STOP CASSINI Newsletter #64 -- March 25th, 1998

Copyright (c) 1998

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #64 - March 25th, 1998

To: Subscribers ONLY! We do not email this to anyone who has not requested a subscription (news organizations and public officials excepted). To unsubscribe, see instructions at the bottom of this newsletter.

From: Russell Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER

Date: 3/25/98


Spring is here! (Not that it matters much in sunny "SoCal".) Another season has slipped by. What had become a daily newsletter full of active controversy and commentary has dropped off to become quarterly at best... I feel I should apologize for this, but instead, I'll just try to make each newsletter "count".

Expect an upsurge of newsletter issues as we get nearer and nearer the Earth flyby, of course. (An event NASA is clearly (see below) forgetting about as much as possible.) And for those still curious, I do still do some "private" debating with folks who email me, but very little, and I'll probably collect it all up and publish it when I get a chance. And gladly, subscriptions to this newsletter do still trickle in. And there are still many thousands of "hits" at the STOP CASSINI web site each week, but it's sort of coasting on autopilot right now (much like Cassini probably is too, come to think of it...).

We received a letter from Earle K. Huckins III, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science; its useless dribble is presented below. Also some other related topics.

Sincerely, Russell D. Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter.

***** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #64, March 25th, 1998 *****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #64 March 25th, 1998 ******

By Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman

****** VOLUME #64, March 25th, 1998 ******

*** Group Urges Russian President Yeltsin to Keep 'Mir' Alive
One has to wonder why the U.S. space planners wish to put 20 to 30 billion dollars into a new space station which will do little to progress the reach of humanity to other planets and to the moon, when there is a "perfectly good" Low-Earth Orbit space station already up there that really just needs a new coat of paint and a few bolts tightened (according to the email received here recently and shown below). >>>>> START OF INCOMING EMAIL >>>>> GROUP URGES RUSSIAN PRESIDENT YELTSIN TO KEEP 'MIR' ALIVE; CITES SAFETY CONCERNS OF DE-ORBIT PLANS Los Angeles, CA, February 19, 1998 -- On the twelfth anniversary of the launch of the Mir space station, the Space Frontier Foundation called on Russian President Yeltsin to reverse the decision to destroy the station next year. In an open letter to Yeltsin, Foundation President Rick Tumlinson warned that the plan to use a series of Progress space tugs to plunge Mir to a fiery re-entry poses too great a risk to the public at too high a cost and urged Russia to instead place it in a higher, stable orbit until new technology is available to refurbish and re-use the multi-billion dollar space station. The letter states: "We congratulate the people of Russia for operating history's longest lived space station. But why is such a successful facility being destroyed, and lives put at risk, simply because the American space agency sees it as inconvenient while building its expensive new International Space Station." According to Tumlinson, "There are strong reasons Russia should keep Mir alive. First, the U.S. government's haste to kill Mir is the catalyst for ill-conceived plans to use a series of Progress spaceships to de-orbit the massive station. If just one Progress were to fail at the wrong moment, 150 tons of fiery metal will rain down somewhere on Earth. And we have seen that Progress spaceships, like all such craft, do indeed fail", referring to last July's near-catastrophic crash of a Progress tanker with Mir." Tumlinson added: "Second, Mir has great value to Russia as orbital real estate. Contrary to NASA's ongoing negative PR campaign to prepare the public for its destruction, Mir is essentially sound, as the astronauts who have flown on her will attest." He continued: "Instead of trashing Russia's proudest monument to the opening of space, I am asking Yeltsin to order a much lower risk operation to lift the it to a higher, safer orbit, until the new generation of rocket planes now being designed come on line." The Foundation points out that NASA's announced plans to have its station served by commercial space ships will create a transportation system that can serve both. Tumlinson explained: "Given that replacing Mir will cost untold billions of dollars, when these new space ship fleets begin to fly, companies will race to win contracts to convert the station into a 21st century orbital spaceport, laboratory, or even the first space hotel." Concluding, he cited NASA's questionable motivation in the destruction of earlier technologies such as the Saturn V launcher and the Skylab space station, and urged Yeltsin not to emulate the U.S. space program in this regard. "Why waste Mir? Russia needs new sources of income. Why should it throw such an important investment away simply to please the US? On ISS, Russia will always be a second class citizen, why not 'Keep Mir Alive' and turn it into a symbol of free enterprise and hope for the New Russia?" Added David Anderman, Project Director for the Foundation's 'Keep Mir Alive' campaign, "the current plans to take Mir out of orbit are simply absurd. It's like spending $50,000 to junk your car - by dropping it on your own house." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System."

