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Government of USA Dropped Atom Bomb On Nagasaki

Written By krishna on Monday, August 08, 2011 | 8:21 PM

9th August 1945 : Government of the United States of America (USA) dropped its second atomic bomb in Nagasaki, Japan.

The first bomb had been dropped 3 days earlier on Hiroshima. Six days later on August 15, Japan announced its surrender.

Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945 although its defeat was clear prior to the dropping of the Atom Bomb.

The USA has conducted 1,127 nuclear and thermonuclear tests — 217 in the atmosphere.

The Soviet Union/ Russia conducted 969 tests — 219 in the atmosphere.

France, 210 tests, 50 in the atmosphere.

The United Kingdom, 45 tests — 21 in the atmosphere.

China, 45 tests — 23 in the atmosphere.

India and Pakistan — 13 tests underground.

Israel — possible 1 test atmosphere South Africa 1979.

North Korea — 1 test underground, October 2006.

How Press Censorship Hid Truth About Nagasaki a-Bomb
Posted on 09 August 2010

Today August 9 is the 65th anniversary of the A-bombing of Nagasaki port city. Nearly 70,000 civilians (and a few military personnel) died. It has always been The Forgotten A-Bomb City. No one ever wrote a bestselling book called Nagasaki, or made a film titled Nagasaki, Mon Amour, writes Greg Mitchell on his blog.

Nagasaki was “forgotten” from the very start, thanks to a blatant act of press censorship.

But one of the great mysteries of the Nuclear Age was solved just five years ago, claims Mitchell

What was in the censored, and then lost to the ages, newspaper articles filed by the first reporter to reach Nagasaki following the atomic attack on that city on Aug. 9, 1945, questions Mitchell in his blog.

The reporter was George Weller, the distinguished correspondent for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. His startling dispatches from Nagasaki, which could have affected public opinion on the future of the bomb, never emerged from General Douglas MacArthur’s censorship office in Tokyo. I wrote about this cover-up in the book I co-authored with Robert Jay Lifton in 1995, Hiroshima in America.

Read below the whole blog on Nagasaki by Greg Mitchell:

Greg Mitchell
Blogger, The Nation, “Media Fix”

Nagasaki, which lost over 70,000 civilians (and a few military personnel) to a new weapon 65 years ago today, has always been The Forgotten A-Bomb City. No one ever wrote a bestselling book called Nagasaki, or made a film titled Nagasaki, Mon Amour. Yet in some ways, Nagasaki is the modern A-bomb city. For one thing, when the plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki it made the uranium-type bomb dropped on Hiroshima obsolete. In fact, if it had not exploded off-target the death toll in the city would have easily topped the Hiroshima total.

Hiroshima has always drawn the vast majority of press, public and historical interest, even though many who support the first atomic bombing have expressed severe misgivings about number two because of the failure of United States to give the Japanese at least a few days to consider surrender after the first blast (and the Soviets’ shocking declaration of war). Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., once said in an interview that the “nastiest act by this country, after human slavery, was the bombing of Nagasaki.” Telford Taylor, chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, called it a “war crime.”

But Nagasaki was “forgotten” from the very start, thanks to a blatant act of press censorship.

One of the great mysteries of the Nuclear Age was solved just five years ago: What was in the censored, and then lost to the ages, newspaper articles filed by the first reporter to reach Nagasaki following the atomic attack on that city on Aug. 9, 1945.

The reporter was George Weller, the distinguished correspondent for the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. His startling dispatches from Nagasaki, which could have affected public opinion on the future of the bomb, never emerged from General Douglas MacArthur’s censorship office in Tokyo. I wrote about this cover-up in the book I co-authored with Robert Jay Lifton in 1995, Hiroshima in America.

Carbon copies of the stories were found in 2003 when his son discovered them after the reporter’s death. Four of them were published in 2005 for the first time by the Tokyo daily Mainichi Shimbun, which purchased them from the son, Anthony Weller. I was first to report on this in the United States.

The articles published in Japan (and later included in a book assembled by Anthony Weller, First Into Nagasaki) revealed a remarkable and wrenching turn in Weller’s view of the aftermath of the bombing, which anticipates the profound unease in our nuclear experience ever since. “It was remarkable to see that shifting perspective,” Anthony Weller told me.

