…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…
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 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.”
“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.”
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.