US Cold War biological weapons, human radiation, and war psych experiments

Sept. 28, 1994 US House of Reps hearing on US human radiation experiments, biological weapons testing and war psych experiments,
testimony by Representative Martin Sabo:

“During the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. Army conducted numerous
open-air experiments of biological and chemical warfare methods
in Minneapolis and other areas of greater Minnesota, the United
States and Canada . These tests involved the spraying of varying
quantities of zinc cadmium sulfide, a fluorescent powder, to
simulate dispersion patterns of actual biological or chemical
agents .

At the time, the Army considered zinc cadmium sulfide to be
a harmless stibstance. However, numerous Hinnesotans, including
former students of an elementary school downwind of several tests
conducted in Minneapolis in 1952, now suffer from various adverse
health effects ranging from reproductive difficulties to cancer.
They wonder if their illnesses are linked to the tests to which
they were unwittingly subjected.

The enclosed reports detail the known or probable adverse
htiman health effects of cadmium, the most toxic ingredient in
zinc cadmium sulfide. One of the reports, a paper by Dr. Leon
Prodan published in 1932 — a full two decades before the
Minneapolis sprayings, asserts that inhalation or ingestion of
even small amounts of cadmium or its compounds can pose serious
dangers to human health. “

r. CONYERS. “Marty, we have 239 cities involved in what hap-
pened to your city. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Toledo, Spring-
field, IL — we are trying to make sure that the names of these cities
are declassified so they can be released. If they are not declassified,
I am going to ask that that happen right away.”

From the 1995 Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments

Thursday, March 16, 1995

Attending: Ruth Faden, Kenneth Feinberg, Eli Glatstein, Jay Katz,
Patricia King, Susan Lederer, Ruth Macklin, Lois Norris, Nancy
Oleinick, Henry Royal, Mary Ann Stevenson, Duncan Thomas, Reed
Tuckson.

Statement of Senator Wellstone

“Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota addressed the Committee
and urged members to investigate thoroughly the concerns of armed
services veterans exposed in connection with weapons tests. He
recounted the experience of Minnesota veterans who today feel
misled and neglected by their government because of health
problems they ascribe to exposures in the nuclear tests.
He noted the disclosure of fragmentary evidence of secret
Veterans Administration files on veterans exposed during weapons
testing. The senator informed the Committee of a preliminary
study by the National Academy of Sciences that is considering
whether it is feasible to do a full-scale medical follow-up
study.
He added that the Committee s analysis of intentional
releases, though predicated on radiation exposures, might well
apply to the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide over many cities,
including Minneapolis, as part of dispersal studies for
biological and chemical warfare purposes in the 1950s and 1960s.
Members questioned Senator Wellstone about the Committee s
scope of inquiry regarding exposures to veterans; ethical
criteria to judge intentional releases; and eligibility rules in
existing radiation exposure compensation laws.”

Biological weapons production in the US from WWII through 1969

“During World War II, research, development and pilot-scale production of biological weapons was centered at Fort (then Camp) Detrick, in Maryland. Large-scale production was planned to take place at a plant near Terre Haute, Indiana, built in 1944 for the production of anthrax and the filling of anthrax bombs. Equipped with twelve 20,000-gallon fermentors, it was capable of producing fill for 500,000 British-designed 4-pound anthrax bombs a month. Although the United Kingdom had placed an order for anthrax bombs in 1944 and the plant was ready for weapons production by the following summer, the war ended without anthrax having actually been produced.

Contrary to the view that biological weapons are easy to develop, by the end of the war Fort Detrick comprised some 250 buildings and employed approximately 3,400 people, some engaged in defensive work but many in the development and pilot production of weapons. Several years after the end of the war, the Indiana plant was demilitarized and leased to industry for production of antibiotics. It was replaced by a more modern and flexible biological weapons production facility constructed at Pine Bluff Arsenal, in Arkansas, which began production late in 1954 and operated until 1969.

A major effort of the 1950s was encompassed under Project St. Jo, a program to develop, test, produce, and deploy anthrax bombs to Europe for possible use against Soviet cities. In order to determine quantitative munitions requirements, 173 releases of (zinc cadmium sulfide) aerosols were secretly conducted in Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Winnipeg — cities chosen to have the approximate range of conditions of climate, urban and industrial development, and topography that would be encountered in the major potential target cities of the USSR. The weapon to be used was a cluster bomb holding 536 biological bomblets, each containing 35 ml of a liquid suspension of anthrax spores and a small explosive charge fuzed to detonate upon impact with the ground, thereby producing an infectious aerosol to be inhaled by persons downwind. In later years, anthrax was abandoned as a standardized US lethal biological agent and replaced with a lethal strain of tularemia, a much less persistent and more predictable agent. Other agents — the bacteria of brucellosis, the rickettsia of Q-fever, and the virus of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, all more incapacitating than lethal, as well as fungi for the destruction of rice and wheat crops — were also introduced into the US bioweapons stockpile, along with improved munitions for high-altitude delivery and spray tanks for delivery of agents by low-flying aircraft. According to published accounts these developments culminated in a major series of biological weapons field tests using various animals as targets, conducted at sea in the South Pacific in 1968.”

