2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: marylia@earthlink.net
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 10:07:38 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Whistleblowers at Livermore Lab
Hello peace and environmental advocates. I thought this short piece from
Tri-Valley CAREs' February newsletter, Citizen's Watch, about two different
whistleblowers at Livermore Lab would be of general interest, and would
provide a glimpse inside the Lab! Read on...

Two Whistleblowers Quit Lab

by Marylia Kelley
from Tri-Valley CAREs' February 2000 newsletter, Citizen's Watch

What do David Lappa and Andreas Toupadakis have in common?  Both recently
quit high-paying positions at the Livermore Lab in disgust, under duress,
and for reasons related to their personal integrity and consciences.

Lappa's saga began in 1997 when he was appointed to a team investigating
criticality safety errors in the Lab's plutonium facility. Workers had
committed 15 violations during operations there machining plutonium for
Livermore's "subcritical" nuclear test, code named Holog. Lappa uncovered
evidence that staff knowingly breached safety limits. The Lab's final
report submerged that evidence, and so Lappa refused to sign it. "I felt I
could not sign it in good conscience," he later told us.

Harassment from Lab management followed swiftly. Lappa, a 20-year Lab
employee with an engineering degree, was suddenly given a negative job
rating, moved to a windowless "office" that had been a closet, denied a
transfer and, ultimately, placed in an assignment with no opportunity for

In 1998, Lappa won a ruling from the U.S. Labor Dept. demonstrating the Lab
had retaliated against him. He has since filed a civil suit against Lab
management and the University of California, which manages Livermore for
the Dept. of Energy, charging continuing reprisals. Further, last year
Lappa was forced to file an additional suit against DOE in an attempt to
force the agency to produce information relevant to his civil  lawsuit.
Those two actions are still pending.

In his resignation letter this month, Lappa said the work environment at
the Lab had become "unbearably hostile."

Toupadakis  brought his Ph.D. in chemistry to the Lab to perform
environmental work, but soon found he was the victim of a "bait and switch"
operation. "I find myself ...expected to do nuclear weapons work,"
Toupadakis testified at a public hearing last December on the National
Ignition Facility. "I refused because I was hired to do environmental work.
And, I found myself one floor down in a cubicle in a week."

"I have decided to resign from this place of insanity," Toupadakis told the
DOE  panel that evening. "Every one of us is accountable for this [NIF].
How can we have our consciences right, go and have our children on our
laps, provide to our families food when we know we are building the machine
for Armageddon? ...As a scientist with ...$91,000 a year, a permanent job,
I have decided to go [instead] and teach students about the truth - how to
save humanity - if we can, if it's not too late."

Lappa and Toupadakis, each in his own way,  made courageous decisions and
risked going public with the truth. We thank them.

Marylia Kelley
Tri-Valley CAREs
(Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)
2582 Old First Street
Livermore, CA USA 94550

<http://www.igc.org/tvc/> - is our web site, please visit us there!

(925) 443-7148 - is our phone
(925) 443-0177 - is our fax

Working for peace, justice and a healthy environment since 1983, Tri-Valley
CAREs has been a member of the nation-wide Alliance for Nuclear
Accountability in the U.S. since 1989, and is a co-founding member of the
international Abolition 2000 network for the elimination of nuclear

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