Friday, September 30, 2005
Anonymous posting: the best and the worst in people is brought out by it
It is interesting that tonight we experienced another example of cowardice, delivered by an anonymous poster. Yesterday I had the privilege to be one of the panel members at discussion on blogging, hosted by the Public Relations Society of America at a seminar in Albuquerque. The other panel members were Joe Monahan, well known political analyst, and Julie Goldberg, editor of the Santa Fe Reporter. One of the topics that we all agreed upon was that the privilege of anonymity in blogging brought out both the best, and the worst in people.
The best is evidenced by those who present well-written, thoughtful commentary which they perhaps would not be free to publish in their own name, given the political sensitivities that often exist in the work place.
The worst is all too-frequently seen in those who hide behind the cloak of anonymity to launch cowardly attacks on those with whom a personal grudge, real or perceived, exists. Our anonymous poster, referred to in my previous post this evening is a good example of the latter.
It is interesting that the anonymous hate-mongers are among the few fooled by such transparent attacks. Also, sadly, these types of people seem blind to their own particular brand of bigotry and prejudice. However, this is one of the prices that we all pay to allow freedom of speech in the blogoshpere.
An example of the down-side of anonymous posting
A comment from the
Cowards hid behind the cloak of anonymity to say things that they would be ashamed to have other people know that they said. Here is one such example. I would like to meet this particular coward in person, in order to have a discussion.
________________________________ (what is wrong Doug, you can dish it out but you can't take it?)Or how about Doug Roberts and Brad Holian receiving the "let me hold the mud bucket, here is a trowel" prize for defaming a great institution. Hosting, and participating in, the mud slinging that is the unifying element of this site is a notable distinction, but the honor will be passing.But from me, shame on you both!
[Story submitted by Rick Sterling, firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Company That Runs the Empire
Lockheed and Loaded
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Lockheed-Martin is headquartered in the Bethesda, Maryland. No, the defense titan doesn't have a bomb-making factory in this toney Beltway suburb. But as the nation's top weapons contractor, it migrated to DC from southern California because that's where the money is. And Lockheed rakes it in from the federal treasury at the rate of $65 million every single day of the year.
From nuclear missiles to fighter planes, software code to spy satellites, the Patriot missile to Star Wars, Lockheed has come to dominate the weapons market in a way that the Standard Oil Company used to hold sway over the nation's petroleum supplies. And it all happened with the help of the federal government, which steered lucrative no bid contracts Lockheed's way, enacted tax breaks that encouraged Lockheed's merger and acquisition frenzy in the 1980s and 1990s and turned a blind eye to the company's criminal rap sheet, ripe with indiscretions ranging from bribery to contract fraud.
Now Lockheed stands almost alone. It not only serves as an agent of US foreign policy, from the Pentagon to the CIA; it also helps shape it. "We are deployed entirely in developing daunting technology," Lockheed's new CEO Robert J. Stevens told the New York Times report Tim Weiner. "That requires thinking through the policy dimensions of national security as well as technological dimensions."
The Laboratory is seeking nominations for the 2005 Los Alamos Medal
I nominate Doug and Brad for their contributions. They helped rid us of the worst director in the entire history of LANL, thus "facilitating a major enhancement of the Laboratory's ability to accomplish its mission..."
Nominations sought for 2005 Los Alamos Medal
September 30, 2005
The Laboratory is seeking nominations for the 2005 Los Alamos Medal. The medal is the highest honor the Laboratory can bestow on an individual or small group of three or less individuals.
Nominees for the medal are judged on strict selection criteria that include making a contribution that changed the course of science, facilitating a major enhancement of the Laboratory's ability to accomplish its mission, having a significant impact on Lab sustainability, and establishing a major direction for Los Alamos and/or the nation.
Nominations should be submitted to Laboratory Director Bob Kuckuck in care of the Science and Technology Base (STB) Program Office at Mail Stop M714. Nominations should address the selection criteria; three supporting letters also are required.
Previous recipients of the Los Alamos Medal include former Laboratory Director Harold Agnew, Hans Bethe, who died last spring, Nerses "Krik" Krikorian, George Cowan, Louis Rosen, Frank Harlow and Conrad Longmire.
Nominations should be submitted by Oct. 14.
For more information, see the all-employee memo
(Adobe Acrobat Reader required).
"I'm in awe..."
A comment from the
_____________________________________________ Bodman (2005): "I'm in awe over the science that happens at this place."Bodman (2006): "I'm in awe over the number of scientists I'm going to have to layoff this year." Bodman (2007): "I'm in awe over the fact that I'm forced to announce the shut down of one of DOE's premier research facilities."
By Ben Bendig
Times San Francisco Staff
On Sept. 30, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will decide on new management for Los Alamos National Laboratory, possibly replacing the University of California (UC), which has managed the labs for 62 years.
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), located in New Mexico, famously began during WWII for the Manhattan Project, the secretive operation to build an atomic bomb. At its conception in 1942, UC Berkeley physics professor J. Robert Oppenheimer led the lab, and in 1943 UC began managing Los Alamos.
Anti-nuclear activists, professors and students criticized the University of Colorado's Board of Regents at a public forum on the Boulder campus Thursday night over CU's pending partnership with Lockheed Martin and the University of Texas to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
"I question both the legitimacy of the partnership and the process," said Adrienne Anderson, former CU environmental studies instructor and corporate whistle-blower whose contract wasn't renewed last spring. Anderson was one of 15 people who spoke to the crowd of about 50 during the public hearing.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
KSFR News 90.7 FM
Budget cautions prompt LANL hiring policy
LOS ALAMOS (2005-09-29) -- A new policy to manage the hiring of employees
is being set up at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the face of tight
budget projections for the fiscal year that begins October 1.
Director Robert Kuckuck says in an all-employees memo that funding for the
lab's nuclear weapons program, its biggest single program, is expected to
decline in the new year. He says that even though the number of people
leaving the laboratory in the past 12 months has doubled over last year,
uncertainties about funding and which organization will be awarded the
lab's management contract dictate a more measured approach to adding new
Expect a 20% reduction in funding
From Anonymous:There was a memo to SNL people earlier that due to potential cuts in the upcoming budget to expect a 20% reduction in funding for the next year. Hiring and purchasing are slowed until the 2006 FY funding is signed. I am guessing that with LANL's position more tenuous than SNL's (no contract change) that LANL has been told to be frozen. From friends in other places, they are under similar slowdowns until it is seen where the budget axe falls for the 2006-2008 fiscal years.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Subject: URGENT NOTIFICATION
Subject: URGENT NOTIFICATION
At the direction of the Laboratory Director, HR has been advised to
suspend all hiring actions, both internal and external, as well as all
supplemental staffing actions. A newly created Laboratory Hiring Council
will evaluate our staffing levels and develop a strategy for moving
forward under current budget constraints. This suspension is effective
Formal employment offers (for regular and limited-term appointments) that
have been authorized by HR and accepted by the candidate, effective COB
9/27/05, will be processed. Employment offers that have been extended,
but not yet accepted, may be subject to the review of the Hiring
Council. Discuss these situations with your Deployed Group Leader.
Additionally, the Laboratory will not extend any new staff augmentation
agreements (Butler, Comforce, Weirich, Plus Group) without review by the
Until further clarifying guidance is provided, additional employment
actions affected by this suspension include:
* New job postings
* Directed transfers
* Conversions (Limited-term to Regular; Postdocs to Limited-term or
Regular; GRA to Regular)
* Promotions / reclassifications
* Internal transfers on advertised jobs
Employment actions not affected by this suspension include:
* Postdoc hires
* Student hires
* Extensions of Limited-term appointments
* Rehire of Retirees as Lab Associate
Further direction will be issued by the Director regarding the process for
review and approval/disapproval of all actions suspended.
Hiring freeze at LANL, starting immediately
From Anonymous:I just heard, on good authority, that a hiring freeze was imposed today. The only hires to be considered from now until March are students, post docs, and retiree lab associates. This, apparently at a recommendation of a newly formed "Hiring Committee".
September 28, 2005
Laboratory Director Bob Kuckuck and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio talk with Bob Van Ness, left, University of California assistant vice president for laboratory management, before the start of the UC President's Council meeting Tuesday at the Laboratory. The meeting continues today in the Jemez and Cochiti rooms of the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center at Technical Area 3. The council heard updates on the status of the Laboratory contract, performance reports on Appendix F objectives, stockpile stewardship and budgetary matters.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Science and Politics: A Dangerous Mix (Tell Me About It!)
