Saturday, March 1, 2008


Owing to the developing news today out of Las Vegas, Nevada, regarding
ricin, the CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News presents here a special
compilation of topical information on the toxin.

Ricin, a toxin created from the waste of processed castor beans, can be
weaponized as a powder, mist, or pellet. The toxin can also be dissolved
in weak acid or water. Only 500 micrograms may be needed to kill an adult.
Methods of exposure include ingestion, inhalation, or injection. Ricin
works by counteracting the protein-making function of cells in the body,
causing the cells to die, and potentially resulting in death or the
organism. Symptoms after inhalation appear within 8 hours of exposure, and
those for ingestion appear in less than 6 hours. Symptoms of ingestion
include vomiting and diarrhea, and possibly hallucinations and seizures.
Those of inhalation include difficulty breathing, fever, cough, and
nausea. This, and further information, is available at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

On May 24, 2007, a British lab confirmed that traces of ricin had been
found in an Irish prison cell. The ricin was smuggled into Ireland from
the US in a contact lens case, to be used in an assassination plot. The
man was arrested before the ricin could be used. The amount of ricin in
the contact lens case was very small, and according to authorities did not
pose a significant hazard.

On October 3, 2006, Denys Ray Hughes of Phoenix, Arizona, was sentenced to
seven years in prison for the attempted manufacture of ricin. According to
authorities, Hughes was a survivalist with no known ties to any terrorist
organizations or extremist groups.

On January 14, 2005, Steven Michael Ekberg, of Ocala, Florida, was
arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for possession of a
biological weapon after agents found ricin in the home he shares with his
mother. Ekberg had castor beans and other products in his possession.
Ekberg later pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of a biological

On February 3, 2004, ricin was found on an automatic mail sorter in the
mailroom of the Dirksen Senate Office building in Washington, D.C. A
specialized Marine unit trained to handle chemical and biological
incidents responded to the event, and 16 employees went through
decontamination procedures. The mailroom handled mail addressed to Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist. According to Frist, no one became sick.

In October 2003, a metallic container was discovered at a Greenville,
South Carolina, postal facility with ricin in it. The small container was
in an envelope along with a threatening note. Authorities did not believe
this was a terrorism related incident. The note expressed anger against
regulations overseeing the trucking industry.

On March 3, 2003, FBI agents arrested Bertier Ray Riddle in Omaha,
Arkansas, on suspicion that he sent an envelope to the FBI field office in
Little Rock that claimed to contain ricin. The front of the envelope sent
on 19 February, reportedly stated that the letter was from a "Lee
Alexander Hughes." The return address on the letter was Riddle's, but was
signed "Sincerely not Bertie Ray Riddle." The front of the envelope also
contained the phrase "If you make me have to claim to be my kidnapper's
son, while depriving me of my correct identity you are going to hell!" The
back of the envelope reportedly stated "Caution: contents contain ricin."
A plastic bag containing a powder and dark flakes was discovered inside of
the envelope. Test on the substance revealed that it was not ricin. On
March 12, 2003, Riddle was indicted on two charges, one of mailing a
threatening communication and the other of insulting a federal law
enforcement officer and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

On January 5, 2003, six Algerians were arrested at their apartment in
London, United Kingdom on charges of "being in the possession of objects
which give rise to reasonable suspicions of the intention of carrying out
preparing, or instigating an act of terrorism" and for trying to "develop
or produce a chemical weapon." Following the arrests, authorities
discovered traces of ricin in the apartment located in Wood Green, located
in northern London. They also discovered castor oil beans and equipment
for crushing the beans. Those arrested are believed to be part of a
terrorist cell known as the "Chechen network" which may have ties to the
Algerian group behind the millennium bomb plots in the United States.
Members of the cell are Algerians who received training in Chechnya and
the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Five of the six arrested were
identified as Mustapha Taleb, Mouloud Feddag, Sidali Feddag, Samir Feddag,
and Nasreddine Fekhadji. Authorities arrested the suspects following a tip
by French intelligence agencies, which had been following two of the men.
Authorities stated that they believe the ricin discovered was only part of
a larger batch that they believe was removed from the apartment before the
arrests. Police stated that they were continuing to search for the missing

In August 2002, reports emerged that Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni militant
group, has been involved in testing poisons and chemicals including ricin.
According to one report the group tested ricin powder as an aerosol on
animals such as donkeys and chickens and perhaps even an unwitting human
subject. No more specific details have been released.

On June 19, 2002, Kenneth R. Olsen, 48, was arrested for possession of the
biological agent ricin in his Spokane Valley office cubicle. Co-workers at
Agilent, a high-tech company, tipped FBI officials about the software
engineer after discovering documents on "how to kill," undetectable
poisons, and bomb-making Olsen had printed out from his computer. Olsen
insisted that his research was for a Boy Scout project, but did not say
more. Further investigation of his office produced test tubes, castor
beans, glass jars, and approximately 1 gram of ricin.

In August 2001, the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) told the
Itar-Tass news service it had intercepted a recorded conversation between
two Chechen field commanders in which they discussed using homemade
poisons against Russian troops. According to Itar-Tass, Chechen Brigadier
General Rizvan Chitigov asked Chechen field commander Hizir Alhazurov, who
is now living in the United Arab Emirates, for instructions on the
"homemade production of poison" for use against Russian soldiers. Russian
authorities reportedly raided Chitigov's home and seized materials,
including instructions on how to use toxic agents to contaminate consumer
goods, a small chemical laboratory, three homemade explosives, two land
mines, and 30 grenades. The confiscated papers reportedly also contained
instructions on how to produce ricin from castor beans.

In November 1999, press reports indicated that FBI agents had apprehended
a man in Tampa, Florida, for threatening to kill court officials and "wage
biological warfare" in Jefferson County, Colorado. James Kenneth Gluck,
53, a former Colorado resident, sent a 10-page letter to Jefferson County
judges threatening to kill them with a biological agent. He specifically
identified one judge by name. FBI agents arrested Gluck on 5 November 1999
as he left a public library near his home in Tampa. Police, fire, and
hazardous materials (HazMat) crews responded to the scene along with the
FBI and blocked off Gluck's street. Upon searching his residence the next
day, agents discovered that Gluck had the necessary ingredients to make
ricin, though no refined ricin was actually found. They also found test
tubes and beakers, as well as the "anarchist's cookbook" and books on
biological toxicology, in a makeshift laboratory in his home.

