|Filmmakers notebook #69
Q & A PLANET EARTH: LATEST WEAPON OF WAR
Questions and answer session with Sister Rosalie Bertell (Nov. 15, 2003)
Following her two-part talk, Sister Rosalie Bertell answered questions from conference participants. Hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph and Associates (Buffalo), the event was held at DíYouville College, Nov. 15, 2003, Buffalo New York. An world-renown environmental epidemiologist for over three decades. Dr Bertell (PhD biometrics, plus many honorary doctorates), is the founder of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (Toronto:
Seminar participant: You said earlier that you recommended concentrating on the local and international level. We in our group [discussion, during a break in Dr. Bertellís two lectures] didnít understand what you meant. For instance, a lot of people feel it is very important to get George Bush out of the White House.
Sister Rosalie Bertell: I think the most frustrating thing is to put all of your energy local and national and not know whatís going on in the world because youíll find if you tie in with whatís going on globally, youíll get not only ideas but support and encouragement and many ideas which cannot be carried out in the United States Ė because thereís such strong opposition -- somebody in another country will pick up and carry it on and have a marvelous project that everybody can point to and say, ďWhat a good idea that
wss.Ē That way, it doesnít have to be carried out and be made visible in [only] your own local area. I think thatís part of survival.
Iím certainly not saying Ďdonít care about the election, donít voteí or anything like that. I mean, you still belong to a nation. You do what you can politically. But donít put all your energy there and forget the big world thatís out there and all the wonderful things that are happening.
I think the United States is the country most cut off from international events, from the United Nations, from all the committees and all the good and wonderful, creative things going on in the whole world. Itís a shame, because it puts a pall on you and you think nothing can be done and you think nothingís happening, but there are some really good, wonderful things out there. So, itís to open up your mind, but also to have an outlet. Itís terrible to be constantly frustrated. And if you stay in your own little house, youíre constantly frustrated when you canít do everything you think ought to be done.
So, itís the bigger world where youíll find ability to move, ability to think creatively, people who hear you. I always thought God gives you something to say, but then God also gives somebody else the power to listen and pick it up and run with it. Itís just a wonderful thing to see. Because you canít do everything yourself. Thatís stupid. Youíre doomed to frustrate yourself all the time. So put it out there in the big world. Thatís what I mean.
THE USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM: IMMORAL AND OBSCENE AND UNBELIEVABLE
THAT WE WOULD DO SUCH A THING. WE SHOULD REALLY BE ASHAMED OF THAT
Seminar participant: How extensively has DU been used, and what are its effects?
Dr. Bertell: [Depleted uranium] is kind of a misleading term. ďDepletedĒ sounds like itís not very dangerous. All they did is took out the U-235. That was what they wanted for the bombs. [Depleted uranium is] just as radioactive. In fact, they compared natural uranium and they tell you only 60 percent is radioactive. Youíve probably heard that. But natural uranium is only about three or four parts per million in the ground, in our soil. So, when you take it out and concentrate it, the depleted uranium is several orders of magnitude Ė hundreds of millions times more radioactive than natural uranium in the ground. Do you get what Iím saying? You canít take it out and concentrate it. So they take it out and concentrate it Itís very radioactive. The DU is waste from the enrichments plants where they enrich uranium. Itís the highest category of radioactive waste in the United States. Itís the one we have the most of. You have to be trained and licensed to handle radioactive materials to have anything to do with it legally in the US. It has to be kept out of the biosphere forever.
So, what they did was, when they started the missile tests, Cruise missiles and the MX missiles, they didnít put nuclear bombs in them, but they wanted to simulate the weight and so what they did, they took uranium waste, which has a similar weight to a nuclear bomb, and put it inside dummy missiles for weight. So that it would be a good test of their steering and targeting and so onÖ [see transcript of the Part 2, the interview (We Donít Have to Commit Suicide), for Dr. Bertellís observations on the origins of DU use].
