If You Love This Planet, Dr. Helen Caldicott

Archive for October, 2009

Bruce Gagnon on the need to stop U.S. weaponization of space and missile defense

Monday, October 26th, 2009


2009 Korean protest against U.S. missile defense program (www.space4peace.org)

2009 South Korean protest against the U.S. missile defense program (www.space4peace.org)

Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, and has worked on space issues for 27 years. He was the organizer of the Cancel Cassini Campaign (the Cassini Campaign was a project that launched 72 pounds of plutonium into space in 1997) which drew enormous support and media coverage around the world. In this compelling interview, Gagnon discusses with Dr. Caldicott the current situation surrounding space weaponisation and missile defense.

Near the start of this episode, Gagnon and Dr. Caldicott look at the Cassini mission, and a worst-case scenario of the satellite scattering plutonium over the Earth. Dr. Caldicott explains the terrible toxicity of Plutonium-238. The program then focuses on the United States’s weaponization of space and missile defense. Gagnon mentions which U.S. corporations are profiting from weaponizing space (using billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars), and the arrogant agenda of the U.S. to dominate and fight wars from space. He talks about the problem of space debris, U.S. plans for cyberwarfare, and which weapons are being installed in space. He describes the war-games scenarios the U.S. military now engages in, and the major role of military satellites.
Dr. Caldicott brings up the topic of drones, the pilotless planes the U.S. now uses to kill people by remote control. Read the Oct. 19 article Report: Drone Strikes Increased Dramatically Under Obama. Gagnon says that people can watch videos about drones on the Space4Peace website (go here).

Bruce Gagnon

Bruce Gagnon

The Pentagon, Gagnon says, boasts that space weaponization / missile defense is the largest industrial project in the history of planet Earth, as described in Gagnon’s 2009 article The Space Arms Race and the NASA Scam. Gagnon notes that all NASA projects are now dual use - military and civilian. Dr. Caldicott asks Gagnon for his assessment of President Obama’s actions in the arena of missile defense and nuclear disarmament, and Gagnon says Obama has been disappointing on missile defense. They discuss Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s September opinion piece in The New York Times, A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe. Gagnon refers to recent remarks by the Czech government about missile defense, as explained in Former Czech Foreign Minister Talks About Missile Defense, Belarus, And Russia.

Dr. Caldicott underscores how U.S. missile defense installations are really targeted at Russia, and related to never-abandoned U.S. plans to fight nuclear war with the former Soviet Union. Gagnon discusses the focus of U.S. military strategy on controlling natural resources and pipelines. He mentions April remarks by Mikhail Gorbachev, alluding to the U.S., about how the development of military space technology, and the aggressive encirclement of another country with weapons, will prevent nuclear disarmament from occurring. Read Gorbachev’s October 5 address to the United Nations, Resetting the Nuclear Disarmament Agenda.

The U.S. is developing military space technologies, Dr. Caldicott emphasizes, to completely dominate the planet. She asks Gagnon about the psychology of the people developing space weapons, and he gives his interpretations for their behavior. Gagnon stresses that the public should not be intimidated by weapons scientists, and should become very vocal about demanding an end to weapons programs and conversion of tax dollars for both human needs and solving the environmental crisis. After the conclusion of the interview with Gagnon, Dr. Caldicott reads from the chapter on the ozone layer in her latest book, the fully revised edition of If You Love This Planet, published in September by WW Norton Company. If You Love This Planet, the book, covers all major environmental issues in depth and is a perfect complement to this radio program.

For more background on the U.S. military’s plans for space, see Vision for 2020, a document published by the U.S. Space Command and the blueprint for U.S. domination of the Earth from space. The document calls for “dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment” and it focuses on the concept of “full spectrum dominance,” which is now the aim of the U.S. military. Compare the above to the Outer Space Treaty [Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space], on a United Nations web page.

