PETITION of Jeffrey G. Carswell
PETITION OF JEFFREY G. CARSWELL
FORENINGEN FOR STRAALERAMTE THULEARBEJDERE
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
1. Name of Petitioner; Carswell
2. First Name; Jeffrey, Gregory
3. Date and Place of Birth; May 24th. 1943, Esbjerg, Denmark.
4. Vice- President International and member of the Foreningen for Straalerampte Thulearbejdere, Copenhagen, Denmark. (Association of Irradiated Thule Workers)
5. Occupation: Business Administration
6. Current Address , 5 Beaumonde Street, Coberg, East, Victoria, Australia.
7. Nationality; Australian
8. Telephone Number; 011- 61- 3- 9386- 9402.
9. Name of Representative; Ian Anderson, Esq.
10. Occupation of Representative; Advocate and Attorney at Law.
12. Address of Representative; 11 Park Place, Suite 600 New York, NY, 10007.
13. Telephone Number of Representative; 212- 791- 6380 Fax Number; 212- 791- 6381
14. Nationality of Representative; British
SUBJECT OF PETITION
This Petition is presented by Jeffrey G. Carswell on behalf of himself and the Foreningen for Straalerampte Thulearbejdere and deals with the issue of environmental protection from radiation in the European Union. The petitioner is represented by Ian Anderson.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The Petition relates to the long term environmental hazards from nuclear radiation created by the Danish Governments Cold War activities in secretly permitting United States B- 52 bomber aircraft to overfly Danish territory with therm- nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
The Petition concerns Denmark's concealment of a major environmental hazard at Thule, Greenland, following the crash of a US B- 52 bomber carrying four plutonium, therm- nuclear weapons on January 21st. 1968, two days before the Danish national elections.
The Petition also concerns Denmarks continued refusal to disclose scientific environmental records of radiation levels at Thule to Danish civilian workers and indigenous people in the area and its failure to monitor the survivors.
Specialized information on the deadly long term effects of radiation contamination at Thule is suppressed and Denmark has consistently denied public access to the scientific records and reports reflecting the radiation levels in the area in question.
On April 27th. 1951 Denmark and the US entered into a military defence agreement pursuant to the NATO obligations of both countries. See Appendix A hereto, containing a copy of the Agreement.
The Agreement granted the US wide powers over Greenland's land, waters and air space for the purposes of implementing NATO's Cold War defence plans. (Appendix A, Article 11 (b)). The Agreement specifically permitted the unrestricted overflying of Greenland by US military aircraft. (Appendix A, Article V (3)) The Agreement also permitted the entry into Greenland without inspection of all US materials and equipment necessary for US operations. (See, Appendix A, Article V11 (1))
The Agreement did not specifically address the issues of US storage of atomic or nuclear weapons on Greenland or the overflying of Greenland with such weapons.
In June 1957, the US took the view that the Agreement was wide enough to permit it to store atomic weapons in Greenland and at the US Air Force Base at Thule in particular.
The US, was however aware of the opposition in Denmark to the deployment of atomic weapons on Danish territory and to the assurances given by the Danish Prime Minister, H.C. Hansen, to the Danish People that this would not occur.
As a result the US "informally" asked the Danish Foreign office if it wished to know about the deployment of such weapons under the 1951 Agreement. This "informal" approach by the US had the; "advantage of avoiding giving the information, [on deployment of atomic weapons] to the Danes if they preferred not to have it."
See Appendix B, containing a copy of the August 22nd. 1957 letter of the US Deputy Under Secretary of State, Robert Murphy to Mansfield Sprague, US Assistant Secretary of Defense.
The Danish Prime Minister, took note of the inquiry about information on the deployment of atomic weapons "on a strictly personal basis and made no other comment".
The Prime Minister's silence was accordingly interpreted by the US as a "green light" to deploy atomic weapons at Thule. See Appendix C, containing a copy of the November 26th. 1957 letter of Murphy to US Assistant Secretary of Defense, Sprague.)
Moreover, it is clear from Appendix C, that the Danish Prime Minister had restricted knowledge of the intended deployment to himself and was "'adamant' that there would be no publicity of any kind about this matter now or later."
By 1962 the US Air Force was conducting continuous B-52 flights over Thule, Greenland with operational nuclear weapons for the dual purposes of;
i) monitoring the operational integrity of its Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Thule and
ii) launching a nuclear counterattack if necessary.
(After 1961, the US Strategic Air Command had modified its B-52 Northern bomber airborne alert route to include a three hundred mile orbital route over Thule, which was the central link in the US Early Warning System, stretching form Alaska to the UK.)
