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Wikileaks Julian Assange investigative journalist NWO arrest
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JOHN PILGER: Assange Arrest a Warning from History
April 12, 2019 • 18 Comments
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/12/assange-arrest-a-warning-from-hi story/

Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight, says John Pilger. Dissent has become an indulgence. And the British elite has abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

By John Pilger

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.


Moreno: A Latin American Judas.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?


Even the propagandist Harding could be at risk.

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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TonyGosling
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange Arrested for Exposing U.S. War Crimes – Paul Jay
https://therealnews.com/stories/assange-arrested-for-exposing-u-s-war- crimes-paul-jay
What Was Julian Assange's Crime? He Embarrassed Everyone In Power, Humiliated Hillary Clinton
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/04/11/tucker_carlson_what _was_julian_assanges_crime_he_embarrassed_everyone_in_power_humiliated _hillary_clinton.html

JOHN PILGER: Assange Arrest a Warning from History
April 12, 2019 • 18 Comments
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/12/assange-arrest-a-warning-from-hi story/

Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight, says John Pilger. Dissent has become an indulgence. And the British elite has abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

By John Pilger

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.


Moreno: A Latin American Judas.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?


Even the propagandist Harding could be at risk.

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
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Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2581
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First Media Rendition
https://www.unz.com/article/after-7-years-of-deceptions-about-assange- the-us-readies-for-its-first-media-rendition/

For seven years, from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and “experts” telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a “mainstream” voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks – a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

edit: Henry Nicholls/Reuters/New York Times
Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books – to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

The political and media class crafted a narrative of half-truths about the sex charges Assange was under investigation for in Sweden. They overlooked the fact that Assange had been allowed to leave Sweden by the original investigator, who dropped the charges, only for them to be revived by another investigator with a well-documented political agenda.

They failed to mention that Assange was always willing to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, as had occurred in dozens of other cases involving extradition proceedings to Sweden. It was almost as if Swedish officials did not want to test the evidence they claimed to have in their possession.

The media and political courtiers endlessly emphasised Assange’s bail violation in the UK, ignoring the fact that asylum seekers fleeing legal and political persecution don’t usually honour bail conditions imposed by the very state authorities from which they are seeking asylum.

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks’ concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

They belittled the 2016 verdict of a panel of United Nations legal scholars that the UK was “arbitrarily detaining” Assange. The media were more interested in the welfare of his cat.

They ignored the fact that after Ecuador changed presidents – with the new one keen to win favour with Washington – Assange was placed under more and more severe forms of solitary confinement. He was denied access to visitors and basic means of communications, violating both his asylum status and his human rights, and threatening his mental and physical wellbeing.

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.

They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.

It was a freedom of information request by an ally of Assange, not a media outlet, that unearthed documents showing that Swedish investigators had, in fact, wanted to drop the case against Assange back in 2013. The UK, however, insisted that they carry on with the charade so that Assange could remain locked up. A British official emailed the Swedes: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”

Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.

Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us – apparently in all seriousness – that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.

And possibly most egregiously of all, most of the media refused to acknowledge that Assange was a journalist and publisher, even though by failing to do so they exposed themselves to the future use of the same draconian sanctions should they or their publications ever need to be silenced. They signed off on the right of the US authorities to seize any foreign journalist, anywhere in the world, and lock him or her out of sight. They opened the door to a new, special form of rendition for journalists.

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador – invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange’s asylum status – to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.

No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks’ earliest work exposing the US military’s war crimes in Iraq – the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom – the right to publish – being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange’s defence?

It’s not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive – even gently mocking – reporting of Assange’s fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn’t care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today’s kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don’t care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don’t want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange’s rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2581
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UK Labour leads “rape” smears against Julian Assange demanding Swedish extradition
By Laura Tiernan 15 April 2019
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/15/ukas-a15.html

Britain’s Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is spearheading a political witch-hunt, smearing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as a “rapist” who must be extradited to Sweden. This filthy campaign has been abetted over the weekend by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
More than 100 MPs have signed a cross-party letter to Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, demanding they “champion action that will ensure that Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden,” where politically-manufactured rape and sexual molestation allegations were made in 2010.
Blairite MPs Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips initiated the letter on Friday. Most signatories are fellow Blairites, but other signatories include Independent Group MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Anna Soubry; Tory, Liberal-Democrat and Scottish National Party MPs; and several Labour peers.
“At present,” this right-wing cabal complains, “media attention has been on the decision made by the US authorities to seek extradition.” “We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated,” they demand.
This is the Blairites’ answer to global public outrage over Assange’s brutal seizure from the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday.
UK police arrested Assange after Ecuador illegally terminated his political asylum, leaving him facing computer crime charges issued by US law enforcement agencies. The charges criminalise core journalistic activities around the protection of sources and are a legal trigger to effect Assange’s extradition to the US where he will face additional charges under the 1917 Espionage Act.
A coordinated state campaign is now underway to shift the political narrative, smearing Assange and diverting public attention from the grave threat to democratic rights posed by US extradition proceedings. This is the purpose served by the bogus Swedish “rape” allegations. Assange’s onward extradition to the US can be fast-tracked under Temporary Surrender treaty arrangements in place between Sweden and the US. On Thursday, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, told Reuters she is reviewing the case against Assange.
The Swedish playbook has been made clear. On Saturday, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 4 she was “disgusted” US extradition proceedings had been allowed to “eclipse” sexual assault allegations made by the two Swedish women against Assange.
“I think that what should happen is that he should be extradited to Sweden and then the Americans can make a further application to have him extradited from Sweden,” she suggested.
Gender politics is being deployed for nakedly pro-imperialist objectives. On Saturday, the Guardian’s front page headline insisted, “Give priority to Assange rape victim, Javid urged” with a prominent news article headlined, “Failure to extradite Assange to Sweden would endorse ‘rape culture’, say women’s groups.”
Editorials in Saturday’s Guardian and Sunday’s Observer called for Assange’s extradition to Sweden, with the Observer combining vindictiveness and slander in equal measure: “It’s not difficult to despise Julian Assange. For seven years, he has attempted to evade rape and sexual assault charges in Sweden by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London… His excuse for refusing to face trial in Sweden—that he would then face extradition to the US—has always been hogwash.”

In fact, the warnings by Assange and his legal team over US extradition—long denounced as “conspiracy theories”—stand confirmed. Ecuador granted political asylum to Assange in 2012 because of his “well-founded” fears of persecution by the US, British and Australian governments, after revelations of a secret Grand Jury investigation into the WikiLeaks publisher. In relation to the “rape” allegations, Assange offered to travel to Sweden if authorities would guarantee against onward US extradition. He invited Swedish prosecutors to the Ecuadorian embassy so he could clear his name, but such offers were refused.
Swedish prosecutors dropped preliminary investigations into “rape” and “molestation” allegations as early as August 2010, concluding that “no crime at all” had been committed. The investigation was only revived for political reasons. “[I]t was the police who made up the charges” wrote one of the women in a text message. Assange’s accusers admitted they had consensual sex with him, boasting of it afterwards to friends. Anna Ardin, who arranged Assange’s “safe houses” in Sweden—one of which was her apartment—was employed by leading Social-Democratic Party politicians. It was Ardin who introduced Assange to her co-accuser, Sofia Wilen. Assange’s visit to Sweden took place amid mounting US intrigue following publication of the Iraq and Afghan war leaks.
Labour is playing the central role in isolating Assange. When Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May announced his arrest to cheers from Tory and Labour MPs on Thursday, Corbyn was silent. Later, when Sajid Javid made a formal statement on the arrest and charges, he exited the chamber, leaving Abbott to speak on his party’s behalf. “It is whistleblowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration,” she said.
Abbott’s speech was welcomed by WikiLeaks supporters, but a tweet later that day made clear the duplicitous character of her support: “Assange skipping bail in UK, or any rape charge that may be brought by Swedish authorities shouldn’t be ignored,” she wrote. Abbott’s speech in parliament had been carefully worded, making clear that any US extradition request was “now in the hands of the British law courts” and registering Labour’s “utmost confidence in the British legal system.” She made no undertaking that a future Labour government would block Assange’s extradition to the US.
Nonetheless, her statement met furious opposition, with Labour MP Diana Johnson telling parliament, “I am concerned that a man suspected of rape, which is what in this case actually happened, was able to do what he did for several years to escape justice.” (emphasis added)
Within hours, leading Blairites, including Phillips, Creasy and Stephen Kinnock, had begun their counter-attack, with the cross-party letter on Friday, and a full media pile-on with Kinnock and other war-mongers denouncing Assange.
Then came Corbyn’s ITV news interview on Saturday, in which he declared that Assange’s possible extradition to the US was “a matter for the courts in Britain,” before noting that a “case from Sweden which was dropped in 2017… is now possibly going to be reinstated. If it is reinstated, then obviously he must answer those questions and those demands about the accusations made against him by people in Sweden. There can be no hiding place from those kind of accusations.” (emphasis added)
On Sunday morning Julian Assange’s mother, Christine, responded by tweeting, “Weasel words from #Corbyn! NO to UK/US extradition but YES to recycled UK/SWEDEN extradition! He knows full well Swedish (no charge!) ‘case’ was a political fit-up! Sweden/UK Bilateral Treaty allows fast track rendition to US under Temporary Surrender!”
Corbyn knows perfectly well that the Swedish allegations and extradition proceedings were only ever a step toward US extradition. In July 2015, just months before he became party leader, he explained to the New Statesman that Assange had “taken himself into the embassy because he felt that, had he been taken back to Sweden, he would be taken forcibly to the US.” He knows that Assange has been targeted for courageously exposing war crimes and state conspiracies against the public, but refuses to challenge the Blairites on anything, instead echoing their threats against Assange.
Political conclusions must be drawn. Had Corbyn issued a call this week for mass demonstrations in defence of Assange, tens of thousands would have been mobilised and the Blairites and their supporters would have been exposed as an isolated cabal. It is not primarily the Blairites that Corbyn fears. His overriding concern is to prevent the independent intervention of the working class. It is to this social force that all defenders of Julian Assange and democratic rights must urgently turn.


