Tag Archives | Cold War

Files Reveal The FBI Monitored Marilyn Monroe Over Communist Ties

Are any Hollywood superstars of today this exciting? Via the Denver Post:

Recently obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, the updated FBI files do show the extent the agency was monitoring Monroe for ties to communism in the years before her death in August 1962. Monroe’s file begins in 1955 and mostly focuses on her travels and associations, searching for signs of leftist views and possible ties to communism.

The records reveal that some in Monroe’s inner circle were concerned about her association with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who was disinherited from his wealthy family over his leftist views. A trip to Mexico brought Monroe in contact with Field, who was living in the country with his wife in self-imposed exile. Informants reported to the FBI that a “mutual infatuation” developed between Field and Monroe.

“She talked mostly about herself and some of the people who had been or still were important to her,” Field wrote in “From Right to Left.” “She told us about her strong feelings for civil rights, for black equality, as well as her admiration for what was being done in China, her anger at red-baiting and McCarthyism and her hatred of (FBI director) J.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Inside The Army’s Cold War Experiments In Psychochemical Warfare

The New Yorker unravels the military’s secret program to develop the ultimate “humane” weapon for the wars of the future — mass-delirium-inducing gas:

Colonel James S. Ketchum dreamed of war without killing. He joined the Army in 1956 and left it in 1976, and in that time became the military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind-—causing, in the words of one ranking officer, a “selective malfunctioning of the human machine.”

Today, the facility, Edgewood Arsenal, is a crumbling assemblage of buildings on the Chesapeake Bay. But for some of the surviving test subjects, and for the doctors who tested them, what happened at Edgewood remains deeply unresolved.

I spoke to a former Edgewood test subject who was given the nerve agent VX. The effect was rapid. There was a radio on in the room, but the words made little sense.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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:
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

 

Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading