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US atomic bomb and missile tests crowded them onto Ebeye. Now their former Marshall Islands paradise is “the Slum of the Pacific.”

Photo by Vlad Sokhin shows North Camp, one of the most populated areas on Ebeye. Ebeye is the second most densely populated city in the world, home to at least 15,000.
By Vlad Sokhin | Beyond Nuclear International | November 25, 2018

The tiny island of Ebeye in Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, has a total area of 0.36 square kilometres and is home to over 15,000 people, most of whom were moved there from nearby islands because of a US Army missile range-testing program that was launched in the late 1940s. Overcrowding, poverty, outbreaks of infectious diseases and a high level of unemployment has led some to refer to Ebeye as the ‘ghetto of the Pacific’. Until the 1940s, the island’s population was negligible. During the Second World War, Japan occupied the Marshall Islands and moved some 1,000 settlers there and when the US captured the islands in 1944, a new naval base and the movement of people from other parts of the Atoll rapidly augmented Ebeye’s population.

In preparation for ‘Operation Crossroads’, an extensive missile testing programme that would eventually comprise 67 blasts, the US military decided to move all non-US personnel from around the Kwajalein Atoll onto Ebeye, which lies around five kilometres north of Kwajalein Island, the largest in the Atoll. On 1 March 1954, under the code name of ‘Castle Bravo’, the US military detonated a dry fuel hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll, in the north of the island chain, which was to be the most powerful nuclear device ever exploded by the United States. Though the Bikini Islanders had been persuaded to relocate to a neighbouring island in 1946, where they had suffered shortages and malnutrition, members of other nearby communities on Rongelap island were not evacuated until 3 days after the blast, causing many to suffer the effects of radiation sickness and birth defects.

Keen to return to their ancestral lands, Bikini islanders were tentatively allowed to come back to their homes three years after ‘Castle Bravo’ but had to be moved again after many developed leukaemia and thyroid tumours.

Over the coming decades, some islanders continued to return and try to reestablish their old communities but periodic tests of the soil, water and plant life on Bikini islands consistently suggested that the place had been so polluted by the nuclear fallout of ‘Castle Bravo’ and other tests that it was unsafe to live on the Atoll any longer. Many Bikini Islanders ended up on Ebeye, now the most densely populated of the Marshall islands, with the help of Greenpeace which in 1985 organised a mass evacuation from areas affected by fallout.

A child stands at the window opening in one of the many derelict houses on the island.

As the US nuclear testing programme developed and grew in the 1950s, most of the people living around the Kwajalein Atoll, where various US military installations that assist the nuclear test sites are based, were relocated from their homes and into a planned settlement on Ebeye. After they were joined by the ‘nuclear migrants’ from Bikini and other northern atolls, the poorly constructed settlements on Ebeye became increasingly crowded, leading to a polio outbreak in 1963, a measles outbreak in 1978 and regular occurrences of cholera, tuberculosis and other diseases up to the present day. The most overcrowded settlement of Northern Camp is a large shanty town without water supply or sewage system. Since much of the population is dependent on the service industry at US installations, unemployment is a major problem.

According to George Junior, a health worker at Ebeye’s hospital, ongoing missile testing around Kwajalein Atoll continues to impact on the health of local people. ‘When the Americans test their missiles and then the rain comes, the entire population of Ebeye gets sick. We have diarrhoea, flu and conjunctivitis. Such symptoms continue for 10 to 15 days and then everyone gets better until the next tests’ he says. And while US personnel enjoy excellent health care in places like Kwajalein Hospital, the majority of Ebeye residents who need emergency care are often referred to hospitals in Majuro, the administrative capital of the Marshall Islands, or to Manila or Hawaii since they do not have clearance to enter military installations.

Vlad Sokhin (Russia/Portugal) is a documentary photographer, videographer and multimedia producer. He covers social, cultural, environmental, health and human rights issues around the world, including post-conflict and natural disaster zones.

January 13, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

UN votes to nullify Israeli ‘jurisdiction’ over Jerusalem

Press TV – December 1, 2017

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to declare as null any Israeli measure to practice jurisdiction over Jerusalem al-Quds, days before US President Donald Trump decides whether he would relocate the US embassy to the occupied city.

In a rare show of unity against the Tel Aviv regime, 151 countries voted on Thursday to adopt a resolution that denounced Israel as the “occupying power” of the Jerusalem al-Quds, a city that is holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.

“Any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever,” read the resolution.

The UN members also urged Tel Aviv to show “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, in word and practice,” referring to a hill in Jerusalem al-Quds where the al-Aqsa Mosque is located.

Israel lays claim to the entirety of Jerusalem al-Quds as its “capital” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of a future state for themselves.

The city has seen tensions since 2015, when the Israeli military introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site. Over 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli soldiers ever since.

Last year, it was reported that Israel has been omitting from the city’s maps significant Muslim and Christian holy sites and entire neighborhoods in the area while highlighting dozens of sites with dubious historical importance.

Only five countries — the US, Canada, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru — opposed the Thursday resolution at the UN, which was also voted down by Israel’s UN envoy. Nine countries also abstained.

US embassy relocation

The strong-worded statement by the UN came days before Trump has to make up his mind over moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Since US Congress ruled in 1995 that the embassy be relocated from Tel Aviv, every president has deferred the tough decision. The act contains a clause that allows the president to renew a six-month waiver on the decision.

US Vice President Mike Pence says his boss, Donald Trump, is considering “when and how” to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds as a Friday deadline approaches.

Palestinians have warned that the potential relocation would fuel strong reaction in the region and deliver a death blow to any prospect of resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US Vaporized Marshall Islands, Performed Human Experimentation on Natives

By Robert Barsocchini | Empire Slayer | April 28, 2015

… we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicines and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe…

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Investigative journalist William Boardman’s findings on US vaporization of Marshall Islands and human experimentation on Marshall Islands native “savages”, as they were classed by US media:

Nuclear Savage” is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more than two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of “Nuclear Savage” includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience:

“The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation. These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll…. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.”

“Some use the term ‘savage’ to refer to people from primitive cultures, but nuclear experimentation pushed savagery to new levels. In the 1950s, the U.S. conducted 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to fallout. The islanders on Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one test, and were then moved onto a highly contaminated island to serve as human guinea pigs for 30 years.”

Horowitz, the director of Nuclear Savage, notes that the US “bl[e]w up all these islands … purposely contaminated all these people as human experiments.”

Boardman continues:

In 1998, staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a comparison study to compare the amount of radioactive Iodine-131 at four different radiation-polluted sites, measured in curies (1,000 curies of Cesium-137, as found in a radiation therapy machine, could produce serious health effects in a direct exposure of just a few minutes). The CDC team reported its finding that the atmospheric release of curies of Iodine-137 at the Hanford nuclear processing plant was 739,000 curies; at Chernobyl the release was 40 million curies; at the Nevada bomb test site, 150 million curies; and in the Marshall Islands, 6.3 billion curies (more that 30 times as much radiation as the other three sites combined).

Even recently, the US has tried “to re-re-settle some populations back to their home islands that were still dangerously radioactive.” However, the film helped rally the islanders and reduced the US re-re-settlement effort to nothing more than “a bunch of empty houses.”

One year ago, nearly to the day, the Marshall Islands bravely brought a lawsuit to the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court “against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS)”, which are refusing “to meet their treaty obligations to disarm.”

