Saturday, January 17, 2009

34 years later and the veterans have still not been helped WHY?

Giving LSD to someone without his informed consent opens the door to the "ruthless modification of people's minds," declared Dr. Judd Marmor, president of the American Psychiatric Association, after he heard the circumstances of the suicide of Biochemist Frank Olson (TIME, July 21). Even if done for security reasons, added Marmor, such experiments as those conducted by the CIA are unethical.

Last week similar experiments, all done on the ground of national security, came to light at a Pentagon news conference held by Dr. Van M. Sim, chief of medical research at Maryland's Edgewood Arsenal. For twelve years beginning in 1955, affirmed Sim, the Army, as part of a chemical-warfare testing program, gave LSD to 585 men. Later in the week the Army revealed that another group of 2,490 volunteers were given other hallucinogens, and in some cases BZ, a temporarily incapacitating gas.

What are the symptoms displayed by someone under the influence of these substances? Would the drugs help break down a person's defenses during interrogation? These were some of the questions the early experimenters sought to answer. As for LSD, the Army found it too "unpredictable" and "unreliable" for wartime use. No conclusions about the other tests have been revealed.

No Suicides. It was no secret that the Army had tested drugs on G.I.s. What interested reporters at the press conference was the clarification of the ground rules for the LSD experiments. After psychological and physical screening, the soldiers, all volunteers, were told they would be given a chemical that might influence their behavior—but not what it was. Said Sim: "You are prejudicing the experiment by leading them into suggestive thoughts about it."

As a reward for their participation in the program, the soldiers were given three-day passes. There had been no suicides after the tests, said Sun, although he admitted that only 10% of the subjects had been given follow-up interviews or questionnaires.

Were the soldiers ever told exactly what they had been exposed to? No, the Army admitted. But anyone who thinks he was involved in the experiments can find out now by phoning the U.S. Army's Medical Research and Development Command. The number, says the Army helpfully, is 202-693-8065.

The Army is still conducting tests with hallucinogenic drugs and with alcohol—but only on animals. It has requested permission from the Surgeon General to do similar experiments again on humans, which Sim defends as "very important" to national security.

More Guinea Pigs
Monday, Aug. 04, 1975

More Guinea Pigs

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Black WWII vets recall how far the nation has come

Humphrey Patton of Hempstead harbors childhood memories from the 1920s of his grandfather's white next-door neighbor in Kentucky gathering with others on a nearby hilltop and burning a cross.

The family of Spann Watson, of Westbury, left their prosperous farm in rural South Carolina in the 1920s when he was 10, after a mob dragged members of a successful black family into the nearby woods and shot them down in a hail of bullets.

Roscoe Brown, of Sag Harbor and the Bronx, recalls the racial climate in the Mississippi town near where he trained for the military in the 1940s as being so poisonous that he preferred remaining on base, even though racial insult was common there, too.

"The base was rigidly segregated, and we had no interaction with the white soldiers at all," said Brown, 86. "But we didn't even think of going into Biloxi."

The life experiences of these men, black World War II veterans who plan to attend Tuesday's presidential inauguration of Barack Obama at the invitation of Congress, each describe an arc linking one of the nation's most historic milestones with some of its ugliest moments.

The men all flew with the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African-Americans to serve in air combat units for the U.S. military. Their excellence as fighter escort pilots helped persuade President Harry S. Truman to end segregation in the military, on July 26, 1948.

Each one expressed surprise that he would ever see the day when an African-American was elected as president. Now, they will have the honor of watching the oath of office being administered to Obama.

Patton, 89, who was born in Detroit, spent part of his childhood living with relatives in Kentucky after his mother died.

"They [the Ku Klux Klan] would have meetings across the road and up the hill," said Patton. "I remember seeing the blaze."

Patton said he didn't grasp the significance of what was happening until relatives told him when he was much older. "I didn't know what it was all about then. I was about 5 or 6," he said.

Patton also lived for a while with an aunt in Louisville, where two brothers were seized by a mob in 1927, paraded through the streets, saturated with gasoline and burned to death.

Watson, 92, was 9 years old when a rider approached his family home in rural South Carolina on horseback to tell Watson's father that three members of the Lowman family, nearby black farmers who had made a name for themselves as successful cotton growers, had been lynched.

Elizabeth Robeson, a Columbia University doctoral student who is writing her thesis on the lynching, said the Lowman family was targeted because of jealousy over their economic success in a region of extreme white poverty.

The Lowmans were dragged from a jail after it became apparent they would be found innocent of murdering a local sheriff.

"[The Lowmans] and Spann Watson's family were pretty typical of the black families who would leave," said Robeson, who lives in New Orleans. "They were very much under a spotlight because of their prosperousness amid great poverty. They stuck out like a sore thumb."

Watson said his father moved the family to New Jersey, and eventually sent Watson to Howard University in Washington, D.C. After a stint in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Watson worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, where he successfully pressured commercial airlines to stop discriminating against black pilots and crew members.

Watson said the inauguration will be a triumphant moment in his life.

"We've come a terribly long way," Watson said.
Black WWII vets recall how far the nation has come


My step father was a radio operator on B-17s that flew bombing runs over Germany, he told me many years ago that he "loved" the Tuskeegee Airmen and that is saying a lot coming from a an old white guy from Missouri born in 1908. But he would get misty eyed talking about the bomb runs and that all of the crews wanted the Tuskeegee airman flying escort duty for them, it seems that if the Tuskegee air crews were protecting them they never lost a bomber to German air craft, flak was another story but German pilots never shot them down, other escort units could not make that same claim, Dale had the highest admiration there is for the men of Tuskeegee and he spoke with reverance when he talked about them.

Dale was a well decorated Army Air Corp enlisted man in his own right, he was awarded a DFC for landing a B17 upon the return to England after the pilot and co-pilot had been killed, he saved the gunners and other men on the plane by landing it, the DFC award states there were a minimum of 157 holes in the B-17 and was scrapped after he landed it.

These men of Tuskeegee have earned every honor this nation can give them.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

It’s Official: Texas Doesn’t Get Bioterrorism Lab

It’s Official: Texas Doesn’t Get Bioterrorism Lab

TOPEKA, Kan. (January 16, 2009)--Kansas has been officially selected as the winner of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

The Department of Homeland Security's Directorate for Science and Technology published Friday its record of decision that confirmed a December decision to award the project to Kansas.

Sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas were the other finalists.

The new facility replaces an aging federal lab at Plum Island, N.Y.

Scientists will be researching and developing new vaccines for deadly foreign animal and other biological threats.

Construction is expected to begin in 2010 at a site near Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The lab will cost at least $450 million in federal funds.

Officials in Texas are considering a legal challenge to the decision.


Leave it to Texas to threaten a lawsuit because they didn't win, where did they want to put it, on Galveston Island? If the feds change their minds and award it to Texas can they make them put it in ex President Bush's backyard?

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Video shows evidence of phosphorus bombs in Gaza

Video shows evidence of phosphorus bombs in Gaza
Gaza doctors detail burns to entire victims' bodies from chemical that is forbidden to be used as a weapon

* Richard Norton-Taylor
*, Friday 16 January 2009 15.08 GMT

A doctor shows phosphorus bomb injuries in Gaza. Warning: contains graphic footage of war injuries Link to this video

Video showing injuries consistent with the use of white phosphorus shells has been filmed inside hospitals treating Palestinian wounded in Gaza City.

Contact with the shell remnants causes severe burns, sometimes burning the skin to the bone, consistent with descriptions by Ahmed Almi, an Egyptian doctor at the al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

Almi said the entire body of one victim was burned within an hour. It was the first time he had seen the effects of what he called a "chemical weapon".

The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus during the assault on Gaza, but aid agencies say they have no doubt it has been used.

"It is an absolute certainty," said Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. He had seen Israeli artillery fire white phosphorus shells at Gaza City, Garlasco said.

The shells burst in the air, billowing white smoke before dropping the phosphorus shell.

Garlasco said each shell contains more than 100 incendiary rounds, which ignite and pump out smoke for about 10 minutes.

Severe respiratory problems can result in anyone exposed to the smoke and burning chemical particles that rain down over an area the size of a football pitch.

According to the International Solidarity Movement, many patients at the hospital near Khan Younis were suffering from serious breathing difficulties after inhaling smoke.

Human Rights Watch compares the use of white phosphorus shells over Gaza to the impact of cluster munitions, which scatter "bomblets" over a wide area. Children may kick and play with a lump of phosphorus, stirring up the embers and producing more fire and smoke.

The use of white phosphorus as a weapon – as opposed to its use as an obscurant and infrared blocking smoke screen – is banned by the UN's third convention on conventional weapons, which covers the use of incendiary devices. Though Israel is not a signatory to the convention, its military manuals reflect the convention's restrictions on using white phosphorus.

