When it comes to the truth about radiation and health effects, there are no experts who are honest - not in government, not in science, not anywhere. Yet, people would rather listen to liars than challenge their assumptions about the sources of the so-called truth and disregard the purveyors of actual truth on this topic: the non-creditialed self-taught. - Andrew Kishner, May 18, 2013
You are reading from a free online e-book titled 'Deception, Cover-up and Murder in the Nuclear Age.' The book discusses the Trinity test, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hydrogen bomb testing fallout, U.S. experiments done on Marshall Islanders (Project 4.1), the Irene Allen trial, Cosmos 954, the Fukushima meltdowns, Three Mile Island updates, and so much more. Visit the Table of Contents to find this free content.
Footnotes are located at the end of each chapter - press the (right facing) 'PAGE' button icon until you reach the footnotes page, or locate it via the table of contents
During peacetime, military biological research is constrained by laws and medical ethics, and so animals are frequently used as surrogates to determine and assess the implications of using a military weapon or related weapons effect on humans.
It is usually during wartime that laws and ethics are quickly thrown out the window and humans are subjected to inhumane treatment as prisoners, as workers and even as guinea pigs. Military researchers in Japan and Germany during World War II used human captives to carry out a wide range of unlawful, inhumane and bewildering experiments. For example, German scientists used prisoners in their study of how humans can biologically survive new or anticipated military scenarios. Nazi doctors, such as Sigmund Rascher, wanted to estimate the survivability of German pilots and sailors 'who might find themselves ditched in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean or marooned in some frozen waste above the Arctic Circle in Norway, Finland or northern Russia' and who 'had to be saved if possible.'1 Rascher subjected dozens of healthy Jews to his 'freezing experiments,' which resulted in death or mental insanity - those made insane from the torture were simply shot dead. Rascher also 'took to performing on his human guinea pigs at Dachau what he termed 'warming experiments.' What was the best method, he wanted to know, for warming a frozen man and thus possibly saving his life?' Complementing freezing studies were experiments relating to survivability in high altitudes. Nazi doctors subjected inmates and Jews to on-the-ground experiments involving extremely low atmospheric pressures to understand what happens to German pilots when they veer into the upper levels of the atmosphere. The subjects' eyeballs often burst.1
The Japanese military put their POW subjects through similarly unimaginable and hellish ordeals. POWs were 'burned with flamethrowers, blown up with shrapnel...', dissected alive, blended up in centrifuges, subjected to human transfusions using horse blood, and on and on. 2
So, what about the U.S.? During the 1950s, the new weapons technology was the atom bomb and U.S. military radiation researchers wanted to know how their troops and citizens would behave and biologically react in the event of a nuclear war or nuclear detonation. Holly Barker, author and long-time advocate for the Rongelap Islanders - whose Pacific island was irreversibly tainted by the radiation from a U.S. hydrogen bomb blast - has claimed that the motive for the U.S.'s decades-long medical 'study' - and mistreatment - of the Rongelapese was to answer the 'pressing question...[of how to] predict the consequences for U.S. troops or U.S. citizens exposed to radiation in the event of nuclear war.' (source). The Rongelapese, who had no access to independent medical advice or therapeutic care, naively believed U.S. medical researchers' claims that past and continuing exposures didn't place them in harm's way as they stayed on their radioactive atoll for nearly three decades before a dramatic self-evacuation in 1985.
Arguably the best example of how ethics and law were thrown out the window during a U.S. military radiation research project was an event that happened in 1957 in the state of Nevada.
In 1947, the U.S.-led Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission was formed to assess the localized health consequences from the atomic attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.3 One of the nagging problems of this still-continuing research effort was the lack of scientific data of the radiation levels on the ground and doses received at the time of the two atomic attacks.