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_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EXCLUSIVE: Julian Assange put through 'hell' at embassy, says former diplomat
Fidel Narvaez says Assange was "100% respectful" but claims he suffered from a government plot to force him out.
https://news.sky.com/story/julian-assange-put-through-hell-at-embassy- says-former-diplomat-11698113

By Lisa Holland, senior correspondent
Saturday 20 April 2019 09:43, UK

'Julian had a respectful relationship'

Julian Assange was always respectful but went through "hell" in the Ecuadorian embassy as officials tried to "break him down", according to a former senior diplomat.

Fidel Narvaez worked at the London embassy for six of the seven years the WikiLeaks figurehead lived there and says they became friends.

Assange was evicted a few weeks ago after a change of government in Ecuador.

Assange: What happens next after embassy arrest?
Assange: What happens next after embassy arrest?
The WikiLeaks founder is facing potential extradition from the UK
Its new president, Lenin Moreno, publicly criticised the whistleblower and gave the impression the government ended his stay after growing tired of his alleged bad behaviour.

Speaking to Sky News, Fidel Narvaez disputed claims that Assange had assaulted guards, didn't clean up after himself, didn't take care of his pet cat and even smeared human excrement on the walls of the embassy.


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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van
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Julian Assange faces an uncertain future and may be extradited to Sweden or the US
He said: "Julian had a respectful relationship with staff, diplomats and administrative staff. I don't recall a single incident when he disrespected someone until I left in July 2018.

"He was 100% respectful. Clean and tidy? What is clean and tidy? Did he put the dishes in the dishwasher? Probably not at weekends. Is that a crime?"

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Mr Narvaez says Assange was well behaved
Image:
Mr Narvaez says Assange was always well behaved
Mr Narvaez worked at the embassy in Knightsbridge in central London between 2010 and 2018 as consul and first secretary.

Assange went into the embassy in June 2012 and did not leave until he was carted away by British police a few weeks ago with the agreement of the authorities in Ecuador.

Mr Narvaez said: "The last year was hell for Julian in that embassy.

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Assange skateboards in Ecuadorean embassy
"I was there the first months of the last year and I witnessed when Julian was told that he would no longer be allowed to have internet or access to the phone and wouldn't be able to have visitors.

"The strategy was very clear - break him down. The government didn't know how to end the asylum and face the catastrophic historical shame for doing that."

Mr Narvaez shared some of the photographs he had taken inside the embassy when he worked there, including the small kitchen area that Assange shared.

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'UK resist!': Assange shouts during arrest
The embassy is comprised of a small set of rooms and Assange had his own bedroom and also access to a shared office and working space.

Mr Narvaez said Assange did not go to Sweden to face a rape inquiry because he feared being arrested and extradited to the United States by Britain or Sweden for exposing US government secrets via his WikiLeaks organisation.

He has denied the allegations made in Sweden.

Assange had access to a small shared kitchen
Image:
The small shared kitchen that Assange used
Mr Narvaez said: "I consider him my friend. He's provided a big service to all of us.

"It doesn't matter if we like him or not. It doesn't matter if he puts the dishes in the dishwasher or looks after the cat well. I stand by Julian. I believe him."

"Why you can trust Sky News" - we're not liars - really

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian Assange Tortured with Psychotropic Drug?
By Kurt Nimmo
Global Research, May 08, 2019
https://www.globalresearch.ca/julian-assange-tortured-psychotropic-dru g/5676921

Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh.

The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:

Interviewing is the wrong word. I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome. Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ.

BZ is a powerful drug that produces hallucinations.

“Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror,” the New Yorker reported. “…The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished.”

Assange is being chemically lobotomized prior to being extradited to the United States to stand trial on bogus computer hacking charges that—and the corporate media won’t tell you this—passed the statute of limitations three years ago (see 18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States).

Forget about the statute of limitations. The US government has long violated both domestic and international law. It is a rogue nation led by an ignorant clown who opened the back door and ushered in neocon psychopaths notorious for killing millions. In normal times, these criminals would be in the dock at The Hague standing trial for crimes against humanity. But we don’t live in normal times.

The message is clear: if you expose the massive criminal enterprise at the heart of the US government, you will be renditioned, chemically tortured (a favorite of Chemical Gina, now CIA director), chewed up and spit out until you’re a babbling mental case like David Shayler (who believes he is the Second Coming of Christ). Shayler, a former MI5 agent, made the mistake of exposing the UK’s support of terror operations in Libya. Shayler spent three weeks at Belmarsh after a conviction for breaching the Official Secrets Act. He emerged from prison broken and delusional.

I seriously doubt most Americans care about the chemical torture of Julian Assange. On social media, liberals and so-called progressives, along with their “conservative” counterparts, celebrate Assange’s arrest, confinement, and torture. Members of Congress have called for his execution, while one media talking head (teleprompter script reader) demanded the CIA send a hit team to London and assassinate Assange.

Americans are similar to the propagandized and brainwashed citizens of Nazi Germany. Most went along with Hitler right up until the end when their cities lay in smoldering ruins and their once proud country was carved up, half of it given over to the communists. They set up the Stasi to deal with East Germans who were not following the totalitarian program.

_________________
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www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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outsider
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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Joined: 30 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Another whistleblower bites the dust':
https://www.mintpressnews.com/daniel-hale-another-whistleblower-bites- the-dust-as-the-intercept-adds-a-third-notch-to-its-burn-belt/258386/
Inetrcept owned by a USG cooperator:
'Billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s double dealing':
https://www.voltairenet.org/article182455.html
End of the line for the 'Intercept', if people have any sense.
I believe they have now 'sabotaged' most of Snowden's unpublished leaks.
(I've put a new link in as Nexus didn't go to the article).

_________________
'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UN Rapporteur questions Assange judge’s role as more conflict of interest evidence emerges
Justice
https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/06/26/un-rapporteur-question s-assange-judges-role-as-more-conflict-of-interest-evidence-emerges/

A search of WikiLeaks suggests one of the judges overseeing Julian Assange‘s pre-extradition hearings may be compromised via family and business links to the UK intelligence and defence establishment. An earlier article in The Canary highlighted some of those links.

Now Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has also raised this “conflict of interest” issue:



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It now seems that further evidence from WikiLeaks may add to these concerns. Although the judge – Lady Emma Arbuthnot – acts independently, there are family links, past and present, to people and organisations diametrically opposed to the publishing work of WikiLeaks. For example, some files show family business and intelligence connections with a secret meeting with Israeli intelligence (Mossad); a meeting about the UK’s nuclear deterrent; and UK defence spending for the Afghan conflict.

Direct family links
The Canary reported that Baron James Arbuthnot, the husband of the judge – Lady Emma Arbuthnot – is a member of the advisory board of the prestigious Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI).

He’s also chair of the advisory board of the UK division of multinational defence and security systems manufacturer, Thales.

Prior to his elevation to the House of Lords in October 2015, Arbuthnot was a Tory MP for 28 years. He was also chair of the Defence Select Committee between 2005 and 2014.

The company you keep
Lord Arbuthnot is listed as a senior consultant to SC Security. Until 2017, he was also a director. His co-directors were Lord Alex Carlile and former MI6 head Sir John Scarlett, both of whom remain active in the company.

In October 2013, Carlile argued that the publication of whistleblower Edward Snowden‘s revelations about mass surveillance “amounted to a criminal act”. Carlile also oversaw UK anti-terrorism laws and supported the introduction of the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.

Scarlett was on a panel of experts that oversaw a report, arguing that the security and intelligence agencies should retain powers to “collect bulk communications data”, as warned of by Edward Snowden. And as chair of the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), he was responsible for the compilation of the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Saddam Hussein’s WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). This dossier provided an excuse for the US and its allies to invade Iraq.

Now more evidence emerges
WikiLeaks’ work has included exposing war crimes committed during the Iraq War. It also provided assistance to Snowden when trying to escape US authorities.

But a detailed search of the WikiLeaks databases also reveals numerous files relating to Thales, RUSI, Scarlett, Carlile and to Lord Arbuthnot himself:

WikiLeaks revealed a total of 1,980 files about Thales, mostly from the Global Intelligence files (GIF) hacked from Stratfor.
On RUSI, it revealed 478 files, with one 2009 classified US cable revealing MoD plans to increase spending for the Afghan conflict.
It revealed around 30 files about John Scarlett, including a secret US cable on a 2006 meeting with a Mossad chief on Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
On Lord Carlile, it revealed 22 files, including a restricted US Congress report on terrorism.
A WikiLeaks search on James Arbuthnot reveals 62 files (mostly covering the Afghan conflict). One file that mentions him is a US secret cable on a meeting of “experts”, chaired by Arbuthnot, on the renewal of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent.

Conflict of interest
Lady Arbuthnot is presiding over the initial extradition proceedings of Assange. These included an application by Assange to cancel his arrest warrant in February 2018. That application was denied and she followed up with a detailed explanation of her decision.

The Canary contacted Lady Arbuthnot and Lord Arbuthnot for comment. At the time of publication, there was no response.

In April 2019, Liam Walker, a lawyer working with Assange’s legal team, raised the matter of Lady Arbuthnot’s apparent conflict of interest in a court hearing presided by Judge Michael Snow. Referring to an earlier hearing, presided over by Lady Arbuthnot, Walker told the judge his client had been:

subjected to a tribunal that was clearly conflicted in its ability to judge Mr Assange impartially.

In an extensive interview with US journalist Chris Hedges, Melzer referred to that conflict of interest and to a “file” lodged with the court that provided the details:



But despite Walker’s objection to the court, Lady Arbuthnot continued to rule on Assange matters.

As The Canary also emphasised, hundreds of citizens face similar class bias via the justice system every single day. Likewise, thanks to cut-backs, the prison conditions they experience, including lack of legal aid and poor access to lawyers and documents, are the norm.

