized by the Livermore Conversion Project, California Peace Action, Western States Legal Foundation, Veterans for Peace, Buddhist Peace Fellowship and Tri-Valley CAREs.

Following speeches, poetry, art and music at William Payne Park, participants marched around the nearby Livermore Lab's one and a half square mile site. Every gate and corner of the weapons facility became infused with the positive power of peace. Ceremonies of many faith traditions were organized at key positions around the fence line. Buddhist, Christian, Native American, Wiccan, Muslim and Jewish ceremonies were conducted at the various gates to the Lab.

Willie LoneWolf, who led one of the ceremonies explained, "I am here to honor my mother earth, and to speak for her, to unify as one; so we can protect her for our future generations."

The chain of human hands was augmented by ribbons holding a thousand construction paper hands mailed in by symbolic participants. These festive, multi-color hands included each person's name and hometown. Cities throughout the country were represented.

As the warm August day came to a close, many of the ribboned hands were affixed to the fence. There they remained, waving in the twilight breeze with their resilient message of beauty, peace and hope.


Meet Staff Attorney Loulena Miles...

by Loulena Miles
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Discovering that spent radioactive fuel rods were being shipped within a half mile of my Bay Area home was a bit unnerving, I must admit. But going to a public hearing and discovering the shoddy and ineffective contingency plans surrounding the shipments was what really disturbed me and galvanized me to do something to stop it. The Department of Energy told me not to worry -- everything was safe. I knew that it was a statistical impossibility to guarantee that "everything was safe" even in the best of cases. Something didn't add up.

Lucky for me there were two local organizations, Western States Legal Foundation and Tri-Valley CAREs (TVC), that were there to present the risks associated with the project and the deficiencies of the study. Ever since that time I have greatly admired the quality, diligence and determination of the staff and volunteers at TVC. Though I was only in high school at the time, it became apparent to me that holding the government accountable while expanding grassroots democratic decision-making was one of the noblest paths that I could follow in my lifetime.

Since high school I have spent much of my time advocating on behalf of communities facing potentially severe environmental contamination. My first step was to co-found a community advocacy group "GroundSwell" challenging the nuclear waste transportation. I sat on the advisory committee at the Concord Naval Weapons Station focusing on the clean up of two Superfund sites. Over the years I also worked at Defensa de Mujeres (a battered women's shelter in Watsonville, California), California Indian Legal Services, the U.S. Justice Department's Environmental Enforcement Division, Disabled Student Services, and Western Farm Workers Association. I graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz in 1999 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.

Following college I received the Herbert Scoville Peace Fellowship and lived in Washington D.C. I worked closely with Tri-Valley CAREs during that time because I chose to spend my fellowship term at the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. ANA is a collective of grassroots groups living in the shadow of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex of which TVC is a member.

I received my J.D. in 2003 from Golden Gate University where I graduated with High Honors. I also received certificates of specialization in Environmental Law and Public Interest Law. In September of this year, I came to TVC as a New Voices Fellow in the capacity of Staff Attorney and Project Manager for a formal review of Livermore Lab's impact on community health and the environment.

The centerpiece of my work at Tri-Valley CAREs is analysis of the upcoming Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement on operations at the Livermore Lab. The SWEIS is to include a comprehensive environmental review of current and proposed activities (with the notable exception of Livermore Lab's proposed biowarfare agent facility, according to the Dept. of Energy's notice in the Federal Register).

The outcome of the SWEIS process will serve as a blueprint for the Lab's activities into the next decade. I feel that in this very volatile political climate, where the trend toward nuclear disarmament is being reversed, it is more important than ever to closely monitor U.S. nuclear and bio-warfare activities. In addition to analyzing the SWEIS process, I want to bring the activities of the U.S. government into compliance with its treaty obligations and domestic environmental laws.

I will also be participating in the recently-filed litigation and ongoing educational campaign to insist on environmental and proliferation analyses of the biowarfare agent facility at Livermore (see the Sept. 2003 edition of Citizen's Watch for details).


