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Global Hibakusha

Global Hibakushha
United States

Tom Bailie
Hanford Downwinder
International Conference, 2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

I am not a peacemaker, just a simple farmer that has become your storyteller.  It is my duty not to invent but simply transmit a simple story that you have in your hands.  Please read it.

The life work of this simple farmer has always been to grant and nurture new life every year.  Simply put, a lifemaker.

My Hanford Hibakusha story shows the making of nukes destroys life.

The Hiroshima Hibakusha story shows the use of nukes destroys life.

This simply, is a shame for life!  This is imply, wrong for life.  Isn't this simple?

Don't make nukes for the sake of life.

Don't use nukes for the sake of life.

Article originally carried on New York Times and reprinted in the Sacramento Bee Final, July 27, 1990

Hanford’s Nuclear Family
“We were the Children on the Front Lines?

Mesa, Washington ? I’m sitting in my tractor and reality is sinking in.  I’ve just finished taping several national television shows.  As I step back into my world, the emotions keep rising up in my chest and I cry, uncontrollably at first.  Then it feels good, so I sob silently to myself.

The worst is finally over for us.  Or has it just begun?  As “downwinders,? born and raised downwind of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington, we learned several years ago that the government decided ? with cold deliberation ? to use us guinea pigs by releasing radioactivity into our food, water, milk, and air without our consent.

Now, we’ve learned that we can expect continuing cancer cases from our exposure in their “experiment.?  Is this what it feels like to be raped?

The exposure began the same day our lives began.  Several years ago, when the government admitted that releases had been made, we were assured there would be no observable health effects.  Did the government really look?

Unknowingly, we had been seeing the effects for a long time.  For us, the unusual was the usual.

During my childhood, I remember seeing men dressed in space suits walking in front of uninformed soldiers carrying shovels and sacks.  They waved to us as they moved past.

Usually they brought us candy and one time, cowboy boots.  What we didn’t know at the time was that these were nuclear cleanup crews.

What we also didn’t know was that other kids didn’t get “neck massages? from the school nurse (looking for thyroid swelling) or have Geiger counters passed over them; that men in beards and thick glasses didn’t sample everyone’s water and milk weekly: that farm-animal mutations don’t happen everywhere.

We thought everyone had brown and white “pinto? deer and deformed calves, sheep and kittens; that miscarriages ? human and animal ? were the norm.  Common news was of neighbors and loved ones getting cancer.  These were the usual things for us in our isolated world.

I was born a year after my stillborn brother.  I struggled to breathe through underdeveloped lungs and suffered to overcome numerous birth defects.  I underwent multiple surgeries, endured paralysis, endured thyroid medication, a stint in an iron lung, loss of hair, sores all over my body, fevers, dizziness, poor hearing, asthma, rotting teeth and, at age 18, a diagnosis of sterility.

The usual was watching the other kids die at St. Mary’s pediatric ward.  I finally learned to walk, but could never play sports.  I stood on the sidelines with the rest of my classmates, watching the healthy new kids who moved into our area play sports.  We never could.  We grew angry and defensive from the teasing and abuse.

The movement of the tractor brings my mind back from the world of the 1940s to the harsh realities of questioning our government.  Our patriotism has been impugned, our credibility questioned.  We have been redlined by the banking community since 1985: the Farmers Home Administration Foreclosure notice is sitting on my desk.  We have been put off by politicians ? except for a brave few ? until we victims become a popular issue.

We have been slandered as the “glow in the dark family? by friends and strangers alike.  We have been told to shut up and have received numerous death threats.  I survived one attempt on my life.  It’s enough to make paranoia override common sense and to make me carry a gun.

Who the hell do these people in the nuclear gang think they are?  In my family we were all taught not to lie.  How can we citizens defend liars?

The world now knows about Hanford’s releases.  We were the children on the front lines of the Cold War.

We deserve fair and equitable treatment.  Are we just so much nuclear waste?  Will there be compensatory damages?

Moscow was condemned for its three days of silence after the Chernobyl nuclear accident.  What about Washington’s 40 years of silence?

There is a fine line of morality that none of us can cross and still claim membership in the human race.  The government’s nuclear gang deliberately crossed it.

The price we had to pay, you say?  We think we were worth more.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Tom Bailie
Hanford Downwinder
Closing Plenary, 2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Do you remember your childhood?  Think back your first memory as a child.  Let me share with you my first childhood memory.

It was 1949 and I was two years old.  I heard someone screaming.  I went to the bathroom and opened the door.  A woman was on the bathtub, crying for help.  There was blood on the floor around her, and I saw something like a baby at her feet covered with blood.  I ran away.

My next first memory is many hospital visits and surgeries, being paralyzed and in iron lung.  Then, starting school with crutches and braces, and with sores all over my body, my teeth rotting out.  My hair fell out twice.  Waiting for the births of caws and sheep, praying that they would not be deformed.  The animals born on the farm were so deformed -- cows with two heads, 6 or 7 feet, some without eyeballs and so on.

Riding the school bus for two hours on the way back home, wind blew so hard with thick white dust.  Sometimes, our bus had to stop to wait until the wind died down.  The bus driver told us to cover our mouth with wet towel so that we could breathe.

Many singing birds were dead and hanging upside down on a telephone wire.  Not only little birds, but eagles, hawks were dying, too.  I saw coyotes, dogs and other wild animals with their hair falling out.  Jackrabbits had big water blister on their stomach and dead, bleeding from their nose and rectum.

My other first memories was the people who came to our farm.  They wore beards and thick glasses.  They wanted the feet and heads of dead ducks and geese we had hunted.  They wanted milk from the cows and wanted water from our wells.  Sometimes they came in suits looking like a spacemen.  They took samples of our garden vegetables -- cucumbers, potatoes, carrots.  They said, "We are from the government and we are here to protect you".

Government people came to our school and had us drink thick white liquid looking like milkshake, but it was not sweet.  From the first to fifth grade, they very frequently came to our school and checked us with whole body counter, after we drank the white liquid.  They told us to write down everything we ate for breakfast and give it to our teacher.

These were some of my childhood memories.  Are yours like mine?  Probably not.

In 1986, our government admitted that they deliberately released massive amount of radiation into the air, water and our food, and made a conscious decision to keep it secret from all of us.  The largest deliberate release was done in 1949.  This was an experiment, called "Green Run".  It was around at the same time the woman in the bathroom, who was a nurse in our family, lost her baby.

The government people always treated us different.  Hanford people did not want us to play with their children.  They were rich and clean kids, while we were poor, dirty and stinky.  They didn't allow our milk or cheese to go Richland, the town where Hanford scientists and workers lived.  They watched us, monitored us, and tested us.  They even made tags for us kids with each of our names and ID numbers, saying that we were like soldiers ready to fight another war against Russia, just like we fought against Japanese.  Every week, we had "duck and cover" exercise at school.  As I grew older, I realized It was a bizarre idea that we would be safe by this "duck and cover".

At hospitals, they told me, "You are special".  There were always two doctors for me, one of whom spoke German.  I have gone through 5 major surgeries, including the one to fix my deformed legs, and the other to remove polyp inside my nose.  Iodine 131 released from Hanford hurt the bodies of children.  Already, 50 % of my classmates have died, while their parents are alive.

In 1946, the first baby my mother had was stillborn.  The baby was deformed.  I was her second child.  All my grandparents died of cancer.  My father died of liver cancer, my mother had cancer and both of my sisters had cancer.

Out of 100 calves born in a pasture in 1963, 60 were so grossly deformed.  They couldn't walk, some with no legs or too many legs.  The mother had to squat down on the calves to feed them milk.  At night, coyotes came to our farm, chased and killed them to eat.  Finally, we took a bunch of them on a truck to be cut up for veal.

