U.S. Military Admits to Chemical Weapons Testing

Over the last several months, the Pentagon has issued several reports which document that for decades the U.S. military has carried on extensive experimentation and testing of chemical and biological weapons. In fact, currently the Defense Department admits that, depsite a treaty banning research and development of biological weapons, it contniues to operate research facilities at 127 sites around the country. Furthermore, the U.S. has repeatedly used chemical and biological weapons as well as atomic weapons against the peoples. So much, for U.S. imperialism's claim to be "fighting against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

The most recent Pentagon admission of its testing of chemical weapons appears in October 31 report which document several experiments with the deadly sarin nerve agent during the the 1960's and 1970's.

The testing was part of a secret military program, named "Project 112, in which numerous soldiers were exposed to dangerous biological chemicals and germs. Many of the 5,500 veterans who particpated in the programs have since suffered health problems and are urging the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to compensate them.

The recent study reveals that in 1967, the military conducted tests with sarin in Hawaii, in an operation named "Red Oak." During the tests, the military detonated sarin-filled 155 mm artillery shells to "study how the nerve agent dispersed in a tropical jungle." Other tests made involved the use of "Bacillus globigii bacteria," which are related to the Bacillus anthracis germ that causes anthrax. In another test called "Big Jack, Phase A," U.S. planes sprayed bacteria on an area near the Fort Sherman Military Reservation in the Panama canal zone.

In recent months, the Pentagon has acknowledged in other reports that it carried out a large-scale testing program of chemical and germ warfare agents at sea in the Pacific and on American soil, and in Britain and Canada.

In addition to these recent admissions, other government and non-government studies published in recent years have revealed widespread chemical and biological weapons-testing carried out by the U.S. military during the last fifty years. These include:

1951 - Open-air testing by the Department of Defense begins using disease-producing bacteria and viruses. Tests last through 1969.

1965 - Prisoners at the Holmesburg State Prison in Philadelphia are subjected to dioxin, the highly toxic chemical component of Agent Orange used widely in Viet Nam.

1966 - CIA initiates Project MKOFTEN, a program to test the toxicological effects of certain drugs on humans and animals.

1986 - A report to Congress reveals that the U.S. Government's current generation of biological agents includes: modified viruses, naturally occurring toxins, and agents that are altered through genetic engineering to change immunological character and prevent treatment by all existing vaccines.

1996 - Department of Defense admits that Desert Storm soldiers were exposed to chemical agents.

Indeed, U.S. imperialism has a long history of not only testing but also using chemical and biological weapons.

During the Korean war, from 1950-53, for example, napalm and other chemical warfare agents were used extensively. In addition, the U.S. used chemical weapons against whole towns and villages in Vietnam, and carried out covert, biological warfare against Cuba throughout the 1960s. More recently, the U.S. military used uranium-tipped missiles in Yugoslavia and Iraq, subjecting millions of people to nuclear radiation and poisoning.

The recent reports thus expose the hypocritical nature of U.S. imperialism's crusade against "weapons of mass destruction." It shows that the real struggle against these weapons is in the first-place a struggle against U.S. imperialism -- a struggle against U.S. interference and intervention, against U.S. militarism and colonialism.