Arguably, no legal case should be allowed to continue where the potential for bias by the overseeing judge or magistrate has been identified. And in this particular case, the evidence of a conflict of interest seems to be mounting.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How Julian Assange and WikiLeaks Became Targets of the U.S. Government
By LIAM STACK, NICK CUMMING-BRUCE and MADELEINE KRUHLY APRIL 11, 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/julian-assange-wikileak s.html

Julian Assange gave a speech from a balcony at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012. Credit Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has long been targeted by the United States for his role in releasing secret government documents.

Now he is just one flight away from being in American custody after years of seclusion in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. A newly unsealed indictment showed that American prosecutors charged him with conspiring to hack a government computer.

Some quick background: Mr. Assange shot to international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks published secret material about American military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as confidential cables sent among diplomats. In 2012, he took refuge at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced questions about sexual assault allegations.

More recently, Mr. Assange has been under attack for his organization's release during the 2016 presidential campaign of thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, leading to revelations that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

American investigators have linked those disclosures to efforts by Donald Trump's campaign to damage Ms. Clinton, but Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling, did not file any charges against Mr. Assange.

Here's a fuller timeline of how Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks got to this point.

APRIL - NOVEMBER 2010
WikiLeaks Publishes Classified American Documents
WikiLeaks burst onto the scene in 2010 when it published secret material about American military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of several months. In April it released a graphic decrypted video from Iraq. In July, it published a six-year archive of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan. The group released a second cache of secret reports, this time about the Iraq war, in October. The next month it published a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables that offered a look at back-room bargaining.

Since then, Wikileaks appears to have gradually shifted its focus to releasing material that benefits Russia, to the consternation of many of its former allies and defenders. Mr. Assange was a persistent problem for the Obama administration, releasing embarrassing documents from the United States and other countries. Meanwhile, President Trump during his campaign repeatedly expressed glee over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, even after American officials said the emails had been given to WikiLeaks by hackers working for Russian intelligence.

SUMMER 2010
U.S. Investigates WikiLeaks
Army investigators suspected that the source of the leaks was Chelsea Manning, who was then serving as an enlisted soldier. Private Manning was court-martialed in June 2010, and in August 2013 she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing information to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence at the end of his second term, and she was released in May 2017.

Photo

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after being released on bail by the High Court in London in December 2010. Credit Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2010
A Rape Investigation and Extradition Request From Sweden
Mr. Assange was investigated in August and September 2010 on charges of rape and molestation after separate complaints from two women. Sweden issued an extradition warrant for him in November that said Mr. Assange was wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” He said he was afraid that Sweden would turn him over to the United States, where WikiLeaks has been under investigation, and he vowed to fight the extradition request.

NOVEMBER 2011 - JUNE 2012
Assange Goes to Court
A British court ruled in November 2011 that Mr. Assange could be extradited to Sweden. His lawyers challenged that decision, having argued at a February 2011 hearing that he would not receive a fair trial if extradited to Sweden. He lost his final appeal before Britain’s Supreme Court in June 2012.

Photo

Outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Credit Will Oliver/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
AUGUST 2012
Ecuador Grants Assange Asylum
Ecuador rejected pressure from Britain and granted Mr. Assange political asylum in August 2012. He had already spent two months living in the country’s embassy in London. The decision left Mr. Assange confined to the embassy: Ecuador could protect him as long as he remained on Ecuadorean territory, but if he left the embassy he was subject to arrest by the British police.

JANUARY 2016
U.N. Panel Rules in His Favor
A United Nations rights panel said in January 2016 that Britain and Sweden had arbitrarily detained Mr. Assange, should restore his freedom of movement and should compensate him. The panel said that Swedish prosecutors had not pressed charges and had never shown Mr. Assange evidence against him or given him a chance to respond. The ruling was disregarded by both countries, and Mr. Assange remained in the embassy.

​NOVEMBER 2016
He Is Questioned at the Embassy
Swedish prosecutors, with Ecuador’s help, questioned Mr. Assange for four hours at the embassy in London. His Swedish lawyer, Per E. Samuelson, was not summoned to attend, and on Radio Sweden, he questioned the validity of the interview.

​APRIL 2017
A New Ecuadorean President
Lenín Moreno is elected president of Ecuador, succeeding Rafael Correa, a leftist who had been in power for a decade. During the campaign, several candidates had vowed to evict Mr. Assange from the embassy if they won. Mr. Moreno said he would let Mr. Assange stay, but has been significantly more critical than his predecessor, calling Mr. Assange a hacker and warning him not to meddle in politics.

MAY 2017
Sweden Drops Rape Investigation
Swedish prosecutors said they would stop the rape investigation into Mr. Assange. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, made clear that this did not mean he was being pronounced innocent: “I can conclude, based on the evidence, that probable cause for this crime still exists,” she said. Ms. Ny said that proceeding with the case would require Mr. Assange to be served notice of the charges against him and for him to be present in a Swedish court, both of which were impossible.

In Britain, he still faces a warrant for failing to appear in court, and the Metropolitan Police in London have said that they would arrest him if he were to try to leave the embassy. The Justice Department in Washington has also said it is reconsidering whether to charge Mr. Assange for his role in the disclosure of highly classified information.

JANUARY 2018
Ecuador Grants Citizenship
In early 2018, Ecuador announced that it had made several moves to end the long diplomatic standoff, including granting Mr. Assange citizenship in December, a few months after he asked for it.

Days later, Ecuador asked Britain to give Mr. Assange diplomatic immunity so he could leave the embassy, but Britain declined. Still, the Ecuadorean government pushed on, saying it would seek a mediator to help broker a potential deal that would free him to leave the building.

FEBRUARY 2018
His Warrant Is Upheld in the U.K.
A British judge twice upheld the outstanding arrest warrant against Mr. Assange for jumping bail when he took refuge in the embassy in 2012. It was not clear that a ruling in his favor would have led to his going free, because the United States and Britain have never said whether there is a secret request to extradite him to face charges in an American court.

NOVEMBER 2018
Indictment Is Mistakenly Revealed
A court filing revealed that the Justice Department had prepared an indictment against Mr. Assange, although it was not clear whether charges had been filed against him. The existence of the indictment became known only after prosecutors inadvertently mentioned possible charges against him in an unrelated case. Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University who closely tracks court cases, discovered the document and posted it on Twitter.

APRIL 2019
Assange Is Arrested as U.S. Charge Is Revealed
The United States charged Mr. Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to his role in the 2010 release of secret American documents, according to a newly unsealed indictment.

Hours before the indictment was unsealed, Mr. Assange had been arrested by the British authorities at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012.

The single charge stemmed from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. Significantly, it was not an espionage charge, a detail that press freedom advocates had watched closely.

MAY 2019
Sweden Reopens a Rape Case
Prosecutors in Sweden said they would reopen an investigation into a rape accusation against Mr. Assange, a move that threatened to complicate American efforts to extradite him on the computer-hacking charge.

The Swedish investigation began in 2010, but the authorities dropped their initial investigation in May 2017, having concluded that there was no way to proceed with the case as long as Mr. Assange was holed up in the embassy.

Prosecutors made clear at the time that they had not cleared him and they reserved the right to reopen their inquiry. Should Mr. Assange be extradited to Sweden, the Americans would need the approval of both the Swedish and British governments in order to take him into custody.

Mr. Assange could be returned to Sweden under a European arrest warrant, though Britain will ultimately decide which case takes precedence.

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TonyGosling
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ. What BZ does, from the New Yorker:
www.off-guardian.org/2019/05/10/chemical-torture-of-julian-assange/

A Reporter at Large
December 17, 2012 Issue
Operation Delirium
Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets.
By Raffi KhatchadourianDecember 9, 2012
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/17/operation-delirium

At an Army research facility, a soldier given a powerful mind-altering drug said, “I feel like my life is not worth a nickel here.”Photographs by Stills from “The Longest Weekend” / US Army Chemical Research & Development Laboratories / Courtesy James Ketchum
Colonel James S. Ketchum dreamed of war without killing. He joined the Army in 1956 and left it in 1976, and in that time he did not fight in Vietnam; he did not invade the Bay of Pigs; he did not guard Western Europe with tanks, or help build nuclear launch sites beneath the Arctic ice. Instead, he became the military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind—causing, in the words of one ranking officer, a “selective malfunctioning of the human machine.” For nearly a decade, Ketchum, a psychiatrist, went about his work in the belief that chemicals are more humane instruments of warfare than bullets and shrapnel—or, at least, he told himself such things. To achieve his dream, he worked tirelessly at a secluded Army research facility, testing chemical weapons on hundreds of healthy soldiers, and thinking all along that he was doing good.

Today, Ketchum is eighty-one years old, and the facility where he worked, Edgewood Arsenal, is a crumbling assemblage of buildings attached to a military proving ground on the Chesapeake Bay. The arsenal’s records are boxed and dusting over in the National Archives. Military doctors who helped conduct the experiments have long since moved on, or passed away, and the soldiers who served as their test subjects—in all, nearly five thousand of them—are scattered throughout the country, if they are still alive. Within the Army, and in the world of medical research, the secret clinical trials are a faint memory. But for some of the surviving test subjects, and for the doctors who tested them, what happened at Edgewood remains deeply unresolved. Were the human experiments there a Dachau-like horror, or were they sound and necessary science? As veterans of the tests have come forward, their unanswered questions have slowly gathered into a kind of historical undertow, and Ketchum, more than anyone else, has been caught in its pull. In 2006, he self-published a memoir, “Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten,” which defended the research. Next year, a class-action lawsuit brought against the federal government by former test subjects will go to trial, and Ketchum is expected to be the star witness.

The lawsuit’s argument is in line with broader criticisms of Edgewood: that, whether out of military urgency or scientific dabbling, the Army recklessly endangered the lives of its soldiers—naïve men, mostly, who were deceived or pressured into submitting to the risky experiments. The drugs under review ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents, like VX, a substance developed at Edgewood and, later, sought by Saddam Hussein. Ketchum’s specialty was a family of molecules that block a key neurotransmitter, causing delirium. The drugs were known mainly by Army codes, with their true formulas classified. The soldiers were never told what they were given, or what the specific effects might be, and the Army made no effort to track how they did afterward. Edgewood’s most extreme critics raise the spectre of mass injury—a hidden American tragedy.

