Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #70 - August 22nd, 1998
This issue is the followup regarding the mysterious "project engineer" who has continued his campaign, having called now not just NC-WARN (as reported in the last issue (#69)), but (last night) The Art Bell Show as well. We do not believe the caller is really breaking ranks or providing the world with accurate news, nor does Kai Petzke, who's excellent commentary appears in this issue.
Sincerely, Russell D. Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
***** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #70, August 22nd, 1998 *****
****** VOLUME #70, August 22nd, 1998 ******
By Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman
*** Was there any plutonium on board this Titan IVA rocket? (revisited again)
The mysterious "project engineer" has surfaced again! This time, he's been heard calling in to the Art Bell show, the third-most-listened-to show on the radio these days. Does this guy want to get the word (his word) out or what?
I have to assume it's the same "project engineer" that called the environmental group WARN in North Carolina (the transcript of that call was in the last newsletter) but I have not actually heard any tapes. But his story is very similar.
It is all very suspicious.
Not whether anyone actually called Art Bell or NC-WARN of course, but that if the disaster this "project engineer" says happened, actually happened, it would be easily detectible. However, if there was indeed an RTG on board and it shattered just a wee little bit, or perhaps none at all, and this guy is a hoax planted specifically to disunite the movement and make us appear silly so that we are unable to discover and report the truth, well, then everything fits into place.
Also, if there is any truth here at all, then we are all in for a lot of hurt. Because what I am suggesting is that possibly there was an RTG on board (we have no way of knowing at this point), and there was a release, but not so much of one, and the government does not think they will be able to cover it up forever. Indeed, they don't know how long they can hold out for. Perhaps they are looking for the RTG itself before they announce some portion of the truth.
The longer the delay before any attempt is made to put out some geiger counters up and down the East Coast, the better the chances that whatever DID spill (if anything) will spread out into undetectable background radiation levels if it hasn't already. It becomes a silent killer.
By spreading this rumor of a full dispersal, which would in fact be easy to detect if it occurred, they have sent the movement into a frenzy in the entirely wrong direction. The vast majority of the evidence will probably still be in the remnants of the rocket, which we should be making the military feel obliged to present, with its charred unfolded solar panels, and no RTGs anywhere. This controversy COULD be cleared up in a minute, but instead this guy is calling around with an incredible story designed to set us up for the suckerpunch later. Maybe because there ARE charred remains of solar panels for them to present, and no RTG. So this makes us all look silly. Meanwhile none of us are demanding to see the remains of the RTG. Because if it was there, it DIDN'T just disappear, you know. There would probably have been GISs, GPHSs, and the RTG itself, and some of that must still exist in the area where the rocket went Kaputnik. (Although, in a recent interview with this editor, Dr. Horst Poehler indicated that even with all this supposed cladding, full dispersal would NOT have been impossible. But in that case, he pointed out, we'd be able to find evidence of the plutonium spill itself without much trouble.)
But, I would expect that if you go looking for evidence of 20 pounds of plutonium 238 vaporized in the atmosphere over Florida last week, you won't find it, because it's not there and the government knows it. To find 1/100,000th that much, however, takes much more effort and must be done very quickly. Someone doesn't want our movement to do the search properly, they want us to think if anything went wrong it will be easy to find. It won't be and it's getting harder every hour.
The thing to do right now is to search very carefully for the information, because it won't be easy to find if the real accident that occurred was 1/100,000th the size of the one this caller is implying happened. Perhaps the local activists will attempt such a search. I hope so.
Cassini carried about 270,000,000,000 potentially lethal doses of plutonium (that's 270 Billion, or about 45 for every many, woman, and child on Earth). The "clues" cited in the last newsletter indicate that if there is any truth to any of this Titan plutonium story, it would be one RTG, not three, so that's still 90 Billion "potentially lethal doses" on board. If there are any.
So an accident the size the caller implies is easily detected, and an unmitigated disaster. But an accident 1/100,000th that size is hard to detect, but still an unmitigated ˘˘disaster.
*** What is a "Potentially Lethal Dose"?
First, it is the amount of plutonium that all parties I have found, pro and con, agree will be virtually 100% fatal if inhaled by humans. It's hard to nail that number down but certainly, it is less than a millionth of an ounce or so of plutonium 238 WHEN IN VAPORIZED FORM -- as it would be in an accident such as the caller says happened. Thus, first of all a "potentially lethal dose" is a lethal dose of plutonium if it finds its mark (you or me, a loved one or a friend). It is a fatal quantity of Plutonium. It causes lung cancer or leukemia or some other usually-fatal health effect in virtually 100% of its victims. That is the "lethal dose" part.
