WASHINGTON -- May 20 -- The Observatory of French Nuclear Weapons/CDRPC has published, in its periodical Damoclès, copies of hitherto secret official documents on French nuclear testing in Polynesia. The documents, which date from 1966 and 1967, speak of significant radioactive fallout on the islands and inhabited atolls near Moruroa, and in particular on the island of Mangareva in the Gambier archipelago. Signed by officials in the military hierarchy who assured islanders that the testing was harmless, they recommend keeping the extent of the contamination secret and leaving residents in ignorance.
The Observatory decided to release the documents because of the continuing refusal of the French government to let the truth about the tests be known. In February 2005 independent epidemiologists released a report showing that abnormalities in chromosomes were three times greater in Polynesians suffering from thyroid cancer than in a control group of European patients. Nevertheless, at the beginning of April, the official French liaison committee to coordinate the medical follow-up of the French nuclear tests, stated that the probability of observing an impact from ionizing radiation appears to be small.
As a result of the revelations in Damoclès, the Polynesian organization Moruroa e tatou and the mayor and residents of Gambier have filed with the French minister of defense a request that applicants be given access to all information and documents that would allow them to understand the impact of the tests on their health and on the health of their descendents. They are acting in consultation with their lawyer Jean-Paul Teissonnière and are supported by the Observatory/CDRPC and the Association of Nuclear Test Veterans (AVEN).
A translation into English of a May 17 press release from Polynesia and of an editorial that opens the May issue of Damoclès, which prints the documents, are posted on Earth Islands web site at www.earthisland.org/yggdrasil/news.html. The report in French can be ordered from the website of the Observatory/CDRPC, www.obsarm.org.