The Danish Governments secret knowledge of such overflights is clear from the following;
a) After the 1964 crash of a B- 52 long range strategic bomber carrying two nuclear weapons in Maryland, US, the Permanent Under- Secretary for the Ministry for Greenland, Eske Brun, questioned the US Ambassador to Denmark about the likelihood of the same thing occurring in Greenland.
b) On April 25th. 1966, the Danish Prime Minister, J.O.Krag, visited a US Air Force base at Nebraska and was briefed on the routes over Greenland which the B-52's flew carrying nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister spoke briefly with the pilot of the B- 52 then circling over Greenland.
The Danish Government's secret knowledge and approval of the such continuous flights over Thule created a potential risk to all Danish personnel, such as Applicant who were living and working below the B-52 flight paths during this period.
Specific Facts Concerning Petitioner
Petitioner was born at Esbjerg, Denmark in May 1943. In July 1966 he obtained employment with the Danish Construction Corporation, (hereinafter referred to as D.C.C) as a shipping clerk.
Since the US was involved in the Vietnam War at this time, it had contracted with D.C.C. for the provision of civilian personnel to run essential services, not requiring security clearance, at its military base at Thule, Greenland. As a consequence, Petitioner was employed at Thule between 1966 and 1971 and administered shipping and freight handling at the base. Approximately 1200 civilians were employed to run the base during this period. Many of the present Danish survivors, including Petitioner, constitute the membership of the Foreningen for Straalerampte Thulearbejdere.
On Sunday, January 21st. 1968, Petitioner experienced an explosion which shook the Thule base. He was informed that a US, B- 52 had crashed on the ice in Wolstenholme Fjord, approximately seven miles from Thule.
All personnel on the base were notified to be on the lookout for the seven missing crew members of the B- 52. The civilian personnel were subsequently informed that the plane had been carrying four operational thermo- nuclear bombs.
The Danish Government was immediately informed of the crash, which occurred two days before the Danish elections. Instead of ordering the evacuation of all Danish civilian personnel from the area, (which would have raised political issues in the imminent election), the Government arranged to send a Danish team of radiation experts to report on the contamination levels in the Thule area. The team included Professor Kofoed- Hansen, Director of the Physics Department, of the Danish Atomic Energy Commission.
This team arrived at Thule on January 25th. 1968 and a second Danish team of exerts followed on January 30th. 1969.
One of the political objectives of the Danish scientific team was, "to minimize the hazards" and to keep radiation monitoring and surveillance "from public view".
See Appendix D hereto containing a copy of page 7 of a US Government Memorandum on the joint US/ Danish conference at the Pentagon in March 1968.
Petitioner remained at the Thule base during the investigations by the Danish scientists and was not informed that he or the other civilian workers was in any imminent danger. He visited the crash site from time to time and was subsequently involved in arranging for the removal of contaminated debris in clean- up operations. He was not warned by the Danish Government of any risk to his health in remaining in the area nor of the need to take protective measures against radiation exposure during clean- up operations.
He remained at the site until 1971 and followed the usual custom on the base of obtaining ice for beverages from the icebergs trapped in the Wolstenholme Fjord were the crash occurred. This ice was preferred for adding to drinks because it was more compact and contained air bubbles. During the remainder of the winter following the crash, Petitioner consumed drinks containing ice from the Wolstenholme Fjiord.
He continued to live and work on the Thule base until July 1971 when he obtained employment in Australia.
In an epilogue to a 1970 US Air Force report on the B-52 crash, Hans Henrik Koch, Danish Permanent Under- Secretary of State and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, asserted that; "No danger to man or animal and plant life was created by the Thule accident."
See Appendix E hereto.
But In March 1984, Petitioner experienced severe chest, back and stomach pains, together with nausea and diarrhea. His health continued to decline and extensive medical tests were carried out on him. Eventually, in 1987, it was discovered that he had cancer of the stomach together with a pre- cancerous condition in his esophagus. An emergency gastrectomy operation was carried out to remove parts of the stomach. Other affected tissue was also surgically removed and a further corrective operation was required three years later. He underwent further operations in the ensuing years and currently experiences chronic pain.
Petitioner was first aware that his condition was linked to radiation at Thule after being informed in the late 1980's that many of his former Danish co- workers at Thule had developed similar radiogenic cancers and conditions. See also in this regard Appendix F, containing the statement of Applicant's treating physician, Dr. Graeme D. Edwards, who indicates that radiation contamination is a possible direct cause of Applicant's medical conditions. Stomach and esophageal cancer are two of the 34 medical conditions recognized by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal as radiation induced for the purposes of compensation.
In the 1950's the Marshall Islands were contaminated with radiation fall- out from US atmospheric tests conducted several hundred miles away. The long term health effects of such contamination manifested themselves years later with the development of cancers and other conditions in the civilian population.
