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Are the national educational radio network presents special of the Week this week from K U A C the University of Alaska at college Alaska. This is the University of Alaska Radio 4 of each week at this time Forum presents a timely and pertinent topic of interest to Alaskans. Now here is your host Jerry riding one. Since the end of World War 2 the United States and Russia have been engaged in a deadly arms race the manufacture and storage of sophisticated weapons gain added emphasis with the advent of the Korean War and now both nations seem to have developed the capability to effectively wipe out a sizable segment of each nation's population. One phase of our country's weaponry has come under fierce attack by some congressmen and scientists as being so destructive and immoral that it should be eliminated from our nation's mighty arsenal.
Chemical and biological weapons have been the focal point of a blistering debate in many corridors of our nation's capitol for the past eight months this war of words is increasingly centered on the military's chemical and biological warfare operations which have been carried on at Fort Greely an army post located about five miles from Delta Junction. Until recently little was known about the CBW program at Fort Greely. For as is the case at other chemical and biological warfare test sites and impenetrable curtain of secrecy surround CBW operations. However last June a sizable hole was ripped in that curtain of secrecy at Fort Greely when the Anchorage Daily News printed a six part exposé on the CBW operations there. The series was written by Richard Feinberg an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alaska and represents one of the finest pieces of investigative journalism ever done in Alaska. On this edition of the University of Alaska form Dr. Feinberg will discuss the chemical and biological warfare operations at Fort Greely and how he was able to
dig up a CBW story. Dr. Feinberg holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate School in California. He joined the staff of the University of Alaska in 1969. Soon after his arrival in Alaska Richard Fineberg began to hear rumors of a bizarre incident which was alleged to have occurred at Fort Greely. He picked up information from several people which indicated that the military had conducted tests with a nerve gas called VX gas which is so potent that one drop placed on the skin will kill a human in seconds. Dr. Fineberg also pieced together bits of information from his informants which indicated that a colossal blunder had been made by the Army's brass in disposing of the lethal nerve gas. According to Richard Feinberg the Army conducted winter test with a nerve gas and at the end of those tests in 1066 decided that the gas which was stored in canisters artillery shells and rockets should be destroyed. Fort Greely CBW personnel placed the poisonous gas on a frozen lake at its remote Gerstel River Test Site.
And then apparently proceeded to forget about the cast off lethal VX gas when break up came in me the canisters rockets and artillery shells sank to the bottom of the lake where they stayed for the next three years. From 1966 to 1969 whispers of the nerve gas coup circulated around the Fort Greely area and began to spread to other areas of the state. Evidently some of the men stationed at the gristle River Test Site knew that something unusual had occurred there because according to Dr. Feinberg's newspaper articles they called the storage pond VX lake. According to a report from the Army Test and Evaluation command it was about August of 900 68 before the army began to take steps to recover the sunken gas containers from Vieques lake. The report states that quote rumors as to the last were heard by the incoming chief of the special projects test division Arctic test center attempts to ascertain their veracity were to no avail. And this officer received permission to pump the lake the following spring close quote. And that is what happened.
