August 4, 2015

Hiroshima Commemoration

70 YEARS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS – AT WHAT COST?

 Daniel Ellsberg, A-bomb Survivor Takashi Tanemori, Country Joe McDonald to Headline Historic 70th Anniversary Hiroshima Commemoration, Protest & Nonviolent Direct Action at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab

WHAT: Northern California peace advocates will mark the historic 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Livermore Lab, where the U.S. is presently spending billions of dollars to create new and modified nuclear weapons. The Lawrence Livermore Lab is one of the two national laboratories that have designed every warhead in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

WHEN: Thurs., August 6, 2015. Rally will begin at 8 AM. An A-bomb survivor from Hiroshima will speak at 8:15 AM, the moment the first atomic bomb used in war exploded over the city he loved. At 9 AM there will be a procession to the Livermore Lab’s West Gate, followed by a traditional Japanese Bon dance, and the chalking of human bodies on the pavement to mimic the vaporized shadows of human beings left on the streets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombings. Those who choose will peaceably risk arrest. Others will offer witness and support.

WHERE: Livermore Lab, corner of Vasco & Patterson Pass Roads in Livermore. The procession, led by Buddhist drummers, will go south down Vasco Road to Westgate Drive.

FEATURED SPEAKERS AND PERFORMERS:

Daniel Ellsberg is best known as the courageous whistleblower who published “The Pentagon Papers” and was sentenced to 109 years in prison before his conviction was overturned. Earlier, Ellsberg served as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. In addition to becoming a prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, Ellsberg has been a leading advocate for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. His forthcoming memoire is tentatively titled, “America’s Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.”

Takashi Tanemori is a survivor of the August 6, 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Then eight years old, he was less than one mile from ground zero when the bomb exploded.  Tanemori-san is a renowned artist, writer and poet.  His testimony of losing both parents and two siblings, losing his eyesight, facing humiliation, and overcoming hatred is documented in his 2007 book, “Hiroshima: Bridge to Forgiveness, Takashi Tanemori’s Hiroshima Story.”

Country Joe McDonald straddles the two polar events of the 1960s, Woodstock and the Vietnam War. The first Country Joe and the Fish record was released in 1965, in time for the Vietnam Day Teach-In anti-war protest in Berkeley. He sang one of the great anthems of the era, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” to an audience of a half-million at Woodstock in 1969. After 48 albums and more than four decades in the public eye as a folksinger, Country Joe McDonald qualifies as one of the best known names from the 60s rock era still performing.

Chizu Hamada is a member of No Nukes Action, formed after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown disaster to protest Japanese and US government nuclear policy. For more than three years she has organized rallies on the 11th day of each month at the Japanese consulate in San Francisco. She owns a Japanese gift store in Berkeley.

Marylia Kelley is Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs. She brings 32 years of research, writing and facilitating public participation in decisions regarding the Livermore Lab and the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. She has testified before the U.S. Congress, the California Legislature and the National Academy of Sciences, among other deliberative bodies. In 2002, Kelley was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame. She has lived in Livermore since 1976.

WHY: Seventy years after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, preparations for nuclear war are ongoing at the Livermore Lab. Over 85% of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for the Lab is dedicated to Nuclear Weapons Activities. Scientists at Livermore are developing a modified nuclear warhead for a new long-range stand off weapon to replace the air-launched cruise missile. Nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons – 94% of them held by the U.S. and Russia – continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity. Nuclear weapons have again taken center stage on the borderlands of Europe, one of several potential nuclear flashpoints. Whether a nuclear exchange is initiated by accident, miscalculation or madness, the radiation and soot will know no boundaries.

The U.S. plans to spend a trillion dollars over the next thirty years “modernizing” its nuclear bombs, warheads, delivery systems and infrastructure to sustain them for decades to come. The human cost is immeasurable—to our health, environment, ethics, and democracy, to our prospects for global peace, and to our confidence in human survival. We gather at Livermore Lab to demand that nuclear weapons spending be slashed and redirected to meet human needs. On this 70th anniversary date, we welcome the Iran deal and call on the U.S. government to now lead a process, with a timetable, to achieve the universal elimination of nuclear weapons.