See Appendix G hereto containing the 1996 list of radiation linked illnesses and conditions recognized by the Tribunal.
The prevalence of such conditions amongst former Danish Thule workers led, in 1986, to the formation of the Foreningen for Straalerampte Thulearbejdere in Copenhagen, Denmark, which Petitioner joined in 1988. Petitioner is currently its Vice- President, International.
In 1993 the Association brought a legal action against the Danish Government, on behalf of all its members, including Petitioner, in an attempt to hold the Government responsible for the illnesses and conditions suffered by the ex- Thule workers from radiation contamination at Thule.
The Government denied liability and the action failed due to the Governments denial of access to scientific data on the radiation contamination levels at Thule after the crash.
Despite the Danish Government's assurances that no danger to "man or animal or plant life" existed at Thule after the crash, it took steps to conceal any meaningful information on the actual levels of plutonium contamination from public scrutiny.
In June 1968, for example, two scientific papers were to be presented at a conference in Denver, Colorado on the Thule crash. One paper by the US scientist Wright Langham contained specific information of the amount of plutonium contamination at Thule after the crash and estimations of the residual plutonium in the area after "clean- up" operations.
A second paper by US scientist W. P. Bennett detailed the capacity and number of containers used to store contaminated snow and ice. The information in both proposed papers together would have enabled the public to make a reasonable estimate of the amounts of plutonium which were removed from Thule and the amounts remaining thereafter. In other words, the information in the papers would have informed the public of the actual contamination levels at Thule.
After pressure from the Danish Government, the Langham paper was rewritten and the specific data on the plutonium contamination levels at Thule were deleted.
See in this regard, Appendix H containing a copy of a June 18th. 1968 memorandum from C. L. Marshall, Director of Classification US Atomic Energy Commission to the Commission's Chairman.
Though the Danish Government has blocked public access to information on the actual levels of plutonium contamination at Thule, it is clear from the experience of US service personnel stationed on the base at the time of the crash, that the contamination caused a significant health risk to warrant regular testing by the US of its personnel for radiation exposure.
See in this regard Exhibit I hereto, containing the statement of Stanley R. Neilsen who was on active duty with the US Air Force at Thule at the time of the crash. Though Neilsen was transferred from Thule approximately two months after the 1968 crash, he was tested thereafter by the US Air Force at six monthly intervals over the following three years for radiation exposure.
No similar monitoring of the Danish civilian workers, such as Petitioner, (who remained on the base for three and a half years after the crash) was conducted by the Danish Government. Nor was the health of members of the indigenous Greenland population monitored though they were first to arrive at the crash site.
Like the Danish civilian workers, many of the US personnel stationed at Thule later developed serious radiogenic cancers and conditions as a result of the long term effects of contamination.
Under US Federal Law, US personnel stationed at Thule at the time of the crash were afforded pension compensation remedies for their serious service related illnesses and conditions.
By contrast, the failure of the Danish workers' claim against the Danish Government in 1993, due to denial of access to essential documentary information, left them without an effective domestic remedy in Denmark for similar major health problems. In addition they were denied access to information on radiation exposure which would have been important for their future health treatment.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ISSUES
A) 1968 Danish Scientific Records of Radiation Contamination At Thule Should
Be Made Public
The 1968 crash of the B- 52 with four therm- nuclear bombs on board distributed plutonium radiation over a wide area near Thule. Plutonium is one of the deadliest substances known to man with a radioactive half life of 24,000 years. It has been estimated that a pound of the substance evenly distributed in the earth's atmosphere would extinguish all human life on earth.
The occurrence of the crash two days before the Danish elections created an environmental impact at Thule which will last for thousands of years. For this reason alone, it is essential that the Danish Government make public the 1968 scientific environmental records of radiation contamination at Thule
The health hazards from exposure to radiation include both external exposure and the inhalation or ingestion of radioactive substances. Petitioner points out, that workers went about their usual activities after the crash, including the collection of ice from the Wolstenholme Fjiord which was added to drinks.
Since radiation cannot be seen, felt, smelt or heard, protection against it is wholly dependent on access to specialized data and information. Access to such specialized data and information is necessary to inform and treat surviving Danish workers and indigenous Greenlanders.
Radiation exposure hazards also include genetic harm to subsequently conceived offspring such as the children and grandchildren of the workers and the indigenous population. The dangers of genetic mutations in subsequently conceived offspring is now widely recognized. This hazard is also present in far lower dosages of radiation exposure. Adult diagnostic x- ray studies and the incidence of leukemia in subsequently conceived children in the US in the 1950's recognized this hazard which was confirmed in subsequent studies. (See American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 145, March 1997, Association Between Preconception Parental X- ray Exposure and Birth Outcome.)
