Monday, September 30, 2013

Attention Pennsylvania

Agent Orange, Corporatism, Government, Coleen Boyle…. and Autism?
By Dawn Loughborough
“What’s past is prologue.”

Autism prevalence is 1 in 50 in the U.S.  How is the Agent Orange health compensation fiasco for Veterans the same as Vaccine Safety and Autism?  Thousands of Viet Nam Veterans exposed to the chemical Agent Orange were denied compensation, there was an obstruction of justice, and it took a directive from Congress to fix it over the course of 30 years.
Congress issued a directive for federal agency vaccine safety studies including baseline studies to show exposure and health outcomes (VICA Section 27). In a rising autism epidemic, unfettered science and detailed analysis hold promise for answers, but data is far from available and the process for collection and access to de-identified data remains stymied.
And according to information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, obstructions of justice that may have denied thousands of vaccine injured children with Autism compensation in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program appears to have been revealed through malfeasance in CDC science studies, possible destruction of early 1990’s government studies showing mercury issues,  alleged removal of unvaccinated children from the data sources making it harder to perform vaccinated v unvaccinated studies, and barred transparency to the Vaccine Safety Datalink for independent research.
Chairman Issa of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, currently conducting the complex Benghazi investigation, says that when a plane crashes, investigators produce crash reports that record the tiniest details and put together the pieces to explain what happened. The public desires that same “crash report” approach for children’s health epidemics.
But Coleen Boyle, a director of the CDC department involved in childhood developmental disabilities and autism prevalence studies has down played Autism as an epidemic and the science-related vaccine concerns in her congressional testimonies.  Autism prevalence has not been reported in terms of categories of autisms. It is unknown, for example, how many children developed normally and then regressed into Autism and following what exposures.


Remembering Forgotten Veterans Poisoned by Agent Orange
For this Band of Brothers, the Vietnam War never ended. Forty years after the fighting stopped they continue their struggle to be recognized as part of the unenviable group poisoned by the deadly herbicide Agent Orange.
These men who dedicated years to the U.S. military were stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. In the mid-1960s, it was an important stopover on the way to war zones in Southeast Asia. B-52 bombing missions targeting the Viet Cong — with names like Operation Arc Light and Operation Linebacker II — were launched from Andersen. Two years after the conflict, the base became a way-stop for more than 100,000 Vietnamese refugees seeking a new life in America.
Andersen AFB was a well-oiled machine, thanks to the dedicated soldiers stationed there. Two of those men — Master Sgt. LeRoy Foster and Sgt. Ralph Stanton — found each other late in life and began to compare their multitude of similar health problems.
Foster served at Andersen from 1968 to 1978 as a fuels specialist assigned to the 43rd Supply Squadron. Part of his duties, he told me, was to get rid of the vegetation and weeds on the base. Foster says Agent Orange — which contains deadly TCDD dioxin — was among the herbicides he regularly mixed and loaded into his 750-gallon, trailer-mounted sprayer. Back then, no one knew how deadly it was.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Orange Crush - Part 5

While the debate over the danger of Agent Orange and dioxin heated up in scientific circles, the U.S. Air Force continued flying defoliation sorties, and the troops on the ground continued to live in the chemical mist of the rainbow herbicides. They slept with it, drank it in their water, ate it in their food and breathed it when it dropped out of the air in a fine, white pungent mist.
Some of the troops in Vietnam used the empty Agent Orange drums for barbecue pits. Others stored watermelons and potatoes in them. Still others rigged the residue-laden drums for showers.  The spraying continued unabated in 1968, even though, according to military records, it apparently was having minimal effects on the enemy. A series of memorandums uncovered in the National Archives and now declassified indicate that defoliation killed a lot of plants, but had little real effect on military operations.
Meanwhile, the military continued to learn just how toxic Agent Orange could be. On October 23, 1969, an urgent message was sent from Fort Detrick, Maryland, to MACV concerning cleaning of drums containing herbicides. The message provided detailed instructions on how to clean the drums and warned that it was particularly important to clean Agent Orange drums.  "Using the (Agent) Orange drums for storing petroleum products without thoroughly cleaning them can result in creation of an orange aerosol when the contaminated petroleum products are consumed in internal combustion engines. The Orange aerosol thus generated can be most devastating to vegetation in the vicinity of engines. Some critics claim that some of the damage to vegetation along Saigon streets can be attributed to this source. White and Blue residues are less of a problem in this regard since they are not volatile."  Not only was Agent Orange being sprayed from aircraft, but it was unwittingly being sprayed out of the exhausts of trucks, jeeps and gasoline generators.
As soldiers who had served in Vietnam attempted to settle back into civilian life following their tours, some of them began to develop unusual health problems. There were skin and liver diseases and what seemed to be an abnormal number of cancers to soft tissue organs such as the lungs and stomach. There also seemed to be an unusually high number of birth defects among children born to Vietnam veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange. Some veterans experienced wild mood swings, while others developed a painful skin rash known as chloracne. Many of these veterans were found to have high levels of dioxin in their blood, but scientists and the U.S. government insisted there was no link between their illnesses and Agent Orange.  In the mid 1970s, there was renewed interest in dioxin and its effects on human health following an industrial accident in Seveso, Italy, in which dioxin was released into the air, causing animal deaths and human sickness.
Paul Sutton
Veteran Advocate