An early article that George Weller filed, on Sept. 8, 1945 — two days after he reached the city, before any other journalist — hailed the “effectiveness of the bomb as a military device,” as his son describes it, and made no mention of the bomb’s special, radiation-producing properties.

But later that day, after visiting two hospitals and shaken by what he saw, he described a mysterious “Disease X” that was killing people who had seemed to survive the bombing in relatively good shape. A month after the atomic inferno, they were passing away pitifully, some with legs and arms “speckled with tiny red spots in patches.”

The following day he again described the atomic bomb’s “peculiar disease” and reported that the leading local X-ray specialist was convinced that “these people are simply suffering” from the bomb’s unknown radiation effects.

Anthony Weller, a novelist, told me that it was one of great disappointments of his father’s life that these stories, “a real coup,” were killed by MacArthur who, George Weller felt, “wanted all the credit for winning the war, not some scientists back in New Mexico.”
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Others have suggested that the real reason for the censorship was the United States did not want the world to learn about the morally troubling radiation effects for two reasons: It aimed to avoid questions raised about the use of the weapon in 1945, or its wide scale development in the coming years. In fact, an official “coverup” of much of this information–involving print accounts, photographs and film footage–continued for years, even, in some cases, decades.

“Clearly,” Anthony Weller told me of his father’s reports, “they would have supplied an eyewitness account at a moment when the American people badly needed one.”

THE SCOOP THAT WASN’T

How did George Weller get the scoop-that-wasn’t?

After years of covering the Pacific war, Weller (left) arrived in Japan with the first wave of reporters and military in early September. He had already won a Pulitzer for his reporting in 1943. Appalled by MacArthur’s censors, and “the conformists” in his profession who went along with strict press restrictions, he made his way, with permission, to the distant island of Kyushu to visit a former kamikaze base. But he noted that it was connected by railroad to Nagasaki. Pretending he was “a major or colonel,” as his son put it, he slipped into the city (perhaps by boat) about three days before any of his colleagues, and just after Wilfred Burchett had filed his first report from Hiroshima.

Once arrived, Weller toured the city, the aid stations, the former POW camps (by some counts, more American POWs died from the A-bomb in Nagasaki than Japanese military personnel) and wrote numerous stories within days. According to his son, he managed to send the articles to Tokyo, not by wire, but by hand, and felt “that the sheer volume and importance of the stories would mean they would be respected” by MacArthur and his censors.

Although Weller did not express any outward disapproval of the use of the bomb, these stories — and others he filed in the following two weeks from the vicinity — would never see the light of the day, and the reporter lost track of his carbons. He would later summarize the experience with the censorship office in two words: “They won.”

In the years that followed, Weller continued his journalism career, winning a George Polk award and other honors and covering many other conflicts. Neither the carbons nor the originals ever surfaced, before he passed away in 2002 at the age of 95. It was then that his son made a full search of the wildly disorganized “archives” at his father’s home in Italy, and in 2003 found the carbons just 30 feet from his dad’s desk.

And what a find: roughly 75 pages of stories, on fading brownish paper, that covered not only his first atomic dispatches but gripping accounts by prisoners of war, some of whom described watching the bomb go off on that fateful morning.

A ‘PECULIAR WEAPON’

In the first article published by the Japanese paper, the first words from Weller were: “The atomic bomb may be classified as a weapon capable of being used indiscriminately, but its use in Nagasaki was selective and proper and as merciful as such a gigantic force could be expected to be.” Weller described himself as “the first visitor to inspect the ruins.”

He suggested about 24,000 may have died but he attributed the high numbers to “inadequate” air raid shelters and the “total failure” of the air warning system. He declared that the bomb was “a tremendous, but not a peculiar weapon,” and said he spent hours in the ruins without apparent ill effects. He did note, with some regret, that a hospital and an American mission college were destroyed, but pointed out that to spare them would have also meant sparing munitions plants.

In his second story that day, however, following his hospital visits, he would describe “Disease X,” and victims, who have “neither a burn or a broken limb,” wasting away with “blackish” mouths and red spots, and small children who “have lost some hair.”