Obama, in direct contravention of US word and legal requirement, is devoting 1 to 1.5 trillion dollars to US nuclear weapons development, even as the US, also illegally, cuts off water to some of its own, poor residents.

From 1946-1958, the US conducted 67 nuclear weapons experiments on the Marshall Islands, the equivalent of “one-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs” every day.

On a related note, Obama continues to refuse to give the country of Diego Garcia back to its indigenous inhabitants. The pristine island nation was seized and cleansed of its nationals by the US and Britain, then turned into a US toxic waste dump-site and base for Washington’s global execution and torture racket.

Seven minute trailer for Nuclear Savage:

Reporter focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  On twitter @_DirtyTruths with UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson. 

June 13, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Level of Radiation on Nuclear Test Islands Remains High 60 Years Later

Sputnik – 09.06.2016

Although decades have passed since atomic tests were conducted by the US on the northern Marshall Islands, radiation levels within the territory are still dangerously high, a recent study revealed.

In 1940s and 50s, during a heavy period of nuclear weapons testing, scientists predicted that background radiation would eventually drop to a level that would allow the return of relocated indigenous people to their native islands.

According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), the Pacific Ocean islands are still too dangerous for habitation, 60 years since the massive hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll.

The lead author of the research, Autumn Bordner, from Columbia University’s Center for Nuclear Studies, accompanied by fellow scientists, traveled to the islands to test gamma radiation levels on Enewetak, Rongelap, and Bikini.

The team stayed on the islands for two weeks and covered an area of over 1,000 square miles. Radiation readings were then compared to measurements from Majuro Atoll, an island far enough away to be used as a control. Measurements were also taken in Central Park, in New York City, New York, as an additional control.

“Central Park and the Majuro Atoll experience 13 and 9 millirems of radiation per year, respectively,” the study said. “Enewetak had the lowest radiation levels, at 7.6 mrem/y, which makes sense, since the island has had extensive cleanup efforts. Rongelap has higher levels at 19.8 mrem/y, and Bikini Atoll has the most radiation of the islands studied, with a mean of 184 mrem/y.”

Radiation on Bikini Atoll was found to be higher than the minimum accepted levels agreed upon by the US and Marshall Islands governments.

The scientists observed that the measurements differ little from those taken two decades ago, although it had been expected that radiation levels would by now have measurably decayed.

Researchers affirm that, without studying the effects of the environment on humans, it is not known whether the Marshallese people can safely return to Rongelap and Bikini.

June 9, 2016 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands take on nuclear powers at UN court

RT | March 6, 2016

© atomcentral

© atomcentral / YouTube

The Marshall Islands launch a legal campaign against the UK, India and Pakistan this week in a David versus Goliath battle to achieve the goal of a “nuclear free universe”.

The islands accuse the nuclear states of failing to halt the nuclear arms race, and are urging the UN’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to pursue a lawsuit against all three.

The Pacific Ocean territory, used as a US nuclear testing site for 12 years, filed applications with the ICJ in April 2014 accusing the world’s nine nuclear-armed states of not respecting their nuclear disarmament obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and customary international law.

The nine nations possessing nuclear arsenals are the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel – though Israel is the only one which never acknowledged holding nuclear weapons.

The court admitted the cases brought against the UK, India and Pakistan because the three states have already recognised the ICJ’s authority.

The islands’ former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tony de Brum said they commenced “this lawsuit with the greatest respect and the greatest admiration for the big countries of the world, but we think it must be done”.

Hearings will take place in The Hague Monday to examine whether the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is competent to hear the lawsuits against India and Pakistan. Another hearing will take place on Wednesday to examine “preliminary objections” raised by London in the case against Britain, according to AFP.

De Brum has said the people of the Marshalls suffer quietly but they take this suit in “the cause of a nuclear free universe”.

“We are fighting for what we believe is the only solution in terms of peace and prosperity in the world.”

Olivier Ribbelink, senior researcher at the TMC Asser Institute in The Hague says “the case is in a very preliminary stage at this point”, but added: “Either way the outcome, the case has certainly sharply refocused attention on the dangers of nuclear proliferation.”

De Brum and the Marshall Islands legal team have been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

US nuclear test ground

De Brum was nine years old when the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb was dropped by the US on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954 during the Cold War nuclear arms race.

The 15-megatonne bomb was the largest US nuclear test on record at 1000-times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The resulting characteristic mushroom cloud reached a diameter of 7km (4.5 miles) and a height of almost 40,000 meters (130,000ft) within six minutes of detonation.

The US carried out 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958.

Bikini Islanders lived in exile since they were moved for the first US weapons test, though some returned in the early 1970s after government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement.

However, residents were removed again in 1978 after ingesting high levels of radiation from eating local foods grown on the former nuclear testing site.

The Marshall Islands is appealing to the US Supreme Court after its case against the country was dismissed by a US federal court last year.

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

States of hope and states of concern

By Bjorn Hilt | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | January 11, 2016

At the UN General assembly last fall there was an essential vote on the future of mankind. Resolution number A/RES/70/33 calling for the international society to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had been submitted by Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Ireland, Kenya, Lichtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. For that, these countries deserve our deep respect and gratitude. The resolution reminds us that all the peoples of  the world have a vital interest in the success of nuclear disarmament negotiations, that all states have the right to participate in disarmament negotiations, and, at the same time, declares support for the UN Secretary – General’s five-point proposal on nuclear disarmament.

The resolution reiterates the universal objective that remains the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, and emphasizes the importance of addressing issues related to nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, inclusive, interactive and constructive manner, for the advancement of multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations. The resolution calls on the UN to establish an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of willing and responsible states to bring the negotiations on nuclear disarmament forward in this spirit.

When voted upon at the UNGA a month ago, on December 7, 2015, there was a huge majority of states (75 %) that supported the resolution, namely 138 of the 184 member states that were present. Most of them are from the global south, with majorities in Latin-America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific. After having shown such courage and wisdom, they all deserve to be named among the states of hope, states that want to sustain mankind on earth.

Only 12 states voted against the resolution. Guess who they are: China, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the United States. What is wrong with them? Well, they are either nuclear-armed states or among the new NATO member states. They are the states of concern in today’s world. It is hypocritical that states that claim to be the protectors of freedom, democracy, and humanity constitute a small minority that refuse to enter into multilateral, inclusive, interactive and constructive negotiations to free the world from nuclear weapons. Among the three other nuclear-armed states, India and Pakistan had the civility to abstain, while the DPRK was the only one to vote “yes.”

Despite the reactionary, dangerous, and irresponsible position of the 12 states of concern and the tepid attitude of the abstainers, the OEWG was established by an overwhelming majority of the UNGA. The OEWG will convene in Geneva for 15 working days during the first half of 2016. The OEWG has no mandate to negotiate treaties to free the world of the inhuman nuclear weapons, but has clearly been asked to discuss and show how it can be achieved. Surely, the nations of hope that voted in favor of the OEWG will take part in the work. We can hope that at least some of the states of concern and some of the abstainers come to their senses and take part in this essential work for the future of mankind.

Participation in the OEWG is open for everyone and blockable by none. No matter what the states of concern do or don’t do, there is good reason to trust that the vast majority of nations of hope together with civil society from all over in the fall will present an outcome to the UNGA that will turn our common dream of a world free of nuclear weapons into a reality—perhaps sooner that we dare to believe.

