Human guinea pigs: CIA human experimentation
Since the early 1950s, CIA operatives conducted physically harsh and psychologically crippling mind control experiments. Human subjects were used as unwitting guinea pigs.
Rules governing CIA activities include Executive Order 12333 (1981) authorizing intrusive spying for counterintelligence purposes. Loophole-ridden provisions permit anything goes.
An ACLU FOIA lawsuit obtained more information on secret CIA domestic spying operations.
Woefully too little is known but more now than a few weeks ago, said the ACLU. Although CIA legal authority to spy at home is limited, earlier congressional investigative committees discovered massive “Operation CHAOS” spying – targeting anti-war activists and political dissenters.
For over 20 years, the CIA “indiscriminately intercepted and opened hundreds of thousands of Americans’ letters” lawlessly.
The (Senator Frank) Church Committee discovered major constitutional violations. It said “constitutional checks and balances have not adequately controlled intelligence activities.”
“(T)he Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence agencies. Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to which its appropriations were being put.”
“Most domestic intelligence issues have not reached the courts, and in those cases when they have reached the courts, the judiciary has been reluctant to grapple with them.”
Church Committee findings and conclusions are more relevant today than ever. Released material was heavily redacted. More questions were raised than answered. It’s clear the CIA’s domestic activities way exceed its authority.
The Agency’s AR 2-2 regulatory document governing its intelligence activities was never released until now. It covers a wide range of activities – including:
• domestic spying;
• human experimentation;
• contracts with academic institutions;
• relations with journalists and media officials; and
• relations with clergy and missionaries.
Its synopsis states:
“This regulation and its annexes set forth the provisions of Executive Order 12333 and its implementing procedures governing the conduct of the Intelligence Community Staff, National Intelligence Emergency Support Office, and other staff elements of the Director of Central Intelligence.”
“Certain provisions of Executive Order 12333, such as those dealing with the collection of information on US persons, required implementing procedures established by the Director of Central Intelligence and approved by the Attorney General.”
“These procedures as well as other related materials are contained in the annexes to this regulation. This regulation also includes statutory and police requirements with respect to the conduct of intelligence activities, including the conduct of security investigations, certain relations with other Governmental entities, and relationships with US persons, US news media, US clergy, the US academic community, and employees of the Congress.”
Several AR 2-2 annexes contain Agency implementing procedures. Heavily redacted Annex A states:
“Guidance for CIA Activities Outside the United States” sets forth the procedures that apply to CIA activity directed toward US citizens and permanent residents who are abroad.”
The ACLU explained documents obtained reveal wide-ranging CIA domestic activities – often together with the FBI.
Annex B prohibits the CIA from domestic electronic surveillance. “(T)he Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) authorized the FBI to work with the CIA to collect Americans’ financial records in bulk under Patriot Act Section 215,” said the ACLU.
Annex B says the CIA may “use a monitoring device within the United States under circumstances in which a warrant would not be required for law enforcement purposes if the CIA General Counsel concurs.”
What monitoring devices are used and how is unclear – as well as how monitoring differs from domestic surveillance the CIA is prohibited from doing.
Dozens of entirely redacted pages under the heading “Intelligence Activities Conducted by CIA Within the United States” suggest significant domestic spying kept secret.
AR 2-2 prohibits CIA human experimentation without informed consent. The agency crossed the line by requiring doctors to be present during so-called “enhanced interrogations (aka torture).” Victims didn’t consent to their own abuse.
London’s Guardian published sections of previously classified CIA documentation letting its director and an advisory board “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research.”
Top CIA officials decided what types of “human subject research” were permissible – pretty much anything based on what’s already known post-9/11 and earlier before the latest information was revealed.
The Law and Policy Governing the Conduct of Intelligence Agencies AR 2-2 section says the Agency “shall not sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects” in violation of humane medical practices.
The previously unknown section providing guidelines on “human subject research” empowers the director and an advisory board to “evaluate all documentation and certifications pertaining to human research sponsored by, contracted for, or conducted by the CIA.”
Last December, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) published an analysis of CIA interrogations indicating psychologists played “the essential role” in the Agency’s “extensive system of torture and ill-treatment” – in blatant violation of core international laws, norms and standards.
On the one hand, the CIA doesn’t admit engaging in torture. On the other, it says having medical personnel present ensured its “enhanced interrogations” were conducted according to medical standards.
Federation of American Scientists scholar Steven Aftergood says torture victims were studied by medical professionals to learn how they responded to brutal treatment.
They were unwitting subjects. They never gave informed consent. Harvard’s Humanitarian Initiative researcher Nathaniel Raymond said “Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture.”
Human experimentation remains official US policy. CIA torture continues secretly in US global black sites. Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg. Numerous other US torture prisons operate worldwide.
Complicit allies cooperate with apprehensions, indefinite detentions, brutal interrogations, torture and other forms of abuse – with subjects denied access to counsel and in many cases have little or no hope for release.