The Hall of Shame
The United States has a long history of experimentation, on unwitting human subjects, which goes back to the beginning of this century. Both private firms and the military have used unknowing human populations to test various theories. However, the extent to which human experimentation has been a part of the U.S. Biological Weapons programs will probably never be known. The following examples are taken from information declassified in 1977, and from other private source accounts. Several involve incidents which are still of unknown origins and which cannot be fully explained:
A U.S. doctor doing research in the Philippines infected of number of prisoners with the Plague. He continued his research by inducing Beriberi in another 29 prisoners. The experiments resulted in two known fatalities.
A doctor in Mississippi produced Pellagra in twelve white Mississippi inmates in an attempt to discover a cure for the disease.
The Puerto Rican Cancer Experiment was undertaken by Dr. Cornelius Rhoads. Under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, Rhoads purposely infected his subjects with cancer cells. Thirteen of the subjects died. When the experiment was uncovered, and in spite of Rhoads' written opinions that the Puerto Rican population should be eradicated, Rhoads went on to establish U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama. He later was named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and was at the heart of the recently revealed radiation experiments on prisoners, hospital patients, and soldiers.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study began. Two hundred (200) poor black men with syphilis began a long term experiment in which those men were to be studied. They were never told of their illness, and treatment was denied them. As many as 100 of the original 200 died as a direct or indirect result of the illness. The wives and children of the subjects also suffered as a result of the disease. (The government office supervising the study was the predecessor to today's Centers for Disease Control (CDC)).
In a crash program to develop new drugs to fight Malaria during World War II, doctors in the Chicago area infected nearly 400 prisoners with the disease. Although the Chicago inmates were given general information that they were helping with the war effort, they were not provided adequate information in accordance with the later standards set by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. Nazi doctors on trial at Nuremberg cited the Chicago studies as precedents to defend their own behavior in aiding the German war effort.
The U.S. Navy sprayed a cloud of bacteria over San Francisco. The Navy claimed that the bacteria was harmless, and used only to track a simulated attack, but many San Francisco residents became ill with pneumonia-like symptoms, and one is known to have died.
1950 - 1953:
An array of germ warfare weapons were allegedly used against North Korea. Accounts claim that there were releases of feathers infected with anthrax, fleas and mosquitoes dosed with Plague and Yellow Fever, and rodents infected with a variety of diseases. These were precisely the same techniques used in immunity from prosecution in exchange for the results of that research. The Eisenhower administration later pressed Sedition Charges against three Americans who published charges of these activities. However, none of those charged were convicted.
1952 - 1953:
In another series of experiments, the U.S. military released clouds of "harmless" gases over six (6) U.S. and Canadian cities to observe the potential for similar releases under chemical and germ warfare scenarios. A follow-up report by the military noted the occurrence of respiratory problems in the unwitting civilian populations.
The Tampa Bay area of Florida experienced a sharp rise in Whooping Cough cases, including 12 deaths, after a CIA test where a bacteria withdrawn from the Army's Chemical and Biological Warfare arsenal was released into the environment. Details of the test are still classified.
1956 - 1958:
In Savannah, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida, the Army carried out field tests in which mosquitoes were released into residential neighborhoods from both ground level and from aircraft. Many people were swarmed by Mosquitoes, and fell ill, some even died. After each test, U.S. Army personnel posing as public health officials photographed and tested the victims. It is theorized that the mosquitoes were infected with a strain of Yellow Fever. However, details of the testing remain classified.
In a three year study, 70 volunteer prisoners at the Holmesburg State Prison in Philadelphia were subjected to tests of dioxin, the highly toxic chemical contaminant in Agent Orange. Lesions which the men developed were not treated and remained for up to seven months. None of the subjects was informed that they would later be studied for the development of cancer. This was the second such experiment which Dow Chemical undertook on "volunteers" who did not receive the information which the world proclaimed was necessary for "informed consent" at Nuremberg.
