HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. executions

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friedrichjansson
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HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. executions

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:14 am)

In conjunction with the thread wanted: testimonies on the duration of Auschwitz gassings, let's gather information on American gas chamber executions.

The following pieces of information are of interest:

1. How long did the executions take? (time to death)
2. For how long did the prisoner being executed engage in voluntary motion? For how long did he make noise? For how long did he convulse? How long did his respiration last?
3. What concentration of HCN was used?
4. How rapidly did the HCN concentration reach its maximum? I have always heard the reaction (NaCN or KCN with H2SO4) producing the HCN in American execution gas chambers described as instantaneous, taking a few seconds at most, but I have never seen a careful analysis of this.

The main critique of revisionist use of data from US gas chamber executions is Richard Green's affidavit. His arguments (against Germar Rudolf) pertaining to the US gas chamber execution data are as follows:

Rudolf's minimum estimate is a worst case scenario; it makes several assumptions:
1) that his 10-13 minute average for death in US gas chambers is accurate. As shown above, some deaths did indeed take this long, but it is hard to justify as an average time.
2) that eyewitnesses to the gassings in Auschwitz would report full legal death rather than unconsciousness and cessation of movement. [the point Green is trying to make is that witness who report that everyone was dead after three minutes would not have been in a position to verify death, but merely silence and immobility; therefore he questions the comparison of the duration of execution gassings with Auschwitz gassings]
[...]
6) that 0.3-1% is an accurate claim of the concentrations used in gas chambers in the US.
7) that one should use 1% rather than 0.3%


In general, he doesn't try to determine the truth, but just complains that Rudolf didn't give enough sources. So: let's give him some more.



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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:55 am)

Rudolf cites two examples of lengthy gas chamber executions: David Lawson and Walter LaGrand

David Lawson, sentenced to death for a capital felony, was scheduled to be killed by hydrogen cyanide in the gas chamber located in the state prison of Raleigh, North Carolina – but the prisoner refused to assist his executioners.2 Lawson repeatedly held his breath for as long as possible and took only short breaths in between.3 Lawson exhibited enormous willpower, calling out to both executioners and witnesses throughout his execution: “I am human.”
At first his cry was clearly audible, but as the minutes went by he became less and less understandable and finally, more than ten minutes into the execution, there was just a mutter. He was declared dead only after eighteen minutes.

Walter LaGrand was executed in the state prison at Florence, Arizona. LaGrand’s death struggle against lethal cyanide gas lasted eighteen minutes. Thirty witnesses peered through a bulletproof window as the confessed, convicted murderer died horribly behind an armor-reinforced door.


Here are some news sources for Lawson:
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/16/us/ki ... quest.html five minutes of screaming
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 06,3019145 screams; gasped for seven minutes before becoming still
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1 ... 95,2263102 five minutes of screaming, stopped moving at 2:14, pronounced dead four minutes later. (this is the most detailed story I've seen)

If the last article above is correct, and 18 minutes is correct, then he continued moving for 14 minutes. On the other hand, this site says he was pronounced dead at 2:19, after 18 minutes, which would mean that he continued moving for 13 minutes.

Here are some references for LaGrand. They don't give many details, but claim that immobility (aside from a couple of twitches) set in after a few minutes.
http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue2/1999/0 ... es-to-die/
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=9 ... 496,208646
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-31754.html

The articles also mention the execution of Donald Eugene Harding as taking 11 minutes.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:20 pm)

The book The Last Gasp by Scott Christianson contains this account of David Lawson's execution:

At 2 A.M. on June 15, 1994, David Lawson was brought into the gas chamber wearing only white boxer
shorts, a diaper, and socks. The hair on his legs and head had been shorn. When he was strapped into the
large wooden chair, the guards proceeded to bind his face with a leather mask that covered his eyes. It had
a large hole for his nose and small holes over his mouth, but it left his forehead bare. The mask also
attached his head to the chair. Lawson began yelling as his executioners covered his face. His words
weren’t clear through the double-paned windows of the death chamber, but he seemed to be shouting, “I’m
human, I’m human!” as the airtight door to the room was clamped shut. He continued screaming as the fog
of gas rose about him. Many of the witnesses were horrified.
“After about three or four minutes,” one witness said, “he was unable to say the full sentence, ‘I am
human,’ but was still crying out the word ‘Human!’ about every twenty seconds. He did this for another two to
three minutes. Finally, he couldn’t say even part of the word, but he continued to grunt about every twenty
seconds for another minute or minute and a half. His body continued to quiver for another minute or so, then
he was still.” It took twelve minutes for Lawson to die, but it seemed much longer. For many of those who
saw and heard it, the experience would last a lifetime.


The citation given is

Affidavit of Marshall L. Dayan, February 9, 1999. A copy was provided to the author by Mr. Dayan.


