Friday, September 21, 2007

DU Moves around. So does climate change.

On June 24th I reported in this blog about our walk through the Sallafield Atomic Weapons Establishment haunting presence. We knew about the dumping of radiation into the Irish Sea, making it the most radio active body of water of that size. We knew about the fact that DU radiation from Chernobyl resided in the area. But, we did not know that radiation from the Gulf War (II) also made its way to Europe and England. Sensors at Sallafield AWE recorded the fact seven days after the bombing of Baghdad. Remember "Shock and AWE"? Now that I am home I am catching up on the reading and research I could not do on the Walk. I am surprised by the revalation. No one mentioned it, even though we walked through the Dundrenom DU Testing site down the road. All my reading about DU did not point out this fact of long distant effect.

Googling Chris Busby, a key scientist on low level radiation, I came across "The Problem with Nuclear (Part I)" by Bill Adamson. The article is a good overview of nuclear radiation issues. Regarding Depleted Uranium, he mentions in part: "Meanwhile, a special set of radiation filters had been set up in Aldermaston, England, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE). A report by Chris Busby stated that within 7 to 9 days after the bombardment of the Baghdad region, higher levels of uranium radiation were picked up at the five sites in Berkshire, England, some 2400 miles away. He believes that uranium aerosols were dispersed in the atmosphere and blown across Europe. Hence, the increase of radiation levels in this globe of ours." (End note about this: "'Uk Radiation Jump blamed on Iraq shells,' by Mark Gould and Jon Angoed-Thomas, The Sunday Times, Feb. 19, 2006, 'From Baghdad in the Middle East: Depleted Uranium Measured in British Atmosphere,' by Leuren Moret, Global Research, March 2, 2006. Also, 'Occasional Paper on Depleted Uranium,' by Chris Busby and Saorise Morgan, Green Audit: January 1, 2006.")

From the time of the Walk in this area, I wanted to put Chris Busby's work on the blog. Walkers told me that he is the leading light in terms of nuclear power and radiation. I have found his comments about the New England Millstone reactors and their effects on populations living near the sea and river estuaries. I recommend his book: WOLVES OF WATER, A Study From Atomic Radiation, Morality, Epidemiology, Science...Philosophy and Death". I am ordering it. ( I will detail why this is important on the blog in the near future, i.e. new methods of determining the effects of low level radiation, internal versus external. the older method is compared to the newer like heat from a radiator versus ingesting a hot coal.

Just in: "The latest study from the United Nation's intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put the inevitability of drastic global warming in the starkest terms yet, stating that major impacts on partos of the world...are unavoidable and the focus must be on adapting life to survive the most devastating changes." The Independent UK, 19 September 2007. I won't dispute it, my walking stick won't either!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pulling back the "security" vail

The Iraq related tensions on the streets is increasing. Here in Olympia vigils against the Iraq war are every Friday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM on Percival Landing. Across the street, "support our troops" people counter and demand "victory". The decibel levels have increased, as a pro-war mother of a son in Iraq uses the whole time to shout her messages continually. On the anti side of the street, a band plays supportive music. Cars drive by tooting their horns, mostly favorable to the anti-side. My sense of the event is significantly more emotional intensithy since I left for the UK in April.

Last evening, an unusual and important incident occurred as an Air Force vet of 20 years joined the anti side with an "Impeach Bush" sign. I spent at least 20 minutes listening to him describe the security procedures for B-52s which carry nuclear bombs. The reason was the August 30th incident which was reported by Military Times stating that a B-52 flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana carrying six nuclear bombs attached to the wings on Cruise Missiles. 1500 miles covered. The flight was against all rules and procedures. The Air Force said it was an "accident." Incredible according to the 20 year vet who joined us at Percival Landing. Incredible according to a number of like vets who have serviced B-52s. There is no way this could have been an "accident" occurrence. I spent this morning checking reports on the Internet. I recommend that readers do likewise.

An investigation is mandatory. The media and the politicians have become silent since the August 30th event. Our street vet, Internet vets and journalists connect the event to Iraq and to the highest reach in the government. The silence must be broken to determine what occured moving people to risk revealing the incident at the risk of their lives.

The three who reported the incident to the Military Times on condition of anonymity had better "keep their backs covered" according to one Internet reporter. Our street vet said he expects them to be removed, which I understood to mean assassinated. This is entirely within the realm of possiblity as I see it.

As our vet was concluding his reporting on nuclear weapon security (I was amazed at the detail and extent of the procedures), a middle aged woman approached us and charged us with being wrong and betraying the country. She was very nervous and anxious. We shared our reasons with her as best we could in the face of the emotional strain she was experiencing. I felt that she was beginning to wake up to the fact that her security, which rested on the strength of the President, was not so secure after all. (This was the day after Bush's national address to continue the course.) We ended shaking hands and smiling at each other. She smiled with wide eyes and nervousness. I cannot help but wonder how many people are waking up to the realities, finding themselves having their trust for security betrayed, or, at least, not up to the hype. What now?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Here is an edited piece I submitted to the Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action newsletter. It is important due to info about the Trident, Faslane 365 Campaign and our Walk.

“Toward A Nuclear Free World” was the theme of the Foot Prints for Peace walk from Dublin to London from March 12th to August 6th, 2007 that I joined in Glasgow. We intended to contribute to efforts by locals’ to stimulate more awareness and action to eliminate both nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Most significant for me was the Faslane 365 Campaign in Scotland to convince the United Kingdom not to engage with the United State in developing the next generation of Trident warheads nor submarines. Since the walk ended, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has revealed secret efforts by the UK at Aldermaston to create the next generation.

