Thursday, October 30, 2008

your government at work

Sent: 10/30/2008 11:23:01 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: GAO FraudNet Contract #52625

This responds to your October 10, 2008, Internet submission to the GAO FraudNet questioning why veterans/widows are not being properly cared for or compensated from the human/cold war experiments at Edgewood Arsenal.

We reviewed your information and found that the situation you describe is not within the scope of any on-going GAO work. Therefore, in accordance with GAO FraudNet policy to forward instances of wrongdoing to executive agencies for their review, we referred your concerns to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General (DVA/OIG), for their review and whatever action they deem appropriate.

GAO is responsible for assisting Congress in carrying out its oversight responsibilities pertaining to government programs, activities and functions. Generally, this involves examining the programs and operations of federal departments and agencies, rather than reviewing singular allegations of wrongdoing or poor performance in connection with specific matters.

If you have additional information, you may provide it directly to the (DVA/OIG), at their address: 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W.; Washington, D.C. 20420, Main Number (202) 565-8620, Hotline Number (800) 488-8244; or Fax # (202) 565-7936. Their e-mail address is: .

Thank you for your interest.

Government Accountability Office
441 G Street, N.W. mail stop 4T21
Washington, DC 20548

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Acid Dreams the book online

Acid Dreams by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain

Acid Dreams is the complete social history of LSD and the counterculture it helped to define in the sixties. Martin Lee and Bruce Shlain's exhaustively researched and astonishing account -- part of it gleaned from secret government files -- tells how the CIA became obsessed with LSD as an espionage weapon during the early 1950s and launched a massive covert research program, in which countless unwitting citizens were used as guinea pigs. Though the CIA was intent on keeping the drug to itself, it ultimately couldn't prevent it from spreading into the popular culture; here LSD had a profound impact and helped spawn a political and social upheaval that changed the face of America. From the clandestine operations of the government to the escapades of Timothy Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, Allen Ginsberg, and many others, Acid Dreams provides an important and entertaining account that goes to the heart of a turbulent period in our history. Book jacket.

You can read the entire book thru this link Myself I just started it enjoy learn some more history

Mar/Apr 2008 VVA Magazine

Mar/Apr 2008 VVA Magazine

The DoD’s Force Health Protection and Readiness operation has set up a trio of chemical/biological exposure databases. It is DoD’s responsibility to collect and validate chem/bio exposures to service members while on active duty, and to maintain these data bases. It is the responsibility of the VA to inform veterans of their exposures and the benefits to which they may be entitled, and to advise these
veterans of procedures to follow if they have health concerns.

One data base, which is now basically completed, contains more than 6,300 names of veterans who participated in mustard and lewisite experiments in the 1940s. Some 4,600 of these veterans were exposed to mustard and/or lewisite. Data were collected in the mid-1990s, although DoD does not have dose information.
The second data base, which is not necessarily complete, has more than 6,440 names of veterans who participated in the Project 112/SHAD tests between 1963 and 1973. Work on this data base commenced in 2000; active searching for names was ended in 2003, although DoD says it will “continue to pursue all leads from veterans.” Individual exposure data are not part of the data base, as many documents are still classified.

The third data base, which contains approximately 10,000 names, including some 1,800 who participated in tests with no active agent involved, deals with a variety of other chem./bio exposures between World War II and today. These include: LSD exposures; experiments at Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick in Maryland; and experiments at 19 total locations, information about which DoD is obtaining at the Edgewood Historical Office, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and Dugway Proving
Ground in Utah, among other sites. DoD does have detailed exposure, treatment, and test information in this data base.

In these tests, more than 400 different compounds were involved. They included 46 chemical agents; biological agents and experimental vaccines; hallucinogens, including LSD; treatments, including atropine; and medicine, like Benadryl, Ritalin, and Dapsone.

All of those who participated in these experiments volunteered to do so. They signed consent forms that would not be valid today. Any veteran or survivor who has questions or information about the testing that was conducted is urged to call this toll-free number: 1-800-497-6261. DoD is seeking information on where tests were
held – they are not sure that they’ve “got them all,” and specific information on individual exposures.

DoD is also creating a data base containing rosters of troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury
(TBI). This will be shared with the VA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

View My Stats

The Counterculture Colonel

The Counterculture Colonel

During the 1960s, the U.S. Army tested a potent form of synthetic marijuana on soldiers to develop a secret weapon. Meet the Santa Rosa resident who ran the program

By Martin A. Lee

It was billed as a panel discussion on "the global shift in human consciousness." A half-dozen speakers had assembled inside the Heebie Jeebie Healers tent at Burning Man, the annual post-hippie celebration in Black Rock, Nev., where 50,000 stalwarts braved intense dust storms and flash floods last August. Among the notables who spoke at the early evening forum was Dr. Alexander ("Sasha") Shulgin, the Bay Area–based psychochemical genius much beloved among the Burners, who synthesized Ecstasy and 200 other psychoactive drugs, and tested each one on himself during his unique, off-beat career.

Sitting on the panel next to Shulgin was an unlikely expositor. Dr. James S. Ketchum, a retired U.S. Army colonel, told the audience, "When Sasha was trying to open minds with chemicals to achieve greater awareness, I was busy trying to subdue people."

Ketchum was referring to his work at Edgewood Arsenal, headquarters of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, in the 1960s, when America's national security strategists were high on the prospect of developing a nonlethal incapacitating agent, a so-called humane weapon, which could knock people out without necessarily killing anyone. Top military officers hyped the notion of "war without death," conjuring visions of aircraft swooping over enemy territory releasing clouds of "madness gas" that would disorient the bad guys and dissolve their will to resist, while U.S. soldiers moved in and took over.

Ketchum was into weapons of mass elation, not weapons of mass destruction. He oversaw a secret research program that tested an array of mind-bending drugs on American GIs, including an exceptionally potent form of synthetic marijuana. (Most of these drugs had no medical names, just numbers supplied by the Army.) "Paradoxical as it may seem," Ketchum asserted, "one can use chemical weapons to spare lives, rather than extinguish them."

