Communities Against a Radioactive Environment
For immediate release: December 4, 2007
Livermore Weapons "Watchdog" to Address International Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference in Geneva
Will Advise Against Placement of Advanced Bio-warfare Agent Research at Nuclear Weapons Labs
for more information, contact:
Rob Schwartz, Staff Attorney, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148
Loulena Miles, Program 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 Rob Schwartz 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.
Mr. Schwartz will be in Geneva December 10th - 14th to present formal remarks to the Delegates to Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Meeting of State Parties during a special Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) session.
His 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.
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., Schwartz' statement warns.
While in Geneva, Schwartz 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.
Mr. Schwartz 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. He will highlight as well the community's victory against a plan by Livermore Lab 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 plan was defeated in 2006.
"U.S. bio-warfare agent research cannot continue to expand without oversight and accountability," noted Schwartz. "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."
Schwartz continued, "Advanced bio-warfare research should not be conducted in the super-secret rooms of nuclear weapons laboratories."