Sunday, July 16, 2006

"CARL SAGAN AND THE NUCLEAR SCENARIO: A Cosmic Perspective on Terrestrial Problems" JEFF PHILLIPS

NOTE FROM JEFF: This is long but the problem is very real; here I give vital information on why anything nuclear is NOT "safe and clean", the psychology of denial, the consequences of our inability to act on the best knowledge we already have, and our amnesia concerning who we really are.

CARL SAGAN AND THE NUCLEAR SCENARIO:  A cosmic perspective on terrestrial problems

Dedicated to all the astronomers and activists of Earth, and life as we know it.  Long may you live!!!
    It’s no coincidence that the man who did the most to awaken our generation to the awe and mystery of the cosmos was also one of the most ardent anti-nuclear activists the world has ever seen.

    Astronomer Carl Sagan made great contributions in the field of planetary sciences before his name became almost synonymous with “extra-terrestrial intelligence.”  When he entered the realm of mass-communication with his comprehensively mind-blowing television series Cosmos, millions of star-gazers and space-cadets around the world came to love his New York accent and his waving arms telling us there were “billions and billions” of stars out there just like our sun.  In our own galaxy.  His question:  so why haven’t we heard from anyone else?

    Sagan’s hypothesis was that there may be no one else out there…not because they were never there, but because they destroyed themselves before they could go “inter-stellar.”  He believed that “technological civilizations” evolve in the same way as human beings, going through stages of adolescent recklessness before maturing into stability.  The difference was that instead of wrecking their parents’ house or car, like a teenager, the young technological civilization would tend to wreck its spaceship, its planet;  or worse, completely destroy itself through the mis-use of advanced technologies.

    How far are we from this scenario?  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has a little clock that’s been at only a few minutes to mid-night for several decades. Midnight, of course, represents the unleashing of a nuclear “Armageddon”, whether intentional or accidental.  Many would argue that the minute hand has moved much closer to the “witching hour” since the Bush administration and associated New World Order enterprises unveiled their new “nucular” agenda, which involves rolling back or destroying previously existing test-bans and non-proliferation treaties, building a new generation of reactors, forming a “cartel’ of uranium-exporting and processing states, and actually adopting a “first-strike” orientation in terms of military strategy…all changes which ten years ago would have been regarded as unacceptably stark-raving mad.  Today, it’s still stark raving mad…but acceptably so;  the mind-managers have had their noses to the grindstone!

    What I find even more disturbing than these necrophilous revelations is the almost complete cluelessness of the people in general, particularly the younger generation, who spend so much time talking on their mobile phones and playing video games that they don’t even know what DU is! Not that the older generation is very different; their problem is “sport” on tv and having to listen to their kids’ video games and mobile phone conversations.

    OK, class…who knows what “ionising radiation” is?  No, it’s not something that you wish to acquire more of for your Schwarzeneggerian video-game army. Sorry, dude.  It’s the four primary emissions released by the decay of radioactive materials as well as in nuclear reactions.  In nuclear explosions, much of the damage is done by the initial heat and blast effects;  but much more insidious are the effects of the ionising radiation released.  These energies and/or particles damage us at the cellular level, through the creation of free radicals, and cause cancer and genetic mutations as they are absorbed by our dna.

    The longevity of radioactive materials is expressed in terms of its “half-life”, which is the time it takes for one-half of its mass to decay into non-radioactivity.  For your average radioactive isotope or nuclear waste, this figure is on the order of billions of years.  Got that…BILLIONS.  That’s the age of the Earth herself.

    The vast majority of all the energy that powers Spaceship Earth comes from the sun;  anything nuclear comes from minerals extracted out of the ground, out of the rocks.  Indigenous peoples, in particular the Hopi native Americans of Arizona, have specifically warned against “digging precious things from the land”, and with very good reason:  this will invite disaster.

    They know what they are talking about.  Ancient cultures may have expressed their wisdom “unscientifically”, but does this lessen the impact of their message?  Maybe they didn’t visualize the geo-magnetic and telluric currents that flow through the highly conductive metallic and radioactive elements, driven by energy from the Sun and beyond, which control the Earth’s magnetic field and weather patterns. The Adnyamanthaha aborigines of south Australia may not have known about ionising radiation, but they know where “sickness country” is located. They know that these sacred areas are to be left alone, protected.
    Look at what we’ve done.  Think, if you dare, of the direct and side-effects of our extractions:  gold, petroleum, uranium.  How much genocide, violence, and ecological devastation has occurred because of greed for these;  how many problems associated with what we use them for?  Digging precious things from the land is the root of many of our problems, and the karmic consequences of this unending rape of the Earth are only beginning to be felt.