"Potential" here means distributed into the environment. Spread throughout the environment, not all "potentially" lethal doses find their mark. If vaporized, it would mainly become particles far smaller than a "potentially lethal dose", perhaps particles as small as 1/1,000th of a "potentially lethal dose", or even much smaller. But the amazing statistical fact which the Government denies but cannot disprove, is that it doesn't matter how spread out a "potentially lethal dose" is. You can give it all to one person -- it is a virtual certainty that person will die.
You can divide it in two and give it to two people. On average, one of them will get cancer or leukemia or some other health effect and will die from it, but it is impossible to be sure which one will get what effect. Sometimes both will suffer. Sometimes neither, but on average, the "potentially lethal dose" will kill one person. As to which one, well, I guess it's the devil's own version of a magic bullet.
You can divide one "potentially lethal dose" of plutonium in ten and give a piece to each of ten people -- on average, still only one of them will get cancer or leukemia or another health effect, but again, it is impossible to be sure which one, although predilections for various cancers do occur within the population due to diet, stress, smoking, overall health, etc. which show up whenever sampling is done at a delicate enough level.
You can divide one "potentially lethal dose" of plutonium into a hundred doses -- or a thousand -- and give a piece to each of hundred (or a thousand) people -- and on average, still just one of them will get cancer or leukemia or another health effect, but again, it is impossible to be sure which one. That is the theory, more or less, of the opposition scientists, which has NOT, in any way, been disproved. It is what the government does not want you to understand, or believe.
And hear's another Stupid Plutonium Trick: You don't have to divide it evenly! You can divide it in any proportion you like, and the relative likelihood of any particular recipient of your gruesome experiment falling ill will be proportional to how you slice it. But the total of all proportions will still equal one death (on average). This stuff is the ultimate toy you can never get rid of.
And one more: Since plutonium's radiological dangers are unaffected by burning it, if you cremate a victim, the original killing particle may then be released into the atmosphere to randomly find another target. Thankfully, this will continue for less than 87.75 years on average, for half of the Plutonium 238. But it will continue for 87.75 or longer for the other half --sometimes as much as 10 times as long, or even more. And there would probably be about 15% Plutonium 239 and other isotopes mixed in as well, with their various radiological and toxicological "qualities".
Imagine if last week's headlines had explained the true consequences of an accident in which only 1/100,000th of an RTG was vaporized. 90 billion divided by 100,000 = 90,000 potentially lethal doses. The headlines would read, "U.S. MILITARY RELEASES 90,000 KILLER DOSES OF PLUTONIUM ACROSS FLORIDA". And that's not just in the Evening Star, either -- that's what the New York Times would report! That would be REAL news, and that would just be the report if 1/100,000th of the reported RTG's load of plutonium were to have been dispersed in last week's accident -- not the whole thing. Just a very, very small part.
This would not be good for tourism, of course, or the image of the space program -- but at least it probably would have distracted America from the Monica Lewinsky story!
*** Breaking ranks, breaking news, or just breaking wind?
If the purported "project engineer" were really breaking ranks, then who really thinks they would have let him do it a second time, days later? And even assuming they hadn't caught him in the few day's time that elapsed between when he contacted NC-WARN and when he contacted The Art Bell Show, it must have been pretty clear to him that by initiating a second call, he hasn't got a hope or prayer of getting away with it. If he exists, he WILL be caught, of that there can be little doubt. When they are sure of who he is, I assume they will send in about 75 cruise missiles from a few offshore ships and submarines and take him and his neighbors out. I hope he doesn't live near me!
But seriously, this guy should be in a heap of trouble, shouldn't he? So how did he survive to call the Art Bell show? They sound like the same guy from the descriptions, though as I said I haven't heard either tape. Voices can be disguised of course. The message is essentially the same, though.
The call appears to be a hoax designed to achieve the victory of discrediting the anti-Cassini, anti-nukes-in-space movement just at the time of one of our greatest vindications. Because they have accidently blown up either a nuclear-payload-equipped rocket, or at least *another* Titan. If it had a nuclear payload, they probably don't know how much plutonium was lost, but they seem to suspect some was, and anyway (perhaps because of the alleged CNN report, and all the other clues) they know the public suspects something, and they need to produce an incredible story for us all to get fooled with. Naturally, being a country and even a "movement" comprised mostly of sheep, it's working. Bah. Bah Humbug.
