STOP CASSINI Newsletter #113 -- April 14th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: -- Your Tax Dollars at War: STOP CASSINI #113

Date: April 14th, 1999

Time Frame: There are 71 days left before the flyby of Venus, June 24th, 1999.


Costly space accidents did not make it into the news much last week, but they happened nonetheless.

Russell D. Hoffman, Founder and Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter

Today's Subjects:

(1) Of mice and men with very big guns

China wants ban on space weapons. See this URL


GENEVA (Reuters, March 11, 1999) -- China, hoping to head off a proposed U.S. missile defense scheme, proposed Thursday that the United Nations negotiate a ban on weapons in outer space.

Chinese ambassador Li Changhe said in a speech to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament (CD) that preventing an arms race in outer space had become a "pressing" issue.


Well well well. That's great! All those free citizens voting against a space-based arms race! Okay, so that's 1/5th of the world population that is rightfully worried. Doesn't anyone else understand that there are no winners in any space-based arms race, especially a nuclear one? Not one country wins! We are all under the plume. It's a closed system. It doesn't even take a war to cause a health catastrophe, just a little accident here and there. Murphy and Newton work together to undo the work of mice and men. Merely playing the game is deadly. Like the nuclear policies that permit Cassini to have been launched, and permit Earth-orbiting military plutonium payloads today, stamping one's feet and proclaiming your nation considers something a "pressing" issue does not change a thing. That is what got us through the 50 year Cold War -- namely, pretending that a Cold War does not kill people, and that there is nothing dangerous going on. The truth is, millions did NOT survive the "Cold War". Cancer from radioactive substances spread throughout the environment kills indiscriminately. That Cold War has been the most deadly war in history (and it helped kill the freedom THIS country was founded on, as well!) and its toll is not yet fully counted -- in fact, we have not yet begun to tally the dead from this evil thing. Who caused it? Who attacked the world in the name of national defense? In America, it was the likes of Dr. Louis Friedman, and Dr. John Gibbons, and Al Gore (both Junior and Senior). All of these men I'm sure are fully aware of the historical and absolutely undeniable military connection between the civilian space nuclear program and the military one. Who caused it? All those who ignored the truth if they knew it, who refused to seek out the truth if they did not, or who denied the truth when it was presented before them.

(2) A look back at John Gibbon's comments from November, 1997

The following letter was first published in Newsletter #63, December 21st, 1997:


Executive Office of the President
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Washington, D. C. 20502

November 4, 1997

Dear Mr. Hoffman:

Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about NASA's Cassini mission. I want to assure you that the Administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safety of this mission. Prior to my decision to authorize the launch, NASA opened the mission to public scrutiny through the Environmental Impact Statement process; the Department of Energy (DOE) conducted a seven-year analysis of mission risk and safety; and a team of experts from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, the DOE, and NASA, plus a technical advisor from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, performed an extensive, independent evaluation of the DOE study.

The plutonium power units on board Cassini have been used successfully on many previous NASA missions, including Pioneer, Viking, Voyager, Galileo and Ulysses. These units convert the heat from the radioactive decay of plutonium directly into electricity for use by a spacecraft and its instruments. The plutonium is in the form of a ceramic (plutonium dioxide). Also, since it is recognized that accidents can happen, the plutonium containers have been designed and tested by the DOE to withstand an extreme range of launch and reentry accidents.

Cassini is the last of the long-planned, large interplanetary spacecraft missions. Our Administration is committed to the development of smaller, more efficient space probes like the two we recently sent to Mars. As part of this effort, NASA and the DOE are currently developing advanced spacecraft power systems that are smaller and more efficient. NASA is also continuing research on advanced solar power options that might someday be feasible for use on future missions beyond Mars.

Thank you again for writing.


John H. Gibbons



It is now about 18 months later, April, 1999. Looking back, one notices that he claims that in the future, NASA will commit only to smaller missions, like the Mars ones, which had about 1/5000th as much Pu on board as Cassini. And while he claims they will use "smaller and more efficient" power sources for future missions, he fails to explain that the "advanced spacecraft power systems" are really just slightly more efficient RTGs -- reportedly they will use 20% of the Pu that Cassini's RTGs use. That is still a very, very substantial amount! And how many RHU's are safe to carry? 7? 10? 130 such as Cassini had? In a flyby reentry accident, the RHU's are expected (by NASA) to have a 100% likelihood of vaporizing all of their plutonium contents. So?