Israel initially claimed that it was not using white phosphorus. It later explained that shells being loaded for a howitzer, identified from photographs as phosphorus rounds, were empty "quiet" shells used for target marking. However, images of exploding shells and showering burning fragments are now acknowledged by independent observers as having been phosphorus.

At the centre of the controversy is the way white phosphorus air burst shells have been used in heavily built-up urban areas, with an overwhelmingly civilian population.

The M825A1 rounds, which are the kind identified as being fired by Israeli forces, are made primarily for use as a smokescreen in a way that limits their effect as an incendiary weapon, experts say.

Neil Gibson, a technical adviser to Jane's Missiles and Rockets magazine, said the shells did not produce high-velocity burning fragments like conventional white phosphorus weapons once did.

Instead, he said, they produced a "series of large slower burning wedges which fall from the sky". The wedges would then ignite spontaneously in the air and fall to the ground, burning for five or 10 minutes, he said.

Willie Pete use in towns and against people is illegal and has been for decades, the Israeli's have 81mm and 4.2 illumination rounds that hang from parachutes and burn out before they hit the ground, also with night vision goggles you don't want direct light from illumination rounds you get enough light from the stars and the moon hence the term starlight scopes. WP has one purpose only to cause fires and it does that quite well.

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No one as Irish as Barack OBama

No one as Irish as Barack OBama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

You don't believe me, I hear you say
But Barack's as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy's daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

He's as Irish as bacon and cabbage and stew
He's Hawaiian he's Kenyan American too
He’s in the white house, He took his chance
Now let’s see Barack do Riverdance

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

From Kerry and cork to old Donegal
Let’s hear it for Barack from old moneygall
From the lakes if Killarney to old Connemara
There’s no one as Irish as Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama
From the old blarney stone to the great hill of Tara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

2008 the white house is green, their cheering in Mayo and in Skibereen.
The Irish in Kenya, and in Yokahama,
Are cheering for President Barack O’Bama

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama

The Hockey Moms gone, and so is McCain
They are cheering in Texas and in Borrisokane,

In Moneygall town, the greatest of drama, for our Famous president Barack o Bama

Toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a loo, toor a lama
There's no one as Irish As Barack O'Bama

The great Stephen Neill, a great man of God,
He proved that Barack was from the Auld Sod
They came by bus and they came by car, to celebrate Barack in Ollie Hayes’s Bar

O'Leary, O'Reilly, O'Hare and O'Hara
There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama


Hardy Drew


Hey Bill O'Reilly eat your heart out I wonder if you and Barack are related

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a lot of resources for Veterans & Military members from Colonel Dan

a lot of resources for Veterans & Military members
Concurrent Receipt Programs

Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments (CRDP)

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

The Department of Defense (DoD) is, and has been, making extra payments to retirees to

overcome some or all the offset from retired pay associated with receipt of disability

compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Retirees cannot receive benefits

simultaneously under both of these programs. The programs are:

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payment (CRDP): This program provides a

10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay due to receipt of VA disability compensation.

Qualified individuals are those who are retired active or age 60 retired reserve members who also

have a combined VA disability rating of 50% or greater. Members retired under military disability

provisions (Chapter 61 to title 10 United States Code) must have at least 20 years of service.

Today, more than 275,000 retirees are receiving CRDP payments of over $241 million per month.

Effective January 1, 2004: Initial entitlement under the program began on January 1, 2004.

Payments were made to nearly 150,000 qualified retirees on February 2, 2004.

Effective January 1, 2005: The 10-year phase-out was eliminated for those individuals

actually rated 100% disabled by the VA and they became eligible to receive all of their

formerly offset military retired pay.

Effective October 1, 2008: The 10-year phase-out will be eliminated for those individuals

not rated 100% disabled by VA, but who are paid at the 100% level as "Individual

Unemployables" (IUs), and they become eligible to receive all of their formerly offset military

retired pay retroactive to January 1, 2005.

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Tricare for Life not on Chopping Block

The following is from the Reserve Officers Association.

James Siscel
Jan 14, 2009
Tricare for Life not on Chopping Block

A viral e-mail campaign is unsettling military retirees over 65.
Sourcing a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, these e-mails
claim that TRICARE for Life is at risk. These distress warnings are

The report, on Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care lists 115 options
for reducing federal spending on health care, altering federal
healthcare programs, and making substantive changes to the nation’s
health insurance system. But these are not formal recommendations.
The suggestion for TRICARE for Life is only Option 96 on the list.
None are formal recommendations.

A total of six proposals of the 115 might affect military health
care. Other options include increasing health care cost sharing for
family members of military personnel on active duty (Option 95);
increasing health care cost sharing for military retirees under age 65
(Option 97); and copayments and changes to enrollment for medical
care provided by the Veterans Affairs Hospitals for enrollees without
a service-connected disability (Options 28, 29 and 98)

The CBO report is a periodic report made every two years. The last
such report was published in February of 2007 when CBO provided 250
budget cutting options to Congress on altering federal spending and
revenues, of which health care and Medicare changes were a part. What
was unusual with this year’s health care report was that it was
published in a separate volume.

ROA would like to thank those members who brought this report to our
attention. The Reserve Officers Association is concerned with
legislation that might affect the military health readiness, and deny
earned health benefits and will continue to track this issue. ROA
leadership has been in discussions with other military and veteran
associations and the consensus is that currently there is no serious
risk. At this point there are no fires needing to be put out.

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Vets Health System in Need of Triage

Published on Thursday, January 15, 2009 by Inter Press Service
Vets Health System in Need of Triage
by Aaron Glantz

SAN FRANCISCO - Eighteen U.S. veterans kill themselves every day. More veterans are committing suicide than are dying in combat overseas. One in every three homeless men in the United States has put on a uniform and served his country. On any given night, the U.S. government estimates 200,000 veterans sleep on the street.

Iraq War veteran Sergio Kochergin leads anti-war demonstration through downtown Seattle after testifying at Regional Winter Soldier hearings. (photo:Bob Haynes/IPS)
This is the crisis General Eric Shinseki will inherit when he takes the reins at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The general, who retired from the Army after the George W. Bush administration ignored his warnings on Iraq, sat for his Senate confirmation hearing for VA secretary Wednesday, where he received accolades from Democrats and Republicans alike.

The chair of the committee, Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, predicted Shinseki will be confirmed by the full Senate Jan. 20, the same day Barack Obama takes office.

Mentioning the retired general's experience having one of his feet blown off nearly 40 years ago during the war in Vietnam, Akaka told Shinseki he was "confident you have a strong sense of empathy to those who are served by VA and a deep commitment to VA's mission...This will serve you well as secretary."

For his part, Shinseki promised to be "a forceful advocate for veterans", saying Obama "charged me to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and services they earned and that the nation expects".

Most observers agree the situation Shinseki inherits is dire.

The non-partisan Rand Corporation estimates 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, while another 320,000 have experienced a traumatic brain injury -- physical brain damage often caused by roadside bombs.

Less than half, however, are getting help from the government that sent them to battle. Wounded veterans are being forced to wait six months to two years on average to learn if they qualify for disability payments, and many have been turned away when they seek medical care.

At his confirmation hearing, Shinseki vowed to "transform" the VA, to cut down on long delays, promising "timeliness and consistency" in processing disability claims, a more "transparent" bureaucratic process and increased use of new technologies.

Like the senators at the hearing, veterans' advocates expressed optimism about Shinseki's selection.

"As a wounded combat veteran, he has a firm understanding of the issues veterans face not only when they're deployed and when they return home, but also just the everyday issues that a veteran has to deal with that most civilians wouldn't understand," said Ernesto Estrada, an Iraq War veteran and policy associate at the organisation Swords to Plowshares.

Now Estrada and others are waiting to see the specifics of Shinseki's proposals. His answers to most of the questions posed by senators were vague, and none of the lawmakers pressed him for specifics.

In his written answers to questions from Senator Akaka, for example, Shinseki spoke of the long wait times veterans face for disability payments "I have much to learn with respect to the specifics of the claims process, but it seems to me that timeliness and quality should be primary concerns in the decision-making process," he said.

Veterans hope Shinseki's reputation for honesty will lead to a change in approach at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Under Pres. Bush, high-ranking officials have tried to cover up these problems. In one infamous example, the head of the VA's mental health division, Dr. Ira Katz, directed an agency spokesperson not to tell CBS News that 1,000 veterans receiving care from the VA attempt to kill themselves every month. The subject line of Katz's e-mail read: "Shh!"

Those who did call attention to the crisis have been punished. In 2006, Dr. Frances Murphy was working as the undersecretary for health policy coordination at the VA when she told the medical journal Psychiatric News that waiting lists for mental health care were so long the care was "virtually inaccessible". Days later, Dr. Murphy was sent packing.

Indeed, General Shinseki had his own battles over facts with the Bush administration.

Announcing the appointment on NBC, President-elect Obama said he picked Shinseki to head the VA because he "was right" when he warned Congress and the Bush administration about the dangers of war in Iraq.

