STOP CASSINI Newsletter #106 -- March 5th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: What Can Possibly Stop NASA?: -- STOP CASSINI #106

Date: March 5th, 1999

Time Frame: There are only 111 days left until the last appropriate moment of redirection of the Cassini probe - the flyby of Venus, 7 weeks before the flyby of Earth.


NASA can only be stopped if the individuals working there recognize that they themselves are morally, fiscally, and personally responsible for what they are doing. There is no place to hide from plutonium spread throughout the environment and there is no place for someone willing to spread plutonium around, to hide. We the public have a right to see and confront those who are trying to kill us.

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

Today's Subjects:


(1) What Can Possibly Stop NASA?



CLEAR wants your success stories. Please take a few minutes out of your busy day to share strategies that have worked for you in thwarting the environmental backlash. Email your winning tactics to CLEAR will be publishing the success stories in the soon to be released on-line activist toolbox. If you would like the accounts to be published without the use of proper names, please advise in your email. Unless otherwise indicated, names and organizations will be used. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.



From: "Russell D. Hoffman"
Re: Stopping the tolls in Connecticut (a little success story)
Date: March 5th, 1999


This is a response to the request for "success stories" that went out recently on the Internet (shown below).

Almost 20 years ago, I was part of a successful activist movement to get rid of the tolls along the state highways in Connecticut, which was nicknamed at that time "The Toll Booth State" according, for example, to an article in Mad Magazine in the 1970's.

Okay, so it wasn't much of a cause, comparatively, but something DID work, and hopefully one principal which I used and which clearly had significant ramifications, might be useful to others in similar situations.

Briefly, what we did was point out to the state (Connecticut) in a crystal clear way, and in a public forum, that they (the big bad "they", that is -- The State) KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the tolls were dangerous. That tolls are a dirty and inefficient way to collect taxes is pretty obvious, but the fact that they really already knew (and thus could not deny) the danger involved was proven to them by pointing out that in front of the tolls were normally (be design, that is) 4 signs, two on each side of the lanes of the highway, one set a few hundred yards in front of the toll booths and the other a quarter mile or so further up the road. Each sign said, "TRUCKS TEST BRAKES".

These signs proved unequivocally that Connecticut KNEW these toll booths were dangerous!

We were having hearings all over the state about the tolls. These hearings were brought about because, in part, there had been a flaming accident which killed seven local residents, including several children, although the truck driver, a Klutz (that was his real last name) from North Carolina who fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into everybody, survived.

I pointed out, at the hearings, that these signs proved the state knew the dangers. I then pointed out that all the signs were old, dilapidated, and sometimes even missing or bent over. My three minute presentation describing this and other absurdities of a toll booth system of collecting road use taxes was aired on most of the major Connecticut news shows that evening (I was a minor celebrity at work the next day. My fame lasted precisely 15 minutes, as I recall).

Within a few months every sign had been replaced throughout the state. This, EVEN THOUGH the Governor (O'Neil) declared that he would remove the tolls in a phased-out plan which has indeed, long since now been done.

The point is this: If you can do two things, you can win almost any environmental case against the state, except perhaps those in which the state claims (generally to itself, they seldom make this public) that there is a national security issue involved.

The two things you need to point out are:

1) that something is dangerous, and

2) that the state KNOWS it's dangerous.

Once those two things have been unequivocally established, the state becomes much more legally and financially culpable in the event anything goes wrong! Because it's not true that you can't fight City Hall, or that you can't win a lawsuit against the Government. Both can be done, and if you have a really, really good case, they may crumble if you try!

In my current environmental battle with the United States Government I have been trying to make perfectly clear to them that they already know the dangers of vaporized plutonium in particulate form. This is actually fairly easy to document using the government's own literature, such as the BEIR IV report.

But my government pretends not to hear me, lest they become more culpable than they pretend themselves to be. For, for the United States Government, IGNORANCE IS BLISS. They tell YOU (and me) that ignorance is no excuse, and for us it isn't, but for the United States Government, for its States and Territories, and for all its elected and appointed officials and employees, IGNORANCE IS INDEED, THE ULTIMATE BLISS. As long as they remain ignorant, they are not culpable. But when that ignorance is shattered, all protection from culpability for the Government AND ITS EMPLOYEES is lost. Citizens rarely have that protection, we are responsible for our own stupidities (unless we are drunk and driving a motor vehicle, in which case we too, are often allowed to get away with murder). But the Government can do so much more easily, and does, and they protect that ignorance jealously and guardedly, with underhanded and covert tactics if necessary, and every other way they can. By failing to fund proper studies. By refusing to hold public hearings. By failing to print Environmental Impact Statements that honestly present the facts. These are lies the government commits to protect itself from culpability.

