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On Reforming the Government's Scientific Establishment

Thoughts by J Truman, Director and Founder, Downwinders

Personally I have felt for close to two decades now that trying to reform the government's scientific establishment into doing what's right, is a blatant joke at best, and a silly and useless waste of resources and effort the rest of the time. It is like trying to reform the medical practices of the Third Reich!

I also think and practice the belief that right now and for the foreseeable future, the last thing we "affecteds" need is another shitty government run, government funded, or government approved study of any kind regarding radiation health. At the same time, I think the movement does a disservice to itself and those it "claims" to represent by insisting on continuing to play the dose-effect game with the Feds. As long as the Feds are holding the historic cards, and as long as they can get away with it and have no criminal cattle prodder pointed at their hind ends, we will loose.

The only reason this farce goes on is that too many in the movement feel they have to look responsible and play by "the rules." Or else that people are trapped in the mistaken belief that only by attending one new hearing after another, one more new panel meeting, and reacting to one more new study, can the surest way to funding heaven be realized. And that it -- organizational fundability -- justifies our existence as activists.

Why should we continue to play by their rules and waste our time on their studies?

I think it is time to formally call for a end to all ongoing, and all planned studies, until:

  1. All historical data, reports, papers, internal memos, fallout maps, dose studies, etc, are released -- not declassified, but totally released as is. At that point the need for a wide variety of additional studies will cease to exist as many of the questions will be answered once and for all.
  2. Criminal charges are brought against any parties still living who were and are responsible for the exposures in the first place, their cover-up, and for suppressing proper scientific studies.
  3. Removal of ALL -- 100% -- scientists still in government employ in the NIH, NCI, CDC, etc. who were parties to any of the past activities, or who did any of the past studies.
  4. Until and only when all future studies are undertaken only with the direct involvement and consent of the "affected" populations themselves, not their elected officials, or their self-appointed advocates!

Anything short of the above steps will only prolong the farce until enough of us "affected" have shut up and died, thus allowing the government off the hook -- and until the "official movements" have found new sexy issues to play with!

I would hope we as a movement will take strong and effective action to demand an end to all such studies, oppose any new ones, and call on the national organizations rushing to cash in on the NCI Report fallout, to stop playing with the plight of the victims again, and demand justice, not more organizational benefits -- funding and media attention -- for "Just Us".

We need more than the usual joint letter saying "Uncle Sam, we feel there is a problem with this study and this is how to make it better." We can write letters like that till hell freezes over and they won't upset anyone in charge. The media won't jump on them either, because after 30 years of them they are sick and tired of the same old, old news!

We must stop looking for quick solutions and media hits, and ways to use this to build up our respective organizations. Instead we need to finally get honest-to-life serious and put on the work clothes for the long haul of basic grass roots organizing, education, and the teaching of self-empowerment. This is the fundamentally essential work required to manifest the numbers needed to win on the issue -- not just play with it, one more time.

My god, the radiation health movement has spit and yelled the same arguments back and forth with the same scientific crowd now for enough years. We are all -- both sides -- like one big extended family organizing the next get together! And as long as we allow them to respond to our concerns with one more new study -- which we then organize around, then organize around yelling about its defects until the Feds say, ``O.K. it's a bad study, we'll give you a new one,'' and off we go organizing around the new hearing for it -- we will remain screwed!

First we have to take a stand ourselves. Then we must go out and organize the "affected" communities themselves. Educate and teach self-empowerment until enough people understand the true scope and nature of this situation. When enough people are together with us -- not lead by us but with us -- then we will have the raw numbers necessary to make an actual difference. Anything short of that will be simply nothing more than another exercise in organizational self-abuse, and tragically far too often self-interest. It just ain't going to force the Feds to do a single damned thing more than it did the last time around the loop!

After what the Feds did to us "affected" -- such a revolting phrase, right along with victim and survivor -- because they knew all along what they were doing, and what price we'd pay, to stop getting mad and debating them over the body count, on their terms, and start getting even. There is nothing "PC" about genocide, and we must never forget, nor allow the other side to forget that is what we are talking about!

As always;

J Truman

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