On August 25, 1998, Dwayne Lee Kuehl, 38, was arrested in Escanaba,
Michigan, for producing ricin with intent to use it against an Escanaba
city official. Keuhl was under investigation in connection with a 1
February 1988 fire that destroyed a business that he owned. While carrying
out a search warrant at Kuehl's home and his rental property, police
interviewed him. During the interview, Kuehl indicated that he had
obtained the recipe and ingredients for the manufacture of ricin and made
the poison in 1993. He also admitted that he made the ricin in order to
kill James O'Toole, an Escanaba housing inspector. Police later found the
ingredients for ricin manufacture, along with other toxic substances, at
two separate residences owned by Keuhl.

In March 1998, three members of a splinter group of the North American
Militia in Michigan were arrested on weapons and conspiracy charges. The
April 1998 indictment was the result of an investigation involving an
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agent who infiltrated the group in
March 1997. When federal law enforcement raided the homes of these men,
they discovered an arsenal of weapons and a videotape. Produced in a
cooking-show format, the tape gave instructions on how to manufacture
bombs and other assorted militia-type weaponry, including a feature
segment on how to extract ricin from castor beans. During the court
proceedings, prosecutors drew attention to the ricin segment, stating that
the men were "collecting information on the manufacture and use of ricin."
However, other than the videotape, no materials associated with ricin
production were found in any of the raids.

On April 1, 1997, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators searched
the home of James Dalton Bell, a 39-year-old electronics engineer, and
discovered a cache of chemicals, which included sodium cyanide (500
grams), diisopropyl flourophosphate, and a range of corrosive acids.
Subsequent analysis of computer files confiscated from the residence
revealed that Bell engaged in e-mail communications with a friend, Robert
East, a 46-year-old merchant marine radio operator, that expressed a
desire to obtain castor beans to see if they could extract ricin. Bell had
already acquired the home addresses of nearly 100 federal employees from
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), IRS, and Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms; and computer files from voter registration. Bell was
in the process of producing and acquiring chemical and biological agents.

On January 17, 1997, authorities discovered various toxic substances in
the house of Thomas Leahy in Janesville, Wisconsin. They discovered the
substances after they had been called to Leahy's home after he had shot
his son in the face, following a night of drinking. Among the chemicals
discovered were 0.67 grams of ricin and nicotine mixed with a solvent that
allowed it to penetrate the skin and have lethal effects. Authorities also
found books relating to the production of chemical and biological agents.
Chemicals were also found in a storage shed that Leahy kept in Harvard,
Illinois. He reportedly told his sister that he was going to use the
poison to coat razor blades and mail them to his enemies in hopes that
they would cut themselves and become infected. Leahy pleaded guilty to
possession of the ricin and was sentenced to eight years for the shooting
and six-and-one-half years for possessing dangerous materials.

On December 20, 1995, Thomas Lewis Lavy was arrested in Onia, Arkansas,
for possession of ricin. In April 1993, Lavy was caught while trying to
smuggle 130 grams of ricin from Alaska into Canada. Lavy stated that he
purchased the ricin to poison coyotes on his farm in Arkansas and keep
them away from his chickens. Lavy was stopped at the Beaver Creek border
crossing by Canadian custom agents who found, along with the 130 grams of
ricin, $89,000, a knife, four guns, and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Lavy
was charged with possession of a toxic substance with intent to use it as
a weapon. At the time of Lavy's arrest, FBI agents found castor beans and
copies of one book describing how to extract ricin from castor beans, and
another discussing ways to poison people with toxic compounds. Lavy was
ordered to be held until a January court date in Alaska, but committed
suicide in his prison cell before the trial.

On August 22, 1995, Dr. Ray W. Mettetal, Jr., a 44-year-old neurologist at
Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was apprehended at
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, carrying a
six-inch veterinarian's syringe with a four-inch needle filled with boric
acid and salt water (contact lens solution), which could prove lethal if
injected into the heart. He allegedly planned to use the syringe to murder
Dr. George S. Allen, his former supervisor when he was a neurology
resident at Vanderbilt in the 1980s. After the arrest, police searched a
storage unit rented by Mettetal in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in which they
found toxic chemicals and several books on assassination and producing
chemical and biological agents. Also among the items was a small glass jar
containing the toxin ricin, notes documenting Allen's whereabouts, maps of
the campus where Allen worked, and photographs of his house. These
notebooks alleged that Mettetal planned to soak pages of a book with a
ricin-solvent mixture that could promote the movement of the toxin through
the skin once introduced. After the ricin was discovered in his
possession, a federal case was brought against Mettetal. He was also
charged with the federal offense of providing false information (e.g., the
false identity of Steven Ray Maupin) to the U.S. Postal Service.

On August 7, 1995, Michael Farrar, a 40-year-old cardiologist, was
hospitalized with a mysterious illness. On two additional occasions,
Farrar was hospitalized for exhibiting similar unexplained symptoms. At
first, doctors believed his problems were connected to his recent trip to
South America, and it was not until 25 September 1995 that ricin was
considered the cause. On that day, Farrar called police during a domestic
dispute with his estranged wife, Debora Green, a 44-year-old
non-practicing oncologist. The police report stated that due to her
bizarre behavior, Green was taken to a psychiatric clinic that night.
Finding castor beans in his wife's purse, Farrar turned the beans and
sales receipt over to police. Green had purchased the castor beans through
special order from a garden center in Kansas City, Missouri, and placed
them in Farrar's food. It is unclear if she extracted the ricin or merely
added the beans to the food. Later, Farrar had to undergo multiple heart
and brain surgeries related to the poisoning.

In 1994 and 1995, four Minnesota men were the first to be tried and
convicted under the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act, for the
possession of ricin. Douglas Baker, Leroy Wheeler, Dennis Henderson, and
Richard Oelrich acquired this deadly substance in an alleged plot to kill
local deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals, and IRS agents. The four men were
members of a radical tax-protesting militia organization called the
Minnesota Patriots Council. The Minnesota Patriots Council was founded by
Colonel (Retired) Frank Nelson of the United States Air Force in 1970. The
right-wing organization opposed the notion of a federal government and
refused to recognize any authority above the local county. Its members
protested U.S. taxation policies and met periodically in small groups, or
cells. Some militant adherents of the group even met to discuss violent
methods (such as blowing up buildings) to combat what they perceived as
tyrannical, illegitimate federal authorities. In 1991, Oelrich, Henderson,
and Wheeler came across a classified notice in a right-wing publication
advertising a mail order ricin kit. The three ordered the ricin kit in
April 1991 and intended to mix the ricin with chemicals in order to create
an effective delivery system. In early 1992, Henderson took the mixture
containing ricin to his friend Douglas Baker's house, where it was stored
in a coffee can along with a cautionary note. Following a marital dispute,
Baker's wife, Colette, took the coffee can along with several other
weapons to the local sheriff's office, which in turn contacted the FBI. It
was determined that the coffee can contained 0.7 grams of ricin that was
reportedly capable of killing hundreds of people. Baker and Wheeler were
arrested on August 4, 1994, and stood trial for the possession of a deadly
biological substance at the Federal District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The two received two-year-and-nine-months prison terms followed by
three-year probationary periods. Henderson and Oelrich were arrested in
July and August of 1995, respectively. The two had fled and gone
underground upon the news of their co-conspirators' arrests. They stood
trial in October and were also convicted of producing and possessing the
poisonous substance. In January 1996, Henderson was sentenced to 48 months
in prison followed by three years of probation, and Oelrich received a
37-month prison term and three years of probation.