UC Science, We See Nukes: 100 Letters

by Tara Dorabji
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

On Oct. 2, Robert Dynes was sworn in as the President of the University of California. He enters his term as controversy surrounding UC management (and mismanagement) of the Livermore and Los Alamos nuclear weapons labs intensifies.

Dynes is no stranger to the weapons laboratories. He has been vice chair of the UC President's Council on the Department of Energy (DOE) National Labs and a member of the Los Alamos Lab Oversight Board. In addition, he has had a 25-year association with the DOE labs as an advisor and consultant to the physics research and weapons program.

To welcome Dynes, the Coalition to Demilitarize the University of California is organizing a "100 letters, 100 days" action as part of the UC Nuclear Free campaign. Over the first 100 days of his term, Dynes will receive personal letters from students and others expressing concern about the UC's ongoing collaboration with DOE, which enables the design and development of new nuclear weapons.

The Coalition to Demilitarize UC is using the "100 letters" action to demand that President Dynes work with the Regents of the University to:

  • Sponsor a series of objective and inclusive public hearings on UC management of the weapons labs, at least one on every campus. Such forums need to reach varied constituencies, including the UC students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities.

  • Hold a televised debate on the UC management of the nuclear weapons labs.

  • Stop the University of California from all collaborations with DOE and the Pentagon that develop or enable the development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

The Coalition to Demilitarize UC is comprised of students from five UC campuses who work in conjunction with Tri-Valley CAREs, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Western States Legal Foundation, Los Alamos Study Group and Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.

If you would like to write a letter, please contact Tara at taradorabji@yahoo.com, or call our office at (925) 443-7148.


Nuclear Weapons Budget: House Succeeds, Senate Fails, Feinstein Fights Hard

by Inga Olson
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

In an attempt to turn around the massive expansion of the country's nuclear weapons budget, House Democrats and Republicans alike voted to cut the 2004 nuclear weapons budget by $87.9 million. The cut would have eliminated some funds requested by the Department of Energy to create a huge new plutonium bomb core factory, speed up U.S. capability to resume full-scale underground nuclear testing and develop new nuclear weapon designs, such as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator and mini-nukes.

On Sept. 16, Senators Dianne Feinstein, Ted Kennedy and others introduced a similar amendment on the Floor of the Senate to cut $68 million in DOE weapons spending from the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, but lost when the amendment was tabled on a vote of 53-41. The loss was not unexpected, but it was disappointing. And the consequences are grave. Feinstein said, "the world will watch this. And the way in which the world will respond is with a new nuclear arms race."

Because the House and Senate bills have differences, they will be sent to a Conference Committee to be negotiated. The final bill will be sent to the floor of the House and Senate for a simple up or down vote and then on to the President for his signature. Stay tuned for the final outcome.


Biowar Research

by Tara Dorabji
from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Tri-Valley CAREs and Nuclear Watch of New Mexico recently filed a lawsuit in Federal Court to prevent the Dept. of Energy from operating biowarfare agent facilities without public input and a comprehensive analysis of the potential harm to public health and the environment. Do you want to help us obtain public hearings and an Environmental Impact Statement before Livermore Lab starts aerosolizing live anthrax and plague?

You can help raise public awareness and make your voice heard! Get involved!

CIRCULATE PETITIONS:

  • (1) Collect petitions demanding public hearings and a more thorough environmental review outside of supermarkets;

  • (2) Join Tri-Valley CAREs at the Livermore farmers' market on Thursdays; or

  • (3) Circulate petitions at your church or at other community events.

  • Petitions can be downloaded from our web site at www.trivalleycares.org or obtained from our office. Call us to join a signature gathering team with other Tri-Valley CAREs members.

