original posting: 7 Feb. 2002
Dr. Helen Caldicott (Australia) is founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.
THE INSTITUTE FOR COMMON SENSE IN THE NUCLEAR AGE
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90010-1438
(telephone number to be established)
Dr. Helen Caldicott, President
Mission: To insure the survival of the planet by eliminating ongoing threats from nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.
Approach: To reveal and expose the acute dangers and iniquities in the current nuclear policies and strategies. Using the media, to inform, educate and inspire the public to create mass movements in order to take appropriate action. The model is the nuclear freeze movement involving 80% of the American public in the 1980s, which helped to bring about the end of the Cold War.
Funding Requirements: The five year budget for ICSNA is $11,450,000. The budget will fund an office space in Los Angeles and the salaries of ten full-time fellows, two experienced media people, one IT expert, an office manager, and the president. It will also fund office equipment, including computers, fax lines, and telephones. The budget breaks down to $2,230,000 per year.
The Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age
Board of Directors
Helen Caldicott, M.D.
Richard Saxon, M.D.
Board of Advisors
Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Princeton University
John Gofman, M.D., Professor Emeritus Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California Berkeley, First Director Biomedical Research Division Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Past Associate Director Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Donald Louria, M.D., Chairman Emeritus Department Preventative Medicine and Community Health New Jersey Medical School
George Woodwell, Director of Woods Hole Research Center
Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll Jr., U.S. Navy (retired) President, Center for Defense Information
Nancy Rogers, Associate Director of Development, Hartford Art School, University of Hartford
Betty Dooley, Past President, Women's Research and Education Institute
Helen Caldicott, M.D., Founding President, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Co-Winner 1985 Nobel Peace Prize
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
Thomas Paine, from the Introduction to Common Sense, 1776
Thomas Paine's admonition that time makes more converts than reason was surely apposite for the 18th Century and perhaps even the 20th, but in the first decade of this new century time is a luxury we do not have with regard to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The continuing and imminent risk of accidental or planned nuclear war creating the final medical epidemic of the human race makes action urgent. Epidemics of cancer and congenital deformities posed by nuclear power and its waste are imminent and will be unforgiving.
The mere passing of months and years will not solve this nuclear problem. Instead we must act definitively and with urgency to bring reason - eloquent, focused, well disseminated - to the task of turning back forever the nuclear tide that has washed over this globe for six decades.
While many voices have been raised in opposition to what followed from the splitting of the atom, they have often been muted, challenged, and indeed effectively suppressed by the louder voices of the "establishment", i.e., the Western military-industrial and nuclear complex and the successive governments and mainstream media which have been its clients since the end of World War II.
The Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age (ICSNA) will be established in order to educate the American public through the media about the profound medical consequences of the National Missile Defense program, of the ongoing nuclear arms race and the ever-present threat of nuclear war, and of the Bush Administration's push to build hundreds of new nuclear power plants in the near future.
As the public becomes better informed about these issues, a mass movement of people will arise to influence their elected representatives in the U.S. Congress, the Senate and the White House. New laws will then be enacted and old laws changed, ending the role of nuclear power in America, ending the push for a "missile shield" and moving the world towards multilateral nuclear disarmament.
Enunciation Of The Problem
· 5,500 strategic nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert sit poised in their silos in both Russia and the United States ready to be launched with only a 3-minute decision time by either President Bush or President Putin. The nuclear nations maintain a total of 30,000 nuclear weapons 13 years after the end of the Cold War.
· A new Manhattan Project, the misleadingly named Stockpile Stewardship program, is taking place at the nuclear weapons labs, where they are designing, testing, and constructing new nuclear weapons, spending far more money than at the height of the original Manhattan Project and during the Cold War.
· 103 aged, dangerous nuclear power plants populate the United States, waiting for a catastrophic accident to happen. A total of 413 nuclear power plants populate the globe.
· The Bush Administration is actively promoting the construction of hundreds of new nuclear reactors in the U.S. as a response to the "energy crisis" and to global warming. Deceptive industry campaigns are going ahead full force disguising nuclear power as "environmentally preferable".