Then in 1984, we found that all of the 27 households in the neighborhood had their family members suffer from various cancers, birth defects, thyroid problems and so on.  The reality sunk in.  Hanford really did poison us and released radiation.  The fact was confirmed by the government documents declassified in 1986, in which the government admitted that they deliberately did it and hid the fact.

This simply means that the plutonium for Nagasaki A-bomb was made in Hanford, and in the process, Hanford made American Hibakusha just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Around 1991, about 5000 downwinders filed a lawsuit against the contractors of Hanford, demanding compensation.  We lost in the first court, and the case is now in the court of appeals.

We Hanford Hibakusha have had lot of difficulty in struggling for justice and compensation from the Government.  They always denied our claims.  We received many death threats -- anytime you question authority, this was the consequence you had to suffer.  But I will continue to question.  Until the Hibakusha achieve justice, I will remain killed.

Global Hibakushha
United States

June Stark Casey
San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area Liaison for Peace Links & Hanford Downwinders
International Conference, 2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs

A Hanford Washington Radiation Victim Speaks Out

As a victim adversely affected by the secret human radiation experiments conducted at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State in 1949, I feel very honored to be invited to Japan to the 2000 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and to be afforded the opportunity to apologize personally for the unspeakable suffering and horrifying deaths caused by the plutonium bomb manufactured at Hanford and detonated over Nagasaki.  Although 55 years have passed, I understand each year over 5,000 Japanese people die prematurely due to the latent adverse health effects of radiation.

We American citizens learned belatedly from recently declassified documents that the Japanese Government was the object of eight actions taken by the United States used to provoke them to attack at Pearl Harbor, called "a day of infamy," but in reality, a Day Of Deceit - the title of a new book by Robert B. Stinnett revealing the truth about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor, soon to be translated into Japanese.  We also learned that the atomic bombs were not necessary to end World War II, as citizens were told at the time.  On both sides of the Pacific Ocean, we conference participants must speak the truth, no matter how painful.

In the November, 1999, Ecologist (a special issue devoted entirely to the madness of nuclear energy) Canadian epidemiologist Dr. Rosalie Bertell estimates that 1 billion, 300 million people have been killed, maimed or diseased by the nuclear industry since its inception.  The industry's figures massively underestimate the real cost in an attempt to hide its victims from the world.

Physicist Dr. Ernest Sternglass, whom I was honored to meet recently, stated: "Secrecy is the one way an open society can be controlled."  Sometimes the greatest crimes are perpetrated by governments and corporations against their own people by using secrecy.  I am here to tell you from personal experience about one of those crimes.

It was on Mother's Day of 1986 that I learned that I was among the 270,000 Washington State "Downwinder" residents who were exposed continually and secretly to 1.1 million curies of radioactive iodine 131 released from the General Electric operated Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the 1940s and 1950s.  Iodine 131, a known carcinogen, when ingested by cows, forms heavy concentrations in milk.

In 1945, 550,000 curies of radioactive iodine were released at Hanford, exposing 150 million Americans to more than 4 billion picocuries per capita of this lethal radionuclide, an amount comparable to releases from Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster in history - which resulted in a 200 fold increase in thyroid cancer in that area.  This was followed by two decades of atmospheric bomb tests recently estimated by the Natural Resources Defense Council to be equivalent to exploding 40,000 Hiroshima bombs.

Federal and state authorities have declared the Columbia River near Hanford the most radioactive river in the world.  During the peak years of reactor activity, substantial radiation exposure was possible merely by standing on the Columbia river shoreline.  Two thirds of U.S. high-level waste from nuclear weapons production is stored at Hanford.  There is more radioactivity at Hanford than would be released in an entire nuclear war.  Clean-up at Hanford is now expected to cost $100 billion and take 30 years; parts of Hanford will remain radioactive for thousands of years.

The accidental fire burning 190,000 acres on and around the Hanford Site this past June caused great alarm.  And this past May the Forest Service controlled burn which quickly got out of control in and around Los Alamos National Laboratory destroyed over 200 homes and 48,000 acres, 9,000 of which were Laboratory property, increasing beta radiation up to 4 times and alpha radiation up to 20 times.

A recent health survey of residents living near Hanford examined a wide range of illnesses all verified by medical records.  Results showed a tripling of breast and lung cancer and ten times the amount each of thyroid disease and leukemia.  Along the Hanford Death Mile, 100% of the families have cancer, heart disease or birth defects.  In a health survey I conducted among 450 Hanford Downwinders, of those who responded, 40% had genetically-affected children.  Nationally, between 1945 and 1965, there was a 40% increase in underweight live births.

I was most adversely affected by a deliberate secret experiment, known as the "Green Run," conducted on December 2, 1949, by GE's Nucleonics Department in which over 11,000 curies of radioactive iodine and 20 thousand curies of xenon were intentionally released into the atmosphere.  This was 11,000 times the radiation tolerance threshold set for that period, which was 20 times higher than allowed today.  At the time I was a student at Whitman College located 50 miles downwind from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Hanford Radiation Medical Consultants, Dr. Herbert Parker and Dr. Carl Gamertsfelder, the latter whom I have interviewed by telephone, warned that the experiment not be done.  Dr. Parker stated that it would "cause deleterious health defects in 10 to 15 years."  Yet their medical advice was totally ignored.  Dr. Bertell states, "There is no justice issue which does not result in a violation of human health."

A study by the Centers for Disease Control now reveals that 30,000 Washington downwinder children received 20 times more radioactive iodine during the 1940s and 1950s than did Soviets living 3 miles from Chernobyl, because of the variance in wind dispersion and steps taken to protect the Soviet people.

According to Washington State Department of Health radiation specialist Allen W. Conklin, no other group of civilians in the world is known to have been exposed to as much radiation over a longer period of time than those of us who have lived in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  Some children received 3,000 rads - the radiation equivalent of 36,000 x-rays.  (St. Petersburg [Florida] Times 7/13/90)

According to government documents, radioactive isotopes were released at Hanford to assess the potential of radiological warfare and some believe to determine the destruction and effects on local populations.  A secret radiological warfare experimentation program headed by General Curtis Le May in which radioactive fission products could be released in an attempt to poison the water and milk supply was conducted at Hanford up to 1954.  Many Washington residents believe the 1949 experiment was part of that radiological warfare program.  Shockingly, current environmental laws would allow that same secret experiment to be conducted today.
The mal-effects I attribute to my exposure to ionizing radiation are severe hypothyroidism, a miscarriage, stillbirth, breast lumpectomy, skin cancer, chronic degenerative spine, thyroid nodules which may become cancerous and permanent hair loss.  Esophageal problems make it difficult to keep food down and have necessitated two endoscopies to remove a tumor.  The unremitting pain in my spine feels as if someone is torturing me with an electric saw.  My shoulders feel as if someone is holding them over hot coals in a barbecue pit.

In August, 1997, I developed in ductile carcinoma in situ, a form of breast cancer which can be very aggressive, necessitating two surgeries, the latter a partial mastectomy.  Each year 175,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.  My recent mammograms revealed that the cancer may have returned, necessitating a stereotactic biopsy.  In a most heart wrenching poem, the Mormon author and naturalist Terry Tempest Williams writes: "We have become a clan of one-breasted women."

I was shocked to learn in an article from the San Francisco Examiner 8/13/97: "The best diagnostic screening method for breast cancer today - X-ray mammography - is four decades old and prone to misdiagnosis.  The X-ray film images miss 15% to 20% of cancers, according to the Office on Women's Health.  The technology necessary to perfect diagnostic breast screening exists - but not in the right hands.  The defense and intelligence communities, with big budgets and national security as their mission, are estimated to be 10 years ahead of the medical field in their development and use of high-tech imaging."

