Watchman Willie Martin Archive

                                                                              Germ Warfare

The Hall of Shame:

The United States has a long history of experimentation, on unwitting human subjects, which goes back to the beginning of this century. Both private firms and the military have used unknowing human populations to test various theories. However, the extent to which human experimentation has been a part of the U.S. Biological Weapons programs will probably never be known. The following examples are taken from information declassified in 1977, and from other private source accounts. Several involve incidents which are still of unknown origins and which cannot be fully explained, following is a “Partial” List.

1900: A U.S. doctor doing research in the Philippines infected of number of prisoners with the Plague. He continued his research by inducing Beriberi in another 29 prisoners. The experiments resulted in two known fatalities.

1915: A doctor in Mississippi produced Pellagra in twelve white Mississippi inmates in an attempt to discover a cure for the disease.

1925: Geneva Convention governing wartime conduct bans biological weapons. Japan refuses to approve treaty.

1931: The Puerto Rican Cancer Experiment was undertaken by Dr. Cornelius Rhoads. Under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, Rhoads purposely infected his subjects with cancer cells. Thirteen of the subjects died. When the experiment was uncovered, and in spite of Rhoads' written opinions that the Puerto Rican population should be eradicated, Rhoads went on to establish U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama. He later was named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and was at the heart of the recently revealed radiation experiments on prisoners, hospital patients, and soldiers.

1932: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study began. Two hundred (200) poor black men with syphilis began a long term experiment in which those men were to be studied. They were never told of their illness, and treatment was denied them. As many as 100 of the original 200 died as a direct or indirect result of the illness. The wives and children of the subjects also suffered as a result of the disease. (The government office supervising the study was the predecessor to today's Centers for Disease Control (CDC)).

1932: Japanese troops invade Manchuria. Shiro Ishii, a physician and army officer who was intrigued by germ warfare, begins preliminary experiments.

1936: Unit 731, a biological‑warfare unit disguised as a water‑purification unit, is formed. Ishii builds huge compound ‑‑ more than 150 buildings over six square kilometers ‑‑ outside the city of Harbin. Some 9,000 test subjects, which Ishii and his peers called ''logs,'' eventually die at the compound.

1940's: In a crash program to develop new drugs to fight Malaria during World War II, doctors in the Chicago area infected nearly 400 prisoners with the disease. Although the Chicago inmates were given general information that they were helping with the war effort, they were not provided adequate information in accordance with the later standards set by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. Nazi doctors on trial at Nuremberg cited the Chicago studies as precedents to defend their own behavior in aiding the German war effort.

1942: Ishii begins field tests of germ warfare on Chinese soldiers and civilians. Tens of thousands die of bubonic plague, cholera, anthrax and other diseases. U.S. soldiers captured in Philippines are sent to Manchuria.

1945: Japanese troops blow up the headquarters of Unit 731 in final days of Pacific war. Ishii orders 150 remaining ''logs'' killed to cover up their experimentation. Gen. Douglas MacArthur is named commander of the Allied powers in Japan.

1946: U.S. coverup of secret deal with Ishii and Unit 731 leaders; germ warfare data based on human experimentation in exchange for immunity from war‑crimes prosecution, begins in earnest. Deal is concluded two years later.

1950: The U.S. Navy sprayed a cloud of bacteria over San Francisco. The Navy claimed that the bacteria was harmless, and used only to track a simulated attack, but many San Francisco residents became ill with pneumonia‑like symptoms, and one is known to have died.

1950 ‑ 1953: An array of germ warfare weapons were allegedly used against North Korea. Accounts claim that there were releases of feathers infected with anthrax, fleas and mosquitoes dosed with Plague and Yellow Fever, and rodents infected with a variety of diseases. These were precisely the same techniques used in immunity from prosecution in exchange for the results of that research. The Eisenhower administration later pressed Sedition Charges against three  Americans who dared to published the information of these activities. However, none of those charged were convicted.

1952 ‑ 1953: In another series of experiments, the U.S. military released clouds of "harmless" gases over six (6) U.S. and Canadian cities to observe the potential for similar releases under chemical and germ warfare scenarios. A follow‑up report by the military noted the occurrence of respiratory problems in the unwitting civilian populations.

