US Experimenting on People Without Informed consent part 4
copyrighted Apirl 17. 2013
see sections 280, 220 and 219 for parts one thru three
Louis Hempelmann, the health director at Los Alamos, Colonel Stafford L. Warren, medical director of the Manhattan Project, and others agreed to conduct a research program using both animal and human subjects. In an August 16, 1944, J. Robert Oppenheimer authorized separate programs to develop methods to detect plutonium in the excreta and in the lung. The X-10 plant began operating on November 4, 1943, and by the summer of 1944 was sending small amounts of plutonium to Los Alamos. By December 1944 large-scale production of plutonium began at the Hanford, Washington, reactor complex.
By the spring of 1945, the results of acute toxicological experiments with animals indicated that plutonium was as much as fifteen times more toxic than radium. Test had been done prior to this on guys who painted radium on watch dials.
Dr. Joesph G. Hamilton was the primary researcher for the human plutonium experiments done at University of California, San Francisco from 1944 to 1947. Hamilton wrote a memo in 1950 discouraging further human experiments because the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) would be left open "to considerable criticism," since the experiments as proposed had "a little of the Buchenwald touch." he was "professor of experimental medicine and radiology" at U.C. San Francisco." Hamilton eventually succumbed to the radiation that he explored for most of his adult life: he died of leukemia at the age of 49.
The camp at Buchenwald was also a site of large-scale trials for vaccines against epidemic typhus in 1942 and 1943. In all 729 inmates were used as test subjects, of whom 154 died. Other "experimentation" occurred at Buchenwald on a smaller scale. One such experiment aimed at determining the precise fatal dose of a poison of the alkaloid group; according to the testimony of one doctor, four Russian POWs were administered the poison, and when it proved not to be fatal they were "strangled in the crematorium" and subsequently "dissected". Among various other experiments was one which, in order to test the effectiveness of a balm for wounds from incendiary bombs, involved inflicting "very severe" phosphorus burns on inmates. When challenged at trial over the nature of this testing, and particularly over the fact that the testing was designed in some cases to cause death and only to measure the time which elapsed until death was caused. The total number of deaths at Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545.
Eighteen people, aged 4 to 69, were injected with plutonium. They lived from 6 days up to 44 years past the time of their injection. Eight of the 18 died within 2 years of the injection. Patients from Rochester, Chicago, and Oak Ridge were also injected with plutonium in the Manhattan Project human experiments.
Dr. David Egilman of internal medicine and occupational medicine and who was also on the Faculty of Brown University stated that, "there is no way that physicians at that time could have thought that those patients (injected with plutonium) were terminal. 12 of 18, in my opinion, were clearly not terminal. Maybe 3 of those are questionable, 9 of 18 were definitely not terminal. And they were not terminal by what physicians knew was terminal then - injured knee is not a terminal disease The worst experiments that were conducted, in my opinion, were those that resulted in the deaths of their participants. Those were conducted at the University of Cincinnati between 1961 and 1972. These studies are designed to obtain new information about the metabolic effects of total body and partial body irradiation, so as to have a better understanding of the acute and sub-acute effects of irradiation in the human."
The people experimented upon "were uneducated, average education 4th grade. Low intelligence. They had brain dysfunction, because of their underlying disease. They could not follow simple instructions. They were specifically selected because they had tumors, cancers, that were resistant to therapy. They picked patients whose cancers were not going to be treatable with the radiation." By 1960 doctors knew which cancers would respond and which would not. They wanted patients with cancers that would not respond, because then it wouldn't confuse the purpose of the experiment, which was to find out what effects the radiation would have on soldiers. If it actually treated the cancer, you would have some confusion between the cell necrosis, the cell death from the treatment and the effects of the radiation. Sixty two of 88 patients were black. If this was a cancer study, it is the first one that excluded affluent white people at its inception." http://www.pinknoiz.com/coldwar/nuke1.html
Scientists did not choose terminally ill patients for the experiments at Rochester, as some of them said later, but selected relatively healthy hospital patients, including an 18-year-old boy, to be injected with plutonium, uranium and other radioactive substances, the documents show. The experiments were intended to show what type or amount of exposure would cause damage to normal people in a nuclear war.
