Alfred Richards, a pharmacologist, headed the Committee on Medical Research coordinating wartime medical research initiated by Department of Defense (DOD), Atomic Energy Commission (AEC, later EPA), and the CIA. In 1942, Richards requested permission from the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to use soldiers as subjects to “study vesicant gases”. He explained that human experiments…

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1942–1945: U.S. Navy initiated poisonous Mustard Gas and Lewisite (derivative of arsenic) experiments to test protective clothing and anti-blister ointments at the Naval Research Laboratory and at the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal. According to declassified records and reports, mustard gas experiments were conducted by the Navy at more than a dozen locations. The tests evaluated protective…

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In early summer of 1951, officials within the CIA’s Security Office — working in tandem with cleared scientists from Camp Detrick’s Special Operations Division and worked closely with a select group of scientists from a number of other Army installations, including Edgewood Arsenal — began a series of ultra-secret experiments with LSD, mescaline, peyote, and…

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1947–1960: Sarin, soman and tabun, the deadly weaponized nerve gases developed by Nazi scientists and imported from Hitler’s chemical weapons arsenal, were tested on soldiers. Sarin was the focus of intense testing at Edgewood Arsenal; within one year (1947–1948) an Army study reported 10 to 14 casualties (Primary Sources, New Yorker, 2012). The Army sought…

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Declassified Edgewood document AD351962 – LSD tests on “volunteers” states: “When this document has served its purpose, DESTROY it in accordance with AR 380-5. DO NOT return the document to U. S. Army Edgewood Arsenal Chemical Research and Development Laboratories.”   (David Martin. Secret Drug Experiments, CNN, 2012; includes declassified videos) Nerve gases — including, tabon…

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1943–1973: Operation Whitecoat conducted at Ft. Detrick on 2,300 Seventh Day Adventist draftees who volunteered in lieu of active duty on the battlefield. They were subjected to 157 experiments testing deadly pathogens and disease-causing agents, and experimental vaccine safety trials. Among the disease studied: Q fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, plague, tularemia, and others. The purpose…

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CIA’s Project ARTICHOKE involved extreme methods of interrogation — “enhanced interrogation” — these included hypnosis, forced morphine addiction, drug withdrawal, the use of chemicals and electroshock aimed at inducing amnesia. The experiments induced paranoia and hallucinations in U.S. soldiers who were the unwitting guinea pigs. As Linda Hunt states, the experiments were conducted despite the…

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James Stanley, a career soldier was one of these unwitting subjects who was given LSD in 1958. He suffered hallucinations, memory loss incoherence, and severe personality changes and exhibited uncontrollable violence. It destroyed his family, impeded his working ability, and he never knew why until the Army asked him to participate in a follow-up study.…

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December, 1990: FDA issued a waiver from informed consent to permit the Department of Defense to use unapproved, experimental drugs and vaccines – e.g. anthrax vaccine on soldiers. This violated the foremost “absolutely essential” mandatory ethical principle defined by the Nuremberg Code which was promulgated by U.S. judges under the authority of the U.S. Army.…

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Following the compelling testimonies of the soldiers who had been subjected to poison gas experiments, Jay Katz, MD the distinguished Yale professor of law and medical ethics wrote a letter to the IOM Committee, strongly criticizing the IOM for severely limiting the Committee’s task to an evaluation of “cold scientific knowledge” without a consideration of the ethics.…

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Following public hearings by the Committee of the IOM (1991) and by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, the IOM Committee issued a seminal report, Veterans at Risk: The Health Effects of Mustard Gas and Lewisite (1993) which revealed that by the time WW II ended approximately 60,000 U.S. servicemen had been used as human…

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