· Sophisticated American nuclear corporations are actively promoting and selling the concept of nuclear power to countries in Eastern Europe and the developing world.
· The Bush Administration has plans to militarize space, to create a four layered "missile defense system" and to actively violate the complete Test Ban Treaty and the Antiballistic Missile Treaty. The U.S. Space Command's intent is to practice vigorous anti-satellite warfare and antimissile warfare, including nuclear war in space.
· In the absence of a U.S. and international consensus to abolish all nuclear weapons and shut down all nuclear power plants worldwide, there is a strong threat that terrorists will attack nuclear reactors and also use primitive but effective nuclear weapons upon specific targets.
Description Of The Project
The Institute For Common Sense In The Nuclear Age will establish a cadre of intelligent and well-informed voices to be placed in strategic positions in the media and in public forums to educate the American population about these nuclear dangers.
Education is the key to creating change in society. As Thomas Jefferson said, "An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion".
Most citizens are almost totally unaware that thousands of nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, that George W. Bush plans to militarize space and that a second Manhattan Project is currently underway.
Despite the fact that the Democrats now control the U.S. Senate, most politicians are fundamentally influenced and controlled by special interests which financed their election campaigns - this includes very large donations from the military-industrial complex, which continues to be instrumental in instigating the Bush "Star Wars" project (National Missile Defense).
The younger generation is almost totally unaware of the dangers that nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants pose to their future health and well-being. A visiting professor at Douglass College at Rutgers in 2001, Dr. Caldicott can personally attest to this dismal state of affairs.
Ironically the nuclear power and weapons industries - though still powerfully pervasive - are extremely vulnerable. The Cold War is over and the recent catastrophic terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will not be solved by the use of America's nuclear arsenal.
Furthermore, the nuclear power industry is itself vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and is in desperate straits globally - reduced to selling itself as the alleged solution to global warming. Nuclear power produces massive quantities of carbon dioxide during the mining, milling and enrichment of uranium (a nuclear power plant must operate for 18 years before it produces any net calories of energy).
There is no long-term solution to the disposal of thousands of tons of deadly nuclear waste, and from a purely scientific perspective, there never will be.
With the high profile media presence of ICSNA education campaigns, the public will comprehend the catastrophic human and environmental consequences of continued dependence on these technologies for "defense" and energy, and the wisdom and sanity of multilateral nuclear disarmament and conversion to safe, renewable power sources.
Goal of ICSNA / Measuring Campaign Effectiveness
ICSNA will establish a unique U.S.-based-anti-nuclear research, media and educational institute designed to decisively counter the propaganda and lobbying activity of the Pentagon, the Bush Administration, the military-industrial corporations, and the nuclear industry itself.
The mission of ICSNA will be nothing less than ending once and for all the on-going world-wide production of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants and nuclear waste - and to do so in a fashion that is both powerful and unique.
Each year, the Institute will track the success of its educational efforts in several ways. First, by measuring the number of ICSNA-sourced opinion pieces placed in major media and the number of television and radio appearances by ICSNA Fellows. Second, by closely observing the amount and quality of media coverage of ICSNA. And third, by monitoring the change in public opinion by reviewing Congressional activity and voting records, and through public opinion polling when possible. Once the ICSNA educational campaigns commence, the Institute will monitor the progress of Star Wars and the Bush Administration's push for new nuclear reactors.
What Will Set The Institute Apart And Why Will It Be Uniquely Significant?
This is the right moment for the Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age. The public is hungry for informed, intelligent and pungent debate to be conducted on the American media, dominated as it presently is by the right-wing, pro-nuclear Heritage Foundation and its many cousins including the Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Foundation.
v The Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age will provide these opportunities.
· ICSNA will deal with nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Few, if any, other organizations handle both issues although they are obviously intimately linked.
· ICSNA's conceptual context will be global public health, i.e., the framework within which our research and education efforts are formulated will be the profound medical consequences of nuclear war and the nuclear power industry.
· ICSNA will educate the public about the severe problem of highly radioactive waste resulting from nuclear weapon and nuclear power production, its contamination of the environment, the medical consequences of this leakage, and the impossibility of safe disposal of this severely toxic waste for 500,000 years.