    In April of 1986 I went to a place called Big Mountain, on the Navaho reservation in northern Arizona.  We were there to support the indigenous elders who were facing forced removal by the government;  Peabody Coal (owner of Kerr-McGee, the plutonium processing company that Karen Silkwood worked for…see the movie Silkwood) wanted to strip-mine Black Mesa…a region of immense sacredness to both the Hopi and the Navaho…and site of one of the largest deposits of coal, shale and uranium on the planet.

    It was at this time that I first learned of the Hopi prophecies, whose essence has been extraordinarily conveyed in a brilliant film called Koyaanisqatsi (Hopi for “life out of balance.”) It was also at this time that I first learned of Australian physician and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, through her work with the Center for Informed Democracy in Santa Cruz. 

    I had borrowed a Geiger counter from the physics department at UCSC, and in between our sessions with the elders, the singing, dancing and drum circles, I would walk around taking readings on the rocks lying on the ground.  I will always remember the clicks of the alpha particles striking the sensor…as well as the momentary ominous presence of the F-16 fighter plane that swept over us at no more than one hundred feet off the ground.

    And I will never forget the headline on the newspapers the day we came down to Flagstaff, after a week of isolation in the desert:  the Chernobyl meltdown!  While I was learning of the Hopi prophecies in one of their most sacred places, what is still to date the worst nuclear accident in history (that we know of!) was happening on the opposite side of the world.  And last I heard, twenty years later, is that the molten reactor cores are still melting down through the Earth.

    This amazing synchronicity has always been a profound lesson to me.  I had been on-lab at Los Alamos National Laboratory near Santa Fe, New Mexico two years earlier, to visit my old physics lab instructor from college.  It was there that I first caught the creepy vibe of the nuclear weapons establishment and the rather “matter-of-fact” approach of the scientists and researchers.  In a museum at LANL I saw mock-ups of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and was reminded that the scenario of how a nuclear apocalypse might happen as envisioned by Stanley Kubrick in his film Dr. Strangelove was not at all far out.  I was all too aware that people like Edward Teller existed and had influenced legions of nuclear strategists and imperial technocrats.

    I had also learned that the Hopi prophecies had predicted that as a result of “digging precious things from the land”, a “gourd of ash would be thrown from the sky, which would burn the land and boil the oceans.”

    In a powerful book from the mid-1980’s, The Fate of the Earth, Jonathan Schell related that the horror of nuclear war was so unimaginably great that the average human mind went into a state of denial when confronted with its possibility. Denial, he reasoned, enabled us to continue to function in a world of dire realities and possibilities, but not without unconscious side-effects.  Moreover, a problem isn’t going to go away just because you aren’t dealing with it;  in fact, it  can get a lot worse while you aren’t dealing with it.  And this is precisely what has happened with the global nuclear scenario.

    With the detonation of the first atomic explosion at the Trinity test site at Alamagordo, New Mexico on 16 July of 1945, humanity entered the nuclear age, and crossed a threshold of no return:  the fate of the Earth…and that of ourselves…was now in our own hands.  Humanity, in the fury of its technological adolescence, had chosen to realize the destructive side of Einstein’s theoretical foundation;  we suddenly had the car keys but no driving lessons. The most brilliant mind of the twentieth century was prompted to speculate that he didn’t know what weapons World War Three would be fought with, but that World War Four would be fought with sticks and stones.

    World War Three rages incognito all around us today, a “war on ‘life-as-we-know-it’” in the form of mankind’s industrial civilization metastasizing out of control over the surface of the planet, a “world-eating” virus, in the words of naturalist Loren Eiseley.  And it rages within us as well, in the form of the low-grade schizophrenia that is passing for “normality” these days, manifesting as obsession with the mindless, trivial and even diseased by-products of our socio-cultural paradigm, as well as  “psychic numbing”, ignorance and denial of the awful truth.  Lots of people are awake and aware, but humanity as a whole is neck-deep in an ocean of ignial.  All too many of us simply don’t want to hear about it.  What we don’t know CAN hurt us…because we don’t know!  “Out of sight” is “out of mind”…but not out of existence.

    Carl Sagan wanted us to hear about it, because, as a crew member of Spaceship Earth, he loved his mother and his home;  and as an astronomer, he was acutely aware of the singular uniqueness of our planet…a jewel of blue and green floating in a vast continuum of the unknown, and home of all life we know.

    He was also acutely aware of the grave danger of the nuclear scenario and the threat it posed to the health and existence of life on Earth.  Sagan was so concerned about the dangers of nuclear weapons that he visited the Nevada Test Site hundreds of times, to demonstrate and protest against the development and deployment of ever-newer generations of bombs and missiles.