If you think it doesn't matter, because NASA never mentions it (and in the above letter, Gibbons certainly acts like the RHU's don't exist) consider that each of these little Radioactive Heater Units has about 2.7 grams of Plutonium-238 in them, and that is, according to many qualified scientists, millions of lethal doses worth of plutonium! The ONLY protection anyone has is the scatter-theory of plutonium poisoning! The dilution solution to pollution! But since cancers from plutonium are postulated (by qualified scientists) to start at the cellular level, and the cellular damage is postulated (by qualified scientists) to be able to be done by the radioactive decay of a single plutonium atom, then clearly, for 6 billion inhabitants of the planet Earth, there is no protection but to hope your brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, neighbor, friend, confidant, analyst, doctor or whatever, gets it instead of you. That's some solution to pollution, that dilution solution!

It works doubly well for NASA, though, because NASA can hide the deaths among billions of others, as if the fact that some of us die young means the rest of us ought to, and as if it means that because many of us do things that might increase our personal risk, it is alright for NASA to do things that increase everyone's own personal risk, perhaps substantially (a flyby reentry accident would be the mother of all environmental assaults in history!). The fact that many people -- most, really, choose behaviors that are self-destructive is absolutely no reason for Government (or anyone else) to behave as if that means that science, and NASA in particular, and the military especially, can fairly risk everyone's lives as they fight, as they prepare for war, and as they coexist with peaceful citizens on a peaceful planet. We must have ideals which we strive for! Poisoning the planet because 30% of the population smokes cigarettes is madness! Yet that is the "logic" of the arguments NASA's proponents use! "We will not notice the cancers among all the other cancers" we are told. Tell that to the person WITH the cancer!

We, the peaceful people of this planet, do not coexist with the warriors by being lied to. That does not work, it is not working, it must stop. There are about 130 RHU's on board Cassini, and in the second paragraph of Gibbons' letter to me, he lies by not mentioning them. It is just one of many lies, like saying that the powerpacks have been used "many times". In fact, they do not have test data at flyby reentry speeds and temperatures, which is the issue -- not whether NASA has gotten away with this murderous behavior in the past! But the biggest lie is when he lies to the President and to my Congressional representatives, and claims he has addressed my concerns at all.


(3) Five year, $13 million Contract awarded for new RTGs:

This item was found in SPACE NEWS, April 19th, 1999, page 6, and both paragraphs are reprinted here:



Orbital Sciences Corp. Dulles, Va., will assist the U. S. Department of Energy (DoE) in developing nuclear space power sources under a five-year contract potentially worth $13 million.

The contract calls for Orbital Sciences personnel to provide technical services to the department's Office of Space and Defense Power Systems. That office develops radioisotope thermoelectric generators and other nuclear-power systems for space and ground-based applications.


Note the phrase "and ground-based applications". This is certainly in fitting with USAF Colonel Armstrong's previously-presented description (see Newsletter #94) to Congress about these wretched things, in which he stated, "Now we had a symposium, if you will. We invited people from industry, we invited everybody in the Army and the Navy we could think of that were working on things like this, to see if we had some useful purpose for them." Colonel Armstrong then lists some of the ideas; in none of which are the radioactive thermocouples mission-critical, and he continues, "The number of things people have thought of for us to use this for is far greater than this list. As I mentioned earlier, the job we are trying to do in operating in a vacuum, in operating without the earth gravitational field, makes our job toughest. If you bring this thing back down to earth and use it where you have substantially large areas of radiator surface for cooling, you have gravity helping, the efficiencies go up considerably and it becomes a much easier job." He then concluded, "But you just have to let your imaginations roam and wherever you need electrical energy where it is difficult to get it, this is the way to do it."

Things haven't changed. That clip was from page 128 of Outer Space Propulsion, Hearings before Subcommittees of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy Congress of the United States Eighty Fifth Congress Second Session on Outer Space Propulsion by Nuclear Energy, Al Gore's dad, Al Gore Sr., among those on the committee. The dates were January 22, 23 and February 6, 1958. The colonel who made the statement was listed as "Col. Jack. L. Armstrong, Deputy Chief, Aircraft Reactors Branch, Division of Reactor Development, Atomic Energy Commission". Flying Three Mile Islands and Chernobyls were his specialty, I guess.

