Why doubt the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

It’s got nothing to do with atoms.
Werner Heisenberg [2]

The detonation of the nuclear bomb above Hiroshima marks the beginning of the ‘atomic age.’ Isn’t this an incontrovertible historic fact? Most people probably would say so. Yet, there were those who refused to believe it, at least in the beginning; and among them were leading nuclear physicists, including Werner Heisenberg [2, p. 116]. In time, however, they and the world at large were persuaded that the story was true. Why doubt it?

The story of the atomic bomb is certainly replete with astonishing achievements. The principle of nuclear fission was discovered only in 1938. At that time, no methods existed for isolating the fissile isotope 235U,1 which is only a minor constituent of natural uranium, but which must be almost pure for building a bomb. Even if highly enriched 235U had immediately been available, one would think that first investigating its properties and behavior, then applying this new knowledge to the design of a novel bomb, and finally testing that bomb, should have taken considerable time. Indeed, some fairly preliminary experiments were going on as late as 1944. Morton Camac, a physicist who had just joined the ‘Manhattan Project’ fresh out of college, recounts:2

I participated in an experiment in which Uranium 235 placed in a plastic bag was dropped down the middle of a sphere with hydrocarbons. The purpose was to determine the critical setup using only the neutrons from the reaction and not from the radioactive atoms. … The amount of Uranium was increased with each dropping. In the final dropping the neutron growth rate was so fast that the plastic melted … We were lucky that we were not killed.

This simple procedure of trial and error differs a little from the mental picture I had formed, which featured genius theoreticians with furrowed brows, deducing the exact critical mass and the time course of the detonation from first principles alone; equipped with only chalk and blackboard, and with the largest coffeemaker the world had ever seen. Yet, only one year after this venturesome experiment, American ingenuity emerged triumphant: the first ever uranium bomb, though never once tested before,3 went off without a hitch to obliterate Hiroshima. Does this really sound true to life, or rather like something out of Hollywood? Should we censure Heisenberg for spontaneously calling it a bluff?

Of course, this question cannot be settled by insinuations, but only by the evidence; and that is what I will attempt in this book. Before going any further, however, I should point out that the book before you is not the first one to argue that the ‘nuclear bomb’ in Hiroshima was a fraud. A recent work entitled “Death Object: Exploding the Nuclear Weapons Hoax” [1] makes the same case, yet goes beyond it to reject the existence of nuclear weapons altogether. Its author, Akio Nakatani (apparently a pen name), claims to be an expert in applied mathematics, and furthermore to have carried out his own computer simulations of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb designs, which show that these bombs could not have worked. He does, however, not describe these calculations in detail:

Though I could nuke the entire orthodoxy with the scientific result … unfortunately due to archaic USA national security laws … I cannot present that openly, [therefore] I am doing the next best thing, which is to compile … the voluminous circumstantial evidence.

Nakatani generalizes his findings to conclude that nuclear bombs are impossible in principle. He indeed presents ample evidence to demonstrate that the systematic fakery goes well beyond Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I highly recommend his book. However, I will here take a somewhat different approach: instead of addressing the subject of atomic weapons in its entirety, which I am not competent to do,4 I will focus on the scientific and medical evidence pertaining to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which I will examine at greater depth. The findings will neither supersede nor merely duplicate Nakatani’s work, but rather they will complement it.

Apart from some general works, several of which I hesitate to call ‘nonfiction’, the sources for this book are mostly scientific books and peer-reviewed articles, all of which are publicly available and have been carefully referenced. In this chapter, I will present some selected pieces of evidence; each of the topics thus introduced, and others, will be treated at greater length in later chapters.


An expert witness on the signs of destruction in Hiroshima

Alexander P. de Seversky (Figure 1.1) was a Russian-American pilot and also an eminent aeronautical engineer. After the end of World War II, he was sent on an official mission to report on the results of the Allied bombing campaigns in Germany and Japan. On this tour, he also visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He describes his impressions from this visit in his work Air power: key to survival [5]. The following is quoted from the ninth chapter of his book:

I was keyed up for my first view of an atom-bombed city, prepared for the radically new sights suggested by the exciting descriptions I had read and heard. But to my utter astonishment, Hiroshima from the air looked exactly like all the other burned-out cities I had observed!