Ketchum, an unreconstructed advocate of chemical warfare, believes that people who fear gaseous weapons more than guns and mortars are irrational. He cites approvingly the Russian government’s decision, in 2002, to flood a theatre in Moscow with a potent incapacitating drug when Chechen guerrillas seized the building and took eight hundred theatregoers hostage. The gas debilitated the hostage takers, allowing special forces to sweep in and kill them. But many innocent people died, too. “It’s been looked at by some skeptics as a kind of tragedy,” Ketchum has said. “They say, ‘Look, a hundred and thirty people died.’ Well, I think that a hundred and thirty is better than eight hundred, and it’s also better, as a secondary consideration, not to have to blow up a beautiful theatre.”

Not long ago, while debating critics of Edgewood on a talk-radio show, Ketchum argued that the tests were a sensible response to the threats of the Cold War: “We were in a very tense confrontation with the Soviet Union, and there was information that was sometimes accurate, sometimes inaccurate, that they were procuring large amounts of LSD, possibly for use in a military situation.” The experiments, he has said, were no more problematic in their conduct than civilian drug testing at the time.

But Ketchum is an unpredictable apologist. His default temperament is that of an unbiased scientist, trying to solve a stubborn anomaly that just happens to be his life’s work. He accepts criticism of Edgewood thoughtfully and admits the possibility that he is seeing the experiments through a prism of benign forgetfulness. At the same time, as Edgewood’s sole public defender, he must relive history under an unforgiving spotlight. Ketchum often hears from aging test subjects looking for information about what the Army did to them. “I need to know everything that happened to me because it could give me some peace and fewer nightmares,” one veteran wrote to him. In such cases, Ketchum responds with a mixture of defensiveness and empathy. “Well, Mike,” he wrote to another veteran, “I guess some people find it satisfying to look back and condemn what doctors and others did half a century ago, especially if it lends itself to sensationalized movies, and entitles them to disability pensions.” Many of his Edgewood colleagues are far less sanguine about what they did; one told me, “I want to see something happen so this doesn’t happen again.” But Ketchum often wins over skeptics. After many e-mails, Mike told him, “I am certain you did the work for the same reason most of us volunteered. It needed to be done.”

Now retired in northern California, Ketchum has built friendships with psychedelic pioneers, who must also wrestle with the legacy of their work: the bad trips, the personalities misshapen by drugs. In 2007, Ketchum went to Burning Man with his friend Alexander Shulgin, known for promoting the drug Ecstasy. Before they met, Shulgin thought that Ketchum’s research methods were immoral. “To bring a human subject into a psychological storm of this type without preparing him for what might happen, and at the end of his experience to release him to his own devices without having counselled him of the strengths and weaknesses of what did happen, shows a complete disregard of the value of that person,” he had said. But Ketchum evidently convinced him that he was not beyond redemption; in a foreword to Ketchum’s memoir, Shulgin wrote, “It is a pleasure to be able to contribute to this story.”


“I was working on a noble cause,” James Ketchum said of his chemical–weapons tests.Still from untitled test video / Courtesy James Ketchum
Earlier this year, I visited Ketchum in Santa Rosa, where he lives with his fifth wife, Judy Ann Ketchum, in a modest, one-story house in a quiet suburban enclave. Ketchum answered the door in a beige tracksuit. He has the trim stature of an aging athlete, and is tall enough to fill a doorframe, but he is not imposing—his temperament is too readily open, his blue eyes too gently inquisitive. Judy, a retired nurse, is a photographer and artist. In the living room, one of her projects, a platinum-blond mannequin dressed in sequins, stands next to an upright piano, which Ketchum plays. Large closeups of flowers that she has photographed are in every room. The Ketchums are a political hybrid: right-leaning but bohemian, religious but not dogmatic, conservative but open to drug use.

We retreated to a small office to talk. In person, Ketchum projects the image of a man so lost in abstraction that he is easily taken in. As we sat down, he said, “I give money to people who never give it back.” He once gave twenty thousand dollars to a German teacher who said that he was starting a charity; the man took the money and vanished: “He used it to go visit a woman, got drunk with her for four days. I never got it back.” Another swindler took his money for good works in Argentina, which never materialized. “I don’t think about that stuff,” Ketchum told me.

Rows and rows of binders belonging to his archive towered beside us. The trove—including hundreds of pages of sensitive government documents—was an armamentarium of sorts, which Ketchum had been using to inoculate the arsenal’s achievements against obscurity or ill repute, or perhaps just to stir up a little trouble. Lawyers had been arguing over the papers; the C.I.A. had been pressuring him to turn them over. He glanced at the volumes. “They contain a lot of data, with names, doses, graphs of what we did,” he said. “That is definitely something the government would not want to spread around.” When Ketchum left the arsenal, the archive left with him. “It could have been shredded,” he told me. “It could have been locked away.”

The collection seemed to be a living thing, metamorphosing over time as he organized it and re-organized it. I picked up a binder and found a description of the records as he began to save them: “The accumulating volumes stood in rows at first, and then merited their own file cabinet, and eventually, years later, exceeded the capacity of two four-drawer, legal-width, fireproof safes, the unsorted backlog being packed in boxes in the attic, the garage, and a rented storage room.” At times, Ketchum regarded the trove as a vehicle for self-study, but in pessimistic moments he has thought of Jacob Marley—Dickens’s ghost, consigned to purgatory because he had hurt people and lacked the requisite regret to make amends—and wondered if his archive “would eventually become like Marley’s chains, dragging and clanking behind him in a hideous snakelike procession.”

When the lawsuit was filed, in federal court four years ago, a lawyer from the San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster came calling. He asked Ketchum if he had saved many primary sources. Ketchum turned over the entire trove. “Be open with someone and he’ll reward you,” he told me. Later, during a fifteen-hour deposition, Ketchum answered questions freely, often over his attorney’s objections. He seemed ready to testify—ready for the authority and attention bestowed upon a star witness, ready to put to rest questions about the experiments.

Before I left, Ketchum promised to send me a full digital copy of his archive. A week or so later, a binder arrived at my office, decorated with a photograph of the two of us, which Judy had taken. Inside, Ketchum had constructed a meticulous index to the papers, and for months afterward the raw material came in waves. There were technical reports and scientific tables, lists of soldier volunteers and their test data. There were memos and letters. There were personal items, too: golf scorecards, family photographs, college essays, data on the sale of a house. “I made a list of all the jobs I had in my green notebook, which is the kind of thing I carried around,” Ketchum had told me. “I also made a list of all the drugs I’ve taken.” Tens of thousands of pages of scanned material began to fill up my hard drive. “This is me,” he seemed to be saying. “This is what I did. You be the judge.”

II
“This shall be the story of the fall of a human soul—a fall which is great,” Ketchum wrote when he was a freshman at Dartmouth, working on a play. “Daily, souls are broken. Great men—not great in accomplishment, but great potentially—are rendered forever impotent. This is the tragedy of lost aspiration, defeat, despair.” Ketchum envisioned his protagonist as a young man much like him: a bright student, full of potential, but lost in an institution that was against him, and suffering from a tragic flaw. “The fact is,” he wrote, “he is too ardent, too intense, too uncompromising in his ambitions.”

When Ketchum was eight, his ambition was “to become a scientist and help struggling humanity.” Born in Manhattan during the Depression, and brought up in Brooklyn and in Forest Hills, he was academically inclined, competitive, enthralled with tennis. His mother was a secretary, and his father, who went to college at the age of sixteen and was fluent in many languages, managed two hundred operators for the New York Telephone Company. “He was very religious,” Ketchum says. “Not in a harsh, demanding way but in a reverential sense.” Ketchum’s father was the right-hand man of Norman Vincent Peale, the pastor of Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church and the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Peale believed that suffering was largely a thing of the mind, and that faith and “right thinking” could eliminate it. “Truth always produces right procedures and therefore right results,” he wrote.

At Dartmouth, Ketchum was easily distracted. He settled on a double major, psychology and philosophy, but he was not a natural philosopher. “It is a mistake to ask unanswerable questions,” he wrote in one assignment. He became obsessed with his high-school sweetheart, an aspiring actress in New York, and impulsively persuaded her to marry him and run off to Africa or Latin America. They made it only as far as Florida before they returned to Dartmouth—where they found that the marriage voided Ketchum’s scholarship, and had to move into a repurposed barracks near campus. The following year, Ketchum changed paths again: he transferred to Columbia University and, later, enrolled in Cornell University Medical College, to study psychiatry. In New York, he and his wife, living in a rented room with no heat, decided to split up. Ketchum began taking ten milligrams of Dexedrine, first intermittently, then three times a day—a habit that he maintained for decades—and he studied in bouts, memorizing swaths of information. Still, he says, “I couldn’t get awards. They wouldn’t give me cum laude, even.”


Perennially broke, Ketchum decided to join the Army. “It was too much to resist,” he wrote in his memoir. “No longer would breakfast consist of an old pickle jar half-filled with black coffee.” In 1958, having graduated from Cornell, he took a job at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He often woke up at four-thirty in the morning to study cybernetics, and once filled half a room with a gravity-operated “computer” built from soda straws and Tinker Toys. “It produced nothing,” he later wrote, “yet it illuminated that which could not be seen—a logical process.” When the computer did not impress his mentor, he launched another project. During a Thanksgiving holiday, when Walter Reed’s laboratories were empty, he opened up a cat’s brain and embedded electrodes in it, to see if he could give the animal a new way to communicate. He left to play tennis, thinking that a veterinarian would care for the animal, and returned, a week later, to find the cat half-dead from an infection. He tried to nurse it to health in his bathtub, but it had sustained permanent brain damage.

Ketchum’s mind was whirring. He submitted articles to The New Yorker and other magazines, and sent an essay, titled “Sex in Outer Space,” to Playboy. He began to bring a manual typewriter into sessions with patients, typing up every word they said in a maelstrom of clicks and clacks. He showed his notes to a superior, David McKenzie Rioch, the chief of neuropsychiatry at the institute, who suggested that he be more discriminating. But Ketchum was fascinated less by the patients than by the process. Ultimately, he wanted to conduct research, and so in 1960, when Rioch pulled him aside and said, “There is a situation at a place called Edgewood Arsenal,” he listened intently.