Science and Politics: A Dangerous Mix
By Gregory M. Lamb
The Chrisitan Science Monitor
Tuesday 27 September 2005
'Twisted science' may endanger America's future, one journalist warns.
The Republican War on Science lives up to its incendiary title. The book will undoubtedly raise hackles among conservatives and spawn sharp-tongued counterattacks. But the real test of its efficacy may be whether or not it persuades independents and moderate Republicans that without a new approach toward science America is headed for what the author calls "economic, ecological, and social calamity."
Reduced Role for LANL?
A comment from the
post, in which a VERIP was being discussed as a part of a larger plan to drastically reduce the scope of work performed at LANL:
______________________________________________That does make sense, 7:04. Los Alamos has probably become almost more trouble than it is worth. Even the "nuclear mission" work can mostly be done elsewhere. Livermore can do weapons design (please, let's not start that arrogant crap of "but we are so much better than Livermore" again). None of the other non-nuclear research has ever really been sanctioned by DOE. At best it could be said that DOE grudgingly "allowed" LANL to branch off into non-weapons areas. About the only work that could not readily find a home elsewhere is pit manufacturing.
Monday, September 26, 2005
More on the VERIP
Could you please post this anonymously.
____________________________________________ I have read all of the comments here pro and con regarding a VERIP at LANL. Frankly, none of the the "pro" arguments make any sense to me. Given that DOE must give its approval to a VERIP before it can happen, the justification seems to boil down to just one thing: does DOE expect there to be a budget shortfall for LANL in coming years, or not? If the expected answer to that is "yes", then a VERIP makes perfect sense. Otherwise, I can see no rational explanation for one, economic or otherwise. A VERIP would further drain LANL of expertise. In fact, it would make the 1,150 staff who left by July 1 of this year look piddle'n by comparison. In spite of the analyses of the financial "experts" on this blog, I just don't see how a further decimation of experienced staff would be in anybody's best interest. However, I grant that we are talking about the same DOE who "fully backed Director Nanos in his decision to shut LANL down" last July. As with all important decisions regarding the running of LANL, the decision on whether or not to allow a VERIP is therefore a crap shoot. I give it 50-50 odds.
September 26, 2005
University of California President Robert Dynes released a message to Laboratory workers last week. In the message, he talks about the status of the contract for management and operation of Los Alamos and the upcoming open enrollment for UC Lab employees and retirees.
To read Dynes' message, click here
(Adobe Acrobat Reader required).
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The Associated Press
Sunday, September 25, 2005; 2:40 PM
SANTA FE, N.M. -- A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who was held in solitary confinement for nine months was "badly treated," Gov. Bill Richardson acknowledges in his new autobiography.
Richardson was former President Clinton's energy secretary when Wen Ho Lee was indicted in 1999 on 59 counts alleging he mishandled nuclear information.
Lee was released in September 2000 after pleading guilty to a single felony count and received an apology from the judge who released him.
"As for Lee, he committed a crime, but he also was badly treated," Richardson wrote in "Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life," due out Nov. 3.
Disagreements between Bechtal / UC on how one felt the labs should be run
From Anonymous: http://www.lansllc.com/LANS_team.html I have heard from a person that was sitting in the audience while UC / Bechtal and U of T / Lockheed was giving their proposal that one group outdid the other by a long shot. I heard that there were many disagreements between Bechtal / UC on how one felt the labs should be run , while the U of T / Lockheed presentation went as smooth as ice. To me this is a no brainer. They had their chance and blew it. Now it is time to award the winner. Personally I hope Lockheed Martin wins at LLNL. I have a ton of reason why which I am sure no one wants to hear. Enjoy
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Q: The Los Alamos National Laboratory that the university runs has been rocked in recent years by financial scandals and security and safety issues. The contract is now up for bid. What are you going to do if you lose it?
A: I think you should not only ask that, but what if we win it? Winning it will be a very different world from the world today. "We" is a different entity. "We" is Bechtel, the University of California, the Washington Group and BWX Technologies. It will be run by a board that is separate from the university.
What do we do if we lose? We go on. The University of California's mission, nowhere does it say that we are responsible for the nuclear stockpile in the United States. Our mission is to create new knowledge, create the next generation of creators and take those creations for public service. That's our mission.
Q: To lose the contract would be a big public embarrassment to the university.
A: I believe that we have offered the nation a choice. There are two competitors for this contract. There is a science-and-technology-based group and that is the University of California, Bechtel and the Washington Group. It is unequivocal that our proposal is based on building the best science and technology for national security. There's one choice. The other is a defense contractor. The nation gets to choose whether they want the nuclear weapons programs overseen by a science-and-technology-based organization or a defense contractor.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
There is a lot of dead wood that needs to be pruned
Comment from the
________________________I'm afraid that before LANL can go forward, there is a lot of dead wood that needs to be pruned. The LANL system of management has been broken for so long that the whole system has become inbred. The (sometimes) poisonous flow of invective regarding LANL, cronyism, nepotism, religious favoritism, etc. that we have been seeing on the blog is indicative that the entire LANL system in dire need of overhaul. There are individual managers, program offices, whole divisions that need to be rethought, or at least largely restaffed. It is my sincere hope that Lockheed Martin wins the contract, because it is with them that there is any hope whatsoever for positive change at Los Alamos.
It is the cronyism that grows from living in a company town
A comment from the
_______________________________________The problem at LANL is not a Morman conspiracy. It is the cronyism that grows from living in a company town. People just spend too much time together outside of work. They go to church together, to soccer games together, etc. They see each other in the grocery store. And, with only one employer in town, there are the matters of spousal employment and summer jobs for the kids. Those who do not live in Los Alamos are left out of a seat at the promotion table. After all, it is a lot easier to pass over an applicant that you do not see every Sunday in church. Some of this led to the sinking of IBM. The IBMers only socialized with IBMers. They had their own sports leagues, card clubs, etc. They ended up with a very distorted picture of the outside (aka, non-IBM) world. It resulted in a lot of not very smart people moving up the org chart.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Don't worry about the boogey men
A comment from the
____________________________ 8:05 here again.I have been here for about nine years.I was hurt professionally by the stand-down.I blame Pete for his stubbornness in the face of facts. I blame Washington for their usual need to make points at other people's expense. I blame the media for generating news where little existed. I blame UC for doing their usual job of making a mole hill into Mount Everest. I blame LANL managers that have not had the spine to do what they should know is right.But I need to live and work so I am trying to get over what is past and work in the remaining mess in hopes that I can still make a contribution to my field that will not be overshadowed by having been at LANL during this period.I still find it hard to believe that there are LANL people that really think some shadowy 'them' is out to get them. Don't worry about the boogey men. Worry about your HR generalist, your group leader or your program manager. They are the ones that can really make your life go down the tubes.
Observations on 'LANL: The Real Story"
As someone interested in the LANL management issue I have started following
your website. I would like to toss out a few observations plus questions and
information for anyone interested:
* While many contributors raise interesting criticisms or comments there
seem to be a small number of very outspoken contributors who like to 'name
call' and intimidate.
* I have received personal email from some obviously dedicated and
thoughtful people from LANL who are very upset with the situation and are
thinking of the bigger picture. However I am struck by the apparent overall
lack of care for the bigger issues involved.
* Some contributors apparently don't know it was a Republican Eisenhower who
warned about military contractor influence on foreign policy.
* I have noticed the strong role of POGO in pushing negative and highly
misleading or exaggerated publicity about LANL. The recent example of
Americium-241 and front page story here of it "contaminating New Mexico and
three other states" was pretty remarkable. What is your take on this?
* Does anyone care about the connections between Lockheed Martin and
current US foreign policy?
If you DO care, the following are good resources:
- interesting overview of lockheed martin.
2. International Relations Center based in Silver City, NM. Terrific
information on the background and inter-connections of the far right. For
example, on Linton Brooks:http://rightweb.irc-online.org/ind/brooks/brooks.php
Interesting stuff on Heather Wilson, Bruce Jackson, etc etc..
