RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

writing for godot

Smoke and Mirrors, by Brian Cowden

Written by Ted Reynolds   
Monday, 26 July 2021 03:14

It’s been no secret for so long and yet as unethical and unbelievable as this still sounds; U.S. military personnel were used as virtual guinea pigs during the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons (1946-1962). More than 250,000 soldiers. During these tests they were purposely exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation without proper training or equipment. They were monitored, but not for how much could harm them, but how much they could take physically and psychologically and still fight/perform.

Great Britain, France, U.S.S.R, New Zealand, Australia, Canada were also complicit in deploying their troops on “nuclear battlefields” in similar ways.

The point being that many of these Atomic Veterans and their families (multi-generational and international) have been affected by exposure to ionizing radiation and to this day are still fighting for recognition and to be properly compensated for the myriad of cancers, maladies, birth defects and more that are directly related to participation in the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

We mustn’t ever forget those communities of innocent human beings who ended up in the direct path of the deadly fallout from these tests. And tragically, most of them have been denied justice and restitution.

We mustn’t forget the military personnel, the civilian contractors and Marshallese who participated in the ill-fated Enewetak Radiological Cleanup Mission (1977-1980). 80-85% of these men were dead by the age of 55. Incredibly, they are not recognized nor do they receive medical care related to their participation in the radiological cleanup.

There are many more of these tragedies located across the globe and we cannot forget any of them until justice is achieved.

In all of the above cases, the #1 lies: “we just didn’t know” and or “you were not exposed to dangerous levels of ionizing radiation.”

Let’s revisit the aftermath of WW2 when the victorious Allied powers conducted a military tribunal in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany. Beneath this umbrella were a series of trials to expose Nazi war crimes and to convict the perpetrators. The first of these trials in 1947 became known as The Doctors’ Trials with the official title: The United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al. 23 Nazi physicians were tried for crimes against humanity for carrying out inhumane medical experiments on unwilling prisoners of war and the hapless victims in the concentration death camps. The revelations that were brought to light were so hideous that the international community demanded change so this would never happen again….ever.

Out of this came one of the greatest milestones in the history of civilization. For the first time the creation of an international legal document for the ethical treatment of all human beings – and the United States was leading the charge:


1. Voluntary consent is essential

2. The results of any experiment must be for the greater good of society

3. Human experiments should be based on previous animal experimentation

4. Experiments should be conducted by avoiding physical/mental suffering and injury

5. No experiments should be conducted if it is believed to cause death/disability

6. The risks should never exceed the benefits

7. Adequate facilities should be used to protect subjects

8. Experiments should be conducted by qualified scientists

9. Subjects should be able to end their participation at any time

10. The scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment when injury, disability, or death is likely to occur

The Nuremberg Code was drafted in 1947, 2 years after atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and 1 year after the first post war atomic tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Operation Crossroads.

At this time, US military commanders were concerned that soldiers would not be able to function on the battlefield following a nuclear attack because of the tremendous fear instilled by the most destructive weapons ever conceived and the “unknowns” of radiation. The only way to find out was to deploy military personnel at these tests to be up close and personal. There was a problem, how to get around the Nuremberg Code that the US had championed so vigorously. The solution: an oath of secrecy so severe that no service man would break it. They were turned into silent guinea pigs.

To quote Mark Twain: The truth hurts, but silence kills.

The irony that can’t be overlooked is that these tests were anything but secret. The blast dates in Nevada were published in the Vegas paper. People showed up in their cars as if at a local drive-in to witness these spectacular nuclear fireworks.

The public too needed convincing that nukes were “safe” and necessary for “peace”-- from the very beginning there was an onslaught of disinformation/propaganda from the highest echelons repeating over and over again in essence: ‘no one knows that much about radiation…besides it’s not that bad’.

First impressions are very powerful…and to this day, I am still told the above in earnest even by those who participated in the tests. The reality is that the effects of ionizing radiation were never a secret to the experts.

Dr. Stafford Warren, the medical director of the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb test, Trinity, and at Operation Crossroads, was absolutely shaken after the Baker shot (1946) and in his own words, “was totally unprepared.” He wrote in Life magazine about these tests; “Radiation from fission products penetrated every crevice of the target ships” – “almost every bite of food, every drink of water, every piece of laundry, the handrails of the ships, the beaches where the men went swimming.” (Operation Crossroads, Jonathan M. Weisgall)

One year later this is what he said to reassure the public about the dangers of the tests; “not one of the 42,000 men who went to Bikini has been directly injured by radiation.” (Operation Crossroads, Jonathan M. Weisgall)

At the Yale Institute of Occupational Health and Hygiene in ’47, Warren had this to say about residual radiation in a city in the aftermath of an atomic bomb, “But don’t forget that everywhere in the city, on the window sills, on the roofs, in the gutters, on your grass, on your farms, on the street, everywhere, are small or large amounts of fission materials with long half-lives. Those are the ones that you get into your body by inhalation. They are going to be in next year’s crop, and they get into the protein of your crop; that is, in the seeds. Those are the things you eat and I eat. They are the things our animals eat. Our animals get contaminated. The milk and the water are contaminated. It is in the successive year’s crops for a long and unpredictable time.” (Hotspots: the Legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Sue Rabbitt Roff)

There are so many examples of what the experts knew and hid at that time and there were those who got the truth out – one I will point out is NO PLACE TO HIDE by David Bradley. This book was published in 1948. Dr. Bradley was a radiological monitor at Operation Crossroads and had firsthand knowledge of the dangers produced by nuclear weapons. When he saw how distorted the official reports were regarding these tests and the downplaying of the dangers of ionizing radiation he wrote the book. The following is from the book’s dust jacket:

The truth constitutes a warning that no man can afford to ignore. It demonstrates undeniably that atomic war has no remedy, and that our only hope is to control the power that, once loosed, will destroy us all.

There were the lies, there was the truth and at the forefront should always be John Hershey’s 1946 timeless and devastatingly powerful HIROSHIMA

The point being that these weapons produced lethal amounts of radiation that has affected all life, is found everywhere and it was no secret except for what was being conveyed to the public in the guise of “national security.” MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION (MAD) was a sham then and still is.

This is the world we live in and incredibly we are witnessing a renewed nuclear arms race which continues the threat of worldwide annihilation. This is why sites such as L.A.B.R.A.T.S International are so important to support for getting out the truth. The stories of those who have been most adversely affected by nuclear need to be told and retold and told again until everyone realizes it has affected all of us and all life – once this tremendous goal has been achieved then change and justice will happen…it is the only way to insure our shared future.

I want to thank L.A.B.R.A.T.S for premiering the video SMOKE AND MIRRORS, which chronicles a small portion of the journeys that Bud Feurt an Atomic Veteran and Ellen Kaminer-Gigger the widow of an Atomic Veteran, Master Sergeant Richard Gigger, have been forced to take because of a broken corrupted system that hides behind the smoke and mirrors of obfuscation, misinformation and DENY, DELAY, UNTIL YOU DIE.

I hope that this introduction has given you at least some context of the background for the origins of what they are up against as well as all of the others trying to gain recognition, compensation and justice.

Please forward SMOKE AND MIRRORS to any and all especially policy makers and continue to support L.A.B.R.A.T.S and similar sites.

Brian Cowden your social media marketing partner
Email This Page


THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.