The Nazis and U.S. imperialism; Pioneers of chemical and biological weapons
By Dave Silver, 12 March 1998
In 1936 I.G. Farben produced the first nerve agent, a toxic gas for the Nazis much more lethal than the mustard gas of World War1. During the closing weeks of World War2, U.S, Intelligence agencies raided Farben's labs seizing tons of the agent known as Tabun. Alex Cockburn in his column Wild Justice (3/9) notes that the gas 'was sent back to the U.S. in large canisters labeled chlorine' Also that. . .'intelligence agencices smuggled dozens of Nazi chemists' and that one of the more infamous was Walter Schreiber, a veteran of the awful 'medical' experiments at Dachau.
Under the Kennedy administration chemical weapon stockpiles tripled and Secretary McNamara called these weapons a 'national asset' to pave the way for their deployment in Vietnam in 1964. The U.S. Army's chemical weapons program proved to be a bonanza for chemical and aerospace companies, Universities and researchers as Napalm was eventually developed by Harvard scientist Louis Fieser.
Research into biological weapons kept apace. In the same article, Cockburn reports that The L.A.-based transnational Litton Industries helped to develop a delivery system for the deadly infectious virus called Rift Valley Fever. This became known as the 'Supersonic Delivery of Dry Biological Agents.' In addition Goodyear was paid 'more than $5 million to develop a packaging system for its virus, so the lethal germs could be safely transported around the globe.' The task of safely disposing of these weapons was complicated by Ronald Reagan in 1984 when he ordered over a half million M55 rockets retooled and according to Cockburn 'they contained high yield explosives as well as VX gas.' Rather than creating demons in Iraq, Libya or Iran we should look to the the purveyors of this deadly warfare in his aptly titled article 'As American as I.G. Farben'