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"Forget the Rest" blog

Action Alert #50 (12/24/05)
Los Alamos Disarmament Center opens, more

Best to all in this holiday season and a happy new year of successful nuclear resistance, policy intervention, and scholarship!

Contents of this alert:

1. Very important subscription information!
2. We welcome your contributions
3. Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) wins contract to manage LANL
4. Upcoming Study Group meetings
5. Los Alamos Disarmament Center happenings
6. The Call for Nuclear Disarmament – work opportunities available
7. Yard billboard campaign to kick off in January
8. Los Alamos Summer Disarmament Intensive, July 5 to August 6, 2006
9. January newsletter
10. Hiroshima 60 DVDs, T-shirts for sale
11. Thank you to everyone involved for a wonderful year!

1. Very important subscription information!

If you received this email directly from, you are subscribed to the national listserve of the Los Alamos Study Group. We will use this list very sparingly, perhaps once per month or even less.

If you were forwarded this email and want to subscribe, send a blank email to To unsubscribe send a blank email to

Many of you would like more information and more frequent updates. To get them, you must subscribe (send a blank email) to, even if you think you might be subscribed to that list already. That list (lasgnewmex) became quite large and gradually less distinguishable from the national list, so we purged it to avoid sending unwanted email to people less interested in a) local details and b) more arcane aspects of national issues. If you
want more detail in these areas, you must subscribe to lasgnewmex.

Please feel free to forward this alert to friends and colleagues you think might be interested!

2. We welcome your contributions

We welcome and depend upon your contributions more than you might imagine. You can support our work by credit card or electronic check at

3. Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) wins contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

You've probably read about this outcome in the news this week; you can find our reaction and some background on the “winners” at Background on the losers, especially Lockheed-Martin, can be found at A new table of prime contractors who run the National Nuclear Security Administrations (Nasals) nuclear weapons complex is available at

Given the mission and the two bidders, we think, on balance, that NNSA chose the lesser evil. There are no good contractors for LANL's bad missions, of course. This particular contractor includes two of the biggest war profiteers currently operating in Iraq and Afghanistan (Bechtel and Washington Group), a nuclear weapons manufacturer (BWXT), as well as UC – which is, as of this writing, still the number 1 contractor for weapons of mass destruction in the world, with BWXT running a close second.

Bottom line: NNSA hasn't gotten what it wants at LANL over the past few years and has now given the management of LANL to a consortium of crony capitalists who can be incentivized with money. Nobody should be under any illusion as to what this means for LANL, New Mexico, or the world. For instance, the new contract will highly reward performance in making plutonium bomb cores ("pits") for existing (starting in 2007) and new (starting in 2012) warheads. Watch out.

It now will be necessary to expose the recent political history of these companies to the maximum extent possible. This is a complex project, well suited for cooperative research. No matter where you live, we welcome your help in organizing, conducting, and publicizing this work. Call or write Damon Hill in our office at if you would like to help.

There are of course several other research and writing projects going on here. If you think you'd like to help with these other projects, which centrally have to do with nuclear weapons policy, please contact us. We welcome volunteer research help, student internships for credit, and professional collaborations, on a case-by-case basis.

4. Upcoming regular meetings

The Study Group meets weekly on Fridays at 2:30 pm (previously 2 pm -- this is a change!) at Cloud Cliff Bakery, Café, and Art Space at 1805 2nd Street in Santa Fe, and weekly on Tuesdays at 6 pm at the RB Winnings Coffee House at 111 Harvard St. SE, Albuquerque. Meetings will be suspended during the week after Christmas.

If you want to find out what's going on in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and sometimes Taos, you might want to drop in on one of these meetings. If you call Fatima at 505-265-1200 (or on her cell phone, 505-795-8025) you can get a rough idea of the agenda and who else is likely to be there. It's a good time to meet people, get oriented to the work going on, and learn more about the issues.

The Study Group has speakers well versed in nuclear weapons policy and related issues, willing and able to speak to organizations, college classes, and churches! Please call Fatima if you are interested in scheduling a speaker.

5. Los Alamos Disarmament Center happenings

Our new Los Alamos Disarmament Center opened its doors to the public on December 10. Located in downtown Los Alamos at 1362 A-2 Trinity Drive, midway between Trinity Drive and Central Avenue, and about 300 feet due south of the Bradbury Science Museum, the Center provides an important educational presence in the Los Alamos community. At the Center you will find a small bookstore of nuclear disarmament related books, videos, papers, and other materials, a "counter-museum" anchored by an exhibit sent from the Hiroshima Peace Museum, as well as research facilities and internet access available to visiting disarmament scholars and activists (by prior arrangement only).

The Center is largely staffed by volunteer docents. Being a docent is an excellent way to get more involved in disarmament work and to learn more about the issues. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Fatima at 505-265-1200 or at Docents are involved in a variety of projects at the Center, where they can use and develop their own unique skills and engage their interests as well as greet and assist visitors. Give us a call! No prior nuclear expertise is needed; that will come with experience. (We are also interested in donations of books, videos, and documents - as well as operating funds, of course.)

6. The Call for Nuclear Disarmament – opportunities available

The list of endorsers to the Call for Nuclear Disarmament (at is gradually growing. We'd like it to grow faster, of course, and we are willing to raise money for allied groups who would like to help us. We find that it typically takes very roughly 30 minutes to sign up a business, and we are willing to pay $4 for each business your organization recruits. This might be perfect for the youth group at your church, for example. Of course we welcome volunteers, too! Interested individuals and organizations can contact Fatima at 505-265-1200 or at for more information on how they or their organization can be involved in this important campaign.

It's possible we are approaching a "tipping point" in organizational sign-ons in New Mexico. If an organization you know hasn't signed on, whether you are based in New Mexico or elsewhere, please consider asking them to do so! Most of the hangers-back can't quite say what holds them back – just some vague fear, perhaps. You might be the one whose gentle nudge is decisive for them. You can see who has endorsed on our web site. Anyone can sign on electronically at

7. Yard billboard campaign to kick off in January

We now have our first few donated locations and a little seed money to kick off our "yard billboard" campaign. If you'd like to host a disarmament related billboard on your property or in your yard of any size, call Fatima at 505-265-1200 and we will confer with you regarding messages and images, and include your billboard in our initial "roll-out."

This too is a volunteer-intensive project, so if you can help, we accept!

8. Los Alamos Summer Disarmament Intensive, July 5 to August 6

Plans for this year's Los Alamos Summer Disarmament Intensive are coming together. It will be a hands-on school for policy intervention and resistance, with a particular focus on nuclear disarmament and located in a particular (and very important) place.

The program will feature:

  • Academic training in a) nuclear policy and b) citizen intervention, in a relaxed but rigorous setting (undergraduate or graduate credit can be arranged by individual initiative);
  • Seminars by New Mexican and visiting activists and scholars;
  • Direct outreach to and dialogue with LANL staff, managers, and the Los Alamos community;
  • Individual and team projects in support of Los Alamos Study Group programs and those of allied organizations;
  • Outstanding recreational opportunities in the northern New Mexico area;
  • Group camping immediately adjacent to LANL for July 5-31; homestays during the August 1-6 period;
  • Field trips to other sites in the “Southwest Nuclear Complex”; and
  • Commemorative observance of Hiroshima Day, August 6, in Los Alamos with allied organizations.

Current plans involve a daily schedule that begins with public outreach to laboratory employees at various locations during the early morning, followed by refreshments and discussion. The latter part of the morning will be devoted to workshops and seminars. Afternoons will be for individual and group project work. Evenings are available for recreation, in-depth discussion with individuals associated with LANL, and other events. There will be ample opportunity and support for individual creativity; all the projects demand it in one way or another.

The program is open to upper division college students, graduate students, the young at heart, and for experienced disarmament scholar-activists who would like to join us here in New Mexico this coming summer.

A modest tuition will be charged on a sliding scale, and scholarships will be available. Space is limited. For more information on the program and how to apply, or to find out more about volunteering as a program mentor, contact Fatima Portugal at or Greg Mello at

9. January newsletter

Our upcoming newsletter will feature in-depth articles on the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW, a new warhead program that just sailed through Congress without significant opposition); an update on seismic issues at LANL; more on LANL management issues; an update on prospects for closure of the Area G nuclear waste dump, news on prospects for international citizen inspections, and a few more tidbits. Watch your mailbox. If you want to be sure you get a copy and aren't sure if you are on our mailing list, drop a line to Trish Williams-Mello at

10. “Hiroshima 60” DVDs, T-shirts for sale

We have a 20-minute video of the events of August 6, 2005 in Los Alamos, made for us by Half-Life Digital of Albuquerque, available for $10. You can pick one up at the Los Alamos Disarmament Center or here at our Albuquerque office (2901 Summit Place NE). If you like we will mail you one for $15, postage and handling included.

We still have a fairly complete stock of excellent full color, organic, non-sweatshop, commemorative T-shirts available for $15. Printed on two sides, the front features a small sunflower and the words, "August 6, 2005/Los Alamos, NM." The back says "It started here, let’s stop it here," with a large graphic of a hand blocking a nuclear explosion, with the words "Hiroshima 60 Years/August 6, 2005/Los Alamos, NM," "Los Alamos Study Group," and ""

We also have "regular" Study Group T-shirts, which have a small logo on the left side of the chest and, on the back, "Mere praise of peace is easy, but ineffective. What is needed is active participation in the fight against war and everything that leads to it. – Albert Einstein." These T-shirts are also made of organic cotton and are "sweatshop-free."

You can order and pay for any of these on-line at the secure donation portal ( Just tell us that you want in the comment field. For T-shirts, tell us what size you want (S, M, L, or XL).

11. Thank you to everyone involved for a wonderful year!

It has been a wonderful year for us here at the Study Group. We've never worked harder, faced a more difficult political climate – or had more fun. We counted up some 24 public events in the first 8 months of the year, and that was just a small part of the whole.

What successes we've had and what joys we've known have been entirely due to the generosity of our volunteers and donors, which has been little short of incredible. I don't want to start a list of names in this email, because I would not know where to stop. But on behalf of the overworked staff, our very generous board of directors, on behalf of Trish and I – and, if I can be very frank, on behalf of the prior generations of activists whose work and sacrifice we honor, the nuclear victims, and the future generations who depend on each of us for their very existence – thank you for your companionship, which sustains us together.

"Fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell: fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death: and the deeds that ye do upon the earth, it is for fellowship's sake that ye do them, and the life that is in it, that shall live on and on forever, and each one of you part of it, while many a man's life upon the earth from the earth shall wane."
- William Morris, A Dream of John Ball

The new year will test us all. Let’s enter it with confidence, determined to successfully resist and discredit the apocalyptic violence of nuclear weapons.

Greg Mello

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Action Alert #49 (11/04/05)
Five ways to eliminate nuclear weapons

Of special interest to New Mexicans
1. Five ways to eliminate nuclear weapons
2. Upcoming regular meetings
3. A time of opportunity

Of national interest, at least to a few
1. Disinvestment in nuclear weapons – an aspect of the path forward?

If you can help support our programs please do so; you can donate here.

Welcome to our new Outreach Director, Fatima Portugal, and new Research Associate, Damon Hill!
are their short bios and pictures, along with pictures & bios of the rest of us too.

Of special interest to New Mexicans (and perhaps others as well):
1. Five ways to eliminate nuclear weapons

It’s been a long time since our last email update, and a great deal has been happening in the nuclear weapons business and here at the Study Group. This isn’t the place to summarize everything but suffice it to say that as we approach the end of 2005, the stage is set for significant changes in the nuke business. What changes, and whether they are for good or for ill, depend more than ever on what we citizens do.

What can we do? Here are five efficient and effective ways to get rid of nuclear weapons:

a. Help us reach our goal for this year of 500 New Mexico endorsements to the Call for Nuclear Disarmament – and help us keep going after that.

As of this week, 258 businesses and 87 organizations in New Mexico, along with 69 national organizations and 4 international organizations (one with more than 2,000 member organizations in dozens of countries) have endorsed the Call for Nuclear Disarmament. (See for the text of the Call and how to endorse it if your group or business hasn’t already done so.) Thousands of individuals have also endorsed the Call, including some elected officials.

As you can imagine, this permanent “registry of resistance” is very politically useful. It will be still more useful as it continues to grow. It is, for example, a foundation for city disarmament resolutions, like the recent ones in Santa Fe (passed on April 13th, 2005) and Taos (pending). [please link to text of Santa Fe resolution] Anyone can use them freely for a broad range of antinuclear lobbying efforts, and they are useful as well in all interventions with the laboratories and their federal overseers. It’s public list – anybody can use it to work more powerfully for nuclear disarmament!

The Call is growing. Recently, the Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board (NNMCAB) endorsed, in effect, an important part of the Call when they recommended stopping the nuclear dumping at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Their recommendation echoes arguments we have been making for years. See recommendations/recommendation-2005-10.pdf and our comment here. The New Mexico Conference of Churches has endorsed the Call, the first such step for them in 40 years. The Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty has also endorsed it (and we look forward to more legislative work with them in the next session!).

I am sure you see how a larger number of endorsements would be even more effective for demonstrating business, organizational, and religious support for nuclear disarmament in New Mexico – and for the growth of a politics based on human and environmental security. If you think about it, these two goals are really just two sides of a single coin: less weapons of mass destruction = more security.

If each of us pitches in, the Call will grow. Each one of us has connections with one or more businesses, and each one of us, if we stop to think about it, is involved with one or more organizations, probably several. If we just sign up the people and organizations we know, we will quickly reach many, many people and organizations.

The resistance we sometimes feel in talking to our friends and acquaintances about nuclear disarmament or stopping nuclear dumping is nothing more than the “active edge” of political and social change. It’s supposed to be just a little bit challenging; if it weren’t, nothing would be happening! Social change happens one conversation at a time, and if we want political change we have to have those conversations. We are the only ones that can make this happen. Change means change, not ideas about change. The irreducible quantum of energy necessary for this change is just our own, the first person singular.

There are now 345 business and organizational endorsements. When we reach 500, we will hold a press conference. Perhaps there will be ensuing publicity, and if so that will bring even more endorsements! With each endorsement, and each news article, the remaining ones get a little easier, and those reluctant to sign – sometimes for very good reasons – get a little more motivated to join the rest of us.

The best part is that everybody can take part in this campaign. No expertise whatever is needed. You can call or email your friends and sign up their businesses and groups, or you can go door to door and meet new people. The key thing, we have found, is not convincing anybody – it’s just a matter of getting a few moments of peoples’ attention. Nuclear disarmament is hugely popular; you will not have to actually convince many.

To motivate ourselves, consider this: if we can’t stop militarism of the worst sort right in our own back yard, where can we stop it? If we can’t ask our friends and associates, whom can we ask? Here is the place, now is the time, and we are the people!

More information on the Call can be found at , or you can call us at 505-265-1200. Endorsements are simplest on-line (on-line signup is broken right now, but should be back up in a few days). Endorsement forms, brochures, petitions, and other supplies can also be picked up at our office (2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106) or at Cloud Cliff Restaurant in Santa Fe (1805 Second Street). We can also mail them to you. We will support your efforts in any and every way.

Lastly, if you live in New Mexico, are very interested in participating in this campaign but not sure you can afford to help much, or know of others in the same boat, talk to us. Creative solutions may be possible.

b. Be a docent at our new Los Alamos Disarmament Center.

Our new Disarmament Center will be opening on December 10 in downtown Los Alamos, across the street from the Bradbury “Science” Museum. The Center will be a resource and outreach center where any and all can find an alternative perspective, visiting activists and interns can work, from which citizen inspections can be launched, and where discussions can be held.

We are looking for volunteer docents to help staff the Center. If you think you might be interested in being a part-time docent, please contact Fatima at 505-265-1200 or at Being a docent will be a great way to reach out to the public and the lab community, to learn about the issues -- and to practice non-violent communication. It will also be a supportive place from which to work on the Call and other projects.

c. Host a small billboard.

Since 1998, the Study Group has been challenging nuclear weapons policy using billboards along major highways, mostly between the Albuquerque airport and Los Alamos. These billboards, of which there have been 15, have been seen more than 100 million times by hundreds of thousands of people. They have been very cost-effective, but they are suddenly getting much more expensive.

We hope to supplement our remaining billboards with many smaller billboards along highways, roads, and streets, especially (but not just) in areas of high traffic flow. These small billboards can be made in a variety of sizes and shapes and can display a variety of messages. Various production methods are possible.

Will you help with this campaign? Above all we need volunteer hosts for cool, kick-ass signs. And we want YOUR design and messaging ideas (but be forewarned: most of our collective ideas end up on the cutting room floor). And we need volunteers to install these signs.

If you want to help in any way with this project, contact Fatima at 505-265-1200 or

d. Donate money. Ask your friends to do so.

Guess what, it takes money to make these things happen. We can’t do these things without raising money from somewhere. And this is by no means an easy thing to do. Many people are now effectively poorer than they used to be, and the middle class is dwindling fast. Fuel costs are very high, and the victims of human and natural disasters need urgent help.