Also see the U.S. military’s Air Force Space Command: Strategic Master Plan, FY06 and Beyond. This document declares that for the U.S., “maintaining space superiority is an essential prerequisite for success in modern warfare…Simply, we must be able to quickly subjugate any space capability any adversary can field while maintaining our own.” Read The Next 50 Years of U.S. Space Leadership, a 2007 speech by Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stevens in which he states that “[t]here is no substitute or alternative to military dominance in space.” Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons maker. Its enormous influence over U.S. politicians is covered in detail in Dr. Caldicott’s 2004 book The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush’s Military-Industrial Complex. For much more on the destructive potential of the U.S. weaponization of space, space war and missile defense, be sure to read Dr. Caldicott and Craig Eisendrath’s 2007 book, War in Heaven. This thorough book, which relies partly on Bruce Gagnon’s groundbreaking research, is “[a] revelatory look at the U.S. government’s plan to put weapons in outer space, by two bestselling experts.”

Winfrid Eisenberg, M.D. on higher cancer rates among children near nuclear power plants

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Abandoned kindergarten in Pripyat, Ukraine, one of many towns contaminated forever by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (istockphoto.com)

Abandoned kindergarten in Pripyat, Ukraine, one of many towns contaminated forever by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (istockphoto.com)

Winfrid Eisenberg, M.D. is a pediatrician and member of the German branch of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). IPPNW, the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize winner, was partly formed by Physicians for Social Responsibility, a U.S. group Dr. Caldicott led in the 1980’s. Dr. Eisenberg discusses with Dr. Caldicott the results of a 2003 German study, “Leukemia in young children living in the vicinity of German nuclear power plants” whose acronym is “KiKK.” The KiKK study looked at the increase in childhood cancer amongst people living in the vicinity of nuclear power plants. You can read about the study in English here and here.

Dr. Eisenberg recounts how he became involved in IPPNW in the early 1980’s when Europeans were very concerned about nuclear war between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union. He says that today, European concern about nuclear war continues as the U.S. makes bunker-buster bombs, and retains 20 U.S. nuclear missiles in Germany. Dr. Caldicott says that IPPNW should do much more to re-ignite interest in nuclear disarmament.

Dr. Eisenberg says that the German branch of IPPNW has been raising awareness of the dangers of nuclear energy since their beginning in 1982, even before the Chernobyl accident raised the level of radioactivity throughout Europe. He describes where he was during the Chernobyl accident and its immediate aftermath. Dr. Caldicott emphasizes that 40% of Europe is still highly contaminated, as indicated by this map, and eating the food can be risky. Dr. Caldicott asks whether Dr. Eisenberg has seen more childhood cancer and leukemia cases after Chernobyl, and he says there is definitely an increase in leukemia and certain tumors. He then explains in depth why children are more sensitive to radiation. Read a short letter to the editor by Dr. Eisenberg about children’s sensitivity to radiation.

Winfrid Eisenberg, M.D. (far left) at a 2009-2010 Vlotho, Germany exhibition devoted to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, with students and other visitors holding paper cranes, symbols of peace.  Photo:  Michaela Berbalk

Winfrid Eisenberg, M.D. (far left) at a 2009-2010 Vlotho, Germany exhibition devoted to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, with students and other visitors holding paper cranes, symbols of peace. Photo: Michaela Berbalk

The program next focuses on the origins, methodology and findings of the KiKK study. The results of the study are quite compelling, and Dr. Eisenberg lays out the statistics. Dr. Caldicott praises the study, and says that it is imperative to do more studies of similar scope in the United States. Read about a recent U.S. study, Child Leukemia Rates Increase Near U.S. Nuclear Power Plants. Dr. Eisenberg states that Professor Rudi Nussbaum has analyzed studies around the world about childhood cancers and leukemia. Prof. Nussbaum has advocated for a study similar to KiKK to be conducted in the U.S. Read his analysis of global cancer studies, Childhood Leukemia and Cancers Near German Nuclear Reactors: Significance, Context, and Ramifications of Recent Studies (note: one can register without charge on the linked website to be able to read the full report for free, not just the abstract). Dr. Eisenberg refers to another “meta-analysis” of various countries’ studies by Dr. Peter Baker of the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Baker also found an increased risk of cancer near nuclear power plants, though Dr. Eisenberg says that KiKK study found a higher incidence. Read the articles Childhood leukemia rates ‘higher near nuclear plants’ and Elevated Leukemia Rates Near Nuclear Facilities.

