(July 15, 2019) —Tomorrow is the 74th anniversary of the July 16, 1945 Trinity test near Alamogordo, New Mexico — the first nuclear explosion. The world changed that morning, as William Lambers recently reminded Albuquerque Journal readers.
What followed — two Japanese cities bombed, a Cold War arms race that badly deformed our politics, economic life, and culture — has hurt billions of people, all told.
And the harm continues. Will the US in particular finally wake from the dream of global domination that more or less began in its modern form 74 years ago, in time to avoid ecological apocalypse?
Among the very first victims of the nuclear Faustian bargain were New Mexicans downwind of the Trinity test, many of whom were infants.
Kitty Tucker, who died before today’s article could be completed, and her husband Robert Alvarez, have published some of what is known about those first victims in “Trinity: ‘The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project’.” More will be revealed when a National Cancer Institute study, now nearing completion, is done.
With the Trinity test, a series of decisions began by which the Bomb Cult, embodied in a set of powerful institutions and propaganda narratives, came to dominate New Mexico politics in the postwar years.
As a result, New Mexico never really found its way home from the war. Some part of the State still wanders the Jornada del Muerto long after the biblical 40 years, looking for the nuclear Promised Land. The State remains trapped in what the late Stewart Udall called the “myths of August,” to our collective cost. We accept the triumphalist nuclear origin myths woven around the Trinity test to our peril.
Even with all that was seen at Trinity, and even after the twin horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the casual sacrifice of human life in the quest for bigger and better nuclear weapons increased, reaching grotesque dimensions in the Marshall Islands.
In May 1955, an AEC report (which subsequently remained classified for nearly four decades) estimated that about 23 million curies of radioactive fallout from the Castle series of tests raised global background radiation levels 10 to 20 times. Hot spots 5,000 miles away in the United States showed radiation levels as much as 200 times greater than normal background.
Meawhile, we now know that continental victims of US nuclear testing may number far more than has been understood. Keith Meyers of the University of Arizona used (pdf) existing county-level fallout and mortality data in a novel and more inclusive way to arrive at an estimate of 340,000 to 690,000 fallout-induced deaths in the continental US alone from 1951 to 1973.
A full picture of the death toll from the nuclear weapons industry, not even counting deaths incurred in and by other nuclear weapon states, would include deaths caused by US fallout in the rest of the world, the tens of thousands of occupational illnesses resulting in death among nuclear weapons workers, the large number of early deaths among thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen cycled through the US testing program, and deaths among uranium miners.
The human cost of the Bomb Cult cannot be tallied. It started with Trinity and is still rising. Through miscalculation — or, far less appreciated, through a lazy misdirection of our national attention and investments in a time of existential environmental crisis, when emergency action is needed to save humanity and living nature — it could easily become infinite.
Bulletin 259: Peace Leader, Almost 96 Years Old, Begins Fast Against US Sanctions and Sieges, Calls for Solidarity
ALBUQUERQUE (June 18, 2019) — Sally-Alice Thompson, US Navy veteran, leader of the Albuquerque chapter of Veterans for Peace, and many decades-long anti-war, pro-human dignity activist, has begun a fast against the many US sanctions and sieges now taking place around the world.
She invites everyone to join her in whatever degree they choose. Here is her press release:
Press Conference in Albuquerque: 12:00 pm Tuesday June 18, 2019
This is the third day of Fasting Against Sanctions and Siege (FASS).
I am fasting because I empathize with the many hungry children of the world, so I am joining them in their suffering. I am outraged that our country is engaging in sanctions and sieges that result in starvation of babies and children. I am profoundly saddened that my government interferes in the affairs of other countries, refusing to acknowledge their sovereignty and to respect their dignity.
I especially grieve for the children. I grieve for the children of Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran, who are suffering because of the illegal sanctions imposed on those sovereign nations. I grieve for the hungry children of Gaza and Yemen, children who are hungry because of my country’s support for immoral sieges that deliberately prevent food from entering the places where they live.
I am almost 96 years old. The short remainder of my life is inconsequential. The remainder of the lives of those children may be very important. If allowed to develop normally, who knows what they may become? Are we depriving the world of a future great composer? Or maybe a talented playwright? One can only speculate, because they’re dying of starvation.
Those children have a right to live!
Permitting our country to continue down this road of genocide is completely unacceptable. So I have decided that instead of asking, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about it?” I looked in the mirror and said, “You’re somebody, do something.”
I invite anyone who shares these feelings to join me in my fast, by skipping a meal or fasting for a day or longer. I would like to know and thank anyone who joins me.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope this can start a movement to eliminate sanctions and sieges.
Sally-Alice Thompson (505) 260-8336 and (505) 710-8020
Readers of these bulletins will understand the importance of taking an unbending personal and organizational stand against US empire and its politics of human disposability abroad and at home.
Greg Mello, for the Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.