Within an area defined by black, undestroyed houses there was the familiar pink carpet,5 about two miles in diameter. What is more, precisely as in Yokohama, Osaka, or Kobe, it was dotted with buildings still standing erect, with charred trees, poles, and other objects. All but one of the steel and concrete bridges were intact. A cluster of modern concrete buildings in the downtown section stood upright and seemingly undamaged. … 

I had heard about buildings instantly consumed by unprecedented heat. Yet here were buildings structurally intact, with outside and stone facings in place. What is more, I found them topped by undamaged flag poles, lightning rods, painted railings, air-raid sirens, and other fragile objects. Clearly they had weathered the blast and somehow escaped the infernal heat, as well as the alleged super-hurricane thousand-mile-an-hour wind.

For two days I examined Hiroshima. I drove to T Bridge, which had been the aiming point for the atomic bomb. In its environs I looked for the bald spot where everything presumably had been vaporized or boiled to dust in the twinkling of an eye. It wasn’t there or anywhere else in the city. I searched for other traces of phenomena that could reasonably be tagged “unusual.” I couldn’t find them.

An expert witness on the signs of destruction in Hiroshima
Figure 1.1: Alexander P. de Seversky at his desk. A photograph that shows him with Harry Truman is in the background, and a copy of his book cited here [5] is in the foreground. The Wikipedia page on de Seversky lists several of his books, but this one is conspicuous by its absence.

In his subsequent chapter, entitled Atomic hysteria and common sense, de Seversky writes about the reactions to his report from Hiroshima in the United States:

The story sketched in the preceding chapter obviously was different from the one then being told virtually in unison by press, radio, and scientists. Against the prevailing hyperbole it must have sounded more incredible than I suspected. But it was the only story I could conscientiously tell when I was questioned by newspapermen in Tokyo and back home in America.

I did not “underrate” the atom bomb or dispute its future potential. Certainly I did not dismiss lightly the infernal horror visited on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As an engineer, I limited myself to an analysis of the demolition accomplished by particular bombs exploded in a particular way. These one-man observations I embodied in a formal report to the Secretary of War, who released it to the public. In addition I wrote several articles on the subject.

Whereupon all hell broke loose over my sinful head. My findings were pounced upon by all sorts of people in angry fury, on the air, in the press, at public forums; scientists who hadn’t been within five thousand miles of the atomized cities solemnly issued condemnations of my heretical views. Almost for the first time in my career I found myself in the position of a “conservative” under fire from “extremists.”

As is clear from de Seversky’s protestations, he did not question the reality of the atomic bombs. His only ‘sin’ was to faithfully report the lack of evidence of their distinct and apocalyptic effects; the bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had impressed him in much the same way as the many cities destroyed by conventional air bombing which he had visited before.

We will return to the question of what visible traces a nuclear blast should or should not have left behind in Chapter 13; here, we will simply note that the visible signs of Hiroshima’s destruction were compatible with a conventional bombing raid. Let us now sample some proper, quantifiable physical evidence.


The missing uranium

The Hiroshima bomb (‘Little Boy’) purportedly contained some 64 kg of total uranium, within which the fissile 235U isotope was enriched to 80%; this corresponds to approximately 50 kg of 235U. Furthermore, of those 50 kg, less than 1 kg is said to actually have fissioned. Where did the other 49 kg go?6

Several scientific studies have looked for this uranium, but all have come up short. One such study was carried out by Shizuma et al. [6]. The authors obtained samples from an interior plaster board of a house whose roof had been blown off in the attack, and which had been soiled by the notorious ‘black rain’ that came down a short while after the bombing. The plaster board in question is shown in Figure 1.2.

The traces left by the black rain were analyzed for uranium using mass spectrometry, which separates chemical elements and their isotopes according to atomic weight. Because uranium has significant abundance in nature,7 the question arises how much, if any, of the uranium detected in the samples might be due to natural background, and how much is derived from the bomb. Since natural uranium contains >99% 238U, while bomb uranium should be 80% 235U, this question can readily be answered: the higher the isotope ratio 235U /238U in the sample, the greater the fraction of bomb uranium.

