The Marshall Islands. Castle Bravo and Project 4.1



Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


Chiyoko Tamayose is a 68-year-old Marshallese from Rongelap Atoll, where residents were evacuated for three years after U.S. nuclear testing in 1954. She recently submitted written testimony to the Joint House Resources Committee, which last month held hearings on a request for additional compensation for continuing health problems blamed on radioactive contamination from the testing. Following is her testimony:


HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, June 14) – My name is Chiyoko Tamayose. I was born May 2, 1937. I am from Rongelap atoll in the Marshall Islands.

I returned to Rongelap in 1957, three years after the nuclear fallout contaminated my homeland and at the time when scientists informed us that the land was clean and safe to go back home.

I noticed that not everything was right in 1957. The arrowroots that before grew everywhere were gone. The coconut trees were bearing green and yellow nuts from the same tree; very unusual. The water changed color when we cooked our foods; we tried to change the water many times, but the same thing kept happening.

On occasion, we found some of our fish had thyroid problems. Small hardened nodules were found in the fish gills; these were very hard to crack; but after opening them up and tossing in the water; the water changed to the colors of a rainbow.

Because we did not understand the reason for the change in the water; we played and splashed in it. We were only instructed not to eat the coconut crabs, which were plentiful in Rongelap, but during the times when there was a shortage of food we ate these delicacies.

As we ate other locally grown food, we developed blisters all over our mouths, but we continued to eat them because we were hungry.

Later on, we were told that it was alright to eat the coconut crabs – meaning that all locally available food was safe to consume. I became very sick with the convulsion, and at the more severe times my family thought I was dead. When I came through, I saw they were crying by my side. I could not bear to be in bright daylight. All the windows and doors of my house were kept shut.

The Department of Energy officials sent me to New York for treatment. There’s this machine (I do not know what it was called) that they put me inside. I could not remain in it any second longer because my body felt like it was on fire and pierced by a thousands fine needles.

I was told that the radiation content in my body was higher than some of the survivors of 1954 fallout in Rongelap.

I had my thyroid surgery at a hospital in Cleveland and was informed that there were three more thyroids to remove later on.

I was given so many kind of medication as treatment. I did not want to take so many pills; I was a grown woman, but crying unashamedly because I was afraid to take those medication. I was one of the people who were secretly given injection for unknown reasons.

The DOE doctors assigned us numbers; we were referred to only in numbers and as the ‘Control Group’. I believe this program was called ‘Project 4.1′ It was the people who were not exposed to nuclear fallout, but became exposed and sick from the injections that doctor gave us without our consent and from eating food crops that were grown in the contaminated soil.

I watched the doctors drew blood from my vein, mixed it in some type of solution before returning it again to my body. Sometime this procedure was repeated 3 or 4 times in one sitting. I was frightened to see so much blood taken from me, but I patiently allowed that to happen. I trusted the American doctors to treat me fairly and take good care of my illness, rather than using me as guinea pig as I later on learned.

In 1992, when the DOE official documents were declassified and made available to the public, I received a letter to inform me that the injections that I previously received were routine tests. I do not believe that. I have 12 children and some of them are physically handicapped. I believe in my heart that their problems began with me.

I have one son that had liver cancer; he was operated on at the Kuakini Hospital in Honolulu and he died during the operation. He left a family of 4 children and a wife.

Another son had problems with his thyroid – so severe that he could not eat nor swallow water. A daughter was born with the lower body so soft as if there was no bone.

I have a 40 year old son who was born with a good size blister on his back. Two weeks later we were sent to the Naval Hospital in Guam for surgery. The doctors informed that they’d never seen that type of case before. He became paralyzed; he crawls around the house, he helps me prepare meals when I am tired; he changes his own pampers. He’s a great son, but very heart-breaking for a mother to see in that condition.

These are cases involving my immediate family. There are numerous cases in Rongelap that have not been reported or heard by many people or doctors.

One of my cousins, gave birth to what is known these days as jelly fish baby; another one of her babies was born without any back bone. These are unusual cases that never happened to us before.

I am asking you to come to the Marshall Islands and listen to the survivors’ stories. Hold hearings in the Marshall Islands and in Hawaii where many survivors reside now in order to be closer to the hospitals. My voice is one of the survivors. There are hundreds of cases that you must hear as you deliberate on the Changed Circumstances Petition.

The Changed Circumstances Petition is critical because if it is not approved by Congress that means all the survivors and their affected descendants are left to fend for themselves – which means either stay at home and receive minimal health care or travel off island to receive treatment. There will be no funds to treat their health condition. That is not so attractive an idea for those who can not afford to travel.

If the Petition is not approved, that means Congress is washing its hands off its moral obligation to care for the problems that it created.

Today, I am 68 years of age – more than half of my life I’ve lived with many types of health problems such as thyroid. I believe the health problems that we in the Marshall Island have now will continue beyond my time. Your support is critical for as long as these problems that derived from the nuclear testing program exist.

