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Vietnam with some five hundred pounds of dioxin, a nearly indestructible pollutant that
is regarded as one of the most toxic substances in the world”at least as toxic as nerve
gas, and highly carcinogenic. Amongst other health effects associated with exposure to
dioxin are metabolic disorders, immunological abnormali-ties, reproductive
abnormalities, and neuro-psychiatric disorders.9 Three ounces in the water supply is
thought to be enough to wipe out the population of New York.10

As many as two million people were affected by these poisons in Vietnam (in addition to
many thousands of American soldiers). There have been reports of high levels of birth
defects in areas which were saturated with Agent Orange, and the Vietnam government
estimates that the various chemicals have contributed to birth defects in 500,000
children, although this has not been documented.11 No compensation has ever been paid
by the United States to the Vietnamese people or government for any damage to health.

In addition, the US Army employed CS, DM and CN gases, which, Washington officials
insisted, did not constitute "gas warfare". They designated these gases as "riot control"
agents. The Army pumped CS gas”a violent purgative that causes uncontrollable vom-
iting”into Vietnamese tunnels and caves, causing many Vietcong to choke to death on
their own vomit in the confined spaces.12 The North Vietnamese branch of the
International Red Cross and other international sources reported numerous deaths
amongst women and children from these gases, as well as injuries such as destroyed eye-
balls, blistered faces and scorched and erupted skin.13 US Deputy Secretary of Defense
Cyrus Vance admitted that cyanide and arsenic compounds were being used as well.14
Other harmful chemicals employed by the US in Vietnam were napalm and naphthalene
flame throwers.


In September 1970, American forces in Laos, acting under Operation Tailwind, used
aerosolized sarin nerve gas (referred to also as CBU-15 or GB) to prepare their entry in
an attack upon a Laotian village base camp, with the object of killing a number of
American military defectors who were reported to be there. The operation succeeded in
killing in excess of 100 people, military and civilian, including at least two Americans.
How many died before the attack from the gas and how many from the attack itself is not

Sarin, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s, can kill within minutes after
inhalation of its vapor. A tiny drop of it on the skin will do the same; it may even
penetrate ordinary clothing. It works by inhibiting an enzyme needed to control muscle
movements. Without the enzyme, the body has no means of stopping the activa-tion of
muscles, and any physical horror is possible.

When the invading Americans were making their getaway, they were confronted by a
superior force of North Vietnamese and com-munist Pathet Lao soldiers. The Americans
called for help from the air. Very shortly, US planes were overhead dropping canisters of
sarin upon the enemy. As the canisters exploded, a wet fog enveloped the enemy soldiers,
who dropped to the ground, vomiting and convulsing. Some of the gas spread towards the
Americans, not all of whom were adequately protected. Some began vomiting violently.
Today, one of them suffers from creeping paralysis, which his doctor diagnoses as nerve-
gas damage.15

This story was reported on June 7, 1998, on the TV program "NewsStand: CNN &
Time", and featured Admiral Thomas Moorer, who had been Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff in 1970, as well as lesser military personnel, both on and off camera, who
corroborated the incidents described above.

Then all hell broke loose. This was a story too much in conflict”painfully so”with
American schoolbooks, Reader's Digest, the flag, apple pie and mom. It was damage-
control time. The big guns were called out”Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Green Beret
veterans, the journalistic elite, the Pentagon itself. The story was wrong, absurd,
slanderous, they all cried. CNN retracted, Moorer retracted, the show's producers were
fired...lawsuits all over the place...16
Like the dissidents who became "non-persons" under Stalin, Operation Tailwind is now
officially a "non-event".

Notwithstanding this, the program's producers, April Oliver and Jack Smith, put together
a 77-page document supporting their side of the story, with actual testimony by military
personnel confirming the use of the nerve gas.17


From the 1940s to the 1990s, the United States used various parts of Panama as a testing
ground for all manner of chemical weapons, including mustard gas, VX, sarin, hydrogen
cyanide and other nerve agents, in such forms as mines, rockets and shells; perhaps tens
of thousands of chemical munitions in total. Some of the earlier tests used US troops as
guinea pigs, with horrific results for some of the soldiers. When the US military vacated
Panama at the end of 1999, it left behind many sites containing chemical and
conventional weapons residue, including numerous chemical weapons (dropped from
planes) which failed to detonate. Since 1979, 21 Panamanians have died from accidents
with unexploded conventional weapons.18

The US military also conducted secret tests of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides
in Panama during the 1960s and 1970s, potentially exposing many civilians and military
personnel to these lethal chemicals. Hundreds of drums of dioxin-containing Agent
Orange were shipped to Panama. Spraying was carried out in jungle areas and near
popular outdoor sites in an effort to simulate the tropical battlefield conditions of
Southeast Asia.19

During the invasion of Panama in December 1989 it was reported that the semi-
mountainous village of Pacora, near Panama City, was bombed with a chemical
substance by helicopters and aircraft from the US Southern Command in Panama.
Residents complained to human-rights organizations and the press that the substances
burned their skin, producing intense stinging and diarrhea. The bombing may have been
carried out to keep the villagers from offering any assistance to the Panamanian soldiers
who were camped in the nearby mountains.20 What the long-term effects of the chemical
exposure have been are not known.


