August 28, 2013
Dan Ellsberg Livermore Hiroshima Day B 8-6-13

Daniel Ellsberg as keynote speaker at Livermore event

By Dr. Robert Gould, President, SF Bay Area PSR

I had the privilege of representing our PSR chapter at a number of California events commemorating the 68th anniversary of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year, I served as a legal observer for the nonviolent civil disobedience activities at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, whereby 31 courageous individuals were arrested when protesting the lab’s continued work on developing nuclear weapons, a project which has expanded during the Obama administration.

Dan Ellsberg arrest Livermore D 8-6-13

Daniel Ellsberg getting arrested at “die-in” at Livermore action

Among those arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, who was also the keynote speaker for the gathering of about 100 people in the early dawn hours by the gates of the weapons lab. Daniel provided his usual historically- steeped and comprehensive analysis of past and present dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation, including examining the hubris of weapons scientists and political leaders who continue to minimize the threats posed by nuclear weapons programs to our survival as a species. In so doing, he reviewed the dangers that would be posed by a regional nuclear conflict such as in South Asia, reinforcing the current warnings by PSR and others that even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons could lead to widespread global malnutrition that could lead to the deaths of over 1 billion people.

Fresno Hiroshima-Nuclear Dangers 8-10-13

Dr. Robert Gould speaking in Fresno

This message was certainly at the forefront of my own consciousness when I spoke on August 10 to approximately 100 people at the College Community Congregational Church in Fresno on “Nuclear Dangers,” as part of Hiroshima/Nagasaki events organized by the local peace and social justice community. Our event was led off by the irreverent anti-nuclear songs of the Raging Grannies, and capped off by a moving candlelight ceremony dedicated to the memory of those over 210,000 people who perished in Japan by the end of 1945 from the twin nuclear explosions.

Both of these events underscored the continued incredible dedication of activists throughout California who keep the flame of our memory alive about the intertwined perils of nuclear power and weapons. We of PSR remain grateful to be able to contribute our small part towards our collective attempt to spare ourselves and our progeny from the unimaginable life-ending consequences of our persistent nuclear follies.