In 1983, Montgomery Todd Meeks, 19, was tried for attempting to murder his
father with ricin. He claimed that the act was motivated by his father's
abuse. He conducted research on poisons, decided on ricin, and then
purchased the material from Aardvark Enterprises in Louisville, Kentucky,
for $200. A classmate went to Kentucky to pick up the purchase, but
emptied the vial of ricin into a toilet when he returned to Orlando
International Airport. It was alleged that Meeks continued with the murder
plan and ceased only when a friend went to the police.

In 1983, two brothers were arrested by the FBI for producing an ounce of
pure ricin, which they stored in a 35-mm canister. Officials were directed
to the brothers after receiving a tip from an informant. The FBI took the
material to the U.S. Army laboratories at Ft. Detrick where it was

In 1982 Texas attorney William A. Chanslor, 50, was sentenced to jail for
three years and fined $5,000 for plotting to kill his 39-year-old wife
with ricin. He claims that he wanted the ricin to assist his wife in
committing suicide. She was paralyzed after having a stroke in 1979. She
begged the jury not to convict Chanslor. He put ads in two paramilitary
magazines, Soldier of Fortune and Gung Ho. His ads said, "Wanted: experts
in poisons and chemical agents with access to same." He also read at least
one book that included information on the toxin. When Chanslor contacted
the author of a book on toxins, regarding the acquisition of ricin, the
author contacted Canadian law enforcement officials. Police then recorded
a meeting between the two where Chanslor purchased a tablet supposedly
containing ricin for $2,500. On August 4, 1982, facing a penalty of 20
years in prison, Chanslor was sentenced to three years in prison and fined

In 1978, Bulgarian dissident Georgii Markov was assassinated with ricin
toxin by an operative of the Bulgarian secret service.

Dr. Raymond Zilinskas
Director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program

Dr. Jonathan B. Tucker
Senior Researcher, Washington, D.C. Office

Dr. Burke Zimmerman
Senior Fellow, CBWNP


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Friday, February 29, 2008

IAVA update on new G.I. Bill

Dear Mike,

Great news from the Capitol about the GI Bill. After the 12,234 letters you sent to Congress, the 76 meetings IAVA Member Veterans held on Capitol Hill and dozens of letters-to-the-editors printed in newspapers nationwide, an updated version of the bill, which now includes equal benefits for those who served in the Reserves and National Guard, was introduced on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon.

Just two weeks ago, we joined a bi-partisan press conference with Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), calling for a new GI Bill. Yesterday, they spoke to the US Senate about the need to provide educational benefits to our newest generation of veterans. And this time they were joined by the new lead co-sponsor, Senator John Warner (R-VA) - a World War II and Korean War veteran and a beneficiary of the original GI bill.

Senator Hagel said, "This [bill] is reinvesting in our society. It is assuring that those who have given so much to our country have an opportunity to develop skill sets in education to compete in the most competitive world history has ever known, to go beyond expectations, go beyond what is possible. This is not just a payback or reward."

To keep this momentum going, we're going to need your help in the next few weeks. To ensure the bill is passed, we'll need to build the list of co-sponsors by getting the word out state by state. Check here to see if your representatives in Congress have signed on to support the GI Bill.

We'll keep you updated on the progress of this important legislation. It wouldn't have gotten this far, this fast, without your strong support.

Thank you.


Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq Veteran
Executive Director
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

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Northrop and EADS Win Tanker Deal

Air Force Tanker deal goes to EADS/Northrup Gruman

In a surprising reversal for the Boeing Company, the Pentagon on Friday awarded a multibillion-dollar contract for refueling tankers to a partnership between Northrop Grumman and EADS, the European parent of Airbus.

The deal, which puts a critical United States military contract into the hands of foreigners, at least in part, calls for spending up to $40 billion on the first phase of a multidecade program to replace the nation’s aging aerial tanker fleet, which dates back to the Kennedy and Eisenhower era. The fleet, which now numbers about 535 refitted Boeing 707’s and DC-10’s is one of the largest but oldest fleets of jets in the world. Yet the tanker planes are essential to keeping Air Force and allied fighter jets, bombers, cargo planes and other military aircraft in the air when on critical missions far from airports where they can land to refuel.

And replacing these tankers — essentially flying gas stations that offload their fuel in mid-air — has been the Air Force’s top priority since 1996, when the government first proposed acquiring new planes. Eventually, the contract is expected to be valued at $100 billion, as the Air Force spends the next several decades acquiring new tankers at a rate of about 15 a year. It is expected that nearly 400 new refueling planes will be needed.

Yet for more than a decade the Air Force’s effort to modernize the fleet has been thwarted by global politics, Washington scandals and an aggressive attack by Senator John McCain, now the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

In the end, the scandal lead to the departure of Phil Condit, the chief executive of Boeing, the resignation of James G. Roche, the secretary of the Air Force, and the imprisonment of two Boeing executives, one of whom was the former Pentagon acquisition official that had worked on the program. Another Air Force acquisition officer who was working on the program later committed suicide.

The Air Force, short on cash and wanting to acquire the planes as fast as possible, proposed an arrangement to Congress in late 2001 under which the Pentagon would lease the Boeing 767s in a multiyear sole-source contract that would keep Boeing’s aging 767 production line alive.

But just as the Air Force was about to sign that deal, it came under sharp attack from Senator McCain, a former pilot and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Mr. McCain denounced the deal as a sweetheart arrangement between Boeing and the Air Force that would shortchange the taxpayer and that was arranged with insufficient scrutiny and oversight.