In the mid-1950s, U.S. government scientists in Nevada took it upon themselves to estimate these doses by undertaking efforts such as Project 39.5 or 'Radiation Dosimetry for Human Exposures' which was described in a government document as a project that would collect 'information on the characteristics of neutron and gamma radiations at various distances from ground zero to evaluate the doses received by the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.' Project 39.5 also involved the construction of light-frame houses similar to those found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki near ground-zeros of atomic blasts in Nevada to study the 'shielding' effects of those homes to an atomic bomb's neutron and gamma rays. Other programs such as Project 39.6 had a purely biological study component - that project exposed animals at close range to bomb blasts to extrapolate the animals' physiological responses in the short and long term of neutron and gamma irradiation to humans.
These radiation measurement and biological study projects were components of various 1950s nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site including the largest-ever atmospheric nuclear test on U.S. soil called 'Shot Hood.' 'Hood' was one of several atom bomb tests that U.S. soldiers saw up close - over 200,000 U.S. servicemen participated in 'atomic battlefield' combat exercises during the 1950s. In 'Hood,' Marines were ordered to march from trenches into the descending debris of the fallout cloud and conduct 'sweeps' and other maneuvers.
On the day of Shot Hood, July 5, 1957, several Marines literally stumbled upon a very disturbing biological study experiment. 'Atomic veteran' Robert Carter, who was there that day, told journalist Carole Gallagher his account of what he witnessed. Gallagher published the account in her book American Ground Zero: the Secret Nuclear War4:
'After the test, some men in the platoon had more reason for shock and dismay. While sweeping the area during their maneuver some of them had seen cages and fenced enclosures. Some contained animals burnt almost beyond recognition. When Carter told me the others held humans in handcuffs chained to the fences, his credibility came under suspicion...Over the next three years, I came across this story again and again from men who participated in shot Hood.'
Marine Sergeant Israel Torres was another 'atomic veteran' who participated in sweeping exercises near the Hood ground-zero. Torres said that after about two hours of walking around melted down tanks and 'other heavy equipment burned to cinders,' his platoon was 'force marched to a place where trucks were waiting' and as his truck began leaving the area he saw the same thing as Carter. Torres:
'[I saw] something else horrible...out there in the desert after we'd been decontaminated and were in our trucks. We'd only gone a short way when one of my men said, "Jesus Christ, look at that!" I looked at where he was pointing, and what I saw horrified me. There were people in a stockade - a chain-link fence with barbed wire on top of it... Their hair was falling out and their skin seemed to be peeling off. They were wearing blue denim trousers but no shirts. When we passed those people - there were ten or twelve - they tried to cover their faces with their hands...Good God, it was scary."5
Torres had been partially buried in his trench immediately following the atomic blast and recalled that after freeing his arms he 'shook all over and began vomiting.' (The 'film badge' that he was wearing had recorded sigificant radiation - it was taken away from him by a lieutenant before he was sent for decontamination.) Torres was later sent to a military hospital for recovery where he shared the story of what he'd seen with a nurse. The next day the doctor questioned him and then others, including one Torres thought was a psychiatrist. Torres recalled: "A couple of nights later they woke me up and gave me a pill to 'help [me] rest more comfortably.'" He was moved the next day to a San Diego hospital, questioned by four men at length, and recalled: "I told the story of the people behind the chain-link fence again. They told me I imagined I saw those people. I said I was telling the truth, and offered to take a lie detector test...One of them called me a liar and forced a large pill down my throat...I must have been kept drugged for days, because I woke up back at Camp Pendleton in the hospital. The day I left to return to my unit a doctor told me not to repeat the "bizarre" story about the people I'd seen. He said if I did, he'd see to it I was thrown out of the corps."5
In 2010, Carole Gallagher told Dr. Helen Caldicott on the radio program 'If You Love This Planet' a follow up to the account published in her book. Gallagher said that after her book was published she pursued the story further and met the man who 'delivered' the men to the U.S. via plane in cages. She said this man told her he flew the men - who were in cages - from Panama via airplane.6
The official 'after-action' report by the (former) Defense Nuclear Agency didn't mention anything about 'human research subjects,' however it alluded to an 'unnumbered project' carried out by a CBR (Chemical, Biological, and Radiological) defense team.7
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cutaneous Injury Fact Sheet for Physicians notes that 'epilation,' which is the condition of hair loss due to exposure to at least 300 Rems of radiation, has a time of onset of 14 to 21 days. If the caged humans were seen not more than a few hours after the Hood nuclear test with their hair falling out, then their exposures must have been far, far greater than 300 Rems. The subjects' physical appearances described by Torres are similar to those described in written and oral accounts of atomic bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many of whom succumbed to death within hours or days resulting from extreme radiation overexposures.