Finding targets to bomb and kill rather than detecting cancer is an unconscionable priority.  Women are being brutalized by painful, mutilating, disfiguring, deforming breast surgeries which could be avoided.  We condemn female genital mutilation in Third World countries.  Are we in the so-called First World any more advanced?
An incident of shocking government deceit was revealed when Admiral Hyman G. Rickover made a notarized confession to his daughter-in-law, Jane Rickover, stating that if the Presidential Kemeny Commission reported the truth regarding the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, it would destroy the nuclear industry.  Thus Rickover convinced President Jimmy Carter to lie regarding the severity of the partial core meltdown.  Rickover said he later regretted this grave deception to the American people.

Some government officials and defense contractors say nuclear weapons are a necessary evil.  May we move beyond that mentality to the belief that evil is never necessary.

How many more children have to be born with no hands like my Whitman College sorority sister's baby?  How many more girls must be born with slits for eyes like the 11 year old daughter of a mother I met from Spokane who grew up near Hanford?  How many more babies must be born with no eyes, no skulls, no hips, and missing fingers like the babies born within the infamous Hanford Death Mile?  How many more little ones will have to have a leg amputated due to leukemia like my father's secretary's 5 year old daughter?

As we rededicate ourselves to this cause, may we remember these radiation victims - the baby born with an oversized head, the woman born with her knees attached to her feet, the Cyclops baby born with one eye in the center of his forehead, and the young artist born with no arms, whom I met as he was painting with a brush in his mouth.

Even after the end of the Cold War, the world is plagued by the existence of nearly 30,000 nuclear bombs.  The U.S. submarine-based Trident nuclear weapon system - the most costly and deadly in history - carries missiles armed with warheads that collectively have the destructive equivalent of 85,240 Hiroshima bombs.  Michael Sprong of the Trident Resistance Network states, "Nuclear weapons are portable 'death camps' waiting to be delivered to their victims."

Second generation nuclear weapons and the accompanying billions spent on their design and testing perpetuate a radioactive earth where sterility and thirty-two radiogenic cancers continue to maim and kill family and friends whom we hold dear.  May this conference help us recognize the fragility of life and the necessity to protect Mother Earth.  Her womb is the only home we have.  We Hanford Hibakusha hope that compassion and wisdom will grow from our scars.  Nuclear barbarism is as heinous as the Nazi death camps, creating a "Silent Holocaust."

The militarization of space, using nuclear reactors and nuclear powered satellites to test Star Wars sensors, is the latest example of nuclear madness.  The July 7th failure of a U.S. missile interceptor, carrying a warhead-blasting "kill vehicle" to knock out a modified minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile with a dummy warhead atop its third stage rocket, should alert the U.S. Congress of the unworkability of a national anti-missile defense system.  We, at this international conference, must strive to stop the nuclearization of space by our misguided scientists and engineers.

May this world gathering inspire us in the nuclear-free movement to embrace the moral task facing us with unrestrained joy, unbounded enthusiasm and unflagging optimism.  May this miracle called Earth awaken the divinity within each of us and empower us to protect our one big family - our mothers in Mozambique and Martinique, our fathers in the Falklands and Fiji, our brothers in Bosnia and Bangladesh, our sisters in Soweto and Syria, our nieces in Nagasaki, the Nevada Nuclear Test Site and Hiroshima, our nephews in Nigeria and Nicaragua, our uncles in the Ukraine and Uganda, our aunts in Afghanistan and Angola, our grandparents in Guatemala and Grenada, and our cousins in Cuba, Kazahkstan and Chernobyl.

May this assembly become a global family reunion where squabbles and quarrels are no longer answered by the vicious cycle of violence but are replaced with affectionate embraces and peaceful conflict resolution.  With sisterly and brotherly support, prayerful hope, and a deeply grounded faith, may this conference aid us in achieving a paradigm breakthrough -- a peaceful nuclear-free planet where a new ethics and inclusive morality ensure political, economic and social equality for all.
As we enter this magnificent new millennium, let us relinquish our Faustian fascination with the technology of destruction.  For the love of God, the love of humanity, and for the love of our planet, let the floating lanterns on the peaceful Motoyasu River near Aioi Bridge, illuminate our path toward a new way of thinking.  May we rededicate ourselves, resolving with our whole hearts and souls to work on this monumental challenge together.  THE DREAM CAN BE REALIZED.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Priscilla Empey
National Association of Radiation Survivors - Southwest Downwinders
International Symposium; “Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
August 1995, Hiroshima

My name is Priscilla Empey from the United States.  I am happy and honored to bring you warm greetings and solidarity from the National Association of Radiation Survivors to all of you, friends from Japan and the various parts of the world.

It is good to be back in Japan for this important occasion, the International Symposium "Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki".  I thank the Preparatory Committee for bringing myself and my Sister-in-law, Claudia Peterson, here.  You will be able to hear my brother Philip's story from his wife, Claudia.

I have been double exposed to low level radiation most of my life.  My exposure has been from the "fallout" from the Nevada Test Site and from the uranium dust brought home by my father because there was no ventilation system in the uranium mines where he worked.  There was no place for the miners to clean up so they drove home wearing their dirty, muddy, contaminated clothing.  The family rode in the same car and the family wash was done with these dirty, contaminated clothes.

My father brought ore samples home for us to see and handle.  The ore samples were taken to school to show the students what it looked like, so even more children were exposed.

Upon coming out of the mines my father and the other miners could send the Geiger counter clear off the scale just by breathing on it.  My father was so fluorescent at times that when my grandfather put his Geiger counter on him in the dark he would glow.  Because of the unventilated working conditions down in the uranium mine my father died at the age of 51 from lung cancer.  The government knew of the dangers, yet the miners were allowed to walk into the mines without an awareness of the dangers.  As a result untold sickness occurred among the uranium miners that could have and should have been avoided.

My father may have been exposed to the equivalent of 13,672 months worth of radiation during the 120 months he worked in the mines, from 1950 to 1960.

Vanadium, a Colorado based corporation, leased a substantial portion of the Marysvale mining rights in 1949.  The Freedom's No.1 and No.2 veins were among the richest uranium deposits that had been discovered anywhere in the United States.

In 1950, U.S. Public Health Service teams sampled radon concentrations at the mine site and found on average at 120 times the recommended safe working level.  In 1951 readings at the 200 foot level of the Freedom shaft where my father was working showed concentrations of radon gas at 2750, 1300, and 2200 times the safe working level.  As late as 1959, inspectors were finding radon levels at 2 times the safe working level in the Vanadium (VCA) mine.

Every miner swore that neither the company (VCA), nor the government ever gave any information or warning about the dangers to which they were being exposed.  Those miners lived in that radiation.  They had their lunches down there and they didn't know what it was doing to them.

The "fallout" from the Nevada Test Site contaminated the food we ate from the garden, the milk we drank from our dairy cows, the eggs from our chickens, as well as the meat we raised in pigs, beef, chickens and rabbits.  Our clothes were dried outside on the line where they received the "dust" from fall-out.  My parents were never told about this contamination either.

I have lost many family members, neighbors, and friends because of the indifference of my government and their disregard of human life and suffering.  We must all continue our quest for solidarity for a nuclear free world.  We must leave a better legacy for our future generations than we have had to endure.  The number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs, the loss of even one human life, or malformation of one baby, who may be born long after we are gone, should be of concern to us all.  Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent.

Nuclear weapons are a threat to humanity and an insult to human decency.

