A new report from a public-interest organization is raising suspicion that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, suspected of an Afghan massacre that left 17 civilians dead, may have been given a drug for malaria that has been linked to hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, anxiety, mental disorder and delusions.

The report comes from Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government misbehavior in many forums.

“Was Staff Sgt. Robery Bales administered the drug?” questions its new report on the anti-malarial drug melfoquine.

Judicial Watch said it has uncovered records that detail more than 2,000 “episodes” over the past 15 years from people who had “serious adverse reactions” caused by mefloquine hydrochloride.

“Of 87 reported deaths associated with the drug, 39 were recorded as suicides and 12 were homicides,” the organization report.

The documents, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, included details from the agency’s Adverse Event Report System and covered situations that developed after Nov. 4, 1997.

“The specific reactions to the drug … [included] hallucinations, panic attacks, depression, paranoia, anxiety, confusion, mental disorder, delusion, hemorrhaging, and numerous other serious disorders,” the report said.

“Long known for its severe neurological side effects, mefloquine was supposedly removed as the drug of choice in the treatment of malaria by the Department of Defense (DOD). In a September 2009 policy memorandum, the Defense Department stated that mefloquine was to be prescribed only in limited cases where other drugs, such as doxycycline and mallarone, were considered unlikely to be effective,” Judicial Watch explained.

“Mefloquine was specifically prohibited in the treatment of patients with head injuries, and in particular, a TBI (traumatic brain injury). It is also contraindicated for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The organization said even so, the records show that melfoquine still is prescribed and used in the military, even though at a slightly lower level that in earlier years.

“In the field, medics apparently do not necessarily need to follow such policy recommendations by the U.S. Army and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM),” the report said.

Regarding the Bales case, Judicial Watch reported, “Questions have been raised as to whether or not Staff Sgt. Robert Bales was given the drug prior to his allegedly attacking and murdering 17 Afghan civilians during the night of March 11, 2012.

“To date, the DOD has neither confirmed nor denied that Sgt. Bates took mefloquine, citing medical privacy concerns. His attorney, John Henry Browne, told CNN that he ‘would not be surprised’ if Bales took it,” the group reported.

The investigation confirmed Bales reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2010, and if that report is accurate, Defense Department practice would have been to ban him from having the drug.

“Obviously, the Department of Defense has been lax in policing the use of this dangerous drug in the treatment of service men and women,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Given the seriousness of the side effects documented in these reports, the Pentagon should quickly considering halting the drug’s distribution to our troops.”

Should the facts ultimately reveal that the drug was mishandled by the U.S. government, it would not be the first time such a situation has developed.

In fact, author H.P. Albarelli Jr. over the years has detailed in a number of WND reports situations where the federal government actually handed out various drugs to unsuspecting subjects in order to study their effects.

Albarelli later wrote about the issues in “A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments.”

That investigative project paints a vivid portrait, drawn from CIA documents, about the secret biochemical experiments over the years.

Among the “CIA-sponsored mind control” and other projects outlined were Artichoke Project, MK/ULTRA, MK/NAOMI, MK/DECOY and QK/HILLTOP.

The author wrote, “Many of these Cold War programs served as the basis and templates for those controversial rendition and interrogation techniques employed by the Army and CIA today.”

According to the New York Times, Michelle Caddell, 48, who had known Bales for years before he entered the military, said, “Something horrible, horrible had to happen to him,” because the person accused of the murders was “not our Bobby.”

The report documented how Bales lost part of a foot and injured his head, saw other soldiers hurt, picked up the bodies of dead Iraqis and sustained a mild traumatic brain injury in his prior deployments.

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