After, disclosure of the contents of the politically embarrassing 1957 letters, (Exhibits B, and C), the Danish Government commissioned a report on its activities during the Cold War. Though the final report contained information on events leading up to the Thule crash, it provided no scientific radiation records of 1968 concerning the subsequent contamination levels there. As of to date, it has consistently refused to disclose the detailed information contained in the 1968 scientific reports of radiation contamination.
B) Proper Follow-up Medical Tests and Examinations Are Necessary For
Follow- up tests and medical examinations of radiation exposed persons are necessarily part of environmental protection. Denmark conducted no follow- up tests or examinations of its civilian workers, such as Petitioner, or the indigenous population, to determine if they had been exposed to radiation contamination.
Denmark's failure to evacuate its civilian workers from the site, or to warn or inform them of the extensive radiation contamination in the area, or to conduct follow up tests, created substantial long term risks to their health. This resulted in subsequent deaths and life threatening radiogenic illnesses in former workers, such as Petitioner and in indigenous people.
C) Denmarks Non- Compliance With EU Environmental Principles Concerning
Past Emergencies Causing The Release Of Ionizing Radiation
As a member state of the European Union, Denmark is required to comply with the principles and provisions of its Environmental Law with regard to the after- effects of a prior radiation accident. The Council of the European Union has for example, laid down certain principles and specific requirements which member states must adhere to in such circumstances. Article 53 of Council Directive 96/29 Euratom of 13 May 1996 requires subsequent monitoring of exposed persons and the compilation and implementation of an appropriate intervention plan where there has been a past radiation accident. Monitoring and medical surveillance requirements are set out in Articles 25 to 35,the results of which are required to be disclosed to the individuals in question,( Article 28), together with their medical records, (Art. 34)
In the circumstances of the present Petition, the civilian Danish workers at Thule, such as Petitioner, were required to carry out dangerous contamination clean- up procedures after the 1968 radiation emergency caused by the crash of the B- 52 with four plutonium based thermo nuclear weapons in Greenland. Not only were they not warned of the radiation dangers or supplied with protective clothing, but Denmark has consistently failed to monitor the survivors or conduct the required medical surveillance procedures as required by EU law. Further its refusal to allow Public access to the 1968 scientific records of radiation contamination at Thule, violates European Union principles of radiation safety for both workers and the general Public.
OBJECT OF THE PETITION
Petitioner, on his own behalf and as a member of the Foreningen for Straaleramte Thulearbejdere wants Denmark to honour its commitments to the European Union Environmental Protection policies and make available to former Thule workers and the public the 1968 scientific records of radiation contamination at Thule, Greenland. In addition, and in further compliance with European Union Environmental Protection policies, Petitioner wants Denmark to carry proper follow- up medical examinations and tests on the surviving Danish civilian workers and their offspring, and the indigenous population who lived near Thule at the time and their offspring.
Further, Denmark should make adequate provisions for the creation and implementation of a claims system, modelled on the procedures employed by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal, for the payment of just compensation to all former Thule workers and the indigenous population, including their survivors and impaired offspring.
LIST OF ATTACHMENTS
The following attachments listed below will be sent to the European Parliament, together with Petitioners authorization.
a) Appendix A; Military Defence Agreement between Denmark and the US, April 27th. 1951.
b) Appendix B; Letter of August 22nd. 1957 from US Deputy Under Secretary of State to US Assistant Secretary of Defense.
c) Appendix C Letter of November 26th. 1957 from US Deputy Under Secretary of State to US Assistant Secretary of Defense.
d) Appendix D US Government Memorandum on joint US/ Danish conference at the Pentagon in March 1968, page 7.
e) Appendix E Epilogue by Danish Permanent Under Secretary of State to 1970 US Air Force report on B- 52 crash at Thule.
f) Appendix F Statement of Doc. Graeme D. Edwards.
g) Appendix G Memorandum of June 18th. 1968 from US Director of Classification, US Atomic Energy Commission.
h) Appendix H Statement of former US Air Force serviceman, Stanley R. Neilsen.
i) Appendix I Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal list of radiation linked illnesses for which compensation is payable. DECLARATION AND SIGNATURE
I hereby declare that to the best of my knowledge and belief, the information I have given in my Petition is correct and I authorize Ian Anderson to represent me.
I do not object to publication of this Petition..
Place; Coberg East, Victoria, Australia
Date; May 10th. 2002
Jeffrey Gregory Carswell
Applicant's Legal Representative
Place; New York, NY, USA
Date; May 10th. 2002
One bomb is still not accounted for.