              NO MORE NAGASAKIS
              NO MORE HIBAKUSHAS

Also visit "Dowinwinders" at http://www.downwinders.org/

Global Hibakushha
United States

Anthony Guarisco
Alliance of Atomic Veterans
International Conference,1997 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Dear friends, my name is Anthony Guarisco.  I'm the director of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans.  I would like to say I'm honored to have been invited here today for this 1997 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.  Each Conference attended has been a new and wonderful learning experience for the Alliance of Atomic Veterans.

It has been our good fortune to have the opportunity to have representatives come to Japan for these informative conferences.  The obtained information from this conference will be taken back to the Nevada Test Site in the United States to be put into practice.

Often times, some of our brother and sister Hibakusha and activists from Japan who have been involved in direct action with Atomic Veterans at the Nevada Test Site.  Some are present at this very important conference today and we thank them all.

I have been requested by our AAV members to grasp this opportunity to speak not only about what we can and will accomplish at this conference but also mention some of the things that our Atomic Veterans have learned from past conferences.

Moreover, the one thing we have learned is the Japanese Hibakusha of Japan and the Alliance of Atomic Veterans of America are completely frustrated with this 52 year conspiracy by the Japanese and American Governments to deny both the Japanese Hibakusha and the American Atomic Veterans their civil rights for long overdue compensation.

It is not a new and startling revelation that these same two governments with their in-country nuclear business corporations, the US military and international nuclear corporations, continue to profit from this denial to its citizens.  It will continue until such time that we, the last of the Atomic Veterans and Japanese Hibakusha come together, take the initiative, and implement a comprehensive joint international program to stop this nuclear insanity.

The death and destruction of the Japanese Hibakusha and Atomic Veterans and our children must not be viewed as just numbers of people who have died and how they died.  Form this point on we must be ready to do what ever we must to save our planet that sustains all life and we must do it quickly.

If we, the last of the Japanese Hibakusha and the American Atomic Veterans allow these two governments to continue "business as usual" -- what will happen to our children of the world?  Who among you at this conference can tell me how much better these two governments will treat its future atomic effected children?

Would the Japanese government treat it effected atomic children better than it treated "Sadako?"  I wonder what she would think about the refusal by these two governments that have lost their vision of responsibility to not only their own people but also the yet unborn children of our world?

To my Japanese brothers and sisters I would say, no one in this world knows better than I, the many years of ongoing work throughout the world that has been conducted by the Japanese Hibakusha.  But now is a different time and the time is short for those of us who are left in this struggle.

In America the Alliance of Atomic Veterans have now activated our "Veterans Action Teams" at the Nevada Test Site.  Our first team completed its mission by slipping past and into the Department of Energy high security area at "Ground Zero" just before the explosion.  As planned they were arrested and taken to jail -- booked and released on their own recognizance to return for court trial.

This is not a new program for the Alliance of Atomic Veterans.  What is new is we will continue to raise the level of non-violent direct action to stop all preparations by the US military, Department of Energy and the nuclear profiteers who are preparing to fight a nuclear war that no one can win.  Thank you.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Anthony Guarisco
Alliance of Atomic Veterans
International Symposium; “Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
August 1995, Hiroshima

On the subject of "nuclear deterrence" the Alliance of Atomic Veterans have always assumed the position that in the real world there is no such thing as a "nuclear deterrence".  The term "nuclear deterrence" was created by the U.S. military for the benefit of four of the most corrupt groups of people within the USA.  (1) The U.S. military.  (2) The U.S. civilian and military nuclear weapons industry.  (3) The U.S. multi-national corporations.  (4) The U.S. Congress.  The term is a misnomer and from the very start of the nuclear age was designed to go hand-in-hand with "peace through strength".  Both are nothing more than deliberate false information terms designed to lull the American people into a false sense of security, and for the power and economic gains of the four groups.

(1) The U.S. military has always referred to its nuclear weapons as a deterrence against war.  They have conducted an on-going miraculous propaganda program convincing the American people that U.S. nuclear deterrence" has kept the peace for America, while discounting the fact that the U.S. has managed to involve itself in a war on the average of the every 20 years since its conception 200 years ago.

Why would the U.S. military take this untrue position?  With the introduction of nuclear weapons in the closing days of WW II, The U.S. military with its new atomic arsenal had achieved the goal it always desired.  To be the most powerful military in the world and in turn, working closely with (2) The U.S. civilian and nuclear weapons industry, (3) The U.S. multi-national corporations and (4) the U.S. Congress, to insure that the military maintains its position as the most powerful military in the world.

(2) The U.S. civilian and nuclear weapons industry had a 50 year economic boom.  High price nuclear power plants were built with extravagant over-cost. No one took responsibility for the over-cost and the rate payers picked up the expense.  The nuclear power plants produced higher electric cost, more rate hikes, and cancer, also nuclear waste and high grade material to be made into nuclear bombs for "the nuclear deterrence".

In the process the U.S. civilian and nuclear weapons industry gave the world an out-of-control nuclear arms race for profits.  A "nuclear deterrence" so large that all the USSR could do was play catch up.  The American people picked up the cost with higher tax, less pay and the opportunity to live with the threat of international nuclear annihilation and a limited vision of world peace.

(3) With a strong nuclear deterrence and a military with a reputation for dropping atomic bombs on innocent civilian men, women and children, "The U.S. multi-national corporations" increased their illegal intervention activities all over the world with emphases on Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

(4) "The U.S. Congress" has always supported all military procurement legislation.  Many members of Congress have earned the title of "cheer leaders" for the nuclear weapons industry.  Voting for "nuclear deterrence" legislation and then receiving large amounts of money from the nuclear industry.  These "corporate prostitutes" have no shame.

At the beginning of my comments I said that there is no such thing as "nuclear deterrence".  Just because a nuclear power says:  Our nuclear weapons are for a "nuclear deterrence" does not make it so.  Especially if that country is America who for years quietly up-holds the thinking that the best nuclear defense is a good first strike offense.

There is only one "nuclear deterrence" that is 100 percent reliable--and that is the abolition of all nuclear weapons worldwide.  As American Hibakusha we have seen the fire-storm.  Like our brother and sister Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we understand better than most that the abolition of all nuclear weapons is a requirement for human survival.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Corbin Harney
Shundahai Network
International Conference, 1997 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

I am a Western Shoshone, as a native person, or one of the native peoples I have concerns about our mother, because we only got one mother.  All the living things rely on our mother, our mother is the one who feeds us, gives us the strength, gives us the water, provides us with air that we all breath, that we rely on.  All the living things relies on our mother, this is something that we the people, throughout the world are going to have to join hands together to protect; our mother from abuse.  We already began to witness our water getting away from us, it's contaminated with chemicals and radiation, all the living things are dying.  We all see that.  Yet somehow we don't believe our eyes.  That's one reason why I like to bring this issue to your attention.  Coming from a distance away from you, coming to your part of the country and talking about these things.  This is something that we the people have to unite ourselves together on, so that we can join hands to - protect our water, the air, our mother, the one that feeds us; keeps us going.

In my part of the country, the Shoshone land is in use by the Nuclear Energy Department, conducting nuclear testing on our land.  Because the land that we are talking about has got two different governments.  The white government and the Indian government, a treaty was signed back in 1863, agreed upon by both parties saying that this land here is Shoshone land, that we agree upon.  So we the native people have never seen what they have promised to us.  Somehow the laws that we talk about throughout the world, the law of the land has been misused by them, this affects us and them, we thought it was to protect both parties.  So far, it protects them, but it didn't protect the native people at all, they continuously misuse our mother, and the native people.  The chemicals and nuclear waste put on the land where the native people are living today; without their approval, this is one reason why today as I travel throughout the country, most of my elders are now gone.  Because radiation has taken their life.  Thousands upon thousands from the chemicals and radiation, and it's getting worse.  When we as a Native People try to talk to the "higher ups", they don't pay attention to us at all, they keep convincing us that they had paid us about $26 million back in 1977, but there is no evidence that we have accepted the money.

