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Stop Divine Strake completely -- Senate floor debate is ON

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  • timothygbaer
    Friends, Thank you for all you have done to keep Divine Strake out of Indiana. Together, we are making a difference. Today the Senate begins floor debate of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2006
      Friends,

      Thank you for all you have done to keep Divine Strake out of Indiana.
      Together, we are making a difference.

      Today the Senate begins floor debate of the Defense Appropriations
      Bill.
      Thanks to the enormous attention Divine Strake has got in Indiana
      over these
      past weeks, we have a much better chance to stop it everywhere.

      Please call or fax Senators Bayh and Lugar and ask them to offer an
      amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill, blocking Divine
      Strake. It is
      crucial to end the illusion that nuclear weapons are usable. This is
      especially important as the Bush Administration continues to move
      towards a
      massive attack on Iran.

      Senator Evan Bayh 202-224-5623
      Senator Richard Lugar 202-224-4814

      Send e-mail and FREE fax messages to the Senators, courtesy
      of 'Friends Committee on National Legislation'
      <http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=8983661&type=TA>

      When you get to this fax page, just write your own simple
      message: "Thank
      you for what you have done to keep Divine Strake out of Indiana. Now
      please
      stop Divine Strake anywhere, by offering an amendment to the Defense
      Appropriations Bill blocking this test."
      The Friends Committee on National Legislation talking points are
      excellent,
      but be sure to make clear that you know the test is no longer
      planned for
      Indiana, and you are asking them not to let it happen anywhere.

      The Defense Appropriations Bill is on the Senate floor today. It may
      take a
      few days. Time is of the essence, but don't give up.

      Thanks -- and peace,

      David Keppel

      1308 North Maple Street
      Apartment 22
      Bloomington, IN 47404-3367
      (812) 331-2815
      keppel@... <mailto:keppel@...>

      * * *

      September 5, 2006

      The Honorable Evan Bayh
      564 Russell Building
      United States Senate
      Washington, DC 20510

      Dear Senator Bayh:

      On behalf of Hoosiers Against Divine Strake, I am delighted to learn
      that
      Michael Evenson, Acting Director of the Defense Threat Reduction
      Agency, has
      stated that DTRA has no plans to conduct Divine Strake in Indiana.
      We much
      appreciate your concern on behalf of many diverse constituents
      united in
      strong opposition to this test. We believe that Indiana's
      Congressional
      delegation and citizen action are making a significant difference.

      Our goal is to block Divine Strake altogether. It must not take
      place in
      Indiana, New Mexico, or anywhere. As we learned what it would mean
      to have
      a 10,000 foot mushroom cloud over Indiana, many Hoosiers had a
      chance to
      understand, in the most personal terms, just what even a nuclear
      simulation
      means for any community. I wish it had been possible for you to be in
      Mitchell to attend the two very impressive press conferences with
      Mayor
      Butch Chastain. Citizens who defy stereotype expressed their anger
      over
      previous, smaller explosions about which they had not been informed -
      and
      their determined opposition to Divine Strake.

      I believe that you and we now have an important opportunity to use
      the
      heightened level of public awareness to take a major step to reduce
      the
      nuclear threat. In the words of DTRA, Divine Strake is designed
      to "improve
      the war fighter's confidence" in using nuclear weapons "with a
      minimum of
      collateral damage." If even the non-radioactive mushroom cloud is
      highly
      toxic, how can we pretend that there is a real nuclear weapon with a
      low
      threshold for use?

      There simply is no way to calculate or condone the effect of using a
      U.S.
      nuclear weapon (perhaps the B61-11) on Nantanz or anywhere else.
      DTRA was
      interested in the limestone of southern Indiana because of the
      geology of
      "significant adversaries." As you know, Iran lies on a fault. A U.S.
      nuclear weapon would set off a political earthquake whose shock
      would be
      felt globally for decades. The damage to what remains of our national
      legitimacy and security might well be irreversible. Because some key
      members of the Bush Administration seem bent on confrontation with
      Iran,
      this is an acute worry. Even conducting this test shatters our
      credibility
      on non-proliferation.