I was less than two years old at the time. They were not lying directly to me. But the lies continue. The only reason this military use of radioactive materials is being kept secret from the citizenry is because the citizenry would possibly recognize the madness of such use were the facts honestly presented to the public. There are two facts being omitted: The dangers, and the uselessness of most of the applications. They do it because they can, not because they need to (same as with nuclear aircraft carriers, which we all know don't launch any different airplanes than conventional carriers do, thus making the awesome threat to the homeports and everyone else, utterly useless).

Orbital Sciences Corp., under the guise of a military deep space program with lots of so-called science benefit for a few myopic astronomers who are well-paid by NASA to keep their noses out of studying the details about low level radiation damage, will build RTGs for military satellites and for "ground-based applications" which would include power units for deep sea listening devices, polar radar installations, and thousands of autonomous applications wherever they can get away with it. And with their arrogance, that is just about anywhere.

The ONLY civilian application of ANY of this technology will be these so-called "deep space missions". All other applications will be secret U. S. military and other government uses. But the scientists being used at the tip of this assault will ignore all the rest, claiming it does not concern them, or claiming that they simply don't believe there is any military connection to the choice of where they get their electricity. Meanwhile, the military is incapable of making a fair decision in the matter, for whatever reason I do not know, but the plethora of nuclear devices they have foisted upon the world makes clear they cannot think logically. So even the most trivial of uses will probably be considered worthwhile, because there will be no honest debate about the dangers, and our military does not accept the awesome responsibility of "collateral damage". Sure, they use the phrases. They express concern for the people of Serbia, for instance. As they bomb their sewage, communications, bridges, hydroelectric plants, everything, because NATO prefers the push-button war to the ground assault. I am concerned for the people of Kosovo, the refugees -- the targets of Milosevic's aggression, and the targets also of our own bombs. As could have been predicted, anyone watching the translated Serbian news reports on CSPAN knows that the will of the Serbian people is not being broken by the bombing they are now enduring. Instead, their infrastructure is being bombed into the 15th Century, one day at a time, over a period of weeks. Why are we doing this? To break the will of Milosevic? It is not working. To break the will of the Serbian people? From what is shown on the television, with thousands gathered on the bridges with "targets" -- bull's eye's clipped over their hearts, each one with a hole torn out in the middle -- the will of these people is not broken in the slightest.

I am not surprised. 25 years ago, I visited Yugoslavia as a youth, and I shall never forget the rugged old-world beauty of the country and rugged nature of the people. It will not be easy to subdue the Serbs, and the fact that they have chosen to align with Russian and Bellarus (in a unanimous vote in the Serbian Parliament) makes the stakes infinitely higher -- though what has actually been happening in Serbia, among the Serbian people, has hardly been reported on U.S. news media, which prefers to show two-week old cross-hairs footage to a once-again stupefied nation of push-button couch-potato warriors who must make the tough choice of either watching another "military barracks" or bridge get blown up under the cross-hairs (never mind the 80% or so of the videos where the bomb misses, which never get shown), or they switch to a local war, and get to watch yet another daring police bust so they can lock away the key on another criminal who stole bread twice and smoked a joint once. I love this country! It's so easy to be distracted!

In the meantime, the entire military complex teaches itself that collateral damage is the price of war, rather than recognizing that with the dangers associated with the modern weapons, the collateral damage IS the war! It has been estimated (by a Russian scientist, if memory serves me correctly) that on average, ten times as many people will/would die from each nuclear weapon used in war after the war, than from the blast radiation and physical damage itself! Again, we can point to rusting radioactive submarines throughout the ecosystem -- and then people wonder why the whales are still dying off, even after banning the hunting of them? True, Japan and other countries violate the ban on a regular basis, but I'll wager that the main danger to whales and other large marine mammals is the environmental degradation we do to the oceans, much of it military-related damage, and much of that during peacetime operations. And we can point overhead to the sinking Russian nuclear reactors which right now orbit the Earth, slowly (not so slowly, really, 400 to 1000 years being the normal decay period) descending to Earth to spread their poisons.

