Background information for Urgent DISARM Program Update, April 27, 2007

and Carol Urner's WILPF report on April visit to Congress with ANA

Ask your Congressional Delegation to

CALL for a full review of the nation's global nuclear weapons policy. The 2008 NNSA budget request in support of the RRW and Complex 2030 launches us on a dangerous new path, inviting global instability and a new nuclear arms race. It is time for the new Congress to reject the Bush Administration's provocative 2002 Nuclear Posture Review and call for nuclear weapons policies that comply with UN treaties and international law.

STOP the so called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) that, if pursued, will require rebuilding of the entire U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, destroy the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty and open the doors to Armageddon.

STOP Complex 2030, the provocative and unnecessary nuclear weapons development and production scheme that will make the RRW and rebuilding of the arsenal possible. Union of Concerned Scientists gives us a chilling report on Complex 2030. Instead of complying with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and taking the agreed thirteen steps toward abolition of nuclear weapons, the present Administration intends to rebuild the entire nuclear arsenal and plunge the world into a new nuclear arms race! (To read more on Complex 2030 click here)

Introduce your Representative to positive legislation that can change our nation's course:

H Res 68 for full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and leading the global effort to abolish nuclear weapons. Also download the Dear Colleague letter from Representative Lynn Woolsey asking your Representative to co-sponsor this bill. (Look under summary and status for current co-sponsors.)

HR 1702 for a first step toward a Woman's Budget with $60 billion cut from the Pentagon and Department of Energy budgets with funds transferred to education, health care, job training, development of renewable/sustainable energy and programs alleviating global poverty.

Call on your Senator to support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as the next step toward abolition of nuclear weapons, as called for in the Wall Street Journal article by Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn. Also download the letter from Mary Day Kent. If hawks like Kissinger and doves like the women of WILPF can agree, then surely Republicans and Democrats in the Senate can agree to move us on our way toward abolition of nuclear weapons..

WILPF Blog Report from Carol Urner: WILPF DISARM goes to Congress, April 23 to 27

Well, my legs once again feel like bloody stumps, but it was a great week in the halls of Congress spent with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA). Over one hundred of us from about two dozen organizations swarmed all over the hill lobbying for support of the NPT, abolition of nuclear weapons, and for nuclear waste clean up. We also lobbied against nuclear power, those crazy plans to rebuild the whole nuclear weapons complex (Complex 2030 and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), and equally crazy plans to sell nuclear power to India in violation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and to bring the world's nuclear waste to the USA as part of the proposed dangerous Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. The more I learn about current nuclear policies the more I wonder about the sanity of some of our current leaders. But we have women and men in Congress rising with courage to investigate, confront and end the madness.

Ellen Barfield and I, your DISARM co-chairs, had hoped we could entice at least a few of you on the east coast to join us for ANA D.C. days this year, but in the end not even Ellen was able to come. It was an exhilarating and hopeful week, however, so please plan to join us in April next year. And, if you can, join me for all or part of my next planned week in Congress June 18 to 22.

ANA D.C. Days always begin with a Sunday of lobby training and exploration of the issues with the experts. And there are plenty of experts since many of the participants are full time nuke watchers at waste and production sites around the country: Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Hanford, Oakridge, Yucca Mountain, Bechtel, and Savannah River to name a few. Staff and volunteers from WAND, Peace Action, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Friends Committee on Legislation -- to name some others -- were also there with their own legislative expertise.

On behalf of WILPF I brought into the discussions materials from our Reaching Critical Will and the Blix WMD Commission Report on the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the thirteen practical steps toward abolition of nuclear weapons. I was glad to see much more awareness of the UN process than in past years. I believe it is our role to keep increasing that awareness. WILPF is still the best qualified U.S. participant in D.C. Days to do this, thanks to our wonderful WILPF staff and interns at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. For that reason alone we need to participate in this annual effort, but Ellen and I also continue to learn much new each year from our fellow lobbyists.

I, for instance, for the three years I've participated, always concentrate on the Oregon delegation -- the state where I vote -- and go around with the amazing folks from Heart of America. For over twenty years they have been seeking solutions for the terrible problems at Hanford, a major site of the Manhattan project and now known as the most polluted and radioactive place in the world. Hanford radioactive nuclear waste is already polluting local groundwater and moving into the Columbia River, life line for Washington and Oregon and also a water source for thirsty California. The Department of Energy is not meeting its legal obligations to clean up the site and both Oregon and Washington have been suing for action. Instead DOE is drawing on funds earmarked for clean up to help pay for development of new nuclear weapons. DoE also has cozy (and apparently corrupt and even criminal) relationships with Bechtel, Lockheed and other favored corporations in charge of what clean up does occur. DoE alone "monitors" these projects, and when there are cost over runs or costly errors DoE usually just pays out more money, making it actually profitable to make mistakes!

I met only one of our Senators and one of the four Oregon Representatives in person, but the meetings with staff were impressive. These men and women really care and are pursuing nuclear issues with tenacity and courage. The expertise of Senator Wyden 's Aide left my head reeling. And I am comforted to know that both of our Senators and three of our Representatives are also committed to abolition of nuclear weapons.

Of course not everyone had such positive experiences in their lobbying, but on the whole they ANA organizations are a very effective group. I joined Tri-Valley Cares for visits to Senator Feinstein, one of the most committed foes of the Reliable Replacement Warhead, and Representative Kucinich. These were very effective teams and also heartening visits. We met Kucinich just after he announced his legislation to impeach Bush and Cheney, and his aide was remarkably informed on all of our issues. We do have some wonderful friends in Congress, and it does feel like we may be reaching a tipping point on some of our issues.

I felt that again today when I delivered the last twelve letters from our WILPF Executive Director, Mary Day Kent, to the Senators Ellen and I had missed on our own D.C. visit in March -- most of them because they were new or moving offices and we could not find them. Our WILPF letter calls for abolition of nuclear weapons. It also calls for honoring our commitments under the NPT and for ratification of the CTBT as first steps in that direction. At the same time we delivered the Kissinger/Schultz/Perry/Nunn article from the Wall Street Journal issuing the same call. Today I pointed out -- as Ellen and I also had done when delivering the first 88 letters -- that if doves like WILPF and hawks like Henry Kissinger can agree that it is time to abolish nuclear weapons, then surely Republicans and Democrats can work together to rid the world of these weapons at last. Almost all the staff we encountered responded with a smile and words of agreement. Surely, working together, we can make it so.

Abolition of nuclear weapons will continue to be a major thrust of DISARM Congressional visits this year, but we will be working on other issues as well, including compliance with UN treaties on Biological Weapons and negotiation of new treaties on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space and a Fissile Materials Ban. Lynn Woolsey has introduced a version of our Women's Budget with H R 1702. And of course there is still her H Res 68 on abolition of nuclear weapons and her SMART Security which we continue to support. DISARM is also ready to assist you and your Branch in the demilitarization issues you find important. Be sure to subscribe to Val Mullen's EYE on Congress, and to read DISARM UPDATE for the latest information on demilitarization issues. And please send us your own reports on Congressional visits. You are the ones who have the most "clout" with your own delegation, and it is extremely important that we all work together to build positive relationships with our Representative and Senators and their staffs.

I'm pleased that the Program Committee is now working to develop an active WILPF legislative program. We have much work to do on our whole range of WILPF issues, and the more we all work together and communicate with each other the more progress we can make.