M.I.T. PHYSICIST SAYS THE PENTAGON IS TRYING TO SILENCE HIM AND INTIMIDATE M.I.T., FOR HIS WORK THAT IS CRITICAL OF NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE ; NUCLEAR AGE USHERED IN BY U.S. BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA POISONS NATIVE AMERICANS: A CONVERSATION WITH A WOMAN WHOSE MOTHER DIED OF CANCER AFTER WORKING IN THE URANIUM MINES OF NEW MEXICO, AND A NEW REPORT BY PUBLIC CITIZEN SAYS COMPANIES ARE TARGETING NATIVE AMERICAN LAND FOR FIRST-EVER PRIVATE, HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE SITE.
M.I.T. PHYSICIST SAYS THE PENTAGON IS TRYING TO SILENCE HIM AND INTIMIDATE M.I.T., FOR HIS WORK THAT IS CRITICAL OF NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE 56 years ago today, at 8:15am (Japan time), the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a four-ton uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It was codenamed Little Boy. To mark the occasion, nuclear disarmament campaigners rallied in London today against the controversial U.S. "Son of Star Wars" project, or national missile defense. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn described President Bush's promotion of the scheme as a "monumental folly of the highest order." He said that the "sinister development" would mean that there was a real possibility that the horrors of Hiroshima could revisit the world at some point in the future: "As Bush goes ahead with his crazy plans, Hiroshima stands out starkly as a warning to the world about the implications of nuclear war. "People should never forget that 60,000 people were killed immediately and probably as many more have died in subsequent years, not to mention the horrible injuries, deformities and cancer related illnesses caused as a result of the fallout from the Hiroshima bomb, which is as nothing compared to the destructive power of just one of today's nuclear weapons." Today on Democracy Now!, we will speak with a survivor of Hiroshima, as well as to a Native American woman who's mother was killed by cancer induced by uranium mining in her community. But first, we will discuss the latest weapons system of the United States. The U.S. atom bomb attack ushered in the most deadly and protracted arms race the modern world has seen. National missile defense threatens to do the same. According to several Pentagon reports (and as the New York Times Magazine yesterday reported in a 10-page expose), NMD is only one branch of a grand scheme for the total U.S. military domination of space. A nuclear arms race; a race to militarize space; an estimated $95 billion already spent on NMD; all this for a system that, according to many critics, doesn't even work. We are joined right now by Theodore Postol, a Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at MIT. He is accusing the Pentagon of trying to silence him and intimidate his employer, MIT, for his criticism of NMD. At issue is correspondence between Postol and the General Accounting Office, an investigative branch of Congress, in which he accused the Pentagon of using doctored data to defend missile defense technology. Postol says his conclusions were based on an unclassified report, which he disseminated over the Internet. But after he began distributing the report last year, the Pentagon said that it contained secret information. Defense Department then asked MIT officials to stop Postol from disseminating that information, and to confiscate the document from him. For years, Postol has argued that the Pentagon's NMD can't distinguish between decoys and enemy warheads. In the 1990s, Postol successfully challenged the effectiveness of Patriot missiles in the Persian Gulf War. While the Pentagon initially claimed an effectiveness of over 95%, Postol demonstrated that it was in fact around 0%. Guest: Theodore Postol, Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Story: 56 YEARS AGO TODAY, US DROPS ATOMIC BOMB ON HIROSHIMA: A CONVERSATION WITH A SURVIVOR 56 years ago today, at 8:15 a.m. (Japan time), the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped a four-ton uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Journalist David Lee writes in the Malaysian paper, New Straits Times: "At the point of detonation half a kilometre up in the sky, the temperature shot to several million degrees Centigrade. A fireball of [50-foot] radius formed in 0.1 millisecond. "The mushroom atomic cloud reached an altitude of [50,000 feet] - a colossal tower of death taller than any building on earth. "The intense heat scorched bare skins and blinded eyes. Most people living within one kilometer of ground zero were killed instantly. "Others were turned into zombies, many jumping into the rivers to douse the unbearable heat of fire on their bodies. The rivers were turned into watery graves. "The blast that followed flattened houses and buildings and all standing structures. Everything was ripped apart. People were blown away by wind pressures of 35 tons per square meter. "And then the black rain fell. The radioactive debris or fallout rained for an hour over a wide area. "Those who were three to five kilometres from ground zero later suffered from after-effects, including radiation-induced cancers. "According to data submitted to the United Nations by Hiroshima City in 1976, the death count reached 140,000 by the end of December 1945. "For deadly effect, the United States Government did it again by dropping another bomb codenamed Fat Boy on Nagasaki About 70,000 died." Soon after the bombing, as reporters converged on a ship off the coast of Japan to cover the surrender of the Japanese, one independent reporter named Wilfred Burchett took a train for 30 hours to Hiroshima. He couldn't believe what he saw: people with their skin melting off them, images of people engraved on the sides of buildings. He sat down with his Hermes typewriter in the rubble, and tapped out the words, "I write this as a warning to the world." He talked about something he called, 'bomb sickness', that he had never seen before. Another reporter did a ten-part series on the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was William Leonard Laurence of the New York Times. He was also on the payroll of the Pentagon. One of his headlines was, "No Bomb Sickness Found." He won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. Wilfred Burchett died of cancer decades later, but always traced it to Hiroshima. Tape: Seiku Akeida, survivor of the atomic attack on Hiroshima. Ria Nakamura, Translator. Story: NUCLEAR AGE USHERED IN BY U.S. BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA POISONS NATIVE AMERICANS: A CONVERSATION WITH A WOMAN WHOSE MOTHER DIED OF CANCER AFTER WORKING IN THE URANIUM MINES OF NEW MEXICO, AND A NEW REPORT BY PUBLIC CITIZEN SAYS COMPANIES ARE TARGETING NATIVE AMERICAN LAND FOR FIRST-EVER PRIVATE, HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE SITE As we continue with hour-long special on this 56th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, we now turn to a history of radiation poisoning not in Hiroshima, not in Nagasaki, but right here in the United States. Peter Eichstaedt's book, If You Poison Us: Uranium And Native Americans, starts by saying that the supply of uranium that fuelled the Cold War came largely from the Four Corners Area of the United States. Some of the richest deposits were found on the Navaho reservation. Between 1950 and 1980, as many as 15,000 people worked in uranium mines. About one quarter of the miners and millers were Native Americans. Responding to an urgent plea to help defend our country, and eager to earn miner's wages, poverty-stricken Native Americans labored to feed the atomic mill. For nearly 3 decades, in the face of growing evidence that uranium mining was dangerous, state and federal agencies avoided responsibility for warning the miners, or imposing safety measures in the mines. In a few minutes, we will hear the story of one of those uranium miners. But right now, we turn to Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Energy and Environment Program. She has just released a report called "Another Nuclear Rip-Off: Unmasking Private Fuel Storage." The report reveals that 8 nuclear companies have teamed up to try to privatize - for the first time -- the storage of high level nuclear waste. Once again, the nuclear companies have their sights on Native American land. Guest: Wenonah Hauter, Director of Public Citizen's Energy and Environment Program. Now we turn to Carletta Garcia, who is the daughter of Dorothy Perly, a well-known Native American uranium miner. Carletta told the story of her family and uranium at a major conference in 1999 called "Beyond the Bomb," sponsored by Peace Action. Tape: Carletta Garcia, daughter of Dorothy Perly, who is a well-known Native American uranium miner. Carletta told the story of her family, and uranium.