Some of the Burners were perplexed. Was this guy cool or creepy?

Shulgin, a critic of chemical mind-meddling by the military, was wary when he first met Ketchum at a 1993 event honoring the 50th anniversary of the discovery of LSD. But Ketchum is not your typical military bulldozer type. An intelligent, gracious man with a disarming sense of humor, in his own way Ketchum has always been a free spirit. He and his wife, Judy, who currently reside in Santa Rosa, became close friends with Sasha and his formidable partner, Ann. They stayed in frequent contact and occasionally socialized together. When the Shulgins invited them to Burning Man, the Ketchums joined the caravan of RVs driving to the desert.

"I'm kind of a Sasha worshipper," Ketchum, who reads neuropharmacology textbooks during his leisure hours, confessed. Tall and lanky, the colonel, now 76, is one of the few people who can actually understand what Shulgin, six years his senior, is talking about when he lectures on the molecular subtleties of psychedelic drugs, waving his arms furiously like a mad scientist. Sasha took Ketchum under his wing and welcomed him into the fold.

Shulgin wrote the foreword to Ketchum's self-published memoir, Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten (, which lifts the veil on the Army's little-known drug experiments and illuminates a hidden chapter of marijuana history. A graduate of Cornell Medical College, Ketchum describes how he was assigned as a staff psychiatrist to Edgewood Arsenal, located 25 miles northeast of Baltimore, in 1961.

"There was no doubt in my mind that working in this strange atmosphere was just the sort of thing that would satisfy my appetite for novelty," Ketchum wrote. Soon he became chief of clinical research at the Army's hub for chemical warfare studies. Although the Geneva Convention had banned the use of chemical weapons, Washington never agreed to this provision, and the U.S. government poured money into the search for a nonlethal incapacitant.

Red Oil

The U.S. Army Chemical Corp's marijuana research began several years before Ketchum joined the team at Edgewood. In 1952, the Shell Development Corporation was contracted by the Army to examine "synthetic cannabis derivatives" for their incapacitating properties. Additional studies into possible military uses of marijuana began two years later at the University of Michigan medical school, where a group of scientists led by Dr. Edward F. Domino, professor of pharmacology, tested a drug called "EA 1476" —otherwise known as "Red Oil"—on dogs and monkeys at the behest of the U.S. Army. Made through a process of chemical extraction and distillation, Red Oil (akin to hash oil) packed a mightier punch than the natural plant.

Army scientists found that this concentrated cannabis derivative produced effects unlike anything they had previously seen. "The dog gets a peculiar reaction. He crawls under the table, stays away from the dark, leaps out at imaginary objects and, as far as one can interpret, may be having hallucinations," one report stated. "It would appear even to the untrained observer that this dog is not normal. He suddenly jumps out, even without any stimulus, and barks, and then crawls back under the table."

With a larger dose of Red Oil, the reaction was even more pronounced. "These animals lie on their side; you could step on their feet without any response; it is an amazing effect and a reversible phenomenon. It has greatly increased our interest in this compound from the standpoint of future chemical possibilities."

In the late 1950s, the Army started testing Red Oil on U.S. soldiers at Edgewood. Some GIs smirked for hours while they were under the influence of EA 1476. When asked to perform routine numbers and spatial reasoning tests, the stoned volunteers couldn't stop laughing.

But Red Oil was not an ideal chemical-warfare candidate. For starters, it was a "crude" preparation that contained many components of cannabis besides psychoactive THC. Army scientists surmised that pure THC would weigh much less than Red Oil and would therefore be better suited as a chemical weapon. They were intrigued by the possibility of amplifying the active ingredient of marijuana, tweaking the mother molecule, as it were, to enhance its psychogenic effects. So the Chemical Corps set its sights on developing a synthetic variant of THC that could clobber people without killing them.

Enter Harry Pars, a scientist working with Arthur D. Little Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass., one of several pharmaceutical companies that conducted chemical-warfare research for the Army. (Two Army contracts for marijuana-related research were awarded to this firm, covering a 10-year period beginning in 1963.) A frequent visitor to Edgewood, Pars synthesized a new cannabinoid compound, dubbed "EA 2233," which was significantly stronger than Red Oil.

At the outset of this project, Pars had sought the advice of Dr. Alexander Shulgin, then a brilliant young chemist employed by Dow Chemical. Shulgin was a veritable fount of information regarding how to reshape psychoactive molecules to create novel mind-altering drugs. Eager to share his arcane expertise, Shulgin gave Pars the idea to tinker with nitrogen analogs of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Pars never told Sasha that he was an Army contract employee. A declassified version of Pars' research was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (August 1966), in which he thanked Shulgin for "drawing our attention to the synthesis of these nitrogen analogs."

The U.S. Army Chemical Corps began clinical testing of EA 2233 on GI volunteers in 1961, the year Ketchum arrived at Edgewood Arsenal. When ingested at dosage levels ranging from 10 to 60 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, EA 2233 lasted up to 30 hours, far longer than the typical marijuana buzz.

'I Just Feel Like Laughing'

In an interview videotaped seven hours after he had been given EA 2233, one soldier described feeling numb in his arms and unable to raise them, precluding any possibility that he could defend himself if attacked. "Everything seems comical," he told his interlocutor.

Q: How are you?

A: Pretty good, I guess. . . .

Q: You've got a big grin on your face.

A: Yeah. I don't know what I'm grinning about either.

Q: Do things seem funny or is that just something you can't help?

A: I don't—I don't know. I just—I just feel like laughing. . . .

Q: Does the time seem to pass slower or faster or any different than usual?

A: No different than usual. Just—just that I mostly lose track of it. I don't know if it's early or late.

Q: Do you find yourself doing any daydreaming?

A: Yeah. I'm daydreaming all kinds of things. . . .

Q: Suppose you have to get up and go to work now. How would you do?