Or maybe they just want to box out legitimate press from becoming concerned. They -- the "legitimate" press, who rarely explore anything deep enough to find the whole truth -- hear about this guy, and realize (by talking to any respectable scientist) that it's a hoax, blame the movement for getting hyper over nothing, and forget it. Meanwhile, we have been treated to a real potential disaster, and have been lied to and misused (as has the media, including the Art Bell show). The movement has been discredited or is being set up to be discredited soon, by production of benign evidence, real or invented. Soon they will be saying "despite widespread rumors from anti-nuclear and anti-space activists..." or some such garbage.
We could ask the following: If this man's story is true, why isn't he appearing in public? Is he afraid of loosing his job or afraid of far more serious legal repercussions? Grant him immunity! Surely if he acted honestly, he did so in the belief he was serving the Nation in a higher form. That could surely be proven in any court! So grant him immunity if his story is true (or even partly true)! Have they found him yet? Are they now holding him? If so, don't we have a right to see him, perhaps even to see that he is okay? Did he commit a treasonable offense in making these phone calls and are they heroic, or is he a babbling idiot (such as I have been called, and who hasn't been, now and then?), or is he simply not close enough to the facts, such that he doesn't understand that they wouldn't, couldn't, and didn't purposely vaporize any more than they "had to" if indeed they "had to" vaporize any (if it existed)? In other words, the purpose of the Air Force's forced self-destruction of any missile which is veering incorrectibly off course is not to "destroy evidence" or "vaporize" hundreds of billions of lethal doses of plutonium, it is simply to protect the surrounding populace from an errant missile. The protective casing system of GISs, GPHSs and so on, which may be inadequate for full containment, could still achieve a high degree of containment, although probably not nearly as good as they think they can do, which is on the order of 99.99999% or something. We have explained our view in these 70 issues of this newsletter and at the web site, that the space cadets have no reasonable proof of such wonderful containment capabilities, and that perhaps they can only contain something like 90% or 99%, or even 99.9% (we really cannot tell, since we are not given samples to test independently). It might even be 99.999%. Or more -- who knows? The point is, 99.999% containment of 270,000,000,000 potentially lethal doses, as with Cassini, is still pretty bad. Truly a disaster. If this Titan had one RTG on it instead of three, as the weight figure (given last issue (#69)) implies, that would be 90,000,000,000 potentially lethal doses. .001% of that is still a big, big number!
For Cassini, we then argued that the risk --whatever it was -- was for naught because safe alternatives existed at the time of the launch. For this one, we would certainly argue the same thing, since (as Kai Petzke indicates in the email shown below) one RTG doesn't really give you all that much electricity, anyway. So maybe that's the ultimate hoodwink here -- there was no RTG.
But the caller to the Art Bell show, and the caller to NC-WARN (presumably the same person) is saying there was an RTG on board, and that ALL of the plutonium was incinerated! On purpose! 20,000 feet over Florida! And then, the caller seems to assume such a thing would be undetectable without his "brave" warning.
HOWEVER, if there really was an RTG (a nuclear energy unit, or Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) on board "VORTEX", then perhaps a much smaller accident happened, and only a few grams (or less) were released. Or even none was released, but we still came awfully, awfully close to a big disaster, and I would like to see the evidence *proving* none was released, when the rocket parts are recovered from the sea floor (specifically, the intact RTG itself, if there is one).
If any breach of the system occurred, it would still be a disaster -- it could still be the largest nuclear accident in America, in terms of potential health effects if even so much as one gram or one ounce got out -- and yet such an accident would not be anything like what this caller is describing. But it might be very hard to detect.
The caller may honestly not know much about the RTG's and how they are designed. Uh huh. Sure. Anything's possible.
Regardless, what is crystal clear is that this "project engineer" is very determined to get his word out -- I call on him to present himself. Instead of calling radio shows and leaving messages on environmental organizations' tape machines, let him talk to ANYONE who knows what questions to ask (except me, who has no desire to waste more time on him). Our side has many questions to ask him, to verify his story, and clarify the parts that seem at this point to be highly illogical.
