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Poisoning the Pacific

The US Military's Secret Dumping of Plutonium, Chemical Weapons, and Agent Orange

Jon Mitchell John W. Dower



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Rowman and Littlefield
15 September 2020
For decades, US military operations have been contaminating the Pacific region with toxic substances, including plutonium, dioxin, and VX nerve agent. Hundreds of thousands of service members, their families, and residents have been exposed--but the United States has hidden the damage and refused to help victims. After World War II, the United States granted immunity to Japanese military scientists in exchange for their data on biological weapons tests conducted in China; in the following years, nuclear detonations in the Pacific obliterated entire islands and exposed Americans, Marshallese, Chamorros, and Japanese fishing crews to radioactive fallout. At the same time, the United States experimented with biological weapons on Okinawa and stockpiled the island with nuclear and chemical munitions, causing numerous accidents. Meanwhile, the CIA orchestrated a campaign to introduce nuclear power to Japan--the folly of which became horrifyingly clear in the 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture. Caught in a geopolitical grey zone, US territories have been among the worst affected by military contamination, including Guam, Saipan, and Johnston Island, the final disposal site of apocalyptic volumes of chemical weapons and Agent Orange. Accompanying this damage, US authorities have waged a campaign of cover-ups, lies, and attacks on the media, which the author has experienced firsthand in the form of military surveillance and attempts by the State Department to impede his work. Now, for the first time, this explosive book reveals the horrific extent of contamination in the Pacific and the lengths the Pentagon will go to conceal it.
By:   Jon Mitchell
Foreword by:   John W. Dower
Imprint:   Rowman and Littlefield
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 239mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   649g
ISBN:   9781538130339
ISBN 10:   1538130335
Series:   Asia/Pacific/Perspectives
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   15 September 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jon Mitchell is an investigative journalist with the Okinawa Times and winner of the 2015 Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan's lifetime achievement award for press freedom. His work has featured in reports for the US Congress and Japanese parliament; it has also helped US veterans exposed to contamination in Japan to win help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. US authorities-including the State Department and Department of Defense-have repeatedly attempted to block Mitchell's work, prompting condemnation from international press freedom groups. He lives in Japan. John W. Dower is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II.

Reviews for Poisoning the Pacific: The US Military's Secret Dumping of Plutonium, Chemical Weapons, and Agent Orange

Poisoning the Pacific is a meticulous inventory of the grievous harm that nuclear tests and the deployment, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials have wreaked on land and ocean areas. But the analysis goes beyond this. The tests and bases have displaced local residents and caused illness and even deaths among them. Mitchell places this in the context of crimes against humanity and crimes against human rights, and notes that decades of callous and careless military activity have also harmed American servicemen involved in carrying out toxic activities, as well as their wives and children living on bases where contamination has taken place. (From the introduction)--John W. Dower, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat As the international security situation is worsening and nuclear-armed states are once again threatening to use nuclear weapons, Poisoning the Pacific contains incredibly important research and stories of the humanitarian and environmental impact of weapons. This book sends a powerful message that far from protecting us, nuclear weapons and other weapons are causing enormous harm to people and the environment.--Beatrice Fihn, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner Poisoning the Pacific is a must-read for anyone concerned about US military veterans and the impact of US wars on civilians. From World War II through the present, we've bombed and poisoned ourselves and innocent civilians on the island of Okinawa, as well as other Pacific islands. Through diligent reporting and heroic research in never-before-revealed documents, journalist Jon Mitchell exposes numerous lies and coverups by the US military. His book is a siren call to help veterans and to finally give Okinawa back to the Okinawans.--Dale Maharidge, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning And Their Children After Them Poisoning the Pacific is an unprecedented, comprehensive expose of the human and environmental damage caused by nearly a century of US warmaking, weapons testing, training, and daily military activity in East Asia, the United States, and its colonies/territories. Jon Mitchell's exhaustive research provides a tremendous resource for the thousands, perhaps millions, of victims harmed by a vast array of chemical, biological, and nuclear poisons, as well as for all who believe we must expose and repair the harm inflicted (and often covered up) in the name of supposed security.--David Vine, American University; author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America The record of criminality, deceit, evasion of responsibility, and disdain for the fate of victims laid forth in this devastating account is difficult to believe. It is an eloquent call to bring this tragedy to an end without delay.--Noam Chomsky Poisoning the Pacific is an enormously valuable book. Jon Mitchell's expertise on US military operations across Japan and on the US military's contamination of Okinawa, where he ably guided us both during a recent visit, is unparalleled. Much of what he exposes here is truly shocking, and we expect most readers will share our outrage over what he reveals. With a vibrant and compelling style, Mitchell has written an eye-opening critique of America's role in the Pacific world, the place where the great battles of the twenty-first century are already being waged, won, and lost.--Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, coauthors of The Untold History of the United States

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