The Dangers Of Military Biological Testing

1776 words - 7 pages

    Abstract: Across the United States for the past half a century, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army have been releasing biological agents over the very population they are supposed to protect. Although few Americans know it, open-air biological testing of stimulants such as aspergillus fumigatus, zinc cadmium sulfide, bacillus subtilis, and serratia marcescens has been taking place over populated areas since at least 1949. Between 1949 and 1969, the military admits to having conducted 239 open-air tests over populated areas in the United States. Testing has taken place in the San Francisco Bay area, New York City, and Washington, D.C., as well as in areas such as Hampton Roads, Virginia and Panama City, Florida. These open-air tests occur without the knowledge, or the consent, of both the general population and public officials and in fact, constitute a silent but potentially deadly form of terrorism against an uninformed and unsuspecting public. At least in instances of international or radical terrorism, the general population of the United States can feel secure in the fact that there are organizations designed to bring terrorists to justice; who, however, is going to defend citizens of the U.S. from the actions of the Department of Defense?


Much of the information about the United States' policy of biological warfare still remains confidential today. Most of what is known to the public, however, was revealed at the 1977 Congressional Hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources and through the Freedom of Information Act. At the Congressional Hearings, Senators Kennedy and Schweiker questioned both military officials and non-military scientists in order to uncover the extent of the biological warfare program in the United States and to find out if in fact, the general population of the United States has been endangered at any time. In his opening statement, Senator Kennedy notes that Congress has "learned, for the first time, the extent of the Department of Defense activities in biological warfare" and that the Hearings "will focus primarily on the biological warfare research program and the protection of witting and unwitting subjects of that program". Senator Kennedy goes on to note that there will be a closed session in which Committee members will talk with military officials and that these talks will remain confidential. The public then, will learn only what the government wants it to learn.


One fact which became clear from these Hearings is that the members of the military have predetermined notions about the safety of the agents they release, and no matter how much scientific or historical proof there is to refute their claims of safety, they will continue using the potentially dangerous stimulants. In September 1950 the military staged six biological warfare attacks on the San Francisco Bay area. Releasing a combination of bacillus globigil,...

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