      As we thank you warmly for your efforts to date, we continue to urge
      you
      strongly to offer an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill
      blocking
      Divine Strake altogether. You would win overwhelming praise in
      Indiana.
      You would also be taking an important national and international
      initiative
      showing that at a decisive moment you are willing also to apply
      limits to
      the world's most dangerous nuclear arsenal, our own.

      We are in solidarity with the people of New Mexico, who may now be
      the
      unwilling hosts to this test. We thought you might like to see a
      letter
      which citizens there are sending to Senator Bingaman. Perhaps you
      could
      work with him to offer the amendment blocking Divine Strake. In any
      case, I
      know your own initiative would command attention and respect in the
      Senate
      and give the amendment every chance for success.

      Let me add a word of thanks for the extraordinary kindness which Liz
      Brinkerhoff and Todd Rosenbloom have shown us during these
      discussions.

      With appreciation and best wishes,

      Respectfully yours,

      David Keppel

      Hoosiers Against Divine Strake


      In addition to Hoosiers Against Divine Strake, on whose behalf I am
      writing,
      the following groups and individuals responded to a weekend email
      requesting
      endorsement of this letter. Had it not been for Labor Day weekend,
      there
      would no doubt have been many more responses.

      Bloomington Peace Action Coalition (Bloomington, Indiana)
      Brown County Green Party (Brown County, Indiana)
      Center for Sustainable Living (Bloomington, Indiana)
      Christians for Peace in the Middle East (Franklin, Indiana)
      Heartwood (Bloomington, Indiana)
      Indiana Forest Alliance (Bloomington, Indiana)
      Indiana Green Party
      Indiana Peace and Justice Network (Indianapolis, Indiana)
      Monroe County Green Party (Monroe County, Indiana)
      Northwest Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War
      Protect Our Woods (South-central Indiana)
      Terre Haute- Stop War on Iraq (Terre Haute, Indiana)
      Valley Watch (Evansville, Indiana)
      Task Force on a Just Peace, Unitarian Universalist Church of
      Bloomington,
      Indiana
      Shagbark (Paoli, Indiana)
      Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - Bloomington
      Branch
      (Bloomington, Indiana)
      Mary Ann Fadae, Indianapolis, IN.
      Donald Litchtenberg, Professor of Physics Emeritus, Indiana
      University,
      Bloomington, IN.
      Rita Lichtenberg, Bloomington, IN.
      Isabel Piedmont, Chair, Bloomington Environmental Commission, on her
      own
      behalf.
      Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes, Monroe, MI
      Don't Waste Michigan, Holland, MI
      Citizens' Resistance at Fermi Two, Monroe, MI

      The following is the text of a letter that New Mexico groups are
      sending to
      Senators Bingaman and Domenici. I believe that it would be wise to
      draft the
      amendment simply to block the test rather than to refer specifically
      to its
      funding, lest the Pentagon resort to creative accounting.

      September 4, 2006

      The Honorable _________:

      We request your urgent attention on an issue of international
      importance.
      The U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency has
      planned
      to detonate 700 tons of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil to simulate the
      underground shock waves of a low yield nuclear weapon on hardened
      underground targets in a test called Divine Strake (DS).

      A DoD February 2005 budget document for "RDT&E Defense-Wide Advanced
      Technology Deployment" describes the test as a "full-scale tunnel
      defeat
      demonstration using high explosives to simulate a low yield nuclear
      weapon
      ground shock environment at Department of Energy's Nevada Test Site."
      Additionally, the DoD's "Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept and
      Technology Demonstration" document explicitly declares that such
      tests are
      needed to "improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the
      smallest
      proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities
      while
      minimizing collateral damage."