A third piece, sent to MacArthur the following day, reported the disease “still snatching away lives here. Men, women and children with no outward marks of injury are dying daily in hospitals, some after having walked around three or four weeks thinking they have escaped.

“The doctors … candidly confessed … that the answer to the malady is beyond them.” At one hospital, 200 of 343 admitted had died: “They are dead — dead of atomic bomb — and nobody knows why.”

He closed this account with: “Twenty-five Americans are due to arrive Sept. 11 to study the Nagasaki bomb site. Japanese hope they will bring a solution for Disease X.” To this day, that solution for the disease–and the threat of nuclear weapons–has still not arrived.

[[See my pieces on Hiroshima here from a few days ago, including story of how Truman edited the first Hollywood movie about the bombings.]]

Greg Mitchell is co-author of “Hiroshima in America” and writes the popular Media Fix blog for The Nation. He is the former editor of Nuclear Times and Editor & Publisher. Email: epic1934@aol.com Twitter: @GregMitch

(The blog appeared in the Huffington Post in 2010.)


Hiroshima Cover-up: How the War Department's Timesman Won a Pulitzerby Amy Goodman and David Goodman


The burnt street ... looking toward North West from the explosion center.
Governments lie.
— I. F. Stone, Journalist

At the dawn of the nuclear age, an independent Australian journalist named Wilfred Burchett traveled to Japan to cover the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The only problem was that General Douglas MacArthur had declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the press.

Over 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. The world's media obediently crowded onto the USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the surrender of the Japanese.

Wilfred Burchett decided to strike out on his own. He was determined to see for himself what this nuclear bomb had done, to understand what this vaunted new weapon was all about. So he boarded a train and traveled for thirty hours to the city of
Hiroshima in defiance of General MacArthur's orders.

Burchett emerged from the train into a nightmare world. The devastation that confronted him was unlike any he had ever seen during the war.

The city of Hiroshima, with a population of 350,000, had been razed.
Multistory buildings were reduced to charred posts.

He saw people's shadows seared into walls and sidewalks.

He met people with their skin melting off.

In the hospital, he saw patients with purple skin hemorrhages, gangrene, fever, and rapid hair loss.

Burchett was among the first to witness and describe radiation sickness.

The patterns of clothes burnt by the heat rays. Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education

The patterns of clothes burnt by the heat rays.

Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began:

"In Hiroshima, thirty days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly-people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague."

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: "Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world."

Burchett's article, headlined THE ATOMIC PLAGUE, was published on September 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation. Burchett's candid reaction to the horror shocked readers.

"In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war. It makes a blitzed Pacific island seem like an Eden. The damage is far greater than photographs can show.

"When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around for twenty-five and perhaps thirty square miles. You can see hardly a building. It gives you an empty feeling in the stomach to see such man-made destruction."

Burchett's searing independent reportage was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. General MacArthur had gone to pains to restrict journalists' access to the bombed cities, and his military censors were sanitizing and even killing dispatches that described the horror.

The official narrative of the atomic bombings downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed reports of the deadly lingering effects of radiation. Reporters whose dispatches convicted with this version of events found themselves silenced: George Weller of the Chicago Daily News slipped into Nagasaki and wrote a 25,000-word story on the nightmare that he found there.

Then he made a crucial error: He submitted the piece to military censors. His newspaper never even received his story. As Weller later summarized his experience with MacArthur's censors, "They won."

U.S. authorities responded in time-honored fashion to Burchett's revelations: They attacked the messenger.

General MacArthur ordered him expelled from Japan (the order was later rescinded), and his camera with photos of Hiroshima mysteriously vanished while he was in the hospital. U.S. officials accused Burchett of being influenced by Japanese propaganda. They scoffed at the notion of an atomic sickness.

The U.S. military issued a press release right after the Hiroshima bombing that downplayed human casualties, instead emphasizing that the bombed area was the site of valuable industrial and military targets.

A-bomb sufferers who have escaped to Miyuki Bridge (about 2km. from the explosion center) Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education

A-bomb sufferers who have escaped to Miyuki Bridge (about 2km. from the explosion center)
Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/
Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education

Four days after Burchett's story splashed across front pages around the world, Major General Leslie R. Groves, director of the atomic bomb project, invited a select group of thirty reporters to New Mexico.

