U.S. Defies U.N. Decision – Plans Massive Military Detonation on Western Shoshone Land

Western Shoshone Defense Project

Shundahai Network

Joint Press Release - April 4, 2006
(contact information at end)


U.S. Defies U.N. Decision– Plans Massive Military Detonation on Western Shoshone Land

Western Shoshone call for halt to planned June 2 “Bunker Buster” detonation at the Nevada Test Site

Speaking with media last week, US military spokesman James Tegnelia confirmed U.S. plans to detonate a 700 ton explosion at the Nevada Test Site on June 2, 2006 in a test called “Divine Strake.” The location of this test would be on Western Shoshone land, and would be in direct violation of a recent decision by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In its decision, made public March 10, 2006, the CERD Committee urged the United States to “freeze”, “desist” and “stop” actions being taken, or threatened to be taken, against the Western Shoshone Peoples of the Western Shoshone Nation. In its decision, CERD stressed the “nature and urgency” of the Shoshone situation informing the U.S. that it goes “well beyond” the normal reporting process and warrants immediate attention under the Committee’s Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure.

The CERD decision explicitly cited ongoing weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site as well as efforts to build an unprecedented high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV.

James Tegnelia of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying, "I don't want to sound glib here but it is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons," and notes further that this is the “largest single explosive that we could imagine.” The Department of Defense announced in late October 2005 that the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrating (RNEP) weapon project was being dropped in favor of a more conventional methodology.

The detonation plan also runs contrary to earlier public statements made in late March to the Las Vegas Review-Journal by Linton F. Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. In his statement, Mr. Brooks announced that the Bush administration had no plans to start detonating warheads at the Nevada Test Site. "We have absolutely no evidence that we're going to need to test. ... We don't see any specific reason now that leads us to believe we'll need a test," Mr. Brooks said. "On the other hand," he said, "we don't know everything about the future."

According to Raymond Yowell, Chief of the Western Shoshone National Council, “We’re opposed to any further military testing on Shoshone lands. This is a direct violation of the CERD finding and an affront to our religious belief - Mother Earth is sacred and should not be harmed. All people who are opposed to these actions by the U.S. should step forward and make their opposition known.”

Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother and Executive Director of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, “The U.S. has named this 700 ton explosive ‘Divine Strake’. It’s a mystery why they use ‘devine.’ Isn’t ‘devine’ used for your deity, God, Your sacredness? Why don’t they call it ‘Hell Strake?’ I believe when you are working testing weaponry of destruction of life, you should not associate it with ‘devine.’ We want this insanity to stop – no more bombs and no more testing.”

Eileen McCabe-Olsen, Associate Director of Shundahai Network noted, “This test, besides being an egregious violation of Western Shoshone sovereignty, is an escalation that should outrage anyone concerned with peace, justice and care of our environment.”

Pete Litster, Executive Director of Shundahai Network said “Ongoing weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site violate international law. They violate the standing treaty between the U.S. Government and the Western Shoshone people. They also violate the spirit of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Test Site is located on Western Shoshone territory, and must not continue to be misused in bold violation of standing agreements between the U.S. government and the Western Shoshone nation.”

Although approval for the test was sought and obtained from the state of Nevada in January 2006, the test detonation can be cancelled. The Western Shoshone National Council, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Shundahai Network call for the United States Government to do so immediately. Concerned citizens can call or write to express their opinions:

President George W. Bush
comments@whitehouse.gov 202-456-1111
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld http://www.dod.gov/faq/comment.html

Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1000

James Tegnelia dtra.publicaffairs@dtra.mil (800) 701-5096

Defense Threat Reduction Aagency Attn: James Tegnelia
8725 John J Kingman RD Stop 6201 Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6201


Julie Fishel, Western Shoshone Defense Project 775-468-0230 wsdp@igc.org

Pete Litster, Shundahai Network 801-637-1500 pete@shundahai.org

The Western Shoshone Defense Project's ( http://www.wsdp.org/ ) mission is to affirm Newe (Western Shoshone) jurisdiction over Newe Sogobia (Western Shoshone homelands) by protecting, preserving, and restoring Newe rights and lands for present and future generations based on cultural and spiritual traditions. The W.S.D.P. was established in 1991 by the Western Shoshone National Council to provide support to Mary and Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmothers who were facing the confiscation of the livestock that they graze on Western Shoshone lands.

Shundahai Network ( http://www.shundahai.org/ ) is dedicated to breaking the nuclear chain by building alliances with indigenous communities and environmental, peace and human rights movements. We seek to abolish all nuclear weapons and an end to nuclear testing. We advocate phasing out nuclear energy and ending the transportation and dumping of nuclear waste. We promote the principles of Environmental Justice and strive to insure that indigenous voices are heard in the movement to influence U.S. nuclear and environmental policies. All of our campaigns and events incorporate the values of community building, education, spiritual ceremonies and nonviolent direct action.

Western Shoshone Defense Project
P.O. Box 211308
Crescent Valley, NV 89821
775-468-0237 (fax)


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