DER SPIEGEL on: “The Threat from Tehran”

Traprock homepage

“But Iran’s nuclear program may have already taken a decisive step in the direction of nuclear weapons in recent weeks. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, the president has placed himself at the head of a new “Control Center for Nuclear Issues,” which is managed by his friends, the Revolutionary Guards. This enables Ahmadinejad to direct all nuclear developments himself. With intelligence official Farhad Rahbar, who manages the government’s budget, as its deputy director, the organization has unlimited financial resources.

The organization’s objective, according to an intelligence document, is to “finally move things along.”‘

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,382457-2,00.html

Bells for 100,000, 100,000 Signatures! Protest at Copley, Saturday: Nukes Conference, DC Rally, Boston Rally, In Northampton: Nonviolent Peaceforces – How? + Lui Collins, Deerfield

“NO one should die for a lie!”
Cindy Sheehan insists, in front of the White House.
Please raise your voice with hers.

IN THIS ISSUE
—————
1. Bells for 100,000 dead in Iraq, Greenfld, Noon, Friday
2. 100,000 Signatures? MA
Download any hour, any night,
http://www.homefromiraqnow.org
3. Protest Fund-raiser at Copley Plaza Friday, Boston, 5pm
4. Ibdaa, Palestinian dancers at U-Mass Bowker, 7:30

All on Saturday, Oct. 29:
A crucial Nukes Conference, Brattleboro, 8-5
Rally, Lafayette Park, Washington, DC, 2pm
March and Rally, Boston Common, 11am
Nonviolent Peaceforces – How? 10-5, Northampton
Witness for Peace New England, Lui Collins, Deerfld
———————————————————

1. BELLS ringing 100,000 times across the country.

Friday we continue a nation-wide response to a call by Kathy Kelly of the
newly formed group, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and the British group,
Justice not Vengeance. All week, we have rung bells throughout the Valley
(Springfield, Amherst, Holyoke, Northampton) to mourn the 100,000 dead in
Iraq. Yet few in the US have heard these numbers.

If you would like to join a small procession of solemn neighbors,
please meet in front of Green Field’s Market by noon Friday. Wear black if
you like. At noon we will walk to All Souls Church 399 Mail Street where Jon
Rehmus is ringing 12-12:10, and then to St. James Episcopal Church, on
Federal Street where Bill Knipe is ringing approximately 12:10-12:20. We
proceed to the ‘Swords into Ploughshares” sculpture at the Veterans Memorial
on Main Street to lay flowers, where you may share thoughts or brief
readings. Second Congregational Church will ring bells from 12:30-12:40.

Wherever you are, these are times to stand and speak, to help end
the spiral of violence. The Lancet research report and commentary published
October 29, 2004, which estimated the numbers dead in Iraq, is at:
http://www.thelancet.com

Further resources for a weekend vigil at:
http://iraqmortality.org

2. SIGN IT ?? — SEND IT !!
100,000 SIGNATURES NEEDED to BRING THE MA. GUARD HOME –

MA is the first state to be working on a statewide ballot initiative to
bring the Guard home! Please print out copies of the petition, sign it and
send it in. If you pass copies on to friends and collect signatures, yee-ha!
Only three weeks to go! Organizers in Brookline ask that we mail in
signatures WEEKLY, so that we can get some idea of where we’re at,
statewide. The address is right on the front of the petition. Other simple
steps:
1. Sign your name LEGIBLY, or it won’t count.
2. Write your street address (and apt.#), not PO box.
3. Each town needs it’s own page.
4. Front and back must appear on the same page to be valid.
5. The printed copy must be perfectly clear.
6. No other notes or extraneous marks on the page.

On the street, now pressure–many people are eager to sign, others might
sign the petition and still have until next November to decide how they’ll
vote. Thanks Steve and the Montague Reporter for a letter on this! The
petition can be downloaded from http://www.homefromiraqnow.org

3. Demonstration in Boston, Friday, Oct. 28
Protest at the Copley Plaza, where Hillary Clinton and other women who are
members of Congress are trying to raise money. We’ll be raising our voices,
saying, “Want my vote? END THE WAR!” Military Families Speak Out want
their family members home! Iraqis want their country back. Meet at 5 pm at
Copley Square, Friday. Tell a Boston friend?

4. IBDAA, Palestinian Dance Troupe
will be dancing tonight at Bowker Auditorium, Umass, near the main parking
garage. Friday, October 28, 2005, 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.
Donations encouraged.

DeAnne Riddle, of the Amherst Middel East Education Committee writes, “Last
night I had 5 of the IBDAA dancers stay at my house just off the plane from
Amman. They are between the ages of 10 and 14, wide-eyed, full of
energy and so excited. The IBDAA dancers capture the energy of youth and
direct it in a positive direction. They raise money for other activities at
the IBDAA cultural center, where they have classes in crafts, arts, computer
to help people from the refugee camp earn a living and express themselves in
creative ways. I hope you can come.”

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2005
———————————–
FIVE important events SATURDAY
in a Neighbors’ Network to End War:

***** Most importantly:

The New England Coalition (on nuclear pollution) has five terrific experts
coming to the School for International Training (S.I.T.) in Brattleboro this
Saturday from 8-5. Choose from ten sessions!
Take US 91 to Exit 3, turn right onto Putney Road and follow the signs, to
help prevent a melt-down.
David Lochbaum,
Marvin Resnikiv,
Judith Johnsrud,
Paul Blanch,
+ Ray Shadis !
Show them you care. Call now? 802-257-0036
Tell them what time you’ll arrive. Rub shoulders with people who could save
us from terrible times at New England’s oldest reactor, but only if
students, elders, farmers, teachers, preachers, nurses, clerks and lawyers
will MOBILIZE. What excuse would be good enough for not saving ourselves
from a melt-down? But >NO REGRETS< if we all do what we CAN, it will be enough. More on the conference presenters below. There's a reduced rate for students! (In quiet brown letters see the "Nuclear Institute Registration") http://www.necnp.org ALSO< Sally Shaw of Gill has found slimy deals behind the scenes, by reading the Federal Register. Read about the request for a permanent exemption from steam leakage test. She fears that the entire public process with the NRC is a smoke screen. 2500 visitors daily can find her comments at: http://www.traprockpeace.org Oct 29 *****LAFAYETTE PARK, WASHINGTON, DC, 2pm World Can't Wait is mobilizing for a 2pm, permitted rally this Saturday in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, DC. What a week to speak up with Cindy Sheehan and call for an end to the lies. See http://www.worldcantwait.org Oct 29 *****Rally in Boston Organizers predict as many as 10,000 may come to the Boston Common. Charles Peterson, a Holyoke Community College member of the Campus Antiwar Network will be one of the speakers. See http://www.oct29.org SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Cindy Sheehan, Felix Arroyo, Charles Peterson (Holyoke Community College), Bromley Heath Workers, Diane Dujon (Welfare Rights), Somerville 5 Speaker, USWA Local 8751 School Bus Driver's Union. Amee Chew (Reproductive Rights), Dario Zapata (Colombia), Bolivarian Circle, Jose Morales (Puerto Rico), Joe Turcotte (Iraq Veterans Against the War), Ahmed Shawki (Nat'l Council of Arab Americans and International Socialist Review), Nation of Islam, Socialist Alternative, New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti, Khury Petersen-Smith (Campus Antiwar Network), Military Families Speak Out, Muslim American Association, Palestine Speaker, Klare Allen on the Bio Weapons Lab to keep out of Roxbury, Trina Jackson, Chinese Progressive Association, with nearly 20 PERFORMERS, including the Palestinian Dance Troupe! Oct 29 ***** Imaging a World with Nonviolent Peaceforces instead of Armies! How do we Get There? 10 1m - 5 pm Seelye Hall, Smith College Northampton For late registration call Ruth Anderson-Zabre 413 774-5418. More details on the Traprock calendar for Oct. 29. Oct 29 ***** 7pm Saturday, singer-songwriter Lui Collins performs in a benefit concert at Woolman Hill for the fabulous New England retreat of Witness for Peace. ---------------------------------------------------------- MORE ON THE CRUCIAL CONFERENCE IN BRATTLEBORO: ---------------------------------------------------------- Reactor Basics – David Lochbaum - Introduction to the design and operation of boiling water reactors, and safety systems. Focus is on the Vermont Yankee reactor. – Periods One and Three Reactor and Waste Site Security in an Age of Terrorism – David Lochbaum - Reactors, spent nuclear fuel, sabotage and acts of terror. Common sense approach to evaluating risks and applying safeguards. – Periods Two and Four Dry Cask Nuclear Waste Storage and Transportation – Dr. Marvin Resnikoff - Short and long term risks of dry cask nuclear waste storage and transportation - Implications of interim and permanent storage – Periods One and Three Radiation Basics – Dr. Marvin Resnikoff - An introduction to ionizing radiation fundamentals distinguishing sources and types of radiation and radiation exposure. Covers radiation measurement, calculation of radiation “dose” and radiation terminology. – Periods Two and Four Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation - Dr. Judith Johnsrud - An introduction to the history of radiation exposure regulation and research; culminating in the latest state-of-the-art single cell and DNA radiation impact research. Radiation protection theories and principles. – Periods One and Three Nuclear Geography - Dr. Judith Johnsrud - The nuclear industry-whole picture: where did it come from, why is it here, and where is it headed? Understanding the impacts of the nuclear industry, locally, nationally, and globally. Nuclear “culture” and influence. – Periods Two and Four Nuclear Regulation - Paul Blanch - Introduction to how regulation of the nuclear industry is supposed to work, contrasted with the state of nuclear regulation today. Discussion of NRC enforcement discretion. Addresses the questions of why NRC can’t seem to learn, why NRC’s failure to regulate may be pushing us toward another nuclear accident, and what citizens can do about it. – Periods Two and Four Industry and Opposition Propaganda - Raymond Shadis - Both sides now. Light-hearted, but informative look at common methods of propaganda using nuclear and coal electric generating industry (and opposition) sources and examples. Includes discussion of the content of recent Entergy Nuclear Vermont focus groups. - Periods One and Three Extended power Uprate – Raymond Shadis - How old reactors, including Vermont Yankee, are being altered to burn up to twenty percent more nuclear fuel. Discussion of risks; the Entergy extended power uprate case now before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board and still before the Vermont Public Service Board on issues such as the Independent Engineering Assessment. – Periods Two and Four 8:00 - 8:30 Gathering – Coffee and Light Refreshments 8: 30 - 8:35 Welcome – Diana Sidebotham, NEC President 8:35 - 8:45 Orientation - Joseph Bish, Outreach Coordinator 8:45 - 10:15 Period One 10:30 -Noon Period Two Noon - 12:45 Lunch, included with pre-registration, 12:45 -1:45 Plenary Session* 1:45 -3:15 Period Three 3:30 -5:00 Period Four *Nuclear Emergency Preparedness (a plenary session community conversation) – New England Coalition will have, in advance, presented institute participants with a short white paper containing nuclear emergency preparedness considerations and recommendations for affected citizens, communities, first-responders, educators, and legislators. The paper is intended to serve as an introduction and a focus for mid-day plenary discussion. Institute registration fee of $35 covers enrollment in up to four courses and the plenary session. If you do not have a registration form, please go to the New England Coalition website: www.necnp.org to down load one or you may call the New England Coalition office at 802-257-0336. necnp@necnp.org New England Coalition Post Office Box 545, Brattleboro, Vermont 05302 “The World that we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them.” -- Albert Einstein --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Coming soon: SAVE THE DATE for "Surviving the Vernon Reactor: Health is a Human Right!" Conference proposed at GCC, Saturday Dec. 10, 1-6 pm Keynote speaker Ernest Sternglass can return to the area! Lots of photos to come on the Campus Antiwar Network Conference in Berkeley. Thanks, Charlie! http://www.traprockpeace.org Hugs, Sunny Miller, 413 773-7427 Thank you for sharing resources in a Neighbors Network to End War.