The missing uranium
Figure 1.2: Plaster board contaminated with black rain streaks (photograph taken from [6]). Circles indicate locations that were sampled. Sample 3—the sample that yielded the highest amounts of the telltale isotopes (see text)—is located not on the face of the board but rather on its upper edge.

What is the answer?

In most of the samples studied, the isotope ratio deviated only very slightly from the natural one, indicating negligible amounts of bomb-derived uranium. The highest ratio was observed with a sample taken from the upper edge of the plaster board, which unlike the face of the board had not been wiped down by the house’s residents. The ratio observed in this sample—0.88%, vs. 0.72% in natural uranium—indicates that, of the total uranium in the sample, just 0.2% would be derived from the bomb.

This value surely is surprisingly low; so low, in fact, that one might wonder if these samples contained any bomb-derived uranium at all. Could it be that those black stripes were not what they were believed to be—that they had no relation to the black rain at all? Two arguments can be raised against this. Firstly, mass spectrometry is highly accurate—a deviation in the uranium isotope ratio as high as observed would not arise through a statistical fluke.

Secondly, in addition to 235U, the authors also detected small amounts of radioactive cesium (137Cs) in those same samples. This isotope is one of the main products of nuclear fission. Its radioactive half-life is much shorter than those of 235U and 238U—only 30 years. This is far too short for it to occur in nature; therefore, 137Cs is a telltale sign of artificial, man-made nuclear fission.

Should neither of the above arguments satisfy you, be advised that the number reported by Shizuma et al. [6]—bomb-derived uranium amounting to just 0.2% of the natural background—is the highest figure reported in any of the studies on Hiroshima fallout that I could find. Thus, if we reject this number as invalid for being too low, we must reject all those other studies also, and we are left without any evidence at all of 235U in the fallout.

We can conclude that both 235U and 137Cs fell upon Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The very low abundance of 235U in the fallout, however, fits very poorly with the story of the purported nuclear blast, and indeed this notion will be laid to rest altogether by a more in-depth analysis of published scientific data in Chapter 3. For now, let us turn to some witness testimony about the event itself. Surely, those dramatic accounts of a singularly violent explosion will tell the story, and obviate the need to puzzle over dirt on plaster boards?


Eyewitness accounts of the attack

Eye witnesses of the bomb are unanimous that the atomic bomb produced an intense, blinding flash, quickly followed by an enormous bang. Or are they? Consider this quote from John Hersey’s famous book, Hiroshima [7]:

Then a tremendous flash of light cut across the sky. Mr. Tanimoto has a distinct recollection that it traveled from east to west, from the city towards the hills. It seemed a sheet of sun. … He felt a sudden pressure, and then splinters and pieces of board and fragments of tile fell on him. He heard no roar. (Almost no one in Hiroshima recalls hearing any noise of the bomb. But a fisherman … saw the flash and heard a tremendous explosion; he was nearly twenty miles from Hiroshima.)

Whether nuclear or not, it is astonishing that an explosion should be audible from twenty miles away, but inaudible from almost directly underneath it. Could it be that all those close to the detonation simply had their ears shattered before they even could perceive the sound? Apparently not—Ishikawa et al. [8, p. 126] state that only 1% of all hospitalized patients in Hiroshima had ruptured eardrums (but 8% of those in Nagasaki; both values are within the range observed in conventional bombings [9]).

Another interesting source is Keller [10], an American physician who was working in Japan during the fall of 1945. He writes:

The information presented in this report was obtained from studies on 21 patients who were admitted to the Osaka University Hospital in late August and early September 1945 suffering from an alarming malady designated atomic bomb disease by the Japanese. I observed, examined and followed approximately half of the patients, while information on the remaining patients was taken from the hospital records.

Only 5 patients recalled experiencing a definite concussion wave at the time of the atomic bomb explosion. One of the 5 who was in a wooden building about 50 meters from the center of the explosion was thrown 12 feet by the blast as the building collapsed. The 2 victims who were outdoors had contrasting experience in that 1 was knocked unconscious while the other 1 felt no blast.

