Featuring interviews with fourteen atomic bomb survivors, many of whom have never spoken publicly before, and four Americans intimately involved in the bombings, WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN provides a detailed exploration of the bombings and their aftermath. In a succession of riveting personal accounts, the film reveals both unimaginable suffering and extraordinary human resilience. Survivors (85% of victims were civilians) not vaporized during the attacks (140,000 died in Hiroshima, 70,000 in Nagasaki) continued to suffer from burns, infection, radiation sickness and cancer (another 160,000 deaths). As Sakue Shimohira, ten years old at the time, says of the moment she considered killing herself after losing the last member of her family: I realized there are two kinds of courage the courage to die and the courage to live.
Other survivors include: Kiyoko Imori, just blocks from the hypocenter, she is the only survivor of an elementary school of 620 students. Keiji Nakazawa, who lost his father, brother and two sisters, then devoted his life to re-telling his story in comic books and animation. Shuntaro Hida, a young military doctor at the time, began treating survivors immediately after the explosion and, 60 years later, continues to provide care for them. Etsuko Nagano still cant forgive herself for convincing her family to come to Nagasaki, just weeks before the bombing. With a calm frankness that makes their stories unforgettable, the survivors bear witness to the unfathomable destructive power of nuclear weapons. Their accounts are illustrated with survivor paintings and drawings, historical footage and photographs, including rare or never before seen material.
After we denounce the exaggeration, after we shake off the unjustified part of the charge, we must listen to the condemnation of these great people.
By Gideon Levy
It is doubtful that Grass intended his poem to be published on the eve of Passover. It contains no blood libel. In fact, it is the branding of it as anti-Semitic that is a matter of tradition – all criticism of Israel is immediately thus labeled. Grass’ Nazi past, his joining the Waffen SS as a youth, does not warrant shutting him up some 70 years later, and his opinion is far from vacuous. According to Segev, anyone who is not a nuclear scientist, an Israeli prime minister or an Iranian president must keep silent on the stormiest issue in Israel and the world today. That is a flawed approach.
Grass’ “What Must Be Said” does contain things that must be said. It can and should be said that Israel’s policy is endangering world peace. His position against Israeli nuclear power is also legitimate. He can also oppose supplying submarines to Israel without his past immediately being pulled out as a counterclaim. But Grass exaggerated, unnecessarily and in a way that damaged his own position. Perhaps it is his advanced age and his ambition to attract a last round of attention, and perhaps the words came forth all at once like a cascade, after decades during which it was almost impossible to criticize Israel in Germany.
That’s the way it is when all criticism of Israel is considered illegitimate and improper and is stopped up inside for years. In the end it erupts in an extreme form. Grass’ poem was published only a few weeks after another prominent German, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, wrote that there is an apartheid regime in Hebron. He also aroused angry responses. Therefore it is better to listen to the statements and, especially, finally, to lift the prohibition against criticizing Israel in Germany.
Israel has many friends in Germany, more than in most European countries. Some of them support us blindly, some have justified guilt feelings and some are true, critical friends of Israel. There are, of course, anti-Semites in Germany and the demand that Germany never forget is also justified. But a situation in which any German who dares criticize Israel is instantly accused of anti-Semitism is intolerable.
Some years ago, after a critical article of mine was published in the German daily Die Welt, one of its editors told me: “No journalist of ours could write an article like that.” I was never again invited to write for that paper. For years, any journalist who joined the huge German media outlet Axel Springer had to sign a pledge never to write anything that casts aspersions on Israel’s right to exist. That is an unhealthy situation that ended with an eruption of exaggerated criticism like Grass’.
Grass is not alone. No less of a major figure, the great author Jose de Sousa Saramago opened the floodgates in his later years when, after a visit to the occupied territories, he compared what was going on there to Auschwitz. Like Grass, Saramago went too far, but his remarks about the Israelis should have been heeded: “Living under the shadow of the Holocaust and expecting forgiveness for everything they will do in the name of their suffering seems coarse. They have learned nothing from the suffering of their parents and their grandparents.”
After we denounce the exaggeration, after we shake off the unjustified part of the charge, we must listen to these great people. They are not anti-Semites, they are expressing the opinion of many people. Instead of accusing them we should consider what we did that led them to express it..
Gunter Grass, by Marcus Brandt in the Guardian
The Gunter Grass poem was published in Germany. Our translation is by Norbert Jost. It is already stirring big controversy. Guardian headline: “Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass uses poem to say a nuclear-armed Israel is a threat to world peace.” Tom Segev says Grass is “pathetic” and is guilty about his Nazi past.
Why am i silent, conceal already too long a time, What is apparent and has been simulated in exercises, at the end of which we the survivors may at best be footnotes. It is the alleged entitlement for a first strike, which could extinguish the Iranian people, – subjugated by a big mouth and directed to organized jubilations- because one assumes the making of a nuclear bomb. Alas, why do i restrain myself to name the name of the other country, where since years – although kept secret – a growing nuclear potential (is) available, albeit beyond control, because inaccessible for any examination? The general silence of this fact, which my silence has subordinated itself to, i feel to be a burdensome lie and as coercion, which promises punishment, soon as it is not complied with; the verdict “antisemitism” is ready at hand. However, now, that my country, which is confronted with its very own crimes which are unique without comparison, again and again and made to answer for, is about to deliver, routinely and businesslike, even though with a nimble tongue declared as reparation, is to supply Israel another submarine, the speciality of which is to deliver all-destructive warheads to where the existence of a single nuclear bomb is unproven, only “proven” by the strength of fear, I say, what must be said. But why did i remain silent so far? Because I was of the opinion, that where i am from, which is stained with a never removable stain, forbids me, to dare confronting Israel, the country I am attached to and want to remain so, with this fact as an outright spoken truth. Why do I speak now only, aged and with the last ink: The nuclear power Israel endangers the world’s peace, ever so delicate anyhow ? Because it must be said, what already tomorrow could be too late; also because we – as Germans burdened enough – could become suppliers of a crime, which can be foreseen, and why our complicity could not be made undone by any of the usual evasions. And admitted: i do not remain silent anymore, because i am weary of the hypocrisy of the West; moreover, it is hoped, may many free themselves of the bondage of silence, demand from the originators of the discernible danger the renunciation of all violence and simultaneously insist, that an unhindered and permanent control of Israeli nuclear potential and of Iranian nuclear facilities through an international entity will be permitted by the governments of both countries. Only this way, everybody, Israelis and Palestinians, even more, all human beings, who live as enemies next to each other in this region, occupied by madness, can be helped – ultimately us, too.