    He was probably very aware that he was putting his life on the line by doing so;  he contracted leukemia, which is one of the most salient cancers induced by ionising radiation, and died from it in the mid-1990’s, in his early sixties.  His last words were that he hoped that mankind might learn to listen to the voice of reason.

    I got to meet Carl Sagan once, at the Goldstone radio-telescope installation in the Mojave desert in southern California.  This was on Columbus Day of 1992.  I had been invited to a ceremony by the SETI group of NASA, who were launching a new program to search for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.  What impressed me about him was the gravity of his presence:  I knew he was someone who was deeply concerned about the state of affairs on our planet.

    What drove Sagan in his quest for extraterrestrial intelligence was his belief that the psychological impact of “contact” would not only jolt humanity into a state of sober cooperation, but would also show us that it is possible for a technological civilization to survive its adolescence.

    More than ten years after his passing, still no word from out there.  Radio-astronomers have no report;  despite all the “disclosure-mania” and ubiquitous “et-presence” memes littering the media landscape, have YOU actually seen or heard from a genuine extra-terrestrial being in a way that can be verified by anyone else?  I didn’t think so.

    And we’re still here; yet the juggernaut rages, further fuelled by the fires of greed, for which the “war on terrorism” is only a facade; unfettered, even assisted, by the people, who sleep-walk in a day-dream matrix of consumption, entertainment, and corporate unreality.  The atomic clock says “five minutes ‘til midnight.”

    It almost seems as if the hand of divine providence is holding back that minute hand.  But for how much longer?

    Where is it all leading?  In the movie Contact, where Jodie Foster plays a radio-astronomer who receives a transmission from an extra-terrestrial civilization (Sagan wrote the novel on which the film is based and was assisting in production up until his passing), the first image to be decoded shows a picture of a swastika on Hitler’s uniform.  The “aliens”, to begin, had returned to us the first transmission they received from us:  the first world-wide television broadcast, the Berlin Olympic games in 1936. This was the first signal of sufficient power at radio wavelengths to make it out of the solar system, appearing like a sudden “nova” on the screen of anyone “out there” who may have been listening. The Nazis had pulled this off as a demonstration of their superior technologies, and may or may not have been aware of the beacon effect of this transmission.

    This was fairly brilliant science-fiction on the part of Sagan:  to show that on this planet, the most highly advanced technologies were being developed and implemented in the service of fascism and destruction. Based on the speed-of-light factor, the benevolent extra-terrestrial civilization in the Vegan star system then responded to this beacon with instructions on how to contact them.
    Jodie Foster is a brilliant actress, or at least used to be;  but what weight does she carry in the reality-based community?  Dr. Helen Caldicott, on the other hand, may not be an actress, but, much more importantly, she is REAL…a real health doctor, educator, anti-nuclear activist;  mother, grandmother, and lover of life.
    On live television in Australia recently she was lamenting the fact that the younger generation was not responsive to her message because they were so highly brainwashed by government propaganda saying that nuclear power is safe and clean.  This would be the same generation who is always talking on mobile phones.  You know, those small microwave transmitters which cause intra-cranial heating, disruption of brain-waves, and carcinoma.  The same generation who can actually stomach such media tripe as “Big  Brother.”  The same generation whose children…if they exist at all...are going to have exponentially higher probabilities of contracting cancer than this one;  the same generation who is going to have train and truck-loads of nuclear waste passing through their neighbourhoods and stored in their back-yards…all the while “enriching” a handful of corporations at the expense of life itself.

    Remember that back in the 1930’s, when “radiation” was first “discovered”, there was a brief craze where lots of the “in-crowd” drank radium tea and took radium baths, believing it was beneficial to their health.  After all these people died, others began to catch on to the reality of radiation.  So if you see adverts for “DU tea”, don’t buy it…you’re already breathing it!

    Australia, and Canada as well, play huge rolls in the global nuclear scenario, as these two countries provide close to 70% of all the uranium that is mined;  Israel, the fifth largest nuclear power, and a prima facie rogue terrorist state, is regarded by many as the most likely nation to use these weapons.  But the nuclear king-pin is, of course, the United States, who leads in “r & d”, strategic proliferation, and paradigm marketing…just like Nazi Germany in the early 1940’s.  The parallel’s are clear:  it’s a family tradition!!!

    Over the past few decades what has come to be known as the “military-industrial complex” has invested in a program of “full-spectrum weaponization” of almost every imaginable dimension of what we think of as “reality.”  They have even attempted to weaponize “reality” itself!  Each of these technological systems is in itself extremely dangerous;  the summation of their effects and unknown synergisms exponentiates the lethality.  At the top of the list, however, are all things nuclear.

