Tuesday, August 25, 2015

APA Torture & Ethics Scandal Highlights Fact No Medical Professionals Have Been Held to Account for Torture

In her very interesting analysis of the American Psychological Association's new policy calling for withdrawal of psychologists from national security interrogations and sites identified with torture and abuse, such as Guantanamo, Deborah Popowski ("The APA’s Watershed Move to Ban Psychologists’ Complicity in Torture," August 11) writes:
I predict that ultimately, this resolution [Motion 23B passed by APA's Council of Representatives] will be more powerful than its AMA and American Psychiatric Association counterparts precisely because it took years of dogged advocacy to achieve. The APA’s bad behavior was a mobilizing force for psychologists of conscience. The organization now faces a savvy group of reformers that understand its playbook and will keep pressing for enforcement. I look forward to seeing how they ride this wave of momentum.
I think this is a good point, but it, like most of the analysis on the APA's new interrogations policy has a certain unreal character, as its analysis exists outside of the realities of the Department of Defense justifies its use of health professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists, in interrogations.

DoD and the American Psychiatric Association "Ban" on Psychiatrists in Interrogations

Popowski mentions AMA and the American Psychiatric Association (APsyA) because both of these practitioner groups previously issued policies forbidding their members to participate in interrogations. Such participation is unethical, they said, although the psychiatrist's group did allow their members to "provide training to military or civilian investigative or law enforcement personnel... on the possible medical and psychological effects of particular techniques and conditions of interrogation..."

But what these powerful organizations condemn and how they enforce these policies are two different things. In addition, how the Pentagon chooses to interpret the policies of these organizations is yet another thing.

In a September 2008 letter to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the APsyA president, Dr. Nada Stotland, quoted an article by George Annas, who noted, "The DOD's new position that its physicians not follow nationally and internationally accepted medical ethics represents a major policy change." Stotland was complaining about how the Pentagon continued to train psychiatrists for interrogation despite the APsyA's opposition to the their participation. It is not known if or how Gates replied, but DoD's policy in the matter itself never changed.

But the psychiatrist association itself never put any teeth in their policy. It never moved to sanction any member for participation in interrogations, which is done under the auspices of the Pentagon's Behavioral Science Consultation (BSC) program. Later, then-APA president Gerald Koocher would use APsyA's stated preference not to bring any such charges as an example of the rightness of APA's own policy. (See "President's Column," APA Monitor, July/August 2006)

Indeed, no doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, medical technician, or any medical professional involved in interrogations has ever been brought up on charges by any medical or professional association. Attempts to bring charges by state licensing agencies were undertaken by private individuals -- attempts with which Ms. Popowski has assisted -- and such attempts universally failed (thus far), though not for trying.

But as important as the attempts to get at the torturers via licensing board complaints are, is a strategy aimed at prosecution via state licensing agencies really going to be effective? As one state licensing agency official told me, "How do you expect us to prosecute these cases when the U.S. government will not do so?" It would indeed take a great deal of courage to buck the federal government. There is also the issue that legal actions against health professionals would be subject to "graymail" defenses, in that defendants will argue that (supposedly, or potentially) exonerating evidence is classified and highly unlikely to be made available from the government. What happens then?

Applicable DoD policy on BSCs goes back to the 2006 DoD Instruction 2310.08E, "Medical Program Support for Detainee Operations." This policy allows DoD to use psychiatrists or physicians with the approval of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, despite the policy by the American Psychiatric and American Medical associations.
E2.2 As a matter of professional personnel management, physicians are not ordinarily assigned duties as BSCs, but may be so assigned, with the approval of ASD(HA), in circumstances when qualified psychologists are unable or unavailable to meet critical mission needs.
In case some might think this old Bush-era instruction is not in force, it is. The most current policy, DoD Directive 3115.09, "DoD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning" (in its most up-to-date version of 11/15/13) references the 2006 DoD 2310.08E instruction as "reference (r)", i.e., for policy on BSCs.

Manipulation of Phobias

It's worth noting, 3115.09 has also made allowance for the ongoing use of SERE techniques, as they are used in the Army Field Manual, which I pointed out some time back. The only recent change in 3115.09 has to do with BSC manipulation of detainee phobias, a change that has not been publicly noted before: "Behavioral science consultants may not be used to determine detainee phobias for the purpose of exploitation during the interrogation process." That appears to be the one concession made by the Obama administration to criticisms of its interrogation policy. The reference was to phobias as addressed in Army Field Manual 2-22.3 in its description of the "Fear Up" approach. Before this change was made in 2012, BSCs were allowed to manipulate or create phobias in prisoners in a style of coercive interrogation that an earlier version of the Field Manual noted some nations -- though not the United States -- would find illegal.

The fact is, the opponents of existing policy at APA, not to mention officers at AMA, APsyA, and a number of human rights watchdog groups are aware of current Pentagon policy on using physicians in interrogations in lieu of psychologists, and despite the opposition on paper of physicians organizations, but nothing is ever said about it. One has to ask why this is. Psychologists, who still have a fight on their hands in making the new APA policy enforceable within APA, have not mentioned DoD's policy on such use, about which nothing has changed since the days of the Bush administration.