As secretary of Veterans Affairs, Shinseki advocates hope he will continue to tell the country inconvenient truths about the long-term effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IPS contributor Aaron Glantz is author of "The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans [1]" (University of California Press, 2009).

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans
January 14, 2009
Seattle, Washington

On behalf of the Veterans of Modern Warfare, for which I serve as their National President, I thank the Committee for the opportunity to present our concerns and recommendations regarding the ongoing plight of Gulf War veterans.
Gulf War Veteran Health:

Nearly 18 years after the end of the 1991 Gulf War, almost 175,000 of the approximately 697,000 Gulf War veterans who served in theater remain seriously ill as a result of their Gulf War service. Many are suffering from a complex, chronic multi-symptom illness, which is often severe and debilitating to the veteran and destructive to their family units. The diagnoses of several diseases have been at rates higher than comparable populations, including ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and brain cancer. We believe that Gulf War veterans have elevated rates of other diagnosed conditions and multi-symptom illnesses as well, including cancers, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and sleep apnea. Mortality rates among Gulf War veterans are not currently known. Nor are there any mechanisms monitoring the physical or neurological health of our children.

Illness Validation:
In November 2008, the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness formally acknowledged that Gulf War Illness is real. Scientific evidence strongly and consistently indicates that two Gulf War neurotoxic exposures are causally associated with Gulf War Illness: 1) Use of pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills, given to protect troops from the effects of nerve agents and 2) pesticide use during deployment.

There are military reports dating back to at least 1981 noting the assumption of blood-brain barrier impermeability was not absolute with PB use. The Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) conditional approval of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) request for a waiver in 1989 to approve PB was dependent on follow-up testing and reporting of adverse events and further reporting. The Department of Defense failed to meet its obligations under the FDA’s direction and continues to not meet the current conditions for usage. Yet, PB is still being administered to our troops today.

PB was presumably given to us because the DoD believed that the protection it would provide troops would be greater than the harm it might cause. But that’s not the way it has played out for 1 out of 4 Gulf War veterans. The risk was known, but there has been no accountability for the risk taken. Instead, it seems that we were looked upon collectively like an experiment gone wrong without regard for our cohort as human beings. And only now, nearly18 years later, have we been validated.
Continued Health Care for Gulf War Veterans:

Gulf War illness has been widely described in government testimony, media reports, and scientific studies. It is typically characterized as a combination of symptoms such as memory problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, extreme fatigue, mood changes, diarrhea, respiratory problems and skin rashes. One of the major challenges in identifying, treating and understanding Gulf War illness is that ill veterans often have no abnormal findings on clinical diagnostic tests.

The current presumptive enrollment opportunity for Gulf War veterans to file a claim for undiagnosed illness (UDX) is due to expire on September 30, 2011. We believe the delimitating date should be extended by five years, until 2016, for Gulf War veterans who are ill with a prescribed set of complex symptoms identifiable as “Gulf War Illness”.

Given the nature of neurotoxic exposures and the overall lack of treatment research, we believe that it is unreasonable to enforce the current time-constraints on illness development and treatment. We urge this Committee to include an immediate five-year extended delimitating date for undiagnosed illness claims as one of its final recommendations.

Standardized Screening:
There are Gulf War veterans around this country who are still referred by their VA practitioners for psychiatric consultations because they present with chronic complaints and no abnormal findings on diagnostic tests. Rather than being treated for their physical symptoms as a consequence of neurotoxic exposures, they are being prescribed anti-psychotic medications. Their services to our Nation and their exposures have been essentially and sadly negated by many in the VA medical community.

We urge the VA to focus efforts on the development of a screening exam for Gulf War veterans that would become best practices nationally and we request the Committee’s support.

Research on Demyelinating Diseases:
PB was administered to Gulf War veterans as, essentially, a myelin defense shield. For years, Gulf War veterans have been presenting with symptoms of demyelination and we believe that an elevated rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) occurs within Gulf War veterans. Others have been diagnosed with Demyelinating Disorder NOS. On one internet forum, there are over 400 Gulf War veterans who have come together, either diagnosed with one of these illnesses or symptomatic of demyelization, looking for answers while they provide support to each other. In fact, there has been such a large response from Gulf War veterans with MS that Senator Patty Murray introduced legislation in 2006 to presumptively service connect Gulf War veterans diagnosed with MS, without the restriction of the current 7-year delimitating period. This issue was the reason that Senator Craig promoted and gained a five year extension for Gulf War veterans in 2006. Multiple requests made to the VA to mine and sort their current diagnosis codes in order to determine the rate of MS and they have apparently been ignored because this data has not, to our knowledge, been released.

We believe that it is plausible for there to be an MS that is characteristic of Gulf War veterans. A norm, if you will, for our cohort that does not adhere firmly to the McDonald criteria used as a tool for diagnosing MS. We ask this Committee and the scientific community to consider the consequential potential of an MS induced as a result of blood-brain barrier permeability from PB ingestion. In fact, there are veterans here today who have been diagnosed by a civilian neurologist with Mulitiple Sclerosis who have been discharged from the MS Center of Excellence because they do not, in the Center’s opinion, meet the Mc Donald criteria. They have been diagnosed with a demyelinating disorder and provided no follow-up protocol given to these veterans regarding their neurological care.

Multiple Sclerosis is service connected when a veteran can prove that symptoms presented within 7 years of discharge at a base rating of 30%. To our knowledge, there is no rating for a demyelinating disorder, even when the symptoms can be proven to have existed within the 7 years after discharge. Ratings are determined based on individual symptoms, even when the level of illness is equal to that of someone who carries the diagnosis of MS. This change of the diagnostic code also removes any opportunity the veteran may have to utilize medications specific to MS treatment to prevent further demyelination.

We urge the Committee to support an immediate mandate that would require the VA to audit its records and determine the number of Gulf War veterans who are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelinating Disorders NOS. This task must be completed in a defined and enforced time frame and made public to the VSO community.

Brain Bank:
We are pleased with the establishment of the Gulf War veterans’ brain and spinal cord bank and we have hope that knowledge will be gained through this research.
I had the personal privilege of working with the family of the first Gulf war veteran to donate his brain to research. He emphatically believed that through the research of his brain, he would not die in vain. I pay respects to him today and honor him for his strength and courage.

We believe that the Department of Defense (DoD) Comprehensive Clinical Examination Program (CCEP) must be reinstated for the eligible children of Gulf War veterans. Additionally, there must be a mechanism to collect the data regarding the neurological and physical development of our children. This data must be monitored for trends and patterns.

Over the years, we have received reports from many parents whose children have been born with clusters of neurological and/or physical abnormalities: Autism and autism spectrum disorders, severe hypotonia, kidney and bladder issues, unusual physical defects, hydrocephalus, severe apraxia of speech, Tourette’s Syndrome, bipolar disorder, double aortic arches and dramatic sleep apnea conditions. All of these have been reported by both male and female veterans of the Gulf War who are themselves ill.

We understand that as soldiers we take risks with our safety, our bodies and our health. But for those of us who are parents of children who plausibly suffer as a result of our exposures, our grief and devastation simply cannot be expressed. We ask that you consider the potential of this biological consequence as we ask you to immediately support a Gulf War Birth and Child Registry.

Birth registry:
We believe that an epidemiological registry must be created immediately in order to begin tracking trends in the neuro and physical health of our children. Parents must be allowed to submit their children’s medical records. Please, let’s learn as much as we can from veterans and their affected children.
Gulf War Registry: There are currently over 100,00 Gulf War veterans enrolled in the Gulf War Registry. VMW supports continuation of the Registry. However, we believe that amendments must be made to the VA Form 10-9009A by adding the following questions and that Gulf War veterans who have previously completed the Registry be resurveyed with a questionnaire to also answer the following:
Do you have children born before deployment and/or after deployment?
Do your children conceived post deployment have any physical or neurological defects?
Is your spouse also a Gulf War deployed veteran?
Did you receive vaccines for chemical and biological warfare?
Did you have an acute reaction to vaccines?

MS Registry:
The cause of MS is not yet known. We promote studying MS and demyelinating disorders in veterans to further research efforts to find a cure for this debilitating disease.
We believe that all of society will benefit by the creation of an MS Registry. An MS Registry should be inclusive of all veterans who have MS as well as demyelinating disorders , but enable the ability to sorted for specific queries.
Death Registry:

We receive ‘Taps’ reports from around the country; obituaries of veterans far too young to die of natural causes who have reportedly been suffering with Gulf War illness. Far too often these reports tell of how the veteran was chronically ill, became suddenly worse and died in a short time.

The mortality of Gulf War veterans must be monitored. A registry would create a mechanism to collect information from the veteran’s survivors as well as monitor future mortality rates. This information is essential for tracking mortality trends.
Benefits Claims: Neurotoxic exposure have now been recognized by the scientific community. Therefore, we believe that, given the nature of neurotoxic exposures, Gulf War veterans who are diagnosed with chronic multi-symptom illness (UDX) should immediately be granted presumptive service connected benefits, both for health care and compensation. While the law allows for the granting of service-connection for UDX claims, the convoluted rules have led to the denial of most UDX claims. VMW supports the continuation of current provisions that allows for service connection of ALS, Brain Cancer, Fibromyalgia, CFS and IBS. We believe this should be an area of focus for the Committee during its 18-month charter.

