Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang is a poignant and potent documentary that exposes the government’s suppression of the health hazards caused by low-level radiation — all the more significant in light of the release of radiation from damaged nuclear plants in Japan, and reports that long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster may have been covered up.
Paul Jacobs, an IPS fellow and co-founder of Mother Jones magazine, also became a victim of lung cancer, which his doctors believe he contracted while he was investigating the claims of the Atomic Energy Commission at the Nevada Test Site in 1957. He died in 1978, before this film was finished. The documentary follows Jacobs in his last days as he re-visits those who were exposed to radioactive fallout in Utah and Arizona –downwind from the Nevada nuclear tests. He also talked to servicemen exposed by the government as it tested the impact of radiation on soldiers who might have to experience nuclear battlefields. Farmers living around the Rocky Flats, Colorado plant, which produced plutonium triggers, told of their tumors and the death of their animals. By the time this film was released, many of the people Jacobs interviewed had died from the cancers caused by what the government claimed were safe levels of radiation. Jacobs also interviews government scientists, some of whom lost their grants and jobs when their research contradicted the claims of the nuclear agencies about the dangers of low-level radiation.
The film, produced by Jack Willis and Saul Landau, won an Emmy and the George Polk Award for investigative journalism in 1981.
IPS encourages you to take one of the following opportunities to revisit this prescient documentary on Link TV: DIRECTV Channel 375 | DISH Network Channel 9410:
Eastern Standard Times:
Saul Landau is an internationally known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. He has been a fellow at IPS since 1972 and at the Transnational Institute since 1974. He has written 13 books, thousands of newspaper and magazine articles and reviews, and made more than 40 films and TV programs on social, political, economic and historical issues.