The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights announces the last in a four-part series by award-winning investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara exploring how the nation’s military forces have been used as guinea pigs for psychological and pharmaceutical experiments. This last installment looks at the long standing relationship between the military and psychiatry that has been in place since WWII and the psychiatric research being conducted on U.S. soldiers.
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) January 23, 2013
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) announces the final article in a four part investigative series on Military Mental Health, written for CCHR by journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara. This last installment looks at how, in an effort to create the “Super Soldier,” the U.S. military spends hundreds of millions of dollars on psychiatric research programs that can only be described as science fiction-esque experimentation.
O’Meara writes, “The cozy relationship between the military and psychiatry has been in place since WWII. The pharmaceutical companies are the Yin to psychiatry’s Yang and the military has acquiesced to the pharmaceutical giants. It’s no secret that the nation’s military forces long have been used as guinea pigs for psychological and pharmaceutical experiments
Recent history is littered with examples of the botched experiments brought to light in the form of lawsuits and congressional investigations, such as that exposed by the Los Angeles Times on June 17, 2008, ‘VA testing drugs on war veterans.’ Or by CNN on March 1, 2012 in the article, ‘Vets feel abandoned after secret drug experiments.'”
In her final series on military mental health, O’Meara documents the military’s multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical spending, past and current military experiments and research, including:
· The military is spending billions of dollars on psychiatric drugs; a Nextgov investigation published on May 17, 2012 uncovered the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs having spent nearly $2 billion on antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs over the past decade, and the Dec. 29. 2012 Austin American-Statesman article, “Soaring cost of military drugs could hurt budget,” quoted Department of Defense spending of $2.7 billion on antidepressants, totaling more than $4.5 billion in the last decade, despite more than 170 warnings issued by international drug regulatory agencies warning of drug induced suicide, violence, mania, psychosis, aggression, hallucinations, death and much more—all documented on CCHR International’s website.
· Millions of dollars from the pharmaceutical industry has funded military mental health screening programs, such as Signs of Suicide, a sub organization of Screening For Mental Health, Inc. According to Screening for Mental Health, Inc.’s 990 reports for 2001-2004, they received over $3.2 million in pharmaceutical funding from Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Wyeth, Forest Labs, Abbott Labs and Solvay. On 5 Nov. 2009, The New American reported in “The Healthcare Bill’s Sops to the Mental-health Industry,” that up to 2008, they received nearly $5 million from pharmaceutical companies.
· According to the Los Angeles Times article, “VA testing drugs on war veterans,” Senate testimony given by the Vietnam Veterans of America during a 2002 hearing exposed the U.S. for experimenting on troops – using mustard gas during WWII, radiation during the Cold War, LSD and herbicides during Vietnam and chemical and biological warfare drugs during the Gulf War, yet soldiers were not made aware of possible adverse reactions.
· The 2008 Human Performance study conducted by the Mitre Corporation and sponsored by the Department of Defense, Research and Engineering Enterprise, showed researchers considered the current state of “pharmaceutical intervention in cognition and in brain-computer interfaces,” and how the enemy might use future developments in this area. Under the heading “Evaluation of Military Effectiveness” the report explains, “the most immediate human performance factor in military effectiveness is degradation of performance under stressful conditions, particularly sleep deprivation.” Researchers recommend to “monitor enemy activities in sleep research…. Use in-house military research on the safety and effectiveness of newly developing drugs for ameliorating the effects of sleep deprivation.”
· But drugs aren’t the only focus of military researchers. As reported in the Popular Science article, “DARPA Wants to Install Transcranial Ultrasonic Mind Control Devices in Soldiers’ Helmets,” on Sept. 9, 2010, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), is another possible tool. It involves surgically implanting electrodes into the brain, then attached to wires that run inside the body from the head to the chest, where a pair of battery-operated generators are implanted. Psychiatrists wait three weeks for the bruised brain to heal and the holes in the skin to seal before programming the device to activate the electrodes.
· There are even more on-going experiments that seem just as, if not more, strange, including U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding research to create computerized “virtual humans” used for diagnostic purposes that apparently can be programmed to appear empathetic to the soldier’s particular problem, as reported in an April 12, 2012 release from the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), titled, “ICT Developing Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Tools for Mental Health.”
O’Meara states, “Psychiatric research for the military is aiming to create the invincible, insensitive and indifferent fighting machine. In the end, if the results of these experiments even remotely resemble the failure of the military’s current mental health psychiatric drug program, it is truly frightening to consider what will be left of the individual American fighting man willing to put his life on the line.”
Kelly Patricia O’Meara is a book author and former award-winning investigative reporter for the Washington Times, Insight Magazine. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.
Read the first 3 parts of this series here:
Image Credit: US Army Flickr