To put recent pro-Nanos posts into perspective
From Anonymous:Doug, You might be interested to learn that without exception, every upper level manager with whom I've spoken is unwaveringly of the opinion that Nanos really, unbelievably screwed up while at the helm of LANL. Granted, I don't often speak with Don Cobb or his ilk, but that is primarily a matter of personal choice. Further, I know a few people in Washington; and some of those at DTRA in particular. DTRA has bottled Nanos up tight. He needs approval to go to the bathroom, much less to attempt any task that requires more discretion than that. His sweetheart deal with UC was that he be employed by UC long enough to get his 5 years. That leaves 1 1/2 more years under the UC umbrella before they cut him loose. I suppose that if UC looses the contract for LANL in December, George may find himself screwed, if UC chooses to cut that particular anchor. Don't let the flack you are sporadically getting from the one or two remaining pro-Nanos staff at LANL rattle you. Nor, the heat from the tattered remnants of the formally strong "Mormon Mafia". Their heyday was under the Jim Jackson reign, but they are waning now. Regards, and thanks for a job exceedingly well done with your blog. Had this particular blog not sprung into existance when it did, we could well now be seeing these last days of UC stewardship at LANL still under the incompetant rule of George P. Nanos.
Berkeley Daily Planet
Edition Date: Friday, September 23, 2005
Article Back to Mainpage
Index of Sections
Editorial: UC Administrator Pay is Over the Top By BECKY O'MALLEY A professor friend called me on Thursday morning, furious. She’d just heard a radio report on a committee formed to advise the University of California Board of Regents which is recommending that seven U.C. executives, who already make more than $350,000 a year, now need to have raises funded by private donations. Why did that make her so mad? Well, she’s the chair of a science department at a state university, and with seven years experience and a four-course teaching load she has yet to take home $60,000 a year. I was already planning this editorial on the topic, because I’d seen an excellent piece by Tanya Schevitz in the Chronicle earlier in the week with all the facts and figures. An example of shocking data: one senior vice president, a committee member who is listed as making $350k, actually pays taxes on more than $450k, probably because of bonuses on top of his salary. And, if we are to believe the report, he and his cohorts want even more. That’s greed, plain and simple. Obscene greed, actually.
The excuse the committee gives is that it’s hard to recruit competent executives because other institutions and private businesses are now paying so much more. Sorry, but I can’t believe that somewhere in the United States there’s not a competent woman or man who can handle a vice-president’s job at UC for less than half a million dollars a year. That’s what some of these compensation packages could net out at, if you add in jobs for significant others, like the one offered to the partner of the latest UC Santa Cruz chancellor.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
What the regents are smoking
From Anonymous:The blog readers might find this interesting. makes you wonder what theregents are smoking.
UC regents optimistic about joint bid to retain Los Alamos lab By Betsy Mason
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
SAN FRANCISCO - Confidence flowed from the University of California regents
Wednesday as they discussed UC's joint bid with Bechtel for Los Alamos
UC's team and its main competition, a team led by Lockheed Martin and the
University of Texas, presented their cases to the National Nuclear Security
Administration earlier this month.
"We showed the quality of the people that we're bringing to bear on this,"
said regent Gerald Parsky at the regents meeting Wednesday. "I think we are
prepared to take the management of this lab to the next level."
[Full Delusionary Recitation
Main Entry: de·lu·sion
1 a : the act of deluding : the state of being deluded b : an abnormal mental state characterized by the occurrence of psychotic delusions
2 : a false belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that persists despite the facts and occurs in some psychotic states —compare HALLUCINATION 1, ILLUSION 2a
n 1: (psychology) an erroneous belief that is held in the face of evidence to the contrary [syn: psychotic belief] 2: a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea; "he has delusions of competence"; "his dreams of vast wealth are a hallucination" [syn: hallucination] 3: the act of deluding; deception by creating illusory ideas [syn: illusion, head game]
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
New website for the UC-Bechtel group
I just ran across the new website for the UC-Bechtel group bidding to run
LANL. I wasn't sure if you had seen it;http://www.lansllc.com/
ROGER SNODGRASS, email@example.com, Monitor Assistant Editor
A report by the Inspector General of the Department of Energy has revisited the subject of a nuclear test facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, finding once again that the hydrodynamic test program has not been making schedule.
The review found that only six of 15 hydrotests scheduled from October 2002 through the end of September 2004 were completed on time, that six of them had been delayed up to two years, and that three were not completed as of April 2005.
A reply by the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the weapons complex, said that the report understates the progress that has been made and that the number of experiments was not the most important measure.
A prepared statement by the laboratory expressed appreciation for the reports' recommendations as well as NNSA's endorsement of the program contained in the reply.
ROGER SNODGRASS, firstname.lastname@example.org, Monitor Assistant Editor
The two finalists bidding to run Los Alamos National Laboratory are opening offices on the Hill to oversee the transition to new management next year.
University of California officials said they would announce the board members of their new limited liability partnership with Bechtel Corporation at a meeting in Los Alamos on Oct. 6.
At a board of regents meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, UC President Robert C. Dynes said, "We will do everything we can to make (the transition) as smooth as possible."
And if the UC-Bechtel team wins the contract, he said, they would do everything they could within the letter of the law to mirror UC pensions for the new entity's employees.
Raises for UC Managers
From Anonymous:On the Paul Harvey Radio Show, yesterday - Sept 21 - he announced that UCwas going to ask for private donors to donate money to give raises to theadministrative/executive levels at UC.
By Robert Faturechi
DAILY BRUIN REPORTER
SAN FRANCISCO – The UC Board of Regents set the stage for a look into new strategies to help the university system ride out future financial difficulties at their meeting Wednesday.
UC President Robert Dynes told reporters after the meeting that the ideas to be discussed at their November meeting would border on "revolutionary."
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Reporter at Science
Looking into an IG report on LANL's Hydrodynamic Test Program that just
If any scientists would be willing to discuss the findings with me to
provide background and context, I'd be obliged.
202 326 6446
September 21, 2005
Regents of the University of California are scheduled to meet today and Thursday at the UC, San Francisco's Laurel Heights campus. Among the items on the regents' agenda is a report from the committee on oversight of Department of Energy national laboratories.
The meeting begins at 10:30 this morning (Mountain Daylight Time). The DOE national labs oversight committee report is scheduled to begin at 12:50 this afternoon (MDT). Regents will hear a status report on the contract competition for operation of Los Alamos.
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.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Raymond Rogers, a chemist and LANL Fellow
Shroud of Turin Conference Awash in Controversy and Criticism
Tuesday September 20, 7:55 am ET
NEW YORK, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a report published today on the Shroud Story website (http://www.shroudstory.com), a recent conference on the Shroud of Turin erupted in controversy over how the Papal Custodians of the Shroud were dealing with scientific evidence. The report is entitled, "An Enchilada Comes to Mind."
The conference, held from September 8 to 11, in the grand ballroom of the historic Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, was attended by about 100 archeologists, scientists and historians from around the world.
According to Daniel Porter, author of the report, conference organizers had wanted a positive discussion of the Shroud's possible authenticity. What they encountered instead was a barrage of criticism about a secret restoration of the cloth in 2002 and probing questions about why Turin officials summarily rejected chemical proof of failed carbon-14 dating.
According to the website report, most researchers at the conference, representing a broad spectrum of Catholic, Anglican (Episcopal), Protestant and Evangelical Christians, felt that the restoration was scientifically, archeologically and preservation-wise reckless. Moreover, they wanted to know why scientific evidence, published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Thermochimica Acta, and independently verified by other scientists, was being ignored.
"John Paul II was clear when he said the church did not have specific competence to pronounce on scientific matters," said Porter. "He said the Church entrusts that task to scientists. And just last week, Turin's archbishop, Cardinal Poletto, reiterated that point. But Turin officials are ignoring microscopic, spectral and chemical analysis from multiple scientists. Instead they rely solely on the opinion of a non-scientist textile consultant. It doesn't make any sense."
In an attempt to minimize controversy, conference organizers decided to prohibit questions and comments from the floor. But the scientists attending the conference were not deterred by this tactic.
"You don't treat full professors and published scholars this way," said Porter.
In a presentation that had been billed as a tribute to the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist and Science Fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory who had studied the Shroud for many years, researcher Barrie Schwortz instead showed an interview with Rogers taped shortly before his death on March 8, 2005. In the interview, Rogers explained why the 1988 carbon-14 dating had been invalid because samples contained significant amounts of new material from discrete repairs to the cloth. He also offered a blistering criticism of the secretive restoration and explained why the cloth and the still-unexplained images of a crucified man may have been damaged in the process.
In a letter to the conferees, the Vatican Secretariat of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, wrote that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, "trusts that the Dallas Conference will advance cooperation and dialogue among various groups engaged in scientific research on the Shroud."
"Cooperation and dialog happened," said Porter, "but in startling ways that Turin had not expected."