    The nuclear scenario is of truly global proportion, affecting every life-form and eco-system on the planet; like other issues involving high technology, it is complex and consists of several inter-related problem areas, for example, the mining/extraction process;  transportation and storage of radioactive wastes;  development, testing, deployment, and proliferation of a wide spectrum of nuclear weapons, as well as reactors for power generation;  accidents in any of these areas;  the inherent “terrorism” involved in their possession;  and the consequences of actual nuclear war, tactical or strategic, and “radiological” warfare.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the first human population centers to experience the blow of a nuclear attack…the “gourd of ash.”  Nuclear physicist Leuren Moret, interviewed in the Australian documentary “Blowin’ in the Wind”,  relates that the U.S. military referred to these genocidal detonations as “test two” and “test three.”  Japan was already on the verge of surrendering;  the strategic planners and their scientific attaches wanted to see what would happen.  An in vivo experiment, and a flexing of newly-acquired muscle, to impress the Russians…who had “the bomb” within four years.  The result was beyond their wildest nightm…I mean, dreams!  On the sixth and ninth of August 1945 two cities of no strategic value were levelled and hundreds of thousands of civilians were incinerated in a matter of seconds.  A previously unimaginable form of “terror” was now in their hands.  The tests were a success…and the hard was on!

    The Hopi recognized the atomic bomb as the fulfilment of their “gourd of ash” prophecy and at this point began to share their insights with a world who would hardly listen;  they knew that the “day of purification” was at hand.

    Since then, well over 2,000 nuclear devices have been detonated, in many locations around the planet, leaving over 4000 kgs of plutonium in the ground, according to Greenpeace, and discharging another 4000 kgs into the atmosphere.  Every above-ground explosion generated a cloud of radioactive gases which the wind occasionally blew across major population centers, and lofted millions of cubic meters of radioactive dust into the atmosphere, which would eventually return to the surface in the form of “fall-out”. 

    Fall-out contains many lethal materials, most notably, in addition to plutonium, a host of by-products of nuclear reactions, including radioactive isotopes of iodine, cesium, thorium, cobalt, and our good friend strontium 90; their half-lives range from tens to billions of years.  These particles enter the water and soil cycles and the food chain, circulate in the atmosphere and remain in our tissue, our bones and teeth…for the duration.  Las Vegas, which is a hundred miles down-wind from the Nevada Test Site, has the highest per capita cancer rate in all of the United States;  and after the radio-active cloud from a British nuclear test blew over Adelaide, South Australia, scientists studying the bones of children who had died confirmed the presence of strontium-90.

    “But the government scientists tell us that nuclear power is safe and clean.”  I cannot think of a more fundamental lie than this.  Only a completely schizophrenic mind could believe this;  or a completely ignorant mind.  Ignophrenia:  the “new normality.”

    If it’s safe, then why do they make weapons out of it?  Right.  Today’s governments and military are kinder, gentler;  aware and responsible:  they only kill people with weapons that are safe and clean!

    It’s perfectly ecological, too…except for the millions of acres of sacred lands that are strip-mined and the millions of cubic meters of tailings left lying around, not to mention the hazardous chemicals used in the extraction process.  Where does all this stuff go?  Nowhere.

    True, some of the indigenous people go along with it.  Why?  Because they’re making a lot of money from it.  But for every one on the take, there are many more who hold to the old way. 

    Clean?…you bet!  Except for the millions of tons of high-level radioactive wastes generated annually.  Kind of like a small nuclear explosion in a drum.  Very convenient.  Where does all this stuff go?  Ever heard of “DU”?  But not all of it can be made into bullets, so they’ve got really big holes in the ground in Nevada and South Australia to put it in. Perfectly safe there…at least until it corrodes the drums and leaches into the water table, or until geological activity breaks the whole thing open.  Maybe not in our life-times…but in whose?  Our grand-children’s?

    Further, any facility where nuclear materials are processed eventually becomes so contaminated that it has to be shut down.  But only after lives have been lost and untold quantities of the most toxic substances known to man have been lost or released into the environment.  The Hanford site in Washington state is a major example;  this was a plutonium processing facility which is now so contaminated that they literally don’t know what to do with it.

    And I remember from my days in Boulder, Colorado that Rocky Flats, just to the north…another plutonium processing facility…estimated that approximately eight pounds of plutonium was unaccounted for at the time they shut down.  This is enough for several small war-heads and enough to kill every person on Earth many times over just from its radio-toxicity, and from only one facility.  Can you imagine the horror of being killed more than once?

