Pentagon Admits for First Time to Testing Mustard Gas, Other Lethal Chem Weapons on 60,000 Troops Circa WWII

As brutal treatment of African Americans and other minorities in the US makes world headlines and is condemned at the UN, NPR reports:

When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn’t complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside.

“It felt like you were on fire,” recalls Edwards, now 93 years old. “Guys started screaming and hollering and trying to break out. And then some of the guys fainted. And finally they opened the door and let us out, and the guys were just, they were in bad shape.”

The US now officially admits to conducting human experiments with mustard gas and other chemical weapons on 60,000 troops separated by race, including African Americans, Japanese-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and whites of European descent.  This is in addition to other human experiments the US carried out on African Americans, Guatemalans, Marshall Islanders, whom mainstream US culture referred to as “savages“, and others.

The types of experiments with “lethal chemical agents” the US government carried out on the troops were:

[1] Patch tests, where liquid mustard gas was applied directly onto test subjects’ skin; [2] field tests, where subjects were exposed to gas outdoors in simulated combat settings; and [3] chamber tests, where men were locked inside gas chambers while mustard gas was piped inside.

NPR quotes a 95 year old man who recounts being sent into the jungle and then bombarded with mustard gas from US military planes, as well as forced to crawl through fields saturated with the chemical.  “It took all the skin off your hands. Your hands just rotted,” he says.  He still suffers from debilitating skin conditions.

“You had no choice.  You did not know where you were going. They didn’t tell you anything,” said a subject.

Read the full report.

The US is still experimenting on people in various ways and protecting human-experimenters today.


6/27/15 Update:

A reader points out below that NPR notes that whites were also used in this experiment, and groups were separated by race to see if there were any differences in reactions to chemical weapons agents.  The NPR report only discusses gas and chemical experiments carried out on minority troops, hence my error.  The report notes research suggesting that Puerto Ricans, for one, were tested to see if they “could be used on the front lines while white soldiers stayed back, protected from the gas.”

I have changed the title and the wording of a sentence in the report to reflect that the number of 60,000 troops involved in this human experimentation operation were not all non-whites.  The breakdown is not specified, though it is noted and well known that minorities were considered inferior and were thus often given the worst assignments; that the military was segregated and Jim Crow laws in place in civilian life; that Japanese-Americans but not German-Americans were put in concentration camps; that the US performed other human experiments exclusively on minorities, and that US culture, as noted, considered people like the Marshall Islanders, on whom the US experimented with nuclear radiation, to be “savages” inferior to people of European descent.  And though they were and are certainly treated better, reflecting US/Euro ideas on racial hierarchy, poor whites have also been victimized on many occasions and should be recognized.

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  • Silverado

    That’s why I’m against the death penalty. Our govt has already killed enough human beings illegally. Why give them the chance to do it…”legally” too?? I’d say if we have to exterminate anything how about we choke off some of this excess BIG govt we as a society seem to be suffering from?? Maybe the neocon part of our govt that likes and creates wars all over the planet. Why can’t we just rid ourselves of them??

  • Scot

    I checked the actual source. The experiment was performed on 60,000 enlisted men of ALL sorts: black, white, and brown — not just on minorities.

    They were grouped by race so that their different responses to the chemical could be observed.

    The article as written doesn’t get the point across. it seems to suggest that minorities were selected, instead of whites, for testing, but that isn’t what happened. Whites’ responses to the chemicals were also observed.

    • Robert Barsocchini

      You are right. That was an overly hasty assessment on my part, as none of the sources I checked discussed the experiments, if any, carried out on whites, though the NPR piece does say whites were enlisted among the 60,000. I am adding a noted update to the article.

  • If that was not enough to warn you folks about the Joint Chiefs know what is contained in this article!

    June 24, 2015 The Pentagon’s New ‘Law Of War Manual’ Is Chilling

    (ANTIMEDIA) Just when it seemed the government’s policy language couldn’t get any more paradoxical, self-justifying, and replete with inconsistencies, the Pentagon issued its “Law of War Manual” earlier this month. The manual is meant to dictate legal conduct for service members from all branches during military operations. Though the enormous tome is drier than stale bread, there are plenty of alarming entries—from designating journalists as potential terrorists to allowing the use of internationally banned weapons—which more than warrant a thorough perusal.

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