1955: The Tampa Bay area of Florida experienced a sharp rise in Whooping Cough cases, including 12 deaths, after a CIA test where a bacteria withdrawn from the Army's Chemical and Biological Warfare arsenal was released into the environment. Details of the test are still classified.

1956 ‑ 1958: In Savannah, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida, the Army carried out field tests in which mosquitoes were released into residential neighborhoods from both ground level and from aircraft. Many people were swarmed by Mosquitoes, and fell ill, some even died. After each test, U.S. Army personnel posing as public health officials photographed and tested the victims. It is theorized that the mosquitoes were infected with a strain of Yellow Fever. However, details of the testing remain classified.

1965: In a three year study, 70 volunteer prisoners at the Holmesburg State Prison in Philadelphia were subjected to tests of dioxin, the highly toxic chemical contaminant in Agent Orange. Lesions which the men developed were not treated and remained for up to seven months. None of the subjects was informed that they would later be studied for the development of cancer. This was the second such experiment which Dow Chemical undertook on "volunteers" who did not receive the information which the world proclaimed was necessary for "informed consent" at Nuremberg.

1966: The U.S. Army dispensed a bacillus throughout the New York City subway system. Materials available on the incident noted the Army's justification for the experiment was the fact that there are many subways in the (former) Soviet Union, Europe, and South America. The effects are not known for this release, details of the experiment are still classified.

1968 ‑ 1969: The CIA experimented with the possibility of poisoning drinking water by injecting a chemical substance into the water supply of the Food And Drug Administration in Washington, D.C.. There were no harmful effects noted from this experiment. However, none of the human subjects in the building were ever asked for their permission, nor was anyone provided with information on the nature or effects of the chemical used.

1969: On June 9, 1969, Dr. D.M. McArtor, then Deputy Director of Research and Technology for the Department of Defense, appeared before the House Subcommittee on Appropriations to request funding for a project to produce a synthetic biological agent for which humans have not yet acquired a natural immunity. Dr. McArtor asked for $10 million dollars to produce this agent over the next 5‑10 years. The Congressional Record reveals that according to the plan for the development of this germ agent, the most important characteristic of the new disease would be "that it might be refractory [resistant] to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease." AIDS first appeared as a public health risk ten years later.

1972: President Nixon announced a ban on the production and use of biological (but not chemical) warfare agents. However, as the Army's own experts reveal, this ban is meaningless because the studies required to protect against biological warfare weapons are generally indistinguishable from those for chemical weapons. Tests were held across the nation but the effects are still classified.

1977: Ray Ravenhott, director of the population program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), publicly announced the agency's goal to sterilize one quarter of the world's women. In reports by the St Louis Post‑ Dispatch, Ravenhott in essence cited the reasoning for this being U.S. corporate interests in avoiding the threat of revolutions which might be spawned by chronic unemployment.

In 1977 the United States reached a significant turning point in its history. For the first time, the U.S. Army admitted carrying out hundreds of chemical and biological warfare tests, including at least 25 that targeted civilian populations. Previously classified records show that between 1951 and 1967, on at least 48 occasions, the Army used disease causing microbes in open air tests and, that on at least 31 other occasions, anti‑crop substances were knowingly discharged into the environment.

Of course, all of this was done in the name of National Security. However, a more disturbing element was thrown into the mix with a 1985 U.S. Supreme Court decision. That decision essentially absolved the U.S. military from any liability in cases where the military might be caught experimenting on unknowing and unwilling human subjects. In fact, the Court's decision did not differentiate between the case of a single experiment, which was at the heart of the case under review, and broader actions which military commanders might determine to undertake under the terms of liberally interpreted orders.

In its decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court determined that actions against the military would tend to disrupt the military chain of command. This element was the key point of concern rather than any legal foundations which might have been espoused. Thus, anything which military commanders ordered, which might even remotely be covered by the broader umbrella of the scope and authority of the military mission, was not redressable in the courts. In fact, the military was essentially absolved from all past wrongdoing while at the same time being given a green light to undertake new activities so long as such actions did not violate their orders.

