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Summer 2010 Citizen's Watch Newsletter

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Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference Report Out

by Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2010 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Tri-Valley CAREs' Executive Director Marylia Kelley and long-time member Joanne Dean-Freemire spent the early part of May 2010 at the UN in New York City, participating at the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference (held every 5 years). The NPT remains the "cornerstone" of international disarmament and nonproliferation efforts, and this 2010 conference was particularly important following the widely acknowledged failure to achieve progress toward disarmament goals at the 2005 review.

In the days before the 2010 review conference opened, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world gathered for their own conference to share information and strategies -- both for the pending review conference and, more broadly, for global disarmament. Highlights of the NGO conference included amazing plenary meetings and workshops and a keynote speech by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

On May 1, Marylia Kelley presented at the NGO conference at a panel on "Modernization of Nuclear Weapons Complexes." Marylia and Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico addressed the contradiction between the Obama Administration's stated nuclear disarmament goals and its planned build up of the U.S.nuclear weapons budget and weapons production complex. They were joined by French physicist Dominique Lalanne, who outlined the steps France is taking to modernize its weapons complex and arsenal.

On Sunday, May 2, the NGO conference was followed by a spirited rally of 10,000 to 25,000 participants from the U.S. and around the world, including several thousand from Japan. All were united by the theme, "For a Nuclear Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World." Joanne and Marylia marched with a Tri-Valley CAREs banner to represent all of our members.

Tri-Valley CAREs has NGO accreditation at the UN, and, so, bright and early Monday morning, May 3, Joanne and Marylia received their badges and began their efforts to observe the NPT proceedings, speak with various nations' delegations, and ultimately, influence the review conference to ensure progress toward disarmament.

It was a whirlwind first week. Each morning, Marylia participated in a roundtable discussion group, hosted by Abolition 2000. The roundtables focused on NPT Article 6 disarmament obligations, the problematic Article 4(stating an "inalienable right" to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes), getting U.S. nuclear bombs out of Europe, negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Convention with a time-bound framework for eliminating arsenals(missing in Article 6), and more.

Following the roundtables, the Reaching Critical Will project organized 9 AM sessions with diplomats, including from Ireland, Egypt, and the U.S. These sessions provided for an exceptional level of dialogue between Ambassadors and key staff and the NGO community.

Additionally, each day, Marylia and Joanne attended NPT review conference proceedings on the floor of the UN, participated in sessions set up by various countries (including by Russia and the U.S.), and met one-on-one with states parties to the NPT.

In numerous venues, your Tri-Valley CAREs team addressed the incompatibility of revitalizing the U.S. infrastructure to produce new and modified nuclear weapons and NPT compliance. Many countries' Ambassadors and diplomats were aware of the issue. The non-aligned movement countries addressed it directly, while others said they would discuss it with the U.S. in other venues.

The NPT review conference culminated in a "Final Document" with 2 parts; one a consensus "action plan" (including on implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East and affirming, with added detail, the 13 practical steps to disarmament agreed to in 2000), and the other a review of the "operation of the treaty." In our view, the Final Document reflects the positive influence of the NGOs. However, the document also displays the tensions brought by various states parties (including but not limited to the U.S.) that hinder disarmament.

Given that the 2005 review broke down and did not result in any consensus document, this 2010 document is a positive sign. However, whether the agreed to "action plan" will result in concrete action toward nuclear disarmament remains to be seen. Stay tuned!

The Power of Your Presence August 6

by Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2010 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

65 years ago, at 8:15 AM local time on August 6, the U.S. dropped a one-stage uranium bomb on the people of Hiroshima, unleashing unimaginable horror in the form of heat, blast, intense light that illuminated one's bones and radiation. Three days later, on August 9, a crude plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki with the same result.

An estimated 220,000 men, women and children died in those two cities by the end of 1945. And, the atomic bombs continued to kill as thousands more succumbed to the lingering effects of radiation damage in the years that followed.

This August 6, 2010, we invite all people who cherish peace and justice to come to the Livermore Lab for a solemn remembrance of the past - and a joyous rededication to the task of achieving a nuclear weapons-free future for all.

We will honor the suffering of those who have died, and those who have lived with debilitating illness and terrible scars, visible and invisible. We will give voice to the cry of the Hibakusha (survivors): "Never Again."

