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The second midterm exam is a final written response to Johnston and Barker’s Consequential
Damages of Nuclear War. In a short essay of 1,200 words you should address the following:
1. Using at least three specific examples from the book, citing the location of your
examples, illustrate how the intersection of environmental contamination and American
military, scientific, and public relations policies dramatically changed the Marshallese
culture and began a legacy of social marginalization, exploitation, and desperately poor
health. Offer a brief comment on how these human rights violations might be addressed
and how future incidents like these might be avoided.
2. Describe in detail how reading Consequential Damages of Nuclear War has changed or
otherwise influenced the way you perceive a specific cultural process, political agenda, or
ecological shift in the contemporary local, national, or global world.
3. Your response should form an integrated, coherent narrative. Use your daily reading
notes, but don’t just copy/paste.
1. Don’t sweat. If you’ve kept up with the readings, the notes, and have been to class
this is a straightforward assignment.
2. If you cite another paper or book in your response you must provide proper in-text
citations as well as the full reference information in a separate bibliography page. A
bibliography page does not count toward the word minimum for the response.
3. You will submit your final response on Blackboard (section going up soon) by
11:59pm March 8th. Late submissions will receive a penalty.
4. The file you upload should be a Microsoft Word .doc or .docx file only. Do not
upload a file using Pages or any other file extension as Blackboard will not
5. Additional information on page 3 of your syllabus.
CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OF
The Rongelap Report
Barbara Rose Johnston and Holly M. Barker
BARUCH COLLEGE LIBRARY
LEFT COAST PRESS, INC.
1630 North Main Street, #400 ^
Walnut Creek, California 94596
Copyright © 2008 by Barbara Rose Johnston
All rights reserved. No part ofthis publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,
or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Hardback ISBN 978-1-59874-345-6
Paperback ISBN 978-1-59874-346-3
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Johnston, Barbara Rose.
Consequential damages of nuclear war : the Rongelap report/Barbara Rose Johnston
and Holly M. Barker,
ISBN 978-1-59874-345-6 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN 978-1-59874-346-3 (pbk.: alk. paper)
1. Rongelap Atoll (Marshall Islands)—Claims vs. United States. 2. Nuclear weapons—
Testing—Health aspects—Marshall Islands—Rongelap Atoll. 3. Nuclear weapons—
Testing—^Environmental aspects—Marshall Islands—Rongelap Atoll. 4. Radiation
victims—Legal status, laws, etc.—Marshall Islands. 5. Radioactive pollution—Marshall
Islands. I. Barker, Holly M. II. Title.
Printed in the United States ofAmerica
paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American
National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library
Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48—1992.
Cover design by Andrew Brozyna
Cover photo: John Anjain in April 1999, remembering the Bravo shot while standing on the
site of his boyhood home. This visit was Anjain’s first return to Rongelap since evacuation
in 1985. Photo courtesy W Nicholas Captain.
This book is dedicated
with respect and admiration
to those who can no longer tell their story in person
but whose experiences are partly recounted here:
Alab andformer mayor ofRongelap John Anjain
Mr. George Anjain
Ms. Almira Matayoshi
List of Illustrations
Prologue: Consequential Damages of Nuclear War
Left Coast Press is committed to preserving ancient forests
and natural resources. We elected to print this title on 30% post
ronsumer recycled paper, processed chlorine free. As a result,
for this printing, we have saved:
4 Trees (40′ tall and 6-8″ diameter)
1,479 Gallons of Wastewater
3 million BTU’s of Total Energy
190 Pounds of Solid Waste
356 Pounds of Greenhouse Gases
Left Coast Press made this paper choice because our printer,
Thomson-Shore, Inc., is a member of Green Press Initiative!
a nonprofit program dedicated to supporting authors, publish
ers, and suppliers in their efforts to reduce their use of fiber
obtained from endangered forests.
For more information, visit www.greenpressinitiative.org
Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense
Paper Calculator. For more information visit: www.papercalculalor.oig.