This account contradicts the news stories on he duration of the execution (12 versus 18 minutes) but contains more details on the screaming (I would like to track down the witness statement that it quotes). All other sources I've seen say 18 minutes. Perhaps 12 minutes is time to immobility, as measured by the witness.

The prison officials expected an death to take 10-14 minutes, as this graphic shows:

NorthCarolina.jpg

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:42 pm)

In connection with the legal battles over the use of the gas chamber in California, John M. Friedberg examined the prison records of 113 California gassings. They showed an average time to death of 9.3 minutes, and stated that unconsciousness set in after 1.6 minutes on average. Friedberg questioned the prison record's descriptions in connection with consciousness, and claimed that consciousness lasted around five minutes on average. Part of the difficulty is the ambiguity inherent in the term "unconscious" - there may be more of a continuum than a sharp line dividing consciousness from unconsciousness. There is also an incentive for prison authorities to present executions as humane. Friedberg cites some examples of witness who believed the execution process was slower than the authorities stated, and I've seen other similar claims.

Friedberg's web site is down, but I found the report on the internet archive:
http://web.archive.org/web/201207080443 ... anide.html

I'll copy it here in case it gets taken down.

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL

The following paper on Cyanide was prepared after many months of intensive preparation for testifying as a Neurologist on the question of whether death by Cyanide is cruel and unusual because consciousness isn't lost, in many cases, for several minutes.

In 1993 Judge Marilyn Patel of the San Franciso Federal Court agreed and just recently, on February 22, 1996 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld her decision as follows:

"...we conclude that execution by lethal gas under the California protocol is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual and violates the 8th and 14th Amendments. The district court's permanent injunction against defendants is AFFIRMED."

While I'm proud of this small part I played in the overall effort to abolish the anachronistic, demeaning, ineffective and downright disgusting practice of capital punishment, the effort must be redoubled. Just two nights ago, the state of California killed another prisoner. But the United States as a whole would have to kill ten people per day just to clear the backlog and this would be practically and politically unacceptable. Execution generally is a ritual of retribution.

What follows was intended to be a journal article based on my review of the dark subject which was returned for revision of the statistics section. I haven't had the time or personal ability to do that. If any statistician reading this is inspired to help, please contact me.

May 4, 1996

Cyanide, Consciousness and Pain: Is Execution by Lethal Gas Cruel?
John M. Friedberg, M.D., Berkeley, California

ABSTRACT

I used 113 San Quentin Prison "Lethal Gas Chamber - Execution Records" to estimate the duration of consciousness and awareness of pain experienced by prisoners executed by hydrogen cyanide gas over the past 50 years. Estimations were based on notations completed by 31 prison physicians. Prison records indicated that average survival time is 9.3 minutes, including 1.6 minutes during which the prisoner is reported to be conscious. In contrast, my estimates also derived from the records coupled with the extensive medical literature on cyanide indicate that consciousness persists for almost 5 minutes. Prison estimates of time to certain unconciousness did not correlate with times to death. Additional comparisons show that physiologically-based estimates of minimum consciousness are not correlated with the original estimates from the prison forms. The persistence of consciousness and the pain of myocardial and skeletal muscle ischemia and tetany, induction of autonomic reflexes (e.g., drooling, defecating, emesis), and the terror of slow asphyxiation qualifies this form of execution as cruel and unusual. Physician involvement in executions is briefly discussed.

Introduction

In 19761 the United States Supreme court upheld the death penalty in part to satisfy society's "moral outrage" at murderers. The court did not then and never has equated capital punishment with pain and suffering. On the contrary, the passage of the Eighth Amendment to the constitution in 1789 abolished such painful practices as burning at the stake,2 and since then the court has followed an evolving standards of decency doctrine. In 1890 it articulated the principle that execution should not involve "torture or a lingering death."3

Execution by cyanide gas was adopted in California in 1937 as more humane and less mutilating than hanging, shooting or electrocution.4 Despite a "flight from gas"5 to lethal injection after World War II, fives states - Arizona, California, Maryland, Mississippi and North Carolina - still operate gas chambers.

Currently in California, if the condemned prisoner will not choose, the default method is the gas chamber. Despite the fact that execution by injection is acknowledged by the Department of Corrections to be "state of the art,"6 it remains California's official position - communicated to the courts, the public and the prisoner - that death by cyanide is quick and painless. But is this true?

In 1990, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought an action7 to block the resumption of executions at San Quentin after a 25 year moratorium (Fig. 1). In the course of challenging the constitutionality of execution by cyanide gas, the ACLU collected data and affidavits from various sources (e.g., witnesses, medical experts). I was asked to review materials provided by that organization with regard to duration of consciousness.

Materials and Methods

The 113 available records were prepared by San Quentin's Chief Medical Officers to estimate consciousness and pain as required by California law,8 and follow a standard form which has not changed over fifty years.