In the ensuring firestorm, embarrassing e-mail messages were made public in which the Air Force secretary, Mr. Roche, said “Go Boeing!” and called opponents of the deal “animals.” Soon afterward, it was reported that the Air Force’s No. 2 weapons buyer, Darleen A. Druyun, had been promised jobs for herself, her daughter and son-in-law in return for steering the tanker contract and billions of dollars of other Air Force business to Boeing. Soon after joining Boeing at a $250,000-a-year post, Ms. Druyun and Michael Sears, Boeing’s former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty in the scandal and received prison terms.

The weight of the scandal caused the Boeing deal to collapse in 2004 and opened the door to competition from the arch-rival European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, which teamed up with Northrop to promote use of Airbus planes as Air Force tankers.

The Northrop-EADS bid was a bold one that mixed business and Washington lobbying with trans-Atlantic politics. EADS lined up a politically powerful group of senators from Alabama and Mississippi with promises that much of the tanker would be built in their states.

In Paris, at the annual air shows, Airbus officials and Southern politicians proudly displayed the proposed European tanker offering and made the argument that if the United States wants to sell its weapons to European countries, it should also open its doors to foreign suppliers. Politicking reached the highest levels — even Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany brought up the tanker bid in a White House meeting with President Bush.

Each side spent millions of dollars to sharpen its proposal, hire lobbyists and former generals to argue their case and wage extensive advertising efforts in Washington and at military gatherings in advance the announcement.


I expect there will be loud screams in Chicago this afternoon at Boeing Headquarters at this news, I am sure they thought they had this deal sewn up. Bottom line is this is the best deal for the Air Force thus the American taxpayers. The planes will be assembled in Mobile, Alabama and many American companies will be providing parts, engines etc. We live in a global economy Boeing has no room to complain the new Dream Liners are being built in China shipped to South Carolina then on to Washington State for final assembly same concept they just werem;t the low bidder on this deal, but we as a nation win.

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New G.I. Bill President Bush opposes it

Warner signs on to new G.I. Bill

Warner signs on to GI Bill improvement plan

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Feb 29, 2008 6:11:12 EST

Senate sponsors of legislation to update GI Bill education benefits introduced a revised bill Thursday, but the biggest change in the landscape of that issue is the addition of a new key co-sponsor.

Sen. John Warner of Virginia, former chairman and now ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has joined Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., as the primary sponsors of a bill that has broad support among military and veterans’ groups but is opposed by the Bush administration.

Webb said he hoped the addition of Warner to the cosponsor list would help pave the way for quick passage of a bill that has already been too long in the making. Webb said Warner “brings a great deal of credibility to the table.”

Warner said he views the bill as helping veterans and helping the military, calling it “another building block to ensure we can preserve the all-volunteer force and never return to the draft.”

Bush administration officials have argued that a better GI Bill, besides being costly, could hurt the military by encouraging people to leave service to attend college.

Webb said he expects his proposal would cost about $2 billion a year, a significant but not insurmountable cost.

“I assure you we can find the money,” said Lautenberg, a World War II veteran who used the GI Bill to attend Columbia University.

“All of us learned how to fight,” Lautenburg said, referring to Warner, Webb and Hagel. Webb and Hagel are Vietnam combat veterans. Warner, who served in World War II in the Navy and in the Korean War in the Marine Corps — and used the GI Bill after both conflicts — said he “would not be here today if not for the GI bill.”

The newest version of Webb’s Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act still promises full tuition at a public college or university plus a monthly stipend for veterans attending college, with a new wrinkle that expands the opportunity to attend a private school through a program that would have the government provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds when a college has a program of its own to cover the difference between GI Bill payments and full tuition costs.

An earlier version of the bill promised a $1,000 monthly stipend on top of tuition and fees, something modified in the new bill to become a living allowances based on the military’s basic allowance for housing payments. College students would receive a stipend equal to BAH for an E-5 with dependents for the city where they are attending college, a payment that averages $1,034 today. A separate stipend would be provided for books and other non-tuition expenses.

Webb said the effort is all aimed at making the modern GI Bill similar to the World War II benefit that allowed veterans to attend the college of their choice. Today’s benefits, capped at $1,101 a month, barely cover the cost of attending a community college, he said.

“It is time for the GI Bill to catch up with reality,” Webb said.

The bill has 35 cosponsors in the Senate, not enough to guarantee passage, but Webb said he hopes Warner’s endorsement will attract more supporters. Senate leaders have talked about guaranteeing a vote on the bill this year, but have not said when the vote might come, and no agreements have been made to also get the House of Representatives to approve the measure.

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Forgotten and ignored

Forgotten Veterans still being ignored by DOD and the VA

Has military done enough to find, notify test victims?
By Lee Davidson
Deseret Morning News
Published: Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 12:18 a.m. MST
0 comments E-MAIL | PRINT | FONT + -
Congressional researchers said Thursday the Defense Department has not done enough to find and contact people who were likely exposed to old chemical and germ warfare tests overseen by Utah-based Army scientists.
The U.S. General Accountability Office, a research arm of Congress, wrote that until such efforts improve, "Congress, veterans, and the public may continue to question the completeness and accuracy of DOD's (Department of Defense) efforts."

The GAO said the Defense Department stopped efforts in 2003 to identify people who may have been exposed to "Project 112" chemical and biological warfare tests. The military said then that efforts were as complete as possible, but that it would follow any new leads that might arise.

But the GAO now says the military has not fully justified that decision, nor has it apparently used all resources possible. Also, only about half of the 6,000 or so soldiers identified have actually been contacted with warnings. And the GAO said the military has not tried to contact civilians exposed in tests while focusing on soldiers.

The Deseret Morning News first disclosed that series of tests in 1995 — through use of the Freedom of Information Act. That happened when the newspaper's help was sought by sailors who participated in an at-sea subset of tests called Project SHAD (for Shipboard Hazard and Defense), that sprayed ships with chemical and germ warfare agents.

They had blamed cancer and other illnesses on the tests, but the Veterans Affairs Department had denied their claims because the Army said such tests had never occurred.
Despite the newspaper obtaining reports and plans of some of those tests designed by scientists at Utah's Dugway Proving Ground, the Pentagon continued for years to deny the tests had occurred.

After pressure from the national media, Congress, the VA and test participants, the Pentagon said in 2002 that research showed such tests had occurred and were overseen by the old Deseret Test Center (that had been based at Dugway and Ft. Douglas). It later identified about 6,000 people who may have been exposed to germ and chemical warfare agents in those tests.