January 11, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking on the Nuclear Goliath

By Robert Koehler | CounterPunch | January 8, 2016

“Just as we stood for freedom in the 20th century, we must stand together for the right of people everywhere to live free from fear in the 21st century. And . . . as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.

“So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Uh…

These words, the core of President Obama’s first major foreign policy speech, delivered in Prague in April 2009, now resonate with nothing so much as toxic irony — these pretty words, these words of false hope, which disappeared into Washington’s military-industrial consensus and failed to materialize into action or policy.

James Carroll, writing at Mother Jones in 2013, describes what happened in the wake of this extraordinary policy declaration:

“In order to get the votes of Senate Republicans to ratify the START treaty, Obama made what turned out to be a devil’s bargain. He agreed to lay the groundwork for a vast ‘modernization’ of the US nuclear arsenal, which, in the name of updating an aged system, is already morphing into a full-blown reinvention of the arms cache at an estimated future cost of more than a trillion dollars. In the process, the Navy wants, and may get 12 new strategic submarines; the Air Force wants, and may get a new long-range strike bomber force. Bombers and submarines would, of course, both be outfitted with next-generation missiles, and we’d be off to the races. The arms races.”

And the cause of global nuclear disarmament, once a dream with geopolitical cred, may wind up entombed in eternal apathy. As Carroll put it: “Nuclear abolition itself is being abolished.”
But I refuse to believe that. What I do believe is that change of such magnitude simply cannot emerge from the actions of top-down leadership, even sentimentally sympathetic leadership like Obama’s, until a counterforce for disarmament is able to stand eyeball to eyeball with world decision makers and the military-industrial matrix in which they operate.

Say hello to the Marshall Islands, the tiny, heroic island nation in Micronesia, with a population just over 70,000. This former U.S. territory, which still bears the terrible scars of 67 above-ground nuclear blasts between 1946 and 1958, when this country used it as an expendable nuclear test site, has engaged the United States — and, indeed, all nine nations that possess nuclear weapons — in lawsuits demanding that they comply with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin the process of negotiating global nuclear disarmament.

Specifically, the lawsuits — filed both in the International Court of Justice in the Hague and U.S. federal court — are demanding compliance with Article VI of the treaty, signed by the U.S. in 1970, which reads: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

General and complete disarmament…

Do these words actually have meaning? Right now the Marshall Islands stand alone among the nations of Planet Earth in believing that they do.

The U.S. suit was filed in April 2014 and dismissed as “speculative.” This ruling was appealed, the appeal was contested, and last month the attorneys for the Marshall Islands filed their reply brief, challenging, among other things, the U.S. government’s contention that an international treaty is the province of the Executive Branch to comply with (or ignore) as it chooses.

The brief is demanding that the Judicial Branch assert itself in this matter and rule on the island nation’s claims that A) as a signatory to the treaty, it is owed U.S. compliance to negotiate disarmament in good faith and dismantle its own nuclear weapons cache rather than upgrade it; and B) U.S. failure to do so creates a “measurable increased risk of nuclear danger” for the Marshall Island (and, of course, everyone else on the planet).

There’s no clear time frame for what will happen next, but at some point, a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will either uphold the case’s dismissal or call for oral arguments to proceed.

“Under the treaty, they are obligated to do what they said they were going to do,” David Krieger, president of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which is working with the Marshall Islands on its case, said to me. The case alerts the public to how its interests are “being jeopardized by the failure of nuclear-armed countries to fulfill their obligations.”

Today, as I write this, North Korea is claiming that it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb; if true, this is seriously disheartening news for the rest of the planet, and the claim is reaping universal condemnation. But the nuclear-armed nations aren’t condemning themselves for doing the same thing. Clearly, such enormous power is difficult — if not impossible — to give up on one’s own.

Is there a force for peace that can break this impasse? A tiny, wounded nation, which is still reaping the consequences of being forced to serve as a nuclear testing ground, says yes there is. The challenge is real, not symbolic. It’s also unprecedented. Multiply their effort by the hopes of almost everyone on the planet and maybe we could produce a leader who means what he says:
“So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

January 9, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

UN Supports Sovereignty for Palestine and Slams Israel

Resolution severely criticises the “Occupying Power”

By Stuart Littlewood | Dissident Voice | January 1, 2016

Can this be true?

Something important and, freedom lovers may think, rather wonderful seems to have happened at the United Nations, and it went largely unreported in mainstream media. The UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution ‘Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources’ (document A/70/480).

It was adopted by 164 to 5 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 10 abstentions (Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu).

What’s so wonderful? The draft resolution pulls no punches and must have thoroughly annoyed the insatiable state of Israel, which has evil designs on the natural resources – oil, gas and water – belonging to its neighbours. The resolution is long but nicely crafted, and is reproduced here pretty much in its entirety as an aide-memoire of Israel’s long history of contemptuous disregard for its obligations.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 69/241 of 19  December 2014, and taking note of Economic and Social Council resolution 2015/17 of 20 July 2015,

Recalling  also its resolutions 58/292 of 6 May 2004 and 59/251 of 22 December 2004,

Reaffirming the  principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility  of the acquisition  of  territory  by  force, and recalling relevant Security  Council  resolutions,  including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Recalling, in this regard, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and affirming that  these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan,

Recalling also the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court  of Justice on the legal consequences of the  construction of a wall in the Occupied  Palestinian Territory, and recalling further its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Recalling further its resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012,

Taking note of the accession by Palestine to several human rights treaties and the core humanitarian law treaties, as well as to other international treaties,

Expressing its concern about the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of  the  natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Expressing its grave concern about  the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying  Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the uprooting of a vast number of fruit-bearing trees and the destruction of farms and greenhouses, and the grave environmental and economic impact in this regard,

Expressing its grave concern also about the widespread destruction caused by Israel, the occupying Power, to vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip during the military operations of July and August 2014, which, inter alia, has polluted the environment and negatively affect the functioning of water and sanitation systems and the water supply and other natural resources of the Palestinian people, and stressing the urgency of the reconstruction and development of water and other vital civilian infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip,

Expressing its grave concern further about the negative impact on the environment and on reconstruction and development efforts of the thousands of items of unexploded ordnance that remain in the Gaza Strip as a result of the conflict in July and August 2014,

Recalling the 2009 report by the United Nations Environment Programme regarding the grave environmental situation in the Gaza Strip, and the 2012 report, “Gaza in 2020: A  liveable place?”, by the United Nations country team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and stressing the need for follow-up to the recommendations contained therein,

Deploring the detrimental impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially as a result of the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources, including the destruction of orchards and crops and the seizure of  water well  by Israeli settlers, and of the dire socioeconomic consequences in this regard,

Recalling the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout  the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Aware of the detrimental impact on Palestinian natural resources being caused by the unlawful construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and of its grave effect as well on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people,

Stressing the urgency of  achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement on all tracks, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978 and 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and supported by the Council in its resolution 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008,

Stressing also, in this regard, the need for respect for the obligation upon Israel under the road map to freeze settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

Stressing further the need for respect and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling the need to end all acts of violence, including acts of  terror, provocation, incitement and destruction,

Taking note of the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including  East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, as transmitted by the Secretary-General,

  1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of  the population  of the occupied Syrian Golan  over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources;

  2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;