We choose to do this at Livermore Lab, one of two locations that has designed every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, and where the weapons budget is increasing to enable future "improvements" to nuclear bombs. Livermore Lab is one of the sites for which the Administration is requesting a 14% increase in money in 2011 for nuclear weapons.

We will use the power of our presence at Livermore and lift our voices to demand that the U.S. implement its nuclear disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We will call on Congress to cut the funding for "new and modified" nuclear bombs, and to fund, instead, the irreversible dismantlement of U.S. nuclear warheads and the immediate cleanup of toxic and radioactive wastes at Livermore Lab and other locations contaminated by nuclear weapons.

This year we have chosen the theme: "65 Years After Hiroshima: It's Time to RETIRE the Bomb." The program will begin at 8 AM at the corner of Vasco Road and Patterson Pass Road (the northwest corner of Livermore Lab) with musicians and speakers, including keynote speaker, Norman Solomon. At 8:15 AM, we will observe a moment of silence when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Following the program, at about 9 AM, we will march the short distance to the Livermore Lab west gate where those who choose will nonviolently risk arrest. (See flier.)

Print Bites: All the News that Fits to Print

by Marylia Kelley and Scott Yundt from Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2010 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

* Sick Worker News. Our staff attorney, Scott Yundt, attended 2 "town hall" meetings held by the Dept. of Labor to announce a rule change that expands the number of Livermore Lab workers eligible for compensation under the federal program for atomic workers made ill by on the job exposures. The rule change simplifies the application process and now includes workers whether or not they were issued dosimeters. While this is good news, many bureaucratic hurdles remain. Come to the sick worker support group on Aug. 25. Call Scott at (925) 443-7148 to RSVP.

* Thanks Go to Our Reps. Four Members of Congress from the Bay Area recently sent a letter to Dept. of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu in support of using stimulus funds to accelerate the cleanup of contaminated materials at both Lawrence Livermore Lab and Lawrence Berkeley. Our thanks go out to: John Garamendi (D-Livermore), Jerry McNerney (D-Tracy), Barbara Lee (D-Berkeley) and George Miller (D-Concord). Tri-Valley CAREs has long been advocating for the money needed to address the Superfund cleanup at Livermore Lab's main site and its Site 300 high explosives testing range. No final word back from Secretary Chu yet on whether any stimulus funds will be allocated to these sites. Join us on Sept. 30 for a public meeting and check our website for updates.

* "Modernization" Costs Unknown. A new report by the Gov't Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concludes that the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration cannot accurately identify the total costs of maintaining and operating the nuclear weapons complex because of differences in sites' cost accounting practices. Similarly, NNSA cannot, with any specificity, justify the increased funding it has requested from Congress for 2011 to "modernize" the nuclear weapons complex and arsenal. Tri-Valley CAREs to Congress: Just say no to NNSA on weapons complex "modernization."

* New Nuclear Bombs. While it cannot accurately justify its funding, the DOE NNSA is nonetheless not at all embarrassed about asking Congress to "reprogram" $40 million in 2010 money so that the agency can speed up a study of how to "mix and match" designs to come up with a new, "modified" B61-12 nuclear bomb for deployment in Europe (even as more European nations call on the U.S. to withdraw these nukes and NATO debates changing its policy on them). This funding decision will be made by the armed services and appropriations committees. Tri-Valley CAREs recommends here, too: Just say no to NNSA.

* Nuclear Numbers Declassified. During the Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.S. released newly declassified information on the number of weapons in its nuclear arsenal. The number stands at 5,113 warheads, not counting the 4,400 or so (estimated) that have been retired but not yet dismantled. While the newly declassified gov't fact sheet does not include the number of retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, it does include a chart of annual dismantlement rates since 1994. As Tri-Valley CAREs had deduced from unclassified sources, those rates topped 1,000/yr for most of the mid to late 1990s then fell to the paltry low hundreds during most of the George W. Bush years. Notable, too, the 2009 dismantlement number is only 356. Tri-Valley CAREs says: Cut the "modernization" of nuclear weapons and spend some of that money on their irreversible dismantlement!

