Military admits experiments on soldiers

Military admits experiments on soldiers

In June, 2003, the U.S. military revealed that it had been conducting unusual experiments on American soldiers in the 1960’s.

The Pentagon recently declassified a set of reports on programs known as 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. During the tests, large numbers of soldiers–who were unaware that they were being used–were exposed to toxic substances and suffered consequences to their health.

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 toxic substances such as VX and satin gas, both of which are deadly.

According to the 1947 Nuremberg Code, human test subjects must give informed consent testing is conducted. This code is necessary to uphold the fights of the individual and to ensure control over unnecessary pain and suffering.

Several veterans groups and seven members of Congress urged the Pentagon to keep the investigation open and to report any new information on the tests. The Pentagon also agreed to assist veterans who were harmed by the experiments and, in some cases, to provide benefits for medical problems that might be linked to the exposures.

In 1995, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) reported that experiments were conducted during the Cold War on hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and civilian personnel. Radiation, blister agents, nerve agents, and biological contaminants were used, and acute injuries, chronic illnesses, and several deaths were reported.

A General Accounting Office representative said that, at the time, the Atomic Energy Commission and the U.S. Public Health Service funded experiments that gave low doses of radiation to mentally ill children. In other cases, lysergic acid (LSD) was given to individuals without their consent, and biological weapons, such as infectious agents that resulted in Venezuelan equine encephalitis and tularemia, were sprayed over parts of St. Louis, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C.

(Adapted from Good Medicine, Autumn 2003.)

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