Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Re: Leaving Los Alamos....

"A Convenient Spy: Wen Ho Lee and the Politics of Espionage" is a pretty good book. It describes Lee's education as M.E. with PhD but says his actual work was programming and designing algorithms. Maybe it would be more correct to describe him as scientific programmer. As to his trial, the judge's apology speaks volumes. See page 330 of the book. Yes the prosecution was botched .... partly forced by some ambitious zealots.

Sorry that one blogger thinks I am a 'malicious idiot'. I don't agree with the nuclear weapons design at LANL but realize there are undoubtedly many well-meaning people involved in it.
Yes, I think the management contract is a done deal. Hope I am wrong because L-M will only make matters worse.

Along with many others, I would rather see the human and material resources at the DOE labs tackling global warming and finding effective and efficient energy alternatives instead of propelling the arms race.

Rick Sterling


Comments:
UC and DOE are the root causes of the problems at Los Alamos. Getting rid of UC can only improve our situation here. There is absolutely no way that Lockheed Martin could make things worse than UC and George P. Nanos made them.
 
I am sure that Sterling believes that unilateral nuclear disarmament on the part of the US would have brought the Cold War to the same conclusion.
 
Mr Sterling:

I am in complete agreement with 6:44:19. If you think LM will make things worse then you haven't been paying attention. The level of corruption to which UC sank and the fact that there is no DOE investigation of it speaks volumes.

When an organization knowingly sets out to destroy innocent people it can't get any worse because that puts all employees at risk. The only question is who will be the next guy in their sights.

You should seek more information before forming your opinions.

John N. Horne
 
Sterling continues to have strong opinions on things he knows little to nothing about. He sees LM as much worse than UC, and seems unaware that Sandia Lab is one of the best run labs in the DOE complex, which also has a long track record in solar research, unlike LANL which runs hot and cold in this area. The management proposed by LM for LANL is Sandia management, led by Paul Robinson, not some blokes from LM headquarters. Sandia is, by all the evidence, well run and has excellent relations with the DOE. LANL is rife with problems and has adversarial relations with the DOE. So, Mr. Sterling, why should we continue with UC? Stick to something you know something about. Like too many Californians, your opinions about what is going on in New Mexico are unsupported.
As to Wen Ho Lee, what he did violated LANL security policy, no question. But, there were others, during the same period who committed infractions which were much worse, and were not prosecuted. Lee was targeted because he was Chinese, at a time that a "Chinese Scare" had been created by the "Cox Report". Simple as that... and UC of course violated all his rights by firing him without due process. Trust them to do the wrong thing.
You seems quite happy with UC, and perhaps you should be. But, in New Mexico, UC is simply a fraud. They don't care, and don't figure to ever care, what happens to New Mexicans. This includes allowing LANL to use non UC policies, and it includes our truly lousy health care. They will not be missed.
 
To 9/21/2005 11:57:33 AM:
You are of course welcome ot your OWN opinion regarding UC vs. LM. But it is your opinion not that of the majority of LANL employees. The majority of LANL employees still want UC and do not have the same perspective as you.
UC will be missed.
 
11:57 Wen Ho Lee was not singled out because he was chinese. The FBI followed his actions, and believe he was involved in very serious spying. Wen Ho Lee did not "break a few rules" at LANL. He violated WILLFULLY security systems, and when he began to understand that he was being investigated he tried every way possible to hide the evidence. Make no mistake, the FBI chose not to provide classified information at the trial, and the resulting plea bargin looks bad. But Lee is not a *victim*, and "others at the time" did not do much worse.

Your comments discredit your condeming UC on this issue. You either know nothing of the case or are personally involved. The suggestion the LM would not fire Lee is a huge joke.

Sterling wrote an opinion piece, and everyone dumped on him for being ignorant. Based on some of the comments I would say that many people don't have their facts correct.
 
Bullshit, 04:19:22 PM. UC will be missed by a few ex-LANL managers. The rest of us will have a big party when it is announced that they are gone.
 
Poster 5:33 -- indeed the majority of the posters to the blog will not miss UC. However, I know that the vast majority of people I talk to in my group would very much support a strong management team from UC and NOT LM. My informal survey only found 3 out of 24 TSMs that support the LM team. Of course, UC is not bidding, LANS is, and there is a great degree of uncertainty who "LANS really is".