Dr. Caldicott expresses her concern about future increases in genetic diseases caused by nuclear waste and radiation. Dr. Eisenberg concurs with her that from a medical perspective, all nuclear power plants worldwide should be shut down. They talk about the die-out or decrease in wild animal populations in the wake of Chernobyl, before turning to tritium, one of the isotopes released by nuclear power plants, and whose danger is greatly underestimated (partly because the nuclear industry tells the public tritium is perfectly safe).
Dr. Eisenberg refers to the work of Dr. Ian Fairlie in documenting the hazards of tritium exposure to human health. Read his report for Greenpeace, Tritium Hazard Report: Pollution and Radiation Risk from Canadian Nuclear Facilities. Dr. Caldicott notes that her book Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer addresses tritium. The article The medical and economic costs of nuclear power by Dr Helen Caldicott also mentions the toxicity of tritium.

Dr. Eisenberg refers the September 5 demonstrations in Berlin against nuclear power, which included farmers who live near nuclear power plants. The farmers drove tractors for days to come to the protest. See photos here. He says that pediatricians in Germany are mostly concerned about nuclear power, and quite involved in the German chapter of IPPNW. Dr. Caldicott urges listeners to take the issues in today’s program to heart and to help close all of the world’s nuclear reactors. Be sure to listen to this episode in its entirety!

Andrew Nikiforuk on tar-sands oil-mining and its terrible global and regional environmental impacts

Monday, October 12th, 2009


How Boreal forest is turned into open-pit mines for oil extraction in Albertas tar sands.  Image:  David Childs/citizenshift.org

How the Boreal Forest is turned into open-pit mines for oil extraction in Alberta's tar sands. Image: David Childs/citizenshift.org

Award-winning journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk joins
Dr. Caldicott to discuss the subject of his new book: The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, published by D&M Publishers and winner of the 2009 Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award. He is also the author of a novel called Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil. For the last two decades, Nikiforuk has written about energy, economics and the West for a variety of Canadian publications, and received seven National Magazine Awards from the Association of Canadian Journalists. The development and exploitation of the tar sands in Canada is currently the world’s largest energy project.

Andrew Nikiforuk

Andrew Nikiforuk

At the start of the show, Nikiforuk defines bitumen, the substance extracted in the Canadian tar sands operations which can be used in place of light oil. He explains the enormous size of the tar sands mining region in Alberta, the environmental impact of the tar sands mining, and how much energy is expended. Dr. Caldicott and Nikiforuk also look at plans to build nuclear power plants to power the mining operations in Alberta, and the carbon footprint of nuclear power. Dr. Caldicott refers to a study by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen on nuclear energy and climate change.

In describing the amount of greenhouse emissions related to the tar sands mining, Nikiforuk says that bitumen is now the world’s most carbon-intensive hydrocarbon, and its incredibly toxic and destructive mining in Canada is representative of what will happen if the world continues to produce “dirtier and dirtier fossil fuels as we run out of light oil.” Nikiforuk addresses the arguments used by the Canadian government and industry to justify the tar sands. Next, the conversation turns to carbon capture and storage, and why this much-discussed technology is totally unfeasible and contraindicated to reduce global warming. Nikiforuk presents the staggering statistics of how wasteful and ineffective carbon storage would be, and the enormity of the infrastructure needed to conduct even minimal carbon capture. Nikiforuk says that carbon capture is already triggering earthquakes in Alberta. Read a report covering carbon capture problems, Burying Carbon Dioxide In Underground Saline Aquifers: Political Folly or Climate Change Fix?