Student antiwar activists chart way forward

Student antiwar activists chart way forward
By Michael Smith | October 28, 2005 |

Reprinted with the kind permission of Socialist Worker
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/563/563_11_CAN.shtml

BERKELEY, Calif.–More than 650 college and high school students, parents and community activists from across the country participated in this past weekend’s On the Frontlines counter-recruitment conference at the University of California-Berkeley.

Cosponsored by the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) and Military Out of Our Schools-Bay Area, the conference reflected both the recent reawakening of the antiwar movement and the increased role of counter-recruitment in that movement.

The conference brought together community organizers with years of experience in educating youth about alternatives to military service; CAN activists at the heart of the counter-recruitment movement on college campuses nationwide; and high school students interested in getting involved in or starting counter-recruitment activities on their campuses.

The event also served as the annual CAN national conference, bringing together delegates from nearly 40 CAN chapters. The delegates voted to make “College not combat, troops out now!” the central slogan for CAN over the coming year, reflecting political growth for an organization that previously had been divided over the issue of when U.S. troops should leave Iraq.

CAN adopted several proposals for its work over the coming year, including a national day of action on December 6, which coincides with the Supreme Court hearing of Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights v. Rumsfeld, the case that will decide whether it is unconstitutional for the government to withhold federal funds to universities that kick out military recruiters.

John Robinson, an activist with the just-formed CAN chapter at the historically Black school of Hampton University in Virginia, said he plans on making it to D.C. for the December 6 protest. “There’s so much youthful energy here at the conference,” he said. “I really see CAN leading the antiwar movement through counter-recruitment.”

In addition, plans include a May 4 commemoration of the 1970 massacre at Kent State (where a CAN chapter was newly formed), a national CAN newspaper, sending delegates to the January World Social Forum in Venezuela and a spring campaign for CAN chapters to “adopt” a local high school and help start a CAN chapter and counter-recruitment movement there.

Workshops included discussions of broad political issues, such as whether U.S. troops should leave Iraq immediately and the nature of the “war on terror,” as well as practical organizing–such as starting a CAN chapter and strengthening the ties between schools taking part in the counter-recruitment movement.

One of the central themes of the conference was defending military resisters–soldiers such as Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman and Camilo Mejía–who refuse to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan. As a part of that effort, CAN decided to organize a speaking tour of war resisters in the spring on college campuses.

Paredes, who was a featured speaker at the conference, remarked that having a strong movement makes it easier for current members of the military to resist. “Counter-recruitment has to lead the movement,” said Paredes. “It’s a confidence booster because it’s a tangible act, it’s attainable. Having the conscientious objectors here, this is why we do the counter-recruitment work. It gives you something to fight for.”

Given the increased targeting of student activists across the country by campus administrators from San Francisco State University to Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts, a proposal was adopted to create a nationwide anti-repression working group.

The group will give CAN activists a chance to share ideas and strategies for defending students targeted by their universities as well as organize national actions to combat repression. “It’s been really inspiring coming here to Berkeley and seeing all the support,” said Charles Peterson, a Holyoke student attacked by cops for protesting recruiters. “It makes it much easier to go back to school and continue the fight.”

Many of the conference attendees said that, since this past summer, the opportunities for CAN around counter-recruitment, and in building the antiwar movement generally, have improved significantly. There was a definite sense that the conference was the first step in building CAN into the premier student antiwar organization in the country. “This is a do-or-die time,” said Chris Schwartz, a member of CAN from the University of Northern Iowa. “There’s a momentum that’s getting ready to explode, and we need to capture the moment or else it will pass us by.”

###

The latest issue of Socialist Worker is available at SW Online:
http://www.socialistworker.org

To see a full list of stories from this issue, go to:
http://www.socialistworker.org/Storylist.shtml

________

Highlights from the latest issue of Socialist Worker…

MAIMED IN BUSH’S WAR FOR EMPIRE
U.S. officials have tried to downplay the reporting of deaths and injuries
suffered by U.S. soldiers in Iraq–as part of an elaborate attempt to manage
public opinion.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_05_Maimed.shtml

HOW POLICE SPARKED VIOLENCE AT TOLEDO ANTI-NAZI PROTEST
Officials in Toledo, Ohio, imposed a state of a state of emergency and an
all-night curfew following clashes between police and anti-Nazi protesters.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_12_Toledo.shtml

WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL
A look at the horrors of illegal abortion in the years before Roe v. Wade
shows that women’s lives are at stake in the right wing’s crusade to end the
right to choose.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_06_Abortion.shtml

WHAT THE U.S. “WAR ON TERROR” IS REALLY ABOUT
Invoking the “war on terror” hasn’t made the occupation of Iraq more
popular. Yet the White House has preserved a bipartisan consensus in favor
of aggressive use of military force.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_03_WarOnTerror.shtml

THE RACE TO EXECUTE STAN TOOKIE WILLIAMS
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Stanley Tookie Williams’ appeal,
clearing the way for the state of California to try to execute its most
famous death row prisoner.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_02_StanWilliams.shtml

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RED CROSS
For many people, the American Red Cross is the very embodiment of
lifesaving. But the real story of the organization isn’t nearly as noble and
humanitarian as the image.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_04_RedCross.shtml

________

2005 Socialist Conferences:
WAR, POVERTY, RACISM…TIME FOR AN ALTERNATIVE
Join SW Online for these one-day conferences, held in cities around the
country. In plenary panel discussions and dozens of workshops, these
meetings will address today’s burning issues and struggles, and look ahead
to the fight for a new society–a socialist society built to meet human
needs, from New Orleans to Baghdad.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | October 29 | East Los Angeles

MIDWEST | November 5 | Chicago

NORTHEAST | November 5 | New York City

NORTHWEST | November 5 | Seattle

TEXAS | November 5 | Austin, Texas

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA | November 19 | Berkeley, Calif.

For more information and details on the conferences, go to:
http://www.socialistworker.org/WhatOn.shtml

________

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NRC gives VT Yankee the hot gas, then turns off their radar guns.

NRC gives VT Yankee the hot gas, then turns off their radar guns.

By Sally Shaw, October 26, 2005

The VT Yankee Nuclear Reactor Uprate may have deleterious effects on public health, but the public may never know about them. On Oct. 21, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the agency had completed its draft review of Vermont Yankee’s plan to increase its power output, but would not make it public yet. Instead, the so-called safety evaluation would first be sent to Vermont Yankee owner Entergy Nuclear to allow the company to request which parts of the report it wants kept from public view. NRC grants Entergy this courtesy due to so-called proprietary information in the engineering analyses that went into the report. A redacted report MAY be available before the November 15 public hearing in Brattleboro (at the Quality Inn on November 15 & 16) before the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safety (a quasi-NRC board), but then again there is no deadline for Entergy to return the report to the NRC with its requested redactions. So intervenors and concerned citizens may once again be left to testify in the dark.