The Enforcement Question

Except for an Aug. 8 article in Al Jazeera America, no news accounts have noted that when APA opponents of the old interrogation policy were putting forth their motion to ban members from participation in interrogations or at sites where human rights abuses take place, the first draft of that motion had a strong enforcement proviso, which stated, "Be it resolved that the APA will direct staff to contact the licensing boards of all states and territories informing them that it is the sense of the Council of Representatives that any complaint against a psychologist who refuses to comply with the call to leave Guantanamo be reviewed ‘with prejudice’."

The final version of the motion that passed, and is hailed as a victory, omitted that provision. Such a step back from enforcement does not bode well for the future effectiveness of the APA action.

Other arguments regarding the efficacy of enforcing the APA's new policy were raised by psychologist John Grohol at his blog PsychCentral last week. Grohol quoted an August 18, 2015 email from APA’s Associate General Counsel Jesse Raben to psychologist and ethics exert Ken Pope, who resigned from APA in 2008 over APA's slippery ethics policies.
With regards to 23B (and therefore with the 2008 [member-initiated] resolution [banning psychologists from interrogation at human rights violating sites]) while this new Council resolution invokes Ethical Principle A to “take care to do no harm,” it does not amend the Ethics Code and is not enforceable as a result [emphasis added]. However, Council’s implementation plan for the new policy requests that the Ethics Committee consider a course of action to render the prohibition against national security interrogations enforceable under the Ethics Code.
Grohol's article must have made some impact, because Nadine Kaslow and Susan McDaniel, both members of the Special Committee for the Independent Review by David Hoffman that excoriated APA's connivance with the Department of Defense on interrogation issues, responded to Grohol's charges in an email to APA's Division 48, The Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. (Kaslow is also an APA past president, while McDaniel is the organization's president-elect.)

APA Officials Respond

Kaslow and McDaniel's full reply is not online, but what follows is an edited version of the high points. The two APA officials sympathized with Grohol's skepticism, but felt "that this reaction is misplaced at this time in the history of APA."
The authority and processes regarding policy development and modifications to the APA Ethics Code are stipulated in APA’s Bylaws and Association Rules. The first very important step is for a policy, such as the national security interrogation prohibition, to be passed by Council. For those policies with ethical aspects such as this one, the next step is for it to be considered by the Ethics Committee. The independence of the Ethics Committee is important, as described in the Hoffman Report. According to our Bylaws and Association Rules, the Ethics Committee has authority for formulating the Ethics Code, overseeing the process for changing the Ethics Code (which involves governance review and public comment), and for enforcing it. The movers of New Business Item #23B -- Scott Churchill, Jean Maria Arrigo, and Frank Farley, supported by Steven Reisner and Dan Aalbers -- were well aware of the necessary process. They successfully achieved the policy change, the all-important first step to achieving their ultimate goal of an enforceable prohibition, in keeping with the American Medical Association. (The American Psychiatric Association's policy is not part of their Ethics Code.)

.... The movers also included a provision in the implementation section of the resolution for Council to request that the Ethics Committee "consider pursuing an appropriate course of action in as expeditious a manner as possible to incorporate into the Ethics Code the prohibitions surrounding psychologist participation in national security interrogations, as set forth in this policy." The next step is for the Ethics Committee to carry out this recommendation. An amendment to the Ethics Code will provide the necessary “teeth” for the policy to be enforced. In the interim, I would like to point out that the Ethics Committee considers APA policies, guidelines, and other documents when interpreting the Standards of the Ethics Code.

.... As noted above, although the 2013 policy is not enforceable under the Ethics Code, it provides valuable guidance to the Ethics Committee in this regard....

Changing policy, aspects of the Ethics Code, and creating a culture that is transparent and trustworthy in all parts of the organization will take time and considerable effort. But it is a commitment we feel deeply in support of our public, our discipline, and our members....
Reading Kaslow and McDaniel's email, I think Ms. Popowski may have a point about the sanguinary effect of the new APA policy. From my own standpoint, I believe it was a huge step forward for the new APA policy to bring the recondite and legal struggle against the U.S. Reservations to the UN Convention Against Torture treaty out into the open, and put the imprimatur of a huge medical and professional organization behind the goal of removing those reservations, which in action eviscerated enforcement of that treaty in the U.S., and which were used by John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury to alibi torture in their infamous OLC memos on interrogation.