So what you have done [in using DU in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq] is left in the environment an incredibly dangerous material which will hurt people and others many years after the war. This is immoral and obscene and unbelievable that we would do such a thing. We should really be ashamed of that.
ITíS ONLY INSIDE THE BOX THAT EVERYTHINGíS IMPOSSIBLE
Seminar Participant: ÖIíd like to consume less energy, but just by being here, Iím consuming. Do you see a practical way of sustaining a demand thatís out of control?
Sister Bertell: I recommend Transforming The Global Biosphere. Itís the most creative book Iíve seen.* [It explores several viable energy systems different from the ones weíre using. The thing is, weíre not offered the other ones. Weíre only offered oil because our leaders are all oil men. Theyíre making their money in oil. You know, what are they going to sell you? Theyíre going to sell you oil. Thatís what their business is.
But there are many other systems. I think the most promising is puling energy out of a vacuum which Tom Bearden ** has demonstrated is very viable. I mean, whatís more harmless than a vacuum?
Hydrogen is ďokayĒ if you take it from water, but we donít want nuclear plants that are going to take hydrogen out of there air for the simple reason that the bi-product for hydrogen automobiles is water. If you take your oxygen out of the air and convert it to water, youíve taken away what you need to breathe; you deplete the oxygen you need to breathe. Itís different with carbon dioxide because when you put that out into the air, if you have a lot of green plants, it converts it back into oxygen. Thereís no way to convert water back into oxygen, to breathe. Okay? So you donít do these kinds of things. But thatís being proposed. Thatís part of Bushís energy plan. Build more nuclear power plants in order to take oxygen out of the air and run cars with it [hydrogen]. You know, itís very frustrating to know some of these things and see these plans that are just not going to work. Weíve already lost some of the oxygen in our air. We need it. You know, you have to breathe. These things have to be thought through. Itís not helpful to say nuclear power doesnít produce carbon dioxide, therefore itís okay. This is stupid. You donít take one end-point and find one thing good about a technology and then run with it. You look at the whole picture, cradle-to-grave: everything it produces, everything it takes, every resource it uses. So we donít need these big transmission systems either. We could get enough energy to run our houses, individual units Ė our cars are generators, our automobiles are individual generators. We can do these things. There are many viable solutions.
I donít want to get into all the nitty gritty of it, but I would recommend, if you want ideas, you find them in Transforming the Global Biosphere, and many other sources and internet sites. But weíve been made to think everythingís impossible. But certainly solar, windÖ There are many sources of energy and theyíre right out there and theyíre free. Okay. You canít meter the sun. They donít want you to use the sun because itís free. We really need to break out of these boxes. Itís only inside the box that everythingís impossible. In our world, things are possible. Our world is made for people and for living. And itís really an amazing world. The more you find out about it, the more wonderful it is, and the more opportunities there are.
NONE OF THE MEN WOULD SAY ANYTHING
Seminar participant: Would you comment on the Love Canal and your years in Buffalo?
Rosalie Bertell: I donít want to get into that, but what I will say is I worked at Roswell for nine years and got myself in the middle of the Love Canal and West Valley mess. That was just the beginning of the waking up of America, basically.
Beverly Pagan took on the Love Canal and I backed her at Roswell. And Ii took on West Valley and she backed me Ė because none of the men would say anything. It was because, what? You lose your reputation, you lose your job, you have your grants cut. Itís a bad world out there. You know, you keep your mouth shut and put your head down and just write little papers and put them in the journals, and keep quiet, is the way the world works. And thatís not right. Thatís not right. People were living with terrible toxic wastes in both places. Theyíre still suffering. What bothered me the most was, we have a lot of medical tests and ways to deal with the individual person. So, if your sick, you can get a battery of tests which try to locate what the trouble is and give you some kind of medical intervention or change in lifestyle Ė something to do to help yourself. But when itís a community thatís sick, what happens usually is a bunch of engineers come in and they Ė first of all, the look and see if thereís any substance which is controlled legally, where thereís a law about how much it can have. If they find one, then they look and see whether the level in your soil is above or below some magic level thatís permissible. And these are set in many funny ways. And then, if theyíre all legal, if all the pollution on your property is legal, then they walk out and say, ďThereís no problem.Ē And you can still be sick.