If the government finds this guy (and they surely will, if they want to) I call on them to present him to us, for if he simply "disappears" now that he has done his damage, we shall of course have to fear the worst, which is that he has been found, and done in, silenced in the "professional" way, as it were, or will be soon. But he has done his damage -- now bring him out and bring him to trial. Find out what kind of fool he is (if indeed he is a fool at all). Find out what ideals he supports, and find out who he works with. His story is hogwash -- discredit his whole organization! His story does not make sense. I think he is presenting his story to discredit the movement, a movement which is based on scientific reason and human decency, I think his purpose is to misinform the public. I call on the government to catch this "rat". The truth (if any) of his statements must be confirmed, and if they are false, we do not want such a person in our midst without being able to identify him, and if they are true, he is in grave danger and we wish to see that he gets a fair trial and, if appropriate, a fair ticker-tape parade for having come forward. But he cannot just disappear.
Perhaps he is a modern Alger Hiss. Perhaps he is a modern Sacco or Vanzetti. I don't know. But he does not appear to be a modern Karen Silkwood.
Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI newsletter
*** Email from Kai Petzke concerning NC-WARN's mysterious message
EMAIL FROM KAI PETZKE (CLIP)
I don't believe the claims made in the [phone message to NC-WARN]. Let me explain:
* An RTG with 20 pounds of plutonium creates around 300 Watts of electricity, if they use the same type of heat converters used on Cassini. If they use a more efficient means of creating electricity, 20 pounds of plutonium create up to 900 Watts.
The same amount of power can be produced by 6.5 square meters of low efficiency (10%) solar cells. Modern twin layer cells have an efficiency of up to 30%, reducing the required area to 2.2 square meters or less.
Modern telecommunication satellites have solar arrays of 30 square meters and more. They have an output power in the kilowatt range.
* The spy satellite, which was destroyed in the Titan crash, must have had multiband receivers, high gain antennas and all that. It was a satellite with at least 2 tons dry weight - otherwise, they would not have used the Titan. I don't believe, you can operate such a beast on just 900 watts. If they need solar power anyway for most of the satellite, why add the troublesome and expensive RTGs then?
* It is a standard procedure to trigger all "self-destruct" charges, if a rocket goes berserk. Particular, in case of the Titan, they prefer it, if the toxic fuel is dispersed in the air, not in the sea.
However, I do not say, that there can't be any plutonium there. But please, please act carefully! I *do* believe, that NASA tries to make the anti-nukes-in-space movement look incredible. I *do* believe, that they do things like ask a project engineer to call someone and spread false news. They will wait for a big rumor. Then, two months later, they will present the pieces of solar arrays, that they recovered from the sea. They will also show other pieces of the satellite. They will then hand Geiger counters to tv and newspaper journalists. And they will ask the journalists to check the satellite wreck parts for radioactivity. The press might not find any. If they do not find any, the world press will laugh in our face the next day.
In other words: We have made a small victory against them, because the Titan failed. But please, please act careful that we don't loose it again! Just one call on an answering machine is NOT enough to prove ANYTHING!
If there have been 20 pounds of plutonium on that rocket, some (or even most) of it will now be in the gulf of Florida. It will be easy to find there. Please get the following:
Use the boat to drive to the area, where the debris came down. You can't get exactly to that place (there is a security zone around it), but even ten or fifty Miles off the actual area should be enough to find radioactivity. If the Geiger counter starts running crazy while approaching, turn over, of course. Pump water through the filter. Check the radioactivity of the filter after it is full with dirt. There will always be radioactivity - natural radioactivity and the human made nuclear waste (bomb tests and so on), that got washed into the sea. You'll need a physics institute or similar to do a spectral analysis. BTW: This work is rather danger-free. The plutonium gets only nasty, when you breath or swallow it. Please handle the contaminated filters with care - gloves should be enough, though. Take several samples at different places around the crash site. Label the samples with the coordinates of where you found them. GPS receivers can be very helpful for that job.
If the institute, that analyses the samples, finds unnatural high plutonium 238, when compared to plutonium 239, make it a BIG scandal
BTW: The plutonium is mostly harmless, as long, as you don't breath or swallow it.
Kai Petzke, Inst. fuer Theor. Physik,
TU Berlin, Sekr. PN 7-1,
If you don't like formulas, then this web page is made specifically for you!
END OF COMMENTS (CLIP) FROM KAI PETZKE
We thank Kai as always for his insight and his comments. He added that he would be willing to help analyze the samples for anyone who desires such help.
AND IN CONCLUSION...
Please feel free to post these newsletters anywhere you feel it's appropriate! THANKS!!!
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Thanks for reading,
Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI webmaster.
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