    One of the really dangerous aspects of nuclear radiation is that, unless you are in the vicinity of a nuclear explosion or a reactor core, you probably aren’t going to be aware of its presence.  Humans have lived in the presence of radiation for millions of years;  we swim in a sea of radiation, the electromagnetic spectrum.  Sunlight is radiation which is essential for life;  all life on Earth is constantly bombarded by assorted radiations from the sun and beyond.  We respond to, are nourished by, resonate with and mutate from this constant flux of electromagnetic energy.  Some of the mass-extinction events on Earth may have been caused by extra-terrestrial radiation. And uranium can be found as a trace element in top-soils all around the world.

    But we are not equipped to sense or deal with high levels of ionising radiation.  You cannot feel a level of exposure that is basically cooking you…only hours later when you start getting really sick do you become aware of it.  This is why anyone who works in laboratories where nuclear materials are present wears a little tag that changes color if exposure has occurred…otherwise, you wouldn’t even know.

    Are you beginning to get the picture…of just how “safe and clean” anything nuclear actually is?  And if you REALLY want to know about the health effects of ionising radiation, I suggest you go over to Iraq and visit just about any hospital there.

    You see, the brilliant minds who brought us nuclear weapons to begin with…remember, Robert Oppenheimer’s Manhatten Project guys…laid the foundation for “radiological” warfare as well.  They knew that the reactors making their weapons-grade materials would be churning out vast quantities of radioactive waste.  In documents from the 1940’s they actually suggest that these wastes could be spread over battlefields…just like manure on a field of crops.  All the soldiers…ALL, not just the “enemy”…would die slow deaths from radiation poisoning.

    In 1973 a German company called Rheinmetal took out patents for the manufacture of what are called “depleted uranium”, or “DU” weapons.  The idea is very simple:  you take the “depleted” tailings from the extraction process and make it into bullets and artillery shells.  It’s called “depleted” because the tailings have only low levels of the U-238;  but “depleted” is an Orwellian euphemism, because what they add to the tailings is all the extremely high-level wastes from the reactors:  the most deadly substances known to man.

      From the point of view of your typical necrophilous military strategist, it’s the perfect battlefield weapon.  The bullets or shells pierce tank armor like butter, explode on impact, burn up whatever they hit, then disappear into a huge cloud of radioactive nano-particles which enter the food chain, the water cycle, the atmosphere.  Winds can carry these particles thousands of miles;  and their potency is not diminished except over millions of years.

    The perfect battlefield weapon…for those who never come near it, those who make the decisions for its manufacture and use.  Actually, it’s only “perfect” for someone…or something…that isn’t affected by radiation.  This has always made me wonder about these people.  Do they think they are somehow immune?  That it will never reach them or their loved ones (do they have any)?  Maybe the military has a new generation of “anti-radiation” drugs;  you know, you just pop some pills and you can walk inside the reactor.  Safe and clean, remember?  More than likely, they have pills that make you think this is true!  But who needs that when we already have television?

    To me, the most horrific and nightmarishly insidious thing that mankind is doing to others of his kind right now is the use of DU weapons.  Radiological war-fare.  Journalist Robert Koehler has called it “silent genocide” and this is precisely accurate.

    DU was actually used as early as the 1950’s as ballast in missiles, but DU weapons were first used by Israeli forces in 1973, and have been used in several countries, including Yugoslavia, Kosovo and Afghanistan;  they were used extensively in Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91; and an unimaginable 155,000 kgs have been deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;  and they are believed to be in use by U.S. military forces training in Australia.  I would guess that all U.S. forces anywhere, as well as those from Australia, England and Israel, are at least partially armed with DU weaponry.

    And DU weapons, like anything emitting ionising radiation, don’t have to be exploded to do their damage;  you get zapped just from being near it.  Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, featured in the documentary film “The Doctor, DU, and Dying Children”, smuggled a live artillery shell from Iraq into Germany in his diplomatic pouch, and was charged with spreading ionising radiation when he submitted it to scientific institutions for testing!

    Medical authorities have estimated that even before the current operation in Iraq, over 500,000 babies had been born in Iraq who were severely deformed because of the effects of ionising radiation from the DU released in the first Gulf war.  You see, the poison dust containing the DU goes everywhere; even when a tank has blown up,  the DU’s journey has just begun.  It affects everyone within the reach of the wind:  not only military personnel on whatever side, but also health workers, children, civilians, pregnant mothers, even people in other countries. 
A few months ago scientists in the UK reported that background levels of ionising radiation there were four times what they usually were;  they attributed this to the clouds of DU blowing over from Iraq.  Safe and clean…in a very global way!  “What goes around…comes around!”