WEíRE PART OF THE EARTH. YOU HURT THE EARTH, YOU HURT THE PEOPLE.
So, itís a crazy world. Itís whether itís legal or illegal is the cut off. And there was no way for a medical community to deal with the real medical problems coming in a place like the Love Canal, or West Valley. So thatís one of the reasons I went to Toronto. I spent about 10 years trying to answer first the question, ďIs the community sick, or is it normal?Ē Because itís normal for a community to have some sick people in it. So how do you know when itís so bad that thereís an external problem thatís affecting the community. First, I thought this would be impossible, but actually, just as we have a certain temperature, we, you know Ė if your temperature is above 101, youíre sick. Thatís normal for everybody. There also is a norm for how many people in a community will have respiratory problems, how many will have kidney problems, how many will have central nervous system disorders. Itís not hard [science], but there is a mean and a little leeway above and below that we would consider a normal spread in a community.
Now instead of 25 percent of the people having respiratory problems, you suddenly have 75 percent, youíre in trouble. And you look at the environment and say, whatís wrong? Whatís causing this? If itís a respiratory problem, you look at the air. If itís a kidney problem, you look at the water. Thereís a lot of little guidelines you can follow. A lot of them are common sense. You can begin to improve health by improving the healthfulness of the environment. Because whatever is out there is also inside our bodies. Just try to breathe the air in this room but donít breathe any air that was in anybody elseís lungs. Okay? We share the air, we share the water, we share the land. Weíre part of the earth. You hurt the earth, you hurt the people.
So, we have to look at these things. And thereís some terrible toxic wastes in Buffalo. Certainly Niagara Falls, Tonawanda, Hickory Hills Ė
Foll+ Brothers Landfill. You know, you can tick them off. There are a lot of them. And there are a lot of health consequences in this area because of the pollu8tion. And much of the pollution had to do with the cheap electricity because of Niagara Falls. So, you know: follow the money, see what happens.
We can deal with some of these problems. We certainly can make them visible. I think one of the saddest things was in Russia. They have some pollution even worse than we have. They were much more careless with their nuclear establishment. People wanted to move [from Chernobyl, e.g.]. They wanted the government to let them move because then they thought they would be healthy. But the problem was inside their bodies. So, you move and you take it with you. So you have to stay where you are and clean it up -- unless itís totally unlivable. We canít get away from it. We carry it in our tissues and itís sad. Itís very sad. Itís gone on mostly since 1950 but it started in World War I. It started with the chlorine gas. But thatís a whole other talk and I really donít want to get into it late in the afternoon Ė but itís a part of our life. Itís a part of our life. Itís part of our home. Itís part of our planet now. But we donít need to go on with it. If you had a young person who was on drugs, you wouldnít say, ďOh, youíre hopeless,Ē and, you know, thatís it. You would try to help them to maximize the health they had left. And thatís what we do with our earth; and thatís what we do with our communities. We donít give up on it. We donít give up on the earth. The earth is our source of life and hope.
THEY SET OFF A HUGE EARTHQUAKE
Seminar participant: Would you comment on electronic waves used as weapons?
Rosalie Bertell: Öextra low frequency, low frequency waves. An earthquake is a vibration. You have to have some possibility of a vibration, but if you set off the vibration, you can set off the earthquake.
Where we see earthquakes, remember when they had the Afghan war and they started using the bunker bombs because of the caves in northern Afghanistan? They set off a huge earthquake. And when they did the same thing in Iraq, they set off the earthquake right across the border in Turkey. And now they want to make bigger bunker bombs to do it. Theyíve even started earthquakes by pumping oil into a fault line. So they can do this. Thereís a lot of different ways to do it. As I said,*** this geophysical force Ė you take an instability in the earth and you put more energy in, and it goes. Itís got to have that instability first Ė but then you can make it bad, make it worse. Youíre not really putting it in, but youíre adding energy in such a way that you get the bad consequence.