Vieques lake was drained in a potentially deadly gas containers were recovered and ultimately destroyed. The Fort Greely Vieques incident came to the attention of Army CBW personnel soon after the famous Dugway Utah sheep Hill accident which caused a tremendous stir in the nation's press. Dr. Feinberg believes that the Dugway incident may have caused the Army's CBW people to clamp a tighter rein on operations at its test sites. And he speculates that tighter administrative procedures may have led to the discovery of the Lost chemicals in Vieques lake in the aftermath of the Dugway sheep killing which an army and nerve gas to test resulted in the death of about six thousand four hundred sheep who were or who were grazing. All I know on the private pasture lands somewhere. Near the Dugway test facility in the
aftermath of the the Dugway of sheep killed with the Army it began to tighten up its procedures on the handling of lethal chemicals and apparently they noticed that there were planted seeds on account of four up here. The chemical stayed in the lake for about three years. It's my understanding that in the summer of 68 it came to military attention in the wake of the Dugway of sheep killed that they ought to find out where all of their gas was. They apparently figured out that more gas had been shipped to Alaska than had been beyond the tested and it had not been returned to Dugway and began to look around for it. They picked up the rumors that the chemicals were after first told and were buried in the lake and since they didn't know how much or what they decided to drain the lake the lake was drained
and strict secrecy during the summer of nineteen sixty nine and the operation was completed sometime around the time that I picked up the first rumors of it. Round September in 69 the army has said that they recovered two hundred rounds of munitions and weapons. One of the weapons I believe they had were was the 55 rocket which has a firing firing range of a two to eight miles. And can you carry a payload of about 10 pounds of nerve agent. It may be then that they had 2000 pounds of nerve gas and a drop of it was fatal. It's highly processed and extremely dangerous. It will tend to dissipate in the
sun. It is a remote area. The danger is to someone who happens to wander back on the reservation or obvious the possibility of some sort of accident or a fire who knows and knows who knows what. A significant potential threat placed officials connected with any chemical and biological warfare testing program are under tight regulation. Therefore it is very difficult to gather information on any of the military CBW programs. Richard Feinberg has spent countless hours probing all aspects of the nation's CBW program while gathering information for his newspaper series he visited several of the Army's Chemical Corps test sites and attended a one week chemical biological training course at Fort McClellan Alabama home of the Army Chemical Corps. From his research findings he has been able to piece together a rough picture of what goes on during CBW testing. You see BW where testing is conducted in strict secrecy
and it's very hard to imagine exactly what the tests consist of or why they test the few scraps that do reach the public are probably very partial fragments so that it all depends on the test. Any test may look very different from another test. The men involved ordinarily wear a rubber suit with gloves and high high boots and a face mask. They're extremely careful not to be exposed. The men involved often don't know what they are. Using They only know that if they're exposed you see the doctor or you do A B or C if you carry out your pain and you're told to use it you assume you've got a nerve agent. If you're told to take a pill or to lie down you don't know exactly what you're testing with. They don't tell you they simply tell you what to do so that the fragments that come
out are quite partial and you have to infer a lot of the people involved are security cleared and are quite reluctant to talk understandably. And they also are reluctant to talk to their fellow testers so that the people involved in the the actual tests well look generally not have a very good idea of what the rest of the task entails. At present the history of the CBW program at Fort Greely is ill defined. The army has been tight lipped about its testing program and most information which is raised to public has been ferreted out by journalists politicians and by concerned citizens such as Richard Feinberg. One of the first persons to crack the secrecy surrounding the Fort Greely testing program was Seymour Hersh. And I was standing newsman I want to people in surprise last year for disclosure of the now infamous me lie massacre in December of 1969 Hersh published details of open air tests at Fort Greely which involved tularemia pathogens
Tularemia is commonly known as rabbit fever. When Senator Mike Gravel was requested to look into the testing program last year he was informed by Pentagon officials that the army had conducted open air chemical and biological tests in Alaska in the past. Last spring the Pentagon released more information to Senator Gravelle which confirmed Seymour Hersh's charges the tularemia pathogens had been tested. Colonel Raymond T read Pentagon legislative officer stated that quote the open air biological test using tularemia in Alaska in 1066 in 1967 were the only pathogenic biological test ever conducted in Alaska close quote according to information Dr. Fineberg has gathered. There is the possibility if the army is tested other biological agents at Fort Greely There is speculation that the Army has tested other biological pathogens. Among them perhaps. Brucellosis and perhaps strains of and's and satellite as
that is purely a guess since the tests in 60 secs 67. There have been sporadic occurrence as I don't want to say outbreaks of I'm in on usual look public health problems in the interior. I ll ask. I do not assert that these problems are caused by the CBW program. I think that the information about the CBW program should be made public to the appropriate officials at least so that it can be determined whether there is perhaps a link between the CBW a program and the extremely unfortunate occurrence of those occurrences include the deaths of two guys at Fort Greely one in 69 and
one on 70. The deaths were attributed to pneumonia. One of the genius was a 22 and one once of 23 when he died in. In. Do you know in the middle life according to doctors and to the medical law textbooks I've examined. Pneumonia you know as seldom fatal. In one thousand sixty seven for example the last year for which there are statistics by a variable for the state there were no pneumonia fatalities in the entire state of Alaska between the ages of 1 and 44. You have an inverse of a bell shaped curve and the age range of fifteen to twenty
four is at the bottom of the bell shaped curve and there were none in the state from the ages of 1 to 44 and the least probable age for death would be in the middle of that range. Yet in both 19 69 and nineteen seventy a U.S. serviceman outage at Fort Greely died of pneumonia. The same post which the CBW tests had been conducted in the past and may have been conducted since then. I have been unable to obtain official information regarding the deaths. I know a good deal about them from my personal investigations on official but RELIABLE SOURCES. Again I am not asserting that CBW was in fact responsible for these deaths. I think it would be quite reasonable to
ask the question is the CBW program most linked to the deaths. I have one report which I Const. consider to be quite reliable to the effect that the G.I. who died in 69 had response responsibilities related to the c b w a test program. Again this possibility troubles me. There have been no confirmed deaths related directly to the CBW program that I know of in the US. However there was there have been a great great number of accidents and fatalities at the posts where CBW testing is conducted Usually it is covered up and kept from from public attention.