My survey is very unscientific, but I suggest that you try (in an unemotional way) asking your coworkers........
 
I regret to inform LANLites that UC will be remembered with fondness...it may be hard to understand how things could be worse unless one factors in the ability of LM to silence dissent, suppress and fire employees who raise legal, safety, and ethical concerns...and the ability of UT to exploit the Texas White House Connection for dubious science and engineering "in the public interest" (imagine one day we will read a memo from Karl Rove re: "no more global warming talk out of those LANL left-wing activists!).
 
LANL is a national laboratory of obvious importance. My perspective is as a citizen not a staff member at LANL. I empathize with LANL staff who have had to endure some self-serving administraton and it's a sad commentary that some good staff there were abused and mistreated. It's a shame. However there is much more at stake here and that is what I was attempting to address. Why did Eisenhower say, in his farewell address: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." It seems to me this situation exists now. About 2000 of our youth have died and another 20,000 are seriously injured because war-mongers took this country into the current invasion and occupation of Iraq. When I last checked, the value of Lockheed Martin's stock had risen an amazing 50% since the invasion began. Does anyone doubt that LM knows where its interests lie? Does anyone doubt that it has and uses influence? It sounds like things on the ground are so bad that many want any change, but turning the keys to LANL over to the largest military contracdtor in the world is a terrible move for the country.
- rick sterling
 
Rick,

Thanks for reading us the DNC talking points!
 
From the Rick Sterling at 9/21/2005 06:27:08 PM, we see where he is coming from. As a resident of the Peoples' Republic of Berkeley, he must spout the DNC party line.
 
Rick Sterling is a jerk. He is sitting there at LBL on his fat renewed UC contract with its very nice non-conrtibutary pension. He doesn't have to deal with security clearance issues or a hostile local press.

Rick: How about we meet at Cheeks in Santa Fe? I have some information to give you. It I am late, go ahead and have a lap dance.
 
05:33: "The FBI followed his actions, and believe he was involved in very serious spying."

"Dr. Lee, I tell you with great sadness that I feel I was led astray last December by the Executive Branch of our government through its Department of Justice, by its Federal Bureau of Investigation and by its United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, who held the office at that time." - U.S. District Judge James Parker

05:33: "the FBI chose not to provide classified information at the trial, and the resulting plea bargin looks bad."

Judge Parker: "With more complete, balanced information before me, I felt the picture had changed significantly from that painted by the government during the December hearing. Hence, after the August hearing, I ordered your release despite the continued argument by the Executive Branch, through its government attorneys, that your release still presented an unacceptable extreme danger.

"I find it most perplexing, although appropriate, that the Executive Branch today has suddenly agreed to your release without any significant conditions or restrictions whatsoever on your activities. I note that this has occurred shortly before the Executive Branch was to have produced, for my review in camera, a large volume of information that I previously ordered it to produce."

This creates quite a dilemma for the FBI. Either it bluffed about having incriminating classified information, or it consented to releasing what it previously called a risk to "hundreds of millions of lives" into the world without restrictions.
 
Sterling is right. LANLites will learn it for themselves soon enough. The country has been handed over lock stock and barrel to corporate energy and military-industrial conglomerates.
War is good for business. Catastrophe is good for business. Put hacks in charge of Departments and Agencies where once competent professionals were held in regard. They will do what they are told. Public service is a game for suckers. Get on a Congressional staff, join a lobbying company, make some political contributions, schmooze with the left or right political insiders, get appointed to something...sure go ahead, call me a flaming liberal whatever, I am farther from that than anything. Never voted Democrat in my life. I know I am not left, but I know I am not right, they are now two labels for the same thing, a one-sided game of coastal elites vs. flyover country. Why do you think Buffett is betting so hard against the dollar? Worthless paper when you get to thinking about it...Ford Motor complaining the Japanese are hoarding hybrid car parts...gee whiz, where is your R&D and in-country manufacturing and engineering capability? What? You spent the money to lobby and bribe to freeze CAFE standards instead of build engineering labs and modern factories? Tsk, tsk. But we got superpowered jets and carriers and subs and Strykers and all that depleted-uranium plated crap to fall back on...and nukes to nuke...oh yeah...who are we nuking? And what will that get us? Sure, I but deterrence...but what if a nation (China, Iran) does not need nukes to accomplish their objectives? Why destroy a country when you can buy it, or better yet, get it to pay you rent? Countries want nukes to guarantee territorial integrity. No nuclear-armed nation has ever been invaded, and never will as long as it has a first-strike capability
( i.e., a cargo container, or a warehouse they rented in 1989...just in case). So LANLites, fuss and sume all you want about your pensions and your benefits, about your paltry raises and your clueless managers...the overlords don't give you a second thought as they flyover on their way to Jackson Hole from LA...
 