Edgewood had been built in a fit of urgency during the First World War, when weaponized gas—chlorine and, later, mustard—was used to devastating effect in the trenches of Europe. Fritz Haber, the German scientist who pioneered the rise of chemical weapons, proclaimed, “In no future war will the military be able to ignore poison gas. It is a higher form of killing.” The U.S. Army took the threat seriously, and launched a program to study the chemicals, building laboratories and gas chambers in order to test human subjects. “We began to hear about the terrors of this place,” a private wrote in 1918. “Everyone we talked to on the way out here said we were coming to the place God forgot! They tell tales about men being gassed and burned.”

After the Second World War, intelligence reports emerged from Germany of chemical weapons far deadlier than mustard or chlorine. The new compounds, which had evolved out of research into insecticides, were called nerve gases, because they created a body-wide overflow of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, often triggering organ failure and near-sudden death. The Reich had invested primarily in three—tabun, soman, and sarin—and the victorious powers rushed to obtain them. The Soviet Union secretly dismantled an entire nerve-gas plant and relocated the technology behind the Iron Curtain. The American government, for its part, acquired the Nazi chemical formulas—and, in some cases, the scientists who developed them—and brought them to Edgewood.

The Army decided to pursue sarin. The chemical was about twenty-five times as deadly as cyanide, and readily made into an aerosol. It was virtually impossible to handle without casualties; in one year, seven technicians required immediate treatment following accidental exposure. As the vapor was released after tests, birds passing over the flue of the gas chambers fell dead, and had to be cleared off the roof. In experiments that the arsenal contracted at Johns Hopkins University, researchers gave sarin to healthy volunteers in cups of water over three days. Some of the subjects were severely poisoned; they twitched, vomited, and had trouble breathing.

Early nerve-gas experiments focussed on the extreme lethality of the chemicals, and on antidotes, but researchers at Edgewood also began to take note of the chemicals’ cognitive side effects. Subjects often felt giddy at first, then deeply anxious. Some had nightmares or lost sleep and became depressed. A secret 1948 study on the poisoned Edgewood technicians noted that “the outstanding feature of these cases appears to be the psychological reactions,” and its author wondered how “young men having no experience or knowledge” of the chemicals would react. A senior official at the arsenal had observed that men exposed to highly diluted tabun “were partially disabled for from one to three weeks with fatigue, lassitude, complete loss of initiative and interest, and apathy.”

I spoke to a former Edgewood test subject who was given the nerve agent VX, which, when applied to the skin, is a hundred times as deadly as sarin. An officer came to his bedside to draw a small circle on his arm, and then a doctor with a syringe squirted on a drop of liquid. The effect was rapid. The subject heard other people groaning—one man said, “Oh, *”—but he felt only a calm disassociation from his environment. There was a radio on in the room, but the words made little sense. When he was given food, he didn’t know what to do with his utensils. “I was not in control,” he told me. “It was incredible. This tiny drop had rendered me helpless.” As the test continued, he was seized by an agonizing wave of tension, as if each nerve ending were being crushed in a vise. “It was intense,” he told me. “My body was clenched. All of my nerves were tight, physically and mentally.”

In 1949, L. Wilson Greene, Edgewood’s scientific director, typed up a classified report, “Psychochemical Warfare: A New Concept of War,” that called for a search for compounds that would create the same debilitating mental side effects as nerve gas, but without the lethality. “Throughout recorded history, wars have been characterized by death, human misery, and the destruction of property; each major conflict being more catastrophic than the one preceding it,” Greene argued. “I am convinced that it is possible, by means of the techniques of psychochemical warfare, to conquer an enemy without the wholesale killing of his people or the mass destruction of his property.”

In its broad strokes, “Psychochemical Warfare” fit within the evolving ethos at Edgewood: better fighting through chemistry. The first commanding general of the Army’s Chemical Warfare Service had extolled the “effectiveness and humaneness” of gases: they killed quickly, and kept infrastructure intact. Psychochemical warfare certainly promised a form of conflict less deadly than clouds of sarin—even more humane, in that sense, perhaps. But Greene did not want to elevate consciousness; he wanted to debilitate, in ways that would inspire terror. As he put it, “The symptoms which are considered to be of value in strategic and tactical operations include the following: fits or seizures, dizziness, fear, panic, hysteria, hallucinations, migraine, delirium, extreme depression, notions of hopelessness, lack of initiative to do even simple things, suicidal mania.”

Greene drew up a list of chemicals to investigate, ranging from barbiturates to carbon monoxide, and he urged a deeper inquiry into the psychological effects of nerve gas. Enoch Callaway, a Navy psychiatrist who arrived at Edgewood in 1950, recalled, “I was told that I needed to measure ‘nervousness,’ because nerve gas was supposed to make you nervous.” So he designed a test: people given sarin were blasted with noise to measure how much they jumped. “We figured out that nerve gas actually reduced anxiety in doses that did not cause convulsions.” The work, he insisted, was conducted responsibly, with a sense of urgency now hard to understand: “We didn’t know that chemical warfare was going to disappear so thoroughly.”


“T–shirt compliments of the lady at the end of the bar.”
In the mid-nineteen-fifties, psychochemical warfare was formally added to Edgewood’s clinical research, and approval was granted to recruit soldiers from around the country for the experiments, in a systematic effort called the Medical Research Volunteer Program. The Army assured Congress that the chemicals were “perfectly safe” and offered “a new vista of controlling people without any deaths”—even though early efforts to make weapons from mescaline and LSD were dropped, because the drugs were too unsafe or too unpredictable. Congressional overseers, terrified of Soviet military superiority, were ready to lend support. The Red Army had an extensive chemical-warfare program, and evidence suggested that it had an interest in “psychic poisons,” used to trigger mental illness. “Some foreign enemy could already be subjecting us in the United States to such things,” one panicky legislator proclaimed during a hearing. “Are we the ones receiving it now? Are we the rabbits and guinea pigs?”

Edgewood began reviewing hundreds of chemicals, many provided by pharmaceutical companies. One officer remarked, “The characteristics we are looking for in these agents are in general exactly opposite to what the pharmaceutical firms want in drugs, that is the undesirable side effects.” Starting in 1959, the arsenal aggressively pursued phencyclidine—or PCP—which Parke, Davis & Company had marketed as an anesthetic but abandoned because patients were having hallucinations and delusions. Edgewood doctors tested it as an aerosol and surreptitiously gave it to soldiers to see if they could then “maintain physical security over simulated classified material.” One subject—who had been exposed to sarin gas a week earlier—was handed a glass of whiskey laced with twenty milligrams of PCP. “Manic reaction and much hostility,” a doctor observed. The subject passed out, and began breathing in a pattern associated with neurological trauma or cardiac stress.

Rioch told Ketchum that another volunteer had ended up in the hospital for six weeks. “He had a paranoid reaction that didn’t go away after the drug wore off,” Ketchum recalled. The trials with PCP were eventually dropped, but stories of other problem cases circulated. A military advisory council decided that the arsenal was ill equipped for the newer line of research. “It seems important to undertake immediately a program to develop sound, fundamental techniques of assessing abnormal behavior,” its members noted. “The services of people trained in this field, such as psychologists, psychiatrists and neuro-physiologists should be obtained.” Edgewood, in other words, needed young doctors just like Jim Ketchum.

III
In October, 1960, Ketchum drove out to the secluded arsenal, to meet with Colonel Douglas Lindsey, its chief medical officer. Lindsey, a veteran of the Korean War and a storied Army surgeon, was an athletic, small-framed man, with dash-mark lips. He was known for his affectations, including a pink convertible—which he drove with the top down, rain or shine—and a silver-tipped swagger stick made of a human fibula. A master parachutist, he sometimes jumped out a second-floor window after lunch.

“Captain Ketchum, I presume,” Lindsey said. “You must be the psychiatrist we’ve all been waiting for.” Right away, Ketchum noticed that the arsenal was a different kind of military outfit. “He led me across the parking lot to some wooden barracks, where World War II Chemical Corps soldiers had once resided,” Ketchum wrote in his memoir. “It wasn’t very impressive-looking—several cantonment style claptrap wooden buildings joined together by one long narrow hallway.”

As they approached, another doctor walked over, and Lindsey made an introduction. “You’ve come on a good day,” the doctor said. “We’re running another test with a drug called EA 2277.” No one explained what the chemical was, and Ketchum did not ask, sensing that it was a secret. They entered a hospital-like ward, and headed toward one of the bunks, stopping near a delirious soldier who was maniacally struggling to stuff a pillow into a pillowcase. “He’s a bit out of it right now,” the doctor said. “So I don’t think I can introduce you. He wouldn’t understand who you are.”

Ketchum was introduced to Van Murray Sim, an internist, who had set up the Medical Research Volunteer Program. Sim was an intense, towering figure, a former football player, who at one point weighed nearly three hundred pounds. Born in central Washington State, in a remote town called Cashmere, he maintained the sensibility of a pioneer. He made a point of trying drugs before they were tested on soldiers; the Army had even granted him its highest civilian award, in part “for volunteering to be the first to expose himself to several new chemical agents at the risk of grave personal injury.” At such moments, Edgewood doctors would crowd around Sim, tending to his gargantuan supine body. “I am trying to defeat the compound,” he once declared. Sim conceived the arsenal’s work as a kind of mini-Manhattan Project, arguing that a nerve-gas attack was even less forgiving than atomic fallout. “If we inhale minute doses of nerve gas for a few seconds, we shall be dead in a few minutes unless adequate treatment is afforded on the spot,” he had warned. “There is no time.”

Without seeing much more, Ketchum knew that he would return. These people, he sensed, were like him: Army nonconformists who were curious about the new science of the brain and relatively untethered by military formality. “There was no doubt in my mind that working in this strange atmosphere was just the sort of thing that would satisfy my appetite for novelty,” Ketchum wrote. By February, 1961, he had remarried; his first child had just been born, and he moved to Edgewood with his family, confident that an opportunity to conduct new, ambitious research was at hand.

