Tag Archives: nuclear testing

Happy Savages

By Robert C. Koehler

“Thirty seconds to zero . . . six, five, four, three, two, one.”

Suddenly a big orange blossom fills the screen, accompanied by ukuleles and lovely — I mean Strangelovian — Polynesian music. The blossom is actually Castle Bravo, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb blast, the largest U.S. test ever, detonated over Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954.

This is a few minutes into Nuclear Savage: The Island Experiments of Secret Project 4.1, one of the most disturbing documentaries I’ve ever seen, and one of seven feature-length films that are part of Chicago’s fourth annual Peace on Earth Film Festival, Feb. 23-26, at the Chicago Cultural Center. The event, once again, is free of charge.

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The Nazi Virus

By Robert C. Koehler

I call it the Nazi virus.

Even as we were prosecuting Nazis at Nuremberg for their barbaric behavior, including their notorious medical experiments on death camp inmates, we were, it turns out, conducting our own medical experiments on a vulnerable and unsuspecting population: Between 1946 and 1948, medical researchers with the U.S. Public Health Service deliberately infected almost 700 Guatemalan prisoners and mental patients with syphilis and gonorrhea in order to study the effects of penicillin on the diseases.

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