It was a decision which shocked fellow conservative, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who, in an impassioned dissent, cited the principles of fundamental human rights, and the concepts formulated after the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunals, as ample reason to hold military commanders culpable for their misdeeds.

We should already know, however, that human experimentation in the United States is not news. The infamous Tuskegee Study, where 400 black men with syphilis were left untreated, some for as long as 40 years, was only discontinued after it became public. More recently, we have seen that many more people were victims of radiation experiments which were conducted without required disclosure by our own Atomic Energy Commission. However, one of the most disturbing experiments was undertaken during the 1930's where a single pathologist undertook studies in which he knowingly infected his human subjects with cancer. This physician, Dr. Cornelious Rhoads of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, undertook his experiments with little concern for his patients. In fact, Dr. Rhoads' attitude about his subjects was chronicled in a letter which later served as the basis for a criminal investigation. With regard to the subjects and location of his experiments in Puerto Rico, Dr. Rhoads wrote: "What the island needs is not public health work, but a tidal wave or something to totally exterminate the population."

A criminal investigation, however, exonerated Dr. Rhoads in the deaths of his patients. The prosecutor appointed by the North American governor of the island dismissed the case, calling Rhoads merely "a mentally ill person or a man of few scruples." Interestingly enough, Dr. Rhoads went on to direct the establishment of U.S. Army chemical warfare laboratories in Maryland, Utah, and the Panama Canal Zone. This "mentally ill" doctor was subsequently awarded 'The Legion of Merit', and was appointed to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

It was the work and influence of Dr. Cornelius Rhoads which serves as the foundation for the film ENEMIES WITHIN. This suspense/mystery simply takes a look at a similar situation, and updates the time and place. Where some might see great conspiracies rising from governmental abuses, ENEMIES WITHIN examines a system which makes it possible for a few people to have a drastic impact on society. ENEMIES WITHIN looks at a man such as Dr. Rhoads, who with a little power and influence, might be able to spread diseases which target narrow groups. It examines the way in which our own loyalties can be used against us.

In the case of Dr. Rhoads, the man revealing the charges against him later claimed that he was being subjected to radiation experiments after his arrest during the Puerto Rican Nationalists insurrection in 1950. Subsequent to his release from prison, the man's health deteriorated, and he died a short time later. It has only been within the last few years that we've learned that the Atomic Energy Commission did indeed experiment on unwitting prisoners, hospital patients, and soldiers. Dr. Rhoads achieved his revenge for the charges made against him. But the question remains, how many other 'like thinking' individuals do we have defending our National Security? How many others may have been placed in positions of trust and power without oversight to prevent their abuse of power? The Supreme Court may have given some a way to fulfill their own visions, just as it appears Dr. Rhoads was able to do.

1980‑1981: Within months of their incarceration in detention centers in Miami and Puerto Rico, many male Haitian refugees developed an unusual condition called "gynecomasia". This is a condition in which males develop full female breasts. A number of the internees at Ft. Allen in Puerto Rico claimed that they were forced to undergo a series of injections which they believed to be hormones.

1981: More than 300,000 Cubans were stricken with dengue hemorrhagic fever. An investigation by the magazine 'Covert Action Information Bulletin', which tracks the workings of various intelligence agencies around the world, suggested that this outbreak was the result of a release of mosquitoes by Cuban counter revolutionaries. The magazine tracked the activities of one CIA operative from a facility in Panama to the alleged Cuban connections. During the last 30 years, Cuba has been subjected to an enormous number of outbreaks of human and crop diseases which are difficult to attribute purely natural causes.

1981: John Powell, a former publisher of a Shanghai magazine who was unsuccessfully tried for sedition in the early 1950s after accusing the United States of using germ warfare in Korea, exposes immunity deal in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

1982: El Salvadoran trade unionists claimed that epidemics of many previously unknown diseases had cropped up in areas immediately after U.S. directed aerial bombings. There is no hard evidence to support these charges.

