Radioactive Weapons Testing in California
Author: Cathy Garger
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on 01/10/2008
The recent article at InsideBayArea.com, “Livermore Lab: What a difference a month makes” (November 15, 2007, Article ID 7469063) discusses the downgrading of the managerial role and lessened involvement of the University of California at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory outside San Francisco.
The slant of this piece tries to make us feel sorry for academia at the University of California who no longer get to boast about being Big Nuke Scientists on Campus and hog all the limelight for their role in genocidal weapons-making at the Lab.
The federal Department of Energy, as obedient handmaidens for the DoD, along with the University of California, are designing – and exploding – radioactive weapons into the open air, about 40 miles outside San Francisco. Have you heard of “Depleted” Uranium before, the munitions made from nuclear processing that the US military fires in Iraq and Afghanistan from our aircraft, tanks, and guns? If not, simply do a search for “Depleted Uranium” plus “Doug Rokke” or “Leuren Moret” or “Rosalie Bertell” and you will get the education of a lifetime.
Uh, yeah, there’s certainly anxiety in California alright – at least among those who know what goes on at that nuclear weapons Laboratory – and it sure doesn’t have much of anything to do with UC professors losing academic notoriety or esteem.
But first let’s discuss the UC scientists who like to play with nuke bombs technology for a living. It now appears that UC is playing a more subdued role and is at least not as publicly showcased as manager of California’s weapons lab any longer. The tone of this piece is such that we are almost moved to get out the violins and Kleenex for the poor, poor UC academics who now have to share some of the credit and glory for blowing up radioactively hot Uranium in our faces for a living.
So while we are being made to feel sympathy for an institution of higher learning that does not get to star in a leading role for its diabolical work in genocidal orchestration, let us not be taken as fools and believe for even a minute that the University’s part in Livermore Lab’s deeds has ended.
Clearly, the skilled expertise of UC’s top scientists is ery much needed and desired. Most assuredly, UC will go right on assisting the private firm running the weapons laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC and its partners, Bechtel National, BWX Technologies, Texas A & M University, Washington Group International, and national weapons laboratory manager, Battelle, as they perform their nuclear dirty work ensemble both at Livermore’s indoor laboratory and outdoor explosion areas.
Putting a corporation in charge of the Lab – at least on paper – is obviously a much better “business” strategy for a federal government interested in maximizing profits and minimizing federal liabilities, health, disability, and death claims benefits. Privatization of US-manufactured casualties is, after all, what this administration is all about.
With regard to UC scientists being played in this piece as “demoted,” one surmises this is truly how it might feel to some academics there. Certainly one can understand why UC employees would find the twisted sense of glory and “perks” that radioactive weapons design and implementation has afforded them in the past to be immensely lucrative, desirable, and ego-swelling to boot.
Getting a rise out of designing and using instruments of mass destruction, regardless of the number of higher degrees one may posses in disciplines like physics and nuclear science, does not, however, indicate the presence of normal psyche functioning. I mean, who in their right mind goes off to work in the morning with coffee and donut in hand, thinking, Hmm… after I help design an even more lethal nuclear bomb today and explode deadly radioactive materials outside in an open area where 7,000,000 babies, children, women, and men live, work, and play within 50 miles of San Francisco… I think I’ll rent a movie and get a double-cheese, veggie lovers’ pizza tonight?
Regardless of who receives – and who loses – all the credit and glory and prestige for playing the Lead Role in US poison gas weapons design and delivery, this supremely critical fact still remains: No matter who’s running the show, we are still nuking our own, in the open air, right here at home.
As we speak, the greater San Francisco Bay Area nuclear weapons laboratory is still dispersing – via open air explosions – 1,000 lbs. annually (perhaps soon to be 8,000 lbs.) of lethal, chemically toxic, radioactive aerosols such as Uranium oxide into the air that 10 million people in the densely populated greater San Francisco Bay/San Jose area are trying to breathe.
And while blasting one thousand pounds of “Depleted” Uranium into the air every year for 46 years straight may not seem like very much compared to the tons of it we are using on the Muslim world in the Middle East? Still, consider that just one invisible sub-micron size nano-particle we inhale that becomes lodged in our lung can stay there for decades, wrecking havoc on our bodies, causing cell death, mutation, and disease in the years to follow.
The US has been using radioactive Uranium aerosol (gas) in our air since the 1940’s right up to the current day. Is there any wonder that almost everybody we know and their brother’s got some form of illness known to be caused by radiation, from diabetes to asthma to cancer to an autoimmune system disorder?
These Uranium oxide aerosols (a gas) do not stay in a neat area around San Francisco, either. As Busby and Morgan demonstrated, these radioactive poison gasses travel thousands of miles in the winds in a matter of days.
Contrary to how the popular saying goes, what happens [at the outdoor explosion sites] in Vegas – and San Francisco- does not stay in Vegas – or in San Francisco, either.
Livermore Laboratory has been detonating or blasting (yes, exploding!) thousands of pounds of the US Military Weapon Of Choice, “Depleted” Uranium, into our air since at least 1961 at its Site 300 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, only about 40 miles west of San Francisco.
