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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Sun Nov 3 07:30:06 2002
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002 01:11:46 -0600 (CST)
Organization: South Movement
From: Dave Muller <davemull@alphalink.com.au>
Subject: [southnews] US used Sarin in Hawaii -Pentagon
Article: 146622
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

U.S. Used Deadly Sarin in Hawaii Test -Pentagon

By Charles Aldinger, Guardian, Thursday 31 October 2002, 3:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military in 1967 conducted tests using the deadly sarin nerve agent in a Hawaiian rain forest as part of a sweeping Cold War series of chemical and biological experiments on land and sea, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Military units involved in the Hawaii test, dubbed Red Oak, Phase 1, were not identified and there was no indication of harm to troops or civilians from explosions to determine the effectiveness of artillery shells using sarin in the jungle.

But the Defense Department, releasing five new reports in a continuing series on tests conducted in the 1960s and 70s, urged any troops involved who might have suffered ill-effects to contact the Pentagon.

The Red Oak tests in April and May of 1967 were conducted in both the Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve on Hawaii and near Fort Sherman in the Panama Canal Zone. The Panama phase used only a simulated nerve agent, not sarin.

Sarin is a volatile, deadly nerve agent that can be inhaled or absorbed through the eyes and skin. A sufficient dose within minutes causes difficult breathing, runny nose, confusion and dimming vision—then coma and death.

Very little information is available involving the long-term effects of low-level exposure to sarin.

The Pentagon on Thursday also released details on four other tests -- three in the Panama Canal Zone and a fourth in an unspecified jungle environment—but said none used deadly chemical or biological agents.


In addition to the riot-control agent tear gas, however, some of the tests used normally occurring bacteria that more recent information has indicated can cause acute infections of the ear, brain lining, lung, urinary tract and other body sites.

The tests were all part of a major U.S. military review put in motion by former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in 1961 shortly after President John F. Kennedy's inauguration.

That study consisted of 150 separate projects.

As part of the Project 112 review, the Joint Chiefs of Staff convened a working committee that recommended a research, testing and development program for chemical and biological weapons, the Pentagon said in the five new fact sheets.

The United States acknowledged in reports during the summer and earlier this month that it carried out a sweeping Cold War-era test program of chemical and germ warfare agents at sea in the Pacific and on American soil and in Britain and Canada.

The tests of such nerve agents as sarin, soman, tabun and VX were carried out from 1962 to 1973 both on land and at sea out of concern for our ability to protect and defend against these potential threats, an earlier Pentagon statement said.

An unknown number of civilians were also exposed at the time to simulants, or what were then thought to be harmless agents meant to stand in for deadlier ones, the Defense Department said. Some of those were later discovered to be dangerous.

More than 5,500 members of the U.S. armed forces were involved, including 5,000 who took part in ship-board experiments in the Pacific.

To date, more than 50 veterans have filed claims related to symptoms they associate with exposure to the tests, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (news - web sites).

All of the tests were coordinated by an outfit called the Deseret Test Center at Fort Douglas, Utah.