YOUíRE GOING TO BE SURPRISED
Seminar participant: Am I right in saying that the information in your book, Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War, is all from public domain sources?
Rosalie Bertell: Itís all public domain, but you have to dig it out. Itís not easily accessible but I was very careful because I published in the UK and they have an Official Secrets Act. And itís even tighter than it is here. And if you say anything that violates the Official Secrets Act, you can be put in jail and your book can disappear forever. We really had to hire lawyers in New York and London to clear the book before it went out. So thereís nothing in there that is official secrets, but Iím sure youíre going to be surprised once you read it, because itís not common knowledge.
Seminar participant (follow-up): Are there worse things, hidden, that we donít see?
Rosalie Bertell: I think [the real problem] is that weíre kept busy with the local and the immediate. Weíre taken up with getting food on the table, getting to work, doing the things we do to live and then war, body bags coming home, what are we going to do to get out of Iraq, all of these kinds of things are whatís on your television. Thereís not too much more time left in the day. Unless you really put time aside and think about the bigger picture. I think thatís what comes out of contemplative prayer, where you stop and you say, ďWhat is going on in the world?Ē I think thatís where you get in touch with it. But you also have to get information from sources you trustÖ
ďAMERICA: THE RELUCTANT LEADER OF THE WORLDĒ
Seminar participant (2nd follow-up question): Big wigs in Washington decided some 20 years ago that it was their purpose to take over the earth Ė for business Ė and will do it anyway [they think] appropriate and if anybody stands in their way, itís too bad for them. So that plan is out there. Itís been voted on, as it were. Yet you never see that as the backdrop to all the noise thatís going on. What baffles me is how America seems to be oblivious to the ďofficial plan.Ē
Rosalie Bertell: Maybe 25 yeas ago I went down to Washington to the State Department, and in the lobby of the State Department were a series of panels giving the history of the United States and the last one really shocked me. It was post-World War II: ĎAmerica, The Reluctant Leader of the World.í Thatís the name of the panel. It was really shocking to see. but thatís pretty blatant when itís in the front hall of the State Department, you know? That set me off to watching things.
I think the US has always had a bit of Ďwe have to show Englandí because we broke off, and didnít need them, and weíre not in the Commonwealth. Thereís a little bit of competition there. England had its day, France had its day, the Netherlands had its day. Even Spain and Portugal had their day with owning half the world. And so itís our day now. This is some of the thinking. You know, it sounds crazy, but itís real.
But I think this came gradually. I donít think it came suddenly. And I think there were a small number of thinkers who influenced the way the country would go. What also happened in the early 60s Ė and I did write this in my other book, No Immediate Danger, but it was the Europeans became ery concerned about the Americans running around the world doing diplomacy and they figured Americans didnít know how to do it, so they started an organization called The
Bilderbergers. They met in the Bilderberger Hotel in the Netherlands and kept the name for their organization.
They have no membership list. Itís whoeverís invited to a Bilderberger meeting is a
Bilderberger. They have heads of state, kings and queens, owners of the media, the heads of international unions Ė whoever is considered influential gets invited to it. They have different topics each year. Itís only Europe, Canada and the US, thatís it. Theyíre the
THE TRIALATERAL COMMISSION: A FRONT GROUP
Now, David Rockefeller got a bit upset with this [Bilderberger] system. He wanted to have press releases and publications. Also, the Japanese wanted in and they werenít welcome. They were left out. So they formed the Trilateral Commission, which is the one you hear about. Thatís like a front organization. In the Trilateral commission, they included the Japanese, so it was North America, Europe, and Japan. They have publications, press conferences, they put their ideas out as, like, trial balloons to see how people will react. And they consider themselves as the ones managing the world Ė because everything was pretty unruly there for a while.* And so they are the ones thatÖ They want the world peaceful enough to transact trade, but also disrupted enough to be able to sell weapons. And so they meet every year. Theyíre a very secret organization. We blew their cover up in Toronto, in King City. Some of us told the media ahead of time and they were out there parked on the road; they took pictures over everybody arriving and had full page coverage in the Toronto Star. They were quite upset about it. It was thr first time anybody ever did that to them.. They can be brought out from the curtains.