It is time for a change. It is time to clean up these messes whatever it takes and wherever they are. While we bomb Serbia back several centuries, we are developing, under the pretense of a civilian space program, the power to destroy the world, and we are destroying it, one accident after another. We expect future technologies to take care of the problems we create today -- but that it not what technology is supposed to be asked to do! That is not what scientists should be commanded -- that is, paid -- to think about! There are enough problems already in existence, we do not need to increase the nuclear waste problem (which is ABSOLUTELY unresolved), we need to invest in renewable technologies around the world. NASA must lead the fight for low power solar devices because the world is tired of the nuclear choke-hold, and civilians around the world -- what is left of us -- are demanding a policy change.


(4) Titan launched successfully. Sort of. Well, not really:

Last week's military Titan IVA launch was reported as a successful launch throughout the biased and lap-dog media. But less than six hours after launch, the final thrust into a Geostationary circular orbit failed, essentially ruining the mission and quickly turning $682 MILLION DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY into a 22,000 MPH piece of space junk for future peace-loving astronauts to have to try to avoid for thousands and thousands of years (assuming it doesn't get smashed to pieces sooner or later by space debris).

This follows the Titan IVA launched last August, which blew up 42 seconds in to flight, possibly with a plutonium RTG on board. It is not known and cannot be known if this latest mission had an RTG on board, but it is our belief (call it a guess if you like) that most of the more costly military launches into Geostationary orbits DO have RTGs on board. We have no proof. But as we've said, we've been lied to by the best many times, and things we do know, just don't add up logically unless one assumes the U. S. military is using these things in space somewhere other than Cassini. These failed launches are excellent possibilities. -rdh

(5) London says nothing happened, no satellite was hijacked

The following item is a followup to a Reuters report presented in Newsletter #107 about a hacked British military satellite. New Scientist, 3rd April, 1999, page 54, has a letter from Oona Muirhead, Ministry of Defence, London, which states:


Your report suggests there is a mystery surrounding an alleged hijacking of a military communications satellite (This Week, 6 March, p 11).

There is no mystery in relation to Britain's military satellites. No such incident has taken place and there is no investigation involving Ministry of Defence satellites. Indeed, your quote from a Scotland Yard spokesman makes no such suggestion in relation to the MoD.

The reason is simple -- all our satellite control systems operate on a closed network [sic] and cannot be accessed from an outside telephone line. This is as true of our older Skynet satellites as it is of the fifth, most recently launched craft. Your readers will be relieved to know that the "effectiveness of their security features" has not been called into question.

A hacker would have more chance of hacking into the system with an axe than with a keyboard.

Oona Muirhead
Ministry of Defence


What's so "sic" about a "closed network"? Well, it's just that the satellite is not connected to a closed network! Sooner or later, the signal has to go up to the bird itself. One presumed originally that that was the nature of the hack -- directly overriding the commands sent into space. Anyway, the question remains as to whether it is possible for terrorists to change the trajectory of Cassini or any other probe.





CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!!!!

To Cancel Cassini start by asking NASA for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission and all subsequent related documents (on paper, please!). Tell them you need it IMMEDIATELY (members of the world press should do this too). All citizens of the world are ENTITLED to these documents because of the global threat Cassini poses. Here's where to get information:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011

Tell them Russell Hoffman, founder and editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter, sent you. I bet they love to hear that!

NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions. At least, ask them one specific question: How many letters did they get opposing Cassini today? (And tell them you oppose it too!) If each reader asks them that...

Here's NASA's email address:

Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address:

Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:

(Note that it looks like possibly a temporary URL assignment, but you can always start at

They imply at the web site that written comments are more likely to get answered -- quicker than emailed comments! Someone should welcome them to the 1990's before it's too late.

Long time readers know lots of questions to ask them! Ask them why they don't link to our web site. Ask them why they haven't got rid of Daniel Goldin, the glassy-eyed fool. Ask them why they haven't sent you YOUR copy of the 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission! Ask them anything, but demand an answer! YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.

Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.


Please send any news directly to the editor at the email address given below.

Please post these newsletters EVERYWHERE! You can -- and should -- send them to news media too! Please tell your friends and neighbors and Internet buddies to subscribe! These words can have power, but only if they are passed on to many others!

Thanks for reading,

Russell D. Hoffman

Founder & Editor
STOP CASSINI Newsletter -- over 100 issues of mirth, merriment, and mind-numbingly depressing facts about NASA and other horrors


I don't know how it is in your country, but in our country, at least we have this:

Amendment One... "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Written in U.S.A.

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Last modified August 2nd, 1999.
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