Still, nuclear weapons are our particular “little” problem in New Mexico, our own special contribution to the world’s woes. A lot of people, including some very nice Democrats, are prepared to allow New Mexico to be a sacrifice zone, absorbing even more nuclear programs like plutonium pit production. So if we don’t stop these terrible programs, who will? New Mexico is a pivotal site. It is no exaggeration to say that what happens here could determine the future of nuclear weapons worldwide.

Leave aside for a moment the question of where we give – of where and how we apply our talents, attention, and resources. The key thing for all of us to realize is that whatever we do, we cannot hold back any longer. Folks, the torch of humanity has been handed to us, and it is guttering. We have to rise to the occasion or the flame it will go out.

Whatever we decide do, we must really do it. To protect life, even to be fully human in a time such as this, we must act. We must deeply understand and accept that, however difficult things become, “we were born for such a time as this.” We who fancy ourselves free must now measure our freedom by the scope and effectiveness of our active, prudential compassion, because that is what is required.

Now, most of us don’t have much money. There is, however, more than enough money in our communities to rid the world of nuclear weapons and to accomplish a huge amount besides. Changing the direction of expenditures in our communities, from things we as individuals don’t really need to the things we as a community really do all need – which includes nuclear disarmament – is really a kind of social change itself.

If you want to help our programs you can donate by credit card or electronic check at our secure portal ( /contribute.htm), or send a check by mail. You can also call us to arrange a gift of stock or other equity.

e. Subscribe to our newsletter.

If you want to know more about developments in nuclear disarmament and related issues, with special emphasis on developments here in New Mexico, please consider subscribing to our new monthly newsletter, which will come to you via snail mail if you ask

The first issue will be coming out in late November and will be free. Subsequent issues require a subscription at whatever level of support is comfortable for you, starting at $5 per month. This arrangement will help defray some of our costs, which we have to do, and at the same time help bring our community of supporters together in a way we can’t achieve by email and web publication. We hope you will find the newsletter informative and useful and we anticipate that it will be the primary outlet and nexus for the growing Los Alamos Study Group community.

To subscribe, we also want you to endorse the Call for Nuclear Disarmament. Our culture has more than enough raw information. We want to re-link information, values, and common action.

To subscribe send an email to Fatima at, indicating your desired level of monthly support. (You can change this at any time.) Be sure and include your mailing address if you suspect we don’t have it.

2. Upcoming regular meetings

a. In Santa Fe

We’ll be having planning and program meetings at CloudCliff Bakery Café, 1805 Second St. in Santa Fe at 2:00 pm every Friday. While not possible for everyone, this time seems to work as well as any other. If you can, come on down to CloudCliff, have a cup of tea, and join your friends in working for nuclear disarmament!

b. In Albuquerque

We’ll be meeting this week at Irysh Mac’s Coffee Shop, 110 Yale Blvd., at 6:00 pm Monday evening, November 7. Come one, come all!

3. A time of opportunity

Nuclear weapons budgets are now under greater pressure than at any time in the past decade, and this pressure will continue indefinitely, or increase. The causes are many: record federal deficits, two very expensive foreign wars, neglected flood control and other infrastructure needs, failures in the management of nuclear weapons programs as well as conceptual and technical failures in the programs themselves, inadequate security and mounting security costs, massive duplication in nuclear facilities and programs, and Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, among other causes.

In this milieu, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee has called for deep arsenal reductions, based on 1) its perception that the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security is very limited, and on 2) its desire to direct money for other purposes. The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) has openly discussed the downsizing or closure of some or many existing nuclear weapons facilities, although at the same time they say they want to build a new nuclear weapons complex in a single location. What is most valuable in the SEAB discussion is their frank acknowledgement of the redundancies and potential economies around the complex, and their acknowledgement of management failures at LANL’s 27-year-old plutonium facility, TA-55.

Meanwhile international criticism of U.S. nuclear policies is widespread, increasing, and potent. This criticism is in turn just part of an unprecedented, widespread discomfort with U.S. foreign policy generally. It is in fact the U.S., much more than any other country, which impedes nuclear disarmament discussions in virtually every international forum, and it is the U.S. alone which has impeded progress in bilateral disarmament vis-à-vis Russia since the end of the Cold War. There is nothing like the Cold War holding up the size of U.S. arsenals, and U.S. behavior under these circumstances has been nothing short of shameful. This too is an opportunity, if we make our outrage known.

There is a wide consensus against nuclear proliferation, and there is a treaty binding on the U.S. which requires complete nuclear disarmament (not “progress on disarmament” or any other similarly vague and ultimately meaningless formulation). Nonproliferation and disarmament, however, are really just two sides of the same coin, a truth that polls show a large majority of Americans understand. These realities, which together comprise a great opportunity to disinvest in nuclear weapons, are not adequately emphasized.

Bringing our gaze home now to New Mexico, we find that our state is home to nearly half of all U.S. warhead spending. If the Pantex Plant near Amarillo is included, it is more than half. Los Alamos is the only place where plutonium cores or “pits” for new U.S. weapons can be made until at least 2020, and literally billions of dollars are being spent and committed there for this unpopular mission. This manufacturing is to be substantially conducted in aging facilities under controversial safety protocols, and new plutonium infrastructure investments exceeding $1 billion are planned. Morale and productivity are however low, and serious fundamental problems have already been discovered that await community, public, and congressional awareness.

These and other realities provide New Mexicans with a powerful policy voice. Our actions can change national policies, and our actions can also prevent bad policies from being successfully implemented, as they have done many times in the past. When forced to accommodate new realities, policy changes, perforce.

Bold leadership, including financial leadership, is needed to take advantage of these very favorable circumstances.

Disinvestment in nuclear weapons is critically important for our nation and the world, poised as we all are to enter very turbulent times already characterized by imperial overstretch and military failure. Such disinvestment is also critically important for us in New Mexico. Although not sufficient, such a change is an absolutely necessary part of any solution to New Mexico’s serious economic and social problems. Historically, our state’s decline relative to other states is contemporaneous (and inversely correlated with) growth in nuclear weapons spending. Politically, none of our problems can be solved until we can claim for ourselves a different kind of politics, one in which people and the land come first, rather than weapons and especially weapons of mass destruction. Any politics requiring a commitment to human dignity, whether at the state or the national scale, is incompatible with tacit support for nuclear weapons.

Of national interest (for a few, anyway!):

1. Disinvestment in nuclear weapons – an aspect of the path forward?

Many people say “Nuclear weapons will never be abolished.”  Yet nuclear weapons could be effectively “abolished” in a real sense fairly promptly, if we in the arms control and disarmament community chose to press home our many political advantages.

How?  By a process of social and ideological disinvestment, which to the extent it occurs immediately strips nuclear weapons of utility and prestige and unsuits them as carriers and symbols of state power. Their role as a foundation of individual career ambition and corporate profit would under such disinvestment likewise be weakened. Nuclear weapons could, of course, gradually be abolished by conscious decision, but they could also, and in complementary fashion, be abolished just as surely by gradual neglect, forgetfulness, disinvestment, relative discrediting in society, loss of tacit knowledge, and institutional senescence. 

This process need not be well-organized – in fact, it cannot be – but it is certainly advanced by the clarity and publicity of our common commitment to complete nuclear disarmament.

Decay and death is inevitable for institutions as it is for individuals. Forestalling the eventuality of decay is, in fact, what nuclear weapons managers worry about a lot.  Dozens of reports have been written about the subject at the national level and at the labs. The poorly-founded military justifications for new weapons aren’t the strongest reasons new weapons are desired, even needed, by the weapons complex – continuity, “end-to-end” work, and ideological vitality are.

What is the nuclear weapons complex, after all? Is it just the f acilities owned and operated by DOE/NNSA, the DoD, and their contractors and subcontractors? Or just the facilities plus the m ateriel: the nuclear weapons and materials, the delivery systems, the command & control system? M oney is also needed: federal appropriations, supported by federal receipts and borrowing. People make up the complex too, in the executive branch, the uniformed military, the contractors at the labs and plants and elsewhere, and in Congress.

There’s more, however, to the weapons complex than this, as the weapons community has been telling us. Knowledge is also essential: objective, tacit, and institutional forms of knowledge. Some of these are quite perishable, and considerable effort has been expended on this problem, with mixed and I would say wasting success.

All this is not enough, however, to sustain nuclear weapons. Equally required are certain beliefs, ideologies, and commitments . The weapons complex simply cannot operate without these intangible moral factors in place, which are a necessary aspect of all operations, as well as recruitment and retention of staff. They are closely allied in turn with the legitimacy, authority, morale, and justification for the enterprise as a whole.

These intangible factors are the key to a practical political understanding of the quest for novel nuclear weapons.

In this realm, disarmament advocates have the advantage. This complex of intangible factors, which arise indirectly from considerations of conscience, are the soft underbelly of the beast, a most efficient place to attack.

Our strength in these arenas is indicated by polls. Polls show large, even huge, majorities in every country in favor of mutual nuclear abolition. In the U.S., attempts to prevent proliferation while retaining our nuclear weapons were less than one-fourth as popular as nuclear abolition in an AP/Ipsos poll earlier this year. The peace and security community has, in spite of this, largely chosen a strategy of nonproliferation disassociated from disarmament – a strategy which, polls suggest, is quite unpopular with Americans when compared to universal nuclear disarmament and a universal norm of non-possession.

Such an unbalanced approach will not do for us so well, and for many more reasons than we have time to enumerate here. Our narrow purpose, however, is to look at how disinvestment could become de facto disarmament.

Conventional analyses of state power say the state will cling indefinitely to nuclear weapons, but there are other possibilities.  When nuclear weapons are no longer a “growth industry,” when they are no longer associated with society’s creative forces, something happens to their social and political legitimacy, which very much affects their perceived political/military value – that is, the “credibility of nuclear deterrence,” and the likelihood of nuclear use.  They become “not useful” in whole new ways, to whole new classes of people and whole new sectors of the policy-making community. 

Surely nuclear weapons have been useful to somebody or the U.S. would not have spent $7.3 trillion (in today’s dollars) over 63 years to build and maintain them.  We know to whom they have been useful, and how. But in many ways nuclear weapons have never been useful, including in war.  The arenas or spheres of discourse in which nuclear weapons are tacitly understood by policy elites not to be useful could expand, and could even expand by neglect and forgetfulness if we allow them. These are, in effect, the “nuclear free zones” in our own national consciousness and prospect.  Nuclear weapons could go the way of some other mistakes this country has made, like Native American genocide: no real apology, but a desire to forget and move on.  We Americans do have better things to do, don’t we?

In fact we do, and we are beginning to collectively realize this fact.

“Poll: No Nation Should Have Nuke Weapons; AP Poll Finds Most Americans Believe No Country Should Have Nuclear Weapons, Not Even U.S,” Will Lester, Associated Press, Mar. 30, 2005, article available at and poll available at:
(paid subscribers only).

A more detailed poll from the previous year is that of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), “Americans on WMD Proliferation,” Stephen Kull, et. al., April 15, 2004, at .  Or you can access the document from our website here. When PIPA researchers asked Americans if they support full nuclear disarmament in the context of an existing treaty (the NPT), 84% supported nuclear abolition.

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Action Alert #48 (08/08/05)
Report on August 6 commemoration at Los Alamos and related activities

This past weekend, a record number of citizens came to (and from within) Los Alamos to press for nuclear disarmament and to call for a stop to plutonium bomb core (“pit”) production.  

First off, the moving Pax Christi sackcloth and ashes witness (from about 8 to about 10:30 am ) was attended by about 300 people – more than at prior Los Alamos Pax Christi events.   

The main, joint events then started, at about 10:30 am.  The crowd present grew as the morning progressed; we estimate that at noon , after some of the news media had filed their stories (and just before it began to rain), there were about 950 people present.  Whatever the number, there were clearly more people than ever before at any prior disarmament event in Los Alamos .  Still more people arrived in the late afternoon, partially replacing those who filtered home or to other engagements elsewhere.  People came from Japan , Canada , Colorado , Indiana , Washington , California , New York , from around New Mexico , and from many other places. 

The nearly 5,000 sunflowers grown by Ben and Molly Schwartz of Corrales added a great deal to the event.  Participants ended up giving most of them away to the Los Alamos community at the end of the day, handing them to motorists passing by on Central Avenue who were (mostly) glad to be offered them. 

The speakers, music, and workshops were terrific. I attended the two afternoon workshops on a “post-nuclear”economy for New Mexico led by Michael Oden and Bill Weida, whose presentations greatly interested audiences and led to very lively Q&A sessions.

A little after noon we had a quite interesting and useful exchange in front of the Los Alamos Post Office in which Santa Fe City Councilor David Coss presented to Los Alamos County Council Chair Fran Berting Santa Fe’s recent strong nuclear disarmament resolution, recommending it as a possible starting point for similar discussions in Los Alamos.  Then a special appeal from the Mayor of Hiroshima (attached below) was also presented to Ms. Berting.  Mr. Coss and visiting hibakusha Mr. Koji Ueda and Mrs. Masako Hashida were accompanied by a large crowd carrying sunflowers.  By the time we finished, the rain was over and the sun was shining again.   

Ms. Berting, a Republican, speaking on behalf of the Council, expressed a desire for a world free of nuclear weapons.  We don’t yet have an exact copy of her prepared remarks.

For many people, the high point of the event came in the evening, when 3,000 floating candle lanterns made by Dragonfly Sanctuary of Madrid, NM and many volunteers were set adrift in Ashley Pond, accompanied by a recording of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio” for strings, Opus 11.  The three thousand little flames in their golden mantles crossing the water to the other shore, with ducks and geese weaving placidly between them and bats flitting across the surface of the water, were very beautiful and moving.

Quite a few people from the Los Alamos community were attracted by all these doings, and in several instances local townspeople sincerely thanked those working on the event. LANL staff visited the booths of participating organizations; interesting conversations ensued.

Local and visiting Buddhists brought a dignified and introspective presence.  They were mostly organized under the banners of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe , Kannon Zendo in Los Alamos , and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.  The Buddhists joined in solidarity with Pax Christi in the sackcloth and ashes witness, helping swell the overall numbers and contribute to the success of that event.

From my own perspective, the best part of the day was not just the day per se but, more so, the solid work done by dozens of individuals and groups that contributed to everything that happened. This quiet, unheralded, generous work, in which so much nobility was shown by many, is really success itself, the post-nuclear society prefigured.  It also augurs very well for an increased level of political leadership and participation on the nuclear disarmament issue in New Mexico in the coming months and years. 

We'll get pictures from the event up on our web site next week, after a short vacation. 

Best to all,

Greg and the Study Group gang

P.S. Attached please find the letter from Mayor Akiba to the Los Alamos town council and some of the press coverage, which began in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in Thursday's newspapers with lovely color pictures of Mr. Ueda and Mrs. Hashida beginning the sunflower harvest. 

Letter from Mayor Akiba to the Los Alamos County Council

August 1, 2005

The Honorable Frances Berting, Chairperson
The Honorable Michael Wheeler, Vice-Chairperson
The Honorable Nona Bowman, Jim Hall, Ken Milder, Jim West, and Michael Wismer, Councilors

Los Alamos County Council
P.O. Box 30
Los Alamos, NM 87544

Dear fellow civic leaders –

On this, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I recall with sadness the many innocent people who lost their lives as a result of the atomic bombs that were dropped on them.  Many thousands who survived were badly wounded; others who survived lost family members or even their whole families.  Many thousands also suffered from radiation-induced sickness, from which many have died in the 60 years since the war.  I have seen these things with my own eyes, and here in Hiroshima I live with them every day.  Like mine, your hearts must be deeply affected by the suffering of these innocent atomic bombing victims.  

I hope you will agree with me that even in wartime, mass attacks on civilians, including the willful bombardment and destruction of cities, is wrong under all circumstances, whether the mass killing is done by Japan , by the United States , or by a terrorist network that claims no particular state as home.  Is this not a minimum moral standard which applies to all of us, all the time?  If we cannot rule out as illegitimate the willful destruction of cities, what, then, can we rule out?  What hope is there for humanity?  

Can we therefore recognize together that despite what was done in the past by both our countries as well as by others, our duty to humanity precludes the use, and the stockpiling for use, of weapons of mass destruction?  

This is not a matter of abstract theory, or something we can safely leave to others to decide.  Today, for the security of our respective countries it is very important for all of us, in my country as well as in yours, to affirm and to promote the unlawfulness of weapons of mass destruction.  The alternative – the active or tacit endorsement of weapons of mass destruction as normal and acceptable – will lead directly to their acquisition by others.  There cannot be one law for some and another for the rest.  Threats of force, especially those embodied in nuclear weapons, will not prevent proliferation.  In fact such threats promote proliferation.  

The United States has the world’s most powerful military establishment.  If even the U.S. believes it must retain nuclear weapons for its protection, and retain them by the thousands, how much more so will other countries believe they are necessary, and take steps to acquire them?  

