Currently, Israel is the only modern nation that has not signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (refusal to engage in offensive biological warfare, stockpiling, and use of biological weapons). Also, Israel is the only modern nation that has signed but not ratified the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (refusal to produce, stockpile and use chemical weapons). Should the world suffer a major bio-terror attack or pandemic, Israel will be the #1 suspect.
Abstract: Project SHAD stands for Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, a series of Cold War-era tests by the United States Department of Defense of biological weapons and chemical weapons. Exposures of uninformed and unwilling humans during the testing to the test substances, particularly the exposure to United States military personnel then in service, has added controversy to recent revelations of the project.
Project SHAD was part of a larger effort by the Department of Defense called Project 112. The Project began in 1962 during John F. Kennedy's administration, and it is largely believed that neither Kennedy nor subsequent Presidents knew of Project 112 or SHAD. However, Robert McNamara, Kennedy's Secretary of Defense, did know of and approved these tests. There is also some evidence that demonstrates local governments were involved with these tests, though it is unclear how exactly they aided with Project SHAD.
The official statement on Project SHAD's purpose was "...to identify U.S. war ships vulnerabilities to attacks with biological or chemical warfare agents and to develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining a warfighting capability." 134 tests were planned initially, but only 46 tests were actually completed. In these tests, chemical and biological agents were introduced to military personnel, who were at the time ignorant that they were involved in such an experiment. Nerve agents and chemicals include, but are not limited to, VX nerve gas, Tabun gas, Sarin, Soman, and the marker chemicals zinc cadmium sulfide, and QNB. Biologics include Bacillus globigii, Coxiella burnetti (which causes Q fever), and Francisella tularensis (which causes tularemia or 'rabbit fever').
Revelations concerning Project SHAD were first exposed by independent producer and investigative journalist Eric Longabardi. Longabardi's 6-year investigation into the still secret program began in early 1994. It ultimately resulted in a series of investigative reports produced by him, which were broadcast on the CBS Evening News in May 2000. After the broadcast of these exclusive reports, the Pentagon and Veteran's Administration opened their own ongoing investigations into the long classified program. In 2002, Congressional hearings on Project SHAD, in both the Senate and House, further shed media attention on the program. In 2002, a class action federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of the US sailors exposed in the testing. Additional actions, including a multi-year medical study was conducted by National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine to assess the potential medical harm caused to the thousands of unwitting US Navy sailors, civilians, and others who were exposed in the secret testing. The results of that study were finally released in May 2007.
28 fact sheets have been released, focusing on the Deseret Test Center in Dugway, Utah, which was built entirely for Project SHAD and was closed after the project was finished in 1973.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has come under great scrutiny[by whom?] because those that were involved with Project 112 and SHAD were unaware of any tests being done. No effort was made to ensure the informed consent of the military personnel. Until 1998, the Department of Defense stated officially that Project SHAD did not exist. Because the DoD refused to acknowledge the program, surviving test subjects have been unable to obtain disability payments for health issues related to the project. US Representative Mike Thompson said of the program and the DoD's effort to conceal it, "They told me – they said, but don’t worry about it, we only used simulants. And my first thought was, well, you’ve lied to these guys for 40 years, you’ve lied to me for a couple of years. It would be a real leap of faith for me to believe that now you’re telling me the truth."
The Department of Veterans Affairs has commenced a three-year study comparing known SHAD-affected veterans to veterans of similar ages who were not involved in any way with SHAD or Project 112. The study cost approximately (Wikipedia, 2012).
Title: Bioweapons Tested In U.S. In 1960s
Date: October 9, 2002
Abstract: The United States secretly tested chemical and biological weapons on American soil during the 1960s, newly declassified Pentagon reports show.
The tests included releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii, according to the documents obtained Tuesday.
The United States also tested nerve agents in Canada and Britain in conjunction with those two countries.
The summaries of more than two dozen tests show that biological and chemical tests were much more widespread than the military has acknowledged previously.
The Pentagon released records earlier this year showing that chemical and biological agents had been sprayed on ships at sea. The military reimbursed ranchers and agreed to stop open-air nerve agent testing at its main chemical weapons center in the Utah desert after about 6,400 sheep died when nerve gas drifted away from the test range.