The documentation for this kind of a case for that this kind of allegation would be Seymour Hersh's book chemical and biological warfare and America's hidden arsenal. And there is a later book by Congressman Richard McCarthy of New York State. His book is called the ultimate folly. McCarthy by the way is both a World War Two and a Korean War War veteran. He became upset with the CBW program as a congressman when he saw either an NBC or CBS special on the CB w a program sometime after the Dugway of sheep and his wife asked him what he knew about the CBW a program as a
congressman and he said I don't know anything and he tried to find out as a congressman and he could learn very very little. As Dr. Feinberg noted earlier in the show he is very concerned about the chemical and biological weapons testing program at Fort Greely and the effects such a testing program may have on the public health of Alaskans. Dr. Feinberg has not found definite proof that the military is biological warfare test operations of jeopardize community health. But since biological pathogens were first tested no Alaskan 1066. Richard Feinberg has uncovered some rather unusual medical cases which have yet to be fully explained. He discusses two medical cases which he feels warrant detailed investigation in the nineteen sixty eight in the Fairbanks area. Two children were hospitalized with a strange. Paralysis it's a childhood paralysis syndrome which is extremely rare and not much is known about it.
It's a paralysis which which follows to Cairo and factions and seems to bear some relation to the to the infection. You have to follow instinct and recovery as you know as I generally spontaneous. That's quite slow but it does respond to physical therapy. The older of the two children who colic correctly was about 5 when he was struck and still favors someone side bet to get the other child who was about 10 months old when she became you know still wears a foot brace. Although Army officials would not check their records for me. I understand from one of the physicians in town
who handled cases that there were reports of a third. Paralysis of a military dependent at the Bassett hospital at Fort Wainwright at the same time I spoke to the neuro neuro a pathologist who handled the cases up here in Salt Lake where he is now on the faculty at the University of Utah. Dr. Jacques How did John when you spoke to him in the Salt Lake. He said he was extremely interested to learn of the c b c b w a program. And the biological attacks that had been performed the preceding year that he did not know at the time that he performed the tests on the children that there had to have been a
biological warfare test program. He did not not rule out the possibility that a CBW pathogen could be responsible. He said that act this time after the fact it is impossible to tell. As the Fort Greely controversy began to receive more public attention our congressional delegation of senators might prevail and Ted Stevens an ex Congressman Howard Pollack were drawn into the hassle. All US congressmen were initially contacted by a graduate student at the University of Alaska Frank crime who after reading Congressman McCarthy's book decided to enquire to see if a CBW program was being conducted in Alaska. Mr crime's letter was reprinted in the University of Alaska student newspaper and caused considerable interest on campus. Mr crime ask our congressman to quote look into the experimentation with CBW agents at Fort
Greely for me close quote as Dr. Fineberg noted in his newspaper articles the diverse responses Mr crime received from the Alaska congressional delegation points up the difficulty one encounters when trying to obtain meaningful CBW information. Apparently Mr. Pollack chose not to respond to Mr. Grimes letter because Mr crime did not receive a response from the congressman regarding his inquiry. Senator Stevens apparently checked with a state official on this matter. In his letter to Mr crime Senator Stevens noted that a state veterinarian it checked into the Fort Greely situation and determined that quote A Chemical and Biological Warfare Center does not and has never existed at Fort Greely Alaska close quote. However Mr crime's letter to Senator Mike Gravel brought a decidedly different response. Senator Gravelle past Mr. Khan's question along to the Pentagon and he received a response which confirmed that chemical and biological tests had been conducted at Fort Greely. Dr. Fineberg comments on the markedly different responses Mr. Khan received from Alaska's Congressman.