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons was ratified by the United States on November 24, 1969 .  It entered into force on March 5, 1970 , becoming part of “the supreme law of the land” under the U.S. Constitution.  Article VI of the Treaty requires that “each of the Parties of the Treaty undertakes 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, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”  Subsequent authoritative interpretation of this article by the International Court of Justice in 1996 established, in an unanimous opinion rendered after extensive discussion with many states, that this Article requires the achievement of a particular and exact result, namely complete, mutual nuclear disarmament.  

With this as background, and for these reasons, I am asking for your help today.  The eyes of the world today are on Los Alamos , where the first nuclear bombs were built, where now is home to the largest facility for weapons of mass destruction in the entire world in dollar terms.  Therefore I am asking each of you separately, as well as all of you together, to join with me in a clear statement that:

  • Rejects as immoral any willful destruction of cities occupied bycivilians, including the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ;
  • Rejects the morality, utility, and legality of nuclear weaponsand their indefinite retention by any state;
  • Embraces the goal of complete nuclear disarmament as required bythe Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

 <>Such principles as these are not just basic human morality, and in their practical application also a binding legal requirement, but they are also widely accepted by citizens in both our countries.  

I have seen a copy of the Resolution recently passed by the City of Santa Fe when Mr. Matsushima of the Hiroshima World Peace Mission was in your state, and I strongly commend that Resolution to you as a model.  

I would also like to extend a warm invitation to all of you, the councilors of the County of Los Alamos , to visit the city of Hiroshima .  Come and visit our Peace Museum .  You will see how our city has recovered.  Now we in Hiroshima have the same challenges and opportunities, more or less, that all cities have.  How alike we all are in our human hopes!  In this the new century, the challenges will be very great for all of us and will require our full, mutual cooperation.  I am afraid success in meeting those challenges is hardly compatible with a posture of nuclear threat.  Therefore let us work together for a peaceful, nuclear weapon-free future.

With great respect,

Tadatoshi Akiba


Thursday, August 4, 2005
Two Japanese Citizens Tell Their Stories in Duke City, Plan LANL Tour
By Elaine D. Briseño
Journal Staff Writer

ALBUQUERQUE— Six decades have passed since the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, changing the face of war forever.

Two survivors of the 1945 bombs arrived in New Mexico on Wednesday to tell their stories and honor those who died. They will travel to Los Alamos today for a tour of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, birthplace of the atomic bomb.

On Saturday, they will attend a 60-year Hiroshima Day commemoration ceremony at Ashley Pond Park in Los Alamos. The week's events and visit were arranged by the Los Alamos Study Group.

Speaking through an interpreter Wednesday afternoon, the two sipped hot tea under a tree in the backyard of an Albuquerque home and explained their mission. Masako Hashida and Koji Ueda want to put an end to war and make sure the world never again sees another Hiroshima or Nagasaki . They believe they have an obligation to tell their stories to honor those who died.

On the morning of Aug. 6, 1945 , the United States launched the world's first nuclear attack, dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima , Japan . Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki . Thousands were killed instantly and others died soon after from radiation. Shortly following the blasts, Japan surrendered, bringing an end to World War II.

After their tea, Hashida and Ueda traveled to a Corrales field to pick sunflowers that will be presented to the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe where they will stay during their visit to New Mexico . Los Alamos Study Group member Trish Williams-Mello said the sunflower is the international symbol for disarmament. The group contracted Corrales residents Ben Schwartz and his wife, Molly, to grow the flowers.

Ueda and Hashida are hibakusha, the Japanese term for survivors of the atomic blasts. Ueda's family home was within a mile of the epicenter of the blast in Hiroshima . He was 3 at the time, but he and his family survived because they had been evacuated to a village about 20 miles away before the bomb was dropped. Ueda said he does not remember much, but heard stories from family members while he was growing up. Ueda began telling his story about six years ago.

Hashida, a stay-at-home mom and grandmother, only began telling her story in the last year. She was 15, working in a factory in Nagasaki , when the bomb fell. Speaking through University of New Mexico interpreter Holly Siebert Kawakami, Hashida told her story while standing next to the Corrales sunflower field.

"Toward the end of the war, like so many of my peers, I was not going to school. I was ordered to work in the munitions factory ... I was separated from my family living in a boarding house. It was a hot and humid day and I was working by my friend. I saw a huge flash and many different colors of light coming toward me. Then I was unconscious. When I woke up, I was blown outside the factory ... I remember seeing a creature, I could not tell if it was human or male or female. This creature was trying to stand up and skin was dripping from its fingers. I think it was looking for water."

Hashida's friend was never found and was presumed to have been killed.

For most of her life, Hashida could not bring herself to talk about that day. She suffered from survivor's guilt, not understanding why she had lived when so many had died. But as she got older, she said she felt a responsibility to those who died.

"I need to say something to the world," she said. "That something is "no more war.' ''

Hashida is a board member of the A-bomb Sufferers Association in Kumamoto .

Ueda is the assistant secretary general of the Tokyo Federation of A-bomb Sufferers Associations. This is his third trip to the United States , but first to the birthplace of the bomb. Ueda became visibly emotional when asked how he felt about his impending visit to the Los Alamos labs and whether he was angry at the United States .

"You can tell by his reaction it is very difficult to talk about it," Kawakami said. "He says he can only think of the people who died. He said, 'What I would like to say is can't we end all wars? It's the best we can do for the people that died.

" 'I know when I come to the United States and say no more Hiroshima , people will say no more Pearl Harbor . So, actually, nobody is right.' ''

The group will return to Corrales Friday morning to harvest thousands more sunflowers to be used in Saturday's ceremony in Los Alamos .


Thursday, August 4, 2005
Groups Mass Against Nukes
By Adam Rankin
Journal Staff Writer

Buddhists, Catholics and other proponents of peace and nuclear disarmament are massing this week to observe the 60th anniversary of the world's first nuclear attacks when the United States bombed Hiroshima, Japan, in an effort to hasten the end of World War II.

All told, the various groups leading the events— Pax Christi New Mexico, Upaya Zen Center and the Los Alamos Study Group— hope the weekend events planned for Saturday will be the largest disarmament gathering in Los Alamos, the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

"What the 60th anniversary is about is what we as a society think about mass destruction," said Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group. "It isn't just nuclear weapons, it is about our tolerance for mass killing and whether it is something we might conduct under certain circumstances or whether it is something we wish to reject under all circumstances in order to build worldwide consensus against mass killing and genocide."

Beginning today with a press conference featuring two survivors of the American nuclear attacks against Japan, the groups have gatherings, seminars, music, prayers and vigils planned through Tuesday, the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. About 240,000 people died as a result of both bombings.

On Friday, the Catholic peace organization Pax Christi New Mexico plans a Mass for the Feast of Transfiguration at 7:30 p.m. in Santa Fe at the Santa Maria de la Paz Church, 11 College Ave. Jesuit peace activist Father John Dear will deliver the homily.

Also on Friday, the Upaya Zen Center begins a five-day retreat focused on repenting for the bombing by performing 108 prostrations, bowing and chanting in concert in the traditional Japanese style. The prostrations are scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. , corresponding to the time the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima .

Also at 5:15 p.m. Friday, SITE Santa Fe will broadcast a live audio feed from Hiroshima on KSFR-FM and KUNM-FM of the ringing of the Hiroshima Peace Bell.

Saturday is Santa Fe's seventh annual Peace Day, scheduled to take place at the Railyard from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The event will feature numerous dance and music performances throughout the day.

Symbol of repentance

Pax Christi plans to gather Saturday by Ashley Pond in Los Alamos to carry out a vigil of repentance and peace through the town beginning about 8 a.m.

"Our group began talking last fall about what we were going to do for the 60th anniversary, and we decided we were going to use a biblical symbol," Dear said.

He said the group chose the story of Jonah and his effort to get the people of Nineveh to repent their sins, in part because Nineveh is the only example in which an entire city joined together in repentance.
" Los Alamos is engaged in far greater evil (for supporting nuclear weapons) than Nineveh or Sodom and Gomorrah , so if anybody needs to repent, it is us," Dear said.

As in the story of Jonah and Nineveh, Pax Christi members plan to don sack cloths— converted grain and potato sacks— and pour ashes over themselves as they repent for what they perceive as the sins of those involved in building and maintaining the country's nuclear weapons.

"It is an ancient symbol of repenting your sin; it is a spiritual action begging God to forgive us for what we have done," Dear said.

The ashes also serve to evoke the image of the ashes of the victims killed during the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , so "it brings in the reality of nuclear weapons," Dear said.

The group plans to reconvene at the Los Alamos Post Office, where visiting survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will present a letter from the current mayors of those two cities to the Los Alamos County Council requesting their assistance in worldwide disarmament efforts.

The Los Alamos Study Group will pass out thousands of sunflowers grown in Corrales that have come to symbolize the movement away from nuclear weapons.

"We are not demonstrating for peace," Mello said. "This is a disarmament rally. Because Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories are in their view working for peace, so we are all for peace, but the truth of the matter is that is not good enough. We stand for different policies."

Mello said the 60th anniversary is an important moment to bring awareness to the issues surrounding nuclear weapons policies.

"Nuclear weapons issues are very much active right now," Mello said. He said the United States is reviewing its stockpile, and the Bush administration and Congress have proposed several different visions for the future of the nation's nuclear weapon stockpile— now numbering more than 10,000 warheads.

"As a result, the issues are really wide open in a way they haven't been," he said. "It is important for citizens to express what it is exactly that they want, and it is important for citizens to work to make those specific aspirations a reality."


Hiroshima Survivors Call for Ban on Nukes
August 7, 2005  

<> LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) -- Survivors of the deadly blasts that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki 60 years ago joined hundreds of activists in support of a global ban on nuclear weapons.

They rallied Saturday at the birthplace of the atomic bomb, outside the national labs that feed today's nuclear arsenal, on the tiny island where the Enola Gay took off for Hiroshima with its
deadly payload, and in the nation's capital.

Bombing survivor Koji Ueda attended a rally in the Los Alamos park where there were research laboratories when the Manhattan Project developed the world's first atomic bomb.

''No more Hiroshimas. No more Nagasakis,'' Ueda said. ''We send this message to our friends all over the world, along with a fresh determination of the 'hibakusha' (atomic bomb survivors) to continue to tell about Hiroshima and Nagasaki , aiming at a planet set free of wars of nuclear weapons.''

<>In Oak Ridge, Tenn., 15 protesters from a group of more than 1,000 were arrested for blocking a road outside the heavily guarded weapons factory that helped fuel the bomb during World War II

At the Nevada Test Site, about 200 peace activists, including actor Martin Sheen, gathered for a nonviolent demonstration outside the gates. Dozens were given citations and released after crossing police lines. There was no immediate count of exactly how many were detained.

In California , hundreds of activists marched to the gates of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, some holding sunflowers and others hoisting a 40-foot inflatable ''missile.''

The city of Hiroshima , meanwhile, marked the anniversary with prayers and water for the dead.

At 8:15 a.m. , the instant of the blast, Hiroshima 's trolleys stopped and more than 55,000 people at Peace Memorial Park observed a moment of silence that was broken only by the ringing of a
bronze bell.

Ueda, who was 3 when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima , was joined at Los Alamos by Msako Hashida, who was 15 and working in a factory a mile from where the second bomb fell three days later on Nagasaki .

In an interview with The Associated Press, Hashida recalled hearing a loud metallic noise and then seeing waves of red, blue, purple and yellow light. She said she lost consciousness and awoke outside the twisted metal ruins of the factory, which had made torpedoes used in the attack on Pearl Harbor .

She saw a person trying to stand, with burns and swelling so severe it was impossible to tell if it was a man or a woman.

In the Los Alamos park where research laboratories stood during the Manhattan Project, placards carried anti-war slogans including ''No More War for Oil and Empire.''

A group of veterans offered an opposing message across the park from the more than 500 activists. One sign read: ''If there hadn't been a Pearl Harbor , there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima .''

In Washington, G.R. Quinn, 54, of Bethesda, Md., held a sign across from the White House reading: ''God Bless the Enola Gay,'' referring to the B-29 that dropped the first bomb. Nearby, about three dozen peace activists declared President Bush was not doing enough for nuclear disarmament.

More than 300 activists marched to the gates of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, about 50 miles east of San Francisco , some planning to plant the sunflowers they outside its fence.

The facility was created years after the bombs were dropped, but it has helped develop nuclear weapons in the nation's current arsenal.

A group of U.S. veterans met with atomic bomb survivors on the tiny island of Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands to commemorate the anniversary. The island was the launching off
point for the plane Enola Gay, which dropped its deadly payload over Hiroshima in 1945.

About 70 veterans and several survivors agreed to use their final years to advocate world peace and call for an end to nuclear proliferation.

The uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was supplied by the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge , which continues to make parts for every warhead in the country's nuclear arsenal.

More than 1,000 demonstrators carrying signs and beating drums marched outside the Y-12 gates in the largest peace protest ever in the city, which was built in secrecy during World War II. Fifteen protesters were arrested for blocking the road about 100 yards from the entrance, a misdemeanor.

''Those of us who live here have a special, maybe accidental, responsibility to think about the hard sides of these questions,'' said Fran Ansley, a University of Tennessee law professor.

Sunday, August 7, 2005
Nuclear Anniversary Inspires Disarmament Rally
By Laura Banish
Journal Staff Writer

LOS ALAMOS— Sunflowers, ashes, songs and prayer were used to send one message here Saturday: Stop the bomb where it started.
An estimated 300 people traveled from cities across the United States and as far away as Japan to this small mountain town— the birthplace of the atomic bomb— to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During an emotionally charged, daylong rally, they called for peace and nuclear disarmament.

"It's got to stop. I feel repentance for the whole human race for what we've done in the name of defense," a teary eyed Fran Stein of North Fork Valley , Colo. , said. "How horrific we are as a species."

Throughout the day, many types of imagery were used to convey the message of peace.

Sunflowers, which have become the international symbol for nuclear disarmament, were everywhere. The bright yellow flowers appeared on T-shirts, hats, buttons and an estimated 5,000 sunflowers in royal blue buckets encircled Ashley Pond.

“Symbols are very powerful. They bring it all home," said Father John Dear of Pax Christi New Mexico, the state chapter of an international Catholic peace movement.

Some members of Pax Christi donned sack cloths and carried bags of ashes to depict penitence and conversion to nonviolence, as portrayed in a story from the Book of Jonah in the Bible.

"Jonah used sack cloths and ashes in Nineveh . Two hundred years ago in Boston , they used tea. Mahatma Ghandi took a pinch of salt," Dear said. "With this symbol, we reclaim an ancient biblical image to show our political and spiritual opposition to nuclear weapons and the work of Los Alamos."

Disarmament urged

Dear read a letter that was later presented to the Los Alamos County Council from Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima.

"The eyes of the world today are on Los Alamos , where the first nuclear bombs were built," the letter said. It detailed the devastating impacts of the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima.

The Hiroshima mayor asked for the County Council to reject the development of nuclear weapons and adopt a resolution that mirrors one recently passed by the city of Santa Fe , calling for the U.S. government to agree to complete nuclear disarmament as per the 1969 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.  [This actually was in a second, more detailed letter from Mayor Akiba, directed especially to the Los Alamos County Council.  Ms. Banish has, understandably, conflated the two letters.]

Later, Dear planned to fly to Las Vegas, Nev., to conduct an act of civil disobedience with actor Martin Sheen at a Nevada weapons testing site.

Some used costumes to communicate their message. One man dressed like Ghandi and another posed as U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, wearing handcuffs and an orange jump suit that said "war criminal."

Jillian Niven of Albuquerque stood on a milk crate, draped in an American flag, wearing only a black leotard and fishnet stockings underneath. She opened the flag to reveal the message: "Expose Politics of Bush's War." Niven said that Los Alamos, "being the originator of the bomb, is the cancer of our social conscience."

Survivors speak

Of all the demonstrations and speeches, the most powerful came from atomic bomb survivors Masako Hashida and Ueda Koji, who traveled from Japan to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons in Los Alamos .

They told their stories through an interpreter.

Now 75 years old, Hashida said she was a 15-year-old girl working at the Mitsubishi weapons factory in Nagasaki , conscripted to make torpedoes, when the bomb fell on Aug. 9, 1945 .

When she regained consciousness, she encountered a human-like creature with skin dripping from its bones and later other bomb survivors with badly burned, bleeding bodies.
"I was numb and in shock. I did not feel anything when I saw them. I have never seen humans look like that," Hashida said through an interpreter.

Hashida said she has suffered from survivor's guilt ever since. Until recently, she had not been able to talk about the bombing.

As an interpreter, translator Holly Siebert Kawakami said it has been emotionally challenging to see Los Alamos through the eyes of two bomb survivors. Her lips trembled and tears welled in her eyes as she recalled their experiences over the last few days.