    SPEAK TO YOUR CITY COUNCIL:

    We will ask area City Councils and county Boards of Supervisors to write letters to the Dept. of Energy. We want these agencies to demand that DOE hold public hearings before operating a biowarfare agent facility that could harm public health and the environment. Call us to find out when we will be attending the council meetings in your community; we want you to join us.

    WRITE A LETTER:

    Write a letter to the editor of your favorite newspaper supporting our lawsuit. Call us for talking points, or check our web site for a copy of the lawsuit complaint and an article from the Sept.-Oct. 2003 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

    INVITE A SPEAKER:

    Invite Tri-Valley CAREs to speak at events where we can raise awareness about the biowarfare research facility planned for Livermore Lab.


    Teach-In and Activist Convergence

    by Phil Klasky
    from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

    The War at Home and Abroad: the environmental and social justice consequences of war from Baghdad to the Bay Area
    Saturday, October 11th, 9:30 AM to 8 PM, St. Boniface Church, 133 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, near Civic Center BART

    Sliding scale donation requested for food, expenses
    Environmentalists Against War, www.envirosagainstwar.org

    Representative Barbara Lee delivers the keynote for a day-long event that will include informational and strategy workshops, break-out sessions for networking, the development of action strategies and on-going campaigns, food, and live music. Father Louis Vitale and Wilson Riles, Jr. will also address the plenary session.

    Hostilities in Iraq (and other targeted countries) continue as the US government pursues a policy of "endless warfare" with an astronomical military budget while social services such as health care, housing, employment and education suffer at home. Soldiers, civilians and natural resources are placed in harms way as a result of a misguided foreign policy. The environment at home and abroad is degraded from the manufacture, testing and deployment of weaponry. The U.S. is pursuing a new nuclear arms race and the production of weapons of mass destruction that serve only to destabilize. Civil liberties and environmental protections are being eroded under the guise of national security.

    Many organizations are addressing these issues with in-depth research, working strategies and campaigns. The spirit of resistance and the ability to define and promote alternatives to militarism lives on. The Teach-in and Activist Convergence will bring together many of these groups and allow the public to become informed and get involved.

    SCHEDULED WORKSHOPS

  • The Environmental and Social Justice Impacts of War at Home (Saul Bloom, ARC Ecology, John Lindsay Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Jorge Emmanuel, Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Safeguards, Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity)

  • The Environmental and Humanitarian Impacts of War Abroad (Ross Mirkarimi, Harvard Study on the effects of war in Iraq, Dan Fahey, on the effects of depleted uranium, Michelle Stevens, PhD, Eden Again)

  • The Environmental, Political and Social Justice Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, Space-based Weapons and the New Arms Race (Andrew Lichterman, Western States Legal Foundation, Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs, and the Coalition to Demilitarize the University of California)

  • No Blood or Oil: the Environmental and Social Justice Effects of Oil Addiction and Strategies for Sustainable Energy (Global Exchange, Henry Clark, West County Toxics Coalition and Project Underground)

  • The Erosion of Civil Liberties Under the Guise of National Security (Arnoldo Garcia, American Civil Liberties Union, Luis Garcia, National Lawyers Guild, Catherine Powell, Labor Archives)

  • The Costs of War: The Health, Environmental, Economic and Social Justice Effects of Militarism and the Military Budget (Dr. Robert Gould, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Mya Shone, Center for Independent Communication, Philip Klasky, Environmentalists Against War)

  • MUSIC -- FOOD -- STRATEGY BREAK OUT SESSIONS -- JOIN US


    Tri-Valley CAREs Wins News Award

    from Tri-Valley CAREs' October 2003 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

    An article that first appeared in Citizen's Watch, "Rule of Power or Rule of Law," by Nicole Deller and Marylia Kelley, has been voted by Project Censored as one of the top ten most important stories of the year not covered by the mainstream press. The article was picked up by the alternative newspaper, Connections, and from there it rose to fame if not fortune with the 200 voting researchers and faculty of Project Censored. The resulting book, "Censored 2004," is available from Seven Stories Press.

    Back to Citizen's Watch Index