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Marshall Islands: Devastating way US tested nuclear weapons on islander natives exposed
May 13, 2020
The Marshall Islands acted as a playing piece between the US and Japan during the Second World War. When US troops landed on Kwajalein – part of the islands – they defeated the axis power in a bloody battle that left many dead.
The US later officially gained control of the Marshall Islands and much of Micronesia in 1947.
It coincided with the ramping up of tense relations between the West and Russia which, in the years after World War 2, made way for the Cold War.
Paranoia was at its peak, with both sides preparing for full-blown war.
The Marshall Islands soon became a testing ground for the US; a place where it could try-out its newly established arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The natives were told that the US government would protect them at all costs from any impending war.
They left out that in order to do this, they would have to repeatedly bomb the islands, leaving many with radiation sickness, cancer, and other health complications for the rest of their lives.
Veteran investigative journalist John Pilger sought to discover the atrocities committed on the Marshall Islands and understand the wider context in which they were orchestrated.
In his 2016 documentary, “The Coming War on China” he spoke with a number of natives who lived through the period of hostilities.
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Three women recalled the day of the first testing.
Nerje Joseph said: “Early in the morning when the bomb fell, we were sleeping when we heard this loud noise.
“We ran out to see what it was.
“We did know what it was.
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“It was dawn.
“The whole sky lit up with every colour like a massive rainbow: blue, red, green, yellow.”
Another, named Betty Edmond, explained: “We were all screaming.
“I tried to hide behind my parents.”
Finally, Lemoyo Abon recalled: “We were terrified.
“We thought it must be another war or the end of the world.”
All of the women interviewed, including the rest of the women who lived during the weapons testing, later developed thyroid cancer.
Many others died soon after, while others still attempted to evacuate their homes for nearby islands.
The bombing of the Marshall Islands would eventually lead to the US military’s campaign of expansion.
In May 2000, the United States Department of Defense proclaimed the need for “full-spectrum dominance” on the battlefield – a military power’s achievement of control over all dimensions of the battlespace.
What became known as Vision 2020 emerged, with concepts from the idea forming the basis of the US’ military doctrine.
To this day, missiles are fired some 5,000 miles away, in California, towards the Marshall Islands, documented for their impact and damage.
Although the missiles are not directly fired at the land of the islands, many campaigners and critics have drawn attention to the danger they pose should they accidentally veer off their intended course.