By RICK STERLINGTuesday, September 20, 2005
In about eight weeks it will be official: Management of Los Alamos National Laboratory will be transferred from the University of California to the Lockheed Martin group. After managing Los Alamos since its inception in 1943, UC will no longer oversee the birthplace of the atomic bomb and world's premier nuclear weapons design facility. What does it mean and does it matter?
Monday, September 19, 2005
[Interesting because of the Lockheed Martin connection. --Doug]
BY MATT WILLIAMS Colorado Daily Staff Writer
Monday, August 29, 2005 8:43 PM MDT
Former CU-Boulder environmental studies instructor Adrienne Anderson said Monday she will file a grievance of "wrongful termination" Friday with the University of Colorado Privilege and Tenure Committee.
Anderson was notified in February her contract with the CU-Boulder environmental studies department would not be renewed beyond the spring semester.
She claims she was forced out because of her research into alleged environmental hazards at Lockheed Martin Corp. facilities and the Lowry Landfill Superfund site.
Accountability for people who violate Code of Ethics (and worse)
Comment from the
___________________________ Borrowed comment from another post. * Install some form of accountability for people who violate Code of Ethics (and worse). ** It would be great to have the Zero Tolerance policy enforced! Why is it that there are managers here who are allowed to harass their people to to the point of being ineffective or phyically ill. I had to deal with such a manager for 2+ years. Even after complaints and letters to 4 different group leaders, 3 different HR people, and a division leader. There are also at least 8 others that I know of who have also complained about this person. This person is still working here and managing (harassing) others. That being said, why if they don't actually help the work force do we have an entire HR division?
September 19, 2005
The Director’s Development Program (DDP) is sponsoring a talk by Richard Leider, a nationally certified master career counselor, entitled “Claiming your place at the fire; Living the second half of your life on purpose” at 9 a.m., Friday (Sept. 23), in the Physics Building Auditorium at Technical Area 3. The talk is open to all Lab employees.
During the talk, Leider, who also offers workshops on leadership development, will present his model of vitality for people entering into and moving through the second half of their lives, and discuss his latest book, “Claiming Your Place at the Fire.” His goal will be to encourage the audience “to re-examine and rediscover who we are, where we belong, what we care about.”
“Leider’s talk is extremely appropriate given that, in this time of change, many Lab employees are at crossroads in their lives,” said John Perreault of Training and Development (HR-TD), coordinator of the DDP. “This presentation, which targets career and life transition, is relevant for people who are considering a change and want to discover his or her life’s purpose.”
Friday, September 16, 2005
Bankruptcies: The threat to your pension
Please post this important and relevant link:
Please post anonymously.
A rational for the VERIP which actually makes sense
A comment from the
post; a rational for the VERIP which actually makes sense:There is an amazing amount of misunderstanding and financial ignorance evidenced on this thread. For a bunch of highly-paid scientists, engineers and technicians. it is sad. How can you effectively plan your retirement if you have only the most rudimentary understanding of finances?So. what does UC gain in offering a VERIP? It gains the ability to keep in its retirement system all the money actuarily earmarked for those retirees who take advantage of the deal, and use it to generate more income, as opposed to it being syphoned off by the new contractor (whichever one wins, it won't be UC) as required by the RFP.A VERIP is in UC's best interest, and certainly in the best interest of those current UC employees that could take advantage of it.Also think of the 7-year new contract. If you retire in the interim, your retirement checks will be signed by "Los Alamos National Security, LLC," or by "Los Alamos Alliance, LLC." In the next contract competition, whichever of those two corporations wins now might be gone, evaporated permanently, since the only reason for their creation or existence was to win the current contract. Who wants to be in that boat?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Orders from line management
PLEASE POST AS ANONYMOUS
As a low-level LANL supervisor I just went through another grueling
month. Our top line management has ordered us to make our personnel
performance scores fit a gaussian (random) distribution regardless of
the quality of the people in their respective peer groups. Half of my
group's employees are really angry, demoralized and threatening to quit
as they are all good performers and don't deserve to have artificial
constraints placed on their reviews. I see yet another lawsuit in the
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Journal Staff Writer
Everything about the competition for who will manage Los Alamos National Laboratory is essentially over, except for the waiting.
"That is basically the gist of what is going on at the lab here— to wait and see what the final outcome is going to be," LANL employee Manny Trujillo said.
Trujillo is also president of the lab's University Professional and Technical Employees union, which is still working toward gaining bargaining status.
"Other than that, it is just a matter of being on pins and needles to see what the final outcome is going to be," he said.
Monday, September 12, 2005
I've been reading the blog almost daily since it
started. I wanted to thank you for this forum-- I
believe that it has served a good purpose. I was the
asshole who suggested that "People should be exposed
to all viewpoints and ideas, and decide for themselves
what to think." Frankly, I'd like to see more posts
from Gary Stradling, et al. Even though I disagree
with most of what he says, I'd like to hear his voice.
That's what the first amendment is all about. Of
course, this is your blog, and your rules apply.
I was also the person who said that implosion was one
of the things that LANL was good at. Some of my posts
get applauded, and some get yanked (I get pissed at
all the crybabies).
I appreciate your offering this forum, and in thanks,
I will only post under my real name, ksboland.
As far as those who disagree with me, they can feel
free to go f**k themselves.
Let's do a brief review
From Anonymous: Let's do a brief review of recent LANL events, as discussed on this blog. Recent LANL issues discussed on this blog include claims that former director Nanos perjured himself in front of a Congressional committee last May. Then there is the related issue of Todd Kauppila's family, and the apparently empty promise made by acting Deputy Director Cobb that he was actively investigating how UC could help them out financially.
We finally got the real numbers on staff who have left the lab this past year which substantiate the anecdotal claims that there has been a significant outward migration of talent this year.
Requests for information on the specifics of former director Nanos's current job responsibilities went unanswered. On the positive side, Acting Director Kuckuck continues to do a stand-up job putting a major "happy face" on our situation. He was spotted logging on to the new Enterprise System.
Behind the scenes the oral presentations were given by the bid contestants last week. Depending on you you talk to you can hear that 1) UC/Bechtel did poorly in their orals, or 2) UC/Bechtel did well in their orals.
The rumor of an upcoming 3 & 3 retirement incentive continues to resurface.
Suspiciously absent was any recent mention of Marquez, Fallin, or McCumber. We did have several reminders of Seestrom's contributions to LANL over the past year. Roughly 2 1/2 months to go until the bid winner is announced.
[Another Los Alamos Opera]
Amid the calming mesas of Los Alamos, "Doctor Atomic" librettist and director Sellars visits the site that gave birth to the a-bomb.
The mesas stand in hushed majesty. The sky doesn't stop. The vistas, those astounding vistas, humble humanity. Native Americans revere this land.
I'm driving through Bandelier National Monument, just outside Los Alamos. Peter Sellars is my passenger. We are quiet for a moment. "These mesas are incredible, you've got to give Oppenheimer that," Sellars, never quiet for long, finally says.
"Why Western man really does select rare sacred sites to put the most toxic … " He breaks off with a purposeful, infectious laugh. Silent again, he surveys what he will later call "the world's biggest horizon."
Friday, September 09, 2005
"We are already looking into it"
Doug or Brad: Please post this, *exactly* as written. Do not forget to include the picture.
__________________________This man (Don Cobb) is a liar. A serial liar. On May 16 he promised that "We are already looking into it," when asked if there was anything UC could do to help the family of Todd Kauppila during the question-and-answer session following UC President Bob Dynes' introduction of Bob Kuckuck to LANL staff on May 16, 2005. If Cobb "looked into it" and decided to do nothing, then he, Bob Dynes, Bob Kuckuck, and Bob Foley--mere feet away as Cobb uttered his "promise" of help--are worse than liars, and deserve a warm spot in..."our hearts."
Former Director Nanos' new job at DTRA
It'd be interesting to have a summary of what G. Peter's new job is really
Duties, salary, location, title, immediate superior, etc. etc.
A few recent comments
Some comments from the
What a pack of cowards!! Is John the only one willing to stand up for what is right here? Just because Nanos is gone doesn't mean that you stick your heads back in the sand and go on like nothing happened. Just because a criminal leaves town doesn't mean you stop pursuing justice. Now that Todd is gone is John going to have to fight these criminals alone? The least you can do is show some support and quit with the Domenici "get over it" lines. Until there is justice there is no getting over it.
______________________________________________________"What a pack of cowards!!"
Unfortunately true. I have been struck by the general cowardice of the bulk of LANL employees. They cowered before Nanos, they continue to cower even after he is gone. There are a few who are not afraid to speak out about what is wrong at LANL: Sara Kaupilla, John Horne, Brad Holian, Doug Roberts, Dave Hanson, a few others.
