Thursday, January 10, 2008

Congressman Joe Wilson R SC02

Most people that read my writings for the past few years, realize I have been less than impressed by this Congressman and his staff, they have been less than enthusiastic in helping me with my claim for compensation with the Veterans Administration. I and my wife Dori, met with the Congressman and his staff on August 9th 2005 about the mess. I took my file from Edgewood and the denial letters from the VA Gerional Office here in Columbia. On the experience of being used in the Army's human experiments involving chemical weapons and drugs at Edgewood Arsenal in 1974, the only thing he asked me was why didn't the Army use animals instead of people? I can't explain that, but I wish they had, but irregardless here we were 30 years later trying to get help for the myriad of medical issues I have that can ne linked to the toxic exposures at Edgewood, either thru experiments or environmental exposures thru the drinking water or the soil of Edgewood. The EPA Superfund site shows 77 toxic substances in the water table which led to the EPA forcing the Army to cap the water wells in 1978, and the Army was reduced to using bottled water until new water pipes could be plumbed into the base and town of Edgewood, Maryland.

The VA Regional office managed from Nov 2002 when I first contacted them until September 2005 when I contacted Senator Larry Craig for help, and the VA's Director of Compensation and Pension Renee Szybala, sent a letter with a copy to Senator Craig's office indicating my VA file showed I arrived and left Edgewood Arsenal on 10 July 1974 due to health problems, therefore they concluded I wasn't used in any experiments and none of my current medical issues could be possibly related to exposures at Edgewood.

One problem with her assessment, my records prove I arrived at Edgewood on 25 June 1974, I was classified as a level A test subject and a note to DR Van Sim the head of the lab, shows that I was considered a perfect test subject for all experiments including pyscho-chemicals. Due to a recent OD on LSD that was unknowingly slipped to me by another soldier at Fort Lewis, on 13 June 1974, which put me in Madigan Army Hospital overnight. The records also prove I did not leave Edgewood Arsenal until 22 August 1974, the entire 60 day TDY period I had been ordered to Edgewood Arsenal for, by the Army.

Given that the experiments were all classified and many of them were done in double blind studies that means the researchers are not even sure who was exposed to what, not the dosages. The VA's own manual on chemical weapons exposures published in October 2003 states there are NO known tests to prove or disprove exposures that happened years ago let alone decades ago. They don't even address the drug experiments, and they range in substances from THC, scopolomine, Peyote, LSD, BZ etc.

The Center for Disease Control's ATSDR web site shows the 77 toxic substances in the water and soil are linked to medical problems thru out the body from nuerological, pulmonary, autoimmune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, etc, the only thing I haven't seen them linked to is child hood illnesses and toncilitis. Every medical problem I have had to deal with can be linked to the exposures at Edgewood. The rule of "reasonable doubt" should be used in my case and the compensation claim of the other "Edgewood Test vets" as it is now impossible to rule out the exposures as a cause of our illnesses, they could be a cause or at the very least an aggravater of them.

It is impossible to say they didn't do any harm, I do know that the government went to great expense in FY 2000 to find the 7120 men of the Edgewood experiments from 1955 thru 1975, as they needed a base group to study for a "comprehensive long term medical study" to show the veterans of Gulf War One, about the expected medical problems caused by low level Sarin exposures. The Edgewood veterans were the on;y group of Americans ever exposed to Sarin under study conditions. They used VA, IRS and SS databases to find the men aged 45 - 65 in 2000. The company could only find 4022 surviving men, one can only assume the other 2098 men were deceased at this point, as men this age are either paying taxes, or drawing government benefits.