The Rongelap Report: Hardships and Consequential Damages from
Radioactive Contamination, Denied Use, Exile, and Human Subject
Experimentation Experienced by the People of Rongelap, Rongerik,
and Ailinginae Atolls
Part 1: Introduction
Summary of Relevant Findings
after page 56
Part 2: Loss of a Healthy, Sustainable Way of Life
Valuing Land from a Marshallese Perspective
Land and Sea Tenure
Rules Governing Access and Use Rights
Cultural Land and Seascapes
Spiritual Values of Land and Seascape
Environmental Knowledge and Sustainable Resource Use
Flexible Patterns of Resource Use—Sustainable Living on Atoll Ecosystems 82
Taboos and Resource Management
Part 3: Chain of Events and Critical Issues of Concern
Evacuation from Rongelap to Lae in 1946
Damage and Continued Loss of Access to Rongerik
The Bravo Event
Relocation from Rongelap to Kwajalein in 1954
Project 4.1 Research on Kwajalein
Relocation from Kwajalein to Ejit
Long-Term Human Subject Research Plans, Priorities, and Policies
Difficulties of Life in a Contaminated Setting
Degenerative Health and Health Care Issues on Rongelap
Human Subject Research Experiences
Evacuation of Rongelap in 1985
Current Conditions Endured by a Fragmented Rongelap Community
Part 4: Summary of Damages, Needs, and Compensation Concerns
Claims by the People of Rongelap for Hardship and Related Consequential
Damages of the Nuclear Weapons Testing Program
Consequences of These Events and Injuries
Household Economic Injuries
Ideas for Remedial Action
Part 5: Conclusions and Recommendations
Violations of Trustee Relationships
Statements of Culpability
Relevant Case Precedents
Recommendations for Categories of Concern in This Claim
Epilogue: Seeking Meaningful Remedy
Sample Marshallese text from the memoir ofJohn Anjain
List of documents submitted to the Nuclear Claims Tribunal in support
of the Rongelap claim
Letter from the Advisory Committee on Biology and Medicine to
Lewis Strauss, chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission,
Memorandum from Gordon M. Dunning to C. L. Dunham,
June 13,1957. Subject: Resurvey of Rongelap Atoll
Letter from Hermann Lisco, MD, Cancer Research Institute,
New England Deaconess Hospital, to George Darling, Director,
Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, April 29,1966
Letter from Paul Seligman, U.S. Department of Energy, to
Mayor James Matayoshi, Rongelap Atoll Local Government Council,
April 29, 1999 ■
1. The Marshall Islands
2. Marshall Islands and fallout from Bravo
3. Comparing Nevada Test Site and Bikini Atoll
4. John Anjain’s map of Rongerik
1. Levels of plutonium-239/240 and americium-241
after page 56
1. Looking down on Majuro, April 1999
2. Marshallese sailing canoes, 1899
3. Man in outrigger canoe on Rongelap Lagoon, early 1950s
4. Rongelap man and two women, 1899
5. Copra drying on Rongelap, 1957
6. Able Test, Operation Crossroads, 1946
7. Baker test. Operation Crossroads, 1946
8. “George” test. Operation Greenhouse, 1951
9. Operation Ivy’s shot King, 1952
10. Bravo Test, Operation Castle, 1954
11. Project 4.1, documenting loss of hair and beta burns
12. Examination of burns suffered by a Rongelap boy
13. Monitoring radiation levels on Rongelap after the Bravo test
14. Exhuming those who died during the three years of exile
15. Return to Rongelap, 1957
16. Return to Rongelap, 1957
17. Rongelap children lining up for medical survey exams, 1961
18. “Control subjects,” long-term human radiation research program, c. 1960s
19. Dr. Robert Conard examining thyroids, c. 1973
20. Evacuation of Rongelap, 1985
21. Greenpeace assisted in the evacuation of Rongelap, 1985
22. Carol and her Grandfather
23. Brookhaven scientists document stunting
10 *> Illustrations
Intergenerational worries, 1982
Intergenerational worries, date unknown
Return to Rongelap, April 1999
Lijon Eknilang testifying to the RMI Nuclear Claims Tribunal, 2001
Project 4.1 protest on Bravo Day, 2004
Women of Rongelap at a community gathering, 2004
Rongelap Councilwoman Rokko Langinbelik, 2004
A third-generation Utrik child born in 2005
Consequential Damages of Nuclear War
Statement of John Anjain:
Early in the morning ofMarch 1, 1954, sometime aroundfive or six o’clock, American
planes dropped a hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll. Shortly before this happened, I had
awakened and stepped out ofmy house. Orue outside, I looked around and saw Billiet
Edmond making coffee near his house. I walked up and stood next to him. The two ofus
talked about goingJbhing later in the morning. After only afew minutes had passed we
saw a light to the west ofRongelap Atoll. When this light reached Rongelap we saw many
beautiful colors. I expect the reason people didn’t go inside their houses right away was
because the yellow, green, pink, red, and blue colors which they saw were such a beautiful
sight before their eyes.