Many of the rest, unfortunately, are cowards.
9/07/2005 08:19:13 PM Said: "Just who is even going to read all this crap except those who have a vendetta? Doesn't anyone want to just get over this? Nanos is gone. Who in hell will care about revisting his sins? Get on with life, because it is going to get a LOT more interesting in the next few months. If you want to live in the past, you either don't care about or are oblivious to the potential disasters in the near future. Fasten your seatbelts."
Those are nice lines, but it's justice I seek, not vengance...and I have had my seatbelt fastened for over a year now, and it's still not doing much to protect me or my family. I have to ask the author of the above comment how he or she feels I should "get on with life." The management of the lab and the politicians pulling strings killed my husband and deprived my children of thier father by using him as a scapegoat and deliberately ruining his career so that things would appear other than they are. I'm sorry, but I'm having a little bit more trouble than you getting on with life.
If it helps put things into perspective, even when John Horne obtained a lawyer last fall, Todd was still certain that reason would prevail. He didn't get a lawyer at the time thinking that certainly they'd figure it out and all would be well. In fact, I remember Todd noting that something like this could only help upper managment to fix the procedural problems with security that he and his coworkers had tried for some time to call to upper management's attention. The point is that Todd had a "my employer will take care of me" attitude. Guess what? Your employer will chop you into pieces on a whim to protect themselves. You are expendable. Upper managment has been quoted to say "HR exisists only to protect the Director" (just in case any of you thought HR was on your side.)
Many of you are out there thinking stuff like this won't happen to you. So did we...and we were wrong. If you think that because Nanos is gone all the bad is gone...you're delusional. The rest of the players in this farce are stil here and well employed with apparently no regrets for their part in this. Todd is dead and despite the generosity of the community, I'm faced with whether I can afford to stay in this town because the lab took life insurance away that we'd had for 20 years. For those who were comforting themselves on the comments made shortly after Todd's death about how the lab was "looking into" our situation... Please be assured that the lab and UC continue to do nothing but ask for extensions to and exemptions from legal rules.
Everything John Horne said in his post is true. There is proof that will be presented in proper courts of law. In the meantime, please don't be lured into thinking that things are well... unless you are one who is ok with watching a wrongful hanging as long as it's not you.
North Korea Stands Fast On Nuclear Energy Use Rice Gets Report On Eve of Talks
By Glenn KesslerWashington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 9, 2005; Page A21
Two prominent experts on North Korea who recently made an unpublicized visit to the reclusive nation briefed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday as U.S. negotiators prepared to return to Beijing for a renewal of six-nation disarmament talks.
China announced yesterday that the talks would resume next Tuesday, after a recess of more than five weeks after the participants were unable to reach agreement on a "statement of principles" that would guide negotiations to eliminate North Korea's nuclear programs. Japan, South Korea and Russia are also participants in the talks.
John W. Lewis, a retired Stanford University professor, and Siegfried S. Hecker, retired director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, met with Rice yesterday afternoon to provide details of their talks with key North Korean officials, including the top negotiators for the North Korean side.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
The University of Texas makes a bid to run Los Alamos
BY FORREST WILDER If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and of Hiroshima.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer upon his resignation as director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1945.
he bomb was born in academia. In 1945, great minds recruited largely from American universities—Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller to name a few—overcame enormous scientific and technical challenges to bring the first nuclear weapon into the world.
Sixty years later, the Manhattan Project is still very much with us, institutionalized at three “national laboratories”—Los Alamos in northern New Mexico, Sandia in nearby Albuquerque, and Lawrence-Livermore in Livermore, California. Together with the various enrichment, manufacturing, and assembling facilities around the country, these three laboratories make up the nuclear weapons complex in the United States. Two of the three—Los Alamos and Lawrence-Livermore—have been managed by the University of California system (UC) since their inception. Sandia is overseen by Lockheed-Martin, the world’s largest military contractor with $20.7 billion in contracts in 2004.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Re: Those who would rather tear us down than build us up
This recent post may well have homed in on the key problem that stands in
the way of LANL’s success right now – the prevalence of negative
thinking. As several people have noted over the past months, there has
been a preponderance of negative views expressed in this blog – posters are
endlessly critical of (other) projects and groups and divisions and of the
support staff. They hate the past management and the present management,
and are working themselves up to hate the future management even though
they don’t yet know who they will be. They variously despise the DoE,
for-profit companies, other labs, anyone who isn’t a TSM, Congress, and who
knows what else.
It might be that the negative people self-select themselves to post in this
blog, but I don’t think so. I think this negativity pervades the entire
town. It certainly comes out every time there is a bond issue, such as the
current Civic Center referendum and some of the recent school bonds. It
certainly is evident in the constant carping about the county
administration and the County Council. There just seem to be lots of
people in town who prefer to tell us what is wrong and why things won’t
work than to do anything constructive to improve the situation.
There was a 60’s saying that fits here: “If you are not part of the
solution then you are part of the problem.”. It seems to me that if
anything jeopardizes the lab’s future success, and even its future
survival, it is that too many people are part of the problem and not enough
are part of the solution.
I am not so naïve as to believe that all these negative people will, like
Scrooge, have a conversion experience someday and become positive. For
adults who have negative attitudes, the negativity is too much a part of
their self image and who they are. They are trapped in this world view and
are unlikely to every find their way out of it. However, one can hope, for
the survival of the lab, that if this much promised wave of resignations
ever does take place, it will include a high proportion of the negative
folks, so that those who remain can get on the with positive actions to
save and improve the lab.
Nanos' Testimony Before The House of Representatives
Since my attempts to get the attention of Senator Bingaman and Sara's attempt to gain the attention of Senator Domenici have both failed I believe it is time to speak publicly about the issues that we wished to discuss with the Senators. In the letter that I sent to Senator Bingaman (and posted here) I made it clear that I believe that former Director Nanos was not truthful with the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Considering the outrage that some Congressmen expressed at the possibility that Raphael Palmiero might have lied to a Congressional Committee about steroid use in baseball I would think that issues of actual national importance would elicit an even greater response from the congress. Sadly, their silence is proving to be deafening with the message that it sends. When someone who is in a position to know makes the allegation that a former weapons lab Director lied to a Congressional committee under oath a Senator should at least take the time to look into the matter. Especially when that person is willing to go before the same committee and testify under oath. It is becoming evident to me that Congress does not want what I have to say to go on the record. This nation, this community, and Todd's family deserve an explanation for what has occurred here. That cannot be done without all of the relevant facts being brought forth.
It is my assertion that the Director engaged in a series of mischaracterizations and blatant untruths in his testimony before congress. His statement was carefully crafted to attempt to uphold the story that had already been woven as well as to deflect tough questions about the sorry state of security policies, in general, at LANL. Unfortunately questions that were asked of the director did not reveal those deficiencies. However, his answers to the questions he was asked displayed the falsehoods on which his statement was based.
It has been well documented that there were two individuals in this case who falsified records. I am not disputing that fact. The key piece of information to remember is that it was two and only two people who willfully violated policy. Nanos' statement was cleverly crafted to portray Todd as a malefactor by including him in blanket statements about the CMC's. There is absolutely no evidence to support any willful misconduct on my part or on Todd's part. In fact there is no evidence to support any misconduct or error by either of us. That fact negates Nanos' statement and discredits the actions taken against us.
The director's repeated assertions that there were clear signs of a behavior problem are simply untrue. Nanos made repeated references to three individuals who were terminated for misconduct in this case and stated that I had knowingly taken a shortcut with respect to how I handled the barcodes that I was given. That statement is patently false. And, Nanos was unaware of the CMC's violations at the time he initially made statements about misconduct on 14 July, 2004. I cannot say with certainty why he made these statements but I have discovered some disturbing information that, coupled with Nanos' own statements, seems to explain his actions. I believe the director deliberately initiated the perception of a crisis in order to facilitate the changes he wanted to make but did not have the intelligence to implement. Much like the Cerro Grande Fire, it seems that the director started a "controlled burn" that quickly got beyond his ability to control. From that point he had to make the scenario fit his previous statements and actions to avoid being held accountable for his gross mismanagement. His disregard for the truth and the well being of others coupled with an end justifies the means mentality led to this completely avoidable and tragic series of events.
