u.s. admits infecting guatemalan mental patients with gonorrhea and syphilis in secret medical experiments

[redsock guest post]

The US government has admitted it infected up to 700 men and women in Guatemala in the 1940s, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge in secret medical experiments.

Susan Reverby, a professor of women's studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, who has written extensively about the Tuskegee experiments, found the evidence while conducting further research. You can read some of Reverby's work, including this recent paper, here.

Amazingly, the NBC link above baldly admits that at the time, the US government
exerted a powerful influence in the Latin American country, largely in order to protect the interests of the American-based United Fruit Company. In 1954 the U.S. CIA helped overthrow Guatemala's democratically elected president because of land reforms that opposed the multinational corporation.

The list of incidents of the US government funding or conducting experiments on humans is quite long. No other country in human history has caused so much deliberate pain, misery, torture and death. Many of the studies were done by (or for) the US military and the subjects were often US citizens -- prisoners, regular citizens, and military personnel.

In the course of my 9/11 research, I have heard people claim that the US would never do anything (or allow anything to happen) to its own citizens. As though those in charge of the US would bother to make some distinction based on where people happened to be born. History says the truth is the exact opposite. Here is a super-small sample from this webpage (emphasis mine; I have also edited some entries for brevity):
From 1944-46, Dr. Alf Alving, a professor at the University of Chicago Medical School, purposely infected psychiatric patients at the Illinois State Hospital with malaria, so that he could test experimental malaria treatments. The study was conducted in conjunction with the US Army and the State Department.

In 1955, the CIA conducted a biological warfare experiment by releasing whooping cough bacteria from boats outside of Tampa Bay, causing an epidemic in the city, and killing at least 12 people.

In 1956-57, several US Army biological warfare experiments were conducted on the cities of Savannah, Georgia and Avon Park, Florida. Hundreds of residents contracted a wide array of illnesses, including fevers, respiratory problems, stillbirths, encephalitis, and typhoid. Army researchers pretended to be public health workers, so they could photograph and perform medical tests on the victims.

In 1966, the US Army released Bacillus globigii into the tunnels of the New York subway system as part of a field study called "A Study of the Vulnerability of Subway Passengers in New York City to Covert Attack with Biological Agents". A similar experiment was done in the Chicago subway system.

From 1946-53, at the Walter E. Fernald State School in Massachusetts, in an experiment sponsored by the US Atomic Energy Commission and the Quaker Oats corporation, 73 mentally disabled children were fed oatmeal containing radioactive calcium and other radioisotopes, in order to track "how nutrients were digested". The children were told that they were joining a "science club".

In the 1950s, researchers at the Medical College of Virginia performed experiments on burn victims, most of them poor and black, without their knowledge or consent, with funding from the Army and in collaboration with the AEC. Subjects were exposed to additional burning, experimental antibiotic treatment, and injections of radioactive isotopes 50 times the "acceptable" dose.

From 1948-54, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Hospital inserted radium rods into the noses of 582 Baltimore schoolchildren to determine the effects of radiation on hearing loss. Similar experiments were performed on over 7,000 US Army and Navy personnel during World War II.

Between 1960 and 1971, the Department of Defense funded non-consensual whole body radiation experiments on poor, black cancer patients. Consents forms were forged and the men were exposed to 100 rads of radiation (the equivalent of about 7,500 x-rays).

From 1942-44, the US Chemical Warfare Service exposed thousands of US military personnel to mustard gas, in order to test the effectiveness of gas masks and protective clothing. The military refused to pay disability benefits to the victims of the experiments.

From 1950-53, the US Army sprayed toxic chemicals over six cities in the United States and Canada, including Winnipeg, in order to test dispersal patterns of chemical weapons.

In 1967, the US Army paid [doctors] to apply skin-blistering chemicals to the faces and backs of inmates at Holmesburg Prison, near Philadelphia, to "learn how the skin protects itself against chronic assault from toxic chemicals". (In the 1960s, 33 pharmaceutical companies tested 153 experimental drugs at Holmesburg. When Dr. Albert Kligman, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, first saw the inmates and the potential they held for his research, he said, "All I saw before me were acres of skin. It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time.")

In order to "perfect techniques for the abstraction of information from individuals, whether willing or not", Project Bluebird researchers dosed over 7,000 US military personnel with LSD, without their knowledge or consent. More than 1,000 of these soldiers later suffered from several psychiatric illnesses, including depression and epilepsy, as a result of the tests. Many of them tried to commit suicide.

From 1963-69, the US Army sprayed thousands of US military personnel aboard ships with various biological and chemical warfare agents. The personnel were not notified of the tests, and were not given any protective clothing. Chemicals tested on the US military personnel included the nerve gases VX and Sarin and toxic chemicals such as zinc cadmium sulfide and sulfur dioxide.


During the Nuremberg trials, several Nazi doctors and scientists claimed that the inspiration for their studies had come from studies that they had seen performed in the United States. In 1945, the US government recruited 1,600 Nazi scientists, many of whom had performed horrific human experimentation in Nazi concentration camps. The scientists were offered immunity from any war crimes in return for doing research for the United States government. Many of the Nazi scientists continued their human experimentation when they arrived in the US.

The wiki page notes that, as of 2007, not a single US government researcher has ever been prosecuted for human experimentation.

[L: Warning: comments contain some details of torture that took place in Guatemala; readers may find some comments triggering.]

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