A: I don't think I'd even care.

Q: Well, suppose the place were on fire?

A: It would seem funny.

Q: It would seem funny? Do you think you'd have the sense to get up and run out or do you think you'd just enjoy it?

A: I don't know. Fire doesn't seem to present any danger to me right now. . . . Everything just seems funny in the Army. Seems like everything somebody says, it sounds a little bit funny. . . .

Q: Is it like when you're in a good mood and you can laugh at anything?

A: Right. . . . It's like being out with a bunch of people and everybody's laughing. They're just—

Q: Having a ball?

A: Yeah. And everything just seems funny.

Q: Would you do this again? Take this test again?

A: Yeah. Yeah. It wouldn't bother me at all.

EA 2233 was actually a mixture of eight stereoisomers of THC. (An isomer is a rearrangement of atoms within a given molecule; a stereoisomer entails different spatial configurations of these atoms.) Eventually, Edgewood scientists would separate the eight stereoisomers and investigate the relative potency of each of them individually in an effort to separate the wheat from the psychoactive chaff and reduce the amount of material needed to get the desired effect for chemical warfare.

Only two of the stereoisomers proved to be of interest (the others didn't have much of a knockdown effect). When administered intravenously, low doses of these two synthetic cousins of tetrahydrocannabinol triggered a dramatic drop in blood pressure to the point where test subjects could barely move. Standing up without assistance was impossible. This was construed by cautious Army doctors as a warning sign—a sudden plunge in blood pressure could be dangerous—and human experiments with single THC stereoisomers were suspended.

Looking back on these studies, Ketchum wonders whether his colleagues made the right decision. "This hypotensive [blood-pressure-reducing] property, in an otherwise nonlethal compound, might be an ideal way to produce a temporary inability to fight, or do much else, without toxicological danger to life," Ketchum says now. Given the high safety margin of THC—no one has ever died from an overdose—and the likelihood that the stereoisomers would display a similar safety profile, Ketchum believes the Army may have spurned a couple of worthy prospects that were capable of filling the knock-'em-out-but-don't-kill-'em niche in America's chemical-warfare arsenal.

As for the two exemplary stereoisomers weaned from EA 2233, Ketchum speculates, "They probably would have been safe in terms of life-sparing activity. . . . But a person who received them would have to lie down. If he tried to stand up and get his weapon, he would feel faint and lightheaded and he'd keel over. Essentially he would be immobilized for any military purpose until the effects wore off."

The colonel's assessment: "A safe drug that knocks people down—what more could you ask for?"

Volunteers for America

With THC isomers on the back burner, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps focused on several other compounds—including LSD, PCP, methylphenidate (Ritalin) and a delirium-inducing ass-kicker known as "BZ" (a belladonna-like substance similar to atropine)—all of which were thought to have significant potential as nonlethal incapacitants.

By the time the clinical testing program had run its course, 6,700 volunteers experienced some bizarre states of consciousness at Edgewood. Under the influence of powerful mind-altering drugs, some soldiers rode imaginary horses, ate invisible chickens and took showers in full uniform while smoking phantom cigars. One garrulous GI complained that an order of toast smelled "like a French whore." Some of their antics were so over-the-top that Ketchum had to admonish the nurses and other medical personnel not to laugh at the volunteers, even though it was unlikely that the soldiers would remember such incidents once the drugs wore off.

Ketchum insists that the staff at Edgewood went to great lengths to ensure the safety of the volunteers. (There was one untoward incident involving a civilian volunteer who flipped out on PCP and required hospitalization, but this happened before Ketchum came on board.) During the 1960s, every soldier exposed to incapacitating agents was carefully screened and prepped beforehand, according to Ketchum, and well treated throughout the experiment. They stayed in special rooms with padded walls, while medical professionals monitored their situation 24/7. Antidotes were available if things got out of hand.

"The volunteers performed a patriotic service," Ketchum says. "None, to my knowledge, returned home with a significant injury or illness attributable to chemical exposure," though he admits that "a few former volunteers later claimed that the testing had caused them to suffer from some malady." Such claims, however, are difficult to assess given that so many intervening variables may have contributed to a particular problem.

A follow-up study conducted by the Army Inspector General's office and a review panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences found little evidence of serious harm resulting from the Edgewood experiments. But a 1975 Army IG report noted that improper inducements may have been used to recruit volunteers and getting their "informed consent" was somewhat dubious given that scientists had a limited understanding of the short- and long-term impact of some of the compounds tested on the soldiers.

Ketchum draws a sharp distinction between clinical research with human subjects under controlled conditions at Edgewood Arsenal and the CIA's reckless experiments on random, unwitting Americans who were given LSD surreptitiously by spooks and prostitutes. "Jim is very certain of his own integrity," says Ken Goffman (aka R.U. Sirius). "There is little doubt in his mind that he was doing the right thing. He felt he was working for a noble cause that would reduce civilian and military casualties." Former editor of the psychedelic tech magazine Mondo 2000, Goffman helped Ketchum edit and polish his book manuscript, which vigorously defends the Edgewood research program.

Strange bedfellows, the colonel and the counterculture scribe. Or so it would appear. But these days, Ketchum and Goffman see eye to eye on many issues. Both feel that the alleged dangers of marijuana and LSD have been way overblown. No doubt, LSD could wreak havoc on the toughest, best-trained troops, derailing their thought processes and disorganizing their behavior.

When used wisely, however, LSD can be uplifting. Ketchum notes that some soldiers had insightful and rewarding experiences on acid, lending credence to reports from civilian psychiatrists that LSD was a useful therapeutic tool. "I had an interest in psychedelic drugs long before my interest in chemical warfare," Ketchum says. "I was intrigued by the positive aspects of LSD, as well as the incapacitating aspects."