Be Strategic with Tri-Valley CAREs (RSVP Required)

From Tri-Valley CAREs' summer 2010 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Strategic Planning Retreat

Date: Saturday, August 14

Time: 10 AM to 4 PM. Bring something to share for a potluck lunch.

Place: United Christian Church, 1886 College Ave., Livermore

Who Should Participate? If you are a Tri-Valley CAREs member, supporter, volunteer, staff or board member, the answer is "you." If you want to give peace a strategy - and work with us to carry it out - we welcome your participation.

What Do You Need To Do? First, RSVP. We will send you a packet with guidance on how to do strategic planning, the agenda for the retreat, and other relevant information.

The Setting: UCC is a relaxing place in which to contemplate a "green vision" for Livermore Lab and a nuclear weapons free world for future generations. Come nurture your activist spirit and help plan the best possible path for Tri-Valley CAREs in the coming year.

RSVP required * Space is limited * Call or email (925) 443-7148,marylia@trivalleycares.org

Alerts 4 U

by Marylia Kelley from Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2010 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

Thursday, July 15

Tri-Valley CAREs Meets

7:30 PM, Livermore Library

1188 So. Livermore Ave.

(925) 443-7148 for details

We meet on the third Thursday of the month. Together, we are creating positive change in our community and in our world. Our meetings are a great place to get the latest information on nuclear weapons, waste and cleanup. Our July 15 meeting will include plans for the premiere of "Countdown to Zero," the August 6 action, our strategic planning retreat - and more. And, circle your calendar for our August meeting on 8/19.

Fri., July 30 & Sat., July 31

"Countdown to Zero" premiers

5:00 PM, Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero, Promenade, SF & 7:30 PM, Shattuck Cinema, 2230 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

(925) 443-7148 for details

We are arranging for FREE tickets. Contact us to reserve your tickets ASAP. This movie is produced by Lawrence Bender of "An Inconvenient Truth" fame. (See the enclosed flier for more information.)

Friday, August 6

"65 Years After Hiroshima: It's Time to RETIRE the Bomb" Rally and action at Livermore Lab

8 AM, Vasco Rd & Patterson Pass Rd

Program includes spoken word artist Kayla Marin, keynote speaker Norman Solomon, musician Daniel Zwickel, Taiko Drummers, and more. Following the rally will be a short march to the Livermore Lab west gate where those who choose may nonviolently risk arrest.

Wednesday, August 25

Sick Worker Support Group meets

10 AM - Noon, Livermore main Library

1188 So. Livermore Ave.

Contact:(925) 443-7148 for details

This group is for Livermore Lab, Sandia, Livermore and other workers made ill by on the job exposures. It is also for family members. This meeting is open to all, and aims to assist, in particular, those who have filed claims under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act as well as those who are considering filing a claim and those whose claims have been approved or denied. The meetings are a place where workers and their family members can share information and help each other. The meetings are facilitated by staff attorney Scott Yundt.

Thursday, September 30

Toxics, Radiation, Superfund & the Lab

Community Meeting and "Field Trip"

7 PM - 8:30 PM, 749 Hazel St., Livermore

(925) 443-7148 for details

Mark the date. This meeting will take place at Janis Kate's home, near the off-site toxic waste plume emanating from Livermore Lab. The keynote speaker will be environmental scientist Peter Strauss, who serves as Tri-Valley CAREs' advisor on the Superfund cleanup. Come and learn about the contaminants, the off-site plume, the proposed cleanup options, the Superfund law, and what you can do to help win justice for the people of Livermore and our environment. At the end of the meeting we will offer a short "field trip" to nearby Big Trees Park where you can see one of Livermore Lab's contaminant pumping wells, several of the Lab's monitoring wells and two proposed pipeline routes for contaminated groundwater.

Disarmament Summer in NM

This summer, Think Outside the Bomb, the largest youth-led nuclear abolition network in the US, is organizing a global convergence near the Los Alamos National Lab. TOTB is committed to collective liberation, a sustainable future, and an end to the cycle of nuclear violence. Disarmament summer is being conducted in partnership with diverse groups in NM whose members are affected by nuclear weapons, uranium mining and other violations to their health and environment. Check the TOTB website. And, if you are a youth (under 30), who is active with our group and would like to represent Tri-Valley CAREs at this event, contact marylia@trivalleycares.org.

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