In 1997 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in conspiracy with several other U.S. and European Agencies, launched a space probe called Cassini with 72 pounds of plutonium 238 dioxide (mostly, plus some Pu 239 and other isotopes) on board. The purpose of the plutonium is as a heat source for electrical thermocouples and heater devices. In August of this year (1999) that same probe, which eventually is supposed to make it out to Saturn, will do a "swing by" Earth, coming just a few hundred miles above the surface after flinging around the inner planets for nearly two years.

72 pounds of something may not sound like much, but it is approximately half a trillion lethal doses' worth of plutonium, and plutonium does not burn up if the probe reenters Earth's atmosphere. It merely vaporizes into an aerosol of fine particles, mostly in the 10 micron size range, which happens to be the "best" size for plutonium particles to get lodged in the lung. In other words, this is an environmental assault of the highest order! Each 10-micron (average) size particle is not a guaranteed fatal dose of plutonium, but it is absolutely known throughout medical science to be an extremely hazardous amount. The danger is not that of crossing some "threshold", where if you inhale less than a certain amount, you are safe, but above that, you die. Rather it is entirely one of statistical reasoning, wherein, if you get some particles of plutonium in you, they may damage your living DNA in your living cells (including your genetic carriers), which can cause cancer (or birth defects). That is what NASA is risking, and the risk is not small or inconsequential.

When one plutonium atom decays, it shoots off one decay particle, called an "alpha particle". That alpha particle is in fact nothing more than an extremely fast-moving helium atom without its electron. Because it is so small, most alpha particles would be stopped by a single sheet of newspaper, a few sheets would stop all of them. But inside your body, with nothing to protect your living cells from the plutonium, that shooting alpha particle can crash through a DNA strand, causing one cancer in one living cell. [Note: This is actually the less-common way that DNA is damaged.  More commonly, "free radicals" are created, which in turn, disrupt the DNA. -- rdh.] An adult human body is made up of approximately 50 trillion (50 million million) living cells, of about 100 different specialized types. Even though these cells are very small, they are the basic building blocks of life, as first described over 150 years ago and generally given as follows:

From: Human Anatomy & Physiology, 1990, page 57 (see complete reference, below)

1) All living things are composed of cells and cell products

2) The cell is the basic unit of structure and function of all living things.

3) All cells come from the division of pre-existing cells.

4) An organism as a whole can be understood through the collective activities and interactions of its cells.


Every cell in your body came about because of another cell dividing into two cells. The first time this happened was shortly after the sperm first joined the egg to begin a new life. That first division is followed by a second division in which both of the two cells that form the new life divide at about the same moment, and the life becomes four cells. Those divide and become eight cells. Then 16, and then 32, more or less -- as the cells divide, their individual rates of division alter slightly, and their individual shapes also alter, so that after a while, after hundreds of hours of this dividing and dividing, the cells have begun to specialize, into what eventually form all the organs of the body and every little portion -- pinkies, dimples, birthmarks, the brain, the heart, etc. -- all are accounted for from this continuous and lifelong division of one cell into two, and two into four.

Cells are very small, and since your body has some 50 million million of them, one might think there is no room for "intelligence" in such a small living thing. Perhaps not. But yet each cell in your body is capable of amazing functions, including the synthesis of over 30,000 different proteins, and each is the curator of its own genetic code, which is replicated and passed on when the cell divides. That is a lot of work for something too small to have any "intelligence"! But no matter, it does these things, reliably. So reliably, in fact, that all 50,000,000,000,000 of them living at once inside your body generally get along quite well with each other and do their jobs quietly and efficiently, as nature (whomsoever she may be) has designed.

Quite a machine, this body of ours! And yet it is hardly fully understood. The marvels of membrane structure, for example, have only begun to be revealed to human consciousness in the past few decades (I say it that way, because obviously, we know it at some deeper and more useful level, but our scientists have not discovered and put into words all the details and truths involved!) There is however, much we do know about how we and all living things work. And progress continues. This is known:

The average cell in your body only lives for a few months or even just days (liver cells live about 18 months; stomach cells live only about 2 days). The rate of division in an adult, generally, just exactly keeps up with the loss of cells as they die. It's vital that cells divide at a rate such that parts of your body do not experience too-rapid growth, but only a steady and constant replacement of aging cells with new ones.