My belief that Nanos' statement was intended to be misleading stems from the manner in which he compared the CREM I and CREM II incidents and from the admissions he himself makes about the gross inadequacies in the LANL security systems. I am at a loss to understand why Congress did not hold the Director accountable for his role in security inadequacies at LANL. Possibly, by admitting weaknesses he might have diverted some needed closer scrutiny on these issues. In his introduction Nanos makes the following statement: "I have spent considerable time since assuming leadership of the Laboratory evaluating our strengths and weaknesses and working with the University of California to improve the overall direction of the Laboratory." If that is true then Nanos was derelict in his duties to appropriately assess the condition of security policy and infrastructure at LANL. Even before he became Director there were clear indications of a hopelessly dysfunctional system as evidenced by the hard drive case of 2000. Later in his statement he provides a full page laundry list of problems that should have caused him to be concerned about secure operations at the Lab even without the stark reminder of the CREM I incident in May of 2004 which his own incompetence helped to cause. These are the problems that he admits existed:
"In the process of conducting the root cause analysis of the incident we reached the conclusion that while human error and improper action were the direct causes, there were additional systemic weaknesses that contributed to this incident, and that would allow similar incidents to happen again:
* The sheer size and geographic spread of accountable CREM operations increased the likelihood of an incident.
*The inventory of accountable CREM exceeded 80,000 pieces at its high point.
*There were over 4500 employees with daily direct access to the media.
*Our classified operations are widely dispersed, spread over 40 square miles.
*The transaction volume is large, with daily movement of classified items between organizations within LANL
and throughout the DOE Complex.
* The lack of detailed supporting documents (e.g. checklists and plans) to serve as job aids for employees engaged in classified work activities hindered effective performance.
* Custodians responsible for safeguarding and controlling classified items suffered from a variety of organizational ailments, including:
*Lower job status
*Lack of authority
*Part-time job for many
*Lack of training specific to CREM handling and control
*Lack of support/conflict of interest within parent organizations
*The absence of a DOE or LANL standard accountability system increased the potential for classified items to "drop through the cracks" as they moved between organizations. In March 2004 this problem was recognized , and with the concurrence of the University of California, the Laboratory is implementing a single site-wide accountability system."
Later Nanos also addressed another key set of LANL failures by stating:
"I believe it also very important to point out that many of the problems we have had in the past regarding difficulties with safeguarding classified information can be tied to two over-arching issues. The first is a failure to invest in what I would term "engineered" solutions. In many cases we have had good employees trying to do a difficult job without the benefit of the right tools."........
"The second over-arching issue is that we have not done as much as we could to provide our scientists and engineers with the necessary security resources. As with any large operation involving highly classified information, the rules and requirements for security can be difficult to understand and implement.".......
Given these true statements, when Nanos was looking for people guilty of misconduct some personal introspection was certainly in order. Additionally, the entire laboratory was poorly served by those supposed security professionals who should be held to account for the abysmal state of security policy at LANL. Todd and I were no different than any other employees at the Lab. We were given a set of rules to work within and we did so to the best of our ability. The fact that the policies were fatally flawed is not something that was within our ability to change nor was it within the scope of our expertise to assess. That is one of the exact institutional failures that Nanos admitted to in his statement. So, why were we singled out for the Director's personal attention?
Part of the answer to that question relates to my belief that Nanos intentionally created this crisis. At a meeting I had with my former Division Leader on 18 February, 2005 she told me that a week or so before the discovery of the supposed missing CREM Nanos had been reading a book on management techniques. One of the tenets of the book was the theory that in order to make sweeping changes in a large organization a crisis is required to convince individuals that widespread reform is necessary. This thought is further supported by Nanos' statement on 18 March, 2005 in response to a question from Mr. Walden of Oregon. Congressman Walden asked if he had the buy in of LANL employees. Nanos claimed that he believed that he had the support of the Laboratory although he made claims of a vocal minority. I think he may actually be foolish enough to believe that statement. But the statement that concerns me is the one that followed. Nanos said that the shutdown had caused "the kind of disquiet that has allowed me to implement a lot of change probably more rapidly than would otherwise be the case." These words do support the possibility that LANL may have been a guinea pig for Nanos to try out do-it-yourself management books. Additionally Nanos and his DuPont advisor, Dave Herbert, inquired of the then DX Div leader who she felt could be portrayed as prima donnas and/or personnel who displayed "cowboy-like tendencies". The fact that this question was asked proves that they had not identified people who had violated rules or policy, rather it indicates that this was a contrived scenario in need of people to fill roles that had been predetermined. So, if this was in fact a manufactured crisis I must object to being used for that purpose and I certainly object to Todd being sacrificed for it. This is one of the key items that I believe needs to be investigated. If this was not only avoidable but intentional then that fact needs to be factored in when holding people accountable.
The director's stories about "cowboys and renegades" began to fall apart early in the course of events in July 2004. On the 17th of that month there was a conference call between the former DX Division Leader, George P. Nanos, and Linton Brooks. The former DL relayed the following information to me on 18 February of this year. She told me that she was a participant in the conference call and she was asked to update Nanos and Brooks on the situation. She told them that they were confident that there was a faulty inventory and that it was likely that the media in question did not exist. At that point Linton Brooks made the following comment:"Oh god, don't tell me this is another nothing really happened at Los Alamos story!" For someone in his position to be upset that nothing had actually occurred is curious and makes me wonder how involved he was in the actual cover up of the truth. This is the point where an honest and honorable man would have apologized for the unnecessary uproar and would have told the truth. Instead Nanos and Brooks continued with their self indulgent charade about culture problems and phantom cowboys. As I said earlier, there was nothing to indicate that such a problem existed.
Amid the general mischaracterizations in Nanos' testimony there were examples of outright deception. One clear example is the reference Nanos made about my involvement. He told the Congress that I had taken a short cut and had engaged in an unauthorized practice by taking the bar codes. He further claimed that the barcodes were accountable. This statement is completely false. In fact, at the 18 February meeting I referenced earlier my DL told me that I was clearly trying to do the right thing by appropriately marking the media as I created it. Furthermore, there was no policy that prohibited or even referenced the practice because barcode stickers were never accountable before this incident. Nanos lied when he lead Congress to believe that LANL had policies against taking barcodes. It was actually a fairly common practice. Had Nanos been correct in his assertion I'm sure that I would have been reprimanded for that error. I was not. I returned to work on 03 January of this year. On 31 January I was given a security infraction based on the following statement taken from the letter of reprimand I was given on 23 November, 2004: "....you failed to ensure that items of Classified Removable Electronic Media ("CREM") that you created during an international conference between September 29 and October 2, 2003 were properly entered into accountability."( Notice there was no mention of improperly obtaining barcodes.) At that point I asked for a specific violation of policy of which I was being accused. The response that I received was not satisfactory which prompted me to send the following email to Kevin Jones on 03 February, 2005.
At 10:00 A.M. on 31 January, 2005 I attended a meeting in your office. Also in attendance was XXXXXXX. The purpose of this meeting was for you to issue me a security infraction for an alleged violation in the CREM II incident.
The document that you provided to me contained no specific information. The document simply stated that a security infraction had been issued. I informed you at that time that I would require the "specific" details of the infraction.
The subsequent document that I received made a nebulous reference to "failure to meet appropriate security standards in handling classified material."
I now reiterate my request for a specific definition of this alleged infraction. For the purposes of this request please use the following definition of spe-cif-ic: Explicitly set forth, particular, definite. I require a detailed description of what the appropriate security standards were at the time of the alleged infraction and the manner in which the LANL claims that I violated them so that I can effectively refute the charges. This should be accompanied by the exact citation of rules or policy supposedly violated in accordance with AM111.
I would assume that after all of the months of investigation that this information should be readily available. If it is not available so long after the close of the investigation then this retaliatory action must cease. I contend that no such violation occurred and if information to the contrary cannot be delivered to me by COB on 04 February, 05 I submit that you have acquiesced to my contention and no violation occurred. If that is the case I require the immediate removal of this infraction from my file.
The response to this email contained this statement:
Violation of accountability re: See attachment 6 to Classified Security LIR
Section 3.1 General Requirements, "worker ( user, owner, or originator of accountable matter), bullet 5: Notify the custodian whenever new CREM is generated."
According to his August 1, 2004 statement, HORNE states that he informed (name redacted) he was returning CREM on October 3, 2004. However, the MEDIA TRACKER system was not modified on that date to show the disparity between the number of barcodes assigned to HORNE, and the number of classified zip disks actually created.
There are several problems with S divisions statement and their stretched interpretation of the policy. First, the referenced section says I must "notify" the custodian when CREM was created. Their own quote from my statement said that I informed the custodian. Since inform and notify are synonymous it is obvious that I did make notification as required by the LIR and the training that I received.