Mystery Stash

One morning, Ketchum arrived at his office in Edgewood and found "a large, black steel barrel, resembling an oil drum, parked in the corner of the room," he recounts in his book. Overcome by curiosity, he opened the barrel and examined its contents. There were a dozen tightly sealed glass canisters that looked like cookie jars; the labels on the canisters indicated that each contained about three pounds of "EA 1729," the Army's code number for LSD. By the end of the week, the 40 pounds of government acid—enough to intoxicate several hundred million people—vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared. Ketchum still doesn't know who put the LSD in his office or what became of it.

But this much is certain: some officers at Edgewood were dipping into the Army's stash for their own personal use. "They took LSD more often than was necessary to appreciate its clinical effects," Ketchum admits. "They must have liked it."

The colonel was personally a bit skittish about trying LSD. Eventually, he worked up the courage to experiment on himself. Under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable Edgewood physician, he swallowed a small dose and proceeded to take the same numerical aptitude tests that the regular volunteers were put through to measure their impairment. Constrained by the white-smock laboratory setting, his lone LSD experience was somewhat anticlimactic. "Colors were more vivid and music was more compelling," Ketchum recalls, "but there were no breakthroughs in consciousness, no Timothy Leary stuff."

Ketchum also sampled cannabis shortly after he began working for the Chemical Corps. His younger brother turned him on to marijuana, but the first time Ketchum smoked a joint nothing happened. "Later, I read about reverse tolerance. Some people don't get high on marijuana until they use it a few times," Ketchum explains.

It wasn't until he went on a paid, two-year leave of absence from Edgewood that he started smoking pot socially. Ketchum had convinced the Surgeon General of the Army that it would be in everyone's best interest if he studied neuroscience at Stanford University. How better to keep abreast of the latest advances in the field? In 1966, he joined a team of postdoctoral researchers mentored by Karl Pribram, a world-renowned expert on the brain and behavior.

Ketchum related well with his academic colleagues. "I got together with a few of my friends at Stanford and we had some cheap marijuana, which I smoked, and I got a real effect for the first time," he says. "I liked it. It was very sensuous. But I didn't use it very often. I didn't have any of my own."

Ketchum's West Coast hiatus coincided with the emergence of the hippie movement in San Francisco. "I was fascinated with this spectacular development," he gleams. "Luckily, I caught it at its peak."

Occasionally, Ketchum took his home movie camera to Haight-Ashbury, the epicenter of hippiedom, and filmed the procession of exotically dressed flower children strutting through the neighborhood high on marijuana and LSD. "I was always interested in drugs, primarily because I've always been interested in how the mind works," he says. "So when this wave of psychedelic users descended upon San Francisco, I thought maybe I'd learn more by going there."

Ketchum attended the legendary Be-In in Golden Gate Park in January 1967, sitting cross-legged on the lawn with 20,000 pot-smoking enthusiasts, soaking up the rays and listening to rock music, poetry and antiwar speeches. A few months later, the colonel began working as a volunteer doctor at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, where he treated troubled youth with substance-abuse problems.

Life After Edgewood

Ketchum returned to Edgewood in 1968, but the mood back at headquarters was not the same as before. Growing opposition to the Vietnam War and public disapproval of the use of napalm and toxic defoliants cast a lengthening shadow over classified research into chemical weapons. When journalists briefly got wind of the Army's ambitious psychochemical warfare program, they scoffed at the notion of making the enemy lay down their arms by turning them on.

The colonel saw the writing on the wall. Army brass consented when he asked to be transferred to another base in the early 1970s. By this time, the Chemical Corps had concluded that marijuana-related compounds would not be effective in a battlefield situation, but the testing of other incapacitating agents under field conditions would proceed. And drug companies continued to supply a steady stream of pharmaceutical samples for evaluation by the military.

In 1976, Ketchum retired from the Army and embarked upon a new career as a civilian psychiatrist in California. Commissioned by the California Department of Justice, he collaborated on a 1981 study comparing the effects of alcohol and smoked marijuana on driving performance. The results were somewhat surprising. "When combined with alcohol, cannabis produced little additional impairment," he concluded.

"While alcohol had an adverse impact on steering, THC affected a driver's ability to estimate time. But the combination of both drugs did not substantially increase the impairment produced by either one alone. . . . In fact, there was an antagonistic effect. Marijuana seemed to offset some of the problems caused by alcohol, and vice versa."

Ketchum feels that drug prohibition is bad public policy. "It's the refusal to look at the evidence that keeps pot illegal. They misrepresented marijuana as an evil weed. . . . I've always had a libertarian attitude toward drugs. I believe people should be able to do anything as long as it's not harmful to somebody else."

In the years ahead, Ketchum would reach out to medical marijuana trailblazers, prominent psychedelic advocates and drug-policy rebels working inside and outside the system to end prohibition. He joined the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and became a member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Founded by Rick Doblin, MAPS has spearheaded the revival of scientific investigations into the therapeutic potential of LSD, ecstasy, psilocybin and ibogaine, while also challenging bureaucratic roadblocks that prevent independent cannabis research in the United States. Col. Ketchum attended fundraising events and wrote letters to potential donors, praising the work of MAPS.

During the 1960s, Ketchum supervised thousands of drug experiments, yet he barely scratched the surface of the awesome potential of cannabis and LSD. "Jim is not apologetic for what he did before," Doblin says, "and I don't think he sees it as incongruous with supporting research into the therapeutic aspect of psychedelics. These tools have tremendous power, but he only looked at a narrow slice of it while he was at Edgewood."

Today, Ketchum steadfastly maintains that cannabis and LSD are safe drugs compared to many legal substances. This is what the Edgewood experiments and other studies have shown, he contends. Given his status as a retired army officer who had extensive, hands-on experience testing psychoactive compounds, he speaks with a certain authority that most medical and recreational drug users cannot claim.

Medical Marijuana

After Californians broke ranks from America's drug-war orthodoxy in 1996 and legalized medical marijuana in the Golden State, Ketchum got a recommendation from his family doctor to use cannabis for insomnia. "I have personally found it helpful, especially for sleep," he says. "I've had problems with sleep for a long time."