So it's very important that I bring this issue to your attention so you understand what we have been through as a native people, because we as a native people relies on all the living things here.  Because our mother takes care of them; the plant life, the animal life, the bird life, all of those things come from within our mother so we cannot be destroying our mother.  So together we can put a stop to this nonsense of nuclear power.  Because it's creating too much waste.  If the waste is going to be traveling throughout the country and throughout the world, from one end of the country to another, we're not going to be able to survive very long all it's doing is creating a lot of sickness.  Our mother is very sick today.  So I hope that all the people over the world will really understand what I'm saying to you, so that we can use different sources of power instead of nuclear power.  If we're going to transport the waste from one end of the country to the other, it's going to create more sickness.  The younger generation, the very young, the unborn are going to be crippled by radiation.  So let's not let that happen, let's join hands together and be one people, because we're on one earth, we drink one water, we breathe one air.  This is what I have been through, I know what you people have been through. So we all got the same experience, let's not go against each other, let's talk to each other join hands together, and support each other.  This is what we're going to have to do throughout the world in order for us to complete our mission.  So we can do away with nuclear power.  Because it's taken many, many lives; let's put a stop to it now.  Not tomorrow, but today.

In my land they are doing these sub-critical tests yet they agreed they weren't going to test anymore, but they continue to test, continue to move bad things over the land.  It's going to take action by the people throughout the world to put a stop to it.

I hope that you people can understand what I'm saying and join hands with me and I'd like to hear from you people, you can contact me at Shundahai Network.  What Shundahai means is peace and harmony with all creation, in my native language.  It's really important for me to stand in front of you bringing this issue to you the best I could.  I hope we can start working together.

5007 Elmhurst St., Las Vegas, NV 89108
ph(702)647-3095 Fax: (702)647-9385  Email: shundahai@radix.net

Global Hibakushha
United States

Dennis Nelson
Support and Education for Radiation Victims /Utah downwinder of the Nevada Test Site
International Conference, 2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

When I was small, I did not hear about Hiroshima, I did not hear about Nagasaki, I did not hear much about a world-war which claimed over 40 million lives.  I mostly heard how lucky I was to be a proud, patriotic American Citizen.  I was small then, and had no idea what that war had really been like.  I had no idea what terrible pain and suffering war causes and did not realize that most war heroes are usually dead heroes.  I had a romantic view shaped largely by watching numerous Hollywood movies that glorified America's battles.  Even today, over 50 years later, the valiant efforts, sacrifices and pain of America’s soldiers are still idealized in books and on the silver screen.  As I grew older I began to realize that war is not a glamorous business at all.  I realized that war is made by the rich, ruling class, for their sole benefit, but it is the ordinary people who do most of the suffering and dying.  I also realized that the constant anticipation of, and preparation for war could do great moral, social, psychological and even physical damage to a nation, even in the absence of actual fighting.

Battles have raged for centuries, yet never has there been one so secretive, so elusive, so devastating and brutal as the current one which has continued since the end of World War II.  This battle started in a place called Trinity, deep in the breathtakingly beautiful expanse of the American west, and it has not ended yet.  This battle does not consist of fancy dress uniforms, trumpets, and the noise of swords, but it is fought between men in powerful places and the children of the world.  If this battle is not won, there will be no future, there will not be a world we can live in, there will be no place to be safe.

The ongoing nuclear war, which started in on July 16, 1945, in the beautiful desert land of New Mexico claimed my mother, my father, and my youngest sister.  This war still claims its victims every day.  Among the tribes of naitive American peoples there are Uranium miners who’s lungs are bleeding, in Kazakhstan women mourn the family members they have lost, in Iraq babies are born deformed and in Kiev exposed children have no hair.  The best hospitals in the world cannot cure radiogenic cancers without inflicting further harm and suffering on the dying victims.

My father died of lung and bone cancer at age 62, my mother of a brain tumor at age 47, my sister died of colon cancer at age 40, my brother contracted lymphoma at age 19 and there have been bladder and skin cancers and thyroid disease in my family.  My father knew of the atom bombs being detonated 120 miles from our home.  What he did not know was that over twelve years there would be nearly 1,000 bombs exploded in Nevada, and the fallout sent on its way to cover our roofs, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and clothing drying on the line.  It would get into our homes, our cars and our food.  It would get into our water, and the grass the cows grazed on, and into the fresh milk we drank.  My father did not know that it would eventually kill him, his wife and his youngest daughter, and cause the rest of the family to undergo operations, treatments and medication for the rest of their lives.  It was secrecy that fed this war, it kept the fires of the “cold-war? burning.  It allowed the rich men to get richer, making astronomical profits from war materials production long after the world-war was over.  The “cold-war? was a very HOT one indeed!

My town was not very big, about 5,000 women, men and children, not armed with any defense, not protected in shelters, not warned of the incoming deadly attack.  We were victims of science gone wrong, of crazy men thinking that by creating genocidal weapons they could save lives and make us more “secure?.  There are no memorials for those of us who have been maimed and poisoned by today’s nuclear battlefields.  Thousands of women have lost their breasts, thousand of men have lost their ability to take a painless breath, and millions of children have been denied a carefree and happy childhood.  My own children have been deprived of knowing their grandparents.  They have become experts at handling the news of terminal diseases striking down people they know and love.  They too have become survivors; they deserve our recognition, our respect and our help.  We must teach our children well; about the history of what came before them.  Not only should we share the beautiful memories of times gone by, but we also must teach our children about those unpleasant historical events which have so deeply affected all of mankind and should never be forgotten.  Otherwise they will be condemned to relive them.

The horrible destruction, which took place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, should be an everlasting reminder that nuclear weapons do not make the world a safer place and that possessing them does not make any nation more secure.  The persistent illnesses and premature death experienced by the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the populations downwind from nuclear weapons facilities and bomb test sites are a sober reminder of how vulnerable we all are as human beings.
The fact is, that people are still dying today in a nuclear war which started in the New Mexico desert on the 16th of July, 1945, and continues to this day with the last sub critical test in Nevada just a few weeks ago.  There is no reasonable excuse to explode nearly 1,000 nuclear bombs in my own back yard or anywhere else.  It can only mean that certain people, who made these grave decisions in secret, had absolutely no respect for their fellow human beings.  We were considered expendable in the pursuit of the “greater good?.  We could be killed without consequences and it did not matter if we were Japanese or American.  This is a war without borders.  Radiation and fallout cannot be stopped once released.  The events at Sellafield in 1957, Three Mile Island in 1976, Chernobyl in 1986 and Tokaimura in 1999 have shown us that even the “friendly? use of the atom is full of problems and dangers.

Fifty-five years of continuing radiation assaults have killed and maimed millions.  Hiroshima was an attack not only on the people of Japan, but on the people of the whole world.  If that were not so, I would not be standing here today!  I am also Hibakusha, along with my brothers and sisters here in Japan, in Kazakstan, in Australia, the Marshall islands and the whole world.  Suffering and horror has brought us together, but it is our mutual love of peace that will be the torch leading us into a nuclear free new millennium.

Also visit "Dowinwinders" at http://www.downwinders.org/

Global Hibakushha
United States

Dennis Nelson
Support and Education for Radiation Victims /Utah downwinder of the Nevada Test Site
International Conference, 1997 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

I want to thank those who have invited me here today.  I am very humbled to be here and to be given the chance to tell you my story.