  3. Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, damage, loss or depletion or endangerment of their natural resources resulting from illegal measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, and Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with within the framework of the final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides;

  4. Stresses that the wall and settlements being constructed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, are contrary to international law and are seriously depriving the Palestinian people of their natural resources, and calls in this regard for full compliance with the legal obligations affirmed in the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and in relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution ES-10/15;

  5. Calls  upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and to cease immediately and completely all policies and measures aimed at the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied  Palestinian Territory,  including East Jerusalem;

  6. Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to bring a halt to all actions, including those perpetrated by Israeli settlers, harming the environment, including the dumping of all kinds of waste materials, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their  natural resources, namely water and land resources, and which  pose  an environmental, sanitation and health threat to the civilian populations;

  7. Further calls upon Israel to cease its destruction of vital infrastructure, including water pipelines, sewage networks and electricity networks, which, inter alia, has a negative impact on the natural resources of the Palestinian people, stresses the urgent need to advance reconstruction and development projects in this regard, including in the Gaza Strip, and calls for support for the necessary efforts in this regard, in line with the commitments made at, inter alia, the Cairo International Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza, held on 12 October 2014;

  8. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to remove all obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects, including sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip and the reconstruction and development of water infrastructure, including the project for the desalination facility for the Gaza Strip;

  9. Calls for the immediate and safe removal of all unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip and for support for the efforts of the United Nations Mine Action Service in this regard, and welcomes the efforts exerted by the Service to date;

  10. Encourages all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard  to  all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly Israeli settlement activities and the exploitation of natural resources;

  11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session on the implementation of the present resolution, including with regard to the cumulative impact of the exploitation, damage and depletion by Israel of natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-first session the item entitled “Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”.

This is strong stuff. But given the UN’s record will the action ever suit the words?

Astonishingly, the Israel-adoring UK government voted for it. Let us make a mental note of those 5 countries – Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, United States – which claim to be freedom loving but are evidently bent on denying the poor Palestinians theirs. And the birdbrained 10 – Australia, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu – which are so lackadaisically uncommitted to the principle of universal human rights that they sat on the fence. Maybe international civil society would like to prod them with a sharp BDS stick to concentrate their minds.

At least one country, happily, is taking a tough line – Brazil, which, says the BBC, has yet to approve the appointment four months ago of Israel’s new ambassador. Not only is the new man, Dani Dayan, a former chairman of the Yesha Council which promotes illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian lands, but Israeli prime minister Netanyahu broke the news of the appointment on Twitter before telling Brazil, according to reports.

As even Netanyahu must know, the transfer by an occupier of part of its own population into territory it occupies is considered a war crime, so why should Brazil play host to a foreigner with such a vile record? Israel is threatening to downgrade relations to “secondary level” if Brazil does not give approval to the appointment. And Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely says that Dayan would not be replaced if his appointment isn’t accepted.

Since Brazil is Israel’s largest trading partner in South America you’d think the Israelis would watch their manners. The Brazilians, hopefully, won’t allow themselves to pushed around by Tel Aviv’s insufferable thugs.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Human Radiation Experiments in the Pacific

By Glenn Alcalay | CounterPunch | March 11, 2014

” . . . protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources; protect the health of the inhabitants . . .” (1) 

According to Marshallese folklore a half-bad and half-good god named Etao was associated with slyness and trickery. When bad things happened people knew that Etao was behind it. “He’s dangerous, that Etao,” some people said.  “He does bad things to people and then laughs at them.”(2) Many in the Marshall Islands now view their United States patron as a latter day Etao.

Castle-Bravo

The "Baker" explosion, part of Opera...Sixty years ago this month the American Etao unleashed its unprecedented  fury at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was nine years after the searing and indelible images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the world first learned about the dangers of radioactive fallout from hydrogen bombs that use atomic Hiroshima-sized bombs as triggers.

Castle-Bravo, the first in a series of megaton-range hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini Atoll on March first of 1954, was nicknamed “the shrimp” by its designer – Edward Teller – because it was the first deliverable thermonuclear weapon in the megaton range in the U.S. nuclear holster. We had beaten the Soviets in this key area of nuclear weapons miniaturization when the Cold War was hot and the United States did not need to seek approval from anybody, especially the Marshallese entrusted to them through the U.N.

At fifteen megatons – 1,000 times the Hiroshima A-bomb – the Bravo behemoth was a fission-fusion-fission [3-F] thermonuclear bomb that spread deadly radioactive fallout over an enormous swath of the central Pacific Ocean, including the inhabited atolls of Rongelap, Rongerik and Utrik in the Marshalls archipelago. The downwind people of Rongelap [120 miles downwind of Bikini] and Utrik [300 miles east of Bikini] were evacuated as they suffered from the acute effects of radiation exposure.

As an international fallout controversy reached a crescendo, a hastily called press conference was held in Washington in mid-March 1954 with Eisenhower and AEC chair Admiral Lewis [“nuclear energy too cheap to meter”] Strauss, his Administration’s top lieutenant in nuclear matters.

Adm. Lewis Strauss:  “I’ve just returned from the Pacific Proving Grounds of the AEC where I witnessed the second part of a test series of thermonuclear weapons .  .  . For shot one [Bravo] the wind failed to follow the predictions, but shifted south of that line and the little islands of Rongelap, Rongerik and Utrik were in the edge of the path of the fallout . . . The 236 Marshallese natives appeared to me to be well and happy . . . The results, which the scientists at Los Alamos and Livermore had hoped to obtain from these two tests [Bravo and Union] were fully realized.  An enormous potential has been added to our military posture.” Strauss added the caveat that “the medical staff on Kwajalein have advised us that they anticipate no illness, barring of course, diseases which may be hereafter contracted.” (3)

Even former Sec. of State Henry Kissinger took note of the significance of Bravo and the new perils associated with widespread radioactive fallout contamination from megaton sized H-bombs, as might happen if the Soviets dropped The Big One on our nation’s capital and the fallout headed up the Eastern Seaboard.  Writing about nuclear weapons and foreign policy in 1957, Kissinger wrote: “The damage caused by radiation is twofold:  direct damage leading to illness, death or reduced life expectancy, and genetic effects.”(4)

Almira Matayoshi was one of the Rongelap “natives” referred to by Adm. Strauss. When I interviewed her in 1981 in Majuro she recounted her experience with Bravo:

The flash of light was very strong, then came the big sound of the explosion; it was quite a while before the fallout came.  The powder was yellowish and when you walked it was

all over your body.  Then people began to get very weak and began to vomit.  Most of us were weak and my son was out of breath.

I have pains and much fear of the bomb. At that time I wanted to die, and we were really suffering; our bodies ached and our feet were covered with burns and our hair fell out. Now I see babies growing up abnormally and some are mentally disturbed, but none of these things happened before the bomb. It is sad to see the babies now.(5)

A persistent puzzle surrounds the question of intentionality. In a 1982 New York Times interview, Gene Curbow (the former weather technician during Bravo) confessed that the winds did not “shift” according to the official U.S. explanation for the massive contamination during Bravo. “The wind had been blowing straight at us for days before the test,” said Curbow. “It was blowing straight at us during the test, and straight at us after the test. The wind never shifted.” When asked why it had taken so long to come forth with this important information, Curbow replied “It was a mixture of patriotism and ignorance, I guess.”(6)

The late Dr. Robert Conard, head of the Brookhaven/AEC medical surveillance team for the islanders, wrote in his 1958 annual report on the exposed Marshallese: “The habitation of these people on Rongelap Island affords the opportunity for a most valuable ecological radiation study on human beings . . . The various radionuclides present on the island can be traced from the soil through the food chain and into the human being.”(7)

In reference to the exposed Marshallese after Bravo, AEC official Merrill Eisenbud bluntly stated during a NYC AEC meeting in 1956, “Now, data of this type has never been available. While it is true that these people do not live the way westerners do, civilized people, it is nonetheless also true that they are more like us than the mice.”(8)

At present, the atoll communities of Bikini, Enewetak, and Rongelap remain sociologically disrupted and uncertain about their future as their contaminated islands and lagoons have yet to be fully repatriated and restored for permanent human habitation.