VMW asks that the Committee support Gulf War veterans who have been ill and suffering for nearly two decades by immediately recommending presumptive service connection for UDX claims.

There are hundreds of medical and research projects that have either been completed or are currently being conducted. There are numerous GAO and other DoD reports on subjects such as chemical plumes that should all come together in one centralized location for everyone to use as a reference resource.

Information for Gulf War veterans is often difficult and discouraging to locate. We urge the development of a VA Gulf War Illness/Gulf War Veteran website to serve as a unique and unparalleled communications tool to inform the scientific, medical, veteran’s communities, the public, those suffering from Gulf War illness and their loved ones. Information about each of the registries I mentioned here today should be accessible as well.

We support the initiation by VA of a direct, proactive, systematic outreach to Gulf War veterans. We urge the reestablishment of the defunct Gulf War Review newsletter, which was VA’s only communication to Gulf War veterans with health concerns related to their Gulf War service.

We ask that the Committee support our call for an inclusive Gulf War Resource web site that will be must developed and maintained as a premier resource for Gulf War veterans, their families and their providers.

In conclusion, the recent Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness report has provided Gulf War veterans with an appreciated “reality upgrade”. It has been officially reported “…that Gulf War illness is real, that it is the result of neurotoxic exposures during Gulf War deployment, and that few veterans have recovered or substantially improved with time.”

One of the lessons I learned preparing for the meeting was why DoD gambled with an experimental medicine that could have rendered its Army useless. The answer was they didn't believe they had a choice. They believed then much like they did in 2003: "You go to war with the Army that you have", but that may not be an Army that is fit for the fight. Therefore, they believed they were 'armoring up' for a protection that was not suited for the warrior, but was appropriate for the war.
Sometimes in medicine one drug developed for..... hair loss is also effective for ... reducing enlarged prostate glands. But the use of a medication for all chemical warfare agents in a hostile environment that was developed to treat gravis may not have been the best defense for a limited offense.

In the case of the human experimentation with PB and the Gulf War veteran a clear understanding of the benefits was absent. The experiment was driven by fear and a lack of respect for the individual. The evidence to support that conclusion is overwhelming. The Rand Corporation found that DoD did nothing to fulfill its promise to the FDA to be as safe as possible in its use of PB as a vaccine.

Now is the time to provide relief to those who are essentially the victims of this experiment. Aggressive research programs must be initiated in order to develop a treatment protocol for these veterans affected by PB contamination. The time to provide Gulf War veterans the acceptance, the service-connected medical care and compensation that they earned by serving their Nation is long overdue. We ask this Committee to advocate swiftly on their behalf by recommending: presumptive service connections, a five-year delimitating date extension, records audit for veterans with MS and demyelinating disorders, initiation of a DoD CCEP for children of Gulf War veterans, registries for birth, children and death and timely development of a primary web site resource.

Thank you again for this opportunity to present this Committee with our recommendations to aid in the plight of our Nation’s Gulf War veterans.
Respectfully submitted by

Julie Mock
Veterans of Modern Warfare, Inc.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

VA: Foot-dragging seen 04-03-2006 #8






VA NEWS FLASH from Larry Scott at VA Watchdog dot Org -- 04-03-2006 #8

It's time for the VA to get off the dime and resolve this issue.

There is no reason for "Test Vets" to die while waiting.

Unless...that reason is money!

Story here...

Story below:


VA: Foot-dragging seen

By Lisa Friedman, From our Washington bureau

WASHINGTON ? Thousands of former servicemen who volunteered for chemical and biological tests in the 1960s and 70s might have been exposed to highly toxic substances that could jeopardize their health, and the U.S. government is scrambling to locate them.

The new list of nearly 7,000 names provided last year to the Department of Veterans Affairs servicemen who allowed themselves to be exposed to a range of agents, from nerve gases to Tularemia significantly increases the number of veterans who could become eligible for disability benefits.

VA officials say they are working as quickly as possible to verify the identities of the servicemen and the agents to which they were exposed, and to send out notifications. But veterans' advocates and some members of Congress note the government took more than a decade to notify World War II personnel they'd been exposed to chemical tests, and they're already skeptical of the pace this time around.

"You want to believe that they're serious, but there is, from my perspective, a lack of trust," said Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, the leading Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. "I don't want to be cynical here, but quite often the strategy of the department may be to let time pass."

Years of tests

The United States has conducted chemical and biological tests since before the Civil War. During World War II which has been called the "unfought chemical war" both sides produced, yet never used, millions of tons of chemical weapons.

In the meantime, thousands of servicemen were used as subjects in the chemical defense research. Many tests continued through the 1970s.

Army historian Jeffrey Smart has spent the past 22 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground, formerly the Edgewood Arsenal, where many of the chemical tests particularly on protective equipment were conducted.

He said documents show the men knew they were participating in potentially dangerous tests, but not the specific agents being used.

Ken Jones of Riverside said he knew exactly what he was doing when he volunteered in 1954 to be among 2,300 subjects in a germ-warfare project known as Operation White Coat.

The studies, which ran from 1954 to 1973, used mostly Seventh-day Adventist draftees like Jones whose religious beliefs discouraged combat and who were instead given the option of serving as human test volunteers.

While many veterans later said they felt pressured to sign the consent forms, Jones said he never felt coerced.

'Eight Ball'

He can still recall the day he and two other men exchanged their fatigues for scrubs and entered the fabled "Eight Ball" at Fort Detrick, Md. a 1-million-liter test sphere used to study static microbial aerosols and strapped on gas masks before breathing in Q-fever for about five minutes.

"I'm not going to be out on the streets protesting, because I feel like what I did was a benefit to humanity," Jones said, noting that the tests helped the government develop hazmat suits, gas masks and vaccines.

Jones went into quarantine for 17 days and says he never developed health problems from the experience. Many others did, though, and Jones thinks the government should help those veterans.

House Veterans Affairs Committee aide Len Sistek said that's the goal of notifying veterans. The new list his staff provided to the government includes the names of military personnel who underwent testing at Fort Detrick; Edgewood Arsenal, now known as Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland; and Dougway Proving Ground in Utah.

"There's been a sea change in how America perceives this stuff," he said. "Whoever allowed the bad guy to get ahead of them with chemical or biological weaponry was at a huge disadvantage on the battlefield. It was part of the war effort."

Still, he and others argued, the government has a responsibility to provide benefits to those who did experience health problems.

"When you sign on the dotted line, you sign up for a broad spectrum of risks. But just because you were a volunteer does not mean America doesn't have a duty to you."

VA concerned

Leaders at the Department of Veterans Affairs said they agree.

"Obviously we're concerned, and we want to provide outreach to anyone who may have been harmed by toxic chemical tests," said Thomas Pamperin, VA assistant director for policy.

He and Kim Tibbitts, the agency's assistant director for procedures for compensation and pension services, said they first have to determine who the servicemen are and what agents they were exposed to. Many names on the list, Tibbitts said, include only a name but no Social Security number, and identify chemicals by codes that must be tracked down with the Department of Defense.

From there, he said, the agency plans to use personnel records and address locating services to determine if the serviceman is still living, or has surviving relatives.

In the notification letters, Pamperin said, veterans will be told the chemical they were exposed to and the dosage, and be encouraged to seek hospital tests to determine if they suffered related injuries.

"If and, hopefully, none of them have been harmed they will receive the kind of compensation they're entitled to," Pamperin said.

Rick Weidman of the Vietnam Veterans of America accused the VA of dragging its feet.

"The VA is incredibly slow," he said. "They don't really want to do it. They will screw around with that list for a year or longer, and then they'll say they cannot find a lot of the veterans. If you wait long enough, we'll all be dead."

Notices coming

Pamperin strongly disputed the criticisms.

"I understand that some frustrated veterans believe that to be true," he said. "Our responsibility is to implement (veterans' benefits) to the full extent Congress has authorized it, without regard to how much is spent," he said.

Noting that over the past five years about 200,000 veterans have successfully sought compensation, he said, "I am unaware of anyone who has been formally or informally been telling us to slow down our ratings to save money."

Pamperin and Tibbitts said even if all 7,000 people on the new list apply for and obtain benefits, that's still a drop in the bucket compared with the 825,000 disability determinations it handles.

The agency is expected to start notifying the first 1,000 veterans on the list by July, according to the committee.

"It's just incumbent upon the department to find out and put this thing behind us," Strickland said. "It is going to take resources and effort, but it's something that needs to be done."

The Veterans Administration help line is (800) 749-8387.

Lisa Friedman can be reached at (202) 662-8731.


