U.S. Government's Secret Experiments on Its Citizens

U.S. Government’s Secret Experiments on Its Citizens

For at least fifty years the Department of Defense has used hundreds of thousands of military personnel and private citizens in experiments with mustard and nerve gas, ionizing radiation, psychochemicals, hallucinogens, and drugs.

Among the many secret experiments and other clandestine medical programs carried out by governmental or government-related agencies, the following are some of the most notorious:

1931: Cancer. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations infected human subjects with cancer cells. Dr. Cornelius Rhoads established the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama and began a series of radiation exposure experiments on patients in government and civilian hospitals.

1932: Syphilis. In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, two hundred black men diagnosed with syphilis were never told of their illness and were used as human guinea pigs in order to better understand the symptoms of the disease. None of the men received any kind of treatment, and only seventy-four survived.

1935: Dietary deficiencies. Millions had died of pellagra, a dietary deficiency, in poverty-stricken black populations. The U.S. Public Health Service finally acted to curb the disease and admitted that it had known the causes of pellagra for more than two decades.

1940: Malaria. In order to gauge the abilities of experimental drugs designed to fight malaria, four hundred prisoners in Chicago were infected with the disease.

1942: Mustard gas. Four thousand servicemen, mostly Seventh-day Adventists who were conscientious objectors, served as human guinea pigs for mustard gas experiments.

1946: Medical experiments. World War II veterans recovering from wartime wounds in Veterans Administration hospitals were quietly used as subjects in medical studies and experiments.

1947: Radioactive injections. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission began administering intravenous doses of radioactive materials to human subjects.

1947: Psychedelics. In its efforts to evaluate LSD as a potential weapon or truth serum, the Central Intelligence Agency administered dosages of the powerful hallucinogenic drug to human subjects, civilian and military, often without their knowledge or consent.

1950: Radiation. With nuclear weapons still in their infancy, Department of Defense detonated nuclear devices in desert areas and then monitored unsuspecting civilians in cities downwind from the blasts for medical problems and mortality rates.

1950: Bacteriological warfare. The U.S. Navy sprayed a cloud of bacteria over San Francisco to test how a large city would respond to more lethal biological attacks. Many residents became ill with pneumonia-like symptoms.

1955: Biological agents. In an experiment to test its ability to infect human populations with biological agents, the Central Intelligence Agency released bacteria in the Tampa, Florida, area.

1956: Yellow fever. Mosquitoes infected with yellow fever were released over Savannah, Georgia, and Avon Park, Florida. U.S. Army disease specialists, posing as public health officials, test area residents for effects.

1965: Dioxin. Inmates at Holmesburg State Prison in Philadelphia were dosed with dioxin, the toxic chemical component of Agent Orange used in Vietnam.

1966: Germ warfare. More than a million civilians were exposed to germ warfare when U.S. Army scientists dropped light bulbs filled with bacteria onto ventilation grates throughout the New York City subway system.

1977: Contamination. Senate hearings revealed that between 1949 and 1969, 239 highly populated areas, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Key West, Panama City (Florida), Minneapolis, and St. Louis, had been contaminated with biological agents.

1978: Hepatitis B. The Centers for Disease Control asked specifically for promiscuous homosexual males when it tested an experimental hepatitis B vaccine in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Three years later, in those same cities, the first cases of AIDS were confirmed in homosexual men.

1990: Measles. The Centers for Disease Control inoculated more than 1,500 six-month-old black and Hispanic babies in Los Angeles against measles. Later, the center confessed that the vaccine was experimental.

1995: Biological agents. Evidence surfaced that the biological agents used during the Gulf War had been manufactured in Houston, Texas, and Boca Raton, Florida, and tested on prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections.

On September 30, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized to the government of Guatemala and the survivors and descendants of “clearly unethical” experiments conducted in 1946 to 1948 in which American public health doctors infected nearly 700 prison inmates, mental patients, and soldiers with venereal diseases. Since the prisons of Guatemala permitted conjugal visits, the National Institutes of Health, in an organized effort to test the effectiveness of penicillin, paid for syphilis-infected prostitutes to visit the prisoners. Some soldiers and mental patients had the infectious bacteria rubbed into scrapes and cuts made on their penises, arms, or faces. If the subjects contracted any venereal diseases, they were given the antibiotics being tested. According to Susan M. Reverby, the professor at Wellesley College, who disclosed the experiments, it is not clear whether everyone who was infected was cured.

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