On December 7th 1993, Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary ordered her department to open classified files covering projects that had involved the use of human beings as guinea pigs since WWII. A major project was initiated to identify relevant documents. The index itself runs to 150 pages.
The following is testimony from Elmer Allen's granddaughter before the President's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, March 1995;
I saw him as a depressing sight. Joyless, unanimated,
with a damaged head and a broken spirit.
During his lifetime, I saw him as a burden rather than as an asset to my grandmother,
as she waited on him, pampered him.
My mother, I recall, resented this treatment while she contended that he
didn't do his share for the family.
She recalled a life of living with a father who, when not on an
alcoholic binge, suffered from frequent seizures which had to be
endured by the rest of the family.
Mu uncle, on the other hand, did not seem resentful,
but I often delt he must have been diappointed in a father
incapable of playing a simple bat and ball game merely
offering a positive life outlook.
My grandmother said it wasn't always like this. She
said my grandfather was once a vibrant and handsome Pullman
porter, a hard worker who wanted only the best for his family.
When I was younger, I liked to do puzzles from the
newspaper, where you find words hidden among randomly-arranged
letters. Since my grandfather spent most of his time sitting
alone, he would sometimes complete these puzzles, we would
sometimes complete these puzzles together, and eventually he
began saving them in a neat stack and worked on completing them
In the sprintime, I saw him take brown paper bags and
make kites for the kids down the street. He once made a pen for
my pet rabbit. He often talked of feelings in his missing leg
and would shudder and make comments like "tyhey must be working on
my leg today".
Years later, when I was home on breaks from college,
the sight of my grandfather was horrible. He seemeed useless and
frail. He had lost more of life's joy. He seemed angry and sad.
The pain was obvious, and he was sometimes furious and irate,
mean and spiteful.
I often have dreams about my grandfather. Before his
death, I had a dream that he was in his old house in a coffin,
open with the body in full view, dead, but alive somehow. After
his death, another dream revealed him through a doorway, sitting
in his wheelchair, looking feeble, yet in good spirits. He
seemed to have a newfound joy, laughing and joking with male
When Eileen Welsomepresented my family with the fact
that this man was indeed CAL-13, a human nuclear guinea pig, I
wondered, could this be the reason, the origin, the root cause of
this depressed character that I considered all along to be my
grand-father. He lived over 40 years without a zest for life and
with a pain i Magine was without equal.
For i understand that the reality of life for the
African American man of the 1940's was already a pre-determined
bleak one, dictated by the white man's tyrannical power of
economics, politics, and, to a certain degree, basic freedom.
Being born a black male was already a handicap, having a limited
education was a forther handicap. Then to add a physical
handicap, due to being basically tricked into donating a body
limb for science.
With all of this in mind, I now understand how alcohol
could relieve his reality, how depression and schizophrenia could
take control of his life, how his feelings of hopelessness
shattered such a promising future.
In my most recent dream, I saw my grandfather with both
legs, standing with confidence and strenght of character I never
saw in real life. He had a young appearance. He had a look of
joy on his face, and he seemed content.
This statement is signed April D. Whitfield,
granddaughter of Elmer Allen, March 15th, 1995.
Good afternoon. My daughter, April Whitfield, and the
other survivors of Elmer Allen are determined that the truth
about his plutonium injection and subsequent leg amputation be
made a part of the public record.
We continue to be appalled by the apparent attempts at
cover-ups, the inferences that the nature of the times, the
1940´s, allowed scientists to conduct experiments without getting
a patient's consent ot without mentioning risks. We contend that
my father was not an informed participant in the plutonium
He was asked to sign his name several times while a
patient at the University of California Hospital in San
Francisco. Why was he not asked to sign his name permitting
scientists to inject him with plutonium? Why was his wife, who
was college trained, not consulted in this matter?
It is my hope that history will not be rewritten in
committeed who claim that they do not understand the actions of
the scientists of the 1940's, those who claim that poor and
disenfranchised African American men could not ne hoodwinked by
I hope you will understand that just as Jewish fathers
were placed in the ovens at Auschwitz, my father, Elmer Allen,
was placed in his own private oven here in the United Stated of
America. He was left there for 44 years, and the scientists
occasionally took a peek inside to see if the was still alive.
His survivors are pledged to tell the truth about this
experiment for the next 50 or even 100 years, if necessary, so
that future generations will have more than lies, half truths,
and inconclusive reports, when attempting to recount this real-
life horror story.