It was at a picnic hosted by the Shulgins that Jim and Judy Ketchum first met Tod Mikuriya, the controversial Berkeley-based physician who has been described as "the father of the medical marijuana movement." One of the prime movers of Proposition 215, the successful med-pot ballot measure, Dr. Mikuriya quickly took a liking to the Ketchums and taught them how to use a vaporizer for inhaling cannabis fumes without tar and smoke.

Like Ketchum, Mikuriya was a maverick psychiatrist who once worked for the U.S. government. In 1967, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recruited Mikuriya to direct its marijuana-research program. One day, after leaving his position at NIMH, he got a phone call from Dr. Van Sim, a cohort of Ketchum's at Edgewood Arsenal. A major figure in the Chemical Corps' secret drug-testing efforts, Sim told Mikuriya of Army studies which indicated that cannabis has valuable therapeutic properties. Sim asserted that marijuana "is probably the most potent anti-epileptic known to medicine." Unfortunately, much of this data remains classified.

Army scientists also inadvertently rediscovered the powerful antispasmodic effect of cannabis, a medicinal boon subsequently confirmed by many multiple sclerosis and AIDS patients who smoked marijuana and ate ganja-laced cuisine to ease nerve spasms and painful bouts of peripheral neuropathy. "We weren't looking for benefits," Ketchum concedes. "When I was at Edgewood, I wasn't aware of the medicinal history of cannabis."

With Mikuriya tendering introductions, Ketchum befriended some of the leading lights of the '60s counterculture, including Tim Scully, the prodigious underground chemist who manufactured millions of hits of black market LSD (remember Orange Sunshine?) while the colonel was administering hallucinogenic drugs to soldiers at Edgewood. "Jim and his wife visited me at my home in Mendocino County," Scully says. "I enjoyed their company. We found that we shared idealistic beliefs about the potential for good in psychoactive drugs, as well as sharing some wry understanding of the pitfalls, too."

As for their divergent paths in the past, Scully remarks, "I don't really see his work as having been in conflict with mine. I believe Jim sincerely hoped to save lives by helping in the development of nonlethal weapons as an alternative to conventional weapons."

An incurable iconoclast, the colonel has made common cause with counterculture veterans and anti-prohibition activists. His endorsement of the therapeutic use of marijuana and LSD confers additional credibility on views long championed by his newfound allies. Validation, in this case, goes both ways. Embraced as one of the elders, a peculiar elder to be sure, Ketchum somehow fits right in.

"I don't have a problem with being difficult to categorize," he says.

Sonoma County writer Martin A. Lee is the author of 'Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of the LSD—The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond.' He is writing a social history of marijuana.

Send a letter to the editor about this story.

Bad Trip to Edgewood

Courtesy of Wray Forrest

"Bad Trip to Edgewood", posted on the web.

Someone has posted A&E Bad Trip to Edgewood, on YouTube, at the following addresses for all five sections of video.

Bad Trip To Edgewood Part 1

Bad Trip to Edgewood Part 2

Bad Trip Part 3

Bad Trip Part 4

Bad Trip Part 5

data on Edgewood from Eric Muth

We have contact information on 24 former Edgewood Volunteers, five of whom are also Vietnam War Veterans. Of these: 8 are contact information only, 8 partially filled out a questionnaire, and 8 filled it out fully. The information herein therefore, comes from 16 men.

It must be made clear that Edgewood Volunteers we were not part of Whitecoat, Project 112, SHAD or Radiological experiments. However, the latter three are listed in VA “mandatory care” categories and Edgewood Veterans are not. The U.S Army Medical Research and Material Command informed us in 2007 that there were 7,839 Volunteers between 1951 to 1979. We were part of the formal experimentation years at Edgewood 1955-1975.

In 2003 the IOM stated that in 2000 they had contacted 4,022 Edgewood survivors. It is safe to suggest that there are less than 4,000 of us surviving today. The nagging question is; how many died of causes related to experimentation and how many living are disabled as a result of their Edgewood service? Col/Dr. James Ketchum wrote a book about Edgewood wherein he stated that there were no significant injuries amongst the volunteers and the DOD 2006 letter to Edgewood Veterans in stark contrast to the 1994 GAO report by stating that there were no significant long term effects.

The breakdown of Volunteer numbers of those known to us and the years they served at Edgewood are as follows: 1958: 313, 382, 781. [This is a sequential oddity because all served in the same month]

1965: 3738.

1966: 4088, 4095.

1968: 5247.

1969: 5619.

1970: 5984.

1972: 6145, 6566.

1973: 6640, 6692. [This is another sequential oddity, see 1969]

1974: 6778

The 16 answered as follows:

Military Records received: 6

Military Medical records received: 5

Medical Care promises received at Edgewood: 7

Edgewood Files received: 12

Volunteer Handbook received: 1 [1968 edition, none of the others ever saw one]

Signed Participation Agreement: 12

Signed Security Non-Disclosures: 5 [others received warnings and/or threats regarding disclosure]

Aware of Psychochemicals Projects before volunteering -0-

Aware of CIA participation at Edgewood: -0-

Medals promises received at Edgewood: 7

Received a letter of commendation: 11

Received a certificate of outstanding performance: 7

Contacted for the 1980 Army LSD study: 2

Contacted by the NAS for the 1980’s NRC studies: 7

Contacted by IOM for the 2000’s NAS study: 5

Contacted by the VA for its 2006 outreach: 11

Received the DoD enclosure in VA letter: 5

Listed on the DOD Edgewood registry: 4

Awarded Social Security Disability: 6

Awarded VA disability compensation: 1 @ 60%, 1 @ 80%, 6 @ 100%.

We see that 8 of sixteen men have Service Connected Disabilities, six of them Total and Permanent, and six of 16 are also Totally Disabled for Social Security purposes.

Seven of the 16 men reported partial or more PTSD disability compensation. The following may help us better understand this statistic.

