From email@example.com Fri Mar 4 07:00:08 2005
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005 14:20:37 -0600 (CST)
From: The Sunshine Project
Subject: [Sunshine] USAMRIID Rewrites Offensive Biological Weapons
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
USAMRIID Rewrites Offensive Biological Weapons History, says Operation Whitecoat is a Model for the Future
The Sunshine Project news release, 3 March 2005
(Austin, 3 March 2005)—A disturbing article, published today in the Fort Detrick Standard (Frederick, MD) and attributed to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), rewrites history from the US offensive biological weapons program and suggests that the US Army is preparing to renew experiments to deliberately infect humans with bioweapons agents.
“The historical whitewash in the article is troubling. USAMRIID talks about programs with offensive goals as if their intent was benign and suggests that deliberately infecting people with weaponized disease is ethically and legally acceptable” says Sunshine Project Director Edward Hammond, “USAMRIID's review of its own past does not distinguish offense from defense, nor safety testing from deliberate infection. The article even lauds experiments to determine a ‘safe’ dose to cause human infection. There's no such thing as a safe bioweapons infection.”
Titled “USAMRIID celebrates 50-year research tradition” the article details the Army's “Operation Whitecoat”, a series of experiments that began in the 1950s. In Whitecoat, US weapons developers exposed thousands of people, mainly Seventh Day Adventists, to a variety of bioweapons. The experiments took place at Fort Detrick and in the open air at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The objectives of the Whitecoat program included maximizing the effectiveness of the US biological weapons arsenal.
While the ethics of Whitecoat have been debated for years, the Army's new spin is that human research conducted in Whitecoat is “a model for the ethical use of human subjects” for the National Interagency Biodefense Campus. The controversial “campus” includes existing and new Fort Detrick USAMRIID facilities as well as the Department of Homeland Security's National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC).
“The Army is suggesting that Whitecoat provides an enabling precedent for Ft. Detrick to experiment on humans in ways that are ethically and legally unacceptable,” says Hammond, “The Army understands there is a difference between safety trials and exposing humans to aerosolized disease; but it makes no distinction between the two.”
Far from a model, the US Army's history of human experimentation with bioweapons provide lessons for what should never done at the NBACC and associated facilities. Says Hammond “Since shortly before the anthrax letters of 2001, glorifying past bioweaponeering has, ironically, become all too common. With labs to research biological weapons agents sprouting up across the country, to have the US Army losing sight of medical ethics and the differences between offense and defense is deeply disturbing. The Army knows that what is ethical and legal is not the same thing as what a person can be convinced to do. Rather than promoting a revisionist history and an offensive research model, the Army should squarely acknowledge past failings and ensure that they never happen again.”