A cancer, generally, is when your own living cells multiply more rapidly than they should -- unrestricted growth of what starts out as a single cell of what would otherwise be 50 trillion healthy cells in your own body is a cancer. This is because of the geometric growth rate of abnormally fast cell division. It is generally believed to be triggered, among other things, by DNA damage causing the cell to lose track of its proper division schedule. Remember, all cells carry only the DNA from their "parent" cell. Only at the time the sperm meets the egg, once in the lifetime of a living human, will there be any chance for combining two DNA strands. After that, it's all just division. A cell divides its double-helix of DNA into two single helixes, and as it divides, each of those single-helixes quickly pick up available complimentary connecting proteins to rebuild themselves into two separate but identical double-helixes, exactly like the original one. When that process is completed the cell divides and each half gets one of the DNA strands. After some period of time, the new cell repeats this process, splitting its DNA, recombining with available proteins in the cell to make two strands, then splitting itself into two new cells. That is what happens inside your body all the time, but normally, it happens at a rate exactly equal to the replacement needs of your body as other cells die off, since cells generally (except brain cells and most nerve cells) don't live anywhere near as long as the body they are a part of. So this DNA replication thing is very, very important.

The idea is to keep radioactive particles away from this process, because alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, and so forth are all quite damaging to that DNA strand. It (the DNA strand) is comprised of hundreds of millions of individual molecules -- proteins. It is incredibly complicated, and has not as of this writing been completely mapped out, though scientists have made that a primary goal before Y2K -- that is, simply to be able to know the sequence of proteins [it has since been completely mapped! -- rdh] . We shall undoubtedly still be wondering how exactly they all work together to control the making of a lifeform, and to pass on the genetic code, when Y3K rolls around. It is undoubtedly something like, but even more complicated than, trying to understand a hundred million+ line computer program by reading the 1's and 0's of its machine code. At least we know what the "program" does! It makes life!

At any rate, this is known: Plutonium can disrupt this DNA chain [Note: it usually does this indirectly, by creating "free radicals" which in turn disrupt the DNA strand -- rdh]. Plutonium is so good at this, that even a millionth of a gram of Pu 238, if inhaled as a vapor, will disrupt so many DNA chains, that one of the disrupted cells is (statistically) likely to cause a cancer. That is, merely one millionth of a gram of Pu 238 will normally cause a lung cancer if inhaled by a human. That is quite a small dose, but it is not a "threshold" of any sort. Smaller doses are simply less and less likely to hit their mark, because they will, simply put, shoot off less alpha particles in their decay cycle (Plutonium 238 has a half-life of 87.75 years, meaning half of the plutonium 238 atoms in a pure sample will have decayed and each shot off one alpha particle in 87.75 years. In the next 87.75 years, half of those that are left will do the same. And so on.) Whether a particular particle of plutonium plucks your precious person from this planet all depends on whether one of the alpha particles that is shot off from the plutonium as it decays, [somehow] damages a DNA strand in such a way as to disrupt and speed up the replication sequence of that cell and its "offspring".

Toxics A-Z has this to say about plutonium's risks, "Once plutonium is inhaled, there is nothing that medical science can do to reduce the risk of lung cancer" (University of California Press, 1991, page 387). That risk is dependent on the amount of plutonium inhaled. Even one atom might (probably won't, but might) cause lung cancer, or the plutonium can travel from the lung to cause a birth defect, liver cancer, or leukemia, or other "health effect". Horrid, horrid stuff.

NASA claims that they have built a "containment system" for this plutonium, but the inadequacies of that system are so extensive, that even NASA cannot predict it will have much success if it is ever "tested" in a real flyby accident! That is to say, their own documents indicate a 3%, 33%, 66% or even a 100% release of the plutonium at high altitude in the event of a reentry accident, but never do they predict a 0% release for such an accident! But 3% of 72 pounds is about 2 pounds of plutonium -- a HUGE amount! (And it's all manmade poison, at that. Plutonium does not exist in Nature in any significant quantities, and there are NO known records of any "natural" Pu 238 ever having been discovered anywhere.)

All NASA's containment system really does, is ensure that any release of plutonium will occur at high altitude, where it will be spread by the winds and there will be no way to know what caused the eventual cancers that would be produced. NASA has used this tactic of high-altitude release before, and continues to build nuclear-payloaded rockets. Russia also uses it, and other nations will soon follow suit if such practices are not banned by the world courts and by human health concerns raising above military stupidity.

NASA is risking an environmental assault on humanity of unprecedented strength and size. Cassini contains more Pu 238 than ever before lofted into space. Plutonium's lung cancer-causing ability is renowned and properly so; it is often called the most carcinogenic substance on Earth. And in fact while that might indeed be true, the form of plutonium most people are thinking about when they think "most carcinogenic substance known" is the type used in nuclear bombs (Pu 239) which NASA continuously reminds us Cassini does not carry (actually, about 15% is Pu 239). Most of the plutonium on board Cassini is Pu 238, which is nearly 300 times MORE carcinogenic, once a similar-sized particle of one or the other has been inhaled! NASA doesn't remind you of this, however. NASA doesn't like to remind themselves of this, either!

