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- Statement on Divine Strake Cancellation -

by Kamillah Fairchild, Andrew Kishner (Citizens Against Divine Strake), & Chelsea Collonge

Citizens of Nevada, Utah and Idaho hail the cancellation of Divine Strake as a victory for the people of the region. A growing grassroots movement made their voices heard at rallies, public hearings sponsored by Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and through thousands of comments they sent to the government in opposition to the test. Divine Strake was cancelled as a result of the people saying: “We were lied to before. And we don’t believe the government now when they say that Divine Strake is safe.”

The government failed the public not only through its inadequate environmental assessments that claimed the test would do no harm. The Pentagon agency that sponsored Divine Strake, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), never delivered on its promise to provide hearings to address Divine Strake’s public health concerns.

Divine Strake would have been the last of several tests dubbed the Tunnel Target Defeat Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstration (ACTD), funded by Congress in 2002. Last year, the Pentagon agency that sponsored Divine Strake, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) confirmed that Divine Strake was the experiment described in documents as a large-scale test intended ‘to simulate a low yield nuclear weapon ground shock environment.’ Later, the official language, used by DTRA deliberately avoided all reference to a nuclear simulation. Instead, DTRA described the purpose of Divine Strake test in terms of conventional weaponss.

“Although DTRA announced that Divine Strake is cancelled, its test program about nuclear bunker buster research is not. Until DTRA cancels the Tunnel Target Defeat program, which is a multi-year Pentagon effort to research the bunker-busting abilities of nuclear weapons, there can be no assurance that another test like Divine Strake won’t be coming down the pike.” stated Andrew Kishner, of Citizens Against Divine Strake and StopDivineStrake.com.

DTRA reportedly had no explanations behind the abortive effort and maintained that the cancellation had nothing to do with the safety concerns about the test.

Yesterday, Representative Jim Matheson (UT) stressed the need for continued vigilance about Divine Strake by announcing his intent to hold federal hearings. Frustrated with the government’s continued failure to heed the lessons about nuclear testing and health consequences, Matheson wants to find out the identities of the person or persons who pushed for the test, what was the test’s intended purpose and what were the reasons for its cancellation. Matheson stated… “I am...on the Energy sub-committee of the House Energy and Commerce committee which has jurisdiction over the Department of Energy nuclear weapons program and within that sub-committee, I want to hold hearings.”

We stand behind Congressman Matheson and ask our elected representatives to support this investigation. We feel that hearings would send a clear message that any future military experiments will have to include the participation of the public, the requisite assessments or impact studies, and the full consideration of the very real sacrifices that downwinders made to this country. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency owes it to them to concede that one fact: that the test was indeed unsafe.

For updated information, visit the Stop Divine Strake 2007 page.

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