12 February 2021

"Green Run"

A good friend told me, yesterday, there is a name for something that I know happened: a 1949 event referred to as "Green Run".  So I looked it up to read a little about it.   I still have more read.  A few online sources are  listed below, including the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments' (ACHRE) created in Clinton's administration, which is a more detailed technical report. 

The first article I read said Green Run was a Washington State "event", however it also affected the Idaho panhandle, and every where else in a huge circle where  monitors had been placed for measuring radiation, which would have been Washington, into Oregon also, most of Idaho, perhaps into Montana and further south too, depending on how many monitors there were at what variety of distances.  

I knew about the event because mother told me about a study long after it was finished, and showed me the booklet she had completed as part of the study she joined.  I don't know if Dad also joined.  I would have because of having lived in the affected area until age 9, and also having lived only a short distance from Camp Hanford when Dad was called back to active duty during the Korean Conflict.  I was age 3-4 that year, one year after the December 49 "Green Run" event spoken of in the article.  I was not informed of the study until long after it was completed.  From what I understand it was something in which everyone living in the monitored areas for any length of time should have participated.  I don't know if any of the extended family who lived in the area most of their lives also participated.   

The first article I read at Gizmodo, The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington,  states "Hanford’s plants routinely released small doses of radioactive material into the air" through out the years, which is why there were monitors placed in several different sized concentric circles throughout the region. The article also states the incident of 1949 was because the "Air Force wanted to fly planes behind a radioactive test plume, to test out their own instruments."

One of the effects of Green Run and the releases was cluster thyroid problems.  I remember my mother having been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.  It was within two years after the year we lived in Pasco, because I was older than four at the time.  And when mother was in the hospital for tests, that was one of the few times I was allowed  to stay with my paternal grandparents, alone, and overnight.

Was the study I learned about always a part of the original plan . . . to track the lives and health of those exposed to the releases who were living in the monitored area, for the purpose of collecting statistical data about exposure?  Supposedly, the intention of the many periodic releases through the years, according to how the study was explained, had been to learn about how the wind carried contamination - to what extent and intensity, and how long lasting it was.  According to the ACHRE Report, Part II Chapter 11, "An interim aerial sampling network was in place in early September 1949 that detected radioactive debris from the first Soviet nuclear test."   That was three months before Green Run.

According to the Gizmodo article "Green Run was a secret Air Force experiment that released Hanford’s largest single dose of radioactive iodine-131. On the night of December 2, 1949, at the behest of the military, scientists at Hanford let 7,000 to 12,000 curies of iodine-131 into the air, where it rode the wind as far as 200 miles. For a sense of scale, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident released an estimated 15 to 24 curies of iodine-131 and the Chernobyl accident 35 million to 49 million curies. "

After the Air Force debacle of 49, once it became known in the mid 80s, over 35 years later, with  government responsibility and accountability insisted on, it may be that data about those who had lived in the monitored areas was considered to be useful to those who mandated the releasing during Eisenhower's administration.  I have no idea if there was intention to also eventually look for cluster health problems in 49 when the network of monitors was put in place.  Given what we know of government resistance to taking responsibility and to being accountable, it seems doubtful.  Although no doubt the study did look for correlations once the proverbial "cat was out of the bag".

There are "downwinders" in New Mexico, also. There is one location in particular where people live as downwinders from White Sands Missile Range where the first nuclear blast was fielded.  It was the Project Trinity test of the device known as "Gadget", according to the Trinity Site page of the National Park Service.  Many have suffered from serious and fatal obvious cluster ailments - and worse suffered from official denial that the downwind problem existed.   There are a number of downwinder communities within the intermountain region.  According to Wikipedia the communities are  "primarily in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah but also in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho." These downwinder issues are among the issues that need Erin Brockovich type action and results - in the form of tenacious investigating with a strong harsh light shined on the problem; also court cases won. 

Currently, it has been on the news that water at numerous military bases is knowingly contaminated, most often with chemicals, often fuel.  It is not necessarily known to many living on base who drink the water, unless the taste tells them; or unless cluster illnesses create suspicion and questions that are eventually researched and addressed with persistence.  Costly advanced filtering is required to render the water potable, along with putting an end to the continuing contamination and doing successful clean up. 

