John Pilger TV -
The secret of the Marshall Islands: they’ve long been America’s strategic secret … The United States took over the Marshall Islands as a trust territory … A nightmare began: the islands were turned into a laboratory for the testing of nuclear weapons and the people into guinea pigs. John Pilger, The Coming War on China ***** ITV 2016
An armada of warships was assembled in Bikini lagoon in order to blow them to bits. ibid.
‘Please help these efforts and leave this property as you find it. Thank you for your kindness and understanding.’ ibid. US sign in bunker on Bikini Island
All of these [Bikini] women have had thyroid cancer. ibid.
The second generation, the children, were also poisoned. ibid.
The islanders called on Greenpeace to rescue them. ibid.
A mere $150 million in compensation. ibid.
‘We have babies we called jellyfish babies. Babies born on a labour table moves up and down like this.’ ibid. World Council of Churches speech 1983 by Marshall Islands health worker
The Ronald Reagan missile test site. ibid.
School bus: they can’t afford to replace it. ibid.
I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, Where is that? If I offer a clue by referring to Bikini, they say, You mean the swimsuit?
Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 – the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.
Bikini is silent today, mutated and contaminated. Palm trees grow in a strange grid formation. Nothing moves. There are no birds. The headstones in the old cemetery are alive with radiation. My shoes registered ‘unsafe’ on a Geiger counter.
Standing on the beach, I watched the emerald green of the Pacific fall away into a vast black hole. This was the crater left by the hydrogen bomb they called Bravo. The explosion poisoned people and their environment for hundreds of miles, perhaps forever.
On my return journey, I stopped at Honolulu airport and noticed an American magazine called Women’s Health. On the cover was a smiling woman in a bikini swimsuit, and the headline: You, too, can have a bikini body. A few days earlier, in the Marshall Islands, I had interviewed women who had very different ‘bikini bodies’; each had suffered thyroid cancer and other life-threatening cancers. John Pilger, article March 2016, ‘A World War Has Begun: Spread the News’