"Keep the public confused"

said President Eisenhower

extracts from The Dangers of Low Level Radiation
Charles Sutcliffe: Avebury Press 1987
ISBN 0 566 05482 5


The references in the text are not reproduced here.

Chapter 3 The Controversy Over Radiation Risks
... it will be argued that rather than acting in an impartial manner, the NRPB has taken a partisan role on the side of the industry.

Extract
3.3.3 Publicity

Bross (1981, page 163) points out that, whilst there are disincentives for research showing that low level radiation is more dangerous than currently thought, there are incentives for demonstrating the opposite. These include publication, increased funding for research projects, appointment to prestigious committees, etc. The nuclear industry also spends very large sums of money on promoting the view that it is a safe industry, Gofman (1976b). If a study which questions the accepted levels of radiation risks is actually carried out, there are various ways in which the publicity given to such a study can be limited and prejudiced. Academic journals may refuse to publish such studies, or may do so only with official disclaimers as to the validity of the article, and include hostile reviews, Bross (1981, page 166).

According to Shutdown (1979, page 161) and Sternglass (1981, pp.211-212) the U.S. AEC suppressed an unknown number of studies on the health effects of fallout. In support of this view Lapp (1979, page 18) states that the AEC "was not averse to classifying biological and medical reports (on the effects of nuclear radiation) so they would not see the light of day". The AEC also displayed an arrogance with respect to admitting that radiation had harmful effects, and even went so far as to suppress reports of the genetic effects of radiation.

In the 1950's Congressman Chet Holifield, who went on to become chairman of the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, said

"I believe from our hearings that the AEC approach to the hazards from bomb test fallout seems to add up to a party line - `play it down'. As a custodian of official information, the AEC has an urgent responsibility to communicate the facts to the public. Yet time after time there has been a long delay in issuance of the facts, and often times the facts have to be dragged out of the agency by the Congress. Certainly it took our investigation to enable some of the Commission's own experts to break through the party line on fallout",
quoted in Grossman (1980, page 94).

In August 1980 the Congressional Committee which investigated the health complaints of people living downwind of the Nevada test site concluded "that the AEC's desire to secure the nuclear weapon testing programme took precedence over the Commission's responsibility to protect the American public's health and welfare" quoted from Bertell (1985, page 201). In order to gain public acceptance of atmospheric bomb testing in Nevada (see chapter 7), President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the policy of the US government to be `keep the public confused', quoted from Bertell (1985, page 54) and Smith (1985, page 143). According to Bertell (1985, page 96), such confusion encourages reliance

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