Loopholes on Unethical Research to Remain

But there are also giant holes in APA's new policy, particularly as it pertains to psychologist research for the military and intelligence agencies. Since that is really where the bulk of federal money to psychologists and psychology programs go, that means the haze of unreality around these issues is a veritable fog of obfuscation. APA ethics code 8.05 allows psychologists to suspend informed consent -- which is the bedrock of ethical research on human subjects -- "where otherwise permitted by law or federal or institutional regulations." In addition, ethics code 8.07 allows psychologists to use deception in research on "prospective participants," unless such deception would be "reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress." The emphasis on "severe" emotional distress is a weakening of earlier language, and allows great discretion for research using deception that would allow, say, "moderate" levels of emotional distress. Indeed, a section of the Hoffman report contains a section on the research issue, and I will examine it more fully in the near future.

Nevertheless, when it comes to interrogations or psychologists presence at national security detention sites, the APA policy is much more stringent that that passed by APsyA or AMA, and demands that psychologists not even involved in interrogations at sites such as Guantanamo be transferred out. But will DoD listen to that? And if psychologists continue to work in such secret circumstances, how will APA or anyone else know? And what if anything will happen about that? I don't imagine anyone in DoD is losing much sleep over this... yet.

There is also the force of moral suasion, which if not terribly powerful, does play some role in historical circumstances. The leaders of the fight against APA's previous torture policy, and against an APA leadership that worked with government forces to allow torture and abuse of prisoners during interrogation and detention, are to be congratulated. I know from private conversations they are aware that more battles lie ahead. I suggest those battles lie directly with the Obama administration itself, and the leadership of other medical professional and human rights organizations to hold the administration's metaphoric feet to the fire, and end the use of all medical professionals in interrogations and under cruel conditions of confinement at so-called national security detention sites that are known to abuse prisoners, like Guantanamo.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima: "The Atomic Victims as Human Guinea Pigs"

Transcribed below is the entire text of Japanese historian Shingo Shibata's 1996 essay in Seisen Review, "The Atomic Victims as Human Guinea Pigs." I've posted on it before, including a link to a photocopy of the entire essay. The text was transcribed independently by Wikispooks, and the copy I used below is based upon it (with some quiet corrections and formatting changes). (Wikispooks did not transcribe Shibata's Bibliography, but it can be found on pages 11-12 of the online version directly below.)

The medical condition of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors, or Hibakusha, for years was the subject of censorship by the Occupation forces of the U.S. and later Japanese censorship. It is still effectively so, by media and scholarly neglect rather than government order.

The Hibakusha were studied and examined by U.S. doctors and scientists organized as the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), in conjunction with staff from the Japanese National Institute of Health (JNIH)., In the course of their research, medical treatment was withheld from the atomic bomb victims, arguably because it interfered with their research goals.

Researcher Susan Lindee wrote about these topics in her excellent (and out-of-print) 1994 book, Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima (Univ. of Chicago Press). Amazingly, U.S. refusal to offer medical care to the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was because U.S. authorities believed "that medical treatment of the survivors by the ABCC would constitute atonement for the use of atomic weapons."

"From the beginning," a 1955 report to the Atomic Energy Commission stated, US researchers of the effects of the atom bomb on civilians were "not permitted to attempt medical therapy of the patients who had been injured by the two bombs.... to do so would have given confirmation to the anti-American propagandists... [who would] insist that such treatment should be an act of atonement for having used the weapons in the first place." (Lindee, pgs. 134-135.)

The U.S. has never apologized for the use of atomic weapons. Indeed, the policy of the U.S. is to frighten and terrorize the world with its awful arsenal.

One might ask, what did the Japanese Government do to aid the Hibakusha? In his essay, Shingata replies, "I am ashamed to say that the Japanese government did nothing to help the Hibakusha either."

Stop U.S. Plan to Modernize and Replace Nuclear Arsenal

In October 2009, President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in part because of his supposed position in favor of nuclear disarmament. But since then, Obama has moved to increase spending on nuclear weapons, stating the supposed need to modernize weaponry and spent hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize a nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City, Missouri.

New estimates made by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and reported at Al Jazeera America, say U.S. plans to modernize its nuclear arsenal will cost nearly $1 trillion dollars over the next 30 years.

In an August 5 press release by Peace Action, formerly SANE/Freeze, on the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan (August 6th and 9th), Paul Kawika Martin, the policy and political director of Peace Action, and a guest of one of Japan's largest peace groups, Ginsuikin, commented from the official commemoration in Hiroshima:
“Here in Hiroshima, on the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of this city and Nagasaki, we remember the hundreds of thousands of casualties caused by the most basic of nuclear weapon designs and know that we never want another populace to suffer from such a bomb. Even worse, today’s nuclear weapons are several to hundreds of times more destructive.

Clearly, these horrific weapons are no asset to any country. The current U.S. plan to waste $1 trillion over the next thirty years modernizing, maintaining and replacing delivery systems must be stopped.

President Obama should heed his Prague speech and live up to U.S. obligations under the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) by significantly reducing America’s 7,100 nuclear warheads.