    The sickest part of the DU scenario is that this is not happening accidentally, an unforeseen side-effect of the “perfect weapon”, as some would have us believe. The decision-makers have known all along that DU weapons are indeed weapons of “silent genocide”…not only to blow up the “enemy” on the battlefield, and not only to destroy his entire genetic structure, to eradicate his people through the slow deaths of radiation poisoning and mutation, but also to kill their own military personnel. Soldiers in today’s military may think they are serving a noble cause, defending their homeland, destroying an “evil enemy.”  Au contraire…they are looked on by the top decision-makers as little more than witless cannon fodder.  Ask Cindy Sheehan.  And the “Gulf war syndrome” is known to be largely due to DU poisoning.

    In Nazi Germany, in the concentration camps, their biggest problem wasn’t how to kill everyone…it was disposing of the bodies.  Now, with the perfect “silent-genocide” weapon of DU, entire populations can be made to die slowly, and in their own homes.  The government and military is free from having to dispose of the bodies. Their children will mutate and die off.  And their own military personnel will do the same.  It’s called “eugenics”, or “population control.”

    Homo sapiens.  “Man, the wise.”

    It’s painfully clear that the wide-spread use of DU weapons is not only the equivalent of but actually a technological evolution beyond the ovens of Auschwitz and Dachau;  a more efficient means to the same end.  It is possible that the number of people who have already received lethal doses of DU may far exceed the number of people burned in concentration camps.  And more and more DU is being deployed hourly.

     People often speculate on what would have happened if the Nazis got nuclear weapons.  Think about it…they did. Hitler’s “devils among us”…“Jews, gypsies, liberals, communists” have become Bush’s Islamic “terrists”…everything else is the same except with 50 years worth of more advanced technologies., including television and all things nuclear.

    Nuclear radiation is safe and clean…as long as you’re already dead!

    Biologists have told us that not everything on Earth would die as a result of an all-out nuclear war.  Insects in general, and especially cockroaches, would be unaffected;  and grasses and non-vascular plants in general would be ok.  I remember reading that as early as three weeks after the Hiroshima detonation, wild-flowers were blooming at ground zero.

    Only the larger life-forms would be affected; any homo sapiens left would have to make it through a protracted “nuclear winter”, subsist on roaches and grass, and fend off rival mutants with sticks and stones.  I wish Stanley Kubrick would have made the sequel to Dr. Strangelove…How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Roach.  Importantly, life-forms in the ocean would be far less affected than those on land.

    The Earth is no stranger to cosmic catastrophe.  She’s made it through some pretty hairy times, for example at least five major mass-extinction events, some of which were believed to have been caused by cosmic radiation from supernovas.  Huge comets, asteroids, and other unknown celestial bodies have hurtled through the solar system, wreaking havoc and possibly even re-arranging planetary configurations. The crater-scarred surface of the moon, unprotected by an atmosphere, bears witness to the frequency of bombardment. 

    Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian psychoanalyst and student of Freud, described such scenarios as these;  he was ridiculed by the “in-crowd” of his day (the radium-tea drinkers?), but time and research have proven him correct in many ways.  He believed that humanity as a whole had been psychologically traumatized by cosmic events so horrific that we were in a perpetual state of amnesia:  we refuse to remember what happened, and thus are doomed to play out this drama in our own small way.  He relates in his book Mankind in Amnesia that the military leaders of ancient times consciously sought to emulate the “gods” battling in the sky in their own war-fare.  With the advent of nuclear weapons our collective fantasy was fulfilled: a self-generated eschaton was now enabled, and our “small ways” of playing out unresolved psychic trauma were amplified to planetary lethality.

    Life on Earth has endured for a long time.  What is new this time is that a major threat to her health and safety has arisen not from somewhere else, but from one of her own children:  from us, homo sapiens, “man, the wise.”  This may not even be the first time…the Hopis tell us that ours is the “fourth world”.  And does the name “Atlantis” ring a bell?

    From a cosmic perspective, there’s a lot that we have no control over;  divine providence notwithstanding, there’s very little we can do to influence the sun or to shield ourselves from supernova x-rays.

      The nuclear scenario, however, is entirely of human creation.  Man, moreover, has armed himself not only with other technologies designed for killing and mutating, like genetic engineering (GE), weather warfare and mind-control (HAARP), and weltanschauungskrieg, or “psychological” and “unreality” warfare (TV and mass-communication as a whole), but is also suffering from the side-effects of his industrial civilization in general, for example, the fossil fuel scenario, atmospheric changes due to human activity, deforestation, desertification, chemical pollution, waste accretion.  Cancer rates are sky-rocketing, as are species extinctions. The ice caps are melting at unprecedented rates, but the reason remains unclear:  increased solar activity, weather/climate modification technologies, and the “greenhouse effect” could all be involved;  moreover, “global warming” is happening on planets other than Earth.  What does this tell us?  That we actually have no idea whatsoever about what is happening around us?
    Indigenous peoples have always told us that we ALL are connected in the web of life;  whether we want to or not, we ALL feel the pain and suffering of all our relations deep inside.  This is why we get cancer and go crazy…we refuse to acknowledge what WE are doing to ourselves.  All life that we know lives on the same spaceship.