For information on the Foundation call 1-800-78SPACE
or visit our WEB Site at:
Our E-Mail Address is


*** Incoming mail: Why did this letter take so long to get mailed?

A NASA envelope postmarked Jan 29th, '98, Washington DC arrived here a few days later. Inside was a letter, undated in the type, but stamped October 24th, 1997, more than three months prior to the postmark on the envelope. It is from Earle K. Huckins III, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science. The letter concludes with the word "enclosures" but there was only one enclosure; a picture of "The Cassini Mission to Saturn and its Moon Titan" with a description of the mission on the back. The words "plutonium", "radioactive", "controversial", "RTG", "strongly opposed" and "foolhardy" are all missing from that description. The picture is labeled JPL 400-556 11/95.

INCOMING LETTER (transcribed)

October 24th, 1997

Dear Mr. Hoffman:

Thank you for your letter of September 5, 1997 to President Clinton concerning the Cassini mission to Saturn. Your letter was forwarded to me for a response, since I am the person at NASA who is in charge of the Cassini mission.

The Cassini spacecraft was successfully launched on October 15, 1997. The spacecraft is now on its inter-planetary trajectory that will take it to Saturn arriving in July 2004.

I must emphasize that NASA places the highest priority on assuring the safe use of radioactive materials in space. A number of previous and successful NASA missions such as Pioneer, Viking, Voyager, Galileo and Ulysses utilized instruments powered by nuclear power sources called Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG's). RTG's convert the heat from decay of plutonium directly to electricity for use by a spacecraft and its instruments. Because it is recognized that accidents can happen, the RTG's used by U.S. spacecraft have been designed by the Department of Energy to contain their plutonium dioxide in a wide range of launch and orbital reentry accidents. The enclosed fact sheet "Spacecraft Power for Cassini" contains details relating to the safety of RTG's.

I have also enclosed two fact sheets regarding the Cassini mission. If you have internet access you can find more information at:



Earle K. Huckins III
Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science



This is, of course, all malarkey. Besides wondering why this letter took so long, one really has to wonder how he could so conveniently "forget" to mention that this evil pill is NOT heading for Saturn at all, but is in fact, currently on an inter-planetary trajectory that will take it to within a few hundred miles of Earth in 1999. Then, if it gets past us, it will go to Saturn, if nothing else goes wrong in the interim. And if it crashes into Earth, they'll claim the dose will be too low to kill anybody, because they conveniently designed their little poison pellets to disperse at high altitude. But all that will happen is they will cover their tracks and we won't be able to tell WHO dies from Cassini's plutonium. And speaking of crimes against humanity:

*** Government ignores toxic plutonium mess: What else is new?

They don't call it "the newspaper of record" for nothing...

According to a New York Times News Service report by Matthew L. Wald published in the San Diego Union Tribune Monday, March 23rd, 1998, the nuclear weapons facility at Hanford, Washington has been leaking, and leaking, and leaking. Like the Energizer Bunny with a continence problem, some 68 out of 177 underground storage tanks for "hot" radioactive waste (most of single-wall construction, if you can believe our Government would be so stupid) have already spilled nearly one million gallons of sludge into the soil around the tanks.

The U.S. Energy Department (an agency comprised (in large part) of ecological terrorists and mad scientists) had said "for decades" that the waste would not reach the ground water for 10,000 years or more. But last November the Energy Department acknowledged that the plutonium has already reached the local water table, some 10 millennia earlier than their estimates. Was this a scientific blunder? Hardly!