Lord protect us.

But that’s not all.

In an astoundingly inept metaphor, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said last week that Entergy may fuel up its antique VT Yankee Reactor with extra-hot fuel this week (10/22/05), even before they receive permission from the PSB or NRC on the uprate, because hot gas (and a souped up engine) doesn’t equate to speeding.

“Just because you put high octane gas in your car doesn’t mean you can break the speed limit. The speed limit is still 65.”

But is it, Neil?

A little web research reveals that on March 23, 2005, while we were all going about our sleepy little ordinary lives, the NRC quietly posted in the Federal Register the fact that they had granted Entergy’s request to PERMANENTLY EXEMPT VT YANKEE FROM RADIATION (STEAM) LEAKAGE TEST REQUIREMENTS. The Federal Register goes on to explain that federal regulations specify the leakage test requirements, schedules and acceptance criteria for tests of the “leak-tight integrity of the primary reactor containment and systems and components which penetrate the containment.”

Entergy, it seems, asked for AND RECEIVED from their NRC benefactors a PERMANENT EXEMPTION from the requirements contained in Appendix J Option B, Section IIIA which requires that the total leakage rate through all tested leakage paths not exceed the allowable leakage rate with margin, as specified in the Technical Specifications.

Not content with this, they also requested exemption from Option B, Sections III.B “Type B and C tests” which requires that the sum of the leakage rates of all Type B and C local leak rate tests be less than the performance criterion with margin. But that’s not all,

Entergy’s exemption request was submitted in conjunction with a TS (technical specifications?) amendment application to INCREASE THE ALLOWABLE LEAK RATE FOR THE MAIN STEAM ISOLATION VALVES. The Federal Register says that the proposed amendment will be issued concurrently with the aforementioned exemptions. So,

NRC’s Sheehan blithely gives the go ahead to soup up the reactor, knowing that back in March the cops removed the speed limit AND turned off their radar guns. Of course, they don’t tell us that when justifying their arrogant claim that just because you increase the octane of your gas, you aren’t intending to speed. Sheehan knows Entergy won’t be caught speeding, because NO ONE IS LOOKING!!! How do these people sleep at night? I know I don’t.

Incidentally, also reported in this unusual Federal Register, which gives no opportunity for public comment on this rule change as most Federal Register notices do, is the fact that Entergy has analyzed the main steam leakage pathway and reported an increase in leakage from 62 cubic feet per hour to 124 cubic feet per hour. (PER HOUR!) at the calculated peak internal containment pressure (and does this or does it not account for containment OVERpressure, another contested Uprate artifact)! So, folks, the increase in leakage of radioactive steam does not follow the increase in power of 20%, it increases it by 100%! The NRC, of course, finds all this acceptable. They don’t happen to live in the ZONE. They claim that Entergy’s calculated radiological consequences of the combined leakages are within their criteria. Perhaps this is because Entergy uses fuzzy math in their calculations, which is sanctioned by the NRC. They use 1 Roentgen = .71 REM instead of the usual 1 Roentgen = 1 REM. This fuzzy math was caught by the VT Dept. of Health Radiological Dept. last year when Entergy’s calculated fenceline doses disagreed with VT Dept. of Health’s monitors. (Entergy exceeded their VT State mandated fenceline radiation limits for the last quarter of 2004 by 5 millirems, even before fueling up with or storing more, HOTTER, MORE PLUTONIUM- INTENSE fuel. Ray Shadis of the New England Coalition commented, “it is now known that ENVY discounts the calculated impact of their direct radiation on human beings by 29 %. ”

Or perhaps NRC finds these radiological consequences acceptable because they only consider whole body gamma radiation in setting their criteria. They do not consider the effects of ingested or inhaled fission products, alpha & beta emitters; isotopes like Strontium 90, Iodine 131, Cesium 137, or Cobalt 60, which cause leukemia, thyroid disease, childhood cancers, bone and nearby tissue cancers, infant mortality, fetal death, etc. etc. If they did include safe levels for these radioisotopes, leaked with the steam, in their criteria, if they followed the advice of the National Science Foundation who reported no safe level of radiation exposure; if they were as honest about the health effects of living near a nuclear reactor as the EPA is on their website, they would not allow this stuff to be emitted at all.

In this Federal Register announcement, the NRC PERMANENTLY EXEMPTS ENTERGY FROM STEAM LEAKAGE TESTS.
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-5679.htm

But that’s not all.

One of the primary concerns expressed by intervenors in the Uprate permitting process is the effect of the Uprate on the already cracked steam dryers. It was admitted by an Entergy Engineer at a VSNAP meeting two years ago when asked what the implications of steam dryer cracking and breaking could be, that if a piece of steam dryer cracked, shook loose and entered the steam line, it could cause a valve to stick open and release radioactive steam directly to the environment. So rather than build a NEW steam dryer to withstand the intensely increased vibration of the super hot fuel releasing 20% more energy, and 100% more steam leakage, Entergy and the NRC just patched up 3 of the 20 known cracks in the old steam dryer, changed the rules regarding steam leaks, and proposed pseudo conditions to appease a frightened public: an experimental ramp-up period in which, as long as the whole reactor doesn’t crumble, everything will be perceived to be Okey Dokey, since no one’s paying attention to the steam leaks anyway. Voila! The wonders of modern technological denial. But that’s not all, either.

In April of 1998 the then owner of Vermont Yankee, The VT Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. requested an amendment to the Technical Specifications, relaxing requirements to SHUT DOWN THE REACTOR if the high range stack noble gas monitor failed and could not be restored within 30 days. Instead, the owners gallantly offered to submit a special report to the NRC within 7 days if NRC would remove the requirement to shut down the reactor. The stack radiation monitor system is designed to sample, monitor, indicate and record the radioactivity level of the radioactive gases being released from the plant stack during operation and to alert operators if radiation levels approach or exceed pre-established (now probably gutted) limits. NRC Docket No. 5-271, Accession number ML01166002 states “This change essentially replaces a 30 day shutdown action statement with a 14-day reporting requirement.” They expect an alternative monitoring system to be imposed within 72 hrs (3 days). The high range stack noble gas monitor consists of a single instrument with no redundant counterpart. If they aren’t required to install a back-up, alternative monitoring system ahead of time, and aren’t required to until 3 days after an accident, the most intense releases of dangerous gases due to malfunction in the reactor will already have been released, as at Three Mile Island, allowing officials to then tell the media that radiation releases are within acceptable levels.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m feeling a little nervous that NRC and Entergy are proposing to experiment with ramping up a leaky bucket with leakage monitoring exemptions, a secret safety evaluation, a cracked steam dryer, and no back up for their stack radiation monitors in my back yard. Especially when trusted scientists like David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists say “experiments belong in laboratories, not in communities.”

Please write to the Public Service Board, The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safety (ACRS), your local legislators and your Congressmen and point out that the cops have turned off their radar. This is clearly all about protecting the Entergy Corporation, and not about protecting us. It is an outrage, and only we can stop it. These people all work for us.

Sally Shaw
One Enraged Mom

Vermont Public Service Board
112 State Street
Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701

Phone: 802 828-2358

OR email: clerk@psb.state.vt.us

ACRS
(301) 415-8065 or email RXC@nrc.gov.

People who wish to speak at the November 15 ACRS hearing in Brattleboro may contact ACRS staff member Ralph Caruso in advance at (301) 415-8065.or email him at RXC@nrc.gov.

As number of U.S. soldiers killed nears 2,000…

As number of U.S. soldiers killed nears 2,000…

Maimed in Bush’s war
October 21, 2005
reprinted with permission of Socialist Worker

ERIC RUDER looks at the spiraling cost of the war in Iraq–in human lives.

“WE DON’T do body counts on other people,” said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in November 2003.

Since the beginning of the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. military officials have refused to discuss how many civilians have been killed by U.S. bombs and bullets. The world will probably never know how many Afghans and Iraqis have died–let alone get an accounting of their names and ages, or the stories of those they left behind.

But U.S. officials have also tried to downplay the reporting of deaths and injuries suffered by U.S. soldiers.

It’s all part of an elaborate attempt to manage public opinion. The administration, for example, banned reporters from photographing the flag-draped coffins of troops killed in action as the caskets arrive in Dover, Delaware. Soldiers wounded in Iraq invariably arrive back in the U.S. on flights that land in the dark of night–and they are then whisked to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., through an entrance that’s inaccessible to the media.

The grisly tally of U.S. soldiers killed in action is likely to top 2,000 in the coming weeks. But the official count of those killed or injured in Iraq and Afghanistan obscures more than it describes the enormous cost of the war for those who must fight it.

For example, the Department of Defense (DoD) lists on its Web site the names of all service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it doesn’t list the names of soldiers who returned from combat so shattered by the experience that they committed suicide.

“An example is a guy named Master Sgt. James Coons,” Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center and a retired Army Ranger, told Socialist Worker. “He committed suicide and his family wanted his name and death to count as one of the losses of life in fighting the ‘war on terrorism,’ so they lobbied the DoD to classify his death as such. He killed himself at Walter Reed.