Three patients recall hearing a noise “like the sound of an explosion.” One described a noise that sounded “like a falling bomb,” and 2 said the noise they heard at the time of the atomic bomb explosion was a sound “like rain.” Two stated that they heard no definite sound of an explosion, while the remaining 13 were uncertain.

Nine patients were conscious of a “flash of light” when the bomb exploded. One of the 9 described the light as being green. Three of the remaining 12 patients experienced no sensation of light, while the other 9 case records do not specify one way or the other.

There is no need to belabor the stark contrasts in this testimony, but I do want to draw your attention to the first of Keller’s patients—the one who was just 50 meters from the hypocenter, shielded from radiation by nothing more than a wooden house. If there had indeed been a proper nuclear detonation, he should have been killed immediately, or at least very rapidly, by the blast, the heat, and the radiation; but here he is, some four weeks later: hospitalized and ‘alarmingly’ ill, but alive enough to tell the tale.8

The remainder of Keller’s article consists of clinical and laboratory findings on what he interprets as radiation sickness. When examined in detail, such observations also fail to support crucial aspects of the official story, as will be shown in Chapter 8. For now, we note that the available witness testimony on the blast and the flash expected of a proper nuclear detonation is inconsistent.

One aspect that we have not yet considered is the ‘mushroom cloud’ that rose above Hiroshima during and after the attack. The first thing to note is that such clouds—referred to as flammagenitus or pyrocumulus clouds—are not limited to nuclear detonations, but are also seen above wildfires or burning cities. In fact, even the New York Times, in a piece entitled “The Hiroshima Mushroom Cloud That Wasn't” [11], has claimed that the mushroom cloud above Hiroshima was caused by the burning of the city rather than the nuclear detonation. However, eyewitnesses report that a large, mushroom-like cloud formed very early on in the attack, before large-scale fires had broken out in the city. Various ingredients likely to have been used in the creation of this cloud will be discussed in Section 13.1.4.


What really happened on that day?

If we maintain that no actual nuclear blast occurred at Hiroshima, we must provide an alternate explanation for the destruction, the radioactive fallout (small as it may be), and also for the medical findings in numerous victims that broadly resemble those of exposure to intense irradiation. These questions are also discussed by Nakatani [1], who proposes that the city was destroyed by a conventional bombing raid.


Phony nuclear detonations

Nakatani discusses a non-nuclear pyrotechnical scenario for the ‘flash’, which, even though not perceived by all witnesses, does seem to figure more commonly in victim testimony than the ‘bang’. He suggests that photoflash bombs were used—perhaps of the AN-M46 type. Indeed, quite a few witnesses liken the impression to that of a photographer’s flash, such as for example Toyofumi Ogura [12, p. 15]:

I saw, or rather felt, an enormous bluish white flash of light, as when a photographer lights a dish of magnesium.

Spectacular though it was, the light emitted by this flash must have been considerably less intense than that of a real nuclear detonation, as we will see in Section 10.2.

The ‘bang’ was probably not created by a single detonation but by several separate large bombs burst in the air. This is discussed in some more detail in Section 13.1.2.


Destruction of the cities with incendiary bombs

Most buildings in Japanese cities were constructed from wood. Consequently, in their conventional bombing raids, the Americans relied mostly on incendiaries, which according to the U.S. Strategic bombing survey [13] included both ‘oil-gel’ (napalm) and thermite-magnesium bombs. As we shall see later, only the use of napalm is supported by strong evidence. Even though scattered, some witness reports of incendiary bombs falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be found; but as will be discussed in Section 13.2, most bombs were likely detonated already in the air, and only a small number reached the ground.


Dispersal of reactor waste to create some fallout

Finally, Nakatani posits that some radioactivity—probably reactor waste—was dispersed using conventional explosives, relating that such a device—known as a ‘dirty bomb’—had previously been tested in New Mexico. Chapter 3 will show that scattered reactor waste fits the published scientific findings on ‘Little Boy’s’ radioactive fallout much better than does the official story of a nuclear detonation.


Use of mustard gas to fake ‘radiation sickness’

Keller [10] reports that many Hiroshima victims suffered from bone marrow suppression and other symptoms that are commonly observed in patients exposed to strong irradiation, be it by accident or for treatment; and these statements are confirmed by many other medical case studies and surveys. The very low amount of dispersed radioactive material apparent from studies such as Shizuma et al. [6] cannot account for these observations.