1985 NAS/NRC long-term studies on volunteers Appendix C: [That the Army did not supply the names of all those exposed to drugs is evident]: “An issue of great concern was the relatively small group of men exposed to psychochemicals and their effects on interpretability. Briefly stated, it was felt at the outset by the panel reviewing psychochemicals that data obtainable from a survey might add little to our understanding of the long-term health effects of chemicals tested.”

The VA 2006 pg. 23, “Potential Health Effects Among Veterans Involved in Military Chemical Warfare Agent Experiments …” “Some of these exposures had the potential to cause substantial harm to the veterans health …” “ … long-term psychological effects could have resulted from just participating in these experiments.” DOD 2006 Fact Sheet: “Although the current medical literature indicates that such exposure may have some long lasting effects among some individuals, such as flashbacks [visual hallucinations] without new drug exposures.”

Finally, the 2007 Annals of Psychiatry state: “Interestingly, PTSD rates among veterans who participated in voluntary Chemical Warfare Agent research under controlled conditions, and were never expsoed to hostile enemy fire, were found to be higher than PTSD rates for veterans who participated in actual combat, in which the physical wounds inflicted were far more severe” “… the psychological trauma of Chemical Warfare Agents exposure is tantamount to the most intense and traumatizing types of stress found anywhere in human experience.”

We can now better understand why 8 men have Service Connected disabilities that include 7 with PTSD and their overall disabilities led to total Social Security disabilty for 6 of them.

To save the Army the cost of hazard pay they set the stage in 1958. The Chemical Warfare Laboratories published SP 2-13 wherein they stated that: “ … your participation in the various testing programs will be profitable to you and the U.S. Army” “… experimental procedures involving NON-hazardous exposure to compounds …” “ … volunteers are not allowed hazardous duty pay.” It is odd that they stated there were no hazards becausel, The volunteer’s participation agreements stated “I am completely aware of all hazards.” Additionaly, letters of commendation to Edgewood volunteers stated: ”… you deliberately made a commitment to undergo procedures whose outcome could not be fully known in advance” “….you not only displayed courage and maturity … .” The Army knew there were cosiderable hazards when they published AR 70-25 in 1962: “Volunteers as Subjects of Research”. “The experiment must be such as to contribute significantly to approved research …” “… unusual and potentially hazardous conditions are those that may be reasonably expected to involve risk, beyond the normal call of duty, of privation, discomfort, distress, pain, damage to health, bodily harm, physical injury, or death.” By 1975 all the latter had come to pass therfore, we could almost consider this AR to be an after action report.

The DoD certainly knew there were hazards. Defense Instruction 5030.29 1964: “DOD assumes full responsibility for humans involved in research under its sponsorship, whether this involves investigational drugs or other hazards.” In light of the Feres Doctrine their assumption of responsibility was meaningless and only intended to conform with the Helsinki Accords. “Edgewood Arsenal personnel knew well that experimentation was hazardous. In 1961 they published CDRL 2-44 wherein they lauded volunteers as ”Peacetime Heroes” “ … they serve far beyond the call of normal peacetime duty in a cause that vitally affects the nation’s defense posture.” They subjected themselves to risk in hazardous service and is reflected in the words on their commedndations: “above and beyond the call of duty.”

LTC Elfert served at Edgewood in 1958 and he suggested that the volunteers service was similarily stressful to combat. The DOD currently has a program entitled Combat Related Special Compensation for its Military retirees which is not limited to direct combat. Qualifiers include: While engaged in hazardous service, such as an experimental stress study [psychochemicals intended to cause maximum stress] and Instrumentality of War: Injury or sickness caused by gasses [mustard which is a carcinogen, CN a cyanide which causes heart damage, and DM an arsenic, all of which were tested at Edgewood along with 250 other chemicals].

The U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch in 2005 admitted to CIA MKULTRA participation at Edgewood when they answeried a volunteers query: “ … testing in the Edgewood Arsenal MKULTRA Program.” CIA MORI Documents clearly prove that the CIA funded Army experiments for over twenty years and that MKULTRA sub-project-45 in psychochemicals and K fields, known simply as the K agent program at Edgewood, was conducted using manufacturers reject drugs known to have bad side effects, and those were supplied by the CIA to Edgewood specifically for testing on Armed Forces volunteers.

That the Army and the DOD did not want to know about health cause and effect relationships, as they pertained to Edgewood volunteers, was made obvious by their actions and inactions.

In 1970-1971 the Army conducted a long term Follow-up Study of Medical Volunteers who received drugs at Edgewood. II Method. “It was decided to limit the study to volunteers who were serving on active duty. The study was limited to 40 men and conducted over a ten month period. “No subject felt that he had experienced physical or psychological changes as a result of participation in the program.” The army was likely pleased to know that its career soldiers suffered no ill effects. This gives rise to the question of what would have happened to the career soldier who admitted having residual mental issues?

The 1985 National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council final report pg. 50: “It appears that the subjects actually given psychochemicals in those experiments were selected from an optimal pool of mentally and physically healthy persons.” The 2006 DoD Fact sheet: “As a group, the volunteers selected to participate in the studies were above average in physical and mental qualifications when compared to other service personnel.” The DOD Fact Sheet sent to Volunteers informs them that the NAS/NRC stated: “The study did not detect any significant long-term health effects in Edgewood Arsenal Volunteers.” The NAS/NRC study final report actually stated: “However, the limited information available from follow-up on these soldiers does not permit definitive conclusions regarding the nature and extent of possible long-term problems resulting from chemical exposure at Edgewood.”

