meet the most bombed nation in the world
“The most nuclear bombed nation on the planet” is the unwanted distinction claimed by the Native American Shoshone tribe. It had devastating effects on the community, and RT spoke to an activist fighting for justice.
“They occupy our country, they steal our opportunities and we are expected to die because of it. We’re still trying to figure out and understand what happened to us, and find ways to stop it, correct it, and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Ian Zabarte’s voice is angry but does not falter when he describes the tragic fate of his people, Native Americans who have – by all estimates – been subjected to the most unimaginable horrors for decades, all perpetrated by their government in Washington.
Zabarte, 57, is the main man in the Western gangs of the Shoshone Nation and he is leading a campaign to denounce what he describes as the “ethnic cleansing” of his tribe.
The Shoshone Lands stretch from Death Valley in the Mojave Desert in eastern California to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. But in 1951, the United States began nuclear weapons testing in Western Shoshone territory at the Nevada Proving Grounds (now known as the Nevada National Security Site). The Shoshone can now claim to be the most heavily bombed nation on the planet.
Over a period of just over 40 years, 928 tests were performed there – about 100 in the atmosphere and over 800 underground – resulting in nuclear fallout of about 620 kilotons, according to a 2009 study. , there were 13 kilotons of fallout during the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
This is obviously a huge health risk and Zabarte, who lives in Las Vegas but runs a healing center in Death Valley, is understandably angry. Although he is engaging and friendly, a sense of rage regularly creeps into his voice as he becomes more animated by the injustices suffered by his people. But he never feels sorry for himself; there is always an aura of steel of defiance.
The Shoshone signed the Ruby Valley Treaty in 1863, which ceded certain rights to the United States. But they did not give up their land. “We would not have signed a treaty that would end with our ultimate destruction” Zabarte told RT.
According to the tribe, the testing program killed thousands of people and many developed a range of cancers and diseases.
Zabarte’s grandfather’s skin fell off due to an autoimmune deficiency and he died soon after of a heart attack. Other family members had pacemakers installed at a very young age, while her cousin’s twins died at the age of 11.
“My family has a high incidence of thyroid cancer, but we don’t follow these people – we don’t have the capacity,” he explained.
“The United States does not want to study our own negative health consequences. [It] would be no different than Nazi Germany studying the health consequences of their tests on the Jewish people. It is far from fair. We have to do it ourselves and we need help.
The Shoshone have no medical equipment or computer databases to track their population. Thus, deaths due to suspicious conditions are usually not recorded. Additionally, the Shoshone are traditionally proud people, so not all of them talk about their health issues.
Although the nuclear tests went underground in 1962, even that was not sure.
As Zabarte explained, “Even though it went underground, a breakdown took place and we don’t know where this fallout went.”
This is confirmed by the Mighty Oak incident, a botched test that destroyed $ 32 million in equipment in April 1986. It was weeks before Chernobyl and pundits claim that the US government cleared away the radiation under it. covered that everyone would assume they were from the Soviet disaster.
“The Department of Energy does not consider this to be an accident because they manually released the gas inside the underground chamber where the weapon exploded. He went around the world and pushed the radiation from Chernobyl back to the United States ”, Zabarte said.
Of course, the United States is not the only country to have carried out nuclear tests. The United Kingdom also used the lands of the Western Shoshone, in 24 tests which were joint operations with the United States. France carried out 210 nuclear tests in Algeria and the South Pacific from 1960 to 1996. And the Soviet Union used the Semipalatinsk site in Kazakhstan until 1989 to carry out its tests.
But even to this day, a lot of covert activity continues in the Shoshone lands, as evidenced by JANET flights flying regularly from Las Vegas to the 51 classified area. (The call sign stands for Just Another Non-Existent Terminal).
There is also the controversial issue of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, originally planned in 1987 and later approved by the Obama administration, which the Shoshone have blocked. It is intended to store highly radioactive waste.
Zabarte has a US Department of Energy study for the project which he says refers to “Cultural triage” defined as “A situation of forced choice in which an ethnic group is faced with the decision to rank as importance cultural resources of equal value that could be affected by a proposed development project. “
He adds that this triage could be “Emotionally trying for the Indian”. The United Nations backed these claims in a 2006 report, and Zabarte believes they sum up perfectly the problems faced by his people.
“We have a deliberate act by the United States government to dismantle the ways of life of my people, my family, in relation to our property, our sacred land.
“The United States has developed a systematic process to ethnically cleanse us from this land, so that they take all the profits and give them to other Americans,” he said. “In order to prove the genocide that we have to consider, what is the intention? It’s the culture of secrecy, it’s intention.
A prime example of how the lives of the Shoshone were eradicated came in 1971 with the Wild Horse Free Range Act. As Zabarte explained: “Politicians in Washington DC defined our Indian horses as wild and began to attack our ranchers, who have the treaty right as hunters or shepherds to have cattle.
“The United States Bureau of Land Management has determined that our horses, cows, cattle are destroying the land. But the land was destroyed by the fallout from nuclear weapons testing, and the United States government blamed the Shoshone people. “
There is no economy or sustainable lifestyle, and the nearest town is 130 kilometers away. “I have nothing on my reservation to go back” said Zabarte, who can trace his direct descendants to the Kawich region, which is home to Area 51. “They stole my horses, they stole my livelihood. There are no jobs, there are no opportunities; the United States has stolen our economy, our hunting, our fishing… and made us intruders in our own country.
But the reserve is only a tiny part of all of Shoshone territory. The rest is used by the US government and the public, sometimes without their knowledge. People buy homes and live on land the Shoshone feel they need to control, but all taxes from economic activity go to the United States. The Shoshone have no rights over it.
“The United States can’t prove ownership of it, but they come into our country and provide tax money to the state of Nevada, and the state of Nevada takes that money and gives it to everyone else.” non-Shoshone local government units, and we got nothing. It is taxation without representation ”, said Zabarté.
Despite the obvious sense of injustice, he feels obligated to warn Americans who live in or pass through the Shoshone Nation of the danger it presents.
“My grandfather always said ‘don’t raise dust’ because of radioactive fallout. I care about these people because of this Peace and Friendship Treaty, and I have an obligation to provide help and comfort to other passing Americans. But I watch them picking up dust in their all-terrain vehicles and they most likely expose themselves. There is also plutonium in a lot of the roofs of their houses. “
The key for Zabarte is awareness. The more people know about the country’s history and understand the problem, the more likely it is that meaningful action will be taken. This could involve providing medical surveillance and counseling the next generation on how to protect themselves.
Zabarte also wants to build momentum so that the Shoshone, including his own son, can have access to all of their land and create a functioning economy that matches their traditions.
“We must continue to educate our people that the next generation has no safe place to live; we have these little reserves and they are colonies created by the United States. They only exist to the extent that the United States provides the funding. We have no way of surviving on our own land.
He is a man on a mission and he sacrificed his life to shoulder this burden. “I have dignity and my family has dignity and that is what I am fighting for. These assholes are not going to come out of it.