“We also noticed that DoD was reporting about 40 suicides in Iraq and seven in Afghanistan, but they weren’t reporting the people who had killed themselves one day, one week or one month after coming back from the war. We were able to track down 30-plus media accounts of people who had served in the war and had committed suicide and weren’t listed on any DoD Web site.”

The scale of injuries suffered by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is even more drastically distorted by the Pentagon.

“A large number of people in Iraq are getting injured from bullets and bombs, and we’re hearing about them,” said Robinson. “But there’s an even larger majority of people getting injured by non-combat-related causes–like endemic disease, motor vehicle accidents that stem from avoiding crowds and flipping over in ditches, breaking legs because they’re carrying heavy equipment. There’s a whole bunch of people that have been injured that aren’t on the DoD Web site.”

The severity of injuries in Iraq is much worse compared to earlier wars. “We know that people are surviving injuries that would have killed soldiers during the Vietnam War because of body armor,” said Robinson. “You also have to remember that this is urban fighting in an area about the size of California that has trauma-response teams all throughout the region. So no matter where you are in Iraq, you can probably be at a field hospital in a matter of minutes. That’s another reason that people are surviving, and that’s a good thing. However, it also means that there are a lot of people in wheelchairs and missing arms and legs as a result of their combat experience.”

As an added insult, the military also seems determined to force those injured in combat to cover the costs of their care. This is especially true of those suffering from combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)–because it’s easier for the military to claim that the mental trauma didn’t actually occur in Iraq.

“When you get [to Walter Reed], they analyze you, break you down, and try to find anything wrong with you before you got in,” Specialist Josh Sanders told investigative journalist Mark Benjamin, who spent a year following more than a dozen soldiers being treated for psychological trauma suffered in Iraq.

“They started asking me questions about my mom and my dad getting divorced,” said Sanders. “That was the last thing on my mind when I’m thinking about people getting fragged and burned bodies being pulled out of vehicles.”

Robinson thinks it’s important for the public to hear these stories. “During the war in Vietnam, the willingness to send people off to war began to drain away when they started seeing their loved ones come home in body bags,” said Robinson. “The number of dead ended up being more than 58,000. I think by not providing accurate or fully detailed information, the government does a disservice to us, and in essence, conducts information warfare in reverse, which prevents us from knowing what’s happening in the war.”

How the Pentagon treats injured vets

ROBERT ACOSTA’S life changed forever on July 13, 2003. At the time, he was 20 years old and serving in Iraq. He and his best friend Anthony had gone out in a Humvee to pick up ice and other supplies when a hand grenade was tossed into the vehicle.

Robert picked it up to throw it out, and it went off in his hand. The shrapnel and concussion obliterated his hand, broke his right leg and shattered his left leg and foot.

“I still have my foot, but it really hurts,” Robert told Socialist Worker. He has a prosthetic in place of his hand.

Robert credits the medical treatment he received at Walter Reed for saving his foot, but that’s where the praise ends. From filling out paperwork for out-processing to struggling to get disability benefits, he has faced one obstacle after another.

When his commanding officer told him to appear for formation in the snow, he went AWOL for a week. “I just got on crutches, and they said you’ve got to go to formation at 7:30 a.m.,” said Robert. “I told them I don’t care what you do–you can take my rank away–but I’m not showing up, because my leg hurt.”

Robert has given up on trying to get his prosthetic hand fine-tuned so that he’s comfortable with it. “The VA here in Long Beach doesn’t have the facilities to deal with my injury,” he said. “I think I’m the only upper-extremity amputee here. You show up, and you want something small done, and it takes two to three months. When I first got back and filed my claims for the VA, my claims got denied, and they said that they weren’t going to count the injured leg and my hearing and my PTSD as part of my disability.”

Asked how he resolved this, Robert gave a three-word answer: “The Washington Post.” “A reporter interviewed me about the VA treating soldiers the way they should be treated when they return,” he says. “I told him everything–about how I was denied, my checks coming late in the mail so I couldn’t pay for rent and bills. And that’s what got me my disability.

“They were trying to shut me up. My best friend, the guy who was with me when I was injured, is still waiting to get his claim–a year and a half later. It’s kind of satisfying that you get what you wanted, but then again, they’re shutting you up, and you think about all the soldiers with the same problems, but they won’t re-file their claims a lot of times, and they don’t have the option to talk to the Washington Post.”

The latest issue of Socialist Worker is available at SW Online:
http://www.socialistworker.org

To see a full list of stories from this issue, go to:
http://www.socialistworker.org/Storylist.shtml

________

Highlights from the latest issue of Socialist Worker…

MAIMED IN BUSH’S WAR FOR EMPIRE
U.S. officials have tried to downplay the reporting of deaths and injuries
suffered by U.S. soldiers in Iraq–as part of an elaborate attempt to manage
public opinion.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_05_Maimed.shtml

HOW POLICE SPARKED VIOLENCE AT TOLEDO ANTI-NAZI PROTEST
Officials in Toledo, Ohio, imposed a state of a state of emergency and an
all-night curfew following clashes between police and anti-Nazi protesters.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_12_Toledo.shtml

WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL
A look at the horrors of illegal abortion in the years before Roe v. Wade
shows that women’s lives are at stake in the right wing’s crusade to end the
right to choose.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_06_Abortion.shtml

WHAT THE U.S. “WAR ON TERROR” IS REALLY ABOUT
Invoking the “war on terror” hasn’t made the occupation of Iraq more
popular. Yet the White House has preserved a bipartisan consensus in favor
of aggressive use of military force.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_03_WarOnTerror.shtml

THE RACE TO EXECUTE STAN TOOKIE WILLIAMS
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear Stanley Tookie Williams’ appeal,
clearing the way for the state of California to try to execute its most
famous death row prisoner.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_02_StanWilliams.shtml

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RED CROSS
For many people, the American Red Cross is the very embodiment of
lifesaving. But the real story of the organization isn’t nearly as noble and
humanitarian as the image.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/562/562_04_RedCross.shtml

________

2005 Socialist Conferences:
WAR, POVERTY, RACISM…TIME FOR AN ALTERNATIVE
Join SW Online for these one-day conferences, held in cities around the
country. In plenary panel discussions and dozens of workshops, these
meetings will address today’s burning issues and struggles, and look ahead
to the fight for a new society–a socialist society built to meet human
needs, from New Orleans to Baghdad.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | October 29 | East Los Angeles

MIDWEST | November 5 | Chicago

NORTHEAST | November 5 | New York City

NORTHWEST | November 5 | Seattle

TEXAS | November 5 | Austin, Texas

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA | November 19 | Berkeley, Calif.

For more information and details on the conferences, go to:
http://www.socialistworker.org/WhatOn.shtml

Scott Ritter talk postponed

October 13, 2005 – Scott Ritter has had to postpone tomorrow’s event in Amherst. It will be rescheduled. Scott apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused, as does Traprock. We will announce a rescheduled event soon. We will provide an educational program at the Jones Library, Amherst at 7 PM on October 14th for those who will not have heard of that the event has been postponed. All are welcome to the substitute event which we will announce shortly.

Scott Ritter has just returned from speaking on this topic in Europe and is currently on tour in the US.

The confrontation at the bridge – How Katrina unleashed a storm of racism

The confrontation at the bridge
How Katrina unleashed a storm of racism

October 14, 2005
reprinted with permission of Socialist Worker

ERIC RUDER reports on a confrontation at a bridge out of flooded New Orleans–between armed police and people trying to get out of the devastated city.

THE HUNDREDS of people–a mixture of New Orleans residents and tourists–finally felt hopeful after days stranded in flooded New Orleans without adequate supplies of food and water. A police commander had instructed them to walk to a highway bridge that would take them across the Mississippi River to the West Bank, where buses were waiting to evacuate them from the flood zone.

But as they reached the foot of the bridge, armed deputies blocked their way. Before the group could even approach the bridge, the police fired their weapons in the air.

The crowd dispersed, returning to an uncertain fate in New Orleans rather than risk being shot. But a few people refused to go away without an explanation.

“As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation,” wrote Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky, two San Francisco Emergency Medical Services workers who were trapped in the city after a paramedics convention. “The sheriffs informed us that there were no buses waiting. We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans, and there would be no Superdomes in their city.

“These were code words for: if you are poor and Black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River, and you are not getting out of New Orleans.”

Larry and Lorrie Beth’s account of this confrontation, first published in Socialist Worker, made its way around the world via the Internet–and eventually was reported by the mainstream press, which corroborated the details.

Their story showed in shocking detail how race and class condemned thousands of New Orleans residents to a nightmarish ordeal in the aftermath of Katrina. But follow-up reports about the showdown between desperate people trying to evacuate New Orleans and the police of Gretna–the town that lies at the other end of the bridge people were trying to cross–demonstrate a deeper reality about racism in America.

As even mainstream media outlets eventually admitted, what took place at the bridge over the Mississippi wasn’t a misunderstanding or even a regrettable mistake.

“Little over a week after this mostly white suburb became a symbol of callousness for using armed officers to seal one of the last escape routes from New Orleans–trapping thousands of mostly Black evacuees in the flooded city–the Gretna City Council passed a resolution supporting the police chief’s move,” reported the Los Angeles Times on September 16.

