There were other problems, too. In this disturbing and horrific book, first published in 1985, Joan Smith raises crucial questions about the British government's responsibility to the people who took part in the tests - and shows how their effects may yet have a devastating impact on Britain's nuclear industry. A generation after the United States and the United Kingdom tested their first nuclear and thermonuclear bombs, long after the retirement of the politicians and bureaucrats responsible, the current governments of the two nations still refuse to admit that they endangered and perhaps shortened the lives of some of their citizens. Smith is far too trusting of her sources. Sometimes casually-dressed Australians worked next to Britons wearing radiation suits.
It was more or less a flat island with no vegetation other than coconuts. At the age of only 21, McGinley found himself out of the army and in possession of a 30 per cent disability pension. After the April 28 bomb, one of my jobs was to lift them up and put them on a landing craft to be taken out to sea. The paper was feeling the cash restraints imposed by the Murdoch management and was reluctant to commit itself to time-consuming journalism of this sort; its preference for the big, easy story became apparent only months later when it embroiled itself in the Hitler diaries fiasco. They are also better writers. Another problem was the temperament of Frank Giles, who had succeeded Harry Evans as editor in 1981. I can just remember seeing newsreel film of H-bomb tests when my mother took me to the cinema for the first time at the age of four or five.
On his return to Britain from Christmas Island, McGinley had been told not to speak to anyone about what he had seen there. He is a small, wiry man with a gentle Scottish accent. Our poorest urban neighbourhoods experience economic and social difficulties that uniquely affect the lives of those who live there. They were taken away from the island the day before each explosion. Many of the men were monitored for radiation, but the monitoring, which in any case was not strictly enforced, was frequently inaccurate. Both governments vehemently refuse to admit that they probably irradiated some innocent bystanders. In this disturbing and horrific book, first published in 1985, Joan Smith raises crucial questions about the British government's responsibility to the people who took part in the tests - and shows how their effects may yet have a devastating impact on Britain's nuclear industry.
It is amazing how many people measure distances by throwing stones. At times, the weather proved perverse and did not co-operate with predictions. Another was that their safety regulations were based on standards that were believed to be reliable at the time, but which can now be seen to have vastly underestimated the danger. By keeping in touch with the veterans, and scientists who worked in the field of low-level radiation - and with the enthusiastic help of the newsroom researcher, Carol Baker - I managed to produce a number of stories about the bomb tests. In the forty years since the end of the Second World War, it has never gone away - it has merely submerged from our consciousness from time to time. The man next to me broke down and cried. By the end of the war, however, the Americans had the bomb and the British did not.
Later in the series of tests, in September, it became even more noticeable. When the planes returned, they were washed by ground personnel in shorts and shirts. What boy or girl of nineteen had? They remain with us in the shape of the victims - servicemen, civilians and aborigines who witnessed them - and through Britain's continuing programme of nuclear weapons tests in the United States. Joan Smith drew on her own experience as one of the few women reporting the Yorkshire Ripper murders and looked at novels, slasher movies, Page Three and Princess Diana,. Both books were inspired by the Australian Royal Commission on the conduct of the tests, whose report was published last month. From Amy Winehouse to Pussy Riot, from the veil to domestic violence, a war is being fought.
Six years and 21 tests later, the tests were halted by international agreement. In the end, it appeared on an inside page, inconspicuously sited below the fold. Research can play an important role in offering ideas and insights into educational issues, but it should always be understood. Blakeway and Lloyd-Roberts seem to have fulfilled their journalistic responsibility for scepticism more scrupulously, and the picture they give is more balanced: for example, they report the testimony of a number of veterans who received some of the highest doses recorded and are alive and well despite the experience. At the same time the knowledge of what was happening was to be kept from the British public — an ironic decision considering the flow of information to the Soviets. Joan Smith is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. Both governments deny that they were sloppy in the testing of their weapons or that they used their military personnel as laboratory animals.
Register a Free 1 month Trial Account. About Clouds of Deceit The full story of Britain's nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s has only recently begun to emerge. He was suffering from blackouts and a duodenal ulcer. Her explanation of atomic radiation, how it is measured, and its possible effects on the human body, is incomplete to the point of being simply wrong. The United States Government self-righteously fights any liability tooth and claw in the courts.
The tests are a hidden testimony to the continued existence of the cold war. But the attitude of other executives was ambivalent. Joan had recently lost her husband. Like all journalists including this reviewer she too often reaches for the nearest cliché. Many were sent to assist in the tests, but most seemed to be there so that their superiors could test some of the effects of nuclear war on their men. Men working on the ground often went into hot areas without proper protective clothing, or were pushed to carry on with their jobs even when their dose-meters went off-scale.
Proving a cause-and-effect relationship in these cases is impossible: no one can tell who really was harmed. Here, for the first time, through interviews and eye-witness accounts from men who watched the mushroom clouds drift over Australia and the Pacific Ocean, the tests are vividly recreated. The noise was deafening, like a thousand horses thundering towards you. The effects of testing of British nuclear weapons in Australia and the South Pacific on the people directly involved, on those in the path of the fall-out and of the struggle to have these effects acknowledged. Although the reports of the black mist were discounted when they were first reported, supporting testimony from whites in the area has given the reports public credence. The political climate had altered. After the flight, all our flying gear, suits, parachutes and so on, were confiscated and later destroyed.
We were told to cover our ears with our hands when the flash appeared. Mrs Thatcher may not consider this the equivalent of being a guinea pig, but it is hard to see the difference. British readers may be relieved to know the United States Government has not behaved a hell of a lot better. We will know that the major powers are serious about drawing back from the threshold of world war only when they take the first step of putting an end to nuclear weapons tests. They were funny-looking birds, we used to call them Grapple birds after the name of the Operation. They would start the countdown and then say hold it, that was a dummy run.