Nakatani recognizes this incongruity and proposes that clinical reports of radiation sickness are mostly fabricated, although he suggests that a dirty bomb might have produced some real cases. I concur in principle that much of the science that surrounds this event is fraudulent, and I will discuss some specific examples in later chapters. However, the medical reports are too numerous and come from too many independent sources to be so nonchalantly dismissed, and in fact they can be readily explained by the use of poison gas. Eyewitness testimony from Hiroshima is replete with references to poisonous gas and its deleterious effects. Among 105 witnesses who experienced the Hiroshima bombing as school age children, and whose memories were collected and published by the Japanese teacher Arata [14], 13 explicitly mention poisonous gas or fumes.9 One of them, Hisato Itoh, died shortly after writing his account, which contains this statement:

Both my mother and I had been through a great deal of strain during this time … and then we also started to feel listless and began to lose our hair because we had breathed the gases when the atom bomb fell.

The possible use of poison gas was brought up early on by Dr. Masao Tsuzuki, the leading Japanese member on the U.S.-Japanese ‘Joint Commission’ of medical scientists convened to investigate the aftermath of the bombing. The historian Sey Nishimura [15] quotes from a 1945 article by Tsuzuki:

Immediately after the explosion of the atomic bomb, some gas permeated, which appeared like white smoke with stimulating odor. Many reported that when inhaled, it caused acute sore throat or suffocating pain.

According to Nishimura, Tsuzuki’s position concerning the gas attracted the attention of the U.S. military censors, who, for violation of their rule that “news must be factual, devoid of conjecture,” struck out the following passage from his manuscript:

Considering from various points, generation of something like poisonous gas accompanying the explosion operation is conceivable, and it is not hard to conjecture that there were perhaps war victims who died of these poisons. At present we have no clue whether it was devised on purpose so as to radiate something like poisonous gas. If I have a chance, I’d like to put a question to America on this matter.

Again according to Nishimura, Tsuzuki nevertheless reaffirmed his position in another report six years later:

Everyone experienced inhalation of a certain indescribable malodorous gas. This may be considered city stench, which was induced by fierce wind from the explosion; a part of it might have originated from electrolytes generated by application of radioactivity to air. What this so-called “gas” is, is not clear. But it is not unthinkable that it could be invasive to the human body.

Tsuzuki’s conjecture on the radiogenic origin of the gas is sound in principle: ionizing radiation traveling through air can indeed produce pungent, aggressive gases such as ozone and oxides of nitrogen. However, assuming that no nuclear detonation actually happened, we can rule out this possibility, which means that any poisonous gas present must have been dropped in finished form during the air raid. It is interesting to note that the first independent journalist to report from Hiroshima, the Australian Wilfred Burchett [16],10 also brings up poison gas:

My nose detected a peculiar odour unlike anything I have ever smelled before. It is something like sulphur, but not quite. I could smell it when I passed a fire that was still smouldering, or at a spot where they were still recovering bodies from the wreckage. But I could also smell it where everything was still deserted.

The gas plagued the people even four weeks after the event:

And so the people of Hiroshima today are walking through the forlorn desolation of their once proud city with gauze masks over their mouths and noses.

The Japanese interviewed by Burchett conflated it with radioactivity:

They believe it [the smell] is given off by the poisonous gas still issuing from the earth soaked with radioactivity released by the split uranium atom.

Their conjecture on the origin of the gas must be false, for there is no plausible mechanism by which radiation or fallout from a nuclear bomb could produce this sort of lingering fumes.11 However, this should not mislead us into discounting their perceptions altogether; surely no one toiling in hot summer weather will wear a face mask without reason. What kind of gas would fit this entire scenario?

