Saturday, July 5, 2008

Downwinders still face denials by U.S. and French governments

Denials of the health effects caused by nuclear testing fallout by government officials of nuclear-weapons-states is a persisting problem across the globe. In recent news, in the U.S., the Atomic Testing Museum located in Las Vegas apparently has sent to editors of small and medium newspapers across the U.S. a pre-written travel feature story about the museum that contains no references to downwinders or health effects of atomic testing. The article makes a number of shocking statements that you can read in the latest reprint here

The piece has been reproduced in the following papers in June and July: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, and Macon Telegraph (GA); Belleville News Democrat; San Luis Obispo Tribune (CA); The Olympian (WA); The Ledger (FL); Boston Herald; and Philadelphia Daily News.

In March 2005 a group of downwinder activists wrote a letter to the director of the Atomic Testing Museum requesting remedy to the failure of the Museum to properly address the 'far-reaching and devastating consequences for tens of thousands of Americans living downwind.'
The letter stated that 'the story of those Americans who were harmed by the fallout from nuclear testing is not adequately featured' in the museum's exhibits. The group requested that an additional wing be established to fulfill the museum's stated purpose, which is 'to consolidate and preserve the history of this nation’s nuclear testing program.' The group noted that nuclear testing history cannot be complete 'unless it prominently includes the history of downwinders.'

The museum hasn't met the group's demands nor has the museum's communications, evidenced in its pre-written feature story that is being read by millions this summer, demonstrated anything but denial of the health impacts from the U.S. atomic testing program.
Read the letter here: <<>>

Downwinders in the U.S. are not alone in facing denials by government officials of the link between testing fallout and resulting health problems and deaths. French Polynesians, victims of fallout by French atomic testing in the Pacific, have their own persisting problems as evidenced in this July 2nd article below:

French Polynesian veterans angered by French denial of nuclear fall-out

02 July, 2008
Radio New Zealand International

French Polynesia’s Nuclear Workers’ Association says it will no longer deal with the French nuclear safety official after he said that the fallout from the nuclear weapons tests was not the cause of illnesses.

The Association Moruroa o Tatou says the comments made by Marcel Jurien de la Graviere are lies as official documents recorded the contamination of water, fish and vegetables in the French Polynesian test zone.

The Association’s president, Roland Oldham, says Mr de la Graviere keeps denying the situation despite the evidence and the 16 court cases in France which established a link between the blasts and the poor health or deaths of those exposed to the fallout.

During a visit to French Polynesia last week, Mr de la Graviere told reporters that the only recognised conditions concerned thyroid problems of people who were under the age of 15 at the time.

This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the first French nuclear weapons test in the Pacific.

The last of the nearly 190 French tests was carried out in 1996.

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