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Plans Afoot to Undermine 1971 Amchitka Bomb Test Print-ready version

by Jan O'Brien
Ubyssey (University of British Columbia)
September 29, 1970

Another plan to foil the U.S. nuclear bomb tests in Amchitka, off the Alaska coast, is in the making.

Last October 6,000 students protested the Amchitka nuclear blast by demonstrating at the Peace Arch.

The latest plan involves sailing a ship, equipped for scientific research, to Amchitka, where another nuclear blast is scheduled for September, 1971.

"The Pace Arch protest was appropriate but it didn't accomplish anything" said Jerry Stanleigh, law 3, of the Don't Make a Wave Committee.

"By going directly to the sore point the U.S. government will be forced to deal with the problem."

In an effort to raise money to finance the purchase of a ship the committee -- affiliated with the National Green Peace Movement is holding a benefit concert featuring Joni Mitchell and Phil Ochs in the Pacific Coliseum Oct. 16.

Alma Mater Society president Tony Hodge said the AMS has been approached to lend the committee approximately $1,000 to finance tickets and miscellaneous initial promotional costs.

"The proposal has not yet been approved by the finance committee," said Hodge, who will make an announcement about the plan at the general meeting today.

Stanleigh said the group planned to sail to within a certain range of the Alaska coast making it impossible for the explosion to go ahead.

When asked what was to prevent the U.S. Navy from escorting the ship out of the area Stanleigh replied:  "We won't argue with an American destroyer."

"We will move 200 miles from the site (extent of the U.S. jurisdiction to do research.  A geophysicist on campus said he will accompany us and carry out experiments."

The blast, scheduled for 1971, is a third in a series and about 1,700 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb.

Stanleigh said the committee was concerned about the long term effects as well as the danger of tidal waves and earthquakes.

"We hope to release information on the effects of the blast that has previously been held back by the Canadian and American governments."

He said on of their main objectives was to bring attention to the blast and ask the question, "Is further nuclear experiment testing necessary?"

"The U.S. has said it has enough nuclear power to destroy the world, then why is it necessary to continue perfecting the systems?"

"General television coverage has been committed to the sailing but we need the concert to get the ship."

The committee hopes to make $20,000 to $25,000 but have not yet found a ship.

Tickets for the concert which includes the Chilliwack rock group as well as Joni Mitchell and Phil Ochs will sell for $3 and are available at the Vancouver Ticket Centre and all major campuses in B.C.

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Added to Library on September 19, 2009. (6348)


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