Tag Archives | Cold War

U.S. Army’s Chemical Weapons Expert Reveals Details Of Experiments

Colonel James S. Ketchum, was the U.S. military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind, reports Raffi Khatchadourian in a lengthy profile for the New Yorker:

…The drugs under review ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents, like VX, a substance developed at Edgewood and, later, sought by Saddam Hussein. Ketchum’s specialty was a family of molecules that block a key neurotransmitter, causing delirium. The drugs were known mainly by Army codes, with their true formulas classified. The soldiers were never told what they were given, or what the specific effects might be, and the Army made no effort to track how they did afterward. Edgewood’s most extreme critics raise the spectre of mass injury—a hidden American tragedy.

Ketchum, an unreconstructed advocate of chemical warfare, believes that people who fear gaseous weapons more than guns and mortars are irrational.

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Western Drug Companies Paid East Germany To Use Its Citizens As Guinea Pigs

At least a handful of the unwitting subjects died as a result of the pharmacological experiments. An instance of capitalist and communist collaboration during the Cold War, via the Independent:

Communist East Germany allowed Western drug companies to use its medical patients as unwitting guinea pigs for tests with untried pharmaceuticals in return for hundreds of thousands in hard currency, a television documentary by Germany’s ARD television channel has revealed.

The disturbing disclosures about the former communist state’s patients-for-cash scheme comes only weeks after an admission by the Swedish furniture giant Ikea that East German political prisoners were used to make its products before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

Using information gleaned from East German Stasi files, the film shows how, in 1983, Communist Party Central Committee members hatched a secret deal with Western drug companies enabling them to test their unlicensed products on unwitting patients by using specially selected doctors and clinics.

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Victims Of The Army’s Secret St. Louis Chemical Experiments Speak Out

Missouri’s KSDK has more on the previously discussed revelation that the U.S. army secretly sprayed chemicals on families in St. Louis housing projects during the 1950s and 60s. Former residents reveal bizarre recollections which were previously ignored:

Missouri’s two U.S. Senators, Democrat Claire McCaskill, and Republican Roy Blunt, are demanding more information about the secret human testing. But so far, the Army remains silent. Survivors remember and for the first time are sharing their stories in hopes someone will listen and perhaps be held accountable.

Dorothy Johnson and her doctors never knew what caused blisters to boil up and cover her body when she was 18-years-old. The life-long emotional scars never healed and she wonders if there is a connection to the secret testing. Through tears, Johnson said, “They isolated me and I stayed there about a month to recuperate. I lost my fingernails, my toe nails, the lesions on my body.

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Footage Released Showing British Military’s 1952 Biological Warfare Experiments On Monkeys

The horrific testing, conducted in secret and dubbed Operation Cauldron, took place offshore on a ship near the Isle of Lewis. Over the course of several months, dozens of terrified monkeys and thousands of guinea pigs were subjected to "germ bombs" containing bubonic plague and other deadly diseases, with many of the animals dying after a few days. The project was part of the U.K. military's effort to develop biological weapons that could be used on real people in a potental war against the Soviets. Needless to say, the Ministry of Defence was reluctant to release the incredibly disturbing 47-minute film documenting the experiments:
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America’s Cold War Spy Tunnel For Tapping Berlin Phone Calls Discovered After 50 Years

Spy vs. spy strangeness, via Bloomberg:

A section of an ingenious tunnel built by U.S. and British spies to intercept Russian phone conversations in Cold War Berlin has been found after 56 years in a forest 150 kilometers from the German capital.

The 450-meter-long tunnel, built in 1955, led from Rudow in West Berlin to Alt-Glienicke in Soviet-occupied East Berlin. By tapping into the enemy’s underground cables, Allied intelligence agents recorded 440,000 phone calls, gaining a clearer picture of Red Army maneuvers in eastern Germany.