Entries were made by 31 different prison doctors and include times for "gas strikes face," "apparent unconsciousness," "certain unconsciousness," and "dead." There were also lines for "remarks." (see Illustrations 1 and 2)

Major motor seizure are not described in these records. The question of cyanide-induced seizures is important because most seizures abolish consciousness and in the absence of true seizures, consciousness in cyanide execution appears tantamount to pain. Notations of "gasping," "grimacing", "twitching," "writhing" are frequent as are descriptions of "violent" head movements (arms and legs are restrained). The word "convulsion" is used non-technically in various witnessed lay accounts such as "convulsions while awake,"9 but only the word "clonic" appears once in the official records.

All calculations were based on these entries where available. Some records had to be excluded due to illegibility and omissions. Thus, 112 were usable for calculating the time from "gas strikes face" to "dead," and 97 records for the time from "gas strikes face" to "certain unconsciousness."

As EEG monitoring and neurologic data such as the Glasgow Coma Scale are not available, I re-computed duration of consciousness and pain by using the shortest time by any of the following three criteria: heart rate equal to or less than 45, slumping without recovery, or a respiratory rate equal to or less than 6 per minute. Obviously, the exact moment of unconsciousness (defined simply as "awareness of what is going on around one,"10) could not be estimated with precision; my criteria provided the only possible physiologic approximations. 54 reports included at least one of the three endpoints.

One EKG rhtyhm strip (that of David Masson, who was executed at San Quentin in August, 1993) was available for examination.

Statistical analyses

A simple statistical test was done to determine whether or not the reported "certain consciousness" was correlated with death (P= 0.05; n = 97). Simple linear regression was also used to estimate coefficients of the linear model y = a + bx where a is a constant, y is time to death and x is certain consciousness from prison records.

The second test was whether or not my re-estimate of consciousness was significantly different from original prison estimates (n = 54); this comparison was done by regression analysis in which the model was y = a + bx where a is a constant, y is my estimate of pain and x is the prison estimate. (If the linear regression is not significantly different from zero, the relationship between the variables is not significant). Finally, I calculated the correlation coefficient for x and y.

Results

Parameters of the regression analysis of time to death (y) and time of certain unconsciousness (y) were y = 8.24 + 0.47x. Mean time (± SD) of certain unconsciousness was 2.2 ± 1.1 minutes, whereas the mean (± SD) of death was 9.3 ± 1.7. The correlation coefficient of these variables, 0.32, indicates that the prison record of certain consciousness bears no relationship to the time of death. The large coefficient of variation (SD/mean) for y (50.7%) indicated that this variable was measured imprecisely. In contrast, the coefficient of variation for time of death (x), 17.7%, indicates considerably more accuracy.

For the 54 cases used, prison records suggest that pain lasted for 1.4 ± 0.8 minutes, whereas my re-evaluation indicated that pain persisted for 3.7 ± 2.7 minutes. Correlation between the two estimates was -0.03; the prison records and my medically-based estimates were thus not related. The results are shown as histograms in Fig. 2.

Although technically flawed, the Masson EKG, (Illustration 3), is consistent with other reports11,12 of the cardiac effects of cyanide: anticipatory tachycardia is fleetingly augmented followed by bradycardia. By inference from comments on other standard report forms, bradycardia may be quite profound and rapid [15 seconds - 2 minutes] but is sometimes transient. This cardiac effect may account for repeated observations of short-term "recoveries," e.g. "Head extended violently, Grimaces. Head falls forward body relaxed. Head again extended then falls forward."(record A 39039:Foster Dement executed 10/2/57 signed M.D. Willcutts, M.D.)

Arrhythmias, heightened T waves, loss of P waves and decreased myocardial contractility are apparent. Electromechanical dissociation may have occurred in the two most recent cases accounting for the fact that when the EKG monitor rather than a stethoscope was used to determine death, survival was apparently lengthened by several minutes. (Fig. 2)

cn.jpg
cn.jpg (14.57 KiB) Viewed 9271 times


Discussion

Witnesses, including one San Quentin Warden,13 frequently disagree with San Quentin physicians as to the duration of consciousness. Howard Brodie, veteran journalist for Life Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, witnessed the execution of Aaron Mitchell in 1967 and swore that "as the gas hit him, his head immediately fell to his chest. Then his head came up and he looked directly into the window. For nearly seven minutes he sat up that way, with his chest heaving, saliva bubbling between his lips. He tucked his thumbs into his fists, and finally his head fell again..."14 Another source quotes Brodie: "I believe he was aware many minutes......He appeared to be in great anguish...."15 The official time for consciousness from Aaron Mitchell's record was five minutes. (Illustration 1)

The general belief that the brain cannot function anaerobically, that neurons die in 4 minutes without oxygen, that the lack of glycogen stores in the brain somehow precludes glycolysis, is probably incorrect. The principle determinant of consciousness in the structurally intact brain is perfusion.16

While there are reports of cyanide associated white matter abnormalities,17,18 human basal ganglia damage,19,20,21 and seizures,22,23,24 (the latter most consistently in rats and mice25,26) cardiorespiratory arrest with cerebral ischemia cannot be excluded as the cause.27,28 To the extent that cerebral damage or dysfunction of any kind can be singled out, white matter is more vulnerable than neurons29 and the dysfunction is reversible.

