The Military secretly tested chemicals on Americans
Wall Street Journal
Octor 22, 2001
SAN FRANCISCO – Fifty-one years ago, Edward J. Nevin checked into a San Francisco hospital, complaining of chills, fever and general malaise. Three weeks later, the 75-year-old retired pipe fitter was dead, the victim of what doctors said was an infection of the bacterium Serratia marcescens.
Decades later, Mr. Nevin’s family learned what they believe was the cause of the infection, linked at the time to the hospitalizations of 10 other patients. In Senate subcommittee hearings in 1977, the U.S. Army revealed that weeks before Mr. Nevin sickened and died, the Army had staged a mock biological attack on San Francisco, secretly spraying the city with Serratia and other agents thought to be harmless.
The goal: to see what might happen in a real germ-warfare attack. The experiment, which involved blasting a bacterial fog over the entire 49-square-mile city from a Navy vessel offshore, was recorded with clinical nonchalance: "It was noted that a successful BW [biological warfare] attack on this area can be launched from the sea, and that effective dosages can be produced over relatively large areas," the Army wrote in its 1951 classified report on the experiment.
Now, with anthrax in the mail and fear mounting of further biological attacks, researchers are again looking back at the only other time this country faced the perils of germ warfare – albeit self-inflicted. In fact, much of what the Pentagon knows about the effects of bacterial attacks on cities came from those secret tests conducted on San Francisco and other American cities from the 1940s through the 1960s, experts say.
"We learned a lot about how vulnerable we are to biological attack from those tests," says Leonard Cole, adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Jersey and author of several books on bioterrorism. "I’m sure that’s one reason crop dusters were grounded after Sept. 11: The military knows how easy it is to disperse organisms that can affect people over huge areas."
In other tests in the 1950s, Army researchers dispersed Serratia on Panama City, Fla., and Key West, Fla., with no known illnesses resulting. They also released fluorescent compounds over Minnesota and other Midwestern states to see how far they would spread in the atmosphere. The particles of zinc-cadmium-sulfide – now a known cancer-causing agent – were detected more than 1,000 miles away in New York state, the Army told the Senate hearings, though no illnesses were ever attributed to them as a result.
Another bacterium, Bacillus globigii, never shown to be harmful to people, was released in San Francisco, while still others were tested on unwitting residents in New York, Washington, D.C., and along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, among other places, according to Army reports released during the 1977 hearings.
In New York, military researchers in 1966 spread Bacillus subtilis variant Niger, also believed to be harmless, in the subway system by dropping lightbulbs filled with the bacteria onto tracks in stations in midtown Manhattan. The bacteria were carried for miles throughout the subway system, leading Army officials to conclude in a January 1968 report: "Similar covert attacks with a pathogenic [disease-causing] agent during peak traffic periods could be expected to expose large numbers of people to infection and subsequent illness or death."
The government admits...
For decades, Americans were told that Area 51 didn’t really exist and that the US government had no official interest in aliens or UFOs. Statements to the contrary, official-sounding people cautioned, were probably the musings of "conspiracy theorists".
The Pentagon has officially confirmed that there was, in fact, a US$22 million government program to collect and analyze “anomalous aerospace threats” – governmentspeak for UFOs.
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