International Lawsuit to stop Cassini

Below is a list of the email addresses of all the Permanent Missions to the United Nations, along with a model letter that can be used to endorse this campaign.

Please take the time to rewrite this letter in your own words and send it to the email addresses listed below. It would also assist the campaign if you could write one or two individual letters and fax them to particular Permanent Missions.

Cassini can be stopped with your help!

Friday October 10, 1997

To the Ambassador's attention:

Your Excellency.

We are writing to you on an urgent matter. As you are undoubtedly aware the President of the United States has given permission to NASA to proceed with the Cassini Mission-with 72 pounds of plutonium- on October 13. This matter is generating international concern among scientists and citizens.

A specialist in International Law, Francis Boyle, is willing to seek an Emergency Hearing of the International Court of Justice to "stay the Cassini test pending a hearing under the rules of the Court". Clinton would be obliged to obey the terms of the stay. The Order would be transmitted to the United Nations Security Council for enforcement.

We are appealing to you as a party to the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide to be the country that will be willing to raise this concern with the international Court of Justice over a potential Cassini catastrophe.

The major problem in the Cassini mission is that it will carry 72 lbs of Plutonium 238. This isotope is one of the hottest known; and its heat can be captured to make electrical power for the duration of the voyage. This isotope is 272 times hotter (more active) than the bomb type of Plutonium.

Many people are deeply troubled about what will happen if something goes wrong. The biological effects of a Cassini accident could be most serious. There is now much public knowledge about the harmful effects of radiation pollution and many people are saying this must stop.

The proposed Cassini Probe to Saturn is causing great international concern. If something goes wrong, it could cause the worst ever space accident. One expert has likened it to the biological equivalent of 17 operational nuclear power stations being sent into space. This is because the 72 lbs of Plutonium 238 it will be carrying is uniquely dangerous to life forms - not only to humans. There are concerns about the validity of the American Environmental Assessments done around this venture.

There is now a solid body of evidence about the harm done to life including to people by the nuclear industry. A Cassini accident could double the quantity of Plutonium released into the environment since nuclear weapons testing began. Is this plausible - we have only the word of American based interests to oppose - the question has never been subject to international legal scrutiny. We believe that the opinions and interests of Non-Americans also matter. We want this matter to be settled in the proper way by the World Court. We need your help to sponsor an approach to the World Court - which has already been drafted - so that the Monday,   October 13th launch will be put on hold pending review as the World Court recommends. This request is for the honorable purpose of enabling the World Court to act on this matter.

Throughout the history of the United Nations, there have been General Assembly resolutions expressing resolve to prevent harm from radiation. For years,   the precautionary principle has become a principle of international common law: this principle affirms that where there is the potential of harm, the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent the harm. NASA has accidents before both on the launch pad and in space,   and it is now the responsibility of the Global community to show the political will to act with caution.

We have enclosed background information, as well as a resume of Francis Boyle.

This matter is of the utmost urgency. Francis Boyle is currently drafting the court documents and will be prepared to seek the Emergency hearing prior to the proposed October 13 launching of Cassini as soon as he receives confirmation from a state government willing to proceed to the International Court of Justice court.

Yours truly
Francis Boyle
Professor Of International Law

Tel/FAX 217-333-7954/217-244-1478 e-mail FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU

Email addresses for the Permanent missions to the United Nations

(Cut and paste into your `BCC' or `TO' fields) NB: It is also worth sending individual faxes to several of the Permanent Missions Eg:

Cuba - +1 212 779 1697 free

Costa Rica - +1 212 986 6842 free

Denmark - +1 212 308 3384 free

New Zealand - +1 212 758 0827 free

Sweden - +1 212 832 0389 free

India - +1 212 490 9656 free

South Africa - +1 212 692 2498 free fax: remote-printer.Permanent_Mission_to_Un@12126922498.iddd.tpc.intFull fax contact details for all the Permanent Missions are available on the web at:

=========cut here=======Please rewrite in your own words ================

To the Permanent Missions to the United Nations:


Your excellency,
As a concerned citizen of the world, I am writing to you regarding the planned launch into space of the deadly Cassini probe, carrying 72lbs of plutonium, which is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral on Monday morning at 4.55am

NASA assures us that Cassini is perfectly safe, that there is minimal risk - but is this a risk worth taking when, if something goes wrong, there could be dire consequences for our entire planet?

It is not right that the United States can take a decision like this, that effects everyone living on our fragile earth. The concerns of the people of the world about this matter need to be taken into account.

I am writing to you to endorse the letter you received earlier today from Professor Francis Boyle, Dr Joan Russow and Ross Wilcock. I am appealing to you as a party to the convention of the prevention of Genocide to be the country that is willing to raise our concerns at the International Court of Justice over a possible Cassini accident.

Please help the people of the world to avert this potential disaster. Stop Cassini!

Yours sincerely,