The U.S. Army dispensed a bacillus throughout the New York City subway system. Materials available on the incident noted the Army's justification for the experiment was the fact that there are many subways in the (former) Soviet Union, Europe, and South America. Although there are no harmful effects known for this release, details of the experiment are still classified.
1968 - 1969:
The CIA experimented with the possibility of poisoning drinking water by injecting a chemical substance into the water supply of the Food And Drug Administration in Washington, D.C.. There were no harmful effects noted from this experiment. However, none of the human subjects in the building were ever asked for their permission, nor was anyone provided with information on the nature or effects of the chemical used.
On June 9, 1969, Dr. D.M. McArtor, then Deputy Director of Research and Technology for the Department of Defense, appeared before the House Subcommittee on Appropriations to request funding for a project to produce a synthetic biological agent for which humans have not yet acquired a natural immunity. Dr. McArtor asked for $10 million dollars to produce this agent over the next 5-10 years. The Congressional Record reveals that according to the plan for the development of this germ agent, the most important characteristic of the new disease would be "that it might be refractory [resistant] to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease". AIDS first appeared as a public health risk ten years later.
President Nixon announced a ban on the production and use of biological (but not chemical) warfare agents. However, as the Army's own experts reveal, this ban is meaningless because the studies required to protect against biological warfare weapons are generally indistinguishable from those for chemical weapons.
Ray Ravenhott, director of the population program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), publicly announced the agency's goal to sterilize one quarter of the world's women. In reports by the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Ravenhott in essence cited the reasoning for this being U.S. corporate interests in avoiding the threat of revolutions which might be spawned by chronic unemployment.
Within months of their incarceration in detention centers in Miami and Puerto Rico, many male Haitian refugees developed an unusual condition called "gynecomasia". This is a condition in which males develop full female breasts. A number of the internees at Ft. Allen in Puerto Rico claimed that they were forced to undergo a series of injections which they believed to be hormones.
More than 300,000 Cubans were stricken with dengue hemorrhagic fever. An investigation by the magazine 'Covert Action Information Bulletin', which tracks the workings of various intelligence agencies around the world, suggested that this outbreak was the result of a release of mosquitoes by Cuban counterrevolutionaries. The magazine tracked the activities of one CIA operative from a facility in Panama to the alleged Cuban connections. During the last 30 years, Cuba has been subjected to an enormous number of outbreaks of human and crop diseases which are difficult to attribute purely natural causes.
El Salvadoran trade unionists claimed that epidemics of many previously unknown diseases had cropped up in areas immediately after U.S. directed aerial bombings. There is no hard evidence to support these charges. However, the pattern and types of outbreaks are consistent with the claims.
An outbreak of Dengue fever strikes Managua Nicaragua shortly after an increase of U.S. aerial reconnaissance missions. Nearly half of the capital city's population was stricken with the disease, and several deaths have been attributed to the outbreak. It was the first such epidemic in the country and the outbreak was nearly identical to that which struck Cuba a few years earlier (1981). Dengue fever variations were the focus of much experimentation at the Army's Biological Warfare test facility at Ft. Dietrick, Maryland prior to the 'ban' on such research in 1972.
In ruling on a case in which a former U.S. Army sergeant attempted to bring a lawsuit against the Army for using experimental drugs on him, without his knowledge, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that allowing such an action against the military would disrupt the chain of command. Thus, nearly all potential actions against the military for past, or future, misdeeds have been barred as have actions aimed at the release of classified documents on the subject.
As the result of a lawsuit by a public interest group, the Department of Defense was forced to reveal the fact that it still operated Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) research programs at 127 sites around the United States.
Under pressure from Congress and the public, after a 60 Minutes segment, the U.S. Department of Defense finally admits that at least 20,000 U.S. servicemen "may" have been exposed to chemical weapons during operation 'Desert Storm'. This exposure came as a result of the destruction of a weapons bunker. Causes of the similar illnesses of other troops, who were not in this area, have not yet been explained, other than as post traumatic stress syndromes. Veterans groups have released information that many of the problems may be a result of experimental vaccines and innoculations which were provided troops during the military buildup.
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