AMERICAN CITIZENS AS GUINEA PIGS
By Kelleigh Nelson
September 12, 2010
Experiments on our Military
The brave men and now women of our military deserve the very best in equipment, training, protection, leadership, healthcare, housing and pay. Undoubtedly, they have been lacking in these areas and many more over the years. The active military and the veterans all deserve the very best we can give them as well as our daily prayers for all of them. Sadly, they have often been used as subjects for experiments conducted by the same groups I mentioned in Part 3 of this article, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Health, Education and Welfare, (HEW), the Public Health Service, (now the CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Veterans Administration (VA), the CIA, and NASA.
Undoubtedly, all of us have heard of Gulf War illness and depleted uranium (DU) sickness our veterans have come home with from the Iraq war. Several Persian Gulf War vets reported that they were ordered to take experimental vaccines during Operation Desert Shield or face prison.
Most researchers cite radioactive poisoning from depleted uranium shells as the deadliest element in the Gulf War Illness “cocktail.” In the 1991 war the Pentagon fired more than 340 tons of DU projectiles at targets in Iraq and Kuwait. More than a half million Gulf era veterans are on medical disability. It was in 1993 that a group of twenty four affected soldiers went to a leading expert on radiation and found they had many times the “safe” level of toxic depleted uranium in their bodies.
The military of course continues to deny the connection of depleted uranium to the returning vet’s illnesses, but so many were sick that in 2007, President Bush signed legislation for a newly mandated study. I have my doubts of the outcome simply because the government rarely takes responsibility for their crimes against the citizens and military personnel. However, in 1996, the DOD admitted that Desert Storm soldiers were exposed to chemical agents.
Hundreds of thousands of military personnel during the last seventy years have been involved in human experimentation and other intentional exposures conducted by the DOD, often without a service member’s knowledge or consent. In some cases, soldiers who consented to serve as human subjects found themselves participating in experiments quite different from those described at the time they volunteered.
During WWII veterans who originally volunteered to test “summer clothing” in exchange for extra leave time, found themselves in gas chambers testing the effects of lewisite and mustard gas.
Soldiers were ordered occasionally by commanding officers to volunteer to participate in research or face dire consequences. Additionally, some of these human subjects were threatened with imprisonment at Fort Leavenworth if they discussed these experiments with anyone, including their wives, parents, and family doctors. For decades the Pentagon denied that the research had taken place, resulting in decades of suffering for many veterans who became ill after the secret testing. Some documents exposing these experiments have been declassified, but others have not.
The U.S. chemical weapons stockpile contains two classes of agents, namely, organophosphate nerve agents (sometimes called nerve gas) and blister (or mustard) agents. The nerve agents are usually referred to by their Army code designations: VX, GB (Satin), and GA (Tabun). The blister agents are H, HD, and HT. These agents are contained in a variety of munitions as well as in bulk containers stored at eight continental U.S. sites and at Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean.
The Pentagon recently declassified reports on Project 112 and Project SHAD (shipboard hazard and defense). These programs had been carried out between 1961 and 1970 and were designed to identify American military vulnerability to chemical and biological weaponry. Large numbers of soldiers, who were unaware they were being used, were exposed to toxic substances and suffered consequences to their health when their ships were sprayed with these substances.
Fifty were carried out on more than 5,800 U.S. troops who have been identified. The documents state that many of them were sprayed with VX and satin gas, both of which are deadly. It was to test the effectiveness of decontamination procedures and safety measures at the time. This was just one of many chemical warfare experiments conducted by the U.S. military.
Volunteer tests involving mustard gas in World War II were done from 1942 to 1944 by the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service to test the effectiveness of gas masks and protective clothing. They refused to pay disability benefits to the victims of the experiments.
Between 1940 and the 1960s, the military used radium rods to treat submariners and airmen who were suffering ear and sinus problems caused by pressure changes related to depth and altitude.
(Remember in part 1 where I wrote about Henrietta Lacks and her cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins? They used radium rods to treat Henrietta’s cervical cancer as well.) The procedure was discontinued in the mid 60s when pressurized cabins and more effective treatments were developed.
The number of sailors and airmen who received this treatment is unknown although the Department of Veteran Affairs launched an effort to try to contact as many as they could locate.