Additionally, the agreement reached with Iran will verifiably block it from getting a nuclear weapon, making it paramount that the U.S. Congress support the accord.”
The issues above are amplified and expanded in Professor Shingo Shibata's essay below. I encourage readers to email or tweet or post on Facebook or otherwise send this article far and wide, as an action YOU can take on this, the 70th anniversary of the great crime of the atomic bombings, in the hopes it will aid in stopping atomic weapons from being used again.
The Atomic Victims as Human Guinea Pigs


In connection with the Smithsonian flap, the United States Senate Resolution 257 was passed on 22 September 1994. It reads: "...The role of the Enola Gay during World War II was momentous in helping to bring World War II to a mercy end, which resulted in saving the lives of Americans and Japanese." (emphasis added) Further, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki it was repeatedly contended that President Truman was right when be ordered the use of the atomic bombs because thereby numberless lives of not only American soldiers but also Japanese were saved. But such an argument has been proved groundless by some leading researchers. (Blackett, 1949; Alperovitz, 1965, 1985 and 1995; Tachibana, 1979)

What aim did the U.S. government have in carrying out the atomic bombing?

Firstly, by demonstrating the enormous destructive power of the atomic bomb, it wanted to establish U.S. hegemony over the world after World War II.

Secondly, it aimed to make mass experiments of the uranium bomb on Hiroshima and the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki to test numberless humans as guinea pigs and thereby to obtain data on its effects in order to make use of them for development of nuclear weaponry.

In this paper I am going to demonstrate my conception of the atomic bombing as being human experimentation.


What did U.S. Military Forces do after the Atomic Bombing?

First of all, I would like to examine the post-bombing policy of the U.S. Forces.

The first order of the U.S. Forces immediately after the occupation was to ban all publication of reports concerning the genocide and destruction caused by the atomic bombs. Thus they wanted to monopolize all information on the bombing. Until the end of the occupation on 28 April 1952, Japanese journalists, writers, cameramen, novelists and scientists were prohibited from reporting on the real situations of the atomic destruction. If they dared to do so, they were threatened with trial before the military tribunals of the Occupation Forces. Many books, including novels, poems and accounts of the events, were censored and often confiscated by American authorities. (Braw, 1986; Horiba, 1995a and 1995b) As a result, the urgent necessity to give medical and other social aid to the atomic victims (the “Hibakusha” in Japanese) was not reported even among Japanese.

Their second step was to prohibit all doctors in Japan from communicating and exchanging, even among themselves, the records of clinical experience and research on the Hibakusha. At that time they, especially in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, tried to do their best to find ways to cure the unheard-of terrible burns and internal disorders caused by atomic heat and radiation. The U.S. Forces further confiscated the samples of burnt or keloid skins, internal organs and blood and the clinical records of the dead and living Hibakusha. (Committee, 1981)

Their third step was to force the Japanese government to refuse any medical aid offered by the International Red Cross.

If a laboratory animal were cured, it would be utterly useless from the standpoint of medical scientific observers. Maybe it was by the same reasoning that the U.S. authorities did their utmost to prevent any medical treatment given to the Hibakusha. “As far as medical aid is concerned, the less the better” was their policy.

Their fourth step was to establish the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) as two institutions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the purpose of observing, not curing, of the hibakusha. Thus, almost all Hibakusha have been treated as if they were only human guinea pigs. Suppose that an assailant continues only to observe a wounded victim for many years after an assault. There is no doubt that such observance itself is nothing but an infringement on human rights.

What did the Japanese Government do to aid the Hibakusha?

I am ashamed to say that the Japanese government did nothing to help the Hibakusha either.

Firstly, its bureaucrats did their utmost to cooperate with the above policy of the U.S. Army toward the Hibakusha. Only two months after the atomic bombing they dissolved the governmental hospitals in charge of medical treatment of the Hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, many Hibakusha were left on the streets of the devastated cities without any medical treatment, compounding the many difficult post-war economic and social conditions they had to contend with.

Secondly, by orders of the General Head Quarters (GHQ) of the U.S. Occupation Forces, on 21 May 1947, the Japanese National Institute of Health (JNIH, YOKEN in Japanese abbreviation) was founded with half of the staff of the Institute of Infectious Diseases (IID) attached to the University of Tokyo.

During the period of the Japanese invasion of China from 1931 to 1945, the IID had fully cooperated with the notorious Unit 731, that is, the Army unit for bacteriological warfare. (Williams & Wallace, 1989; Harris, 1994) Most of the staff of the JNIH transferred from the University of Tokyo to the Health and Welfare Ministry were medical scientists who had intimately cooperated with the network of Unit 731 in China and Singapore as well as the Laboratory for Infectious Disease Control (LIDC) attached to the Imperial Army's Medical College. The LIDC in Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, was the headquarters for the network of the bacteriological warfare program and its institutions, including most of the medical schools of many universities.