· The goal of ICSNA is to enter into and dominate the media debate. For too many years the weapons and power industries, their lavishly-funded "front" organizations and their political representatives have dominated the struggle for public opinion and media attention. As the Heritage Foundation says in their most recent annual report, "Day in and day out [we] are engaged in a war of ideas." It is time they and their ilk had a truly formidable opponent.
· We will analyze and translate misinformation about nuclear weapons and global security, and about nuclear energy, making the truth available to the public through media talk shows, news programs and op-ed pieces. ICSNA Research Fellows will in time become as ubiquitous as those of the Heritage Foundation, who will be forced to answer for their litany of misinformation and bias. It is to spokespersons that represent military-industrial interests, think tanks and the nuclear power industry, illegitimately called "experts", to whom the media most often defer. Most people who oppose nuclear weapons and power are too often labeled "activists" and thus rarely taken seriously.
The Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age will be synonymous with credibility and authority because of the intellectual rigor of its research, the sophistication of its publishing and public relations efforts, and the eloquence and persuasiveness of its spokespersons.
Research Fellows - not all of who need be in residence - will be recruited for their expertise in medicine and biology, engineering, the law, physics, and military/strategic studies. A number of highly-regarded experts in their respective fields have already informally indicated their keen interest in becoming Institute fellows. Their assignments will be to research and write position papers and books, opinion page articles, and briefing materials for legislators, corporate citizens, politicians, educators, and policy makers. Those who are media-oriented will be placed on national and local talk shows, in order to educate the public and in turn inspire a mass movement of deeply concerned citizens, who, by tapping into their democracy, will turn the pro-nuclear tide of the U.S. into an antinuclear tide of common sense in the nuclear age.
Media Consultants - will disseminate researched information via traditional and new media outlets so that ICSNA has the maximum political and public educational impact. Further, one person will be dedicated to placing speakers at influential forums around the country, setting up editorial-board briefings with major newspapers, and organizing public meetings and conferences.
A Cyberspace Expert - will publish the papers and data acquired by the research fellows onto a specifically designated web page instantly accessible to all citizens and interested organizations.
Research and Education Programs
1. Nuclear Stockpile Stewardship Program
The Department of Energy is currently funding the nuclear weapons labs - Lawrence Livermore, Sandia and Los Alamos - to design, produce and test new nuclear weapons, despite the fact that the Cold War is over. This project, dubbed "Manhattan II", will cost American taxpayers $4.5 billion per year for the next 15 years -- involving more money than was spent annually on nuclear weapons design and testing at the height of the Reagan years. This project will inevitably lead to horizontal and vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.
ICSNA fellows will be assigned to write op-ed pieces and research papers and to appear on radio and TV talk shows to inform the general public about this extraordinary project that is being conducted out of sight of public scrutiny.
2. National Missile Defense and "Star Wars"
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld are engaged in a massive push for a four-layered National Missile Defense (NMD) system, which is destined not to work for many reasons, one of which was illustrated by the recent terrorist attack in New York and Washington. NMD will violate all past international nuclear arms control agreements and will initiate a massive new nuclear arms race among nations of the world.
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW are the prime contractors for NMD and are expecting to make massive profits at every phase of the development and deployment of missile defense.
Even more alarming, the U.S. Air Force and NASA have combined to form a new entity called The U.S. Space Command. For some years NASA has been mapping the planets, the asteroids and the moon for rare minerals. In the near future they plan to place nuclear reactors on these celestial bodies as power sources in order to mine the rare minerals and bring them back to earth. As a consequence of its massive investment in this enterprise, the U.S. says that it must "dominate" space to have access to these extraterrestrial riches.
To this end, the U.S. Space Command's intent is to practice vigorous anti-satellite warfare and antimissile warfare. The Command also plans to fight nuclear war in space and from space down to earth. To quote General Joseph Ashy, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Space Command, "It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen…absolutely we're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space."
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW are already designing the necessary equipment for these "space war" projects.
ICSNA fellows will be assigned to translate the incredibly dangerous, global-life-threatening complexities of these systems and plans into language that is easily accessible through the media to the general public.