The treatment involved the use of radioactive radium rods that were pushed through each nostril and placed against the opening of the Eustachian tubes for six to 12 minutes. They repeated the treatment over months in order to shrink the patients’ adenoids, relieving pressure and improving balance problems. This was common practice for military and civilian doctors in the 40s and 50s.
The Pentagon does not admit that the radiation treatments have caused any long term health problems, saying studies are inconclusive. Nevertheless, the military acknowledges that there is a “significant risk” of a connection, and those subjected to the treatment are being urged to advise their doctors so the physicians can consider this during exams.
Military dependent children with inner ear problems are also believed to have received these radium rod treatments, but there is no mention of any notification effort to warn them of any long term effects.
This experiment took place at Fort Detrick, which is a US Army research center located outside Washington, D.C. Historically Fort Detrick was the center for the United States biological weapons program (1943-1969). Today it conducts biomedical research and development and is home to the US Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC), with its bio-defense agency, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).
Operation Whitecoat was carried out between 1954 to 1973. Over 2300 U.S. Army soldiers, most of whom were trained medics, contributed to the experiment by allowing themselves to be infected with viruses and bacteria that were considered likely for use in biological attacks. They were exposed to Q fever, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, Hepatitis A, Plague, tularemia (rabbit fever) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis along with other diseases. They were treated for illnesses to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics and vaccines. Some soldiers were given two weeks of leave in exchange for their use as guinea pigs. They were, however, allowed to consult with outside sources before deciding to participate. They had to sign consent forms after discussing the risks and treatments with a medical officer. Of the soldiers approached, about 20% declined. Much of the testing remains classified and Fort Detrick allows no visitors; not even ex-soldiers who were exposed as part of the tests can visit.
According to USAMRIID, the Whitecoat Operation contributed to vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for yellow fever, and hepatitis and helped develop biological safety equipment including decontamination procedure, fermentors, incubators, centrifuges and particle sizers.
The Government Accountability Office issued a report in 1994, which stated that between1940 and 1974, the US DOD and other national security agencies studied hundreds of thousands of human subjects in tests and experiments involving hazardous substances.
Interestingly enough, the enlisted men staged a sit down strike to obtain more information about the dangers of the biological tests. So, because of this, Seventh-day Adventists who were conscientious objectors were recruited for the studies. Leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church described these human subjects as “conscientious participants,” rather than objectors because they were willing to risk their lives by participating in research rather than fighting a war.
Many of the volunteers still have lingering health problems, some serious. This experiment was truly a voluntary and consent given study unlike many of the others. Nevertheless, I’ve read enough about Fort Detrick to be wary of any tests they gave, especially since the results are still classified.
The Bikini Island
Truly a tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Island Chain, eleven families lived on the island of Bikini with their chief Juda in 1946. That same year American military planners concluded that the Bikini Atoll was the ideal target for testing the power of atomic bombs. After talking to the islanders, all 161 of them were moved to the Rongerik Atoll, hundreds of miles away.
They were told it was only temporary.
Forty two thousand (42,000) American soldiers moved out to Bikini. They used the island to test two atomic bombs, one dropped by plane on July 1, 1946 and one detonated under the sea on July 22, 1946.
American soldiers watched the explosions from the ship Mt. McKinley, which was only nine miles offshore. They protected their eyes with tinted goggles as the mushroom-shaped clouds rose from the lagoon. Within hours of the explosions, soldiers were checking the 10 ships they’d installed as “ghost fleets” near ground zero to record the bombs effects. Some ships sank, others floated on their sides, riddled with holes, black, charred and stripped of surface paint. Gun barrels and other structures on the ships were melted. Many lambs and pigs on the ships had burns and lesions on their bodies; others were dead. When the soldiers stepped onto the ships, their Geiger counters ticked rapidly from the radioactive fallout.
On the day of the second blast, the winds shifted and went directly toward the Mt. McKinley and the troops. They were pelted with small stones, ash, coral and other debris from the explosion.
That summer the temperature hovered around 100 degrees and the soldiers stripped down to shorts and tee shirts whenever possible, slept on the ship’s deck, and swam in the lagoon to try to stay cool. They washed their clothes in the water and cooked their food in it.