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hospital Care and Medical Services for Camp Lejeune Veterans
Proposed Rule.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its regulations to implement a statutory mandate that VA provide health care to certain veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for at least 30 days during the period beginning on January 1, 1957, and ending on December 31, 1987. The law requires VA to furnish hospital care and medical services for these veterans for certain illnesses and conditions that may be attributed to exposure to toxins in the water system at Camp Lejeune. This proposed rule does not implement the statutory provision requiring VA to provide health care to these veterans' family members; regulations applicable to such family members are currently in development and will be promulgated through a separate notice.

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Deserve VA Benefits

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in a letter to the Veterans Administration (VA) to reexamine its benefits policy for veterans exposed to Agent Orange after the Vietnam War.  Veterans who served on Agent Orange spray aircraft after the Vietnam War are facing serious health issues today due to their exposure to military herbicide residue.  These veterans served our country without knowledge of the risk to their health and they deserve to be treated fairly by the VA.  Despite evidence and support from the country’s top experts on Agent Orange, the VA refuses to provide these veterans with disability benefits. 
From 1972 to 1982, between 1500 and 2500 aircrew, aerial port, and maintenance staff served on C-123 aircraft that had been used during the Vietnam War to spray military herbicides, including Agent Orange.  Many of the country’s top experts on Agent Orange, including the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, have written detailed statements supporting the crewmembers’ likely exposure to Agent Orange.  Despite this overwhelming evidence and support from the scientific community, the VA denies that any level of exposure to dioxin occurred.  As a result, many veterans’ disability claims have been denied by the VA.
After publication of a Washington Post storyhighlighting the serious health issues facing the C-123 veterans and the VA’s refusal to grant them benefits, the VA reversedits denial of disability benefits for LTCOL Paul Bailey.  This is a positive development, but there are still many other sick veterans waiting for the benefits they have earned.. 
Please join us in writing to Secretary Shinseki urging him to reevaluate previously denied claims and carefully consider pending claims.  To sign this letter, please contact Carly Katz in Rep. Bonamici’s office at Claire Cozad in Rep. Cook’s office at by COB October 3.


Suzanne Bonamici                                          Paul Cook
Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

Vietnam: Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Danang Airport
Progress Report: August 1, 2013 to August 31, 2013
USAID and GVN continued successful implementation of the Project, passing an important 1-year anniversary milestone of the Project’s August 2012 launch.
USAID contractors continued to safely excavate and place soil and sediment from Danang Airport into the containment structure for treatment. At the end of August 2013, approximately 90% of the containment structure was filled with soil and sediment.
Confirmation soil sample results indicated successful excavation of all contaminated material in some areas, while results in other areas indicated that additional excavation was required. For example, confirmatory samplingresults collected at Pacer Ivy Storage Area by both USAID and Vietnam-
Russia Tropical Center indicated dioxin concentrations well below the clean up goal. USAID completely backfilled and planted grass to restore this area. Inother areas, including the Storage Area, contractors continued to excavateadditional soil. Confirmation soil sampling will be performed to verify removal of contaminated soil above the cleanup goal.

Understand the war on Agent Orange

After Al and Sharon Martinelli had their first son who was born with short limbs, they thought they had the assurance they needed before having their second child.
"One of the questions that we asked a team of doctors is, if we have more children, what are the chances (of having another child with a disorder)," Al said. "They looked at me in the eye and said the chances would be a million to one."