The officially declared aims of the JNIH were to make research on pathogens and vaccines and also to screen the safety of biological products (vaccines, blood products and antibiotics), and thereby to contribute toward preventive medicine and public health under the control of the GHQ. However, there were two hidden objectives of the JNIH. The first was to cooperate with the ABCC. The second was to continue, under the guidance and control of the U.S. Army 406th Medical Laboratory,[1] some uncompleted studies of biological warfare program as schemed up by Unit 731. (Shibata, 1989 and 1990)

As for the first hidden objective, only 13 days after the establishment of the JNIH the GHQ asked it to help the ABCC. Dr. Saburo Kojima, then the first Vice-Director and later the second Director of the JNIH, in his commemorative essay, “Memories on the Past Ten Years of the JNIH,” looking back on its initial stage of cooperation with the ABCC, wrote, “We, the intelligent scientists had equally thought that we must not miss this golden opportunity” [2] to record the medical effects of the A-bomb on humans. He was reportedly one of the leading medical scientists who committed vivisection on Chinese prisoners as human guinea pigs in the network of Unit 731 in China. [3] As such a scientist, very positively appreciating the proposal of the GHQ, he never showed humanistic sentiments towards the Hibakusha, still less a counter-proposal for medical treatment of them. He only betrayed such cold-blooded and calculating words as is cited above.

It is clearly reported in the 1948 Annual Report of the JNIH how eagerly and positively the staff of the JNIH, following the directive of the ABCC, drafted and submitted the “Atomic Bomb Casualty Research Program" to the GHQ. [4] At that time the JNIH branches were set up in the same rooms of the ABCC buildings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The directors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Branches of the JNIH served the vice-directors of the ABCC in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some of the directors of the ABCC were American high ranking military officers (e.g. colonels). 
The JNIH staff intimately helped and cooperated with the staff of the ABCC as a kind of branch of the U.S. Military Forces to check up on conditions of the Hibakusha, doing follow-up research. The staff of the ABCC-JNIH went around threatening the Hibakusha that they would be on trial before the military tribunal of the U.S. Forces if they would not cooperate. With such threats they took the Hibakusha to the ABCC buildings and took off their clothes to photograph them in the nude, took x-rays, collected blood samples, so they could record the relationship between the quantity of radiation and the after-effects of the atomic bomb. (Hiroshima City Council against A and H Bombs, 1966; Chugoku Shimbun, 1995) 
They did not respect the human dignity of the Hibakusha. They treated them as human guinea pigs and recorded them as “samples.” When the Hibakusha died, the ABCC-JNIH staff put pressure on the bereaved to consent to autopsies, and their inner organs, burnt skins and other parts were dissected and taken away.

In such cold and inhumane sentiments, Dr. Keizo Nakamura, the third Director of the JNIH, proudly wrote that the ABCC could not have attained their objective without the cooperation of the JNIH. [5] The information thus collected about the atomic mass experiment on humans was never made public in Japan. It was secretly reported to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission (later the Department of Energy) and other military institutions to be utilized for the improvement of nuclear weapons and reactors.

The post-war Responsibilities of the Japanese Government and the JNIH in Violation of Human Rights of the Hibakusha

Some may excuse the Japanese government and the JNIH under the pretext that they were only forced by the authoritarian power of the GHQ. But this was not the case, because the positive cooperation of the JNIH with the ABCC continued for 28 years from 1947 through to 1975. In 1975 the ABCC had to reorganize itself, and the JNIH was also forced to divorce itself from the former in the face of increasing denunciation on the part of the Hibakusha and the Japanese people. The ABCC was reorganized and renamed the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), funded by both U.S. and Japanese governments. Of course, their character and tasks are almost the same. Their main operations have been and are the follow—up research on the Hibakusha and the renewed cooperation with U.S. military institutions and the nuclear industry.

Thus the physical sufferings and mental agony of the Hibakusha were and have been aggravated by the post-war policy of the U.S. and Japanese governments toward them.

Of course, the Japanese government is to blame for its aggressive wars against Asian countries and then the first-strike on Pearl Harbor. [6] However, this doesn’t justify the U.S. atomic bombing. The nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should be denounced as the unheard-of cruel genocide and destruction as well as the most serious violation of international law. (NHK, l977: Committee, 1981) The further misery of the Hibakusha has also been aggravated by the nature of the atomic bombing as a massive test on innocent men and women, young and old.

Someone may still try to justify the atomic bombing on the pretext that it saved a number of lives. Even if true, such a pretext could never justify the fact that the U.S. government, supported by the Japanese government, has done so much to leave the Hibakusha abandoned, uncared-for and uncured after the end of the war. If the above pretext had been true, why didn't it do the best to give medical and other social aid to victims produced by an act of “mercy”? Its post-bombing and post-war policies themselves have demonstrated what so-called “mercy” of the atomic bombing was in reality.

For over fifty years since the bombing, both governments have arrogantly continued to treat and alienate the Hihakusha as human guinea pigs. It is evident that such a political attitude itself deprived them of the feeling of human dignity. If the Japanese government had resisted the U.S. government policy of neglecting the Hibakusha and had done their best to provide them with medical and other social aid immediately after the bombing, the life span of the dead Hibakusha would have been much longer. Their will to live would not have diminished.