Over the next 11 years, American soldiers participated in 23 tests at Bikini during which hundreds of bombs were detonated.
The islanders did not find Rongerik as lush and inviting as Bikini and wanted to go home because they were starving and terribly unhappy. The military moved them twice. They sat and waited to return home while eating Spam.
The largest bomb dropped on Bikini on March 1, 1954 was a hydrogen bomb 1000 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Even the island on Rongerik had radioactive fallout rained down on it along with all the soldiers and islanders being drenched with white ash. The children played in it because it looked like snow.
The fallout made people terribly ill, many were burned, lost hair, and vomited. They had signs and symptoms of radiation poisoning. Much later, the Defense Nuclear Agency called this blast the “worst single incident of fallout exposures in all the U.S. testing program.”
In 1968, a few islanders moved back to Bikini, but by 1978, they were evacuated again because the radioactive cesium and strontium levels in the water and soil were too high. More than half a century later, the island is still too radioactive for habitation.
The early loss of life and illness to the American military men and to the islanders who lost their home as well is incalculable. Offspring of those exposed have had terrible birth defects and most of their children died.
MK Ultra experiments
Few people are aware of the covert biowarfare experiments conducted by various government agencies, especially the military and CIA. It was started in 1953 by Allen Dulles, head of the CIA.
In 1977, the CIA admitted to no less than 149 subprojects including experiments to determine the effects of different mind altering drugs on human behavior. Forty-four colleges and universities were involved, along with fifteen research foundations, twelve hospitals or clinics, and three penal institutions. It is still questionable whether these “research” experiments continue on the military and general population without their knowledge. I believe they do. See this.
In actuality, MK Ultra had a precursor that started in 1945 with Operation Paperclip. This was headed by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, an OSS project (previous name of the CIA). Operation Paperclip was the program to recruit former Nazi scientists, many who had studied torture and brainwashing, were prosecuted under the Nuremburg trials, and then were smuggled into the United States to work with the CIA and military on these covert projects. Of course the Nuremburg Codes (mentioned in part 3 and 4) were once again ignored.
As examples, unwitting citizens were tested with LSD in punch. One man threw himself out a window after ingestion thinking cars were monsters out to get him. Another experiment was using taxpayer dollars again to hire prostitutes to lure men from bars back to safe houses after their drinks had been spiked with LSD.
Captain George Hunter White, who headed many of these horrific experiments wrote to the head of the CIA’s Technical Services Staff after leaving government service in 1966 and said, “I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun…Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessings of the all-highest?”
Allegedly these experiments ended in 1975, but again, with the numerous stories about Ft. Detrick, the CIA, MK Ultra and experiments without consent on both the general population and our soldiers, I really have my doubts these experiments have ceased. Many innocent victims died and given the destruction of classified documents, the failure to get consent, the failure to do follow-up studies, and the uncontrolled nature of the studies, we’ll never know the full outcome of the resulting problems and deaths these experiments caused.
Standing as a proud and dramatic antithesis to the actions of our government , military and CIA was Major Walter Reed who established the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission in Havana in 1900. When Major Reed asked for volunteers, he made full disclosure of the risk, including possible death to all who came forward. Mosquitoes laden with yellow fever were used to infect volunteers. Physicians Jesse Lazear and nurse Clara Maass were two of the early medical professionals who volunteered and did not survive the illness. The sacrifice of these professionals was groundbreaking in establishing a moral compass for informed consent by ethical health professionals.
The research work under Reed’s leadership was responsible for stemming the deaths from yellow fever on those building the Panama Canal, something that had confounded the French only 30 years earlier. Reed gave the credit to Dr. Carlos Finlay for the discovery of the yellow fever vector in all his speeches and writings. Major Reed died in 1902 from peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. He was only 51.
Please note that in radiation experiments, none of the physicians or scientists involved ever used themselves as test subjects.
In future articles we’ll cover the poison fluoride, as well as various other experiments on the unsuspecting American population.
1- The Human Radiation Experiments by Alan R. Cantwell, Jr. M.D.
2- Testimony before House Energy and Power Subcommittee transcripts
3- Yellow Jack: How Yellow Fever Ravaged America and Walter Reed Discovered
4- its Deadly Secrets by John R. Pierce and Jim Writer