According to Siebert Kawakami, the pair of survivors were shocked and disappointed to discover during their trip to learn that the city continues to develop nuclear weapons.

'Our earnest wish'

The survivors have pledged to remember the dead. The mission of their trip was to send a message to Los Alamos and the world: "Humanity must never again inflict nor suffer the sacrifice and torture that we have experienced."

"This is our earnest wish. This is why I have come," Koji said. "When human beings have lost the memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , nuclear war would be more likely to break out. The hope for the future of mankind will rest upon how the dead will be engraved in the memories of the living."

Organizers said Saturday's gathering was possibly the largest anti-nuclear weapons protest ever held in Los Alamos .

Los Alamos Council chairwoman Frances Berting said she didn't think the county would pass a resolution against nuclear disarmament because it was not a local issue. Santa Fe City Councilor David Coss, who read a section of the city's nuclear disarmament resolution at the rally, voiced a different perspective.

"People have to be able to express their positions, and if not through their elected representatives, then how?" Coss said. "I don't accept the idea that issues of war and peace aren't important to local governments, and I don't accept that local government as representatives of the people should never be able to express matters of opinion to the national government."

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Action Alert #47 (08/01/05)
Final preparations for commemoration of 60th anniversary of atomic bombings by U.S. -- Volunteers needed

1. Help is needed to harvest sunflowers in Corrales on Friday, August 5
2. Please help with final push to encourage people to go to Los Alamos on Saturday, August 6
3. Let us know if you can help with logistics, food, water, trucking, and much more on August 6

Dear friends and colleagues --

The final days before the August 6 event are now upon us, and there's lots of work to do!  Thanks to the work of dozens of volunteers who have collectively worked thousands of hours since the beginning of the year, Saturday is shaping up to be a wonderful event!  New developments include a historic letter, received today, from the Mayor of Hiroshima to the County Council members of Los Alamos, to be delivered Saturday, reaching out to them for solidarity in working for nuclear abolition and a clear statement that the bombing of cities is wrong under any circumstances.  This letter will be presented to Los Alamos County councilpersons in a special ceremony
in downtown Los Alamos in front of the Post Office a few minutes after noon. 

There's been a really terrific turnout of volunteers so far, more than ever in the history of the Study Group, but a great deal remains to be done. 

Here's the highlights:

1. Help is needed to harvest sunflowers in Corrales on Friday, August 5

It's time to harvest the thousands of sunflowers now maturing in a field in Corrales (see the photo below) and load them into a semi-trailer for shipment to Los Alamos.  Call us for the exact location of the field, and please join us on Friday (all day or evening) to help cut, bundle, put in buckets, and load the harvest of peace. 

The harvest will symbolically begin on Wednesday afternoon August 3. led by Mr. Koji Ueda (Hiroshima survivor, Assistant Secretary General at Tokyo Federation of A-bomb Sufferers Associations) and Mrs. Masako Hashida (Nagasaki survivor, board member of local survivors association).  The flowers will be at peak readiness on Friday and that's the day we really need a lot of people to help.  Bring gloves, hat, and if you can also some garden clippers (the small ones, not loppers) although we do have a some extra clippers.  Recruit your friends! 

2. Please help with a final push to encourage people to go to Los Alamos on Saturday, August 6

On August 6, Los Alamos is the place to be.  Your presence in Los Alamos on Saturday will carry a disarmament message, and you will be acting in close solidarity with almost 150 groups, more than 250 businesses, and with similar disarmament-oriented commemorations all over the world.  This is a time when your small contribution will combine powerfully with others.  The rally and teach-in on Saturday is much more than a peace rally.  Among other things, it is a concerted and clear demand by these groups for certain specific ends, including stopping the proposed bomb factory in Northern New Mexico, stopping the continued nuclear dumping underway in Los Alamos (a bigger dump than WIPP and it getting bigger every week), and dismantling U.S. nuclear forces pursuant to binding treaties the U.S. has signed.  It is also a historic appeal to the community of Los Alamos.  Your presence in Los Alamos will count. 

3. Let us know if you can help with logistics, food, water, trucking, and much more on August 6

If you can help set up the site, dispense water, or do another of what must be a hundred other tasks, please let us know.  Call Claire, Fatima, or any of the volunteers at 505-265-1200.  If you can't get through on that line, try 505-266-2055.  Or email Claire (at or Fatima at (  Thank you in advance!

OK, in a nutshell that's it.  See you there on Saturday!

Greg, Trish, Claire, Michael, Fatima and the rest of the gang

P.S. Many of you will be familiar with this lovely poem by Mary Oliver:

The Sunflowers

Come with me
into the field of sunflowers.
Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines

creak like ship masts,
their green leaves,
so heavy and so many,
fill all day with the sticky

sugar of the sun.
Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy

but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young -
the important weather,

the wandering crows.
Don't be afraid
to ask them questions!
Their bright faces,

which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds -
each one a new life! -

hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,

is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy. Come

and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garment of leaves,
the coarse roots in the earth
so uprightly burning.

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Action Alert #46 (07/29/05)
60th Anniversary of Hiroshima at Los Alamos

1. Nuclear Disarmament Groups to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Hiroshima, Nagasaki at Los Alamos
2. A-Bomb Survivors to Help Harvest New Mexico Sunflowers, Carry Message of Hope to Los Alamos
3. Remembering Our Humanity: Law, Public Conscience, & Nuclear Weapons -- Seminar on Nuclear Weapons Law, Policy, and Public Interventio
4. Historian To Tell "How Peace Activists Saved the World"

Dear friends and colleagues --

Come one, come all!  Below please find four summaries of upcoming events.  These were prepared primarily for the news media and provide a good synopsis of what's going on. 

The law, policy, and history seminar that begins tonight at UNM Law School should be terrific.  If you want to go it's not too late.  Just call Claire, Trish, or Fatima in the office and sign up.  You can attend part or all of this seminar.  We've invited some of the very best people in the country on these topics, so this will be a feast for hearts and minds.  I expect that this seminar will be inspiring and informative, and will give those who attend powerful tools for successful citizen action. 

Needless to say, we very much need your help this coming week.  If you'd like to help harvest sunflowers on or about August 3, or can help distribute posters or flyers right now, we really need your help.  And if you'd like to help on Saturday August 6, there are still quite a few "loose ends" that need attention. 

Recruit your friends to come on August 6!  It's very important. 

See you there, greg

P.S. Check out the new billboard skins on I-25 or view them at !

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Action Alert #45 (07/13/05)
Events through August 6 -- Please Come!

1. July 15 (Friday): "Mightier than the Sword: Poets, Writers Address the Nuclear Age" (Santa Fe)
2. July 16 (Saturday): "Mightier than the Sword: Poets, Writers Address the Nuclear Age" (Albuquerque)
3. July 15 (Friday): Gross "Blast from the Past" Weapons Fete at National Atomic Museum (Albuquerque)
4. July 29-31: (Friday-Sunday): "Remembering our Humanity: Law, Public Conscience, & Nuclear Weapons" (Short course for activists and others, UNM Law School)
5. August 6 (Saturday): "Hiroshima 60 Years: It started here- let's stop it here!" (Los Alamos)

Dear friends --

As we in New Mexico approach the 60th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion (Trinity) and the nuclear attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, several important events are planned, including this week!!Please come!! 

Even if you have other plans, we hope you will set them aside to participate, as the increasing violence that mars our world will not be stopped without our serious effort.  I think you'll find these events quite rewarding.  We hope you will join us!

If you have time and want to help with event planning, logistics, or outreach, there is a great deal to do even though a large number of people are working together to make these events happen.  We would very much welcome your help!

Very best to all,

Greg, for the Study Group community

1. "Mightier than the Sword: Poets, Writers Address the Nuclear Age" (Santa Fe venue)

Friday, July 15, 7:00pm
James A. Little Theater, 1060 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Ticket Price: $10

         On Friday, Albuquerque poet Mary Oishi will be emceeing the event, which will feature anti-nuclear poets John Bradley and William Witherup; poet, author, educator, and Santa Fe resident Elaine Maria Upton; award-winning playwright, actor, producer, author, and educator Karen Jones Meadows; and Northern New Mexico poet Judyth Hill.

         After an intermission, the second half of each show will be led by poets from our communities reading in a round-robin fashion from an open microphone. Citizen-poets are encouraged, one and all, to bring their poems to share with others!

         There will be a silent auction at each event to raise money for the big August 6 commemoration and teach-in in Los Alamos (see /Hiroshima60.htm). If you want to donate to the silent auction, call Claire at the Los Alamos Study Group at 265-1200.

         Tickets are $10 for both events. They are available at the door and online, at , for both events. Tickets for Friday’s event are also available at Collected Works Bookstore and Nicholas Potter Books in Santa Fe. Tickets for Saturday’s event are available at Page One, Bookworks, and The Book Stop in Albuquerque.

         We’re having these events because the nuclear story, in which all of us in New Mexico occupy center stage either as actors or scenery, has not been adequately or truthfully told. Factual truths as well as emotional truths, moral truths as well as spiritual truths, are still denied. The truths denied exceed prose in any case. The shadow of denial lengthens each year, making the job of communicating accurately and succinctly ever more difficult.

         Milan Kundera famously said “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” On Friday and Saturday we will remember – remember and take stock, and inspire ourselves for the choices we must all make in the challenging years ahead.

Business Sponsors: ABQ Arts, Eldorado Sun, Plants of the Southwest
"PoetPals" (who have provided tickets for local poets): Iron to Live With, Santa Fe Hemp

2. "Mightier than the Sword- Poets, Writers Address the Nuclear Age" (Albuquerque venue -- see Santa Fe description for shared details)

Saturday, July 16, 7:00 pm
Lobo Theater, 3013 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque
Ticket Price: $10

         On Saturday, Bill Witherup, John Bradley, and Karen Jones Meadows will perform, this time joined by Mary Oishi and by poet, playwright, and educator Maisha Baton.

Business Sponsors: ABQ Arts, Eldorado Sun, 4 Alarm Services, Stone Design,
"PoetPals" (who have provided tickets for local poets): Lynn Springer

Hiroshima Survivor, Disarmament Advocates to Attend Gross "Blast from the Past" Weapons Fete at National Atomic Museum

    If you are in Albuquerque (and therefore not at the "Mightier" poetry reading in Santa Fe, the other cool place to be), PLEASE COME!

Friday July 15, 4:30 pm
Outside the National Atomic Museum
1905 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque

         On Friday and Saturday, July 15 & 16, the National Atomic Museum will mark the 60th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion on earth with an “action packed” parody of the Manhattan project, featuring a cocktail party & dinner, 1940s fashion & car show, and a panel discussion.  A “secret identity,” “dossier,” and “secret entrance” will help establish the farcical atmosphere (“Relive the drama, secrecy, excitement, and awe”).

         Also attending Friday's festivities will be Ms. Shigeko Sasamori, who was one mile from the hypocenter of the explosion on August 6, 1945.  Ms. Sasamori, who barely survived, was so badly burned that her parents could not tell the front of her head from the back.  In the mid-1950s, she received extensive plastic surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital as one of the celebrated “Hiroshima Maidens,” brought to the U.S. over State Department objections by author and activist Norman Cousins.  Ms. Sasamori, now 73 and living in Los Angeles, has spoken widely for nuclear disarmament.

         Ms. Sasamori, who is being hosted by the Los Alamos Study Group, will be accompanied by citizens who will disseminate information about the use of nuclear weapons in World War II and other pertinent information.  Outside the museum, images of the devastation wrought by the nuclear weapons celebrated in the Museum will be displayed. These images were recently sent by the Hiroshima Peace Museum, which (needless to say) has a diametrically different "take" on the outcome of the Manhattan Project from the museum in Albuquerque.

         Outside, the Study Group will be joined by other members of the “Trinity Truth Alliance,” involving several Albuquerque peace and justice organizations including Stop the War Machine and the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice.  Endorsements for this dignified demonstration are now flowing in from around the state, thanks to the outreach efforts of Stop the War Machine.

         The National Atomic Museum (NAM) is substantially funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which designs and manufactures U.S. nuclear weapons.  Funding or other assistance is also obtained from the NNSA nuclear weapon contractors and other military and nuclear industry contractors and vendors. Senator Domenici has placed a proposed appropriation of $2.5 million for the NAM in the Senate version of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill; there appears to be no such provision in the House version of the bill.

         Like the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos and other nuclear museums currently operating and planned elsewhere in the U.S., the NAM presents U.S. nuclear weapons in a positive light, and minimizes or omits entirely – 

    * The gruesome and lingering human effects of nuclear weapon use;

    * The binding legal requirement for complete nuclear disarmament under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1970 and has been, since then, the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation;

    * International legal norms and treaties that made the indiscriminate bombing of cities illegal during World War II (over 60 cities were firebombed by the U.S. in Japan);

    * The racist propaganda used to motivate airmen and civilians who conducted these mass murders;

    * The economic impacts of the nuclear weapons manufacture and deployment;

    * The global environmental devastation wrought by nuclear weapons and nuclear power technologies, which are closely related in the materials production ; 

    * The moral and psychological harm done to our society by nuclear weapons policies. 

         Scientifically speaking, the NAM has a great many factual and scientific errors in its displays as regards the health effects of radiation. There was very little new ‘science’ in the Trinity test, as the scientists at Los Alamos observed at the time.  It was an engineering project. That first test was all about making a supremely powerful weapon of war, which was promptly used on cities composed primarily of civilian noncombatants.

         The National Atomic Museum glorifies weapons of mass destruction and the work that creates and sustains them.  How can we glorify absolute violence and expect to have nonviolent, peaceful lives?  Why should anyone be surprised to find that other nations and peoples are beginning to seek what we have never, despite clear legal requirements, renounced?  How can we sow the wind and not expect to reap the whirlwind? There's nothing like glorification of instruments of anticipatory genocide to get the public to accept the threat of mass violence as normative, or at least something too lavishly supported by authorities to bother protesting.

         The use of farce and irony in neutralizing concerns while memorializing questionable and sometimes illegal and immoral activities has been pioneered by the International Spy Museum (see

         Important contextual material for the ongoing efforts of the National Atomic Museum to celebrate the bomb and its authors past and present can be found at

4. "Remembering Our Humanity: Law, Public Conscience, & Nuclear Weapons" Seminar on Nuclear Weapons Law and Policy

Friday-Sunday, July 29-31
University of New Mexico, School of Law, Room 2405
Tuition: $10

         On July 29-31, the Los Alamos Study Group will provide an authoritative, three-day, short course on the legal status of nuclear weapons, for activists, students, journalists, and laboratory personnel. Speakers include John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, a specialist on treaty regimes and international law relating to nuclear and other non-conventional weapons; Jacqueline Cabasso, Executive Director of Western States Legal Foundation, a leading voice for nuclear weapons abolition, speaking at events across North America, Europe, and Asia; Larry Wittner, a longtime participant in the peace, civil rights, and labor movements and former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), he has written extensively on the history of peace movements and on the history of United States foreign policy.; and Greg Mello, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group.


Friday July 29
5:30 pm    Dinner and get-acquainted time (restaurant TBA near UNM)
7:00 pm    Welcome remarks; the significance of our work together and of this historical moment
7:30 pm    Precis of the weekend (multi-media)
8:30 pm    Questions and discussion

Saturday July 30
Morning: Nuclear weapons law
8:00 am    Introduction to the laws of war (2 hours).
                Ancient and prior to the mid-1800s
                Lieber Code, first Hague, ICRC
                Twentieth century until Nuremberg, UN Charter
                Nuremberg and the UN Charter
                From Nuremberg 194(7?) to the Hague, 1996
                UN resolutions, pre-ICJ  
10:00 am  The ICJ decision, 1996, and subsequent developments (2 hours)
12:00 pm  Lunch
Afternoon: Nuclear weapons policy
1:30 pm    Nuclear weapons: technology and effects (1 hour) (multimedia)
2:30 pm    Historical development of nuclear weapons policy (2 hours)
4:30 pm    The response of civil society (Part 1): History of the antinuclear movement
5:30 pm    Dinner
Evening:  Response and Leadership from Civil Society
7:00 pm    History of the antinuclear movement (Part 2)

Sunday July 31
Morning:  Toward nuclear abolition
9:00 am    Law, morality, and policy: contradictions and challenges
11:00 am  Discussion, wrap-up, formal conclusion and send-off
12:00 pm  Optional lunch

About the Speakers:

Dr. John Burroughs is an accomplished specialist on treaty regimes and international law relating to nuclear and other non-conventional weapons. He represents LCNP in Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review proceedings, the United Nations, and other international forums. In 1998, Dr. Burroughs represented LCNP at the negotiations on the International Criminal Court in Rome, and in 1995, he was the nongovernmental legal coordinator at the hearings on nuclear weapons before the International Court of Justice. Dr. Burroughs is co-editor of Rule of Power or Rule of Law? An Assessment of U.S. Policies and Actions Regarding Security-Related Treaties, Apex Press, 2003, to which he contributed the chapter on the NPT, and author of The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice, Transaction Publishers, 1998. He has published articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the World Policy Journal, most recently co-authoring "Arms Control Abandoned: The Case of Biological Weapons" (World Policy Journal, summer 2003). He is an adjunct professor of international law at Rutgers Law School, Newark, where he teaches a seminar on legal controls on weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction. He has a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from Harvard.