But the Pentagon never before has provided details of the Alaskan, Hawaiian, Canadian and British tests. The Defense Department planned to formally release summaries of 28 biological and chemical weapons tests at a House Veterans Affairs subcommittee hearing Wednesday.
The documents did not say whether any civilians had been exposed to the poisons. Military personnel exposed to weapons agents would have worn protective gear, the Pentagon says, although the gas masks and suits used at the time were far less sophisticated than those in use today.
The head of the House Veterans Affairs panel called for further investigation of the tests.
"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,'' said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.
The tests were part of Project 112, a military program in the 1960s and 1970s to test chemical and biological weapons and defenses against them. Parts of the testing program done on Navy ships were called Project SHAD, or Shipboard Hazard and Defense.
The United States scrapped its biological weapons program in the late 1960s and agreed in a 1997 treaty to destroy all of its chemical weapons.
Some of those involved in the tests say they now suffer health problems linked to their exposure to dangerous chemicals and germs. They are pressing the Veterans Affairs Department to compensate them.
Earlier this year, the Defense Department acknowledged for the first time that some of the 1960s tests used real chemical and biological weapons, not just benign stand-ins.
The Defense Department has identified nearly 3,000 soldiers involved in tests disclosed earlier, but the VA has sent letters to fewer than half of them. VA and Pentagon officials acknowledged at a July hearing that finding the soldiers has been difficult.
The tests described in the latest Pentagon documents include:
-- Devil Hole I, designed to test how sarin gas would disperse after being released in artillery shells and rockets in aspen and spruce forests. The tests occurred in the summer of 1965 at the Gerstle River test site near Fort Greeley, Alaska. Sarin is a powerful nerve gas that causes a choking, thrashing death. The Bush administration says it is part of Iraq's chemical arsenal.
-- Devil Hole II, which tested how the nerve agent VX behaved when dispersed with artillery shells. The test at the Gerstle River site in Alaska also included mannequins in military uniforms and military trucks. VX is one of the deadliest nerve agents known and is persistent in the environment because it is a sticky liquid that evaporates slowly. Iraq has acknowledged making tons of VX.
-- Big Tom, a 1965 test that included spraying bacteria over the Hawaiian island of Oahu to simulate a biological attack on an island compound, and to develop tactics for such an attack. The test used Bacillus globigii, a bacterium believed at the time to be harmless. Researchers later discovered the bacterium, a relative of the one that causes anthrax, could cause infections in people with weakened immune systems.
-- Rapid Tan I, II, and III, a series of tests in 1967 and 1968 in England and Canada. The tests used sarin and VX, as well as the nerve agents tabun and soman, at the British chemical weapons facility in Porton Down, England. Tests at the Suffield Defence Research Establishment in Ralston, Canada, included tabun and soman, the records show.
Tabun and soman are chemically related to sarin and produce similar effects (UCLA, 2002).
Title: Cold War Bio-Weapon Tests Included
Date: October 10, 2002
Source: LA Times
Abstract: The Pentagon sprayed biological and chemical agents off the coast of San Diego during the Cold War, part of a series of previously undisclosed tests in several states that exposed troops and perhaps thousands of civilians to the compounds, defense officials said Wednesday.
In all, 27 newly disclosed secret tests were conducted in California, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland and Utah, officials said. The tests, conducted from 1962 to 1973, were also carried out in Canada and the United Kingdom.
In February 1966, a Navy vessel in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego was sprayed with methylacetoacetate, or MA, a chemical that irritates the eyes, skin and respiratory tract but is not considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In a second test in the summer of 1968, MA and Bacillus globigii, or BG, were released in the same waters. A bacterium related to anthrax, BG was later found to infect people with weak immune systems. No civilians are thought to have been exposed to harmful agents in those tests because they were carried out over the ocean.
It was the first time the Pentagon has acknowledged that it used the agents on U.S. soil and that civilians may have been exposed during the tests. The Defense Department previously revealed that 10 tests were carried out during the Cold War on U.S. ships to determine how they would perform under chemical or biological attack.
The Defense Department released the information at a House Veterans Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday; some elements were leaked to reporters Tuesday.
Military officials insisted that none of the agents used near civilians was thought at the time to be dangerous, although some --including E. coli bacteria --were later found to be harmful, even deadly.
