Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The rising fireball



Many soldiers and sailors (Army and Navy) were used as guinea pigs by the US military during atomic tests.

In many cases the US ran a series of medical evaluations on these witnesses of the nuclear explosions to determine the effects of the radioactive contamination they received by being present during the tests.

In 1997 the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice held a protest at the Kennedy Space Center just prior to the Cassini plutonium launch.  An older man approached me before we began the event and asked if he could speak.  He said he wanted to tell his story about being an atomic veteran and how we should not trust NASA's claims that launching nuclear power was safe.

During the rally the man explained to us that he was dying of cancer.  He has been in the Army and his unit was parachuted into the mushroom cloud during an atomic bomb test in New Mexico in 1945.  He explained that after they hit the ground they were immediately examined by medical doctors who took their blood, temperature, pulse rate and other such tests.  Then they were placed on a train which stopped at various locations where these same tests were run again.  It was not until years later that they realized that each of the train stops was at a Department of Energy laboratory site - places like Oak Ridge in Tennessee, Savannah River Plant in South Carolina and others including Hannaford site in Washington state.

The soldiers figured out that they were being used as guinea pigs.  He told us he was the last one in his unit still alive and that his only child also was suffering from cancer.

What kind of a sick society would do this kind of thing to their own countrymen and allies?  It was clear that the US only saw these GI's as disposable.  No one in the government has ever been held accountable for these crimes.

Bruce

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