I think the responses are quite interesting. The reply of no reply as a typical response to scene B W. I think in part people look people tend to put it out of mind because it's too horrible to go to a contemplate. One of the diseases the army attests with as the plague and you can't imagine anything more horrible than the plague unless it is anthrax which has another a pathogen the army is known to test with. So there is a response which is to put it out of mind because it's pretty horrible to contemplate. Then there is a second response which is to assume the military knows no spouse to a cooperate with the military. And the third response is to take a detached attitude and attempt to ask really objectively what was done and I
think there is overwhelming documentation to assert that one should not accept the military at face value. The instances of the military duplicity with regard to CBW are legion. When the sheep began to fall at Dugway for example the army of first claimed that there had not been a test conducted at Dugway during that year. In fact an aerial look task had been conducted the day the ship began to fall and the tast had erred. It was an aerial look tast and a valve on the plane had failed to close as the plane left the target so that it was still a spraying of a nerve gas at a much higher altitude than it was supposed to be firing from. The Army denied it conducted any tests during that year. It
eventually paid the farmers for the sheep which if it hadn't conducted any test during that year was a strange thing to do. I find it interesting that Stevens said that the inquiries had been conducted had been directed to the post commander and to the veterinarian unless you know a little bit about sea dog you might seem strange that one would address a request to the veterinarian of all people. In fact the veterinarian is quite closely related to the scene being w a program and it was a well directed inquiry. The denial that a CBW Test Center has existed in Alaska. I can only attribute. To ignorance or duplicity. I attended a training course at Fort McClellan in Alabama and one
of the pamphlets in the training course names the six or seven posts to which you might be sent. If you are a chemical warfare officer that includes such Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah which is a CBW test facility Fort Dietrich and the Edgewood Arsenal and Maryland which is a CB Tabio facility. The Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas where the biological agents are Man U fractured and strangely enough for it greatly. I will ask if this is a publicly available look pamphlet which gives the mileage from the head of the armies of armies like chemical corps at Fort McClellan Alabama to Fort Greely Alaska. Apparently it has some link to the c b w a program that at the least Steven seems to me to be naive
in denying the open. Secret that there has been a CBW operation and I'll ask now he only denied that there's a CBW tast center and you might get into semantics and argue well it's not exactly a center. But the request for in formation referred to CBW activities in general. It did not raise the question of a tast center quote unquote. Richard Feinberg finds many things objectionable in the military CBW program in Alaska and is why some of those objections on this program. However there is one point in the Alaskan CBW program which is of great concern to him. That is what effect the military's testing efforts has on the Soviet Union. As a student of the current political issues including United States foreign policy I'm also quite troubled
by the implications of a test program in the chemical and biological warfare. And I will ask on the land bridge to Siberia that is close to the Soviet Union as you can be in Titan and the United States. I would submit that we threatened the Soviet Soviet Union and we may in fact. Force the Soviet Union to develop biological warfare. The capacity simply by the fact that we have tested in the Arctic. What one contest in the Arctic and disease it can be spread in the Arctic. Alaska may very well be able to be sporadic and the Soviet Union. And in terms of the information that is available the inferences I draw are that we
threatened the Soviet Union. There is no evidence that the Soviet Union. Threatened science with a biological warfare capacity. The Soviet Union cornered indeed develop one. And it might at some point be necessary for us to have a biological warfare defense at some point but in fact that isn't the case. Our guest on this edition of University of Alaska form has been Dr. Richard Feinberg an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alaska. And. With. Us. You have been listening to the University of Alaska radio forum host for this series is Jerry run one day ahead of the journalism department at the University of Alaska. The University of Alaska radio forum was produced in the studios of KUSA at college or the University of Alaska Broadcasting Service.
Special of the week
Issue 24-71 "CBW Research in Alaska at Fort Greeley"
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 24-71 "CBW Research in Alaska at Fort Greeley",” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 24-71 "CBW Research in Alaska at Fort Greeley".” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: Special of the week; Issue 24-71 "CBW Research in Alaska at Fort Greeley". Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from