1) In August 1962, a British freighter under Soviet lease, having damaged its propeller on
a reef, crept into the harbor at San Juan, Puerto Rico for repairs. It was bound for a Soviet
port with 80,000 bags of Cuban sugar. The ship was put into dry dock and 14,135 sacks
of sugar were unloaded to a warehouse to facilitate the repairs. While in the warehouse,
the sugar was contaminated by CIA agents with a substance that was allegedly harmless
but unpalatable. When President Kennedy learned of the operation he was furious
because it had taken place in US territory and if discovered could provide the Soviet
Union with a propaganda field day and set a terrible precedent for chemical sabotage in
the Cold War. He directed that the sugar not be returned to the Russians, although what
explanation was given to them is not publicly known.21 Similar undertakings were
apparently not canceled. A CIA official, who helped direct worldwide sabotage efforts
against Cuba, later revealed that "There was lots of sugar being sent out from Cuba, and
we were putting a lot of contaminants in it."22

2) The same year, a Canadian agricultural technician working as an adviser to the Cuban
government was paid $5,000 by "an American military intelligence agent" to infect
Cuban turkeys with a virus which would produce the fatal Newcastle disease.
Subsequently, 8,000 turkeys died. The technician later claimed that although he had been
to the farm where the turkeys had died, he had not actually administered the virus, but
had instead pocketed the money, and that the turkeys had died from neglect and other
causes unrelated to the virus. This may have been a self-serving statement. The
Washington Post reported that "According to U.S. intelligence reports, the Cubans”and
some Americans”believe the turkeys died as the result of espionage."23

3) According to a participant in the project:

During 1969 and 1970, the CIA deployed futuristic weather modification technology to
ravage Cuba's sugar crop and undermine the economy. Planes from the China Lake Naval
Weapons Center in the California desert, where high tech was developed, overflew the
island, seeding rain clouds with crystals that precipitated torrential rains over non-
agricultural areas and left the cane fields arid (the downpours caused killer flash floods in
some areas).24

This said, it must be pointed out while it's not terribly surprising that the CIA would have
attempted such a thing, it's highly unlikely that it would have succeeded except through a
great stroke of luck; i.e., heavy rains occurring at just the right time.

4) In 1971, also according to participants, the CIA turned over to Cuban exiles a virus
which causes African swine fever. Six weeks later, an outbreak of the disease in Cuba
forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic. The
outbreak, the first ever in the Western hemisphere, was called the "most alarming event"
of the year by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.25

5) Ten years later, the target may well have been human beings, as an epidemic of dengue
hemorrhagic fever (DHF) swept across the island. Transmitted by blood-eating insects,
usually mosquitos, the disease produces severe flu-like symptoms and incapacitating
bone pain. Between May and October 1981, over 300,000 cases were reported in Cuba
with 158 fatalities, 101 of which were children under 15.26

The Center for Disease Control later reported that the appearance in Cuba of this
particular strain of dengue, DEN-2 from Southeast Asia, had caused the first major
epidemic of DHF ever in the Americas.27 Castro announced that Cuba had asked the
United States for a pesticide to help eradicate the fever-bearing mosquito, but had not
been given any.28

In 1956 and 1958, declassified documents have revealed, the US Army loosed swarms of
specially bred mosquitos in Georgia and Florida to see whether disease-carrying insects
could be weapons in a biological war. The mosquitos bred for the tests were of the Aedes
aegypti type, the precise carrier of dengue fever as well as other diseases.29

In 1967 it was reported by Science magazine that at the US government center in Fort
Detrick, Maryland, dengue fever was amongst those "diseases that are at least the objects
of considerable research and that appear to be among those regarded as potential BW
[biological warfare] agents."30 Then, in 1984, a Cuban exile on trial in New York on an
unrelated matter testified that in the latter part of 1980 a ship traveled from Florida to
Cuba with:

a mission to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets
and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war, which later on
produced results that were not what we had expected, because we thought that it was
going to be used against the Soviet forces, and it was used against our own people, and
with that we did not agree.31

It's not clear from the testimony whether the Cuban man thought that the germs would
somehow be able to confine their actions to only Russians, or whether he had been misled
by the people behind the operation.

