Truth 1: A new book “MON PERE CHARLES PECHER, L’homme de sciences 1913-1941”, by Evelyne Cerf-Pecher



It was during my search for the discrepancy between official fallout figures and the effects suffered by Australian victims of British Atomic bombs that I found a fission product “pea and shell game”. The way I see it, the statement made by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama to the Japanese Diet on 27 July 2011 (The “What the hell are you doing” speech) would be little different to that which Dr Charles Pecher would have thought had he been a fly on the wall. As a doctor in the same field as Dr Pecher, Kodama would possess the facts that Pecher helped originate and verify.

Researching radio-strontium, patently promoted soley as consisting of strontium 90, I found a far more potent (and consequently much shorter lived) strontium 89, had been released in far greater quantities than strontium 90 by the British bombs detonated in Australia. The amount of strontium 89 created by British nuclear explosions in Australians peaked in the drought year of 1957 at about 7 million curies (my calculation). This was never mentioned by any British or Australian authority from the 1950s until the present time.

It was in researching what was known and when that I first came across the name of Dr Charles Pecher. A man who was invited to the US in 1939 from his native Belgium by Ernest Lawrence. From 1939 until his death in August 1941, Pecher, using the Lawrence cyclotron, manufactured Strontium 89. It was Pecher himself who first defined strontium (of any isotope) as being a “calcium analogue”. Due to this characteristic, Pecher realised that a the untreatable pain suffered in the throes of bone cancer might be treated due to 1. The potent radioactivity of Strontium 89 and 2. The localisation of the substance in areas of high calcium metabolism/(ie, bone tumor sites). From 1939, Pecher trialled strontium 89 on animals (generally rodents, and in one instance, two dairy cows, to test Sr89 mobility in milk, during an early nutritional experiment). Pecher found that pregnant rodents given Strontium 89 produced offspring which were “more radioactive than the mothers” (Pecher). That the mothers excreted administered Sr89 via their milk. This holds true for all mammalian species. Human treatment trials began, and some astounding though disappointingly temporary results occurred. One person, stricken in agony and bed ridden for months, was able to return to work as a teacher.

Alas, the hoped for cure did not eventuate, symptoms returning and death being the eventual outcomes of this dreadful disease. Pecher wrote many papers on this and other subjects. The first were published prior to the US entry into World War 2. The last, reporting on the metabolic and cancer treatment with its pain reduction ability, was published posthumously in 1942. It only cleared the censorship regime then in place in regard to fission products by the intervention of Marshall Brucer.

During his period of time in the US, Pecher had built up a detailed animal and human dose response record of Strontium 89.

His death in August 1941 was ruled a suicide by the Canadian coroner. The discovery that strontium 89 was a product of the fission of uranium was not made until 1941. Pecher made the substance by another route, one originated in the 1930s by Stewart, Lawson and Cork. The method utilised particle bombard generated by cyclotron.

The isotopes of Strontium anticipated by Meitner in 1939 was Strontium 90. Hahn eventually confirmed this as his fission experiments continued. So this military interest in radio-strontium may have commenced early.

The year that Strontium 89 itself was confirmed as a fission product (ie would be produced by an atomic bomb and by reactors), 1941, was the year in which Dr Pecher died.

The Manhattan Project, which formally commenced in 1942, was the military manifestation of a civilian research project commenced in 1939 under secret order of President Roosevelt. The civilian committee formed to oversee the development of an atomic bomb began in 1939, not 1942. The effort commenced under the Executive Order of the US Commander in Chief, the President, in 1939. The first funding, for the purchase of uranium, went to the US Navy. That was 1939. The same year British Intelligence had communicated with Belgium on the urgent need to ship as much high grade uranium as possible to Staten Island, USA. This being arranged prior to the Einstien letter to Roosevelt of August of that war.

It was the year that the newly married Dr Charles Pecher and his wife Jacqueline arrived in the USA to continue his calcium – strontium studies.

That Dr Pecher’s treatment was successfull as a palliative pain relief in cases of terminal bone cancer of specific types is proven by the FDA approval of the treatment. Though Pecher’s proven treatment results were published in detail in 1942, the FDA approval for the general use of the treatment did not come until 1993.