Codenamed “Stopwatch” by the British and “Gold” by the Americans, it was funded by the U.S. at a cost of $6.7 million (then a vast sum) and operated jointly by the CIA and the British SIS.

The tunnel operated for 11 months and 11 days, intercepting some of the Red Army’s most secret communications, including those between Moscow and the military headquarters in East Berlin.

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CIA Declassifies Cold War Spy Satellite Rescue Photos

WIRED has unveiled a collection of previously classified photographs of a CIA mission to retrieve a fallen satellite 16,000 feet beneath the Pacific ocean:

Only July 10, 1971, America’s newest photo reconnaissance satellite, the KH-9 Hexagon, dropped a capsule loaded with film toward the Earth. The re-entry vehicle was supposed to open its parachute; an American aircraft would snatch it out of the sky in mid-descent. But the chute was never unfurled. The re-entry vehicle hit the Pacific Ocean with a force of approximately 2,600 G’s. And then it sunk down into the deep, before settling at 16,000 feet.

Check out the entire gallery at WIRED, and when you’re done there, browse through declassified documentation at the CIA Reading Room.

 

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The Emergency Broadcast False Alarm of 1971

 Via Things Magazine, sometimes, behind everything lies confusion:

The False Alarm of 1971 was an accidental triggering of the USA-wide Emergency Broadcast System, ‘an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or grave national crisis.’ A detailed description of the event is chronicled here, the great accidental test broadcast of 1971, complete with a scan of one of the most ominous documents to ever be received by a Teletype machine:

THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION (EAN) DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT. NORMAL BROADCASTING WILL CEASE IMMEDIATELY. ALL STATIONS WILL BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE PRECEDED BY THE ATTENTION SIGNAL, PER FCC RULES.

The fault originated from the heart of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado and involved the accidental inclusion of a real code word – ‘hatefulness’ – on a test transmission of the Emergency Broadcast System. As one broadcaster reportedly said, “This confusion ‘shows the whole darn (system) won’t work.

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The Last Soviet Moon Lander Discovered Water on the Moon in 1976

Moon Landing MapCold War politics. Via the Technology Review's Physics arXiv Blog:
The last Soviet mission to the moon, Luna-24, returned to Earth with water-rich rocks from beneath the lunar surface. But the West ignored the result. The possibility of water on the moon has excited scientists and science fiction fans for decades. If we ever decide to maintain a human presence on the moon, clear evidence of water will be an important factor in the decision. In recent years, that evidence has begun to mount. The data comes from several sources. First there was the pioneering Clementine mission in 1994, America's first return to the moon in twenty years. Clementine looked for water by bouncing radio waves off the surface—the returns giving a strong indication that water ice must lie beneath the surface...
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1966 Personal And Family Survival Guide

Convert you snack bar into a fallout shelter by lowering a false ceiling. Deck out your patio area with a barrier for both fallout protection and privacy for lounging and cookouts. These and more glamorous tips in a 1966 government manual life guide that combined nuclear apocalypticism with suburban living. Via They Kept Everything:

Family Fallout

This handbook is provided to familiarize householders with the overall Civil Defense Program. Those interested in enrolling in the course, “Personal and Family Survival,” should contact their local Civil Defense Director for details.

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#NoNATO: Breaking The Cycle And Building A Better World

Truman Signing North Atlantic Treaty

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, DC on 4 April 1949.

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

After assuming command of NATO in 1950, then General Eisenhower said “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed.” The Cold War is over. NATO has long outlived its original purpose.The old system of alliances does little to do to protect sovereign nations, and instead gives more ability to industrialized, wealthier nations to exploit weaker States. Even NATO actions that are done under the guise of “humanitarian intervention” often have catastrophic consequences for the local population. As so many of these interventions have included bombing campaigns, civilian casualties are high. Often, NATO forces have used weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions, including depleted uranium and cluster bombs. Both of these weapons have long lasting and disastrous consequences for a local civilian population long after combat ends and forces withdraw.… Read the rest

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