Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

A Case of Too Little Information

Three Mile Island, 35 Years Later

by LINDA PENTZ GUNTER

March 28 will mark 35 years since the meltdown at Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Despite the long passage of time, myths and misinformation about the disaster still abound. Many questions may remain permanently unanswered.

The consequences of the TMI disaster were made more serious because, early on, emergency planning officials were repeatedly misinformed about the disaster’s progression and kept in the dark about the need for public protective actions.

Ironically, despite today’s popular “too much information” shorthand, TMI is a story of “too little information.” What the public believes about TMI is far removed from what really happened.

The often repeated nuclear industry line — that “no one died at Three Mile Island” — does not stand the test of fundamental medical scrutiny. Yet, 35 years later, we are hearing it again, put about by nuclear deniers who also claim that the Chernobyl nuclear explosion harmed a mere handful and that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan will yield no fatalities.

Given what we know about exposure to radiation, it is medically far more probable that there were multiple fatalities as a result of TMI, as well as non-fatal cancers and other illnesses. The numbers will be orders of magnitude higher as a result of the even more serious Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear catastrophes. There are other prematurely fatal outcomes too, triggered by stress, dislocation and abandonment. None of these should be callously discounted.

The two TMI studies — by Columbia and Pittsburgh Universities — that have perpetuated the “no harm” myth, were conducted under the constraints of a court order that significantly compromised the study findings.

The only independent study, by Dr. Stephen Wing et al., found that lung cancer and leukemia rates were two to 10 times higher downwind of the destroyed Three Mile Island reactor than upwind.

This supports the premise that far more radiation escaped from TMI than has been acknowledged by the authorities. Within hours of the beginning of the nuclear disaster, onsite radiation monitors went off scale and were shut down because radiation levels exceeded their measurement capacity.

In the days following the TMI meltdown, hundreds of local residents reported symptoms consistent with those caused by radiation exposure. These include nausea and vomiting, severe fatigue, diarrhea, hair loss and graying, and a radiation-induced reddening of the skin.

There were anomalies found in animals and plants as well. A number of plants exhibited strange mutations including extra large leaves (gigantism) and double-headed blossoms. A local veterinarian reported a 10% increase in stillbirths, and a marked increase in the need for Cesarean Sections among sheep, goats and pigs. He also reported significant increases in the cancer rate among animals with shorter life-spans such as dogs and cats. These findings are consistent with research around Chernobyl. Similar incidences are beginning to be seen around Fukushima.

However, the most notable parallel between the three disasters is the control of information. By suppressing weather data, evacuations were delayed or directed into the radioactive plume path. There were deliberate under-estimations of the radiation releases and the true severity of the disaster was hushed up. This was done in order to protect the nuclear industry’s reputation and to allay “panic.”

This meant that public health was compromised to protect the industry’s public image. For example, potassium iodide — which can protect the thyroid — was unavailable to exposed populations around TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima, leading to elevated rates of thyroid problems, including cancer.

Such consequences are avoidable, first and foremost by closing operating reactors and halting construction of new ones.

As Ralph Nader recently put it on Democracy Now! “Nuclear power is uneconomic, it is uninsurable, it is unevacuable, and it is unnecessary. The sooner we phase it out, the sooner we avoid the risk of rendering hundreds of square miles in our country radioactively uninhabitable. It’s not worth the risk in order just to boil water.”

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear, a Takoma Park, MD-based anti-nuclear advocacy organization that supports the replacement of nuclear power and fossil fuels with conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The Beyond Nuclear analysis, Three Mile Island: The Truth, can be found on the Beyond Nuclear website.

Beyond Nuclear background documents on the TMI disaster can be found here.