June 14, 2005

Pacific Islands Report (

Copyright © 2004 Pacific Islands Report. All Rights Reserved

The testimony above highlights many things which were in evidence in Australia from 1952 and which remain largely unrecognised today.

There are, sadly many white people who automatically disbelieve anyone who presents a different picture of events than that maintained by the nuclear slum.

However, the US Congressional record contains proof of these events, and declassified formerly secret reports confirm the testimony of the islanders.

One such report is the one described here:

This Wikipedia article describes the project as one in which the true facts of the effects of radioactive fallout were kept hidden from the people.

From reading the US Congressional Record for 1957 and 1959, I know Cronkite (Navy, reporting to the AEC) tesified firstly in optimistic tones (though acknowledging the obvious effects of stillborn babies, sickness and beta burns) and later in less optimistic terms. Still. the 1950s claim of ” no sign of cancerous changes” would haunt any moral person, and no doubt Cronkite was haunted. He did fearlessly and accurately describe the effects. Even though in the public domain of his testimony to Congress he celebrated that “no plastic surgery has been required” by the people who suffered beta radiation burns. I wonder how he felt during the task of taking skin samples from the people to send to the AEC. Who compared with the beta burn samples taken from Nevada cattle. Not good. He told them to hurry up, and confirm the diagnosis as the people did not like having patches of their cut off so that the United States could study it.

(The British and Australian approach was to deny diagnosis for 30 years, and, during its Royal Commission, have “experts” gaze upon victims who still bore the scars, without comment.

I am perplexed as to why the Project 4.1 report was originally secret. The grist of it is open to the US public in the Congressional Record. Certainly though, in the 1950s to 1980s, in the era before the internet, it is plain that the Marshall Islanders themselves were in the dark as to what the US was doing with the information. Information gained by watching people suffer from the effects of an American weapon, detonated at the time, it was stated by the US government, to keep the world safe from tyrants.

hmm. The tyraants were everywhere, even in the Outback, and Australian Aboriginal people were rounded up and trucked south. Others staggered into the west and found a refugee of deprivation in the Warburton Reserve. Out of site, except when Grayden and Nicholls reported and made a film.
Murdoch railed against them. Later I will put up some old documents.

The cemeteries in Marshall Islands are full of people who died too young from diseases where, in the days before the US started keeping them safe from Communism, were extremely rare among those people.

Here’s a link to the now declassified, formerly secret report.

In Australia there has been a campaign of denial and suppression underway since the time of the British bombs to keep the Aboriginal experience of them away from the public mind, and to attempt to discredit those people who sought to tell the truth. It is interesting as to why the journalists paid to deny and suppress don’t have the nouse to check at least Australian National archives.

Chiyoko Tamayose in the Marshall Islands realised she was part of a “control group” being watched by the USA. And compared no doubt to other groups from the Marshall Islands, and probably elsewhere. Where else?

There were two groups of highly controlled Australian Aboriginal peoples at least in Australia. Those at Warburton Reserve. And those who were driven by army truck to Yalata, South Australia. As we have seen in the previous post. I repeat that in 1953, US B29 aircraft augmented the Australian aircraft in the quest to track the bomb clouds. (The British did not permit their aircraft to become so fouled from those clouds.) We have seen in a previous post how the designers of Project Sunshine foresaw that certain populations close in to nuclear test sites might exceed the strontium uptake considered OK by these people. That was Washington 1953.

By October 1953, Aborigines had be trucked south and induced West. Those outside of the bounds of the test range were to the north and north west. The stage was set. And Totem 1 and 2 went off, followed by successive through the years to 1957.

I now have the task of putting the contents of an entire book into the blog. I will do it sub blog and link to it from here.

In the hope that people realise that Australia has its own Project 4.1, un named and unknown except by those who witnessed the horror and death visited upon the people.

There is something foul and rotten still being concealed by secrecy in Australia to the present day. One day I hope to be able to tell you more about it.

There is enough evidence, and it can must be told. It will take a few days to do. See you then.

Just quietly, between you and I, I know something upset terribly a person I used to know. He learned of something, and was not free to speak. And I think what he learned had something to do with this.


To a trained expert, a beta burn is as good as a film badge or dosimeter. The expert can look and read dose with great precision. The beta burn persists for decades, often resulting in cyclic disease.

The skin of the Marshell Islanders and the skin of the Australian Aboriginal people affected, was once top secret. The information it held was damning.

(See IAEA training module, Local Radiation Injury, (Beta Burn) Day 3 for a description of the diagnosis and dose calculation chart)

No wonder they call it everything but what it actually is.

There clearly was a time when the US DOE and its precusor org, the AEC, did not use mice but people. Has that really changed? I don’t thnk so. They use mice today in part to deny recognition to the people they once used.

The article containing the words of Chiyoko Tamayose is used here for study purposes and to enable a comparison of the methods used by the United States and Great Britain with Australia in order to keep a secret.

It is time for recognition of the facts, locally and globally.

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