have been given compensation after they were given LSD without their
consent in the 1950s.
The men volunteered
to be "guinea pigs" at the government research base Porton
Down after being told scientists wanted to find a cure for the
But they were given the hallucinogen in mind control tests, and some
volunteers had terrifying hallucinations.
The Foreign Office
said the secret intelligence body MI6 had made the settlements after
The out-of-court settlements are thought to be under £10,000 for
each of the men.
A spokesman for the
Foreign Office, which oversees MI6, said: "The settlement
offers were made to the government on behalf of the three claimants
which, on legal advice, and in the particular circumstances of these
cases, the government thinks it appropriate to accept."
The men had
volunteered for experiments at the government's chemical warfare
research base at Porton Down in Wiltshire in 1953 and 1954.
settlement, Don Webb, who was a 19-year-old airman at the time, told
BBC Radio 4's Today program: "I think they grudgingly
acknowledged that they did something wrong.
"They stick to
the old maxim: never apologize, never explain. But I think in this
case they have decided to pay some money. I think that is as near to
an apology or an explanation I'll get."
Both he and fellow
serviceman Logan Marr, a former shepherd from the Scottish
highlands, suffered hallucinations after they were asked to drink a
The third man did
not wish to be named.
The research was
carried out after British and American governments thought the
had developed a "truth drug"
which could compel spies and servicemen to yield up important
decided to test LSD, the closest thing they thought they had to a
truth drug, on volunteers to see how they reacted.
Alan Care, a lawyer
who represented the three men, said: "As far as we are aware,
these are the first settlements by the secret intelligence services
for a personal injury action."
He added that a request that documents relating to the case be put
into the public domain had been refused.
Some volunteers at
the base did not find out they had been given LSD until 50 years
later. Thousands of servicemen and women have volunteered in the
testing of defenses against chemical and biological attacks at the
Wiltshire military base.
Research began in
1916 using a "volunteer’s program", and up to 20,000
people took part in various trials in the 50 years up to 1989.
Last October, the
government was found guilty of breaching the human rights of former
soldier Thomas Roche, who claimed he developed health problems as a
result of mustard gas and nerve agent tests in 1962 and 1963.