If you notice the date almost 3 years ago, then maybe the lawsuit filed this week makes sense........Morrison & Foerster Files Suit Against CIA, DoD, and U.S. Army on Behalf of Troops Exposed to Testing of Chemical and Biological Weapons at Edgewood Arsenal and Other Top Secret Sites 01/07/2009

Press Conference: Wednesday, January 7, 2009, 10 a.m. PST, located at Morrison & Foerster LLP, 425 Market Street, San Francisco, CA. Press may also dial in to listen at 1-800-919-8049.

What: Complaint Filed—Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. CIA, et al.

Where: United States District Court, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO (January 7, 2009) – Attorneys at Morrison & Foerster LLP have filed an unprecedented action against the Defense Department, the CIA, and other government institutions based upon failures to care for those veterans who “volunteered” in thousands of secret experiments to test toxic chemical and biological substances under code names such as MKULTRA. The new case comes on the heels of an earlier case the firm filed on behalf of veterans afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), which is now pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The firm is handling both cases on a pro bono basis.

The current action was brought in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America and six aging veterans with multiple diseases and ailments tied to a diabolical and secret testing program, whereby U.S. military personnel were deliberately exposed, by government and military agencies, to chemical and biological weapons and other toxins without informed consent. This multifaceted research program, which was launched in the early 1950s and continued through at least 1976, was conducted not only at the Edgewood Arsenal and Fort Detrick, Maryland, but also across America by universities and hospitals under contract to Defendants.

Defendants include the CIA, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense (“DoD”), and various government officials responsible for these agencies. The CIA secretly provided financing, personnel, and direction for the experiments, which were mainly conducted or contracted by the Army.

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages – and Plaintiffs seek redress for 25 years of diabolical experiments followed by over 30 years of neglect, including:

the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances, and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry, leaving many civilian and military subjects with permanent disabilities;
the failure to secure informed consent and other widespread failures to follow the precepts of U.S. and international law regarding the use of human subjects, including the 1953 Wilson Directive and the Nuremberg Code;
an almost fanatical refusal by the DoD, the CIA, and the Army to satisfy their legal and moral obligations to locate the victims of their gruesome experiments or to provide health care or compensation to them;
the deliberate destruction by the CIA of evidence and files documenting its illegal actions, actions which were punctuated by fraud, deception, and a callous disregard for the value of human life.
The Complaint asks the Court to determine that Defendants’ actions were illegal and that Defendants have a duty to notify all victims and to provide them with health care going forward.

According to Gordon P. Erspamer, a litigation partner in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, “Until this case is concluded, and all the victims are found and made whole, we cannot put behind us this sad chapter in American history when the government exploited the very citizens, both civilian and military, that it was supposed to protect.”

Vietnam Veterans of America’s President John Rowan commented, “Over 30 years ago, the government promised to locate the victims of the MKULTRA experiments and to take care of their needs. It now is painfully obvious that what it really wants is for the victims to just quietly die off while the government takes baby steps. VVA cannot leave these veterans behind.”

For further information, please contact lead counsel for Plaintiffs, Gordon P. Erspamer, 415-268-6411, Additionally, you may contact the following Plaintiffs: Vietnam Veterans of America, 800-882-1316 (John Rowan,; Eric P. Muth, 203‑874‑4595,; Wray C. Forrest, 719‑635‑9086,; David Dufrane, 518-546-7870,; and Franklin D. Rochelle, 910‑346‑5484. Bruce Price is available by special arrangement with counsel. The complaint can be viewed at

Edgewood Test Vets this is the website for the lawsuit Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al.
Case No. C 08 XXXX, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal. 2009)

What This Case Is About

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages – and Plaintiffs seek redress for 25 years of diabolical experiments followed by over 30 years of neglect, including:

the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry;

the failures to secure informed consent and other widespread failures to follow the precepts of U.S. and international law regarding the use of human subjects, including the 1953 Wilson Directive and the Nuremberg Code;

an almost fanatical refusal to satisfy their legal and moral obligations to locate the victims of their gruesome experiments or to provide health care or compensation to them;

the deliberate destruction of evidence and files documenting their illegal actions, actions which were punctuated by fraud, deception, and a callous disregard for the value of human life.

The Complaint asks the Court to determine that Defendants’ actions were illegal and that Defendants have a duty to notify all victims and to provide them with health care going forward.

Vietnam Veterans of America
Founded in 1978,Vietnam Veterans of America (“VVA”) is a national non-profit organization primarily dedicated to the interests of Vietnam era veterans and their families. VVA has over 50,000 members, 46 state councils and 630 local chapters. VVA’s principal goals are to promote veterans access to quality health care, to insure that veterans receive mandated compensation for diseases or conditions that they have incurred during or as a result of military service, to support the next generation of America’s veterans, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (“OIF/OEF”)veterans and to hold government agencies accountable for their legal, ethical, and moral obligations to its veteran


Bruce Price
Mountain City, Tennessee

Eric P. Muth
Milford, Connecticut

Franklin D. Rochelle
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Larry Meirow
Oakland, Michigan

David C. Dufrane
Port Henry, New York

Wray C. Forrest
Colorado Springs, Colorado

If the VA or DOD were actually trying to help these men after more than 40 years, does anyone really believe they would have been forced to file a lawsuit to get the benefits they believe they deserve? It has been the denials and lies by the government that have forced this issue. I am sure Lisa Friedman felt the VA officials were telling her the truth three years ago, but yet here we are in 2009 and no closer to the truth than we were the day she wrote this article or the day that A&E and Bill Curtiss shot the documentary "Bad Trip to Edgewood" Papers relating to Bad trip to Edgewood television documentary, (1950-1993) this must have been filmed close to 1993.

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bad trip to edgewood documentary

Bad Trip To Edgewood This is a link to the A&E documentary done by Bill Curtiss

Between 1955 and 1975, the U.S. Army used 7,000 enlisted soldiers as human guinea pigs for experiments involving a wide array of biological and chemical warfare agents.

These tests were conducted jointly by the U.S. Army Intelligence Board and the Chemical Warfare Laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal's research facility in Maryland. Approximately 3,500 of these soldiers were given doses of powerful mind-altering psychochemicals, including LSD, PCP, and BZ. These "volunteer" test subjects were not told which drugs they were given, and were not fully informed of the extreme physical and psychological effects these drugs would have on them. The images presented here are stills from documentary footage of these experiments filmed by the U.S. Army.

Papers relating to Bad trip to Edgewood television documentary, (1950-1993)

Alternative video download location:

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Grace Flight America Joins Forces With Veterans Airlift Command

Grace Flight America Joins Forces With Veterans Airlift Command

Thu, 15 Jan '09

Organizations Fly Those In Need, For Free
Aero-News has learned Grace Flight of America (GFA) and the Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) recently joined forces, resulting in the establishment of the premier national charitable flying organization.

Joining with Grace Flight of America's 1,380 pilots, Veterans Airlift Command's 855 pilots, based in 45 states, will provide seamless, efficient, nationwide service to our country's wounded warriors, those in need of distant medical treatment, and as a volunteer flying resource in times of national emergencies.

"I am thrilled about the creation of an efficient nationwide organization which will capitalize on the strengths of both organizations," said Walt Fricke, Chairman and founder of VAC. "Together, we will better serve our pilots, patrons, and veterans. After much research and thoughtful deliberation, we determined GFA was the best fit for us in light of their system efficiencies, growth opportunities, and specifically, their intense focus on the mission. The combined organization promises to preserve the legacy of the VAC and allow for significant growth. I could not be more pleased."

Volunteer Pilot and Chairman of GFA, O. R. (Butch) Smith, added, "We are very excited about the opportunity to have VAC join with us. We are jointly committed to grow this valuable and patriotic service for our veterans, while answering the universal request of our many constituents, including in particular our generous donors, for a true nationwide presence. In addition, our remarkable GFA pilots have continually expressed an interest in doing more for our veterans. This merger will provide just that opportunity, alongside our medical, humanitarian and national emergency missions. This is truly a win-win combination of like-minded organizations."

Based in Minneapolis, MN, Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. Grace Flight of America, based in Addison, TX, helps people in need of free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes.


SALUTE to all that make this happen

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House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) released this statement regarding recent operating problems with the electronic medical records system at the Department of Veterans Affairs:

"I am disappointed to learn of troubling new revelations from the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding operating problems with the most recent upgrade to the electronic medical records system. At this time, there is no evidence that any patient was harmed. Oversight of this incident will continue.

“Veterans deserve leaders at the VA who are accountable for the actions of the agency. VA continues to discover problems and attempts to fix them quietly and internally, and then downplays them as inconsequential and non-threatening. After numerous offers, VA bureaucrats still refuse to alert Congress to the issues and problems that affect our constituents – our veterans – in a timely and proactive way. I look to President-elect Obama to improve care for our veterans and to provide accountability during this rebuilding process.

