WESTERN STATES LEGAL FOUNDATION |
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Scientists and Engineers Pledge and supporting Information
Tri-Valley CAREs * Western States Legal Foundation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, February 16, 2001
for further information:
Marylia Kelley, Tri-Valley CAREs, (925) 443-7148
IN SAN FRANCISCO
Press Conference With Nuclear "Watchdog" Organizations and Scientists to be Held Saturday, February 17, 10 AM at the San Francisco Press Club, 312 Sutter Street, S.F., (note new location)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Leaders of organizations that monitor the U.S. nuclear weapons complex are asking academics, students and technical professionals attending this week's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to sign a Scientists' and Engineers' Pledge vowing "never to participate in the design, development, testing, production targeting or use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons..."
"The time has come for scientists to pledge themselves to renounce work on weapons of mass destruction," declared Dr. Joseph Rotblat, the Nobel Laureate and physicist who left the Manhattan Project for reasons of conscience. Rotblat is one of the initial signers of the Scientists' and Engineers' Pledge.
"I fully endorse your campaign... At a time when science plays such a powerful role in the life of society, when the whole destiny of mankind may hinge on the results of scientific research, it is incumbent on all scientists to be fully conscious of that role and conduct themselves accordingly. I appeal to my fellow scientists to remember their responsibility to humanity," Rotblat wrote to the four organizations launching the pledge campaign, echoing his 1995 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Pledge sponsors will be staffing a booth at the AAAS meeting in San Francisco.
The organizations originating the Pledge campaign are: Natural Resources Defense Council (Washington, DC), Los Alamos Study Group (Santa Fe, NM), Tri-Valley CAREs (Livermore, CA) and Western States Legal Foundation (Oakland, CA). "This is part of a multi-faceted, international campaign to discourage people from working on nuclear weapons," explained Greg Mello, director of the Los Alamos Study Group, which monitors the Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons design labs in New Mexico. "The so-called 'Stockpile Stewardship' program at the labs is nuclear weapons work, no matter how it's disguised," Mello added.
"Scientist and engineers today need to know that the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories are busy developing new, destabilizing nuclear weapons, including earth penetrating 'mini-nukes' and re-designed, more accurate long-range warheads," said Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, a Livermore, CA-based "watchdog" group that monitors activities at the DOE's nearby Lawrence Livermore National Lab.
"The effort of these labs to recast their work on nuclear weapons as 'nuclear weapons science' does not change the essential fact that these institutions are continuing to develop nuclear weapons," declared Christopher Paine, senior researcher for NRDC's nuclear program.
The groups originating this Pledge campaign will combine educational activities to raise awareness of the guises under which nuclear weapons work hides, including in the U.S. through its "Stockpile Stewardship" program, with a clarion call to spark the consciences of scientists and engineers. In addition to the Pledge, the campaign will utilize giant billboards and direct outreach to University and laboratory researchers.
Dr. Julian Borrill, an astrophysicist at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and board member of the Western States Legal Foundation in Oakland, CA, summed up the moral responsibility of today's technical professionals: "As scientists and engineers, we are in a unique position to bring about the demise of weapons of mass destruction. These weapons cannot exist without us -- we design them, we manufacture them, we test them, we maintain them and we deploy them. We make them possible, and, if we choose to, we can make them impossible." Dr. Borrill will be speaking at the press conference Saturday.
Other scientists joining the public interest groups in person at the press conference Saturday morning include Dr. Charles Schwartz, Professor of Physics Emeritus at U.C. Berkeley and Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, a nuclear chemist who left the DOE labs last year upon the discovery that his research was being used for weapons. Dr. Zia Mian, a prominent research scientist at Princeton University, will join by phone.
Initial signers of the Pledge include, Dr. Joseph Rotblat, Nobel Laureate; Dr. Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics, City University of New York; Dr. Charles Schwartz, Professor of Physics Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley; Dr. Andreas Toupadakis, former Staff Research Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Dr. Pervez Hodbhoy, Visiting Professor, Theory Group for Quarks, Hadrons and Nuclei, University of Maryland; and, Dr. Zia Mian, Research Scientist, Princeton University.