"It is of primary importance that the subjects have relatively normal kidney and liver function, as it is desirable to obtain a metabolic picture comparable to that of an active worker," according to the plan for plutonium injections at Rochester written in September 1945 by Dr. Wright Langham of the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico.
"The individuals chosen as subjects were a miscellaneous group of male and female hospital patients for the most part with well-established diagnoses," said one document written in 1950 by Dr. Samuel Bassett, who carried out some injection experiments. "Patients with malignant disease were also omitted from the group on the grounds that their metabolism might be affected in an unknown manner." http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/19/us/radiation-tests-used-some-healthy-people.html
In the late 1940s and again in the early 1950s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists conducting research fed breakfast food containing minute amounts of radioactive iron and calcium to a number of students at the Walter E. Fernald School, a Massachusetts institution for "mentally retarded" children. The National Institutes of Health, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) , and the Quaker Oats Company funded the research, which was designed to determine how the body absorbed iron, calcium, and other minerals from dietary sources and to explore the effect of various compounds in cereal on mineral absorption.
In 1961, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston University School of Medicine administered small amounts of radioactive iodine to seventy children at the Wrentham State School, another Massachusetts facility for mentally retarded children. With funding from the Division of Radiologic Health of the U.S. Public Health Service, the scientists conducting this experiment used Wrentham students to test a proposed countermeasure to nuclear fallout. Specifically, the study was meant to determine the amount of nonradioactive iodine that would effectively block the uptake of radioactive iodine that would be released in a nuclear explosion.
(Source: The Plutonium Files: America's Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War in 1999 by Eileen Welsome)
On February 28, 1947, an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) classification officer concluded that declassification was out of the question. The reasons are revealed in a previously classified document recently found at Oak Ridge:
The document [CH-3607] appears to be the most dangerous since it describes experiments performed on human subjects, including the actual injection of the metal plutonium into the body. The locations of these experiments are given and the results, even to the autopsy findings in the two cases. It is unlikely that these tests were made without the consent of the subjects, but no statement is made to that effect and the coldly scientific manner in which the results are tabulated and discussed would have a very poor effect on the public. Unless, of course, the legal aspects were covered by the necessary documents, the experimenters and the employing agencies, including the US, have been laid open to a devastating lawsuit which would, through its attendant publicity, have far reaching results.
There was clearly no expectation at the time that the plutonium injections would benefit the patient-subjects but some expectation that the general public might be disturbed by human experimentation in the absence of a prospect of offsetting benefit. The US covered up these criminal acts by classifying the medical reports, on the grounds that they involved "experimentation on human subjects where the material was not given for therapeutic reasons."
The report remained unavailable to the public until 1971 when it was downgraded to "Official Use Only." This really means it is unclassified within the US government offices, "but don't release to the press."
In 1968 Dr. Patricia Durbin undertook an investigation of the plutonium-injection subjects, which included a reevaluation of the original plutonium data.
In December 1972, Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Human Radiobiology (CHR), to whom Dr. Durbin had provided the names of surviving subjects, began a review of the data from all eighteen people who were injected with plutonium between 1945 and 1947. CHR was the national center designated by the AEC to do long-term follow-up of individuals with internally deposited radionuclides, primarily the radium dial painters. Argonne's follow-up plan for the plutonium experiments was to uncover the post injection medical histories of all the subjects, obtain biological material from those still living, and exhume and study the bodies of those deceased in order to "provide data on the organ contents at long times after acquisition of plutonium."
In 1973, three patients--Eda Charlton, John Mousso, and Elmer Allen--were admitted to the University of Rochester's metabolic ward for more excretion studies paid for by CHR. Elmer Allen had first been brought to Argonne, where an unsuccessful attempt had been made to detect plutonium by external counting techniques. In the course of his examination, however, CHR found subclinical bone "changes" that an Argonne radiologist characterized as "suggestive of damage due to radiation."
Again there was no disclosure to the subjects that they were now being followed because they had been subjects of an experiment that had been unrelated to their medical care, an experiment in which there was continuing scientific interest. The 1974 AEC investigation concluded that, in the case of the surviving Rochester subjects, Dr Christine Waterhouse, who conducted the follow-up studies with these patients for Argonne, had not told them the purpose of these follow-up studies in 1973.