And of course anywhere there have been military conflicts there are contamination problems.  Contamination is a universal problem, so is taking responsibility and being accountable for a problem that requires tenacity to solve it.  Humanity can not continue to horrendously and relentlessly knowingly do damage to the environment and all that it supports.  There is no where else to go once humanity's nest is fouled.

We have a local problem, too, with fuel contamination that threatens (only "threatens" we are told) local water wells near to the local Air Force base.  A lot of work was required from dedicated people to get the process of admitting there was a problem, initiated, then also to enlist the city to get on board with negotiating the taking of responsibility and being accountable for putting an end to the problem and cleaning it up.

Having said all that has not been only for the purpose of reciting unresolved and past problems.  It is also about doing better to address current problems.  The answer is simple: if you do it, then own it.  That includes all aspects of government.  Allow me to remind everyone that government needs to be driven by the needs of "we, the people" - nothing more nothing less.  Not lobbyists, not big business and corporate conglomerates, not political parties.  Yes, really - none of those.  

We can not do anything about the past except to do our best to prevent the same problems from continuing to occur and reoccur in the future.  And we must require repair of as much damage as possible.  However to be successful at prevention and recurrence requires consequences - not retribution, not revenge, but functional consequences - whatever is required in each individual situation.

For example there must be accountability for ill-intent and carelessness that is obviously too intentional to be assumed a lack of foresight and/or greed, or any other poor excuse it is not possible to buy into believing, when a problem is being attributed to "merely" careless words.  Really? Careless words, only? Anyone who can honestly buy into imagining that supposedly well place calculated "careless words" could possibly be unintentional, when they were intended to be a means to motivate an unacceptable end result, has a problem with living in reality, and with condoning and becoming part of the corruption that motivates those words and resultant behaviors.

There are current issues we can and must do something about as soon as possible rather than discovering cumulative problems over 40 years later and much more damage that could have been prevented. To that end I urge people to please contact your Senators, and Congressmen, about wrong-doing which has occurred when it is our collective Legislative body's responsibility to adequately address it.  We are obligated to inform them of their need to do right by "we, the people", and to thank them when they do. 

There must be consequences commensurate with intention, regardless of claims there was no ill-intent, when a clear case of ill-intent has been made about what our Legislative body experienced directly on 6 January 2021.  It was an obvious intent to create instability in government and our entire nation to which some of us have been witness the entire past four years.  Don't kid yourselves into imagining it was anything different.  People who innately see the big picture knew it.  

Currently, we are all required to excel at seeing the small picture, innately so or not, which is required to appropriately address what was the culminating "event" - more precisely to encourage our Legislative body to appropriately do so.  Of course, in the event there is any doubt to what I refer, of course it is the proceedings of the current, ongoing U.S.A. impeachment process.

Clearly there was, is, and will continue to be many occurrences in our lives when government oversight is lacking or entirely absent and should not have been.  However, it is up to us - "we, the people" - to BE that oversight, and it always has been.  There is no excuse for us being silent about obvious corruption while we witness it happening.  YOU are responsible.  We all are.  Better for you and everyone else that we all take responsibility sooner, than later.  Our government is only as good and as responsive to our collective needs as we responsibly insist on it being.  Those are the facts.  That is our collective reality.

See also:

Sarah Zhang, Sarah. The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington
(Gizmodo, Website: 6/03/15)

ACHRE ReportChapter 11:  What We Know.  (Georgetown University Bioethics Archive: January 1994 - October 1995). note:  the chapter is specific to Green Run 

The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) Website

Cornwall, Warren. Hanford downwinders get their day in court. (The Seattle Times: 25 April 2005)

Pinnaz. Green Run Map Location Information & Much More! (Call of Duty Zombies, website: 26 December 2012)

"The Downwinders", Whitman Magazine. (Whitman College, website: Summer 2015)

Senators of the 117th Congress
- contact information for all Senators

Directory of Representatives - contact information

United States Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121.  A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the office you request.