Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All the Potential Contractors for Oakland’s Controversial Surveillance Center Have Ties to Nuclear Weapons

By Darwin BondGraham
Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM

The mass surveillance system the City of Oakland is building in coordination with the Port of Oakland — known as the Domain Awareness Center — ran into trouble in August when it was revealed that the project contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), has been involved in nuclear weapons work for the federal government. Oakland's 1988 Measure T and city Ordinance 11062 bar any nuclear weapons contractor from doing business with the city. It looks like SAIC is out, unless the Oakland City Council approves a waiver to allow SAIC to complete the project.

Deanna Santana
  • Deanna Santana
Tonight the city council is scheduled to vote on whether to authorize finding a new contractor. City Administrator Deanna Santana has advised the council that to complete the $2 million project on time the city will likely need to select one of the other four corporations that submitted bids back in 2012. Reopening the bidding process would take too long and the DAC might not be completed on time to receive the funding.

It appears, however, that none of the other pre-approved vendors are nuke free. According to Oakland's manager of contracts and compliance Deborah Lusk-Barnes, the companies eligible for the DAC Phase 2 contract include Motorola Solutions, G4S, GTSI Inc., and Schneider Electric.

But a background check on each of these companies shows that all of them have obtained nuclear weapons related contracts from branches of the US military or from the US Department of Energy.

In 2011 and 2012 Motorola Solutions sold goods and services to the Navy's Strategic Weapons Facility in Kings Bay, Georgia. The Navy's Kings Bay Strategic Weapons Facility is where the Atlantic nuclear submarine fleet is armed with intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles. Motorola's contracts with the Navy were directly in support of the Trident II Missile, one of the Navy's primary nuclear-armed weapons programs.

G4S, a security company whose armed guards are visible protecting downtown Oakland banks, has the prime contracts to guard most of the US nuclear weapons complex. According to the company's website:

"G4S GS ensures the security of the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration’s (DOE/NNSA) Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, East Tennessee Technology Park, Savannah River Site, Nevada Test Site, Sandia National laboratory Tonopah Test Range, and the Hanford Site. These facilities, which comprise the bulk of our nation’s nuclear weapons program infrastructure and material storage facilities for plutonium, uranium and tritium, as well as leading-edge scientific research facilities, are critical to our national security and require the highest level of security."

As for GTSI, it has multiple nuclear weapons related contracts. According to federal contract records, GTSI has sold goods and services to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA is the government branch responsible for the nation's nuclear weapons research, design, and testing programs, and its various labs and test sites, and radioactive dumps, are guarded by G4S personnel.

Schneider Electric, meanwhile, is perhaps the least nuclearized vendor that bid on the DAC contract last year, but it too has links. According to federal contract records, Schneider's Pelco subsidiary has sold goods to the same Naval Strategic Weapons Facility in King's Bay where Motorola has done business.

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