Correspondence with Helen Caldicott

This is supporting material for my article Evidence Meltdown.

By George Monbiot, published on monbiot.com, 5th April 2011

From Helen Caldicott, 30th March 2011, 20:14.

I need to contact you George so I need your email please?
Helen

From George Monbiot, 30th March 2011, 20:26

Here you go Helen.

Any chance you could send me some papers supporting the claims you made in the interview, especially regarding internal emitters?

Many thanks.

With my best wishes, George

From Helen Caldicott, 31st March 2011, 21:47 ?Australian time.

[No message is included from her, but there are nine attachments: the text of five articles she has written, one unpublished statement of hers, one press release from Physicians for Global Survival, one press release from the National Academies, one advertisement placed by the Nuclear Policy Research Institute, of which she is president.]

From Helen Caldicott, 31st March 2011, 22:51 ?Australian time

Dear George
Yes we must work together synergistically
Helen

From Helen Caldicott, 31st March 2011, 22.53 ?Australian time.

George many of the answers to your questions are in my book.
Also you MUST now read the NY Academy of Sciences Chernobyl report
Helen

From George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 10.11

Dear Helen,

Thank you for this. I’m struck by the fact that none of the attachments you’ve sent me is a peer-reviewed article. The National Academies press release points to one, but it doesn’t appear to support the more extreme statements you made on “Democracy Now!”. I’m about to read the full NAS report now.

In the meantime, I wonder whether you could provide the sources required to justify the following statements, that you made in the course of our discussion:

1. There could be a huge hydrogen explosion, which would rupture the containment vessel, and out of Unit 2 would come huge plumes of radiation, which, if the wind is blowing towards the south, could devastate much of Japan forever.

2. people will continue to die from cancer for virtually the rest of time.

3. a millionth of a gram of plutonium, or less, can induce cancer, or will induce cancer.

4. One x-ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child.

5. And over time, nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease, and random compulsory genetic engineering.

6. GM: you’re saying you would dismiss the U.N. Scientific Committee as being part of the nuclear industry?
HC: I could, yes.

7. the incubation time for cancer is any time from two to 60 years.

8. Forty percent of the European land mass is still radioactive.

9. Turkish food is extremely radioactive.

10. GM: if she’s honestly saying that the World Health Organization is now part of the conspiracy and the cover-up, as well, then the mind boggles.
HC: Yeah, I am.

11. This is the biggest medical conspiracy and cover-up in the history of medicine

And the following statements, from the material that you sent me:

12. These unregulated isotopes include the noble gases krypton, xenon and
argon, which are fat-soluble and if inhaled by persons living near a
nuclear reactor, are absorbed through the lungs, migrating to the fatty
tissues of the body, including the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs,
near the reproductive organs. These radioactive elements, which emit
high-energy gamma radiation, can mutate the genes in the eggs and sperm
and cause genetic disease.

13. Tritium is a soft energy beta emitter, more mutagenic than gamma radiation, that incorporates directly into the DNA molecule of the gene.

14. Cancers will inevitably increase in frequency in exposed populations, as will genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis in their descendents.

I’ll be writing about our discussion for the Guardian, so I’d be grateful for your replies by 8pm EST today.

Many thanks,

With my best wishes,

George

From Helen Caldicott, 1st April 2011, 14.33 ?Australian time.


From: NucNews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:NucNews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ellen Thomas
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:39 AM
To: nucnews@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [NucNews] Interview – Dr. Alexey Yablokov – Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe
Interview – Dr. Alexey Yablokov – Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe

Uploaded by
talkingsticktv on Mar 28, 2011

Interview with Dr. Alexey Yablokov co-author of “Chernobyl:
Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”.

Dr. Alexey Yablokov is a prominent Russian scientist,
environmentalist, former member of the USSR parliament, and
environmental advisor to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and
the Gorbachev administration. Dr. Yablokov has been a leader in
efforts to reveal conservation and pollution challenges in Russia
such as illegal whaling and radiation contamination, particularly in
marine ecosystems and the biology of marine mammals.

From George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 14.58

Thanks for this Helen. But I hope it’s not a substitute for answers to my
questions.

With my best wishes, George

From Helen Caldicott, 1st April 2011, 15:08 ?Australian time.

Dear George,
I am leaving shortly to give a lecture tonight so am rushed.
Many of the questions you ask are in my book NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT THE ANSWER which is well referenced
The BEIR V11 report from the NAS is required reading. The hydrogen explosion information cam efrom a nuclear engineer called Arnie Gunderson who has been commenting and keeping a very close eye on Fukushima. I am ccing him so you can ask him, his tel no is ************ or cell *************.

[I later noticed that at this point she had inserted some text further down the thread, as follows. I have interrogated these responses in this post.]

GM: 1. There could be a huge hydrogen explosion, which would rupture the containment vessel, and out of Unit 2 would come huge plumes of radiation, which, if the wind is blowing towards the south, could devastate much of Japan forever.

HC: Read the NY Academy of Sciences Chernobyl report and extrapolate from there

GM: 2. people will continue to die from cancer for virtually the rest of time.

