A lawsuit filed by the Los Alamos Study Group in November, 1996 against
the Department of Energy (DOE) has finally succeeded in prying loose
unclassified transcripts and videotapes from a secretive "Global Nuclear
Vision Project" meeting at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The
April 1996 meeting involved senior personnel from the U.S., Russian,
French, and British nuclear establishments, as well as representatives
of the CIA, Pentagon, and the Rand Corporation, along with a few carefully-selected
The purpose of the closed gathering was to discuss alternative "nuclear
futures" -- how the evolution of "all things nuclear" might be shaped.
This meeting was one of a series; this particular meeting focussed on
the evolution of so-called nuclear weapons "stewardship," and in particular
on the internationalization of stewardship -- that is, cooperation between
the nuclear weapons countries to keep everyone's weapons safe and
A remarkable feature of the case was the attempt by the DOE and LANL
to withhold admittedly unclassified and unsensitive information from
U.S. citizens pending permission by the Russian government. The
information in question was a speech by a senior Russian nuclear weapons
scientist to the gathering.
Not long after this workshop, the Congress passed a law (Section 3138
of the FY1997 Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 104-201) forbidding international
cooperation in stockpile stewardship -- except in the cases of Britain
Study Group spokesperson Mello explained: "These documents portray
a laboratory run amok, in an Administration without a coherent disarmament
and nonproliferation plan. To put it bluntly, Los Alamos is using
taxpayer funds to work with other nuclear weapon states against nuclear
disarmament. It is a lab with its own foreign policy -- a foreign
policy that runs exactly opposite to existing U.S. treaty commitments
under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Some of the proposed
(and even existing) cooperation mentioned may be illegal under U.S.
law. After all, spies used to go to prison or worse for "cooperative
stewardship." It is a subject in which Los Alamos has some history.
Why should U.S. taxpayers pay millions of dollars to keep Russian
nuclear weapons scientists employed on weapons-related tasks?
Why should we pay to keep the Russian nuclear establishment going, which
we are doing, or to keep their weapons reliable, which was discussed?"
"President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address `...that public
policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological
elite.' What could not be foreseen in 1960 was the internationalization
of that elite, which is now upon us. For this elite, loyalty to
their profession -- nuclear weapons -- comes first."
Details and documents are available upon request.