Jacqueline Cabasso is the Executive Director of WSLF, where she has worked since 1984. As WSLF's principal organizer, she is responsible for community education, media, networking, client coordination and fundraising. Ms. Cabasso frequently writes for and travels on behalf of WSLF, speaking at public hearings, conferences and rallies, and meeting with organizers throughout the world. She is a leading voice worldwide for nuclear weapons abolition, with a firm command of technical and policy details as well as of overall political and historical dimensions.  She is a dynamic speaker, in demand at events across North America, Europe, and Asia. 

In her home region (the San Francisco area), Ms. Cabasso chairs the Coordinating Committee of the Peoples NonViolent Response Coalition. At the national level, she convenes the Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security working group of United for Peace and Justice. Since 1994, Ms. Cabasso has represented WSLF at negotiating and review sessions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1995, she co-founded the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, which has grown to include more than 2000 organizations in over 90 countries, and she continues to serve on its international Coordinating Committee.

Ms. Cabasso is the co-author, with Susan Moon, of Risking Peace: Why We Sat in the Road (Open Books, 1985), an account of the huge 1983 nonviolent protest at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory and the subsequent mass trial conducted by WSLF. She has written and co-authored numerous articles for publications including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the journal Social Justice.

Greg Mello Greg Mello is the Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group.  Since co-founding the Study Group in 1989, Mr. Mello has led the Study Group in its research on the activities of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and in environmental review and analysis, as well as congressional education, community organizing, litigation, and advertising.  From time to time, Mr. Mello has served as a consulting analyst and writer for other nuclear policy organizations.  Mr. Mello was originally educated as an engineer (Harvey Mudd College, 1971, with distinction) and regional planner (Harvard, 1975, HUD Fellow in Urban Studies).

In 2002, Mr. Mello was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, working on underground nuclear weapons effects.  He is a member of the Governing Council of the worldwide Abolition 2000 nuclear disarmament organization, in which the Study Group was a founding member.  Last year, the Albuquerque Tribune recognized Mr. Mello as one of its ten “rising stars.”  Mr. Mello, with his colleagues Dr. Burroughs and Ms. Cabasso, has provided key information to NGOs and diplomats at treaty conferences in New York and Geneva.  He was invited to brief members of the European Parliament on U.S. weapons programs earlier this year.  Mr. Mello’s research, analysis, and opinions have been published in the Washington Post, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Issues in Science and Technology, in the New Mexico press, and elsewhere. 

Over the past decade, Mr. Mello has led the Study Group in bringing to the attention of Congress and the news media a number of clandestine nuclear projects and programs.  These include: a new earth-penetrating nuclear bomb; a nuclear glide bomb; the planned upgrade of more than 3,200 submarine warheads into ground-burst, first-strike weapons; above-ground testing of plutonium cores (“pits”) in steel tanks; a laboratory program to “share” nuclear weapons secrets with “friendly” nuclear nations; and others.  Study Group work has substantially contributed to delaying and downscaling production of plutonium pits, preventing opening of new nuclear disposal sites (two), and to saving hundreds of millions of dollars in a variety of other wasteful and unsafe projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory – projects later found to be unnecessary from any perspective.  In the course of his work, Mr. Mello and the Study Group have generated hundreds of news articles and segments in the regional, national and international press and in broadcast media.

Lawrence Wittner was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York.  He attended Columbia College, the University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in History in 1967.  Since then he has taught at Hampton Institute, at Vassar College, at Japanese universities (under the Fulbright program), and at the State University of New York/Albany, where he is currently Professor of History.  A former president of the Council on Peace Research in History (now the Peace History Society), he has written extensively on the history of peace movements and on the history of United States foreign policy.  He has received major fellowships or grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the United States Institute of Peace.

His books include Rebels Against War (1969, rev. ed. 1984), Cold War America (1974, rev. ed. 1978), and American Intervention in Greece (1982). His most extensive project has been a scholarly trilogy entitled The Struggle Against the Bomb, a history of the world nuclear disarmament movement.  The first volume, One World or None, was published in 1993 by Stanford University Press and was awarded the Warren Kuehl Prize of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations as the outstanding book on the history of internationalism and/or peace movements.  The second volume, Resisting the Bomb, was published by Stanford in 1997, and the third volume, Toward Nuclear Abolition, was published in 2003.  He has also edited three other books and written more than 130 articles and book reviews.

A longtime participant in the peace, civil rights, and labor movements, Lawrence Wittner also performs (instrumentally and vocally) with the Solidarity Singers at peace and social justice gatherings.

5. Hiroshima 60 Years: It Started Here -- Let's Stop It Here!
(more than 130 endorsers)

Saturday, August 6, 8 am to 9 pm
Ashley Pond Park, Los Alamos

For more information: /hiroshima60.htm

On August 6, 1945, 140,000 people were killed by a single bomb at Hiroshima. Another 70,000 were killed three days later in Nagasaki. About 90,000 others died later in both cities. The bombs were built at Los Alamos. This year, sixty years later, we will gather in Los Alamos at Ashley Pond Park on August 6th to say "Never again!" This will be an historic event. Many of the 130+ endorsing organizations, and over 20 speakers, presenters and performers are participating. <>Join activists and concerned citizens from New Mexico and throughout the U.S. at Los Alamos to oppose nuclear weapons research and production and to make a commitment to work for a political culture based on the dignity of the human person rather than the violent politics of fear, hate, greed, and war.


8 am:    Traditional sackcloth-and-ashes witness organized by Pax Christi New Mexico.  For details for this and related events prior to it see
10 am:  Welcome, music, and keynote speakers, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) President Alice Slater, Father John Dear, S.J., hibakusha (atom bomb survivors) from Japan, Kathy and Gilbert Sanchez.  Other speakers throughout the day include Carol Miller, Jeanne Pahls, Ed Grothus, David Bacon, Janice Mirikitani (poet-laureate of San Francisco), Danny Solis, Mary Oishi, William Witherup, and others.  M<>usicians include Robert Hoyt, Peter Neils, Jim Page, and others.
12 pm:  Pageant with thousands of sunflowers, the international nuclear disarmament emblem.
1 pm:    Workshops in nearby buildings on nuclear history and on a post-nuclear economy for New Mexico; music in the park.  Workshop presenters include Dr. William Weida (Air Force Academy, Colorado College, Los Alamos Study Group) and Dr. Michael Oden (Rutgers, U. Texas) on the future of New Mexico's economy and Alice Slater on the contemporary history of the disarmament movement, and more.
6 pm:    Music, poetry, and thousands of floating candle lanterns (courtesy Dragonfly Sanctuary), one for each hundred victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
All day: Information tables presented by participating organizations with lots of time to network and learn.

For meditation and Buddhist witness during the early days of August see and in Los Alamos,

Nearby parking is limited, although there is plenty of parking in the Los Alamos community.  Bring your family and friends, carpool, arrive early, and park legally.

    Why here?  Why now?

    * Our state’s two nuclear weapons labs (Los Alamos and Sandia) are the best-funded in the world.
    * Almost half of all U.S. warhead spending occurs in NM; weapons of mass destruction are NM’s #2 industry.
    * NM harbors more nuclear weapons (about 2,500, at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque) than anywhere else in the world.
    * NM arguably has the most influential (Pete Domenici) and the most enthusiastic (Heather Wilson) advocates of nuclear weapons in Congress.
    * The labs heavily influence our state’s politics; the data suggest the political economy of nuclear weapons has damaged our state’s economic development.
    * Los Alamos is the only place in the U.S. capable of manufacturing plutonium bomb and warhead cores (“pits”); this work is dangerous and dirty and it breaks U.S. treaty commitments, which require complete mutual disarmament.
    * Los Alamos is now slated to manufacture pits on an ever-larger scale for existing and new kinds of nuclear weapons.  We can stop this  — if we speak up!
    * Los Alamos has the largest nuclear waste dump in NM (it’s also bigger than any in TX, AZ, & CO).  Millions of drums of nuclear waste are to be dumped there and more is dumped every week.  There is no intent ever to remove any of it.
    * For all these reasons, New Mexico is without question the world’s capital of nuclear weapons.

Support for nuclear weapons in NM is fiscally, morally, and politically incompatible with sustainable economic development, better education and health care, protecting the environment, and opportunity for New Mexicans living in poverty.  Real progress on all these issues requires a politics based on human dignity, which is not possible while we support weapons of mass destruction.  

Greg Mello

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Action Alert #44 (07/12/05)
Writers Address the Nuclear Age

Poetry, Silent Auction & "Round Robin" open mike
Friday July 15, 7-9 pm, James A. Little Theater
1060 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe
  Saturday July 16, 7-9 pm, Lobo Theater
3013 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque
Tickets $10 - available online:
in Santa Fe:
Collected Work, 209-B W San Francisco St
Nicholas Potter Bookseller, 211 E Palace Ave
  in Albuquerque:
Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Page One Books, 11018 Montgomery NE
The Book Stop, 3410 Central Ave SE

On Friday, July 15 at 7 pm at the James A. Little Theater at 1060 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, and again on Saturday, July 16 at 7 pm at the Lobo Theater at 3013 Central Avenue NE in Albuquerque, poets and playwrights will speak on the 60th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion on earth.
         On Friday, Albuquerque poet Mary Oishi will be emceeing the event, which will feature anti-nuclear poets John Bradley and William Witherup; poet, author, educator, and Santa Fe resident Elaine Maria Upton; award-winning playwright, actor, producer, author, and educator Karen Jones Meadows; and Northern New Mexico poet Judyth Hill.
         On Saturday, Bill Witherup, John Bradley, and Karen Jones Meadows will be performing again, this time joined by Mary Oishi and by poet, playwright, and educator Maisha Baton.
         After an intermission, the second half of each show will be led by poets from our communities reading in a round-robin fashion from an open microphone. Citizen-poets are encouraged, one and all, to bring their poems to share with others!
         There will be a silent auction at each event to raise money for the big August 6 commemoration and teach-in in Los Alamos (see /Hiroshima60.htm). If you want to donate to the silent auction, call Claire at the Los Alamos Study Group at 265-1200.
         Tickets are $10 for both events. They are available at the door and online, at , for both events. Tickets for Friday’s event are also available at Collected Works Bookstore and Nicholas Potter Books in Santa Fe. Tickets for Saturday’s event are available at Page One, Bookworks, and The Book Stop in Albuquerque.
         Short biographies of the writers are included below.
         We’re having these events because the nuclear story, in which all of us in New Mexico occupy center stage either as actors or scenery, has not been adequately or truthfully told. Factual truths as well as emotional truths, moral truths as well as spiritual truths, are still denied. The truths denied exceed prose in any case. The shadow of denial lengthens each year, making the job of communicating accurately and succinctly ever more difficult.
         Milan Kundera famously said “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” On Friday and Saturday we will remember – remember and take stock, and inspire ourselves for the choices we must all make in the challenging years ahead.

About the Performers

William Witherup has published two books of poetry on nuclear themes, and was contributing editor for Atomic Ghost, Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (Coffee House Press, 1995). His father worked for over thirty years at the Hanford Atomic Engineering Works and died of cancer.Witherup and John Bradley were profiled in Poets & Writers magazine (November/December 1997) as "citizen poets."

John Bradley was editor of Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (Coffee House Press, 1995) and Learning to Glow: A Nuclear Reader (University of Arizona Press). Bradley was invited to Hiroshima in 1995 to attend a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of that city, where he read poetry from Atomic Ghost and spoke on "Writing Ground Zero." His poetry has been published in numerous journals. He teaches writing at Northern Illinois University.

Elaine Maria Upton is a poet, writer, and teacher whose poetry has been published in various journals. She is the author of Children of Apartness, a book of poetry about the effects of apartheid after living for two years in South Africa. Dr. Upton has taught creative writing and literature at several universities including Dartmouth and the University of Maryland. She currently lives in Santa Fe and teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is working on a novel about the workers at the nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, her hometown.

Judyth Hill is a poet, performance artist, teacher of poetry, and environmental educator living in Northern New Mexico. Her six published books of poetry include Presence of Angels, Men Need Space, and poems of her land, Black Hollyhock, First Light, from La Alameda Press. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed poem, “Wage Peace.” She is a New Mexico Endowment for the Arts Road Scholar, and recipient of many poetry grants & fellowships, including from the McCune Foundation, Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Western States Arts Federation. She has taught for the Museum of International Folk Art, Armand Hammer World College, Ghost Ranch, and the Writer in the Woods Program. She was described by the St. Helena Examiner as "Energy with skin," and by the Denver Post as "A tigress with a pen."

Karen Jones Meadows is an author, actor and producer whose numerous awards include The Drama League of New York Playwright Award; First Place International Short Film Award, Writer/Producer, Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame; Cornerstone Award, Penumbra Theatre; Distinguished McGee Professor of Writing Award, Davidson College; and many commissions and inclusions in publications such as The National Black Drama Anthology: Eleven Plays from America's Leading African-American Theaters. Her award winning plays are Harriet’s Return, Henrietta, Major Changes, and Tapman, which have been performed in prestigious venues throughout the U.S.

Mary Oishi is best known in New Mexico for her work on KUNM. Oishi is also a poet, activist, and writer. Mary organized and produced Peace Buzz, a community ritual of art as protest (2003). In 2004 Mary released “Kiss the World Awake,” a CD of performance poetry. Started the “Poetry Kiss,” a non-competitive round-robin reading of poets following each of her poetry performances. Adjunct faculty, University of New Mexico, Valencia.

Maisha Baton is a poet, playwright and professor. She has written two plays, “Mitote” and “Kate’s Sister,” focusing on the experiences of African Americans in the history of the West. Dr. Baton has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, and is Adjunct Faculty at the University of New Mexico in the African American Studies Department. She has published several volumes of poetry, and was included in In Company—An Anthology of New Mexico Poets After 1960. For the past few years her research focus has been on Black History in New Mexico with an emphasis on the role of black women.

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Action Alert #43 (06/20/05)
Organizing opportunities and new staff positions

1. Stipends available for full-time volunteers
2. New staff positions opening

Dear friends --

1. New Mexico's "Disarmament Summer" is heating up -- stipends available for full-time volunteers

We at the Study Group are very much interested in hosting visiting activists this summer, from now (June 20) through Tuesday, August 9, and for any period of time from one week on up.

The core of our work occurs here in Albuquerque but work is also needed in other New Mexico communities. These invitations are for homestays, and they are offered by a growing network of hosts. We will also provide a $100/week food stipend for full-time work and will reimburse you for local work-related car mileage. Free tuition for the July 29-31 "Remembering Our Humanity: Law, Public Conscience, and Nuclear Weapons" seminar at the University of New Mexico is included. A car is not necessary but is helpful; be sure and bring your cell phone if you have one.

So if you think you might want to visit beautiful New Mexico this summer and contribute to the new disarmament spirit stirring here, please contact us! Call 505-265-1200, or email Claire Long at


Almost half of U.S. nuclear warhead spending occurs in New Mexico; the state's two nuclear labs (Los Alamos and Sandia national labs) are the largest in the world in dollar terms. Nuclear weapons are our state's biggest industry (in dollars) except for oil and gas extraction. New Mexico harbors more nuclear weapons (about 2,500) than anywhere else in the world (at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque). New Mexico arguably has the most influential (Pete Domenici) and most enthusiastic (Heather Wilson) advocates of nuclear weapons in Congress. For all these reasons, New Mexico is without question the world capital for nuclear weapons. Nuclear dreams born and raised here have bedeviled the world for 60 years.

Until 2021 at least, Los Alamos is the only place in the U.S. capable of manufacturing plutonium bomb and warhead cores (“pits”), and Los Alamos is now being asked to manufacture pits on an ever-larger scale for existing and new kinds of nuclear weapons. This work is dangerous and dirty, and breaks U.S. treaty commitments.

Not coincidentally, LANL has the largest active nuclear disposal site in New Mexico (it's also bigger than any in TX, AZ & CO). Millions of drums of nuclear waste, mostly from weapons design and manufacturing, are to be permanently buried here; more are dumped each week. There is no permit and no intent (and certainly no commitment) to ever remove any of this waste.

The pending change of Los Alamos management is meant to facilitate the new manufacturing mission. One two powerful corporate consortia, one led by Bechtel and one by Lockheed, will soon run Los Alamos, a fact with serious ramifications for the lab, the state, the nation, and the world.