Foremost among this group was William L. Laurence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for The New York Times.

Groves took the reporters to the site of the first atomic test. His intent was to demonstrate that no atomic radiation lingered at the site.

Groves trusted Laurence to convey the military's line; the general was not
Laurence's front-page story, U.S. ATOM BOMB SITE BELIES TOKYO TALES: TESTS ON NEW MEXICO RANGE CONFIRM THAT BLAST, AND NOT RADIATION, TOOK TOLL, ran on September 12, 1945, following a three-day delay to clear military censors.

The article began. 3

"This historic ground in New Mexico, scene of the first atomic explosion on earth and cradle of a new era in civilization, gave the most effective answer today to Japanese propaganda that radiations [sic] were responsible for deaths even after the day of the explosion, Aug. 6, and that persons entering Hiroshima had contracted mysterious maladies due to persistent radioactivity."

Laurence said unapologetically that the Army tour was intended "to give the lie to these claims."

Laurence quoted General Groves:
"The Japanese claim that people died from radiation.
If this is true, the number was very small."

Laurence then went on to offer his own remarkable editorial on what happened:
"The Japanese are still continuing their propaganda aimed at creating the impression that we won the war unfairly, and thus attempting to create sympathy for themselves and milder terms . . . Thus, at the beginning, the Japanese described 'symptoms' that did not ring true."

But Laurence knew better. He had observed the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945, and he withheld what he knew about radioactive fallout across the southwestern desert that poisoned local residents and livestock. He kept mum about the spiking Geiger counters all around the test site.

William L. Laurence went on to write a series of ten articles for the Times that served as a glowing tribute to the ingenuity and technical achievements of the nuclear program. Throughout these and other reports, he downplayed and denied the human impact of the bombing. Laurence won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.
Persons cremating bodies at the ruins. Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education
Persons cremating bodies at the ruins.

It turns out that William L. Laurence was not only receiving a salary from The New York Times. He was also on the payroll of the War Department. In March 1945, General Leslie Groves had held a secret meeting at The New York Times with Laurence to offer him a job writing press releases for the Manhattan Project, the U.S. program to develop atomic weapons.

The intent, according to the Times, was "to explain the intricacies of the atomic bomb's operating principles in laymen's language." Laurence also helped write statements on the bomb for President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson.

Laurence eagerly accepted the offer, "his scientific curiosity and patriotic zeal perhaps blinding him to the notion that he was at the same time compromising his journalistic independence," as essayist Harold Evans wrote in a history of war reporting.

Evans recounted: "After the bombing, the brilliant but bullying Groves continually suppressed or distorted the effects of radiation. He dismissed reports of Japanese deaths as 'hoax or propaganda.' The Times' Laurence weighed in, too, after Burchett's reports, and parroted the government line." Indeed, numerous press releases issued by the military after the Hiroshima bombing-which in the absence of eyewitness accounts were often reproduced verbatim by U.S. newspapers-were written by none other than Laurence.

"Mine has been the honor, unique in the history of journalism, of preparing the War Department's official press release for worldwide distribution," boasted Laurence in his memoirs, Dawn Over Zero. "No greater honor could have come to any newspaperman, or anyone else for that matter."

"Atomic Bill" Laurence revered atomic weapons. He had been crusading for an American nuclear program in articles as far back as 1929. His dual status as government agent and reporter earned him an unprecedented level of access to American military officials-he even flew in the squadron of planes that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

His reports on the atomic bomb and its use had a hagiographic tone, laced with descriptions that conveyed almost religious awe.

The ruins of Hatchobori and its vicinity (700-800m. from the explosion center). Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education

The ruins of Hatchobori and its vicinity (700-800m. from the explosion center).
In Laurence's article about the bombing of Nagasaki (it was withheld by military censors until a month after the bombing), he described the detonation over Nagasaki that incinerated 100,000 people.
Laurence waxed:

"Awe-struck, we watched it shoot upward like a meteor coming from the earth instead of from outer space, becoming ever more alive as it climbed skyward through the white clouds. . . . It was a living thing, a new species of being, born right before our incredulous eyes."