The 1975 Army Inspector General report stated Edgewood informed them that as of 1966 there were no volunteer deaths. The 1994 Government Accountability Office Report stated that there were some deaths and that “adverse health problems were not discovered until many years later --- often 20-30 years and longer.” VA Veterans Health Initiative 2003: “… ultimatley to compensation for a few families of subjects who had died during the experiments.” 1993 DOD {Human Experimentation}: “ … the DOD will, to the extent feasible, make available to the Department of Veterans Affairs information that may be useful in assessing disability claims of veterans. Edgewood veterans arriving at the doors of a VA prior to 2006 received little more than a denial of such a programs existance [Edgewood human volunteer experiments]. The NAS Institute of Medicine [IOM] conducted a study for the DOD beginning in 2000. In 2007 the Director wrote: The IOM committee was not charged with examining past exposures to specific chemicals, like those at Aberdeen/Edgewood, and assessing whether they caused disabilities in military personnel” “… where veterans were exposed to agents in classified experiments, the veterans were at a disadvantage, because it was difficult to get access to secret information needed to adjudicate their claims

Seven men remembered being promised medals at Edgewood. If the reader sees things as the DOD and the Army, then the rational for denying an Edgewood veteran medals earned the hard way is obvious because a medal for an Edgewood volunteer a road to culpability and an admission that their service was hazardous, that they were brave, courageous, and some valorious in their perilous Edgewood journey. Psychiatrists agree that it is rare for two individuals to have the same reactions to drugs and stressors or for them to have the same degree of suffering. Few had exactly the same agents and doses at the same time therefore, they were all set apart from their fellows making them eligible for individual awards.

U.S. Army HRC Awards Branch 2005: “ … volunteer service at the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Center, Edgewood, MD, is noteworthy, but he is not eligible for consideration of an individual award since the purpose and intent of the Army’s Awards Program is to recognize soldiers who actively engage in acts of heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. Accordingly, these four recommendations cannot be considerd for review by the Army Decorations Board.

The DOD has stated that there were no significant long term effects leaving us to ponder the word significant, because the self evident truths herein can only lead a prudent man to conclude that the DOD and the Army cannot defend against, what they term allegations, because the issues of injuries that led to disabilities of half a sample presented herein are not reasonably debatable. Edgewood service was hazardous which caused death and injuries. A grateful nation needs to recognize these facts and properly reward those who gave of themselves in the name of National Security.

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It's time for the VA to get off the dime and resolve this issue.

There is no reason for "Test Vets" to die while waiting.

Unless...that reason is money!

Story here...

Story below:


VA: Foot-dragging seen

By Lisa Friedman, From our Washington bureau

WASHINGTON ? Thousands of former servicemen who volunteered for chemical and biological tests in the 1960s and 70s might have been exposed to highly toxic substances that could jeopardize their health, and the U.S. government is scrambling to locate them.

The new list of nearly 7,000 names provided last year to the Department of Veterans Affairs servicemen who allowed themselves to be exposed to a range of agents, from nerve gases to Tularemia significantly increases the number of veterans who could become eligible for disability benefits.

VA officials say they are working as quickly as possible to verify the identities of the servicemen and the agents to which they were exposed, and to send out notifications. But veterans' advocates and some members of Congress note the government took more than a decade to notify World War II personnel they'd been exposed to chemical tests, and they're already skeptical of the pace this time around.

"You want to believe that they're serious, but there is, from my perspective, a lack of trust," said Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, the leading Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. "I don't want to be cynical here, but quite often the strategy of the department may be to let time pass."

Years of tests

The United States has conducted chemical and biological tests since before the Civil War. During World War II which has been called the "unfought chemical war" both sides produced, yet never used, millions of tons of chemical weapons.

In the meantime, thousands of servicemen were used as subjects in the chemical defense research. Many tests continued through the 1970s.

Army historian Jeffrey Smart has spent the past 22 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground, formerly the Edgewood Arsenal, where many of the chemical tests particularly on protective equipment were conducted.

He said documents show the men knew they were participating in potentially dangerous tests, but not the specific agents being used.

Ken Jones of Riverside said he knew exactly what he was doing when he volunteered in 1954 to be among 2,300 subjects in a germ-warfare project known as Operation White Coat.

The studies, which ran from 1954 to 1973, used mostly Seventh-day Adventist draftees like Jones whose religious beliefs discouraged combat and who were instead given the option of serving as human test volunteers.

While many veterans later said they felt pressured to sign the consent forms, Jones said he never felt coerced.

'Eight Ball'

He can still recall the day he and two other men exchanged their fatigues for scrubs and entered the fabled "Eight Ball" at Fort Detrick, Md. a 1-million-liter test sphere used to study static microbial aerosols and strapped on gas masks before breathing in Q-fever for about five minutes.

"I'm not going to be out on the streets protesting, because I feel like what I did was a benefit to humanity," Jones said, noting that the tests helped the government develop hazmat suits, gas masks and vaccines.

Jones went into quarantine for 17 days and says he never developed health problems from the experience. Many others did, though, and Jones thinks the government should help those veterans.

House Veterans Affairs Committee aide Len Sistek said that's the goal of notifying veterans. The new list his staff provided to the government includes the names of military personnel who underwent testing at Fort Detrick; Edgewood Arsenal, now known as Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland; and Dougway Proving Ground in Utah.

"There's been a sea change in how America perceives this stuff," he said. "Whoever allowed the bad guy to get ahead of them with chemical or biological weaponry was at a huge disadvantage on the battlefield. It was part of the war effort."

Still, he and others argued, the government has a responsibility to provide benefits to those who did experience health problems.

"When you sign on the dotted line, you sign up for a broad spectrum of risks. But just because you were a volunteer does not mean America doesn't have a duty to you."

VA concerned

Leaders at the Department of Veterans Affairs said they agree.

"Obviously we're concerned, and we want to provide outreach to anyone who may have been harmed by toxic chemical tests," said Thomas Pamperin, VA assistant director for policy.

He and Kim Tibbitts, the agency's assistant director for procedures for compensation and pension services, said they first have to determine who the servicemen are and what agents they were exposed to. Many names on the list, Tibbitts said, include only a name but no Social Security number, and identify chemicals by codes that must be tracked down with the Department of Defense.

From there, he said, the agency plans to use personnel records and address locating services to determine if the serviceman is still living, or has surviving relatives.