As we interrogated the records in the media tracker during our investigation of these events in early to mid July 04, it became apparent that the time and date feature on the system had not been properly set. To base any conclusion or time line on the time and date stamp places the validity of the conclusion in question.
Next, I conducted interviews with my line managers that clearly state that I was never required or authorized to access or update the media tracker in the DX-3 vault. Furthermore, I was never required or authorized to monitor the due diligence of the vault custodian. Based on these facts the above statement by S Division does not say that I failed to correct the disparity between the number of barcodes assigned to me and the number of CREM actually created. It simply states that the disparity existed and was not corrected. Since I had no duty, responsibility, or ability to find and correct the disparity it cannot be said that I had committed a violation. In addition, the crux of this issue is the fact that the barcodes were actually assigned to me before I created any CREM. Barcodes were not accountable at the time of this incident and the fact that they were assigned to me before said creation rather than given to me in anticipation of that creation is a key detail that proves I did not commit a violation. I handled the barcodes in accordance with the stated rules and policies in effect at the time and I made notification of creation of CREM at the proper time.
Lastly, in response to the nebulous assertion of 31 January, 2005 that I mishandled classified material, the fact that all of the material which I actually created was properly entered into accountability is proof that I did in fact properly notify the custodian. All classified material that actually existed was properly handled. The addition of the two extra barcodes was an error that was beyond my control to remedy since I had no knowledge of the event.
Nanos had all of this information yet he chose to misinform congress rather than tell them what actually occurred. And it gets worse. Todd had absolutely no involvement with these events. I was the one who created the media and I appropriately fulfilled my duties. The only allegation made against Todd with regard to the "missing media" was that "He left it to John Horne to ensure that the CREM created during the international conference was placed into accountability even though Kauppila was the conference chair...". The information that I provided above should dispel any theories that Todd had acted improperly as my supervisor. With all of the Director's accusations of misconduct by "cowboys" this is all that they came up with to accuse us of. If those assertions had merit the list of infractions would have been long and irrefutable. LANL went out of their way however, to attempt to dredge up derogatory information about Todd since his firing had been preordained by the Director on 07 or 08 July of 2004. Todd was fired because he had drawn the ire of the director. One reason for this is that he didn't immediately return from vacation even though he had no knowledge of a requirement for him to do so. In fact he was given permission to stay on vacation by his immediate supervisor. Nanos knew that Todd was fired because of his own irrational ego driven vendetta. Yet, he told Congress that he had drawn the line on malfeasance correctly knowing that not to be true. Kevin Jones willingly carried out the hit on Todd under the direction of Nanos. He even admitted, at a meeting with DX-3 members, that he was directed from above to take action against one employee. If that doesn't convince you that Todd was set up to take the fall for management then the next story will. Following a meeting at R-40 where these issues were discussed with members of DX-3 a colleague of Todd's asked Sue Seestrom why people were being used as a scapegoats when they knew we had done nothing wrong. Her reply was, "Sometimes good people have to go down for the good of the Laboratory."
That prior statement is indicative of the manner in which LANL pursued Todd Kauppila. During Nanos' Congressional testimony Congressman Walden asked if the terminated workers turned up elsewhere in the government. Nanos' reply that he had not kept track of these individuals was again untruthful. They kept close enough track of Todd to know where he was applying for employment so the could blackball him at every attempt to find a job. Even after his termination Nanos and LANL continued to aggressively attack Todd at every opportunity. As a case in point Nanos regularly referred to Todd as a Son-of-a-Bitch rather than referring to him as Mr. Kauppila. I was told of several accounts when he did this and, he said it to my face when I confronted him on 16 February of this year. This attitude shows a clear disposition against Todd by the Director himself. That public display of animosity permeated the lower levels of management in DX-Division, S Division, and Lab Legal making it open season on Todd. On 09 May, the day after Todd's untimely death, Virginia Melvin, a Team Leader in S Division, laughed when she heard the news and said, "Well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy." Not only does this kind of attitude further show a bias against Todd it shows the callous and inhuman manner with which the Laboratory pursues its enemies. On the morning when Todd's wife and two children were mourning his loss managers in S Division were making statements like that.
More directly, LANL engaged in a pattern of deceit in order to fulfill the Director's wishes to ruin Todd personally and professionally. The Case Review Board did not interview people who had a favorable working relationship with Todd. Kevin Jones vetted people in order to portray Todd in as poor a light as possible. After talking to several people who were interviewed by Jones and the CRB it became obvious to me that the process was rigged from the outset. The CRB document even stated they had done an incomplete review. The document started by claiming that due to time constraints and other restrictions, they were unable to speak with some key witnesses, including (name redacted) and the DX-3 Group Leader. Considering the severity of the consequences there is no excuse for failing to interview people they identified as "key witnesses". I have every reason to believe that the redacted name was mine since I was at the center of these events. The CRB had no problem finding other people who were on investigative leave so there should be no reason why they could not have spoken with me or my Group Leader unless, they were unwilling to hear any positive input with respect to Todd. Even without the benefit of an advocate in this process the CRB still only recommended a three week suspension. They did not even bring up the issue of termination. So, it is interesting that Kevin Jones wrote that he was following the advice of the CRB when he decided to terminate Todd's employment. I'm sure he was unaware that we could obtain CRB files through the FOIA.
The harassment and unethical actions did not stop after Todd's termination. When Todd applied for unemployment LANL attempted to stop him by telling the California Unemployment Bureau that Todd was fired for violating LANL policy and was therefore ineligible for unemployment. Early in December 2004 Todd and I were sworn in, via telephone, in a California court. We explained to the Judge that LANL's assertions were untrue and that the matter was proceeding to arbitration. Since LANL failed to appear for the hearing the Judge decided in Todd's favor and he began receiving unemployment checks. LANL's response was to file an appeal. The centerpiece of this appeal was a copy of the CRB report detailing the allegations against Todd. However, Lab Legal failed to include the last two pages of the report which included the recommendation of a three week suspension, not a recommendation of termination. LANL was so intent on destroying Todd that they actually filed false documents with a California court in order to deny him unemployment benefits. Beyond the attempt to deny his unemployment was the continued attempts to deny him any employment at all. Todd was repeatedly turned down by contractors because they were afraid to hire him based on the actions of Nanos and Seestrom. This became evident when Todd and I had dinner with a representative from AWE. Todd had recently returned from a sabbatical at AWE and had contacted several people inquiring about employment with them after his termination. The gentleman that we dined with told Todd that they very much wanted to hire him but they could not do so as long as he was "being sacked by Los Alamos." He continued by relaying the details of a phone call that Sue Seestrom made personally to AWE to express LANL's desire that they not hire Todd. These events and the continued black balling of Todd with numerous employers dispels Nanos' claim that he had not kept track of Todd after his termination of employment. They kept very close track of Todd in order to deny him the funds to fight them in court. That is why Nanos liked to brag that we had to pay for our lawyers while his were free. The air of superiority and entitlement displayed by the upper echelon of the Lab in this case is genuinely disgusting. Nanos made even made the statement that "....if innocent people get caught up in this that's tough. I can't worry about the buddy system here." He believed that the people working for him could be used in any manner that he felt necessary. Even if it meant the destruction of their lives. Sue Seestrom used her position to engage in inappropriate conduct with regard to Todd and his future employment. And, Kevin Jones was a willing participant in the attempt to falsely accuse Todd of misconduct. The zeal with which they pursued Todd is indicative of people who needed a villain. If we had been such problem employees these extreme measures would not have been necessary in order to make their story sound credible.
It is also important to remind everyone of LANL's initial attempt to cover up the fact that the CREM never existed. As Todd and I stated in our earlier submission, TA-15 CREM Incident and Aftermath, S Division attempted to confiscate all documentation that proved that the media did not exist. Not only that but they attempted to intimidate the OCSR who compiled the information and proved the theory. Members of the SIT told the OCSR that the conclusion was false, the media did exist, and she was to remain silent about the mistaken inventory. At that point I was the target who was going to take the fall for this situation since the non-existent media had been placed in my name. After I retained an attorney LANL decided it would be easier to shift the blame over to Todd and they made him the object of their attacks. Shortly after the confiscation of the exculpatory documents we independently verified that the media didn't exist. The next day we were escorted from lab property under armed guard. I'm sure that was no coincidence. LANL did not want us telling others what we had discovered. The lengths that Nanos went to in order to cover this up were a genuine misuse of taxpayers funds and should not be tolerated. Nor should the needless abuse of honest Americans for personal gain be allowed. I have heard Nanos expound numerous times on how he dreaded the thought of having to call the spouse of someone who was injured or killed by the Laboratory. Now that he has personally taken part in such an event he is strangely silent on the topic.