Laurence later recounted his impressions of the atomic bomb:
"Being close to it and watching it as it was being fashioned into a living thing, so exquisitely shaped that any sculptor would be proud to have created it, one . . . felt oneself in the presence of the supranatural."

Laurence was good at keeping his master's secrets-from suppressing the reports of deadly radioactivity in New Mexico to denying them in Japan.

The Times was also good at keeping secrets, only revealing Laurence's dual status as government spokesman and reporter on August 7, the day after the Hiroshima bombing-and four months after Laurence began working for the Pentagon.

As Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell wrote in their excellent book Hiroshima in America: Fifty Years of Denial, "Here was the nation's leading science reporter, severely compromised, not only unable but disinclined to reveal all he knew about the potential hazards of the most important scientific discovery of his time."
Radiation: Now You See It, Now You Don't

A curious twist to this story concerns another New York Times journalist who reported on Hiroshima; his name, believe it or not, was William Lawrence (his byline was W.H. Lawrence). He has long been confused with William L. Laurence. (Even Wilfred Burchett confuses the two men in his memoirs and his 1983 book, Shadows of Hiroshima.)

Unlike the War Department's Pulitzer Prize winner, W.H. Lawrence visited and reported on Hiroshima on the same day as Burchett. (William L. Laurence, after flying in the squadron of planes that bombed Nagasaki, was subsequently called back to the United States by the Times and did not visit the bombed cities.)

A burnt hand with Keloid marks. Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/ Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education
A burnt hand with Keloid marks.
Picture: http://mothra.rerf.or.jp/
Provided by Hiroshima Institute for Peace Education

W.H. Lawrence's original dispatch from Hiroshima was published on September 5, 1945. He reported matter-of-factly about the deadly effects of radiation, and wrote that Japanese doctors worried that "all who had been in Hiroshima that day would die as a result of the bomb's lingering effects."
He described how "persons who had been only slightly injured on the day of the blast lost 86 percent of their white blood corpuscles, developed temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, their hair began to drop out, they lost their appetites, vomited blood and finally died."

Oddly enough, W.H. Lawrence contradicted himself one week later in an article headlined NO RADIOACTIVITY IN HIROSHIMA RUIN.

For this article, the Pentagon's spin machine had swung into high gear in response to Burchett's horrifying account of "atomic plague."

W.H. Lawrence reported that Brigadier General T. F. Farrell, chief of the War Department's atomic bomb mission to Hiroshima, "denied categorically that [the bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity."

Lawrence's dispatch quotes only Farrell; the reporter never mentions his eyewitness account of people dying from radiation sickness that he wrote the previous week.
The conflicting accounts of Wilfred Burchett and William L. Laurence might be ancient history were it not for a modern twist.

On October 23, 2003, The New York Times published an article about a controversy over a Pulitzer Prize awarded in 1932 to Times reporter Walter Duranty.

A former correspondent in the Soviet Union, Duranty had denied the existence of a famine that had killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933.

The Pulitzer Board had launched two inquiries to consider stripping Duranty of his prize. The Times "regretted the lapses" of its reporter and had published a signed editorial saying that Duranty's work was "some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper." Current Times executive editor Bill Keller decried Duranty's "credulous, uncritical parroting of propaganda."

On November 21, 2003, the Pulitzer Board decided against rescinding Duranty's award, concluding that there was "no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception" in the articles that won the prize.

As an apologist for Joseph Stalin, Duranty is easy pickings. What about the "deliberate deception" of William L. Laurence in denying the lethal effects of radioactivity? And what of the fact that the Pulitzer Board knowingly awarded the top journalism prize to the Pentagon's paid publicist, who denied the suffering of millions of Japanese? Do the Pulitzer Board and the Times approve of "uncritical parroting of propaganda"-as long as it is from the United States?

It is long overdue that the prize for Hiroshima's apologist be stripped.
Published on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 by CommonDreams.org

Amy Goodman is host of the national radio and TV show "Democracy Now!."
This is an excerpt from her new national bestselling book The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them, written with her brother journalist David, exposes the reporting of Times correspondent William L. Laurence

Democracy Now! is a national radio and TV program, broadcast on more than 240 stations and on the internet.
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