As a scientist I could make this a very technical speech, but I will not.  The issues I want to talk about are far more important.  This story is about love, life and losses.  It is about family, and dreams of what could have been.

I grew up in St. George, Utah in the United States of America during a very cold war.  So cold in fact that morality and doing the right thing were non-issues.  The lives of common people were of no real significance compared to the importance of preserving the fiction of "national security" and "freedom" at the expense of sacrificing a few.  The southern Utah and Nevada regions downwind of the Nevada Test Site were labeled as "virtually uninhabited," and with that official statement, at least twenty thousand people became invisible and dispensable.  My family included.

During my childhood, approximately two hundred nuclear bombs were detonated 120 miles west of St. George - which would become known as "Fallout City."  The wind blew mostly in our direction and once when an especially messy bomb was "hotter" than they had planned on, an Atomic Energy Commission official later revealed that one-half of the people of St. George would have died of the consequences within a few weeks if it had rained on that day.  We were "lucky" that day, instead of dying quickly we were to die slowly!  One by one, without much fanfare, the dying began in the 1950's and it is still going on today.  And the world heard nothing about a small town in Utah, where, once it's people were exposed, they became part of radiation experiments and, unbeknownst to them, contributed to the setting of worldwide radiation shielding standards.

There is no doubt of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Even if medical and physical scientists diminish it's consequences, the people know the truth.  In Utah, and at many other nuclear sites in the United States people still refuse to believe that what happened here in Japan has also happened to them.  We did not have the horrible fires - but we found Beta burns on backs of our animals.  We did not have "Black Rain" but we had dry clouds of radioactive dust for years.  We did not have tremendous destruction but we ate contaminated food and drank milk from cows grazing in radioactive fields.

When I was small I wondered where the fallout went.  Was it not in the tree I slept under during the summer or in the water that watered our garden?  Was it not in the wind from Nevada?  They told my parents not to worry, we were safe.  We trusted, we were unaware that the fallout was everywhere.  In my father's lungs and bones, in my mother's brain, in my brother's blood, in my sister's bowels and on my skin.

My mother died when she was 47 years old, my sister was only 40.  My father died of lung cancer, never having smoked, and my brother and I have each had cancer twice.  In my generation we do not expect to live a long life.  My grandparents lived long and healthy lives and I hope that my children will, once again, be able to do the same.  I can and will never forget the horror of looking at my beautiful, intelligent and witty sister and realizing that she looked no better than a victim of the Jewish Holocaust.  The crime is equal, whether by gas or isotopes - and my family too was chosen to be sacrificed.

My family has never been included in any statistical or medical study about the consequences of nuclear exposure.  They were used and discarded.  They paid for their own healthcare costs, never to be compensated.  It is easy, in a country without socialized medicine, to make people sick if the victim, himself, is made to carry the entire cost.

At the beginning of the last millennium no one could have imagined that science would begin to destroy, not just physically but also morally, ethically and spiritually.  Science will not save us from destruction in the next millennium - it will be people like you and me who hope that in some small, humble way that we can and will make a difference.  That, as we approach the year 2000, the people everywhere will have heard the truth about the Atom.  That, with the help of courageous men and women, studies will show the real effects and that, the victims of the past will have a chance to be vindicated and that, human genocide will never again be allowed to be hidden away in secret documents.

Your monuments here in Japan stand so that those who come after us will not forget the past - as a constant reminder of the nuclear tragedy which affected and changed all of us.  There are no monuments in St. George.  Just a cemetery with lots of little children and young adults screaming out to be heard.  Little children like Bethany Peterson, the beautiful daughter of Claudia whom some of you know.  Like my sister Margaret who has not let me rest since she died five years ago.

All of us here have a common bond.  I truly wish that we could turn back time and speak of life rather than death, and that those events which have happened really never happened at all.  But, since I can not change the past, I want to live long enough to see a monument built to ALL who have given their lives in this worldwide nuclear holocaust.  I want to be there when others will rally around, and no longer avoid this subject, and will no longer look away when they hear that we are all Hibakusha.  It should never be forgotten that we are the innocent victims who's voices will be heard until that last fateful day when nuclear weapons have ceased to exist.

The atomic weapons, which claimed the lives of those I loved, have not just destroyed targets and lives, but in their ultimate power they have also left those who built and used them discredited.  Their lack of morality and ethics has revealed them to be nothing more than cowardly murderers hiding behind their well-kept secrets.

I love the truth, it sets you free and it gives you freedom of choice which was taken from me as a child.  I want to dream of what could have been; of happy days in the sun with my parents and sister; and of peaceful nights.  I want to dream of long lives, healthy children and good governments.  I pray that we will all be able to make this dream a reality.

Dennis Nelson was born August 8, 1943 in Richfield, Utah, USA.  From 1943 until 1959 he grew up in St. George, Utah with his brother and three sisters.  In 1959 his family relocated to northern Utah.  There he attended Brigham Young University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and his Doctorate in Biophysical Chemistry.

In 1968, Dr. Nelson was commissioned in the United States Navy and was a Naval officer for over 22 years.  He worked at the Naval Medical Research Institute, in Maryland, the Naval Regional Medical Center and the Naval Health Research Center in California, and finished his naval career as Director of the University Computer Center at the armed forces medical university near Washington, DC.  He has done biomedical research in various areas including immune function, toxic and hemorrhagic shock, and hemoglobin oxygen transport.

Since retiring from the Navy Dr. Nelson has been active in community affairs serving as the chairman of the Task Force for Environmental Awareness in Bethesda, Maryland which successfully contributed to the elimination of waste incineration at the National Institutes of Health.  He has testified twice before the Presidential Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments.  He owns his own consulting business which specializes in providing expert advice in the areas of chemical toxicity and environmental contamination.

Dr. Nelson's wife is from Austria and they have one son and three daughters.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Claudia Peterson
Nevada Downwinder
International Symposium; “Fifty Years since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?, August 1995, Hiroshima

My name is Claudia Peterson.

I feel very honored and humbled to stand before you today.  I've been asked to share the story of my family and the legacy of pain and sorrow that continues to happen in our communities

I was born in Cedar City, Utah, a small town downwind of the nuclear testing facilities at the Nevada Test Site.  Southern Utah is a beautiful place and was a great place to grow up.  As school children, we were shown propaganda films and given lectures about the safety of nuclear testing.  The importance of the testing to protect us from the threat of the Soviet Union was especially stressed.  My biggest fear was of the Russians and what they could do to our country.  Evidence of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was shown to prove the destruction caused by nuclear weapons.  The images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki horrified me and caused a lot of fear of what the Soviets might do to us.  Years later, I now know that our own government also should have been feared.

When my husband was 13 years old, his father died of lung cancer.  The cancer was the result of working poorly ventilated uranium mines in Utah.  We now know that the government made a conscious decision not to tell the miners of the illness that would occur from exposure to the radon gas in the mines.

In 1981, my father became ill with a brain tumor.  He died six months after a tumor the size of a lemon was removed from the right side of his brain.  Our family doctor suggested that the tumor was probably the result of the fallout from the nuclear testing at the nearby that site which had rained over our homes.  It is very painful to believe that his illness and death could possibly have been prevented.

