Open Letter to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Joseph Rotblat



Dear Joe,

How are you? I saw that you were going to Athens last summer and I was planning to talk with you. Since it did not happen, here are my thoughts and concerns.

In view of current militaristic events, I am sending you my open letter related to my resignation from the nuclear labs. Considering the goal of your publications and especially Student Pugwash, I thought that your editors would be interested to let your readers know about why I resigned.

I would appreciate it if you could let me know if you would publish if not all the letter, at least extracts from it like THE SPOKESMAN #73 did in its last issue. I would think that a link to my letter, if not the entire letter, would be most appropriate in your web site for encouraging students to abstain from employment in the nuclear labs and for encouraging scientists to leave. Is it not that which we want to see? Also the same statement can be made about Issac Trotts’s open letter as to why he also resigned from LLNL from a permanent high paying job while at the same time he had over $40,000 in student loans to pay back. Has his example become widely known in the circles of student Pugwash?

I am surprised that so far, two whole years after my resignation, my letter has not made its way yet into your publications or web sites, nor into the publications or web site of the Union of Concerned Scientists, nor into the publications of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists even after I requested its publication. I thought that after meeting several key people from these organizations during these two years, they would definitely publicize my resignation as an example to be followed by other scientists, but it did not happen.

It is a disturbing observation because we have the same goal, which is to see the abolition of nuclear weapons. I want to believe that it was overlooked even though I sense that the world has not really weighed properly the Russel-Einstein manifesto, of which you are the last remaining in life of its eleven signatories. With direct action, we should let the scientists know that science is supposed to be practiced for the benefit of humanity, not for its total destruction.

It is my delight to mention that INES (International Network of Engineers and Scientists) not only let its readers know about my resignation, but also let them know about an interesting article encouraging scientists to think again.


“Living Without the Labs”

“This is the title of an article by Andreas Toupadakis, the nuclear scientist who quit his job at the US Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on principle. In his latest article, published first in The Albuquerque Tribune, 19 Sept 01, Andreas Toupadakis is urging other scientists to do the same. But quitting is tough, and scientists who do so need an organization to support them, he says.” You can find the article here.


If I mentioned your web site and the Union of Concerned Scientists in the Albuquerque article, why has our resignation (Issac Trotts’s and mine) not been mentioned in yours and theirs?

As a Nobel Peace Price winner you could effectively encourage especially science students today to follow my example and Issac Trotts’s example. Of course your example is widely known around the world, but I have realized that we have a tendency to look in the past and not at today. It was the same attitude, if you remember, when we got together for first time during the editorial board meeting with the South Bend Tribune in Indiana in 2000. The board members and everybody else was going around and around the past and no one was willing to touch the burning issues of our times. When I made a comment on today’s issues, a member from the editorial board said that the newspapers do not make policy. Of course the newspapers do not make policy, but unless they inform the people of what is happening, how will the people ask for the best policy for their country? I was shocked after that meeting to see such indifference at a time when we are ready to burn ourselves and the whole world in the nuclear fire we have prepared for ourselves and our children.

At your speech that day in Indiana, you predicted that nuclear weapons will be used and they will be used soon. I believe it myself and want to see our colleagues walk away from this crime of science. I would humbly disagree though with you in your comment during the same speech that the rich become richer and the poor become richer. That is not the picture that the majority of the world sees today. They see a very different picture and it is documented by United Nations reports that the gap is widening at an astronomical rate. Even the vulgarly stated USA policy of “full spectrum dominance” is referring to it in terms of a widening gap between the “have’s” and “have not’s”.

I am sure that you are aware of this strange, to say the least, document VISION FOR 2020. My opinion is that if no cool heads find courage to stand up against such insanity for world domination, our world will most likely end before that date. But in order to see cool heads, we need to let people know about the facts. And the facts are that every empire is ruthless be it American, Russian, Chinese, English, Roman, or Greek. Emperors do not send their soldiers around the world to hand out candies to people as Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky have many times pointed out. They are there to divide the people in order to be able to exploit them.

Has the Student Pugwash recommended to its members to read the two books by William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (ISBN: 1-56751-052-3) and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (ISBN: 1-56751-194-5)? Western racism, at its highest today, will end all life onearth unless it is checked by direct nonviolent action worldwide. I am afraid that the time for lectures and writing books is up. We are very close to that horrible day. Let us pour our humanity into humanity, for that is the reason we were brought to walk on this earth.

What has gone wrong on this little planet of ours? Awards for peace are given to leaders that command armies and use force to bring freedom. How about those that have spent dozens of years in jail for the sake of world peace? These are the real heroes, not those of us who just did a common sense thing. How many know about Badshah Khan, who spent 15 years of his life in jail under the British and another 15 years under his own people the Muslims? In my opinion, Student Pugwash should have the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi as its Bible.

Dear Joe, am I correct that you advocate nuclear power? Can we forget the millions of victims around the world because of nuclear materials everywhere? Can we ignore the very well documented case of depleted uranium and its consequences to the lives of millions of people? Reading “Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium” we cannot but be disgraced as scientists.

What will happen tomorrow when wars break out and the nuclear power plants are targeted to be attacked? My dear friend Joe, we know very well what will happen because we have the book: Voices from Chernobyl — Chronicle of the Future by Alexievich, Svetlana. London; Aurum Press Ltd; 1999, first published in Moscow in 1997. In that book, we learn that the poor and unfortunate people are already calling the scientists with a new name. And that new name is a surprise to all of us. They have called the scientists demons! Should we be surprised if we first read the stories from that book? If you have not read it yet, I hope that you will. In fact, from the hundred stories in the book, we need to read just the first and the last, and then we will know what we will go through tomorrow unless we stop denying the truth about the attitude of the western governments and in general, the attitude of all governments.

I am of the opinion that if NATO is not dissolved soon, it will dissolve the world. We must speak the truth Joe; we do not have much time left to compromise when the whole world is at stake and the people are waiting to hear it from people like us. I hope that you will change your position before you leave this world, which is in horrific danger. If I am mistaken about my understanding of your position on nuclear power please let me know.

With my warmest regards and respect,

Andreas Toupadakis

Mr. Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D. is a Former Research Scientist of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.