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Operation Big Buzz

print ad for Warren paper from PMNL magazine, 1965


“An article published in 1999 details several experiments conducted by the United States to perfect yellow fever as a weapon: Operations Bellwether, Big Buzz, Magic Sword, and Big Itch. Some were conducted by a military contractor, Lewis P. Gebhardt, then the head of the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Utah, and by the Chemical Corps. In two field trials conducted in 1959, known as Project Bellwether, ten men were “placed equidistantly around the perimeter of one circle” and “100 insect vectors were released.” The study concluded that wind speed was the most important factor affecting mosquito biting activity. It also demonstrated that the “overall outdoor biting activity for the mosquito was estimated to be some 40 bites per hundred mosquitoes in the time period studied.” from Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, and William Broad


Who would ‘volunteer’ for this kind of experiment? Seventh-Day Adventists? Yep. According to the book, they are conscientious objectors who refuse to bear arms, since their religion forbids them from killing. i.e. Don’t kill. But they did agree to participate as subjects in biological weapons experiments in the fifties. (Great negotiating, that.) In one test, a group of men stood a half-mile downwind from spray hoses that were releasing the “Q-fever” into the air. The men were told to “breathe normally.” It worked! They got sick. In another experiment, the men sucked on rubber hoses filled with “germ mist.” Oh come on, it was only the flu.

Proof: we need protection from our good ideas. Proof: impossible.

 

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