Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - Help

AP
 Welcome, ghintp Personalize News Home Page New  -   Sign Out 
Yahoo! News   Wed, Oct 09, 2002
Search    for     Advanced
News Front Page
Top Stories
U.S. National
   Crimes and Trials
World
Business
Entertainment
Sports
Technology
Politics
Science
Health
Oddly Enough
Op/Ed
Lifestyle
Local
Comics
News Photos
Weather
Most Popular
Audio/Video
Full Coverage
Lottery
Crosswords

Full Coverage
More about
Biological and Chemical Weapons
Related News Stories
U.S. Troops Were Subjected to a Wider Toxic Testing NY Times (registration req'd) (Oct 9, 2002)
U.S. Secretly Tested Bioweapons Associated Press (Oct 9, 2002)
Doctors Urge Caution on Smallpox Vaccinations NY Times (registration req'd) (Oct 8, 2002)
Opinion & Editorials
Let the Public Choose On Smallpox Vaccine Washington Post (Oct 6, 2002)
Mistrust fuels arsenal threat USA Today (Oct 3, 2002)
Bioterror: Vaccines vs. antidotes USA Today (Oct 2, 2002)
Feature Articles
Some facts about smallpox Associated Press (Oct 8, 2002)
The Plan to Fight Smallpox Newsweek (Oct 6, 2002)

News Resources
  Providers
  AP
News Alerts
  Pentagon
  Department of Veterans Affairs
My Yahoo!
Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

 
U.S. National - AP
U.S. Secretly Tested Bioweapons
Wed Oct 9,12:58 PM ET

By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States secretly tested chemical and biological weapons on American soil during the 1960s, newly declassified Pentagon (news - web sites) 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, and biological and chemical weapons in at least two other states, Maryland and Florida.

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.

Troops involved in biological weapons testing were vaccinated ahead of time, said Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., the Pentagon's top health official. In prepared testimony for the House panel, Winkenwerder acknowledged that some service members involved in the tests "may not have known all the details of these tests."

He said some service members participating in tests using simulated chemical or biological weapons may not have been informed about the tests at all.

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 about 5,000 service members involved in tests at sea and another 2,100 involved in the tests detailed Wednesday, said Dr. Jonathan Perlin of the Department of Veterans Affairs (news - web sites). He said 53 veterans had filed health claims for their exposure during the tests. The VA has sent letters to 1,400 veterans involved in the tests at sea, Perlin said.

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.

___

On the Net:

Descriptions of some of the tests: http://rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/ap/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/inlinks/*http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/shad/shad_intro.shtml


< Previous Story
Mail to Friend  Email Story
Printer Version  Print Story
Next Story >

Message Boards Message Boards: Post/Read Msgs (588 msg Oct 9, 1:05 PM ET)

Ratings: Would you recommend this story? New
Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 Highly

Search:    for     Advanced


More Top Stories - U.S. National Stories
Woman Is Detained in Sniper Hunt   (AP)
White House: CIA Advances Iraq Case   (AP)
Ill. Man Charged in al-Qaida Funding   (AP)
Al-Qaida Warning Tape Said Authentic   (AP)
Fla. Executes Female Serial Killer   (AP)

 Shopping for a new car? ADVERTISEMENT
Get a free price quote from a dealer in your area. No obligation, no hassle.
  Zip:
Audi
Volkswagen
Ford
Chevrolet
Volvo
Dodge
BMW
Jeep
Honda
Toyota
Lexus
Chrysler


Weekly Specials ADVERTISEMENT
Get travel rewards faster with 5,000 Bonus Points.
Rent all the DVDs you want, $20 a month- Try FREE!
Access Your PC from Anywhere - Free Download
10 Dangerous Intersections
$7.95 Domain Name Registrations & Transfers at Aplus.Net!
$8.95 Domain Name Registrations & Transfers at GoDaddy.com
Web hosting. Best quality, 24/7 toll free support. Lowest prices.
TD Waterhouse-Special Offer
Home Project? Get Pre-Screened Home Contractors!
Join Gevalia Kaffe today & Get a Great Gift!

ADVERTISEMENT

Services
Daily Emails
Free News Alerts

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright 2002 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service