Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The Hiroshima Cover-Up

Written by Amy Goodman and David Goodman in 2005 about an article written (but never published) after Uncle Sam nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The story was supressed because the US authorities were terrified of the consequences on public morale if the true nature of tyhe devastation was made known. I've included what I could find of the dispatches from the Guardian. I dont' normally print the full piece but it's almost impossible to find online so I want to save it, more for my referent than anything else. It's worth a read simply to remind oneself of the utter horror of these weapons. Anyone even contemplating using them should be considered a pathological nut-case and locked up indefinitely!

A story that the U.S. government hoped would never see the light of day finally has been published, 60 years after it was spiked by military censors. The discovery of reporter George Weller's firsthand account of conditions in post-nuclear Nagasaki sheds light on one of the great journalistic betrayals of the last century: the cover-up of the effects of the atomic bombing on Japan.

On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later, Nagasaki was hit. Gen. Douglas MacArthur promptly declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the news media. More than 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of the cities, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. Instead, the world's media obediently crowded onto the battleship USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the Japanese surrender.

A month after the bombings, two reporters defied General MacArthur and struck out on their own. Mr. Weller, of the Chicago Daily News, took row boats and trains to reach devastated Nagasaki. Independent journalist Wilfred Burchett rode a train for 30 hours and walked into the charred remains of Hiroshima.

Both men encountered nightmare worlds. Mr. Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: "In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly - people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague."

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: "Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world."

Full story - The Hiroshima Cover-Up


Saturday September 8

A general alert had been sounded at seven in the morning, four hours before two B-29s appeared [on August 9], but it was ignored by the workmen [of the Mitsubishi plant] and most of the population. The police insist that the air-raid warning was sounded two minutes before the bomb fell, but most people say they heard none.

As one whittles away at embroidery and checks the stories, the impression grows that the atomic bomb is a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon. The Japanese have heard the legend from American radio that the ground preserves deadly irradiation. But hours of walking amid the ruins where the odour of decaying flesh is still strong produces in this writer nausea, but no sign of burns or debilitation.

Nobody here in Nagasaki has yet been able to show that the bomb is different than any other, except in a broader extent flash and a more powerful knockout.

September 8

In swaybacked or flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki. Look at the pushed-in facade of the American consulate, three miles from the blast's centre, or the face of the Catholic cathedral, one mile in the other direction, torn down like gingerbread, and you can tell that the liberated atom spares nothing in the way. The human beings whom it has happened to spare sit on [illegible].

Showing them to you, as the first American outsider to reach Nagasaki since the surrender, your propaganda-conscious official guide looks meaningfully in your face and wants to know: "What do you think?" What this question means is: do you intend saying that America did something inhuman in loosing this weapon against Japan? That is what we want you to write.

Several children, some burned and others unburned but with patches of hair falling out, are sitting with their mothers. Yesterday Japanese photographers took many pictures with them. About one in five is heavily bandaged, but none [shows] signs of pain.

Some adults are in pain as they lie on mats. They moan softly. One woman caring for her husband shows eyes dim with tears. It is a piteous scene and your official guide studies your face covertly to see if you are moved.

Visiting many litters, talking lengthily with two general physicians and one x-ray specialist, gains you a large amount of information and opinion on the victims. Statistics are variable and few records are kept. But it is ascertained that this chief municipal hospital had about 750 atomic patients until this week and lost by death approximately 360.

About 70% of the deaths have been from plain burns ... But most of the patients who were gravely burned have now passed away and those on hand are rapidly curing. Those not curing are people whose unhappy lot provides the mystery aura around the atomic bomb's effects. They are victims of what Lt Jakob Vink, Dutch medical officer and now allied commandant of prison camp 14 at the mouth of Nagasaki harbour, calls "disease". Vink himself was in the allied prison kitchen abutting the Mitsubishi armour plate department when the ceiling fell in but he escaped this mysterious "disease X" which some allied prisoners and many Japanese civilians got.

Vink points out a woman on a yellow mat in hospital. She fled the atomic area but returned to live. She was well for three weeks except for a small burn on the heel. Now she lies moaning with a blackish mouth, stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words. Her exposed legs and arms are speckled with tiny red spots in patches.

Near her lies a 15-year-old fattish girl who has the same blotchy red pinpoints and a nose clotted with blood. A little farther on is a widow lying down with four children, from one to about eight, around her. The two smallest children have lost some hair. Though none of these people has either a burn or a broken limb, they are presumed victims of the atomic bomb.

Dr Uraji Hayashida shakes his head sombrely and says that he believes there must be something to the American radio report about the ground around the Mitsubishi plant being poisoned. But his next statement knocks out the props from under this theory because it develops that the widow's family has been absent from the wrecked area ever since the blast, yet shows symptoms common with those who returned.

According to Japanese doctors, patients with these late-developing symptoms are dying now, a month after the bombs fell, at the rate of about 10 daily. The three doctors calmly stated that the disease has them nonplussed and that they are giving no treatment whatever but rest. Radio rumours from America received the same consideration with the symptoms under their noses. They are licked for cure and do not seem very worried about it.

September 9

The atomic bomb's peculiar "disease", uncured because it is untreated and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here.

Men, women and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals, some after having walked around three or four weeks thinking they have escaped.

The doctors here have every modern medicament, but candidly confessed in talking to the writer ... that the answer to the malady is beyond them. Their patients, though their skin is whole, are all passing away under their eyes.

Kyushu's leading x-ray specialist, who arrived today from the island's chief city, Fukuoka, elderly Dr Yosisada Nakashima, told the writer that he is convinced that these people are simply suffering from the atomic bomb's beta gamma, or the neutron ray is taking effect.

"All the symptoms are similar," said the Japanese doctor. "You have a reduction in white corpuscles, constriction in the throat, vomiting, diarrhoea and small haemorrhages just below the skin. All of these things happen when an overdose of roentgen rays is given. Bombed children's hair falls out. That is natural because these rays are used often to make hair fall artificially and sometimes takes several days before the hair becomes loose."

Nakashima differed with general physicians who have asked the regiment to close off a bombed area claiming that returned refugees are infected from the ground by lethal rays.

At emergency hospital No 2, young commanding officer Lt Col Yoshitaka Sasaki, with three rows of campaign ribbons on his breast, stated that 200 patients died of 343 admitted and that he expects about 50 more deaths.

Most severe ordinary burns resulted in the patients [sic] deaths within a week after the bomb fell. But this hospital began taking patients only from one to two weeks afterward. It is therefore almost exclusively "disease" cases and the deaths are mostly therefrom.

Twenty-five Americans are due to arrive Sept 11 to study the Nagasaki bombsite. Japanese hope that they will bring a solution for Disease X.


Full story...

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