They [Bilderbergers/Trilateral] are the ones that, I think, have encouraged this imperialistic idea in the States. They tried to teach the US how to do this. I donít think they ever succeeded. But this ruling the world stuff, they consider that they rule the world, basically. Theyíre unelected, theyíre not beholden to anybody; they donít have to report; theyíre not even connected in peopleís minds with whatís happening out there.
ITíS ABOUT TIME WE STOPPED THIS NONSENSE
Most ordinary people Ė I mean, Iíve worked in more than 60 countries Ė theyíre all nice, ordinary people, want a place to live, to have kids and bring Ďem up. They want enough money to put food on the table, go to school Theyíre just ordinary people. Itís only a few people who have these ambitions and they really have distorted life on the planet, I think. They have blown up ambitions and itís happened in every age Ė you had the Roman Empire, Napoleon who met his end at Waterloo Ė this has been going on for centuries. This is not new. But the latest kids on the block have bad weapons that could totally destroy the planet. They didnít have those before. But itís about time we stopped this nonsense. This is not a way to live on the earth.
If you stop militarism in every country, just stop it, you would have enough resources for life. And you would be able to buy time. You would end up under the consumption level for destroying the planet. You would be able to buy time to have better technology. But it really is going to take a global movement. And donít think it is impossible. I find a lot of hope by going back to the beginning of the labor movement.
ITíS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IF WE DONíT PAY ATTENTION
If you remember when the industrialization started, the workersí health was traded off for everything they [industrialists/bankers] wanted to do. The workers were being killed and they rebelled. There were all kinds of strikes and many different philosophies. It was a very disorderly time.
I was out in British Columbia one time and I started to speak about labor unions and this old man in the back of the room Ė I can still see him Ė he said, ďWe started it.Ē I said, ďWhat did you start?Ē He was in a group, partly British Columbia, partly Alberta, and they started the move for the eight-hour day. Now that is a wonderful thing. Eight hours everybody understood. It didnít matter if you were a teacher or a hospital worker or worked in a sawmill, everybody related to an 8-hour day. It cut across men, women and all kinds of barriers and divisions we put up. They started it up there. And they said it went around the world like wildfire.
I looked up the history and found out for the most part the unions went in on the 8-hour day, got legitimacy and afterwards they sat at the table for the rest of the decisions. The ones that didnít go on the 8-hour day were lost to history. Now it might not be perfect but if you look at the structural things that happened when the labor unions organized, they got ministries of labor, departments of labor, they got binding arbitration, negotiations, worker compensation Ė a whole legal structure to deal with the problems that were occurring. Whatís happened now is that we have all these decisions and the people arenít part of it. Weíre lacking a level of structure for the global village. I think itís starting to form in the World Social Forum. But thatís what we need. And itís only going to take one idea which is very clear and very simple which will go around the world very fast. People are ready for it. There will be a new level of complexity in society, and then we can grow again. Then we can differentiate and can have a period of blooming. I really think that can happen, but itís not going to happen if we donít pay attention and weíre not ready when that idea comes across, weíre not ready to grasp it and run with it.
* Transforming the Global Biosphere: Twelve Futuristic Strategies (Elliot Maynard, PhD,
** Thomas E. Bearden, PhD (US Army Ret.)
*** Rosalie Bertellís lecture (part 3 of this series)
+ unsure spelling
Filmmakersí notebook #69 (transcript of part four of a five-part series featuring Dr. Rosalie