Close on the heals of this recent Radio Lab story about CIA experiments at Harvard in the 1950s that may have had a dire impact on the [w:Ted Kaczynski] aka the Unabomber, and the recent news report that the US govt conducted Syphilis tests in Guatemala in the 1940s (not to mention the long-known about [w:Tuskegee syphilis experiment]s), tonight on the National Geographic channel is an in-depth look at “CIA Secret Experiments” during the [w:Cold War].
And for all you govt docs library geeks out there, you can read the Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States, June 1975 (aka the “Rockefeller Commission Report”) available in libraries throughout the country — find a nearby library here and here. It’s also available online.
From National Geographic Channel:
- In the wake of World War II, the U.S. government was engaged in a large number of confidential medical experiments designed to help win the Cold War. During these elicit experiments they exposed unknowing members of the public to biological and chemical agents, developed techniques for mind control, and even planned assassinations on powerful leaders of developing nations.
- Some methods that were considered for the distribution of these chemicals were to poison cigars, toothpaste, and ink.
- The CIA embarked upon a multimillion dollar, highly classified research program into the covert use of biological and chemical materials such as bacteria to infect the enemy, poisons for assassinations, and truth drugs for interrogations.
- Included in the medicine chest used for these experiments would have been anthrax, the plague, and brucellosis.
- A U.S. army experiment on New York City in 1966 exposed over a million people to the bacterium bacillus subtilis variant niger. Scientists used light bulbs filled with a combination of bacteria and charcoal particles, which they then dropped through vents onto the subway tracks.
- During this experiment, trillions of germs were released into the transit system during peak travel hours. The trials were conducted without the knowledge or cooperation of the NYC Transit Authority or Police Department.
- During this period, the CIA was also looking into the use of chemical substances for ways to manipulate and control human behavior; one such chemical that caught their attention was lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD.
- The CIA recruited prisoner volunteers to be administered LSD as part of their experimentation. The prisoners who cooperated were sometimes given heroin as a reward. In one experiment, prisoners were kept on increasing doses of LSD for 77 consecutive days.