Edgewood was a citadel of secrets. A sign on a door in the Medical Research Laboratories read, “What you see here, hear here—when you leave here, leave it here!” Ketchum was given an office in an annex for physicians. “I remember coming in at night and feeling a spooky ‘Twilight Zone’ sensation, when walking alone through its deserted halls,” he wrote. It was possible to socialize with other scientists and have no idea what they did. Not all the work had to do with weapons: Edgewood technicians were the first to design protective vests from Kevlar, and mustard experiments provided the basis for early cancer chemotherapies. The physiologist John Clements made a discovery about how surfactants behaved in the lungs which later saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

The psychochemical-warfare program was a small part of the over-all research, and in many respects it was the strangest. Once, Ketchum walked into his office and found a barrel the size of an oil drum standing in a corner. No one explained why it was in his office, or who had put it there. After a couple of days, he waited until evening and opened it. Inside, he found dozens of small glass vials, each containing a precisely measured amount of pure LSD; he figured there was enough to make several hundred million people go bonkers—and later calculated the street value of the barrel to be roughly a billion dollars. At the end of the week, the barrel vanished just as mysteriously as it had appeared. No one spoke about it. He never learned what it was for.


“When is it time to want more?”
After receiving a security clearance, Ketchum was told that EA 2277 was 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ—a pharmaceutical, intended as an ulcer therapy, that was rejected after tests found it unsuitable. Infinitesimal amounts could send people into total mental disorder. BZ is an anticholinergic, similar to atropine or scopolamine, which are used in medicine today. At high doses, such drugs trigger delirium—a dreamlike insanity usually forgotten after it subsides. Sim, one of the first doctors to try BZ, later proclaimed that it “zonked” him for three days. “I kept falling down,” he said. “The people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress.”

One night, Ketchum was observing soldiers on BZ when Sim wandered into the ward. “What are you doing here?” Sim asked. From the waist down, he was wearing only underwear.

Ketchum tried to size up his superior; in addition to his self-experiments, Sim habitually took Demerol. “I sometimes come in late at night to check on the guys,” Ketchum told him. “They get pretty interesting around midnight. What are you doing?”

Sim had a watch faceplate taped to his wrist. “I’m trying to see if LSD has any effect through the skin,” he said. “I’ve got it in some ethylene glycol under this watch glass. So far, it hasn’t had any particular effect.”

For years, Sim had been overseeing secret intelligence experiments at Edgewood. At one point, he did research for the C.I.A. on a BZ-type drug, called the Boomer, that causes delirium for as long as two weeks. The agency wanted to know if it could be administered through the skin. Could a Soviet agent brush some on silverware at a diplomatic party and cause an American official to go crazy? Could an operative dose an adversary with a handshake? Sim initiated trials at the arsenal and at Holmesburg Prison, in Pennsylvania, with which Edgewood had contracted to conduct experiments on inmates.

Testing psychochemicals for intelligence purposes, Sim appeared to believe, required a uniquely loose protocol: the goal was to control the mind, and the subject’s expectations of the drug’s effect mattered. He often gave LSD to people without warning. Not long after arriving at Edgewood, Ketchum took to playing tennis with a commanding officer at the arsenal, who, after a match one day, described how Sim had spiked his morning coffee with LSD. “He was pissed off as hell,” Ketchum told me. LSD had been mixed into cocktails at a party, and into an Army unit’s water supply. Some men handled it fine; some went berserk. A test subject in 1957 exhibited “euphoria followed by severe depression, anxiety, and panic—feeling he was going to die,” according to his chart. Another test involved intelligence specialists who were blindfolded and placed in an isolation chamber. “Only one subject was in a condition to undergo extended interrogation,” a report concluded. “A second subject fled from interrogation in panic.”

Ketchum later wrote of Sim’s “hare-brained experiments” and his “lack of scientific (and ethical) judgment.” The Army had apparently reached the same conclusion. In 1959, responsibility for the volunteers was taken from Sim—who was eventually given the new title of chief scientist—and transferred to Lindsey, a more capable leader, though not immune to bouts of recklessness himself. To demonstrate the effects of VX, he was known to dip his finger in a beaker containing the lethal agent, then rub it on the back of a shaved rabbit; as the animal convulsed and died, he would casually walk across the room and bathe his finger in a Martini to wash off the VX. “I thought they were crazy,” a doctor who served under him told me. “I was going to New York, and Colonel Lindsey tells me, ‘How about taking a vial of nerve gas to New York to make a demonstration.’ And I am looking at the guy and thinking, If I have an accident on the Thruway, I could kill thousands of people—thousands of people. I said, ‘No. It’s that simple.’ ”

Nonetheless, Lindsey was more circumspect than Sim. He had tried LSD and thought it impractical. In 1960, he told an audience of military doctors, “It may be possible to so dose a man that he would describe an enemy soldier as green-and-purple-striped, cuboid, and nine feet tall, but this is not incapacitation so long as he can still recognize this apparition as an enemy, and can shoot him or impale him on a bayonet.” When Army brass requested demonstrations of LSD’s effects on the volunteers, Lindsey refused, risking insubordination.

The differences between Lindsey and Sim reflected deeper tensions that the Cold War imposed upon the doctors at Edgewood: men who sought to remain ethical as they advanced the frontier of military research. Sim appeared to believe that personally sampling every chemical agent made him free to circumvent conventional standards; “I have to live with myself,” he once said. Lindsey had an officer’s protectiveness for the enlisted men. Many of the Army doctors—draftees, like the volunteers—who worked under both men strove to reconcile their military obligations with their medical commitments. “As doctors, we are used to treating people who are sick, not making them sick,” one told me. “I did not like the idea of what I was doing with individual human beings. But I understood what I was doing in the context of the defense of this country.”

For Ketchum, questions about the morality of chemical-weapons research rested in the details of its execution. He hoped to bring to Edgewood the rigors of civilian science, even if the questions asked were strictly military. The Army wanted to know to what degree an “incapacitating agent” could incapacitate, and how its effects could be reversed. Ketchum accepted the goal, and decided to make the trials as systematic, and as precise, as possible. He became an architect of mental debilitation. He enjoyed the work.

Ketchum enlisted Lindsey’s support to bring order to the psychochemical experiments, and insists that he discontinued Sim’s practice of giving drugs to men without their knowing. Medical records on test subjects had been kept haphazardly; some of the doctors even departed with them, making it impossible to know exactly what had been done to previous volunteers. Ketchum campaigned to have data centralized, and hired nurses.

He also took over the study of BZ. The drug fascinated him. Exposed soldiers exhibited bizarre symptoms: rapid mumbling, or picking obsessively at bedclothes and other objects, real or imaginary. “Subjects sometimes display something approaching wit, not in the form of word-play, but as a kind of sarcasm or unexpected frankness,” he wrote in a report for Sim. The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished. “I had a great urge to smoke and, when I thought about it, a lit cigarette appeared in my hand,” a volunteer given a drug similar to BZ recalled shortly after the experiment. “I could actually smoke the cigarette.”


“I like my late–night humor unfunny.”
Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror. Ketchum built padded cells to prevent injuries, but at times the subjects couldn’t be contained. One escaped, running from imagined murderers. Another, on a drug similar to BZ, saw “bugs, worms, one snake, a monkey and numerous rats,” and thought his skin was covered in blood. “Subject broke a wooden chair and smashed a hole in the wall after tearing down a 4-by-7-ft panel of padding,” his chart noted. Ketchum and three assistants piled on top of the soldier to subdue him. “He was clearly terrified and convinced we were intending to kill him,” his chart said.

One night, Ketchum rushed into a padded room to reassure a young African-American volunteer wrestling with the ebbing effects of BZ. The soldier, agitated, found the air-conditioner gravely threatening. After calming him down, Ketchum sat beside him. Attempting to see if he could hold a conversation, Ketchum asked, “Why do they have taxes, income taxes, things like that?”

The soldier thought for a minute. “You see, that would be difficult for me to answer, because I don’t like rice,” he said.

“Yeah,” Ketchum said.

The soldier peered forward, and suddenly seemed to be addressing an imaginary person. “If you want the pack, I’ll cut the pipe,” he said, using his hands to emphasize what he would do. “Then we’d put it in a vise, cut it to the inch you want. That’s three different ways.”

“Right,” Ketchum said, and thought up another question. “If you had three wishes—you could wish for anything you wanted—what would your three wishes be?” he asked.

The man took a second to consider this. “No. 1,” he said. “I wish that the world would stop acting like kids, and act like grown people.” Then he went silent.

“No. 2?” Ketchum asked.

“No. 2, where I would like to be?” the man said. “Cause I feel like my life is not worth a nickel here anyway, I think I would rather go back to Massachusetts, back to my home unit.”

“Are you in danger here?” Ketchum asked.

“I feel that I am, sir,” the soldier said.

“What’s the danger here?” Ketchum said.

“The danger to me is—a man don’t have to cheat me, or stick me, he can just frighten me,” the soldier said. Gesturing to a spot of bare floor in the padded room, he said, “It could make a person fall down those steps if they do it at the right time—and I just don’t feel that I am safe, here, in the house.”

IV
By the time Lindsey’s term as chief medical officer ended, in the early sixties, he had grown disenchanted with the Medical Research Volunteer Program. “These soldiers are not really informed at all,” he told Malcolm Bowers, an Edgewood medical officer who later became a professor at Yale. Little was known about the long-term effects of the experiments, and yet the volunteers, after a stay at the arsenal, were blindly pushed back into the Army at large, with no follow-up care. In a self-published memoir, “Men and Poisons,” Bowers recalls Lindsey wondering if the lack of follow-up stemmed from the Army’s fear that such a program would disclose concern about lasting health effects. Sim later offered a more mundane reason: insufficient funding.

