s c r i b b l e r
what we have here is a failure to communicate...

Contact Brian Lamb

'I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty.' -- Herman Melville, Moby Dick


Tuesday, September 18, 2001  

Obviously, I haven't updated this weblog in quite a while. I procrastinated a bit, and had begun a short piece on Joseph Mitchell which I was planning last week to post Tuesday or Wednesday. Since then, in Martin Amis's words, the 'temperature of planetary fear has been lifted towards the feverish' and working on Scribbler has felt a bit absurd. And this weblog isn't meant to function as a political forum. I've decided to launch a second weblog, at http://blowback.blogspot.com which will be an unabashedly biased and political page, linking to stories chronicling whatever hellish path we are apparently marching down...

I may continue to post general interest pieces here again soon, but for now my heart's not in it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001  

In terms of sheer inhumanity it may not rate with the Tuskegee syphillis experiments, nor does it attain the whacked out hallucinatory heights of the CIA's M.K. Ultra project, but the recent revelations concerning 'Project Sunshine' place its atomic scientists in the same kooky spook firmament, sporting a morbid distinction all their own...

Britain snatched babies' bodies for nuclear labs
Eddie Goncalves
London Observer June 3, 2001

An investigation into the 'body snatching' programme - codenamed Project Sunshine - ordered by former President Bill Clinton, was scathing: 'Researchers employed deception in the solicitation of bones of deceased babies from intermediaries with access to human remains.'

Among the documents obtained by The Observer is the transcript of a secret meeting in Washington of Project Sunshine's keenest minds. They show that Willard Libby, a renowned scientist who later won the Nobel prize for his research into carbon dating techniques, instructed colleagues to skirt the law in their search for bodies.

'Human samples are of prime importance, and if anybody knows how to do a good job of body-snatching, they will really be serving their country,' Libby said. 'We hired an expensive law firm to look up the law on body-snatching. It is not very encouraging. It shows how very difficult it is going to be to do it legally.'

The September 2001 issue of Harper's prints additional excerpts from the Sunshine Boys' meeting referred to in the piece. In this transcript, snatcher supervisor Dr. Laurence Kulp discusses the locations of the finest meat markets...

. . . we have the channels in these places where we are getting everything.  We have three or four other leads where we could get complete age range samples from different other geographic localities.  These three are Vancouver, Houston, and New York.  We could easily get them from Puerto Rico and other places.  We can get virtually everyone that dies in this range.

Meeting description and partial transcript.

Did he say Vancouver? Reading that triggered my unflagging sense of community pride, sending me scurrying to the search engines, turning up...

Vancouver doctor linked to U.S. body-parts testing
Don Harrison
Vancouver Province June 6, 2001

Customarily, when one reads these tales of covert ops and shady science they tend to occur someplace else, in some military factory town or compliant Central American dictatorship. With Project Sunshine, British Columbians may at last claim involvement in an atrocious boondoggle of the highest order. (Local readers are asked to keep Fast Ferry and Canucks jokes to themselves.)

In June of 1995 Vancouver newspapers published stories that were factually almost identical to The Province's piece. The Vancouver Sun interviewed Dr. Kulp, at that time living in Seattle and a professor at the University of Washington. 'There was nothing secret about Project Sunshine. There was no conspiracy, nothing was done illegally,' he said. Defending the project, Kulp argued that it 'was a truly global environmental study that helped convince policy makers to bring about an atmospheric nuclear test ban.'

On February 26th, 1996, CBC's The National reported that contrary to Dr. Kulp's claims there was 'no evidence that next of kin ever gave consent or even knew that bits of their loved ones had gone missing.'

Since the flurry of attention that accompanied the most recent release of documents, the story has once again disappeared from the pages of the local and international press, leaving questions unanswered. Has anything more been learned about the mysterious pathologist Dr. W.B. Leach? And what has become of the Vancouver General Hospital's investigation? Possibly this story is a relic of a distant Cold War era, and citizens can rest comfortably knowing that abuses like Project Sunshine could never occur in today's age of ethical excellence. Not to quibble, but the British Medical Journal in its 1996 piece on the U.S. investigation into Sunshine (which also revealed that living patients were injected with radioactive isotopes without their knowledge as late as 1973), reported 'that under current federal regulations, human research can still be performed in secret, and that in some circumstances informed consent can be waived. Moreover, governmental policies still allow the intentional atmospheric release of biological and radioactive contaminants.'

Perhaps this is a case for the intrepid Scribbler. Barring the intervention of the military-industrial complex or a flare-up of Chronic Procrastination Syndrome, an update is pending...

More Links:
National Security Archive
Official roadmap to the project
Fallout data collection report from the Presidential Advisory Committee
Alexander Cockburn's brief take on the subject

style & usage
some writers