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Category Archives: Women
Breaking News: Secret US military testing of radiological materials on poor and minority communities
In a story that is breaking right now, Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, a sociologist in St. Louis. MO (US), has introduced evidence that “secret military tests conducted during the Cold War targeted poor and minority communities for exposure to what is likely radiological material.”
In an article yesterday, commenting on Dr. Martino-Taylor’s research, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said: “Relying heavily on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Martino-Taylor identifies connections between participants in St. Louis testing and scientists who took part in wartime efforts to build the atomic bomb.”
GJEP’s Board Chair Orin Langelle and Executive Director, Anne Petermann interviewed Dr. Martino-Taylor while they were in St. Louis, last week.
–The GJEP Team
By Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann
During an interview we conducted last week in St. Louis, MO, Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor gave us a long description of research she had conducted into a major military cover up of the use of U.S. citizens as test subjects for military experiments related to the Cold War.
Dr. Martino-Taylor told us that specifically, her research identifies a coalition of medical researchers that grew out of the Manhattan Project, which she refers to as the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition. This coalition conducted various secret radiological tests around the nation. The group was involved in previously known “injection” and “ingestion” human-subject studies that exposed unwitting victims to radioactive material such as plutonium and strontium-90. Dr. Martino-Taylor’s research demonstrates that St. Louis open-air dispersion studies carried out in the 1950s and 1960s are likely the realization of this group’s intention to conduct an inhalation study of radiological material in an urban area.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch further said Sunday: “Martino-Taylor was a skilled researcher before working toward her doctorate, investigating cases for a St. Louis law firm. The facts she assembled on the military project and conclusions she reached go well beyond anything published earlier.”
Dr. Martino-Taylor told us, “ This new research also reveals that a powdered substance used in the St. Louis tests sometimes identified in military documents, was in part, produced by U.S. Radium. U.S. Radium is the company infamous for exposure of workers to fatal doses of radioactivity resulting from the use of radioactive zinc sulfide powdered paint. Many of these workers died from systemic illnesses caused by inhalation of radium dust at U.S. Radium.”
Moreover, there is evidence that the material that was sprayed in St. Louis contained particles of such a size as to result in maximum absorption deep into the lungs.
During the tests, St. Louis residents were told by officials and through media reports that the government was testing a “smoke screen” that might protect the city from aerial observation during attack. Documents show that the St. Louis tests targeted what was characterized by officials as “a densely populated slum district.” Census data further shows that areas targeted for spraying included a high percentage of young children, poor, and minority residents. Areas of the tests included the Desoto-Carr area and the famous Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project, a dense series of high-rise buildings comprised of a majority black population where 70% children were under the age of twelve.
Additional evidence also strongly suggests radiological components to the tests that the Army conducted in St. Louis.
KMOX (CBS) radio reported this morning: Martino-Taylor says some of the key players in the cover-up were also members of the Manhattan Atomic Bomb Project and involved in other radiological testing across the United States at the time. “This was against all military guidelines of the day, against all ethical guidelines, against all international codes such as the Nuremberg Code.”
Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor first publicly presented her findings at the International Sociological Association Forum of Sociology Social Justice and Democratization in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Forum ran from August 1-4, 2012.
She will be presenting this research for the first time in the U.S. Tuesday, September 25th at a colloquium at St. Louis Community College in St. Louis, MO.
For access to Dr. Martino-Taylor’s doctorate dissertation:
From our allies at World Rainforest Movement:
The “green economy” is a concept that has gained huge momentum largely thanks to its placement at the top of the agenda for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio+20.
While the concept is dressed up in “eco friendly” clothing, it does not promote any of the structural changes needed to combat the environmental and social problems facing the planet. On the contrary, it opens up new market niches for the flow of big financial capital. Essentially, it is simply another face of the same profit-driven market economy that has created the current crisis.
A great many social movements and organizations around the world are on the alert and fighting back against the advance of the so-called green economy. The March edition corresponding to the month in which we celebrate the International Women’s Day, highlights the role played by women in this resistance.
All around the world there are women struggling every day of the year. Since the 20th century, however, International Women’s Day has become a date on which their struggle is commemorated and highlighted. Women on every continent, urban, rural, indigenous, black, lesbian, among so many others, mark this date on the streets, raising their banners, which are countless, against gender inequalities that are manifested at the local and global levels.
Among the milestones in the international women’s struggle, we should not forget the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna in 1993, where it was recognized that the rights of women are human rights. Another key moment was the adoption of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, also known as the Convention of Belem do Para, in 1994. Violence against women, particularly so-called domestic violence, which takes place in the home, is one of the global phenomena that most seriously affects the lives and dignity of women.
Nevertheless, women’s lives are impacted by other forms of violence: the “double shift” entailed by paid work combined with domestic responsibilities, the overexploitation of their labour, the feminization of poverty and HIV/AIDS, the loss of their territories to large-scale projects, the pollution and degradation of the rivers and soil on which they depend for their subsistence. There is no doubt that women face a great many enemies, and perhaps the most ferocious of all, after patriarchy, is capitalism. The capacity of this mode of production to commodify life as a whole is felt most acutely by women. Women see the commodification of their bodies, transformed into merchandise, in the media and advertising, and are victims of the trafficking that feeds international prostitution rings. In addition, women must also struggle against the strategies aimed at the commodification of nature, such as the false solutions created for the alleged purpose of confronting the climate crisis.
So-called “environmental” non-governmental organizations and funds take control of collective forest areas and seek to restrict or even prohibit access to them by local communities in order to “preserve” these areas for the trade of “environmental services”, such as carbon storage in the case of REDD+ projects. In these situations, it is women who suffer most from the constant humiliation and repression that occurs in places where these types of projects are implemented.
When a community suffers the loss of its collectively used territory to projects aimed at the trade in environmental services, one of the invariable consequences is the surveillance and persecution of the community by forest rangers and, above all, public and/or private armed militias. Women, who stay at home to tend to domestic chores, raise crops and care for their children, become the most vulnerable to this persecution.
In addition, in areas affected by carbon or environmental services projects, shifting cultivation or swidden farming tends to be prohibited. This is a common practice among forest communities, in which women play a key role. It ensures a basic supply of healthy food for families and, at the same time, allows them to earn an income by selling surplus crops nearby.
In view of this, it can be concluded that the changes caused by the creation of market mechanisms for the use of nature violate a basic right: the right to food, and in particular, the right to healthy food. It is also important to remember that changes in dietary habits, through the introduction of industrially processed foods and crops grown with toxic agrochemicals, have led to the emergence of new diseases that were formerly unknown in these communities.
The loss of areas in which food crops can be grown also results in other impacts: many women are forced to go out and sell their labour ever farther away from their homes. But even though they have taken on new tasks in the world of paid work, women continue to be primarily responsible for domestic tasks. The work overload suffered by women has contributed to making them more prone to illness. Diseases like breast and cervical cancer are striking women at increasingly younger ages. High blood pressure, which used to be one of the main health problems faced by men, now affects more women than men.
The greatest irony of all, perhaps, is that although women are the ones most severely impacted, it is their images that are used in publicity to promote carbon trade and other environmental services projects.
We believe that our role, not only on March 8, but every day of the year, is to contribute to raising the visibility of women’s struggles and realities, as well as to support the struggles of women’s organizations against all forms of oppression, including the new wave of the commodification of life in these times of the green economy.
This week’s Earth Segment features an interview with Global Forest Coalition Executive Director Simone Lovera.