In Brierly's many careful experiments with monkeys,30,31,32,33 cyanide did not cause seizures or, absent ischemia, direct brain damage leading that investigator to question whether the "notion of histotoxic hypoxic" brain damage was not the result of "constant repetition."34

Anaerobic metabolism of glucose is not affected by cyanide and supports cerebral electrical function somewhat better than myocardial mechanical contraction. In the presence of cyanide, neurons fare better than myocytes. In fact, in human neurons in vitro, anoxia induces a protective decrease in neuronal excitability and an increase in gluconeogenesis.35

According to the most recent edition of Robbins definitive textbook of pathology: "In animal experiments in which the circulation is artificially maintained, the brain is actually quite tolerant of hypoxia, but ischemia can be tolerated for only a very short time."36 Furthermore, cyanide is found in higher concentrations in the heart than the brain at autopsy.37

By contrast, cyanide's profound cardiac toxicity is unquestioned.38,39 When the rate of infusion is progressively slowed, cardiac effects always precede cerebral effects.40

Cyanide in any form is among the most poisonous of substances ranking with military anti-cholinesterases and hydrogen sulfide which is also a "chemical garotte."41,42 As little as 37 mg of NaCN orally can be lethal43 and sniffing for the almond scent is discouraged because of the knockdown effect: "...men have been overcome at the first step of this system of analysis."44

The lowest concentrations of cyanide gas (20-40 ppm) produce dysphoria and panic, nausea or vomiting, vertigo, headache, tachypnea45,46 and tachycardia. A few prisoners appear to stop breathing and slump head forward in the first 30 seconds - the "apoplectic form"47 of cyanide poisoning. Most exhibit signs of global dysautonomia, with hyperventilation, alkalosis with tetany,48 salivation, retching and incapacitation;49 the heart rate may drop to the point that the individual "dims out" in the first 1-2 minutes, sometimes to recover in a state of asphyxiation.

Richard Traystman, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins Medical School, has written: "During this time (several minutes of hypoxia), a person will remain conscious and immediately may suffer extreme pain throughout his arms, shoulders, back and chest. The sensation may be similar to pain felt by a person during a massive heart attack."50

In some the tetany is probably painful as carpal-pedal spasms were noted in the records. To this must be added the well documented terror associated with asphyxiation.51

Eventually consciousness is lost without recovery and death ensues.

Implications for Physicians

Attaching stethoscopes and filling out execution records is only one of several interfaces between capital punishment and physicians. Doctors are universally proscribed from any professional involvement with, or even presence at executions. They are permitted only to "certify" death after the fact.52,53,54 This position is based on the principle first do no harm and because "execution is not a medical procedure and is not within the scope of medical practice."55,56 As the number of executions increase, these written ethical standards have placed physicians in a "visible clash"57 with the letter of the law.58

Conclusion

In 1764 Cesare Beccaria advocated the abolition of execution calling it a "useless prodigality of punishment."59 Certainly, execution by hydrogen cyanide gas is a prodigality, neither quick nor painless. Whether it is also unconstitutional is under consideration1 by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in the Federal District Court of Northern California.

The experience of death by cyanide inhalation could be summed up by the first prisoner to be executed in California's chamber in 1938. His last words as lip-read by a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle (Dec 10, 1938) were "too slow."

Acknowledgements

I thank Haiganoush K. Preisler, Ph.D. and Jacqueline L. Robertson, Ph.D. for assisting me in the statistical interpretation of these data and Dr. Robertson and Robert J. Grimm,MD,FACP,PC for their editorial comments on earlier drafts of this article.

References

1 At the time of submission April, 1994

1. Gregg v Georgia U.S. 153(1976)

2. Bedau H: The Death Penalty in America. NY, NY, Oxford University Press, 1982

3. In re Kemmler, 136 U.S. 436, (1890)

4. Gardner MR: Executions and indignities - an eighth amendment assessment of methods of inflicting capital punishment. Ohio State Law J 1978;(39)96:126-128

5. Zimring FE, Hawkins GH: Capital punishment and the American Agenda. Cambridge, England, 1986

6. Depue JR Perry RX: Possible relocation of condemned row/gas chamber and alternative method of execution. California Department of Corrections November 13, 1987.