The GAO said Thursday that the military "has yet to provide a sound and documented basis" for its 2003 decision to stop searching for more potential victims. The GAO said it had previously complained that not all possible resources had been exhausted, but said the Pentagon had recertified its decision to suspend efforts saying they had reached a point of diminishing returns.

The GAO said since the Pentagon stopped its efforts to find victims, the Institute of Medicine identified 394 more through research it was conducting; inquiries by another 165 veterans later showed they were participants; and research by GAO itself found another 39 names.

The GAO said Congress may want to order the Pentagon to do a formal cost-benefit analysis about conducting more research to find victims, and to require documentation for its decision, to ensure all potentially fruitful work is considered.

In written comments, the Pentagon disagreed. "To date, DOD has received no credible leads that would allow DOD to continue its research. Thus, DOD sees no advantage to conducting a cost-benefits analysis four years after informing Congress of its plans."

Meanwhile, the GAO also complained, "DOD has not taken any action to notify approximately 1,900 civilians who were potentially exposed during chemical or biological tests. DOD officials told us they have primarily focused on service members since the primary impetus for research has been requests for information from VA."

The GAO also complained that VA may not have done enough to contact the people identified by the Pentagon. The GAO said the VA has only been able to contact (or verify as deceased) 48 percent of those identified.

But the GAO said the VA was using credit bureau databases as a source for contact information. It said the VA had not used potential resources from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration to find and warn those people, or verify that they are deceased.

The GAO concluded about potential victims, "As this population becomes older, it will become more imperative for DOD and VA to identify and notify these individuals in a timely manner because they might be eligible for health care or other benefits."


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

VA Undersecretary Leaving Post

Admiral Daniel Cooper resigns from VA

VA Undersecretary Leaving Post

Published: February 28, 2008
Filed at 4:52 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department said Thursday its undersecretary responsible for benefits is leaving.

The agency has been besieged by complaints about its backlog in claims, which have escalated, in part, because of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking assistance.

Daniel L. Cooper, a retired Navy vice admiral, departs April 1. A VA spokesman said Cooper was leaving for personal reasons.

Cooper was credited by the VA with helping the agency to strengthen its outreach efforts and improve its communication on the Internet during his six years in the position.

''Dan Cooper's leadership, management savvy and personable touch were indispensable in guiding VA benefits programs into the Internet era and adapting the department to the needs of service members from Iraq and Afghanistan,'' said Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake.

But Cooper has faced criticism by veterans advocates for the backlog.

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that between 2003 and 2007, the inventory of claims awaiting a decision by the VA grew by more than 50 percent to a total of about 392,000. During the same period, it said the average number of days to process a claim grew by three weeks to 132 days.

The report noted that the VA continues to take steps to help improve claims-processing performance. However, it said the VA still experiences significant service delivery challenges, including lengthy processing times and inconsistent decisions.

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After filing my initial claim in Novemeber 2002 and still waiting for a hearing for a resolution all I can say is good riddance my claim was filed before he even got there and it is still waiting for adjudication 6 years is just flat wrong

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some inconvenient truths, conveniently locked in a safe

Some Inconvienent Truths

One of the great strengths of the American Army that was reborn in the wake of the disastrous Vietnam War has been a rigorous After-Action Review and Lessons Learned process that’s conducted after field training exercises and battlefield combat.

Not even two- and three-star generals are exempt from standing up and acknowledging their failures in the Army’s Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), where brigade, division and corps command groups test their skills at planning and conducting major operations in computer war games. A wily opposition force (OpFor) staff does its best to make life miserable for those being tested, much as a real enemy would on the battlefield.

If a general overlooks one or two of his mistakes, an OpFor colonel follows him to the stage and points them out for him.

This program, which began in the late 1980’s, has expanded to help prepare Army National Guard commanders and their staffs for what awaits them in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Foreign military observers have been astounded by a process that requires someone wearing stars on his shoulders to criticize himself in front of an audience of lower-ranking officers and sergeants.

So it should come as no surprise that not long after Baghdad fell early in 2003, the Army’s top commanders commissioned an After-Action Review of the planning and conduct of the invasion of Iraq and the post-war occupation and reconstruction effort. The Army hired the RAND Corp., a California-based research organization that’s done this kind of work for the U.S. military and government for decades.

The study was envisioned as a seven-volume examination of the Army’s role in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What is a surprise is that nearly three years later, RAND’s warts-and-all report on post-war reconstruction, which was completed after 18 months and presented to the Army in the summer of 2005, is still locked in Pentagon vaults.

RAND normally prepares a classified version of such reports for internal use by the Army’s commanders and a public version that covers the high points of what was found and what was recommended for the media and academic researchers.

Both versions of the volume of the report titled “Rebuilding Iraq” are locked in the same vault, where they can do no good in educating officers or the American public to the realities that led to a near-catastrophic failure by both the military and civilians to plan for what would happen after we’d toppled Saddam Hussein’s government and assumed control of a fractured, feuding nation of 25 million people.

The trouble, it seems, was that RAND’s team of more than 50 civilian and military researchers followed the trail of the failure from the Army’s part of the Pentagon to former Defense Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld’s offices and on to the White House and State Department and elsewhere in the Bush administration.

The New York Times got its hands on a draft copy of the report and says that the RAND Corp. researchers found problems with virtually every organization involved in planning the war _ not exactly a surprise to anyone who’s read the newspaper articles and books published on a war that’s about to enter its sixth year with no end in sight.

The study blamed President Bush and, by implication, his national security adviser at the time, Condoleezza Rice, for failing to resolve differences between rival agencies, i.e. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon and Colin Powell’s State Department.

Rumsfeld demanded and got sole authority for the Defense Department to oversee post-war operations in Iraq, despite what the report called the military’s “lack of capacity for civilian reconstruction planning and execution.”

Powell’s State Department produced a huge study on post-war governance and reconstruction that Rumsfeld’s people ignored even though they did no planning of their own. RAND found that State’s effort was of “uneven quality” and wasn’t “an actionable plan.”

RAND said that now-retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who as head of the Central Command was in charge of U.S. military operations in Iraq, had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what was necessary to secure Iraq after Baghdad fell and assumed that U.S. civilian administrators would handle reconstruction.

At the heart of the costly failure to plan for a lengthy occupation of Iraq was an assumption by Rumsfeld and the White House that we could begin withdrawing American troops by the early summer of 2003 and so there’d be no need to plan for securing the country or rebuilding an infrastructure that was ancient and crude before the war and much worse afterward.