    The “big picture” was expressed quite eloquently by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson in 1964, shortly after the Cuban missile crisis, which is regarded by many as the moment when the nuclear minute hand was the closest to midnight that it has ever been:

    "We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to its security and peace;  preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft.  We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies  of man, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."

    Carl Sagan was first and foremost an astronomer.  Astronomers, moreso than anyone else, have a clear perspective on humanity’s place in the universe.  A cosmic, astronomical perspective helps us realize just how tiny and insignificant we truly are;  and at the same time, how precious, special, fragile life on Earth is.  A cosmic perspective gives us a sense of the real togetherness we share, the true family of life that we are part of.  A reluctantly “nuclear” family that is severely fragmented.

    Life here has endured cosmic cataclysms and survived; that this should always be so cannot be known.  What we DO have control over, however, are problems of our own creation, the nuclear scenario being at the top of the list.
     I think it’s very dangerous for us to believe that benevolent extra-terrestrials are going to intervene and save us from ourselves;  this is the same delusion promulgated by mainstream religion.  Besides, no self-respecting aliens are going to risk exposing themselves to Hollywood;  think of what would happen when their Spielberg-enhanced images reached neighboring star-systems…they would lose face throughout the galaxy!

    For hundreds of years, all of this non-sense that we are powerless and that salvation comes from beyond us has been generated by the spin-doctors of royalty, clergy, bankers, and the military/industrial complex.  Why?  To make us easier to control.

    The universe is telling us IN VERY BIG WAYS that it’s time to wake up.
    We have to learn our lessons for ourselves.  We have fouled our nest and we must clean it up and learn to take care of it.  We have been given the keys to our car and now we must learn to drive.  Paradoxically, “learning to drive” cosmically may fully entail stopping driving literally!  We must be like Toto, and pull back the curtain on the wizards of delusion.  WE must control transmission!

    That tiny minorities of wealthy imperialists and their minion corporations wield such control over what we think of as ‘reality’ is a testament not to their power or expertise, but only to our collective apathy, slumber and willingness to be misled.  The Zionists?  The Bilderbergers?  The “new world order”? The “illuminati”?  Ha…a bunch of greedy and impotent old men is more like it, with armies of highly-paid “perception managers” to disseminate grandiose hallucinations of their power…and the safety and cleanliness of all things nuclear!  They are no more than distant and severely mentally-ill relatives with lots of gold in their belfries!  Their goal:  to make this their world.  Yet “they” are a subset of “us.”

    Now more than ever we need a lightning bolt to strike us in the ass, to jar us from our deadly day-dreaming and inspire us to educate ourselves about what is really going on in this beautiful world, and to fall in love with Mother Nature, our planet, our home.  It’s a pretty cool place to be.

    Some good old-fashioned science education would be a great place to start.  The leading edge of science left the Newtonian/Cartesian paradigm in the particulate residue decades ago;  but since the military/industrial complex insists on staying at its outer limits…stuck at the level of “old-school” science-fiction…well, fire must be fought with fire, neutron with lead…laser with mirror…television with neuro-cybernetic creativity enhancement algorithms!
Physics is fun;  toss that video game.  Think of how cool you’ll be when you can actually explain what superconductivity is…in scientific terms!  Or pull out your very own Geiger counter…which if you’re lucky won’t be clicking!!!  Biology is rad…terminate “Big Brother.”  Think of how your friends will be impressed when you can explain exactly how ionising radiation actually causes your favorite mutations…or how microwaves can cook…in scientific terms!  Psychology is the COOLEST…think of how amazing you will be when you realize that you…yes YOU!...are actually using your very own brain/mind to CREATE REALITY at this very instant!  You and your friends can have “co-creation” parties!

    And when you get to this level…well, now you’re out of the old paradigm and into the new…you are now no longer living on a dead rock made of resources for extraction, you are a vital and integral part of a vast web of planetary life that is innately creative and intelligent, inhabiting a mind-blowingly awesome space/time-ship orbiting a huge plasma being illuminated by huge streams of interstellar electricity and inspired by emanations from the center of the galaxy.

    And at this point you will be better able to grasp the astronomical contradictions within the human experience which threaten us at every level, and the roles that you are playing in this unfolding drama.

    You are no longer just a passenger on Spaceship Earth…you are her crew!  Instead of “looking out for number one”, you’ll be looking in towards infinity!  And there is nothing wrong with your television set…as long as it is unplugged!