Dr. Caldicott talks about Canada’s vast potential to be a world leader in sustainable energy, and Nikiforuk explains some of the present roadblocks to that scenario. But he says that pressure from Americans and Europeans may be the critical factor needed to stop the tar sands. He mentions New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s contention that the U.S. must totally stop using oil. Watch Friedman’s documentary, Addicted to Oil, on YouTube (in 5 parts). Near the end of the program, Nikiforuk explains the difference between “dirty oil” and “bloody oil.” Dr. Caldicott says that continuing to mine the tar sands with all incumbent local and global pollution and destruction is essentially killing the Earth to make money.

Greenpeace tar sands protest (Treehugger.com)

Greenpeace tar sands protest (Treehugger.com)

For more information on the tar sands, visit the websites of Oil Sands Watch and Tar Sands Watch.
See the Greenpeace page, Stop the Tar Sands. Look at the report Clearing the Air on Oil Sands Myths. Read the articles Oil Sands: The Costs of Alberta’s “Black Gold” and Behold! Canada’s most disgusting export: Nothing like Alberta’s revolting oilsands to destroy your optimism. Also see Burning to Get Bigger: US Oil Refineries Are Expanding so They Can Process Petroleum from Canadian Tar Sands. Check out Oilsands emit more than entire countries: report and the National Geographic feature, The Canadian Oil Boom. Also read Alberta’s oilsands: Black gold or black eye? which has several related and linked articles. See the statistics about the emissions and other problems of the tar sands in By the numbers. Check out the map of where the tar sands are being extracted. Read Dirty oil: Who’s who?: Nikiforuk’s 10 major players driving the ‘dirty oil’ label. Also read Canada’s Highway to Hell and Alberta’s Oil Sands: Key Issues and Impacts. Visit the Wikipedia page about the Athabasca Oil Sands. Read the blog entry Time gushes over boys with toys. And see the ad placed by Forest Ethics in the New York Times, “Canada’s Tar Sands: The Dirtiest Oil on Earth”. One topic not addressed in this program is Canada’s endangered Boreal Forest, which is damaged by tar sands mines. Read the NRDC fact sheet Strip Mining for Oil in Endangered Forests and see Forest Ethic’s tar sands page. Read how the Boreal Forest helps shield the world from global warming and see the Greenpeace report, Turning Up the Heat : Global Warming and the Degradation of Canada’s Boreal Forest.

Dr. Vini Khurana on the potent health hazards of cell phones and electromagnetic radiation

Monday, October 5th, 2009


child-with-phone2 If you’ve ever wondered how the body is affected by cell phone radiation, you won’t want to miss this show. Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana is a senior staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital in Australia, and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Australian National University Medical School. Dr. Khurana has exhaustively studied the medical research on electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. After graduating with medical and research degrees in Australia in 1995, Dr. Khurana moved to the USA for advanced training at the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He returned to Australia after ten years of specialist training. Dr. Khurana has received 17 national and international awards, and has written over 35 peer-reviewed articles as well as two books: Brain Surgery, and The Brain Aneurysm. See his webpage about cell phone dangers which includes his report Mobile Phones and Brain Tumors – A Public Health Concern. As background for this show, read the Independent/UK article, Mobile Phones ‘More Dangerous Than Smoking.’

Billions of people now use cell phones worldwide, Dr. Caldicott says near the start of the program. She starts off the interview by asking Dr. Khurana how he became interested in studying the medical effects of cell phone usage and electromagnetic radiation, also known as electromagnetic fields (EMF).
Dr. Khurana explains why the death of doctor and professor Chris O’Brien, a surgeon and close friend of Dr. Khurana’s, provided one impetus for his studies of cell phone hazards.

Dr. Khurana’s study of existing reports on cell phones and cell phone masts, and their electromagnetic radiation was followed by a peer-reviewed publication, Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data. Children’s brains are more vulnerable to cell phone emissions. See this diagram from Spain’s Neuro Diagnostic Research Institute of how much cell phone radiation is absorbed in a child’s brain.
Dr. Khurana mentions the work of Professor Leonard Hardell of Sweden, discussed in the article Mobile phone use ‘raises children’s risk of brain cancer fivefold’. Read his research paper Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for greater than 10 years.