1985: An outbreak of Dengue fever strikes Managua Nicaragua shortly after an increase of U.S. aerial reconnaissance missions. Nearly half of the capital city's population was stricken with the disease, and several deaths have been attributed to the outbreak. It was the first such epidemic in the country and the outbreak was nearly identical to that which struck Cuba a few years earlier (1981). Dengue fever variations were the focus of much experimentation at the Army's Biological Warfare test facility at Ft. Dietrick, Maryland prior to the 'ban' on such research in 1972.

1985: In ruling on a case in which a former U.S. Army sergeant attempted to bring a lawsuit against the Army for using experimental drugs on him, without his knowledge, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that allowing such an action against the military would disrupt the chain of command. Thus, nearly all potential actions against the military for past, or future, misdeeds have been barred as have actions aimed at the release of classified documents on the subject.

1985: Dr. Murray Sanders, a former lieutenant colonel who was a U.S. adviser on biological warfare, claims that he persuaded MacArthur to approve the immunity deal in the fall of 1945.

1986: Congressional subcommittee holds one‑day hearing in Washington, called by Rep. Pat Williams of Montana, aimed at determining whether U.S. prisoners of war in Manchuria were victims of germ‑warfare experimentation. Hearing is inconclusive.

1987: As the result of a lawsuit by a public interest group, the Department of Defense was forced to reveal the fact that it still operated Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) research programs at 127 sites around the United States.

1988: The New York Times reported: "Germ warfare experimentation 'in which bacterial agents are sprayed directly into the air.' Since 1979, the Army has conducted more than 170 open air tests at Dugway Proving Grounds, 70 miles from Salt Lake City, as part of an expanded biological warfare program. Army officials steadfastly asserted their right to test outdoors 'anywhere in the country, including the urban areas.'"

The Government "admits it is releasing a bacteria called Bacillus Subtilis, in Utah, to stimulate biological attacks with the more lethal Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax. Other bacteria, including Serratia marcescens, have also been used in open air tests."

Many strange "new" outbreaks of rare viruses and unusual bacterial infections, "can be tied directly to these continuing secret Federal biowar terror attacks against Americans." ( New York Times, 11/29/88)

1995: The February/March, 1995 American Reporter revealed that some of the many unmarked black helicopter sightings, in urban areas such as Atlanta and in rural areas (flying at night, at roof top levels), are "Spraying some kind of Chemical. Shortly after these mysterious overflights, people in the area have become infected with various respiratory diseases and certain types of influenza. The helicopters, appear to be U.S. made UH-1 Hueys and possibly Russian-built Kamov 'Helix' helicopters, whose civilian mission in Russia is spraying crops." ( The American Reporter, February/March 1995 issue)

The American Reporter also stated; "a large number of Russian chemical and biowarfare decontamination trucks have arrived in Mississippi."

Finally, newspaper accounts of the arrests of Egyptians accused of blowing up the World Trade Center reveal that not only did the FBI have advance notice of the bombing but, worse, their informant, a former Egyptian army officer, built the bomb. Emad Ali Salem infiltrated the anti-Israel group for the FBI, who asked him if the Egyptians could build a bomb. Salem told them they could not. The FBI instructed Salem to build a bomb for the Egyptians, using phony powder. Then the FBI told Salem to use real explosives. Salem did as he was told but began secretly to tape his FBI handlers in their meetings.

Transcripts of these recordings were published in The New York Times in October, 1993. Properly placed, the bomb would have killed a hundred thousand rather than the six people it did kill. According to court documents filed in New York, the FBI had advance knowledge of the bombing. But the decision was made on orders from the highest levels within the government to allow it to occur. Why?

1996: Under pressure from Congress and the public, after a 60 Minutes segment, the U.S. Department of Defense finally admits that at least 20,000 U.S. servicemen "may" have been exposed to chemical weapons during operation 'Desert Storm.' This exposure came as a result of the destruction of a weapons bunker. Causes of the similar illnesses of other troops, who were not in this area, have not yet been explained, other than as post traumatic stress syndromes. Veterans groups have released information that many of the problems may be a result of experimental vaccines and inoculations which were provided troops during the military buildup.

Sources: ''Factories of Death,'' by Sheldon H. Harris (Routledge, 1994); and ''Prisoners of the

Japanese: POWS of World War II in the Pacific,'' by Gavan Daws (William Morrow, 1994).

Reference Materials