The Cocolalla couple also had family history on their side. Neither Al nor Sharon had a history of any disorders in their families.
But, three years later, their second son was born with Down syndrome.
"We saw one of the doctors we had seen three years before, and you should have seen the expression on that man's face," Al said. "He was devastated when he saw Chris. That poor guy didn't know what to say."
Martinelli said having two sons with conditions was devastating for the young couple starting out after he had served in the Navy Reserve during the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monsanto Protection Act

We won the first battle over the Monsanto Protection Act. It is due to expire on September 30.
But like a bad zombie movie, it’s coming back from the dead.
Republicans in the House voted to extend the Monsanto Protection Act as part of the must-pass budget bill that will keep our government operating past Monday.
The Monsanto Protection Act is an outrage. It allows big agricultural and biotech corporations to ignore food safety regulations and sell genetically engineered foods even after a court order to stop. 
Please join me, Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, and the Daily Kos Community -- sign our petition and tell Congressional Republicans that you oppose the Monsanto Protection Act.
We have to act now to stop big special interests and their extremist Republican friends in Congress from running roughshod over our democracy and our courts.
Sign my petition today: Tell the Republicans in Congress that the Monsanto Protection Act is wrong for America.
Thanks,Senator Jeff Merkley

The good news? The Monsanto Protection Act expires on September 30.
The bad news? Some in Congress want to extend the Monsanto Protection Act as part of the must-pass budget bill that will keep our government operating past September 30.
The Monsanto Protection Act was written anonymously and in secret - and prevents courts from doing their jobs. For Americans concerned about health and environmental damage, it leaves no legal recourse.
We have to act now to stop big special interests from running roughshod over our democracy.
Join Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, and the Daily Kos community. 
Tell Congress to stop the Monsanto Protection Act.

Flap continues over Lejeune health assessment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressmen is urging the Centers for Disease Control to complete a new, comprehensive report on the health effects of toxic tap water at the Camp Lejeune Marine base.
The lawmakers also want the agency to investigate whether people were exposed to airborne toxins inside buildings after contaminated wells at the North Carolina base were closed in 1985. And they asked the agency to look into the feasibility of a "cancer incidence study" for Lejeune.
The four senators and two representatives were reacting to news that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR, a division of the CDC, intends to issue a less comprehensive report than the one it released in 1997. The original public health assessment was withdrawn four years ago because of incomplete data.
They said they also are concerned the agency will ignore "the potential for harmful exposures via inhalation" in the decade and a half after contaminated wells at the coastal North Carolina base were taken off line.
The Aug. 9 letter to CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden was signed by U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan of North Carolina; Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson of Florida; and U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross of Florida and John Dingell of Michigan.
"Public Health Assessments are essential and critical to ensuring full and complete information about exposures to hazardous substances is available to the public," the six legislators wrote.

Camp Lejeune's child day care which closed in 1983 was in Building 712 which was the former Pesticide and Herbicide storage shop and mixing station since WWII. 7.5 million ppb of DDT was found in the soil near the playground. The soil was removed in 1994 and taken to an incinerator in Kentucky.

(IRVINE, CA) –  BETRAYAL:  Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-up chronicles the story of the thousands of veterans and their families, once stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who continued to be ignored by the US government by denial of the effects of exposure to environmental hazards, including the highest incidence of occurrence of male breast cancer in any other demographic in the U.S. at Camp Lejeune.
Legislation to provide VA health care for 15 medical conditions for Camp Lejeune veterans and their dependents was passed in the 112th Congress.  No VA presumptive disability compensation was included in the Janey Ensminger Act.
Camp Lejeune veterans, even those with terminal cancers, must get into line with other veterans and support their VA disability compensation claims with medical nexus opinions that state their medical conditions are “at least as likely as not” caused by exposure to the base’s contaminated water wells (1953-1987).

U.S. use of Agent Orange was chemical warfare
To the Editor:
I am responding to a recent letter to the editor from David Wickham on Sept. 7 that criticized a letter I had previously written on our government's chemical warfare with Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Wickham said the resultant health effects that happened to Vietnamese and our veterans were "unintended consequences" and "certainly not the result of some deliberate attempt to injure or kill humans." I suggest Wickham research further about the tragic history of Agent Orange.
Admiral E.R. Zumwalt submitted a classified report to the Veterans Administration in 1990 concerning associated health effects from Agent Orange exposure. The classified report is now available online at In this report, it is disclosed the military "dispensed Agent Orange in concentrations six to 25 times the manufacturer's suggested rate." Furthermore, Zumwalt quotes Dr. David Clary, a government scientist who worked with Agent Orange, as saying, "When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide. We were even aware that the 'military' formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the 'civilian' version due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture. However, because the material was to be used on the 'enemy,' none of us were overly concerned."
Wickham also said "the sole purpose" of Agent Orange was "to destroy foliage that provided cover" in jungles. The U.S. military also purposely targeted food crops with Agent Orange. What should we call using chemicals to destroy innocent impoverished people's food crops during war that could lead to mass starvation? I contend (as I wrote in my original letter) that it is a despicable, heinous crime against humanity.
I found estimates of hundreds of thousands to millions killed by Agent Orange in Vietnam and also hundreds of thousands maimed by birth defects. Wickham said the difference between Agent Orange in Vietnam and sarin gas used in Syria is "striking."
Whether you die a quick tortuous death from sarin gas or a slow, painful, cancerous death from Agent Orange, the end result is no different.
John Meinhold