The original estimate was based on what they needed to say to assure Congress and the public, so we would let them build their "Cold War" arsenal. There was no "science" to blunder. So does this new "honesty" mean we are entering a new era of openness and enlightenment? Not at all! It merely means they need so much money to clean it up, they can't get it without "going public". And, the waste has reached the point where its presence can no longer be hidden behind barbed wire fences. So secrecy is no longer an option, that's all. There is no great enlightenment going on in the Energy Department. They are still a bunch of ecological terrorists and mad scientists.

The current cost estimates for long-term cleanup are that it will cost about as much (about $50 Billion) as two "Space Station Freedoms" but this estimate is undoubtedly unrealistic because it is based on technology that has not only NOT been proven effective (glassification), indeed, it will probably only lead to future America citizens having to spend even more money to take care of the waste again later.

*** A comment on the possibility of another "Persian Gulf War"

The "glorious victory" of the last Gulf War seven years ago and the potential for another "glorious victory" in another war were/are made possible through the use of space-based control systems for computerized weapons of mass destruction. Can this be justified morally? To be able to "fight" a war from "offsite", without any risk whatsoever to one side, while the other side fights against icy cold, unemotional machines? Even if you agree wholeheartedly with the reasoning behind the war (which reasoning, by the way, shall remain hidden from you, and your decision shall be based not on the truth of the situation, but on propaganda designed specifically to hide the truth from you), is it morally justifiable to fight a war where one side can sit in an easy-chair and push buttons ($600 Pentagon toilet seats come to mind) while the other side dies fighting a machine? It sounds to me like some of the worst horrors science fiction has ever come up with, but of course, it's real. And being real, it is actually even worse, because these modern machines of mass destruction leave an environmental assault that continues for generations, against sons and daughters of sons and daughters of dead combatants.

According to our leaders, both Bush and Clinton, we do not even have a quarrel with the current living Iraqi generation, let alone with future Iraqi generations, only with their leader. If the Iraqi people get rid of their leader (we say), then sanctions and threats of war will all end. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children die, against whom we have no quarrel and who will never make it onto "Real TV", but dying babies is as real as it gets.

The leader the Iraqi people are being asked to get rid of is, of course, a leader whom the Iraqi people are utterly powerless to remove from office, because after "Phase 1" of the seven-year Gulf War, we left his Republican Guard with enough tanks and artillery to keep control of the country. We truly are demanding the impossible.

Did Saddam's insane infernos justify similar eco-assaults? We watched the first Gulf War on U.S.-military-censored and U.S.-journalist-self-censored-TV. Since then, we have learned that D.U. and other chemicals used by the U.S. probably made a lot of Gulf War Veterans sick, and what did these horrors do to Iraq? A unique area of the Earth, which holds buried within it the cradle of civilization -- the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers -- has been damaged and polluted so badly that the effects will remain for many generations to come. It is inevitable that people we could not possibly have a quarrel with (because they have not yet even been born, nor have their parents) will suffer the effects of a war between people who no longer exist (because all those living now will be long dead while the effects of the pollutants continue to harm the land where they were used.)

We have scarred Mother Earth and Future Humans enough with our "high tech" weapons. If these weapons are so good, the least they can do is stop their damage when the war they are designed for use in is over. Yet from Hanford to Baghdad the remnants of these faceless, brainless weapons have only begun to kill. How can any weapon that can kill for generations be called "high tech" at all? That would seem to be something our high-tech scientists could do -- build weapons that don't kill and pollute after the war is over. But they don't. American Military Technology is assaulting American Veterans, American Citizens, and not to mention Iraqi Babies, and everyone else on this planet.

It's time to put a stop to the military madness that has crippled this country for so long. There are too many good things that America needs to do to allow a continued $26+ Billion dollar annual CIA budget, or a "defense" budget in the hundreds of Billions. Peace will be better ensured for this and all future generations by using that same money to build a better world, not to build better and better ways to destroy it.