HC: This is all in my book and previous book NUCLEAR MADNESS and depends upon the half live of the tran-suranic isotopes and their extraordinary toxicity and food chain bio-magnification. Also Professor Tim Mousseau has been studying the deformities and species reduction in birds etc in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, I am ccing him also so you can question him

GM: 3. a millionth of a gram of plutonium, or less, can induce cancer, or will induce cancer.

HC: That is referenced in my book.

GM: 4. One x-ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child.

HC: This is the classic work of Dr Alice Stewart in the Oxford study and is referred to in the BEIRV11 report

GM: 5. And over time, nuclear waste will induce epidemics of cancer, leukemia and genetic disease, and random compulsory genetic engineering.

HC: This is basic radiobiology that I learned in 1st year medical school and was initially derived from the classic experiment of Mueller of the effects of radiation on drosophila fruit fly for which he won the Nobel Prize and the radiobiology is explained in my book. I don’t see how you can derive all the basic medical information you need George in 8 hours to write and article for tonight!

GM: 6. GM: you’re saying you would dismiss the U.N. Scientific Committee as being part of the nuclear industry?
HC: I could, yes.

HC: Absolutely! In light of the Chernobyl report as the WHO et al have never done the necessary epidemiological studies necessary to make such a statement. The NYAS report has covered much of the medical and scientific investigation which desperately needed to be done. Tim Mousseau participated in this report and I would encourage you to talk to him re your questions. His number is **********. Dr Janette Sherman is the editor talk to her, her email is above.

GM: 7. the incubation time for cancer is any time from two to 60 years.

HC: This is basic medical knowledge derived from the American Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission who studies the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from which we, the medical profession have derived the basic data we use for patient doses

GM: 8. Forty percent of the European land mass is still radioactive.

HC: This is in the NYAS report

GM: 9. Turkish food is extremely radioactive .

HC: this also is in the report

GM: 10. GM: if she’s honestly saying that the World Health Organization is now
part of the conspiracy and the cover-up, as well, then the mind boggles. HC: Yeah, I am.

HC: Yes the mind has been boggling for some time, this to my mind is the greatest conspiritorial coverup in the history of medicine.

[No response to qu 11]

GM: 12. These unregulated isotopes include the noble gases krypton, xenon and
argon, which are fat-soluble and if inhaled by persons living near a
nuclear reactor, are absorbed through the lungs, migrating to the fatty
tissues of the body, including the abdominal fat pad and upper thighs,
near the reproductive organs. These radioactive elements, which emit
high-energy gamma radiation, can mutate the genes in the eggs and sperm
and cause genetic disease.

HC: This is also described in my book, we use Xenon to trace abnormal fatty tissue in the body, George I simply don’t have time to look up all the references for these statements, you really need a lecture in basic medicine

GM: 13. Tritium is a soft energy beta emitter, more mutagenic than gamma radiation, that incorporates directly into the DNA molecule of the gene.

HC: There is a huge literature on tritium in the Journal of Health Physics extensively referenced in Nuclear Power is not the Answer

GM: 14. Cancers will inevitably increase in frequency in exposed populations, as will genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis in their descendents.

HC: George please learn the basic elements of genetics!

From George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 15:25

Sorry Helen,

that’s just not good enough, not by a long chalk. I’ve asked you for specific
answers to specific questions. Either you have sources for your claims or you
don’t. If you don’t it is perfectly acceptable to retract them and admit the
mistake. If you do, they should be at your fingertips. It is up to you to
provide them, not up to me to try to winnow and discern them from your work. If
you don’t have time today I can give you another 24 hours (but no more, as I
will need time to read and check anything you send me). So please let me have
them by 8pm EST tomorrow (Friday).

Many thanks.

With my best wishes,

George

From Helen Caldicott, 1st April 2011, 15:31 ?Australian time

From: Starr, Steven
Sent: Friday, April 01, 2011 1:19 AM
To: Helen Caldicott; ‘Mali Lightfoot’
Subject: FW: [pgs-l] Helen Caldicott

One of the comments made by George Monbiot was, “It might well be an effect
of acid rain in the area, but I haven’t seen any scientific evidence
suggesting miles and miles of dead trees caused by the Chernobyl erosion, or
of widespread impacts amongst wildlife.”

George should read the work of Dr. Timmothy Mousseau, who has been
researching the effects of radiation in the exclusion zones around Chernobyl
(see webpage at

http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/chernobyl/Chernobyl_Research_Initiative/Publicati

ons.html ). Here is the abstract from the latest article by Dr. Mousseau
from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
( see http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/2/38.abstract ):

From George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 15.34

Sorry, should have added one more thing: phone numbers are not credible
references. I’m looking for peer-reviewed papers or high-level reports, not
conversations whose credibility cannot be attested.

Thanks, George

From George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 15:36

Thanks Helen, but I’m after specific answers to my specific questions. G

From: George Monbiot, 31st March 2011, 16:46


Hi Helen,

One more thing I forgot to mention. I’ve been on the road all week, and am heading up to Scotland tomorrow. I don’t have a copy of your book with me and neither of the bookshops in the city where I’m staying have it in stock. So when you give me your sources, could you please give the original references, rather than page numbers in your book. I trust this won’t cause any extra trouble for you, as you will doubtless have an electronic copy to hand, and simply be able to cut and paste the sources.

