>"Watchdogging" Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
>Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment),
>a Livermore based group that "watchdogs" Lawrence Livermore
>National Laboratory, is celebrating 20 years of advocacy for peace,
>justice and the environment. Tri-Valley CAREs works to empower
>public participation in the government's super-secret programs that
>develop nuclear weapons. Tri-Valley CAREs is a founding member of
>Abolition 2000, Back from the Brink, a campaign to get nuclear
>weapons off of hair trigger, and the Alliance for Nuclear
>Accountability. Visit www.trivalleycares.org.
>Tara Dorabji, a founding member of the Coalition to Demilitarize the
>University of California, is the Outreach and Community Organizer at
>Tri-Valley CAREs and heads the youth and campus outreach effort.
>Tara will summarize the current and future weapons development
>programs being proposed for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
>including those for biowarfare research, describe her work to
>organize major rallies for global disarmament at the Lab, and let
>us know how to get involved locally.
Tara began her talk by pointing out how hypocritical it is for the USA to go after Iraq for weapons of mass destruction when we have huge stockpiles of the things, every one of which was designed by a University of California employee, many of whom are based in Livermore. Despite the end of the cold war, government spending on nuclear developments continues at a high pace. The 2004 budget calls for $6.38 billion on it, one and a half times the average spending on nuclear weapons during the cold war.
She then explained that the NPT which the USA signed in 1970 calls for us to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament..." Ignoring that makes the USA a violator of international law for continuing to develop them at LLNL. At the moment Congress is discussing funding new modified mini-nukes. Tara asked us to call our Congresspersons at (202) 224-3121 and demand the cut this funding from the budget.
Livermore Lab is also slated to construct a biowarfare lab where agents like anthrax and bubonic plague will be studied for their battlefield potential. They will probably be genetically engineered and aerosolized before being used to kill rats and mice. Tri-Valley CAREs is concerned that they are doing this without public hearings. A NRDC staff scientist did a study of what would happen if 500 grams of Anthrax spores got released by damage to the lab. They projected that as many as 9000 people will die, and 200,000 would be exposed to the disease.
Even without new bio-warfare developments to worry about, Livermore has experienced considerable problems as a result of being home to the Nuclear Labs. At least a million curies of air born radiation have been recorded, about what Hiroshima experienced during WWII when the atom bomb was dropped there. Residuals of this continue in the air, water and soil of the place. Plutonium has been found in the towns playgrounds. Children of Livermore are six times more likely to develop malignant melanoma than others living outside the area.
Tara finished her talk with two appeals. Politically, she urged us to write letters opposing nuclear weapons development to our elected officials and the new President of the Regents of UC, Robert Dynes. Then she explained that she is looking for employers that want to hire College Graduates, so she can table with the list at college recruiting job fairs, telling people "these are better places to begin your careers than those immoral weapons labs." If you have any leads on such places, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .