A Brief History of Biowarfare

A Brief Modern History of Biowarfare -- the Hague Convention of 1907 bans chemical weapons;

-- WW I use of poison gas causes 100,000 deaths and 900,000 injuries;

-- Britain uses poison gas against Iraqis in the 1920s; as Secretary of State for War in 1919, Winston Churchill advocates it in a secret memo stating: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes;"

-- the 1928 Geneva Protocol prohibits gas and bacteriological warfare;

-- in 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads infects human subjects with cancer cells - under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations; Rhoads later conducts radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients;

-- in 1932, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study begins on 200 black men; they're not told of their illness, are denied treatment, and are used as human guinea pigs to follow their disease symptoms and progression; they all subsequently die;

-- in 1935, the Pellagra Incident occurs; after millions die over two decades, the US Public Health Service finally acts to stem the disease;

-- In 1935 - 1936, Italy uses mustard gas in conquering Ethiopia;

-- In its 1936 invasion, Japan uses chemical weapons against China; in the same year, a German chemical lab produces the first nerve agent, Tabun;

-- in 1940, 400 Chicago prisoners are infected with malaria to study the effects of new and experimental drugs;

-- the US has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s; in 1941, it implements a secret program to develop offensive and allegedly defensive bioweapons using controversial testing methods; most research and development is at Fort Detrick, MD; beginning in 2008, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs will also conduct it; production and testing are at Pine Bluff, AR and Dugway Proving Ground, UT;

-- from 1942 - 1945, (US) Chemical Warfare Services begins mustard gas experiments on about 4000 servicemen;

-- in 1943, the US begins biological weapons research at Fort Detrick, MD;

-- in 1944, the US Navy uses human subjects (locked in chambers) to test gas masks and clothing;

-- during WW II, Germany uses lethal Zyklon-B gas in concentration camp exterminations; the Japanese (in Unit 731) conduct biowarfare experiments on civilians;

-- in 1945, German offenders get immunity under Project Paperclip; Japanese ones as well - in exchange for their data and (for Germans at least) to work on top secret government projects in the US;

-- in 1945, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) implements "Program F;" it's the most extensive US study of the health effects of fluoride - a key chemical component in atomic bomb production; it's one of the most toxic chemicals known and causes marked adverse central nervous system effects; in the interest of national security and not undermining full-scale nuclear weapons production, the information is suppressed; fluoride is found naturally in low concentration in drinking water and foods; compounds of the substance are also commonly used for cavity-prevention, but few people understand its toxicity;

-- in 1946, VA hospital patients become guinea pigs for medical experiments;

-- in 1947, the US has germ warfare weapons; Truman withdraws the 1928 Geneva Protocol from Senate consideration; it's not ratified until 1974 and is now null and void under George Bush;

-- in 1947, the AEC's Colonel EE Kirkpatrick issues secret document #07075001; it states that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects;

-- in July 1947, the CIA is established; it begins LSD experiments on civilian and military subjects with and without their knowledge - to learn its use as an intelligence weapon;

-- in 1949, the US Army releases biological agents in US cities to learn the effects of a real germ warfare attack; tests continue secretly through at least the 1960s in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Panama City and Key West, Florida, Minnesota, other midwest locations, along the Pennsylvania turnpike and elsewhere; more on outdoor testing below;

-- after the (official) 1950 Korean War outbreak, North Korea and China accuse the US of waging germ warfare; an outbreak of disease the same year in San Francisco apparently is from Army bacteria released in the city; residents become ill with pneumonia-like symptoms;

-- in 1950, the DOD begins open-air nuclear weapons detonations in desert areas, then monitors downwind residents for medical problems and mortality rates;

-- in 1951, African-Americans are exposed to potentially fatal stimulants as part of a race-specific fungal weapons test in Virginia;

-- in 1953, the US military releases clouds of zinc cadium sulfide gas over Winnipeg, Canada, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, the Monocacy River Valley in Maryland, and Leesburg, VA - to determine how efficiently chemical agents can be dispersed;

-- in 1953, joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments are conducted in New York and San Francisco - exposing tens of thousands of people to the airborne germs Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii;

-- in 1953, the CIA initiates Project MKULTRA - an 11 year research program to produce and test drugs and biological agents that can be used for mind control and behavior modification; unwitting human subjects are used;

-- in 1955, the CIA releases bacteria from the Army's Tampa, FL biological warfare arsenal - to test its ability to infect human populations;

-- from 1955 - 1958, the Army Chemical Corps continues LSD research (on over 1000 subjects) - to study its effect as an incapacitating agent;

-- in 1956, the US military releases mosquitoes infected with Yellow Fever over Savannah, GA and Avon Park, FL - to test the health effects on victims;

-- in 1956, Army Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, specifically states bio-chemical warfare isn't banned;

-- in 1960, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence authorizes LSD field tested in Europe and the Far East;

-- in 1961, the Kennedy administration increases chemical spending from $75 - $330 million; it authorizes Project 112 - a secret program (from 1962 - 1973) to test the effects of biological and chemical weapons on thousands of unwitting US servicemen; Project SHAD was a related project; subjects were exposed to VX, tabun, sarin and soman nerve gases plus other toxic agents;

