Six veterans who allege they were exposed to dangerous chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies, in San Francisco Federal Court.
The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques.
They allege in their lawsuit that they were never properly informed of the nature of the experiments and are in poor health because of their exposure. They are demanding health care and a court ruling that the program was illegal because it failed to obtain their consent.
The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of all participants allegedly exposed to harmful experiments without their knowledge.
The lawsuit said that at least 7,800 U.S. military personnel served as volunteers to test experimental drugs such as LSD at the Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore, Md., during a program that lasted into the 1970s.
One CIA project from the 1950s and 1960s, code-named MK-ULTRA, involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was the target of at least three Congressional inquiries in the 1970s, and at least one death has been attributed to MK-ULTRA.
In 1988, the Justice Department agreed to pay eight Canadians a total of $750,000 to settle their lawsuit alleging they suffered psychological trauma from CIA-financed mind-control experiments that included doses of LSD.
One Army enlistee aged 17, volunteeered in 1957 in a program he thought was for testing new equipment for use with riot gas. Instead, the man alleges, he was purposely given inadequate protective gear and exposed to several dangerous chemicals to test their effectiveness as chemical weapons.
Another veteran in the suit, alleged that military doctors implanted something in a sinus cavity near his brain’s frontal lobe in 1966 that remains there today. He believes the implant was an attempted mind-control device.
The lawsuit claims that many of the volunteers’ records have been destroyed or remain sealed as top secret documents.
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