These nuclear institutions also heavily influence our state's politics. Six decades of data strongly suggest the political economy of nuclear weapons has damaged our state's economic and social development. For we in New Mexico, and in the final analysis, political support for nuclear weapons is fiscally, morally, and politically incompatible with sustainable economic development, with providing much better education and health care, with protecting the environment, or with providing opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans now living in poverty. Progress on all these issues and others requires a politics based on human dignity, the exact opposite of political support for weapons of mass destruction.

Working in New Mexico against nuclear weapons offers powerful political advantages, which arise from our intimate position at the heart of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

New Mexico citizens have defeated or delayed pit production proposals at Los Alamos twice before. Now, organizations (more than 140, not all in New Mexico), businesses (more than 250), a few churches, even a City (Santa Fe) are now publicly endorsing a call to stop pit production and are calling for complete nuclear disarmament. As a result, a very full calendar of disarmament events is underway this summer, culminating in a large rally and teach-in at Los Alamos all day on August 6, the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. An overall schedule of events can be found at /calendar.htm, and particulars about "Hiroshima 60 Years: It Started Here, Let's Stop It Here" and the underlying Call for Nuclear Disarmament can be found at .

2. New staff positions opening

As of today, the Study Group is seeking applicants for two paid full time staff positions, Research Associate and Outreach Coordinator. The particulars follow below. To apply, please send a letter and your resume or curriculum vita to Trish Williams-Mello ( or to Trish's attention at the Los Alamos Study Group, 2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

In solidarity,

Greg Mello

P.S. More alerts are coming -- watch this space!!

Research Associate
Job Description


The primary purpose of the Research Associate's work is to assist the Study Group as a whole and the Executive Director in particular to better understand the activities and impacts of the U.S. nuclear weapons program and to communicate these to the interested public as well as to specialized audiences: the news media, academic colleagues, Congress, the executive branch of government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

In broad terms, the Research Associate will assist in the further evolution of the factual basis for a vital and effective disarmament movement in the U.S. – and especially in New Mexico. In more narrow terms, the Research Associate will help stop the acquisition of plutonium weapons core (“pit”) production facilities by the United States, both in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Conduct specific research and analytical projects using all available and appropriate methods in a variety of fields, resulting in publications of the Los Alamos Study Group (both paper and electronic) and other publications as appropriate;
• Conduct research and analysis in response to inquiries by the news media, Congress, NGO partners, and the executive branch;
• Assist in reviewing, compiling, and updating existing Study Group information, research, analysis, publications, and web pages;
• Serve as a research assistant to the Executive Director;
• Educate decisionmakers and attend agency and congressional meetings as appropriate and assigned;
• Help prepare the factual basis for, and help conduct, litigation as appropriate under environmental, freedom of information, and other laws;
• Make oral presentations at community meetings;
• Assist in grant applications and reporting;
• Assist with newsletter, fact sheet, and web page preparation; and
• Participate in all fundraising efforts to a greater or lesser degree as appropriate.

Skills and Qualifications


• Passion for nuclear disarmament, justice, sustainability, and environmental protection;
• Very good personal communication skills;
• Superior writing skills;
• Very good investigatory and/or research skills, with experience strongly preferred;
• Good analytical and data presentation skills;
• Commitment to, and experience in, careful analysis and documentation;
• A challenging undergraduate degree in any field with high marks;
• Good computer skills, including facility with Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, Power Point, web browsers, and mail programs. Experience in web design and with Adobe graphic design software for PC (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) is not necessary but would be helpful; and
• Must live in or near Albuquerque, NM.


• Experience working in a small nonprofit, preferably a politically-oriented or activist organization
• Media relations or legislative experience;
• Experience in nuclear weapons policy and related issues; or
• Experience in policy research, analysis, and intervention in general.

Time Requirements

The Research Associate is a salaried position entailing a minimum of 50 hours per week, mostly in the office (approximately 80%), at nuclear weapons facilities and private meetings in New Mexico and elsewhere (approximately 10%), and at public meetings and other outreach events (approximately 10%).

Salary and Benefits

Up to $30,000 depending on skills and experience, including three weeks starting paid annual vacation and up to 10 days annual sick leave.. Benefits include fully-paid health insurance after 6 months; SIMPLE IRA plan, similar to a 401(k), with employer contribution.

Availability and Permanence

This position is open as of today. Funding is available for the first 18 months; continuation of the job beyond this period is contingent upon successful fundraising by the organization as a whole.

Outreach Coordinator
Job Description


The purpose of the Outreach Coordinator's work is primarily to nurture and grow a) the volunteer program and b) the organizational partnerships of the Study Group through all appropriate means, including but not limited to events, presentations, house meetings, media outreach, fact sheets, articles and other written materials, correspondence, and web site content.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Coordinate outreach efforts to businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals, and coordinate volunteers to do this and related outreach;
• Organize events and prepare for them in all respects; supervise volunteers in event preparation and for tabling at community events;
• Recruit volunteers for research, committees of various kinds, and special projects;
• Maintain and improve volunteer and organizational databases;
• Prepare displays and help develop written materials for events and tabling;
• Prepare and conduct presentations to organizations, businesses, and community leaders;
• Receive and respond to most telephone calls and email inquiries; assist with filing and general organizational correspondence;
• Organize and conduct house meetings and serve as a spokesperson for the Study Group at these and other events;
• Assist with newsletter preparation; and
• Participate in fundraising efforts to a greater or lesser degree as appropriate.

Skills and Qualifications

• Passion for nuclear disarmament, justice, sustainability, and environmental protection;
• Commitment to objective truth to the extent it is knowable;
• Superior communication skills – in person, in writing, and on the telephone;
• Personable and gracious in most circumstances, even with difficult people;
• Experience with volunteer coordination, outreach, membership development, and/or organizing;
• Experience working in a small nonprofit, preferably a politically-oriented or activist organization;
• A college degree is NOT necessary;
• Must live in or near Albuquerque, NM;
• Leadership skills, maturity, and initiative are a must;
• Media relations experience is a plus;
• Must have good computer skills, including facility with Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint, web browsers, and email programs. Experience with Adobe graphic design software for PC (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop) and experience in web design is not necessary but would be helpful.

Time Requirements

The Outreach Coordinator is a salaried position entailing a minimum of 50 hours per week, both in the office (approximately 70%) and at events (approximately 30%). Most of these events will be on weekends or in the evening.

Salary and Benefits

Up to $30,000 depending upon skills and experience; three weeks starting paid annual vacation; up to 10 days annual sick leave; fully-paid health insurance after 6 months; and SIMPLE IRA plan, similar to a 401(k), with employer contribution.

Availability and Permanence

This position is open as of today. Funding is available for the first 18 months; continuation of the job beyond this period is contingent upon successful fundraising by the organization as a whole.

Greg Mello

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Action Alert #42 (05/19/05)
Los Alamos: The end of an era

1. The good news: The House Appropriations Committee demands a “dramatically smaller” nuclear stockpile supported by a smaller nuclear weapons complex.

2. The bad news: Is Los Alamos focusing its mission on plutonium bomb core (“pit”) manufacturing?

3. Is this bad news after all?

4. Informal coalition opposing nuclear weapons growing; new volunteer and staff positions opening; upcoming events (see tomorrow’s email, #43)

This action alert isn’t really about action. The action components, those listed in item 4. above, will be sent in a second alert, probably tomorrow. The goal of the present alert is to provide a sketch – and that’s all it is – of some of the context for current events affecting the future of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

1. Good news! The House Appropriations Committee demands a “dramatically smaller” nuclear stockpile supported by a smaller nuclear weapons complex.

Last week, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee completed its markup of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) proposed FY06 nuclear weapons budget. This week, the full House Appropriations Committee released the Report accompanying its markup, which arrived in our office today. A summary will be posted tomorrow at .

Overall, the committee proposes a 5% cut in nuclear weapons spending for FY06, or roughly 8% in inflation-corrected dollars.

This is only part of the good news, however. The Committee more or less demands that the DOE and its nuclear weapons agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), implement a “new nuclear weapons paradigm” that results in a “dramatically smaller nuclear weapons stockpile in the near future.” The Committee reaches deep into NNSA’s nuclear weapons programs to make sure this happens, and demands that NNSA replace the current nuclear weapons complex of labs and production plants, which it calls a “large, expensive Cold War relic,”with a “smaller, more efficient, modern complex.” “Smaller” is a step in the right direction; “more efficient” is not.

This is not the place to summarize or analyze the Committee’s work in detail. In any case it will be reconciled with a corresponding markup from Senator Domenici’s Energy and Water Subcommittee, so the House views are still far from being law. But there is little doubt the report expresses the views of many active House members, not just members of its Energy and Water Subcommittee or just those of its chairman David Hobson (R-OH).

While generally supporting the idea of pit production and “the expanding TA-55 pit production capacity at the Los Alamos National Laboratory” in particular, the Committee recommends no funding for the Modern Pit Facility (MPF), NNSA’s proposed 125 - 450 pit/year factory. It also recommends no funding for the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility Replacement (CMRR) Facility at LANL, a new plutonium facility expected to cost up to $975 million, now in final design. The Committee believes this facility is premature, and reading between the lines, notes that the “production capabilities” proposed in the CMRR may or may not be at LANL – or if at LANL, in the proposed CMRR as it is now conceived.

The Committee also directs DOE to rapidly undertake a critical review of the true costs of its on-site nuclear waste disposal operations –including those at Area G at Los Alamos.

2. Bad news: Is Los Alamos focusing its mission on plutonium bomb core (“pit”) manufacturing?

Despite the careful caveat noted above in the House Appropriations markup as regards the CMRR, a number of new and enduring factors make it likely that LANL’s mission will change significantly toward manufacturing of plutonium “pits” and certain other nuclear weapon components (e.g. detonators, a mission already resident).

If this happens, it means a relative de-emphasis on “science” –including “science-based stockpile stewardship,” which the House Appropriations Committee, to pick one important actor, regards as rather a failure. Congress appears to be turning toward a new paradigm for funding the nuclear weapons complex. House appropriators call it the “Sustainable Stockpile Initiative” (SSI). No matter what it is called, the new approach will likely pivot to a greater or lesser degree around the “Reliable Replacement Warhead” (RRW). RRW is a funded program to produce new warhead designs. At LANL, the RRW program has already been given pre-production money (in the “Pit Manufacturing Capability” budget line). Production is expected to begin in about 2012.

More could be said about the RRW and somewhat more about the brand-new House-proposed SSI, but both are still new and evolving. What is certain, however, is that Congress is settling into a new nuclear weapons pragmatism. Whatever else specific members of Congress may want, as a body they want more deliverables, more accountability, milestones, efficiency, better security, and an end to the scandals.

The details of the likely transition to more pit production at LANL are complicated and have been evolving rapidly since late last year. There are a variety of forces behind this possible shift. In regrettably vague terms, here are some of them.

  • Key members of the House think nuclear weapons are not all that useful, at least relative to other expenditures, especially in quantity. Representative Hobson has openly said as much, but he is not alone. A useful barometer of this overall mood is the level of nuclear weapons spending appropriated. This year, for the first time in a decade, there is a slight inflation-corrected decline in “Weapons Activities” spending, accompanied by a legal requirement to study ways to eliminate redundant, insecure, and outsized facilities and programs. As noted above, last week the House proposed an 8% real cut for next year.
  • Although implementation lags, the DOE wants to consolidate nuclear materials in fewer and more secure facilities in order to lower their rapidly-increasing security costs and meet newly-recognized threats. Today (5/19) the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) released yet another report on the (in)security of the weapons complex (See and the huge savings (according to POGO, about $1 billion/year) that could be realized if nuclear materials were consolidated.
  • Current “conventional” weapons commitments by the Pentagon are anticipated to cost a lot of money (between one and two trillion dollars!), far more than is likely to be available. Nuclear weapons compete directly or indirectly with “conventional” military expenses.
  • More than this, the annual federal budget deficit is very large. Most of our new debt is being purchased by foreign creditors. The dollar is weak, oil prices high and heading higher. These and other factors are producing serious economic and political concerns and constraining policy options across the board. It’s getting dangerous to just print more money.
  • There is a widespread perception in Congress, especially in the House, that LANL is a very troubled institution badly in need of a clear, results-oriented (“accountable”) focus – such as pit production. Some members of Congress are asking what LANL’s unique value might be. The answer, unfortunately, may lie in its relatively-remote location.
  • The nuclear weapons complex as a whole is understood to be a poorly-managed and wasteful enterprise, ripe for consolidation and refocusing.
  • As we are seeing today, there is a desire on the part of many in NNSA and Congress to change the vague and wasteful “stockpile stewardship” paradigm to a more pragmatic, product-oriented program as a means of a) fixing management problems, b) preserving the nuclear stockpile, c) avoiding nuclear testing, d) producing new or modified weapons, e) saving money, or f) all of the above.
  • Between now and at least 2021 (if not also after that), LANL has the only operational pit production facility in the U.S., so if any new pits are to be built at all during this period, either for existing weapons, for the RRW, or for the new weapons so strongly desired by the current civilian Pentagon leadership, they will be built at LANL. The RRW, it must be said, is likely to be an enabling program for these new weapons. To be more specific, it is possible, even likely, that the RRW will be a rugged primary that is capable of an earth-penetrating mission. If so, it could provide a way to circumvent congressional reluctance to fund the proposed “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) while also providing for the long-term rebuilding and upgrading of existing weapons.
  • Key actors at LANL, NNSA, STRATCOM, and elsewhere have long pursued a “small build” approach to novelty and diversity in the stockpile for a variety of reasons. Production of pits and some other components at LANL is a key part of this plan.
  • Some liberals in Congress and in the arms control community optimistically hope that a radical increase in pit production capacity at LANL will prevent construction of any (other!) large pit production facility, such as the Modern Pit Facility (MPF).
  • LANL has now under final design a new production-oriented plutonium facility, the CMRR mentioned above, which is to have a 6 metric ton vault for plutonium and/or highly-enriched uranium. This, if built, would triple the existing vault capacity at TA-55, LANL’s plutonium-oriented technical area. House appropriators propose to halt funding for this facility, but their voice is not the only one. There are also senators Domenici and Bingaman and the rest of the New Mexico delegation.
  • LANL has an on-site nuclear waste disposal site (TA-54, Area G) which requires no shipments by public highway, involves no external regulation, permit, or commitment to remediate; and is indefinitely expansible at LANL both within TA-54 and at TA-67.
  • New Mexico is a politically-compliant and dependent state in which nuclear weapons are, after oil and gas extraction, the largest industry in dollar terms. New Mexico now has a Governor ambitious for higher national office who has proven unwilling to make political sacrifices to fight NNSA and its contractors, who are also large political donors.
  • Competing the LANL contract – the request for proposals (RFP) was released today – has given NNSA a process to require (and substantially reward) a deeper commitment to (and capability for) pit manufacturing than UC has historically provided.
  • The technical and political risk of any “MPF-only”strategy for making pits has made expanded pit production at LANL a key priority since the late 1990s – and sporadically even prior to that time, since 1989 when Rocky Flats closed.

Some of the recent indications LANL’s mission might be about to change include:

  • Denial late last year of some funding for the MPF in favor of increased funding ($16 million over the request, despite a proposed $14 million cut by the House) for the CMRR project at LANL, along with a hefty $181.4 million for pit production and certification activities based at LANL. In-house Study Group analysis suggests that even if the MPF is built, NNSA's investment in that facility will not begin to equal its post-1994 investment in pit production at LANL until some time after 2020, if ever.
  • A new congressionally-mandated in-depth review of the entire nuclear weapons complex and programs (originally due April 30, 2005 and now expected in draft public form circa June 15). The terms of reference for this review are at
  • Frank comments by Senator Domenici on April 18 objecting to this report’s proposal to, as he put it, “focus” LANL’s mission on pit production and other weapons manufacturing.
  • The sudden internal announcement by NNSA headquarters staff to the NNSA Los Alamos Site Office (LASO) on April 28, announced publicly on May 3, that reversed prior policy and committed NNSA to write a new LANL Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS). The reason stated was that LANL’s mission would be changing – specifically, because LANL’s proposed rate of pit production would be doubling from the most recent levels proposed (i.e. from 20 to 40 pits/yr).
  • Increasing endorsement of “small builds” in a number of official sources, including testimony by NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks on April 4 to the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee.

There are other indications as well, but the above list, sent to you without active hyperlinks, will have to do for now. By the weekend some of the background documents involved should be posted at . The situation is rapidly evolving and we will try to keep you abreast of events.

3. Is this bad news after all?

This is really an emergency – a crisis and an opportunity. New Mexicans have defeated proposals to increase plutonium pit manufacturing twice before, and we can defeat this proposal now, whether or not it comes openly, wrapped in a bow, as it were.

What would victory look like? The status quo at LANL, with a large pit factory in the works somewhere else? (More than likely this would be the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.)

This isn’t the goal for most of us. We aren’t gearing up for a NIMBY battle merely, and neither are the people we’ve spoken to in recent meetings. We at the Study Group and the more than 110 organizations now loosely working with us seek to stigmatize and defeat nuclear weapons per se: to defeat what these weapons stand for, and to restore what they are taking from us.