As hard as my father's death was, it was nothing compared to the pain which was to come.  In October of 1984, the youngest of our three children was diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer called neuroblastoma.  At the time she was 3 years old.  For two years, we traveled over 600 miles every two weeks to a major medical center for her chemotherapy.  She also received seven weeks of radiation treatment and underwent a nine surgery to remove the tumor in her abdomen.  Finally, in July of 1987, she was off all treatment and we were cautiously optimistic that we were blessed and she was cured.  We were sadly wrong.  Four months later, she was diagnosed with a second type of cancer, leukemia.  For over a month, she suffered and her condition rapidly deteriorated.  Many times, I have heard the story of the little girl who folded the cranes and fought to survive.  Bethany was like that.  She was the most courageous person, I have ever met and fought so hard.  But it was not to be.  On December 2, 1987, Bethany lost her struggle and died.

In addition to dealing with my daughter's cancer at this time, I was also dealing with the cancer of my only sister, Cathy.  She was diagnosed with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.  One month before the death of my daughter Bethany, my only sister lost her valiant fight to live and raise her six small children.  At the age of 37, she was gone.  She had fought so hard and wanted so badly to raise her children.  Forever, there will be an emptiness in my heart which cannot be filled.  Watching my only sister and baby daughter die was so painful that it is still impossible for me to express that pain even after several years.

But sadly, my story is but one of many that can be told by other families in my community.  As painful as the deaths are, it is only compounded by the knowledge and realization, that our own people are responsible for causing it.  Those in the positions of power to make important decisions, chose to abuse that power.  They chose to sacrifice the lives of the unknowingly deceived.

The sorrow which touched your people 50 years ago, has also touched ours.

Together, our two people must make sure that the world never forget those who have suffered.  Our vow to those whom we have loved and lost must be that we will never stop remembering them.  We will never stop working to prevent a repeat of the mistakes and suffering at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The direct acts which have devastated and wrecked your beautiful cities and the secret acts which have devastated and wrecked our beautiful communities must never, ever be repeated.

Also visit "Dowinwinders" at http://www.downwinders.org/

Global Hibakushha
United States

Dorothy Purley
Laguna-Acoma Coalition
International Conference, 1998 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

Konnichiwa My Honorable Friends,

My name is Dorothy Purley.  I am a Native American Indian from New Mexico located in the southwestern United States.  I have come here today to share my experiences with you.  I am also a victim of the horror that has scarred your beautiful Japan.  I also call myself Hibakusha.

In 1935 the Anaconda mining corporation and the United States government decided to mine the sacred lands of our village which is called the Laguna Pueblo.  They informed my tribe that it would bring money and jobs for all of our people.  My people have always been poor as many Native American throughout the United Sates.  Having been in poverty for so long, they did not hesitate to consider the offer.  The Anaconda company really never told the Laguna people what the uranium would be used for.  They never informed my people that mining uranium ore would be dangerous to our health, environment and to mankind.  I guess the mining company was well named: for Anaconda is the name of a snake.

The people of Laguna Pueblo were a peaceful community where everyone looked out for the other.  They did not realize that the legacy they would leave for their children would be a dangerous one.  The Lagunas did not realize that opening up the mining operation would bring death and destruction for others.  My people were only told that the mining would be used for science and technology that was important for everyday living.  They were told that their contribution would benefit mankind.  I always wondered that if my people really knew what the uranium was going to be used for, would they have allowed the mining operation to proceed?

Fifty-three years ago when the bombings occurred I was 8 years old.  I had already been exposed to doses of radiation ever since my birth in 1939.  Now my people and myself are continuing to suffer as the Hibakusha do.  What makes me so very angry is that the Anaconda mining corporation and the U.S. government knew that mining uranium ore was hazardous to human life even then.  We now have documentation stating that some scientists had warned the mining company that more than a two-week exposure was not a good idea.  Yet the company never bothered to tell my people.  But, this type of attitude has always been taken toward Native Americans and other people of color.

In about 1975 I sought employment with the mining corporation.  I was a single parent, a woman and did not have many options.  All I knew was that I had to support my child.  I worked as a truck driver and delivered high-grade uranium ore to the mill site.  We were never given any safety protection or cautioned about the effects of radiation.  For about 8 years I was exposed to extremely high doses of radiation.  Our once beautiful village is located about 1000 yards from the mining site itself.  Everyday, the people of Laguna still endure the harmful effects of the open pit mine.

In 1993, I was first diagnosed with lymphoma which is cancer of the immune system.  I have endured three rounds of chemotherapy.  The chemotherapy kills off the cancer cells but causes damage to the body.  I suffer from all sorts of infections because my body immune system is not working properly.  My heart has suffered some damage both physically and emotionally.  I cannot do the things that I used to do because of my physical limitations.  Right now I am in remission from cancer since last December.  I do not know what the future has in store for me.  I only live for each precious moment.

Today, I am here to join you in this solemn moment.  It is a very sad and humbling time for all of us.  I would like to encourage all of you survivors and your loved ones to stand strong and tall.  Help us to teach the rest of the world that no good can come from such mass destruction and that there are never really any winners but only victims of war.  Let us leave the earth in peace and bounty.  And when we pass on to the Great Spirit we will meet him with straight eyes.  I wish you love and happiness.  This humble person thanks you very much for your time and consideration.  Domo Arigato.

Global Hibakushha
United States

Related Reports

Denise Nelson
Support and Education for Radiation Victims/Utah Downwinder of the Nevada Test Site
International Conference, 2001 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

The 1990 Radiation Exposed Compensation bill was never intended to cover medical expenses.  The one time payment of $50,000 does not cover major hospital stays, diagnostic tests and treatment.  There is no specific program where exposed can receive check ups or medical exams.  All the medical expenses are carried by the victims themselves or their individual insurance companies which are most often provided for by their employers.  This coverage seldom lasts beyond the employment/work period however and this leaves many injured to fend for themselves and remain without healthcare assistance.

Often sick people loose their jobs and health insurance when they become incapacitated.  The situation is dismal.  Many Downwinders do not even seek healthcare when they realize they are sick, since they can not afford to pay for it.  Therefor they die much quicker than other people who receive assistance.  There is no radiation exposure related living support or health care allowance.

The word Compensation itself is badly chosen since no life can be "compensated" for.  "Retribution" would be a better name for what should have been done, but $50,000 can never be seriously called retribution either.

Also, it is very important to understand that in a country where there is NO socialized health care system in place, the victims carry all the financial burden of their illness.  The contaminator, the US Government, therefor does not have to pay for the actual cost of the damage done to the people.  In any such situation whereby the financial and physical burden can be completely shifted to the people there is no incentive for a Government to protect its people from harm.

The Compensation Bill was therefore entirely a political move to allow the Government to be able to say that they "have dealt with this and therefor the issue is closed."  Whenever someone tries to point to the weaknesses and unfairness of the bill, Government uses the "issue is closed" statement.  Government also does not make it easy for people to find out about this bill.  Many of those who could apply for the compensation do not even know this legislation exists.  This is one of the main reasons why Dennis and I started SERV (Support and Education for Radiation Victims), to get the word out, without taking financial advantage of the victims, like many lawyers have done over the years.  There are over 200,000 Atomic Veterans, at least 20,000 Downwinders, several thousand Uranium miners and numerous other Nevada test site workers who fall under the compensation bill.  SERV and Downwinders Inc. have literally spread compensation information to thousands of victims.  Unfortunately only a few thousand people have received compensation and many, even once they apply, are turned down.

Yes, indeed the wording of the compensation bill includes an apology which basically states that the affected were exposed in the interest of National Security and that the US Government apologizes to those adversely affected by the Nuclear Bomb test program.  However to receive the money the victim has to sign a paper indemnifying the US Government of all responsibility and further judicial process.  Many Victims call it "Blood money" and refuse to apply for Compensation because they do not feel it is right to let the Government deny anyone who has been victimized to take away their right to take legal action against their victimizers.  Also people's pride and patriotism often prevent them from applying for the money.  Many people still believe their Government would not hurt them, even though they are dying prematurely of radiation induced cancers.  The wording of the bill is vague, so that it does not clearly identify and link the cause of the cancers to the actions of the Military and the Atomic energy Commission.  Since there was no mentioning of the actual culprits, cold war criminals, and connected medical experiments it seems like the bill was just another effort to keep health effects secret, the truth buried and the cold blooded deeds of Government from ever being exposed.

