NEWPORT RADAR FACILITY: Two guest opinions heat up debate over possible health effects
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Let me first thank the Observer-Dispatch, Dr. David Carpenter, director of the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment, and Col. David P. Blanks, commander of the Rome Research Site and Deputy Director of the Information Directorate, for all taking part in this discussion.
I keep reminding myself that this is for the children and the families and to assist the community in finding answers to the local cluster of disease in the Newport and immediate surrounding area.Let me also state that I have the utmost respect for the medical community and the role the military plays in defending our freedoms. My mother, father and brother all served in the military.
I grew up in rural Maine in a town of less than 2,000 people and I have kids, so I can imagine how the health problems must impact the community.
I would like to comment on Col. Blanks’ March 11 O-D guest column from a technical standpoint. I am doing this in hope that the public and military will see that more information is required by the public to fully assess the environmental impact of the Newport Antenna Radiation Pattern Test Facility on the surrounding area.
In my career I have assisted in writing environmental permits and applications and have searched the New York state database and FCC registrations and I find nothing regarding the Newport facility.
Let me start by assuming the colonel is correct and the facility radars tested are “only 1 watt each.”
Assuming that is a correct statement, I would like to ask the colonel how 1 watt transmitters are capable of jamming civilian GPS systems within a 300-mile area around the facility as happened accidentally in 1998?As radio/microwave power densities drop off with the square of the distance from the transmitter, my calculations using 5 watts show that would be impossible, and if true would warrant a Nobel Prize in Physics.
I would also like to ask the colonel what those 10-foot diameter parabolic dishes are in his photograph because my WiFi access point does not have one.
My research shows those 10-foot diameter antennas can boost 1 watt of power to an equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of 3,162 watts due to a gain of 35 dBi (decibels).
It is important to compare apples to apples, and I disagree with most of what the colonel is saying. Regarding the site, the colonel said “it doesn’t emit various frequencies of electromagnetic radiation” and yet the facilities’ own brochure says they test a full range of frequencies from 0-60 GHz.
This referenced document (www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/ fulltext/u2/ada347013.pdf) states each radar can generate up to 1000 watt (1kW) pulsed power which is then boosted by the 35 dBi antenna to an EIRP of up to 3,162,277 watts each according to my calculations. Multiple that by 5 radars and you can now understand how 15 million watts of pulsed EIRP power can jam civilian airliner GPS systems from hundreds of miles away and also potentially make personnel ill in the surrounding area.
This is 15,000,000/50,000 = 300 times more powerful than the colonel’s assumed isotropic TV antenna power.
If the military has been testing up to 30,000-watt AESA electronic warfare radars mounted on the airframes like this article (www.f-16.net/f-35-news-article1250.html) is implying and this one (www.prnews wire.com/news-releases/full-scale-f-35-pole-model-begins-mission-systems-testing-75375517.html) then all bets are off because the EIRP of those units are over 900 million watts of power if you happen to be in the direct/reflected path, which could be very unhealthy over time.
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Newport radar debate a reminder of another saga
By Ray Lenarcic
I never thought it would ever happen again. But it has. Only this time the issue isn’t exposure to Agent Orange and its impact on the health of Vietnam veterans and their children. It’s exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emanating from the Newport Antenna Test Facility and the resulting possible health impact on children and adults living nearby.
A trip down memory lane is necessary to remind or educate readers about our lengthy struggle to get the government to admit that the defoliant it saturated South Vietnam with (nearly 11 million gallons) in an effort to destroy the enemy’s cover had poisoned thousands of troops, and after doing so, to compensate the victims of their own country’s chemical warfare.
My involvement began after Agent Orange martyr Ed Juteau, Jr. spoke to my Western Civilization classes at Herkimer County Community College. At the time he was dying from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Juteau’s powerful presentation clearly identified what Agent Orange was and how, based on several independent studies, it was carcinogenic. (One of the components of Orange is contaminated with dioxin). He ended by asking for our help in joining the movement (Agent Orange Victims International) to convince Uncle Sam to act on their behalf.
Juteau’s impact that day had a profound effect on my students, myself and fellow colleagues like Professor Gary Walt Ruff.
We founded a Vietnam veterans’ advocacy organization named Save-A-Vet, sponsored several programs throughout the valley including the most successful hearing held by the State Temporary Commission on Dixon Exposure, made numerous trips to the Syracuse and Albany Veterans Administration hospitals, taking Vietnam veterans for Agent Orange physicals or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) appointments and organized the valley’s first Vietnam Veteran Rap Group.
Personally, I spent what seemed like a lifetime speaking, researching and writing about the two-headed monster running amok within the Vietnam veteran community.
In the final analysis the persistence of organizations like ours, Agent Orange Victims International and Vietnam Veterans of America paid off.
Incontrovertible evidence, Congressional support and a successful class action law suit against the chemical companies which manufactured the deadly defoliant resulted in the government finally admitting that the latter caused among other things certain cancers, birth defects and diabetes.
And, despite a process that took far too long, it began to compensate the victims. The walls of Orangegate finally came tumbling down, but not before thousands of veterans and their families had been dragged through hell.
The analogy between then and now is striking and disconcerting. Instead of Agent Orange there’s the threat of exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Instead of Agent Orange Victims International we have the Kuyahoora Valley What’s Making Us Sick committee. Instead of Ed Juteau, Jr., we have six children suffering from pediatric cancer, including three with an exceptionally rare form of leukemia (ALCL).
Back then veterans were waging a new war against the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency and the Veterans Administration. The latter have been replaced by the United States Air Force and New York state Health Department. Ironically, both are charged with protecting the people.
Back then there were numerous studies (e.g. Washington University, the National Institutes of Health; Swedish study) linking exposure to dioxin and cancer. Google up the work of Dr. David Carpenter and check out the health problems attributable to exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Finally, back then our main objectives were to get the government to examine our concerns with an open mind, to set aside predetermined policies intended to save money rather than lives and to reform a VA incapable of providing veterans with quality health care.
Today all we’re asking is that the government (USAF) provide an environmental impact assessment of the Newport Antenna Test Facility from the early 1980’s until present.
Said assessment should include among others: antenna EIRP (effective isotropic radiated power)-radiation power levels (peaked pulsed power) detected at Newport Road (some 2000 feet below) antenna targets and distances (hilltops and in the air).
This information can enable experts like Carpenter to determine if the facility is a health threat. If it is, it should be shut down. If it isn’t, then a possible cause of the pediatric cancer can be crossed off the list.
Over the past several decades, our government’s relationship with veterans, especially those with health issues, has been less than stellar. If there’s one word to describe its involvement with such problems as PTSD-TBI (i.e. incorrect diagnoses), suicides, sexual assaults and the infamous waiting lists, it is cover-up. Because of the above, I suggest that Rome Research site commander Col. David P. Blanks’ contentions in a March 11 O-D guest column, along with the data I requested earlier, be examined by an independent authority.
The days of the fox investigating the theft of the chickens are over! My Vietnam veteran friends waited over a decade for the truth to be known. My fervent hope is that the wait for the parents of the children with pediatric cancer will be far shorter.
Ray Lenarcic is a retired history professor at Herkimer County Community College. He lives in East Herkimer.
New Editorial Section: Ask Dr. Hawking!
Dr. Hawking, what do you think about the Colonels response that his transmitters only emit “1 watt of radiation”?