      DS was originally scheduled to be detonated at the Nevada Test Site
      on June
      2, 2006. However, it was subsequently cancelled due to mass
      opposition to
      the test from over 40 environmental, human rights, Native American
      Tribes
      and peace organizations. There are new concerns that the Pentagon is
      considering moving DS to the White Sands Missile Range in New
      Mexico.

      There are many reasons why funding for Divine Strake should be
      eliminated:
      * The DST is an affront to taxpayers. The exorbitant costs
      associated with
      the DST are particularly appalling at a time when millions of
      Americans -
      with New Mexicans ranking at the bottom of the barrel - lack health
      care and
      basic human services.
      * DS is not justified in light of information gathered from previous
      testing. Data on ground shock waves are readily available from the
      historical nuclear weapons tests that took place at the Nevada Test
      Site, as
      well as dozens of simulated nuclear effects tests that took place
      over the
      years in Hawaii, Indiana, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and in New
      Mexico at
      the White Sands Missile Range.
      * DS may constitute a threat to public health. Were it to be
      rescheduled for
      the Nevada Test Site there are serious concerns that the explosive
      blast
      could result in the air-borne spread of residual radioactive
      contaminants
      from decades of past nuclear testing to Downwinders and surrounding
      communities. Wherever it might be held, it would likely result in the
      dispersion of a complex mix of toxic chemicals.
      * The DST may be found to be in violation of United Nations
      Declaration on
      the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and discriminate against the rights
      of the
      Mescalero Apache who live in the vicinity of the White Sands Missile
      Range
      or the Western Shoshone near the Nevada Test Site.
      * DS will set a bad international example while the Bush
      administration is
      demanding that Iran and North Korea freeze their nuclear programs.
      Contradictorly, the test could strongly signal the potential
      willingness of
      the U.S. to launch a nuclear strike against North Korean and Iranian
      nuclear
      facilities.
      * DS will violate the spirit of the 1970 NonProliferation Treaty
      (NPT). In
      1996, the International Court of Justice, the judicial branch of the
      United
      Nations, unanimously held that Article VI of the NPT requires the
      nuclear
      weapons states "to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion
      negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under
      strict
      and effective international control." In April 2000, the NPT Review
      Conference further affirmed the intention of Article VI that all
      parties to
      the NPT, and specifically those that possess nuclear weapons, must
      achieve
      complete nuclear disarmament.
      Conducting simulated nuclear weapons tests with the goal of
      calibrating
      their ground shock effects while "minimizing collateral damage"
      suggests an
      effort to enhance their "usability." We must always bear in mind the
      human
      suffering and environmental devastation that resulted from the atomic
      bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The U.S. should consistently act
      to
      discourage the potential use of nuclear weapons, rather than engage
      in tests
      that could have the opposite effect.

      We, the undersigned organizations, respectfully request that you
      consider
      sponsoring a floor amendment to the defense appropriations bill,
      H.R. 5631,
      scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor, Tuesday, September 5, to
      eliminate funding for this controversial test.

      Thank you for your consideration.

      Respectfully submitted,

      Susan Dayton, Director
      Citizen Action New Mexico
      Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Jay Coghlan, Director
      Nuclear Watch of New Mexico
      Santa Fe, New Mexico

      Dave McCoy Assistant Director,
      Citizen Action New Mexico

      David Culp,
      Friends Committee on National Legislation
      Washington, DC

      John Hadder,
      HOME, Healing Ourselves and Mother Earth
      Tecopa California

      John Hadder, Reno Anti War Coalition
      Reno NV

      Pete Lister, Executive Director
      Shundahai Network
      Salt Lake City, UT

      Chelsea Cologne
      NDE - Nevada Desert Experience
      Las Vegas, NV

      Leonore Tomero
      DC Arms Control and Non Proliferation
      Washington, DC

      Andy Mahler
      Blue Rivers
      UT

      Vanessa Pierce, Executive Director
      Healthy Environment Alliance, HEAL Utah
      Salt Lake City, UT

      Carrie Dann, Executive Director
      Western Shoshone Defense Project, WSDP
      Crescent Valley, NV
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