Communities Against a Radioactive Environment
For immediate release: November 16, 2006
Livermore Weapons "Watchdog" To Address International Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference In Geneva
Group's Staff Attorney Will Advise States Parties to the Bio-Weapons Treaty Against Placement of Advanced Bio-warfare Agent Research at Nuclear Weapons Labs
for more information, contact:
Loulena Miles, Staff Attorney, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148
Marylia Kelley, Executive Director, Tri-Valley CAREs (925) 443-7148
Tri-Valley CAREs, the Livermore-based "watchdog" that monitors the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will send its Staff Attorney to the UN Palais de Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to address the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), the international treaty banning bio-weapons that the U.S. signed in 1972.
The group's Staff Attorney, Loulena Miles, will be in Geneva November 20 through 23 to present formal remarks to the Delegates to Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention five year Review Conference during a special Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) session.
Ms. Miles' speech will focus on the dangers inherent in recent moves by the United States to collocate advanced bio-warfare research within classified nuclear weapons laboratories, including at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory main site in Livermore, California and Site 300 in nearby Tracy.
The Tri-Valley CAREs Staff Attorney will call upon all nuclear weapons states to geographically segregate all advanced biological warfare agent research from classified nuclear weapons facilities. This can be effectively accomplished as a voluntary "confidence building measure" to the BWC but action must be taken now, before any such facilities are opened in the U.S., Miles' statement warns.
While in Geneva, Miles will also meet individually with delegates to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and with colleague non-governmental organizations to discuss how to best strengthen the Convention and ensure its continued existence.
Ms. Miles will bring documents detailing Livermore Lab's planned expansion into bio-weapon agent research, including attempts to open a Bio-safety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility in Livermore. She will highlight as well Livermore Lab's plan to house one of the world's largest maximum containment (BSL-4) biodefense labs in the world at its high explosives testing range in Tracy. That facility would be one-half million square feet, approximately the size of 5 Wal-Mart stores, and would cost an estimated half a billion dollars to construct.
"U.S. bio-warfare agent research cannot continue to expand without oversight and accountability," noted Miles. "I am going to Geneva to call upon the United States and all nuclear weapons states to send the right signal to the rest of the world; specifically that they will be accountable and transparent - as all states should be."
Miles continued, "Advanced bio-warfare research should not be conducted in the super-secret rooms of nuclear weapons laboratories. I will call upon the nuclear weapons states to foreswear collocation of 'bugs and bombs' as a confidence building measure within the treaty regime."
Tri-Valley CAREs is located in Livermore, California and has monitored activities at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other locations in the nuclear weapons complex since 1983. The organization is currently working with a network of NGO's throughout the United States to advocate against the government's problematic "biodefense building boom" in which the U.S. is funding dozens of new advanced biodefense facilities with no overarching needs assessment and little coordinated oversight or safeguards.