Tribal Leaders Protest Nevada's 'Divine Strake'
By SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press Writer
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Tribal leaders were among about 50 protesters who rallied on June 3rd against an experiment at the Nevada Test Site they fear will produce a massive explosion that will spread radio activity across the West.
The protest is aimed at the federal government's proposed "DivineStrake" project, the detonation of 700 tons of explosives in an experiment designed to study ground motion and shock waves set off bybombs.
"There is nothing divine about something that is built for destruction of life," said Carrie Dann, a member of the Western Shoshone tribe who maintains the test site's property belongs to her people.
"It is just another weapon of destruction. We need to all stand up and say `Hell no, we don't want this stuff around here.' We don't need it.We have enough weapons," she told fellow demonstrators in front of the federal courthouse in Reno.
Several carried signs that read "Nevada is not a nuclear wasteland,""War Industries Don't Care" and "Blessed are the Peacemakers."
"The weapons designers have been chomping at the bit to make a new typ of weapon, although the U.S. is supposedly `committed' to not developing new nuclear weapons in the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation,"said John Hadder of Citizen Alert the statewide anti-nuclear organization.
The test originally planned for June 2 has been postponed indefinitely. Officials said delaying the explosion would allow time to answer legal and scientific questions about whether it would kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Concerns first were raised when James Tegnelia, director of the federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said the blast "is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons." He later retracted the statement, saying it was inaccurate.
Designers said the blast would be of the same material but some 280 times larger than the bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Lee Dazey of the Western Shoshone Defense Project said the explosion will create a plume 10,000 feet in the atmosphere and be carried downwind. She's especially concerned about the lack of data NationalNuclear Security Agency (NNSA) to determine the radioactive contamination in the soils surrounding the blast area that will be lifted by the plume.
"Western Shoshone bore the brunt of the Cold War nuclear weapon program receiving doses of radiation from 100 above ground tests estimated to be six times that of other non-Indian downwind populations," Dazey said.
Protesters Rally Against Bomb Test In Desert
Carla Roccapriore (CROCCAPRIORE@RGJ.COM)
June 4, 2006
Experimenting with bombs at the Nevada Test Site is hypocritical of a government that speaks peace and can be likened to that of Hiroshima,Japan, during World War II, demonstrators said Saturday.
Between 50 and 75 people walked from West Street Plaza through downtown Reno to the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Building to ask Nevada'scongressional delegation to demand Divine Strake not be postponed but cancelled.
"This is the first step toward testing nukes again," said protester RichHaber, 59, of Reno.
Divine Strake, also known as a "mushroom cloud" test, is a 700-ton non-nuclear explosion of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil that would occuron Western Shoshone land near the federally occupied Nevada Test Site.
The 10,000-foot high explosion was scheduled for June 23 but waspostponed indefinitely last week so further studies could be done.
"It's not only going to hurt the Indian people, it'll hurt all of us,"said Mary McCloud, 76, of Schurz.
"What nation are they after and what nation will they use it on?" she asked. "The Bush administration talks about peace. But when you're doing this, where is the peace? When they (U.S.) did the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, how many people were affected?
"No counter-protesters were at the Reno rally.
Jack Finn, spokesman for U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said the senator's office has been in close contact with agencies involved.
"It has not been our office's position that the test should be cancelled," Finn said by telephone after the rally. "It seemed every safety precaution has been taken."
The federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency claims the explosion willhelp design a weapon to penetrate hardened and deeply buried targets,the Associated Press has reported.
Carrie Dann, executive director of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, said nuclear weapons are destroying the rights of future generationswhile politicians today are preoccupied with amending the Constitution to define marriage between a man and woman.
"Before that, the Constitution needs to say that water and air contamination is a crime," said Dann, 72.
Len Schweitzer of Reno said testing and developing new weapons won't deter terrorism."There will never be enough bullets or bombs to end terrorism because terrorism is an expression of discomfort people feel," said Schweitzer, 69. "We can overcome terrorism, not destroy it by warfare."
Speakers also discussed radioactive contamination in the soil that occurred about 50 years earlier at the Nevada Test Site and caused nearby dwellers to get ill and their crops and game to become contaminated.
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