The second thing that happened involved the gust ofwind that camefrom the
explosion. The wind was so hot and strong that some people who were outside staggered,
including Billiet and I. Even some windowsfell as a result of the wind.
The third thing that happened concerned the smoke-cloud which we sawfrom the
bomb blast. The smoke rose quickly to the clouds and as it reached them we heard a sound
louder than thunder. When people heard this deafening clap some ofthe women and
childrenfed to the woods. Once the sound of the explosion had died out everyone began
cooking, some made donuts and others cooked rice.
Later some men wentfishing, including myself Around nine or ten-o’clock I took my
throw net and left to gofishing nearfabwon. As I walked along the beach I looked at
the sky and saw it was white like smoke; nevertheless I kept ongoing. When I reached
fabwon, or even a little before, I began tofeel afine powderfalling all over my body and
into my eyes. Ifelt it but I didn’t know what it was.
I went ahead with myfishing and caught enoughfish with my throw-net tofill a bag.
Then I went to the woods to pick some coconuts. I came back to the beach and sat on a
rock to drink the coconuts and eat some rawfish. As I was sitting and eating, the powder
BARUCH COLLEGE LIBRARY
Prologue ❖ 13
began tofall harder. I looked out and saw that the coconuts had changed color. By now
all the trees were white as well as my entire body. I gazed up at the sky but couldn’t see
the clouds because it was so misty. I didn’t believe this was dangerous. I only knew that
powder wasfalling. I was somewhat afraid nevertheless.
When I returned to Rongelap village I saw people cookingfood outside their cook
houses. They didn’t know the powder was very dangerous. The powderfell all day and
night long over the entire atoll ofRongelap. During the night people were sick. They were
nauseous, they had stomach, head, ear, leg and shoulder aches. People did not sleep that
night because they were sick.
The next day, March 2, 1954, people got up in the morning and went down to get
water. It had turned a yellowish color. “Oh, Oh” they cried out and said “the powder that
fell down yesterday and last night is a harmful thing. ” They were sick and sofabwe, the
health-aide, walked around in the morning and warned the people not to drink the water.
He told them that if they were thirsty to drink coconuts only.
. .. At three o clock in the afternoon cfMarch 2, 1954 a seaplanefrom Enewetak Atoll
landed in the lagoon ofRongelap and two men came ashore. Billiet and I asked them
why they had come to Rongelap and they responded by saying they had come to inspect
the damage caused by the bomb. They said they would spend twenty minutes looking at
all the wells, cement water catchments, houses and other things. The two men returned
quickly to their plane and left without telling anyone that thefood, water, and other things
were harmful to human beings.
Everyone was quite surprised at the speed with which the men surveyed everything
in the island and then returned to their plane. People said maybe we’ve been really
harmed because the men were in such a hurry to leave. Although they said they would
look aroundfor about twenty minutes, they probably didn’t stay herefor more than ten
minutes. So in less than ten minutes after their,arrival on Rongelap, the two men had
already taken cff.
.. .On that day we looked at the water catchments, tubs and other places where there
was a great deal ofwater stored. The water had turned a strong yellow and those who
drank it said it tasted hitter.
On March 3, early in the morning, a ship and a seaplane withfour propellers appeared
on Rongelap. Out of the plane came Mr. Oscar [DeBrum] and Mr. Wiles, the governor
ofKwajelein Atoll. As their boat reached the shore, Mr. Oscar cried out to the people to get
on board andforget about their personal belongingsfor whoever thought ofstaying behind
would die. Such were the words by which he spoke to them. Therefore, none of the people
went back to their houses, but immediately got on the boats and sailed to board the ship
that would take them away. Those who were sick and old were evacuated by plane.
.. .At ten o’clock in the morning we left RongelapforAilinginae Atoll and arrived
there at three in the afternoon. We picked up nineteen people on this atoll and byfwe
o’clock we were on our way to Kwajalein.
On March 4, we arrived on Kwajalein and met the Admiral who then sent us to
where we were to stay. A day later. Dr. Conard and his medical team arrived. The doctors
were very thorough in checking and caringfor our injuries and showed much concern in
examining us. The Admiral was also very concerned about our situation and took us in as
ifwe were his own children. His name was Admiral Clark.
