(The Use And Abuse Of Power)
Published on Countercurrents.org, by Brian McAfee, 18 July, 2007.
The idyllic lives of two island based populations were inexorably changed and came close to annihilation just to accommodate U.S. supposed protection of democracy. Both Bikini Atoll in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean’s Diego Garcia island were populated by thriving, self sufficient, fishing based population until coming under the radar screen of British and U.S. hegemonic interests. The disregard and callus indifference towards the effected populations show the true nature of U.S. “values.”
Both Bikini and Diego Garcia resurfaced as issues earlier this year when survivors of the hydrogen bomb tests in the Pacific and Chagos islanders (Diego Garcia) won court cases recognizing the injustices forced upon them by the U.S. in the case of Bikinians and by the British in the case of the Chagos islanders. The Bikinians were awarded $1 billion in damages for the impact and effect of U.S. nuclear and hydrogen tests. They will likely never see a cent of it as the bank reserve designated for awarding payment is said to have no funds to accommodate the ruling.
The obvious irony here is that the funding to continue the Iraq war is seemingly boundless and unending but to rectify an earlier injustice is economically unfeasible. From 1946 through 1958 the U.S. had carried out 23 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests with the 1954 Bravo test the most significant one. The Bikinians were first moved to Rongeric, where they nearly starved to death, then they were shipped to Kwajalein and finally to tiny Kili where now their population is more then fifteen times bigger than the original 167 that were forcibly removed in 1946. The health effect of being down wind and contamination of the food supply of the resettled Bikini Islanders continue to be a factor in the health and food supply of Pacific islands of the Marshall Island Region. (full text).