Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Banned A-bomb horror reports found (emphasis added)


SOURCE: The Scotsman 6/20/05

CENSORED reports of the devastation caused by the Second World War atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki have been rediscovered 60 years after they were suppressed on the orders of US General Douglas MacArthur.

Award-winning reporter George Weller sneaked into the country - despite a ban on journalists - to provide an unflinching account of the "wasteland of war" and the horrific illnesses caused by radiation.

Mr Weller, who died in 2002, posed as a US Army colonel at one point to get into Japan in early September, about three weeks after the nation surrendered and a month after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

Carbon copies of his stories, running to about 25,000 words on 75 typed pages - along with more than two dozen photographs - were discovered by his son, novelist Anthony Weller, at his father's flat near Rome.

The stories infuriated General MacArthur so much that he personally ordered that they be quashed, and the originals were never returned.

About 70,000 people were killed in the explosion in Nagasaki, and Anthony Weller said he thought wartime officials wanted to cover up stories about radiation sickness and feared his father's reports would sway American public opinion against building an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

In an article dated 8 September 1945, Mr Weller, who submitted his work to the US censors, told how he walked through the city.

Though thousands of burn victims had died within a week after the attack, doctors were stumped by "this mysterious disease X" which was still killing many Japanese people and also Allied soldiers freed from prison camps a month later.

"In flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki," he wrote.

One woman at a hospital "lies moaning with a blackish mouth stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words", her legs and arms covered with red spots.

Others suffered from a dangerously high fever, a drop in white and red blood cells, swelling in the throat, sores, vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding or loss of hair, Mr Weller wrote.

The next day, he met a Japanese doctor and X-ray specialist who thought the bomb had showered the population with harmfully high levels of beta and gamma radiation. But nobody could say for sure.

The journalist was 95 when he died in December 2002 at his home in San Felice Circeo, Italy.

He won the Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious journalism prize in the United States, for an eyewitness account of an emergency appendectomy carried out by a pharmacist's mate on a Navy submarine underwater in the South China Sea.


Other stories of that event & Hiroshima:

BBC's original 1945 coverage

Common Dreams' look at the real story and the propaganda machine that tried to suppress it.

Yale's Avalon Project, Chap. 7 reports something I didn't know, buried in several chapters of pretty generic stuff about both Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

"During the approach to the target the special instruments installed in the plane told us that the bomb was ready to function. We were prepared to drop the second atomic bomb on Japan. But fate was against us, for the target was completely obscured by smoke and haze. Three times we attempted bombing runs, but without success. Then with anti-aircraft fire bursting around us and with a number of enemy fighters coming up after us, we headed for our secondary target, Nagasaki.

What was their PRIMARY target? According to Wikipedia it was Kokura, now part of the city of Kitakyushu (2005 pop. almost 1 million). It was probably chosen because of its status as a transport hub between Honshu and Kyushu plus the fact that it is HQ of Nippon Steel Corp., obviously a major player in Japan's wartime economy. I just wonder if anyone noticed the irony of the fact that one of its sister cities today is Norfolk, VA -- a major US Navy nuclear sub base. "The expression Kokura's luck became common in Japan for escaping a horrible situation without being aware of it."

About.com has the following grim memory from survivor Fujie Urata Matsumoto:

The pumpkin field in front of the house was blown clean. Nothing was left of the whole thick crop, except that in place of the pumpkins there was a woman's head. I looked at the face to see if I knew her. It was a woman of about forty. She must have been from another part of town - I had never seen her around here. A gold tooth gleamed in the wide-open mouth. A handful of singed hair hung down from the left temple over her cheek, dangling in her mouth. Her eyelids were drawn up, showing black holes where the eyes had been burned out. . . . She had probably looked square into the flash and gotten her eyeballs burned.

For more survivors' stories, go here... or for their artwork, go here.

If those aren't enough to show that banning the bomb is the only sane course we can take, what kind of evidence does it take???

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