An Open Letter to India and Pakistan

by Pamela Blockey-O'Brien

(International Fellowship of Reconciliation member, Former Non-Governmental Organisation representative to the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament, 1982.)

There are times when sadness perches, like a vulture, on the heart and tears it apart. Now is such a time. The Wheel of Misortune has seemingly gone full circle, as the nuclear sites near Pokaran and Chagai are only a few degrees latitude different from the first nuclear test site, on the other side of the world, at Alamagordo, New Mexico, USA, where the worlds' first atomic bomb was detonated in 1945. The arrogance of those who first unleashed the penultimate horror on the world was so great, that they tested it anyway, even though they were not sure whether or not it would ignite the atmosphere. That first atomic bomb test, caused one scientist who had worked on the "manhatten Project", as the bomb jorject was called, namely J. Robert Oppenheimer, to become so horror struck whilst witnessing the reality of what they had all unleashed, that he said afterwards, quote: "We knew the world would not be the same... a few people cried, most people were silent, I remembered the lines from Hindu Scripture: 'I am become Death, destroyer of worlds'". (The Bhagavad Gita.)

Now, India and Pakistan have joined the other list of nuclear terror nations: The U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, South Africa, Israel etc. and the numerous nuclear weapons capable nations - as anyone who has a nuclear power plant or nuclear research reactor can ultimately make a bomb - so, now you too can offer death to the planet. Did you both have to copy their arrogance, their stupidity, and the moral, ethical and religious corruption inherent in the building, manufacture, testing and possession of weapons which can bring about the literal death of the world?

Do you not understand that ANY use of ONE such weapon, by either side, would also kill millions in adjacent countries, AS WELL AS MILLIONS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE COUNTRY THAT LAUNCHED FIRST, as the massive clouds of radioactive debris and fallout spread out via wind and weather as they begin thier ultimate journey round the earth? Have you told your people of the slow death from radioactive fallout? First the skin "rash" caused by bleeding under the skin appears, then the vomiting, the great thirst, the hair falling out, then the uncontrollable bleeding as the blood pours from the intestines, the mouth and other orifices. The body literally "melts down", it "dissolves", as the radiation exposure has destroyed all the complexity of the bonds that make up every cell in the body. Or, to put it in the cold way of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' BEIR V Report, "All living matter is composed of atoms joined into molecules by electron bonds. Ionizing radiation is energetic enough to displace atomic electrons and thus break the bonds that hold a molecule together." Page 9.

Further: "Ionizing radiation damages the genetic material in reproductive cells and results in mutations that are transmitted from generation to generation". Page 65. Contrary to popular belief, there is no "safe" level of radiation, only an "allowable" level set in order to enable the nuclear industry to operate. But here we are not dealing with the "allowable" levels that are given off to soil, air and water on a constant basis from nuclear plants or research reactors, which kill and maim over time with the cancers and birth defects, and myraid other quiet effects. We are speaking of a nuclear bomb where, at the moment of explosion, when the temperature of the weapons material (plutonium, uranium, tritium, lithium, etc.) as it instantly gasifies, is far hotter than the center of the sun and the pressure from it is millions of times atmospheric pressure.

Radiation streaming out consists mainly of gamma rays which kills anyone - all life - in an area of approximately six square miles (these figures are for a one megaton bomb). Almost simultaneously any living thing between a six and a half mile to 10 mile radius would be instantly blinded. However, again almost simultaneously, an electro-magnetic pulse is generated by the intense gamma radiation acting on the air. Causing powerful voltage surges through various conductors like antennas, overhead powerlines, railroad tracks, pipes which could affect an area approximately the size of the United States according to government documents. Then the fireball starts - as it expands (See Jonathan Schell: "The Fate of the Earth" - 1982, ISBN 0-380-61325-5) it creates a thermal pulse - a wave of blinding light and intense heat - and can cause second-degree burns in an area of two hundred and eighty square miles. (For a twenty megaton bomb the area is two thousand four hundred and sixty square miles.) The expanding fireball sends out a blast wave which flattens everything for miles, then a firestorm begins to rage - everything is burning - gasoline tanks, gas stations, chemical storage tanks, oil refineries, tankers on the roads, airports, hospitals, schools, trees, animals, people, EVERYTHING - over an area of one hundred square miles in the case of a one megaton bomb. Winds within the firestorm reaching hurricane force. Vast roiling clouds of soot, made of the charred remains of both people and everything else, begin to rise to create the begining of "nuclear winter" if enough weapons are used, as it blocks out the sun. Meanwhile, the huge, radioactive mushroom cloud has risen to high altitudes carrying its cargo of the deadly radioactive remains of what was once people, pets and buildings up within it, and it begins to move with wind and weather to dump its deadly radioactive cargo as radioactive "fallout" first locally, then globally. In the case of a ground burst twenty megaton bomb, the mushroom cloud will reach 23 to 25 miles high and be 70 to 80 miles wide. Withing seven days, all exposed people 200 miles downwind are dead from such a 20 megaton bomb from the fallout.

Who then will be dancing in the streets?

