Pentagon moves to block release of court documents
January 23, 2014
The D.O.D. and U.S. Army are attempting to delay a court order that would force them to provide certain notice to Vietnam veterans disclosing the extent to which they had secretly been used as test subjects for experimentation during the Cold War.
The federal lawsuit, filed by Vietnam Veterans of America as well as individual soldiers, has dragged on since January 2009, and requests the Army disclose details about covert testing performed during “Project Paperclip,” an operation through which the U.S. Office of Strategic Services recruited Nazi scientists for “postwar intelligence purposes.”
“With the help of Nazi scientists recruited through ‘Project Paperclip,’ the Army and CIA used at least 7,800 veterans as human guinea pigs at the Edgewood Arsenal, [Maryland] alone,” the veterans’ class action suit states.
Starting in the 50s, the Army casually went about using troops to research the effects of various psychoactive elements on the human mind. “[T]he U.S. government sought drugs to control human behavior, cause confusion, promote weakness or temporary loss of hearing and vision, induce hypnosis, and enhance a person’s ability to withstand torture,” the lawsuit states.
“These experiments also used civilian ‘volunteers’ such as college students, who were paid small sums to participate, or prisoners,” the complaint alleges.
Carried out under project names such as “Bluebird,” “Pandora,” “Monarch,” “Artichoke” and “MKUltra,” subjects were unknowingly “administered at least 250 and perhaps as many as 400 types of drugs, among them Sarin, one of the most deadly drugs known, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD,” in efforts to develop drugs that would produce the desired effects.
“Defendants videotaped many of the experiments involving ‘volunteers; at Edgewood, as evidence by releases signed by many of the ‘volunteers.’ Varying doses of each substance were administered to the ‘volunteers,’ typically through multiple pathways, including through intravenous, inhalation, oral and percutaneous,” the suit states (.pdf).
It is also alleged chemicals administered were “above the known toxic threshold,” and left many service members suffering “excruciating pain, blackouts, memory loss, hallucinations, flashbacks, trauma, psychotic disorders, and other lasting health problems.”
“The crux of the veterans’ argument,” reports Courthouse News, “is that the Administrative Procedure Act obligates the defendants to provide notice to test subjects and to provide them medical care.”
Additionally, plaintiffs are citing a 1962 Army regulation mandating that experiment participants “will be told as much of the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment, the method and means by which it is to be conducted, and the inconveniences and hazards to be expected, as will not invalidate the results.”
Among several claims for relief, the veterans are chiefly seeking the disclosure of medical information “concerning all tests conducted on Plaintiffs (including any results thereof),” as well as a court order “stating Defendants’ duty to provide Plaintiffs with all necessary medical treatment on an ongoing basis is mandatory.”