Thursday, March 30, 2006
Privatizing the Apocalypse
By FRIDA BERRIGAN
Started as the super-secret "Project Y" in 1943, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has long been the keystone institution of the American nuclear-weapons producing complex. It was the birthplace of Fat Man and Little Boy, the two nuclear bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Last year, the University of California, which has managed the lab for the Department of Energy since its inception, decided to put Los Alamos on the auction block. In December 2005, construction giant Bechtel won a $553 million yearly management contract to run the sprawling complex, which employs more than 13,000 people and has an estimated $2.2 billion annual budget.
"Privatization" has been in the news ever since George W. Bush became president. His administration has radically reduced the size of government, turning over to private companies critical governmental functions involving prisons, schools, water, welfare, Medicare, and utilities as well as war-fighting, and is always pushing for more of the same. Outside of Washington, the pitfalls of privatization are on permanent display in Iraq, where companies like Halliburton have reaped billions in contracts. Performing jobs once carried out by members of the military -- from base building and mail delivery to food service -- they have bilked the government while undermining the safety of American forces by providing substandard services and products. Halliburton has been joined by a cottage industry of military-support companies responsible for everything from transportation to interrogation. On the war front, private companies are ubiquitous, increasingly indispensable, and largely unregulated -- a lethal combination.
of UC/Bechtel/BWXT/WashGroup)? There are enough "woppers" in the
very first paragraph of this article to completely turn me off
from reading any further. Counterpunch is worse than even the
hard left-leaning Mother Jones News when it comes to getting the
Likewise, even though a consortium "won" the contract, we all know that it is Bechtel who will be running LANL.
Get real. Those who were responsible for selecting Bechtel to run LANL are several Congressmen, DOE, NNSA and Bechtel. And you can believe that they are not going to change their minds.
In case you haven't noticed: I put all news about LANL on the blog. Even the incredibly biased articles from the LANL NewsBulletin.
If you don't like it, don't read it.
I did a little research, and found the following about the author:
Frida Berrigan is a Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute in New York (www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms). ATRC is a member of the International Action Network Against Small Arms (www.iansa.org). She is also a member of the National Committee of the War Resisters League (www.warresisters.org). She is the niece of poet-priest-Plowshares activist Daniel Berrigan and the daughter of Plowshares activists Elizabeth McAlister and Phil Berrigan, who co-founded the Jonah House Community in Baltimore (www.jonahhouse.org).
You may not agree with her views, but it not fair to suggest that people read her material for entertainment.
* "Last year, the University of California, which has managed the lab for the Department of Energy since its inception, decided to put Los Alamos on the auction block."
--Obviously, UC is incapable of hoisting anything as montrously huge as LANL onto any kind of chopping block. Ninety-five-pound weaklings whine until someone with some muscle (like Bechtel) help them out.
* "...the high priests of nuclear physics are free to explore the outer realms of their craft"
--The so-called "high priests" are not at all "free." Just ask a bomb designer how "free" s/he feels, priest or priestess (i.e., stockpile steward or stockpile stewardess).
* "The new dress code will be suits and ties, not lab coats and safety glasses."
--Sorry, in T-Division, you won't see either suits/ties or lab coats/safety glasses. The latter identifies a lab tech nerd who's lost in the bowels of the T-Division building, or else wandering about in one of the Ivory Trailers; the former signals the approach of an FBI agent.
* "Many say strong corporate oversight will correct a legacy of embarrassing missteps at Los Alamos."
--The so-called "Many" include the crack Fox-News media and their ilk, who never, ever make any attemp at factual corrections of the prevailing prejudices of our Republican-dominated Congress and the Bush Administration--another crack outfit, whose love of science is so well known, and whose competence is on daily display...OK, so the Media is just a little slack there, too.
* "Remember, the Terrorists are the Competition, Lockheed Martin is the Enemy"
--No, no, no. Bechtel and LockMart are part of The Brotherhood. Friendly competition among the military-industrial elite. "Live to compete another day," is their motto.
These are the only really egregious errors in this opinion piece. Otherwise, it's obviously flat-out fair and balanced.
Relax, Dave. Get a grip. The "venom and hate" you find there is not directed at good science done at the Lab.