Dr. Vini Khurana

Dr. Vini Khurana

Dr. Khurana explains how the cell phone signal powerfully tracks the user with a constant stream of radiation.
Dr. Khurana then illuminates the truth about plug-in microphones, wired earpieces, and other variable equipment that can or cannot reduce the radiation from cell phones. To reduce, but not block, cell phone radiation, Dr. Khurana recommends an earpiece with an air tube that provides more distance from the user’s head as it transmits the audio. A device that uses this technology is the Blue Tube advanced Aircom2. To learn more about the Blue Tube and have the option to buy one, see “Does a Cell Phone’s Radiation Effect Stop When the Call Ends?” which includes a seven-minute video commentary by osteopathic physician Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Dr. Caldicott asks Dr. Khurana how scientists think that cell phone radiation and EMF can induce cancer. He describes the various types of electromagnetic radiation and where cell phones fit into the spectrum. See a diagram of radiation frequencies. At one point, Dr. Caldicott refers to measuring devices which check the fields of electromagnetic radiation. Some meters also measure cell phones. Check out the Trifield gauss meter from AlphaLab, Inc. This appliance has an electric & magnetic setting to measure EMF, and a radio/microwave setting which can also measure cell phone radiation.

Dr. Khurana mentions a new study on human sperm and cell phone radiation, Mobile Phone Radiation Induces Reactive Oxygen Species Production and DNA Damage in Human Spermatozoa In Vitro. Other topics of this program include where cancers from cell phone use might develop in humans, the drastic increase in brain tumor incidence in the last 10 years, and how children are being affected by mobile phones. Dr. Caldicott is quite shocked to hear that Ireland and England have declared cell phones safe for children.
Dr. Khurana talks about the Bioinitiative Report, in which several scientists weigh in on “A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)” and the potential for an epidemic of brain tumors and leukemia.

Are cell phones worth the risk of a brain tumor?

Are cell phones worth the risk of brain tumors?

Another recent study found a very high incidence of brain tumors among offspring of women who work with electric sewing machines, Dr. Khurana says. Read an abstract of Maternal occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and the risk of brain cancer in the offspring. Dr. Khurana talks about the hazards of laptop computers, before exploring the paradigm shift about understanding the dangers of electromagnetic radiation which might be occurring, noting that the U.S. Senate and European Parliament have both pledged to study the health effects of cell phones. Dr. Khurana provides more safety recommendations throughout the end of the program.

For more information, watch Dr. Khurana’s appearances on Larry King Live and on 60 Minutes on his website’s Media page. Read Heavy Cell Phone Use Linked To Cancer, Study Suggests which mentions the work of Israeli scientist Dr. Siegal Sadetzki. See Dr. Sadetzki’s study Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Benign and Malignant Parotid Gland Tumors—A Nationwide Case-Control Study. See the article Pittsburgh cancer center warns of risk from cell phone use and the related report Tumors and Cell Phone Use: What the Science Says. And read Cellphone use potentially risky for kids, teens: health agency. See the webpage Cell Phones Linked to Brain Cancer which has several television segments and diagrams showing how cell phone radiation damages the body. Read 14 die of cancer in seven years living next to phone mast with highest radiation levels in UK.

Wireless internet (Wi-Fi) is considered by some to be another major health risk. Read Germany warns citizens to avoid using Wi-Fi and WiFi Radiation - Is WiFi Technology Bad For Your Health?. Other forms of life may be strongly affected by electromagnetic radiation and cell phone transmissions. Read Electronic smog ‘is disrupting nature on a massive scale’: New study blames mobile phone masts and power lines for collapse of bee colonies and decline in sparrows. Check out the Q-link pendant developed by university scientists and extensively studied which helps protect the body from the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation. Cell phone manufacture requires the use of the mineral coltan, and mining coltan is creating terrible conflicts in Africa. Read We’re All Raping the Congo, One Cell Phone Call at a Time and Can You Hear Congo Now? Cell Phones, Conflict Minerals, and the Worst Sexual Violence in the World. Read the October 22 article Stop Texting, to Save Lives in Africa. Also see the article The Radiation Poisoning Of America for more about cell phone tower and microwave transmissions.