The CIA and Human Experiments

Washington, DC (NEO– We used to think that cruel and inhuman experiments on human beings were conducted only in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. However, unfortunately, we ever more often find out that such experiments are performed almost regularly in the United States by US intelligence agencies, and even citizens of the United States are among those who suffer in these experiments on human beings.

Recently, the international community obtained yet another piece of evidence of criminal nature of the CIA – the main instrument of Washington’s ‘democracy’. As follows from the secret documents made public by  “The Guardian” newspaper, the CIA, in its program of torture of alleged terrorists in US prisons, performed inhuman experiments on human beings in the style of Nazi Germany butchers.

The American Civil Rights Union got a secret document submitted by the journalists of The Guardian newspaper (UK), from which it becomes apparent that the CIA director authorized his employees to perform in prisons acts illegal under international law. The document notes that the CIA, according to the ‘guiding principles’ dated back to 1987 and then updated several times, should not sponsor, order, or conduct research on humans. However, the head of this agency was endowed with the authority ‘to approve, modify or reject all proposals concerning research on human beings’, and this ‘freedom’ conferred to him had not been publicly announced before.

Thus, according to the British newspaper, from 1997 to 2004 the CIA Director George Tenet authorized harsh interrogation techniques, including ‘waterboarding’, and instructed doctors to observe the process of torture and the prisoners’ reaction. These revelations about ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ of the CIA are in complete contradiction not only with international but also domestic US law, which clearly states that ‘research’ on humans can be done only with their informed consent. However, the CIA edited one of the four sections on experiments on human beings. After examining the declassified documents, one expert pointed out that the regulation proposed by the CIA manipulates the basic definitions of human experiments in order to ensure the continuation of the program of torture. According to the former investigator for war crimes and current researcher at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative Nathaniel Raymond: ‘The first crime by the CIA was torture. The second crime was ‘research without consent’.’

Having studied the document, experts noted that the National Security Agency and its medical staff, whose functions include regulation and supervision of research on human beings, violated the ‘guidelines’ emanating from Executive Law 12333 – which dates back to the Reagan years.

However, it should be noted that reports about experiments on its own citizens, carried out in the laboratories of the CIA, are not new. US intelligence agencies have throughout their existence repeatedly been accused of conducting cruel experiments on humans, including on its own citizens.

For example, in 1950, to simulate bacteriological warfare, two aircraft flew over San Francisco and sprayed a large amount of powder containing the bacteria Serratia marcescens, causing many residents to contract pneumonia and die. These experiments with the bacterium Serratia marcescens continued until 1969.

In 1955 in Florida near Tampa Bay pertussis bacteria were scattered, which immediately caused a massive epidemic of the disease. At least 12 people died.

In 1956 and 1957 in Georgia and Florida the CIA implemented another secret operation, during which millions of mosquitoes infected with yellow fever and dengue fever were released.

From 1963 to 1969 within Shipboard Hazard and Defence Project (SHAD) several types of bacteriological and chemical weapons were released on US Navy ships, and the crews suspected nothing when they began to be inundated with sarin, VX gas, and cadmium salts.

In the late 1960s, during another secret US intelligence operation, called ‘Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers to Covert Attack with Biological Agents’, hay bacillus bacteria were released into New York and Chicago subways.

A secret medical research of the government of the United States on the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands – ‘Project 4.1′ is also well known: during the experiment people were exposed to radiation after the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. As a result of radioactive contamination, among women in the first five years after the tests the number of miscarriages and stillbirths doubled, and many of the newborns who survived soon developed cancer.
Another, possibly most infamous biomedical experiment on the residents of the United States in American history could be the study of syphilis in the city of Tuskegee, Alabama, which lasted from 1932 to 1972 and was conducted under the auspices of the US Public Health Service and was designed to investigate all stages of syphilis in African-Americans. During this ‘study’ American scientists hid the existence of penicillin from the subjects, and continued testing experimental materials, ostensibly in search medicine. As a result, many people were affected, some died of syphilis and infected their wives and children.

In 1974, The New York Times newspaper published a sensational journalistic investigation, which resulted in the exposure of one of the most sinister and mysterious projects – a CIA program code-named ‘M[K]-Ultra’, dedicated to searching for methods to establish full control over the mind and consciousness of a human being. During the existence of this project from the early 50s to late 60s thousands of people passed through the hands of the ‘experimenters’, some of the subjects developed serious mental disorders, and many just died. Soon after the appearance of this publication, the US Congress established a special commission to investigate the activities of the CIA, which was joined by a presidential commission headed by Nelson Rockefeller. However, the government investigation was seriously hindered by the fact that the CIA had managed by this point to destroy a significant portion of documents that could shed some light, and most of the surviving documentary evidence has not been declassified.

Another very famous psychological experiment on humans was so-called Stanford Prison Experiment, which was conducted in 1971 by the American psychologist Philip Zimbardo and was a study of a human response to restrictions of freedom in terms of prison life and an influence of a person’s social role. Twenty-four undergraduate students were the subjects of the test, which took place in the basement of the Faculty of Psychology, specially equipped to serve as prison premises.

Eight human rights organizations, including the very influential Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, in 2010 filed a formal request for an investigation of the CIA, accusing it of conducting illegal medical experiments on the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004-2009. According to testimonies of human rights defenders, costly cancer drugs were tested on prisoners suspected of links to terrorists, which was supposed to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of super-profits for pharmacists and medical centres. If human rights defenders are right, the Americans killed at least 300 people by testing Coley’s toxin in Iraq alone. Experiments with Burton’s serum were also widely conducted – in Iraq five hundred people were forced to participate.

At the end of the World War II, a significant number of the Nazis received death sentences at the Nuremberg trials for their inhuman experiments on human beings. But the US prefers to remain silent on its ‘human capabilities researchers’, keeping such activities classified. After all, there was a reason that in 1947 the US Commission on Nuclear Energy released ‘Medical Experiments on Humans,’ document that stated: ‘It is desirable that when conducting experiments on human beings no documents be created that might cause a negative public reaction… documents containing such information should be classified.’

As a result, up to date, no US official has been convicted of inhuman experiments on their own compatriots. However, the activities of different public and non-governmental organizations in the US are permitted by this ‘stronghold of world democracy’ to detect only failures on the part of countries that are foes of the White House.

Image Source: Kai Schreiber, Flickr, Creative Commons

Image Source: Kai Schreiber, Flickr, Creative Commons

Is it not the time for the United States itself to give account before its own people and the global public for the numerous experiments on human beings conducted by US intelligence agencies?

Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” .