The Japanese government and the JNIH should feel deeply responsible in this respect. Why don’t the prime ministers and the directors of the JNIH apologize for their negligence toward the Hibakusha? Why don't they try, in this way, to restore the feeling of human dignity which for almost a half century they have denied these people?

As a professor of Hiroshima University, I have for many years been involved in the sociological, philosophical and ethical study of the agony of the Hibakusha. In this chapter as a result of my research, I tried to shed new light on one of the most important, but hitherto overlooked, aspects of the atomic bombing and the sufferings of the Hibakusha.

As explained, there is no doubt that the Japanese government is responsible for its post-war policy of negligence toward the Hibakusha as well as its violation of their human rights. If the government feels responsible for them, there must he no objection to legislation providing state compensation for the Hihakusha.


In the previous chapter I submitted my thesis mainly on the basis of the analysis of the post-bombing and post-war policies of the U.S. government toward Hibakusha, especially the no-treatment policy of the ABCC-JNIH. 
As for the prebombing policy of the U.S. government, I don't think that all the principle characters at that time, including Truman, had a conscious intention to use the A-bombs as a means of experimenting on humans from the military and scientific viewpoints.

However, I am convinced there were surely some leading people who, with the cool eyes of an " experimental observer, "viewed the bombing as an experiment on human beings from the military and scientific points of view.

From the Military Standpoint

I checked the following main documents of the Manhattan Project (MP): 
---- Captain W.R. Parson's memorandum "Notes on Initial Meetings of Target Committee" to Rear Admiral W.R. Purnell (l2/12/1944);
---- Brigadier General L. Norstad’s memorandum to Director, Joint Target Group (28/ 4/45);
---- Dr. J. R. Oppenheimer’s memorandum to Brigadier General T.F. Farrell ( 11/5/45);
---- Major J.A. Derry's and Dr. N.F. Ramsey's memorandum to Major General L.R. Groves (12/5/45);
---- Brigadier General L. Norstad's memorandum "Notes of the Interim Committee" to Commanding General, XXI Bomber Command (29/5/45).

Having examined these documents (Yamagiwa, Tachibana & Okada, 1993), I came to the conclusion that the U.S. Armed Forces deliberately planned not only to use the A-bombs on civilians to make the destruction most effective, but also to gain as much information as possible about the “ effects" of the bombs. I think that my thesis is proved by the very quick organization of the Manhattan survey teams going to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Jones, 1985, pp. 543f.)

I cannot but conclude that the atomic bombings were nothing but a kind of massive experiment on human beings from the military point of view.

From the Standpoint of the Manhattan Scientists

I was shocked to learn about one terrible scheme of Oppenheimer in the Manhattan Project (MP). He had a plan to produce radioactively contaminated foods "sufficient to kill half a million men." (Oppenheimer’s letter to Fermi, 25/5/43 ) Such a plan should surely have needed a series of human experiments.

It seems to me that it was in this atmosphere that a number of scientists, in their studies on the effects of radioactivity on the human body. deliberately injected plutonium into humans, including children, hospital patients, veterans, and other people.

According to an important source (The Albuquerque Tribune and Hirose, 1994), Dr. D. L. Hempelman, a leading scientist in the Health Department, Los Alamos Laboratory, sent a plan for human experiments to Oppenheimer on 29/8/44.

Dr. Stafford Warren, chairman of the Radiology Department at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, who was a consultant to the MP, also proposed a program of experiments to compare the effects of radioactivity on human beings and mice.

In March 1945, medical scientists of the MP had a meeting in Los Alamos to make a program of experiments to inject plutonium into patients hospitalized at the University of Rochester and University of Chicago. In a letter of 29/3/45 Oppenheimer assured Stafford Warren that he would help with his plan of human experiments.

As a result, on 10/4/45 Ebeneezer Cade (HP-12), who was hospitalized in the hospital attached to the MP at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, became the first victim injected with plutonium. It was the first plutonium experiment committed by the MP staff.

On 26/4/45 Arthur B. Hubbard (CHI-1) was injected with plutonium at the hospital attached to the University of Chicago. He died on 3/l0/45. Two other patients were also injected with plutonium.

On 14/5/45 Albert Stevens (CAL-1) was injected with plutonium at the hospital of University of California, San Francisco.

As for plutonium experiments on Americans performed after August 1945, I would be able to add a long list of many who were made human guinea pigs, including several hundred thousand "atomic soldiers." (Rosenberg, 1980) 
It is noteworthy that the leading scientists of the MP systematically committed the crime of human experiments even during the pre-bombing period. They sacrificed many fellow Americans as human guinea pigs.

It seems therefore that it would be reasonable for us to assume that these MP scientists also observed “Japs" in atom-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki as human guinea pigs from their scientific point of view.