If a person has died the compensation money is paid either to the surviving spouse, child, grandchild or parent, but not to a sibling.  For example my sister-in-law was not married, her parents were killed by fallout and her grandparents had died long ago, so in her case no-one can apply for compensation.  The cancer patients who are still alive can apply themselves but are often dead by the time the application gets approved which may take up to three years.

As one can clearly see the "Compensation" money is almost an insulting low amount, considering that the US Government is planning to spend over a billion dollars on ONE weapons experiment a month alone and is studying the feasibility of restarting nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site, creating new future victims.  Obviously the human cost is not of concern.

The bill does not take into consideration the actual value of life years lost, potential earnings, medical expenses, family suffering, and reimbursement of all the costs related to raising children without a mother or father.  The Compensation bill was created to silence the cries of the affected and to make politicians look like they were sympathetic.  Unfortunately this legislation has absolutely no realistic and fair foundation.  It treats fallout as if it stops at the borders of certain counties, it treats the victims like a disposable, replaceable item, and it has unrealistic resident requirements.  It excludes high fallout towns and people who were not permanent residents of the compensatable counties.  It disregards second generation effects completely and does not include any other radiogenic disease besides cancer.  The total lack of a nationwide information outreach program shows clearly that the US Government still hides the American Hibakusha in its closet.  The continuing statements by Government Employees that Radiation is harmless and that Nuclear weapons are necessary, is a clear indication that Nevada Downwinders, Atomic Veterans, Uranium Miners, and millions of Radiation exposed have yet to be heard!  Their voices shall NOT be silenced, even in death the truth shall be heard.

Greetings to all the good people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and my sincere thanks to Gensikyo for embracing the American Hibakusha.  It is truly the quest for the truth which has brought us together and hopefully we will meet again someday soon.

Also visit "Dowinwinders" at http://www.downwinders.org/

Global Hibakushha
United States

Denise Nelson
Support and Education for Radiation Victims (SERV)
International Conference, 2000 World Conference against A & H Bombs, Hiroshima

I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity to be here today.  My father once told me that to know history and understand events of the past, one must go and see the place, one must experience the sounds, and hear the words spoken by those who survive.  So here I am today, hearing your voices and seeing your faces and I am overwhelmed.  To see Nagasaki and Hiroshima for the first time is difficult, since for decades I have read about the horrendous suffering and pain which took place here and today these cities are so alive and well.  Human nature has an incredible strength to overcome impossible tragedies, and the rebuilding of these cities is a symbol of the strength of all survivors.

I was born in Vienna, Austria, a few years after a war had destroyed most of this beautiful city. ?It is much more difficult to rebuild lives than buildings, however.  Families were devastated, and my sister, born in 1945, died as a result of the same war which took the lives of so many, in so many places.

The school I attended in Vienna had a wonderful teacher.  She was interested in sharing all she knew about the world.  One day she came to school and told us the story of a girl who was very sick and who needed our help.  She brought beautiful colored paper and taught us to fold paper cranes.  By the time we had filled our classrooms with the beautifully colored birds it did not matter to us that they could no longer keep a little girl alive, but the lesson had been taught.  The lesson to never give up, see the beauty around us and that we must do whatever we can to prevent hurting innocent children.

Years later I learned that the bombed out building the world recognized as the image of Hiroshima was designed by the same Austrian man who was the architect for a very similar building in Vienna.  Some of my fondest memories of my childhood were the beautiful functions I attended inside that building.  Yes, one must experience parallels to understand the likenesses among humanity.  It is not the differences that are important, it is the knowledge, which my teacher shared with me, that each individual has the responsibility to learn from history, to learn that doing good deeds is rewarding, and that evil deeds must be exposed.  Simply, the lesson was to work toward a world in which Sadako could have grown old.

Now I live in the United States of America, among a society of victims who have not been told that they will die of radiation poisoning.  It is often too late to save them, once they discover they have been irradiated.  The United States has one of the highest levels of thyroid cancers among children in the world.  People who lived in high fallout areas are not even warned and told to get checkups.  Many of them die without ever knowing what happened to them.  They are never told who, and what, is responsible for their suffering.  Huge amounts of money are spent to keep radiation exposure consequences hidden and silent.  I meet people almost daily who tell me stories of suffering and illness; many of them had no idea that the radiation from almost 1,000 nuclear bomb tests could eventually make their families sick and kill them.  What started in Hiroshima has not ended yet.  Three years ago I formed an organization called SERV, Support and Education for Radiation Victims.  Mostly we listen and try to help those who have been ignored, those exposed who have no place to meet each other, no place for sympathy and no information about how to get help.

The American Government has done little to alleviate the pain and needs.  A law was passed to compensate victims like the Utah downwinders, the weapons facility workers, the Uranium miners, and the military veterans in 1990.  It does not cover any health expenses but consists of a one-time payment which is equivalent to the cost of a nice car.  Many cancers and illnesses are left out, even though they have been clearly linked to radiation exposures.  If a person dies without family there is no compensation, and if someone lived just one mile outside the “compensation? border, they receive nothing.  Many die while waiting to be compensated, because the process often takes many years.  Information about the process of application is difficult to obtain and often people give up and receive no help at all.  Many people are bankrupted by the inability to work and by the costs of their health care.  Often their children cannot afford an advanced education because there just is no money left.  They also miss out on having grandparents, they miss their friends, which have died, and they feel rejected and ignored.

The richest government in the world is still unwilling to do what needs to be done.  The needs are many, but foremost, free treatment of all radiological illness, and free healthcare must be the first priority.  Secondly, a whole nation should no longer be kept in the dark about what was done to them.  The whole world knows about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but what happened in the Western United States is still hidden, lied about and NOT common knowledge.  This must change!  In the future, it hopefully will become more difficult to keep secrets and to purposefully hurt innocent men, women and children.  The communications technology of today is a powerful tool, and as we go into a new millennium, it will be of extreme importance to spread the truth and the history, and tell it over and over again, until there will be no one left who believes in the lie of the “friendly? Atom.  Thirdly, families need to be given back what was taken from them.  It is impossible to replace people, but it is indeed feasible and reasonable to expect that lost earnings, funeral expenses, and any expense having resulted from their premature death or illness will be reimbursed.  No one should be allowed to benefit financially from harming others.

I am here today, because I believe that people can and will make a difference, that it is up to each of us, to do what is best for mankind and that it will be a kinder and gentler world in the future.  Tell everyone you meet that the suffering and pain did not end in Nagasaki, but that it continued in Australia, in the Marshall islands, and Kazakstan, and that today the suffering still continues in places like Paducah, Oakridge, Hanford, Savannah River, Fernald, Rocky Flats, Portsmouth/Piketon, Mound, Amarillo, Idaho Falls, Livermore, Nevada and Utah.  Someday soon, everyone will know that not just one, or a hundred, or a thousand, or tens of thousands, or a hundred thousand died as a result of nuclear bombs, but that it has affected millions.

A long time ago my teacher told me the story of the beautiful cities of Japan destroyed by nuclear bombs.  Today it is our turn to tell everyone about the places and people in America which were sacrificed also.  Once everyone understands that radiation does not stop at the border of any country and that the consequences are truly Global, the chance to create a world free of Atom Bombs will indeed become a reality.

Solidarity with Hibakusha

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