3. Kosovo and the Gulf War
The wars in the Gulf and Kosovo were, in fact, nuclear wars fought with weapons composed of uranium 238, a carcinogenic metal that is pyrophoric - i.e., it burns on impact producing tiny aerosolized particles of respirable size.
The Pentagon has been extremely resistant to releasing information about this dangerous operation, although its own internal documents reveal the Pentagon's true concern. In fact, research shows that many Gulf War veterans are to this day excreting uranium in their urine, but as the latent period of carcinogenesis is 10 to 50 years it will take decades for the medical implications of this war to surface.
Three to four hundred tons of this radioactive material contaminate the desert floor in Kuwait and Iraq. Uranium 238 has a life of 4.5 billion years so the contamination is permanent. A high incidence of malignancy (six times normal) has been reported among Iraqi children who inhale the dust and play with the empty uranium shells. The latent period for carcinogenesis for children is shorter than that for adults meaning that their cancers manifest themselves sooner than adults.
Pediatricians in Iraq are also reporting a doubling of congenital malformations in babies born since the Gulf War.
ICSNA fellows will be assigned to educate the American public through the media about this tragic state of affairs.
4. Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer To Global Warming
The nuclear power industry is presently launching a major propaganda campaign to convince the power brokers of the world that nuclear power is the answer to global warming - this in the face of the fact that the nuclear power industry is burdened by thousands of tons of highly radioactive waste and has nowhere to store it for the necessary half a million years. Clusters of cancers are already arising around the old reactors in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. That the nuclear industry is proposing to build, with the support of Vice President Cheney, more nuclear power plants, which would in turn produce even more waste is, in a word, chilling.
General Electric, Bechtel, and other major nuclear power corporations are also touting new nuclear reactor designs in many countries around the world. This campaign is going forward, despite the fact that 1354 children near Chernobyl have had their thyroid glands removed because of thyroid cancer - a situation previously unheard of in the medical literature. More are developing leukemia. Many of these children have already died and many more will. There are indications that up to a half million individuals may in time develop cancers from Chernobyl radiation exposure. Despite these facts the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), claims that only 32 people died as the result of Chernobyl.
These major threats to public health and survival are just some of the issues needing national exposure and debate, a debate The Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age will vigorously initiate and lead.
ICSNA will be a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a president, an executive director, up to ten research fellows, three media experts, two public relations officers, a legal counsel, an Internet/ cyberspace expert, and an office manager. Dr. Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND), is the President. The names of the members of its board of directors and advisory board are noted earlier in this proposal. Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles is the interim fiscal sponsor of ICSNA.
ICSNA will be headquartered in California, in proximity to some of the nation's leading universities and thus a talent pool of considerable depth.
Action Plan / Timetable
Once funding is forthcoming, the Institute for Common Sense in the Nuclear Age will be activated and become operational almost immediately. A year will be required to recruit and hire the necessary staff as listed in this proposal.
A detailed action plan for ICSNA and its campaigns will be developed when sufficient funds have been raised to become operational, defined as the ability to hire an executive director, office manager, at least three Fellows, the speaker organizer and one of the media consultants, and to lease the office space for one year and pay for one year's operating costs, including telephone service. ICSNA will continue to fundraise until its full first-year operating budget, and ultimately its five-year budget, is raised.
Even before the full one-year budget is available and all Fellows are hired, ICSNA will appoint people to write opinion pieces, speak at press conferences and appear on television and on the radio when possible. ICSNA will endeavor to develop a media presence and educate the public even before all spokespeople are on board.
The Fellows will be placed -- much as the Heritage Foundation does with its spokespersons -- on national talk shows, on current affairs programs, and in the printed media as opinion page commentators. Their credibility will be such that the media will be obliged to call upon the Institute for commentary on all aspects of Bush's nuclear and military policies.
Dr Caldicott, who has an international reputation of thirty years standing as a public speaker and educator in this area, will maintain a visible presence at the Institute and will also undertake to represent its policies within the US media.
Board of Directors
Dr Helen Caldicott
Dr Richard Saxon
Board of Advisors
Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll
Professor Richard Falk
Dr John Gofman
Dr Donald Louria
Dr George Woodwell