For many doctors at Edgewood, the memory of the Second World War, and the horrific experiments carried out by Nazi scientists, remained potent. After the war, the Nuremberg Code established an ethical framework for medical experiments, and its principles were incorporated into Army doctrine. The code begins with a clear premise: “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.” That consent must flow from an “enlightened decision,” shaped by a true understanding of the test’s medical risks. Moreover, human experiments must be preceded by animal studies, and conducted in pursuit of a greater social good—with risks never exceeding “the humanitarian importance of the problem.” If a subject is unable to endure the experiment, or if a researcher believes there is a probability of injury, the test must end.

For decades, Ketchum has contested the idea that soldiers were tricked into participating in the tests. In “Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten,” he addresses the question head on. “Unwitting guinea pigs?” he writes. “Naïve young men taken in by Army propaganda? Mentally marginal soldiers who could not make good decisions? Ignorant individuals who didn’t know what they were getting into because of tight secrecy? In my view, none of the above!” In another passage, Ketchum describes giving the sedative Seconal to a sergeant. “He proudly informed me beforehand that this was his sixth visit and he would no doubt be back again next year,” he wrote. “I had to tell him that this was unlikely—it would be unfair to all the other soldiers who wanted to be part of the program.”

In fact, the Medical Research Volunteer Program initially had difficulty attracting volunteers, so monthly quotas were established to insure a steady supply of research subjects. Recruiters fanned out to Army facilities across the country; some commanders even ordered men to attend the sessions. Ketchum insists that there was never any ambiguity about the drug experiments during the recruitment process, but people who attended the sessions came away with an uncertain sense of what they were being asked to do. A number of them told me that recruiters advertised the program in vague terms, as human behavioral studies, or equipment testing, or medical research. Inducements were offered, too. Soldiers could spend time near several large East Coast cities, and would be given three-day weekend passes to explore them. There would be extra pay, and few responsibilities, aside from showing up at a test. Many men spent much of their stay playing Ping-Pong and watching movies. When it came time for volunteers to leave—at first, they were asked to serve for a month, later two months—a letter of commendation would enter their file. In the sixties, the arsenal offered an even more powerful incentive: time away from Vietnam.


“If they fit, we can return them”
Once the volunteers arrived at Edgewood, they were given medical and psychological examinations, and were divided into four groups. The least healthy would be used to test equipment. The top twenty-five per cent—the Astronaut Class, as Ketchum once called them—would typically be prepared for the most dangerous chemicals. Doctors informed the volunteers in generalities and asked them to sign a consent form—usually long before any specific test was announced. The forms were designed to offer few details; as one version was drafted, the words “mental disturbance or unconsciousness” were replaced with “discomfiture.” Sometimes a little more information would be provided just before the test began, but not always. Van Sim later confessed that researchers testing nerve gas would tell volunteers that the drug might give them a “runny nose” or a “slight tightness of the chest.” In 1961, a volunteer from Kansas, named John Ross, was given soman, a highly persistent nerve agent. Only when the needle was in his arm did he overhear the doctors saying that he had been given something lethal. “I started having convulsions,” he told me. “I started vomiting. One of the guys standing over me said, ‘We gave you a little too much.’ They told me to walk it off. I started to panic. I thought I was going to die.” Ross became rigid and was rushed to Walter Reed. For years afterward, he suffered from insomnia and depression.

Test subjects had a right to decline an experiment—assuming that they knew they were part of one—but they almost never did. “There was no question that they would participate,” Bowers recalled. Withdrawing from a test required backing down from a commitment to one’s superior, which was anathema in the Army. “In the military, if you don’t do something you will be ostracized,” a soldier given LSD in 1958 told me. “I believe they did give us the option to leave, at first, but you didn’t really have a choice once you were in.”

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

December 17, 2012















The ambiguities of the recruitment process, the classified nature of the research, and the highly selective way that doctors followed Army policy has left behind irreconcilable memories. Gerald Elbin, one of Ketchum’s first BZ test subjects, told me that he did not know exactly what he was signing up for when he volunteered, but he enjoyed his time at Edgewood. “It was O.K. to say no,” he said. “There wasn’t any hammer coming down on you.”

The same day Elbin was given BZ, Ketchum gave the drug to Teddie Osborne, who had been stationed at the Yuma Test Center, in Arizona, where he was using a crude detector and a caged rabbit to look for chemical leaks. Osborne thought that his work would not change much at Edgewood. “It wasn’t really explained,” he told me. At the arsenal, he was assigned to help manage the recruits; he liked the work and volunteered again. The second time, he was told that he was going to be a subject. He felt tricked. “I could not have said no,” he told me. “You are dealing with professionals. We were very gullible.” One Wednesday, Osborne was injected with BZ, and ushered into a padded room. He had no idea what the drug was or what it would do. “I don’t remember anything until Saturday,” he told me. “That was so disturbing. Later, it still haunted me.”

Before Ketchum wrote his memoir, he had tried to sort out his experiences in a series of half-finished manuscripts, variously titled “Aerosol One” or “LSD Forever” or “The Black Drum” or, simply, “Jim.” Most of them are romans à clef, though that term suggests too great a departure from reality, as many people in them are named, and all of the events are genuine. In these early attempts at telling his story, the volunteers—the men he drugged—barely figure. Instead, Ketchum’s focus is himself, under different pseudonyms: Peter (Micro) Hansen (“competent and charismatic and soon aggressively takes over, with impressive results”), James McFarley (“a moderate thirst for opponents, human and inanimate”), Dr. McSorley (“nothing if not a man of action—impulse, if the truth be known”).

Ketchum’s manuscripts—often written in a faux-hardboiled style—document his ambitions and grandiosity, his insecurities and ambivalence. “Why was a kook like him picked for a politically delicate, high profile, security headache?” he wrote of himself. “Here he was cranking literally hundreds of unblemished, freshly washed and combed, bright-eyed young men through a drug machine. Making them nuts for a few hours or a few days, and then, like calves who had been branded, watching them for a short time to be sure they were okay, and sending them back to their pastures. It was such a risk, if you looked at it objectively.”

By Ketchum’s second year, the arsenal’s drug machine was spinning at high velocity. “I was working on a noble cause,” he later explained. “The purpose of this research was to find something that would be an alternative to bombs and bullets.” But, clearly, he also saw in the experiments a vehicle for attaining greatness. In an outline for “Jim,” he spoke of his ambition “to create a tapestry of accomplishment, including the development of a small empire of research, the intellectual defeat of naysayers and rivals in the establishment, a reputation as a creative genius, a thriving and happy family, a chemically enhanced sense of well-being, a throng of admirers.” He began to build his archive, and he worked with audiovisual specialists to turn his research into raw cinematic material.

In May, 1962, while testing BZ’s effect on soldier performance, Ketchum oversaw the construction of an entire Hollywood-style set in the form of a makeshift communications outpost. The plan was to confine four soldiers to the outpost for three days. Except for one man, who would be given a placebo, the soldiers would be administered varying doses of BZ. Then, as if in a scene from the TV show “Lost,” they would be radioed a stream of commands and messages, based on a fictional scenario.

Technicians built a small room out of plywood. Cots and a table were brought in, and a handheld radio and switchboard were positioned against the green walls. To help achieve realism, Ketchum added a large switch with a sign that warned “Danger—Do Not Touch.” Cameras were installed behind wall panels. “It was a nervy operation, no matter how you looked at it,” Ketchum wrote. “Even with an inch of padding on the walls and a two-inch foam rubber carpet to minimize the chance of injury. ”

Outside the door, Ketchum and several technicians crowded around monitors. After the BZ took effect, they triggered an alarm indicating a chemical attack. The men rushed to put on gas masks, but the soldier who had been given a delirium-producing dose—Ronald Zadrozny, a young Army intelligence officer—was too confused to protect himself. Zadrozny was a small, bespectacled, mild-mannered soldier, “all of which were factors in his selection for the delirium-producing dose,” Ketchum later recalled. “If he panicked at some point, the others could no doubt subdue him. Assuming, of course, that the lower dosages would not render them too incompetent to react appropriately.”

Zadrozny’s drug-induced madness lasted for thirty-six hours. He saluted imaginary officers, at one point believing that a drape partitioning the toilet was a group of men. He became panicky, and stayed up nights, pacing and mumbling, trying to escape, either by the door or through a medicine cabinet. At one point, as Zadrozny began to improve, he sat in front of the switchboard, pencil in one hand, receiver in the other, ready for a communiqué.

“You can’t hear anything unless you have the telephone up to your ear,” another soldier explained.

“It wasn’t working with electrodes,” Zadrozny mumbled.


“Get a load of Baryshnikov!”
Two hundred phony tactical messages, warnings of chemical attacks, and intelligence were fed to the men in the room. At one point, Ketchum and the others ran out of script. “In an urgent brainstorming session, we put our heads together and came up with an agonizingly improvised scenario,” he recalled in his memoir. “We told the military communicators to start sending new intelligence to the group inside the room—in a simple code. The messages informed the men that enemy forces were planning to move a train loaded with chemical weapons along a certain route.” Eventually, Ketchum and the technicians resorted to gibberish, using poker terms, referring to “the dealer” and a “full house,” as the BZ-addled soldiers struggled to interpret their code.

By this time, the Army was running a “crash program” to turn BZ into an operational weapon. The test with Zadrozny may have demonstrated that BZ could render a unit ineffective, but in battle the chemical would need to be sprayed, and aerosols are difficult to control, even in test conditions. Ketchum estimated that the “incapacitating dose” was forty times lower than the lethal dose. Yet some soldiers in wind-tunnel tests were getting more than intended. What would happen if a volunteer sensitive to the chemical received too much of it? Psychochemical warfare was based on the idea that the drugs had no meaningful effect on the body. But, as Ketchum’s tests progressed, the results began to suggest that BZ might be more dangerous than had been imagined.

In 1962, Walter Payne, a decorated reservist from Helena, Arkansas, was instructed to inhale a cloud of BZ in a wind tunnel. Three hours later, he was totally unresponsive. Henry Ralston, now an emeritus professor of anatomy at the University of California at San Francisco, examined Payne and noted that he “exhibited signs of decerebrated rigidity with hyperextension of the back, neck and limbs, accompanied by irregular twitching movement of limbs.” When I asked Ralston to interpret those symptoms, he told me, “Major head trauma, huge damage to the brain.” (Ketchum made an assessment, too, noting that Payne’s delirium was “moderately severe.”) Payne was treated with an antidote, and was examined twenty-six days later. After an EEG test that was “essentially a normal record for his age,” he was released from the arsenal and given no further follow-up.

