Why and How to Shut Down a Nuclear Weapons Facility

Why and How to Shut Down a Nuclear Weapons Facility

eileen fleming

“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased…to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946

[Kansas City] Close to one-hundred concerned, thoughtful citizens attended the premier showing of Countdown to Zero, at the Tivoli theater August 13th, and many of them also attended the weekend long conference that culminated on August 16, 2010, when 14 nonviolent anti-nuke activists were arrested for blocking a Caterpillar bulldozer from clearing land at the site of a new WMD Facility in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more…

Jane Stoever
is a wife, mother, organizer, activist, writer, editor, and for eleven years had been a Sister of Loretto. The Catholic nuns are committed “to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity” and are famous for their opposition to nuclear weapons and also the Caterpillar company, which is one of many that enable the ongoing military occupation of Palestinians.

Jane of PeaceWorks Kansas City and her colleague, Ann Suellenthorp, also of Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC, organized the weekend of nonviolent training and Jane said, “Our next civil resistance event will be September 7th and 8th. The official groundbreaking is on Wednesday, September 8th and the good news is we have made them nervous. Jason Klumb, the regional administrator of the GSA,has called us to a meeting, which has been rescheduled twice and is now set for August 30, 2010.”

Ann added, “He wants to appease us. The only way to appease us is to do shut down the new plant and clean up the old one.”

Commenting on the movie, Countdown to Zero, Jane said she
“was horrified to learn how many times we have come too close to a nuclear catastrophe; as close as a pinch of salt. Furthermore, billions of our tax dollars have been poured into our nuclear arsenal that our government uses to threaten the world with.”

Jay Coghlan, the Director of Nuclear Watch, New Mexico spoke with the crowd that had remained after Countdown to Zero ended to discuss the planned and current Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Facility. He warned, “Don’t build it up, clean it up. This is the place to stop the egregious intersection of the industrial military security complex and special deals. Unless the citizens of Kansas City organize and demand it, many will walk away from their moral responsibilities to clean up the old plant.

“The intent of the movie was to make this issue mainstream, to get people to talk about nuclear weapons, radiation, contamination, and that is a good thing. But some people claim the movie may be used for fear mongering among racists. I am no pacifist. There are real threats out there and Al Qaeda wants to kill us. I don’t want brown people to have the bomb. I don’t want white people to have the bomb. I don’t want anyone to have the bomb, but who has it are the greed-heads and weaponeers. We need to have START ratified, but not the Republicans’ congressional deal.”

When President Obama submitted the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty/START to the Senate for ratification, he also submitted a congressionally mandated classified report outlining the Administration’s plan to maintain and modernize the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal.  According to a White House fact sheet, “The plan includes investments of over $80 billion to sustain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex [new factories are in New Mexico, Tenn. and Mo.] – well over $100 billion in nuclear delivery systems to sustain existing capabilities and modernize some strategic systems” is planned to be spent by 2020.

Jay also explained that the GSA is the federal government’s business manager and often acts as the landlord of federal properties for other government agencies. In the case of the new Kansas City nuclear weapons production plant, the money trail begins and also ends with Zimmer Real Estate Services, a KC mogul that has pocketed five million dollars for selling 186 acres to the City that the feds just “happened” to pick for the new plant. Using Missouri state tax codes designed to fight urban blight, the City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) declared the site that was actively producing soybeans “blighted” so that it could raise bond money via the municipal Industrial Development Authority(IDA) and fourteen private bondholders who will reap a government guarantee that their $687 million  investment in 2010 will yield at a minimum  $1.2 billion in rent over 20 years. That’s a solid 5% annual return rate. The PIEA then gives the money to the new limited liability corporation CenterPoint Zimmer (CPZ) so it can build the new plant, and also grants the LLC a lease-to-purchase in which CPZ pays back the bonds over 20 years and thereby gains title to the plant. Until then, a municipal government owns a federal nuclear weapons components production plant! During all this time the GSA will act as the pass through agency for the funds for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons components at the new KCP.

Countdown to Zero begins with the focus on renegade terrorists getting their hands on weapons-grade nuclear material.

That fear had already rooted by 1951, as exemplified by the CIA who told President Harry S. Truman that the United States faced an enemy with “no scruples about employing any weapon or tactic” and that “nuclear weapons smuggled across porous borders threatened to devastate American cities. Sleeper cells…might already be inside the country.” [1]

In 1953, The New York Times reported that, “Officials regard the possibility of atomic sabotage as the gravest threat of subversion that this country, with its virtually unpatrolled borders, has ever faced” and that the Eisenhower administration was preparing to alert the public to the danger from “valise bombs.” [Ibid]

Declassified documents from the 1950s, obtained by The New York Times from the FBI, read like today, except Al Qaeda replaces the communist agents. During the Cold War, communism caused “Intelligence officials [to] fear that bomb parts might be delivered in diplomatic mail pouches, carried by international air travelers in their luggage or delivered by boat or submarine to an isolated beach. Communist agents already in the country might then assemble, plant and detonate the weapons.” [Ibid]

After the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian agents at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, American officials shifted focus to terrorists, which increased immeasurably after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as it had been reported that Al Qaeda had actively sought a nuclear weapon since the early 1990s. We know that Al Qaeda leaders have said they would use a nuclear weapon, but they aren’t even close to building a bomb.

President Obama’s negotiations with Russia are a new start, but if that day we call 9/11 taught us anything, it should be that America’s nuclear arsenal cannot defeat ‘terrorism’ or provide security from the actions of a few violent madmen who target and murder innocent people.

American money is imprinted with “IN GOD WE TRUST” but reality is we have become a nation of hypocrites, for by our foreign policy we expose that we live by the sword.

America has a nuclear arsenal of over 10,000 weapons and nearly 2,000 remain on hair-trigger alert ever since the end of the Cold War and American taxpayers provide over $54 billion annually to maintain a nuclear arsenal that would be immoral to use.

An estimated 150 – 240 tactical nuclear weapons remain based in 5 NATO countries and the United States is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil.

The NPT/Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was created in 1968, and maintains that nuclear weapons proliferation can only be curtailed if nuclear countries move toward disarmament while the rest of the world is allowed to access civilian nuclear technology.

Over 185 non-nuclear states have agreed to give up the right to have nuclear weapons and the five nuclear powers that signed the NPT agreed to get rid of their nuclear weapons.

President Obama promised in Prague, “Words must mean something and violence and injustice must be confronted by standing together as free nations, as free people…Human destiny will be what we make of it.”

William Fulbright warned us, “The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership….a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.” 

Leaders such as that will be in Kansas City, September 7, 2010 at All Souls Church to plan for a day of resistance at the Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Facility on September 8th during the official groundbreaking at Mo. Hwy. 150 and Botts Road, in Kansas City, Mo.

Contact Jane to learn more @ janepstoever@yahoo.com about why and how to shut down a new nuclear weapons facility and clean up the old one from the heartland of America.

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/world/16memo.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Eileen Fleming, Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”
Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
Staff Member of Salem-news.com
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com and Dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” and BEYOND NUCLEAR:Some of my Experiences of Mordechai Vanunuand the Holy Land: 2005-2010