Thank you. I didn't know I had 10 minutes because I
would have a lot more to say, but I thank you.
While these secret experiments on thousands of Americans were going on in hospitals, the very public testing of nuclear weapons lasted from 1945 until the Test Ban treaty in 1963. Approximately 253 above ground tests were conducted in the Pacific and the US. In which nearly 400,000 military personnel took part. The external dose of beta radiation was measured by badges but these were not distributed in significant numbers. The badge did not measure the dose from the external particles such as Alpla, Gamma, or X-ray radiation, nor did it measure the ingestion of small particles that lodge in tissues and do continuous damage. Some of the troops felt immediate effects if radiation poisoning and developed lifelong complications while others became sick many years later. Bill Scott of Camarillo, California was a former army air force photographer who filmed some of the nuclear tests. According to Helena, his widow, "Starting in 1955, Bill had nosebleeds, backackes, and coughing attacks, followed by vomiting, nausea, and upset stomach. His nodebleeds would last for days at a time. His teeth rapidly decayed and his feet became dry and scaly. In 1971, he was hospitalized for tests that found bone cancer that spread... rapidly and six months later he was gone." The Atomic Veterans Newsletter published the following statemtent;
We were the victims of radiation experiments too. They exposed over 200,000 of us in over 200 atmospheric atomic and hydrogen bomb tests between 1945-1962. They deliberately bombed us with nuclear weapons and exposed us to deadly radioactivity to See how it would affect us and our equipment in nuclear warfare on land sea and air. They didn't need our informed consent because we were under military discipline. They devalued our lives too! They made us sterile! They crippled and killed our children! They made widows of our wives! Then denied repeatedly and publicly that there was ever any danger! "Say the lie often enought and people will believe it."
The third group of experimental human subjects are the Down Winders. This term refers to all the people
exposed to radiation as a result of atmospheric testing. This group in essence comprises the entire US and in fact the entire world. Fallout from all 2,000 nuclear etsts has desposited plutonium and other radioactive substances in the bodies of every human being on this earth At what point this experiment would prove fatal for all human life is unknown, but it is known that the human embryo is very vulnerable and that 1-2 rads is sufficient to produce deformity or death. A quik look at radiation fallout maps show that this much radiation and more has been deposited across the continental US. Brenda Weaver lived most of her life seven miles r from Hanford in an area known as Death Mile. Her family always seemed sick, she was developed thyroid sidease at 12 and had an ovary removed at 14. Her brother had to be taken to the hospital with his eyes bleeding. In the early 1960's the sheep on her farm were born with missing legs, body parts, missing eyes. Her daughter, Jaime, was born in 1965 without eyes. Says Weaver, "She has eyelashes and eyelids and tear ducts, but no eyes. It makes life difficult, it's hard to be blind." One study documents and unexplained increase in child mortality in the US that began shortly after testing began and decreased when atmospheric testing ended. It was acknowledged that a full scale nuclear exchange could have ended the Human Race but it is also possible that continued testing could eventually accomplish the same result. It should be noted that underground tests do vent radiation and that these tests are ongoing. The government held hearings in the 1990's and gave monetary compensation to several individuals injected with plutonium but not the hundreds of thousands of injured in secret testing. The governments report is largely a whitewash, few victims were compensated, and no scientst or government employee was ever punished. The institutions involved all clamed ignorance or that the patients were fully informed, which was patently false in all cases. They have largely dodged their responsibility for participating in these acts.
After the Advidory Committee's final report the children of the deceased plutonium victims had the following statements;"I guess the government really won, all the culprits that planned and executed this thing got away with it." "For them to say that a little apology is enough... is just beyond belief." "I do feel betrayed and I feel abused by this committee's report."
Nuclear explosions produce plutonium oxide which is deposited in the lungs and lymph nodes and cannot be detected in the urine. The human experimental subjects were injected with plutonium cirate or nitrate which does show up in the urine. Thirty years of testing urine from those exposed in above ground tests has led to thousands of useless tests that show a false negative and false evidence that could be used to claim that these human exposures were low or non-existent. The search for a biological dosimeter lasted 30 years at dozens of labs costing many millions of dollars and procuded no answer. Just how much radiation is a safe dose in the human body, and how to measure the amount the body has received is still unknown. The current answer in science is that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation.
Mary Jean Connell, the only living victim of the plutonium experiments, when asked how she felt after receiving $100,000 dollars, merely replied "I'm afraid it's going to happen again, you know"..