New evidence of a massive coverup by the US Department of Energy and the Department of Justice relative to the widespread contamination of Colorado's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant was manifested during an Aug. 18 press conference organized by anti-nuclear activists held to discuss their opposition to the reservation becoming a wilderness refuge and public recreation area.
Although slated to recount the environmental crimes he had previously investigated, Jon Lipsky, the FBI agent who led the historic FBI raid on Rocky Flats in 1989, was at the last minute barred by his superiors from revealing such crimes.
"I received a call from the FBI ordering me not to talk about the Rocky Flats case, so I can't tell you what I came here to tell you," he said at the news conference in Denver.
Previously Lipsky had joined a citizens' investigation that published the non-fiction book, The Ambushed Grand Jury (see Calamity Howler, 6/15/04 TPP), documenting the DOJ and DOE coverup of widespread contamination at the former nuclear weapons plant.
Slated to explain his concerns that government plans to allow recreation at the former nuclear weapons plant are based on false and inadequate data, Lipsky, now assigned to an FBI field office in California, took personal vacation time to travel to Denver. The FBI, however, called him en route the day before the press conference, stating that discussing such cases without approval would violate FBI policy.
Lipsky, however, did say he supported the activists trying to stop the former nuclear weapons plant from becoming a wilderness refuge and public recreation area. Current plans call for the transformation of Rocky Flats' 6,240 acres, 16 miles upwind from Denver, into such an area after the US Fish and Wildlife Service takes control of the property in 2006.
In their 280-page The Ambushed Grand Jury [Apex Press, New York: 2004], authors Caron Balkany, an anti-nuclear activist and volunteer lawyer, and Colorado cowboy Wes McKinley. who also served three years as the foreman of a special grand jury convened in 1989 to hear charges of nuclear crimes by the US government and its defense contractor, Rockwell International, unravel the government nuclear crimes at Rocky Flats plant and how a band of persevering individuals courageously caught the government red handed.
The book, which is entering its second printing, is also about a courageous whistleblower and a former plutonium plant employee Jacque Brever and FBI agent Lipsky, who saw years of hard work investigating environmental criminality undermined by his own superiors and the US government.
Throughout their book readers are shown overwhelming evidence of how the US government and its defense contractors covered up dangerous environmental crimes at Rocky Flats, suppressed the indictments demanded by a federal grand jury and threatened those jurors with jail if they spoke out concerning their findings.
Rocky Flats, where the triggers for America's nuclear arsenal were made, has the reputation of being one of the most contaminated nuclear facilities in the nation, although its production facilities have been closed since 1992.
Unwilling to accept being made victims, it was through McKinley's sense of justice and Balkany's initial investigative efforts that a citizens' grand jury investigation was launched. The Ambushed Grand Jury, which details their investigation and additional information can be obtained online at www.ambushedgrandjury.com. The authors will donate their profits to nuclear watchdog and environmental groups in the US.
Outraged over Lipsky being gagged, Balkany told the Howler: "Why does the government try so hard to keep the public from knowing the truth about Rocky Flats? They obstructed the Rocky Flats grand jury and a Congressional investigation back in the '90s, now they're trying to stop an FBI agent on his own time talking about his concerns about public recreation at Rocky Flats."
Brever, who has launched the United to Keep Rocky Flats Closed, a Colorado-based informational program dedicated to stopping the government's current plans for turning the area into a recreational area, also related to the Howler: "DOE is using old falsified data as a basis of the cleanup. They were caught by the FBI using this false data back in 1989, and now they're using it again. What amazing arrogance!"
At the August press conference, Brever presented a summary of issues:
1) DOE made false representations to the regulators as the basis of cleanup plans. DOE knew them to be false because the FBI investigation proved them false back in 1989-1992. DOE resubmitted them to the regulators anyway, and as a result, large areas of land contaminated with radioactive and toxic wastewater were omitted from the cleanup.
2) DOE omitted two other areas of known contamination from cleanup, in areas which DOE admits are prone to earth movement.
3) DOE's cleanup of the area immediately adjacent to and upgradient from the majority of the public recreational areas in the wildlife refuge violates the regulatory standards in two places. Together with eight other nearby areas of residual contamination, this poses a risk of public exposure to contamination because, as DOE admits, these areas are prone to earth movement.
4) DOE laboratory results remain unreliable.
5) New studies show low levels of radiation may be much more dangerous than previously believed, so that the cleanup and the decision to allow public access to the site need to be reviewed.
6) DOE admits that the cleanup plans have been impacted by DOE's inability to review its own documents which were seized during the FBI raid and which have remained under seal since then. These DOE technical documents should be released from the grand jury vault, and after the public and the regulators have reviewed them, independent verification of the cleanup should commence.
Brever also notes that "Congressman Mark Udall has repeatedly asked the DOE to allow the author of this paper and others from the Ambushed Grand Jury Citizens' Investigation to go onsite to show him, DOE, the regulators, and the media the areas where contamination has been excluded from the cleanup plans and where we have information indicating that a threat of radiation exposure or contamination exists. DOE refused."
Balkany and co-author McKinley, also continue to call for the release of secret grand jury materials in the case. In March, US District Judge Richard Matsch, although admitting that he found grand jurors' concerns "serious and substantial," ruled that he lacked the authority to release the materials.
A.V. Krebs operates the Corporate Agribusiness Research Project which publishes The Agribusiness Examiner at firstname.lastname@example.org