The most likely candidate is sulfur mustard, which had been used as a chemical weapon in World War I, and which was so used again more recently by Iraq in its war against Iran. Sulfur mustard mimics both the acute and the chronic effects of radiation on the human body. In particular, like radiation, mustard gas damages the bone marrow, the hair follicles, and other rapidly proliferating tissues; and this commonality was already well understood at the time [17].12

An oily fluid, sulfur mustard can evaporate slowly over time; its smell resembles that of ‘garlic, addled eggs, or oil-roasted vegetables’ [19] and is also sometimes described as sulfuric. It can persist in the environment for considerable periods of time [20], which would explain that Burchett still noted its stench and its effects when he visited Hiroshima in early September.


Preparedness of the U.S. military for the use of mustard gas

The U.S. had stockpiled sulfur mustard in World War II and had even conducted experiments on some of their own soldiers.13

In 1943, numerous U.S. servicemen and civilians had been killed by the poison in the Italian port city of Bari after a German air attack struck an American military transport ship which had carried a large consignment of aerial bombs filled with mustard gas.14 This disaster would have been fresh on the minds of the military brass when plans for the fake nuclear bombings were first sketched out.15

While the effects of mustard gas resemble those of radiation in several ways, there nonetheless are differences between the two. A nuclear detonation will produce radiation predominantly in the form of γ-rays and of neutrons, both of which are highly penetrating and thus have marked effects on rapidly proliferating tissues deep inside the body; they will destroy the bone marrow at dosages well below those that will severely harm the skin, the lungs, and even the intestines, although these are second in susceptibility only to the bone marrow. Mustard gas, in contrast, must be taken up through the skin or the mucous membranes of the lungs or intestines, and in the process it will produce marked and early symptoms of damage to these organs. You may have read accounts like the following, again taken from John Hersey [7]:

The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. … He reached down and took a woman by the hands, but her skin slipped off in huge, glove-like pieces.

While standard lore explains such lesions as thermal ‘flash burns’ caused by the light radiating from the bomb, they really do not fit that description. Instead, they are strikingly similar to those described by the military physician Alexander [22] in the mustard gas victims at Bari:

In many cases large areas of the superficial layers of the epidermis were separated from their deeper layers and torn loose … The pathologists repeatedly noted that these layers of the skin were dislodged upon handling of the body … As the superficial skin layers were stripped loose they often took their surface hair with them.

Similar descriptions were given by other physicians [27,28]. The characteristic skin lesions are but one sign that distinguishes mustard gas poisoning from true radiation sickness; there are others, which may be less graphic yet are no less specific and decisive. As we will see later, clinical and pathological reports from Hiroshima contain a wealth of evidence that clearly points to sulfur mustard or a closely similar poisonous gas, rather than radiation, as the cause of ‘radiation sickness’ among the victims in Hiroshima.

Alexander further notes:

Thermal burns were readily distinguished from the chemical burns. There were a small number of cases that sustained minor thermal burns in addition to their mustard injuries.

Thermal burns must have occurred in those victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki whose wooden houses had been set afire and collapsed around them. In addition, however, it is likely that many of the burns were inflicted by napalm or a similar incendiary; this will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 9.

In summary, therefore, the thesis of this book as to what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is similar to that of Nakatani [1], but augmented with sulfur mustard, which was used to mimic in the victims the symptoms of exposure to strong radiation.


The evidence in the case

While the physical and medical evidence will be more fully presented in later chapters, it is useful to consider beforehand how different kinds of findings relate to the overall case.


Evidence that directly disproves the nuclear detonation

Some findings prove that physical and medical effects expected of the purported nuclear detonation did not in fact occur. Among the examples introduced above, we can cite the absence of characteristic signs of destruction in the city (Section 1.1), the lack of 235U in the fallout (Section 1.2), and the survival of people who were practically right at the hypocenter, protected from the blast and the radiation by nothing more than a Japanese style wooden house (Section 1.3).

Another important finding in this category is the absence of retinal lesions in survivors who reported having looked directly at the flash. As we will see in Section 10.2, there are both case reports and experimental studies to show that these survivors should all have had their retinas severely burned and scarred, had they indeed looked at a real nuclear detonation.


Evidence that cannot be accounted for by the atomic bomb

The official story of Hiroshima states that the city was destroyed by a single atomic bomb and nothing else. Thus, any kind of destruction or trauma that is not explained by this single bomb also contradicts the official story, even though it does not disprove the detonation of an atomic bomb outright.