So pointing all this out to NASA in excruciating detail has been my tactic for the past two years and 105 issues of my STOP CASSINI newsletter, but it hasn't been working very well. The reason? Twofold, first off, we have a movement here against the "nuclearization and weaponization of space" which is run at the top level by three or four frauds -- by actual agents of the Government, whose sole purpose is to deflect any successful protestors from actually accomplishing something. (This accusation, for all it's strength and audacity, is the result of several years of careful observation, and we have published the names and many of the alleged crimes against humanity, for others to judge for themselves. We do not make such an accusation lightly, frivolously, or without deep regret. But we make it with the fullest of personal conviction and in the TRUE spirit of cooperation -- cooperation, that is, with our inalienable right to search for truth about what is killing humanity -- specifically, what causes cancer.)

The second reason it has been nearly impossible to "lay the facts on the table" about this issue is that the United States Government believes (erroneously) that nuclear devices for electrical power generation in space are a National Security issue. The power they supply feeds electrical needs of spy satellites in Earth orbit today with future military launches undoubtedly planned. They also need nuclear generators -- real orbiting Chernobyls -- for space weapons plans. Indeed, Russia has built and launched several dozen such reactors, which now orbit the Earth and are "slowly" descending to Earth (400 year orbital decay rates or thereabouts, is not so slow compared to the radioactive decay rates of the materials (and some are right now leaking primary coolant into Earth orbit, which also slowly descends to Earth to increase the worldwide radiation levels).

The last attempted military launch of a satellite believed (by this writer) to have had a plutonium thermoelectric generator (RTG) on board was on August 12th, 1998 -- that one exploded in a huge fireball and of course, NASA/USAF have denied there was any plutonium on board, this denial being extremely weak and contradicted by numerous "behavior patterns" regarding the launch, and even by a CNN news report the day of the explosion, saying there was! (No, the infamous caller to NC-WARN shortly after the blast was indeed a fake...)

The crimes Cassini sits on the tip of, the excuses, the media manipulation -- it is not for the faint of heart. But it demands the same basic type of response any other state-institutionalized intrusion on the rights of citizens demands.

I believe the only successful tactic I have ever seen work is making the state utterly aware of the dangers, and also make it clear that the public knows that the state knows the dangers of something it does. Once those things have happened, the financial responsibility for whatever actions the state is committing go way, way up. At that point, the system of lies crumbles, and the state, and even the individual employees, become financially responsible, because although you can't sue the government for just anything, if they know they are doing something immoral, and you can prove that they know it, then all their covers and masks and hiding places evaporate.

Right now, NASA hides from financial responsibility for Cassini's potential by a scandalous piece of legislation known as The Price-Anderson Act. It hides from moral responsibility by pretending I do not exist, and those like me with valid and knowledgable arguments against Cassini do not exist, and most of all by pretending that the public protests against Cassini are the mindless cries of know-nothing anti-science Nostradamus worshippers, when in fact, it is NASA who is flying in the face of science and reason.

By pointing the true science out to them, more than 100 different times if necessary, and by pointing out NASA's lies to the public, also more than 100 different times if necessary (and there are easily 100 different lies NASA has told to pick from), I hope to stop Cassini and all future nuclear space missions containing more than "trivial" quantities of radioactive materials (e.g., .001 Curies or less might not require international approval, but all quantities above that amount should. Cassini carries over 400,000 Curies of plutonium.). I know of no other tactic to try; it is the only one I have seen work.


Russell D. Hoffman
Founder and Editor
STOP CASSINI newsletter -- now in it's 105th issue
STOP CASSINI website -- the #1 voice of the opposition to Pu in space since 1997


1) NASA 1995 Environmental Impact Statement, plus various official government supplements

2) Human Anatomy & Physiology, Robert Carola, John P. Harley, Charles R. Noback, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990

4) Toxics A-Z University of California Press, 1991

4) Conversations with, and reading the published works of, eminent nuclear physicist and health physicist Dr. John W. Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Medical Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and former Director of Biomedical Research at the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory. Dr. Gofman is a co-discoverer of Uranium 232, Pa 232, U 233, and Pa 233, and of slow and fast neutron fissionability of U 233, co-inventor of the uranyl acetate and columbium oxide processes for plutonium separation. He was also the first to isolate plutonium in working quantities (for the Manhattan Project during WWII). Dr. Gofman has taught and/or done research in radiochemistry, macromolecules, lipoproteins, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, trace element determination, x-ray spectroscopy, chromosomes and cancer, and radiation hazards.

5) Additional conversations with dozens of other renowned experts in the fields of health, health physics, engineering, etc. including Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, generally known as the "father of health physics", which is the study of radiation effects on human health, and Dr. Ernest Sternglass, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Jay M. Gould, author of Deadly Deceit and other books describing the dangers of low level radiation, and additional conversations with many other doctors, engineers and physicists.

Mistakes remain the author's...






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 -- nearly 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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First placed online March 5th, 1999.
Last modified August 13th, 1999 (small changes also made March, 2004 by the author)
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