In New Mexico, no environmental protection program, no social justice initiative, no human or constitutional rights project, even no fiscal or tax reform project can go very far as long as nuclear weapons are accepted by our political leadership. Why? To succeed, all such initiatives require a politics based on mutual responsibility, on the dignity of human beings and the protection of the living landscape – a politics, in other words, oriented towards the protection of life and not towards mass murder on demand.

Most New Mexicans long for a much better educational system, universal health care, much better mass transit, just to name three initiatives which are either economically or politically incompatible with a commitment to nuclear weapons. To the degree we fail to replace a bogus “national security” with real human security, New Mexico will continue to remain poor and without meaningful economic opportunity for a significant fraction of its citizens. As long as nuclear weapons remain in the catbird seat as the most lucrative industry in urban New Mexico, we can kiss off any serious progress in dealing with New Mexico’s problems. They will only get worse.

So let’s welcome the struggle over pit production. We didn’t choose it, that’s for sure, but it has come to us and if we care about each other, the planet, and all that’s holy it’s our duty to oppose it.

This pit production scheme recapitulates and encapsulates the entire nuclear project – the “original child bomb,” in Thomas Merton’s words. This time, we can choose to reject it.

“No one knows your name,” said Rumi, “until you draw your last breath.” In the same way, the meaning of history isn’t final, but rather subject to our own collective actions today. New Mexico may have said “yes” to the bomb in Act I, and lived with the consequences in Acts II and III, but the play isn’t over and all may yet be set right.

Sixty years ago, two bombs built at Los Alamos killed more than 210,000 people, inaugurating an era of terror in which we still find ourselves, and all that human beings strive toward, suspended over an abyss. Today, the sheer stupidity and immorality of nuclear weapons, expressed directly and indirectly in a thousand ways, are blocking every avenue for producing plutonium pits except one. The chosen site happens to be in our back yard.

Greg Mello, for the Study Group staff, board, and volunteers

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Action Alert #41 (05/10/05)
Report-back from Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference

Dear friends -

1. Several of us recently at the NPT Review Conference at the United Nations will report back to New Mexicans on Wednesday, May 11, at 7:00 pm in Ballroom C at the Student Union Building (SUB) on the UNM main campus and on Thursday, May 12, at 7:00 pm at CloudCliff Bakery Café, 1805 Second St., Santa Fe.

On these two evenings we'll bring images and impressions not only from the official gathering of "states parties" but also (and much more important) from the vibrant and growing international movement against nuclear weapons. The implications of this movement, of which many people in New Mexico are an active part, are very positive and hopeful. We hope you will join us for an inspirational evening of reports, perspectives, and community discussion.

We hope to see some of you tomorrow (Wednesday), or Thursday!

2. Heads up! Alerts coming!

The mission of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and possibly to some extent Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) as well, is almost certainly changing - toward increased manufacturing of plutonium warhead cores (pits) and possibly other nuclear manufacturing.

In other words, LANL is converting: backwards, to be more nuclear and more militarized, not less.

This pending change will be the subject of future alerts, which will now accordingly come at somewhat greater frequency, beginning later this week.

This proposed new mission focus is related to the current attempt to expand LANL's nuclear waste dump (Area G, already the largest nuclear dump in NM, TX, and AZ). It is also related to the likely addition of an industrial contractor to management, currently either Lockheed-Martin or Northrup Grumman, as well as to other developments.

Without going into details, the bottom line is simply this: the "thin red line" in the struggle against militarism's most apocalyptic manifestation has now come to New Mexico. We must rise to the occasion, or our state will become "the base" for the dirtiest work in the nuke business. Multiple strong political, economic, and technical factors are bringing this to us, and it is now our duty to make sure it stops here. We must rise to the occasion or fall beneath it.

This really is an emergency, and soon will come that peculiar, terrible, disorienting moment when history is decided one way or another, with ourselves as actors right in the middle of things. New Mexicans have defeated proposals to increase plutonium pit manufacturing twice before, and we can defeat the coming proposal now if we put our hands to the job.

In all this, there are two excellent pieces of good news.

The first is that the nuclear weapons business is noticeably weakening. Politicians are disinvesting and critical of nukes; money is scarcer; reporters and editors are skeptical. Without a safe haven in New Mexico, this industry will be badly damaged. As Jung once said, none of us know which of us will be the makeweight on the scale. The pans of the scale are beginning to shift. Now is the time to pile on.

Greg Mello, for the Study Group staff, board, and volunteers

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Action Alert #40 (04/27/05)
Nuclear waste dump expansion meeting planned; local nuclear opposition growing

Please forward this alert on to your friends!

Dear friends -

There’s some good news to share, but first you should know about a planned public meeting regarding the proposed expansion of the state’s largest nuclear waste dump, at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

It is the largest nuclear waste dump in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

About 4,000 citizens are on record with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) as opposing this expansion. They have formally requested an end to disposal, and hearings on full closure of the site. Quite possibly these are more petitioners for hearings and closure than for any other hazardous waste site in the history of New Mexico with the possible exception of WIPP. Approximately 2,000 other individuals have also requested an end to disposal as part of the Call for Nuclear Disarmament.

In addition, the City of Santa Fe, 200 New Mexico businesses, at least 100 nonprofits - and, as of yesterday, the New Mexico Conference of Churches - have all formally requested that disposal cease in this unpermitted, unregulated, unlined dump site.

The dump is slated to receive roughly TWO MILLION ADDITIONAL DRUMS’ WORTH OF WASTE for permanent shallow disposal over the next 70 years. According to DOE, only a tiny fraction of the nuclear waste to be disposed will come from the LANL cleanup program. Over 90% of the waste is to be newly-generated waste from the operation and planned expansion of LANL’s nuclear weapons program, especially the manufacture of plutonium bomb cores (“pits”), for which LANL is the only site available until 2020 at the earliest.

Not just one but FOUR expansion areas are planned, comprising all of one mesa on the Pajarito Plateau and significant parts of two others. Eight
Indian ruins, including a kiva, are to be destroyed in the first phase of expansion.

The meeting is being hosted by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) local Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) and will be held at the Santa Fe Community College on Tuesday, May 3 from 4:00 to 9:00 pm in the Jemez Conference Room, located in the main administration building.

We are NOT necessarily recommending that you go to this meeting, but you should know about it. Going to the meeting and speaking forcefully, creatively, and visibly is a good strategy. Be creative! Speak out clearly and openly against the expansion of nuclear waste disposal in the Santa Fe area!

The only way to communicate with the actual decisionmakers in Washington from this meeting will be through enough visible passion, clarity, and determination that they hear about the power of local resistance as a force to be reckoned with. Reason is essential but reason alone will not move the men in charge of the nuclear weapons program (who are also in charge of Area G). The people with the power in this matter are not interested in your views or mine and they are not interested in environmental science. They ARE interested in whether you and I will be quiet and polite enough to allow them to open another nuclear waste dump, and another and another, so they can build more nuclear weapons.

The Study Group was not invited to speak at this meeting, despite our offer to do so. We were asked to “co-sponsor” the meeting but we declined, since the meeting is being paid for and controlled by the DOE and its appointees regardless of our involvement.

There are a host of strong technical reasons why this facility would not be permitted today, as many observers have noted. Some of them are on our web site (see /waste/area-g.htm, /waste/lanl-waste-index.htm and /maps/pages/contents/TAmainmap.htm) Even the former manager of waste and cleanup at LANL has told us that Area G “should have closed years ago,” since DOE has cheaper and safer options for disposal.

It is very likely that the program for this meeting has been carefully designed to define what is “reasonable” in terms which make expansion inevitable, to seduce members of the public into accepting dumping without end by vague and empty promises, and to promote the DOE-appointed, funded, and controlled CAB as the voice of the people.

If you go and remain quiet and polite, deferring socially and intellectually to LANL experts, DOE-appointed citizen representatives, and DOE-paid facilitators, you will lend this process the legitimacy it would otherwise lack. If you go, you must find a way to make your voice heard, or it is better not to go at all.

The CAB members and staff are very good and well-meaning people. The basic problem is that they serve at the pleasure of the DOE, which controls not only their appointments but also their funding, agenda, and the information to which they are privy. The DOE once dissolved the CAB at Los Alamos when it showed too much independence, replacing all the members with other people more to DOE’s liking, and it has dissolved the CABs at other sites around the country when they have attempted to buck DOE constraints on the questions they ask. Safety concerns, for example, were “off limits” at Pantex, and the Pantex CAB’s refusal to stop asking questions about site safety led to its dissolution by DOE. It was no longer useful to them.

The reason citizens’ advisory boards were set up by the DOE around the country in the first place was to make local environmental concerns more “DOE-friendly” and, at active nuclear weapons sites, less politically damaging to the nuclear weapons program.

The success of the nuclear weapons program, especially plutonium pit production at Los Alamos, depends on polite local acquiescence – especially to expansion of LANL’s dump site, which is crucial to building the new kinds of nuclear weapons, including low-yield “mini-nukes” and “bunker-buster” earth-penetrating weapons the Bush Administration hopes LANL will begin to manufacture in the coming years. (The latest name for these new weapons is the “reliable replacement warhead.” Don’t be fooled.) While existing weapons can be repackaged into new forms, wholly new weapons involving new plutonium pits must have these pits built at Los Alamos. This agenda is now front-and-center for the DOE and for Mr. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. The expansion of Area G is an essential enabling part of this plan.

There is little doubt that the rationale for this expansion will include the notion that expansion is necessary for “environmental cleanup,” when very little physical cleanup is actually planned or budgeted.

As many of you know, DOE and LANL have hosted literally hundreds of public meetings over the past 15 years to “solicit community views” or “provide education” about aspects of the environmental contamination at LANL. Little or nothing has come from any of these meetings, whereas a great deal has come from careful political organizing and solid independent technical analysis.

Next week 10 people from the Study Group will be at the United Nations at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, but there will be Study Group members and volunteers at the May 3 meeting with background information, posters, and moral support.

Now for the good news.

Good news #1:

A strong disarmament resolution ( /SantaFeCityCouncilResolution.htm) was passed by the City Council of Santa Fe on April 13 by a vote of 7 to 1. Congratulations to Councilor Miguel Chavez for his leadership and to co-sponsoring councilors David Coss and Patti Bushee, to Doug Duran who has been working in the community on nuclear disarmament for some years now and really got the ball rolling on this resolution, to David Bacon and Willem Malten who worked on the final language, and to all who came to the April 13 Council meeting. This resolution echoes and expands upon the central points in the Call for Nuclear Disarmament (at ).

The City’s resolution also calls an end to the disposal of nuclear waste in northern New Mexico.

Good news #2:

Yesterday the New Mexico Conference of Churches endorsed the Call for Nuclear Disarmament, a first for this 40-year-old ecumenical organization. It is now timely to initiate discussions in religious communities regarding the morality of our state’s second-largest industry and its deleterious effects on the state, nation, and world. Many of you reading this alert are in a good position to do that and we urge you to do so, using the Call for Nuclear Disarmament as your initial text.

We continue to be surprised by the breadth and depth of support for nuclear disarmament in New Mexico. When people and organizations are asked, they respond, frequently very positively. If you would like to work for nuclear disarmament, we could certainly use your help. We can assure you that your work will be rewarding, educational, and politically fruitful.

Greg Mello, for the Study Group staff, board, and volunteers

"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder or lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will."
- Frederick Douglas

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Action Alert #39 (04/12/05)
Come to Santa Fe City Council Meeting Wed. 4/19, 7 pm

Please forward this alert on to your friends!
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Dear friends -

1. A disarmament resolution is pending before the City of Santa Fe; please come to the City Council Chambers WEDNESDAY APRIL 13 AT 7 PM.

We are pleased that the Santa Fe City Council is considering a strong disarmament resolution ( /SantaFeCityCouncilResolution.htm). Thanks to the leadership of Councilor Miguel Chavez as well that of as councilors David Coss and Patti Bushee, this resolution has a very good chance of passing.

This resolution echoes and expands upon the central points in the Call for Nuclear Disarmament (see ), which has been signed by more than 117 Santa Fe businesses ( /campaigns/OrganizationBusinessSignatories.htm) and more than 90 nonprofit organizations. Other businesses and nonprofits from around the state are slowly signing on as they become aware of the opportunity to do so.

WE NEED YOUR HELP this coming WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, AT 7 PM SHARP, at the beginning of the public hearing portion of the Santa Fe City Council meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall. It is possible that the resolution will pass by consensus in the afternoon session, but more likely it will be voted upon during the evening session, which begins with a public hearing at 7 pm at which citizens can express their perspectives.

This pending formal action by the Council is very important in building a culture of peace in Santa Fe and is a milestone in regional efforts to oppose nuclear weapons here and everywhere. It is very important to show the Council, and Santa Fe as a whole, our community's gratitude for taking this step and the importance we attach to nuclear disarmament. Those who like nuclear weapons will want to minimize the importance of this resolution. We want to maximize it. That's why it's important to be there. Plus, you can see your friends!

So please do come, and thank you for doing so. We know that many of you are very busy but your presence at this meeting would make a great difference, not just on this issue but on any issue for which progress requires respect for human beings. And it's pleasant to be able to say "Thank you" to the Council!

2. Please help us gather endorsements from businesses, churches, and nonprofits to the Call for Disarmament and to the August 6 commemoration "Hiroshima 60 Years: It Started Here; Let's Stop It Here!"

We are looking for endorsements for this event and the underlying Call from all types of groups. The more groups, the quicker other groups will sign onto the Call to oppose nuclear weapons and the more successful the August 6 event will be! Please help us build unity, strength, and issue clarity! It will only take a few minutes and costs nothing - except, of course, the false safety of silence.

To endorse, go to the "Endorse the Call" button with the field of sunflowers at or call Claire Long at (505) 265-1200 or email her at So please ask your organization to join us in endorsing the Call, the event, and please come on August 6!

Interest in this event is rising quickly, and people are planning to come from far away. A busload of people is coming all the way from Wisconsin! There are various committees at work and a lot of people are already involved.

3. Help is wanted!

As this event blossoms, the work involved does too. If you want to work with others for peace, well, do it! We have a great group of people here and I think you will find our upbeat spirit infectious. Please call Claire or Emily at (505) 265-1200 for more details.

4. Events of the past few days: terrific.

Those who were at the press conference at City Hall on Friday with visiting atomic bomb survivor Mr. Keijaro Matsushima, or heard him speak at Cloud Cliff that evening, heard very moving and yet trenchantly upbeat testimony. Matsushima Sensei was joined by 5 other members of the Hiroshima World Peace Mission, all of whom came to lend support to growing nuclear disarmament efforts in Santa Fe. The evening began with an breathtaking (and all-too-brief) slide show of Nagasaki victims "then and now" by visiting photographer Mr. John van Hasselt, who very generously extended his stay in New Mexico to show his stunning photographs. Many thanks to Willem Malten of CloudCliff for hosting the Peace Mission, and the rest of us, so graciously.

Then on Sunday in Albuquerque many of us got a chance to hear the fabulous folk singers Charlie King and Karen Brandow, preceded by the thoughtful and beautiful music of our very own Peter Neils. Some of us were tired that evening, but hearing such sweet, smart, and incredibly well-performed music was like having one's soul washed clean. Many thanks to the terrific people at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Albuquerque who hosted us.

So see you on Wednesday, if you can make it,

Greg Mello, for the Study Group staff, board, and volunteers

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Action Alert # 38 (04/04/05)
Santa Fe Disarmament Resolution, August 6 Update

Dear Friends,

Greetings to all!

1. Disarmament resolution pending

We are pleased that the Santa Fe City Council is considering a strong disarmament resolution. You can read the proposed resolution at /SantaFeCityCouncilResolution.htm. A local news
article describing the resolution is attached at the end of this message for those who are interested (at 4).

Despite decades of contrary practice, opposition to nuclear weapons remains very high in the United States. In a recent AP/Ipsos poll released on March 30, 2005, 66% of Americans polled agreed that no country should be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, more than four times as many as agreed with any other policy option
( This poll and other more detailed ones suggest there is a great deal of much-neglected political capital available for nuclear abolition. This is also our experience in New Mexico – even here, in the heart of the beast.

2. August 6: “Hiroshima 60Years: It Started Here; Let’s Stop It Here!”

Plans for this important event are maturing, and many groups are lending their moral and practical support. So far, 68 organizations have endorsed this event and many are also helping in various ways. Most endorsers are posted at (we can’t quite keep up so a few are not posted yet).