A crucial finding in this category is the occurrence of ‘radiation sickness’ among those who were not close to the alleged bomb detonation. All orthodox sources on the effects of the Hiroshima bomb—see for example Okajima et al. [29], and Cullings et al. [30]—agree that levels of radiation sufficient to induce acute radiation sickness occurred only during the detonation itself, and within at most 2,000 m of the hypocenter;16 in contrast, the residual radioactivity due to fallout and neutron capture remained below this threshold both at the hypocenter and in the Koi area of the city, which is some 2 km from the hypocenter yet received the highest levels of fallout. Nevertheless, numerous cases of ‘radiation sickness’ have been reported in people who were more than 2,000 m away from the ‘blast’ or even outside the city altogether. The victims within this group often fell sick after participating in rescue and recovery efforts in the inner city shortly after the bombing. Two such cases, both with deadly outcome, are described in an early report by the International Red Cross [32]. Larger statistics that amply support this contention can be found in reports by Oughterson et al. [33] and Sutou [34].


Evidence of the use of mustard gas

This category is a special case of the previous one, but it is important enough to be highlighted separately. In addition to the skin forming blisters and being torn loose (Section 1.4), there is abundant evidence of immediate, acute affliction of the airways and the intestines, which in the course of acute radiation sickness should be affected only at a later stage or not at all. The involvement of these organs is clear both from clinical descriptions and from autopsies of bombing victims.

Importantly, mustard gas also mimics the typical manifestations of radiation sickness such as bone marrow suppression and epilation, and it can persist in the environment for weeks or even months [17,35]. Thus, mustard gas accounts for ‘radiation sickness’ not only in those who were in the city at the time of the bombing, but also in those who entered it in the aftermath. Moreover, it can account for some atypical symptoms which do not fit the textbook pattern of true radiation sickness; it explains the entire picture and succeeds where nuclear radiation falls short.


Experimental evidence of the nuclear detonation

The case for the nuclear bomb is, of course, supported by an endless stream of government-sponsored scientific studies. For example, there are dozens of reports on the formation of 60Co and other radioactive isotopes near the hypocenter, which is ascribed to the capture of neutrons emitted by the nuclear detonation. Similarly, thermoluminescence in samples of ceramic materials is adduced as proof of the γ-irradiation released by the detonation.

Taken at face value, such experimental studies indeed prove that a large amount of both γ-rays and neutrons was released at Hiroshima, which clearly supports the story of the nuclear detonation and flatly contradicts the negative evidence discussed above. We are thus forced to choose sides. On what basis can we make this choice?

If we assume that no blast occurred, then we must conclude that the evidence of neutron and γ-radiation is fabricated. This is not technically difficult; in fact, the studies in question commonly employ control and calibration samples that were produced by exposing inactive precursor materials to defined doses of laboratory-generated neutron and γ-radiation. The only difficulty is a moral one—we must accuse either the scientists themselves or a third party, such as a government or its secret service, of substituting artificial samples for the real ones. In this context, it is worth noting that none of the studies I have seen documents the chain of custody of its samples; it is not clear who had access to the samples at which times.

If, on the other hand, we assume that a nuclear blast did occur, and furthermore that only this blast occurred, then we have to conclude that some people inexplicably survived deadly doses of radiation, whereas others succumbed to acute radiation sickness without significant exposure. A third miracle is needed to explain that all people who looked at the flash of the detonation escaped with their retinas unhurt.17

Between moral embarrassment and scientific impossibility, the only sound choice is the former. We all expect the fortitude to make such choices correctly in the members of a jury; here, we should expect the same of ourselves.


Missing evidence

Evidence that has been lost or was not collected in the first place cannot, of course, directly support either side of an argument. It will matter only on a meta-plane, and only to those who would entertain the possibility of its deliberate suppression; readers familiar with the controversies surrounding the Kennedy murders or the twin tower collapses will likely recognize the theme. While in my own view the missing evidence rounds out the case, it is not a logically essential element.