“This wasn’t just one man’s decision,” said Mayor Ronnie Harris. “The whole community backs it.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

GRETNA POLICE Chief Arthur Lawson claimed that he had little choice but to shut down the bridge. He says that his officers used buses to evacuate some 5,000 people who had walked across the bridge in the first days after New Orleans’ levees broke–and that it was only after looters and arsonists had set fire to nine stores in a Gretna mall that he decided to shut down the bridge.
National Public Radio reporter John Burnett summed up Lawson’s explanation this way: “Chief Lawson would like to know without communication, food, water, enough buses and gasoline, how long would it take another American city to reach the limits of its compassion?”

But the Gretna cops aren’t the selfless humanitarians their chief makes them out to be. Vermont National Guard troops stationed in Gretna after Katrina told reporters from the Rutland (Vt.) Herald that the cops were making incursions into Black neighborhoods looking for confrontations.

When the Gretna deputies asked several Vermont soldiers how things were going and were told that their duty was “boring,” one of the deputies said, “I guess we’ll go make a run through there to see if we can stir some [stuff] up.” “They said they went back in there, and kicked everybody’s door in,” said Vermont guardsman Sgt. Francis Estey.

Staff Sgt. Eric Crammond said the officers took a much harsher attitude toward residents than the Vermont soldiers. “They’re talking the way we used to talk when we were in theater,” said Crammond, who recently returned from Iraq with the rest of the unit. “They were in there the better part of an hour. [The residents] are pretty intimidated.”

What’s more, Chief Lawson shut the bridge to foot traffic, but allowed people in vehicles to cross–meaning that the ticket to escape New Orleans was an automobile to take you there.

“If you look at the chief’s early comments, before he started trying to clean up his act, his whole concern was that when he looked and saw people trying to get out of New Orleans, he didn’t see human beings in need, or neighbors who needed help,” Larry told Socialist Worker. “He saw ‘criminals’–that is, African American people–and that seemed to be his primary concern.

“The chief has also said repeatedly as his justification that he didn’t have any food, water or shelter, so he was stopping us for our own good. But we never at any point asked them for food, water or shelter. Our goal was purely to extricate ourselves from the scene of a major disaster. And we were prepared to walk as long and far as necessary to do that. If they offered us food, water and shelter, we wouldn’t have turned it down. But there was never an expectation that Gretna was going to provide that for us.

“We’re worried that the politicians of Gretna are engaged in this language of division, discord and drawing lines, and by sanctioning the chief’s actions, they’re defining themselves as an ‘us,’ and everyone else as a ‘them.’”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

GRETNA POLICE weren’t the only ones stoking fears about senseless violence committed by the marauding residents of New Orleans.
“Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans, some local, state and federal officials have come to believe that exaggerations of mayhem by officials and rumors repeated uncritically in the news media helped slow the response to the disaster and tarnish the image of many of its victims,” reported the Washington Post. “There turned out to be little evidence to support CNN host Paula Zahn speaking of ‘reports’ of ‘bands of rapists, going block to block,’ or New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin on national television, describing the scene as ‘animalistic.’”

Former New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass appeared with Nagin on The Oprah Winfrey Show to claim that “babies” were being raped in the Superdome–a story he later recanted. And despite Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) report of injured and killed deputies, only one law enforcement official was shot–and the wound to his leg was the self-inflicted result of a struggle.

Major Ed Bush of the Louisiana National Guard was dismayed that the residents of New Orleans were depicted so cruelly. “I certainly saw fights, but I saw worse fights at a Cubs game in Chicago,” he said. “The people never turned into these animals. They have been cheated out of being thought of as people who looked out for each other. We had more babies born [in the Superdome] than we had deaths.”

Worse, the racist panic–unleashed by elected officials, police and the media spreading unsubstantiated rumors–undoubtedly hampered relief efforts and led to needless death and suffering.

“One of the nightmares of white America is the idea of a mob of Black people,” reads an editorial in the Montpelier (Vt.) Times-Argus. “It is a nightmare born of deep fears that go back to the days of slavery. Nothing was more threatening to white America back then than the idea of a slave revolt and the ravishment of white womanhood…

“[T]he stories of rampaging Blacks might well have become exaggerated because they played perfectly into white fears. Those are the fears that led law enforcement officials, not to help, but to turn people away when they were fleeing a flooded city. They are the fears that gave white police officers license to terrorize Black neighborhoods.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

LORRIE BETH says that the media interest in their story has been “awe-inspiring.” Nearly six weeks since Katrina, Larry and Lorrie Beth are still behind in getting back to 30 or 40 reporters, and their answering machine regularly fills up within a few hours.
“There are a number of mainstream reporters who saw the racism firsthand, and they felt like they couldn’t say it themselves, so they bring us on television or the radio for us to say it, because they want to get that message out,” Larry says. “But their own prejudice comes out, in the sense that they think that because we’re white and middle-aged and ‘professionals,’ we’re legitimate. It’s bizarrely ironic that Lorrie Beth and I, who are white, are being called upon to tell this story of racism.”

Nevertheless, the features of this story reflect the powerful role played by race and class in the U.S. today.

“We don’t see our run-in with the Gretna police force as an individual case of mistreatment, but it’s the issue of racism and brutality that exists throughout the relief effort and is endemic throughout our country,” says Lorrie Beth. “One-third of Black children in this country are growing up in poverty, infant mortality is on the rise among Blacks, Black children are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white children. The list goes on. Racism plays a huge role in this country, politically and economically.”

Larry agrees. “It’s important to put this in a context. A million more people became poor last year. And for the last 20 years, we’ve had both Democrats and Republicans withdrawing public services from poor and working families, and we’ve seen the results of that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”

_____________________________________

Highlights from the latest issue of Socialist Worker…

HOW KATRINA UNLEASHED A STORM OF RACISM
A confrontation at a bridge out of flooded New Orleans–between armed police
and people trying to evacuate–has shown how race and class condemned
thousands to a nightmare after Katrina.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_08_Katrina.shtml

SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL
Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, schoolchildren in the U.S.
are suffering the consequences of an increasingly segregated school system.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_07_Separate.shtml

WHY DID PAKISTAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FAIL?
Delayed rescue attempts after the earthquake that struck Pakistan led to
countless deaths–and highlighted the human cost of militarism and
imperialist power plays.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_16_Pakistan.shtml

WILL DELPHI BUST THE UAW?
The bankruptcy of auto parts manufacturer Delphi marks the biggest attack on
the United Auto Workers in decades–and sets the stage for an onslaught by
Big Three automakers.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_15_Delphi.shtml

A FORMER PANTHER’S CAMPAIGN IN GEORGIA
Former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown talks about her campaign for mayor
of Brunswick, Ga., on the Green Party ticket.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_06_ElaineBrown.shtml

REPRESSION AND RESISTANCE IN PUERTO RICO
Ever since the U.S. seized Puerto Rico in 1898, Washington’s colonial rule
has showcased the intersection between exploitation, imperialism and racism.
http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/561/561_10_PuertoRico.shtml

________

ARCHIVES AT SW ONLINE
Socialist Worker Online has compiled featured articles and interviews on
pressing political issues. A full list of our featured archives can be found
at:
http://www.socialistworker.org/Featured.shtml

Here are some of the special archives:

HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE AFTERMATH
http://www.socialistworker.org/Featured/Katrina.shtml

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST BUSH’S WAR
http://www.socialistworker.org/Featured/IraqAntiwar.shtml

_________

To sign up to SW Online’s weekly e-mail bulletin sent directly to you, go
to:
http://www.socialistworker.org/Emailsub.shtml

News Highlights

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

1. Nonviolence Film Series, (Wed.-Shelburne Falls; Thurs.-Deerfield)
2. Scott Ritter in Amherst, reservations recommended, Fri., 10/14
3. An 18-second Margin to Meltdown?
Address for 2 men on the Vermont Public Service Board
4. Traprock II, downtown?
5. “College not Combat” Berkeley Conference, 10/21-23
6. Bring Them Home Now Tour – Press Conference Audio
7. Ernest Sternglass, on “The Present Danger” (downwind, downriver)

————————Explore Nonviolence

1. Film Series, 10/13 Shelburne Falls / Deerfield 10/14
“The Unknown History of Active Nonviolence”

Western Mass neighbors are watching an important film series at 7 pm,
Wednesday nights at the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls. Each film and the
discussion that follows will illustrate ‘Unarmed People Power’ used in
countries around the world to topple tyrants, resist oppression, and move
toward freedom and justice.
On Wednesday Oct. 12 See “A Force More Powerful: Part Two on
Danish resistance to Nazi occupation, the overthrow of communist rule in
Poland, and the ousting of Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile–90
minutes. For more information call 413 624-8858 or 413 625-9708.
On Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 at Traprock see “A Force More
Powerful: Part One” on the US Civil Rights movement, India’s independence
struggle and how community organizing and boycotts overcame physical,
psychological and economic oppression in South Africa. What a film!

——————————End War

2. Scott Ritter, “War against IRAN,” Amherst, Friday, 10/14

Scott Ritter, former U.N. Weapons Inspector & US Marine, will
address, “War Against Iran” downstairs at the Jones Library, at 7PM, Friday
October 14. Ritter has just returned from speaking on this topic in Europe.
Following questions from the media, we ask for your participation in a
citizens’ think tank, for consideration of sustainable, effective and
creative steps to help prevent a full scale invasion of Iran. All rights
reserved.