The second component of this follow-up study was research on the exhumed bodies of deceased subjects. The 1974 AEC investigation concluded that the families were not informed that plutonium had been injected. Instead, they were told that "the purpose of exhumation was to examine the remains in order to determine the microscopic distribution of residual radioactivity from past medical treatment" and that the subjects had received an "unknown" mixture of radioactive isotopes. The investigation concluded that such disclosure "could be judged misleading in that the radioactive isotopes were represented as having been injected as an experimental treatment for the patient's disease." Thus, the families of the deceased subjects as well as those subjects still surviving were deceived by officials of the AEC.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Saul Krugman of New York University conducted studies of hepatitis at the Willowbrook State School, an institution for the severely mentally retarded. Krugman and his colleagues injected some of them with a mild form of hepatitis serum. The researchers justified their work on the grounds that the subjects probably would have become infected anyway, and they hoped to find a prophylaxis for the virus by studying it from the earliest stages of infection
Although the investigators did obtain the permission of the parents to involve their children in the research, critics of the Willowbrook experiments maintained that the parents were manipulated into consenting because, at least in the later years of the research, the institution was overcrowded and the long waits for admittance were allegedly shorter for children who were entering the research unit. Henry Beecher, a Harvard condemned Krugman and his staff for not properly informing the parents about the risks involved in the experiment.
In 1959, U.S. government scientists at the Dugway Proving Ground, west of Salt Lake City in Utah, deliberately melted down eight small nuclear reactors to simulate the consequences of an accident involving an airplane with an onboard 'nuclear plant.' This dispersed 14 times the radiation released by the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979.
From 1959 to 1969, government scientists in the Nevada desert conducted dozens of tests of nuclear reactor-powered rockets and ramjet engines that entailed incidences of core damage, core structural failure, core overheating, etc...On January 12, 1965, U.S. government scientists launched a nuclear-powered rocket that underwent reactor 'excursion' in mid-flight - a radioactive cloud from the intentional reactor explosion was tracked by aircraft as it passed over Los Angeles and to the Pacific Ocean.
From 1948 to 1952, the US military even dumped radiation from planes and spread it across wide areas around and downwind of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Dugway, Utah. This "systematic radiation warfare program," was kept secret for 40 years. One such experiment doused Utah with 60 times more radiation than escaped the Three Mile Island accident.
(Sources: Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments Report, dated February 1995) http://www.hss.energy.gov/healthsafety/ohre/roadmap/achre/chap5_4.html
(The Human Radiation Experiments, Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, Oxford U. Press, 1996)
Operation Crossroads was the code name given to the 1946 Bikini test series. On July 1, 1946, an atomic bomb--the same size as the weapon that exploded over Nagasaki was detonated at Bikini. In more ways than one the US military high command and its civilian counterparts were testing the waters with this There was very little question that the two plutonium bombs ready for detonation that July would work; the purpose of Operation Crossroads was to evaluate impacts of existing nuclear weapons rather than to experiment with any new designs.
Joint Chiefs ' of Staff, with Presidential approval obtained on January 10, 1946, created Joint Task Force ONE; its mission: to carry out the atomic bombing of a target array of naval ships. Vice Admiral W. H. P. Blandy was designated Commander. This Task Force comprised a total of more than 200 ships, 42,000 men, and 150 aircraft.
Colonel Stafford Warren, head of the Radiological Safety Section, expressed horror at the level of contamination on the ships due to the underwater atomic blast. When the ships returned to the West Coast from the Pacific, they were extensively studied to assess the damage and contamination from the atomic bombs. Since one of the A-bombs (aaa Baker) was submerged in the lagoon, its radioactivity was prevented from passing instantly into the upper atmosphere, however, intense and lasting radioactivity was produced in the water of the lagoon. The ships were drenched by tons of water thrown up by the explosion, became similarly contaminated.
Sailor Frank Karshi was ordered to prevent the destroyer Hughes from sinking after the Baker test. He said, "Out of the four hours we spent on her (the USS Hughes), two were spent vomiting and retching as we all became ill." One month later lesions appeared on his lungs.