RAND’s report with its unpleasant truths landed on top Army commander’s desks at a time when President Bush and his merry band were trying to ward off a rising tide of criticism of their conduct of the war and creating yet another fairy tale, which debuted in the fall of 2005 as the “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.”

The Army brass had no intention of dropping that volume on the desk of their volatile boss Rumsfeld, and simply locked it away in hopes that it would be forgotten.

The official explanation for why the study was hidden? “Some of the RAND findings and recommendations were determined to be outside the purview of the Army and therefore of limited value in informing Army policies, programs and priorities,” an Army spokesman told The Times.

What it really was when you think about it was an inconvenient and dangerous truth, much like the one a preceding Army Chief, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki told a Senate committee on the eve of the war. No one listened to him, either.


I am a huge fan of Joe Galloway and have been for years, but as usual on this he is right, the AAR's are always a bit intimidating for the Commanders to have to stand up in front of subordinates and admit their own shortcomings in the action that just took place, be it a Platoon Leader or a Division Commander, the purpose of it is not to humiliate them, but to see if they can recognize thenselves what went wrong/right about the plans they just attempted to execute. If this RAND report is to embarassing to be released, then it must really be embarassing for the leaders be it military or civilian involved in the Iraq invasion.

There is not much doubt at this point that the world does not know mistakes were made, they were huge in impact and noticeable. The looting of Iraq in the few weeks after Saddam's fall from power, and months before his capture. The fiasco of Paul Bremer, the fact that we did NOT have enough troops on the ground to secure the country, let alone Baghdad.

If this report is being withheld just to keep from embarassing George W Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld then that is as wrong is it gets, those of us in the military or those of us who have served and are familiar with AAR debriefings realize what they are, a learning tool to keep Commanders from repeating the same mistakes again in the future. Locking this report in a vault in the Pentagon where no one will ever see it, will not help this nation one bit, to keep our leaders from ever repeating another error of this magnitude, the report should be released, it has been created with tax dollars and the tax payers have the right to see publicly funded studies, they can keep the "classified version" release the unclassified version with the names redacted, we know who they are anyway.

But it's time for an accounting and for lessons to be learned, I have heard remarks that this generation of military leaders promised that this nations military would never be used in another "Vietnam" and yet it appears that is exactly what has been done because of piss poor civilian leadership and a military leadership that did not know when to stand up and say no, or rather resign when their advice was being ignored, as Colonel Hackworth would call them "the Perfume Princes of the Potomac" the leadership of the Army owes it the soldiers that have served in Iraq for the past 6 years the truth and the future leaders of our nations Army need to learn when and how to tell civilian leadership NO when they are wrong. That is "leadership" bending over and begging for more is not leadership. There are not enough MG Paul Eatons in service at this time in our history and Congress is not paying enough attention to General Eaton and his cohorts who did choose to resign rather than dance Rumsfelds two step.

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British Soldiers have no award similar to Purple Heart, why not?

PM Brown told it's time to honor British wounded or KIAs

MPs tell PM Gordon Brown 'give soldiers award they deserve'
By Bob Roberts And Chris Hughes 27/02/2008
Gordon Brown (Pic:PA)
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daily mirror, honour the brave

(What's this?)Gordon Brown was yesterday warned he must award a new medal to British soldiers - or face a bitter political backlash.

In a historic House of Commons debate on the Mirror's campaign to honour servicemen and women killed and wounded in action, MP after MP said it was not enough to leave it to dithering military chiefs.

While relatives of soldiers looked on, Labour's Lindsay Hoyle told ministers: "This is a matter of respect. The only way we can show that respect and honour is by recognition.

"The best recognition the House can offer is a medal through the Ministry of Defence. We ought to be leading from the front and saying: 'Now is the right time'."

AdvertisementLabour MP Andrew Mackinlay said: "It is inappropriate to excuse ministers. The two most recent conflicts, in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been fought on the instructions of this Parliament. Ministers cannot, therefore, hide behind people at the MoD." Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said: "The mood of the country demands that proper recognition should be forthcoming."

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer launched a bitter attack on the bureaucrats refusing the medal.

He said: "There may be some senior officers inside the Ministry of Defence who themselves perhaps have unencumbered chests and who do not quite understand what it means to be shot at, what it means to lose comrades and what it means to bury comrades.

Deskbound military chiefs, led by Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt and his deputy Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, have yet to agree to award a medal. So far 288 MPs from three parties have signed an Early Day Motion supporting our campaign.

Veterans Minister Derek Twigg said: "Our minds are not closed to proposals for new medals or other forms of recognition. It is right that military chiefs of staff make initial detailed recommendations on proposed forms of recognition."


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Sally Satel is back


LEGISLATION FOR PTSD VETS -- "Treatment First Act"

would urge vets with mental health issues not to file

for VA disability but seek treatment instead.

Dr. Sally Satel of the
American Enterprise Institute

by Larry Scott

Dr. Sally Satel is a psychiatrist, paid mouthpiece and think-tanker for the American Enterprise Institute. And, she's back in the news pushing her agenda to marginalize PTSD veterans.

This time she's joined by two old friends, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID). Burr is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Craig was the Ranking Member until the Republican party removed him after he got caught playing tappy-toes with an undercover cop in an airport men's room.

Burr has introduced a bill (S. 2573) titled Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act. Craig is the only cosponsor of the bill.

Now, Satel, who is not known for her love of veterans or her ability for rational thought, has decided that "Treatment First" is a must for veterans with mental health issues. (For background on Sally Satel, use the VA Watchdog search here... )

Satel's basic premise is: Work will set you free. Seems to me I've heard that someplace. Satel says, "By abandoning work, the veteran deprives himself of its therapeutic value: a sense of purpose..."

Satel's web site is here...
Satel's email is...

The "Treatment First Act" will give a small allowance to vets with mental health problems who forego filing a VA disability compensation claim and enter treatment.

The "Treatment First Act" is just a way for the VA to save money by conning veterans into delaying filing a claim. Even if the veteran goes into treatment, and then a year later files a claim, a lot of money has been saved.

Also, this program would cause a shift in attitude at the Veterans' Benefits Administration (VBA) that handles claims. If a vet does not go into the program and just files a claim, it would be easy for a claims person at VBA to feel that the vet doesn't want to "get better" and then deliberately mishandle the claim, causing delays in compensation.

Below you will find two pieces of information. First is the Sally Satel opinion piece from The Wall Street Journal. Second is the Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act as posted on Thomas.

Satel opinion here...

