Re: [ RadSafe ] Man Pleads Guilty to “Dirty Bomb” Hoax A problem of credibility

parthasarathy k s ksparth at
Mon Mar 3 19:15:22 CST 2008

Stewart Farber,

Your argument decrying the fear mongering anti- nuclear crowd is logical. But how can we as scientists convince the lay man? The public will consider estimates of potential fatalities as real deaths. How do we provide a deterministic answer to a purely probabilistic question?

Ultimately, for any scientific argument we may have to accept a risk model. Since these models are uncertain, the interpretation of the final figure of deaths due to uncontrolled release of radioactive materials from a nuclear power reactor arising from  terrorist action will depend on which side of the fence you are in.

. A few months ago, I participated in a "think-tank" discussion on energy security. The participants included those who held or are holding senior positions in Government. Some of them were specialists in economics, social sciences, science policy. A few of them were prolific writers on relevant themes.

 Health impact of Chernobyl accident was one of the points discussed.A very qualified speaker (Ph.D from a US University and who worked in several US institutions and now working in India) quoted the "Greenpeace" figure of  deaths due to Chernobyl accident. I pointed out the numbers given by WHO/IAEA/ILO/FAO......... supported Chernobyl forum.He asserted his pronouncements on the impact of uranium mining. For a change, he used some of the primary sources of information; but he ignored the many caveats under which the estimates were made.

End of the day, I thought that by quoting such unimpeachable sources as Chernobyl forum, I won the argument! But later, I realized that it was only a thought! Some very senior specialists had apprehensions about the credibility of the Chernobyl forum, since IAEA was associated with it. The way early uranium miners worked in many countries under unhealthy conditions, the old baggage of  uncontrolled uranium mining, leaving tailing pond residues for the next generation to manage, nuclear industry has an unenviable past. Added to that nuclear weapons and proliferation concerns!

From  March 9 to 11 there is going to be the annual conference of  InternationalPhysicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Delhi. As a curtain raiser, an anti nuclear organisationJharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (Joar) has released, the results of a "health survey" of villagers residing near the Jaduguda uranium mine.

A press release stated thus:

study was conducted between May and August 2007,” said Shakeel Ur
Rahman, the secretary of the national council of the association.
Conducted in two different phases, while one survey concentrates on
villages within the radius of 2.5km from the mines, a similar one was
undertaken in villages about 30km from the mining areas. A total of
2,118 households in the first category, while another 1956 households
were studied in the second category. 
  Accordingto the survey, more children — about 9.5 per cent of the newborns — aredying each year due to extreme physical deformity, primary sterility isbecoming common with 9.6 per cent of women not being able to conceiveeven three years after marriage. Cancer deaths in nearby villages areabout 2.87 per cent and 68.33 per cent people are dying before the ageof 62.

The organisers claimed that it was a joint project with "the German based"InternationalPhysicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). They are ensuring that a few children with disabilities will be exhibited at the venue to garner support for their movement.

JOAR has approached the Indian Supreme court  earlier. The court has dismissed their petitions as it has no merit. The organisers of the health study did not publish their findings in a peer reviewed journal; they are exploiting the media. 

Nuclear advocacy groups will have to respond


----- Original Message ----
From: stewart farber <radproject at>
To: radsafe at; Clayton J Bradt <cjb01 at>
Sent: Monday, 3 March, 2008 11:11:55 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Man Pleads Guilty to “Dirty Bomb” Hoax

Hi all,

Interesting case. If a federal grand jury can indict this clueless, specific 
date RDD "dirty bomb" threat cyber fearmonger, what's the difference vs. the 
countless anti-nukes who make open-ended ludicrous claims about the risk of 
catastrophic accidents or attacks at nuclear facilities?

Within the past 3 months or so, we've seen Gov. Eliot Spitzer, of a major 
State like NY,  claiming millions of New Yorkers could be killed from a 
nuclear accident/attack at Indian Point NPP. Since 911 there have been 
endless self-serving claims by anti-nukes claiming that even simple attacks 
by small groups of terrorists on a nuclear power plant could kill thousands 
to millions of the public. Check the RadSafe archives for the nonsense 
posted by self-professed anti-nuke Russell Hoffman the day after the 911 

Should the Governor of NY be indicted for his unsupportable remarks about 
death threats from radiological hazards which are clearly meant to incite 
fear among the public, and generate pressure from the public to support 
unjustified Federal  regulatory actions to shut down a MAJOR source of clean 
electricity generating 1,955 MW[e] for  the people of NY?  Replacing Indian 
Point 2 and 3 with coal fired electricity, which would be likely consequence 
of Gov. Spitzer's rhetoric to shut down Indian Point, would be the real 
terrorist act given the environmental & public health impacts of coal fired 
electricity vs. nuclear generated electricity.

The EPA estimates that each 1,000 MW[e] coal fired plant causes about 100 
excess deaths per year among the public. So replacing Indian Point 2 and 3 
with 1,955 MW[e] of coal generated power would result in approximately 200 
extra deaths among the public each year. Governor Spitzer is a 
distinguished, and brilliant lawyer.  Unfortunately, his environmental and 
public health risk assessment skills are lacking, as are his ethics in 
trying to exploit nuclear fear for political purposes.

Indicting the Governor of NY for fearmongering sounds like a great case for 
Jack McCoy of the hit TV show Law and Order. Maybe I should become a 
scriptwriter. The recent strike highlighted that screenwriters get paid 
pretty well.

Stewart Farber. MS Public Health
[203] 441-8433 [office]
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Clayton J Bradt" <cjb01 at>
To: <radsafe at>
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 9:32 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Man Pleads Guilty to “Dirty Bomb” Hoax

> Friday, February 29, 2008
> Man Pleads Guilty to “Dirty Bomb” Hoax
> A Wisconsin man could be sentenced to five years in prison after pleading
> guilty yesterday to claiming online that terrorists planned to use
> radiological “dirty bombs” against seven National Football League 
> stadiums,
> the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Oct. 23, 2006).
> On about 40 occasions from September to October 2006, Jake Brahm posted a
> message on a Web site claiming that attacks were planned on Oct. 22 of 
> that
> year in Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, New York, Oakland and Seattle.
> “The death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and 
> countless
> other fatalities will later occur as [a] result from radioactive fallout,”
> the message stated.
> A federal grand jury one year ago indicted the 22-year-old Wauwatosa man
> under the Patriot Act for willfully conveying false information regarding
> attacks on the stadiums involving weapons of mass destruction and
> “radiological dispersal devices.”
> He is scheduled for sentencing in federal court in New Jersey on June 5.
> Along with up to five years in prison, Brahm could be fined $250,000.
> “This was the Internet version of yelling fire in a crowded theater, but 
> to
> a much wider audience,” U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said in a
> statement. “I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded in this day how
> serious and dangerous such conduct is” (Jeffrey Gold, Associated Press/USA
> Today, Feb. 28).
> *****************************************************************************
> The US government have been the real perpetrators of this hoax.  This guy
> was dumb enough to believe it.  So was the jury, apparently.
> Clayton J. Bradt

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