Kwajalein

Following 67 A- and H-bombs at Bikini and Enewetak between 1946-58, the U.S. was not about to let go of its island capture, terminate the AEC-Brookhaven long-term human radiation studies at Rongelap and Utirk,  nor forfeit the valuable “catcher’s mitt” at Kwajalein for monthly incoming ICBMs from Vandenberg air base in California and Kauai. In 1961 – following a polio outbreak on Ebeye, Kwajalein – Pres. Kennedy ordered a comprehensive review of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands by his Harvard economist friend Anthony M. Solomon, head of the New York Reserve Bank.

Correspondingly, JFK’s National Security Action Memorandum 145 of April 18, 1962 called for the movement of Micronesia into a permanent relationship with the U.S.(9)

Through legerdemain and the inherent asymmetry of the relationship, the U.S. took every conceivable  advantage of its island wards, thus setting the stage for the ongoing human and ecological radiation studies and other Pentagon activities in perpetuity.

To this end the Solomon Report recommended a massive spending program just prior to a future status plebiscite being planned for Micronesia. “It is the Solomon Mission’s conclusion that those programs and the spending involved will not set off a self-sustaining development process of any significance in the area. It is important, therefore, that advantage be taken of the psychological impact of the capital investment program before some measure of disappointment is felt.”(10)

As the Pentagon and AEC used the isolated isles of the Marshalls to perfect its Cold War nuclear deterrent – replete with human subjects for longitudinal radiation studies – let us not forget the Pentagon’s ongoing project of missile defense, aka “Star Wars” at Kwajalein Atoll encompassing the world’s largest lagoon bull’s eye.

Characterized as “hitting a bullet with a bullet,” ballistic missile defense has always had a reputation for fantasy and wish fulfillment, sold to Pres. Reagan with an exciting and glitzy video designed to parallel the then-sensation called  “Star Wars.” Kwajalein and the fiction of Ballistic Missile Defense has tragically dumped good money after bad, notwithstanding the huge profits by Boeing, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman,  MIT’s Lincoln Lab, Aerojet, Booz Allen et al. Between 1962 and 1996 the U.S. spent $100 billion.  And between 1996 and 2012 the total comes to $274 billion and still counting.(11)

And what do we have to show for our nearly $300 billion missile defense boondoggle? Last July 4th was also the planned launch date for a test of the BMD program. The Ground Based Missile Defense system at Kwajalein Atoll failed again, despite the fact that the test was manipulated: “The intercept team knew ahead of time when to expect the incoming missile and all its relevant flight parameters. Such luxury is obviously not available in real-life combat. But even if the $214 million ‘test’ had worked it would not prove much.”(12)

The collateral damage known as Ebeye Island at Kwajalein is infamously tagged throughout the region as the “slum of the Pacific.” The appalling conditions on Ebeye for its 15,000 cramped residents and pool of cheap labor for the adjacent missile base are in stark contrast to the southern California-like setting on ten times as large Kwajalein Island for the 3,000 Americans manning the missile base.

Likening it to South African apartheid, I recall my first encounter with Kwajalein and Ebeye as a young Peace Corps volunteer in 1976:

Having spent the afternoon on Kwajalein yesterday left me feeling ashamed to be an American citizen. The overt segregation of the American civilian and military employees on Kwajalein Island, and the cheap labor pool of Marshallese living on nearby Ebeye Island, makes me realize that racism is not confined to the American south.(13)

And just to insure the longevity of the asymmetry, the American Etao embedded a little-noticed caveat into the 1963 Limited [Atmospheric] Test Ban Treaty that allows the U.S. to unilaterally resume nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, despite assurances to the contrary during the 1986 Compact status negotiations. Safeguard “C,” as the provision is known, also calls for the readiness of Johnston Atoll and Kauai in the Hawaiian archipelago, and Enewetak Atoll in the Marshalls under the auspices of the DOE’s Pacific Area Support Office in Honolulu.(14)

Several formerly inhabited atolls remain off limits due to lingering radioactivity decades after the last H-bomb shattered the peace on Bikini and Enewetak. Imagine if the U.S. finally saw fit to do the right thing and pay their past-due $2 billion nuclear legacy bill, a small morsel of the annual Star Wars budget.(15)

The recently discovered Mexican refugee fisherman on Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands drew world attention to these obscure coral formations atop extinct and submerged volcanoes where a continuous culture has survived and nearly thrived for the past two thousand years. And even though Jose Salvador Alvarenga said he had no idea where he was, Uncle Sam has always known where these tiny islands are, strategically located stepping stones in the bowels of the northwestern Pacific leading to Asia’s doorstep, now in the era of the pending Trans Pacific Partnership.

Undoubtedly the legendary Etao is somewhere lurking in these once-pacific isles savoring the work of its American protégé . . .

Glenn Alcalay is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Wm Paterson Univ. and Montclair State Univ. in New Jersey. Alcalay was a Peace Corps volunteer on Utrik Atoll in the Marshalls, and has conducted anthropological research re: reproductive abnormalities among the downwind islanders.  Alcalay may be reached at:  alcalayg@wpunj.edu

[Addendum:  PBS is sitting on an important 90-minute film about the radiation experiments in the Marshall Islands titled “Nuclear Savage The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” by Adam Horowitz.  Please contact PBS and urge them to air “Nuclear Savage,” a documentary film they funded and are keeping from the public’s view.  Also, please see these additional articles about the Marshall Islands:   http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/01/nuclear-savages and PBS’ attempt to suppress this film:  http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/Nuclear-Savage-by-William-Boardman-Broadcasting_Navy_Nuclear-Arms-Race_Nuclear-Attack-140110-941.html]

Endnotes

(1)       United Nations.  Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.  Trusteeship Agreement. URL:  http://www.fsmlaw.org/miscdocs/trustshipagree.htm.  New York.  1947.  Article VI.

(2)       Grey, Eve.  Legends of Micronesia.  Book Two. The sly Etao and the sea demon.   1951.  Honolulu:  Office of the High Commissioner.  TTPI, Dept. of Educations.  Micronesian Reader Series.  Pages 35-36.

(3)       Adm. Lewis Strauss, chair-AEC.  Press conference about Bravo with Pres. Eisenhower, March 12, 1954, Washington, D.C.  The archival footage may be viewed in this clip @ 1:00-4:30 in Part 3 of O’Rourke’s Half Life.

(4)       Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy.  Council on Foreign Relations.  Harper Bros.:  New York.  1957.  Page.75.

