A Guantanamo Connection? Documents Show CIA Stockpiled Antimalaria Drugs as “Incapacitating Agents”
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout
A Truthout analysis of historical records concerning government research and nonmedical use of antimalarial medications has revealed that such drugs were the objects of experimental research under the CIA’s MKULTRA program. Even more, one of these drugs, cinchonine, was illegally stockpiled by the CIA as an “incapacitating agent.”
Antimalarial drugs were studied as part of the CIA’s mind control program MKULTRA. Cinchonine, an antimalarial drug derived from chichona bark, was one of the drugs used by the operational components of MKULTRA, code-named MKNAOMI and MKDELTA. The CIA worked with researchers for the Army’s Special Operations Division, a secret component of the US Army Chemical Corps based at Fort Detrick, to develop delivery systems for the drugs.
Revelations concerning CIA interest in use of antimalarial drugs would be of historical interest, as it has never been written about before. But such interest gains contemporary significance in the light of actions taken by the Department of Defense (DoD) in the “war on terror,” and the fact that a key DoD expert on antimalarial drugs was a psychiatrist involved in training personnel for Guantanamo interrogations.
In January 2002, the DoD deliberately decided that all incoming detainees at Guantanamo would be given a full treatment dose of the controversial antimalarial drug mefloquine, also known as Lariam. The purpose was supposedly to control for a possible malaria outbreak, in deference to concerns from Cuban officials.
But specialists in malaria prevention have said they have never heard of such presumptive treatment for malaria by mefloquine in this type of situation. Furthermore, a summary of antimalarial measures at Guantanamo given to Army and Center for Disease Control (CDC) medical officials at a February 19, 2002, meeting of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board failed to describe the mefloquine procedure approved a month earlier.
Was mefloquine used at Guantanamo to help produce a state of “learned helplessness” in detainees? Were experiments conducted on adverse side effects of mefloquine on the prisoners held there?