Reservations recommended. 100 seats are available. Contributions of
$10 or more will reserve a seat. Please mail a donation or make yours on
line ($10-$1000 help grow the movement. Contributions of potatoes, carrots,
greens or winter squash also accepted, but not online.) Traprock, 103A
Keets Road, Deerfield.

Reservations for dinner with Scott in Amherst at 5 pm, can be made
for $25, $50 or more. If this is your first gift this year, please
consider that $50 adds up to less than the cost of ONE CUP of coffee per
week. Please invite veterans you know to join us, as we build of bridges,
and celebrate Traprock’s 26th anniversary. Please forward and announce.

————————-Environmental Justice

3. Help prevent an 18-second Margin to Meltdown

An account of the Vermont Public Service Board meeting on Sept.
20 may provide insight into how you might help prevent a proposed 18-second
Margin to Meltdown. PSB member David Coen said it is important for people
to write letters and get their neighbors to write letters so the Board (two
lawyers who really are, absurdly, the Court of last Resort) may hear
directly from the public and know their concerns. Please contact them and
let them know you are aware of the implications for generations. Address
follows. For a report on the hearing …
http://www.traprockpeace.org/nuke_notes/

Vermont Public Service Board
112 State Street, Drawer 20
Montpelier, VT 05620-2701

clerk@psb.state.vt.us
Please do it. Thanks, Sally!!!

————————-Foster Community

4. Many years ago the Core Group here considered whether to open a downtown
office in Greenfield. If you would like to be on a committee to explore an
opportunity for Traprock II, downtown? Please call us, 413 773-7427.
We expect to meet next week.

——————————End War

5. ‘College Not Combat – Relief Not War,’ Berkeley Conf, Oct. 21-23

On The Frontlines – a national counter-recruitment conference co-sponsored
by the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) and Military Out of Our Schools – Bay
Area (MOOS) at University of California, Berkeley
Military recruiters out of our schools,
U.S. troops out of Iraq!

Activists from around the country — students, educators, veterans and more
–will participate in and present workshops ranging from
*first-person stories from Iraq,
*practical discussions on starting an antiwar chapter at your school
*and debates on what rights military recruiters have if they are
discriminating against people according to sexual orientation.
Democratic student organizing sessions can build a dynamic,
grassroots, national force to stop military recruitment and the war. For
more information on the ON THE FRONTLINES conference, or to register
email: frontlines.conference@gmail.com
Campus Antiwar Network: http://www.campusantiwar.net

——————————End War

6. Bring Them Home Now Tour – Voices

Many student reporters participated in a press conference
hearing the urgent concerns and perspectives of survivors, veterans and
military families. If your neighbors, or family members missed the bus tour
on its way from Camp Casey in Crawford to Washington, DC, they can hear
these important voices:

Elliot Adams, Veterans for Peace
Stacy Bannerman, Military Families Speak Out advisory board
Michael Hoffman, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Carlos Arredondo, Gold Star Families
Cody Camacho, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Hear the MP3 – 55:05 minutes at
http://www.traprockpeace.org/bring_them_home_now_tour.html

========================================
Here is an excerpt from “Secret Fallout,” by Ernest Sternglass
A portion of Chapter 19, “The Present Danger”

(Request: Let’s encourage neighbors to use the term reactors, rather than
plants.)

… Strangely enough, it was through my concern about the possible effect
of the October 1976 Chinese fallout discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania
by the operators of a nuclear plant on the Susquehanna River not far from
Three Mile Island that I first learned of the high releases from the
Millstone reactor.

Apparently, as in the case of the Albany-Troy episode back in 1953, a heavy
rainstorm brought down very large amounts of fallout from a nuclear cloud,
setting off radiation alarms at the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power station near
the Maryland border. That rainout had caused the evacuation of many of the
workers from the plant. The EPA had failed to warn either the public, state
health authorities, or the reactor’s health physicists of the potentially
high local fallout, hoping that it might not happen. Only when the plant
supervisor got in touch with Thomas Gerusky at the Pennsylvania State Bureau
of Radiation Control and checks were made at other locations such as the
Three Mile Island plant did it become clear that the high iodine 131 levels
were due to fallout, and not an accident at Peach Bottom.

When the iodine levels in the milk started to climb to a few hundred
picocuries and no one had warned the public that pregnant women should not
drink the milk, a colleague of mine at the University of Pittsburgh and I
decided to hold a news conference to issue such a warning.

As it turned out, Gerusky decided not to order the cows to be placed on
stored hay, even though some areas in Pennsylvania reached levels close to
500 picocuries per liter. Only in Massachusetts and briefly in Connecticut
and New York did the health departments order dairy cattle to be switched to
uncontaminated feed, and only in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which
obtained most of its milk from Massachusetts, did infant mortality continue
its sharp decline in the following few months among all the New England
states.

When a news story with my findings on the rises in infant mortality
following this episode was published by the Washington Post-Los Angeles
Times News Service in the summer of 1977, I received a phone call from a
newspaper reporter in Connecticut, who asked me whether I had examined the
possible effect of the Millstone plant releases on the pattern of infant
mortality changes in New England. Someone had given him a copy of a recent
annual environmental report for this plant, and he wondered whether I might
be willing to look at it for him since he was unable to interpret its
significance.

When the report arrived a few days later, I turned to the pages dealing with
milk measurements. I could hardly believe my eyes. The control farms located
in a direction where the wind rarely carried the gases from the stack showed
levels of strontium 90 of only 5 to 7 picocuries per liter, similar to the
rest of the East Coast. The concentrations in other nearby farms, however,
reached values as high as 27 of these units, higher than those typical for
Connecticut during the height of nuclear-bomb testing back in the early
1960s and similar to the highest concentrations measured by N.U.S. at
Shippingport. For the people living within 10 to 20 miles of the plant,
nuclear-bomb testing might just as well have never ended.

And when I looked at infant mortality in New England in preparation for a
lecture at the University of Rhode Island, the familiar pattern I had seen
at Dresden, Indian Point, and Shippingport once again confirmed the
seriousness of these levels of fallout in the milk. While throughout the
1950s and 1960s all the New England states had shown the same infant
mortality rate, following the onset of releases from Millstone in 1970,
Rhode Island, directly downwind, suddenly stopped declining as rapidly as
all the other states. By early 1976, before the October fallout arrived from
China, Rhode Island had nearly twice the infant mortality rate of New
Hampshire.

Shortly after I presented these findings at the University of Rhode Island,
I received a telephone call from State Representative John Anderson of the
Connecticut legislature, asking me whether I would be willing to undertake a
more detailed study of the possible health effects of Millstone and the
nearby Connecticut Yankee Reactor at Haddam Neck for the people of
Connecticut. I agreed on the condition that he would send me the full
environmental reports for the two plants for every year of their operation,
together with the detailed annual vital statistics reports of the State of
Connecticut.

A few weeks later a large box arrived containing the reports. The story they
revealed was a repetition of what had taken place at Shippingport, except
that this time the environmental and health data were much more detailed and
extended over many years before and after the start of operation. Again, the
strontium 90 levels in the soil and milk increased as one approached each of
the two plants. The levels were a few times higher near the Millstone Plant,
with its boiling-water reactor (BWR), than near the Haddam Neck plant, with
its pressurized-water reactor (PWR), which was similar to Shippingport and
Three Mile Island.

This time, however, data was available for every year of operation on a
month-by-month basis, and it was possible to see how in the first few years
of operation, the strontium 90 levels were no different near the plants from
those in the rest of New England. But gradually, as the fallout from bomb
testing was washed into the rivers and the ocean by the rains, the soil and
milk levels declined all over New England, while they stayed high or even
rose for the farms within a 10- to 15-mile radius of the plants.

On a number of occasions, when there was a particularly heavy fallout from a
Chinese nuclear test, as in October of 1976, the records of the milk
measurements showed the arrival of the fallout very clearly as a peak,
particularly for the short-lived iodine 131 and strontium 89, and to a
lesser degree for the long-lived cesium 137 and strontium 90. But what was
even more disturbing were the even larger peaks of strontium 90 and cesium
137 in July and August of 1976, months before the bomb was detonated, not
only in the local farms but as far downwind as Providence, Rhode Island.

Yet the summary in the front of the utility’s environmental report for 1976
maintained, as it had every year, that the strontium 90 and cesium 137 in
the milk was attributable to fallout from nuclear testing. It was sad to see
that the once so hopeful nuclear industry now needed the continuation of
nuclear-bomb tests to stay in operation.

To calculate the radiation doses to the bones of children, I used the high
local excess values of strontium 90 in the milk along with the NRC’s own
calculational model given in NUREG 1.109. The results were of the order of a
few hundred millirems per year, many hundreds of times the value of less
than 1 millirad arrived at by the utility when the strontium 90 was left out
of the calculations, and far above the maximum of 25 millirems per year that
was proposed by the EPA as the maximum permissible value from the nuclear
fuel cycle.

