Saturday, June 14, 2008

Veterans of secret Cold War-era chemical and germ tests


Veterans of secret Cold War-era chemical and germ tests on military personnel demanded help from the Bush administration yesterday, but they got no satisfaction. Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department officials said there was no need for legislation to guarantee health care and benefits to the veterans. Thousands were exposed, sometimes without their knowledge, to biological agents, including sarin and VX. The tests, conducted at sea and above a half-dozen U.S. states in 1962-1973, were to see how ships would withstand chemical assaults. Veterans who tried to get help from the VA were "shown the door," retired Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Jack Alderson told the House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on disability assistance, his voice choked with emotion. Administration officials said there was no definitive link between the tests and illnesses, including cancer, now afflicting Alderson and others.


There are tens of thousands of veterans used in Cold War era experiments, 2100 men at Fort Detrick in Operation White Coat the Army did biological experiments from 1953 - 1972 when the US signed the BWTC Treaty after Congress ratified it, the other large scale classified program was run at Edgewood Arsenal and used 7120 enlisted men in chemical weapons, BZ, Sarin and Mustard agents, LSD, PCP, Ecstacy, and many other substances 254 in all, there were many double blind experiments done so that no one will ever know who was used in what experiments and who was exposed to what specifically, the last study done on the Edgewood volunteers in FY 2000 shows a 75% death and disability rate, 3098 presumed dead and 2200 disabled, an excessively high rate for men aged 45 - 65. It is time for the VA to care for these men and their widows.

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