7. Fierro v Gomez: US District Court for the Northern District of California. (U.S. Suprreme Court Docket No. A-767)

8. Department of Corrections Policy Statement No. OP-090901: "Procedures for the Execution of Inmates Sentenced to Death." Cited in: Medicine Betrayed: The Participation of Doctors in Human Rights Abuses, Zed Books, 1992. London, England

9.Humphry D: The cyanide enigma, Chap 5, in Final Exit. 1991, The Hemlock Society, Eugene, OR, 38-46

10. Webster's unabridged dictionary, second edition, 1983, Simon and Schuster New Nork, NY

11. Wexler J, Whittenberger JL, Dumke PR: The effect of cyanide on the electrocardiogram of man. Clinical Research Section of Medical Division. Chemical Warfare Service. 1946; 163-173

12. Pirzada FA, Hood WB, Messer JV, Bing OHL: Effects of hypoxia, cyanide, and ischaemia on myocardial contraction: observations in isolated muscle and intact heart. Cardiovas Res 1975; 9:38-45

13. Babcock JR: Declaration of Witness, April 17, 1982 in Fierro v Gomez: Exhibits V2 No.14

14. Reporter's Daily Transcript, People v. Bobby Maxwell, Los Angeles Superior Court, No. A 350010, July 24, 1984

15. Gray I, Stanley M: A punishment in search of a crime: Americans speak out against the death penalty. 1989;55-63

16. Brierly JB: Comparison between effects of profound arterial hypotension, hypoxia, and cyanide on the brain of Macaca mulatta, in Meldrum BS, Marsden CD: (Eds) Adv Neuro, 1975, New York, Raven Press 213-221

17. Levine S: Experimental cyanide encephalopathy. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neuropathologists, Washington D.C.,June 12, 1966

18. Fowler RC, Durbetacki AJ: Elevated cyanide levels in multiple sclerosis. Amer J Physiol 1952;171:724

19. Him YH, Foo M, Terry R: Cyanide encephalopathy following therapy with sodium nitroprusside. Arch Pathol Lab Med, 1982;106:392-393

20. Feldman JM, Feldman M: Sequelae of attempted suicide by cyanide ingestion: a case report. Int'l J Psych Med 1990;20(2)183-179

21. Braico KT, Humbert JT, Terplan KL, et al: Laetrile intoxication, report of a fatal case. N Engl J Med 1979; 300: 238-240

22. Nakatani T, Kosugi Y, Tajimi K, et al: Changes in the parameters of oxygen metabolism in clinical course recovering from potassium cyanide. Am J Emerg Med 1993; 3:213-117

23. Geller RJ, Ekins BR, Iknoian RC: Cyanide toxicity from acetonitrile-containing false nail remover. Am J Emerg Med, 1991; 9; 268-270

24. Hall AH, Doutre WH, Ludden T et al: Nitrite/thiosulfate treated acute cyanide poisoning estimated kinetics after antidote. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol, 1987;25121-133

25. Yamamoto H: Protective effect of NG-nitro-L-arginine against cyanide-induced convulsions in mice. Toxicology 1992, 71(3): 277-283

26. D'Mello GD: Neuropathological and behavioral sequellae of acute cyanide toxicosis in animal species, chap 6, in Clinical and Experimental toxicology of Cyanides. Bristol, UK, Wright Publishers, 1987, 156-183

27. Levine S, Stypulkowski W: Effect of ischemia on cyanide encephalopathy. Neurology 1959;9: 407-411

28. Tuchen SG, Manoguerra AS, Whitney C: Severe cyanide poisoning from the ingestion of an acetonitrile-containing cosmetic. Am J Emerg Med 1991;9(3):264-267

29. Earnest MP: Neurologic Emergencies. NY, NY, Churchill Livingstone, 1983, p 417

30. Brierly JB, Brown AW, Excell BJ: Brain damage in the rhesusmonkey resulting from profound arterial hypotension. Brain Res. 1969,13: 58-100

31. Brierly JB, Brown AW, Meldrum BS: The nature and time course of the neuronal alterations resulting from oligemia and hypoglycemia in the brain of Macaca mulatta. Brain Res, 1971, 25: 483-499

32. Brierly, JB, Prior PF, Calverly J, Brown AW: Cyanide intoxication in macaca mulatta: physiolgocial and neuropathological aspects. J Neuro Sciences 1977;31:133-157

33. Adams JH, Brierly JB, Connor RCR, Treip CS: The effects of systemic hypotension upon the human brain: clinical and neuropathological observations in 11 cases. Brain, 1989: 235-268

34. Brierly JB: op cit reference 16

35. Cummins TR, Jiang C, Haddad G: Human neocortical excitability is decreased during anoxia via sodium channel modulation. J Clin Invest 1993;91:608-615

36. Cotran RS, Kumar V, Robins SL: Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 4th Edition. Phila, PA, W.B.Saunders Co, 1989, p 1403

37. Ansell M, Lewis FAS: A review of cyanide concentrations found in human organs. J of Forensic medicine 1970; 17:148-155

38. MacMillan VH: Cerebral energy metabolism in cyanide encephalopathy. J Cerebral blood flow and metabolism 1989;9:156-162

39. Ballantyne B: Toxicology of cyanides, Chap 3, in Clinical and Experimental toxicology of Cyanides. Bristol, UK, Wright Pub, 1987, 41-126