(5)       Interview with Almira Matayoshi conducted by Glenn Alcalay in Feburary 1981 in Majuro, Marshall Islands.  This interview is online:   http://archive.is/M5aH

(6)       Judith Miller.  “Four veterans suing U.S. over exposure in ’54 atom test.”  New York Times.  Sept. 20, 1982.

(7)       Robert Conard, M.D., et al.  March 1957 medical survey of Rongelap and Utrik people three years after exposure to radioactive fallout.  Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y.  June 1958.  Page. 22.

(8)       Merrill Eisenbud.  Minutes of A.E.C. meeting.  U.S.A.E.C. Health and Safety Laboratory.  Advisory Committee on Biology & Medicine.  January 13-14, 1956.  Page 232.

(9)       Report by the U.S. Government Survey Mission to the TTPI by Anthony M. Solomon, October 9, 1963.  Page 41.  The Solomon Report is online:  https://archive.org/stream/TheSolomonReportAmericasRuthlessBlueprintForTheAssimilationOf/micronesia3_djvu.txt

(10)     Report by the U.S. Government Survey Mission to the TTPI by Anthony M. Solomon, October 9, 1963.  Pages 41-42.  The Solomon Report is online:  https://archive.org/stream/TheSolomonReportAmericasRuthlessBlueprintForTheAssimilationOf/micronesia3_djvu.txt

(11)     Stephen Schwartz.  “The real price of ballistic missile defenses.”  The Nonproliferation Review.  April 13, 2012.

(12)     Yousaf Butt.  “Let’s end bogus missile defense testing.”  Reuters.  July 16, 2013.

(13)     Glenn Alcalay.  Journal entry of January 21, 1976.  Aboard the MV Militobi.  Peace Corps Journal, Marshall Islands 1975-77.

(14)     David Evans.  “Safeguard ‘C’: U.S. spending millions on plan to re-start Pacific nuclear tests.”  Chicago Tribune.  August 26, 1990.

(15)     Giff Johnson.  “At 60, legacy of Bravo still reverberates in Marshall Islands.”  Editorial.  Marshall Islands Journal.  February 28, 2014.

March 11, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Human Radiation Experiments Covered up by Public Broadcasting

NuclearSavage3

By William Boardman |  Reader Supported News | January 8, 2014

The bomb will not start a chain reaction in the water, converting it all to gas and letting all the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy.

– Vice Admiral William P. Blandy, Bikini bomb test commander, July 25, 1946

When the military scientists of an advanced technological nation deliberately explode their largest nuclear bomb (and 66 others) over Pacific islands and use the opportunities to study the effects of radiation on nearby native people, which group is best described as “savage”?  And what should you call the people who prevent a documentary about these American post-war crimes from reaching a wide audience in the United States?

Nuclear Savage is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more that two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of Nuclear Savage includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience:

The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation. These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll…. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.

So how serious is 175 roentgens (assuming the measurement is accurate)? In 1950, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommended that human radiation contact should not exceed 0.3 roentgen per week for whole-body exposure [“roentgen” as a measure of radiation dose has since been replaced by “rem” (for “roentgen equivalent man”)]. It’s not clear how long the Marshallese were exposed to radiation levels of 175 roentgens – or on how many occasions – but that amount was more than 580 times what was then considered a safe weekly exposure.

Public broadcasting paid for this film – and is now suppressing it 

In 2005, director Adam Horowitz started work on Nuclear Savage, his second documentary about the American military use and abuse of the Marshall Islands. Horowitz has a contract with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), which describes itself as “a national non-profit media arts organization” whose mission “is to support, advance and develop programming that enhances public recognition of and appreciation for Pacific Islander history, culture, and society. In keeping with the mission, PIC provides funding for new programs primarily for public television. We work with independent producers to create and distribute programs about Pacific Islanders that bring new audiences to public television, advance issues and represent diverse voices and points of view not usually seen on public or commercial television.”

Among its efforts to carry out this mission, PIC supported the production of Nuclear Savage with $100,000 passed through to Horowitz from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Horowitz delivered a completed, 87-minute version of Nuclear Savage in October 2011 – the same month it was nominated for Best Environmental Film at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. That was also the same month various public broadcasting officials started putting up roadblocks to keep the movie off the air, a delaying tactic that continues into 2014. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) reported the story in detail as “Nuclear Stalemate” in Extra!

One of the first requests, from Leanne Ferrer at PIC, was for a shorter version at 60 minutes. Rather than have Horowitz cut his film by 27 minutes, PIC hired its own editor and controlled the editing process. Part of Ferrer’s concern reportedly was a sort of politically correct reverse racism, her objection that there was too much of Horowitz in the film and he’s not a Pacific Islander. The shorter version has less of Horowitz. And the PIC web site pitches Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1 as a “portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for dignity and survival after decades of intentional radiation poisoning by the U.S. government.”

PIC summarizes the film this way:

Some use the term ‘savage’ to refer to people from primitive cultures, but nuclear experimentation pushed savagery to new levels. In the 1950s, the U.S. conducted 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to fallout. The islanders on Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one test, and were then moved onto a highly contaminated island to serve as human guinea pigs for 30 years. Filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz spent 25 years collecting material – including original footage, archival clips, and unpublished secret documents – to create this unforgettable and ironic portrait of American cynicism, arrogance, and racism. Winner of festival awards in Paris, Chicago and Mexico City.

PBS canceled scheduled broadcasts without public explanation  

In 2013, PBS World Channel scheduled Nuclear Savage for four showings on May 28 and 29 – and PBS executive Tom Davison emailed Horowitz in advance, saying “Congratulations on this airing.” When the airing failed to take place, without explanation from PBS, Horowitz was unable to get a straight answer from Davison, Ferrer, or anyone else in the public broadcasting food chain, although PIC executive Amber McClure wrote with Orwellian deceit: “Your program has not been declined by PBS.”

Outright rejection by PBS is required by Horowitz’s contract in order for him to regain independent control of his film. In December 2013, in his original letter to the editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, Horowitz summed up his experience to date this way:

PBS ‘World Channel’ executives accepted, scheduled and advertised the show nationally, only to reverse their decision and cancel the show at the last minute. The show was originally accepted and then later rejected by two different branches of PBS, on three different occasions. PBS executives promised to deliver to me, a list of the precise points in the film that they felt represented ‘bias,’ or questions of ‘fact,’ and I promised to work with them to fix any problems. But PBS has still never delivered any specifics whatsoever of their complaints about the film, a film by the way that they have already completely reworked with their own editors.

The project has also had support from private foundations, including the Kindle Project, where:

We support whistleblowers and rabble-rousers. We give grants to peacemakers and seed savers. We make awards to artists and activists. We support people and projects working towards solutions and alternatives to systems in transition. We seek out the strange, the bizarre, the unpolished, the less likely to receive funding. We fund individuals and initiatives that may seem risky or radical to mainstream funding sources….

Public information is not always well known by the public 

The unsigned Notes on Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1 on the Kindle Project web site from April 2012 talks about the ways the film was succeeding, despite unofficial quasi-government censorship and beyond “the glamorous festival circuit”:

Heartbreaking is the most poignant word that could be used to describe this film, and in my conversations with Adam this word has been uttered more than once. I’ve often wondered how he has the stamina for this subject matter; the stamina to expose himself to the worst kinds of atrocities that humans inflict on one another. The people of the Marshall Islands have faced similar catastrophic fates as the victims who underwent Nazi medical tests during WWII. Adam was there to tell the world about it. These days, his perseverance comes from the success of the film – not just from the attention it’s getting from the international circuit, but from what’s happening in the Islands themselves.

