Posted by paulrivas on:
A friend of mine who has the word GOLETA tattooed across his beer belly refers to the members of our own local military-industrial complex as dolphin-bombers. If you know any dolphin-bombers, or have anything to do with the University of California, then The University of Nuclear Bombs is for you. See it before someone over at Raytheon gets drunk at Pepe’s on his lunch break and accidentally blows us all sky high!
The documentary provides a historical examination of the UC’s involvement in the production of American weapons of mass destruction at the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore nuclear labs. Despite the popular UC Regents excuse that, “the University is basically doing science”, 85% of the labs’ federal funding is for weapons. In fact, every nuke in America’s arsenal was designed by the University of California, with the help of the $7 TRILLION that the US has spent on nuclear weapons since World War II.
The film argues that UC scientists are not just servants of the Department of Defense but actually policymakers, and shows H-bomb wiz and UC professor Edward Teller urging President Reagan to increase the country’s nuclear program. Reagan’s appearance elicited hisses from the audience, but even President Obama’s new federal budget calls for an increase in funding to these Armageddon salesmen.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as engineering death to the enemy; fuck-ups happen all the time at these labs. Dig even two inches deep in the park beside the Lawrence Livermore lab and you'll find elevated amounts of plutonium (doh!), a substance the lab has previously stored in ordinary paint cans. In 2008, a mock terrorist team sent to the Lawrence Livermore lab was able to carry out its two objectives: to create a poor man's WMD and steal plutonium, despite the lab having a year to prepare and being told to within two hours when the pretend extremists would be arriving.
Along with such famous faces as Noam Chomsky, UCSB sociology grad student and the author of Goleta, the Bad Land, Darwin Bond-Graham, is frequently quoted in the film, and Goleta native Steve Stormoen (DPHS 2003) also appears. Rivas Cultural Services associates Vanesa Ledesma and Ben Tolksdorf were also named in the credits.
In the Q&A following the screening, Bond-Graham paid the filmmakers the highest compliment an activist can issue when he said, “I’ve been causing trouble for the Regents since 2002. I've had a lot of people tell me they want to make a documentary about this, and these guys have been the only ones to follow through.”
Go see The University of Nuclear Bombs on Monday at 1pm at the art museum.