40. Ward AW: Sodium cyanide: time of appearance of signs as a function of the rate of injection 1922: 190-193

41. Stryer L: Biochemistry, Second Ed. WH Freeman, SF, CA, 1981. 317-318

42. Piantadosi CA, Sylvia AL: Cerebral cytochrome a,a3 inhibition by cyanide in bloodless rats. Toxicology, 1984;33:67-79

43. Ansell M, Lewis FAS: A review of cyanide concentrations found in human organs. J of Forensic Med 1970; 17:148-155

44. Wolfsie JH, Shaffer CB: Hydrogen cyanide: hazards, toxic- ology, prevention and management of poisoning. J Occup Medicine 1959; 281-187

45. Levine S: Nonperipheral chemoreceptor stimulation of ventilation by cyanide. J of Applied Physiology 1975;(39)2:199-220

46. Traystman RJ, Fitzgerald RS: The role of carotid and aortic baroreceptors and chemoreceptors in the cerbrovascular response to hypoxia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 1981; 1: S309-310

47. Arena JM, Thomas CC: Poisoning: Toxicology, Symptoms, Treatments. Illinois, Charles C. Thomas

48. Brierly, JB: Comparison between effects of profound arterial hypotension, hypoxia, and cyanide on the brain of Mucacca mulatta,in Meldrum BS, Marsden CD: (Eds); Advances in Neurology. New York, Raven Press,1975; pp 213-221

49. Purser DA, Grimshaw P, Berrill KR: Intoxication by cyanide in fires: a study in monkeys using polyacrylonitrile. Arch Environ Health 1984:39(6)394-400

50. James Gomez and Daniel Vasquez v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, et al: On Application to Vacate Stay (April 21, 1992), Supreme Court of the United States (Docket No. A-767) Justices Stevens and Blackmun dissenting

51. Reimringer MJ, Morgan SW, Bramwell PF: Succinylcholine as a modifier of acting-out behavior. Clin Med 1970; 77;28-29

52. Thorburn KM: Physicians and the death penalty. West J Med 1987;146:638-640

53. Troyen RD, Brennan TA: Participation of physicians in capital punishment. New Engl J Med 1993; 329:1346-1349

54. Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Physician participation in capital punishment. JAMA 1993; 270:365-368

55. US physicians and the death penalty. Editorial, Lancet, 1993, 343:743

56. Curran WJ, Casscells W: The ethics of medical participation in capital punishment. N Engl J Med, 1980; 302: 226-230

57. Breach of trust: physician participation in executions in the United States. American College of Physicians, Human Rights Watch, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Physicians for Human Rights, 1994. ISBN-564321258 p 11

58. US physicians and the death penalty. Editorial, Lancet, 1993, 343:743

59. Beccaria C: Of Crimes and Punishments. H. Paolucci, trans. London, UK, 1964, pp 45-62 ??

THE END

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:24 pm)

Some more sources that Rudolf cites:

C.T. Duffy, 88 Men and 2 Women, Doubleday, New York 1962, p. 101 (13-15 min.); C.T. Duffy was warden of San Quentin Prison for almost 12 years, during which time he ordered the execution of 88 men and 2 women, many of them executed in the local gas chamber.


Richard Green quotes Duffy as follows, and emphasizes the early unconsciousness:

Death in the gas chamber was caused by dropping cyanide from a container into a mixture of sulphuric acid and distilled water in a well under each chair. The poisonous fumes that resulted caused almost instant loss of consciousness, although it
took anywhere from thirteen to fifteen minutes for death actually to occur.


An "almost instant loss of consciousness" is an aspirational characterization of the process. Such cases do occur, but are not the norm, as other citations that have been given show.


Stephen Trombley, The Execution Protocol, Crown Publishers, New York 1992, p. 13 (approximately 10 minutes or more.);


Here's the relevant passage (or see the image):

After Mississippi's 1983 execution of Jimmy Lee Gray, several witnesses reported that he had convulsions for eight minutes; that he gasped eleven times during that period; and that he repeatedly struck his head on a pole behind him while struggling in the gas chamber. Anxious prison officials at Parchman Farm finally ordered the witnesses to leave the observation area. As they left, Gray was still banging his head against the pole. One of the witnesses demanded to know if Gray was dead. Warden Eddia Lucas replied confidently: "No question."