Thus it was no surprise that the EPA as well as the NRC issued statements
after my reports had been sent to State Representative Anderson and
Congressman Christopher Dodd, in whose district the Millstone Plant was
located, which claimed that the high strontium 90 and cesium 137 levels in
the milk near this plant were due to fallout and could not be attributed to
releases from the plant. The EPA and NRC never even attempted to explain why
the levels of these radioactive substances should increase as one approached
the stack from every direction.

Instead, these government agencies, on whom the public depended for the
protection of its health and safety, tried to mislead the public. They
claimed that there was little strontium 89 present along with the strontium
90, as is always the case when fresh fission products escape into the
environment, and that therefore the strontium 90 could not be due to plant
releases.

But what the nonspecialist could not have known is that strontium 89 has a
very short half-life of only 50 days compared with 30 years for strontium
90. While the long-lived strontium 90 continues to build up in the soil
around the plant, the strontium 89 rapidly decays away. Thus, when the cows
return to pasture in the spring and summer, the milk shows predominantly the
accumulated strontium 90, and very little of the short-lived strontium 89.

… A portion of Chapter 19, “The Present Danger”
from “Secret Fallout,” by Ernest Sternglass
Free access on line for the entire book.

Though he investigates the disease rated downwind of
reactors, and nuclear bomb tests, Sternglass is an optimist. An Audio
Interview with this brilliant contemporary of Einstein will be posted later
this week.

Also, please watch for the Montague Reporter this week covering
Sternglass at All Souls Church on October 6, with notes on excess breast
cancer mortality in Franklin County, noted in the book, “The Enemy Within.”
(Internal radiation sources are much more damaging than external sources,
because the effect is localized.)

Best regards,
Sunny Miller, Executive Director, 413-773-7427
Charlie Jenks, Web Site Manager
Peter Letson, President

Last week the web site had 3000 visits daily.
What’s your favorite resources there?
Wish Charlie a happy birthday in October?
Make his a late-night work feel much appreciated?
————————————–
http://www.traprockpeace.org
————————————–
Underlying other news of the day this question remains:
What wouldn’t you do to prevent a melt-down?

Oct 6 Traprock News – Solidarity w/students; Sternglass comes Oct 7

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

1. Today, Thursday, October 6, 11AM
SOLIDARITY MARCH WITH HCC ANTI-WAR STUDENTS

Starts at G Building, near the center of Holyoke Community College
campus, west of US91 in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
March for Free Speech!
March Against the War in Iraq!
March for College, Not Combat!

The UMass-Amherst Anti-War coalition, in solidarity with HCC
counter-recruitment students, has called for a peaceful mass march at
Holyoke Community College in Holyoke … to demonstrate our determination to
preserve freedom of speech on our university and college campuses and resist
police repression of anti-war students. http://www.campusantiwar.net

According to witnesses, on Thursday, September 29, a peaceful group of
approximately 30 counter-recruitment activists were attacked by members of
the HCC College Republican Club and the Holyoke campus police. One anti-war
activist, Charles Peterson, was pepper-sprayed by police and has since been
banned from the HCC campus where he is a student and works.

Charles Peterson is active in the Anti-war Coalition, Vice President of
academic affairs on the student senate, a member on the college’s learning
community committee, a frequent contributor to the Phoenix Press, the
student newspaper, and a tutor in the math center. He is also a recipient of
the David James Taylor Excellence in Philosophy award.

In support, Cindy Sheehan, Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace
writes: “I am appalled that students exercising their (fully sanctioned)
rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble were abused by law
enforcement officials. The right to patriotically dissent from our
government is a sacred right and these students should be given
commendations, not black eyes. They were claiming their places in our
democracy. The people who mistreated them should be the ones who are being
investigated for their brutality and heavy-handed over-reaction, not the
students.”
For more information, contact Justin (UMass) at (413) 320-9108 or
jfjln@yahoo.com or HCC Anti-War Coalition at info.hcc-awc@hotmail.com

2. “Secret Fallout” by Ernest Sternglass is available on the internet in its
entirety, at http://www.ki4u.com/Secret_Fallout/SF.html

3. Ernest Sternglass speaks on Radiation Health Risks,
for Downwinders in the Nuclear Age!

6:30 PM, Thurs, Oct. 6
All Soul’s Church Social Hall
399 Main Street at Hope Street, downstairs
Opposite the Courthouse & Public Library
At 7:30 please discuss how to help prevent a melt-down!

Sternglass will show statistics on the incidence of cancers, cancer deaths,
and other health effects downwind of nuclear reactors. A room will be
available for children’s activities, including making ‘tooth fairies’ in
support of our effort to collect baby teeth for assessment of strontium 90
levels in a 50-mile radius of the Vernon reactor. Please come.

How do you want to help prevent instituting an 18-second melt-down
margin proposed at the Vernon reactor, (oldest in New England)? We were
able to confirm this event just last Friday. Please forward, call or tell
in person any public officials, media, school nurses, physicians, health and
safety officials, teachers, bus drivers, nursing home and medical
attendants, etc. … REFUSE TO BE A RADIATION REFUGEE.

BIO: Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass is Emeritus Professor of Radiological Physics
in the Department of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine. He joined the University in 1967 to direct the Radiological
Physics and Engineering Laboratory to develop new imaging techniques to
reduce the dose in X-ray and nuclear medicine examinations.
In addition, Dr. Sternglass has carried out extensive epidemiological
studies of the effect of nuclear fallout and reactor releases on human
health, in connection with which he has testified at hearings of the U.S.
Congress, the National Academy of Sciences, State Legislatures and U.S.
Government Regulatory Agencies. Sternglass is the author of “Low -Level
Radiation” (Ballantine 1972), “Secret Fallout”, (McGraw – Hill 1981) and
“Before the Big Bang” (Four Walls Eight Windows 1997). He is Scientific
Director of the Radiation & Public Health Project, a not-for-profit
research organization.

Cosponsored by Traprock Peace Center & All Souls Church
Free admission. Not wheelchair accessible. We intend to tape this for
internet access. Video help needed. Donations always appreciated so that we
may continue this work.

4. Friday, Oct. 7
“The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children” Northampton

On Traprock’s 26th Anniversary of incorporation as a not-for-profit, this
stunning documentary made for German Public Television will be shown Friday,
at the Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street, in downtown
Northampton, MA, by the Northampton Committee to End the War Against Iraq.
Frances Crowe and colleagues discuss what each of us can do now to
end the brutal use of toxic and radioactive waste in ammunition. (This film
is available for purchase for home use only, and we invite groups to
co-sponsor public viewings which require $2/person contributions. This
documentary will shown Oct. 8 at the Taos Mountain Film Festival as their
favored film on DU, deadly, ‘depleted’ uranium.)

5. Saturday, Oct. 8, 11AM – 4PM Bring Our National Guard Home Now:
a state-wide campaign to bring the Massachusetts National Guard home from
Iraq, Organizing Meeting in Cambridge, 11 am, October 8, 2005,
FEATURING: A panel of Military Families Speak Out members including Nancy
Lessin, Charlie Richardson and MA National Guard Families and
Interactive workshops, at the Cambridge Friends School, 5 Cadbury Road,
Cambridge. See complete details, three strategies to be discussed and
contact info for organizers on our calendar at
http://www.traprockpeace.org/calendar

7. Monday, October 10, may be the anniversary of those remarkable remarks by
Senator Byrd, as he spoke in the US Senate, paraphrased here … “If you
sign this piece of rag (skirting direct responsibility for declaring war on
Iraq) you might as well hang a sign over Congress … ‘GONE FISHIN’!!'”
Where is Congress as the blood flows, dark and red? Please consider where
you might stand with a banner or sign on this federal holiday, to help end
war, and rebuild everywhere.

Best regards,

Sunny Miller, 413-773-7427
Charlie Jenks, Web Site Manager, 413 773-5188 x. 2

This week the web site has 3000 visits daily.
Please see your favorite resources there.
Wish Charlie a happy birthday in October.
Make his NOT a late-night, thankless job!
http://www.traprockpeace.org
————————————–
Underlying other news of the day this question remains:
What wouldn’t you do to prevent a melt-down?

Background:
The Vernon, Vermont reactor is just 15 miles from here.
In June the Vermont legislature gave away the store, and linked
payments for new radioactive waste storage on the shores of
the Connecticut River to a 20% increase in power output.
No reactor we know of has achieved this much power increase.
What can you do to stop the loss of a back-up cooling pump,
increased water pressure and operating temperatures, and
the reduction of the ‘safety’ margin from emergency shut-down
to the beginning of a melt-down to only 18 seconds.
Why aren’t these details front page news, this week?

Request:
We appeal for your initiative to preserve this land,
these communities we love.
Please call a reporter, editor, or media news desk.

Truth matters – Labors matter – Gifts matter

in a Neighbors’ Network to End War

========================================
Here is an excerpt from “Secret Fallout,” by Ernest Sternglass
A portion of Chapter 19, “The Present Danger”

(Request: Let’s encourage neighbors to use the term reactors, rather than
plants.)

… Strangely enough, it was through my concern about the possible effect
of the October 1976 Chinese fallout discovered in southeastern Pennsylvania
by the operators of a nuclear plant on the Susquehanna River not far from
Three Mile Island that I first learned of the high releases from the
Millstone reactor.