Many thanks,

George

From George Monbiot, 1st April 2011, 7:10

Dear Helen,

Many thanks for having Maury send the pdf of your book. Please tell me which sources – in the book or otherwise – support the specific claims I have asked you to defend. Now that I have the copy, I will be able to look them up immediately.

With my best wishes,

George

From Diane Wachtell, Helen Caldicott’s publisher, 1st April 2011, 15:27

Dear George,

I very much enjoyed your debate with Helen Caldicott on Democracy Now this week; two eloquent people setting out the two sides of a critical issue. As the debate made clear, the literature includes wildly disparate estimates, for example, of the number of fatalities resulting from Chernobyl. It is in everyone’s best interest to consider these different claims very carefully and try to discern where the truth lies.

That said, much as Helen would like to help you make your way through the scientific literature, she is not in a position to do this in the coming week, much less in the next few hours. As you may know, she is currently on a multi-week tour in the US, Canada and Europe, a tour that began before the Fukushima nuclear accident took place. She does not have any of her source material with her and, with daily breaking news about the Daiichi power plant, she has been giving interviews and press conferences non-stop since her arrival, with bookings continuing throughout the coming week.

Helen did direct you to source material that speaks to the questions you posed her following the debate, including specific reports from the New York Academy of Sciences and her own book (which The New Press published and which is thoroughly sourced and vetted), as well as names and contact numbers of experts in the field who can confirm the accuracy of Helen’s information. She has also provided you with a PDF of her book Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer, which is indexed and searchable by key words. Other statements such as “a millionth of a gram of plutonium, or less, can induce cancer, or will induce cancer” are general knowledge in the medical community. You can easily look these up yourself; I don’t think it is Helen’s responsibility to do this kind of research for you. In any case, it is simply not reasonable or realistic to ask Helen to provide specific references to medical literature while she is on the road, away from her sources. Under these circumstances, it would be grossly unfair and inaccurate for you to assert that Helen either doesn’t have or failed to provide sources and citations.

Helen is eager to respect your journalistic standards and hopes that you in turn can respect her circumstances. She has devoted decades of her life to mastering the scientific and medical issues around nuclear power. Once she is back in Australia, Helen has said that she will be happy to provide the detailed level of sourcing you are looking for. If you have a more imminent deadline, you should be able to find the information you need using the directions to sources that she has provided you.

The topic of the potential dangers of nuclear power is an extremely important one. It is in everyone’s best interest to take the time needed to read and evaluate carefully the competing claims on the issue. It would be inappropriate and counterproductive to create arbitrary deadlines for considering complex and contradictory information. Helen stands completely ready to work with you to locate and evaluate the relevant research on this critical topic, and I hope you can take the time to undertake this important endeavor in a responsible way.

With best regards,

Diane

Diane Wachtell
Executive Director
The New Press
38 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013

From: George Monbiot, 1st April 2011, 16:54

Dear Diane,

Thanks for writing. I’m sorry, but this just looks like wriggling to me. As it happens, I’m on tour too. I’m currently on the train to Scotland, and, just like Helen, answering constant calls from the media. But this hasn’t stopped me from obtaining every source I need, including the 423-page NAS report Helen pointed me to (which incidentally not only does not support a single one of the points I have asked her about, but actually says the opposite). If I can do this while I’m on tour, why can’t Helen do something 100 times quicker and easier?

Most of these are claims she has made many times before. Surely she must know exactly where and what the sources are? In fact she told me that they are in her book, so she need only look them up. Now that you have kindly sent me an electronic copy, all she has to do is to give me the page and reference numbers, to answer the specific questions I have asked. This won’t take her more than 20 minutes. She has now had two days, and if she had spent as long answering my questions as she has spent sending me irrelevant material and recruiting other people to write to me, it would all have been sorted out several times over.

As for your outrageous suggestion that I am asking her to do my research for me, it suggests that neither of you are familiar with with the most basic responsibility of a scientist: to provide their sources when asked, and preferably to provide them as soon as the claim is made. If she doesn’t have the source, she shouldn’t make the claim. I am not a scientist, but I would never make a public claim about a scientific matter that I could not source either on the spot or immediately afterwards. It’s what makes the difference between a credible and a non-credible statement.

None of the reading I have done yet supports the extraordinary claims that Helen has made. I will read her book today and tomorrow, but what I won’t be able to tell, because I am not her, is which parts she believes best support her contentions.

You claim that ‘Other statements such as “a millionth of a gram of plutonium, or less, can induce cancer, or will induce cancer” are general knowledge in the medical community’. That is certainly not what I’ve been hearing from the scientists I have been in touch with. Again, the onus is on Helen to support it.

The more excuses that arrive, the worse this looks. It’s all horribly reminiscent of the dealings I had with Ian Plimer and Stewart Brand (you can read about them on my website). Please ask Helen either to put up the sources for the claims I have questioned or withdraw them. Isn’t this worth prioritising?

Thanks very much.

With my best wishes,

George

No further correspondence received

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