The information that I have catalogued above leads me to ask several important questions that I had wanted to discuss with our Senators. Since they continue to remain unresponsive I will ask the questions here. When has it ever been good for the Laboratory to destroy and honest American and, who is it that makes such a determination? Is it appropriate for officials of a government contractor to destroy an honest American using the taxpayer paid resources of the United States solely to protect their reputations? Is it appropriate for those officials to lie under oath before Congress to avoid accountability for their collusion? Is it acceptable for a former Vice Admiral to place his perceived reputation above the good of the nation during a time of war? And, is it appropriate for the Congress to selectively investigate bits and pieces of this national debacle to avoid the need to hold people, above the DX-3 Team Leader position, responsible for this billion dollar mess? We all know the answers to these questions but it seems your Senators and Congressmen are unwilling to accept their responsibility to investigate the real story.
The information I have shared with you here is only a portion of the record that refutes the official assertions of the University of California, NNSA, and LANL. I hope this will lead many of you to write or call Senators Bingaman and Domenici and the rest of our Congressional delegation to compel them to do what is required of them.
John N. Horne
By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News A group opposed to the University of Colorado's involvement in Lockheed Martin's bid to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory plans to ask the CU Regents to hold a public hearing on the issue.
September 7, 2005
"We're very concerned that the university wants to get involved in a lab whose main mission is to develop better nuclear weapons technology," said Erin Hamby, a CU graduate who is with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Those who would rather tear us down than build us up
A comment from the
To the 9/05/2005 05:04:33 PM poster, "Yeah, if there were a disaster in Los Alamos, would people expect FEMA to send in people to protect the supermarket from being vandalized, or to have stocked the staging area with bottled water?"
Just exactly where were you on the DOE/LANL side of business say, oh, about 5 years ago?!
LANL did indeed suffer a disaster. People did indeed expect guards to "protect the supermarket" and "have the staging areas stocked".
It was called the National Guard and Red Cross. They invaded all of Los Alamos and White Rock. It was a mandatory evacuation. And NO ONE was left behind that needed assistance.
The Red Cross and National Guard shelters were fully stocked (anyone else remember the White Rock Baptist church, elementary school and how the Pojoaque High School were set up?) Anyone else remember the 5 hours waiting to pull out of White Rock after the midnight mandatory evacuation was announced? And all the National Guardsmen Humvees, etc. that surrounded the eerily quiet, yet crowded town in normally vacant dark, pre-dawn streets? And how reassuring it was to know that our community wasn't abandoned, even though we were forced to leave?
This kind of comment just illustrates for me that it is not Los Alamosans blogging here, but those who would rather tear us down than build us up.
Los Alamos does not forget the gifts and lessons learned from the Cerro Grande fire and has opened their homes to those in need, just like so many in Northern NM opened their homes to us. We have a responsibility to those less fortunate than ourselves and we will not forget it, regardless of what is said of us.
Terminations/New Hires at LANL, 10/1/2004 - 7/31/2004
Here are some statistics gleaned from recent comments on the
post (summary produced by "Finknottle"):
Summary: 1,150 total people have left LANL between 10/1/2004 and 7/31/2005. Of those 454 were retirements, 12 were terminated for cause, and 2 were involuntary terminations. 337 of those who left were TSMs.
In the same period, there were 1,582 new hires of which 703 were "regular" new hires, and of those only 135 were TSMs. 378 of the new hires had no degree, 196 had a BA/BS, 91 had an MA/MS, and 32 had a Phd. The 1,582 new hire number includes 693 students (undergrad, grad, co-op), 103 post-docs, and 256 limited term.
As of 7/31/2005 there were a total of 10,640 UC employees at LANL, of which 8,413 were "regular" employees.
No surprises revealed by the numbers: LANL has lost a lot of expertise this past year.
More data can be found here.
Monday, September 05, 2005
[You don't have to look too hard to see how this opinion applies to LANL also. --Doug]
The Bursting Point
As Ross Douthat observed on his blog, The American Scene, Katrina was the anti-9/11.
On Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani took control. The government response was quick and decisive. The rich and poor suffered alike. Americans had been hit, but felt united and strong. Public confidence in institutions surged.
Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Story from today's New York Times magazine about science and politics
Doug, I think this story from today's New York Times magazine about science and politics in the Bush administration has a lot of relevance to events at the Lab in the past few years. Anonymous MAGAZINE | September 4, 2005 Political Science By DANIEL SMITH Is the Bush administration anti-science? Or is it scientists critical of the president who have forgotten that science and politics don't mix?
ROGER SNODGRASS, email@example.com, Monitor Assistant Editor
The agency responsible for the security of the nation's nuclear complex released a critical independent review of security programs in the weapons laboratories.
The document was the subject of a request under the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Accountability.
Peter Stockton, POGO's principal investigator said the release of the information was long overdue and that it was held internally because it contained harsh criticism of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The document was developed from October 2003 to April 2004, when a draft was provided NNSA. A final report was transmitted in May.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Security at labs criticized in report
NUCLEAR MATERIAL CONSOLIDATION URGED
By Betsy Mason
An independent report is highly critical of security throughout the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.
The report, commissioned by the Department of Energy, recommends consolidating weapons-grade nuclear materials. Though Livermore is not specifically mentioned, such a move would involve removing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from the lab.
``Nuclear weapons and special nuclear materials should be consolidated at fewer, better protected sites and where practical, in underground storage sites,'' wrote retired Admiral Richard Mies who conducted the security review.
The report, released Thursday, identifies the isolated Nevada Test Site and an underground storage site at the Idaho National Laboratory as logical choices for storing nuclear materials.
Consolidation is not a new idea. The National Nuclear Security Administration, the semi-autonomous branch of the Department of Energy that oversees the nuclear weapons complex, discussed the idea of moving the plutonium from Superblock, Livermore's plutonium facility, to Los Alamos National Laboratory. And last year, then Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham mentioned consolidation of nuclear materials in a speech at the Savannah Rivers Site in South Carolina.
For more on this story see:
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Faith-based, or reality-based?
What is the future of science at Los Alamos?
Scientist calculates Greenland warming
ROGER SNODGRASS, firstname.lastname@example.org, Monitor Assistant Editor
A Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher has nailed a significant piece of evidence in the global warming puzzle.
Petr Chylek of LANL's Space and Remote Sensing Science said climate models have predicted that temperature changes in Greenland should occur at a faster rate than global temperature changes.
"But until recently there has been no confirmation that Greenland's long-term temperature changes are related to global warming or that they proceed faster than the global temperature change," Chylek said.
A paper Chylek co-authored with Ulrike Lohmann, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and published recently in Geophysical Researcher Letters resolves the apparent paradox.
The question is important, because of the threat of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, a matter of great concern to geophysicists, because of the enormous volume of water currently locked in Greenland ice.
"Melting of the ice sheet and subsequent sea level rise would spell disaster not only for Greenland, but for the whole planet," the authors wrote in the scientific paper.
Going through the motions
From Anonymous:It is funny, in a sad, morbid kind of a way, to observe the LANL folks -- managers and staff alike -- all acting sort of of resigned. Most everybody continues to go through the motions, but the charade of the new interim director "taking charge" and fixing some of our problems is pretty much just that: a charade. He knows, just like all the rest of us do that UC has a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning the bid. We continue to see photo ops of the new director glad-handing here, logging in to the wonderful new Enterprise system there, and, well, going through the motions. What else can we do? This is the atmosphere that will exist until the bid winner is announced. There is perhaps one bit of amusement to be had, however: it might be fun to speculate on how many of our DL and above managers will still be here in December. I'm betting a number of them will have bailed by then. Cobb, for example, and Marquez. Some of the others I fully expect to stay, banking on those skills that took them to their present positions within the UC/LANL management infrastructure to help them hang on to their positions when Lockheed Martin takes over. Devaurs, Fallin, Seestrom, McCumber, perhaps Immele. This transition is occurring, of course, shortly after the start of the new fiscal year. The new contractor, in addition to inheriting a shell-shocked, abused, and sometimes abusive work force, will inherit an undoubted budget shortfall caused by all the work for others sponsors who left LANL last July, most of whom will never come back. The new contractor will certainly have one huge task ahead of it to get LANL back on line again with some semblance of a sense of mission and pride.