I was arrested at Aldermaston on July 27th (See my blog entry on July 28th, “Aldermaston arrest". ) to protest the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s (AWE) participation in the UK weapons program. Now we know more about what is happening there. At the protest we witnessed the building being constructed for a laser named Orion. The laser will be programmed to approximate the basic formation of a planned nuclear bomb explosion. The laser data will be entered into a new supercomputer which will create a simulation of the actual explosion for this particular bomb. Named Larch, the computer can calculate what it would take the six billion earth’s human inhabitants 7000 calculations per second to do. This new generation of nuclear weapons is a counterpart to the work the United States is doing. The UK program is called High Surety Warhead. The United States names its program, Reliable Replacement Warhead. All this reliable sureness is to circumvent the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTP) and the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). AWE spokespersons deny that the UK has made a decision to make a new Trident bomb. (The secret nuclear weapon development was reported in The Herald on September 4th, 2007,

I had heard neither about the Aldermaston weapon production site nor the Atomic Weapons Establishment until reviewing Foot Prints for Peace website while researching the proposed walk. I joined the Walk at Faslane because it interfaced with the Faslane 365 Campaign at that point. I fully intended to participate in the direct action to block the gate at Faslane before the trip. By the time we reached Aldermaston two months later, I was more than ready to block the entrance to the AWE facility.

My 700 plus miles participation in the Walk taught me not only much about the nuclear weapons system in the UK, but also nuclear power and radiation. As one of the CND analysts named it, the “Terrible Twins”. Radiation effects from the bomb and nuclear power amount to the same lethal effect. The lethal effects are horrible enough. (I kept the images of the hibakusha from the world before me. We met world representative hibakusha at the World Peace Forum.) Perhaps, one of the most insightful and humanly disconcerting realizations is the sociology and psychology of life under nuclear radiation. People are not only shamed and numbed into silence. Their fears are manipulated into job and future “insecurity.”

The journey toured us through US intelligence bases, missile defense installations, depleted uranium impacts on the environment, and much more. . Walking through beautiful hills and dales, villages and towns, cities gives views and insights, time for thinking and fathoming.

I heard about the Walk at the World Peace Forum, June 2006 in Vancouver B.C., while taking part in the Workshop about Faslane 365 Campaign representing Ground Zero. During the year I ended up deciding to join the Walk. I fully supported the theme of the Walk, “nuclear free world”, and hoped to join the efforts of Scottish and English citizens to persuade the UK not to join the US in the next Trident generation. But, Tony Blair and his cabinet, later the Parliament, blemished that aspiration when the decision was made to move ahead with Trident even before the Walk began. There is still some hope that Scotland will reject its participation, as it seeks independence. The people and the new Scottish parliament leadership have expressed their common disagreement with the Trident system. A new economy will need to be developed to ally local’s apprehensions about jobs.

But, my Walk concerns were also related to climate change, the effects of peak oil on industrial society and the poor around the world. In a word or two, I am most uneasy about viability of life on earth. I walked the entire 75 days as Gandhi to symbolize that the 1.8 billion poorest people, along with creatures like the polar bears, will get the initial brunt of human created abuse. For me the Walk was almost a last ditch effort to say to all of us: “We must change our ways now.” Decades are needed to turn these realities around.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

First Steps At Home

Reentering Olympia after nearly five months, I find it is taking time to reconnect, bodily and psychologically. Wonderful to see my three adult children and my now six month old grandson. Some activist friends are eager to hear about the Walk, others noticed I have been gone but were unaware of my trip. I had a nice gathering the other evening with some to share the events, who said it was enjoyable. I met with Bix, who was arrested with us at Faslane, in Tacoma. We are brainstorming what's next. A walk will occur on September 11th, a Jesuit/Buddhist will share 30 years of peace activity in Cambodia next week. Last night, a friend set up a Gandhi birthday celebration on October 2nd at Traditions Fair Trade to share the Walk experience. I will also make it a celebration of my 70th birthday (October 11th). In between all this I do domestic things, weeding and harvesting, reading many insightful and troubling things, flailing about.

For those who want to acquire an up to date understanding about nuclear abolition, I want to recommend the just published NUCLEAR DISORDER OF COOPERATIVE SECURITY, U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace, by Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, Western States Legal Foundation, Reaching Critical Will of the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. For those who find it to cerebral and dry, I suggest they follow our foot steps in Foot Prints For Peace walk "Toward Nuclear Free World." I guarantee it will not be cerebral nor dry. The message will be the same.

Zia Mian highlights our context in the Forward: "Polls have also found that almost 60% of Americans did not know that a commitment to disarmament was part of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This is despite the fact that the United States was one of the two original sponsors and the NPT has been a central element of U.S. policy since then, especially in its dealing with third-world states with nuclear ambitions. As surprising is the finding of the scale of ignorance about which other states have nuclear weapons. Large majorities of the U.S. public know Russia and China have nuclear weapons, but more of them (55%) mistakenly think Iran has nuclear weapons than know that Britian (52%), India (51%), Israel (48%) and France (38%) actually have these weapons. The poll shows over 40% of Americans mistakenly believe Japan and Germany have nuclear weapons."

To make the lethal nature of nuclear testing more graphic, my son, Todd, emailed a CNN post,, about the effects of USSR tests beginning in the 1950's. Besides the physical effects, the shaming and numbing of the population are traumatic. We cannot let ourselves assume the blame and silence.