More Evidence of human radiation... - Oakland Tribune

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November 8, 1994 More Evidence of human radiation... by Les Blumenthal

A presidential commission says it has, at leas, circumstantial evidence the CIA engaged in Cold War human radiation experiments, but the agency steadfastly denies it had any involvement.

The experiments represent one of the darkest sides of the Cold War, and the secrets have been, and continue to be, closely held be? and the veil of national security.

The committee, appointed by President Clinton earlier this year to report on the experiments and make possible recommendations on the thorny issue of compensation, asked half a dozen or so government agencies to review millions of documents dating back to the 1940s.

In addition to the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, as keeper of Atomic Energy Commission documents, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration all searched their files. A sketchy picture of their involvement in the experiments has begun to emerge.

The committee, in a report marking the halfway point of its year-long effort, said is has discovered human radiation experiments may have been far more widespread than originally thought.

A 1986 congressional study, considered the most exhaustive review to date, found evidence of dozens of experiments, and according to estimates earlier this year, about 1,000 people or so were involved.

The committee, however, has found firm evidence of about 400 experiments and fragmentary evidence of an additional 100. Up to 23,000 people may have been involved.

In addition, the committee has evidence intentional radiation releases may have numbered in the hundreds rather than the 13 previously thought. Whether there were more releases at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state than jut the infamous Green Run of 1949 remains unclear. The committee has asked the departments for more information on Hanford as it prepares for a Nov.21 meeting in Spokane. 

  Classified information

  Much of the information on the intentional releases remains classified, and the committee remains uncertain whether there will be public access to it. Even though the releases are thought to date back 30,40 or 50 years, the departments cite national security in denying information to the committee.

The CIA, with its black budget and cloak-and-dagger image, was assumed to have been deeply involved in the radiation experiments.

The agency, however, said no.

"To date, CIA has found no records or other information indicating that it conducted or sponsored human radiation experiments," the committee said in its interim report.

...The committee, however, said is has evidence CIA officers took part in Pentagon groups in which human radiation experiments were discussed and planned.

During the 1950s, the CIA conducted an "extensive" human experimentation program to find ways to control behavior using drugs, psychological methods and other means.

...But some of the documents unearthed by the advisory committee hint at more sinister projects.

A 1963 CIA Inspector General report said MKULTRA was "concerned with research and development of chemical, biological and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations...


Les Blumenthal

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