It was also interesting and not accidental that Dr. Warren, one of the pioneering scientists of human experiments in the MP, was one of two leading American scientists who later strongly recommended the establishment of the ABCC. Another person who also recommended setting up the ABCC was Dr. Shields Warren. The two Warrens were not related by family. (Lindee, 1994)

In the Light of other Facts

I submitted my conception of the atom bombings as human experiments in the light of the pre- and post-bombing policies of the United States government and the MP scientists toward Americans and Hibakusha. Their post-bombing policies toward the latter were assisted by the Japanese government as well, especially the JNIH.

I appreciate Lindee’s description of the inferiority of the JNIH very much. I think that she accurately describes the no-treatment policy of the ABCC-JNIH. I have to stress the fact that the U.S. government, assisted by the Japanese government, not only applied its no-treatment policy to Hibakusha, but also did their utmost to obstruct Hibakusha from receiving care as proved.

Why? In my opinion it can be explained only when we look at the bombings as human experiments. I would like to reinforce my argument by submitting some additional facts.

1. In the light of the above mentioned mentality and morals of some leading American scientists in the period of the pre-bombing, it seems that it was natural for them to see the bombing as such. In this context, the opinion of J.B. Koepfli, scientific advisor to the State Department, deserves to be cited. He wrote the following in a letter to Shield Warren, Director, Division of Biology and Medicine, AEC on 1/6/51:

"The atomic bomb casualty areas in Japan constitute an unparalleled natural laboratory and a unique opportunity particularly for pursuing certain long phases of the studies." (emphasis added). [7]

It seems to me that such an opinion represented a common understanding among most of the MP and ABCC-JNIH scientists.

2. According to a 5/2/93 story from the Kyodo News Agency at Los Angeles the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were described as "experiments" or "tests" in the official records of the nuclear tests issued by the Nevada Office, Department of Energy (DOE).

Every year since the beginning of the 1980s, the revised version of these records, supplemented with the record of new tests, has been published for the mass media and researchers by this Nevada office. Since the first version, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have been recorded as the second and third "tests," following the first one at Alamogordo, New Mexico. The bombings have been counted as the second and third as a part of the subsequent test series that included the blasts on the Bikini Atoll, the Nevada site and others from 1945 through to the 1990s.

These facts were reported on 7/2/93 in a major article in the Ciwgoku Shimbun. This is an influential local newspaper with a circulation of 700,000 in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is important to recognize that even the Nevada Office, DOE, understood the bombings to be "tests."


Someone might disagree with me because I might have committed a mistake of confusing post-bombing curiosity about the A-bombs’ effects with pre-bombing motives. But I think that I have reconsidered and proved my thesis on the basis of the analysis of not only the post-bombing but also the pre-bombing policies of the U.S. government.

In connection with the above critical comment, I would like to cite my concept of history:

“What is history? History is a process in which, when the past is looked back on, the implication of the past becomes the present, and its historic significance is revealed. History is also a process in which the implication of the past is re-examined and re-written from the standpoint of the present, thereby making clearer the truth about the past, in which process the historic conception of both past and present is changed. This can be said about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the ‘damage’ of those events. The historic implication of this is found in the fact that its truth has been revealed in the process of history." (Shibata, 1982)

I applied this concept of history to the bombings and argued one of the motives of their being carried out was human experimentation.

ln this context, it is further noteworthy that Professor S. Harris submitted an important thesis toward the critique of all kinds of human experimentation in our age. [8] I would say the implication of my concept of the bombings might well be interpreted and understood in the light of his thesis. lt is also ironical that the ABCC was assisted by the JNIH as one of the heirs of the tradition of the medical scientists who committed experiments on humans in the Japanese biological warfare program. Their crimes were covered-up by the American Forces. I fully agree with Professor Susan Lindee, when she characterizes the ABCC and the JNIH as the "colonial science." (Lindee, 1994. Chapter Two)

Not only Japanese but also Americans, including soldiers who were affected by the atomic blast, were treated as guinea pigs. (Sternglass, 1972; Rosenberg. l9B0; Freeman, 1981; Saffer & Kelly, 1982; Wasserman, et al, 1982; Haruna, 1985; Lifton & Mitchell. 1995)

A pioneering American, Hermann Hagedorn had an admirable insight into the atomic bombing i.r1 his poem. (l-lagedorn, 1946) He pointed out that the bombs were dropped not only on Japanese but also on Americans. Another pioneering American philosopher. John Somerville coined the word “ omnicide. " According to him. a nuclear war is no longer a kind of war, but an "omnicide." (Somerville, 1980) This was already proved by the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The victims of nuclear destruction are humanity as a whole, including the so-called enemy as well as friends and allies.

It is in this context that Albert Einstein warned us, "If mankind is to survive, then we need a completely new way of thinking." I hope that those who have tried to justify the Truman argument and supported the Senate Resolution 257 cited at the beginning of this paper will listen to Einstein and reconsider the implication of the nuclear age from the new way of thinking.