A similar scene occurred during a 1976 gas execution in California. Howard Brodie, a journalist who had witnessed three executions, was present when California put Aaron Mitchell to death in its two-seater gas chamber. He reported that Mitchell was dragged struggling and screaming into the death chamber, where Warden Lawrence Wilson read the death warrant and gave the signal to release the deadly gas. Brodie told how when "the gas hit him his head immediately fell to his chest. Then his head came up and he looked directly into the window I was standing next to. For nearly seven minutes, he sat up that way, with his chest heaving, saliva bubbling between his lips. He tucked his thumbs into his fist and, finally his head fell down again." The prison records show that it took twelve minutes for Mitchell's heart to stop beating.


gassingtime.jpg


Here are some stories for the execution of Jimmy Lee Gray. Note how the prison officials try to lie about the execution, claiming death came much faster than it in fact did. The first two stories are written by eyewitnesses, and are quite interesting.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=X8 ... %2C4965313
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pp ... mber&hl=en
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=hG ... mber&hl=en
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=et ... mber&hl=en
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=dh ... 5935&hl=en
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Pu ... mber&hl=en
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=A3 ... mber&hl=en

There isn't much in the way of details on Aaron Mitchell's execution, although this article mentions Brodie's statement and one from a warden:

Warden Wilson recalls feeling sick. "It seemed to take ten years. He kept gasping for air."


This story confims the 12 minute figure, and this one mentions that George Lincoln Rockwell made an appearance.


Amnesty International, Botched Executions, Fact Sheet December 1996, distributed by Amnesty International USA, 322 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10001-4808 (more than 7 min).


This I couldn't find, but the claim that death takes more than 7 minutes isn't very interesting, since the California study above already showed more than that. Of course, if the fact sheet has information on the duration of consciousness, or convulsions, or whatnot, that would be of interest.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:29 am)

The execution of Donald E. Harding lasted 11 minutes, or 10 1/2 minutes, depending on where you look. His convulsions lasted quite some time - 6 minutes and 37 seconds according to one observer (that's time from when they began, not time from the beginning of the gassing.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=G2 ... mber&hl=en (also notes that he turned red)

http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/gascham.html has this information:

Cameron Harper, a reporter for KTVK-TV said, "I watched Harding go into violent spasms for 57 seconds. Then he began to convulse less frequently. His back muscles rippled. The spasms grew less violent. I timed them as ending six minutes and 37 seconds after they began. His head went down in little jerking motions. Obviously, the man was suffering. This was a violent death, make no mistake about it."; Harper went on, "It was an ugly event. We put animals to death more humanely. This was not a clean and simple death". Another witness, Carla McClain, a reporter for the Tucson Citizen said, "Harding's death was extremely violent. He was in great pain. I heard him gasp and moan. I saw his body turn from red to purple."

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:36 am)

From the book Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900-1998 by Kathleen O'Shea:

p. 68 (about California gas chamber)

The official manual for gassing which came with the chamber when it was built, recommended a minimum of 10 minutes to kill a person, but said that some cases might take longer. Various eyewitnesses over the years, including doctors and toxicologists, revealed that just moments after the cyanide pellets were dropped prisoners usually struggled against the straps for a few moments and then it would take anywhere from 10 seconds to 8 minutes to lose consciousness.


Screenshot-5.png


p. 257 (about North Carolina gas chamber)

Inhalation of the gas is supposed to render the inmate unconscious and death is supposed to occur within six to eighteen minutes.


Screenshot-6.png

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:43 am)

According to this site

Caryl Chessman, before he died in California's gas chamber in 1960, told reporters that he would nod his head if it hurt. Witnesses said he nodded his head for several minutes


The reference given is

W. Ecenbarger, "Perfecting Death: When the state kills it must do so humanely. Is that possible?," The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, January 23, 1994.


If true, this suggests that several minutes of intentional movement is possible. On the other hand, it's could be that these were convulsions which were misinterpreted as nods by the reporters.
Last edited by friedrichjansson on Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby Friedrich Paul Berg » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:44 am)

My congratulations to Friedrich Jansson for his excellent research and for his presentation here. Congrats to all the others as well who have added so much on other threads.

Our problem is to present this material on YouTube and elsewhere as dramatically and as clearly as possible. That is an enormously difficult task which, I dare say, none of us can do alone. Another revisionist conference somewhere might help.
Image

The execution of Jimmy Lee Gray on September 2nd, 1983 at the State Prison at Parchman, Mississippi was shocking. It may have taken 40 minutes to kill the prisoner. That claim was made by Dan Lohwasser of UPI and appeared in the newspaper story linked below from the Anchorage Timers. This is surprising because, from the newspaper accounts, Gray had taken a deep breath initially. In other words, Gray cooperated in his own execution and had, it seems, chosen to get it over with quickly. It seems the warden was so embarassed by the execution that he ordered people to leave after only eight minutes--and then withheld any official time of death from the press. Later it was discovered that the executioner had also been drunk.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=X8MnAAAAIBAJ&sjid=qb4EAAAAIBAJ&dq=jimmy%20lee%20gray%20gas%20chamber&pg=1266%2C4965313

As people here must know, I was more familiar than most people to how horrible gas executions really are--but, this story blows my mind. Thanks again to Jansson for unearthing these newspaper accounts which are invaluable.