Meselson, Matthew. 1999. Excerpt from “The problem of biological weapons.”

A great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money

Frank Rich on the Goldman Sachs “vampire squid” (Matt Tabbai’s term, from “The Great American Bubble Machine”) and the continuing failure to regulate the financial industry or invest in a real American economy, includes this incisive bon mot:

“What we also know is that if Teddy Roosevelt palled around with John D. Rockefeller as today’s political class does with Wall Street’s titans and lobbyists, the tentacles of the original octopus would still be coiled tightly around America’s neck” (Frank Rich).

Goldman Sachs gives this creature a bad name.


“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him…

It must be acknowledged that our labourer comes out of the process of production other than he entered. In the market he stood as owner of the commodity “labour-power” face to face with other owners of commodities, dealer against dealer. The contract by which he sold to the capitalist his labour-power proved, so to say, in black and white that he disposed of himself freely. 

The bargain concluded, it is discovered that he was no “free agent,” that the time for which he is free to sell his labour-power is the time for which he is forced to sell it, that in fact the vampire will not lose its hold on him ‘so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.’  

For ‘protection’ against “the serpent of their agonies,” the labourers must put their heads together, and, as a class, compel the passing of a law, an all-powerful social barrier that shall prevent the very workers from selling, by voluntary contract with capital, themselves and their families into slavery and death. In place of the pompous catalogue of the ‘inalienable rights of man’ comes the modest Magna Charta of a legally-limited working-day, which shall make clear ‘when the time which the worker sells is ended, and when his own begins.’ Quantum mutatus ab illo[What a great change from that time! – Virgil]” 

Marx, Capital V. I, Ch. 10 “The Working Day.”

Feinstein as metonym for the US political capitalist class

“Democrats and Afghanistan: What’s at Stake” by Glenn Greenwald nicely reviews what the US political capitalist class does and is, via a succinct description of CA Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, excerpted below.


Senator Dianne Feinstein

“Dianne Feinstein is a fairly typical Democratic Senator from a solidly blue state. In 2002, she voted to authorize the attack on Iraq. Throughout the Bush years, she repeatedly stood with the GOP to fund the war without the conditions and timetables sought by some of her fellow Democrats. Using her position on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, she was the key Democrat who twice voted to legalize Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program — first with the Protect America Act (which Obama opposed) and then with the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which also immunized lawbreaking telecoms. She led the Senate effort to confirm Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA Director even after he had been caught presiding over the illegal surveillance program (confirmation which Obama opposed), and she then joined with Chuck Schumer to single-handedly assure Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General even after he refused to answer basic questions about torture and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens (confirmation which Obama also opposed). In 2006, she proudly described herself as the “main Democratic sponsor” of a Constitutional amendment to criminalize flag burning. Just this past week, she used her position as Chair of the Intelligence Committee to gut virtually every proposed reform to the Patriot Act.

Feinstein isn’t merely a typical (though particularly destructive) Democratic Senator, but also a very typical Washington insider, as her substantial personal wealth is tied directly to the very National Security State policies she relentlessly works in the Senate to expand. As her hometown San Francisco Chronicle put it in 2003 — in an article headlined “War brings business to Feinstein spouse: Blum’s firms win multimillion-dollar defense contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan”…Other than the Daschles and the Bayhs, it’s difficult to find a spousal team whose public and private activities feed off one another as synergistically as theirs do.

In light of this long record, it should come as absolutely no surprise that, last weekend, Feinstein joined with GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia to apply public pressure on Obama to escalate further the war in Afghanistan.”

Cooperative Network Movements

Casino capitalism blows for the working class.
Let the rich eat cake.
Let’s make an exit option for the rest of us.

Here are some examples of cooperative network movements:

Network of Bay Area Worker Co-ops

North American Network for the Solidarity Economy

Schoening, Joel. 2009. “Cooperative replication at WAGES.” Grassroots Economic Organizing 3(2).

Japan’s Consumers’ Co-operative Union

Swedish Cooperative Center

US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

U.S. Solidarity Economy Network

Workgroup on Solidarity Socio-economy (WSSE)

Books:

Matthai, Julie, Jenna Allard and Carl Davidson. 2008. Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet: Papers & Reports from the 2007 US Social Forum.

Pencavel, John. 2002. Worker Participation: Lessons from the Co-ops of the Pacific Northwest. Russell Sage.

Williams, Richard C. 2007. The Cooperative Movement. Ashgate.