Rick,


UC has not done much good here lately, let’s put it this way. Just look at the guy whom UC put in charge of managing all its Labs. This guy is a vicious, arrogant, and incompetent individual, with no technical or scientific background. Read this blog to see what he has done to us and what the LANL people think about him.

Granted, I don't expect Lockheed is going to be good for us either. They have no demonstrated history of being able to manage a large Scientific lab, and this is what this National Lab is. (Sandia, by comparison, is largely an engineering facility; their scientific output is puny compared to LANL's.) I don't know why Lockheed would want to manage LANL, except to get access to certain things (let's leave it at that). Surely, there seems to be no incentive for them to keep the basic science here (theoretical biology? condensed matter and particle theory? astrophysics? quantum computing? Do they really have any use for that stuff?) Most likely, a few years from now they will start turning this place into an applied facility (read "a bomb factory"). They know how to run those things.

But the real evil comes not from UC, or LM, but from Washington, D.C. Brad Holian was right: the Left hates us because we are a weapons lab, while the Right hates us because many of us here are scientists and thus represent the academic culture they loathe. The Lab is being raped and abused by clueless and opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats from all sides. They fabricate scandals and send their deranged admirals to demolish this place. They are responsible for causing incalculable damage to the long-term security of our Nation, and yet none of them is being held accountable.
 
TO 9/22/2005 01:52:57 PM
What you say is very interesting and rings true. I think your speculation into the future is right on target. Here is a little more theorizing: I am guessing that UC was under pressure from DOE and other elements to make changes in the way things were run at LANL. This probably preceded Bush but probably ramped up with the Cheney/Wolfowitz team which has very clear objectives regarding nuclear superiority. UC responded by bringing in Foley, Nanos, etc.. These guys were completely out of their element and botched the job very badly, making a bad situation worse in every respect. UC administrative arrogance and reluctance to admit mistakes compounded things and further undermined staff morale. The over-the-top national publicity probably became a factor, provoking UC to do some things for show but ultimately only make it much worse. Does that sound about right to you?
- rick
 
Can anyone comment of LM's track record of managing AWE? How long have they had that contract?

It seems they already have access to a full service weapons lab. Just not 'ours'.
 
LM has managed AWE for a few years. By most accounts that I've heard from inside AWE, LM has done ok.
 
"I would rather see the human and material resources at the DOE labs tackling global warming . . ."

We have found the problem with global warming. If we could just find a way to keep people like you spewing all your hot air into the atmosphere.......
 
If the Brits trust Lockheed Martin enough to run their strategic
nuclear weapons facility, AWE, that's good enough for me. They
could have picked a UK company, but chose an American firm instead.
That says a lot about the capabilities and integrity of LM. Suppose
the UK were given a chance to swap out LM for UC management, does
does anyone really think they would ever go for it? Of course not!
And come Dec 1st, LANL's management, just like AWE's, will be run
by that same well respected company, Lockheed Martin.
 
Comparing LANL to AWE is totally mixing apples and Oranges -- AWE is much closer to SNL, which obviously LM can run. LM has lots of experience in the DOE complex, but dig deeper -- they are not a science organization. The last poster sounds very much like a LM troll -- and I suspect that both LM and Bechtel trolls crusie the Blog daily making claims of superiority.
 
I am not sure what Bechtel would get from the Blog, but LM can sure get some dirt on UC!
 
poster 01:13 The point for trolls is not to get "dirt", but to sneak in a message and control the tenor of the blog. A troll can post a message like post 12:03 -- and then it generates lots of follow on email and gives the appearance that there is overwhelming support for LM. Would anyone ever do that? Sadly, the answer is yes. I came to LANL from SNL partly to get away from LM (and partly because of a better opportunity here). I was involved with a LM bid on another facility, and LM did have a dirty tricks squad ----- a plan strategy to release information and "dirt" about the competitor (by the way, this competitor is a partner with LM for LANL).
 
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