Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nuclear Human Subjects Experiments


A couple of weeks ago I reported on a dismissive New York Times account of the irradiation of people in the Marshall Islands. I'll include the majority of that post at the bottom of this one.

Today, I found a very interesting and disturbing account of the experiences of those irradiated Marshallese published at Counter Punch:

Human Rights, Environment and Nuclear Disaster
Nuclear Savages
by BARBARA ROSE JOHNSTON http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/01/nuclear-savages/

[Excerpted] "Between 1946 and 1958 the United States tested 66 nuclear weapons on or near Bikini and Enewetok atolls, atomizing entire islands and, according to records declassified in 1994, blanketing the entire Marshallese nation with measurable levels of radioactive fallout from 20 of these tests. To consider the gravity of this history: the total explosive yield of nuclear militarism in the Marshall Islands was 93 times that of all US atmospheric tests in Nevada, and more than 7,000 Hiroshima bombs. Hydrogen bomb tests were especially destructive, generating intense fallout containing an array of isotopes, including radioactive iodine, which concentrates in the thyroid and can cause both cancer and other medical conditions.

All told, by US estimates, some 6.3 BILLION curies of radioactive Iodine‐131 were released to the atmosphere as a result of the nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands: 42 times greater than the 150 million curies released as a result of the testing in Nevada, 150 times greater than the 40 million curies released as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster...

...What was not reported to an interested world public, is the news that the heavily exposed people of Rongelap, once evacuated, were immediately enrolled as human subjects in a top-secret study, Project 4.1, which documented the array of health outcomes from their acute exposures, but did not treat the pain or discomfort of radiation burns, nor utilize antibiotics to offset any potential infection..."

[end excerpt]

Majia here: I highly recommend reading the entire article at the link above.

Below find an excerpt from the NYT account of this nuclear holocaust published in 1954.
(from my previous blog post http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-york-times-trumpets-fall-out.html)

FALL-OUT EFFECTS GONE IN 6 MONTHS: 5 NAVY DOCTORS TELL A.M.A. 1954 PACIFIC BLAST CAUSED MAINLY SKIN DAMAGE
By ROBERT K. PLUMB Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 09 June 1954

The lead paragraph reads as follows:

[excerpt] "Persons accidently showered with radioactive fallout in the nuclear detonation in the Pacific on March 1, 1954 recovered in six months from their major ailment—skin damage." [end excerpt]

The article addressed the “accidental” fallout contamination of people in the Marshall Islands. The article explained that

[excerpt] “heavy fall-out eight after the detonation showered sixty-four Marshallese with particles having, according to later calculations, a radioactive level of 175 roentgen units. Exposure for a short time to doses about 400 roetengens is believed to be lethal for man.”  [end excerpt]

Other Marshallese were also exposed to high levels.

However, as heralded in the title to the article, Navy doctors reported at the American Medical Association meeting that those impacted recovered. Full recovery seems somewhat amazing given the fallout reportedly “whitened the hair of victims,” caused nausea, diarrhea, itching and burning skin, watery eyes, hair loss, widespread skin lesions, and blood changes that lasted as long as six months.

At the close, the article did acknowledge that “Children appeared to be slightly more sensitive to radiation than adults, it was suggested.

Despite this “mishap,” the United Nations upheld the U.S. “right” to conduct hydrogen bomb testing in the Pacific.  The petition brought forward by the Marshallese that testing be stopped was disregarded.

Although the Marshallese were considered fully recovered from exposures of up to 400 roentgens after six months, the U.S. National Radiation Protection Agency recommended that nuclear plant workers’ exposure limit be set at a maximum of three-tenths of a roentgen.

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