As our military is getting ready to face an assault by chemical and biological weapons from Iraq, newly declassified Pentagon reports reveal that the United States secretly tested similar chemical and biological weapons on American soil during the 1960s. The tests included releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria near Hawaii and San Diego. The military paid ranchers reparations after 6,400 sheep died when nerve gas drifted away from a test site in the Utah desert. The documents didn?t say whether any civilians were exposed to the poisons. We also tested nerve agents in Canada and Britain, with their cooperation. Chemical and biological agents were sprayed on ships at sea.
The United States supposedly ended its biological weapons program in the late 1960s and agreed in a 1997 treaty to destroy all of its chemical weapons. Russia signed the treaty as well, although the recent anthrax investigation revealed that they did not stop producing these weapons. One of the reasons we have never arrested the anthrax terrorist, despite the fact that he probably worked for a U.S. secret service, is that he may be able to reveal that we kept on developing these weapons as well, click here.
The Defense Department has admitted for the first time that the 1960s tests used real chemical and biological weapons, not just benign substances. The Defense Department has identified nearly 3,000 soldiers involved in the tests, but the VA has sent letters to fewer than half of them. VA and Pentagon officials say that finding all of them has been difficult.
Military personnel involved in the tests would have worn protective gear, although the gas masks and suits used at the time were far less sophisticated than those we have today. Some of those involved in the tests say they now suffer health problems linked to their exposure. Rep. Chris Smith, (R-N.J.), head of the House Veterans Affairs panel, says, "Our focus must be on quickly identifying those veterans who were involved, assessing whether they suffered any negative health consequences and, if warranted, providing them with adequate health care and compensation for their service."
Some of the test described in the declassified documents are?
1965 in Ft. Greeley, Alaska: A test of how sarin gas would disperse after being released in artillery shells and rockets in forests. Sarin is a powerful nerve gas that causes a choking, thrashing death. The Bush administration says it?s part of Iraq's chemical arsenal.
Gerstle River, Alaska: A test of how the nerve agent VX behaves when dispersed in artillery shells. It included mannequins in military uniforms and military trucks. VX is one of the deadliest nerve agents known and persists in the environment because it?s a sticky liquid that evaporates slowly. Iraq has acknowledged making tons of it.
1965 in Oahu, Hawaii: We sprayed bacteria to simulate a biological attack on an island compound. The test used Bacillus globigii, a relative of anthrax, that was believed at the time to be harmless. Researchers later discovered it can cause infections in people with weakened immune systems.
February 1966 off San Diego: a Navy vessel in the Pacific Ocean was sprayed with methylacetoacetate (MA), a chemical that irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory tract but is not considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Summer 1968 off San Diego: MA and Bacillus globigii (BG), were released in the same waters. No civilians are thought to have been exposed because the agents were carried out over the ocean.
1967 & 1968 in England and Canada: We tested sarin and VX, as well as the nerve agents tabun and soman, at the British chemical weapons facility in Porton Down, England and at the Suffield Defense Research Establishment in Ralston, Canada. Tabun and soman are chemically related to sarin and produce similar effects.
If we do invade Iraq, one of our major aims is to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons, so we are not eventually forced to fight a nuclear war in the Middle East. Let?s hope that we are not about to fight a war with Iraq using biological and chemical weapons, since the deaths and injuries?on both sides?will be more ghastly than any seen so far on the fields of battle. The images revealed on our TV news broadcasts will be horrendous.
We?ve used children as weapons, according to Cheryl and Lynn Hersha, who tell how they personally lived through it in ?Secret Weapons,? click here.
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