What was happening in the islands was that Nuclear Savage was being shown again and again on local and national television channels. It was shown at the Pacific Island conference of Presidents. People were copying and bootlegging the film across the region, with bootleg copies sometimes turning up on television. And Marshallese activists were using the film to resist U.S. government efforts to re-re-settle some populations back to their home islands that were still dangerously radioactive.

“As of now, no one has moved back,” Horowitz told an audience after showing Nuclear Savage at the International Uranium Film Festival in Window Rock, Arizona, last December. Despite the American effort to re-re-settle the forced Marshallese refugees on their former home islands, Horowitz said the effort had amounted to “just a bunch of empty houses.”

Horowitz has been angry about American treatment of the Marshall Islands for a long time. In late 2013 he told a reporter the U.S. “destroyed an entire country that we were not at war with, that we were at peace with. Not only did they blow up all these islands, but they purposely contaminated all these people as human experiments. It’s a very unknown story here.”

The story was classified top secret until the 1990s, when the Clinton administration declassified documents related to nuclear testing that included previously unknown information on the Project 4.1 program to use Pacific Islanders as human guinea pigs for assessing the impact of ionizing radiation. Even the official historian of U.C. nuclear testing, Barton Hacker, who tries to minimize the criminality of Project 4.1, ended up writing in 1994 that an “unfortunate choice of terminology may help explain later charges that the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] had deliberately exposed the Marshallese to observe the effects. Like the American radium dial painters of the 1920s and the Japanese of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the Marshallese of 1954 inadvertently were to provide otherwise unobtainable data on the human consequences of high radiation exposures.”

The U.S. was an occupying power, and effectively still is 

Europeans “discovered” these Pacific Islands in the 1520s (they were named the Marshall Islands after the British explorer John Marshall). In 1874 they became part of the Spanish East Indies. In 1884 Germany bought them as part of German New Guinea. During World War I, the Japanese occupied the islands and later ruled them under a League of Nations mandate. During World War II, the United States took the islands from the Japanese and has effectively occupied them ever since.

In 1946, the U.S. evacuated the entire population of Bikini Atoll (167 people) and logged the first of 23 atomic weapons explosions that have made what’s left of the atoll (part of it was vaporized) a largely uninhabitable radioactive tourist destination [one report says 4-6 “caretakers” live there]. Most of the 167 original residents have died, but their descendants number more than 4,000. A 1975 federal lawsuit (seeking roughly $750 million in compensation promised but not paid by the U.S.) was denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2010, but the effort to make the U.S. provide just compensation continues.

Later in 2010, UNESCO named Bikini a “world heritage site” as a symbol of the “dawn of the nuclear age.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that Bikini is close to the “safe” radiation level of 15 millirems – but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the “safe” level is really 100 millirems, and the contradiction remains unreconciled.

In 1947, the United Nations included the Marshall Islands in a Trust Territory controlled by the U.S., whose obligations included the duty to “protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources.” Later in the year the U.S. evacuated the entire population of Enewetak Atoll, where it would explode another 44 atomic weapons, the last series in 1958.

On March 1, 1954, the U.S. exploded its first deliverable hydrogen bomb that, at 15 megatons, was more than 1,000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb of 1945. The official story, which the U.S. government still defends, is that it was an “accident” that the bomb dumped so much radiation on downwind populations, and that Project 4.1 was initiated after the blast in order to help the victims as well as study them.

The record includes one reference to Project 4.1 prior to March 1 [the government says someone put it there after the fact]. More troubling is the undisputed evidence that the U.S. was aware that the weather had changed, that the wind was blowing toward populated areas, but they went ahead with the test anyway. After the radiation came down like “snow” on Rongelap and other islands, the Navy evacuated American personnel quickly, but left the “happy, amenable savages” to absorb more radiation for another two days.

As early as 1956, the Atomic Energy Commission had characterized the Marshall Islands as “by far the most contaminated place in the world.”

For the victor, justice is only optional, not enforceable  

In 1979, the U.S. allowed the Marshall Islands to become “self-governing,” while the U.S. reserved the sole control of military use and defense of the territory. In 1986 the U.S. granted the Republic of the Marshall Islands “sovereignty” under the Orwellian-named Compact of Free Association, which left the U.S. in military control and free to use Kwajalein Atoll as a missile testing range. Four years later the U.N. ended the “nation’s” Trusteeship status. The CIA estimates that the Marshall Islands’ GDP is $182 million, of which the U.S. provides $70 million in aid payments, according to the State Department. Both the CIA and State Department omit unpaid compensation from their public summaries of the Marshall Islands.

Nuclear Savage includes U.S. Ambassador Greta Morris making a wooden public statement of “deep regrets” for the “hardships” the Marshallese have suffered “as a result of the testing program, as well as the accidental downwind injuries caused by one test, Bravo” – which is the official version of the 1954 H-bomb Castle Bravo. Later Greta Morris is asked at a public event to discuss U.S. “government policy” – the ambassador refuses to talk on camera.

In March 2012, at an event commemorating the anniversary of the H-bomb test, Marshall Islands foreign minister Phillip Muller called on the U.S. to pay more than $2 billion in awards already made by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, which was created and underwritten by the U.S. The U.S. moral and financial obligation continues to grow, as the Marshall Islands are reportedly seeing a continually rising cancer rate more than half a century later. An the same event, according to Overseas Territories Review:

U.S. Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell told the event in Majuro Thursday evening that ‘the United States has provided nearly $600 million in compensation and assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to help the affected communities overcome the effects of nuclear testing,’ and noted that the U.S. and Marshall Islands governments had agreed to ‘a full and final settlement of all nuclear-related claims’ in 1983 [an apparent reference to the Compact of Free Association and its side agreements].

In 1998, staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a comparison study to compare the amount of radioactive Iodine-131 at four different radiation-polluted sites, measured in curies (1,000 curies of Cesium-137, as found in a radiation therapy machine, could produce serious health effects in a direct exposure of just a few minutes). The CDC team reported its finding that the atmospheric release of curies of Iodine-137 at the Hanford nuclear processing plant was 739,000 curies; at Chernobyl the release was 40 million curies; at the Nevada bomb test site, 150 million curies; and in the Marshall Islands, 6.3 billion curies (more that 30 times as much radiation as the other three sites combined).

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is ranked #5 in the world among countries with the highest health costs as a percentage of GDP – behind Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tuvalu, and the United States.

The history of the treatment of the radiation victims of the Marshall Islands is essentially a paradigm for the treatment of radiation victims everywhere. The perpetrators of radiation-exposure lose patience with the seemingly endless  effects of their acts and so they tend to abandon all responsibility for them.  So far at least, the Marshall Islands history appears to be foreshadowing Fukushima’s future.

Given the unpalatibility this story might have for an American television audience, it’s little wonder that public broadcasting executives are content to spend public money to keep the public under-informed.

January 10, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Effort afoot at public television to deep-six hard-hitting “Nuclear Savage” documentary?

By Andrew W. Griffin | Red Dirt Report | May 19, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – A new documentary film, Nuclear Savage, by documentary filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz, should have been shown on PBS this month, but may be running into resistance by persons unknown at the publicly-funded U.S.-based public-television network that includes World Channel content.

