I still want to finish my painting of “Legs Like Vines.” However I am also called now to focus on issues of radiation which I want to begin exploring with my art. My family and I and many others were subject to a huge top secret radiation experiment called the Green Run. The Hanford Nuclear Site created the Plutonium for Nagasaki and most of the nuclear bombs for the United States –as well, as it turns out, a great variety of radiation experiments both on animals and humans. How does it relate to now? Well its still going on, with how the nuclear plants at Fukishima continue be subject to yet more earthquakes to spue out radiation while the US responds by simply artificially raising the level of permitted radiation in the atmosphere and, for all intent purposes, stopped testing these levels at all.
The government finally admitted in the mid-1980’s that there even was a “Green Run,” i.e., a release of raw “green” radioactive materials from Hanford into the environment. The numbers vary from between 7000 and 12000 curies of radioactive iodine and at least 20,000 curies of xenon-133 that were released on the night between December 2nd and 3rd, 1949. (Compare this with only 24 curies of radioactive iodine that was released at 3 Mile Island nuclear accident.) I immediately got seriously ill in early December. My mother and siblings all remember how I just wouldn’t stop crying! I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia when my parents observed I just wasn’t getting any better. My mother said previously I had been a very healthy and happy infant.
I was put in isolation at the hospital for over a month. Fortunately I was treated with gamma globulin for “failure to thrive” –likely laced with iodine. This more than likely saved my life, unlike many of my contemporaries who were soon put in their small graves. I was “lucky. ” Years later on my mother told me that a “retired” doctor from the Mayo clinic treated me because he liked the work my father and mother did in the Walla Walla area as archaeologists. Gamma globulin infused with iodine is what the Chernobyl victims were given to counteract high doses of radiation.
Although the government still does not admit its primary reason for having this experiment, it does list the secondary reason. It was to measure how easy or difficult it would be to measure “dirty” radiation and thus detect what the Russians might be doing with their new “dirty” bombs they began experimenting with in the summer of 1949. The US was in a race to stay ahead of the Russians…forgetting meanwhile the human cost of their experimentation.
I just watched a video of Kay Sutherland whose family lives in Walla Walla, WA. She shows how many of the infants who were born around the same time as I was who died, likely due to the Green Run . It is her claim, and now that of many others, that there were several Green Runs, not just one. Both before and after 1949. Kay’s description of the babies who were buried in Walla Walla in the mid 40’s through the 50’s is heart wrenching. It is imbedded in the following file from the Green Road Journal amongst a lot of very interesting information.