Opinion below:



A Helping Hand for Vets


Imagine you are a young soldier wounded in Iraq. Your physical injuries heal, but your mind remains tormented. You are flooded with memories of the bloody firefight you survived, you can't concentrate, and sudden noise makes you jump out of your skin. At 23 years old, you are about to be discharged from the military, afraid you'll never again be able to hold a job or fully function in society.

For the thousands of young men and women who apply for disability benefits upon return from Iraq and Afghanistan, these fears are becoming a reality.

When a veteran files a psychiatric disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an examiner is assigned to determine the extent of incapacitation. As part of the assessment, the examiner requests a psychiatric evaluation to obtain the veteran's diagnosis. Once the veteran is diagnosed with a service-related mental condition (typically depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or another anxiety disorder) the claims examiner assigns a disability rating.

The most severe level for a veteran leaving service is 100%. But even a 50% rating denotes significant impairment (e.g., "difficulty in understanding complex commands"), according to the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Remarkably, something essential is missing from the claims process: treatment. Veterans can go straight to a claims examiner and be granted psychiatric benefits without ever being treated for their mental illness. Some even do so as soldiers, just prior to discharge from the service. Judging an individual to be doomed to a life of invalidism before he has even had a course of therapy and rehabilitation is drastically premature, even reckless.

In the short term, yes, a monthly check of about $2,500 for full disability, tax-free, is a great relief to the struggling veteran and his family. But serious consequences can accompany a rush to judgment about a veteran's rehabilitative potential.

First, a veteran told he is disabled may think: Why bother with treatment? But this would be a terrible mistake. The postdischarge period is when symptoms are most responsive to interventions such as behavioral techniques, medication, psychotherapy, family counseling or a combination. And full disability status may actually undermine the possibility of recovery. A veteran who thinks of himself as beyond recovery -- the message carried by a high disability rating -- risks fulfilling that prophecy.

By abandoning work, the veteran deprives himself of its therapeutic value: a sense of purpose, distraction from depressive rumination, a structure to each day, and the opportunity for friendships. The longer he sits at home, the more his confidence in his abilities erodes and his skills atrophy.

Last year the Government Accountability Office, the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, and the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission all urged that the disability, compensation and rehabilitation benefits systems be reformed and updated. And last month, Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.), ranking member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced the Veterans' Mental Health Treatment First Act.

The purpose of this bill is to induce new veterans to embark upon a path to recovery. Any veteran diagnosed with major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorder stemming from military activity would be eligible for a new program that provides a financial incentive of $11,000 distributed over the course of a year (or completion of recommended treatment, whichever comes first).

The compensation is offered in exchange for two commitments. First, the veteran must adhere to an individualized course of treatment. Second, he must agree to a pause in claims action for at least a year or until completion of treatment, whichever comes first. Should he fail to improve -- and, sadly, this will happen to some -- the veteran remains eligible for 100% long-term disability.

The great virtue of the Treatment First Bill is that it offers an opportunity to receive payment as a condition of trying to get better. Mr. Burr calls it a "wellness stipend" to distinguish it from a "disability benefit." As it stands now, the only way a veteran can receive payment is to be disabled.

There are practical considerations, of course. For example, is $11,000 enough? For patients needing intensive treatment and still too fragile to work, the stipend falls short as income replacement. The constant stress of financial insecurity will not only impede the veteran's clinical progress, it makes the formal disability option -- the very alternative that Treatment First seeks to avert -- look very attractive.

Nonetheless, the proposal delivers a bracing dose of clinical wisdom. Imagine giving young men and women permission to surrender to their psychological wounds without first urging them to pursue recovery. For many young veterans, a "treatment first" approach could be their road to recovery and a rich civilian life.

Dr. Satel is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of "One Nation Under Therapy" (St. Martin's Press, 2005).


S. 2573 can be found on Thomas...

S. 2573 printed below:


Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 2573 IS


2d Session

S. 2573

To amend title 38, United States Code, to require a program of mental health care and rehabilitation for veterans for service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or a related substance use disorder, and for other purposes.


January 30, 2008

Mr. BURR (for himself and Mr. CRAIG) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


To amend title 38, United States Code, to require a program of mental health care and rehabilitation for veterans for service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or a related substance use disorder, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act'.


(a) In General- Subchapter II of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1712B the following new section:

`Sec. 1712C. Mental health care and rehabilitation for service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or related substance use disorder

`(a) In General- The Secretary shall carry out a program of mental health care and rehabilitation for veterans who--

`(1) are diagnosed by a physician of the Department with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or substance use disorder related to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety disorder that is service-related (as determined in accordance with subsection (b)); and

`(2) agree to the conditions of participation applicable to such veterans set forth in subsection (c).

`(b) Treatment of Conditions as Service-Related- (1) A condition of a veteran described in subsection (a)(1) shall be treated as service-related for purposes of this section if--

`(A) the condition has previously been adjudicated by the Secretary to be service-connected; or

`(B) the condition is judged by the physician of the Department making the diagnosis for the veteran as described in subsection (a)(1) to be plausibly related to the service of the veteran in the active military, naval, or air service.

`(2) The Secretary shall prescribe in regulations the standards to be utilized by physicians of the Department in judging under paragraph (1)(B) whether or not a condition of a veteran described in subsection (a)(1) is plausibly related to the service of the veteran in the active military, naval, or air service.

`(c) Conditions of Participation- (1) As conditions for participation in the program under this section, a veteran seeking mental health care and rehabilitation under the program for a condition described in subsection (a)(1) who has not yet filed a claim for disability under this title for such condition shall agree as follows:

`(A) To comply substantially with the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan prescribed under subsection (d) for the veteran.

`(B) Not to submit a claim for disability compensation under chapter 11 of this title for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or a related substance use disorder until the earlier of--

`(i) the end of the one-year period beginning on the date of the commencement of the program by the veteran; or

`(ii) the conclusion of the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan prescribed under subsection (d) for the veteran.

`(2) As conditions for participation in the program under this section, a veteran seeking mental health care and rehabilitation under the program for a condition described in subsection (a)(1) who has filed a claim for disability under this title for such condition that has not been adjudicated by the Secretary at the time of the diagnosis of the veteran described in subsection (a)(1)--

`(A) shall agree to comply substantially with the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan prescribed under subsection (d) for the veteran; and

`(B) may agree, at the election of the veteran, to the suspension by the Secretary of adjudication of such claim until completion by the veteran of the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan.