“The VA has been plagued by poor leadership and management. It is troubling to learn that the Under Secretary of Health did not approve the field release of the new upgrade. No one expects new software to operate perfectly, but confidence must be inherent in any electronic medical records system. VA bureaucrats consistently refuse to provide necessary information regarding the serious problems that affect veterans and this pattern of secrecy is disconcerting and does enormous harm to all stakeholders. I expect an attitude of leadership and transparency with the Obama Administration.

“There is a dangerous lack of accountability within VA bureaucracy and a troubling scarcity of leadership that damages the relationship between the VA and the veteran. This unfortunate pattern has continued for too long. I am hopeful for the changes on the horizon for our veterans and their families. It is time to restore integrity, service and accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our veterans deserve strong leadership and I believe Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee Eric Shinseki will be an exceptional leader.”

# # #

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Suicide Spotlights Troops' Mental Care

Suicide Spotlights Troops' Mental Care

January 15, 2009
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - In 2005, an Army captain in Iraq asked for a mental health evaluation for one of his Soldiers, a private first class from North Carolina who was known to put the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth.

The case was assigned to a psychologist who was unlicensed - a common practice in the early years of the war, when the Army rushed mental health counselors to the combat zone even if some weren't certified or fully qualified.

The psychologist reported that a screening indicated the 20-year-old private, Jason Scheuerman, was "capable of claiming mental illness" to manipulate his superiors and did not have a mental disorder. Three weeks later, Scheuerman stepped into a barracks closet and shot himself to death. He had nailed a note to the closet that said, "Maybe finaly I can get some peace."

Learn more at's PTSD Center.

His death, the subject of an internal Army investigation exposed to The Associated Press by his family, casts light on the armed forces' reliance on unlicensed counselors before the Army policy was changed to exclude them in 2006.

At the time of Scheuerman's suicide, unlicensed psychologists and other counselors were allowed to examine Soldiers provided they were supervised by licensed professionals. The same rules are common in civilian evaluations.

It is not clear whether the psychologist in Scheuerman's case, Army Capt. Chris Hansen, was supervised according to those rules before he sent the Soldier back to duty.

Hansen, whose report also said Scheuerman should be taken seriously if he acted depressed again, received his doctoral degree in 2007 and his license in 2008, in Alabama. He is currently stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.

Defense Department rules require a "doctoral level" health care provider to evaluate a Soldier who is believed to be at risk for suicide.

At least 200 Soldiers have taken their lives while serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007 alone, the Army reported 115 suicides everywhere in the service, the highest yearly figure since it started keeping track in 1980.

Scheuerman's suicide note was among hundreds of pages of documents his family shared with the AP after wrangling with a military bureaucracy that family members say did not want to get to the bottom of the death.

A complaint in August to the U.S. Army Medical Department by Scheuerman's father, Chris, a former Army master sergeant, triggered an internal investigation into whether a senior medical officer was aware of the unlicensed psychologist's certifications and failed to take corrective action.

"There is a direct correlation between his actions and the events that led up to my son's death," Chris Scheuerman said, speaking of the unlicensed psychologist.

Historically, the Army deployed unlicensed psychologists under supervision until they were licensed, Col. Bruce E. Crow, the psychology consultant to the Army surgeon general, said in a statement to the AP. But by early 2005, "potential problems obtaining supervision in a combat zone" were identified, Crow said.

An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. George Wright, said 10 to 12 unlicensed psychologists were deployed to Iraq between March 2003 and May 2006, when the practice was stopped. Prior to May 2006, Wright said, unlicensed psychologists could be assigned to their first duty stations while they were completing the requirements for either their doctoral dissertations or their licenses. He did not say what mechanisms were in place to ensure the unlicensed psychologists were supervised.

Chris Scheuerman said he had been told by Col. Elspeth Ritchie, who served as the psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general, that more than 100 unlicensed mental health professionals had been deployed to Iraq.

Scheuerman also contends Ritchie told him Hansen was not qualified at the time to evaluate the young Soldier. Ritchie was the target of Scheuerman's complaint to the Army. The spokesman said Ritchie was not available for an interview.

The American Psychological Association reported in 2007 that there was a 40 percent vacancy rate in active duty psychologists in the Army.

Patrick Campbell, an Iraq veteran and chief legislative counsel for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, said unlicensed professionals are not the answer to the shortage.

"To send people who are half-trained into the field is dangerous not only for the service member, but for those professionals as well," Campbell said.

Barbara Romberg, a clinical psychologist in Washington, D.C., who donates mental health sessions to recent veterans, commended the military's efforts to improve mental health care but said combat is far from an ideal environment for a psychologist in training.

"We certainly would hope that all the mental health professionals deployed are licensed, seasoned mental health professionals, and in this situation it sounds like the folks who weren't certainly would've needed a whole lot of supervision, more than the average mental health professional," she said.

Scheuerman's behavior raised enough alarms that, according to one Soldier who spoke to investigators, when a call came over the unit's radios that there had been a death, he immediately suspected it was Scheuerman.

A separate investigation into Scheuerman's death last year by the Army inspector general determined the Soldier's leaders relied too much on physical training as punishment. It said "military-related issues" played a role in Scheuerman's suicide.

It also said personal issues, such as a recent breakup with a girlfriend, may have contributed as well. Much of the report is blacked out.

Scheuerman's family says Hansen's license should be revoked and there should be discipline for others who they feel either mistreated their son or didn't take actions that would have prevented his death. Wright, the Army spokesman, said no decision has been made on disciplinary action related to the young man's death.

Chris Scheuerman and his wife, Anne, were in San Antonio this week for a suicide prevention conference sponsored by the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Anne Scheuerman said the military has brushed the case under the rug and avoided "just coming straightforward and admitting what's going on so it could be fixed."

This case kind of reminds me of the grandmother who kept telling everyone she was sick, she had these words put on her tombstone "Do you believe me now?" Of course people are capapble of "conning superiors into thinking they have mental issues" but the fact the young man was putting the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth, showed deep rooted problems.

But given the fact that the military is sending mentally troubled troops back to Iraq with back packs full of meds from Valium to Buspar and Aripipazole and other meds for mental health issues, then there will continue to be problems in war zones.

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Combat vets' needs seen as escalating

Combat vets' needs seen as escalating

By Scott Huddleston - Express-News A national suicide-prevention conference focusing on war stress wrapped up Wednesday, a day after the Marine Corps released its highest suicide figures since 2003.

In closing remarks, Dr. Ira Katz, chief of mental health with the Department of Veterans Affairs, told hundreds of military, VA and civilian mental health professionals to keep forming collaborations and to “prepare ourselves for giving” to a growing number of combat veterans needing care.

“We have to collaborate. We care for the same people,” he said as the Annual Suicide Prevention Conference, sponsored by the Department of Defense and the VA, drew to a close.

The Marines reported Tuesday that 41 deaths from confirmed or suspected suicide occurred in 2008, up from 33 in 2007. The Army's figures have steadily risen from 67 in 2004 to 115 in 2007, but numbers for 2008 have not been released.

Air Force Lt. Col. Jay Stone, a Defense Department psychologist who oversees clinical standards of care, said topics discussed at the meeting may lead to new policy on issues related to suicide, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and barriers that keep troops from asking for help.

“Really, everything is sort of fair game right now,” he said.

President-elect Barack Obama has said he would seek more specialty centers to treat brain injury and PTSD, and more mental health clinics to treat sexual trauma and substance abuse. But part of the focus of the conference was the stigma that exists among troops on the ground.

One of the week's highlights came as the family of Pfc. Jason Scheuerman, who shot himself in Iraq, said he was ridiculed and told he was faking thoughts of suicide in hopes of being sent home.

His brother, Christopher Scheuerman Jr., a former Army chaplain assistant, said other troops are being denied help. While in Afghanistan, he saw a chaplain call a solider stupid and cowardly for wanting to commit suicide. The problem won't be solved unless lessons learned at the conference reach the battlefield, he said.

“For every one of us, there are five others out there who just don't care,” he said.

Military and VA professionals also heard from civilian speakers, including Kevin Hines, who survived an attempted suicide jump from the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000, and Eric Hipple, a 1980s Detroit Lions quarterback whose 15-year-old son took his life in 2000.

Hipple said he never confronted his own depression until after his son's death. He said young rank-and-file troops may often get depressed because they feel unimportant and disconnected from the mission.

“We are all a part of something larger than us,” Hipple said Wednesday. “And sometimes we lose that connectivity.”

The theme of the conference was “Building Community Connections,” and some of the discussion centered on public awareness campaigns to make troops, and civilians in surrounding communities, aware of the warning signs for suicide. A video that the Army plans to distribute this year features Hipple and Hines.

Stone said the mental health community also is trying to break “systemic barriers” that keep troops from getting help. For years, the dreaded “Question 21” they faced when reapplying for security clearance was seen as a threat; the applicant is asked if he's ever received mental health counseling or treatment. In April, the Defense Department began letting troops answer “no” if they've had marital, family or grief counseling, or help adjusting from deployment.