The report done by William Page PHD, the March 2003 Sarin report found NO long term health problems, this flies in the face of the 1994 National Institute of Health Report Jan 1994 NIH Chemical weapons exposure report and this 30 year study by DR Lark Keinz Lohs of the German government based on Wermacht soldiers from WW2 Germany who worked in the chemical weapons sector of the Nazi Army 1975 SIPRI Report on long term health problems of chemical weapons expsoures DR Page showed the nation there were NO problems from low level Sarin exposure, which should make people question the validity of his study, since it was funded by DOD and at a time when the department of Defense was telling the nation that the Gulf War Illness as psychosomatic and not of a physical nature. There are approximately 250,000 veterans of the first gulf war being compensated for "undiagnosed illnesses" but which all of these undiagnosed illnesses are linked to the known medical problems of long term health problems related to chemical weapons exposure by these two other studies, why?

On Tuesday afternoon I received a phone call from a staff member of Joe Wilson's Columbia office, his name is Bruce Walker, he told me that he had been informed that I have a problem with the VARO here in Columbia and he wanted to "help me" but he needed me to come by the Congressman's office to sign a "release" so they can contact the VARO on my behalf. I took him the most recent denials and other correspondence from the VA, a copy of the Independent Medical Opinion written by DR James Ketchum, one of the original Edgewood Arsenal, medical doctors/researchers who worked on the human experiments from the late 50s thru the early 70s.

To clarify this I never met Colonel Ketchum while at Edgewood, he had left and was at Fort Sam Houston when I was at Edgewood for the experiments, but he knew the men I worked for DRS Van Sim and Fred Siddell. He has reveiwed my medical records and pyschiatric reviews and wrote an opinion that my service connected PTSD was either the cause of my hypertension and early onset cardiovascular problems or at the very least aggravated them during the past 32 years since the traumatic event happened that caused my PTSD in Feb 1975. But most men don't have strokes at age 36 and 7 heart attacks, a failed triple bypass and 2 failed stents by age 41, like I did.

DR Ketchum has been the only person related to Edgewood Arsenal and the experiments that has been open and honest in discussing the period in question 1955 thru 1975. He did not claim "state secrets" and he discussed all aspects of the parameters of the experiments, his opinion on the toxic substances, that he lived and worked at EA for decades and he drank the water and so did thousands of other base employees and they are not sick. But he also agrees the government did not do any type of follow up health studies on any one there, permanent base employees, military or civilian, there was no medical follow up of the human test subjects, like myself there are many aspects of the tests that even he is not aware of. He states that he was not told of the extensive involvement of the CIA and DR Sidney Gottlieb and their funding of the work of Van Sim and Siddell. I may not agree with every thing DR Ketchum has said about the experiments or the CIA but he has had extensive dialogue with me, and that is far more than the VA or DOD has done. They have attempted to stonewall me and stymied all requests for help in dealing with the VA for my compensation claim.

I am in contact with 15 other "med vols or test vets" whichever name you care to use, many of us feel like we were used and abused, and the government, i.e. the VA and DOD are continuing to abuse us, by failing to be open and help us deal with the VA now that we are all disabled. All of the men I am in contact with ARE medically disabled, most of us with cardiovascular problems, pulmonary and gastrointestinal problems. We do not believe that Edgewood had nothing to do with our current medical problems and the fact we all became disabled in our 40s, if not before.

I was surprised by Mr Walkers call out of the blue, when we met yesterday I asked him how he came to get in contact with me, as it has been more than 2 years since I contacted Congressman Wilson for assistance on my claim, after so many letters claiming "they are working on it" you get tired of playing cat and mouse with elected officials. It seems to be a merry go round the vet contacts the elected official they write a letter to the VA, the VA sends them aletter stating they are "working on it" and the Congressman sends the vet a copy of the letter and everyone can claim they are doing their job. Yet no one ever helps the veterans, but the paperwork all shows they did something. Maybe I am getting to cynical, but after dealing with this since October 2002, I am just tired, I understand now why so many veterans just give up on their claims with the VA, it's just to stressful and nothing ever seems to get done.

I wonder if this time will be the exception, at least I didn't contact them, they contacted me.

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