A story in this week’s edition of The Marshall Islands Journal, headlined “Nuclear cover-up?,” featured editor and reporter Giff Johnson’s interview with Horowitz. The filmmaker believes someone is trying to keep the hard-hitting Nuclear Savage from airing on PBS channels.

Roundly hailed as an important film on the film-festival circuit, Horowitz’s Nuclear Savage focuses on Project 4.1, the study of radiation effects on humans. This was the same secret project that monitored people exposed to nuclear-testing fallout in the 1950’s on Rongelap and Utrik atolls.

PBS’s World Channel explained to Horowitz that “it is possible for any program to be cancelled and pulled at any time. These decisions are made by the programmers.”

As Amber McClure, with the Pacific Islanders in Communication told Horowitz, the World Channel (which had originally scheduled Nuclear Savage for May), said they wanted to air it during December “during a military-themed time, perhaps around Dec. 7 (Pearl Harbor Day).”

Horowitz, though, isn’t buying it. Suspecting official censorship, Horowitz told The Marshall Islands Journal: “To put off this program until Pearl Harbor Day , under the claim it should be grouped at a ‘military-themed time’ does not hold water, and most of all, in my opinion, is an insult to the Marshall Islanders who were the victims of US testing, and who appeared in the film.”

As some readers may recall, last fall, Red Dirt Report was outraged by plans by a Maryland-based “haunted house” attraction that was going to incorporate Project 4.1 as part of the “sick thrill.” Many outraged Marshallese and their allies demanded the haunted-house operation not run this attraction. After all, as we wrote at the time: “Why not have a Halloween “attraction” involving the victims of Pol Pot’s killing fields? Or the Rwandan genocide? There are plenty examples of man’s violence against man that Hallow, Inc. could use as an ‘attraction.’

Sure, we like it that people are having fun and are totally against censorship, but when people profit on the pain and suffering of others we have to call them out on it.”

The legacy of radiation exposure on the Marshallese is a dark chapter in American history. It is one that has yet to be fully exposed and many Marshallese still suffer from the atomic-bomb tests conducted in the Marshall Islands from the 1940’s to the 1960’s.

Red Dirt Report has sent email inquiries to both Horowitz and McClure, seeking additional information. We hope to have more on this story in coming days.

May 20, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

The Ongoing Saga of Bad Websourcing: Does Al-Monitor Even Have Editors?

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | January 31, 2013

It is becoming increasingly obvious that prolific Israeli commentator Meir Javedanfar is unaware of the purpose of hyperlinks.

In his January 30 Al-Monitor article (which incidentally needs some major copy editing, but didn’t get it), Javedanfar writes, “Iran is also using Syria as a proxy to weaken the Syrian opposition forces, which it sees as the allies of the West, Saudi Arabia and even Israel.”

The link on “Israel” leads to a PressTV article wherein no Iranian makes any such claim. It just quotes the Israeli President Shimon Peres as supporting the Syrian opposition. No loony Persian conspiracy theories or official statements by Iranian political or military leaders.  So why does Javedanfar use this particular link when the claim he makes is about what Iran “sees as…”?  For the answer, go here.

Furthermore, that the US, European countries and Arab Gulf states are not only “allies of” but literally funding, equipping and arming the Syrian opposition is common knowledge that doesn’t need to be pawned off as some crazy Iranian allegation. It’s also easily accessible information. See all those links? Yeah, it’s that easy.

One additional point: Javedanfar’s use of the term “proxy” to describe Iran’s relationship with Syria is bizarre and demonstrates either a lack of understanding about what that word means or about how civil wars work.  A “proxy” is a subordinate agent or organization that takes its cues from and whose interests are beholden to a more powerful, external benefactor.  It doesn’t make much sense to refer to a sovereign government (especially one that is itself embroiled in a bloody civil war), rather than a non-governmental organization or group, as a proxy of another sovereign government.

Yes, there are exceptions to this – for example, nations like Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Micronesia are often used as U.S. proxies during United Nations General Assembly votes against Israeli accountability and the implementation of international law in Palestine.  But those nations don’t have interests of their own in that particular region; also, they are party to the Compact of Free Association with the United States, which mandates American military protection, financial assistance and economic provisions for these tiny Pacific Island states in return for diplomatic fealty (the nations vote alongside the U.S. and Israel in the U.N. more than 90% of the time, for example) and, more importantly, essentially wide-open U.S. military access.

As per the agreement, established in 1986 (and 1994 for Palau as an independent entity), these protectorates – which were previously under American trusteeship since the end of World War II – must grant the U.S. military exclusive access to their territories and provide land for military bases, not to mention accommodating the constant presence of U.S. military recruiters who have long preyed upon the poor local communities with promises of economic opportunity.  In 2010, the Christian Science Monitor reported that “while some Micronesians see the US military as their ticket out, many here are poorly informed of the risks. The FSM has suffered more casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan per capita than any US state, and has lost soldiers at a rate five times the US average. Some recruits sign on unaware the US is fighting two wars.”

But I digress.

Javedanfar calls the Assad-led Syrian government a proxy of Iran, which Iran is using against Syrian opposition forces which means that the Syrian government is doing Iran’s bidding by fighting against armed rebel militias in its own country than are trying to overthrow it.  Huh? The Syrian government may be getting support – both financial and military – from Iran, but that doesn’t make it a lackey of Iran, which is what the term proxy signifies.  It is obviously in Assad’s own interest to oppose forces seeking to topple his dictatorial reign; he doesn’t need Iran’s say-so to do what he’s doing.

Yet, by Javedanfar’s reading, the conflict is really between Iran and Syrian opposition forces.  The Syrian government, according to him, is merely a pawn in Iran’s game against Israel and the West.  This both obfuscates and confuses the issue.  (The term proxy itself is overused when discussing allegiances and alliances in the region; both Hezbollah and Hamas are routinely referred to as Iranian proxies yet the fact that they don’t have their interests or actions dictated to them by the Iranian government as they are indigenous groups with their own goals and responsibilities.)

While it’s obvious what Javedanfar is trying to say – in the assumed power struggle over influence in the Middle East, Iran and the West/Gulf alliance are each protecting their own interests in Syria (duh) – but that’s not really what he wrote.  The problem here may be poor writing skills, but isn’t that where an editor should step in and clarify?

One last thing: Javedanfar suggests that to prevent the alleged Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons from “falling into the hands of al-Qaeda” were “an extremist offshoot” of the group to seize power after Assad’s supposed fall, those weapons should be transferred to…wait for it…Iran.

Why, you may ask? Because Javedanfar states that, Iran having chemical weapons is “infinitely better” than al-Qaeda having them, provided that is “the only other viable option.”  Sure, ok.  But he never explains why that would be the only option or points out that the backers of criminal al-Qaeda-affiliated elements in the Syrian opposition are the very states he says are duking it out with Iran in a proxy war.  How could Iran getting chemical weapons be part of the end-game in Syria as far as the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are concerned?

It can’t and won’t be.  Which makes Javedanfar’s commentary not only pointless, but just plain weird.

What he’s really saying, though, is that he wants Syria’s alleged chemical weapons stockpile to get as far away from him, his family and his friends who are living in Israel as possible.  This is understandable, of course, but does it really necessitate a prominently displayed opinion piece on Al-Monitor that no editor took a look at before it was published?

February 3, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Comments Off on The Ongoing Saga of Bad Websourcing: Does Al-Monitor Even Have Editors?