Sailors later were found swimming in the water which was highly radioactive and were ordered out of the water, but not told how radioactive the water was.
The US conducted 67 nuclear tests, chiefly atmospheric. Forty-three tests occurred at Enewetak Atoll and twenty-three tests occurred at Bikini Atoll between the years 1946 and 1958. One of these 67 tests was the biggest nuclear test ever conducted by the U.S. It was part of a series of nuclear blasts called 'Castle,' and the test was dubbed 'Bravo.' Native people on nearby islands were exposed for several days to massive doses of radioactive ash/fallout and some Japanese fishermen also were injured by the fallout.
In August 1947, General Groves urged Major General Paul Hawley, the director of the medical programs of the Veterans Administration (VA), to address medical problems related to the military's use of atomic energy. The VA create both a "publicized" program to promote the use of radioisotopes in research and a "confidential" program to deal with potential liability claims from veterans exposed to radiation hazards.
At least 250,000 US troops, directly exposed to atomic radiation during seventeen years of nuclear bomb testing.
In 1977, more than thirty years later, pressure from publicized battles between the VA and atomic vets moved a federal agency--the Center for Disease Control--to conduct the first health study of America's nuclear veterans.
The survey was confined to the 3,224 men who were in the Nevada desert military maneuvers at a 1957 atomic test, code-named Smoky. An initial eighteen-month assessment, released in 1979, discovered more than twice the normal leukemia rate among those servicemen. In more detailed statistics that followed, the federal researchers found nine cases of leukemia among those same soldiers--a ratio nearly three times the average. "This represents a significant increase over the expected incidence of 3 1/2 cases," reported a research team headed by Center for Disease Control official Dr. Glyn C. Caldwell, in a study summary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in autumn 1980.
The Smoky test soldiers, however, represent only about 1 percent of U.S. servicemen exposed to nuclear testing. Extrapolation of the completed federal study conclusions would strongly indicate that several hundred veterans died from leukemia alone as a result of their involvement in the tests. The estimate does not include deaths from numerous forms of cancer, blood disorders, and other ailments.
On September 28, 1980, Vice Admiral Robert R. Monroe was still selling the lie when he went onto the CBS television program 60 Minutes broadcast regarding the nuclear vets. He said, "we have almost no indication today that there is a statistically higher proportion of cancer deaths. This weapon testing exposure is a very, very, very, very tiny amount of very low-level radiation." He said about 16 percent of American men die of cancer, so of course the disease would occur among some nuclear veterans. http://www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/KOO2.html
One subject of Army drug experimentation, James Stanley, an Army sergeant, brought an important, albeit unsuccessful, suit. The government argued that Stanley was barred from suing it under a legal doctrine--known as the Feres doctrine, after a 1950 Supreme Court case, Feres v. United States--that prohibits members of the Armed Forces from suing the government for any harms that were inflicted "incident to service."
In 1987, the Supreme Court affirmed this defense in a 5-4 decision that dismissed Stanley's case. The majority argued that "a test for liability that depends on the extent to which particular suits would call into question military discipline and decision making would itself require judicial inquiry into, and hence intrusion upon, military matters." In dissent, Justice William Brennan argued that the need to preserve military discipline should not protect the government from liability and punishment for serious violations of constitutional rights:
The medical trials at Nuremberg in 1947 deeply impressed upon the world that experimentation with unknowing human subjects is morally and legally unacceptable. The United States Military Tribunal established the Nuremberg Code as a standard against which to judge German scientists who experimented with human subjects. . . . In defiance of this principle, military intelligence officials . . . began surreptitiously testing chemical and biological materials, including LSD.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing a separate dissent, stated:
No judicially crafted rule should insulate from liability the involuntary and unknowing human experimentation alleged to have occurred in this case. Indeed, as Justice Brennan observes, the United States played an instrumental role in the criminal prosecution of Nazi officials who experimented with human subjects during the Second World War, and the standards that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals developed to judge the behavior of the defendants stated that the 'voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential . . . to satisfy moral, ethical, and legal concepts.' If this principle is violated, the very least that society can do is to see that the victims are compensated, as best they can be, by the perpetrators.