In 21 tests on land and six newly reported tests at sea overseen by the Deseret Test Center at Ft. Douglas, Utah, live biological agents and lethal chemicals -- including sarin and VX -- were sprayed not only in the six states, but at or near military facilities in Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Marshall Islands, Baker Island and over international waters in the Pacific Ocean.
The 37 tests disclosed so far affected about 5,000 service members at sea and 500 on land from 1962 to 1973, defense officials said. The Pentagon has notified about 1,400 of those soldiers about the secret testing regimen, dubbed "Project 112."
The Deseret test center reported that four people were infected at the time and successfully treated. Veterans Affairs officials said they were studying the phenomenon; 53 veterans have filed health claims since the 1990s. The claims blame what they say was their exposure to the chemical or biological agents for a variety of ailments, including muscular, skeletal, digestive, hearing, skin and cardiovascular disorders.
Defense officials said the Pentagon has no process for notifying civilians who may have been exposed in the U.S., including those possibly numbering "into the thousands" on Oahu, Hawaii.
Pentagon officials believe local authorities were notified of the tests at the time, said William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant Defense secretary for health affairs, but most citizens apparently were not. Veterans advocates said lower-level soldiers also were unaware, although defense officials insisted the soldiers were protected by chemical gear and masks.
"We're making this information available so that anyone who believes there may have been some ill effect could come forward," Winkenwerder said.
Civilians were not believed to have been affected in California because the four tests conducted there – including two first reported Wednesday – were all conducted off the San Diego coast in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Pentagon analysis.
Defense officials insisted that civilians were exposed only to live biological agents that simulated more deadly agents in the way they spread, but were themselves believed to be harmless. However, the simulated substances included E. coli and other agents that were later found to be harmful or fatal to young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Even soldiers and sailors exposed during the tests "may not have known all the details of these tests," Winkenwerder said.
"Most of these people didn't have a clue what they were part of," said Kirt Love, a veterans advocate with the Desert Storm Battle Registry who contended that in many cases only senior officers were aware of the tests. "These were not safe agents at the time."
After the report was released of the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, it was detailed at a Pentagon briefing. Defense officials said the tests were conducted for potential offensive use against U.S. enemies and for defense against the Cold War biological and chemical weapons arsenal amassed by the Soviet Union.
The Navy trials tested the ability of ships and sailors, clad in chemical defense gear, to perform under a chemical or biological attack at sea. The land-based tests were done to evaluate how the agents dispersed, officials said. Desert tests such as those in Utah helped the Pentagon amass much of the information the military has on how chemical and biological agents would perform in desert areas such as Iraq, said Anna Johnson-Winegar, the Pentagon's assistant secretary for chemical and biological defense.
"The purpose of these operational tests was to test equipment, procedures, military tactics, etc., and to learn more about biological and chemical agents," Winkenwerder said. "The tests were not conducted to evaluate the effects of dangerous agents on people."
The United States ended its biological weapons program in the 1960s and in 1997 signed a treaty agreeing to destroy all of its chemical weapons. Funding and disposal issues have delayed much of that process, leaving stores of lethal chemicals at several military sites throughout the nation.
Today, defense officials insist that the only testing of toxic and biological agents in the United States is given to chemical specialists among the armed services at a tightly contained testing facility at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. So-called stimulants still are used elsewhere.
The disclosures are unlikely to be the last from Project 112. The military had planned 134 tests; 46 were conducted, 62 were canceled and the status of the remainder is unclear. The newly disclosed tests used a variety of agents under various conditions.
Tests in the late 1960s in Porton Down, England, and Ralson, Canada, used tabun and soman, two deadly nerve agents.
In the 1965 Oahu test, BG was
sprayed in a simulated attack called "Big Tom." Near Ft. Greely,
Alaska, researchers tested how deadly sarin gas, the toxin members of the Aum
Supreme Truth cult used in 1995 to kill commuters in the Tokyo subway, would
disperse after being released from artillery shells and rockets in dense
forests in a test dubbed "Devil Hole I" in 1965. A year later, VX
agent, which lingers like motor oil in deadly pools, was released by artillery
shells in "Devil Hole II" (LA Times, 2002).