6) On a clear day, October 21, 1996, a Cuban pilot flying over Matanzas province
observed a plane releasing a mist of some substance about seven times. It turned out to be
an American crop-duster plane operated by the US State Department, which had
permission to fly over Cuba on a trip to Colombia via Grand Cayman Island. Responding
to the Cuban pilot's report, the Cuban air controller asked the US pilot if he was having
any problem. The answer was "no". On December 18, Cuba observed the first signs of a
plague of Thrips palmi, a plant-eating insect never before detected in Cuba. It severely
damages practically all crops and is resistant to a number of pesticides. Cuba asked the
US for clarification of the October 21 incident. Seven weeks passed before the US replied
that the State Department pilot had emitted only smoke, in order to indicate his location
to the Cuban pilot.32 By this time, the Thrips palmi had spread rapidly, affecting corn,
beans, squash, cucumbers and other crops.

In response to a query, the Federal Aviation Administration stated that emitting smoke to
indicate location is "not an FAA practice" and that it knew of "no regulation calling for
this practice".33

In April 1997, Cuba presented a report to the United Nations which charged the US with
"biological aggression" and provided a detailed description of the 1996 incident and the
subsequent controversy.34 In August, signatories of the Biological Weapons Convention
convened in Geneva to consider Cuba's charges and Washington's response. In
December, the committee reported that due to the "technical complexity" of the matter, it
had not proved possible to reach a definitive conclusion. There has not been any further
development on the issue since that time.35

The full extent of American chemical and biological warfare against Cuba will never be
known. Over the years, the Castro government has in fact blamed the United States for a
number of other plagues which afflicted various animals and crops.36 In 1977, newly-
released CIA documents disclosed that the Agency "maintained a clandestine anti-crop
warfare research program targeted during the 1960s at a number of countries throughout
the world."37

The US military abroad”a deadly toxic legacy

It's not quite chemical or biological weaponry, but it's toxic, it sickens and it kills. It's
what thousands of American military installations in every corner of the world (hundreds
in Germany alone) have left behind: serious environmental damage. The pollution is
remarkably widespread, the record too extensive to offer more than a taste here,
such as this snippet from a lengthy piece in the Los Angeles Times:

U.S. military installations have polluted the drinking water of the Pacific island of Guam,
poured tons of toxic chemicals into Subic Bay in the Philippines, leaked carcinogens into
the water source of a German spa, spewed tons of sulfurous coal smoke into the skies of
Central Europe and pumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into the oceans.38

The military has done the same in the United States at countless installations.39

CHAPTER 15 : United States Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons at

In a January 1999 interview, President Clinton said that what keeps him awake some
nights is the fear of germ warfare.1 It is safe to say that he did not have the Department of
Defense or the CIA in mind as the purveyor of the source of his fear. Yet for two decades
these two institutions conducted tests in the open air in the United States, exposing
millions of Americans to large clouds of possibly-dangerous bacteria and chemical
particles. They did so without informing the potentially affected populations, without
taking any precautions to protect the health and safety of these people, and with no
follow-up monitoring of the effects.

Government officials have consistently denied that the biological agents used could be
harmful despite a plentitude of expert and objective scientific evidence that exposure to
heavy concentrations of even apparently innocuous organisms can cause illness, at a
minimum to the most vulnerable segments of the population”the elderly, children and
those suffering from a variety of ailments. "There is no such thing as a microorganism
that cannot cause trouble," George Connell, assistant to the director of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate in 1977. "If you get the right
concentration at the right place, at the right time and in the right person, something is
going to happen."2

The Army has acknowledged that between 1949 and 1969, 239 populated areas from
coast to coast were blanketed with various organisms during tests designed to measure
patterns of dissemination in the air, weather effects, dosages, optimum placement of the
source and other factors. Testing over such areas was supposedly suspended after 1969,
but there is no way to be certain of this. In any event, open-air spraying continued at
Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.3

Following is a small sample of the tests carried out in the 1949-69 period.

Watertown, NY area and Virgin Islands

1950: The Army used aircraft and homing pigeons to drop turkey feathers dusted with
cereal rust spores to contaminate oat crops, to prove that a "cereal rust epidemic" could
be spread as a biological warfare weapon.4

San Francisco Bay Area

September 20-27,1950: Six experimental biological warfare attacks by the US Army
from a ship, using Bacillus globigii and Serratia marcescens, at one point forming a cloud
about two miles long as the ship traveled slowly along the shoreline of the bay. One of
the stated objectives of the exercise was to study "the offensive possibilities of attacking
a seaport city with a BW [biological warfare] aerosol" from offshore, (emphasis added).


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