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Orange Crush - Part 4

Part IV of our veterans’ exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War


In addition to the planned dumps of herbicides, accidental and intentional dumps of defoliants over populated areas and into the water supplies was not unusual, according to government documents.

A memorandum for the record dated October 31, 1967, and signed by Col. W.T. Moseley, chief of MACV's Chemical Operations Division, reported an emergency dump of herbicide far from the intended target.  At approximately 1120 hours, October 29, 1967, aircraft #576 made an emergency dump of herbicide in Long Khanh Province due to failure of one engine and loss of power in the other. Approximately 1,000 gallons of herbicide WHITE were dumped from an altitude of 2,500 feet. No mention was made of wind speed or direction, but chemicals dropped from that height had the potential to drift a long way.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in the summer of 1968 sent a letter to the Secretaries of State and Defense urging a study to determine the ecological effects of herbicide spraying in Vietnam.  That letter prompted a cable from Secretary of State Dean Rusk to the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. The cable, dated August 26, 1968, sought additional information but informed embassy officials of the tactic State was going to take in its reply to the AAAS.  "The Department of State's proposed reply notes that the limited investigations of the ecological problem which have been conducted by agencies of the USG thus far have failed to reveal serious ecological disturbances, but acknowledges that the long-term effect of herbicides can be determined definitively only by long-term studies."  Rusk suggested releasing "certain non-sensitive" portions of a study on the ecological effects of herbicide spraying in Vietnam done earlier that year by Dr. Fred H. Tschirley, then assistant chief of the Corps Protection Research Branch, Corps Research Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. Tschirley went to Vietnam under the auspices of the State Department early in 1968 and returned with exactly the report the U.S. government and the chemical companies wanted.

Tschirley foresaw no long-term ecological impact on Vietnam as a result of the herbicide spraying. In addition, in his report of April 1968, later reprinted in part in the February 21, 1969 issue of Science magazine, Tschirley exonerated the chemical companies.  "There is no evidence," Tschirley wrote, "to suggest that the herbicides used in Vietnam will cause toxicity problems for man or animals."

Rusk urged that Tschirley's report be made public. What Rusk did not mention was that Tschirley's report had been heavily edited, in essence changing its findings.

Paul Sutton

Veteran Advocate

Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange: Vietnamese-Americans
U.S. military veterans who fought in Vietnam decades ago are entitled today to government-paid disability benefits and health care if they suffer from exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide widely used during the conflict.
But the same coverage is not available to the Vietnamese enduring the same effects from Agent Orange after fighting alongside American soldiers, and who later immigrated to the U.S.
One study published 10 years ago estimated that as many as 4.8 million Vietnamese civilians were exposed to herbicides used to destroy the country’s jungles. Many of those Vietnamese fled their homeland after the U.S. pulled out, and settled in California.
Vietnamese-Americans in California, in fact, have been found to suffer higher rates than other Asians when it comes to cancer and other health problems linked to Agent Orange exposure.
For example, Vietnamese men had among the highest incidence of all cancers combined, at just over 375 new cases annually per 100,000 population.
Vietnamese women had the highest rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the highest death rate for this cancer.
Those who fought in the Vietnam War from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South Korea have received Agent Orange disability benefits through their governments. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Veterans Affairs has allocated billions of dollars to cover disability benefits related to herbicide exposure.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Wounded Vets Deserve Better Than Anthony Principi

"Shouldn't there be a cutoff date—either in age or years since service in Vietnam—for disabilities that may be related to Agent Orange? At some point, the system now goes far beyond what the law requires—resolving reasonable doubt about the degree of disability in favor of the veteran, after careful consideration of all available data—as Veterans Affairs is required to do."
Anthony J. Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2001 - 2005

The Law

§3.102  Reasonable doubt.

            It is the defined and consistently applied policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer the law under a broad interpretation, consistent, however, with the facts shown in every case. When, after careful consideration of all procurable and assembled data, a reasonable doubt arises regarding service origin, the degree of disability, or any other point, such doubt will be resolved in favor of the claimant.