*** Introducing Will Thomas: Journalist, Author, Videographer

A few weeks ago I was sent a book about the Gulf War that has shocked me.

While I certainly believe what I wrote in the above section on the D.U. weaponry and armor now being employed by the U.S. military, it really doesn't begin to go far enough to explain the depths of depravity to which our American military has sunk. No longer are they even interested in simply saving American lives over "enemy" lives -- they are quite happy to destroy both, then cover up what they have done.

Don't believe me? Read BRINGING THE WAR HOME by William Thomas ($19.95, paperback, Earthpulse Press, Inc., P.O. Box 201393, Anchorage, AK, 99520 ISBN #1-890693-22-7).

Will Thomas is an award-winning documentary writer and producer -- among other awards, his 30-minute short about the Gulf War titled "Eco War" won the United States Environmental Film Festival Award for "Best Documentary Short" in 1991. Thomas relates a version of what happened in the Gulf with such meticulous cross-referencing and giving of names, places, dates and times, that it is difficult to deny what he has presented.

BRINGING THE WAR HOME is well documented and powerful. It presents a case against the U.S. Government and the U.S. Military for their complicity in first supplying chemical and biological weaponry to Iraq before the Gulf War, then giving our troops untested inoculations which proved to be worse than the dangers being faced and in some cases even made the dangers worse. Then the U.S. military proceeded to bomb and blow up those same weapons at the start of the war, then it ignored detectors that kept going off (repeatedly claiming, among other things, faulty batteries) when clouds of contamination drifted with the winds over Allied troops. Then it destroyed what records there were of contaminations after the war, and finally, our wonderful U.S. Military has been denying health benefits to those very same soldiers whom we honored in marches meant as much to massage the morals of a mass-media monster who wanted to "cleanse the nation" of "the Vietnam curse" as to reward the heroics of our overpowering force's computer-game-like victory over men and boys (deeply crazed men and boys, it's true) with little more than pea-guns and pop-shooters (and chemical and biological weapons sold to them during the Iran-Iraq war by American and Allied firms) in comparison.

After the war, the official death toll was something like 250 Allied dead including those dead from "friendly fire", and 80,000 to 150,000 Iraqi dead (no one knows for sure, of course). Kind of one-sided, I'd say. But the official U.S. combat related casualties now includes over 6,200 dead. Not nearly as one sided as it was once portrayed by our self-censored line-towing media. And the "official" Iraqi death toll? Including children who have died since we bombed the sewage and water systems, the roads, bridges, aqueducts, power stations and railroad yards? There is little doubt that it may exceed 500,000 children dead in Iraq since the war. Maybe it was pretty one-sided after all... Some of the children that have died since the war, because of the war, were not even born during the war. Thank you, George Bush, for your Kinder, Gentler Carpet Bombing!

Thousands of American GIs are right now stricken with degenerative illnesses with no official explanation, because the truth is the future of war. It's too dark to contemplate, but a "poor man's atom bomb" went off in the Gulf. Chemical warfare is here now, and if world policies do not change quickly, it will be here to stay. And remember, one chemical war in one area of the world is sure to mean that eventually, the entire world will suffer effects from it as the pollution spreads through this fragile, closed environment. A chemical war anywhere is a chemical war everywhere.

Sooner or later American citizens will wake up. We could buy a lot more "protection" and world peace if we stopped selling so many weapons and stopped building so many weapons and so much infrastructure of war, and started building an infrastructure of peace instead. Seek out peacemakers and support them instead of trying to distribute weapons for state control. We have armed too many countries. America's sons and daughters routinely face American-made and legally-sold weaponry when going into harm's way. Who should pay when that weapon does its job?

William Thomas' "case" as presented in this new book is a strong one, and he cites veteran after veteran, as well as Senators, Doctors, Scientists, and many others. I highly recommend this book and commend William Thomas for the time and effort it must have taken to put it together.

Here is William Thomas' URL:


Please feel free to post these newsletters anywhere you feel it's appropriate! THANKS!!!

Welcome new subscribers!

Thanks for reading,
Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI webmaster.


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