While some Army posts have had more success than others in dealing with mental health, Fort Hood is considered a model because of the support the post gets from Killeen and other nearby towns, Stone said.

“There's a lot of openness, collaboration and sharing of ideas,” he said.

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VA therapy gives elderly vets chance to talk

VA therapy gives elderly vets chance to talk

By Dan Olson - Minnesota Public Radio News
Posted : Tuesday Jan 13, 2009 10:24:17 EST

RICHFIELD, Minn. — Eighty-six-year-old Don Frederick sits in the Ranger room in his Richfield home. It’s where he keeps his World War II mementos — maps, flags, photos, emblems, diaries, medals, books and more.

His war stories run the gamut. They include warm memories of welcome wartime respites in scenic Italian seaside towns to recollections of brutal training, bad food, terrible weather and the horrors of combat.

Frederick was a Ranger in the Army’s 4th Ranger Battalion. He recalls an assignment in a raid on a German base in North Africa to capture 10 prisoners for interrogation. Not many of the enemy soldiers surrendered willingly.

“A lot of them were shot, a lot of them were bayoneted, a lot of them were grenaded with hand grenades,” he said. “If they didn’t give up right away, why, they were put aside.”

“Put aside” means killed.

Several years ago, the Veterans Administration realized some older veterans are troubled by the memories of war like these, even more than 60 years later. The VA estimates that one in 20 older veterans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from traumatic war-time experiences.

During visits to the VA to discuss their physical condition, veterans are given the chance to talk with professionals who can help them cope with troubling memories.

Winter and cold weather, it turns out, triggered anxiety in one of the World War II vets that Dr. Susan Czapiewski, a psychiatrist at a VA hospital in Minneapolis and an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, talked to — a man who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during one of Europe’s coldest winters on record.

“He watched a lot of friends die — they weren’t able to bury them,” she said. “The bodies were stacked like cordwood, and so whenever he’s cold, it brings back a lot of those memories.”

One day during a mission in Italy, Frederick was captured by the Germans. From then until war’s end more than 14 months later, he was a prisoner of war. His German captors interrogated him, shuttled him around to nearly half a dozen prison camps without the 21-year-old having any idea what would happen to him.

He wanted to know what his captors were going to do with him and where they were taking him, but he also says he didn’t panic.

Until now, Frederick has related his World War II experiences to only a close circle of fellow veterans. He’s never discussed them in detail with his wife, his three children or even his brother, another World War II vet. That has changed.

Frederick is now sharing his accounts with people willing to listen to what he has to say, including Czapiewski. The talking is therapy, Czapiewski said. Talk therapy hinges on the talker making a connection with a listener, she said.

Frederick’s mind is razor sharp, and his spirits seem good, but he has an incurable illness that is taking a toll on his body.

“Some days I feel good, and they say I look good, but inside I don’t feel so good sometimes,” he said.

It may be Frederick is more willing to give his account because he senses a deadline and wants to make sure people know what happened during the war.

Czapiewski backs off from calling talk therapy a cure for memories that cause stress and anxiety in some older military veterans.

“Some people need to talk it out; some people don’t,” she said. “I think that a person knows what they need to do, and a good therapist will meet the person where he or she is and not try to say, ‘come on, come on, tell me more, tell me more,’ but really be respectful of how much the person can say at any given time.”

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Military veterans may enter VA health care system based on hardship

Military veterans may enter VA health care system based on hardship

For the Cumberland Times-News
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an assortment of programs that can relieve the costs of health care or provide care at no cost to veterans struggling financially due to a job loss or decreased income.

Veterans whose previous income was ruled too high for VA health care may be able to enter the VA system based upon a hardship if their current year’s income is projected to fall below federal income thresholds due to a job loss, separation from service or some other financial setback.

Veterans determined eligible due to hardship can avoid co-pays applied to higher-income veterans. Qualifying veterans may be eligible for enrollment and receive health care at no cost.

Also eligible for no-cost VA care are most veterans who recently returned from a combat zone. They are entitled to five years of free VA care. The five-year clock begins with their discharge from the military, not their departure from the combat zone.

For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment, call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (800) 463-6295, ext. 7324 or log on to


I hope the VA health system is more gracious in granting the waivers that many veterans may need to become eligible to enter the VA health care system.

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Veterans exposed to incorrect drug doses

Veterans exposed to incorrect drug doses

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer - Wed Jan 14, 11:37 AM PST
"I am deeply concerned about the consequences on patient care that could have resulted from this 'software glitch' and that mistakes were not disclosed to patients who were directly affected," said Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind. "I have asked VA for a forensic analysis of all pertinent records to determine if any veterans were harmed, and I would like to know who was responsible for the testing and authorized the release of the new application."

Patients at VA health centers were given incorrect doses of drugs, had needed treatments delayed and may have been exposed to other medical errors due to the glitches that showed faulty displays of their electronic health records, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

The glitches, which began in August and lingered until last month, were not disclosed to patients by the VA even though they sometimes involved prolonged infusions for drugs such as blood-thinning heparin, which can be life-threatening in excessive doses.

In one case, a patient having chest pains at the VA medical center in Durham, N.C., was given heparin for 11 hours longer than necessary as doctors sought to rule out a heart attack.

There is no evidence that any patient was harmed, even as the VA says it continues to review the situation. But the issue is more pressing as the federal government begins promoting universal use of electronic medical records. President George W. Bush has supported the effort and incoming President-elect Barack Obama has made it a top priority, part of an additional $50 billion a year in spending for health information technology programs that he has proposed.

The goal of electronic medical records nationwide is to help avert millions of medical mistakes attributed in part to paper systems, such as poorly written prescriptions. But health care experts say the VA's problems illustrate the need for close monitoring.

Veterans groups were also harshly critical, saying the VA's secrecy created a false sense of security.

"It's very serious potentially," said Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has studied electronic health systems. "There's a lot of hype out there about electronic health records, that there is some unfettered good. It's a big piece of the puzzle, but they're not magic. There is also a potential for unintended consequences."

The VA's recent glitches involved medical data — vital signs, lab results, active meds — that sometimes popped up under another patient's name on the computer screen. Records also failed to clearly display a doctor's stop order for a treatment, leading to reported cases of unnecessary doses of intravenous drugs such as blood-thinning heparin.

The VA said there were nine reported cases in which patients at VA medical centers in Milwaukee, Durham, N.C., and Marion, Ind., were given incorrect doses, six of them involving heparin drips for patients with chest pain. The other cases involved infusions of either sodium chloride or dextrose mixtures that were prolonged for up to 15 hours past the doctor's prescribed deadline.

The agency noted that veterans with questions or concerns can request a copy of their medical record at any time, such as via the "My HealtheVet" online system at

In all, nearly one-third of the VA's 153 medical centers reported seeing some kind of glitch, although the VA said that number could be higher since some facilities may not have filed reports.

Stephen Warren, the VA's acting assistant secretary for information technology, said VA hospitals were able to minimize the consequences because they had several alternative systems in place for nurses to check on a patient's treatment. Alert doctors also reported glitches after noticing that a patient's record looked similar to a previous patient's.

Warren said the VA was confident that its doctors took proper precautions to avoid harm to patients. But he added, "VA believes that veterans are active partners in their health care, and encourages patients to always follow up with their health care teams to ensure that their treatment options meet their understanding and their health care needs."

Veterans groups questioned the VA's decision to keep the problems quiet.

"This is disturbing on a number of levels because of what could have happened," said Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Glen Gardner. "Being told that no patients were harmed still does not absolve the VA from its responsibility to forewarn patients that something is amiss. Trust is paramount in doctor-patient relationships, and nothing should ever be allowed to undermine that confidence."

According to interviews and the VA's internal memos, the glitches began after the VA distributed its annual software upgrade last August.

By early October, hospitals began reporting the troubling problems: When doctors pulled up electronic records of different patients within 10 minutes of each other to offer treatment advice, the medical information of the first patient sometimes displayed under the second person's name. In some records, a doctor's stop order for intravenous injections also failed to clearly display.

The VA issued several safety alerts to medical centers beginning Oct. 10. It also imposed new safety measures until the glitches were fully corrected in December.

"Patients can ... be at risk for delay in treatment changes or possible medication errors," according to one internal memo dated Oct. 31. "These changes have resulted in reported delays for stopping continuous infusion orders (e.g., stopping IV heparin drips)."

Dr. Bart Harmon, a former Pentagon chief medical information officer who helped coordinate the government's electronic records system from 1997 to 2007, cautioned that the VA's problems could become more common as more hospitals and doctors' offices move toward electronic records.

"This is a classic problem in health care — it's hard to get people to invest in prevention," said Harmon, who now works for Harris Healthcare Solutions, an information technology firm based in Melbourne, Fla. "The money tends to drift to obvious risks that are wrong. But safety checks are a new investment that needs to be maintained."