Some choice examples of disappearing evidence are provided by the physicist John A. Auxier [36]. While he remarks that “it is difficult to realize the passion that prevailed after the war for secrecy about all information concerning nuclear bombs,” he nevertheless accepts at face value the official story that had to be nurtured by such secrecy, and he dedicated a large part of his own career to the arduous work of filling the gaps in the accepted picture of the radiation doses released and received at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Considering the great novelty of the atomic bombs, the U.S. military would certainly have been highly interested in measuring exactly the force of their detonations. To this end, the planes dropping these bombs were accompanied by others that dropped instruments for recording the shock waves of the explosions. Since the strength of the shock wave decreases with distance, it was important to know precisely the distance between the bombs and these instruments. However, according to Auxier, this information is missing from the official records:

If there are need, interest, and credentials, information about bombing missions in World War II can be obtained in great detail from Air Force records. For a given mission, the aircraft identification numbers, names of crew members, types of bombs, bombing altitude, winds aloft, approach direction, and indicated and true airspeed can be found. There are, however, at least two exceptions to this … The records for the two most important bombing missions in history are incomplete and inaccurate to a degree beyond comprehension.

In addition to the strength of the explosion, the intensity of the radiation produced should also have been of great interest. It is therefore peculiar that radiation measurements in Hiroshima by American teams began only in October, at a time when most of the radioactivity left behind by the bomb would already have vanished. However, several Japanese teams had on their own initiative performed measurements shortly after the bombings. Among them was a group from Kyoto University that included the physicist Sakae Shimizu, who carried out some very early measurements pertaining to the dose of very high energy neutrons [37]. How did the Americans treat this valuable evidence? Says Auxier:

Unfortunately, soon after the war ended and while Dr. Shimizu’s studies were still underway, the U.S. occupation force confiscated the cyclotron and all apparatus and records that laymen would consider to be related to atomic bomb research. Included in the latter were the radium source [required for calibrating instruments for measuring radiation] and all the notebooks of data. Through the handwritten receipt that had been given Dr. Shimizu, the confiscating officer was identified some 12 years later, and, by the cooperation by the Army records staff, he was located in civilian life. However, soon after receiving the materials from Dr. Shimizu, the officer was ordered back to the United States with little time for an orderly changeover. He turned everything over to a lieutenant colonel or major whose name he could not recall. Further research through Army records has failed to identify this man or to locate any trace of the notebooks or radium source.

Surely an astonishing imbroglio of mishaps and incompetence. It should be added that the Kyoto cyclotron was not merely ‘confiscated’ but physically destroyed, as was every single cyclotron in the country [38,39]. This draconian measure of course severely crippled the Japanese scientists’ ability to carry out any sort of in-depth study on the physical effects of the atomic bombs.18 At the same time, their investigations into the medical effects were hamstrung by the confiscation of all tissue and organ samples that had been collected from bombing victims by Japanese pathologists [41]. These materials were returned to Japan only several decades later; and while in American custody, they made only a single appearance, limited and belated, in the scientific literature [42].

The examples in this section may suffice to outline a map on which to place the various kinds of evidence in the case. In the subsequent chapters, we will explore this evidence at greater depth.


A brief guide to the remaining chapters of this book

Most chapters in this book focus on various aspects of the relevant physical and medical evidence. These chapters are necessarily quite technical in nature. Some background that may help readers to better understand the physical arguments is given in Chapter 2. The most important physical findings are presented in Chapter 3; this evidence alone suffices to reject the story of the nuclear detonations. The remaining physical chapters mostly deal with data which are offered as proof of the nuclear detonation, and which seem to be largely fabricated.

As to the medical evidence, Chapter 7 provides background on mustard gas and napalm, the two key weapons used in the bombings. The evidence presented in Chapters 8 and 9 is sufficient to prove the case for mustard gas and napalm and against nuclear detonations. I believe that they can be understood without much medical background, while Chapters 12 and particularly 10 are more demanding in this regard. Chapter 11 combines physical and medical aspects; its most significant contribution is to illuminate the scientific malfeasance that is used to maintain the deception.

The book concludes with two chapters on the methods and the motives, respectively, of the staged bombings. The arguments presented there are of a more general, less scientific nature than those in the preceding parts. The case presented in the final chapter, in particular, is based largely on inference and plausibility; readers who disagree with its conclusions are asked to judge its merit separately from that of the other, more evidence-based chapters.