Serratia Marcesens and Project 112
January 22, 2003 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Project 112 was a secret, cold-war era project to determine vulnerabilities of US warships to various chemical and biological attacks. While lots is known about what happened, there's still a lot of information that hasn't been released yet. In the early 1950s, the US Army sprayed the bacteria Serratia Marcesens over San Francisco. While the government thought that it was safe, many people ended up checking into the hospital. One elderly man even died as a result of the US testing chemical and biological agents against it's own citizens.
posted by manero (4 comments total)
Said that right out loud. :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:50 PM on January 22, 2003

hmm quite the response. interesting.
posted by manero at 11:12 PM on January 22, 2003

An old man died from pneumonia in 1950 because the United States Government wanted to study how biological weapons would behave in cities. Is that what you're telling me?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:02 AM on January 23, 2003

This story is the merest tip o' the iceberg.

"advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." - From "Rebuilding Americans Defenses", whose (page 60) coauthors include Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz (the principle author), published 2001 by the Project For a New American Century".

Meanwhile....(a research lead I recently received but haven't tracked down):

".... I obtained a copy of A Higher Form of Killing by Jeremy Paxman and Robert Harris, published by Hill & Wang. On page 240, you will find an excerpt from an Army manual discussing the feasibility of manufacturing and deploying "ethnic chemical weapons" - designed to kill people from specific ethnic groups.. ....On page 241 you will find an extract from a 1969 Senate appropriations hearing, with testimony (speaker unidentified) regarding the development of a new class of biological weapons (note the plural) which would be "refractory" to the human immunological system.
Whose testimony was this? Was he asking for money to build a few of these diseases? What senators heard this testimony? Are they still in office? Did they appropriate any funds? If so, who got them? What did they eventually spend them on? The book doesn't say, but presumably some answers might be found in The Congressional Record. "

I did start following the paper trail in the early 90s, and I remember tracing the name of one of the people involved in that appropriation to Reagan's Administration. I have the info buried somewhere in my files..."


"US weapons secrets exposed

Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday October 29, 2002
The Guardian

Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned yesterday that the US is developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare."

This page has a whole timeline/laundry list of allegations.
posted by troutfishing at 7:22 AM on January 23, 2003

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