The incident was alarming enough to delay the BZ program. Senior Army officials grew concerned that the lethal dose of the chemical might be lower than previously thought. “We had no way to control how they breathed,” Ketchum told me. He designed an apparatus to help: soldiers were attached to an oscilloscope; as they breathed, they watched a wave form, and used it to inhale a regular amount. Even so, in 1963 another volunteer, Jason Butler, Jr., went into critical condition after breathing in BZ in a wind tunnel; his temperature spiked to 103.6°, and his head started shaking spastically. He was sponged with ice and alcohol, and given antidotes. After six days, doctors released him, noting that he “appeared quite normal.”

Even as it became reasonable to suspect that BZ could cause serious injury on the battlefield, the military was pushing to put it into use. In November, 1964, an Army major travelled to Edgewood on an urgent mission from Lieutenant General William Dick, the chief of Army research. Soviet trawlers had been spotted off the coast of Alaska, and Dick wanted to know if a projected cloud of BZ could disable the crew. Senior officers at the arsenal told the major that such a thing was out of the question—the chemical had not even been field-tested. Eventually, the major came to see Ketchum, who was leading a newly created group called the Psychopharmacology Branch. “The plan didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it offended me on a rational level,” he wrote in his memoir. “On the other hand, the challenge ruthlessly tickled my imagination.”

He typed up a plan for a large-scale experiment at the Dugway Proving Ground, in Utah. Up the chain of command, an officer with a wry sense of humor christened it Project dork, but Ketchum, having got approval for the experiment, threw himself into it in a Dexedrine-fuelled whirlwind of activity. He spent weeks at Dugway, arranging technical details: a flatbed truck with an airtight observation booth and a platform for the volunteers to stand on; two inflatable hospital wards; a generator to create the cloud of BZ. Ketchum flew out the oscilloscopes and an audiovisual truck to document the test. “So what did I feel, as we sat in the sling seats that lined the sides of a giant fuselage, gazing at the mammoth TV truck tied down in the center bay?” he wrote. “Maybe just the way I felt in the fourth grade, sitting in a bus headed for the Wonder Bread Factory, where we would get to see fabulous machines, loading endless streams of fresh-baked bread onto conveyor belts. Then and now, I was excited and bedazzled!”

Project dork began before dawn under a dark desert sky. Ketchum arrived with the volunteers, and helped them suit up. Covered head to toe in protective clothing and gas masks, the men looked like deep-space explorers. When the generator began to produce the cloud of BZ, spotlights tracked the chemical apparition drifting across the sky. The men stood in the haze for fifteen minutes, and then were flown by helicopter to the makeshift hospital.

Project dork was a logistically complex experiment, and Ketchum considers it his most important military achievement; as he puts it, “A Hollywood producer might have had trouble throwing together all the features I wanted in less than a fortnight.” Using footage of the experiment, he directed a film called “Cloud of Confusion,” a unique artifact of Cold War propaganda, conveying in almost Kubrick-like surrealism the sublime strangeness of the experiment. It begins with shots of the large white cloud of BZ, with a narrator intoning, like a Hollywood Moses, “And on this desert / this cloud was unleashed / so men could measure / the dimensions / of its stupefying power.” Bartók’s “The Miraculous Mandarin” served as the score to a long opening montage, the music’s spiralling scales and clanging intervals playing over footage of soldiers twisting their faces in confusion and frustration, unable to resolve phantom problems. Later segments show the men ordered to act as sentries, amid trees that had been planted for the movie; they were hopelessly confused. Some of the volunteers saw hallucinatory bugs. “I don’t know that I could describe the sickness,” one of them told me. “You felt sort of punchy and spaced out.” He felt odd after the test, but in a few days’ time the effect vanished.

The film portrayed Project dork in epic terms, but it also demonstrated the fundamental impracticality of psychochemical warfare. The test had to be run before dawn, or differences in temperature between the air and the ground would cause the cloud to drift away. The supply of BZ virtually ran out—even to intoxicate just eight men who were running in place, to insure that they breathed in enough, on a vehicle that was moving with the cloud. Certainly, launching billows of BZ across Arctic waters to attack moving Soviet trawlers would be futile—even if the crew was unprepared for them.


“No doubt you already know if I’m a good cop or a bad cop.”
The Soviets were not ignorant of BZ, after all. Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who conducted secret weapons research for the Soviet Union, told me that Moscow never had more than a halfhearted interest in LSD, and that its interest in BZ was strictly to keep up with Ketchum’s program. “We knew the West had developed this weapon, and we were trying to copy it,” he said. Soviet scientists, who called the formula Substance 78, conducted their own clinical trials with it and manufactured tons of the drug at a plant in Volsk. “But, for the military, it was absolutely useless,” he told me. “Soldiers began to act like in a dream. They were not thinking; they don’t need weapons—very nice, very good. The main problem was, How do you use it? For military people it was fantasy.”

Ketchum took a different lesson from Project dork. The experiment’s limitations prompted him to strive for greater realism. He wanted to push the testing to its logical conclusion: a grand experiment with soldiers engaged in simulated combat while clouds of psychochemicals drifted on the battlefield. “I felt that if we are trying to sell this stuff to the military we better convince them that it could work,” he told me. He told his superiors that, if such a test could not be run, then the program had no point to it.

Unsurprisingly, his proposal was rejected, and Ketchum began to think about leaving. His second marriage was in turmoil, and his work had clearly reached a ceiling; in May, 1965, he decided to apply for a two-year “sabbatical,” arguing that a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at Stanford would allow him to help refine the Army’s development of the new chemicals. “Any competent neuroscientist should have recognized the arguments I presented as sophomoric fantasy,” he wrote in his memoir. “But I had somehow developed a reputation for being gifted within the military’s higher psychiatric echelons.”

Having been accepted at Stanford, Ketchum struggled with his reëntry into academia, accomplishing little. But he had ended up in the Bay Area during the Summer of Love, and after the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics opened, in 1967, he began volunteering there. Many people walking in were strung-out hippies, mistrustful of authority. While caring for them, Ketchum hid the fact that he was an officer in the U.S. Army.

Periodically, a colleague at Edgewood wrote to update him on life at the arsenal. Among the new doctors, he said, insubordination was “a big problem.” Some of Ketchum’s calculations documenting BZ were not adding up; aerosol tests that he had initiated with LSD—even though the Army was no longer pursuing LSD as a weapon—had resulted in overdoses, and some subjects had become extremely agitated, violent, or hypersexual. For one of the doctors involved, the experience was “very traumatic.” Ketchum thought that the overdoses were unfortunate, but that the tests were still worthwhile. “I’m glad it got pushed as far as it did,” he wrote back.

In the fall of 1967, his marriage fell apart, and he moved into a Holiday Inn. By the end of the year, he wondered if he would return to chemical warfare. He considered staying at Stanford, or returning to Walter Reed, but worried that he might not be skilled or focussed enough. “They had Nobel Prize winners over there,” he told me. “I was going to be in charge of them?” Still, he was hopeful. “I think my relative slump is only temporary,” he told a friend. “I can feel a rebirth coming on.” Edgewood had asked Ketchum to return as the head of the Clinical Research Department, overseeing all human experiments, and in 1968 he said yes.

V
By the late sixties, the high point of the Cold War had sloped into a murkier geopolitical condition; half a million Americans were in Vietnam, and though the Army had freely used defoliants and tear gas there, it decided not to use BZ. Popular sentiment was turning against the idea of deploying psychochemicals in war. “There are moral imponderables, such as whether insanity, temporary or permanent, is a more ‘humane’ military threat than the usual afflictions of war,” E. James Lieberman, a psychiatric resident at Harvard, wrote in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 1965, Sidney Cohen, a well-regarded LSD researcher, argued that “such degradation of a person’s mind is worse than his physical death and can hardly be considered humane warfare.”

When Ketchum returned to Edgewood, he was optimistic about achieving something meaningful, but he was frustrated by the growing insubordination among the doctors. “Many of them tried to stay out of the picture as much as possible, so that they wouldn’t be assigned things to do,” he told me. Concerns that Lindsey’s generation had kept to themselves were now rushing to the surface. The new doctors tended to be older than their earlier counterparts, more invested in their nonmilitary work, more politically circumspect. They sought to slow down the research, and began to question Ketchum’s methodology.

A physician named Mark Needle told me that he thought Ketchum’s human experiments were run like the Keystone Kops. “There was nobody qualified,” he said. “And the fact that they were allowed to do it without people who knew what they were doing was very, very scary. There was no humanity in it. There was no morality in it. If anything happened to the volunteers, we could say, ‘You were offered an out,’ but then we were also telling them, ‘Listen, this is the Army, and we are at war.’ Our view was that this was a terrible thing to do to these kids, because who the hell knew what could happen?”

When Ketchum sought to orchestrate a field test with a new version of BZ, four doctors wrote in dissent. He overruled them. Another version, called EA 3834, appeared to cause microscopic hematuria—tiny amounts of blood in urine—and other renal problems. One soldier was sent to Walter Reed. “This is a dangerous drug,” a psychiatrist named George Leib insisted. Leib, who worked on the arsenal’s annual budget, had come to think that tests of a baroque nature and questionable design were being funded merely to sustain the program. His office was across from the toxic-aid station, and he was sure that records were being manipulated to disguise problem cases. “Everyone I spoke to had misgivings,” he told me. “I had a volunteer who just sailed through a forty-eight-hour test without problems, and then soon afterward, while on leave, he was driving and crashed into the back of a truck and killed himself. I felt responsible. I felt like I had not done everything I could. But I certainly had done everything that I was allowed to do.”


“We’re spending Christmas with our grandparents in the Land of Forced Smiles.”
The testing of EA 3834 was suspended. There were more

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