`(3) As conditions for participation in the program under this section, a veteran seeking mental health care and rehabilitation under the program for one or more conditions described in subsection (a)(1) that have been determined by the Secretary to be service-connected shall agree as follows:

`(A) To comply substantially with the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan prescribed under subsection (d) for the veteran.

`(B) Not to submit a claim for an increase in disability compensation under chapter 11 of this title for or based on such condition or conditions until the earlier of--

`(i) the end of the one-year period beginning on the date of the commencement of the program by the veteran; or

`(ii) the completion of the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan prescribed under subsection (d) for the veteran.

`(d) Treatment Regimen and Rehabilitation Plan- (1) The Secretary shall provide for each veteran who participates in the program under this section a treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan for the post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or related substance use disorder of such veteran as described in subsection (a)(1). The treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan shall be devised by appropriate clinicians and other appropriate personnel of the Department assigned for that purpose.

`(2) The treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan for a veteran under this subsection shall include such mental health care and rehabilitation as the clinicians and other personnel concerned consider appropriate for the remediation of the condition or conditions of the veteran covered by the plan.

`(3) The duration of each treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan under this subsection shall be such period as the clinician concerned considers appropriate.

`(e) Wellness Stipends- (1) Subject to paragraph (4), each veteran covered by subsection (c)(1) who participates in the program under this section shall be paid a stipend as follows:

`(A) $2,000 payable upon commencement of the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan provided under subsection (d) for such veteran.

`(B) $1,500 payable every 90 days thereafter upon certification by the clinician treating such veteran under the program that such veteran is in substantial compliance with such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan, except that the total amount payable to such veteran under this subparagraph may not exceed $6,000.

`(C) $3,000 payable at the earlier of--

`(i) the date of the conclusion of such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan; or

`(ii) one year after the date of the commencement of such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan by the veteran.

`(2) Subject to paragraph (4), each veteran covered by subsection (c)(2) who participates in the program under this section shall be paid a stipend as follows:

`(A) If such veteran agrees as provided in subparagraph (B) of subsection (c)(2), the stipend payable under paragraph (1).

`(B) If such veteran does not agree as provided in subparagraph (B) of subsection (c)(2), the stipend payable under paragraph (3).

`(3) Subject to paragraph (4), each veteran covered by subsection (c)(3) who participates in the program under this section shall be paid a stipend as follows:

`(A) $667 payable upon commencement of the treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan provided under subsection (d) for such veteran.

`(B) $500 payable every 90 days thereafter upon certification by the clinician treating such veteran under the program that such veteran is in substantial compliance with such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan, except that the total amount payable to such veteran under this subparagraph may not exceed $2,000.

`(C) $1,000 payable at the earlier of--

`(i) the date of the conclusion of such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan; or

`(ii) one year after the date of the commencement of such treatment regimen and rehabilitation plan by the veteran.

`(4) In the event a veteran is determined by the Secretary to have failed to comply with any condition agreed to by the veteran under subsection (c), payment to the veteran of any stipend otherwise authorized to be payable under this subsection shall cease.

`(f) Limitation on Participation- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a veteran may participate only once in the program under this section.

`(2)(A) A veteran may participate more than once in the program under this section if the Secretary determines that such additional participation in the program will assist the veteran in achieving the remediation of the condition or conditions addressed by participation in the program.

`(B) The total amount of stipend payable under subsection (e) to a veteran covered by subparagraph (A) may not exceed $11,000.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1712B the following new item:

`1712C. Mental health care and rehabilitation for service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, or related substance use disorder.'.


posted by Larry Scott
Founder and Editor
VA Watchdog dot Org


The damage that this woman has created to the nations disabled veterans in the past decade should have earned her the scorn of every veteran in this nation. A few years ago she was the one who led then Chairman Larry Craig to propose the review of 72,000PTSD claims files, the review never happened because on the way, they started with 2100 files, which led to a few suicides by veterans who feared having their benefits revoked or reduced in the ensuing witch hunt. The reviews were stopped after Congressmen across the nation reacted with rage after hearing from Veterans Organizations, widows of veterans who did committ suicide in direct relation to the reviews, etc. What the 2100 files reviewed did show was that any errors in the claims were not fraud on the veterans part, but rather sloppy record keeping by the Regional Offices, incomplete paperwork, lazy office workers who did not do the proper verifcations of "stressor incidents" etc, but the fraud that DR Satel and others have complained about just wasn't there.

I don't care what the VA or the Congress proposes but if DR Satel's name is attached to it, it scares the hell our of veterans.

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Downing Street ordered to publish minutes of 2 cabinet meeetings that led to Iraq War

No 10 told to publish Iraq cabinet minutes

By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The information commissioner has ordered Downing Street to publish confidential records of two important cabinet meetings in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The Prime Minister's office signalled that it is likely to appeal against the unprecedented ruling by Richard Thomas, which could threaten a trial of strength between the commissioner and No 10. Downing Street now has a month to decide whether or not to publish.

Mr Thomas said publication should be allowed because of the "gravity and controversial nature of the subject matter" and to give the public a right to know how the decision to go to war was reached.

The ruling relates to a cabinet meeting on Thursday 13 March 2003, and a special meeting of the Cabinet held on 17 March 2003, on the same day that Robin Cook resigned as Leader of the House of Commons. The second meeting discussed the opinion given by the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, which held that the war was legal under international law.

The Cabinet Office had refused to publish the minutes, but was overruled by Mr Thomas, who challenged Mr Brown to accept the ruling as part of his pledge to give Parliament a vote before Britain went to war again. "Acceptance by the current prime minister that decisions to go to war should ultimately be referred to Parliament reinforce arguments flowing from the gravity of subject matter," he said.

"In this case, in respect of the public debate and controversy surrounding the decision to take military action in Iraq, the process by which the Government reached its decision adds to the public interest in maximum transparency."

He said he was prepared to exclude from disclosure some references in the minutes which could "have a detrimental effect on international relations". Clare Short, who resigned soon after the decision to go to war, kept a diary of both meetings and noted that Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, backed Tony Blair in attacking the French President, Jacques Chirac, for allegedly blocking a second UN resolution in support of military action. "GB spoke animatedly about what France was saying – no to everything. Jack Straw [then Foreign Secretary] also anti-France," she wrote.

Ms Short said yesterday: "The Attorney's full legal advice was never put to the Cabinet. We had virtually no discussion at all. We need a full public inquiry. After this decision there will be demands for more."

The Prime Minister's spokesman said the request would be properly considered but ministers had to "balance openness and transparency against considerations relating to the proper and effective functioning of government".

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