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Call me SGT Schultz

Hmmmmmmmmm, very interestink

Harmon Biehl
Miami Veterans Affairs Examiner
David Biehl is a Vietnam Veteran. He's been interacting with the V.A. since 1968. He is your servant in helping you along the way. If you are just getting started at the V.A., or are a seasoned regular and want information, contact him.

Hmmmmmmmmm, very interestink
Add a Comment January 14, 8:32 PM
by Harmon Biehl, Miami Veterans Affairs Examiner
« PreviousHey Vets, I have a Desert Storm Vet that has a very interesting tale to tell. In fact it is so interesting that it conjurs up wild scary stuff out of my past military service. I am visualising the guy on Laugh In wearing the German helmet smoking the cigarette and saying, "very interestink". The Vets name is Mike and so far all the information I have received from him has been bullet proof. See what you think!

Check it out.

Ham, I entered the US Army by enlisting on October 31, 1973 I went to Basic at Fort Ord, Ca , in January 1974 I went to Fort Polk La, for Infantry AIT in Jan - March 74. In mid March I was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

I was placed in Company C, 2/47th Infantry 3rd Brigade North Fort Lewis, old WW2 Barracks.
My platoon Sergeant was SFC Crosby and my Squad Leader was a Vietnam Vet named SSG Cierlik. I was assigned as an M79 gunner. In May 1974 we had a notice placed on the company bulletin board asking for volunteers for a 2 month Temporary Duty assignment testing new uniforms and equipment for the battlefield of the future at a base on the East Coast, if we were interested to tell the 1SG and he would make sure we were sent on Wednesday at 1300 to the Main Post Theater for the briefing.

Several men from the battalion volunteered for it, myself and SP4 Raymond Chase volunteered from our platoon, we were in the same squad. We went to the briefing, and we both stayed and filled out the paperwork to volunteer, after hearing that we would only work 4 day weeks, Monday - Thursday, 0800-1200 hours daily unless we were doing a test. We would have every Friday, Saturday and Sunday off and could travel anywhere on the East Coast and would not be restricted to within 50 miles of base, as was normal back then. We would never have KP, Guard duty or any other type duties like CQ or CQ runner, when we were off, we would be off. They would pay us TDY pay of 2 dollars a day and we would also be authorized travel by Privately Owned Automobiles which would give us nine days travel East and back West. 18 days travel plus 35 dollars a day per diem.

Over 200 men volunteered from Fort Lewis that day, they were only accepting ten of us. SP4 Chase and I were both surprised to receive orders on the first of June sending us TDY to Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland on 16 June 1974 with arrival on 25 June 1974. On 13 June 1974 while pulling CQ Runner duty someone slipped a 4 way hit of windowpane LSD in my coke, I awoke the next morning in a padded cell at Madigan Army Medical Center .I was released about 1100 hours to my platoon Sergeant SFC Crosby.

He informed me that they had conducted a health and welfare at 0100 hours on the 14th and found over 1000 hots of LSD in a SP4 's wall locker from our platoon, he admitted putting it in my drink without my knowledge. The Company Commander decided to send me TDY with SP4 Chase leaving on the 16th of June. We left Fort Lewis with a copy of my hospitalization report for the doctors at Edgewood to show the "bad trip".

We arrived at Edgewood Arsenal on the 25th of June, we processed in and there were approximately 30 of us enlisted men in the "med vol" group that would be there from June - August 1974. We were given thorough physicals and mental exams, the most strenous we had ever seen. MMPI exams for mental abilities and problems, all of us had GT scores over 110, on the ASVAB tests we took when we enlisted in the Army.

My inprocessing note had a special note to Dr Van Sim the Chief of the clinic to let him know I had just suffered a "bad trip" and was still having flashbacks, and the interviewer felt I would be a great candidate for all experiments. I was classified as a level A test subject for any and all experiments. I stayed at Edgewood Arsenal until 22 August 1974 when I left to return to Fort Lewis.

I stayed in the Army until September 1982 after serving in Korea on the DMZ, in Germany in the 3rd ID, Fort Gordon teaching basic trainees how to shoot on the BRM team. Sent again to the 9th ID at Fort Lewis in 198o and then was sent to Fort Irwin when they opened the National Training Center where I stayed until I ended my Army service as a Staff Sergeant in September 1982.

I joined the Army National Guard in Georgia in 1988, the 878th Engineer Battalion, until Desert Storm and I volunteered to join the 48the Infantry Brigade when they needed more men for the call to active duty for Desert Storm. I was activated on Nov 30, 1990. I served until May 1991.

Less than a year later I started suffering a series of TIA's and a full blown stroke in April 1992 less than 12 months after discharge. I later learned I should have filed for service connection due to the cardiovascular incident happening within the time line laid out in CFR 38, 3.307 and 3.309. But I had a job at the Post Office and none of the medical personnel told me, nor the people in the National Guard unit.

In Feb 1994 I suffered the first of 7 heart attacks. In Jan 1995 I was still having balance and memory problems and I went to another nuerologist for a second opinion, the one I had seen in April 1992 told me my problems were of a mental nature, which made me mad, I was 36, and had been infantry and a letter carrier my entire life, I weighed about 165 pounds, I did not fit the stroke profile to her. In January the new Doctor ordered an MRI and found a scar in the occipital and pareital lobes of my left brain, which explained the stroke symptoms the year and a half before.

In Feb 1997 I suffered another heart attack at work, the VA doctors admitted me and did an heart cath, I had three blockages, 100%, and 2 at 90% one team wanted to do a triple bypass and another team wanted to do stints. They told me if I did the bypass I would have 15 good years without anymore cardiac problems. I chose to have the bypass on the 17 the of Feb, I had a lot of complications and was not discharged from the VA until late March.

I started to file a VA claim for the cardiac problems then, but the process got so frustrating with the American legion, I gave up in frustration. In the next few years I would regret it. I went back to work at the Post Office where I had a good job and benefits, and I could not see fighting with the VA. I suffered another heart attack in May 1997, August 1997, November 1997, February 1998 (I am beginning to hate February's at this point) and on Father Day 1998 I suffered my final heart attack, I spent three days on a heart pump.

I finally walked away from the Postal Service in frustration in May 2002 and worked at America Online doing Tech support for the next two years. In June 2002 my legs swelled up and I had to buy new pants and shoes for my girlfriends fathers funeral the first week end in June. On Monday she took me to the VA hospital in Augusta. The doctor told me I had congestive heart failure and she scheduled me for a nuclear cat scan in August. The results of that bothered her she had me set up for a heart cath, which they set up in October which is fast for the VA.

They told me on October 22, 2002 that my heart was irrepareable and they could do no more surgery on me, and that I needed to retire from all work. I was on a medicate only regimen for care. They told me to file a Social Security claim and any VA claims I could. My SSD was approved in April, 2003, the VARO in Columbia SC denied my heart claim in July 2003.

In the meantime however I had been diagnosed with PTSD and the doctor said it was very severe, and just my PTSD symptoms alone made me unemployable., regardless of any other medical issues I had. I filed an amended claim in Dec 2003 asking for PTSD, IBS, GERD, psoriasis, 3 herniated disks, I filed a Notice of Disagreement on the cardiac denial. They denied me again. My shrink told me to write President Bush and explain my situation to him, about the chemical weapon and drug experiments at Edgwood Arsenal in 1974 and the stroke within a year of discharge from Desert Storm.

That made the DRO mad at Columbia VA Regional Office, and with the 4 court martials of some of the men who beat me unconscious in Fort wainwright Alaska on Feb 6, 1975 and they robbed me and left me to die in 20 below zero weather. They service connected me for PTSD at 50% and denied the rest of theproblems again. They refused to talk about anything that had to do with the human experiments at Edgewood.

In October 2005 they got caught lying to myself and then Senate VA Chairman Larry Craig that I had taken ill on 10 July 1974 and had been sent back to Fort Lewis, therefore I couldn't have been used in any experiments. I sent Senator Craig a copy of my out processing paperwork from Edgewood Arsenal dated 22 August 1974. On April 3, 2006 I got a letter notfying me that I was 100% P&T for PTSD and they denied my cardiac problems yet again, claiming I signed away my rights to the cardiac claim. I immediately filed another notice of disagreement. Now it is scheduled for a Board of Veteran Appeal Hearing. The VA is not supposed to "play let's make a deal" they are not Monty Python.

Mike Bailey 14 jan 2009

Veterans, I hear this story regularly. The real and very ugly twist to this one is that the tests at the Edgewood Arsenal smack of mad German scientist experimenting on the unsupecting few. I will do some more research on the Edgewood Arsenal and post another article all about it.

I truely feel sorry for one of Americas finest experimented on by doctors working for the American Government and then systematically denying any involvement. Oh! wait a minute, I guess I'm not surprised. It is a regular occurance at the V.A.

Be Blessed;

Damn Harm it reads like the Twilight Zone but then again I did go thru the "looking glass" and life has been different ever since. Thank you....

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