The arms race led to vast areas of the world being contaminated. The radioactive contamination around weapons producing facilities defies the imagination, but it is all documented. The suffering caused is horrendous, and the genetic burden will go on and on, as the damage to DNA is done, in countless individuals. In the United States alone there are over 40,000 potentially radioactively contaminated sites according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in testimony given before Senator Genns' Committee. You didn't know that? Neither do most Americans. - In 1952, due to the "Korean Crisis" the U.S. Government decided it needed a Nuclear Test Site in the USA. The broke a Treaty with Native American Indians called "The Treaty of Ruby Valley" and took a huge chunk of Western Shoshone Indian land. This land is called the "Nevada Nuclear Test Site". The Shoshone - what's left of them - are still fighting this illegal taking. They've been left to rot and die and suffer myriad health problems up in a far corner. The U.S. and Britain use the site for tests. The Shoshone call themselves "the most bombed Nation on earth." The British used to test on Australian Aborigine land. The French of course test in the Pacific, "French" Polynesia at Mururoa and Fangataufa, which causes the heating of the ocean (also reported by the French military scientists according to Dr. Bertell) and appears to cause sever weather disturbances which result in even stronger "El Nino" phenomenon about a year to three years after such tests - as now.

The U.S. used to test in the Marshall Islnds, S. Pacific, Micronesia, and more recently, test missiles fired off from Vandenberg Air Base in California which come crashing into the lagoon at Kwajalein atoll at 8,000 m.p.h..

The consequences of all this are well documented, and include women giving birth to what can be kindly called "blobs of jelly" - hydatiform moles. All due to radioactive contamination. The Chinese test in an Ethnic Minority region at Lop Nur. The Soviets had a couple of locations, the main one - again ethnic minorities - in Khazakhstan nr. Semipalatinsk. Chromosome aberations are staggering. I noticed both India and Pakistan tested near poor, rural areas. Did you tell them that most underground tests vent radiation? Probably not. The U.S. also didn't trumpet that fact from the rooftops.

Where is all the press coverage? I hear people ask. - We are now 53 years into the "nuclear age", and, with a few notable exceptions, the world press, politicians, diplomats, businessmen etc. have never bothered to fully educate themselves on the nuclear question, and the press in particular has failed miserably to report on the medical effects of radiation, the REAL nature of radiation, nuclear power or nuclear weapons, but have instead regurgitated the lies and half-truths fed to them by the various entities that fave us the problem to begin with. Causing the man considered the "father" of radiological heath physics and former director of health physics at the U.S. Government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 29 yeras, namely Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, to state in 1989 "During the 58 years that I have been working with ionizing radiation, I have seen so many mistakes, misstatements, cover-ups and untrue statements by members of our govenment agencies (e.g. Atomic Energy Commission, Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commision, NASA etc.) and by representatives of the nuclear industry, that I seek independant safety evaluations of radiation risks before I trust THEIR accuracy." Dr. Morgan resigned from, and is a major critic of, the ICRP - International Committee on Radiological Protection. Most of the press, and the world community, are unaware that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is mainly funded by its licensses, the nuclear industry, or that radiation standards were set to allow the nuclear industry to operate, and have nothing to do with public health. The standards are usually followed worldwide. Nor do the know, that, because radiation cannot be seen, touched or felt etc. on a medical level, radiation exposure to the body is measured in THE AMOUNT OF CELL/TISSUE DAMAGE IT CAUSES in what is called the "radiation energy absorbed dose" - or RAD. The radiation dose is a measurement of the damaging power of radiation multiplied by a factor called RBE - Relative Biological Effectiveness, because the health effects depend not only on the amount of radioactive energy (i.e. frying - cell/tissue damage) but the FORM of radioactive energy. There are further complex calculations which bear little relation to anything much, it's sort of guesswork, and to get anything close to the actual damage, a doctor would also need to adjust to the individual overall health, age, sex etc. of the person.

The most vulnerable are children in the womb, followed by children, women and men in that order. The fail and old are also at greater risk as are pregnant women. The press also often fails to grasp that when the term "half-life" is used, it doesn't mean the safe level of a particular isotope. One must multiply the half-life by twenty to get the full, radioactive hazardous life. Or at least by ten. So tritium, (H3) for example, is radioactive not for approximately 12.5 years, but 120 to 260 years. Big difference. Plutonium 239 for a minimum of over 240,000 years - not 24,000. Which brings me back to "the bomb" as both are used in nuclear weapons. Do you really want to be part of the death of the earth?

I have heard reports mentioning "an Islamic bomb". This is garbage. There is no Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic or any other bomb - there is ONLY "THE BOMB" and those who create them, or would use them - or other weapons of mass destruction - should not be called scientists or generals or politicians, but should be called what they are: Criminally insane. Evil. In need of medical help. And those who manufacture them, or sell or traffic in them are responsible for their actions and evil. There ARE other jobs. As for the worlds taxpayers who are financing their own death, instead of refusing to pay that portion of their taxes - words fail. They too, dance while waiting for the radioactive holocaust.

But a few of us look at the glory of Creation, and the Universe, and weep.

Pamela Blockey-O'Brien (Member, I.F.O.R.)


All books, except for BEIR V, can be ordered via a good bookstore. The mose comprehensive are the first two.

Further: Testimony given to the United Stated Department of Energy, in "Volume TWO, Final Environmental Impact Statement on Continued Operation of K-, L-, and P, Reactors, Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina, December 1990 U.S. Department of Energy" DOE number: DOE/EIS-0147. Can be requested from the D.O.E., includes testimony of Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, and others, including myself. Very important documents. Some of it is heartbreaking.

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