Attack has since spread to plants and computers in the U.S. and elsewhere, posing serious threat
It’s been only a month since the activation of Iran’s first nuclear power plant and there’s already a major crisis concerning proliferation. But this crisis has nothing to do with nuclear arms proliferation. Rather, the scare has to do with the proliferation of the Stuxnet worm, a malicious computer program that has invaded the plant’s computers and since spread to computers worldwide.
The viral program is very sophisticated and appears designed specifically to attack the plant. It first was released onto workers’ computers, designed to try to reach plant’s control systems. Unlike other more sophisticated attacks which appeared to be primarily geared for monitoring, this attack was designed to do damage. It contained logic to sabotage nuclear fuel enrichment centrifuges. The centrifuges, made by German equipment electronics giant Siemens, would be made to fail in a virtually unnoticeable way.
The Bushehr plant is located near Natanz, central-Iranian city located almost 200 miles south of the capital city of Tehran. The plant is a joint endeavor between Iran and Russia. While the U.S. and others have chastised Russia for its involvement, the U.S. intelligence community has asserted that it doesn’t believe Iran to be currently developing nuclear weapons at the facility.
Mahmoud Jafari, project manager at the Bushehr nuclear plant is quoted in The Telegraph, a UK newspaper, as stating that the viral worm never achieved its goal. Comments Mr. Jafari, “[It] has not caused any damage to major systems of the plant.”
But according to international whistle-blower site Wikileaks, a serious nuclear accident occurred at the plant sometime before mid-June. The site’s founder, Julian Assange, wrote:
Two weeks ago, a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told WikiLeaks of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.
WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible however contact with this source was lost.
WikiLeaks would not normally mention such an incident without additional confirmation, however according to Iranian media and the BBC, today the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, has resigned under mysterious circumstances. According to these reports, the resignation was tendered around 20 days ago.
Inspectors examined the claims, but found no distinguishable traces of an accident.
A time stamp on the virus reveals that it was made in January. What is equally remarkable to its sophistication in terms of attack behavior is the lack of sophistication when it comes to the worm’s proliferation.
If it had constrained its infections to Bushehr, it would likely not have been noticed for some time. Instead, the worm was extremely aggressive in its infection vectors, spreading to fifteen other Siemens plants, and tens of thousands of non-plant computers worldwide. In Iran 60,000 computers are infected. In Indonesia, 10,000 machines are infected. And in the United States thousands of computers are believed to be infected as well.
That creates a dangerous situation, as numerous parties, including international governments and black-hat hackers, are racing to reverse-engineer the code and exploit the infected machines. The infected machines may not only compromise personal details, but may compromise industrial infrastructure in Iran, Indonesia, India (another infection site), and the U.S.
Melissa Hathaway, a former United States national cybersecurity coordinator, comments, “Proliferation is a real problem, and no country is prepared to deal with it. All of these guys are scared to death. We have about 90 days to fix this before some hacker begins using it.”
So who is behind the attacks? The New York Times quotes a former U.S. intelligence office as saying that the attack was the work of Israel’s equivalent of America’s National Security Agency, known as Unit 8200. According to IEEE Spectrum‘s December issue, Israel had previously used a cyber-attack to shut off radar systems in Syria, allowing it to evaluate what it believed to be an under-construction nuclear reactor.
Regardless of who perpetrated the attack, the primary issue now is stamping it out, before it can be used for even more nefarious purposes. Early reports were unclear about the transmission vector, but suggested it may be spreading via USB sticks and other removable media.
Journalist and author Reese Erlich spoke on, “Obama’s Challenge: Iran, Nuclear Weapons and the Fate of the Middle East.”
Scott Horton :
On April 1, 2010 I participated in a panel discussion at the University of California at Riverside titled “Obama’s challenge: Iran, Nuclear Weapons & the Mideast” with Reese Erlich, Larry Greenfield and Christopher Records – here is some of my part. Thanks to Mansoor Sabbagh for the video.
Doctor Hida, a survivor of the 1945 atomic bomb at Hiroshima, continues to care for some of the other quarter of a million survivors. Using rarely-seen archival footage, Atomic Wounds shows the existence of ABCC, a laboratory that was set up in 1946 by American scientists on the spot of the disaster to study the effects of the bomb on thousands of survivors. The film shows how the terrible danger of radiation was minimized by successive American administrations in the 50s-70s so that nuclear power could be freely developed, with no concern for public health.
Between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union exploded 460 nuclear bombs in eastern Kazakhstan. The damage residents suffered as a result of being exposed to high levels of radiation has been passed on and seems to have intensified in the following generations.