Patients Died In Germ
Warfare Tests
Exclusive By Alun Rees and Cyril Dixon
The Daily Express (London)

Claims that old and sick people died after scientists used them as guinea pigs in germ warfare experiments are to be investigated by the police.
NHS patients may have been "quietly put to death" in a research programme carried out between 1968 and 1970 and the details kept hidden by the Official Secrets Act, it is alleged.
Catholic priest Monsignor John Barry first raised the scandal 30 years ago because he believed unlawful killings may have taken place. At the time it was denied by the Government, though it now appears there was no police criminal investigation.
And in a separate development unrelated to Monsignor Barry's allegations, the Daily Express has uncovered new evidence about experiments carried out by Porton Down between 1964 and 1966.
Scientists from the top secret base tested a "killer" virus known as a biological warfare agent on dying leukaemia patients in an NHS hospital, in the hope that it might alleviate their condition. A microbiologist, Dolores McMahon, who was a junior member of the team and not involved in the decision-making, denied there was anything irregular or unethical about the lengthy experiment with Kyasanur Forest Monkey Disease on 33 leukaemia patients at St.Thomas' Hospital, London.
She said medical ethics had changed over the three decades and added: "Of course, you have to remember in those days everyone with leukaemia died anyway."
Detectives from Wiltshire involved in "Operation Antler", who are currently investigating a huge catalogue of "illegal" experiments with nerve gas, mustard gas and LSD on servicemen at Porton Down, will study the new evidence concerning Monsignor Barry.
Wiltshire Police responded when the Daily Express handed over three letters containing the allegation that old people apparently suffering from dementia and without families to protect them were used in experiments.
Former Liberal Leader David Steel and Dennis Healey, the then Labour Defence Secretary, were told of the Monsignor's claims in 1970 but both have no recollection of the case.
The case was dismissed at the time by Prime Minister Harold Wilson who said it had been investigated, but didn't say exactly who had investigated the allegations which should have been handed to the police as a criminal complaint.
Operation Antler detectives could now approach both politicians and the Ministry of Defence, requesting access to the secret documents at the heart of the allegations and any information they might have in their files.
Labour MP Tam Dalyell said: "There is a terrible picture emerging thanks to the Daily Express of experiments on servicemen at Porton Down, research by Porton Down scientists on NHS patients, and allegations that caused the deaths of vulnerable elderly people. If just half of this is true we are talking about Dr Mengele experiments.
"I will be raising these matters in the House in detail and demanding answers. This must be cleared up. The British people have an absolute right to know just what was done in their name and who it was done to by Defence Ministry scientists."
The separate allegations about old people killed in experiments goes back 30 years and originated from "official documents" handed to Monsignor Barry in Scotland in 1970 by conscience-stricken members of his congregation.
In a speech to the Edinburgh Business Club in January 1970 he said: "I have seen evidence which I think is genuine, that there is a certain section of the Ministry of Defence which uses elderly people as guinea pigs for experiments and quietly puts them to death afterwards. It is carefully hidden by the Official Secrets Act."
The documents were handed by the priest to then Liberal Party leader Steel. He in turn was reported to have met the Defence Secretary at the time, Healey, and handed them on to him.
It was a short lived scandal with little publicity and it ended with a statement from Prime Minister Wilson to the Commons which simply said the matter had been fully investigated. Wilson did not reveal which authority had investigated, or give details of what had been discovered. When the scandal of wide-spread experiments with nerve gas, mustard gas and LSD on thousands of servicemen at Porton Down emerged, campaigner Liz Sigmund told the Daily Express about her fears that the Monsignor Barry case may have been covered up.
She gave us two letters sent to her from the Monsignor in which he says "I believed and still believe the reports I received", but says he will not reveal the sources of his information to protect them from "personal repercussions".
A third letter, from Steel's assistant, promises to look for his copy of the document.
Monsignor Barry is still alive but unwell after an operation three weeks ago and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland says he is still too frail to be approached.
David Steel is now Lord Steel and Speaker of the Scottish Parliament. His personal assistant told us: "He has no recollection whatsoever of this case and his records do not go back that far."
Lord Healey's secretary told us: "He doesn't know about it. He can't remember it."
Yesterday, at Ms Sigmund's request, we handed the originals of her letters to Operation Antler. The team is already investigating allegations concerning the duping of servicemen into experiments with sarin and tabun nerve gas, mustard gas, CS and CR riot gas, LSD and another mind-bending drug called BZ.
Last week we revealed the full extent of the allegations with complaints from more than 400 surviving serviceman and some women covering a period right up until 1989.
Meanwhile, Ms Sigmund said: "I had telephone conversations with Monsignor Barry in the 1970s when he told me documents had been handed to him by someone stricken with conscience. He intimated that those involved might have been suffering from dementia and had no relatives." She added: "There was a statement from Harold Wilson in the House which virtually dismissed the allegations out of hand but we live in different times now.
"We now know that some 20,000 servicemen were duped ino volunteering for research into the common cold and then used in the most horrendous experiments with nerve gas and all sorts of things.
"We know that 40 people were injected with the biological warfare agent Kyasanur Forest Monkey disease at St Thomas's Hospital in 1968. That was apparently done to see if it was of therapeutic value to leukaemia patients. KFM disease has a 28 per cent fatality rate and causes horribly painful encephalitis in humans.
"Why was Porton Down involved in this search for a leukaemia therapy in an NHS cancer ward? Is it a coincidence that three years later KFM became a recognised biological warfare agent? Did Porton Down want to examine the pathology of a biological warfare bug as it acts on humans?" On the allegations, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "These are not things we could respond to quickly because it would take some time to research records from that period."
Alarming twist in history of this base
AN expert in the treatment of leukaemia, commenting on the Porton Down experiments, said yesterday: "Ethics change over time."
Professor John Goldman, of Imperial College School of Medicine, explained: "We now have lots of different ways of treating leukaemia. The one you describe was a long shot in 1966 and in the year 2000 it would be very preposterous."
Evidence that civilians were the subject of experiments by defence scientists, however, is an even more alarming twist in the controversial history of the base.
Dying hospital patients were deliberately infected with potentially lethal tropical diseases by the Porton Down scientists. Medics examined the impact of two horrific viruses by injecting terminally-ill men and women being treated at leading London hospital St Thomas's.
The experiments were carried out at the height of Porton Down's testing programme for nerve and biological weapons in the mid-1960s.
The tests were headed by Gordon Smith, Porton Down's director, who has since died. Thirty-three patients suffering from leukaemia or carcinoma were injected with either Kyasanur Forest disease or Langat virus. Only four showed any benefit but still died within a matter of months.
A report of the experiments in the British Medical Journal in 1966 claimed that details of what the tests were all about were explained to the patients.

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