By that stage, Project Sunshine, the US instigated global fallout radio strontium absorption study, was in its final collation and reporting phase. Even that was terminated prematurely (Durbin-Wallace, DOE oral history).

In the intervening years, the name of Pecher and his work was mentioned only rarely in secret Atomic Energy Commission letters, reports and notes. Throughout the 1950s, the AEC tried to trace patients who had received the Sr89 treatment by Pecher.

It is my view that the treatment was suppressed. It would not do to have the radio-pharmacalogical data relating to a potent and major component of atomic bomb fallout in the public domain in the era of the first use of atomic bombs and in the subsequent atomic test era.

It is because of the old “pea and shell game” authorities played with the voting public that many suffered without benefit of the Pecher treatment. It is for the same reason that the potency of nuclear fallout at the time of the fission bomb detonations have been officially underestimated. In my opinion.

The same old game of concealment has been played out in Japan since March 2011.

The truth of nuclear history is complicated by secrecy. The happy accident of contact with members of the Pecher family – Carla Webbles in Texas, and later, with Evelyne Cerf-Pecher in Belgium, as well as with Professor A.A. Verveen (Bert). It was Prof Verveen who had long researched Dr Pecher’s early work relating to the role of calcium in the human nervous system. The work which initially led to Pecher’s interest in strontium – due to its chemical characteristics and in the case of its radioactive isotopic forms, its radiological nature, which enabled external tracing. It is a long and complex story.

A daughter wondered about her father, and has written her book about him. My small contribution to the research phase was not about the man, but rather about the substance he worked with. I do know this though: Had Dr Pecher lived, not only would a daughter have known her father, but the nuclear authorities of this world would have had to contend with the presence of a man of deep humanity, committed to the easing of suffering rather than to the means by which suffering is forced, by military means, in secret, upon friend and foe alike in this, the nuclear age.

I can only marvel at the significant coincidences which resulted in my small contribution to Evelyne’s, Carla’s and Bert’s search for the true history of Charles Pecher. Like Bert, I am horrified at the fate of Charles Pecher. I remain horrified that his work lay forgotten, probably for reasons of military secrecy relating to bomb fallout characteristics, for the period July 1945 to the date of FDA approval of the Strontium 89 treatment, 1993. (A bit earlier in Canada.)

Things still remain concealed. Authorities, I think, would still prefer people not know.

I am reminded that Ross Gunn, the officer of the Naval Research Lab who received the first funding from Roosevelt’s new Uranium Committee in 1939, later complained that the Manhattan Project had “turned the hose” on the Naval project.

In another weird coincidence, there was a man, supposedly subordinate to Gunn, who was removed from the Naval Research Lab at around the time funding for nuclear reactor research was received. His daughter’s name is Linda. Her father’s name was Thomas Townsend Brown. Linda has written a book about her father.

In any event, in terms of nuclear history, the world population has had “the hose turned on it” for far too long.

The quest for justice and knowledge of their fathers seems to empower daughters toward enlightening not only themselves and their families, but the entire intelligent world.

There is a French Chef in Tokyo named Nelson, who would no doubt find great value in Evelyne’s book.

Geoff Wild, the person who enabled me to read Marshall Brucer’s account of Pecher, by sending me Brucer’s “Chronology of Nuclear Medicine”, will no doubt soon, be reading Evelyne’s book.

As any family knows, history as written by authorities is very often full of holes. It is up to ordinary people to fill in the missing spaces. The official truth is never the whole truth.

Professor Verveen’s website:

Ross Gunn’s story:


Linda Brown’s book : Kramish was one of the crew at the NRL experimental uranium thermal diffusion plant, Philadelphia Naval Shipyards.

Often, hidden beneath deep and misleading, there is substantial truth. Hidden in plain sight.

What would Andrew Kishner of make of all this hidden truth? The day before Evelyne’s book arrived, he sent me an email which explains his point view, and I didn’t even have to ask…..see next post.

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