    Maybe the extraterrestrials ARE here…maybe they are who we REALLY are…a projection of our own true, but forgotten, nature.

    Einstein observed that with the dawn of the nuclear age, everything had changed except our ways of thinking, and that problems could not be solved from the same “level of thinking” that created them.

    For anyone to believe that anything nuclear is “safe and clean” is evidence that our ways of thinking have indeed changed…and in directions that Einstein actually foresaw.  He realized that the “shrewd methods of psychic and intellectual influences” brought to bear by the powers-that-be may prevent the development of independent thought.

    Maybe the next level from which our problems can be solved is simply a matter of a quantum leap in our psychological world-view:  to consider that we may actually be the “ultimate technology” with innate abilites to creatively and harmoniously re-program what we think of as “reality” and how we relate to ourselves, our fellow beings, our planet.

    This is what I always wanted to tell Carl Sagan and the other SETI radio-astronomers…that I thought they were looking in the wrong place for “extra-terrestrial” intelligence…that it’s actually embedded in the nature of life itself, in our dna, our cells, our brains and minds;  in trees, in rocks, in the whales and dolphins, in water, in the Earth, the stars, the galaxies, the entire omniverse.  In us.

    Is this realization what we are really afraid of, what we are in denial of, what we are running from…what we refuse to acknowledge, to remember?  Could it be that even more terrifying to us than ancient memories of cosmic catastrophe is the awareness that we ourselves actually ARE the “extra-terrestrial intelligence” we have long sought?  That we are not a “fallen” race of world-eating vermin…all that was just a really bad dream…but actually ARE higher-dimensional divine beings who are coming out of hibernation…waking up to the opportunity and responsibility, the excitement and wonder of being here and now, on the threshold of a new age…of our own creation?

    What are our options?  A nuclear or other catastrophe could still happen…in a flash.  The Hopi prophecies say that the United States will be destroyed by fire from the same “gourd of ash” they used on Japan.

    Renewed proliferation brings with it an increased probability of accidents…or deliberate use;  and with the vice of information control tightening, how much is happening that we don’t even know about?

      Meanwhile, the reactors churn out the waste and the DU dust blows in the wind to every corner of the globe. The slow death proceeds…a side-effect of our current way of “living.”  We…homo sapiens,  “man, the wise”…have finally constructed a “Doomsday machine.”  It’s called industrial civilization.

    It’s obvious that our current path is a dead-end.  The choice is ours:  to remain comatose in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems of our own creation until life as we know it has vanished, semi-conscious participants in eco- and suicide…or to wake up, breathe in the awe and mystery, and take the helm of Spaceship Earth as awakened crew operating on a completely new internal software environment.

    Science-fiction has become reality;  but it doesn’t have to be the horror version.  WE must control transmission:  divine providence may be growing weary of holding back that minute hand.                                              

Jeff Phillips
Pucon Chile
16 July 2006

Helen Caldicott, Nuclear Power is Not the Answer, The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush's Military-Industrial Complex, If You Love this Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth, Missile Envy, Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do
Loren Eiseley, The Star-thrower
James Lovelock, The Gaia Hypothesis
Lewis Mumford, The Pentagon of Power: the Myth of the Machine
Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth
Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection, The Dragons of Eden, Cosmos, The Nuclear Winter; Contact
Immanuel Velikovsky, Mankind in Amnesia


"Poison Dust"
"The Doctor, DU, and Dying Children"
"Blowin' in the Wind"
"Helen's War"

Doctor Strangelove
Judgement at Nuremberg


"The Atmospheric and Climatic Consequences of Nuclear War", Carl Sagan,

"Fighting for our lives", Caldicott interview,

'We should not be exporting uranium because you are exporting cancer' Dr. Helen Caldicott,

"There Are No Words...Radiation in Iraq Equals 250,000 Nagasaki Bombs", Bob Nichols,

"Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets...A death sentence here and abroad" Leuren Moret,

"Cancer Epidemic Caused by U.S. WMD...M.D. Says Depleted Uranium Definitively Linked", Christopher Bollyn,

"Plutonium cancer risk may be higher than thought", New Scientist,

"Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst terror attacks in history", Norm Dixon,


"I am aware" An experimental piece with Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock performance of the "Star-spangled banner" and dialogue from the 1964 courtroom drama Judgment at Nuremberg. Go to click on Hendrix, scroll down to "I am aware". Down-load the mp3.

COMING SOON: "A Free-lance Intelligence Report: The 'Bigger Picture' as I see it Now" in which I attempt to synthesize everything that's relevant here and now...using understandable English and within the limits of the contemporary attention span. THIS is a challenge...but somebody's got to do it!!! hahaha!!!

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