But this is not just San Francisco’s problem – nor even simply California’s problem – since these radionuclides travel in the winds across the US, much like the clouds of radioactive aerosols were carried, courtesy of atomic bomb testing back in the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s. In other words, the radioactive bomb testing never ended… They simply conducted many more explosions, more frequently, and in smaller amounts, using many dozens of toxic and radioactive substances. And naturally, they never advertise the fact.
One can understand why the incessant explosions of radioactive materials into America’s open air, starting with the Trinity Bomb on July 16, 1945, and extending over the next 62 years might be something Uncle Sam might not exactly want Regis and Kelly yapping about. When we were all told that atmospheric radioactive testing was stopped (wink, wink) outdoors in the 1960s? The Department of Energy simply took over the job –in amended form – at federal Uranium gas dispersal sites, like Livermore, Los Alamos, and the Nevada Test Site.
In the immediate vicinity of Livermore, CA, both from personal accounts of people who live in and near SF, as well as from perusing CA cancer websites, one discovers there actually are large numbers of very sick people in the Greater San Francisco Bay area. These illnesses include a great many people with strange autoimmune system diseases and inordinately high rates of cancers.
This certainly all makes perfect sense because, after all, if you are blasting both chemically toxic and radioactive gasses into a highly populated area for over 45 years, what could you possibly expect in terms of great health for the residents of that area?
The only thing that has changed with the privatization of LLNL is that a healthy buck can be made for corporate managers – not to mention a decreased liability for Uncle Sam, who doesn’t have to worry quite so much anymore about paying the steep bill for “hot,” dosed, sick, dead, and dying workers exposed to toxic and radioactively hazardous gasses in the workplace.
So for those activists working hard to stop academia from playing a role at the weapons laboratories, the corporate handover of the Livermore Laboratory may, on the surface, seem like a victory. But let’s keep thinking this through.
If you and I are still breathing in the same (and maybe soon-to-be-increased) deadly, radioactive poison gas, what difference does it make if the UC plays a prominent role in managing Livermore – or if the University simply works in the background, behind the scenes, while still assisting in creating and exploding (oh, that’s right, they call it “testing”) lethal, toxic, radionuclides into our environment, polluting and contaminating our air, our water, our soils, and our food supply?
After all, any way you look at it, being radioactive poison-gassed still does the same harm to us and to our families, whether at the hands of University psychopath scientists – or privately contracted ones.
If you are unaware of how the Livermore National Weapons Laboratory’s Site 300 quietly, invisibly releases radioactive poison gasses into our air? Just do a Google search, putting in the exact terms, using the quotation marks as follows: “depleted uranium” + “livermore laboratory” I always thought that we pay our taxes in order to be protected from harm so we could enjoy health, happiness, and all that cool sounding jazz – not to be poison gassed!
And maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I always thought our public universities were “in business” to ensure a great college education for our kids… not to design and use weapons of massive destruction in order to kill some fabricated foreign “enemy” – and American citizens, too.
Maybe we just never got the memo that informed us that our state universities have a lucrative side-job of great importance to the Empire: the manufacture of wide scale, silent death? It must be a well-kept secret, as how many people do you know realize that US Universities work as a “major player” with private industries to blast toxic and environmentally hazardous contaminants out into our environment? Apparently, our state universities have been quietly doing so under the radar for quite some time… and can be predicted to continue to do so some time into the future.
Bottom line is, while UC may be playing a more behind-the-scenes job at the Lawrence Livermore National [Nuclear Weapons] Laboratory? Our tax dollars are still effectively put to use quietly, invisibly “nuking” those of us who simply go about our normal day-to-day lives while breathing US air.
Is there anyone else who resents the fact that their government is exploding so-called “Depleted” Uranium in liberal “doses” – out into America’s air… the very same radioactive Uranium weapon of indiscriminate effects, illegal under international law, that the US military is using now in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and in testing sites all over the US and all over the world? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but it sure does seem that the powers that be have gone absolutely, positively, psychopathically, stark raving mad. And judging by everything I am reading, it appears as if they will only continue their reign of silent, invisible, death-by-radiation… that is, as long as we all remain very quiet.
If we are going to stop these sociopaths, we are going to need to begin finding the courage necessary inside us to say – and do – whatever needs to be said and done. It’s certainly not going to be easy – but historically, vast numbers of outraged citizens determined to make a difference have generally been successful.
Even if you share the information below widely, you will wake up many people who have absolutely no clue this is going on inside the United States. After all, prior to 2005, I had no idea about any of this either.
The radioactive poison gassing of America has been a well-guarded “dirty” secret that, for our children’s sake, must now see the light of day.
It is time now to wake up our friends, family, and neighbors. America’s air and environment is being radioactively contaminated… quite literally poisoned… for literally billions of years – all under the false premise and guise of keeping our homeland “safe.”
Video Clip: “Depleted Uranium Blasts to Increase At Livermore Lab” * http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/07/25/18437308.php
Epidemiologist Sister Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D. and health effects of Depleted Uranium http://www.iicph.org/docs/host_response_to_du.htm
To learn more, do a Google video search for Rosalie Bertell and Leuren Moret.
Depleted Uranium Poison Targets US Citizens – Cathy Garger
National lab blows uranium over Tracy, California – John Upton
Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab’s 200 Executioners Ready – Bob Nichols
Tastes Like Burning – Mark Drolette
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and
never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson
Bio: Cathy Garger is a freelance writer, antiwar and anti-radiation activist, and a certified personal coach. Cathy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org