In the notification letters, Pamperin said, veterans will be told the chemical they were exposed to and the dosage, and be encouraged to seek hospital tests to determine if they suffered related injuries.

"If and, hopefully, none of them have been harmed they will receive the kind of compensation they're entitled to," Pamperin said.

Rick Weidman of the Vietnam Veterans of America accused the VA of dragging its feet.

"The VA is incredibly slow," he said. "They don't really want to do it. They will screw around with that list for a year or longer, and then they'll say they cannot find a lot of the veterans. If you wait long enough, we'll all be dead."

Notices coming

Pamperin strongly disputed the criticisms.

"I understand that some frustrated veterans believe that to be true," he said. "Our responsibility is to implement (veterans' benefits) to the full extent Congress has authorized it, without regard to how much is spent," he said.

Noting that over the past five years about 200,000 veterans have successfully sought compensation, he said, "I am unaware of anyone who has been formally or informally been telling us to slow down our ratings to save money."

Pamperin and Tibbitts said even if all 7,000 people on the new list apply for and obtain benefits, that's still a drop in the bucket compared with the 825,000 disability determinations it handles.

The agency is expected to start notifying the first 1,000 veterans on the list by July, according to the committee.

"It's just incumbent upon the department to find out and put this thing behind us," Strickland said. "It is going to take resources and effort, but it's something that needs to be done."

The Veterans Administration help line is (800) 749-8387.

Lisa Friedman can be reached at (202) 662-8731.


This was published April 3, 2006 they haven't moved very fast have they?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DoD Launches Web Site on Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures

DoD Launches Web Site on Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2008 – The Defense Department has launched a new Web site to educate the public about chemical and biological testing conducted from the early 1940s through the mid-1970s.
“This is a new Web site that we have created to put together for all those who may have interest in everything that we have been able to uncover and understand about the chemical and biological testing of warfare agents done from probably the early 1940s up through 1975,” said Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, strategic communications director for the Military Health System. He explained the recently launched Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures Web site during a “DotMilDocs” radio program on Oct. 2.

Officials launched the site to educate people on what was done and to also let them know what DoD knows about it, Kilpatrick said.

“The CB exposures Web site explains why the testing was done, where it was done, what was used in the testing, and really what DoD learned from the testing,” he said.

Kilpatrick added that the Web site presents sections on chemical and biological testing that was conducted during World War II, during Project 112/SHAD -- shipboard hazard and defense -- and the Cold War. He explained why some of the testing, in particular during World War II, was conducted.

“Chemical agents were used against our troops in World War I,” Kilpatrick said. “As we went into World War II, we didn’t know how to best protect our people, and during the Cold War we continued testing to understand how chemical and biological warfare agents behaved in different climates and terrains.”

Officials have been working for a couple years trying to understand the chemical and biological exposure research that happened during the Cold War, Kilpatrick said. “As we got information,” he said, “we passed names of individuals and medically related information to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Project 112/SHAD was a series of tests conducted from 1962 to 1973 on Navy ships at sea in various climates and in land-based tests in various terrains using chemical and biological agents, as well as simulated agents. Servicemembers were not test subjects.

“The Project 112/SHAD records were more difficult, because these were, essentially, classified tests looking at the behavior of chemical-biological-warfare agents,” Kilpatrick said. “Since the sailors on the ships… were not human volunteers, it was more difficult to find out who they were. That process involved going through the ships’ logs to determine who was assigned to those ships.”

As officials conclude their search through archived files, they are relying on veterans who were involved in the testing to provide additional information, Kilpatrick said.

“Veterans can really help point us in other directions or give us other clues,” he said. “As we are trying to recreate what happened 30 to 60 years ago, it is oftentimes very difficult. They may have papers, which would not have been archived, that may help fill in blanks about what we understand happened.”

DoD and VA officials are working together to identify and notify servicemembers who were exposed in chemical-biological testing from the 1940s through the mid-1970s. Once DoD finds who was exposed to what agents at what time and where, that information is passed to the VA to then try to locate the individual and notify him.

“Once we have searched all locations for archived information on these exposures, the active part will be over,” Kilpatrick said. “DoD plans to complete this search in 2011. However, the process is open-ended. It will never be closed. That’s why we ask any veteran with any information to contact us. Our goal is to account for everyone who has been exposed.”

Kilpatrick added that any veterans who think that they could have been exposed or who have any information on the tests can submit an e-mail to, or call DoD’s contact managers toll-free at 800-497-6261.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Links to their sites
Force Health Protection and Readiness

Military Health System

The Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures Site

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Welcome to our place

I am one of the veterans used at Edgewood Arsenal in the chemical weapons and drug experiments. My number is 6778A or 6778C depends on which paper the government produces at the moment.

Edgewood scientists broke the groups into four segments A all tests, B was organphosphates and drugs, C other weapons and drugs and D was no substances only equipment or uniform tests.

The experiments at Edgewood took place in 2 main groups WW2 used men from the 1st Chemical Group from 1942 thru 1945 and then during the Cold War the experiments ran from 1955 thru 1975, when the Army released a Department of the Army Inspector General Report on Human Experimentation, by the time the report was released the Acting Secretary of the Army Norman R. Augustine 3 July 1975–5 August 1975 has ordered the cease and desist order to the Commander of Edgewood Arsenal of all human experimentation, it was never restarted, and President Ford signed legislation by Congress outlawing it under any circumstances by any government agency in the future in 1976.

The government has a very poor record since then on helping the veterans or their families since the end of the tests. We have been basically written off by the government. Most of us signed non-disclosure statements, that promised us 25 years in Leavenworth Barracks. Many veterans kept that promise and carried the secrets to their graves.

Over the years, bits and pieces of the programs have come out and the existence of them is no longer a national secret, there is still some data that is classified, but nothing the test subjects would have any knowledge of.

There is a NEW website that allows people to delve into the history of America's experiments going back to 1917