If anything, this short chapter demonstrates that highly immoral medical experiments aren't carried out just by crazy doctors during times of war. The Shot Hood human radiation experiment was carried out during a time of peace by degreed U.S. scientists and doctors who presumably enjoyed long careers in civilian and military life after 1957.
This chapter also raises profound questions about U.S. commitment to human rights. In 1945, the Nuremberg Trials took shape directly as the result of U.S. interest in prosecuting Nazi officials and doctors for war crimes.8 The very first of the war crimes trials, dubbed the 'Medical Trial,' tried nearly two dozen Nazi doctors for "murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science." That was 1945. Twelve years later, American doctors and scientists participating in the Shot Hood human experiment were repeating a similar level of medical barbarousness that American lawyers participating in the Nuremberg effort had denounced. If the U.S. felt so strongly in the mid-20th century about human rights that it worked to define a new international standard against immoral conduct during war, then how did it allow the Hood experiment to happen and remain to this day covered up?
There's more to this story. It involves U.S. involvement in tests on guinea pigs in the 'land down under.' In May 2012, this author wrote Australian Paul Langley a question on this topic and received an email response that was replicated in a post on his blog 'Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog'. In that post, Langley quoted a passage from a speech from 2001 by Philip White of the Australian Peace Committee: 'It is claimed that severely disabled people were sent from Britain to be used as guinea pigs during British atomic tests at Maralinga [Australia] in the 1950s. The physically and mentally disabled people are assumed to have died after exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear explosions. Claims that disabled people were used in experiments to measure the effect of radiation exposure on the human body were examined in the 1985 royal commission into the tests. They were dismissed as unsubstantiated, but Britain's 'Independent' newspaper claims to have uncovered new evidence from a pilot who confirmed he flew disabled people to Australia from Britain.' (Langley said he disagrees with claims that the deaths of the disabled people were due to fallout: 'I think the closest in would have been killed by gamma and neutron effects. Reports indicate the use of bunkers.')
Langley cited sources that indicate that sometime in the late 1980s the former pilot - named Allen Robinson - shared his story with Dr. Bob Jackson, an Australian, after the latter gave a presentation about claims of atomic testing on the disabled. Robinson told Dr. Jackson that he had flown a 'planeload' of disabled people from Britain to the Maralinga test site, adding 'We didn't fly them out again.'
Langley, a veteran, threw in another disturbing twist to the Maralinga legacy in his email and blog-post. He said it was reported to him that Australian Aborigines were involved in similar experiments. He said Australian Aborigines were observed by Australian troops in a 'cyclone compound' and held there overnight but were not seen the next day - which was the day of an atom bomb test. Langley says they 'disappeared...the next day, never to be seen again.' Langley claims these Aboriginals 'were probably used as tests subjects in bunkers immediately adjacent to ground zero.'
A question that has puzzled this author about the Nevada Test Site caged guinea pigs - what has happened to their bodies if, as assumed, they did die - might be put to the Australian story. What happened to the bodies of either the deceased British disabled or Australian Aborigine test subjects? Langley adds another 'layer of unbelievable' to the horror story: 'a senior staff member of the Roma Mitchell Legal Centre told me some years ago that US aircraft flew the bodies of Aboriginal people who were nuclear victims to the USA.'
In the conclusion of his post, Langley observed that the common thread tying together these similar human experiments in Australia and in the U.S. was sewn by the same needle. 'The use of a cyclone enclosure to detain a group of Aboriginal people at Maralinga overnight prior to the detonation of a bomb...is a matter of grave concern and horrifically consistent with the report of the British pilot, Allen Robinson, in relation to the flying out from England of disabled people to the atomic test site Maralinga for use during the bomb tests.' Pointing to evidence demonstrating 'US involvement in the nuclear tests in Australia,' Langley writes 'it is not hard to see that events which occurred in the US also occurred in Australia.' Regarding the experimentation on humans in the lethal range of atomic bomb tests, Langley observes: 'The British tests were a very real duplication of the American ones.'9
Action step: - Ask the United Nations to initiate an investigation into the above allegations; that the United States and Britain during the 1950s committed murders, tortures, and other atrocities on test site human guinea pigs. We believe the U.N. ought to set up a special international criminal tribunal to prosecute the political and military leaders responsible for these heinous acts. Contact the United Nations Secretary General using this email: email@example.com - please use the following salutation: His Excellency Ban Ki-moon Secretary General. Also, contact the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights: Telephone: +41 22 917 9220 Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org
1 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - A History of Nazi Germany' by William L. Shirer - Simon and Schuster, New York, 1960, pp. 988, 990
2 'Prisoners of the Japanese,' Gavan Daws, William Morris and Company, Inc., New York, 1994, pp.258-9
3 'The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Occupied Japan,' Monica Braw, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1991, p.5
4 "American Ground Zero: the Secret Nuclear War," by Carole Gallagher, MIT Press, 1993
5 'Atomic Bomb Testing and the Warner Amendment: A Violation of the Separation of Powers,' Washington Law Review, issue 65, no. 2, April 1990, pp. 290-291
6 Dr. Caldicott's program If You Love This Planet [Program #55 - 'Dr. Helen Caldicott with Carole Gallagher,' Version 1; Date of broadcast: 2/27/2010; 00:40:52 - 00:42:23; http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/40214] The following dialogue took place during Dr. Helen Caldicott's audio interview with Carole Gallagher:
Gallagher: And what Robert Carter [atomic veteran] told me, and I had to get some corroboration from other soldiers, which I did, so, 'cuz it sounded too crazy to me; he said he saw people near ground-zero in cages, like hurricane fence kind of enclosures, handcuffed to the fences with just what was left of their trousers on. So they were doing human experiments. And I started looking into that and it turns out I interviewed the man who lives in Albuquerque who was in charge of the airplane to bring these men from Panama in cages.
Gallagher: ...and bring them to the test site.
Gallagher: Exactly, I ran out of his house. I just didn't want to hear anymore. He was in charge of that. He was also in some of the chemical weapons experiments and he just ripped open his shirt and showed me his chest, which was all scarred from chemical weapons tests in Maryland. So, I've seen it all, you know, I mean, in some ways. And the thing for a journalist is, you know, to verify. So, I had to verify Robert Carter and I got it verified not only by other soldiers who had been there but by the man who actually brought the people to be experimented upon.
7 "Shot Hood - A Test of the Plumbbob Series," DNA 6002F, p.38
8 About the Nuremberg Trials - In October 1945, the allied powers convened the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, to try twenty four high-ranking German government and military officials with war crimes. The evidence revealed during the trials, which lasted 12 months, implicated many more Nazis, and chief prosecutors believed these other individuals should also be tried in a similar forum as the Tribunal. (Evidence attesting to the existence of concentration camps and what went on there was surprisingly scarce: it would later include eyewitnesses and photos taken by Russian 'liberators' of these death camps in the mid-1940s. It was enough to prosecute Nazis and Nazi-accomplices during the Nuremberg Trials). A second set of international proceedings was given the approval by the U.S. President to take place in the same courtroom in Germany, however it would be called the Nuremberg Trials and none of the other allied powers would take part. The first trial - dubbed the 'Medical Trial' - tried 23 defendants, including 20 doctors, with "murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in the name of medical science."
9 'Dave Whyte reports on British actions and Andrew asks a question,' Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog, URL: http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/dave-whyte-reports-on-british-actions-and-andrew-asks-a-question/, accessed August 12, 2012
Webpage of CDC, http://www.bt.cdc.gov/criphysicianfactsheet.asp, accessed on July 30, 2012
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