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July 28, 2011
Bioethics Committee sends a letter ending transmission of information on unauthorized human subject testing.
May 19, 2011 Bioethics Committee Hearing,
Letter in Support.
Keep The Ethical Light Burning
on nonconsensual human experimentation and abuse
April 29, 2011
Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics
Amy Gutmann, Ph.D., Chair
James W. Wagner, Ph.D., Vice Chair
Lonnie Ali, M.B.A
Anita L. Allen, J.D., Ph.D.
John D. Arras, Ph.D.
Barbara F. Atkinson, M.D.
Nita A. Farahany, J.D., Ph.D.
Alexander G. Garza, M.D., M.P.H.
Christine Grady, R.N., Ph.D.
Stephen L. Hauser, M.D.
Raju S. Kucherlapati, Ph.D.
Nelson Lee Michael, M.D., Ph.D.
Daniel Sulmasy, M.D., Ph.D.
Warwick New York Hotel
65 W. 54th St.
New York, New York 10019
1425 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 233-3960, phone
(202) 233-3990, fax
Re: Nonconsensual Human Subject Testing, from Kelb, Inc., Non-Profit Organization
Dear Bioethics Commission, Ms. Gutman, Members and Staff:
This letter is sent in support, for those attending the Bioethics Committee Meeting, whose issues and very strong concerns are non-consensual experimentation. Unauthorized human subject testing is not permitted in this country, or internationally. U.S. Codes and laws state that the informed consent of the human subject is necessary for any experiments on human beings. The Nuremberg Code (1947), The Wilson Directive (1953), Belmont Report (1974) and 45 C.F.R 46 (Common Rule), all clearly delineate this. This is an accepted, normal code of practice in this country.
In recent history, unfortunately, many times, this code has been breached. The military/intelligence community and some of the health agencies have, in fact, conducted secret experiments on U.S. citizens. The Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the Guatamalan syphilis experiments, the MKUltra Project experiments, Agent Orange studies, the Holmesburg Prison experiments, military mustard gas experiments, drug experimentation at Fort Detrick, Maryland, radiation/plutonium experiments and other non-consensual experiments, have been conducted on unwitting American citizens, since at least 1930.
“For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, not given proper treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects,” Associated Press reporter Jean Heller wrote on July 25, 1972. “The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to the human body.” 1
— illustrates one exposure of some of these unauthorized tests.
If these non-consensual experiments had not been exposed, would they have continued? Would the ethical and moral conscience of the “testors” determined that these tests would end? It doesn’t seem to have had that effect, in our past history. Testing seems to have continued, after the Tuskegee experiments were exposed. A Brown University dissertation tells us that, “more often than not scientific research lies outside the beneficient context of the physician-patient relationship whereby the physician’s primary goal is now motivated by a scientific hypothesis and not to treat the patient,” in their definition of the Nuremberg Code’s creation. 2
Tuskegee litigation determined that there were indeed serious legal violations:
“The men became unwitting subjects for a government sanctioned medical investigation, The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. The Tuskegee Study, which lasted for 4 decades, until 1972, had nothing to do with treatment. No new drugs were tested; neither was any effort made to establish the efficacy of old forms of treatment. It was a non-therapeutic experiment, aimed at compiling data on the effects of the spontaneous evolution of syphilis on black males.
What has become clear since the story was broken by Jean Heller in 1972 was
that the Public Health Service (PHS) was interested in using Macon County and its black inhabitants as a laboratory for studying the long-term effects of untreated syphilis, not in treating this deadly disease.
The Tuskegee Study symbolizes the medical misconduct and blatant disregard for human rights that takes place in the name of science. The studies principal investigators were not mad scientists, they were government physicians, respected men of science, who published reports on the study in the leading medical journals. The subjects of the study bear witness to the premise that the burden of medical experimentation has historically been borne by those least able to protect themselves. (tuskegee.edu, “America’s Dirty Little Secret).
The government doctors who participated in the study failed to obtain informed consent from the subjects in a study of disease with a known risk to human life. . . .
By failing to obtain informed consent and offering incentives for participation, the PHS doctors were performing unethical and immoral experiments on human subjects. From the moment the experiment begun, the immorality of the experiment was blatantly apparent.” 3
In a latter day nonconsensual experimentation, claimant Strom (Strom v. Boeing Case Wash SuperCt King County No. 88-2-10752-1) and his fellow claimants received a large cash award because of the unwitting experimentation they experienced, incurred by the Boeing defense contractor, in Washington State. Boeing had experimented on Mr. Strom and others, with a pulsed electromagnetic device.
In his claim, Mr. Strom alleged he was assigned to test a piece of equipment called a “pulser”, which generates high levels of electromagnetic pulses, (EMP) as part of a program to develop an electromagnetic gun for the federal government’s Stratetic Defense Initiative. What Mr. Strom didn’t know at that time, was that he too, not only the “pulser”, was being tested for his reactions to the EMP and for epidemiological data on the effects of the radiation. This data was shared in medical references and never revealed to the workers. Mr. Strom developed chronic leukemia and later died.
Exposures to radiation are deemed harmful. The American Medical Association has just released an article that documents the harm that radiation can do to human beings. 4.
In this era of changing and lightening-swift scientific/technological developments and research, when data is transmitted with the speed of the blink of an eye, we need to make sure ethics, works side by side with these scientific advances and all experimentation, including that done for such governmental agencies as the Strategic Defense Initiative are consensual. To do less, is to potentially harm and deny basic, constitutional guarantees, to American citizens. This Committee exists to ensure that ethics, ethical principals and specifically consensual, as opposed to nonconsensual experimenation, is at work in
in all biological and scientific endeavors. We support that goal and aim of this Committee and ask that you work to ensure, that these goals become an important reality.
We write in support of unwitting test subjects. We ask that you listen to those speaking today, support them, and work towards identifying, exposing and stopping illegal, unauthorized human subject testing in the U. S. We ask that you make this a priority, determine that it is vitally important and needs immediate action and investigation. We thank you for the commission’s existence and for your attention to this crucial matter.
New York, New York
Co-Director, Kelb, Inc.
Keep The Ethical Light Burning
Non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy on nonconsensual
experimentation and abuse
1. Tuskegee Syphilis Study, by Tuskegee Legacy Committee Chair Dr. Vanessa Gamble.