Army’s secret Cold War experiments – radioactive particles, social autism

September 27, 2012 Comments Off on Army’s secret Cold War experiments – radioactive particles, social autism

I-Team: The Army’s secret Cold War experiments on St. Louisans
Sep 25, 2012

By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) – Lisa Martino-Taylor is a sociologist whose life’s work has been to uncover details of the Army’s ultra-secret military experiments carried out in St. Louis and other cities during the 1950s and 60s.

She will make her research public Tuesday, but she spoke first to the I-Team’s Leisa Zigman.

The I-Team independently verified that the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide did take place in St. Louis on thousands of unsuspecting citizens. What is unclear is whether the Army added a radioactive material to the compound as Martino-Taylor’s research implies.

“The study was secretive for reason. They didn’t have volunteers stepping up and saying yeah, I’ll breathe zinc cadmium sulfide with radioactive particles,” said Martino-Taylor.

Army archive pictures show how the tests were done in Corpus Christi, Texas in the 1960s. In Texas, planes were used to drop the chemical. But in St. Louis, the Army placed chemical sprayers on buildings and station wagons.

Documents confirmed that city officials were kept in the dark about the tests. The Cold War cover story was that the Army was testing smoke screens to protect cities from a Russian attack. The truth, according to Martino-Taylor was much more sinister….

By making hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests, she uncovered once-classified documents that confirm the spraying of zinc cadmium sulfide.

Martino-Taylor says the greatest concentration was centered on the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, just northwest of downtown St. Louis in the Carr Square neighborhood. It was home to 10,000 low income people. An estimated 70 percent she says were children under the age of 12….

Documents released in the 90s showed the Army placed sprayers on a former Knights of Columbus building on Lindell and in Forest Park. The Army always insisted the chemical compound was safe. Martino-Taylor believes documents prove otherwise.

“There is a lot of evidence that shows people in St. Louis and the city, in particular minority communities, were subjected to military testing that was connected to a larger radiological weapons testing project,” she said.

For the first time, she links the St. Louis testing to a company called US Radium, a company notorious for lawsuits involving radioactive contamination of its workers.

“US radium had this reputation where they had been found legally liable for producing a radioactive powdered paint that killed many young women who painted fluorescent watch tiles,” said Martino-Taylor.

The Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, research on the health effects of radioactive materials, and tests on vulnerable populations without consent in St. Louis, 1945–1970
by Martino-Taylor, Lisa, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – COLUMBIA, 2011, 838 pages; 3515886


This piece analyzes a covert Manhattan Project spin-off organization referred to here as the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition, and an obscure aerosol study in St. Louis, Missouri, conducted under contract by the U.S. military from 1953–1954, and 1963–1965. The military-sponsored studies targeted a segregated, high-density urban area, where low-income persons of color predominantly resided. Examination of the Manhattan-Rochester Coalition and the St. Louis aerosol studies, reveal their connections to each other, and to a much larger military project that secretly tested humans, both alive and deceased, in an effort to understand the effects of weaponized radiation.


A Dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri-Columbia

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy

by LISA MARTINO-TAYLOR Dr. Clarence Y.H. Lo, Dissertation Supervisor DECEMBER 2011

….I look first at my original concept of ethical autism, defined here as the purposeful reduction or blockage of information inside an organization or group, intending to 1) distort the perceptions of insiders to ensure compliance and advancement of the organizational goals 2) minimize the awareness of collective illegal and/or unethical activity of the organization, 3) create a false sense of security to members within the organization from outside threats due to illegal or unethical activity, 4) to stifle opposition, critical analysis, and ensure conformity to the organizational goals. Ethical
autism ensures that the significance of harmful organizational actions will be
underestimated by an internal audience; the control of information in this case study was essential to generating ethical autism.

I next propose the original concept of social autism to explain how organizations can successfully, systematically, and purposefully impede meaningful information flow to an external audience, in order to manipulate public opinion, impede public debate and dialogue, and to ensure that the significance of harmful organizational actions will be unknown to or underestimated by an external audience. Three specific mechanisms (snipping, spinning, and blizzarding), explained herein, are used towards this end. Snipping and blizzarding are original concepts, and unique to the literature. The three mechanisms (along with stonewalling) are used to regulate information outflow in an effort to obfuscate, downplay, or deny damaging organizational information to various internal and external parties. The purposeful and strategic utilization of these mechanisms thereby create internal effects (ethical autism) and external effects (social
autism) on various audiences, whereby insiders and outsiders are deceived as to potential dangers or harmful acts, and whereby full and open debate is strategically suppressed.

In  this way, we can explain how “ethical lapses” might occur inside large organizations or coalitions that employ hundreds or thousands of individuals who move in and out of the organization over extended periods of time, such as during the five decades of state sponsored human subject testing in the United States. Through strategic use of these mechanisms, organizational leaders can control opposition, resistance, and debate both inside and outside the organization, in an effort to advance uninterrupted, organizational goals. Thusly, as the control of information is essential to generating ethical autism internally, the control of information is also essential to generating social autism in the external community.

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