We are looking for endorsements for this event from all types of groups. If you can, please get your group to endorse August 6th and “The Call for Nuclear Disarmament.” The more groups behind this event, the more successful it will be! Help us build unity, strength, and issue clarity! To endorse, call Claire Long at (505) 265-1200 or email her at

We have a number of excellent speakers confirmed including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, David Kreiger from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, economists Bill Weida and Michael Oden, Kathy and Gilbert
Sanchez from San Ildefonso Pueblo, Carol Miller of the Frontier Education Center, Los Alamos’ very own Ed Grothus, and the Study Group’s own Greg Mello. Four hibakusha are traveling from Japan to join us,
bringing their uniquely important and moving perspective. Poets include Janice Mirikitani (poet laureate of San Francisco), William Witherup, National Poetry Slam Director Danny Solis, as well as Albuquerque’s fantastic Mary Oishi. Musicians include Jim Page from Seattle as well as our own Peter Neils from Albuquerque. More confirmations are expected in the coming weeks. There’s a lot of background work happening. For example, thousands of sunflowers are about to be planted!

Please consider asking your organization to join us – and ya’ll come!

3. Help Wanted!

This year is extremely important for everyone concerned with nuclear disarmament. Worldwide and locally, there is movement in civil society, and the Los Alamos Study Group is part of it.

If you want to come to beautiful New Mexico to work in July or the first week of August to help the Study Group, Pax Christi, and the other cooperating groups working on the summer’s events, please call. We have
a great group of people here and I think you will find our upbeat spirit infectious. If you think you might want to come, please call Claire or Emily at (505)265-1200 for more details.

In solidarity,

Greg Mello, for the Study Group staff, board, and volunteers

4. Anti-Nuke Resolution Sees Support
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
By John T. Huddy
Journal Staff Writer

Councilor Miguel Chavez's proposed resolution to put the Santa Fe City Council on record as opposing new nuclear weapons and calling for the dismantling of existing ones drew nothing but support at its first hearing Tuesday night.

"I think this is well within our purview to discuss," said Councilor David Coss, challenging comments Monday from Councilor David Pfeffer, "particularly when it reads that 40 percent of our nuclear weapons spending happens in New Mexico."

Pfeffer contends councilors should not be discussing issues of national security when they have other local issues, like potholes and annexation, to worry about.

Chavez's resolution calls for the United States' compliance with a 1969 treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.

"This is more than in our back yard now, it's possibly even in our water streams," Councilor Patti Bushee said, a reference to fears among anti-nuclear activists and others that contaminants from Los Alamos National Laboratory could seep into local waterways.

At Tuesday night's meeting of the Council's Public Works Committee, Bushee and Coss both agreed to cosponsor Chavez's resolution.

Proposals "to upgrade nuclear weapons, design new varieties of such weapons, maintain thousands of nuclear weapons or build new factories for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons components
should be viewed with dismay," the resolution states.

It also calls "immoral" the idea that "human security can ever be built upon instruments of mass destruction and the will to use them."

This is the second Chavez-sponsored anti-nuke resolution since January. His earlier version called for the end of nuclear weapons work at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. That resolution was never passed
by the council after Chavez pulled it from consideration.

"I think this is a better resolution because it doesn't just target Sandia Labs" and takes a more global position on the nuclear debate, Bushee said.

Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, an anti-nuclear watchdog group, said during the meeting that Chavez's resolution "expresses a very mainstream objective." Chavez's resolution states that "large public opinion polls have shown very strong public support for nuclear disarmament."

Mello also provided a statement earlier in the day saying 117 businesses in Santa Fe support the basic idea of the resolution. He also said other city councils, including that of Olympia, Wash., have passed similar resolutions and that Chavez's proposal would be used as a model for one to be introduced before the National Conference of Black Mayors.

The resolution would urge New Mexico's congressional delegation and the governor to "call for progressively and systematically dismantling our nuclear weapons in concert with other nuclear powers."

Mello also provided a copy of a letter dated Friday from Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima, Japan— where the first atomic bomb was dropped during World War II— to Santa Fe Mayor Larry Delgado, calling
for support of Chavez's resolution.

The letter notes that Delgado has become a member of the Mayors for Peace— a collection of national and international city mayors who have voiced support for peace initiatives around the globe.

Akiba commended Delgado for joining the group. "Your support is profoundly meaningful, coming as you do from a part of the world that has struggled so intensely with the issue of nuclear weapons," the letter states.

Akiba also said that the "Hiroshima World Peace Mission will be visiting Santa Fe" April 8 "to meet and learn from people on all sides of the nuclear issue."

"To get that statement from the mayor of Hiroshima really gives credit to the work that we have done," Chavez said Tuesday.

Coss agreed, challenging President Bush on his call for nuclear disarmament in Iran and North Korea, saying: "It's been said that you have to get the log out of your eye before you look at the speck in someone else's eye."

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Action Alert # 37 (04/04/05)
Events this week

Dear New Mexico Friends,

Spring greetings to all of you from the staff and volunteers at the Los Alamos Study Group!

Check out the following upcoming events! And if you read to the bottom, there’s a bit of good news.

1. April 8: Hiroshima Delegates to Meet with Santa Fe City Officials; Proposed City Nuclear Disarmament Resolution is Focus

Press Conference Friday, April 8, 2:00 pm, south of Santa Fe City Hall at the St. Francis statue

All nuclear disarmament activists in Santa Fe are invited. Bring sunflowers if you like!

SANTA FE – Santa Fe city councilors and Mayor Delgado (invited) will attend a press conference with delegates from the Hiroshima World Peace Mission on Friday, April 8 at 2:00 pm outside City Hall at the statue of
St. Francis, the City’s patron saint. The Mission will present the City of Santa Fe with sunflowers, the international symbol for nuclear disarmament, in hopes the City will endorse its pending nuclear disarmament resolution as a step in becoming a genuine “City of Peace.” Local business leaders working against nuclear arms will be invited;
some 117 businesses have endorsed a similar call for nuclear disarmament.

You can read the proposed resolution at /SantaFeCityCouncilResolution.htm.

2. April 8: “Voices from Hiroshima: The Survivor’s Message” Mr. Keijiro Matsushima, a survivor of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, together with five other members of the Hiroshima World Peace Mission,
will present an evening of stories and images from Hiroshima. Join us, and tell your friends!

Where: Cloud Cliff Bakery and Café, 1805 Second St., Santa Fe
When: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Cost: free, but donations welcome

3. April 10: Benefit for the Study Group with folk singers Charlie King and Karen Brandow and special guest Peter Neils

Where: First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM
When: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Tickets: $12 at the door $10 in advance

Tickets available in Albuquerque at Peacecraft, 3215 Central SW in Nob Hill, at Book Works, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW in the North Valley, and in the Heights at Page One Books,11018 Montgomery Blvd. NE or by phone
at 255-5229.

Praise for Charlie and Karen: "One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time" (Pete Seeger). "The music was nothing short of fantastic…If you have not done so yet, you must see these artists on stage" (Activist
San Diego Concert Review). "Exactly what a folk music recording should be: songs that make you think, laugh, weep and dance" (Matt Watroba, Folk DJ WDET, Detroit MI).

4. Future events

There’s a rather full calendar of exciting events this spring and summer! Check them out at /calendar.htm

5. August 6: “Hiroshima 60Years: It Started Here; Let’s Stop It Here!”

Plans for this event are maturing, and many groups are lending their moral and practical support! So far, 68 organizations have endorsed this event, and many are also helping in various ways. Most endorsers
are posted at (we can’t quite keep up so a few are not posted yet).

We are looking for endorsements from all types of groups. If you are affiliated with a group, please get your group to endorse August 6th and “The Call for Nuclear Disarmament.” The more groups behind this event,
the more successful it will be! Build unity and strength! To endorse, call Claire Long at (505)265-1200 or email her at

We have a number of excellent speakers confirmed including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, David Kreiger from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, economists Bill Weida and Michael Oden, Kathy and Gilbert
Sanchez from San Ildefonso Pueblo, Carol Miller of the Frontier Education Center, Los Alamos’ very own Ed Grothus, and the Study Group’s own Greg Mello. Four hibakusha are traveling from Japan to join us,
bringing their uniquely important and moving perspective. Poets include Janice Mirikitani (poet laureate of San Francisco), William Witherup, National Poetry Slam Director Danny Solis, as well as Albuquerque’s
fantastic Mary Oishi. Musicians include Jim Page from Seattle as well as our own Peter Neils from Albuquerque. More confirmations are expected in the coming weeks. There’s a lot of background work
happening. For example, thousands of sunflowers are about to be planted!

Please consider asking your organization to join us, and ya’ll come! And if you can help work on this event, we sure have a lot to do.

6. Help Wanted!

This year is extremely important for everyone concerned with nuclear disarmament. Worldwide and locally, there is movement, and the Los Alamos Study Group is stepping up to plate.

We need your help, however. Much of what we are doing cannot be done without steady volunteer help. If you think you might want to work with us, please consider calling Claire or Emily at (505)265-1200. We have a
great group of people here and I think you will find our upbeat spirit infectious. You don’t have to live in Albuquerque to volunteer – we have a team in Santa Fe and are looking for help with outreach in other
New Mexico cities.

Of course we are also rather short on funds. Our work is respected all of the world, it is unique in New Mexico, and it is needed more than ever. If you know of those who can afford to help, would you mention us
to them?

So what’s the good news? The good news is that the American empire is not sustainable. Things which cannot go on forever don’t. The very darkness of the times and the concurrent crises we now face are creating
a new “teachable moment.” Perhaps the best political news I know is that the dawn is much more attractive than the dark. See you there.

In solidarity for disarmament and for life –

Greg, Trish, Claire, Emily, Mary, Leslie, David, Lydia, Sam, Zia, Peter,
Astrid, and Francis

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Action Alert # 36 (03/07/05)
Study Group Calendar Update

Dear friends --

Here, in one place, are the events planned so far by the Study Group and a few closely allied groups in the coming months. These events are also posted at /calendar.htm, with links to cooperating groups and some reference materials. There will be some more calendar additions and updates in the next couple of weeks, which we will tell you about by email as well.

Most of you received Action Alert #35 last night, letting you know about "The Call for Nuclear Disarmament" and the big August 6 event, and asking for your group's endorsement of both. If you didn't get that email, send me a note and we will send it to you.

Normally we don't send emails back-to-back, but we wanted you to be able to put these upcoming events on your calendar as soon as possible.

Very best, Greg, Trish, and gang


Action Alert #35 (03/06/05)
Los Alamos Study Group Calendar - March 7 update

• March 10 – 18: Greg and Trish in London and Brussels, trip hosted by European Parliament and BASIC

• March 19: Demonstration (lead organization: Stop the War Machine; many co-sponsors)
Where: Albuquerque, National Guard Headquarters, 600 Wyoming NE
When: 11 am-1:00 pm
More: March 19 will be an International Day of protest on the 2nd anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. As on the first anniversary of the invasion last year, millions of people around the world will march to say “No to War and Occupation for Empire.” Bring signs and be creative!

• March 28: Panel Discussion: The Sleep of Reason: Atoms for Peace and War (cosponsor: Campus Greens)
Where: University of New Mexico Student Union Building (SUB), Ballroom C
When: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
More: Nuclear power, nuclear weapons – what are the common technologies? At what point do they diverge? What are the paths nuclear proliferators have taken, and what are the prospects for control? Panel discussion with David Bacon, Greg Mello, and special guest Rose Gardner of Eunice, New Mexico, who will report on the efforts of a multi-national consortium to build what it calls the “National Enrichment Facility” near Eunice, New Mexico. Moderated and with introduction (and perhaps a nuclear song or two) by New Mexico’s own Peter Neils.

• March 29: Panel Discussion: The Sleep of Reason: Atoms for Peace and War
Where: Santa Fe, location TBD

• April 7 – 9: Visit to Santa Fe by the Hiroshima World Peace Mission
Press conference, public discussion, visit to Los Alamos (details pending)

• April 10: Benefit for the Study Group with folk singers Charlie King and Karen Brandow, introduced by Peter Neils
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, Albuquerque, 3701 Carlisle Blvd NE
When: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
More: "One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time" (Pete Seeger). "The music was nothing short of fantastic…If you have not done so yet, you must see these artists on stage" (Activist San Diego Concert Review). "Exactly what a folk music recording should be: songs that make you think, laugh, weep and dance" (Matt Watroba, Folk DJ WDET, Detroit MI).

• April 22: Vigil and Leafletting in Los Alamos (organized by Pax Christi New Mexico)
Where: Los Alamos National Laboratory
When: 7:30 am to 9:00 am

• April 28: Study Group delegation departs for United Nations, NY, for Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (RevCon) 2005

• May 9: Study Group delegation returns

• May 10 and 11: Report-back to New Mexico from RevCon: press conference and discussion groups (times and locations TBD)

• May 13 and 14: Annual Conference, National Freedom of Information Coalition (co-sponsor, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government)
Where: St. Francis Hotel, Santa Fe
When: Detailed schedule not yet available
More: “Roughly 100 journalists, public officials and assorted public-records crusaders from around the country will gather to learn about current law and threats to public access, and to share war stories and strategies. This conference will address a broad range of critical issues involving access to information including government secrecy in the age of terrorism, balancing privacy rights and open records, HIPPA and medical privacy and more.”

• July 15: Mightier Than the Sword: Writers Address the Nuclear Age
Where: James A. Little Theater, Santa Fe
When: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
More: Poets and writers commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Trinity test, the first nuclear explosion on our planet

• July 16: Mightier Than the Sword: Writers Address the Nuclear Age
Where: Lobo Theater, Albuquerque
When: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
More: Poets and writers commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Trinity test, the first nuclear explosion on our planet

• July 29 – 31: Seminar on Nuclear Weapons Law and Policy
Where: University of New Mexico, Main Campus, SUB Ballroom C
When: Friday 7/29, 5:30 pm to Sunday 7/31, noon
More: Authoritative short course in the legal status of nuclear weapons for activists, students, journalists, and laboratory personnel. Modest tuition; continuing legal education credit may be possible.

• August 5: Pax Christi Gathering and Mass
Where: Santa Maria de la Paz Church, Santa Fe
When: nonviolence training: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Mass: 7:30 pm

• August 5 - 9 Upaya Zen Center: Interfaith Bearing Witness Retreat
Where: August 5, 7, and 8, Upaya Zen Center
August 6 and 9, Los Alamos
More: Interfaith retreat; “a commitment to compassionate engagement and to inner and outer disarmament.”

• August 6: Pax Christi “Walk, Pray & Vigil For Peace”
Where: Los Alamos
When: 8:30 am to 10:00am
More: bring peace & nuclear abolition banners

• August 6: Hiroshima 60: It Started Here – Let’s Stop It Here! (many endorsers)
Where: Ashley Pond Park and nearby public buildings, Los Alamos
When: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
More: Day of remembrance and action disarmament rally and teach-in; workshops on nuclear history, economic alternatives in New Mexico; sunflower pageant and floating candle commemoration/commitment-to-peace ceremony (“From Ashes to Light”). Inspiring and informative guest speakers, live music.

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Action Alert # 34 (01/20/05)
Events NEXT WEEK and in August; disarmament declaration

Dear friends --

1. The Los Alamos Study Group will host two discussions with David Barsamian, founder of the respected “Alternative Radio” network. In these talks, Barsamian will take up Lenin’s famous question, “What Is To Be Done?” in the context of the crisis of democracy in the United States today. He will speak in Albuquerque on Monday, January 24th at 7:00 p.m., in the Student Union Building, in Ballroom C at the UNM main campus and in Santa Fe on Tuesday, January 25th at 7:00 pm at Cloud Cliff Bakery, 1805 Second Street.  Donations are suggested at each location but not required.

2. Mark your calendars! On August 6, the Study Group and co-sponsoring organizations will host an all-day conference and teach-in in Los Alamos, with music, pageantry, and workshops on a variety of issues related to disarmament to commemorate the 60 th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Initial co-sponsors include Veterans for Peace and Pax Christi New Mexico; we welcome other co-sponsors and workshops. Work has already begun and there is plenty for willing hands to do. Please contact Joe Mowrey at or Claire Long at if you want to help!

3. Progress on the New Mexico disarmament declaration/petition continues slowly but surely. Our network has now grown past 150 businesses and 30 nonprofits, and we will soon begin the next phase of the campaign. Stay tuned. We continue to find that the big problem at most organizations is focus – folks are often (or even usually) ready to register their resistance to nuclear weapons if you can just get their attention for a few moments.

Most of you who are receiving this email work in a business, or are associated with a nonprofit – and yes, WE NEED YOUR HELP. YOU are the irreplaceable link in the net of compassionate action that transforms our political environment from one of passive acceptance of nuclear militarism and fateful empire, to rejection of these and affirmation of life. Each nonprofit and business endorsement builds unity between issues and organizations and contributes to public clarity of values. It also builds genuine political power. It’s not hard to get to people to sign if you just ask. Call us if we can help in any way!

For more information, contact the Los Alamos Study Group at (505)265-1200 or at . We’ve finally started updating our web site again and you may wish to check it more frequently for updates.

Very best to all,

Greg, Trish, Claire, Elena, and gang

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2901 Summit Place NE Albuquerque, NM 87106, Phone: 505-265-1200

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