CIA Cover-Up Suit Over Scientist’s Fatal LSD Fall Dismissed (1) (2013)
December 15, 2014
A lawsuit accusing Central Intelligence Agency employees of murdering military scientist Frank Olson in 1953 after he raised concerns about testing chemical and biological weapons on people without their consent was dismissed.
The suit, brought by Olson’s family in federal court in Washington, was filed too late and is barred under an earlier settlement, a judge ruled today. Eric and Nils Olson alleged their father, who the CIA admitted was given LSD a few days before his death, didn’t jump from a 13th floor window of the Statler Hotel in New York, but rather was pushed.
“While the court must limit its analysis to the four corners of the complaint, the skeptical reader may wish to know that the public record supports many of the allegations that follow, farfetched as they may sound,” U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said in the ruling.
Olson’s family has tried to piece together the circumstances surrounding Frank Olson’s death ever since a 1975 government report on CIA activities in the U.S. said he committed suicide after being given LSD without his knowledge. They claim the agency has covered up the cause of their father’s death for almost six decades.
In 1976, the Olsons threatened to sue the government unless they received answers and a financial settlement, according to the complaint.
Their lawsuit, filed Nov. 28, included one claim of negligent supervision by the agency. Each member of Olson’s family was paid $187,500 as part of a settlement, according the complaint.
Scott Gilbert, a lawyer for the Olson family at Gilbert LLP in Washington, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail message seeking comment on the decision.
The case is Olson v. U.S., 12-cv-01924, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
By Tom Schoenberg July 17, 2013
Find this story at 17 July 2013
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CIA Wants Out of ‘Human Guinea Pig’ Case (2011)
December 15, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – The CIA asked a federal judge to dismiss it from a case in which U.S. veterans claim the government used them as human guinea pigs in Cold War-era drug experiments. The CIA claims veterans can’t sue the it because they cannot prove they took “secrecy oaths.”
Vietnam Veterans of America filed a class action against the Army and CIA in 2009, claiming that at least 7,800 soldiers had been used as guinea pigs in “Project Paperclip.”
Soldiers were administered at least 250 and as many as 400 types of drugs, among them Sarin, one of the most deadly drugs known, amphetamines, barbiturates, mustard gas, phosgene gas and LSD.
Using tactics it often attributed to the Soviet enemy, the U.S. government sought drugs to control human behavior, cause confusion, promote weakness or temporary loss of hearing and vision, induce hypnosis and enhance a person’s ability to withstand torture.
The veterans say that some soldiers died, and others suffered seizures and paranoia.
The CIA sought summary judgment and dismissal, claiming the Vietnam Veterans’ remaining claim on the validity of “secrecy oaths” had no merit.
The agency claimed the veterans “have not identified any service member who purportedly had such an oath with the CIA” and do not have “specific facts to support this claim at the time they filed their complaint (or at the present time).” (Parentheses in original.)
“This record makes clear that plaintiffs have never seriously pursued their ‘secrecy oath’ claim against the CIA,” Justice Department attorney Kimberly Herb wrote for the CIA. “Due to the absence of allegations concerning the CIA with regard to this sole remaining claim and plaintiffs’ own admissions that they do not have specific facts to support it, the CIA has repeatedly asked plaintiffs to voluntarily withdraw the claim.”
Herb added: “With regard to the seven individual plaintiffs, the Third Amended Complaint devotes over eighty paragraphs to their individual claims, but not once does it ever allege that one of them has or had a secrecy oath with the CIA. …
“The only other allegations in the Third Amended Complaint regarding the nature of the secrecy oaths allegedly administered to test participants not only fail to mention the CIA, but also make clear that plaintiffs are alleging that [the Department of Defense] was responsible for the administration of such oaths.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story erroneously reported that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken had granted the CIA’s request. Actually, Judge Wilken had not ruled; the reporter read the CIA’s proposed order as a judicial order. Here is the veterans’ response to the CIA’s proposed order, which the veterans filed on Aug. 11. Courthouse News regrets the error.)
By NICK MCCANN
Find this story at 1 August 2011