Apparently, as in the case of the Albany-Troy episode back in 1953, a heavy
rainstorm brought down very large amounts of fallout from a nuclear cloud,
setting off radiation alarms at the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power station near
the Maryland border. That rainout had caused the evacuation of many of the
workers from the plant. The EPA had failed to warn either the public, state
health authorities, or the reactor’s health physicists of the potentially
high local fallout, hoping that it might not happen. Only when the plant
supervisor got in touch with Thomas Gerusky at the Pennsylvania State Bureau
of Radiation Control and checks were made at other locations such as the
Three Mile Island plant did it become clear that the high iodine 131 levels
were due to fallout, and not an accident at Peach Bottom.

When the iodine levels in the milk started to climb to a few hundred
picocuries and no one had warned the public that pregnant women should not
drink the milk, a colleague of mine at the University of Pittsburgh and I
decided to hold a news conference to issue such a warning.

As it turned out, Gerusky decided not to order the cows to be placed on
stored hay, even though some areas in Pennsylvania reached levels close to
500 picocuries per liter. Only in Massachusetts and briefly in Connecticut
and New York did the health departments order dairy cattle to be switched to
uncontaminated feed, and only in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which
obtained most of its milk from Massachusetts, did infant mortality continue
its sharp decline in the following few months among all the New England
states.

When a news story with my findings on the rises in infant mortality
following this episode was published by the Washington Post-Los Angeles
Times News Service in the summer of 1977, I received a phone call from a
newspaper reporter in Connecticut, who asked me whether I had examined the
possible effect of the Millstone plant releases on the pattern of infant
mortality changes in New England. Someone had given him a copy of a recent
annual environmental report for this plant, and he wondered whether I might
be willing to look at it for him since he was unable to interpret its
significance.

When the report arrived a few days later, I turned to the pages dealing with
milk measurements. I could hardly believe my eyes. The control farms located
in a direction where the wind rarely carried the gases from the stack showed
levels of strontium 90 of only 5 to 7 picocuries per liter, similar to the
rest of the East Coast. The concentrations in other nearby farms, however,
reached values as high as 27 of these units, higher than those typical for
Connecticut during the height of nuclear-bomb testing back in the early
1960s and similar to the highest concentrations measured by N.U.S. at
Shippingport. For the people living within 10 to 20 miles of the plant,
nuclear-bomb testing might just as well have never ended.

And when I looked at infant mortality in New England in preparation for a
lecture at the University of Rhode Island, the familiar pattern I had seen
at Dresden, Indian Point, and Shippingport once again confirmed the
seriousness of these levels of fallout in the milk. While throughout the
1950s and 1960s all the New England states had shown the same infant
mortality rate, following the onset of releases from Millstone in 1970,
Rhode Island, directly downwind, suddenly stopped declining as rapidly as
all the other states. By early 1976, before the October fallout arrived from
China, Rhode Island had nearly twice the infant mortality rate of New
Hampshire.

Shortly after I presented these findings at the University of Rhode Island,
I received a telephone call from State Representative John Anderson of the
Connecticut legislature, asking me whether I would be willing to undertake a
more detailed study of the possible health effects of Millstone and the
nearby Connecticut Yankee Reactor at Haddam Neck for the people of
Connecticut. I agreed on the condition that he would send me the full
environmental reports for the two plants for every year of their operation,
together with the detailed annual vital statistics reports of the State of
Connecticut.

A few weeks later a large box arrived containing the reports. The story they
revealed was a repetition of what had taken place at Shippingport, except
that this time the environmental and health data were much more detailed and
extended over many years before and after the start of operation. Again, the
strontium 90 levels in the soil and milk increased as one approached each of
the two plants. The levels were a few times higher near the Millstone Plant,
with its boiling-water reactor (BWR), than near the Haddam Neck plant, with
its pressurized-water reactor (PWR), which was similar to Shippingport and
Three Mile Island.

This time, however, data was available for every year of operation on a
month-by-month basis, and it was possible to see how in the first few years
of operation, the strontium 90 levels were no different near the plants from
those in the rest of New England. But gradually, as the fallout from bomb
testing was washed into the rivers and the ocean by the rains, the soil and
milk levels declined all over New England, while they stayed high or even
rose for the farms within a 10- to 15-mile radius of the plants.

On a number of occasions, when there was a particularly heavy fallout from a
Chinese nuclear test, as in October of 1976, the records of the milk
measurements showed the arrival of the fallout very clearly as a peak,
particularly for the short-lived iodine 131 and strontium 89, and to a
lesser degree for the long-lived cesium 137 and strontium 90. But what was
even more disturbing were the even larger peaks of strontium 90 and cesium
137 in July and August of 1976, months before the bomb was detonated, not
only in the local farms but as far downwind as Providence, Rhode Island.

Yet the summary in the front of the utility’s environmental report for 1976
maintained, as it had every year, that the strontium 90 and cesium 137 in
the milk was attributable to fallout from nuclear testing. It was sad to see
that the once so hopeful nuclear industry now needed the continuation of
nuclear-bomb tests to stay in operation.

To calculate the radiation doses to the bones of children, I used the high
local excess values of strontium 90 in the milk along with the NRC’s own
calculational model given in NUREG 1.109. The results were of the order of a
few hundred millirems per year, many hundreds of times the value of less
than 1 millirad arrived at by the utility when the strontium 90 was left out
of the calculations, and far above the maximum of 25 millirems per year that
was proposed by the EPA as the maximum permissible value from the nuclear
fuel cycle.

Thus it was no surprise that the EPA as well as the NRC issued statements
after my reports had been sent to State Representative Anderson and
Congressman Christopher Dodd, in whose district the Millstone Plant was
located, which claimed that the high strontium 90 and cesium 137 levels in
the milk near this plant were due to fallout and could not be attributed to
releases from the plant. The EPA and NRC never even attempted to explain why
the levels of these radioactive substances should increase as one approached
the stack from every direction.

Instead, these government agencies, on whom the public depended for the
protection of its health and safety, tried to mislead the public. They
claimed that there was little strontium 89 present along with the strontium
90, as is always the case when fresh fission products escape into the
environment, and that therefore the strontium 90 could not be due to plant
releases.

But what the nonspecialist could not have known is that strontium 89 has a
very short half-life of only 50 days compared with 30 years for strontium
90. While the long-lived strontium 90 continues to build up in the soil
around the plant, the strontium 89 rapidly decays away. Thus, when the cows
return to pasture in the spring and summer, the milk shows predominantly the
accumulated strontium 90, and very little of the short-lived strontium 89.

===========================================
Vermont Public service Board
112 State Street, Drawer 20
Montpelier, 05620-2701

: clerk@psb.state.vt.us

Congress moves to back tactical nukes

Traprock Homepage

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/3025737.stm

Published: 2003/05/13 23:15:50 GMT

Congress moves to back tactical nukes
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News Online in Washington

Congress moves closer to approving a new generation of small tactical nuclear weapons, despite the warnings of arms control experts.

The US House of Representatives looks set to approve funds for the research and development of a new generation of small tactical nuclear weapons which could be used to attack deep bunkers holding weapons of mass destruction.

The House Armed Services Committee is voting the money as part of the $400bn defence authorisation bill which will be reported out on Tuesday.

Last week, the Senate Armed Services committee approved the money in a closed vote.
The move would overturn a ten-year ban on such developments, and still has to be approved by the full House and Senate.

The shift of policy has been sought by the Pentagon since last summer, when it began to develop plans to reshape the US nuclear arsenal to take account of the new doctrine of pre-emption.

Fear of proliferation

Democrats warned that it would make harder to contain the spread of nuclear weapons.
“This is a major shift of policy,” said Senator Carl Levin of Michigan.

“It makes a mockery of our argument around the world that other countries – India, Pakistan – should not test and North Korea and Iran should not obtain (nuclear weapons).”

But the chairman of the committee, Republican Senator John Warner, said that it was a prudent step to defend the US against enemies.

“America has had a ban on this research since 1993, yet that has done nothing to stop other countries from seeking to acquire nuclear weapons,” he pointed out.

Under the Bush administration, the US has signed a strategic arms-control deal with Russia, but it has abrogated the anti-missile defence treaty and has expressed doubts about the comprehensive test ban treaty.

New nuclear weapons

US strategic planners believes that the new tactical nuclear weapons are essential to meet to threat of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and says they could be used against chemical or biological weapons facilities and nuclear bunkers buried deep underground.

But arms controls advocates say that the plans could undermine US efforts to limit nuclear proliferation at a time when North Korea, among others, seems intent on developing nuclear weapons.

“We have tried for 50-plus years to make these weapons unthinkable,” Democratic Senator Jack Reed said.

“And now we’re talking about giving them a tactical application. It’s a dangerous departure.”

The new weapons under consideration include low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, which yield under five kilotons, less than one-third of the first atomic bomb used at Hiroshima, and a “robust nuclear earth penetrator”, designed to bury deep into the ground before exploding.

Potential targets could include North Korea, which is suspected of hiding its nuclear production sites in areas carved out of mountains.

The new earth-penetrating bomb would be based on the one remaining US tactical nuclear weapon, the B61, with a strengthened nose cone to allow it to penetrate frozen soil or rocks.

The even smaller nuclear weapons, with yields of under five kilotons could be used against above-ground weapons production facilities.

They would take longer to develop, and might require underground testing – something that the Congressional committees also authorised.

###

Thanks to Phil Gasper for sharing this!