Ever since 1954 Dr. Conard has continued to examine thefallout victims on a yearly
basis. These visits are very importantfor all the people on Rongelap and others in the
Marshall Islands. These medical examinations are also ofgreat importancefor men
throughout the world.
.. . From 1959 to 1963 and 1964, after the Rongelapese had returned to Rongelap
from Majuro, many women gave birth prematurely to babies which looked somewhat
like animals. Women also had miscarriages. During these years many other strange things
happened with regard tofood, especially tojbh in which thefertilized eggs and liver
turned a blackish color. In all myforty years I had never seen this happen infish either
on Rongelap or in any of the other places I’ve been in the Marshall Islands. Also, when
people atefish or [arrowroot] starch produced on Rongelap, they developed a rash in their
mouths. This too I had never seen before.
… I, fohn, Anjain, was magistrate ofRongelap when all this occurred and I now
write this to explain what happened to the Rongelap people at that time.^
[In 1954] the people ofRongelap stayed on Kwajaleinfor three months and the DOE
[Atomic Energy Commission] people removed the Rongelap people to Majuro. The
people lived in Majurofor three years and in 1956 the DOE, Trust Territory government
and the UN came to Majuro and I went with them to attend a meeting with them at the
Mil school in Rita. And they told me that it is time that we go back home. And I asked
“are we really going home while Rongelap is contaminated?” And the answer that they
give me is that “it is true that Rongelap is contaminated but it is not dangerous. And if
you don’t believe us, well then stay here and take care ofyourself.”
… In 1957 the people returned to Rongelap and the DOE promised that there
wouldn’t be any problems to the Rongelap people. However in 1958 and 1959 most of
the women gave birth to something that was not resembling human beings. There was a
woman giving birth to a grape. Another woman gave birth to something that resembles a
‘ Excerpts from John Anjain, “The Fallout on Rongelap Atoll and Its Social, Medical and
Environmental Effects,” ed. and trans. Richard A. Sundt (unpublished manuscript, 1973), on file
at the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, Majuro, RMI. Between late 1968 and March 1969, John Anjain
wrote a series ofarticles on the people ofRongelap and their experiences with fallout, evacuation,
medical monitoring, and life on a contaminated atoll. His original intent was to publish the series
in a Marshallese-English newspaper, a project associated with an adult English-language class
being taught on Rongelap by Peace Corps volunteers John and Jean Ranahan. Only a single issue
of the paper was produced, and Anjain’s initial account was not in that issue. Richard Sundt, also
a Peace Corps worker on Rongelap, encouraged Anjain to continue writing his memoir. In 1973
Sundt translated Anjain’s writing, developed commentary, and submitted this work in a graduate
course on the anthropology ofOceania at the University ofWisconsin-Madison. As Sundt noted
in an e-mail to Barbara Rose Johnston on February 29, 2008, “When John wrote his account in
1968 and for long thereafter (so far as I can tell) this was the only written account by a Marshallese
voice.” An example of Anjain’s Marshallese text is included in the appendix.
monkey. And so on. There was a child born at that time and there was no shell covering
the top of that child’s head.^
The American doctors came every year to examine us. Every year they came, and they
told us that we were not sick, and then they would return the next year. But they didfind
something wrong. Theyfound one boy did not grow asfast as boys his age. They gave
him medicine. Then they beganfinding the thyroid sickness.
My son Lekoj was thirteen when theyfound his thyroid was sick. They took him
away to a hospital in America. They cut out his thyroid. They gave him some medicine
and told him to take it every dayfor the rest of his life. The same thing happened to other
people. The doctors kept returning and examining us. Several years ago, they took me to a
hospital in America, and they cut out my thyroid. They gave me medicine and told me to
take it every dayfor the rest of my life.
Afew years after the bomb. Senator Amata Kabua tried to get some compensation
for the people ofRongelap. He got a lawyer, and the lawyer made a case in court. The
court turned our case down. The court said it could not consider our case because we were
not part ofthe United States. Dwight Heine went to the United Nations to tell them
about us. Peoplefrom the United Nations came to see us, and we told them how wefelt.
Finally, in 1964, the U.S. Congress passed a bill. The bill gave us money as a payment
for our experience. Some ofthe people spent all their money; some of them still have
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