Local News
10:07 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Atomic bomb anniversary prompts protests in NM

Los Alamos National Laboratory is warning its employees to prepare for protests as the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb nears. The world's first atomic bomb was developed in Los Alamos during World War II and was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that several groups of activists are gathering around the lab over the next few days to mark Monday's anniversary.

Of special interest at Saturday’s conference will be a 7:30 p.m. keynote address by Arjun Makhijani, “From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima,” setting the stage for many of the other activities.

As director of the Washington-based Institute for Energy and Environmental research, Makhijani has been a frequent visitor to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico as a consultant and analyst on a range of nuclear issues, but he also has cultivated an interest in the intense historical controversy over decisions leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

In an interview this week, Makhijani said he is especially intrigued with the question of how the decision to bomb Japan was made and what it reveals about the global ambitions of the major powers of the time. His talk begins with Pearl Harbor, not only because the Japanese attack led the United States into a world war, but also to examine the question of why the United States had such a large presence in the middle of the Pacific and how competition for oil and commercial interests played an important role in the unfolding events.

Past protests have included marches and acts of civil disobedience, but new activities have been added to what has become an annual event. Those include an ongoing hunger strike, an art program in Santa Fe and an all-day conference and film festival.

Lab employees have been instructed to not engage in confrontations with protesters.