Friedrich Paul Berg

Learn everything at http://www.nazigassings.com
Nazi Gassings Never Happenbed! Niemand wurde vergast!
Last edited by Friedrich Paul Berg on Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:44 pm, edited 9 times in total.
The Holocaust story is a hoax because 1) no one was killed by the Nazis in gas chambers, 2) the total number of Jews who died in Nazi captivity is miniscule compared to what is alleged.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:55 am)

The execution of Ricky Lee Sanderson took 18 minutes. This news story says that he stopped moving "within ten minutes."

This story also mentions ten minutes as marking the end of convulsions.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:23 pm)

Let's return to Green's arguments:

Rudolf's minimum estimate is a worst case scenario; it makes several assumptions:
1) that his 10-13 minute average for death in US gas chambers is accurate. As shown above, some deaths did indeed take this long, but it is hard to justify as an average time.


The above should be sufficient to show that 10-13 minutes is a perfectly ordinary execution time for a US gas chamber. Rudolf's statements on US gas chambers are

Publications in the United States reveal that executions lasting from 10 to 14 minutes are the rule, rather than the exception.


Press reports from the USA indicate that executions can easily last 10 to 17 minutes


Neither of these seems at all objectionable.

Now Green's second argument:

[Rudolf assumes] 2) that eyewitnesses to the gassings in Auschwitz would report full legal death rather than unconsciousness and cessation of movement.


I'm not sure that Rudolf did assume this. Certainly one must distinguish between legal death and immobility, but the examples given above suggest that motion can continue for ten minutes or more in US gas chambers. If one makes the comparison with the testimonies on the duration of Auschwitz gassings, and assumes that all descriptions of time to death in Auschwitz gas chambers really refer to time to unconsciousness and immobility, they still agree pretty well with the experience of US execution gas chambers. Rudolf is still on solid ground here in assuming similar times to death in US execution gas chambers and Auschwitz gas chambers, particularly in the most important case, that of kremas II and III.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby Friedrich Paul Berg » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:47 pm)

I disagree with Jansson that the gas execution times and Auschwitz execution times "agree pretty well."

On another matter, let's just note that according to the link Jansson gave above for the Sanderson execution: "Sanderson turned beet red as the gas throttled his bloodstream and he strained against the leather straps that held him down."

Friedrich Paul Berg

Learn everything at http://www.nazigassings.co ,
Nazi Gassings Never Happened!
The Holocaust story is a hoax because 1) no one was killed by the Nazis in gas chambers, 2) the total number of Jews who died in Nazi captivity is miniscule compared to what is alleged.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby Hohenems » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:48 pm)

Wasn't there a case in the civil war in Yugoslavia in which Bosnians (or maybe Kosovars) were claimed to have been gassed. It'd be interesting to determine if it's true and, if it is, what the specs were. That would provide a great point of comparison.

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby Creox » 4 years 1 month ago (Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:15 pm)

Friedrich Paul Berg wrote:I disagree with Jansson that the gas execution times and Auschwitz execution times "agree pretty well."

On another matter, let's just note that according to the link Jansson gave above for the Sanderson execution: "Sanderson turned beet red as the gas throttled his bloodstream and he strained against the leather straps that held him down."

Friedrich Paul Berg

Learn everything at http://www.nazigassings.co ,
Nazi Gassings Never Happened!



I agree. There is a world of difference between gassing one person in a small chamber with huge amounts of gas built for that purpose and the chambers supposedly used in German occupied Europe. I don't have to rehash those differences with you of course but they amount to night and day

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Re: HCN concentration used in and duration of US g.c. execut

Postby friedrichjansson » 4 years 1 month ago (Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:41 am)

Creox wrote:
Friedrich Paul Berg wrote:I disagree with Jansson that the gas execution times and Auschwitz execution times "agree pretty well."

On another matter, let's just note that according to the link Jansson gave above for the Sanderson execution: "Sanderson turned beet red as the gas throttled his bloodstream and he strained against the leather straps that held him down."

Friedrich Paul Berg

Learn everything at http://www.nazigassings.co ,
Nazi Gassings Never Happened!



I agree. There is a world of difference between gassing one person in a small chamber with huge amounts of gas built for that purpose and the chambers supposedly used in German occupied Europe. I don't have to rehash those differences with you of course but they amount to night and day


I am not saying that the conditions are the same. I am saying that if you interpret the statements of Auschwitz witness on killing times as referring not to medical death, but to apparent death, then they are in reasonable (but very rough) agreement with the experience of US gas chamber executions. This comparison is the basis of the estimates of cyanide concentrations that Germar Rudolf uses in the Rudolf Report: the AHGCs would have needed to develop roughly the same concentration of HCN as used in US executions gas chambers almost immediately after the start of the gassing. Given the evaporation profile of zyklon-B this allows one to make statements on the amount of zyklon-B used, etc. This approach ignores many of the difficulties of the Auschwitz homicidal gassing scenario, certainly, but that's ok - we're looking at one part of the problem at a time.


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