-- in 1962, chemical weapons are loaded on planes for possible use during the Cuban missile crisis;

-- in 1966, the New York subway system is used for a germ warfare experiment;

-- in 1968, the Pentagon considers using some of its chemical weapons (including nerve gas) against civil rights and anti-war protesters;

-- in 1969, an apparent nerve agent kills thousands of sheep in Utah; Nixon issues two National Security Memoranda in 1969 and 1970; the first (in November 1969) ends production and offensive use of lethal and other type biological and chemical weapons; it confines "bacteriological/biological programs....to research for defensive purposes" and has other loopholes as well; the second (in February 1970) orders existing stockpiles destroyed, confines "toxins....research and development (to) defensive purposes only," and declares only small quantities will be maintained to develop vaccines, drugs and diagnostics - a huge exploitable loophole;

-- in 1969, the General Assembly bans herbicide plant killers and tear gases in warfare; the US is one of three opposing votes; despite being banned, open-air testing intermittently continues to the present, and the Pentagon apparently authorized it in its most recent annual report; it calls for developmental and operational "field testing of (CBW) full systems," not just simulations, and followed it up in a recent March 2008 test; in Crystal City, VA, it released perflourocarbon tracers and sulfur hexaflouride assuring residents it's safe; it's not and may harm persons with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory ailments;

-- in 1969, DOD's Dr. Robert MacMahan requests $10 million to develop a synthetic biological agent for which no natural immunity exists;

-- from the 1960s through at least the 1980s, the US assaults Cuba with biological agent attacks;

-- in 1970, US Southeast Asian forces conduct Operation Tailwind using sarin nerve gas in Laos; many die, including civilians; Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, confirmes the raid on CNN in 1998; under Pentagon pressure, CNN retracts the report and fires award-winning journalist Peter Arnett and co-producers April Oliver and Jack Smith because they refuse to disavow their report;

-- in 1971, US forces end direct use of Agent Orange in Southeast Asia; also in 1971 with CIA help, an anti-Castro paramilitary group introduces African swine fever into Cuba; it infects a half a million pigs and results in their destruction; a few months later a similar attack fails against Cuban poultry; in 1981, a covert US operation unleashes a type 2 dengue fever outbreak - the first in the Caribbean since the turn of the century involving hemorrhagic shock on a massive scale; over 300,000 cases are reported, including 158 fatalities;

-- in 1975, the Senate Church Committee confirms from a CIA memorandum that US "defensive" bioweapons are stockpiled at Fort Detrick, MD - including anthrax, encephalitis, tuberculosis, shellfish toxin, and food poisons;

-- in 1980, Congress approves a nerve gas facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas;

-- during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the US supplies Iraq with toxic biological and chemical agents; Ronald Reagan signs a secret order to do "whatever (is) necessary and 'legal' " to prevent Iraq from losing the war;" a 1994 congressional inquiry later finds that dozens of biological agents were shipped, including various strains of anthrax and precursors of nerve gas (like sarin), gangrene, and West Nile virus;

-- in 1984, Reagan orders M55 rockets retooled to contain high-yield explosives and VX gas; his administration begins researching and developing biological agents allegedly for "defensive purposes;"

-- in 1985 and 1986, the US resumes open-air biological agents testing; it likely never stopped;

-- in 1987, Congress votes to resume chemical weapons production;

-- in 1989, 149 nations at the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference condemn these weapons; after signing the treaty, it's revealed that the US plans to produce poison gas; at the UN, GHW Bush reaffirms the US commitment to eliminate chemical weapons in 10 years; the US implements the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 - "to implement....the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction....;"

-- in 1990, GHW Bush signs the 1989 act making it illegal for the US to develop, possess or use biological weapons; Bush also signs Executive Order 12735 stating: the spread of chemical and biological weapons constitutes an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States;"

-- following the Gulf War, reports surface about US forces' health problems - later called Gulf War Syndrome; the likely cause - widespread use of depleted uranium, other toxic substances, and the illegal use (on nearly 700,000 theater forces) of experimental vaccines in violation of the Nuremberg Code on medical experimentation; over 12,000 have since died and over 30% are now ill from non-combat-related factors; they've since filed claims with the VA for medical care, compensation, and pension benefits;

-- in 1997, Cuba accuses the US of spraying crops with biological agents;

-- in 1997, the US ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) banning the production, stockpile and use of these substances;

-- in 2001, the Bush administration rejects the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) citing 38 problems with it, some called serious; claiming a need to counter chemical and biological weapons threats, it's spending multi-billions illegally to develop, test and stockpile "first-strike" chemical and biological weapons that endanger homeland security and threaten good relations with other countries;

-- all along, a BWC loophole allows appropriate types and amounts of biological agents to be used for "prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes" - construed to be defensive; it also permits "research," not "development;" the CIA took full advantage to conduct programs for offense, not defense or to further peace; further, the BWC includes nothing about genetic engineering because it didn't exist at the time.

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