1. The US. Army 406th Medical Laboratory was to be a research unit for preparation of biological warfare in Asia. lt was set up in Yokohama and then in Tokyo immediately after the beginning of the occupation. Later it moved to Sagamihara City near Tokyo and existed there until around 1965. I have no space here to deal with the second hidden aim. 
2. The 1956 Annual Report of the NIH, Tokyo. 1957. p. 30, emphasis added, in Japanese. 
3. See the documentary report entitled "The Unit [or Bacteriological Warfare still Exists," Monthly Shinsu (Truth), N0, 40, April 1959. in Japanese; Williams, P. & Wallace, D. 1989, p. 238. 
4. The 1948 Annual Report of the NIH, Tokyo. 1949. pp. 58-61, in Japanese. 
5. NIH and ABCC, 20 Years of the ABCC, Tokyo, 1966, p. 1, in Japanese. 
6. When we Japanese declare, “No More Hiroshimas!”, Americans very often reply, "Remember Pearl Harbour”. We completely understand and support Americans when they do so. ln fact, Americans and Japanese have to remember Pearl Harbor forever, firstly because those who committed the war crimes in the invaded Asian and Pacific countries including Pearl Harbor have not always been punished, secondly because the bombing of Pearl Harbor was nothing but the first-strike. Nevertheless, it is the U.S. government that has continued to support these Japanese war criminals including Shiro Ishii, the Commander of the infamous Unit 731 and Nobusuke Kishi who was one of the then ministers of the Tojo government. Ishii was later hired and Kishi supported by the U.S. government. It is also strange to see that the U.S. government still sticks to the first-strike policy in a possible nuclear war. Isn't it another Pearl Harbor in a nuclear war, more correctly a global nuclear omnicide? 
7. I am grateful to Mr. Kazuo Yabui, a reporter of the Chugoku Shimbun, who kindly provided me with a copy of this letter. 
8. His thesis deserves to be cited: "Most distressing is the tact that the ultimate disclosures in the mid to late l940s of Japanese biological warfare human experimentation did not appall those individuals who were apprised of these criminal acts. Instead, the disclosures whetted the appetites of scientists and military planners among both the victors and the vanquished. Rather than being motivated to abandon such actions, research using involuntary or uninformed subjects has proliferated over the past fifty years. Scientists in the United States alone conducted at least several hundred tests with human subjects who were not informed of the nature of the experiments, or of the danger to their health." (Harris, 1995, p. x) 
 [The Bibliography goes here in the document. See link to original or embedded version above.] 
Postscript and Acknowledgment

The original version of the chapter I of this paper was written in 1994. A condensed text of it was published in Japanese in the Evening edition of the Mainichi Shimbun, 6/9/1994. Its condensed but longer text in English in the Mairtichi Daily News, 11/11/1994.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1995. I had an opportunity to meet Dr. Klaus Gottstein, Emeritus Professor at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, and gave him a copy of the paper for his comment. He kindly paid much attention to my paper and sent it to Professor Barton Bernstein at Stanford University, Stanford, California, and asked him to make a comment on it. The kind comments of Professors Gottstein and Bernstein, scientists of international repute, meant a great deal and honor to me. It motivated me to reconsider my thesis and to write a long letter to reinforce my argument as a reply to them. This letter was rewritten and incorporated as Chapter II of this paper. This text is a new enlarged one with added references. I am grateful to both of them for their warm and sincere comments.

I am also grateful to Professor Seiitsu Tachibane, Dr. David Tharp and Mr. David Jordan for their kind and informative suggestions.

When I almost completed this paper for the Seisen Review, Dr Rosalie Bertell, the editor of the International Perspectives in Public Health, Toronto, kindly told me that she would like to print its original text in this journal. It is a great honor to me. However. needless to say, I don’t like to see the old text published in any journal. In this context I asked her to print this new text in her journal as well. I hope the readers of the Seisen Review kindly understand the present paper would soon be printed in the International Perspectives in Public Health, too.

Communication to the author should be addressed : 1-18-6 Toyame, Shinjuku-ku, Toyko 162....
I would add that this copy of Dr. Shingata's essay is reproduced as a public service and under fair use criteria. No money is, has, or will be received for this publication, which is published here to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Additional reading:
"Japanese Biomedical Experimentation During the World-War-II Era" by Sheldon Harris, Ch. 16 of Military Medical Ethics, Vol. 2

"The Pentagon and the Japanese Mengele: The Abominable Dr. Ishii" by Christopher Reed, published at Counterpunch, May 27, 2006

Commission and Omission of History in Occupied Japan (1945-1949) by Stephen Buono, Journal of History, SUNY Binghamton, no date (Accessed 12/8/2012)

Promoting Health in American-Occupied Japan: Resistance to Allied Public Health Measures, 1945-1952 by Sey Nishimura, PhD (see especially the section, ""Suppression of Reports on Medical Effects of Atomic Bombs")

The Atomic Bomb Suppressed: American Censorship in Japan, 1945-1948, by Monica Braw

"Medical Censorship in Occupied Japan, 1945-1948" by Sey Nishimura, Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 1-21.

Commission and Omission of History in Occupied Japan (1945-1949) by Stephen Buono, Binghamton University website

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